Thursday, March 27, 2014

April 2014 Newsletter Article

For some reason my sermon audio did not record on Sunday, March 23rd, which is curious because I was watching the recording timer throughout the sermon. At any rate, it was an interesting interactive sermon, so at least the crowd at home will miss out on the minute of "talk amongst yourselves" during which I went to my office to get my bottle of water. Yes, I recorded that time during the sermon, and then joked about it afterwards. I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, below is my article in the April 2014 Lutheran Church of the Savior Newsletter, which got more than a little sermon-y, so I hope that will tide you over until the next time I'm able to record sermon audio. It will not be this upcoming Sunday March 30th, as guest preacher Asher O'Callaghan will be sharing God's Word with us on that morning. Look for more sermon audio in April, and compare it to the article below.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sermon Audio 3/16/2014

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

Second Sunday after Lent, Lectionary Year A

John 3:1-17

Continuing our Lenten theme on hunger with the most famous verse in the Bible, vegetarianism, and junk food: what was Nicodemus really hungry for?



John 3:1-17

3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

As always, listen here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."


Monday, March 10, 2014

Sermon Audio 3/9/2014

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

First Sunday of Lent, Lectionary Year A

Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus' temptation occurs only after he has fasted for 40 days and is famished. For over 1 billion people living today, hunger is not a spiritual practice but a daily reality. This Lent we will explore hunger, both physical and figurative, as we await Jesus passion and resurrection. What do we hunger for, and how can we satisfy our hunger? What does our neighbor hunger for, and how can we satisfy our neighbor's hunger?



Matthew 4:1-11

4Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” 7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” 11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

As always, listen to the sermon here or subscribe on iTunes.


Sermon Audio 3/5/2014

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Jesus' warning “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them" seems to have guided the famed 20th century poet W.H. Auden, whose good deeds tended to go publicly unrecognized throughout his life. In our own congregation, Forty Deeds in Forty Days is an effort to live out Jesus' teaching this Lent.



Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

6“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

As always, listen here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.


Sermon Audio 3/2/2014

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

Transfiguration of Our Lord, Lectionary Year A

Matthew 17:1-9

"Get up, and do not be afraid." Jesus' words to Peter, James, and John on the mountain speak to us today as well, as the take-home message of what the gospel means in our lives.



Matthew 17:1-9

17Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Listen here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.


Sermon Audio 2/23/2014

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Lectionary Year A

Matthew 5:38-48

After not including a rite of Confession and Forgiveness in our worship during the season of Epiphany, today we used the sermon to institute a different form of confession, and allowed the Eucharist to be our forgiveness. Not sure how effective it was, but a third grader and I did have fun destroying people's sins in a paper shredder afterward.


Matthew 5:38-48

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

As usual, you can listen to this sermon here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, which you can find by searching "Tengwall."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sermon Audio 2/9/2014

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Lectionary Year A

Isaiah 58:1-12

As Lutheran Church of the Savior prepared to hold our Annual Meeting after worship today, this sermon reflects on what faithfulness looks like. For those listening to Isaiah in today's lesson, their traditional practices of fasting had ceased to be a faithful life in response to God's law. What can we learn from the hard lesson Isaiah had for them?

Isaiah 58:1-12


58Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

3“Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. 4Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. 5Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? 6Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 10if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 11The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. 12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.