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Charles Henrickson's Blog (376)

"Justification: The Heart of the Reformation" (Romans 3:19-28)

“Justification: The Heart of the Reformation” (Romans 3:19-28)

Today is the last Sunday in October, and so we are observing Reformation Day. It will be 497 years ago this Friday, on October 31, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, thus setting in motion the great Reformation of the Christian church. We are the heirs of that Reformation, blessed to be so, and so we join with faithful Lutherans all around the globe…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on October 26, 2014 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

"Render--But Don't Surrender--unto Caesar" (Matthew 22:15-22)

“Render--But Don’t Surrender--unto Caesar” (Matthew 22:15-22)

“Render unto Caesar”: I think most of us have heard that expression. In fact, I would say that most Americans, whether they’re in the church or not, have heard it. “Render unto Caesar.” The average person might say: “Let’s see, I think that has something to do with what we’re supposed to owe the government.” And they would be right. It does have to do with what we owe the government. But don’t stop the saying…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on October 18, 2014 at 10:03pm — No Comments

"Decliners and Recliners" (Matthew 22:1-14)

“Decliners and Recliners” (Matthew 22:1-14)

Do you ever get an invitation to an event--a party, say--and they ask you to RSVP? So you check your calendar, and you see you’ve got a schedule conflict, and so you’ve got to decline the invitation. There’s something more important going on that day--you’ve got to work, or a family obligation--just something that’s a higher priority to you than going to that party.

But now say you’ve gotten an invitation to a party, and…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on October 12, 2014 at 12:02am — No Comments

"St. Paul's Rubbish Sale" (Philippians 3:4b-13)

“St. Paul’s Rubbish Sale” (Philippians 3:4b-13)

Yesterday our Ladies’ Guild here at St. Matthew’s held a rummage sale. You know how a rummage sale works. People donate their old, obsolete items that they don’t want or need anymore, and then those items are resold, usually at a much lower price than the original purchase price. And when I say much lower, I mean much lower! I saw a television set downstairs that someone may have paid a couple hundred bucks for originally, but…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on October 5, 2014 at 11:36am — No Comments

"You Shine as Lights in the World" (Philippians 2:1-18)

“You Shine as Lights in the World” (Philippians 2:1-18)

In our Epistle for today, from Philippians 2, St. Paul appeals to us Christians to live as who we are, namely, “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” Did you hear that? “You Shine as Lights in the World.” Yes, you do! And today we’ll find out why and how.

But before you can shine, first you…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on September 27, 2014 at 10:00pm — No Comments

"Following Jesus with St. Matthew" (Matthew 9:9-13)

“Following Jesus with St. Matthew” (Matthew 9:9-13)

On the church year calendar, September 21 is the day for commemorating St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. And since this year September 21 falls on a Sunday, today we are celebrating the Festival of St. Matthew.

Who exactly was this St. Matthew, you ask, and why should we remember him? Well, first of all, as to who he is, as I mentioned, we refer to him as St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Each of those terms,…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on September 21, 2014 at 4:11pm — No Comments

"But We Preach Christ Crucified" (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

“But We Preach Christ Crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

You’ll notice that the color of our paraments today is red--in other words, something different from the ordinary green that we use in the non-festival half of the church year. This means that we’re observing a special festival today, one that happens to fall on a Sunday this year. And this festival is called Holy Cross Day. What is Holy Cross Day, you ask? Well, let me tell you the background of this…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on September 13, 2014 at 10:15pm — No Comments

"Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law" (Romans 13:1-10)

“Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law” (Romans 13:1-10)

Do you want to know what you should be doing this week? I can tell you with sure confidence what God’s will is for you this week. It’s pretty simple, actually. I can sum it up in one word: Love. That’s right. Love. In terms of how you deal with the people you encounter this week, that’s about the size of it: Love them. How can I be so sure of this? Because God’s Word tells me this is so, that this is God’s will for each…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on September 7, 2014 at 5:10am — No Comments

"Peter Gets the 'Who' But Not the 'How'" (Matthew 16:21-28)

“Peter Gets the ‘Who’ But Not the ‘How’” (Matthew 16:21-28)

Last week’s Gospel was Matthew 16:13-20. Today’s Gospel is the verses that follow, Matthew 16:21-28. Last week we heard Peter say something that brought a hearty commendation from Jesus, who told Peter that he was the rock on which he would build his church. This week Peter says something that brings a harsh rebuke from Jesus, with Jesus basically calling Peter “Satan” and telling him to get behind him. So in just…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on August 31, 2014 at 1:27pm — No Comments

"Jesus and the Church: Inseparable" (Matthew 16:13-20)

“Jesus and the Church: Inseparable” (Matthew 16:13-20)

“I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity.” That is a quote that has been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, the leading figure from India of the 20th century. Sometimes it’s quoted as “I like your Jesus. I don’t like your Christians.” Or something like that. Whether Gandhi actually said this or not, the point is the same: Some people want to have Jesus--or at least the Jesus of their imagination--they want to…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on August 23, 2014 at 10:42pm — No Comments

"Jesus and People on the Fringe" (Matthew 15:21-28)

“Jesus and People on the Fringe” (Matthew 15:21-28)

People on the fringe. That’s what you might call them. People on the fringe of respectable society. Sometimes beyond the fringe. These are not the good, upstanding people who have their act all together and are living their best life now. No, these are people with problems in their life. People who have gotten off track and maybe now are regretting the bad choices they have made. Perhaps they’re looking for a better way,…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on August 16, 2014 at 8:08pm — 1 Comment

"The Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat" (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

“The Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

Last week we heard the Parable of the Sower, from Matthew 13. Today it’s the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat, also from Matthew 13. In fact, Matthew 13 is a chapter full of parables, seven of them altogether. Some of these parables are shorter, some are longer. Some are explained by Jesus, some of them are left unexplained. Today’s parable is one of the longer ones, and Jesus does explain it. So now let’s…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on July 20, 2014 at 11:28pm — No Comments

"When Sowing the Seed Seems Useless" (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)

“When Sowing the Seed Seems Useless” (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)

It can be very discouraging to be a Christian these days. It seems like our whole culture has turned against the Christian faith. It can be very discouraging to be a member of a congregation these days. It seems like every church all across the country is having to deal with lower attendance and financial difficulties. It can be very discouraging to be a pastor these days. It seems like all your work is falling on…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on July 12, 2014 at 9:25pm — No Comments

"Rest for the Heavy Laden" (Matthew 11:25-30; Romans 7:14-25a)

“Rest for the Heavy Laden” (Matthew 11:25-30; Romans 7:14-25a)

In New York Harbor there stands a famous statue, the Statue of Liberty. In her one hand, Lady Liberty is holding a tablet bearing the date July 4, 1776, the day of America’s founding. In her other hand, she is holding aloft a torch, symbolizing liberty enlightening the world. In the harbor, the Statue of Liberty stands right next to Ellis Island, our nation’s largest immigration station for many years. Millions…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on July 5, 2014 at 1:51pm — No Comments

"St. Peter and St. Paul: Losing Their Lives for Jesus' Sake" (Matthew 10:38-39)

“St. Peter and St. Paul: Losing Their Lives for Jesus’ Sake” (Matthew 10:38-39)

Today is the Third Sunday after Pentecost, but it is also June 29. And June 29 is the day in the church year for observing the Festival of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles. So that is what we are doing today. We just sang the hymn “By All Your Saints in Warfare” with the stanza for St. Peter and St. Paul. We heard lessons from Acts, 2 Timothy, and the Gospel of John that prominently feature…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 28, 2014 at 10:31pm — No Comments

"Have No Fear of Them" (Matthew 10:5a, 21-33)

“Have No Fear of Them” (Matthew 10:5a, 21-33)

Today is the start of the long green season in the church year. The festival seasons have passed--Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter--those months when we tracked Jesus’ birth, his baptism, his transfiguration, his suffering, death, resurrection, ascension into heaven, and his pouring out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Now today we begin the non-festival half of the church year, with several months ahead of us of more…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 21, 2014 at 9:11pm — No Comments

"The Living Room of Peter's Pentecost Sermon" (Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

“The Living Room of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon” (Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. On this day we sing hymns emphasizing the Trinitarian nature of the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On this day we say that really long creed with the funny name, the Athanasian Creed, which goes into the most detail on the relationship of the three persons in the Trinity. Today we are celebrating, not some dry doctrine with no connection to life, no, rather…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 14, 2014 at 6:00pm — No Comments

"The Front Porch of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon" (Acts 2:1-21)

“The Front Porch of Peter’s Pentecost Sermon” (Acts 2:1-21)

The purpose of a front porch is to get people into the house. The front porch may be small, the front porch may be large, but it does its job if it gets people into the building. The front porch is not the place where you want people to stay, but it should provide a good entryway into the house. And ideally, it should match, and be suitable for, the rest of the building.

That’s the way it is with the front…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 7, 2014 at 9:36pm — No Comments

"Glorious Suffering" (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

“Glorious Suffering” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

Have you ever heard of the term “oxymoron”? An oxymoron is when you have two words placed next to each other in a phrase, but they really don’t belong together. For example, “jumbo shrimp.” “Jumbo” and “shrimp” would seem to be self-contradictory terms. Another oxymoron: “Rap music.” The two ideas don’t go together. Or this one, speaking as someone coming from Chicago: “St. Louis pizza.” Sorry, I couldn’t help…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 1, 2014 at 1:58pm — No Comments

"All Things under His Feet" (Ephesians 1:15-23)

“All Things under His Feet” (Ephesians 1:15-23)

Today is the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, always forty days after Easter, thus always on a Thursday. On Ascension Day we celebrate what Christ’s ascending into heaven means for us as the church. It means many things, certainly, and we could focus on many aspects of this great event: For instance, on how, after his resurrection and before his ascension, Jesus opened the minds of his disciples to understand the…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 29, 2014 at 2:47pm — No Comments

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