The Wittenberg Trail

Charles Henrickson's Blog (416)

"The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost" (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)

“The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost” (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)

“To You, O Paraclete, we raise / Unending songs of thanks and praise.” Did you catch that last line of the hymn we just sang? And did you wonder who or what this “Paraclete” was? Well, it seems to be a reference to the Holy Spirit, because earlier in that stanza we’ve been praising the Father and the Son, so this must be the Holy Spirit. But why call the Holy Spirit “Paraclete”? Is that because the Spirit…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 24, 2015 at 12:23pm — No Comments

"Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God's Gifts to Our Church" (1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19)

“Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God’s Gifts to Our Church” (1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19)

Today we are very happy to receive yet another family into our congregation. That makes seventeen new members added to our little church so far this year. Seventeen! That is remarkable. From out of the blue, quite unexpectedly, God has gifted us with these brothers and sisters in Christ, who are joining our church. Thanks be to God!

Yes, today we give thanks to God for the gift of…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 16, 2015 at 10:00pm — No Comments

"The Past, Present, and Future of the Ascension" (Luke 24:44-53; Ephesians 1:15-23; Acts 1:1-11)

“The Past, Present, and Future of the Ascension” (Luke 24:44-53; Ephesians 1:15-23; Acts 1:1-11)

“He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.” That’s what we just confessed about our Lord Jesus Christ, isn’t it? This portion of the Apostles’ Creed captures what this day, Ascension Day, is all about. These three things: He ascended into heaven. He sits at the right hand of the…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 14, 2015 at 9:12pm — No Comments

"Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying" (1 John 5:1-8)

“Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” (1 John 5:1-8)

“Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying”: That’s the hymn we just sang (LSB 597). Listen again to the words of the first stanza:

Water, blood, and Spirit crying,

By their witness testifying

To the One whose death-defying

Life has come, with life for all.

The One to whom the Spirit, the water, and the blood are testifying is, of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has defied and defeated death…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 9, 2015 at 10:03pm — No Comments

"We Love Because He First Loved Us" (1 John 4:1-21)

“We Love Because He First Loved Us” (1 John 4:1-21)

Love, love, love. How often do we hear that word “love”! We use it so freely, so loosely. We use it for McDonald’s hamburgers: “I’m lovin’ it.” We use it for clothing and cars and hairstyles and lots of things we like, but instead of saying “like,” we say “love.” I found myself doing that just the other night: Lance Lynn struck out a batter with the bases loaded and two outs, and I said, without thinking, “Love…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 2, 2015 at 9:24pm — No Comments

"One Name, One Flock, One Shepherd" (Acts 4:1-12; John 10:11-18)

“One Name, One Flock, One Shepherd” (Acts 4:1-12; John 10:11-18)

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” the day in the church year every year when the propers--that is, the various parts of the service--revolve around Jesus as our Good Shepherd. The Holy Gospel is always a portion of John 10, in which Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. The Psalm is always the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd.” The Hymn of the Day, which we just…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on April 25, 2015 at 10:23pm — No Comments

"To Understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:36-49)

“To Understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:36-49)

Have you ever thought about what the Bible is all about? I mean, if you had to boil it down to just a few short sentences, what would you say is the main message of the Scriptures? You know, a lot of people have a lot of different opinions about the Bible and what it is saying. They pull this verse or that verse out of context and twist it like a wax nose to make it suit their purpose. People approach the Bible with their…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on April 18, 2015 at 8:41pm — No Comments

"Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness" (John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; Acts 4:32-35)

“Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness” (John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; Acts 4:32-35)

Did you get any gifts for Easter? Maybe an Easter basket, filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and Easter eggs that you open up and there’s a coin inside? Well, I can think of some Easter gifts that are even better than that. And today I want to tell you about them. They’re right there in our readings for today, and they are these Easter gifts, three of them: “Faith, Fellowship,…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on April 11, 2015 at 9:25pm — No Comments

"Just as He Told You" (Mark 16:1-8)

“Just as He Told You” (Mark 16:1-8)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

And you say that with such conviction! As you should. The announcement of Christ’s resurrection elicits from us a hearty response of faith and joy. And rightfully so. This is the heart of our great hope as Christians, that Christ our Lord has conquered sin and death for us and has secured for us the sure and certain hope of our own resurrection and everlasting…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on April 4, 2015 at 10:30pm — No Comments

"Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani?" (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 22; Mark 15:1-47)

“Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani?” (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 22; Mark 15:1-47)

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” This is one of the seven words from the cross, that is, one of the seven times Jesus spoke during his crucifixion. “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” This saying of Jesus is recorded for us in two of the four gospels, in Matthew and Mark, where it is the only word from the cross that is recorded. For the other words from the cross, we have to go to Luke and…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on April 3, 2015 at 9:07pm — No Comments

"Blood of the Covenant" (Exodus 24:3-11; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26)

“Blood of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:3-11; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26)

“Blood” and “covenant” go together in the Bible pretty much all the time. Whenever God establishes a covenant with people, generally it is sealed with blood. And tonight is no exception. In fact, tonight is the culmination of this connection between blood and covenant. It’s Holy Thursday, the night in which our Lord Jesus Christ establishes a covenant with us and says, “This is my ‘Blood of the…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on April 2, 2015 at 7:46am — No Comments

"Your Committed and Determined King" (Mark 11:1-10; 14:12-26)

“Your Committed and Determined King” (Mark 11:1-10; 14:12-26)

Today is a Sunday that goes by two names, “Palm Sunday” and the “Sunday of the Passion.” As such, we get readings for both of these emphases. There is the Palm Sunday Processional Gospel at the start of the service, the account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem with palm branches spread before him. And there is the longer reading of the Passion of Our Lord, giving us an overview of the events later in Holy Week,…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 28, 2015 at 10:17pm — No Comments

"The Tree of Life in the Paradise of God" (Revelation 21:22 – 22:5, 22:14)

“The Tree of Life in the Paradise of God” (Revelation 21:22 – 22:5, 22:14)

And so we come full circle. One month ago, we began this series on “The Tree of Life” back there, at the tree of life in the garden. Now tonight we end up back where we started, once again at the tree of life. This is the story of the Bible, how we got away from the tree of life in the beginning, and how we end up at the tree of life in the end. The opening chapters of Genesis and the closing…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 26, 2015 at 2:32pm — No Comments

"To Serve and to Give His Life as a Ransom" (Mark 10:32-45)

“To Serve and to Give His Life as a Ransom” (Mark 10:32-45)

These boys just don’t get it. The disciples, I mean. There’s a whole lot of misunderstanding going on in our text for today, the Holy Gospel from Mark 10, and it’s the disciples who don’t get it. They don’t understand what Jesus is telling them about why they’re going up to Jerusalem. They don’t understand about glory or greatness. They don’t understand suffering or servanthood. You know, maybe we don’t understand…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 22, 2015 at 1:47pm — No Comments

"A Growing Tree" (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Matthew 13:31-32)

“A Growing Tree” (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Matthew 13:31-32)

The image of a tree, which may have started out rather small and insignificant, but which grows and expands until it becomes a very large tree, with branches and leaves where the birds of the air come to make their nests--this is an image that is used in a number of places in the Bible. And it is generally used to signify the rise and growth of a kingdom, a kingdom that grows and expands to include many nations in its…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 20, 2015 at 7:42pm — No Comments

"By Grace You Have Been Saved" (Ephesians 2:1-10)

“By Grace You Have Been Saved” (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Our Epistle reading for today is one of the outstanding passages in all of Scripture for putting together in one package several important realities. And they are: man’s natural condition; God’s great love and kindness in saving us; how that salvation comes to us as a gift; and then the result of what God has done for us in how we lead our lives. And there’s a key phrase that is repeated in this passage and that sums all…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 15, 2015 at 4:08pm — No Comments

"A Fruitful Tree" (Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:1-5; Psalm 1)

“A Fruitful Tree” (Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:1-5; Psalm 1)

We just heard a bunch of readings from a variety of places in the Bible--Psalm 1, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and words of Jesus from the gospels of St. Luke and St. John--and all of these readings, about trees bearing fruit. This is an image of course of people and the fruits or works that they produce in their lives.

Now the first thing to recognize is that we all bear fruit. We all…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 14, 2015 at 12:25pm — No Comments

"The Cross of Christ, the Tree of Life" (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

“The Cross of Christ, the Tree of Life” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

What a joy it is to be back here in the house of the Lord! Because of the snow and ice, we lost four out of the first five services we had scheduled this Lent: Ash Wednesday; the First Sunday in Lent; the Second Sunday in Lent; and then this past Wednesday, what was to be our second midweek service. But we were able to have the first midweek service, in our series called “The Tree of Life.” And since we didn’t…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on March 8, 2015 at 2:59pm — No Comments

"A Tale of Two Trees" (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-24)

“A Tale of Two Trees” (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-24)

This is “A Tale of Two Trees.” Oh, there were a whole bunch of other trees besides, lots of them, but this story will focus on just two.

Our story begins back in the garden, the garden of Eden, that is. There the Lord God had formed the man from the dust of the earth, and he gave the man the authority and the responsibility to take care of it. The Lord was very generous toward the man, withholding nothing,…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on February 26, 2015 at 8:12am — No Comments

"The Transfiguration: The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent" (Mark 9:2-9)

“The Transfiguration: The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent” (Mark 9:2-9)

Today is the Festival of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, remembering that day when our Lord Jesus Christ was transfigured, that is, his appearance was changed, up on a mountain. This was a key event in our Lord’s life, and it marked a turning point, a pivot point, in his ministry. So, likewise, does this festival mark a turning point, a pivot point, in the church year calendar. Transfiguration comes…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on February 15, 2015 at 12:25am — No Comments

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