The Wittenberg Trail

Charles Henrickson's Blog (423)

"God's Building Project" (Ephesians 2:11-22)

“God’s Building Project” (Ephesians 2:11-22)

“Built on the Rock the Church shall stand.” “Christ is our cornerstone.” “The Church’s one foundation.” These hymns that we’re singing this morning--they’re all drawing on the imagery of our text today, the Epistle reading from Ephesians 2, specifically, from verses 19-22: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on July 18, 2015 at 10:36pm — No Comments

"Blessings in Christ: Past, Present, and Future" (Ephesians 1:3-14)

“Blessings in Christ: Past, Present, and Future” (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Today is the beginning of eight straight weeks in which the Epistle reading is a portion of St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. And at the same time, as soon as we wrap up our study of Mark, I plan to start Ephesians for our Bible class on Sunday mornings. So I encourage you to read through this wonderful epistle, perhaps even a couple of times, over these coming weeks.

If I had to choose my favorite…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on July 11, 2015 at 7:30pm — No Comments

"Prophets without Honor" (Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

“Prophets without Honor” (Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

“Prophets without Honor.” That’s what we see in our readings today, in the lessons from Ezekiel, Mark, and 2 Corinthians. “Prophets without Honor.” That’s what we see in our world today--that’s what we see in our nation today. And who are these prophets who do not receive the honor befitting the message that they bring? Well, guess what? It’s us, we in the church, who bring the word of God. So it…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on July 4, 2015 at 10:13pm — No Comments

"A Flow of Blood and a Rising from the Dead" (Mark 5:21-43)

“A Flow of Blood and a Rising from the Dead” (Mark 5:21-43)

Two women, forever bound together in Holy Scripture. Two women, one an adult, suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years; the other a young girl, twelve years old, dead, but then rising from the dead. Two women, afflicted by disease and death as we all are. And yet two women, both saved, delivered, and healed, in the same way that we are. And so our theme this morning, “A Flow of Blood and a Rising from the…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 27, 2015 at 9:23pm — No Comments

"Keep Calm, Jesus Is in the Boat" (Mark 4:35-41)

“Keep Calm, Jesus Is in the Boat” (Mark 4:35-41)

“Be still, my soul.” Oh, really? You don’t know what I’m going through! My life is a wreck! My finances are in free-fall. My health--oh, don’t get me started! It’s just one thing after another. First it’s this, then it’s that--I get one thing fixed, and then something else goes wrong. Relationships gone wrong, too. Loneliness, despair, depression. Well, and then there’s what’s going on in the news. A shooting in South…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 20, 2015 at 6:38pm — 1 Comment

"Different Opinions about Jesus--and His Followers" (Mark 3:20-35)

“Different Opinions about Jesus--and His Followers” (Mark 3:20-35)

In the Holy Gospel for today we encounter people expressing a couple of different opinions about Jesus. One is a temporary misunderstanding about him. The other is a hardened rejection of Jesus. Both opinions are negative.

Now by extension what people think about Jesus will also shape what they think about his followers. And so today as we see people expressing these negative views about Christ,…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on June 7, 2015 at 1:18am — No Comments

"The Loving Father, the Lifted-Up Son, and the Life-Giving Spirit" (John 3:1-17)

“The Loving Father, the Lifted-Up Son, and the Life-Giving Spirit” (John 3:1-17)

The triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for our salvation. That’s what this Feast of the Holy Trinity is all about. This is not an occasion to strain our brains to try to figure out what for us, with our finite reason, is ultimately incomprehensible, namely, how there can be one God in three persons and at the same time three persons and only one God. That would blow out our circuits, if…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on May 30, 2015 at 9:23pm — No Comments

"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

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