The Wittenberg Trail

Charles Henrickson's Blog (394)

"Repent, Believe, and Follow" (Mark 1:14-20)

“Repent, Believe, and Follow” (Mark 1:14-20)

In the early chapters of the gospels, we track Jesus’ early ministry, as he goes about Galilee, preaching, teaching, and healing. As sort of a subset of his healing ministry, Jesus also casts out demons. And interspersed among these accounts, Jesus also gathers disciples to himself. And so it is that today and for the next two weeks we get such accounts of Jesus’ early ministry from the first chapter of Mark. Today we get a…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on January 24, 2015 at 11:30pm — No Comments

"Glorify God in Your Body" (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

“Glorify God in Your Body” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

“Flee from sexual immorality.” “Glorify God in your body.” Now those are two direct quotations from today’s Epistle reading, 1 Corinthians 6. “Flee from sexual immorality.” “Glorify God in your body.” Two imperatives, two commands, telling us what to do. Are they true? Yes, of course. This is what we should do, both things. One is stated in terms of what we should flee from. The other is stated in terms of what we should…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on January 17, 2015 at 9:22pm — No Comments

"Something in the Water" (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11; Genesis 1:1-5)

“Something in the Water” (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11; Genesis 1:1-5)

I don’t listen to pop music or country music on the radio, but recently I read that there is a song that’s popular on the airwaves right now that makes some references to baptism. That caught my attention, naturally, so I looked it up and listened to it online. It’s a song called “Something in the Water,” by a singer named Carrie Underwood. I don’t know if you’ve heard it or not. But it does have to do with baptism.…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on January 10, 2015 at 4:51pm — No Comments

"What's the Big Deal about Epiphany?" (Matthew 2:1-12)

“What’s the Big Deal about Epiphany?” (Matthew 2:1-12)

“What’s the Big Deal about Epiphany?” I mean, what’s so special about this festival that we should have a special service for it, and on a day other than Sunday? In January, no less! In the cold! Really, so what’s the big deal? Why bother having a service on this date?

There are several reasons I could mention. First of all, there is the history of it. The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, celebrated on this…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on January 6, 2015 at 8:48pm — No Comments

"A Twelve-Year-Old Boy, Filled with Wisdom" (Luke 2:40-52)

“A Twelve-Year-Old Boy, Filled with Wisdom” (Luke 2:40-52)

When I was twelve years old, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Pretty impressive, eh? No, pretty stupid, actually. Because, at twelve years old, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon . . . without telling anyone. Let me explain. This was back in the days of train travel, and my mother, grandmother, sister, and I were taking the train from Chicago to Los Angeles for a family reunion. When we got to…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on January 3, 2015 at 8:59pm — No Comments

"Depart in Peace" (Luke 2:22-40)

“Depart in Peace” (Luke 2:22-40)

Are you ready to go? What I mean is, are you ready to leave? No, I don’t mean right at this very moment. It would be nice if you would stick around till the end of the service. But then, at the end of the service, will you be ready to leave? By that I mean, will you be ready to leave in peace, satisfied and content and ready for whatever comes next?

What makes you ready to leave, to leave any situation? For instance, this year is…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 27, 2014 at 7:27pm — No Comments

"Watershed Moments: Jesus' Birth and Our Own" (John 1:1-18; Titus 3:4-7)

“Watershed Moments: Jesus’ Birth and Our Own” (John 1:1-18; Titus 3:4-7)

Today is Christmas Day. This is the day for celebrating the greatest birth in the history of the world, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The birth of Christ marks the watershed moment in all of human history. By a “watershed moment,” I mean a moment so significant that it marks a division between what went before and what comes after. And so it is with the birth of Christ. We even divide…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 25, 2014 at 2:19am — No Comments

"What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us, in a Humble Way, to Be His People" (Luke 2:1-20; Titus 2:11-14; Isaiah 9:2-7)

“What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us, in a Humble Way, to Be His People”

(Luke 2:1-20; Titus 2:11-14; Isaiah 9:2-7)

What is Christmas all about? How do people view Christmas and celebrate it? Why do they look forward to it? Or do they? Some people get burned out on Christmas and want to avoid it. But most folks still like to maintain the custom of celebrating Christmas. Why? What is it about this holiday that makes it so special? I think there is something about…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 24, 2014 at 9:32am — No Comments

"Mary, What DID You Know?" (Luke 1:26-38)

“Mary, What DID You Know?” (Luke 1:26-38)

Every year several of the radio stations in St. Louis start playing nothing but Christmas music. I think they start sometime around mid-August, but that’s beside the point. They play Christmas music, and a few of the songs even have something to do with the birth of Christ. Yes, it’s true! And one of the most popular of these songs is a song called, “Mary, Did You Know?” You’ve probably heard it, I’m guessing. The idea of the song…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 20, 2014 at 9:23pm — No Comments

"The Great Christmas Gift Exchange" (Isaiah 61:1-4, 10-11)

“The Great Christmas Gift Exchange” (Isaiah 61:1-4, 10-11)

There is a game that is played at this time of year at Christmas parties all across the land. The game goes by several names, but I think most often it is called “Rob Your Neighbor,” and I’m sure many of you have played it. The rules may vary from place to place, but generally I think it goes something like this. Each person brings a gift that could go to anyone in the group, depending on how the game turns out. The…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 18, 2014 at 12:12pm — No Comments

"Who Are You, John?" (John 1:6-8, 19-28)

“Who Are You, John?” (John 1:6-8, 19-28)

How would you like to be defined in terms of someone else? I mean, who you are, your life and identity--when people think of you, they always compare you to somebody else? Are you like this person? Are you like that person? I suppose it could get old after a while. Why can’t people just take you for who you are, on your own terms? Well, today we’ll meet someone whose life was always being defined in terms of someone else. And you…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 14, 2014 at 1:26pm — No Comments

"Comfort, Comfort My People" (Isaiah 40:1-11)

“Comfort, Comfort My People” (Isaiah 40:1-11)

“Comfort, comfort my people.” Yes, comfort. A word so nice, they said it twice. Who did? Why, Isaiah did. Well, actually God said it, through his prophet Isaiah. You heard it at the start of today’s Old Testament Reading from Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,” etc. God wants his preachers to bring comfort to his people, to speak tenderly to his church. And so this is what God has…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 7, 2014 at 12:05pm — No Comments

"Restore Us, O God" (Psalms 80, 85, 126)

“Restore Us, O God” (Psalms 80, 85, 126)

We’ve just heard three psalms that are appointed for this Advent season, Psalms 80, 85, and 126. Did you happen to catch what they have in common? There was a connecting theme running through all three of these psalms. And here it is. It is the prayer, in one form or another, that goes something like this: “Restore Us, O God.”

In Psalm 126, we heard of a previous restoration: “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on December 3, 2014 at 8:13pm — No Comments

"A Prayer to the God Who Acts" (Isaiah 64:1-9)

“A Prayer to the God Who Acts” (Isaiah 64:1-9)

Today is the First Sunday in Advent, the first day of a brand new church year. And this season of Advent is a time of waiting, a time of penitential preparation, as we wait for the coming of our King. Christ is coming, our Savior and Redeemer. We prepare for the celebration of our Savior’s birth at Christmas. And we wait for his coming again at the end of this age. Advent is a time for remembering God’s promises to send a…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on November 30, 2014 at 3:47pm — 1 Comment

"A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving" (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 9-11; 3:17-19)

“A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 9-11; 3:17-19)

I’m sure many of us were watching on our televisions the other night when we saw what was supposed to be a peaceful protest in Ferguson suddenly and not unexpectedly turn quite unpeaceful. Looters started breaking store windows and stealing what they could get their hands on. Arsonists began to torch buildings and cars and burn them to the ground. Rioters were running wild and not much was being done to stop…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on November 26, 2014 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

"Separating the Sheep from the Goats" (Matthew 25:31-46)

“Separating the Sheep from the Goats” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Judgment Day is coming! Are you ready? This is an important question, because the Day of Judgment is indeed coming, and you will be judged. Now that judgment could be positive or it could be negative, but you will be judged.

In fact, everybody will be judged, all the people who have ever lived. Many people don’t want to hear this, but it is the truth. The Holy Scriptures throughout teach that there will be a…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on November 22, 2014 at 10:49pm — 9 Comments

"Christ Has Brought Us out of Darkness" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Zephaniah 1:7-16)

“Christ Has Brought Us out of Darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Zephaniah 1:7-16)

Well, here we are in the middle of November. It’s cold. It’s dark outside. The trees are growing bare. The days are growing shorter. The earth seems to be dying. Darkness seems to be winning. So it seems appropriate that at this time of year--every year, in November--in the church we focus our attention on the end times. We’re coming toward the end of the church year, before…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on November 16, 2014 at 6:21pm — No Comments

"The True Rapture" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

“The True Rapture” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Maybe you remember a bumper sticker that was popular a few years back, which read: “In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned.” What that bumper sticker meant is the idea that when Jesus comes again, all the Christians alive on earth at that time will be “beamed up” suddenly, leaving the rest of the people on earth behind. That’s why the cars and airplanes and so forth will be vacated when the Christians vanish. This is the…

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Added by Charles Henrickson on November 9, 2014 at 11:33am — No Comments

"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

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