would the real messiah please stand up!

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 (Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17)
 
Many of the readers of this devotion will remember with fondness the old television show To Tell the Truth. During the show, the contestants and the viewers were presented with a several people each of whom claimed to be something/someone interesting – a lion tamer, or some such thing. At the end of the show, the constants were asked to guess who was for real “Would the real lion tamer please stand up!” As Luke’s gospel progresses, the issue becomes, “would the real messiah please stand up!” Read more…


If

Last Sunday, I preached on Luke 21:25-36, yet spoke of Psalm 46:2-3 as being at the heart of the Gospel text:

Therefore we will not fear.  This is the meaning of Jesus admonition in Luke’s Gospel: “Stand up and raise your heads.”  This is the language of faith as trusting in God’s promises made in Christ Jesus.  Even if the Cosmos and the earth (all of Creation) is in chaos, the believer is not to succumb to the fears and doubts that surround them.  Apopsuchó literally means to stop breathing out of fear – so this is fear of the highest order!  Rather:  Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36).

I ended the sermon by reading the poem If, by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).  Several folks have asked me to share that poem in writing – and here it is: Read more…


A New Meaning

 

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5.)

In this text, Isaiah tells the exiled people of God not to lose hope. Though they are in the “wilderness” of exile in Babylon, God is their comfort. Their exile will be over soon, and a new exodus will begin; and again, God will lead them home. Read more…



“Where’s the pastor?”

It’s been a little over a year since I last shared this information, so this reminder is a wee bit overdue:

My office hours are Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-1:45pm.

Friday is my day off.

Saturday is a day of sermon finalization, preparation for Sunday worship, and attention to anything that was missed during the week. Read more…



Who, and what, are coming?

Luke 21:25-36 (Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10)

So, here we are at the beginning of a season leading up to Christmas, and the coming of the Christ Child. The word advent comes from the Latin ad-venire, which means “to come to.” But, the season begins with a very particular “coming” – not the incarnation (God coming to us in human flesh in the baby Jesus); and not the coming of Jesus into our hearts of which Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) wrote. This coming is the Second Coming, at the “end” – a coming that is theologically described as the Parousia (Parousia is the Greek translation of advent). Read more…



MaryAnne first blog post

I strongly encourage all SAKLC folks to look around at the wonderful impact that Michael Bodnyk, our Minister of Music, is having on our life here together! Look on Facebook, and on the website. Look at the weekly announcements distributed in the worship booklet. Look at the November issue of Keynotes. Listen to your sisters and brothers in Christ as they share with you their impressions of Michael. Read more…



Why wait?

Last evening, I had the privilege to speak at the Interfaith Community Thanksgiving gathering at Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key. If I were to distill what I said down to a paragraph or two, it would read as follows:

Amidst busy calendars, and all that life demands of us, we pause to give thanks to the God who created us out of the dust of the earth. And it is right and proper that we do so. However, we were created to give thanks and praise every day of our lives, in all that we do, in every situation, and in all times and places. That ought to be our mode of being. Acknowledging God’s love for us, and God’s grace to us, through lives of profound gratitude. Read more…



The truth stands before us

John 18:33-37 (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, Psalm 93, Revelation 1:4b-8)

Everyone, at one time or another, has a desire and a need to belong. This belonging can relate to a small group, an organization, a sub-culture, or a nation. “Once a US Marine, always a Marine!” “You can take the boy out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the boy!” “Proud to be an American…” Even in a society as supposedly individualistic as the USA, the yearning to belong is strong. In the Mediterranean world of antiquity, community was the way of life. As one scholar puts it, in the biblical world of Jesus the communal life was that in which one’s role was defined, one’s lineage established, and one’s future determined. It is through a life in community that one truly knew who one was. Read more…



Our lives, our ministry together

2018 has been a wonderful and significant year in the life of St. Armands Key Lutheran Church. Not only was it my first full year as pastor, it was also the year in which we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of congregation, called Kim Heindl as our Deacon, said farewell to Pam Becker after many years of dedicated service, reorganized the office through the hiring of two part-time staff, brought on board Michael Bodnyk as our first Minister of Music, and presented a vision framework that is nothing short of a call to discipleship!

Read more…



A healing pain

As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” Read more…