31 October 2011

"Sola Gratia" on "Studio A"

This afternoon at 5:30-6:00 p.m. (CT) we'll discuss "Sola Gratia" on "Studio A" with host Roland Lettner. Be sure to tune in to KFUO (AM 850 or kfuo.org).

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Homily for Reformation Day (Observed)

What better theme to proclaim on Reformation Day than "Truly Catholic"? (Yes, you read that correctly...and yes, there are other great themes, to be sure.) Instead of trying to figure out and exclaim that things are "too Catholic," whatever that may mean, the Reformation celebration draws us back to what is "truly catholic"--that is, universal or according to the whole--because, "Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church." Thank you, Irenaeus, for that great quote! And thank you, Dr. Nagel, for a great sermon from 1963 which much of this homily paraphrases.

To listen to "Truly Catholic," click here and download the audio file.

24 October 2011

Homily for Trinity 18

In Matthew 22:34-46, Jesus sums up the whole Law of God with the two great commandments: love God with your whole being, and love your neighbor as yourself. This text gives us a good opportunity to look at ourselves in the mirror of our Lord's summary of the Law. When we walk through the Ten Commandments, we discover that, no, we do not love God as we ought, nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves. (A special thanks to the late Dr. Kenneth Korby for the diagnostic questions - many of which are used in this homily - that help us "use the law lawfully" as we examine ourselves and prepare to confess our sins. These same questions find their proper place in Pr. Peter Bender's Lutheran Catechesis.)

So we certainly thank and praise our gracious God for sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to become our neighbor. Yes, in His incarnate Son, "God Has Become Your Neighbor"! And He has loved you so as to suffer and die for you and thus forgive your many sins of not loving Him or the neighbors He has given you.

To listen to "God Has Become Your Neighbor," click here and download the audio file.

Homily for Trinity 17

The homily for Trinity 17 focused on humility, but not just any humility. Back on Trinity 11 we heard Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, which shows us proper humility before God - the humility of repentance, that is. On Trinity 17 we hear Luke 14:1-11 about humility before one another, the humility of not seeking the places of honor, the humility that Jesus Himself shows as He heals the man suffering from dropsy on the Sabbath day. Yes, Jesus puts this man's needs ahead of His own. That's the very same thing our Lord does for us as He goes to the cross: puts our need for healing - in body and in soul - ahead of His own. Instead of taking the "highest place" of holding on to His "equality with God" (cf. Phil. 2:6), our Lord took the lowest place - the place of "The Harder Humility" - in order to heal us from our dropsy of sin and raise us up to the highest place with Him ... for eternity.

To listen to "The Harder Humility," click here and download the audio file.

17 October 2011

Homily for Trinity 16

That old enemy "Death" is certainly no respecter of persons or ages! On Tuesday, 4 October the enemy appeared to conquer 82 year old Rev. Harvey Groth, formerly faithful pastor at Emmaus in St. Louis and recently Visitation Pastor here at Hope. However, we took comfort from our Lord's victory over the grave with the service of Christian Burial on Saturday, 8 October.

Then later that night, the deadly foe appeared to take 4-month old Elizabeth Bahr, daughter of former Hope field-education student, Mike Bahr - now faithful pastor in Winchester, IL. But the Lord's great, eternal victory over death still gives comfort! Even though she was given Christian burial, it is such comfort to trust that she is resting - whole and healed - with our risen Lord Jesus ... and she will greet us, especially her Mom and Dad, on the Last Day around the throne of the Lamb.

How fitting it was, then, to proclaim a little bit of Easter in October! The Gospel reading for Trinity 16, Jesus raising the son of the widow at Nain (Luke 7:11-17). With the help of Johann Gerhard, it was sheer joy and comfort to proclaim the "Radical Resurrection Life" in which our Lord Himself conquers all three kinds of death.

Click here to download the audio file and listen to "Radical Resurrection Life."

It was a great honor to proclaim this resurrection message for the Bahr family as they attended Hope the morning after our Lord took Elizabeth home to be with Him. May our risen Savior continue to comfort you, Mike, Amber, and the rest of the Bahr family!

Homily for Anniversary Sunday - 2 October 2011

On Sunday, 2 October, Hope Ev. Lutheran Church in St. Louis, MO, thanked God for her 95th anniversary. (The actual date is 8 October, but we've established the practice of thanking God each year on the first Sunday in October.) When the dear lady of Hope reaches 95 years old, it's only fitting to ask if her best days are behind her, or if she still has good things and good days to anticipate. That's why the homily for this day was titled, "95 and ...?"

To listen to "95 and ...?" click here and download the audio file.

07 October 2011

Just in case...

...you're still not sure that our nation is lunging toward Socialism (i.e. Marxism, Communism, etc.), and intentionally so, listen to them in their own words:

HT: glennbeck.com