Sermon for Trinity 5: Miraculous Catch of Fish

How unexpected was my sermon this morning? The organist didn’t even start to move to the Organ bench until I said “Amen” at the end. That’s pretty unexpected.
Listen below…

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New Bulletin!

We’re premiering a new one-page bulletin format this Sunday. The goal is to save both tress, and (more importantly) volunteer hours. It still has all the same information as the old format, but now in a friendly one-letter-size-page format.

Of course, the idea isn’t mine. It was sent by my friend, who is the pastor over at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne. His format is a little bit different. I use a larger font and added the LCMS cross. But the basic idea is the same.

Someone on FB asked for a sample. In case you want to use it in your own parish (save the trees!), here it is, in an easily editable Word document.

New Bulletin

 

 

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Sermon for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Here is my sermon. Someone said I sounded like I really enjoyed preaching it. I told him I always enjoy preaching, which is true. Although because of travel I did only get about 2 1/2 hours of sleep Saturday. I wonder how great it would sound if I got no sleep at all. I’m too old to be doing that anymore, so we’ll have to go with what we have.

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Sermon for Trinity 3

After some technical troubles, I’ve managed to get this weeks sermon uploaded. And here it is:

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Unoffical Anniversaries : A Retrospective

So many blessings in this picture, I can’t believe they all fit in one photo!

This year I am celebrating 20 years of wedded bliss. The 20th anniversary of our engagement was a couple of weeks back. The wedding anniversary is a few months ahead. Those are “official” anniversaries. Events marked on the calendar in advance, they were carried out with great forethought.

Today I celebrate an anniversary of another sort – an unofficial one. It was a haphazard moment, but I remember the date every year. It is the 20th anniversary of my move to Chicago. It’s where my fiance was living at the time.

When we started dating, I lived in a small town where her parents lived. She lived a hour away, where she attended college. Six weeks later, she graduated and moved to New York. That fall she moved back to the Midwest – a couple hours away. A few weeks in the hometown right before my vicarage ended, and she was off again. By the time we get engaged, we had been dating just over a year. We had lived in the same state for nine weeks, the same town for three. We were young and in love, separated by distance, kept together by letters, and phone calls billed by the minute. 20 years ago today, that ended.

Since that day, we have been together. Oh, we go to work separately. I go to conferences; she’s gone to conferences. But, with one exception in 2016, we have never been apart for more than a week. 20 years of togetherness.

When I returned from Vicarage, there were a few constructive comments on my evaluation – some things for me to work on, things like occasionally sleeping through my alarm clock, etc. Every time he read a comment, the director of placement said, “Well, if you get married, that will pretty much take care of itself.” On call day, with the entire United States scattered from sea to shining sea I was placed six blocks from her apartment building.

And on this day, twenty years ago, newly engaged, I set off for Chicago a day early, because she asked me to. I hadn’t planned it. I just got in the car full of boxes and set off. It would be the last time that my parents house was my house. I was looking forward to marriage. To my house being ours. I remember, as I drove toward the city, thinking to myself, “We haven’t actually spent that much time together. I think we’ve been on the phone more than in person. I hope this works out.”

The years since have flown by. Four children, four different houses, two states, two dogs, a cat, seven cars, and more blessings that we can count. My wife has not only managed to get me to the church on time each week for services, she has been my help-meet, my comforter, my love, my friend, my partner. It’s been a great ride so far. And I’m praying for many more years together with her in this world, unless our Lord returns first.

My kids will tell you to this day, I’m pretty much rubbish without her. I grouch about the house, waiting for her return. I post on Facebook, counting down the hours. Today, those thoughts ramble through my head a bit more poignantly, because I am once again separated from her. 72 hours of her with my youngest in a nearby town – but not near enough to commute. So, I wait for her to return, counting hours, and thinking about that day, 20 years ago, when everything changed. Until then, we would plan to spend a few hours here or there together, a day or two snatched from busy schedules. But today, in 1998, we began an adventure. No longer counting days apart, now we would lose count of the days together. I could run a spreadsheet. But I’m content counting years. 20. Every one of them a gift.

Happy Unofficial Anniversary, Mrs. Winter.

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Sermon Audio Now Available!

Occasionally, I don’t use a full sermon manuscript. This means that sermons are not available for posting. But no more! I can now record sermons, and thanks to soundcloud, post them inline! So, if you’d like to hear Sunday’s sermon, on the great wedding banquet, click below:

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Summer Reading List

I don’t have a huge advertising budget. Or advertising. Or a budget. This blog, and your word of mouth, are all I have. I don’t pay for Facebook to promote, I don’t do Google Ad-words. I just post on my blog and wait for my loyal readers to tell their friends. The goal is to recoup the cost of production. Generally, but not always, I succeed.

Below, I’ve got some great ideas for summer reading. But first, a request: If you’ve read one of my books and find it helpful, could you please visit the site where you got it, and give it a review, preferably with a five star rating. Then (even more important) could you tell two friends about it? That’s the only real publicity I get. If you tell two friends, then they tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on

The complete list is over at Teach These Things. There are resources for teaching the faith, and other resources, including some neat free resources. If I were recommending a book to enjoy for your summer reading lists (and I am), here is the book I’d recommend:

Evolution: A Defense Against. Available on Kindle or in Paperback through Lulu, this is a look at the philosophy and religion that lurks behind evolution. Evolution is NOT SCIENCE! Find out why, and learn to defend the faith against the radical religion of evolution.

Once you’ve finished that, maybe try:

Footwashers, Following the Jesus Way by Dr. William Lehmann. Lots of options to get the book at the link – many of them free. But don’t be fooled by the price. The book is a serious defense of scriptural teaching against both the “soft antinomianism” of Radical Lutheranism, and the Methodism/Stoicism of Virtue Ethics.

If the Large Catechism is on your summer reading list, you might appreciate:

What Every Christian Must Know: Outlines of Luther’s Large Catechism. It is what the title says. A great aid in devotional reading of the Large Catechism.

For pastors, you’ll want to take a look at:

Teach These Things: Catechesis for the Lutheran Parish. Various options to acquire, and samples at the link. It’s catechesis drawn from the Large Catechism and scripture. No student books, no workbooks, no ongoing costs. Just download once, and teach forever.

And, as usual, stay tuned. I have a small summer project this year to help preachers (especially new ones) on the one-year series. We’ll see how it goes. And of course, as always, Catechetics continues moving slowly but inexorably forward. I’m still shooting for a Christmas release. I should have more information later this month. Until then, enjoy one of the above books, and please: Tell a friend or two.

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