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Pastor Glenn Zimbelman
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in America|
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|Pastor Glenn Zimbelman's Sermons
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Reformation Sunday is an important Sunday for Lutherans. This year we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the reformation. As a complete aside having nothing really to do with our message, did you know that the 500th anniversary made it into the story line of one of my favorite shows, NCIS. They did not have the license plate of a vehicle, but what they did have was a 500th Anniversary bumper sticker. So I kid you not. In the show, they are trying to figure out if someone was kidnapped. And one of the person says something like, looks like we have to find a Lutheran.
Eli is the high priest of Shiloh. It is normal that the sons of the High Priest would follow dad into ministry. Eli’s sons were terrible pastors. Yes, pastors are human too and some of they are simply not very good. So we read in 1 Samuel 2: 12
An elderly husband and wife visit their doctor when they begin forgetting little things. Their doctor tells them that many people find it useful to write themselves little notes. When they get home, the wife says, "Dear, will you please go to the kitchen and get me a dish of ice cream? And maybe write that down so you won't forget?" "Nonsense," says the husband, "I can remember a dish of ice cream." "Well," says the wife, "I'd also like some strawberries and whipped cream on it." "My memory's not all that bad," says the husband. "No problem - a dish of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream. I don't need to write it down." He goes into the kitchen; his wife hears pots and pans banging around. The husband finally emerges from the kitchen and presents his wife with a plate of bacon and eggs. She looks at the plate and asks, "Hey, where's the toast I asked for?"
I know memory issues hits all of us as we get older. It is very difficult and heart wrenching to watch parents or loved ones deal with memory issues. It is one thing for you and I to become forgetful. It is a completely another thing when it comes to God.
Sometimes life leads to difficult questions for instance,
Why does a ship carry cargo, and a car carry shipments?
Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
If you choke a smurf what color does it turn?
Why do we call it a hamburger if it is made with beef?
The real question for today is?
Why is the story of Jacob in the Bible?
A little historical context. Abraham’s descendants were to be as many as the stars in the sky or the dust on the ground. Family was everything. The birthright was passed down from father to oldest son. That birthright was everything. So this story explains how it came to be that the younger son, Jacob became the next person in line.
We say this prayer every Sunday with the words just rolling off our lips as we lift up this prayer to our God. But truth be told, it leads to all kinds of questions? What kind of Kingdom are we talking about? Is it this kind of Kingdom?
For the next three Sundays we will focus on the Lord’s Prayer. We will look at Luther’s commentary on each of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. We will also use this time to focus a bit on prayer in general. What prayer is, and what it isn’t.
We Americans like our stuff. There is a saying in Africa abut Missionaries from America. They have been called Elephant Missionaries. It is because it takes an Elephant to transport all of their stuff. Raise your hand if you have ever had anything stolen?
I think almost all of us like a good who-done-it. Jan and I like to watch British murder mysteries because those Brit’s know how to write a good story. Today we are looking at the 5th commandment, Thou Shall Not Kill. As an observation, the breaking of this commandment happens early in Genesis as Cain kills Able. From a cultural perspective, not killing someone seems like a wise thing to do with regard to community. If people could kill as they wished, the community would die. But most people who read this commandment can smugly say to themselves, I have never killed anyone. I am sure if it means taking the life of a human being, everyone here could say that. Unless one of you is hiding the fact and now we have our murder mystery. Jesus being Jesus defines, quote, killing, unquote, as more than just taking a human life. So let us first look at how Luther’s defines this commandment.
One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.
The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost."
God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this?
Following the resurrection, the disciples were still scattered about Jerusalem and the surrounding villages. John finds Peter and runs up to him. Excitedly he says, "Peter, Peter! I've got some good news and some bad news." Peter takes ahold of John and calms him down. "Take it easy, John. What is it? What's the good news?" John says, "The good news is Christ is risen." Peter says, "That's great! But, what's the bad news?" John, looking around, says, "He's really steamed about last Friday." I am glad that next week is Pentecost because preaching on Galatians is actually quite hard. For one thing, Paul beats a dead horse when he goes on and on about works righteousness versus faith. If you are born and raised Lutheran, saved by grace, is drummed into us. Most of us would say that we are not saved by what we do. Now you see, we all could now go out for Ice Cream. I have entitled my message this morning, Law or Love. My hope is that God may use me to deepen your faith a bit this morning.
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