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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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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.
Madison, Wisconsin being a university town is a town that likes to read. I noticed there were all kinds of free newspapers scattered throughout the city. The newspapers were supported mostly by advertisers and each newspaper had their own little niche. Some were aimed at the music scene, others toward family and even some on the far edge of which you might recognize the name of The Onion. Well I decided to publish my own Christian newspaper called Hope In Action. I wanted to highlight all the good things the church was doing in the world. This is my first encounter into the wide range of theology among Christians. Some churches would allow my newspaper because either I was not born again or they wanted to take an ad out against abortion. Others wanted me to lay down the law against all those sinners in Madison. I even got a call from a person who told me that he researched scripture and there are over 200 laws that Jesus proclaimed and if you don’t follow all of them, you are toast. He wanted me to print those laws. Needless to say, for many Hope in Action became Hopeless in Action.
Apparently if head East on Interstate 10 on the other side of Tucson is a tourist trap known as the Thing. It is a museum of course that includes wild and wacky things. Do you want to know that the Thing actually is?
It is a mummy in a coffin. There now I have saved you tons of money because you don’t have to stop and see it. Speaking of wild and wacky things. We are going to talk this morning about one of the strangest stories in the Bible. It is the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Think about this scenario. This guy is rich. He can afford a chariot and someone to pull him along. He is in charge of the Treasury so he is an upper crust society guy. You would consider him as someone on the President’s cabinet. For whatever reason he decides to go to Jerusalem and worship. So on the way home he is on a dusty road out in the middle of nowhere. As he is being pulled along in his chariot, he is reading the Old Testament from the book Isaiah.
In the coming weeks we are going to be focusing on the book of Acts. Since we spent the year looking at the Gospel of Luke, Acts is actually the second half of the story. The Bible really messed things up. The New Testament should have been, Matthew, Mark, John, with Luke-Acts placed together. Acts is the extension of the Gospel of Luke and should be viewed with that in mind. We will touch on Pentecost after a few weeks, but after the day called Pentecost, we read the following in Acts 2:44-47.
There is a saying in baseball about spring training, Hope Springs Eternal. This means that at the beginning of Spring Training, everyone is in first place. Maybe this is the year when all the pieces will come together and your team will win. Isn’t it just a fantastic thing that we no longer have to hear the phrase, Long Suffering Cubs Fan. The Cubs did it. Now it is the Cleveland Indians turn. They have gone the longest in years without a title. My Seattle Mariners have the current dubious record of not making the playoffs since 2001. You see we don’t even have sights on the World Series, we just hope to make the playoffs. Baby Steps. Then what happens about 1/2 way through the season the teams stink and we trade away players. Or, perhaps we are lucky enough to be in the playoff hunt but alas fall short. Then what happens is disappointment. Wait until next year. We have all kinds of disappointments in our lives. The promotion doesn’t happen. Jobs are lost. Health concerns crop up. Children make unwise choices. We place our hopes in(you fill the blank) and then reality hits.
Blessed Easter to each and every one of you. As we do each Easter we need to begin by working on our response. Some reply to Christ has Risen by saying he has Risen Indeed. Others add the word Alleluia to the end of that phrase. So let’s practice, when I say Christ has Risen, you say He has Risen indeed. Alleluia. Christ has Risen. He has risen Indeed. Alleluia.
All the way back in 2012 there was a gas shortage and fuel prices rose dramatically. There was this movement on conservation. Someone launched an idea about what would Jesus drive? When we ask a question, What would Jesus do? It is good to ask it, but frankly I think Jesus would actually do the unexpected. So why would Jesus drive a Plymouth Fury. Well it says so in the Bible.
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