Worship at 9 am
10:15 am Sunday School
Pastor Glenn Zimbelman
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in America|
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|Pastor Glenn Zimbelman's Sermons
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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.
Next week is Palm Sunday, wow, where has the time gone? I thought it would be useful to recap the journey of Jesus today for you through the Gospel of Luke. You may recall that as Jesus began his ministry he heads to his hometown and reads scripture. He quotes Isaiah in Luke 4:18 which says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”
People have all sorts of excuses for why they are not connected to a church. The Pastor’s sermons were too long, boring or irrelevant. The people were all hypocrites. Notice they never say the Pastor’s sermons were too short. The number one reason I hear over and over again, all the church talks about is money. We Americans have an issue with it. Scripture does not say that money is bad. It says that the love of money is bad. Jesus spends a lot of time especially in Luke talking about money. He recognizes that wealth is an issue. In Luke 12:16-21 the first parable on wealth comes up with the parable of the rich fool who keeps building bigger and bigger barns to hold all of his wealth. Just when the barn is full, the man dies unable to enjoy his wealth. This comes after someone asks Jesus to divide the family inheritance. The key verse here is Luke 12:15
My home town of Buckley would be considered literally the other sides of the tracks. Four miles away was the town of Enumclaw. At one point in history, the two towns shared the same school district. Somewhere there was a fight. So the upshot is that they formed two separate school districts but guess what, they kept the same mascot name. We were the Hornets. Sting them. Buzzzz. So Enumclaw was our enemy and arch rivals. The newspapers would always do a big thing about the battle of the Hornets. But you see Enumclaw had everything Buckley did not. Enumclaw had wealthy pilots, Buckley had loggers. Enumclaw funded their schools and guess what, they even had their own swimming pool. Enumclaw was bigger, and when we played sports, it was always David vs Goliath. Why things were so bad, I bet you can’t guess where the Lutheran Church. Yes, Trinity Lutheran was in Enumclaw. Do you know how you tell people where Buckley is? You tell them, it is near Enumclaw? Also known to the people in Buckley as Enumscratch. The upshot of it all, is that I learned quite quickly, there were our people and those people. If you lived in Buckley, Enumclaw was full of snobs. If you lived in Enumclaw, Buckley was in the hicks. Our people, Those people.
The third year of Seminary you get sent out on Internship for a year to practice at being a pastor. I put down on my internship application, I want to go to a place with trees. That was my only requirement. To know that God has a sense of humor, do you know where they sent me? North Dakota of course. I ended up going to Velva. The name of the church, Oak Valley Lutheran Church. There were some Oak trees in the little valley that ran through the town of 1200 people, but there is a reason that some call the state tree is the telephone pole. So I show up at this church and I was there for one day, and the pastor says, well I am off for a month. Good luck. So I found myself in charge of a four church parish. The second week I was there, I got a very tragic phone call. A four year old had climbed on dad’s tractor while it was left running. Somehow he got it to go in reverse and in the process fell off and was killed. It was a very, sad, and tragic day. How do you make sense of it? The dad was burdened with guilt for not shutting off the tractor? Who would think that a four year old would be able to put it into gear? It was a senseless tragedy with no real answers.
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