the way of the cross

August 31, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  August 31, 2014  ::  Matthew 16:24-28

In one sentence Jesus has hit the disciples with a pretty heavy punch. “It’s not going to be Peter's way. It’s not going to be about effort and strength and power. It’s going to be about weakness, and suffering, and dying."  What? This isn't what we were waiting for all these years...

"If you want to be known as one of my own, you need to follow me on the way of the cross. Not by might, nor by power…the ONLY WAY it’s going to work is my way." The way of the cross.


August 24, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  August 24, 2014  ::  Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus is pressing here – he is pressing the disciples to clarify their foundation. And the same is true for us! Jesus is looking us in the eye, and pressing the point. There is no more foundational question in our life than this one…

"Who do YOU say that I am?" 

the better life

August 17, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  August 17, 2014  ::  Romans 8:28-30

God has not promised us better circumstances. That is not His promise. And we misunderstand these verses if we take them as a feel-good promise that God will take the difficult and painful circumstances in our life and use them to bring about better circumstances. Jesus did not come so that you will not suffer, but so that WHEN you suffer, you’ll become like Him.

walk on water

August 10, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  August 10, 2014  ::  Matthew 14:22-33

There’s only two men in the history of the world that have ever done it. Jesus, and Peter. Eleven disciples sat in the boat. One stood up, swung his leg over the side, stepped out onto the black, and walked to Jesus.

God is calling us to do extraordinary things. The way we respond is a result of our belief in the power and authority of our God.

the reaping

July 20, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  July 20, 2014  ::  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Sons of the Kingdom grow in Christlikeness. The counterfeit, moral person does not really grow. They may seem content with their idea of God, but they’re really content with God + health. God + prosperity. God + comfort. Take away health, take away resources, and you find that God by Himself isn’t really enough. But true believers grow… and they grow in both joy and humility…

Is this true of you? Only Christians experience this simultaneous growing awareness of our own depravity and the growing understanding of how great God’s love must be to love us so completely.

soil check

July 13, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  July 13, 2014  ::  Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Your heart is made of earth. What condition is your heart in today, and why does it matter? Today, you need to do some honest self-analysis. Check the soil, because YOU ARE MADE TO BEAR FRUIT.

do you love me?

June 29, 2014

St. Olaf Lutheran Church, Montgomery, IL  ::  June 29, 2014  ::  John 21:15-19

“Do you love me?” Is there a more personal question? If someone asks you that question, it stops you in your tracks. Jesus is looking Peter right in the eye here. He’s looking US right in the eye, too. Here’s here in our personal space, making us examine our own hearts… “Do you love me?” This is no time for settling into a comfortable and predictable church attendance routine. There is work to do, and people who NEED the love of God like they need FOOD, and WE are His distribution plan. So Jesus is asking us, and it’s quiet, and it’s uncomfortably personal… “Do you love me?”

NOTE: Sermon contains audio from a video from the Skit Guys called "Grace." You can purchase and download the video here.

burning hearts inside us

May 4, 2014

Ruthfred Lutheran Church, Bethel Park, PA  ::  May 4, 2014  ::  Luke 24:13-35

It is the very first Easter. Sunday afternoon now, following the terrifying events of the weekend in Jerusalem. Two followers of Jesus are on the walk home, after gathering together with other disciples for the Passover in Jerusalem. The last time they saw Jesus, his cold, disfigured body was being pulled down from a Roman cross. For Cleopas and his friend, it was the darkest point in their lives. All their hopes had been pinned to this man, Jesus, and…   now what? 

good friday :: the body of Christ on the cross

April 18, 2014

Ruthfred Lutheran Church, Bethel Park, PA  ::  April 18, 2014  ::  Matthew 27:45-54

Don’t think when we look together at Jesus' suffering on the cross we are simply saying, “Look at Jesus! What an example for us! In His darkest hour, he was so saturated with the Word that it flowed out of Him. WE should be like that!”

Jesus isn’t just a great EXAMPLE for us. He is our SUBSTITUTE.

Christ the king has come!

April 13, 2014

Ruthfred Lutheran Church, Bethel Park, PA  ::  April 13, 2014  ::  Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus was humble, but he wasn’t bashful. He was meek, but he wasn’t modest. Jesus called Himself the Son of God. He called Himself the Messiah. He claimed to be the King of Kings – the Ultimate Almighty Lord of the universe.

Either he was a lunatic, or He was the King of heaven. The whole city is stirred up. And the King demands a response…