Do NOT miss this discussion of “free-will”

Thank you, Pastor Mark!

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 Listen to > So-called, “free-will”

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It’s connected to Chapter 10 in Paulson’s book.

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Take a good, long, sober look at the world…and at yourself…

 

Would you rather squint your eyes at the lights at night and see a make believe wonderland? Or open them wide and see reality as it is?

Reality is what we need to see, as hard as it may be at times.

But there is a greater reality that we can’t see. One that we can hear…and taste…and receive in faith and hope.

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Pastor Mark’s sermon for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost:

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 Listen to > The Bad…and Good of Reality in this World

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

 

Thanks to nicolearnoldphoto.com, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

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“The State of the Promise”

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Pastor Mark teaches in Steven Paulson’s book, “Lutheran Theology”, … Chapter 10, ‘The State of the Promise ‘.

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Another heavy dose of the radical gospel and  the Theology of the Cross:

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 Listen > The State of the Promise – Chapter 10

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sermon on the Mount

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The sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel contains a portion of what has been called “the Sermon on the Mount”. In that chapter there are three verses in which Jesus speaks of praying, fasting and almsgiving in secret. So far, so good. The King James translation, however, adds a word to the end of these verses. That word is ‘openly’. The formula in which the word appears can be represented by verse 4; “…and thy Father which seest in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Modern translations do not contain the word ‘openly’. In fact the earliest manuscripts, from the second, third and fourth centuries upon which modern translations are based, do not contain the word openly. It was added at a later date. Why?

I believe it has something to do with the perpetual need to resolve the tension between hiddenness and openness in the Christian life. Consider this. Our society was profoundly shaped by what has been termed the ‘ Protestant ethic’. The Protestant ethic states simply, to use Matthew’s words, if I pray, give alms and fast (as sincere acts of Christian piety) I will be rewarded with prosperity. Therefore you can tell who the serious Christians are by how prosperous their lives are. This is simple but it makes the point. God openly rewards the sincerely pious. This permeates the churches like ink in the water. It’s everywhere.

But a careful reading of the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7 in Matthew) reveals that openness and hiddenness are in constant tension. And this tension is reflective of the very nature of the Incarnation. Jesus was visible. He walked and talked, ate lunch, did miracles and so forth. Some saw Him and confessed, “He is the Son of God!” Others took a look and dismissed Him as another cheap street magician. The divine presence was not obvious.

So in the sacraments we have very visible elements; water, bread and wine. You can feel them, touch them and taste them. But hidden within them are the Holy Spirit, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And if you talk about the sacraments as invisible you’ve missed it. At the same time if you talk about the sacraments as obviously proving the presence of God you’ve also missed it.

What all this means for me is that the Christian has no reason to expect that our living of the Christian life is going to be any more obvious than was Jesus’ own life. For the world is not going to look at the Church and exclaim, ‘My you are so absolutely gorgeous, I must sign up. Count me in.’ Among the many implications of this awareness is one that stands apart. If the Church is going to bear witness to the faith, then it must speak the name of Jesus Christ and tell the story of what He has done for a sinful world. Attempts to resolve the tension within the Christian life only result in taking the focus off Jesus and placing it on ourselves.  This we cannot and must not do. _

 

“May the peace of god that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”     ____________________________________________________________________________________ -

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From Pastor Mark Anderson’s daily devotional blog, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Corinthians 6

 

“We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

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We live in a world that is uncertain and unstable and this critical situation can become defining of everything. But neither the challenging world or our broken lives are the last reality. We do not have to spend ourselves in endless efforts to remain in control. Jesus tried hard to impress this on His hearers. He still does.

When Jesus reduced all the commandments to the simple and concrete love of God and the neighbor, He pointed us to a Kingdom within the darkened world, the light of which addresses universally the true hopes and aspirations of all people. The Kingdom of God, therefore, most passionately proclaimed through the Cross of Jesus, appeals to us to live in the freedom which creates the capacity to live within the sobriety of God’s kingdom – the kingdom for others – a kingdom at odds with the world, superior to it and destined to prevail.

If you find the Christian life perplexing, unsatisfying or even boring, the solution may not be as difficult to come by as you think. For, the Christian life is not about self protectionism, lived primarily inwardly. The Christian life is lived outwardly (for the sake of others). This is the great freedom of the Christian: that we may live without any self-consciousness, trusting in God’s grace alone, expecting nothing, yet having everything.

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“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

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From Pastor Mark Anderson’s daily devotional blog, 2013.

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Thanks to wooderice.com, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus speaks out against religion

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Pastor Mark’s sermon for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost:

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 Listen to > Jesus speaks against “religion”

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paulson’s Book – Chapter 9

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Our desire for demonstrable evidence that we really are Christians…pietism…and other fruits of the legal schemes in the Christian’s life. And how we ought avoid being stumbling blocks to those who are caught in a legal scheme:

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 Listen to > Chapter 9 – Paulson’s Book

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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