Redeemer Lutheran Church Ministries

Title: How to Have a Great Christmas
December 19, 2010
Text: Matthew 1:18-25

Here we are less than one week away from Christmas and many of us still have so many preparations yet to complete. How many of you still have to shop for gifts? There is a mad flurry of shopping, going to parties, decorating, baking, writing Christmas cards and so forth. In the midst of all this, I wish to remind everyone not to forget the true meaning of Christmas . . . eggnog. No, of course, I’m joking. The true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus. You knew that.

Here is something that I found very interesting. This past week, Larry King, hung up his microphone and suspenders and retired from his well-known talk show program on CNN after 25 years on the cable news network. King had a remarkable career as a softball interviewer with guests ranging from politicians, celebrities, notorious newsmakers and pop culture icons. He received many accolades over the years. TV Guide has called him “the most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever” and he has been dubbed “master of the mike” by TIME magazine.

Larry King has been in the broadcast business for more than 40 years and has conducted more than 40,000 interviews, including every U.S. president since the Nixon administration. Other guests have included Marlon Brando, Mikhail Gorbachev, Frank Sinatra, Billy Graham, Paul McCartney, and Malcolm X. And many, many others. Certainly the man has had an interesting life, having met and talked to the most interesting people in this generation and has made millions of dollars doing it.

Title: The God of Our Expectations
December 12, 2010
Matthew 11:2–15

Back in the olden days when I was a wee lad, I used to be fascinated by the ads in the back of comic books. They had all kinds of crazy things in there. You could get a pet baby raccoon. Or Sea Monkeys or an ant farm. Or amazing x-ray vision goggles. I never knew anyone who actually ordered any of those things, but I’m sure someone must have.

Have you ever seen an advertisement for something in a magazine or on TV and you thought, “Boy it would be great to have one of those?” So you sent off for it and waited for it to arrive and then it finally does arrive but when you opened the package, you immediately felt, “Man, this is not what I expected to get.”

Truth in advertising. One time I read about a certain con artist who put an innocent-looking ad in a national magazine touting a SOLAR POWERED CLOTHES DRYER for $49.95. “Scientifically proven, space age method,” the ad declared, “using only the power of the sun.” Suckers who ordered this product were soon surprised to receive ... a short length of clothesline. The solar powered clothes dryer. I’m sure they were disappointed.

November 28, 2010
Text: Matthew 21:1-11
Title: The Consumer’s Gospel
By my count, I still have 26 more days to shop before Christmas. I always admire people who get their shopping done early. For years, my mom was one of those people. She would ask me for my Christmas wish list in July.

How many of you went to the stores at three in the morning on Friday to take advantage of all those day after Thanksgiving sales? The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because for many stores, it is the day when they first go in the black for the year and start making a profit.

For the last several years, I’ve been noticing stories of people standing in line outside Wal-Mart and Best Buy in the middle of the night to get the best bargains. Two years ago, a 34-year-old store employee at a Wal-Mart in New York was trampled to death when the crowds outside the door literally crashed through the glass a few minutes before 5:00 a.m. A young woman miscarried in the same stampede. Another man was arrested in Tennessee going to Target with a handgun and several phosphorus grenades in his jacket. It’s part Woodstock, part Lord of the Flies. Nothing says the spirit of Christmas like grown men punching each other in the nose to get their hands on Tickle Me Elmo.

Title: Tough Love from God
December 5, 2010
Matthew 3:1-12

Have you ever taken one of those surveys where they ask you to name two or three people from history that you'd like to have dinner with? Predictably, a lot of people choose Jesus. Also a lot of people choose great individuals like Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill. Or they'll select great entertainers like Bob Hope or Elvis Presley.

I can tell you one person that almost no one would ever choose for a dinner party and that would be John the Baptist. John was probably one of the most dramatic preachers who ever lived. He attracted huge crowds to hear him deliver his fire and brimstone sermons and to be baptized at his hand. One time, Jesus said that John was the greatest man ever born (Matthew 11:11). What does that say about you when Jesus Christ admires you and says you are the greatest person ever to be born of a woman?

But as great as he was, he was also pretty strange. He lived in the desert and he wore camel skins. He ate a diet of locusts and wild honey.

November 21, 2010
Luke 23:27–43
A couple of weeks ago, we had a national election. Some of you are probably happy with the results. Some of you are probably sad. A few might be ambivalent.

I have high respect for anyone who decides to go into politics. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. It would be too easy for me to take a cheap shot by telling a politician joke. For instance, how can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. That's a cheap shot. And it's not true. Not all politicians are liars and not all liars are politicians.

No matter who you vote for and no matter which political party you align with, it is our duty as Christians to respect all those who are in authority over us. And to pray for them. St. Paul wrote: I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1,2). Even if you don't agree with your leaders, maybe especially if you don't agree with them, we are obligated to pray for them that God would give them wisdom and help them to make decisions which are pleasing to God, and not just pleasing to their constituents. They are God's agents and work for Him most of all, not we the people.

Redeemer Mission

Proclaiming to our community in word and deed the empowering love of God as demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Redeemer Lutheran Church

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