A Sign to Believe

Based on:  John 2:1-11

Last Monday when I came into the office I had an e-mail from someone asking me to perform their wedding. I also had a message on the answering machine from someone else asking about a different wedding, and then during the day I had a call from a third person asking about yet another wedding.  I thought, "is God trying to tell me something?" Is he giving me a sign that I should preach on the only verses recorded in scripture where our Lord is an invited guest at a wedding, the wedding at Cana?

And here I am, preaching on those very verses from John Chapter 2. But, I have to admit, I had already made the decision to use these verses for my sermon today, even before those people contacted me.  The interesting thing is that these verses are not primarily about a wedding.  Certainly, Jesus gives his blessing upon marriage and even on the wedding celebration by attending this wedding at Cana, but the main reason John records what Jesus does here is that Jesus, by turning water into wine, is giving a sign, a miraculous sign. 

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Christians are Alive and Will Live

Based on: John 5:25-29

Today is “Saints Triumphant” Sunday.  No, I’m not talking about the New Orleans Saints football team, even though they are undefeated so far this season.  If you are a Saints fan, that might make you feel “triumphant”, but if you are a fan of another football team without a perfect record, you might feel not quite as triumphant.  However we are here to talk about an even greater triumph than winning football games.  We are here to remind ourselves that Christ’s death was our victory over death.  We are here to focus on the victorious life we have and the triumph we will enjoy when God calls us home to eternal life.

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Connected to the Vine

Based on: John 15:1-8

On Easter four weeks ago the front of our sanctuary was full of flowers.  Think about the beautiful symbolism.  On Easter we celebrate Christ taking back his life and the life he gives us.  It makes sense, doesn’t it, to fill the front of our sanctuary with living things.  When we decorate the front of the church with flowers, you know that sometimes we use potted plants and sometimes we have flowers that have been cut from the plant and then arranged with other flowers.  Both are wonderful and both are given as an offering to our Savior.  Now, let me use those flowers as part of an illustration.  You know better than I do that once you cut part of the plant off from the rest of the plant, that part is going to die.  The potted plants are still whole and since the rest of the plant is still connected to the roots, they will continue to live as long as they are taken care of.  They are still connected to the roots that provided the nourishment they needed to live. 

As Christians we are just like those flowers.  We need to be connected to the rest of the plant to survive.  And we are – we are connected to the vine.  We are connected to the vine as a branch and we are connected to the vine to bear fruit.

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The Path to Glory

Based On: John 12:20-33

When Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous composer, would write a piece of music he often began with the letters J. J., an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “Jesus Juva” which means “Jesus help”.  Then, at the end of the piece he wrote the letters S. D. G., an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” which means “to God alone the glory”.  Bach said, “The aim and final reason of all music should be none else but the glory of God.”  

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God’s Great Love for a Sinful World

Based On: John 3:14-21

Did you hear it?  In our Gospel for today, did you hear those familiar and comforting words of John 3:16?  I think that most people would agree that it is the most familiar verse in the Bible.  And yet those familiar words were not originally spoken to thousands as Jesus sat on a hillside, but to just one man, named Nicodemus, at night with only the disciples as witnesses.  Today we and many others find comfort in these words of Jesus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

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A Clear Temple

Based On: John 2:13-22

It is time again to say thank you to all of those who helped my family move to Sleepy Eye.  It was nice to have people carry boxes to the place they needed to go.  Not just nice, it was fabulous.  Everything was approximately where it needed to be and you could still walk through the house without too much trouble.  We have moved several times and it isn’t always this way.  I remember one move where most of the boxes ended up in the living room.  You could barely get through the living room and let’s not even talk about trying to actually find anything in the living room.

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Based on: John 14:15-21

Have you ever played peekaboo with a baby? They all seem to love that game.  But, do you realize what’s happening as you play that game? You are teaching them, as you hide your face, that there are times when you will go way and they will not be able to see you, but you are also teaching them, as you show your face to them, that you will come back.  You’re teaching them to not be afraid during the times you are gone because you will come back.

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A Place Prepared for Us

Based on: John 14:1-12

Yes, it is still the Easter season, that portion of the church year in which we celebrate the resurrection, but the words we hear from Jesus in the gospel for today are words that he spoke to his disciples on Maundy Thursday evening. It is good for us to recognize this because it gives us a glimpse into the heart of our Savior.  Jesus knew that in less than 24 hours he was going to suffer horribly and then finally die on the cross.  In spite of that, actually because of that, he took time to give these words of comfort to his disciples.  He gives these words of comfort to us as well.

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