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Getting Out the WORD - the fifth sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 08:39

the PRAYER. . .

Faithful God, most merciful judge, you care for your children with firmness and compassion. By your Spirit nurture us who live in your kingdom, that we may be rooted in the way of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING. . .

"The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age."                         (matthew 13:24-30 , matthew 13:36-43 )

the DEVOTION. . .

I met Marty my first semester at college. Actually, the first day of my first semester. We became friends and, over the next four years, we explored most of the Southwest together. Camping. Hiking. Taking pictures. And when we weren't traveling, we were working to achieve our dream of eating at every Pizza Hut in metropolitan Phoenix! (Oh to be young, again!) Then, on Halloween, 1977, I was told that Marty had been killed. I thought it was a joke, but the punchline never came.

Then, the crisis. Just a few months before, I'd just decided to head to seminary. I knew Marty was a "Jack Mormon" - Mormon in name only. . . kinda like most of us Lutheran college students! But now, he was dead. And I was trying to figure out where he'd spend eternity. At the time, it seemed important. In god's eyes, was he wheat. . . or weed? A child of the kingdom. . . or a child of the evil one? Saved. . . or. . .

Well, I went to see the pastor, explained the struggle, and waited for an answer. Instead, he asked me a question. "Did you love Marty?" I have to admit, as a twenty-two year old male, I hesitated. But, finally, I said, "Yes." "Then, how," he said. "How can you expect less from god?"

Weeping? Gnashing teeth? Unquenchable fire? Truth is, sometimes - contrary to popular opinon - even weeds are forgiven! Sometimes, even weeds find a place in the kingdom? And sometimes, even weeds find their way into god's barn!

bob barndt, pastor

 
Getting Out the WORD - the fourth sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Friday, 15 July 2011 08:06

the PRAYER. . .

Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy, live according to it, and grow in faith and hope and love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING. . .

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. . . ."                        (matthew 13:1-9 , matthew 13:18-23 )

the DEVOTION. . .

Last Sunday was the first of three I'll be spending with Horner Lutheran Church, a small country church a few miles west of Stoystown PA and one point of a two-point parish. (Check it out at www.hornerhoffman.org) But instead of meeting in a building - beneath a steeple. . . behind colored glass. . . we gathered just down the road at Miller's Grove - sitting together on a hillside. . . beneath the trees. . . looking out at other hillsides covered with even more trees! And, to be honest, it was all lost on me until just this moment. . .

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. . . ."

The WORD was still proclaimed. . . and heard! The sacraments administered. . . and received! But, this time, there was nothing to get in the way! Nothing to limit! Nothing to restrict! Nothing to confine! Nothing to hold us back! Nothing to keep us in! No ceiling! No walls! No floor! There was simply the WORD. . . and the WORLD! The two things we need to really, truly believe! For an hour, last Sunday morning. . . we did what Jesus did. . . We thought. . . and we lived. . . OUTSIDE the "box"!

bob barndt, pastor

 
Getting Out the WORD - the third sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 09:48

the PRAYER. . .

You are great, O God, and greatly to be praised. You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Grant that we may believe in you, call upon you, know you, and serve you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING. . .

At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.   (matthew 11:16-19 , 25-30)

the DEVOTION. . .

This past Sunday morning, I was sitting on a pew in Zion Lutheran Church/Johnstown, PA and, as best as I could remember, it'd been almost fifty years since I did that.  But... up front... off to the side... it was STILL there!  The font where I was baptized 56 years ago, almost to the day! The font where my brother had been baptized!  Where my mom!  My aunts! Uncle! Cousins!  All had been baptized!  The same one... well, that one had been destroyed along with the rest of the building back in the Flood of 1889.  But this was the church in which my grandfather was baptized six score and seventeen years ago!

"... hidden from the wise and the intelligent and revealed to infants..."

Baptized, June 19, 1955...  Then, all those years of Sunday school...  of Confirmation... Seminary...  But it didn't dawn on me until that moment...  Faith doesn't come from what we know.  Doesn't come from what we know any more than it comes from what we don't!  It's conceived in a handful of water!  Born in mouth full of words...  God calls us...  gathers us...  And at the font, makes us a promise! "From this moment, you are mine! And no matter how far you go! No matter how long you're gone! You will always be mine!  Just as I will forever be yours!"

No. Faith isn't something we learn, then live by.  It's something that happens only when god loves us! "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!"

bob barndt, pastor

 
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