Sunday, May 30, 2010

“Beyond our understanding” (John 8:58).

S-1191 TS/3C Hymns 5/30/10, (O) #239; S #250; LS. #243; #238; #252; (C) #244

Texts: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Acts 2:14, 22-36; John 8:48-59

Theme: “Beyond our understanding” (John 8:58).

Question: “How is your gift of understanding?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’” (John 8:58).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved, in his book From Hell to Here Benny Hochman a survivor of five years imprisonment in the Nazi concentration camp writes: “There were hundreds, if not thousands of Nazis, who seemed to enjoy watching others suffer and die. The guards would take babies from their mother’s arms, throw them up into the air while another guard would shoot the little one before it fell to the ground. If the marksman missed, he would then shoot the child on the ground. The guards also delighted in kicking the protruding abdomens of pregnant women and laugh at their shrieks of pain…(11) I watched guards take a baby from the mother’s arms and wager that they could throw the baby into the burn pit nearby. I watched guards throw a baby into the pit and then push the mother in after the baby when she would plead with them not take her baby. They would say: ‘go get him’. Some of the guards took particular pleasure commanding a naked man to spread his legs, kicking him in the [groin], and listening to his screams of pain. Many of the guards took pleasure in kicking or beating prisoners for no particular reason” (13). PAUSE.

As you listen to these horrific and horrendous stories, you wonder how in the world could any human being stoop so low and treat another in this manner. This is indeed beyond our understanding. It is hard for us to comprehend the depravity of man to inflict such pain on other human beings. This is nothing but being slaves to satan whose main mission in the world is to destroy life and cause us to loose hope in the God whom we worship.

It is beyond my understanding to read of a Muslim who wraps himself in bombs and blows himself up in the name of his god, so that he can get into heaven because he is fighting a holy war for his god. What kind of god is this that demands his subjects to commit suicide?

My beloved in the Lord, today, the Christian Church celebrates and observes the Festival of the Holy Trinity—that we worship One God in three persons. This too, is beyond our understanding. Our feeble minds can’t comprehend how is it that we have a God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet not three gods, but one God in essence and substance.

As you listened to the text today, John shares with us these precious and beautiful words of the Savior as He spoke them with those around Him, Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am’” With these words Jesus was declaring that He is God, not one among many, not one that man made up or imagined, but the true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of the Hebrews and the Gentiles. He is the One who created all things, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1).

Why is this beyond our understanding? Because for many, the tremendous advantages in human technology of recent years has made the idea of God outdated and unnecessary. The modern “miracles” worked in the areas of medicine and computer science alone simply bewilder our minds. Our ability to travel faster than the speed of sound, space exploration, and the fantastic world of the micro-sciences appears to some that mankind has moved far beyond any need for a God such as is described in the Bible. PAUSE.

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew we hear Jesus give this command to His disciples: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19), with these words Jesus give the name of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is pretty amazing in view of the fact that the Bible insists over and over that “the Lord our one” (Deut. 6:4). There are not thousands upon thousands of gods as some oriental peoples believe; neither is there one supreme god with inferior gods under him as some so-called religious groups in our own land claim. As God reveals Himself to us in His inspired Word, He is one God in three persons. Of course, the statement is illogical and contradictory to our minds, but what else might we expect of God! People have tried to find ways of illustrating what our three-in-one God is like. Some falsely say, He is like steam, water, and ice, each so different, and yet all three are one thing: H2O. Someone erroneously suggest that God is like a clock with three faces and only one set of works to keep time. Here’s another illustration: I am pastor to many people, father to a few, and husband to another; yet I am just one man. However, all of these illustrations fall short, of perfectly and fully expressing what we know God to be. We must simply bow in humble adoration before Him whom we have come to identify as the Triune God.

At the same time we dare not shrug off the mystery of the Trinity, as if it really does not make any difference what God is like, as long as we believe in a supreme being or at least some sort of a God-in-general as many people do. Centuries ago the Christian church expressed its conviction that only God as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures can be our God and receive our worship. Otherwise we in reality have no god. This was stated in the Athanasian Creed which we confessed this morning. Although found in our Lutheran hymnals, it is unfamiliar to most Christians. Nevertheless it clearly states: “The [universal Christian] faith is this, that we worship one God in three persons and three persons in one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit...all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.” With the psalmist we stand in awe of Him and proclaim, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom” (Ps. 145:3). By the grace of God, we join the seraphim of heaven in their song: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Is. 6:3). By that same Spirit, we bow before Him and worship Him with the apostle: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim. 1:17).

To be sure, it is difficult to wrap our minds on the aspect of the Trinity. Some of us in this room may have no problem figuring out geometry, but to others it is beyond their understanding. Others might be able to figure out physics and calculus but to some it is a challenge. Some might be able to read Greek and Hebrew, but to others it is difficult and beyond understanding.

I am not here to try to explain and expound the Trinity, because I can’t since it is beyond my understanding. I am not here to convince you to believe in the Trinity, since this is not my work; it is the work of God the Holy Spirit. I am not here to attempt to help you figure it out, this is not my place. But, I am her today to declare to you that there is ONLY One God and one God only—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am here today, to profess to you that this is the One God, who IS love and mercy. I am here today, to proclaim that the God we have is a God of grace and goodness. I am here today, to encourage you to continue to look to the One True God who is revealed in Holy Scripture that will meet all of your needs.

Honestly and sincerely saints in Christ, the Trinity is a mystery beyond our understanding. It is a good thing that we can’t understand it. For if we did, then our God would be one that we fashion and form in our image. If we could understand the Trinity, then our God is not big enough, strong enough or mighty enough to meet all of our needs. To truly have a god so small that we could understand him would be a tragedy.  That He gives grace, grace to us in darkness and sin, we who like the Pharisees who attacked Jesus were “liars”, is a love too deep to understand, but not too deep to delight in.

We can rejoice in the fact that our Lord NEVER calls us to understand Him! Our God is beyond our understanding. I can’t wrap my finite mind on the mystery of the Trinity anymore than you can. But then, again, there are so many things in Scripture that is beyond our understanding. I don’t understand a God who is LOVE. A God who loves us unconditionally. A God who reveals this love by sending His Son, His only, innocent, holy and pure Son to be the Lamb offered as a sacrifice on the Altar of Calvary. I don’t understand how God for the sake of Christ forgives all of my sins—for indeed they are many. I don’t understand how God can work a miracle in the water and the Word and give new life to a child. I don’t understand how God can come to me in the simple wafer and wine, and feed me and strengthen me and forgive me all of my sins. I don’t understand how God can be in heaven and earth at the same time. Sees all things, knows all things and hears all things. This too is beyond my understanding.

So while people sail along through life (the life God gave them) and take pride in what they have gained or accomplished, the fact is that we exist and have such abundant blessings and bounty only because our good and gracious God keeps us. We have life and being only because He maintains it. We have what is necessary for life, and our efforts are rewarded with success only because He makes it possible. We can do all the planning in the world, but it is finally our God who decides what shall be and when. Thus we must agree with Paul who said, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Without Him we are literally nothing. PAUSE

My beloved and His beloved on this Trinity Sunday we celebrate the uniqueness of our God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Though it is beyond our understanding, none-the-less we believe and confess with all Christendom that this is the only True God worthy of worship and praise for now and forever. Amen.

Now the peace…

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The other day my brother-in-law and I were visiting. His parting words to me were, “Take care of yourself!” What wonderful advice. One, that needs to be heeded by all; but especially those who are followers of Jesus Christ. Because as the Apostle Paul has stated, our bodies are the Temple of God.

It is sad that many of us, myself included, don’t take care of our bodies. We abuse it regularly; we neglect it repeatedly; and batter it recurrently. We burn the candle at both ends, we don’t get the proper rest, not enough sleep, don’t eat right or exercise enough, and worst of all, we neglect our quiet time with God, and don’t gather with other believers often around His life-giving Word and Sacraments; and we don’t take time to be on our knees in prayer as Jesus the Son of God/Man did often (Mark 6:31).

We have so much to do, that we run here and there like a chicken with its head cut off, not knowing which direction we should go. Our lives are filled with the hustle and bustle of the demands we place on ourselves. No one forces us to do these things, we certainly know how to “neglect” and not “take care” of ourselves. To make matters worse, we even want to believe that we are living the right way! Many do not take the time to bask in the love that God has provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ.

Our diet is terrible. We live on fast food and drinks that are unhealthy. We fill our lives with the trivial—spending an enormous time watching TV, at the bar, at work, and so much on entertainment. We read articles and magazines that don’t lift us up or draw us closer to our Savior, but drag us down and remove us from the grace of God. All along we are not taking care of ourselves.

With our bodies being the Temple of the Holy Spirit why would we not want to take care of them? To take care of our bodies is a privilege and a joy, since God resides in our hearts and head. As such, out of love for Him, we would want to do so. There are great benefits when we take care of our bodies and resting in His grace and basking in His love and peace. Try it! You will see the benefit the Lord gives when you take care of your body.

Every day, we are learning just how inter-connected the body and mind is, and some would add the “spirit” or “soul.” Now in the early 21st century, medical and health science continues to advance. We know more than we ever did about the human body, but are we benefiting from this knowledge?

Though we know so much, there are still the unexplainable and mysteries, both with the physical body and when it comes to realms beyond which science can measure, such as the role prayer, faith, and taking time to worship the living Lord, Jesus Christ has in healing. In recent years there have been dedicated scientists who have sought to understand the positive impact of prayer on physical healing. While some are skeptical, one thing is clear: stress reduction produces health. Humanly and psychologically, most humans may feel better if they know that some people are praying for them, and that assurance then can lessen their stress or worry which in turn could improve their health. Doctors have been telling us stress can really affect one’s health.

What is the best way to reduce stress in your life? Begin by gathering around the Word of the Lord often, listening to God, reading/meditating upon His Word, calling upon Him in prayer and basking in His love daily. Listening to spiritual music, and fill your soul with good reading material that lifts your spirit up and draws you closer to your Savior, Jesus Christ. And finally, and most importantly, find yourself a designated sanctuary where you can be spiritually recharged in your (if you can possibly find one, even a closet, a car, etc.) quiet place may be one of the best remedies. It’s God’s Word of peace and comfort ministering to us that can be more powerful and soothing than any human wisdom or modern psychology. In the words of Soren Kirkegaard, “Prayer does not change God; it changes us.”

Beloved in the Lord, one thing I know for sure, that no matter how bleak ones life becomes, there will be joy in the journey as God has provided us with a bright light in the midst of our darkness.  And that bright light is Jesus Christ who empowers, encourages and exhorts us daily to take care of our bodies by His strength alone.

Therefore, begin a new diet. Not of a fad diet, but one that is rich with the sumptuous food that God provides; feeding often on the heavenly manna that gives healing to the soul and mind.

In Christ’s love and in His service,

Rev. Nabil S. Nour Pastor and Foot Washer Phil. 1:6

“Did You Know…?” (John 17:20).

S-1189 7SOE/3C Hymns 5/16/10, (O) #376; S # 394; (C) #52

Texts: Acts 1:12-26; Revelation 22:1-6, 16-20; John 17:20-26

Theme: “Did You Know…?” (John 17:20).

Question: “Have you ever said to someone, ‘Do you know?’”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word,” (John 17:20)

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved, did you know as you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S Supreme Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the world's law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is facing forward with a full frontal view... It is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments! As you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on the lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, on the right above where the Supreme Court Judges sit is a display of the Ten Commandments! Did you know? There are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, D.C. and every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777?

Did you know that a person said “I would rather rule in hell than to serve in heaven?” Did you know that some parishioners are mad at me because I didn’t visit them in the hospital because I wasn’t informed? Did you know that others are upset with me because I stopped at a non-member’s house and prayed with them, but not at my own member’s home?

Did you know that I love you as God’s chosen and beloved people and love serving as your pastor? Did you know that I love to sing even though I can’t carry a tune? PAUSE.

Whether you know all of these tid-bits of information or not is not as important. But what is important is that you know what the Scriptures teach-namely what the Apostle John shares with us today in this portion of the Word. Listen please to John so that you may know the importance of this message: I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”

God’s beloved people, for the past several weeks during this Easter season, our gospel readings have come from that section of John’s gospel known as the Final Discourse of Jesus. This last speech, if you will, that Jesus makes to His disciples concludes with these verses from the 17th chapter. It is really a prayer of Jesus to His Father in heaven and has often been called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. In a sense, it is Jesus’ last will and testament, His parting shot, His last effort to teach, to exhort, to encourage, and to empower His disciples. PAUSE.

Now let me put it this way, “Did you know that the Savior is praying for you?” Did you know that He was thinking of you before He went to the cross? Did you know that in John 17 Jesus prayed seven (7) times for the believers (you and I and all Christendom) that they might all be kept safe and united as one with Him and the Father? Did you know that He cared enough for you to make sure that His written Word was made available to you and me and for the generations to come?

What do you notice in this section of the Living Word? If you come close and eavesdrop on the conversation in the Upper Room, you will indeed behold His great Passion and Compassion, with the cross looming on the horizon with the morning’s dawn, the Savior of the world, takes time to pray also for those who would come to faith in the future, those who would be the recipients of the Gospel that was yet to be preached to them.

What does the Lord pray for? Two things: 1st His prayer is for you as an individual who would believe in Him through the message of the Apostles’ ministry as YOUR Savior. And 2nd that His truth, which He has already partially shared with His disciples—the many miracles, His teachings, preaching, and transfiguration would be shared with all people everywhere.

Did you know that you and I are blessed people indeed? Why you might ask? Consider what kind of caring and loving God you have. Your God prays for you! Your Savior thinks of you! Your Savior has made you part of the family by claiming you as His own in the waters of Baptism! Your Lord has continued to feed you His body and blood to strengthen you.

Did you know that even now He is still praying for you? Yes, He is. This past Thursday we celebrated the Ascension. The Ascension reminds us that the Savior has returned to His place of glory which belonged to Him before the foundation of the world. And in that crowning glory at the right hand of the Father, He intercedes for us.

What a blessing to know that we are prayed for. But why is that we have a hard time praying to the Lord or for those who needed? How many times have you said to someone, “I will pray for you?” But you didn’t and don’t. We may pray briefly and then stop. Or we just pray for ourselves: It reminds me of a prayer I heard sometimes back: “Lord, I pray for myself and my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more.”

Yes, we can’t, by ourselves, have the attitude of Christ or the love of Christ. We have the right motives and intentions but fail miserably because we are not attuned to the will of the Savior. We cannot see things as He does, we cannot see things through the lens of the Gospel... by ourselves. The old nature is that strong. Ah, but as we proclaimed on Easter, He is stronger than our nature, so only in Him and through Him do we love and give and forgive. Did you know...He is praying for you... and walking with you... and giving you the strength to love others with the love of Christ. PAUSE.

Yes, in the Upper Room Discourse we learn anew of God’s eternal love, which compelled Him to send His Son, as the Savior of the world. This love is from eternity to eternity and will not end. A love so pure and genuine, that the Son of God willfully and joyfully endures the shame, humiliation, suffering, beating and death on a cross to save us. This love which Jesus prays about gave Him the will to accomplish our salvation—and the world’s.

By the grace of God alone, the Holy Spirit has brought you here today to learn some very important things. Christ is a prayer warrior. He is praying for us and other believers. As such we should call upon Him to help us be like Him. As the Apostle Paul exhorts us “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). We are to be just like our Savior praying at all times so that His name might be known throughout the world and that no one will be lost but brought forth by the power of the Holy Spirit to believe in Him.

Did you know that this call to pray is a privilege? There are times we are guilty of taking the great gift for granted. But here is the best part. Our Lord’s is never rescinded. He is constantly there waiting to hear. He wants to hear you. He is waiting for you. In fact, while He is waiting, your name is on His lips as He pleads your case with the Father. “Father, I know he has wandered. But I still died for him. Be patient!” or again, “Father, I know my sister has her doubts, but I have shed my blood for her, give her more time!” As long as you have the breath of life in you, our Lord is even now interceding for you.

Did you know that you have friends in high places? You may have friends that are well connected in government. You may have friends that are well connected in the world of finance and investment. You may have talented friends, beautiful friends, important friends and influential friends. But you might not, at least in this world. But the baptized child of God knows that we have a friend in the HIGHEST place. This FRIEND is Jesus. And this is the friend that laid down His life for you. He then took it back up again. What your friend has, He has given to you. It is all yours!

Did you know... this Grace is yours... for you have been Baptized, made a Child of the King, a sibling of the Savior! Did you know that being His beloved Bride, having His gifts of the Word and the Sacraments; we can come to know Him better and better. Isn’t this Paul’s prayer for Himself in Philippians 3:10!

Did you know that the Ten Commandments are not the only thing written on your heart! He has called you His Holy Bride, a Child of the Heavenly Father. So now you can imitate Him. That means you can forgive others as He has forgiven you. You can show love and patience and peace. This is walking in His love. Did you know... you can do this! Yes you can, for what we celebrated seven weeks ago, with the stone rolled away; revealing that death and its darkness are the only contents of the grave that once held Jesus. He is alive, and He is continually interceding for you, enabling you to imitate Him, and in that mimicking, others who now are in darkness, they will come to know... He lives, and loves, and reigns, to pray for you, even now, ever always.

Faithful followers of the Savior, Do you know He is praying for you? YES HE IS! Hallelujah! Now you know and you also know that, ‘Christ is Risen, He is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!’ Amen!

Now the peace of God…


“Beautiful Scars” (Luke 24:50-53)

S-1188 Ascension Sunday/3C 5/13/10 Hymns (O) #239; S #219; L.S. #216; 221; (C) #213

Texts: Acts 1:1-11; 1 Peter 2:18-25; Luke 24:44-53

Theme: “Beautiful Scars” (Luke 24:50-53)

Question: “What do you when you someone scarred or disfigured?


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Ascension of our Lord is from the Gospel lesson: “Then He [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. While He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (Luke 24:50-53).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved the other day I was watching National Geographic program called Taboo. In this episode, called “Scarred Faces” The ritual of the tribe is to scar their children’s faces. A special witch doctor with a sharp tool begins to design the cuts on the child’s face. Each cut is done with precision and symmetrical to the other cuts. By the time the cutting is done there are at least 360 scars across the face. These rituals are done only in the summer when the temperature is over 110 degrees. This hinders any infection on their faces. When the cuts heal, they have beautifully ornate and elaborate designs. Some of these designs are even marked on their mud homes. The reason for the scaring is to show that they belong to a very special group of people.

The people who were filming this episode had a hard time looking at these children being scarred like that especially as the blood began to run all over. At times they would hide their faces as the blade would make another slice across the face. They considered it a taboo. However a question was asked of the tribe: “What would happen if you don’t cut your children’s faces?” The answer was, “They will not fit, and they will not belong. The scars identify them as part of our tribe.” To the tribe, these are beautiful scars that they wear with honor.

Indeed, to us who live in the West we don’t consider scars beautiful. Perhaps you have seen someone who has a scar on his or her face. What is the first thing you do? You stare at that scar. Sometimes you can’t even take your eyes of these scars and you feel embarrassed. I remember the first time I saw my best friend Rod Bogh whose arm was cut off at the shoulder due to a terrible car accident. I gawked at him and I couldn’t move my eyes. PAUSE.

My beloved and His beloved, we in the West don’t consider scars beautiful. We even go so far to cover them up. We use make up, wear long sleeves or seek the aid of Plastic surgeon to hide the scars. I’ve found that scars can be invisible yet run deep into the heart and soul of a person. Everyone and I mean everyone has these scars. Even the prettiest girl, the most handsome boy, the most self-confident people have scars that harm and hurt, anger and annoy, shame or condemn—emotional scars. As a pastor, these are very often what I’m required to stare at, figuratively, sometimes more intently than I want to.

Now, consider this: you’ve seen portraits of Jesus—portraits, of course, from the artist’s imagination of what he or she felt Jesus should look like. These portraits usually show a handsome man, with long black wavy hair and soft beautiful hazel eyes; it gives the impression of scar-less, tall stature, an appearance of authority. Jesus’ face, eyes and hair are painted smooth and soft-toned—there’s a gentle back lighting that glows to lend peace and serenity to the portrait. And when, in my mind, I picture the ascension, this is the Jesus I see. He’s standing on top of a high place, the Mt. of Olives the picture of confident authority and divine glory are real and vivid. Then St. Luke writes that “lifting up His hands [Jesus] blessed them” (v 50).

What would you suppose my eyes (and perhaps even your eyes) would have stared at when Jesus lifted up His hands? I would have stared and gawked at those gaping holes, those nail-hewn wounds in Jesus’ feet and hands. Humanly speaking, those scarred hands marred an otherwise perfect picture. But Jesus didn’t try to hide them. In fact, He raised those hands for all to see and used those scarred hands to bestow His blessing.

Too often, many Christians revel in the glory of Jesus Christ, proclaiming Him King of kings, and Lord of Lords; the Savior of the World and avenger of evil—but they rarely mention the scars. But let us not hide from looking at these scars—for they are indeed beautiful because of what they accomplished. These scars show the mission of the Savior to rescue lost man from sin and death and hell. These scars show clearly the suffering He endured for the world and us on the cross of Calvary. These scars show the extent and enormity of His love for you and me. These scars show that we belong to the family of faith.

Sadly, many believers’ even preachers of the Gospel don’t mention Christ’s suffering, death or His cross? Are we perhaps ashamed of the cross, of suffering, ashamed of the scars and try covering them up as we do with our own scars using every imaginable means to hide them? Yet Jesus, at the glorious ascension, did not hesitate to raise pierced hands before His people. He raised those scarred hands on His first Ascension on the cross of Calvary. Why were those hands pierced? Why did He suffer and die? His obedient suffering and death is the power by which we are freed from our sins and delivered from the evils of this world. PAUSE.

It took scarred hands to save us. All mankind shares a common shame, a scar that disfigures our hearts and our bodies. That common scar, that shame, is SIN. Every emotional scar—the guilt we bear, the hurt done to us—every illness that weakens our bodies, every accident that disfigures or dismembers, even every genetic defect, is a result of sin, the world’s sin, our sin. Our healing for every such circumstance is purely and sincerely is the cross of our salvation. The cross—our crucified Lord—is where we find God directing His attention specifically to our scarred lives, focusing intently on delivering us from death and eternal disfigurement.

These beautiful scars were not ONLY for the world, but more emphatically to me the sinner. I know that My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ died in my place. It was for my sin-scarred life that holes were punched in my Savior’s hands. I need not get what I deserve, because Jesus already took what I deserve. He already took what you deserve.

And you know that person with whom you have the hardest time? Do you have that pain-in-the-neck person pictured in your mind? Jesus’ scarred hands are for him or her too. St. Peter writes, “[Jesus] Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree. . . . By His wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24). Again, “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Pet 3:18). Healing is accomplished by Jesus’ death. Protection and deliverance are accomplished by Jesus’ death. Our glory is found in the nail-marked scarred hands of the Rabbi from Nazareth.

The very fact that Jesus lifted those hands tells us that the risen Lord has made an effective sacrifice. From the cross, Jesus loudly proclaimed, “It is finished.” His mission was completed; He died; God raised His Son from the dead—not because there was something missing, but because the sacrifice accomplished what it set out to do. The condemnation of anyone’s sin has been overcome. With those scarred hands, Jesus says, “I Am the One who died for you; I have completed your salvation.” PAUSE.

Today, we observe and celebrate Christ’s Ascension. In reality this is His second Ascension since His first was on the cross. His Ascension reminds us that our Lord’s ministry isn’t over. Even now, at God’s right hand, those nail-scarred hands are working on our behalf. They are interceding for us with the Father. They are working to provide for us and protect us. Even when He is gone from us, our Lord is still working with those beautiful scars.

In the book of Revelation we read these words: “saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Rev. 5:12).Yes, this is our Victorious, Resurrected and Ascended Lamb who lifts His hands to show us those scarred hands of His—those beautiful scars that He wore as the badge of honor to deliver mankind from the destructive power of death and damnation.

Today, you and I as His beloved and redeemed children, remember the wonderful command He gave His disciples on the Mt. of Olives just before He left saying to them, “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8) and again “Repentance and forgiveness will be preached in my Name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem” (Luke 24:48). This is our mission too—to tell needy souls about the Savior’s Beautiful Scarred hands which earned our salvation and redemption. The ascending Savior exhorts us that as long as one soul still hasn’t heard, our mission is not done.

Beautiful people of God, you who are chosen before the foundation of the world; the young children of the Benin tribe had no say in getting the scars on their faces. It was done to show they belong to a special group of people. But our victorious and resurrected Lord, had a choice—His choice was to allow evil men to scars Him by nailing Him to the tree of the cross—so that we may not be disfigured. God grant us the grace and joy to speak of the Beautiful Scarred hands of the Savior to all people now and always. Amen.

Now the peace of God…


Sunday, May 9, 2010

“Ask Me!” (John 16:23-24)

S-1187 6SOE/3C 5/09/10 Hymns (O) #5; S #459; L.S. #387; 199; 308; (C) #47

Texts: Acts 16:9-15; Revelation 21:9-14, 21-27; John 16:23-33

Theme: “Ask Me!” (John 16:23-24)

Question: “Is it easy for you to ask?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Sixth Sunday of Easter is from the Gospel lesson: “In that day you will ask nothing of Me. Truly, truly, I say to you whatever you ask of the Father in My name He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved when Robert Schuller wanted to build the Crystal Cathedral he asked people to donate money. 18 people came forward and each donated $1.000.000 for this project. Robert was able to pay for the building all at once. One of the donors was an LCMS woman. When our Synod personnel found out that she donated a $1.000.000 they went to her and asked, “Why didn’t you give the money to our Church body, we could have used it?” She said, “You never asked me; he did!” You never asked.

A father was looking out through the kitchen window and to his amazement he saw his 6 years old son attempting to move a huge bolder. The father went out to see what was going on. He asked his son, “What are you trying to do Joe?” the son responded, “I am trying to move this big rock.” The father then said, “Son, use all your power.” The son pushed and pushed but to no avail. The father said, “Son, use all your power.” The boy anchored his legs and with all of his might, pushed and pushed and again the bolder didn’t even budge. The father looked at him again and said, “Son, I told you use all your power.” The boy in frustration said, “Dad, I have tried, but I can’t. I don’t have enough power to move it.” With that the father smiled and said, “Son, you didn’t ask me.” PAUSE.

My beloved and His beloved, today, our victorious and resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ tells us in these few words that as His beloved children we can ask the heavenly father for what we need, and He will grant it for Jesus’ sake. This is how the Savior put it: I say to you whatever you ask of the Father in My name He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. With these words we are invited to come to the Father through Jesus and ask of Him whatever is on our hearts.

The problem is that we don’t for two reasons: 1. Pride and 2. Arrogance. Just like the young son in our story, we let pride get in the way and try to do it alone. Or we attempt to go to God only when things are rough. We say to ourselves, we don’t want to bother God, He has so many others pleading to Him. We don’t want to acknowledge that we need His help because that means we are weak. That is nothing but foolish PRIDE and ARROGANCE. How mistaken we are. We limit God and place Him in a box as if He is to be bothered only when we can’t do it ourselves. At times we think we can’t come to Him because we are afraid He is going to be mad at us or turn us down. We think we have been so bad that we can’t or shouldn’t pray to Him. How tragic that we permit the devil to keep us away from praying and asking the Father for what we need.

Jesus taught His disciples then and today’s disciples that we can come to the Father only through Him. We can come to His Throne of Mercy because Jesus bids and invites us to do so. But we don’t listen. We don’t always go to the Father in prayers because we want to be independent and do things our own way. On top of that what right do I have to do this?

Please picture yourself before heaven’s door. You have a request to make of the heavenly Father. You knock, and He opens it. “Lord,” you begin, “I’m so and so, and I’ve come to request such and such.” The words are barely off your tongue when He shuts the door in your face. What else could you expect? What right do sinners have to approach a holy, just and righteous God, much less to make demands on Him?

You pick yourself up and try again. Once more you knock. And once more the door opens. “Lord,” you pray, “I’m Your redeemed and forgiven child. See, I wear the robe of righteousness woven by Your Son on the loom of the cross. The stains on this robe are real; that’s His blood that covers my sins. He has told me that He has made me Your forgiven, beloved and chosen child and that whatever I ask in His name, you will give to me.”

Now the door is opened wide, the Father’s arms reach out. Lovingly He lifts me up on His knees. Tenderly He encourages me to speak. Why is it that I, an unworthy sinner, can come to God at all with my prayers? It’s because of my victorious and risen Christ. Before the Father’s throne He points to His love that paid for my sins and His grace that made me a believer. And then He pleads that God hears my prayers for His sake. So it is possible for me in Jesus’ name, ONLY because of Jesus’ full payment for my sins, to come to God and find a loving Father who will both hear and answer all such prayers.

You and I can do the same because we are His beloved and chosen children. Walk with me through the corridor of God’s Holy Word and learn from the many that came to Him and asked of Him…

God’s people of Israel languished in the oppression of Egypt. They cried out to the God of their Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In answer, Yahweh sent Moses to deliver them through the water of the Red Sea and the barren landscape of the desert all the way to the Promised Land. Then it was Elijah at Mt. Carmel. God’s prophet stood in combat with the followers of the brazen Baal. It was a battle to the death. And when Elijah cried out, fire descended and completely consumed the soaked sacrifice, the wood and even the stone to show that He is mighty powerful God! A Gentile woman with a demon possessed child came crying out. Jesus ignores her. But faith pleaded for even the crumbs that fall from the Master’s Table. That day, that woman of faith but not of Abraham not only received the crumbs, she feasted on the grace that freed her child from the hell of possession.

We dare not forget about the thief hanging right next to Jesus. Realizing He will meet His maker soon, cried out to the Lord, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom,” and Jesus promised Him “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise!” PAUSE.

Even our Lord Jesus asked. As we enter the Garden of Gethsemane, we hear Jesus praying to the Father of all compassion and mercy, that if there was any other way that the CUP of suffering would pass from Him. Yet, as the Son asks the Father, there was no other way. That cross would come. It would come for Jesus so that it wouldn’t come for us!

Each of these examples and 10 times more are there to show us clearly that this God, the One that Jesus offers to us in this text, is there for us to cry out to. He is the One that has willingly gone to Hell and back so that we do not have to. In light of this, there is nothing which we can’t approach the Father to ask. We don’t get to come because of what we have done or accomplished. No, we CAN come simply because He has come near to us to open the way.

Faithful followers of the Savior, what is it that besets you today? Is there something that oppresses you? Is there an uncertainty that plagues your life and your future? Jesus says: “ASK ME!” Is there something out there that drives you to fear and makes it almost impossible to trust in the very One who sent Jesus? ASK! Is there a life that is lying out in front of you with decisions and opportunities that leaves you wondering which direction to turn? ASK! Do you have friends and loved ones who don’t know, or worse, don’t care that Jesus wants to be their Lord and Savior? ASK! There isn’t anything off limits for our asking. Our Lord promises to hear us. And when we ask, He promises to answer.

Now, we may not like the answer. For every time we pray like Elijah, the Syro-Phonecian woman, or the thief on the cross God answers. There are times when the answer sounds very much like the answer that Jesus heard in Gethsemane. Yet, in every case, when God’s people ask, God answers. His answers are there for our good. He won’t give us anything that isn’t good for us. And at the same time, what He does give us WILL BE good for us!

There is nothing that brings God’s people more joy than knowing that our Lord hears and answers His people when they pray in the name of Jesus! The time has come for each one of us to stop foolishly bearing the burdens of life that are not meant to be borne by us alone! ASK! This is not merely an invitation, but a great privilege and a blessing. NOT to ASK is to lack trust in the very One who gives this very blessed invitation. Today our joy is full. Full of trust that not only cries out to our Lord but KNOWS that when we ASK in Jesus’ name, He answers.

My beloved and chosen people of God, for the sake of Him who said: “Ask Me!” and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Stop your straining. Start asking. Stop your fretting. Start asking! Stop your worrying! Start Asking. And we do, the all merciful and compassionate Father will answer for the sake of Christ! AMEN.

Now the peace of God…


“The Guiding Agent” (John 16:12-14)

S-1186 5SOE/3C 5/02/10 Hymns (O) #23; S #224; (C) #54

Texts: Acts 11:1-18; Revelation 21:1-7; John 16:12-22

Theme: “The Guiding Agent” (John 16:12-14)

Question: “Have you ever needed a guide?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Fifth Sunday of Easter is from the Gospel lesson: “[Jesus said] I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is Mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:12-15).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved on August 31, 1972 8:30 in the evening as a young 16 year old Palestinian, I was boarding a plane (KLM airline) to the United States of America—a big thing for a Palestinian kid from Nazareth. After what appeared to be an eternity, I landed at JFK airport in NY. Immediately it was evident that something was wrong—a major airline strike. I needed to get hold of my brother (Moussa) to inform him. I didn’t speak English. I was terrified and frightened because my brother told me to protect my money. I had $500.00 in my socks. I couldn’t speak English and English sounded gibberish to me. I was terrified and frightened. But somehow the lady behind the counter communicated with me what language do I speak? I said, “Arabic.” She made a phone call and this huge man (appeared to me a giant). He walked up to me and guess what? He spoke my language. He was an agent of KLM and explained the situation to me that there is a strike. And we don’t know when the next plain will take off. I told him, “I need to get hold of my brother in SD.” He asked for “the number.” I gave him the piece of paper. Where do you think my brother was? Not in SD, but in MN waiting to pick me up at the airport. That was before cell phones even existed. There I am in NY, terrified and frightened and the whole ordeal lasted for 11 straight hours. But what benefit that guide was to me, to explain what was going on.

In this portion of God’s Holy Word, there is a very tender scene. Jesus is in the upper room. In a few days, He will be taken to Golgotha. Will be beaten, bruised, and hung on a cross. But before this occurs he says: I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” But I will give you the Paraklete, (Greek) the Holy Spirit, He will, notice this: He will guide you in the whole truth. The Holy Spirit is our guiding Agent, to communicate all that Jesus has done and continues to do even now.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is not independent of the Father or the Son, but in conjunction with the Father and the Son, will bring honor and glory to the Savior Jesus Christ. What intimate moments we see between Jesus and His disciples? He doesn’t leave them alone. But He gives them a Guide to guide them to the truth. In order that He might assure them that He is with them. And He will get them to their final destination.

I asked you earlier, (a question I ask at the beginning of the worship service) “Have you ever needed a guide?” I use guides every year as I travel to Israel. Yes, it is my country. Yes, I know it well. But I am not educated as a professional guide who will take us from one place to another; reveal the historical events and share with us what took place.

So it is in God’s Holy Word. We have the Holy Spirit as the Guiding Agent who tells us of our sins, and the need to confess our sins. But He also informs us of the grace and love of God made manifest through His Son, Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The Holy Spirit as our guiding Agent, always points us to the Savior so that He might bring glory and honor to His holy name. This is the work of the Holy Spirit not to take away from Christ, but to point others to Christ.

How important it is for us as God’s beloved children to introduce the world to the saving work of Jesus? Why is it that we have problems doing so? Why is it that we don’t work as agents in God’s Kingdom? Why is it that we have troubles communicating with others the love of Jesus? Simply, because we are sinful by nature, we don’t have the mind of God, or the desires of God.

On the other hand, God in love revealed Himself through the Son. The Son revealed to us His love by dying our death on the cross of Calvary. And the Holy Spirit reveals to us His crucifixion, His cross, His death, and His empty tomb. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we come to understand our role as His beloved children. What is our role? To communicate the truth—the truth that leads to eternal life.

The truth we are speaking about is not my truth or your truth; what you believe or what I believe. No, there is one TRUTH. That truth is God’s Holy Word that leads to eternal life. It saddens me when so many preachers, who claim to be Christian ministers of the Gospel, deny the inerrancy of the Scripture. Who claim there is another way to get to heaven beside Jesus. Or like the Pope who claims there is another way for the Jews or Muslims to get to heaven. That is BLASEPHMY. That is not the truth. The TRUTH is what is written in God’s Holy Word. For Jesus Himself said, “I Am the Way, I Am the TRUTH, and I Am the Life and NO ONE comes to the Father except through ME!” (John 14:6). PAUSE.

Sometimes we struggle with that because we want to be politically correct and feel good toward others. We want to support them in their ways of life, unless it contradicts the Word of the Living God. Notice, how the Holy Spirit works—to guide us in all truth! Not just parts, but in ALL TRUTH—truth that leads to eternal life.

But as I said a moment ago, we struggle because of our sinful nature. More often than not we don’t want to admit our sinfulness. We don’t want to admit that we need a Savior. We don’t want to admit that we ought to confess and repent of our sins. But when we study the Scriptures, when we get to know the Scriptures it becomes clear, precisely clear how dependent we are on the mercy of God who reveals Himself to us through His Son, by the Spirit’s power through the Word, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

A story is told of a young woman who purchased a book and read a few pages laid it aside as not interesting. But sometime later she became acquainted with the author. Tender friendship sprang up, which turned into love and marriage. Then the book was no longer dull. Every sentence had a charm for her heart. Love was the interpreter.

Why is the Bible uninteresting and even distasteful to the natural human heart? Because it doesn’t not knows the Author, Jesus Christ. But when by the Spirit of God the heart learns to know and love Him who gave the Bible and who reveals Himself in the Scriptures, then the pages of this Book become most interesting, and every sentence is interpreted by the Spirit of love. Then with great delight we pick that book and read every sentence with great joy as we learn of God’s love and compassion towards us. We come to know that by the Spirit’s power this book is the absolute truth that leads to eternal life.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I shared with you the struggles I had when I came to this country. Not knowing the language and being afraid in New York. Afraid someone is going to hit me on the head and take my $500.00 out of my socks, and terrified for not being able to get hold of my brother.

I did share with you that the KLM airline provided me with a guide, an agent who could speak my language and explain what was going on. But what I didn’t share with you is that when the guide came to speak with me I wanted to laugh. You know why? Because he spoke classical Arabic! Classical Arabic is not spoken daily, but in ONLY found in books. It is as if you and I would speak Elizabethan English. How art thou? It behooves thee to delve into the affairs of the king. My cup runneth over”. etc.

Another fact you must know about this agent is this: He was hired by the airline and got paid for the work he did. Unlike the guiding agent of the KLM, the Holy Spirit doesn’t work for pay, He doesn’t speak a foreign language, He speaks the language of God’s people. He doesn’t get paid. You know why? Because the payment has been paid in full by the Son on the cross of Calvary! That is the guiding truth that the Holy Spirit reveals to us today and every day. I pray that you will know the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in your hearts that you received through the gift of Baptism, continues to live in you through the Word and strengthen you by the Sacrament of the Altar.

What a blessing to have an agent to guide you. No greater agent can be found than the Agent of the Holy Spirit, our guiding Agent to the truth that reveals that we are in a need of Savior and the Savior has come to take away our sins and give us eternal life. PAUSE.

(this paragraph will be spoken very slowly and gently) Do you know how blessed you are? Do you? You really are blessed. God loves you with that unconditional love which He reveals to you through the aid of the Holy Spirit so that you may know Him intimately, follow Him and live with Him throughout endless years of joy and peace in paradise. Thank God with me that the Father and the Son have sent us the Holy Spirit to be our guiding Agent. Amen.

Now the peace of God...


“A Voice To Follow” (John 10:27)

S-1185 4SOE/3C 4/25/10 Hymns (O) #735LSB; S #277; L.S. 201; 193; 314; (C) #54

Texts: Acts 20:17-35; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:22-30

Theme: “A Voice To Follow” (John 10:27)

Question: “Can you remember the sound of a familiar voice?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for The Good Shepherd Sunday is from the Gospel lesson: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.(John 10:27)

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

People of God, chosen and beloved the other day I was watching TV and I heard this infomercial. “Do you have trouble keeping track of the items in your purse? We have the right solution for you. We have here a kangaroo (Brown) insert that will help you organize every item in its place. (They demonstrate it by placing every gadget in a pocket and then insert the whole thing in your purse) This item is valued @ $50.00 but today we are offering it to you for $19.99 plus S/H; BUT WAIT, if you order in the next 10 minutes we will give you another Kangaroo insert (Black) a total value of $100.00 for only $19.99 plus a 2nd S/H. How gullible people are. They can be distracted by all the voices out there.

Indeed, my beloved in the Lord, there are so many voices in our world today that are vying for our attention; voices from every coroner—the Politician, President, Preacher and plumber. Just this past week, we saw two vastly different kinds of voices collided in conflict. I don’t know how many of you are regular viewers of the show South Park? I am not. If you aren’t, that is probably a good thing. The creators of South Park are the poster children for the voice of irreverence. They have disrespectfully and sacrilegiously spoken of everything that most people hold sacred. Most times, people have laughed. But this week was different. They took aim at Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. And that is where the other voices of extremism answered back. Except their voices was nothing other than voices of hate. They threatened to murder the creators of this show.

We would be mislead, if we thought there were only voices that speak of all that is wrong in our society or those who hold to a different moral standards. This past week, Franklin Graham, son of Evangelist Billy Graham, was told to not come and speak at the military Day of Prayer because he called Muslims heathens, wicked and evil. The voices of South Park people and Graham have major differences between them. Graham is not being irreverent. Graham speaks the truth. His voice carries the truth that those outside of the Christian faith are in serious eternal jeopardy. But this truth was rejected because the voice that spoke it happened to be Christian.

We see something very similar in the text for this Good Shepherd Sunday. St. John gives us the Words of Jesus in a conflict that is rooted in the voice. In this conflict, we find Jesus minding His own business walking through the Temple. But there is no “routine trip” to the Temple for Jesus. He is immediately surrounded by religious leaders. Those encircle Him have one very direct, very important question: "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." On the surface, this would seem like a very earnest, simple question. And that would have been a good question had it not been for the fact that Jesus preached, taught and performed miracles among them for some time! The real problem for the religious leaders was not a lack of a voice to follow. It was a refusal to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd.

Jesus indicts them directly. I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not part of My flock. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” There were so many voices that were swirling around in those days. There was the clear testimony of the miracles of Jesus. But there was also the voice of those who would say that Jesus was a threat. In the winter of that year there in Jerusalem there were the voices of faith and rejection.

Sounds like today for us too, doesn’t it? There are so many voices out there in our world today that would compete for the hold of our ears, our minds, our hearts and even our pocket book. There are those that would try to tell us that Jesus isn’t the Son of God. There are those who would tell us that the voice of Jesus and the truth to which He calls us is just one of the many roads that would lead to eternal life. There are the voices that call the message of the cross of Jesus Christ foolishness. And worse, there are even voices within the Church who would tell us that Jesus is the key to wealth and happiness in this world. So within and without, there are so many voices that would assault our ears!

But today, as we look at John 10, we rejoice because the Holy Spirit has tuned our ears to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him. Amid the mixtures of voices, we have been blessed by our Lord to be able to hear the voice of our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the One that has called us to faith in Him. We know His voice. We hear His voice. And then, we follow.

This is the major difference between the voices of the world and the voice of Jesus. We can hear those godless voices. But the Holy Spirit has led us to hear the voice of Jesus and follow where He leads. This voice is exactly why you are here today. The Shepherd has called you to be here in His presence. And this presence gives you something very special. For it is here that Jesus gives you what is promised in these words. Here you receive eternal life! The call to faith gives you eternal life. The Words of absolution give you eternal life in the place of the death that your sins deserve. You will have eternal life placed on your lips as you receive the Life-Giving body and blood of the Lord. Today, the voice of the Lord calls you to eternal life once again!

But my friend, this voice calls us to hear something more today. There are those voices that are telling you that the possession of this faith is good enough. These voices will tell us that when we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd we can now sit back and relax. These voices will tell you that you can just sit back and wait for eternity to be revealed. But the voice of the Shepherd calls us to so much more. Hear again what Jesus says to us today. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me”. The call of the Shepherd is a call to follow!

You and I, as Christ’s little lambs are called to follow where the Good Shepherd leads. This calling that we receive from the Lord is one that will take us to places where we may not expect. The Lord leads us to green pastures of nourishment AND into the harvest fields for the sake of the Kingdom. The voice of the Shepherd calls us to serve the Gospel wherever we are pastured. Paul in our first reading heard the voice of Jesus which led him to many places to share the Good News. All along his life was in jeopardy because he only listened to one voice and one voice only—the voice of His Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Voice, Paul faced all kinds of challenges: He was beaten and abused, left for dead, shipwrecked, thrown into prison and eventually led to lose his head.

Like Paul, we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd’s promise to us. And that promise is confirmed in the bloody cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter Sunday! This voice promises eternal life. It doesn’t promise a life of ease and comfort; but one that demands of us to follow the ONLY voice that matters—the voice of Jesus. And this voice today, calls us to go out and search for others who have wondered from this voice of truth that leads to eternal life.

Because of this promise and because of the Call of the Shepherd, we follow. We answer His call and we go where He leads. When we meet others along the way like the lost religious leaders of our text, we speak only the Words that the Good Shepherd calls us to speak. There is no guarantee of success in worldly terms. However, we still go and we still speak. Why? The Shepherd calls!

The Voice of our Good Shepherd is not the only voice in the world today. But it is the ONLY one that leads to eternal life. The voice of the infomercial will take your money. The voice of South Park will lead you to skepticism and unbelief. The voice of Islam will feed you the lies of Mohammed. Any of the other voices in the world will lead you to destruction and damnation. As true as this is, the Voice of the Shepherd proves to be the voice to follow. For no matter what the situation, what the time, or what the circumstances, that voice will always lead to eternal life! AMEN.

Now the peace…