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Subject:Sermon for All Saints Day
Time:09:03 am
Rev. Charles Lehmann + All Saints Day + Matthew 5:1-12

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

Today is All Saints Day. All Saints. Today we celebrate that the church is far larger than we can see. You know that very well. On May 10th our dear sister Pauline Harman left this vale of tears and went to be with the Lord. This was just a few days before I got here. I was saddened by her death. It wasn't that I won't get to meet Pauline. I know that I'll have an eternity to enjoy with her when I join her in heaven. It wasn't even that I wouldn't get to be with her when I got here. Our communion liturgy makes sure we know better than that. The very first Sunday I was here I was with Pauline. On that day we celebrated our Savior's great gifts “with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven!”

The church is much, much larger than we can see with our eyes. It is so vast that it is something that we can only see with our ears. We only know that Pauline, Margaret, Esther, Cleda, and all the saints buried here are worshiping with us because the Lord says so. We only can say it because we believe what the Word of God says about it. Psalm 149 tells us, “Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints! For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”

The Scriptures love to speak of the holy church as a totality. It's not a collection of small groups of Christians who gather at various places all over the earth. It is one assembly, one congregation of the saints. The Lord has given us His promise. He says, “Wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” Where Christ is, there is the Church, the one Church, the whole Church. There is one congregation of the saints of which Christ is the chief cornerstone. When we gather together to receive the gifts that Jesus promises in His Name, He is here. And the church is the body of Christ. Christ does not have millions of little bodies scattered throughout Garrett County, Maryland, the United States, and the rest of the world. Christ has one body, and where Christians are gathered in His Name, the whole body of Christ is present even though we cannot see it.

Though the whole church is here, this truth is hidden from us. We can't see the millions of saints who are present wherever their Savior is present. When we look around this room it looks like there are only forty or fifty of us. We can't see Pauline, Margaret, Esther, Cleda, or the members of Zion or even the folks who are worshiping in D.C., Canada, Haiti, and in every other nation. But they're here. They with us are the mystical body of Christ, and Christ is here. He is here in His Word. He is here delivering to you the gifts of life and salvation that He won for you on the cross. And where Christ is, there the whole Christian Church is also.

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Subject:Reformation Sunday
Time:11:19 am
Happy Reformation Sunday everybody!
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Subject:Sermon for Reformation Day
Time:05:38 pm
This is a reworking of a previous sermon, but it's new to the saints of the Cove.

Rev. Charles Lehmann + Reformation 2008 + John 8:31-36

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

The Jews in today's Gospel reading seem to have forgotten their history. If they lived in Garrett County, they would have failed their class in Maryland history at Northern. As hard as history class is for them, however, they do know one thing. They are Abraham's descendants. But they are not just Abraham's descendants. They're also descendants of Jacob. And we heard last month about Jacob and all of his sons going down into Egypt. In Egypt, Jacob's descendants became a great nation, but when people who did not know Joseph began to rule there, they enslaved the people of Israel. They served their Egyptian taskmasters for hundreds of years.

The words we hear the Jews speak today in the Gospel reading are very strange words, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves to anyone.” What? What is this nonsense? Have these Jews never heard the Old Testament? Have they never eaten the Passover? But forget that ancient history! Have they not seen the Roman cohorts marching up and down the streets of Jerusalem with images of Tiberius Caesar adorning their standards?

Surely the Jews have been slaves in Egypt, and they are now under foreign occupation in their own land. When these Jews who believe in Jesus say that they’ve never been slaves to anyone, they are speaking out of pride. The problem is that though they’ve heard Jesus’ sermon and believed it, they’re not willing to live in the freedom that Christ has given them. There will be no freedom for these believing Jews until they acknowledge their slavery to sin. Not only have they been slaves, but they are slaves right now.

Lutherans, of course, love this passage. We look at the bulletin, see that it’s Reformation Day, and then we hear this passage read. We think, “Man… I’m sure glad that I’m not like those Jews. I’m glad that I’m not focused on my works. I know the truth. I’m free!” We sometimes like to think of the Reformation as God’s triumph over those evil bad Roman Catholics. We know who we are in the story… we’re the free ones. We know the truth, that we are saved by faith apart from works. We know the truth, that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We know our works can’t get us anything. We know the Gospel, and we know it’s for us.

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Subject:Hey, Theology Nerds*...
Time:05:17 pm
I'd like some input on tattoos, if you'd be so kind. They're only mentioned once in the Bible that I can recall. It's somewhere in Leviticus, and says "Do not shave the front of your head for the dead or put tattoo marks on your skin." (At least I believe that's it, working from memory.)

It's not a big thing for me. I wouldn't mind having one or two more (the one I have I got before my conversion to Christianity), but am fine with never getting more if it is displeasing to God.

Thanks for your time, y'all!
_________________________________________________________
*Believe it or not, this is a term of respect, indicating your long-time study and dedication. For instance, I refer to myself as a Star Wars nerd (among other kinds).
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Subject:Sermon for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Time:12:31 pm
Rev. Charles Lehmann + Matthew 22: 34 - 40 + Pentecost 23

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

The Pharisees and Sadducees hate that they can't catch Jesus in his words. Last week we heard when Jesus caught them in idolatry. The Lord would not play their games. He knew their evil intent. He knew that they were not really interested in His Word. But that's par for the course. Jesus' enemies always acted out of unbelief and hatred. Because they did not believe His word, the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus in charges of blasphemy so that they could kill him.

In Romans, Paul tells us that the purpose of all Law is "so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world [be] held accountable to God." In the book of Revelation, we hear the exhortation, "He that has ears let him hear what the spirit says to the churches." It is with our ears that we hear and believe. It is with our mouths that we confess what the Lord has said to us. But since Jesus' enemies did not listen to Him, they couldn't confess either.

When the Sadducees came to try to trap Jesus in his words, he saw through what they had said to the unbelief that lay behind it. After Jesus had corrected them He said, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." The Lord's words silenced the unbelief of the Sadducees. The Lord silenced the Sadducees because He loved them. The Lord wanted the Sadducees to listen to Him so that they would hear the words of life that He was speaking.

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Subject:Sermon for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Time:04:55 pm
Rev. Charles Lehmann + Matthew 22:15-21 + Pentecost 22

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

Cyrus was an evil, pagan king. After He conquered Babylon, Cyrus had the following written in the account of his victory: “Marduk, the great lord, moved the noble heart of the residents of Babylon to me. Marduk, the great lord, rejoiced in my pious deeds, and graciously blessed me, Cyrus, the king who worships him.” Cyrus couldn't have picked a more disgusting false god to worship. Not even the Babylonians who worshiped this false god had anything good to say about him. In their stories, their so-called god murdered his parents to become the king of the gods. He created humanity to be his slaves, even though he hated all the noise they made.

That was the sort of false god that Cyrus worshiped. But Cyrus really wasn't all that picky. He both allowed and encouraged the peoples he conquered to worship their gods instead of the gods of Persia. He probably would have done well in the November elections.

We have no reason to believe that Cyrus ever worshiped the true God. But even though Cyrus did not acknowledge the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be the only true God, the Lord doesn't need a king's permission in order to use him for His purposes. Because of this the Lord still calls Cyrus His Anointed One. He says, “I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.” In Hebrew the word for “Anointed One” is “Messiah.” Cyrus is the only pagan that God ever calls by this name. All the others who are anointed by God are priests or kings of His people. They are set apart for holy purposes. But here, God does a new thing, a strange thing.

Here God calls Cyrus, an evil, pagan, idolater his “Messiah,” His Anointed One. Why would God do this? He does it because the Lord has set Cyrus apart for a holy purpose. Cyrus will free Israel from their captivity in Babylon. He will send them home to rebuild their temple. Cyrus will not do this because He believes in the true God. He will not do it because He has cast aside His satanic idols. He will do it because it will make him look good politically. He will do it because He doesn't think any one god is more important than any other. Cyrus will be a self-absorbed pagan conqueror and he will do what he does for self-absorbed pagan conqueror reasons.

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Subject:We're getting close to Reformation Day
Time:06:41 am


"Martin Luther"
by Tommy Womack

Martin Luther slung his feces up against the wall.
"Get thee hence here, Satan. You will not see me fall."
Martin was a wanted man, it all just kinda got to him.
But now all Minnesota gives what Martin Luther's due him.

Martin Luther nailed a bunch of theses to a door.
Ninety-five in all, he coulda thought of more.
The printing press was hip, like the internet is now,
And Martin Luther got in trouble, like you don't know how.

Martin Luther said that a man can talk to God.
All he needs between 'em is the taste of Jesus' blood.
You don't have to sell things and you don't have to buy,
And no man gets to say who goes to heaven when we die.

Martin Luther went to court, such as courts were then.
You had the right to shut your mouth, and not open it back up again.
Martin Luther talked, and Martin Luther talked,
And after Martin Luther finished talking, Martin Luther walked.

So the Pope sent folks to kill him, and they prob'ly would,
If a gang of friendly monks ain't hid him in a dungeon for his own good.
That's where he slung his feces, locked up in a cell.
Hallucinating Satan, but otherwise holding up quite well.

Martin Luther said that a man can talk to God.
All he needs between 'em is the taste of Jesus' blood.
You don't have to buy things and you don't have to sell,
No man gets to say who goes to heaven or to hell.
You don't have sell things and you don't have to buy,
And no man gets to say who goes to heaven when we die.

Martin Luther.
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Subject:Sermon for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost
Time:09:02 am

Rev. Charles Lehmann + Matthew 22:1-14 + Pentecost 21

 In the Name of + Jesus.  Amen.

 When Emily Post wrote about what a gentleman should wear to a wedding she said, “Your full dress [suit] is the last thing to economize on. It must be perfect in fit, cut and material, and this means a first-rate tailor.”  Miss Post was writing about ordinary people going to an ordinary wedding.  Though all of us probably have at least one nice suit or one nice dress that we could wear to any wedding we were invited to, Miss Manners doesn't ever say what to wear to the wedding of a prince.  She doesn't have anything in her book about how to respond to a king's invitation.

 Though we don't have any guidance from Miss Post, we can all guess how we'd want to dress for a royal wedding feast.  When you go to the King's feast, you wear a suit fit for a king.  But we're not going to find that kind of suit at Wal-Mart or Sears.  None of us can afford what we'd need to wear if we went to the wedding of the King's Son.

 That makes the situation in the parable today very very strange.  The King sends for all those He has invited to the wedding.  And after He is scorned twice by those He invited first, He sends out His servants a third time.

 This time He doesn't bother with the guests He invited the first time.  Though God had wooed the people of Israel for thousands of years, this time He sends His servants to invite others. God the Father will have His eternal feast.  The will of the Heavenly King will not be thwarted at the end.  The Lord will fill his banquet hall.  He will pack the New Jerusalem so full of saints that there will be no room for more.  The oxen and fattened calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready.  The feast will happen—one way or the other!  And so in our parable, the King sends out His servants one last time.  He tells them, “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find!”

 Anyone... there were no requirements.  The King commands His servants to gather everyone, both good and bad.  But these new guests are simple common folk.  They've got nothing to wear to a King's banquet.  What they have in their closets would stick out like a sore thumb.  That means that there's only one way they can be properly dressed.  They have to wear what the King gives them.

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Subject:Sermon for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost
Time:12:13 pm
Rev. Charles Lehmann + Matthew 21:33-43 + Pentecost 20

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

David once prayed, “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

The love and patience of the Lord God King of the Universe is great beyond anything that you or I can imagine. In the very beginning the Lord planted a garden in Eden. It was lush, green, and full the Lord's bounty. And early on the sixth day, probably before Adam had even drawn a dozen breaths, the Lord came to him and said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Adam had done nothing to deserve the Lord's favor. In fact, Adam had not existed long enough to have done anything at all. The Lord simply wanted to give his gifts to the man He had fashioned from the dust of the ground. From the very beginning the Lord was rich in grace and poured out his love on his creation. Even in those moments before Adam and Eve had sinned, the Lord loved them purely out of grace and undeserved favor. He had created Adam and Eve in a perfect relationship with Him. The Lord walked in the garden with the man and his wife. There was no sin to separate them. There was no death. There was no decay. God lived in absolute perfect communion with the man and his wife.

But things changed. Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the one tree the Lord had not given them. In this initial theft, Adam and Eve committed the sin that would separate them from God and send them and all their descendants into bondage to death and decay. Things changed greatly for Adam and Eve, but they didn't change for God. Balaam would later put it this way, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.”

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Subject:Just because it's been to friggin' long since anyone posted here...
Time:07:51 pm
These are the lyrics to a song I wrote after an argument with a Jehovah's Witness. After watching "The Passion of the Christ", I stated that since Jesus died for the sins of everyone in the world, then each and every one of us were the ones driving the nails through his flesh, nailing him to the cross. He disagreed and said that the Romans and Jews had sole responsibility.

Ugh. Anyway, this is the song I wrote as I mulled over the events of that night. I've e-mailed them to the Worship Director of the contemporary service at my church (www.gslcflock.org) to see if she thinks it might be something that we (the praise band) could do towards the end of Lent.

I would say "Enjoy!", but that doesn't really apply to such a dark song.

So, without further ado, I present:

"Brick"

Lyrics by Travis Kilgore. Music by Travis Kilgore, Chris Graham and Michael Newman

I know the way I'm supposed to live,
I know the things that I shouldn't do.
Etched on my heart, still I come up short,
I miss the mark and it falls on you.

Debt of my wrongs must be satisfied,
Spilling of blood, something's gotta die.
Left on my own I could never save,
I've earned my place in the cold, dark grave.

(Chorus)

I know... I'm neither last nor first,
Although I might be the worst.
The part of me... that's just wrong and sick...
It weighs upon Him like a brick.

(Guitar Solo)

(Bridge)

Take it all the way...
Take it all away.
You died for all to see...
You died for me.

(Instrumental break, back into the final two verses)

Guilt of the world lashed onto Your back,
Bear the weight of all, never bend or crack.
Straw by straw, pile it nice and thick,
No, it's not enough, let me add my brick.

I dipped the bread, chosen to betray,
I held a sword in Gethsemane.
I raised my voice, shouted "crucify!"
I drove the spear deep within your side.

(Chorus)

I know... I'm neither last nor first,
Although I might be the worst.
The part of me... that's just wrong and sick...
It weighs upon Him like a brick.
It weighs upon Him like a brick.
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