Sermon Reflection | September 17, 2017

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The Scripture lessons for September 17th were Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:21-35. Pastor Krause began with the Gospel lesson where Peter asked Jesus about how many times he should forgive someone who sinned against him. Pastor Krause has us imagine someone repeatedly sinning against us, and about the thoughts and feelings we might experience as someone committed sins against us.

Pastor Krause reminded us of how Peter, thinking himself generous, suggested forgiving as much as seven times. Jesus, however, intensifies that number suggesting instead seventy-seven times. In reality Jesus was saying there ought not be an end to our forgiving, for any relationship is only going to be as strong as there is forgiveness in it.

Jesus then goes on to tell the parable of the “Unforgiving Servant” who after being forgiven a debt that would have taken him 10,000 years to pay (10,000 talents with a talent = a year’s wage), went out and had a fellow servant thrown into prison for owing him the equivalent of around one hundred days labor (100 denarii with a denarii = a day’s wage).

We owed God a huge debt, an astronomical debt, which Jesus paid once for all (Heb 9:12; Heb 9:28; Heb 10:10). Knowing that God is forgiving and that the penalty for our sins has already been paid through the innocent, sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus (1 Jn 2:2), we are often tempted to make light of our sin (Ro 6:1-2), but we need to remember that our redemption did not come cheaply. It COST!!! It cost Jesus dearly. It cost Jesus not only the physical suffering of being mocked, beaten and a tortures’ death on the cross, it cost Him the experience of suffering all the torments of hell itself (Mt 27:45-46).

If God so loved us as despicable as we are in order that we might be redeemed and forgiven, certainly we ought to love our fellow sinners for whom Jesus also suffered and died. St Paul writes:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Pastor Krause then jumped to the Old Testament lesson in Genesis 50 where he cited Joseph as an example of forgiveness. He asked us to put ourselves in Joseph’s shoes as he was horribly mistreated by his brothers, yet, Joseph also experienced the presence and power of God and with God’s presence and in God’s power he forgave his brothers. May it so be with us as well. Forgiveness COUNTS! (Mt 6:12,14,15)

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Amen, so be it!

(My thought, now what about yours?)

(All passages are taken from the NIV unless otherwise noted)


Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!

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Sermon Reflection | September 17, 2017

Sermon Reflection | September 10, 2017

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The Scripture lessons for September 10 were Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:1-10 and Matthew 18:1-20. Pastor Roskowic focused his message on verses 8-10 of the epistle lesson.

Romans 13:8-10 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

As Pastor Roskowic shared, I had a number of thoughts regarding love:

  • Love, agape love, is more than not hating. I can “not hate” someone, and still not love them. Agape love is not rooted in the emotions, although strong emotions can accompany agape love. Agape love is a commitment type of love. It is rooted in the will. It is a decision. You may hear someone say “I love you, but I don’t really like you right now,” meaning “I am committed to you and to be here for you, but right now my feelings towards you are not all warm and fuzzy.” This is the type of love that a man and woman pledge to each other when they say their wedding vows, and it is the type love parents have for their children, even when they are misbehaving.
  • Agape love is an active love (Gal 5:6). It compels us to act, even when that act might be to be silent or to remain still (2 Cor 5:14). Agape love seeks to act in the best interest of the beloved, whatever that best interest might be (Phil 1:9).  
  • Agape love is a selfless, self-giving, sacrificial love just as Jesus gave and sacrificed Himself for us and for all humankind (Ro 5:7-8; 1 Jn 3:16,18).
  • Agape love is an inclusive love, rather than a discriminating love (Lk 10:25-37; Jas 2:1-9). It know no boundaries.
  • Agape love flows out of God’s unconditional for us and is an expression of His unconditional love in us (1 Jn 4:7-19).
  • Agape love is the vocation, the calling, of all Christians, and it is the chief identifying mark of true disciples of Jesus (Jn 13:34-35; Eph 4:1).

Pastor Roskowic also spoke briefly on the Old Testament lesson.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.

As Pastor Roskowic shared these verses he challenged us all, not only to be watchmen and watchwomen in regard to watching and warning others, but also to be watchmen and watchwomen in regard to our own lives. He cited Mt 7:4 where Jesus instructs us to take the log out of our own eye before we try to take the speck out of the eye of another.

As Pastor Roskowic shared, I began to recall the many times Jesus encourages to be alert and to watch – Mt 24:4,42; Mt 25:13; Mt 26:41; Mk 13:5,33,37,38; Mk 14:38; Lk 12:15; Lk 17:3 to list a few. I also recalled Paul’s words in Galatians 6:1-2 –

Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Pastor Roskowic concluded his message refocusing us on the Epistle lesson and how Jesus did not “leave any debt remain outstanding.” Jesus settled all our debt on the cross once for all (Heb 10:10; 1 Jn 2:2). Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You!

Amen! So be it!!!

My thoughts, I would like to hear yours.

(All passages are taken from the NIV unless otherwise noted)


Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!

Sermon Reflection | September 10, 2017

Sermon Reflection | September 3, 2017

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The Scripture lessons for September 3 were Jeremiah 15:15-21; Romans 12:9-21 and Matthew 16:21-28. Pastor Krause began his message focusing on Jeremiah and the Old Testament lesson.

Jeremiah didn’t have an easy life or ministry. He is known as the weeping prophet. The popular prophets of Jeremiah’s day were predicting success and prosperity for the nation and people of Judah. Jeremiah predicted the opposite. Jeremiah message called the Jewish people to repent, to turn to God, and warned the people that if they did not repent there were going to be negative consequences. Continue reading “Sermon Reflection | September 3, 2017”

Sermon Reflection | September 3, 2017

Sermon Reflection | August 27, 2017

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The Scripture lessons for August 27 were Isaiah 51:1-6; Romans 11:33-12:8; and Matthew 16:13-20. Pastor Rub focused his message on the Epistle lesson and basically drew out the “because/therefore” nature of our faith and its expression. Because of God’s great mercy, we therefore offer ourselves as living sacrifices as a spiritual act of worship.  

In the first three chapters of Romans Paul describes the human condition apart from God, which he then sums up in chapter three. Continue reading “Sermon Reflection | August 27, 2017”

Sermon Reflection | August 27, 2017

Sermon Reflection | August 13, 2017

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The Scripture lessons for August 13 were Job 38:4-18; Romans 10:5-17; and Matthew 14:22-33. The theme of Pastor Roskowic’s message was “Cry Out to the Lord.” Pastor Roskowic felt this was the common or unifying theme between the three Scripture lessons for the day. Continue reading “Sermon Reflection | August 13, 2017”

Sermon Reflection | August 13, 2017

Sermon Reflection | August 6, 2017

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The Scripture lessons for August 6 were Isaiah 55:1-5; Romans 9:1-13; and Matthew 14:13-21. Pastor Krause began by talking about funerals and how God feels about death. He used his reflections on funerals and death to move into the Gospel lesson for the day.

In Matthew 14:1-12 we read about the execution and death of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist. Verse 13 reads:

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.  

Saddened by His cousin’s death Jesus withdrew by boat to a solitary place, likely to mourn and to pray. However, the crowds followed Him on foot. The text continues verse 14:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As I read this verse I am reminded of Philippians 2:3-4:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Jesus sets aside His needs and agenda to attend to the needs of others.

As evening approaches Jesus’ disciples want Jesus to send the crowds away so the people can find food. Jesus, however, instructs His disciples that rather than sending the people away, they, the disciples, should give the people something to eat. The disciples are bewildered and at loss. They tell Jesus they only have five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus said “Bring them here to me.”

As they do so, Jesus directs the people to sit down on the grass. He takes the food from His disciples and thanks His Heavenly Father for the food. He then gives the food back to the disciples who in turn gave it to the people. They end up feeding 5,000 men, give or take a few, plus women and children, with twelve baskets of leftovers.

Pastor Krause stressed to us that it was Jesus who did the miracle, but that He allowed His disciples to be a part of the miracle.

As Pastor Krause spoke I was again reminded of other Scripture passages where we read:

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant….

Ephesians 3:20 [He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us….

Pastor Krause assured us that what God calls us to do, He empowers us to do. God is the one who does, but He seeks to do through us.

The question for us at Mt Olive is: “What is Jesus wanting to do through us at Mt Olive at this time?” Then more personally, the question for each of us individually is: “What is Jesus wanting to do through me today?” We are a commissioned people to be co-mission with God!

Amen! So be it!!!

My thoughts, I would like to hear yours.

(All passages are taken from the NIV unless otherwise noted)


Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!

Sermon Reflection | August 6, 2017