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LCH Sermons—Time after Pentecost 2007 (August and September)

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 26—September 30, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Amos 6:1a, 4–7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:6–19; Luke 16:19–31
Summary: It is easy to see today’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus as saying that the rich go to hell and the poor to heaven, but it is not a question of whether or not we have money but of what kind of relationship we have with our wealth. Does our wealth rule us, or is it a tool for us to deal with the problems of this world? We are called to give names and faces to the poor and homeless, to stand with Lazarus at the gate and call him by name.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 25—September 23, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Amos 8:4–7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1–7; Luke 16:1–13
Summary: Today’s parable of the dishonest steward is difficult and confusing because Jesus appears to suggest that dishonesty is a good thing. Jesus praises the steward as shrewd with a word that describes someone who “plans carefully for the future.” He uses what has been entrusted to him to prepare for his future. We must understand that we have not earned anything and everything we have is a gift from God. If God has gifted us with everything, in what shrewd way will we give part of it back? How will we give ourselves away and find joy?

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 24—September 16, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 32:7–14; Psalm 51:1–11; 1 Timothy 1:12–17; Luke 15:1–10
Summary: In the parable of the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep, Jesus describes an action no practical person would follow. Indeed, most churches seem to devote the majority of their resources to the ninety-nine. But in the economy of God, one lost soul is of immeasurable worth. The membership of the ninety-nine is not constant; some drift away and become lost sheep. The one who is lost must be found because we are not complete without the one. God rejoices and celebrates the return of the lost because then God’s family is whole.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 23—September 9, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Deuteronomy 30:15–20; Psalm 1; Philemon 1–21; Luke 14:25–33
Summary: When Jesus said in today’s gospel, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple,” the crowds must have thought he was crazy. We may think of Christianity as a low-threshold religion, where it is easy to join and everyone is welcome. However, that is not the what we find in this gospel. Jesus calls us to “put away” all that we love the most so we can take up the cross of discipleship and experience it all in a new way.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 22—September 2, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Proverbs 25:6–7; Psalm 112; Hebrews 13:1–8, 15–16; Luke 14:1, 7–14
Summary: In the gospel lesson, Jesus begins with practical advice to take the lower place at a banquet, and then (as is common in the part of Luke) he goes on with advice that turns social conventions on their head. When we give a banquet, Jesus tells us to invite not those who can pay us back but those who can never repay. This vision of the dominion of God is humbling. Undeserving, we are showered with bounty by our God who says, “Where I am the host, all are welcome.”

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 21—August 26, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 58:9b–14; Psalm 103:1–8; Hebrews 12:18–29; Luke 13:10–17
Summary: The gospel lesson about the crippled woman healed on the Sabbath confronts us with the question: Why did she come to be healed on the Sabbath? There is no better day to experience the healing and freedom God has for us. There is no better place to experience that healing and freedom than in church. And when we experience that healing and freedom, we can—like the woman in the lesson—stand up, look the world in the eye, and share the good news of God’s grace.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 20—August 19, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jeremiah 23:23–29; Psalm 82; Hebrews 11:29–12:2; Luke 12:49–56
Summary: The lesson from Hebrews recounts the suffering of our ancestors in faith, but no act of suffering or martyrdom can bring us any closer to God because Jesus has already become the sacrifice. However, this does not mean that our lives will be easy. Life, when it is lived to the fullest, is full of both pain and suffering and joy.

Listen to this sermon. (Because of technical problems, the sound quality of this week’s sermon is poor.)

Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 19—August 12, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 15:1–6; Psalm 33:12–22; Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16; Luke 12:32–40
Summary: In the lesson from Genesis, God called Abraham and challenged everything he knew to be true about himself. But Abraham believed God, and God reckoned it as righteousness. In the same way, Jesus promises us that “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God gives us the treasure we seek the most, but because it is free, we sometimes do not value it. But that treasure is worth more than all of our other possessions.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 18—August 5, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14, 2:18–23; Psalm 49:1–11; Colossians 3:12–17; Luke 12:13–21
Summary: It is hard not to see ourselves in these texts which focus on our preoccupation with controlling our “stuff.” However, God has given us everything we need and more. Now is the time to free ourselves from the hold of “stuff,” to share with the world the gifts we have been given, and to follow Christ’s call to live.

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