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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 33—November 19, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Judges 4:1–7 | Psalm 123 | 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11 | Matthew 25:14–30
Summary: In today’s Gospel, a merchant gives great amounts of money to his slaves and goes on a journey. Two invest and double their money; and one is afraid, hides his, and is cast out by the angry merchant. When people imagine a vengeful God—as the third slave saw the merchant—it’s no wonder no one wants to go to church. When we see God in the person of Jesus Christ—who washes the disciples feet, heals the leper, and welcomes children—we know a God of grace who promises to be with us forever.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 32—November 12, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Joshua 24:1–3a, 14–25 | Psalm 78:1–7 | 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 | Matthew 25:1–13
Summary: In today’s Gospel, the foolish bridesmaids who don’t have any oil are sent away to buy more and then locked out of the feast. We expect compassion but are warned to watch and be ready. In the modern church we cannot just hope things will get better. Two generations ago, the church was at the center of society, and now we are seen as foolish and weird. We need to fill our lamps with the oil of God’s love and then share the love that God provides, in abundance. We do not need to wait for the future because Christ is coming in each of us. We watch and wait for the kingdom to unfold now.

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All Saints Sunday—November 5, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Revelation 7:9–17 | Psalm 34:1–10, 22 | 1 John 3:1–3 | Matthew 5:1–12
Summary: Our modern, warped understanding of being blessed includes things like health, prosperity, and athletic ability. But in today’s Gospel Jesus calls the broken and outcast, the poor, those who morn, and the meek blessed. Blessedness is a sign of being loved by God, who pours out mercy and love on everyone. God blesses us and changes us from the inside out too b saints and to be blessings for the world.

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Reformation Sunday—October 29, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jeremiah 31:31–34 | Psalm 46 | Romans 3:19–28 | John 8: 31–36
Summary: In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that if we continue in his word, the truth will set us free. These days we all push for personal freedom, and we have lost the value of community. The Jesus community centered in God’s word, so Luther’s translation of the Bible into the vernacular was a big deal. As we realize that we are slaves to our stuff, our jobs, money, beauty, and so much more, we need to be set free to love God, our neighbors, and our communities. Through hope, we work to make the world the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit blows through the world, telling us of God’s covenant with us and moving us to be God’s community.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 29—October 22, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 33:12–23 | Psalm 99 | 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10 | Matthew 22:15–22
Summary: We all struggle to move into maturity of faith, and we want our mentors to go with us. In our first lesson, the people of Israel had just worshiped the golden calf because Moses had left them and gone up into the mountain. God wanted to destroy them all, but Moses interceded and asked God to go before the people on their journey through the desert, and God agreed. In times like ours, we truly need a God who goes with us. We all grow up, but we never outgrow our need for Immanuel, God with us, who strengthens us to go with others in need.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 28—October 15, 2017

Preacher: Bishop Andrew Taylor
Lessons: Exodus 32:1–14 | Psalm 106:1–6, 19–23 | Philippians 4:1–9 | Matthew 22:1–14
Summary: Our first lesson and the Gospel parable both seem to be talking about an angry God who punishes evil people. But do we believe in a God who sends hurricanes, wild fires, and mass shooters to punish us for the evil we do? Looking deeper in the Gospel parable and comparing the man who was cast out for not having the right coat with Jesus who dies on the cross for us a few chapters later, is not God more like the man than the king? God is like the parent who, while faithfully loving the child, is angry at the dangerous thing the child has done. God is there for us, walking with us through the evil of this world.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 27—October 8, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 20:1–4, 7–9, 12–20 | Psalm 19 | Philippians 3:4b–14 | Matthew 21:33–46
Summary: Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard, which undergirds today’s Gospel story of the vineyard, is all about the fruit, but the story in Matthew is all about violence. We think about the recent violence in Las Vegas, and we wonder about the fruits of our modern society. Too often we focus on ourselves, we are unwilling to change, and our gardens are tightly regulated. God, through Jesus, calls us to plant a garden that bears good fruit to feed the world.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 26—October 1, 2017

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 17:1–7 | Psalm 78:1–4, 12–16 | Philippians 2:1–13 | Matthew 21:23–32
Summary: Just prior to today’s Gospel, Jesus has ridden into Jerusalem like a king, healed the sick, and driven the money changers from the temple. The religious leaders come to ask about his authority, and Jesus replies by asking a question they cannot answer without getting into trouble. What is the authority governing your lives? Polls tell us that few in our modern world are guided by their faith. In the story, Jesus stands firm in the knowledge he is operating under God’s authority. God wraps us in arms of love as we seek to do God’s will.

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