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Grace Alone Online

Author: Greg Klotz

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Weekly sermons from Grace Lutheran Church, 195 Alvarado Avenue, Pittsburg, California, 94565
64 Episodes
Continuing our series on Re-Discovering God's Mission, we meet the first challenge that the Apostle's encountered.  A challenge between tradition (or personal preference as it is today) and Biblical Truth (God's Word and command).  When Jesus told the disciples to Go and Make Disciples, there was no game plan.  eh did not provide them with a manual.  And there was a good reason for it.  Whereas a game-plan may have provided a "how to do it..." as a fool-proof method, our Lord is not a God of coercion and forcefulness.  He want a relationship with his creation.  A coercion would demand that people meet God where HE is something that they must to in order to be saved.  God, however, created us beautifully IN HIS IMAGE; meaning, to have a relationship, to fellowship, to commune.  And think with the diversity of language, culture, and art, how the world groups and communes in fellowships with other in that group.  God want to be a part of that group with His message of Christ.  Humans are made for fellowship and ultimately, fellowship with God.  Christ, therefore, must speak to and be a part of culture in order to bring hope, salvation, love and compassion, to a specific people because that's how people operate; not effectively but affectively.  In order to do this, the Apostle's needed to discern between what was personal preference or a cultural tradition and the biblical truth of GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES.  Would their traditions stand in the way of someone who is not from their tradition?  Would their language, customs, religious traditions? What were they to do so that Christ became real for those who were not Jewish?  Find out.... 
Re-disovering god's mission is to rediscover your place, and your congregation's place, in that mission.  While churches are thriving, growing, have large numbers, many times, the impetus of size is what drives a congregation into ministry.  Many people + telling many people = more people.  And, more often than not, a diversity of activities and events allow people personal preferences.  However, when churches decline in membership or attendance, most start to ask, "what happened?" This question starts a process of analysis that can lead to discovering God's Mission.  It can be quite illuminating as we rediscover that "getting more people in the pews" is NOT God's primary mission objective.  there are many reasons why churches want to get more people "in the pew" and it usually is for sustaining and maintaining what has always been done in the past, in order to continue in the future.  No. God's primary mission objective is GO AND TELL....regardless if people come to your congregation and fill the pews.  A nice outcome would be that they "join" your fellowship, but God's primary mandate to us is to GO AND TELL!  Today we look at the organization of the early, early Christian church and how, from it's humble beginnings, people were added (convinced of the Gospel message) to belong to the fellowship of other Christians like them.  Was it programs?  Was it entertainment?  No.  Find out. (Acts 14:21-28; Romans 16:1-16; Acts 6:1-7 form the basis for the messsage)
Last week we heard where the 12 Apostles journeyed to throughout the world.  From Spain to India.  From Ethiopia to Armenia.  Today, we look at what is commonly known among Christians as the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:16-20 where Jesus tells the eleven to "Go and make disciples of all nations...."  This was the beginning of the Christian movement.  Perhaps it was not as simple as it seems.  We know this movement NOW, as the Christian Church, and cannot conceive of it as it first started out.  Even as the disciples went to the appointed mountain to meet with Jesus, the text says that that "some doubted."  What did they doubt?  Their ability? the truth? Jesus? the reality of it all? But then, some exciting things happened to them.  And, when they went out, they could not "go and make disciples" if it were not for two important things.  1. The prayers of the believers and 2. their offerings, both money and material needs, for the needy.  We look at how prayer and offerings is mentioned by St. Paul, almost inseparably, in these early beginnings of the Church. How do you support the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior as part of your congregation?  How do you pray for your pastor and congregation to remain as living witnesses of the Gospel today?  Listen to the details!
Rediscovering God's Mission for our congregation - week 2:  We look at the Apostles.  As Jesus sent them out with "power and authority" even Judas was included.  Matthew names the 12 apostles.  Where did they go after Pentecost?  We mostly hear about Peter, John and a little about James.  then, Paul comes on the scene and sort of steals the show.  Most of what we know doctrinally comes form his pen.  Today we look at where the Apostles went and the martyrdom that they faced.  If it were not for them, we would not be here today.  in fact, none of the church would be here today.  How does this impact our mission and our witness as we pass the baton of Christ from generation to generation.
Today's Gospel talks about wayward, lost sheep.  I don't know about sheep, but we had a beagle once.  Perhaps beagle is much more relatable to an urban society than a sheep.  Beagles act like sheep, which makes the point as Isaiah prophecies about the coming Messiah saying, "All we like "beagles" have gone astray.  Everyone has turned to his own way. And, the Lord placed on Him the iniquity of us all."  What is it about a beagle or a shepherd who abandons a whole flock to look for one sheep, or even about the woman who turned her house upside down to find a lost coin have to do with God's love for us.  Find out how we all howl like beagles.
In this weeks episode, enjoy the whole service.  The sermon, however, begins at minute 25:15 for those interested only in the message.EAT YOUR PEAS is something probably most of us heard from our parents.  When commanded we begin to whine and negotiate with our parents about what we should do, compared with what we want to do.  We negotiate with God daily about what constitutes "following Him."  For instance, in today's Gospel, Jesus says nobody is worthy to follow Him if they cannot hate father, mother, sister, brother and even deny themselves.  What a change from "love your neighbor as yourself..."  Is this the same God?  Does He make such demands to frustrate us?  Our immediate response is to negotiate our limits as to what we are able and unable to do in following Him.  We want him to accept us as we lowering His expectations of us.  "He'll understand..." we sometimes say.  Listen in as we discuss that God DOES demand complete negotiating...and why we can't.
When you think about the resurrection, do you always think in the future?  Most people think of the resurrection as something that occurs on the Last Day, when our Lord returns to create a new heavens and earth for his redeemed.  Why is it that we don't htink of the resurrection as something that has happened NOW; in the wake of Christ's own resurrection.  The question is, then, does Christ's message prepare you for the day you die?  or does it prepare you for the resurrected life.  Listen and find out...
What? Last week, we talked about peace, and Jesus said, “Do not be anxious; do not let your heart be troubled.” Today, Jesus tells us I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Make up your mind. What can we make of this apparent turn about. Does Jesus bring peace or not? Does he bring comfort or a sword? In our Gospel text, Jesus offers us an object lesson about a sword, a cross and a life. They seem like separate things, but they are all related.Our text is the Holy Gospel for today, from Matthew chapter 10. Jesus has been instructing his disciples in this chapter, preparing them for what they’re getting themselves in for. And it’s not going to be a bed of roses because some of these roses are going to have thorns. He is asking his disciples, “Are you ready for this?”
In today's Gospel, Jesus says, "Fear not, little flock..."  How easy it is to say these words, but how difficult it is to "feel" at peace.  Jesus words seem unrealistic, fantastical, un-real.  What with the mass shootings in Gilory, California; Dayton, Ohio; El Paso, Texas, it's enough to make you paranoid in any public situation.  Yet, in the midst of anxiety, Jesus invites us to have peace, and true peace; one that passes any peace that can be bought or made in our society.  Find out more about the evil that is in the world, and the peace which only Christ offers us.  Listen in.
Today we are celebrating the baptism of Ryan Alan Weaver.  He wants to be sealed with the Holy Spirit and receive the blessed assurance that God the Father is his true Father, and that God the Son, Jesus Christ, is indeed the brother that has redeemed him from sin, death and the power of Satan.  Water and the Word, Christ's words, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.."  Ryan is baptized in the name of the Triune God, as Scripture teaches.  Baptized into that name, Ryan receives the inheritance of sonship given to all who have gone before him and all who will come after him believing in Jesus Christ as His savior.  A little more than 5 years ago, however, Carrie Underwood wrote a song called "Something in the Water" - I wonder why 'something' was used?  Did she not know what was in the water?  Did she think it was a magical water only?  We dig deep into Scriptural teaching on Baptism today.
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