Nice Christianity

I am convinced that God works through us to bring about the kingdom God desires, but sometimes I wonder if God doesn’t get the feeling that the obstacle to getting there isn’t so much evil in the world as it is “nice Christianity.” Here’s what I mean by that: A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on the 13th Chapter of Corinthians. I mentioned that it has been sentimentalized to the point where one person said that it has been reduced to the profundity of a Barry Manilow song. Well, I’m back here to tell you that I think the same thing may have happened with verse 31 of today’s gospel from Luke: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Just as 1st Corinthians 13 has become known

Epiphany 6

Sermon by Rev. Scott Gustafson One of my overriding concerns in preaching on the assigned texts this morning is how can I be faithful to these texts and still have a few friends left in the congregation. With the exception of the passage from Corinthians, all these texts draw a sharp contrast between “the haves” – which is, quite frankly, me and most, but not all of you – and the “have nots.” And, in this Gospel lesson – Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount – not only does Jesus bless the poor, the hungry, those who mourn and those who are hated and excluded from proper society on account of their allegiance to the Son of Man, but, unlike Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Luke’s version ca

Doorknobs and Discipleship

I have two questions to begin my sermon and I won’t give you the answers until the end. The questions are very different, but have the same answer: 1) Are you a follower of Jesus? 2) Are the doorknobs in your home on the left side of your doors or the right side? You can be thinking about that doorknob thing as I recount the events in Today’s reading from Luke’s gospel: Jesus is on the side of Lake Geneserret He sees fishermen casting their nets. He gets into one of the boats – not for the purpose of helping them fish, but to be able to teach them from the boat. When he gets done teaching he invites them to put down their nets one more time. They haven’t caught anything all night l

The "Luv" Chapter

There I was after the picture-perfect wedding ceremony with the bride and groom. Everything had been just so. Colorful flowers and bows cascaded from each pew. Bridesmaids wore designer dresses. The bride got to the front of the church before the train on her dress had cleared the back door! The little ring bearer and flower girl were too cute and frighteningly well-behaved. And now the photographer was going to make sure we recorded the consummate occasion for all of posterity. Everyone posed just so and smiled just right. Finally, the photographer called me over and said, “Pastor, now we are going to go to the pulpit and take a picture of the bride and groom’s hand entwined on the

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Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

The Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Carl

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