Tag Archives: Psalm 119

Knowledge, Understanding, & Wisdom

Parables, parables, parables. We are in a season of parables.

But, there is a thread throughout the whole of our scriptures this morning.
It is wisdom, from King Solomon to Paul’s letter, to Jesus’ parables.

Solomon, son of King David, is essentially offered a magical Genie lamp.
God comes to Solomon and asks ‘what do you want? Whatever is your heart’s desire, I will give you. I encourage you to ponder, what would your response have been? What is your heart’s desire?

Solomon asked for wisdom, although it was not the language used in scripture. Solomon asked for the ability to discern the ‘right’ (or wise) choices, not for his own benefit but for the benefit of the people that he had been placed in authority over.

Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are not quite the same things.
We can know something intellectually and not understand it.
We can understand something and still not have the wisdom to apply it.

As seen online, but adapted…
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Understanding is knowing a tomato is a fruit because of the seeds.
Wisdom is knowing that you do not put tomato in a fruit salad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 28, 2020 in Sermons


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Intensified Law, Sin Boldly

Our gospel is a continued except from Jesus’ infamous ‘Sermon on the Mount’.

Within the scripture,…

But Jesus’ tone has shifted.
Jesus denounces the rumor that he came to ‘abolish’ the law.

The Torah, teaching, is the first 5 Books in the Hebrew Bible (and Old Testament).
The Torah includes the Ten Commandments and the remaining legal code.

Who enjoys the law? Depends on the situation. 

According to Martin Luther and our Lutheran tradition, the legal code serves three purposes:

  1. Civil Law and Order
    It is a guideline for healthy interaction with God and neighbor while maintaining good order (and boundaries). In essence the legal code restrains us, especially from killing one another, due to the consequences. Honestly, in the words of Brandy Clarks’ Strips “the crime of passion aint worth the crime of fashion” (lol).
  2. A Mirror Reflecting Our Short-Comings
    Who enjoys seeing themselves in the mirror in the morning, without hair and make up done? NO ONE. The legal code is that mirror, which reflects to us the sins, failures, and short-comings we are reluctant to recognize and acknowledge.
  3. Points us to Christ
    Although the third use of the law is debated, after looking into the mirror, it points us to our need for God’s love, mercy, and grace through Jesus the Christ.

Jesus did not abolish the legal code, but intensified it while rebelling against the non-essentials. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 17, 2020 in Sermons


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Lenten Meditation: the Word Sustains & Shapes

“Since that day God has been at work toward the meaning of the creation… The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, stands for a mended creation with people and things – a social, economic, ecological reality. Thus, Jesus’ miracles were not primarily signs of his power but acts of mending the creation, pushing back the frontier of Satan, healing minds and bodies, feeding, even counteracting the devastation of the premature death of the young and needy.”
Kister Stendahl, Meanings

“The nature of water is soft, the nature of stone is hard; but if a bottle is hung above a stone letting the water drip down, it wears away the stone. It is like that with the word of God; it is soft and our heart is hard; but if someone hears the word of God often, it will break open his heart to the fear of God.”
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, p. 191.

This evening, we have two qualities or actions of the Word of God instead of one, however how it ‘sustains’ and ‘shapes’ us go hand-in-hand.

There a variety of images that came to mind as I prepared for this evening. One selected is humorous and the other more serious, so we will start with the serious.

While in the final year of Seminary coursework prior to internship, I was also the dorm proctor. One day early in the academic year, a professor had let us “go free” for an hour to read an article and then return ready to discuss it. I was sitting at a local coffee shop, enjoying a coffee, and reading the article when a first year Seminary dorm-mate saw me. He inquired about the article I was reading, which was exploring the different visions of salvation, such as (1) who is saved, (2) how are we saved, and (3) how do we know. Then he asked for my opinion, I gave it to him, and he informed me that I was WRONG. After a few intense moments of discussion, I told him that he would not change my mind and we would have to agree to disagree. His response was to lean over the table between us and start pounding his fist on the table saying “NO! I CANNOT DO THAT”. I replied “I don’t know what to tell you”.

People understand the role of a pastor includes “saving” you, “sustaining” you spiritually, and to correct your misbehavior (sin) transforming each into righteous (Old Testament) law-abiding Christians. Well, I have news for you:

The last time I checked that was NOT within my job description. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Sermons


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A Life Well-Lived

YouTube Video

At the end of reading the Gospel, I always say “the Gospel of our Lord” and the congregation replies “Praise to you, O Christ”, although they were a little hesitate this week.

Our texts were a little heavy on the law and Lutherans think the law and gospel should be balanced, like a brewmaster balancing the bitter hops with the sweet malt. You could say our texts were a little hoppy this week.

In our Deuteronomy text, we are asked to choose life or death, not mortal physical life or death, but a life well-lived. How do we live a life well-lived? By obeying, or walking in and with the law, the teachings (Torah), the guidelines for our relationship with God and neighbor, such as Psalm 119 speaks. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Sermon Summaries


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