You are the pearl of great price

 

Two Sundays ago, the sermon was on these parables from Matthew 13:

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

These are usually interpreted as the Kingdom of Heaven being so valuable that we need to do everything to get it, but Pastor Douthwaite pointed out that the Old Testament reading for the day, Deuteronomy 7:6, says that God’s people are His treasure.  And that   .  The one who spent the most valuable thing He had to buy something He wanted was Christ redeeming us (1 Peter 18:20). The ones who are buried and covered are us (Romans 6:4).  Therefore, you are the treasure in the field.  You are the pearl of great price.  Christ has paid everything for you. [Read more...]

We are all Nazarenes

The Nazis painted a yellow Star of David on the homes of Jews to mark them for persecution.  Today the Islamic State in Iraq is painting an Arabic “n”–for Nazarene–on the homes of Christians for the same reason.  In a show of solidarity, Christians all across the world are adapting that letter, using it as a social media avatar or a logo.  Here is a popular version:

 

But read what Russell Moore says on this subject, after the jump, how all Christians, being in Christ, share His earthly home and are all Nazarenes. [Read more...]

Going to Church for rest

Another powerful, helpful sermon from our pastor,  Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Pentecost 4 Sermon:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

That’s sounds good. In fact, that’s sounding particularly good to me today, because I’m tired. Being away with our youth at the Higher Things conference in Gainesville, Florida was a great week, but it’s a long, tiring week. All the driving down and back, all the things going on there, teaching and preaching, and staying up past my usual early bedtime . . . yeah, I’m tired. I could use a little rest.

So . . . I came here. To church. To rest. [Read more...]

Confessing the faith

Last Sunday was the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, two different and yet unified confessors of the Christian faith.  Also on that day, one of my former students joined our church by adult confirmation, a rite that includes the vow to suffer all, even death, rather than renounce the teachings of the evangelical Lutheran church.  I loved how our pastor not only explored what it means to “confess” the faith, but also how he tied Teresa’s confession to that of Peter and Paul. [Read more...]

Freedom vs. slavery

In church last Sunday, Pastor Douthwaite’s sermon dealt with the question St. Paul raises, Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? (Romans 6:12-23).  In doing so, he explored the paradox that much of what the world calls freedom, the Bible calls slavery. [Read more...]

Making Christianity strange again

Russell Moore thinks the persecution of Christians around the world might bring American Christianity back to life.   Tagline to his post:  “Christianity in this country is big, powerful, and familiar. We need it to become strange again.” [Read more...]


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