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Archive for December 2019

God is Love

God is Love
1 John 4:7-16
Christmas Eve

What makes Christmas so special?

We gather on this Holy Night, remembering the birth of the Christ Child, Jesus. We see the nativity scene of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. This is what it is all about. God taking on flesh and blood, God coming to humanity for a reason. Why would God do this, the only answer is as one hymn writer put it, Loved caused His incarnation, as our reading for tonight says God is Love.

But what does it mean that God is love? We live in a world where there are many different definitions of love and hate using these words for their own purposes. But tonight is a special night, when we see God’s love in action, and we see what love is really all about.

The incarnation that God taking on flesh and blood and being born of Mary is about God’s love for you. Notice the direction, from heaven above to earth Jesus comes. God comes because He loves you. So Jesus was sent to be as verse 10 says the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation that million dollar word, that is worth more than and million millions. It means Jesus appeasing God the father on our behalf.

Our sin separates us from God, so Jesus took on flesh and blood in order to suffer and die on the cross, so that we are saved. Jesus Himself notes

John 15:13 (ESV) 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus did lay down His life for you, so we may experience the love that comes from God.

Being Christmas, we ask how do we receive this gift of love? It is given to us by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word and Sacraments.

What do we do with the love, first we enjoy it, than we share it.

We rejoice in the Christmas love given, and then we share.

Jesus own words as it written in Acts 20:35 (ESV) 35 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

That would be a good defination of love from Jesus viewpoint. Lay down life, gives His life so that we recevie eternal life. All because God is Love.

As this love is a self-sacrafical love, when we receive this love, it changes us.

Consider the other Christmas charters from the Grinch to Scrooge, there is a change in us when God’s love touches us. We are not the same person, for that Love that we receive from Christ, extends through us to others around us. As God’s love extends through us we confess that God is Love.

1 John 4:15 (ESV) 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

This is how Christmas continues. We gather where God’s love and forgiveness promises to be, receiving His gifts, not just at Christmas time, but every week, there is a Christmas here. Every week the Miracle of Christmas where God’s Word of Love and forgiveness is read, proclaimed and received right here. We don’t always have the decoration, but every week we have the gifts of God’s grace, love and forgiveness given.

What makes Christmas so special? Christ, given for you.

In His name Amen.

Written by dballa

December 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Sermons

Seeing the Glory of the Lord

Seeing the Glory of the Lord
Isaiah 35:1-10
Advent 3a

The opening words of our Old Testament reading say:

Isaiah 35:1–2 (ESV) 1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

O to see the Glory of the Lord, that Isaiah was showing the people of Israel. Wouldn’t be nice to go back to that time.

Are you old enough to remember the good ole days? The days when everything seemed better than they are now. In the past, especially in the church when the pews had more people in it. We were busy doing Turkey dinners, and other activities. When the parking lot was fuller, there was talk about expansion and relocation because we didn’t have enough room.

Many people asked why can’t we return to the good old days. So many have looked at the church trying to figure out what needs to change so that the good old days will return, so that the pews will be full again, and there will be an excitement in the air, like it once was.

Ecclesiastes 7:10 (ESV) 10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

That may not have been the answer you were looking for

Lamentations 3:22–24 (ESV) 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Quivering lip but but but…

Isaiah 43:18 (ESV) 18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

What was the strength of the past, is the same strength for the present and the future

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Recently had a conversation with someone who sister join a very Large Lutheran Church. All the sister could talk about was how large their church was. To which I replied, I just need a couple of other people around God’s Word and I have Jesus with me, and that is all I ever need.

What was the strength of the past, Jesus what is the strength of today, Jesus, what will be our future, Jesus. Do we need something besides Jesus

Isaiah 35:2 (ESV) 2 They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

Jesus came who birth we celebrate. Are we not seeing the GLory of the Lord, here and now. Do we not see that God is active, His Word proclaimed.

During the time of Advent, we prepare for the coming of our Savior, by remembering how God kept His promise and the Savior was born of Mary born in Bethlehem.

So what do we do:

Isaiah 35:3–4 (ESV) 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”


You God will come and He will come and Save you. That was the hope during the time of Isaiah, That God would keep His promise. We see that promise fulfilled, we celebrate the promise completed, and we strengthen the weak and the anxious, that He will come again.

But we like things that we can measure, just as Jesus

John 20:29 (ESV) 29 Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Do we believe that the Glory of the Lord is still here at Peace Lutheran Church in Plainfield, IL?


Consider the miracle in Matthew 9

Matthew 9:2–8 (ESV) 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Did they glorify God because of the healing of the paralytic or the healing of the forgiveness of sins? We don’t know what was in the man’s heart, but what really matters is what did Jesus say was more important for them to know?

Here at Peace, the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ has been proclaimed and is still being proclaimed. The Glory of the Lord is still here at Peace, but do you see it?

Exodus 33:18–20 (ESV) 18 Moses said [to God], “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’

Isn’t the name of the Lord still proclaimed here at Peace?


Isn’t the glory of the Lord still visible here at Peace?


Isaiah 35:4 (ESV) 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Consider when we are anxious, we run around scared, trying anything to rid the anxiety. But notice where God through Isaiah points the anxious, back to the message that the Christ will come and save you.

Yes, we get anxious, but the only message of comfort never change, That Christ Jesus will come back and save you. For we see the Glory of the Lord, here and now. In His name. Amen.

Written by dballa

December 14, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Sermons