Sermons by “Rev. John R. Larson”

Tomorrow – Worry or Wonder?

Tomorrow, should it be worry, or wonder? Wonder!! Sometimes I wish I had a mind for the sciences, like so many of you, because science is just so amazing. I wonder if someone has already calculated the exact time and path for this next total eclipse that is going to come to our area 375 years from now. Don’t you just love creation!! It is orderly, predictable. That is how our great God has made it. All this stuff that we see didn’t arrive here by chance, by some big mistake, no – God in His genius, in His formation, has done all of this by His miraculous mind.

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Playing The Hand You Are Dealt

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You have to play the hand you are dealt”? The phrase comes from playing cards. You get so many cards, and you can’t get different ones, (at least in some games), and you have to do what you can with the cards you are given. Job was dealt these cards – Job had this life to live, with all the loss and the suffering. How would he do it? I’ve been here long enough to know that many of you have been dealt a hand that is not a royal flush, not even two pair. What will you do the hand dealt to you?

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Grace!!

Why stay poor? Why live in poverty? Why be empty or hopeless or broken? Why live with guilt or are faithless? This is God’s plea to you and me. It is God’s invitation to those who are indifferent to Him, or apathetic, or who have rejected His right ways. “Come!!” Martin Luther offering a commentary on this says, “As I have said, it is difficult to break a habit, and therefore we must cling to the Word, since this teaching is not like any other. In the doctrine we must constantly remain pupils, because practice and custom are always fighting against us. For that reason we must incline our ears. Come, as if to say, ‘You are always looking, listening, and going elsewhere. But I say to you, unless you incline and come in this direction, you will die of starvation.’” (AE 17:252)

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The Cure

What is your burden? What makes you weary? Maybe life is just hard. Physically you hurt and you don’t know if you can do what you want to do. Maybe demands have been placed upon you that are more than you can handle. Or, for many of us, the burden isn’t our life, it is in the life of the folks that we treasure – they have challenges that we shoulder. You are weary because of the choices of your children or grandchildren. You bear the pain of a friend, or a spouse, or your parents. Your burden for them never goes away.

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A Wise Prayer For a Nation

A wise prayer for a nation, our wise prayer for this nation, is that God would be very present among us. Our nation must be guided by God in the ways that are right and holy. Our nation must be guided by our God in acts that are merciful and gracious. If God is not present, our country, made up of both believers in Jesus and those who aren’t, will suffer.

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No Quick Fixes

Quick fixes usually don’t work. Every plumber or electrician will shake their heads over quick fixes that were no fixes at all – they were called to clean up the mess of some wannabe plumber or electrician. No, this is no quick fix. This is God’s fix. And God’s fix can begin today. It is not too late for it.

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God Is…

There are thick books, thicker than phone books, that is, when there were phone books, which try to take this great teaching of the Bible – the Holy Trinity – and define it. But the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is wonderfully true, is also amazingly confusing. We believe there are three separate beings – unique from one another – but there is only one God. But of all the people in the world who have ever written about this, and debated it and defended it, I think that I have the clearest word about who God is. (Talk about arrogance, huh?)

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Insufficient

But this is what I think – They didn’t know what to do next!! For three years they had seen His miracles, listened to His sermons, believed that God had sent the Savior of the world here in Him, and now He left. What would they do? How would they handle life?

Having the feeling of fear or having the knowledge that we are insufficient, or incapable, is a hard reality. The word “can’t”, or the reality that something is too hard or impossible is something that we don’t readily accept. But Pentecost shows us our weakness and our strength at the same time. It will show us our failing and give us our answer.

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Here I Stand

You are going to be challenged to reject this faith. Your friends, your enemies, some folks who you greatly respect and want their approval, will tell you that believing in a God you can’t see, and confessing the death and resurrection of Jesus as the only way to have forgiveness of sins and eternal life, is foolish. More than one will tell you that you can’t trust the Bible to be true. And someone will try to tempt you to live a life that denies God’s holy ways of life. Someone will try to get you to take stuff into your body that will only harm it. Someone will tell you that you can do stuff sexually with your body that is outside of God’s holy will for you. Someone will say you can do what you want to do anytime and anywhere. You’ll be challenged to reject true faith and true life.

If you say, “Here I stand, this is what I believe”, you may stand alone. You may be rejected.

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But As For Me…

Joshua was looking for a commitment and so am I. I pray that you will say again, or for the very first time, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

If anyone has had the influence in a family to make such a commitment it is usually the mother. Mothers, grand-mothers, aunts, or others that assume that great place in a family, are to be applauded!! They have allowed many folks through the ages to say, “But as for me and my household…”

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