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9/17/2017 Proper 19A

Rev Dale Skurla

Eagle-like Youth

Psalm 103:5

9/17/2017

1110 Proper 19A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

Law (we do/say) is found in … not turning to the Lord for strength.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … the Lord as satisfier.

The single preaching lesson is … the Lord who is the only satisfier.

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Many people today ask why we should go to church. People stumble over all sorts of explanations. The Psalmist summarizes why very nicely in a short sentence: Bless the Lord … who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. This is our text for this 15th Sunday after Pentecost.

I.      Forget not all His benefits

A.    The Psalmist encourages us to bless the Lord with all that is within us

B.     He counters people who think they do it all w/o realizing our talents must come from outside us
C.     God alone gives our abilities so we can accomplish marvelous things & pray, praise, thank
D.     He enables us; He guides us; He supports us; He encourages us; He is Immanuel
E.     In John 15 Jesus reminds us HE is the vine; we are the branches; we can do nothing w/o Him
F.      Everything we have, produce, accomplish begins with God’s gifts, talents, & abilities
G.     Thus, we bless His Holy Name when we use these gifts as He would have us use them
 

II.     He forgives & heals, redeems & crowns with love & mercy

A.     God does more than help us with physical blessings; humans are earthly AND spiritual people

B.      Genesis 1:27 clearly tells us that God created mankind in His own image – spiritual side
C.      He forgives us & heals us in spite of ourselves through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on Calvary
D.      Father forgives us because of Jesus’ obedience & love for Fr & us; our brother died for US
E.      By doing so Jesus crowns us with divine love & mercy no one else could give to us
F.      Only the Creator of heaven & earth could accomplish all of this after A & E first sinned
 

III.    Satisfying with good to renew us

A.     The psalmist relates physical gifts from God, then His spiritual gifts to us; always giving to us

B.      The psalmist summarizes: The Lord satisfies us w/ good so or youth is renewed like the eagle
C.      An eagle sees sharply miles away; sores gallantly, magnificently, regally; we can to w/ God
D.      God gives us that ability through knowing Him, properly acting like Him WITH Him
E.      His magnificent earthly & spiritual gifts allow us to accomplish all of these marvelous things
F.      His renewal of us only happens because He renews us first; it all begins with God

 

Conclusion:   Bless the Lord … who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. We do nothing to earn God’s gift of renewal. We did nothing to earn His redemption or even our lives. We develop His gifts to us with His guidance so that we can honor Him in our daily living. We honor Him by using His gifts for the good of others He places in our paths each & every day. Thanks be to God for all His earthly benefits to us. Thanks be to God for all His spiritual benefits to us. Thanks be to God that He renews us to use our talents to honor Him by helping our neighbors with His good and gracious gifts to us. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

9/3/2017 Proper 17A

Rev Dale Skurla

Walk in Integrity

Psalm 26:11-12

9/3/2017

1108 Proper 17A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

 

Law (we do/say) is found in … living by earthly standards.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … living with integrity by God’s standards.

The single preaching lesson is … we walk in integrity because He first redeemed us!

 

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Many people do not respect those with integrity. In fact, they often openly question a person’s motives. The constant criticism or questioning can wear on a person. The psalmist gives us guidance on how to live: But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, & be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord. This is our text for this 13th Sunday after Pentecost.

I. Walking in integrity

A. Walking with integrity isn’t as hard as it sounds; means walking as Christ would have us walk

B. EX: borrow something - return it right after you are finished using it; thank those helping you 
C. IOW walk as Christ would have us walk using His examples as our guides
D. We know we often fail, but we get up & try again because Jesus first helped us; we’re redeemed
E. His love, help, guidance, & support are with us always so we walk in His faithfulness
F. He’s faithful to His promises, therefore, we respond similarly to Baptism & Confirmation promises
 

II. Test heart & mind

A. God sees our what is in our hearts; knows if we desire to be true to His leadership or not

B. Pastors cannot see hearts or read minds, you wouldn’t want that, but God can & does!
C. We cannot fool our all-knowing, all-loving, all-giving God except in our minds; sees all, knows all
D. He hears when we ask for help, provides needed help; sadly, we don’t often listen to the answer!
E. We foolishly think He hasn’t answered our prayers because we weren’t paying attention to Him
F. Ask God & listen to His Divine answer which may well surprise us
 

III. I will walk …

A. Let us all walk with integrity because Jesus is our help, strength, model, support

B. He has redeemed us & we pray we remain steadfast until the end without rejecting Him
C. Our salvation comes down to this: Christ has forgiven us; do we receive forgiveness or reject Him
D. Are we so self-centered that we forget who gave us all things without our help?!
E. He puts our feet on level ground; He provides our task to spread His word by living our faith
F. By following His guidance wherever He places us, we do walk in integrity

 

Conclusion:   But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, & be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord. Thank you for your forgiveness, save us from final damnation, & count us among those You have chosen. Thank you for Your lessons & guidance for us. Thank you for Your steadfastness even when we falter. Help us always to walk in our integrity so that we can bless the Lord always throughout eternity with Him. Thanks be to God for His steadfastness. Thanks be to God He never gives up on us. Thanks be to God for His everlasting love. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

9/10/2017 Proper 18A

Rev Dale Skurla

Forgiveness

Psalm 32:1

9/10/2017

1109 Proper 18A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

 

Law (we do/say) is found in … sin.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … forgiveness.

The single preaching lesson is … one forgiven is truly blessed.

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. One of the hardest things we do in life is to forgive others. Another is to be forgiven. The psalmist writes: Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin in covered. This is our text for this 14th Sunday after Pentecost.

I. Sin

A. The Greek word amartion, which means missing the mark, is translated into English as sin

B. Sin really is missing the mark of perfection that God requires; thank God for sending Jesus
C. Sin shows up in all venues, times, & places; presence of temptation in unavoidable but sin is
D. God tests us, Satan tempts us, but we sin;
E. Devil made me do it is no excuse because we sinned
F. God tests us to see if we are listening, Satan tempts out of His nature as coveter; but we sin
G. Sin is often hard to confess, to recognize or even admit one was wrong; painful but worthwhile
 

II. :3 When I kept silent

A. Often, we want to hide our sins, especially those directed against someone else

B. Attempting to hide those sins only causes us more consternation, frustration, lost relationships
C. Wonderful results happen when people admit their errors to one wounded; restoration results
D. We’ve all heard stories of siblings long separated by an argument neither recalled any more
E. Forgiveness resulted in a relationship restored & lives refreshed & renewed
F. Exactly what happens between God & each of us; relationship restored if we’re not stubborn
G. Father, Son & Holy Spirit always leave the door open to us; only we close that door
 

III. :5 I acknowledged my sin to you

A. When we acknowledge our sin to one another & to God, we are refreshed, relieved, renewed

B. God strengthens our faith; He allows us to share this strengthening with others; to pass it on!
C. He encourages us to make a change in our lives towards eliminating repetitions of those sins
D. He provides help, but are we listening to receive it? Maybe not just His voice; God of means
E. God often provides through others, through creation; God grant us willingness to listen to Him
F. Therefore, Be glad in the Lord, & rejoice, O righteous, & shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

 

Conclusion:   Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin in covered. We sin. All of us admit that. However, we often keep silent so we suffer internally. When we admit our errors to God & to those wronged, that is, we acknowledge our sin, we are relieved, refreshed, renewed. Thanks be to God for giving us the awareness of sin. Thanks be to God for giving us His forgiveness in spite of ourselves. Thanks be to God for leading us to willingly listen to His help so we can make needed corrections. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

8/27 Proper 16A

Rev Dale Skurla

Always Look Up

Isaiah 51:6

8/27/2017

1107 Proper 16A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

 

Law (we do/say) is found in … in the direction to do something.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … God’s Divine guidance.

The single preaching lesson is … always look up.

 

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Hiking can be very enjoyable. Trails are well-marked. Challenges should be few. But occasionally people get lost & 911 is called. All of us are hiking. Our journey is from Prescott to heaven. Yet many people today get lost along the way. They have no compass & are in need of rescue. Isaiah gives us compass & rescue: Lift up your eyes to the heavens, & look to the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, & they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, & My righteousness will never be dismayed. This is our text for this 12th Sunday after Pentecost.

I. 51:1 Listen to Me…

A. Isaiah’s first words today are God’s & powerful: Listen to Me. Really listen not just hear & …

B. … Look to the rock from which you were hewn & to the quarry from which you were dug
C. That is, look to God who gave you life, your parents & spiritual ancestors who lead you to God
D. God gave each of us the gift of life through our parents; we did nothing to get life;
E. Read what the prophets & Apostles wrote for our benefit as guided by the Holy Spirit & learn
F. Let this be your unfailing compass on your hike to heaven
 

II. 51:4 Give attention to Me

A. Isaiah further writes: give attention to Me … law will go out from Me… My justice for a light to all

B. His laws are the 10 Commandments & are given for our protection as Psalm 19 says
C. His righteousness is ours IF we desire to follow His laws, when we fail, ask to receive forgiveness
D. Our desire should be to change our actions to conform to God’s will & ways as seen in decalogue
E. God wants us pay attention to Him all day even in relaxation; simple prayers - thanks, help, next?
F. Trusting & relying on God does help smooth out the rough trails in our lives; lots easier with Him
 

III. 51:6 Lift up Your eyes to the heavens

A. Need proof? Lift up your eyes to the heavens. What do you see? From where did all this come?

B. Science (<Scientia ≡ knowledge) tells us much from conjecture, hypothesis, little proof
C. Bible gives us the real answers: God called all into existence from nothing, Latin: ex nihilo
D. Big bang theory? Where did the cosmic dust come from that went bang? Theory fails!
E. Look at all existing, statistics for plant or animal evolution show the impossibility
F. Look to heaven, to God for all the answers, guidance in your lives, support, comfort, caring
G. God will never disappoint; He makes all situations worthwhile; to Him alone the glory

 

Conclusion:   Lift up your eyes to the heavens, & look to the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, & they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but My salvation will be forever, & My righteousness will never be dismayed. We lift up our eyes to our amazing God. We pay attention to what He says & succeed when we follow His word, His voice, His examples. Thanks be to God for Isaiah’s record for us. Thanks be to God for His continual care for us. Thanks be to God that He encourages us to always look up to Him as we journey from Prescott to our ultimate heavenly home. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

8/20/2017 Proper 15A

Rev Dale Skurla

Ask to Receive

Matthew 15:22

8/20/2017

1106 Proper 15A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

Law (we do/say) is found in … fear, feeling of hopelessness.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … receiving Jesus’ invitation to ask Him for help.

The single preaching lesson is … we are that woman.

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. In our lives we often desire something but never ask. Maybe it’s only needed direction, yet we still fail to ask, favoring a do-it-yourself attitude. Matthew records one such scenario with successful results:  And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” This is our text for this 11th Sunday after Pentecost.

I. Self-assured or do it yourself

A. Canaanite woman likely tried many things unsuccessfully; probably at her wits end by now

B. She hears Jesus is coming around & goes to Him for help; Jesus was silent; Apostles wanted her out of way
C. Jesus says He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel; she persisted-even a child’s dog eats table scraps
D. IOW, she wasn’t looking for everything, just a little help; Noting her faith, Jesus healed her daughter
E. She tried to help herself, then turned to God for help; Jesus answered by your faith alone
F. MT 7:7 -- Ask, and it will be given to you; perhaps just asking for help to make it through the day
 

II. Asking

A. Asking requires faith, hope, trust; faith to believe the correct answer will come; hope answer is correct …

B. … trust our all-knowing God knows what we need, when we need it, at just the right time
C. Doctors helps us when we ask for help, i.e. make an appointment; sometime test results take time
D. Dr. may want to run tests which may take days or weeks to get results; time of anxiety & angst
E. He may give you some ideas why but maybe just ruling out things; best advice is to stay off the computer!
F. The symptoms often are similar in many diagnoses; don’t scare yourself; <Maryland example>
 

III. What about us?

A. Many of us have been given medical results to situations they really wish they didn’t have

B. Turn to God in prayer; ask Him for help to endure in a Christian manner as Jesus did on way to His cross
C. Ask Him to let you learn His reasoning for your situation; His answer may surprise you
D. Let’s not forget yes, no, not yet, that is be patient, are answers to prayer; pray as Canaanite woman did
E. Pray by faith because He knows the right answer at the right time; pray we live the faith we say we confess
F. We just might be preaching to others without saying a word because we are living our faith

Conclusion:   And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” The Canaanite woman certainly is us. She is certainly recorded to show her steadfast request and Jesus’ unending mercy. She certainly teaches us to ask. Yes, she asked from faith, however small that may have been, & Jesus heard & answered. Thanks be to God for encouraging us to ask for what we want. Thanks be to God for faith, hope, and trust in Him. Thanks be to God that He hears and answers all of our prayers, all the time, even it requires our patience. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

8/13/2017 Proper 14

Rev Dale Skurla

Faith or Fear

Matthew 14:31

8/13/2017

1105 Proper 14A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

 

Law (we do/say) is found in … little faith.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … salvation by Jesus alone.

The single preaching lesson is … remain steadfast in the true faith.

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. When times are good we seem to have few problems with faith. Challenges, however, seem to tax our faith, even those of strong faith. Matthew records a faith lesson for us: Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” This is our text for this 10th Sunday after Pentecost.

I. Good times

A. When times are good, we often pray half-heartedly; thanksgiving comes without much thought

B. We often pray because we feel we must instead by Jesus’ invitation to pray unceasingly
C. Good times come and go; we often don’t know when times/health/abilities are good until not
D. Good times should yield heartfelt thanksgiving prayers during and after
E. Good times are in our Christian future in our heavenly home; Jesus has assured us of this
F. Sadly, many people take His gifts half-heartedly when times are good
 

II. Not so good times

A. What about those not so good times like - allergies, colds, flu, cancer, COPD, and so forth

B. Do we turn to God? Do we try to learn the lesson God would have us learn in the challenge?
C. God teaches us with every challenge & we are teaching others a Godly response to the issue
D. One thing I know for sure is God never said Christian living would be easy, just easier with Him
E. Talk with Him, listen for His answer, trust Him in all things; He has the full picture
F. No one really likes unexpected challenges, yet that is how we grow in strength & character

 

III. Get out of the boat

A. Peter had a challenge; thought he recognized Christ walking on the water & challenged Christ

B. Jesus called Peter out of the boat in heavy seas for the boat size; He walked on water then fear
C. Jesus saved him, yet, some laugh at Peter’s weak faith; would you have gotten out of the boat?
D. Peter is us! We speak of faith, then challenges raise our fear, just like Peter & Jesus saves
E. Peter called out to Jesus as his only hope; so should we in all matters, good & not so good times
F. Jesus is always there for us; let us always remember; let us never forget He is our help
G. August 12th Jesus Calling: Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow Me (Jesus) to bless you richly through it.
 

Conclusion:   Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” We are Peter. Sometimes we struggle with issues even though we say we have faith. A challenge arises, we stumble, later come to our faith senses & turn to Jesus for His help. He provides but sometimes He asks for our patience, but He never ignores us. Sometimes we can only see this in hindsight. Thanks be to God for the innumerable good times. Thanks be to God for lessons in the not so good times and the promise that He is always with us. Thanks be to God Peter got out of the boat for our benefit. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

8/6/2017 Proper 13

Rev Dale Skurla

Abundance

Matthew 14:19b-20

8/6/2017

1104 Proper 13A

Shepherd of the Hills, Prescott, AZ

Law (we do/say) is found in … Jesus directing the apostles to get food for the crowd.

Gospel (God does/says) is found in … the multiplication of the loaves and fish with leftovers!

The single preaching lesson is … God provides abundantly.

Introduction: Grace & peace to you from God our Father & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. We often ask God for things even half-heartedly. Sometimes we may even doubt He will provide as we ask. Then He challenges our faith & provides abundantly. Matthew records the feeding of the 5,000: … taking the five loaves & the two fish, He looked up to heaven & said a blessing. The He broke the loaves & gave them to the disciples, & the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate & were satisfied. And they took up 12 baskets full of the broken pieces left over. This is our text for this 9th Sunday after Pentecost.

I. Pray first

A. Did you notice what Jesus did first? He prayed! Following prayer, a miracle happened

B. Jesus fed 5,000 men + women & kids (:21), for a likely total of 20,000 – entire population
C. We also pray before the Lord’s Supper using the Prayer of Thanksgiving
D. As Jesus humbled Himself before the Father, so we humble ourselves before Him
E. Pray first, not just for meals, but for guidance in all things for HIS results to happen, not ours!
F. Apostles seemed to doubt; Jesus had faith in Father; in faith we should ask in Jesus’ Name
 

II. Satisfaction (praise)

A. Now imagine, you were there; 5 loaves (size of hamburger buns?) & 2 fish, but so what?

B. I think the crowd didn’t know how it all began except for those in close proximity to Jesus
C. Apostles knew & were amazed; 5 loaves, 2 fish for upwards of 20,000 satisfied people
D. Miracles of abundance: Moses quail & Manna, Elisha & jar of oil (2Kgs), Jesus 5,000 & 4,000
E. Israelites: doubt, dismay, boredom; Elisha widow: faith & thanks; Jesus to be king wrongly
F. All were teaching moments about hope, faith, trust; all had different results for right reasons
 

III. Abundance – more than enough (give thanks)

A. Jesus provided & still abundantly provides for us today; How? To ask means having w/o seeing

B. Web search: poorest American are richer than 80% of world’s population - let that sink in
C. 71% of the world holds only 3% of global wealth; Americans are wealthy just don’t know it
D. We should be giving thanks for the abundance of God’s earthly gifts to us & spiritual gifts
E. We worship in peace - give thanks; we have delightful weather – give thanks
F. Friends, family, church family, housing, health, beating heart, breathing lungs – give thanks
G. And we have the unearned promise of eternity in heaven w/ Fr, Son, HS – give thanks

Conclusion:   … taking the five loaves & the two fish, He looked up to heaven & said a blessing. The He broke the loaves & gave them to the disciples, & the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate & were satisfied. And they took up 12 baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Jesus prayed & so should we. His crowds were satisfied & amazed at His abundant gifts & so should we. We should be thankful for all our gifts, tangible or intangible. Thanks be to God for reminding us to pray, praise, & give thanks for each & every one of His gifts to us – especially the people He places in our lives evryday. Thanks be to God He continues to remind us of our blessings. Thanks be to God for His abundant goodness in all matters. To God & to Him alone be all honor & glory this day & forevermore. Amen.

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