Category Archives: Pastor’s Blog

Hymns for Sunday – 9th Sunday After Pentecost

Opening Hymn – Blest Be The Tie That Binds – LSB 649

Note: Most often (outside of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) this hymn is sung to the tune DENNIS by Hans Nägeli. In The Lutheran Hymnal and in the Lutheran Service Book, this hymn is set to the tune Boylston. As such, the video options are rather limited… but here’s the tune… played on a trombone

Sermon Hymn – Entrust Your Days and Burdens – LSB 754

Closing Hymn – How Wide the Love of Christ – LSB 535

This is another tune is tough to find online with this text. Often the tune SWABIA is paired with the hymn “Tis Good Lord To Be Here” (except in TLH and LSB) or “This is the Day of Light”. Here is the tune which matches the tune for “How Wide the Love of Christ” in the Lutheran Service Book.

Jesus Feeds the 5000 - by Laura James

Hymns for this Sunday – 8th Sunday After Pentecost

Opening Hymn – Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us – LSB 711

Sermon Hymn – The Church’s One Foundation – LSB 644

Samuel J. Stone indicated that he was moved to write this hymn and 11 others, all based on the Apostles’ Creed, because of his admiration for the noble defense of the Catholic faith by Bishop Gray of Capetown. This defense was made against Bishop John William Colenso of Natal, who in his books St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (1861) and The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua, Critically Examined (1866), challenged the historicity of many of the Old Testament books. This particular hymn was written on the ninth article or section of the Creed, “The Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints,” and was published in the author’s Lyra Fidelium; Twelve Hymns on the Twelve Articles of the Apostles’ Creed (Oxford, 1866), where it appeared in seven stanzas. The author revised and recast it in five-stanza form in 1868 and then expanded it in 1885 to ten verses. …

The hymn has been used widely and consistently throughout Christendom. It was sung as the processional in special services at Canterbury, Westminster, and St. Paul’s in London when the bishops met for the Lambeth Conference in 1888. …

It was said that the effect of this hymn when sung on this occasion at St. Paul’s was immense. … Archbishop Temple is supposed to have once said that whenever he was called on to visit a country parish, he could always count upon two things: “cold chicken and The Church’s One Foundation.”

Source: Christian Worship Handbook

Closing Hymn – Lord Jesus Christ, Life Giving Bread – LSB 625

The Birth of a Sermon

Have you ever wondered how a sermon comes to be? If you were to ask 5 pastors about how they go about writing their sermons, you would likely get about 8 different answers.  The process is different for each, but to give you, my dear reader a little window into my own process I thought I would put down how the sermon you hear on Sunday morning has come about.

1.  The process begins weeks in advance when I look over the big picture.  What are the readings for the year, the season, the next few weeks.  Is there a progression? What is the shape of the forrest, so to speak?  Are we diving into Jesus Parables? Will the Epistle reading go “continuously” (sort of) through one Epistle? Is there an overarching theme .

2. To help with the first, I look at the “Propers” in the service, that is the prayers (or Collects), the proper preface, the Gradual, Introit, Tract, and Verse.  Sometimes these can give clues as the Church Year flows from one season to another.

3. A couple weeks out I start jotting down some more specific ideas on the text I am preaching on, narrowing down one particular aspect, one way in this text uniquely preaches the Gospel.

4. The hard/fun part – translation (it’s only hard because I’m still not the best at translation). I think this is especially important. Nuances in the Greek and Hebrew sometimes just don’t translate well. As this is done I also see a bit closer how the text is structured, grammar and rhetoric often really do drive what the text is saying and likewise help shape the sermon.

5. Visitation. Visiting with people, both in and outside the congregation, hearing what is going on in people’s lives, their hurts, their joys and applying God’s word to those situations is invaluable.

6. Study. Look at commentaries and pastors from the early Church and from Lutherans in the past, how have they preached this text?

7. Iron sharpens iron. Hashing out ideas. Sometimes it can be throwing things up against the wall and seeing what sticks. This is where a lot of cutting takes place. A text may present 15 different directions, 15 ways to preach that one Gospel, the difficult thing is to stay on track. Hearing from someone else that an idea/paragraph does or does not help keep things on track is very helpful. Here also useful illustrations may be gained, non-useful illustrations get put aside.

8. Preaching the text to yourself.  Really this has been happening throughout the week/weeks. As it comes to Wednesday and Thursday the focus becomes more sharp (at least that’s the hope). Friday and Saturday morning the sermon is still in the back of my mind as I spend time with my family.

9. Polishing. Sometimes a sermon is ready to go on Thursday… but that is rare.  Saturday night and/or Sunday early in the morning things get tweaked (and sometimes by “tweaked” I mean overhauled), especially based on reflection as I let the sermon “breathe” so to speak over the last few days. This is not to say that I consider my sermon delivery highly “polished”, and this is somewhat intentional, I want my sermons to sound much the same way as how I would speak to you.

10. Preach the sermon. I have been living and breathing the text that I am preaching now for at least a week. This is what you hear.