Luke 12:22-37 
(click to display NIV text)
July 28, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“For the pagan world runs after all these things (what you will eat and drink) and your father knows that you need them. But seek his Kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Jesus has been talking in this section of Luke about the goodness of God. He wants people to know about God’s love and his provision for them. He tells his disciples not to worry or be anxious, and not to live with a self-exalting sense of what to eat and what to wear. Joel Green points out that “Jesus can locate evidences of God’s generosity and care in the world all around him and so teaches an alternative approach to life.” This is where we might wonder about Jesus, or even disagree with him. Many people live with circumstances where they do not feel the provision of God. Darrell Bock writes, “Anxiety is a natural response to sensing events that are beyond our control. Worry casts doubt on God’s care.”

Again, Green writes, “What is so obvious to Jesus is obscure to many others, apart from faith in God and faith in God’s redemptive activity in Christ.” So today we come to the second part of the message on God’s goodness and provision: “Seek God’s Kingdom, and these things will be added to you as well.”

Kingdom seeking is an alternative way of life. Read more


Luke 12:13-21 
(click to display NIV text)
July 21, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God.”

A man interrupts Jesus with a request or a demand. He wants Jesus to be a judge between him and his brother so he can get his share of the inheritance. In the Gospels, demanding an inheritance never turns out very well. The Prodigal Son demands his inheritance too, and ends up in the far country starving and feeding pigs. Jesus has been talking about the goodness of God and about relying on God, the God who knows every sparrow. This man either just arrived, or else he was so consumed with his own thoughts that he simply had not been listening to Jesus.

Jesus does not become a judge in this family dispute. Instead, he discerns a deeper issue in the man’s life: greed and the confusion of possessions and salvation. Read more


Luke 12:1-12 
(click to display NIV text)
July 14, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Indeed, not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus said that in his day you could buy five sparrows for two cents. I wonder what they cost today. I do not get into the grocery store very often. What are sparrows selling for at Mariano’s today?

When we read this passage, we need to be reminded that yes, in Jesus’ day, poor people did eat sparrows, because it was an affordable way to get a little meat into the diet. If you were invited to someone’s house for wings back then, you had to keep that in mind. This illustration that Jesus uses to speak of the care of God presumes an audience of the poor, people who were easily overlooked or forgotten. Jesus says to them that God even knows about the little sparrows they eat. So he must also know about them, he must watch them and value them. The humble are not forgotten by God. Jesus is teaching his disciples about the goodness of God. Read more


Luke 12:1-12 
(click to display NIV text)
July 14, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Indeed, not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Jesus said that in his day you could buy five sparrows for two cents. I wonder what they cost today. I do not get into the grocery store very often. What are sparrows selling for at Mariano’s today?

When we read this passage, we need to be reminded that yes, in Jesus’ day, poor people did eat sparrows, because it was an affordable way to get a little meat into the diet. If you were invited to someone’s house for wings back then, you had to keep that in mind. This illustration that Jesus uses to speak of the care of God presumes an audience of the poor, people who were easily overlooked or forgotten. Jesus says to them that God even knows about the little sparrows they eat. So he must also know about them, he must watch them and value them. The humble are not forgotten by God. Jesus is teaching his disciples about the goodness of God. Read more


Luke 11:29-36 
(click to display NIV text)
July 7, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We have seen in Luke that Jesus proclaimed the goodness of God, and encouraged people to ask, seek and knock, for God is able to give good gifts. Life is very different when we open our lives to the goodness of God. In our text for today, Jesus speaks to the attitudes and behaviors that characterized people in his generation: a lack of repentance for sin, an inability to see what God is doing, a refusal to trust God. The goodness and kindness of God leads people to repentance, but many in the crowds around Jesus were not willing to repent.

Those who did not accept Jesus and his authority accused him of being a magician, of using the power of one spirit or demon to destroy the power of another demon. They tested Jesus by demanding a sign, a great miracle or perhaps something in the heavens. Jesus answered that their sign would be “the sign of Jonah.” What was that? Read more


Luke 11:29-36 
(click to display NIV text)
July 7, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We have seen in Luke that Jesus proclaimed the goodness of God, and encouraged people to ask, seek and knock, for God is able to give good gifts. Life is very different when we open our lives to the goodness of God. In our text for today, Jesus speaks to the attitudes and behaviors that characterized people in his generation: a lack of repentance for sin, an inability to see what God is doing, a refusal to trust God. The goodness and kindness of God leads people to repentance, but many in the crowds around Jesus were not willing to repent.

Those who did not accept Jesus and his authority accused him of being a magician, of using the power of one spirit or demon to destroy the power of another demon. They tested Jesus by demanding a sign, a great miracle or perhaps something in the heavens. Jesus answered that their sign would be “the sign of Jonah.” What was that? Read more


Luke 10:38-11:13 
(click to display NIV text)
June 30, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”

There are two parts to discipleship. There is listening to Jesus, time spent in prayer and the study of the Word. And there is serving Jesus, actively taking part in witnessing, showing mercy and doing justice. To be a disciple of Jesus is to listen to Jesus and to serve Jesus.

Long ago, when I was in seminary, I had a class from James Dittes, dealing with the practical aspects of ministry. He said that the church is like a sailboat. The goal is to keep the boat balanced and going straight ahead. Sometimes you will notice that all the people on the boat have moved to one side, and so the boat begins to tip and veer in that direction. Then you need to move to the other side of the boat to balance it. Hopefully, some will join you there. But if too many cross over, then you need to go to the other side.

If your life is all serving and no praying, then you need to make an adjustment. If your life is all Bible study, but you never share your faith or help the poor, then you need to make an adjustment. Read more


Luke 10:25-37 
(click to display NIV text)
June 16, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

” ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the Law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ “

There are two problems with listening to a well-known story. Because we know the story, we do not listen as carefully as we should, and we tend to jump ahead to the end before the story is ready for us. So some of you may already be thinking about how you might be a “Good Samaritan.” You might be anticipating where this sermon is going, and so you are already wondering about the wisdom of stopping on the highway to help someone with a flat tire, or how you should handle a situation when you are downtown and a homeless person asks you for some money. So as we begin I want to ask you to let go of some of those ideas and simply listen, as if for the first time, to the story that Jesus tells. Read more

Luke 8:22-39 (click to display NIV text)
May 26, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .”

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and set out.”

Jesus took his disciples on an intentional journey that would have a specific purpose in their lives. They needed to experience the authority of Jesus and the peace of Jesus. So he took them to places of fear and anxiety. He took them to the “other side of the lake.” This was Gentile country. It was the only time Jesus went there. It was a fearful place. Joel Green writes, “Jesus is way beyond the boundaries of acceptable Jewish behavior.” Read more

Luke 8:22-39 (click to display NIV text)
May 26, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .”

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and set out.”

Jesus took his disciples on an intentional journey that would have a specific purpose in their lives. They needed to experience the authority of Jesus and the peace of Jesus. So he took them to places of fear and anxiety. He took them to the “other side of the lake.” This was Gentile country. It was the only time Jesus went there. It was a fearful place. Joel Green writes, “Jesus is way beyond the boundaries of acceptable Jewish behavior.” Read more