Luke 9:18-26 (click to display NIV text)
May 19, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.’”

The question “Who do you say that I am?” arises out of prayer. Luke tells us that Jesus was praying in a private place, and the disciples were with him, presumably praying too. It was out of that experience that Jesus knows the time is right to ask the central question of faith and discipleship. The crowds of people who have been listening to Jesus and watching Jesus have been coming up with their answers. They are looking backward to Elijah and to prophets from the Old Testament. If only we could go back to another day, to a time of great leaders. If only we could see John again, who was so suddenly and brutally executed. But Peter’s answer looks forward. Jesus is the long-hoped-for Messiah, a new voice who comes from God’s future, God’s kingdom.

As much as I respect the faith and courage of Elijah, and as much as I understand John’s call to repentance and feel its conviction, I am thankful for all the years that I have known Jesus as Lord. I have not sought to walk with Elijah or John. I have walked with Jesus, and in Jesus the Messiah I find grace, a deep love, a strong call, and always a future hope. Read more

Luke 9:18-26 (click to display NIV text)
May 19, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.’”

The question “Who do you say that I am?” arises out of prayer. Luke tells us that Jesus was praying in a private place, and the disciples were with him, presumably praying too. It was out of that experience that Jesus knows the time is right to ask the central question of faith and discipleship. The crowds of people who have been listening to Jesus and watching Jesus have been coming up with their answers. They are looking backward to Elijah and to prophets from the Old Testament. If only we could go back to another day, to a time of great leaders. If only we could see John again, who was so suddenly and brutally executed. But Peter’s answer looks forward. Jesus is the long-hoped-for Messiah, a new voice who comes from God’s future, God’s kingdom.

As much as I respect the faith and courage of Elijah, and as much as I understand John’s call to repentance and feel its conviction, I am thankful for all the years that I have known Jesus as Lord. I have not sought to walk with Elijah or John. I have walked with Jesus, and in Jesus the Messiah I find grace, a deep love, a strong call, and always a future hope. Read more

Luke 8:1-21 (click to display NIV text)
May 12, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Years ago, Woody Hayes, the famous football coach, said that “When you throw the football, only three things can happen and two of them are bad.” So he kept the ball safely on the ground. But as the years have gone by, more and more coaches have devised ways to throw the ball as much as possible, and today they seem to be the successful ones.

Jesus said that when God sows his word in hearts, four things can happen, and three of them are bad. It can fall on the hard path, the rocky ground, or the soil with weeds and thorns. But God sows as much seed as possible, in as many ways as possible. Jesus gives his life so that people might become good soil. The good soil is not of our own making. It is created by grace, by the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Read more

Luke 8:1-21 (click to display NIV text)
May 12, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Years ago, Woody Hayes, the famous football coach, said that “When you throw the football, only three things can happen and two of them are bad.” So he kept the ball safely on the ground. But as the years have gone by, more and more coaches have devised ways to throw the ball as much as possible, and today they seem to be the successful ones.

Jesus said that when God sows his word in hearts, four things can happen, and three of them are bad. It can fall on the hard path, the rocky ground, or the soil with weeds and thorns. But God sows as much seed as possible, in as many ways as possible. Jesus gives his life so that people might become good soil. The good soil is not of our own making. It is created by grace, by the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Read more

Luke 7:18-23 (click to display NIV text)
May 5, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

John the Baptist announced the coming of the Messiah, calling people to repentance. Later he baptized Jesus and affirmed him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Those who heard the message of John and took it to heart were ready to receive Jesus and follow him. Then John was thrown into prison by Herod. It was at this time that John sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask him if he was the Messiah, or should they wait for another to come. It is not clear whether John was expressing doubt in Jesus, or whether he just desired a word of clarification for himself or maybe for his disciples. What is clear is that he wants to know from Jesus what it is that the Messiah is to do. Read more

Luke 7:1-17 (click to display NIV text)
April 21, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“They were all filled with awe and praised God. ‘A great prophet has appeared among us,’ they said. ‘God has come to help his people.’ ”

When do you ask God for help? Every day? When you feel incompetent to the task? When there is nothing you can do to change your situation? When you feel fear and anxiety? How have you been asking God for help this week? Read more

Acts 9:1-20 and John 21:1-19 (click to display NIV text)
April 14, 2013
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
“Feed my sheep.”

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?”
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

Over the last 38 years I have done many funerals, and I think that by far the most popular hymn for the generation that died during that time has been “In the Garden.” It was written in 1912.

“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

It has seemed to me to be overly sentimental and even romantic, but this hymn captured something for a generation about what it feels like to be in the presence of the Risen Lord Jesus. Read more

Luke 24:13-23 (click to display NIV text)
April 7, 2013: Eastertide
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“When he was at table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”

The Gospels tell of disciples going back to what was familiar to them after the events of the cross and resurrection. In John we read of Peter, who decides to go fishing. Here in Luke we find two disciples walking on a road, about seven miles, to a village called Emmaus. It does not say why they were going on such a long walk, but perhaps they were going home, going back to a familiar life. And Jesus interrupted them on their journey and redirected their lives. Read more

I Corinthians 15:12-26 (click to display NIV text)
March 31, 2013: Easter Sunday
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive.”

Some have asked me how I am feeling about my last Easter.  I think I should clarify that I do not intend for this to be my last Easter. Of course that is up to the Lord, when our lives end. But I do believe that there are Easters after retirement, and there may even be more Easter sermons in my future.

But, even though this is not the last Easter, it is a significant one for me. Read more

Luke 22:1-23 (click to display NIV text)
March 24, 2013: Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday
Pastor Dwight A. Nelson

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’ ”

Jesus says we eat the bread and drink the cup “in remembrance of me.” What is involved in our act of remembering Jesus? On Good Friday and then again on the Sunday after Easter, we will gather for the Lord’s Supper. We will remember Jesus. This will include bringing to mind all of his ministry and his death and resurrection, and it will also include our obedience, our imitation of Jesus, doing what he did. Read more