If you’re driving seventy miles per hour in a school zone on a school day in September while children are present and you pass an angry-looking police car, you shouldn’t calm yourself with Jesus’ words from today’s Gospel lesson:

“Do not be anxious about your life” (Matthew 6:25). (more…)

This sermon is part of a Lenten pulpit exchange between Trinity Lutheran Church in Girard, Illinois, Zion Lutheran Church in Farmersville, Illinois, and Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carlinville, Illinois. It was first preached as the Ash Wednesday sermon at Trinity–Girard.

Lenten Pulpit Exchange (Sermon 1), 2018
Psalm 22; 1 Peter 4:12-19
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Have you heard the news that the Pope wants to change the Lord’s Prayer? (more…)

Trinity 15 Sermon, 2017
Matthew 6:24-34
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he’ll hate the one and love the other, or he’ll be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Mt. 6:24).

This makes sense to us. And if we think about it, it makes sense because there are only two masters.

One is tolerant and understanding. He makes no demand other than that you try. He desires your happiness, supports you at every moment, and wants you to get what you deserve.

And the other master is Jesus.

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Baccalaureate, 2017
John 16:23-33 / Matthew 6:9-13
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

In the fictional world of Harry Potter, what are the three Unforgivable Curses?

The Killing Curse—Avada Kedavra.

The Cruciatus Curse—Crucio.

And the Imperious Curse—Imperio.

Do you know the origins of their names? Do you know why the spell for the Killing Curse is Avada Kedavra?

You’ve heard the same phrase before as abracadabra. It’s Aramaic and means “Let the thing be destroyed.” The “thing” was usually a disease and the phrase a cure, but J.K. Rowling turned it into a curse.

Crucio comes from what? Latin. Crucio means “I torture.” We see this especially in the word crucify.

And Imperio—whence comes Imperio?

We’ll come back to that one.

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Ash Wednesday, 2017
Matthew 6:16-21
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

I don’t think anyone’s surprised if I say that Christianity is about faithfully receiving the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake.

I don’t think anyone’s surprised if I continue by saying that Christianity is about remaining faithful to Christ.

And I don’t think anyone’s surprised if I say that Christianity is about humility before and worship of God and not prideful self worship.

So, it should be of no surprise that Jesus says: (more…)

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Matthew 6:24-34
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

In the context of today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus says, When you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4).

He doesn’t say “if,” He says “when.” When you give to the needy, several things happen. You obey God, which is of course a meet thing to do. You care for your neighbor who is need, which we know we should do. And, you also train your body not to need so much stuff.

I can tell you to obey God, and you won’t get upset with me.

I can tell you to care for those who are in need, and you’ll agree with me nine times out of ten.

But if I tell you to train your body to need less and fewer things, if I tell you to store up treasure in heaven by giving away your earthly treasures here and now, you’ll want me to stop preaching. Well, guess what…

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