I Follow Christ | Sermon

I Follow Christ (1 Corinthians 1:10-18)

I preached this sermon at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Ferndale, CA on January 22, 2017, the Third Sunday after the Epiphany.

You’re Treasured by God | Sermon

You’re Treasured by God (Luke 12:22-33).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church in Murray, Utah on August 7, 2016.

The Satiation of Faith | Sermon

The Satiation of Faith (Hebrews 10:24-25).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on November 15, 2015.

God is Faithful One Hundred Percent | Sermon

God is Faithful One Hundred Percent (Mark 10:23-31).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on October 18, 2015.

Why Do You Come To Church? | Sermon

Why Do You Come To Church? (Mark 10:17-22).

I preached this sermon at Christ Lutheran Church on October 11, 2015.

Cruciform Beauty

“Simply put, the cross is the form that makes Christianity beautiful! The cross is the beauty of Christianity because it is at the cross that we encounter co-suffering love and costly forgiveness in its most beautiful form… The cruciform is the aesthetic of our gospel. It is the form that gives Christianity its unique beauty.”

— Brian Zahnd, Beauty Will Save the World

Welded to the Cross

This photograph is of the crucifix at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Chester, California.

Copyright © 2014-2015 Tyrel Bramwell

Heresy and Orthodoxy

I’ve been thinking about something all day long…

G.K. Chesterton once expressed that in his attempt to be theologically original, to stand alone apart from the rest of civilized religion, he realized that he actually stood with all of Christendom, that he had “only succeeded in inventing all by [himself] an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion.” He tried to “found a heresy of [his] own; and when [he] had put the last touches to it, [he] discovered that it was orthodoxy.”

This concept has stuck with me ever since I read it and as I think about today’s religious climate, and especially the state of Christianity within American protestantism, I see the truthfulness of such a sentiment to be ever present.

As I was studying the Gospel reading for this coming up Sunday (the 12th Sunday after Pentecost), Matthew 16:21-28, I came across another great thinker’s thoughts which caused me to pause as Chesterton’s wisdom pushed forward through the grey matter in my head.

Francis Schaeffer, in his book, True Spirituality, expounds on Luke’s parallel to my Matthew passage. He notes that Jesus provides an order to his coming substitutionary death – rejected, slain, raised – and then applies it to the Christian life, declaring that there is no other order with regards to true spirituality (a term he uses synonymously with “Christian life”). But the most profound idea, the thought that trapped me in my mind with “the master who left no masterpiece” (which is, by the way, a completely inaccurate title for the man who wrote Orthodoxy) comes next.

Frank writes,

“If we forget the absolute uniqueness of Christ’s death we are in heresy. As soon as we set aside or minimize, as soon as we cut down in any way, as the liberals of all kinds do in their theology, on the uniqueness and substitutionary character of Christ’s death, our teaching is no longer Christian.” He continues that likewise “if we forget the relationship of this order to us as Christians, then we have a sterile orthodoxy, and we have no true Christian life. Christian life will wither and die; spirituality in any true biblical sense will come to an end.”

What was on your mind today?

Photo © 2014 Tyrel Bramwell

We Love Others Because God First Loved Us

Numerous humanitarian and utilitarian reasons urge us to care about a twelve-year-old orphan half a world away. International responsibilities make it incumbent on developed nations to assist the developing world. Fundamental matters of human rights have been carefully defined and advanced by the United Nations, Western governments, and a host of nongovernmental organizations the world over. Global egalitarian and ethical reasons motivate democratic societies to offer aid because they ‘hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalieanable Rights.’ There are (sometimes misguided) missiological reasons for assisting the poor. Finally, there are self-serving motivations for aid that are often a prelude to exacerbating already complex and troubled circumstances.

However, for Christians, the bottom line is this: Who God is, is how we will be. Because we are God’s very own in Christ, we reflect who He is.

The above quote from Matthew C. Harrison’s book, Christ have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith in Action illustrates the simple motivation behind Christian mercy as contrasted by the world’s reasons for caring for others. We love others because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).

California or Bust

I joined the millions of people who’ve journeyed to the edge of the world, the west coast, that place known as California.

I was born in this land. I grew up hearing the stories and dreaming of beaches and sunshine. My Cali is different though. It’s mountains and snow, forests and volcanoes. It’s beautiful in it’s own right, a mad blend of my dreamland and my homeland.

© 2014 Tyrel Bramwell