The Hope That Is Within You, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy A.G. Vogele on Sunday, May 21, 2017, the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The gospel reading was 1 Peter 3:8-18.

 [Enact a Rassias drill session and see what happens…]

The genius of the Rassias method of language learning is that you never knew when you were going to be called on so you have to be ready to answer any question.  It heightened the learning experience exponentially.

You needed to be ready with the answer!

In our second lesson today, we heard a passage from the First Letter of Peter.  I want to focus on one verse today: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15, NRSV)

Or as I memorized it decades ago, “Always be ready to give an account for the hope that is within you. Yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Continue reading The Hope That Is Within You, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele

What Does It Mean to Have Abundant Life? A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, May 7, 2017

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy A. G. Vogele on Sunday, May 7, 2017, Fourth Sunday of Easter. The Gospel reading was John 10:1-10.

Today is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” in our churches because the Gospel is always from the 10th chapter of John in which Jesus talks about himself as the Good Shepherd and what he does as the Good Shepherd.  It’s a little confusing today because he also talks about being the “Gatekeeper.”  I’m not going to focus on the gatekeeper image but his words, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  And I want to put it in the context of our blessing of the quilts and school kits and leprosy bandages.

What does it mean to have abundant life? What does that look like to you?

It’s something we seek from the depths of our being.  And there are a lot of entities in this world who will exploit that longing by trying to sell us a counterfeit “life.”

Think of it.  All week long we are bombarded with ads and messages of all kinds trying to get us to buy their version of abundant life.  And their message or the product they are selling is always packaged in a very enticing way.  That’s why they are so tempting.  Continue reading What Does It Mean to Have Abundant Life? A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, May 7, 2017

Open to Change, a Sermon by the Rev. Nancy A.G. Vogele,

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy A.G. Vogele on Sunday, March 26, 2017, the Fourth Sunday in Lent.  The gospel reading was John 9:1-39.

Open to Change

[Play the “Question game” (from Drew Carey’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Show).]

We don’t just ask questions to ask more questions, though, do we?  We ask questions because we are seeking answers.

About 10 or 12 years ago, I needed some answers.  I was experiencing a lot of headaches.  At first I ignored them or took a couple of aspirin, but when they kept reoccurring, I decided to ask my doctor about it.  She ordered a series of tests but they showed nothing physically wrong so she suggested I go see someone with a lot of experience treating people with headaches that were caused by non-biological reasons.

This person was really helpful.  She asked me a bunch of questions to help me unpack all the possible reasons for the headaches based on how I was living my life:  Was I getting exercise?  Was I stressed?  What was the pace of my life?  How was my diet?

She also taught me about “automatic thinking” – viewing something in a non-reflexive way – and how that related to my headaches. I still have one of her worksheets that lists “questions to challenge automatic thoughts.”  Here are a few: Continue reading Open to Change, a Sermon by the Rev. Nancy A.G. Vogele,

Come and See, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, March 19, 2017, Third Sunday in Lent.

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy A. G. Vogele on Sunday, March 19, 2017, Third Sunday in Lent. The Gospel reading was John 4:5-42.

A little note on this sermon:  At the beginning, I’m going to ask some questions – they are not rhetorical questions – I want people to answer them.  At the end of the sermon, I’m going to ask some questions.  They are deeper, reflexive questions.  I don’t expect anyone to answer them – unless of course you are moved by the Spirit and inspired to say something. OK?  Let’s begin.

When was the last time someone recommended something to you?

Like a movie or a restaurant or a book?  What was it?  Why did they recommend it to you?  Did you follow through with their recommendation?  Why or why not?  If you did, are you glad or disappointed that you did?

When was the last time you recommended something to someone else?

What was it?  Why did you recommend it to them?  Do you know if they followed through with your recommendation?  Are you glad you recommended it?

How did you end up coming to Our Savior Lutheran Church?  Did someone recommend it to you? If so, what did they say that resonated enough with you that you came?  And what has resonated enough with you that you stayed?

Have you ever recommended this church to someone else?  Have you ever told someone about Our Savior Lutheran Church and invited them to come?  How did you do it?  What did you say?  What was the result?

Something resonated so deeply about the woman at the well’s conversation with Jesus that she left her water-jar behind and went in to the city to tell everyone about this Jesus she had just met.  She said, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?”   What a recommendation!

The salient thing that this woman took away from her conversation with Jesus was Continue reading Come and See, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, March 19, 2017, Third Sunday in Lent.

Born Again, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, March 12, 2017, Second Sunday in Lent

This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy A. G. Vogele on Sunday, March 12, 2017, Second Sunday in Lent. The Gospel reading was John 3:1-17

Read beginning of 1977 sermon…

“The President-elect says he had one. Charles Colson, a hatchet-man for the Nixon administration, wrote a book about his. Eldridge Cleaver whose militant writings struck terror in the hearts of whites has had one. George Gallup asked a sample of Americans if they thought they had one, and one-third of the interviewees said they had. What have these people had? They have had a ‘born-again’ experience.”

Thus began a sermon from Jan. 9, 1977 entitled, “What it means to be born again.” It was preached by the Rev. Kemper, the minister of the church I grew up in back in Illinois.

I grew up in that church – it was a pretty liberal church – and I was active in it – Sunday School, youth group – even Trips and Retreats Officer. And yet I had no concept of God or what it all meant. I was on auto-pilot. When I got to Dartmouth, unlike many of my classmates who dropped their faith, mine just came alive. Over the course of my four years, I was involved in five different Christian groups on campus, including Campus Crusade for Christ, a very evangelical ministry.

Shortly after I got involved in Campus Crusade during my Sophomore Summer, my friends in the group asked me if I was “born again” and I said, “Why, yes.” Now I was a bit of a rebellious type so I don’t think they really believed me. So they asked me to tell them about it. Continue reading Born Again, A Sermon by the Rev. Nancy Vogele, March 12, 2017, Second Sunday in Lent

Lent – Springtime for Our Souls, a Sermon by the Rev. Nancy A. G. Vogele, Sunday, March 5, 2017, First Sunday in Lent

Sprintime for the Soul (image by Liese Shewmaker) 032017This sermon was preached by the Rev. Nancy A. G. Vogele on Sunday, March 5, 2017, First Sunday in Lent.  The readings and Psalm:  Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11.

I want to begin with a preliminary remark about Lent – a longish quote from Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest, author, and excellent preacher. About Lent, she writes:

Do not bother looking for Lent in your Bible dictionary. There was no such thing in biblical times. There is some evidence that early Christians fasted 40 hours between Good Friday and Easter, but the custom of spending 40 days in prayer and self-denial did not arise until later, when the initial rush of Christian adrenaline was over and believers had gotten very ho-hum about their faith.

When the world did not end as Jesus himself had said it would, his followers stopped expecting so much from God or from themselves. They…settled back into their more or less comfortable routines, remembering their once passionate devotion to God the way they remembered the other enthusiasms of their youth. Continue reading Lent – Springtime for Our Souls, a Sermon by the Rev. Nancy A. G. Vogele, Sunday, March 5, 2017, First Sunday in Lent