Rev. Dustin Parker

cerritos, California, UNITED STATES

Joined September 8th 2009

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I am a pastor, who serves Concordia Lutheran Church and School. Welcome to my blog!


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Where are We Going?

October 13th 2014 01:47
Backseat Conversations on the Way to Heaven:
Where are We Going?
Matthew 22:1-14

† IHS †

As we journey through this life, may we keep in sight the destination, the place where we realize completely the love and mercy of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Other Destination Options:

Have you ever been tempted to play hookey from a family gathering? You’re on your way to your grandparent’s house, and you see how beautiful a day it is, and you think, we could just spend a little while at the park, or maybe the beach?

Or maybe you are working on a project, sewing that new whatever it is people sew and just another twenty minutes and you will finish it! Or the ball game is on, and you will leave a little later…and make up for it by driving a little faster?

Back when we were kids, and we were about to be stuffed in the back seat together, I bet many of us had a way to stall. Maybe we didn’t want to get dressed up, Or we blamed our sister for taking too much time in the bathroom. For me, it usually was – just let me finish the book I am reading!

It’s not that we didn’t know about the feast that awaited us, Grampy’s sausage, or Uncle Wally’s fireworks, or the French Onion Dip and carved turkey? There were just other things….that seemed important for that moment.

If you did this, and arrived two hours late, were you upset when they didn’t keep everyone waiting for dinner?

Do we play the same game with God?

Do we miss His invitations to spend time with Him, to share the feasts He has prepared, because we have other things to do before we continue on our journey to heaven?

Why Didn’t God wait for Us?

Patient, we hear God is patient.

Abraham and Moses count on it for their people. Joseph comforts his brothers with the thought of God’s patience. David praises God for God’s patience with him. Job depends on it, even when he doesn’t have the answers. Peter tells us why God is so patient, because God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but all to be transformed and made holy. Set apart to a relationship with God.

An interesting thought, this patience of God.

Curious, has anyone here ever had someone take advantage of their patience?

How did it feel?

Ever plan and cook a dinner, like the king in the parable, only to have the people choose to do something else?

What if their excuse, like the excuses in the parable, is somewhat weak? I heard one yesterday, for example, that was that we miss church sometimes because we know church and Bible studies will be here next week, but that other thing, that game, is today. I need to make this abundantly clear: this parable isn’t just about our church life.

How often do we fail to talk to God, to put our trust in Him for the things we are struggling with? How often do we think we have to find another solution for our problems, a different road to take? How often will we pass by the opportunity to think and meditate on His love. Do we find something else, rather than being still, and knowing He is God?

Does being patient cost you something? Does it ever tear at you, frustrate you, even sadden you?

Have we ever wondered what God’s patience costs Him?

We know being patient costs us, we know the levels of frustration, even pain, as we see people we love do the wrong things.

Things that would so concern God, that He sent Jesus, to live life, to suffer and die on the cross, to make it right…

To bring all who would come, to His feast, to be His family.

The good and bad alike…..all are welcome, all are offered the opportunity to be made ready. Matter of fact, we are sent out to bring them here; to celebrate, to enjoy, to know His peace.

But what are we missing?

If I can go back to the original illustration, we know that there are some things that we miss, when we divert from the original journey, we realize we are going to miss some things.

if we were diverted on our way to Grampy DeLuca’s house, it would mean we would miss Grampy’s incredible Italian sausages. Even some 34 years later, I can remember walking down the stairs into his basement, where they would be in the oven. We’d miss Grampy and Uncle Bill, Uncle Butchie and my dad singing. (I’ll actually get to play the piano that I played for them this week. ) we’d miss everyone at peace, the one day when all family fights were given a reprieve, a truce.

I would have us ask what we miss, when we forgo our times with God, whether here at church, or whether it is the time we could set aside for prayer, for spending time meditating on His word, and on the gifts He gives us? What do we give up?

You see my friends, this is about doing things because we have to do them or we won’t be good. It’s about doing them for the same reason we go to our family gatherings, a friend’s birthday party, or make time to go to a wedding. No, Don, it’s not because of the food, its’ because of the love of family, and there is no family closer to us than God.

What we are missing is our time with Him, our time realizing the depth of His love. Our time where He assures us that it will all be okay, that He has forgiven us and made everything right. We’d miss the people He surrounds us with to bless us, to help us grow, to give us a hug because they are glad to see us, or to bring us comfort.

When we forgo our time with Him, we miss Him, and all He brings to our life.

These things Paul called the fruit of the Spirit,

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

These things aren’t the reason to feast with God, but they are what happens when we do. The reason is simple… to be in the presence of the One who loves us, who gives us life, who gives us Himself, who makes our lives right…..who feeds and nourishes our Spirit, who lifts us up like no other.

Enough so our souls shout His praises, our hearts trust and depend on His healing and restoration, our minds are transformed, and we begin to see reality differently, His way. And we hear his voice calling to us, encouraging more people to come to the feast, for it is ready!


Conversations on the Way to Heaven: 1

September 14th 2014 21:57
Conversations on the Way to Heaven:
#1 Get Along Back There!
Matthew 18:21-55

† IHS †

May our journey together always be filled with God’s joy and peace, as His mercy flavors every moment!

A Bajillion Hours crammed in the back seat…

I remember every twist and turn, as if it was yesterday, and not 42 years ago.

Everyone went and got in the old yellow Dodge Dart. Up two miles on Brookdale Road, the right onto North Policy, then right onto Pelham Road. Up onto route 93, then route 213, then southwest on route 495, off the highway on Mass Ave, then right on Fernwood to my Auntie Lanie’s and Uncle Wally’s house, where Thanksgiving Dinner and my favorite French onion dip awaited.

I remember so much of the drive, the rest area we never stopped at, the Mall and the golf course, going over the Merrimack River on the double decker bridge, and along its banks the dump and the reform school, My dad always remembered to point that out for some reason. Some great memories, and well some challenging one’s as I squeezed into the middle seat between my older brother and little sister.

I looked it up on google maps this week – it was 12 miles, 18 minutes in no traffic. I swear there were times that it seemed like a bazillion hours.

And as we look into conversations that occur on the way to heaven, this was the often heard phrase,

“Get along back there!”

Which was usually followed by something like, well we will hear those in the weeks to come!

Why is it so difficult to get along with each other? Why do we hear these same kinds of conversations today? As Jesus, guiding our journey, hears not only our words, but our thoughts, it is difficult to hear him asking us to get along!

Get Along back there?

In today’s gospel, the words of Peter so sound like one of my siblings. “Do I have to forgive my brother? Do I have to forgive my sister? Peter’s not as blatant as my brother and sister were, he asks, “how many times do I have to forgive?” But you know if Jesus said 7, Peter was going to go to his brother Andrew and tell him he was at 7 already…and so the next time? You do it again Andrew, and you will pay for it!

But the base question is the same – do we have to forgive those who sin against us?

The answer is, of course yes. We are people that believe in reconciliation.

It’s not a measure of the law, but a description of those who live the life of the baptized, those who live in a relationship where Jesus has reconciled them to the Father, and they are His children together.

That Is why Jesus tells the parable about the two slaves, they both belong to the same household, they are, legally, family. Yet the first man, although forgiven that which he was to pay back, refuses to forgive the debt of the other man. Even to the point of visiting violence on the other slave.

Sounds like one of those backseat things – even up to the contact.

Why do we fight, and why do we struggle to forgive each other, when the dust settles? Haven’t we heard jesus’ 7 times 70 enough, or this parable? Don’t we realize that we’re the ones who sins cannot be paid for in a thousand lifetimes, and we are willing to collect the debt for what is petty in comparison?

That sin you are holding onto, that pain, that resentment, how does it rate against the pain that your sin has caused God? You have decades of it? Do you really want that sin dividing the body of Christ Jesus?

I realized something this week as I was going over all three readings today. There is account after account in scripture of how we are bound together, how we worship together, how we feast and fellowship together, how we endure together, how we face persecution and even die, together. In all these things we are together, weeping together and rejoicing together. What happens to one, happens to all. What happens to all effects each one?

One exception, verse 12 of our epistle.

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.

Hearing that, we come back to the gospel….

33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters* from your heart.”

Faith if God is where we find the strength….

So what do we do? How do we find the ability to really forgive, to give no more thought to the debt incurred by sin?

Well Peter and Andrew weren’t the only brothers in the readings this morning. There was also Joseph in the Old Testament Reading. You know, the guy who his loving brothers kicked out of the back of the family station wagon, and sold to wandering merchants?

Look at how he forgave his brothers…

19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

Can you see those words of Joseph coming from your mouth, to those who have sinned against you? What do you think their reaction would be? What do you think yours would be?

The sinners who thought their brother would grab them by the neck in revenge, he gave up that right, because of the work of God in all their lives. A work that saved their physical lives.

We have something more incredible, something more beyond thought, in the work of Christ, who doesn’t just forgive 490 sins of ours, Heck, that is just this week! He’s the master who forgives us all, who brings us home to the Father in heaven, cleansed, pure, holy. Who gave up everything to make that happen, because He loves us. Who endured the pain of the cross, because of His love for us.

If Joseph could forgive, knowing the blessing of God seen in the saving his people from famine, we should be even more eager to let them know the gospel. That every sin was paid for on the cross, that we have been forgiven a world of sin. That is what the communion feast celebrates!

We are a forgiven family, we are brought together on a journey home, to heaven, to a feast. We are called to love each other, even if for a moment we struggle with it – we still love, and we shall forgive, even as we are forgiven.

For that is what the Holy Spirit is transforming us into, giving us the ministry of reconciliation, the ministry mercy. The Spirit’s transforming all of us who trust in Christ’s work, and the promises made to us, which we hear in His word.

So drop all the burdens, drop all the sins an rejoice in Christ’s peace…look to Christ, and find that we are all getting along on this journey in peace! AMEN?

Am I my brothers keeper

September 8th 2014 00:29
How responsible are we for each other in life? If we are responsible for those around us, to what extent are we going to work to call them to repentance, to warn them of God's wrath for those who stay in sin?

What does it mean to love God?

These are questions we heard answers to today at Concordia Lutheran Church - Cerritos

It was a great day, as we celebrated anniversaries of 38,40, 53 and 60 years.... but even more as we remembered how our Brother keeps us in the peace that is beyond understanding.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
Ezekiel 33:7-9

† In Jesus Name †

May the peace of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ be your sanctuary, your refuge, and may you always welcome the journey there!

Cain’s question should haunt us….

There is something special about having friends and family around us. We see that today, as some have come long distances to help their friends celebrate forty years of marriage.

But there is a challenge for family and friends as well, for no one can disappoint us, no one can hurt us, no one can challenge our ability to love, as much as they do. It seems like it has always been so, well not always. Once Adam and Eve screwed up in the garden though, there has always been tension in families, and among friends.

We see it especially in the relationship of their first two sons, Cain and Abel. The challenge of loving each other was brutally sacrificed to bring some sense of relief to the pain and jealousy that found a place in Cain’s heart.

The reason that I bring him up this morning, is a question he once asked of the Lord.

Am I my brother’s keeper?

The son of man hears the answer to Cain’s question, and the answer is found in our Old Testament reading today.

7 “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.

Yes, we are to work to keep your brothers safe… for if something happens to them and they are unaware, the passage from Ezekiel tells we are held responsible.

That is a heavy burden, yet is our mission in this life.

The Apostle John wrote about this as well:

20 If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God whom we have not seen if we do not love others, whom we have seen. 21 The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also. 1 John 4:20-21 (TEV)

We have to be watchmen for each other…we have to warn each other, as best as we can, for this is the will of God.

We have to care for the wicked folk too!

As we look at Ezekiel’s watchman, it helps to make the connection between the words watchman and keeper. It’s the same word in Hebrew, to guard them. TO be on guard is to work for the safety and peace of those entrusted to your care. A peace and safety corrupted and destroyed by sin.

But note in the Old Testament reading, those entrusted to the watchman’s care are called the people of Israel. They are named, appropriately, after the one whose name means to struggle with God. Not after Abraham, the father of Nations, or Isaac, laughter, but Jacob/Israel, the one who wrestles, who fights God.

It goes on to say that these we care for are wicked, and are certain to die unless they change their ways.

Great description of the people we have to keep safe! Oh wait – he’s describing the people of God. Uhm, that means the description could very well be of us.

Wicked here means those who are guilty, those who have violated either God’s law or His will. Scary thought, if that is the definition of evil. Do we realize we embrace evil when we sin? Paul said it this way,

29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. Romans 1:29-31 (NLT)

All those people are evil, right? Do you hear that it includes those who gossip and quarrel? That it includes those who are proud and boastful? What about those who do not show kindness or mercy?

It is them we are called to warn that certain judgment is coming.

Some of you may contend that the watchman are just the Old Testament prophets, and maybe the apostles and evangelists of the New Testament. We might bristle a bit when we realize it includes the pastor, and that it could include deacons and vicars and elders.

But what if I said that each of one you is called to care, to help your brothers and sisters stand firm in the love of Christ Jesus?

That keeping them, guarding them in Christ by warning them is what we do, because we are called to love them? Think about it for a moment, is it loving to allow someone to do harmful actions? Maybe we can’t prevent them, Ezekiel seems clear about that, but we can call them to repentance. We can call them back to Christ. We can love them that much because He loved us!

Let this mind be in you…. Which is in Christ!

So what do we do with our past? What can we do when we screw up and fail? What do we do with our sin?

What do we do with those times when we failed to be our brother’s keeper, to serve Him as a watchman? When we’ve allowed them to be in bondage to sin without warning them, or when we failed to call them to repentance? When we’ve failed as watchman, guards, and keeping them safe? What about when we’ve rejoiced that they got what they deserved, ignoring our responsibility to call them to trust God?

Well, we don’t “do” something. We listen.

When we confessed it we need to listen and hear of the faithfulness of Jesus to forgive us, and to cleanse us of that sin. Maybe we need to hear His absolving us again. Maybe we need to hear the words of our baptism, that we are united with His death and sin has died to us. We need to hear that His blood was shed, His body broken, that we would live forgiven. We need to hear (and therefore proclaim) His death, until He comes again.

You see, ultimately, this prophecy is about Jesus as well. He is our watchman, our guardian; He is our brother who is our keeper. He is the one who warns us, and makes possible the very repentance, the change of heart and mind that repentance is.

That is why Acts talks of repentance being granted to the Gentiles, even as it was to the apostles and disciples who were Jewish.

He’s called you out of wickedness, into a life filled with hope, with goodness, with joy as we see Him at work. As we see Him take people that are gossips and haters and do not show mercy, who struggle with God, and re-create them into children of God.

This is why the cross happened; this is why He died, taking on the burden of the death and condemnation that awaited us.

That is how a brother acts towards his brothers and sisters. He sacrifices Himself, so that they may live. That is what it took to get our attention, to reveal not just the existence of God, but His love for us.

For our brother, our Lord, Jesus our savior is our watchman – He is the One who is our Keeper, as He keeps us firm our heart and mind in the peace of God our Father. AMEN!

Am I my brothers keeper

September 8th 2014 00:28
How responsible are we for each other in life? If we are responsible for those around us, to what extent are we going to work to call them to repentance, to warn them of God's wrath for those who stay in sin?

What does it mean to love God

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Take up you cross...

September 1st 2014 04:23
It's been a long day, but church this morning...was a special day.

It is hard to see how self-centered we can be, but hearing Jesus call us to take up our cross does that very thing! Can God really expect His children to take up crosses like His Son did? Can he expect us to love the jerks in our lives

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Today was an incredibly moving day at Concordia. We celebrated several prayers being answered, including our minister of worship arts returning after a long hospitalization. The singing was powerful, the music out of this world, there was a quiet fervor that permeated the place. As we celebrated the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, there was, words don't describe it.

Yet, worship is more than that... it is our life

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Even if I am a dog, He's my master!

August 18th 2014 00:32
Even if I am a Dog,
He is MY Master
Matthew 15:21-28

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A Glorious Sample of Eternity

July 21st 2014 00:38
There is suffering like is common to all creation, the suffering caused by sin and decay. THere is also suffering that is like Christ's, which occurs as we love those around us, including those some consider unlovable.

In either case, there is the hope found in knowing God's promise, the freedom from from sin, and entering fulling realization that God has adopted us, made us His children. Both occur with Christ's return. We know, because God promises, that the suffering in this life is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us

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Persecution and the Mission

June 23rd 2014 01:19
How to Deal with the Stress…
Of His Mission!
Matthew 10:5a, 21-33

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The Wages of Sin is death!

June 23rd 2014 00:37
Why Are You Still Being Paid...
For the Wages of Sin?

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Recent Comments

Comment by Pastordt
on The Chosen Identified

January 10th 2011 00:39
Please leave comments if you ke the sermon or have a comment or question

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Comment by Anonymous
on His Presence Provides Hope

August 16th 2010 01:00
please leave comments!

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Comment by pastor dt
on Living In God’s Providence

July 26th 2010 03:04
please leave comments!!!

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Comment by pastor dt
on Living in Forgiveness, in Christ

June 14th 2010 00:26
This sermon was preached simultaneously by Deacon Don Harrell at Our Savior's in Bellfower and myself at Concordia.

As always, comments are welcome..

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Comment by Rev. Dustin Parker
on Deacon Don's Second Sermon

May 8th 2010 01:05

They have appeared on my blog before - they will again.


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