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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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?

What does this cross He wants us to bear look like? Paul tells us in Romans, and we hear God call Jeremiah to it in the other reading this morning. Come, let us be humbled, and walk with our God as He is merciful!

Today's sermon from Concordia Lutheran Church - Cerritos
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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,

And that was the message of today!

Here it is, from Concordia Lutheran Church - Cerritos

Worship Isn’t A Song or and Event
It is our very life!


May the grace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ leave you in complete, life changing awe of their love and care for you!

Not now…. Then!

I would hope by this time of the service; your mind is clear of the distractions of life. That you are getting ready to engage in what God created you to do, to be. That you have been encouraged by hearing all your sins are forgiven, that the music has inspired you to look to Christ, that the readings have compelled you to draw closer to Him,

It is nearly time…

In about 30 minutes, after the sermon, after communion, after the Benediction and then we begin to worship!

Yes, you heard me right, we begin to worship!

As Paul tells the church in Rome, it will be time to “give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let all that you are become a holy and living sacrifice. This is the kind of worship that God finds acceptable.”

That is what Paul says, “This is truly the way to worship Him!”

This is what worship is! It isn’t just sitting in here, singing your hearts out. It isn’t just kneeling here, as you receive Christ’s precious Body and Blood. Indeed, those events are part of it; this service should encourage your worship – but it isn’t what worship IS.

Worship isn’t a song, or an event, it is your very life!

So how does this happen?

How it all starts, being in awe,

I asked a question this week online, and I got an incredible answer. The question was, “Do we desire God’s presence? Do we desire Eternity?”

Here is what they wrote”

“In answer to your question do we really desire to be in God’s house. Maybe one of the reasons is because we keep trying to make it Our house that elevates Our presence rather than Gods.”

Brilliant theological insight! We make it about us, rather than God

This insight is exactly what keeps us from a life of worship. We somehow think this is our life, not His, That it is our church, not His. That what matters is what our will desires, not His, that this is our time. Our place, our job, our family, our life. We ignore God’s presence in it, His part, His desires, His plan.

That is why Paul starts out with a discussion about the incredible-ness of God. He wants us to see God’s glorious nature! To realize that we cannot understand how thoroughly He works.

Remember, God promised back in chapter 8 that all things work for good for those who love God? Yeah, we don’t see that all the time, even with 20-20 hindsight. We can’t give Him advice, though we try.

A Life of worship starts in being in Awe of God.

In realizing we can’t know His ways, but we can trust Him.

That we aren’t His guide, He doesn’t need our support; we need His!!

That we can never give Him so much, that He is indebted to us, but that He gives us freely, out of the heart of love.

A life of worship recognizes that He is God, we are His children. And this realization comes as He reveals Himself through His word. This life of worship starts as we become find ourselves in awe of God. As we realize what it means that He has given us the Body and Blood of Christ.

Being transformed

When we find ourselves in awe of God’s work in our lives, the very work He promised, we find ourselves being changed. Which brings us to step two.

“let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

This is part of the worship, allowing God to convict us our sins, in order that He can cleanse us of them. Easy to face? No, but knowing in advance that God has promised to heal us and He is doing so, makes our confession different. It is an act of trust, it is worship!

This transformation isn’t just about being freed from sin. Hear how Ezekiel describes God’s promise:

26I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. 27 I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practise my judgements. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NJB)

This is what God is doing in us, to us, and by the Holy Spirit. He is transforming us, as Paul says renewing our minds, changing our hearts, counting us not only righteous, but making us holy!

Making us able to trust Him, to live out our faith in worship!

Being Trusting

So as we are in awe of God, as we are being transformed, and as the Spirit takes up residence in us, the change that is made in our lives turns them into a life of worship! We begin to see our actions are being done in praise of God.

That is what Paul is talking about, as he talks about us having a proper perspective about ourselves. Not how tall, or handsome, or intelligent, or how many things you have suffered through. No, the way we evaluate ourselves is much simpler and much more real. Do you trust God? Are you willing to let Him use you, where God would put you?

How we measure ourselves is based in this simple thought.

If God calls us to use the gift He has given us, will we listen and obey, trusting that He will make it work for good? No matter whether we get it right, or whether we see the outcome, that it will be a blessing to us, and to all who love Him?

Will you use the gift God has given you, at this time, where you live, work, and hangout? Will you proclaim God’s love, trusting in Him?
Will you serve others, meeting needs, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, and trusting in Him?
Will you teach those who need to be taught, trusting in Him??
Will you come alongside and lift up those who are down, trusting in Him?
Will you give generously, even sacrificially, knowing that God will care for you?

Each has a different gift, and some different gifts for different periods of their lives, but will you use them, not trusting in things of this world but trusting in God?

Not holding those gifts back, not resisting the transformation that God is doing to us, in us. That happens as the Holy Spirit works in our lives, causing us to live in and reflect the glory of Christ.

That’s worship! Whether we are asking God to use our life, singing, or when we put out our finances to support His work, or when we offer a cup of cold orange juice and some pancakes to a hungry person.

Worship is our very life, every moment, for worship is living in awe of His presence, here and now, whenever that here and now is. Worship is letting God run our lives, wherever He sends us.

Worship is also a life in awe, and therefore in a miraculous peace, for we live with God…. His believed children, and guard in Christ. AMEN.
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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

† Kyrie Iesou, Eleison †

May you realize that when God is your Master, your Lord, which means He obligates jHimself to showing you love, and mercy, so that you live in peace!

It’s not about tenacity; it’s about recognition

A question for you to start this message.

Does God simply answer our prayers because we are so tenacious? Did Jesus answer this lady's prayers just because she followed them through town, or did Jesus answer her to silence the apostles who were whining about her bothering them with her begging?

Is that the way God works, that He rewards those who are persistent, who are tenacious? Who don’t give up? Do we have to workout spiritually, so that we can endure, and then receive that which is promised?

We might say, “No, that doesn’t sound right.” But when it comes to unanswered prayer, do we sometimes hear this story, or the parable of the elderly woman and the judge, and wonder; is that the key to getting a prayer answered?

Persistence, dedication to the cause, determination and good old-fashioned stubbornness?

Or is there something else…. Perhaps something like recognizing the Truth?

The truth that it is okay to be a dog; if that means that He is our Lord, that He is our Master?

That is what was revealed to her, which confirmed to her that He was her Lord!


What She Saw: Lord Son of David!

A little background helps. When the lady first starts yelling to Jesus “Kyrie Eleison” she is saying something we sang a few moments ago.

The translation phrases it, “have mercy Lord.” We sing it the Kyrie in the opposite order, but the plea is the same. Lord, love us and because of that love, care for us. That is what the word mercy means. cHesed means to have great love, care for, provide, protect, forgive and do everything in your power to care for and help those who with who you have a relationship. She demands this of him.

Pour out you love and care on us Lord, she cries, Over and over, she begs this very thing.

She goes one step further; she calls Him Lord! She acknowledges that He is her master. She lays herself at his feet, and she worships Him as her Lord.

You see, cHesed is that loving-mercy of God. It is an obligation of the Lord to His people. I’ve mentioned that word here before, this incredible word that binds a Lord, a Master to His people. He will take care of them, for He has made that commitment to them, as their Lord. He has become their Master.

That is what she wants! That is why she keeps calling Him Lord! Every time she speaks, this is how she addresses Him, as the one who is obligated to care for her.

She wants to be part of His Kingdom, His Household, to be His!

More Precise!

The first time she calls out for mercy, she adds something to it.

Have mercy Lord, Son of David!

Somehow, she knew about this promise of the Messiah. She uses one of the titles for the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed one of God! The Lord through whom salvation would come! Salvation to the Jewish people, but also to all who would call out to the Messiah.

When she cries out for mercy, she is crying out to the Messiah! She is crying out to the long-awaited Son of David! She recognizes that He is the Lord and Master; the One who would bring about what we heard from the prophet Isaiah,

“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the LORD, who serve him and love his name, who worship him!”

She knows who Jesus is, she knows the help that only He can offer! She comes and places herself in His care, begging that He would accept Her!

His response finally is heard.

You are nothing but a dog.

Surprisingly, that is what she is longing to hear!

Dogs are part of the family

Consider this quote, about John Chrysostom, one of the most-quoted preachers in history.

Chrysostom seems to recognise the shade of meaning conveyed by τὰ κυνά&#961 ;ια (the dogs of the household). “On the very words of the Lord she founds her plea. If I am a dog (κυνάριο&#957, she says, I am no alien.”

I belong!

She understands these “terms”; that the promises go first to the people of God, those he counts as His children. She rejoices in knowing that the promise is there for her as well. This Lord has accepted her as part of the household, part of the family of God.

Think about it! How many people refer to their dogs as their children!

She’ll take it, even as the Psalm 84 talks of a similar attitude:

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 (NLT)

To be the mutt, waiting under the table for scraps, the Kingdom of God is a great place to be, knowing the love of the Master. As long as she knows the love of the Lord, as long as she is one of the people He brings home, she will be content.

She will trust in her Master; she will bask in His love…she will trust His reign over her life.

Scraps aren’t good enough!

He will at first acknowledge her faith, by providing the salvation of her daughter, freeing her from the demons that afflict her.

That is only the beginning of the fulfillment of His promises to her, and to all of us, who though not physical descendants of Abraham, are the spiritual descendants. It is just the beginning for those who trust in God as our Lord, our Master!

A blessing for those who know that our cries for His love are answered. His mercy is always the answer! He hears us and will bring us home. That woman didn’t get the scraps from the table; neither will any who trust in the promises that are made ours in Christ.

She is invited to a feast – one beyond all comparison…the wedding feast of the Lamb, the feast to celebrate the welcoming home of all the people of God.

Including this gentile woman and her daughter.

When we approach this altar, we see this feast in part. The love of God, the love of our Master, our Lord, and the mercy which makes it possible. These are not bread scraps and the last drops of wine. This is the body and blood of Jesus Christ!

This feast is the answer of a God, who would provide for all of His children, for all who will call upon His name.

Yes, I am your Lord. Come and feast with me!

Yes, dear friends, Jesus says I will be your Lord, your Messiah, I will care for you. I will provide. That was what the cross was about, not just saving us from our sins, but opening up a relationship for all people with God the Father. He says, “You are my people, come and know my peace!” For this, this peace of God, is promised, which passes all understanding, and in which our hearts and minds are kept safe, by our Lord.

AMEN!
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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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He think about, and cares for us

June 16th 2014 02:13
He Thinks About, and Cares for Us!
Psalm 8

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He think about, and cares for us

June 16th 2014 02:13
He Thinks About, and Cares for Us!
Psalm 8

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Why are we standing around?

May 28th 2014 00:31
He is Risen! Therefore…
Why are you standing around?
Acts 1:1-11


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Why are we standing around?

May 28th 2014 00:31
He is Risen! Therefore…
Why are you standing around?
Acts 1:1-11


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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
Matt,

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

thanks

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