Sermons

Unpacking Pentecost

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Pentecost - Sunday, May 31, 2020

Text: Joel 2:28-29

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Dear Friends in Christ, I would propose that the word “unique” is routinely overused in the English language, but when it comes to the life of the Christian Church, that term applies today. While all the other great festivals and observations in the church center around an event in the life of God the Son (Jesus Christ), Pentecost does not. Today is all about the work of the third person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit. In that sense, Pentecost is indeed unique.



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Christ-like Confidence

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Seventh Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 24, 2020

Text: John 17:1-11a

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Several times this past week, I got caught in a minor traffic slowdown. Now, ordinarily that wouldn’t be worthy of mention living in a city, other than perhaps in complaining about it. But, I think you can see why it’s significant right now. It’s been a while since there’s been much traffic on the roads at all, but that’s changed in the last week or two with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the beginnings of normal activity again. People are starting to socialize again. Businesses discuss plans for reopening. We are looking at ways to resume in-person worship here at St. John’s. So how does all that make you feel? There are many who feel a tone of excitement and relief – finally we can step away from the stress of lockdowns and start getting back to normal! But right along with that, there are many who also feel some measure of apprehension! Will this mean a bunch of people get sick? Will this be one step forward and two steps back? I’m going to guess that for most of us we probably find ourselves swinging back and forth between the desire to get back to normal and concern about what heading in that direction could cause!



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Ascension Message

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Ascension - Thursday, May 21, 2020

Text: Luke 24:44-53

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It’s Ascension. It's also graduation season. In a typical year, tonight would have been our graduation service for our 8th graders at St. John’s. However, this isn’t a typical year. Even before the big disruption we’ve all gone through lately, we knew that this date would be already be taken, reserved for Ascension worship because it is the 40th day after Easter. And ours isn’t the only graduation that changed this year; little did we know back then how graduations all over the place would be different this year.



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Christianity is a Love Story

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Sixth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 17, 2020

Text: John 14:15-21

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Dear Friends in Christ, Pretend, for a moment, that you are a detective or a private investigator. You are called to a second floor flat where a meeting of 13 people has recently taken place. Someone hands you a piece of paper. Written on it are the words of our text, John 14:15-21. Nothing more.



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Jesus Promises a Place for Us

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fifth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 10, 2020

Text: John 14:1-12

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If (and I know, it’s a big if) you could go anywhere today—anywhere at all—where would you go? I think it’s safe to assume that most of us are tired of being cooped up and getting antsy to go somewhere. We’ve had a whole lot of time to think about what we’ve been missing the last couple of months, and so maybe it doesn’t take too long to come up with your answer. Where would you go? This time of year, kids go to the zoo for field trips…but not this year. Some of us are itching to go to a baseball game. Wouldn’t that be fun, to tailgate in the parking lot and then catch a Brewers game? Maybe you’re not a sports fan, so you say, “I’d just love to go shopping…without a mask. I’d visit with people and try on outfits and find some deals, because there are always deals to be found if you are willing to look.” I was talking to someone last week who said they just want to go out to eat and sit down in a restaurant to have a nice meal. Today would be a great day to spend with family, maybe go see mom if you could, and I’m sure all of you are sincere who have expressed your longing to get back to church for worship services and Bible study. 



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Whose Voice Do You Follow?

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fourth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 3, 2020

Text: John 10:1-10

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Who, or what, do you listen to when you need to find information you can trust? Seems like that’s been an issue people have been complaining about for the last few years, maybe longer, but I think the current pandemic situation with all of its unknowns has probably brought it to the forefront. Where do you turn when you want to find information you can trust? Or, to put it another way, Whose Voice Do You Follow? Maybe you watch the daily press briefings from the government experts. Perhaps you turn on the local news? You seek out opinion pieces online from experts outside the government. Tune in to talk radio shows? Listen to the observations of people who work in the medical field or other related industry? Take note of reports from other states or countries? Maybe you factor in your own personal observations, or the experiences of neighbors, co-workers, and friends? And if you’ve listened to more than one of those sources, you’ve probably picked up on the problem. They’re all saying different things! And like anyone, they all have differing biases and goals, some more obvious than others, so who’s right and who’s wrong? Whose Voice Do You Follow? Sometimes it seems like it would be a whole lot easier if God would just tell you who to believe – but it doesn’t work that way.



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The Risen Christ Still Produces Burning Hearts

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Third Sunday of Easter - Sunday, April 26, 2020

Text: Luke 24:13-35

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Dear Friends of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Emmaus was a small town about seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. The only reason we know anything about it is because it served as home to a couple of believers. One was named Cleopas, the other’s name we don’t know. Heaven only knows how many times they’d traveled this road. But this time it was different.



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Jesus Shows Up

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Second Sunday of Easter - Sunday, April 19, 2020

Text: John 20:19-31

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In a way, we can identify with them—self-isolating from society, nervous to go outside and mingle with others because of the potential danger. By this time, maybe they were starting to think about how long it would take to return to normal, but even then, normal wouldn’t be the same as before. Not without Jesus. Maybe they had taken it all for granted: their health, their safety, the ease of travel and steady work to do. They had the best teacher ever, but classes were now cancelled indefinitely. It all came screeching to a halt Thursday night, it got worse on Friday, and ever since then they could only focus on what…and whom they were missing.



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A Memorable Easter

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Easter Festival - Sunday, April 12, 2020

Text: Matthew 28:5,6

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Dear Friends in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Visualize a past conversation you had with friends or family. A subject comes up which prompts someone to ask, “Do you remember that time when…”  and then launch into a story. And if it truly calls to mind an event that is memorable because it was unusual or out of the ordinary or totally unexpected, the response from those listening will be, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” 



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Easter Message

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Easter Sunrise - Sunday, April 12, 2020

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:14-23

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Bad news: no Easter breakfast at church today. No community Easter egg hunts. No long lines for pictures with the guy in a bunny suit. Family celebrations are scaled back or canceled altogether. No full parking lot this morning; few people to greet and a grand total of zero hands shaken so far. To an outside observer, it might appear that Easter has been cancelled.



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