Sermons

The Light Still Shines in the Darkness

Pastor Joel Schwartz - The Third Sunday After the Epiphany - Sunday, January 22, 2023

Text: Isaiah 8:19-9:4

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Certain cities and towns are shrouded in darkness because of some event from their history. Some of you might know what I mean when I give the names of towns like: Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Maryland. Sharpsburg, MD is where the Battle of Antietam was fought. 22,000 died in a single battle. Out west, Burke, ID was a mining town abandoned in 1991 because of a century of violence and chaos in the town, it has a dark past. The city of Waco, TX I’m sure has many wonderful qualities and characteristics about it, one of my earliest memories of watching the evening news was a cult leader named David Koresh holding out in a compound in Waco, TX. Finally the compound went up in flames and 25 people died. I still associate the city with that event. Maybe there are places that are similar in your own mind?



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It All Begins with Baptism

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Baptism of Our Lord - Sunday, January 15, 2023

Text: Isaiah 42:1-7

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Dear Friends in Christ, If you were present at the 10:30 service last Sunday you would have witnessed approximately 25 men installed into their offices as various church leaders. If you were present at the special afternoon service we held three weeks before that on December 18, you would have witnessed Pastor Schwartz installed into his office as a pastor for St. John’s.



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The Glorious Light of Epiphany

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Epiphany of Our Lord - Sunday, January 8, 2023

Text: Isaiah 60:1-6

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Wasn’t today (yesterday) glorious? Does anyone else feel like it had been a while since we had such a nice sunny day? I suppose it’s typical around here. It’s no wonder so many people take advantage of a holiday break or use vacation time or take a few months if they are able to head south. For one, the days are still short, even if they are slowly gaining some daylight; but even during the day, more often than not lately it’s been either mostly cloudy or completely cloudy all day long, with some rain and snow flurries mixed in. This time of year, some people find themselves feeling more tired than usual—whether it’s having a hard time getting going in the morning, or a lack of energy later on in the day, and there’s a reason behind it. Scientists tell us that a lack of sunlight translates to lower serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and even depression. We all benefit from some light in our lives.



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A Powerful Blessing of Preservation, Pardon, and Peace

Pastor Joel Schwartz - Circumcision & Name of Jesus - Sunday, January 1, 2023

Text: Numbers 6:22-27

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The big game is winding down on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day and the camera shows some shots of the hard working crew, either the camerapersons or the crew behind the controls in the truck. They are the group that makes viewing the game possible. They give them five seconds of TV time, enough time to wave and say hello to their families. It is a nod to the fact that this crew in the truck and on the field left their homes on a holiday to bring you the big game.



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New Year - Same Jesus

Pastor Eric Schroeder - New Year's Eve - Saturday, December 31, 2022

Text: Hebrews 13:5-8, 14

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Where has the time gone? As we pause on the Eve of yet another New Year, maybe we find ourselves asking questions like that to note how quickly time seems to fly by. Where has the time gone? We can think back to something that happened five or ten years ago and say, “I remember it like it was yesterday.” Any of us who remember New Year’s Eve of 1999 and the fears that all of our computers were going to quit working because of the Y2K bug can stop and marvel now that this “new” century is already 23 years old—almost a quarter completed. Generally speaking, the older we get, the more we realize how precious time is, because once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. And it does go quickly.



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We Are the Visited Planet

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Christmas Day - Sunday, December 25, 2022

Text: John 1:1-14

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Dear Friends in our newborn King: Some years ago the Christian author J.B. Phillips wrote a delightful, insightful, and highly imaginative short story entitled “The Visited Planet.” If we had to give it a genre, we might call it “Christian fantasy.”



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Joseph's Christmas Journey

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Fourth Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 18, 2022

Text: Matthew 1:18-25

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Dear Friends in Christ, Of the four Gospel writers, Mark and John assume we know the Christmas story. They begin their books by jumping right into Jesus’ public ministry thirty years later. That leaves Matthew and Luke to fill us in on the events surrounding and leading up to the birth of Jesus. Which they do. But in slightly different ways.



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What Did You Expect?

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Third Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 11, 2022

Text: Matthew 11:2-11

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One of life’s many challenges is learning to manage our expectations. Perhaps you can think of a time when you were so excited to see a movie that you made plans to see it on the day it came out. Maybe you loved the book, so you knew the story and couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen. It might be a movie that featured one or more of your favorite actors and the previews claimed it would be the biggest thriller of the year, or it could be a long-awaited sequel—the next episode in an epic series. Going in, you thought it had the potential to be the best movie ever made. What could possibly meet those expectations?! And what was your first thought when the credits rolled at the end? Was it everything you expected it to be? Or, did you come away at least a little bit disappointed?



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As We Watch and Wait

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Second Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 4, 2022

Text: Matthew 3:1-12

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Dear Friends in Christ, In the world of professional baseball the player who pitches the second last inning of a close game their team is winning is sometimes referred to as a “set-up” man. Reason: his role is to keep the other team from scoring in order to “set up” the final pitcher, known as “the closer” – who then completes the game and secures the victory.



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Your King Comes to You

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The First Sunday in Advent - Sunday, November 27, 2022

Text: Matthew 21:1-11

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Christian worship is all about freedom. But “worship” and “freedom” haven’t always gone together. You may well know that in Old Testament times, at least from the time of Moses on, God’s people were instructed to keep the calendar that he had given them on Mount Sinai. What did that look like? Their worship life was tied to Sabbath Days; every Saturday was a day where regular work was set aside to leave room for the study of God’s Word, singing God’s praises, and making sacrifices. Every new moon marked a new month, and there were more sacrifices. In the springtime and in the fall, there were major festivals to thank God for the grain harvest and the fruit harvest, and each festival came with its own celebrations and rituals—and, you guessed it, additional sacrifices. The people of Israel had no choice in the matter; God laid out the calendar exactly the way he wanted it to be observed. There was purpose behind it. Each one of those calendar events, in its own way, pointed ahead to the Savior that would one day come, so sticking to the schedule was one of the primary ways that his faithful people showed their love for God and their trust in the Savior that he promised.



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