Sermons

Jesus Has Called You

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Second Sunday After the Epiphany - Sunday, January 17, 2021

Text: John 1:43-51

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It was two weeks ago already that our family was having a game night at home. My wife’s phone rang first, and so we took a break from our game for a bit. Not long after that, my phone rang, too. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I picked up anyway. “Hello, is this Eric Schroeder?” “Yes, it is…” “This is President Gurgel from Martin Luther College; I’m calling to let you know that in a meeting of the governing board this evening, the Holy Spirit has called you to be professor of theology and history at Martin Luther College.” And we talked for a few more minutes, but honestly, it’s hard to give full attention after hearing that opening statement. And now, as I continue to deliberate between a call here and a call there, life feels different than before. And it should feel different, because life changes when you’re called by God. You should know that, too!



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The Father's Approval

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Baptism of Our Lord - Sunday, January 10, 2021

Text: Mark 1:4-11

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I know a person who put all his effort into trying to earn his father’s approval. He started life as a generally well-behaved child – obedient and respectful to his parents even if he didn’t agree with them in every way. He worked hard in school, he was relatively gifted and made good grades. He sought to expand his horizons by using his gifts in a whole range of extracurricular activities and became a well-rounded person. He took extra classes when he could, and he pursued a degree and then a career that he thought his father would approve of. It all seemed good, very good. But no matter what he did, it never seemed to be good enough. His grades had been good, but they weren’t all A's. He was an exceptionally well-rounded person with ability in a lot of areas, but here were still things he wasn’t all that good at. His career had started well, but after a while it seemed to get stale and didn’t measure up to what his father expected. It was good, it was very good, but it was never good enough.



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Epiphany Messengers

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Epiphany Sunday - Sunday, January 3, 2021

Text: Matthew 2:1-12

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Dear Friends in Christ. One could easily make the case that after the birth of Jesus, the best-known event in the wider Christmas story is the account recorded in our Gospel lesson and serving as our text today – the coming of the Magi, or Wise Men.



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Memento Mori

Pastor Eric Schroeder - New Year's Eve - Thursday, December 31, 2020

Text: 1 Peter 1:22-25

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As the story goes, a general returns from a long campaign to celebrate the victory with a parade through the capital city. As the sights of home replace the visions of war, and as the shouts of praise seek to erase the cries of the battlefield, there is a part of him that doesn’t want to forget. As horrifying as it might be to dwell on the staggering loss of life that so recently occurred, he doesn’t want to dishonor the memory of those who fought so bravely and weren’t so fortunate as he to make it home alive. But there is another reason, too. He knows that if there is a next time—and in war there is always a next time—victory is not guaranteed, nor is survival. And so, even as the throngs of people hail him as a conquering hero, assigning him an almost godlike status, he is listening closely to the words being whispered into his ear, by the slave he has ordered to stand right behind him, repeating these words over and over again: “Remember…you are only a man.” 



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News for You!

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The First Sunday After Christmas - Sunday, December 27, 2020

Text: Luke 2:25-40

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How do you think people responded to the shepherds? The familiar Christmas story ends with the shepherds going to Bethlehem, seeing the baby Jesus, and then “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2:17b-18 – NIV84). In their joy, I wonder how far the shepherds ranged? The town of Bethlehem? The surrounding country? Did they go door to door, or just meet people on the streets? Did they make it to nearby Jerusalem? Most of those questions are ones that we can only speculate about, but there were some who shared the shepherds' joy, and perhaps some of them even went to see for themselves. I wonder how many other visitors there were to the stable that night and in the following days, all in response to the shepherds' frantic excitement?



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Christmas is the Gift of Peace

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Christmas Day - Friday, December 25, 2020

Text: Luke 2:13-14

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Dear Friends in newborn King, Christ, the Lord: In a book of personal memories collected from those who served in World War II, a soldier from Massachusetts wrote about his first Christmas away from home. He doesn’t say how old he was, but we could guess he was probably 19 or 20.



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Letters to the Seven Churches: Laodicea

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fourth Sunday in Advent - Sunday December 20, 2020

Text: Revelation 3:14-22

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We all know someone who likes to drink coffee. It is the third-most consumed drink in America, after water and carbonated soft drinks. So whether you drink coffee yourself or not, I’m sure you are all well aware that there are two main ways that coffee is served. The vast majority is brewed steaming hot, quite often hotter than you’d want to drink right away, but you can also order iced coffee. Same ingredients, just ground up coffee beans and water—along with whatever flavors or sweeteners you’d like added in. But you either get it hot or cold. What you don’t typically see is the option to order lukewarm coffee, and there’s a scientific reason for that: it has to do with how your taste buds work. You see, at either end of the temperature spectrum, the taste buds on your tongue that detect bitter (and often unpleasant) flavors don’t work as well. But when you eat or drink something right around room temperature, those same taste buds kick in, and coffee doesn’t end up tasting as good, whether it’s hot coffee that has cooled down or iced coffee that has warmed up. It’s not just coffee, either. It’s the same reason that cold drinks are served over ice—so they stay cold and taste better longer. You get the picture.



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Letters to the Seven Churches: Philadelphia

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Midweek Advent 3 - Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Text: Revelation 3:7-13

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Dear Friends in Christ, If you did a little detective work, you would discover that somewhere you can find a Christian church today of one denomination or another named after every one of the seven churches listed in the Book of Revelation. That’s actually a bit surprising because, as we’ve learned through our examination of each of them in this sermon series, in some of his letters Jesus is pretty critical of what’s going on in a particular congregation and issues very strong warnings. We might think a church today may not want to be identified with a church that is mostly exposed for its flaws.



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Seven Letters to the Seven Churches: Sardis

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Third Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 13, 2020

Text: Revelation 3:1-6

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What you wear on the outside sometimes covers up what’s on the inside. I saw that truth illustrated in a humorous way a couple of years ago when I was coming back from a wilderness camping trip with my brother and some friends. What you wear on the outside sometimes covers up what’s on the inside. We were really close to being back to our vehicles, and we crossed paths with a young couple who were on their way in. It was their honeymoon, they said, and they seemed really excited. And had they ever dressed for the part! The latest in brand new, light weight, camping friendly clothing. Shiny new equipment. Not a speck of dirt or mud, and a big fluffy white dog following closely behind. It looked like a photo-op for an outdoors magazine…but one didn’t have to watch them tiptoe around the puddles for long to start wondering if they were as ready on the inside as they appeared to be on the outside! As you can probably imagine, wilderness areas of our country are some of the most beautiful places to visit, but they can be harsh. Sometimes it’s cold. Often it’s wet. Usually it’s dirty. Rain was in the forecast on that day, and our group wondered how that young couple’s trip ended up turning out!



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Seven Letters to the Seven Churches: Thyatira

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Midweek Advent 2 - Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Text: Revelation 2:18-29

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Today’s sermon marks the midpoint of our Advent series. The fourth letter of the seven is addressed to the church in the city of Thyatira. We don’t know a whole lot about this city or its inhabitants, but it may sound familiar to a few of us. For bible readers who have traveled with St. Paul on his missionary journeys in the book of Acts, you may remember that when Paul arrived at the Macedonian city of Philippi, he met a woman named Lydia; she was the dealer of purple cloth who happened to be from the city of Thyatira. Other than that, as I said, we don’t hear about this city again until St. John writes to them in Revelation.



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