Sermons

The Perfect Combination - January 20, 2019

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: Ephesians 3:14-21

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We all know what it’s like to look for the perfect combination.  Every time we have to make a big purchase, we search for the perfect combination of quality and value, right?  We don’t want to have to spend hard-earned money on something that won’t work or won’t last.  But it isn’t just things; it’s people, too.  If you are looking for a doctor, you don’t want to have to choose either a skilled physician or a caring individual.  Ideally, you can find the perfect combination of know-how and a good bedside manner.  Same thing with a college professor.  There are some teachers out there who have brilliant minds, but struggle with communication.  Ideally, you learn the most when a teacher has the perfect combination of great understanding and the ability to make the subject matter understandable—isn’t that what teaching is supposed to be? 



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Baptism Saves You - January 13, 2019

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Text: Titus 3:4-7

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This past week, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (the governing body of high school sports) released an op-ed calling for parents in the stands to do a better job keeping their tempers in check – especially with the officials.  Everyone who has attended a sports game at any level has probably seen fans yelling at the referees, but apparently the problem has been getting worse in recent years and seems to be the primary cause of a shortage of willing referees in many parts of the state.  Many seasoned referees are retiring, and younger referees suffer from a nearly 80% dropout rate.  Both dropouts and retirees cite fan abuse as the primary reason for quitting.  Apparently it’s become bad enough that in some areas games have been postponed or even canceled outright.  It’s kind of a sad state of affairs that sports – intended for enjoyment – have denigrated to such a level, and perhaps it’s kind of a sad commentary on the state of society as a whole.    



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Mysteries Revealed - January 6, 2019

Pastor Joel Leyrer

Text: Ephesians 3:2-6

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Dear Friends in Christ, That we are observing the Festival of Epiphany has been noted several times today.  However, did you know…Epiphany was recognized and celebrated as a holiday by the early Christian Church well before Christmas was?



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With God's Blessing - January 1, 2019

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: Numbers 6:22-27

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These words sound familiar.  You have heard these words before (or words awfully close to them) more times than we can count.  We can call them the Aaronic Benediction (named after Moses’ brother Aaron, who is mentioned here) or the priestly blessing (since Aaron was the first in a long line of Jewish High Priests that would come from his line).  Most of the time, we just call it “the blessing.”  Quite often, they are the last spoken words we hear before our worship services end. 



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One More Year - December 31, 2018

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Text: Isaiah 51:1-6

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Over the last couple of weeks, Time Magazine has been publishing their annual series of “Top 10” lists about 2018 – both good things and bad things.  Among the lists are the top 10 movies, the top 10 sports moments, the top 10 technology gadgets, the top 10 crises, the top 10 dictionary word lookups, and many more.  It’s an annual way of trying to capture a snapshot of the most significant moments in American culture over the past year.  What if you were to do the same thing with your life in 2018?  What kinds of things would make the top 10 highlights of 2018?  Maybe you graduated from school or got promoted at work.  Maybe a child was born.  Maybe you celebrated a milestone birthday or anniversary.  Maybe you formed a new friendship, moved to a new place, or maybe 2018 wasn’t necessarily a year of major milestones, but a year of new memories in the same place with many of the same people.  No matter what it was, 2018 is One More Year of celebration and thanksgiving to God, and that’s why we have gathered here tonight. 



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Searching and Finding - December 30, 2018

Pastor Joel Leyrer

Text: Luke 2:41-52

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Dear Friends in Christ, a span of 30 years lies between the record of Jesus’ birth and the beginning of his public ministry.  Within those three decades we have only one incident the Holy Spirit has chosen to share with us.  It is our Gospel lesson for today.



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The Face of God - December 25, 2018

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: Exodus 33:18-23, 34:5-7 

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Did you get the presents you were hoping for? By this point in the season, you may or may not already know. Some of us opened gifts last night, maybe you unwrapped them this morning, and others have presents still waiting for us. So maybe you had all your Christmas dreams come true and more, but if not, perhaps there’s still time. Did you get the presents you were hoping for?



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Are You Ready for Christmas - December 19, 2018

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Text:Luke 3:7-18

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Are You Ready For Christmas? What was your first sign of the approach of Christmas this year? I think for me, it was a radio commercial advertising Black Friday shopping and it ran a few weeks before Thanksgiving. But even before that, I think I saw Walmart put some Christmas decorations on display for purchase already in October. And you probably have more examples of your own. A few weeks ago, I heard a radio program bemoaning the loss of Thanksgiving as a holiday to ever earlier Christmas preparations and Christmas shopping and perhaps it seems like there might be some truth to that. One humor columnist has a term for this: Christmas Creep. Every year Christmas creeps a few weeks earlier, and this writer theorizes that in about 10 years Christmas will no longer be a holiday – it will be a year-round lifestyle. In some ways, maybe it’s comical to see how our country starts getting ready for Christmas so absurdly far in advance. In other ways, perhaps it’s sad to see the commercializing of this important religious holiday. But there is one advantage to Christmas Creep. While it might seem silly to us to start decorating our houses with lights in July, spiritual preparation for Christmas is something that we can never start too early. That’s been the message carried by God’s prophets in every generation – prepare to meet the Messiah! That’s what you heard from Malachi in today’s prophecy reading, and that’s also what you hear form John the Baptist in the section of scripture that is before us today. Produce Good Fruit! (v. 7-14)



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The Reason for the Season - December 23, 2018

Pastor Leyrer

Text: Genesis 4:1,2,6-8,25-5:5

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Dear Friends in Christ, to some degree its always been this way, but for the last few decades there seems to be an increasingly concerted effort to remove just about any religious element from the way in which our nation acknowledges Christmas, starting with the name itself. What used to be office Christmas parties have become “holiday” parties. What used to be Christmas breaks at non-religious schools have become winter breaks. Whether spoken or written, the common greeting of “Merry Christmas” has given way to the more neutral “happy holidays.” Even Christmas trees are referred to as holiday trees. This trend has not gone unnoticed and has created something of a mild backlash among those who understand that you can change the name or the emphasis or the focus of an event, but you can’t deny the event itself. In this unofficial “reclaim Christmas” movement, one of the more popular and catchy slogans seen on bumper stickers and lapel pins and Christmas cards is the phrase, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” Which, of course, is true. But our text for today drills down even deeper and explains for us why Jesus’ arrival on our planet was necessary in the first place. What becomes clear is that, in another sense, we – as in all of mankind – are THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.



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Celebrating Sukkot - December 16, 2018

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: Nehemiah 8:9-18

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How many of you have ever celebrated Thanksgiving by camping out in your backyard? Anyone? Seems like an awfully strange idea, doesn’t it? Especially in this part of the world, the end of November isn’t the ideal time for spending a night outside. Not to mention the fact that some of us might not like the idea of camping . . . no matter what time of year. We like our homes, and our beds, and our HVAC systems that keep the temperature inside right where we set it. So we have other ways of enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, with food and drink and family gatherings that accompany our thanksgiving to God.



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