Sermons

Category: Sundays after Pentecost

The Road to Contentment

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, October 17, 2021

Text: 2 Kings 5:14-27

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What would you wish for if you were given three wishes for whatever you want? That’s the premise of a number of movies – most notably Disney’s Aladdin. What would you wish for if granted three wishes for whatever you want? Maybe thinking as a kid you’d want a fun family trip, or that pet you’ve always wanted, or a new toy. Later on in life, maybe your list would include more athletic talent, smoother social skills, or the respect of your peers. Maybe it would be things with a more lasting impact on life. A better salary package. Greater satisfaction and fulfillment from your career. More time with family and friends. Relief from physical or mental health struggles. And of course, no matter what you use the first two wishes on, everyone knows that the third one should be for more wishes so you can keep on going!



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Songs of Scripture: Faithfulness

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 29, 2021

Text: Psalm 71

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Some of us might remember well one of the longest running ad campaigns in the last century.  Those who are too young can still find it on YouTube… It was way back in the days before you could skip over commercials on your DVR, so anyone watching TV in those days saw them on a regular basis. From 1991-2004, an advertising agency hired by Chevrolet ran a campaign that aimed to brand Chevy trucks as dependable, reliable, strong enough for any task, powerful enough to pull any fully-loaded trailer, built for whatever one might need it for. The agency gained permission to use a song from Detroit’s own Bob Seger, and then it was easy to put it all together and remind us all time and time again that Chevy Trucks were made in America and built “Like a Rock.” 



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Songs of Scripture: Wisdom

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 22, 2021

Text: Psalm 1

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A journey starts with just one step. That’s true of just about anything you want to accomplish – starting something new, breaking an old habit – it starts with just one step. If you decide you want to kick your caffeine habit, it starts with the first cup of coffee you pass up. If you decide you want to get into better shape, it starts with that first trip to the gym or that first step out the door. If you want to eat healthier, it starts with that first changed meal. A journey starts with just one step. It sounds kind of simplistic, because one cup of coffee, one workout, one meal – none of these do much in and of themselves. But, if they’re the first steps in a new routine? You might look back in a few weeks or months and be amazed at the progress!



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Songs of Scripture: Trust

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 15, 2021

Text: Psalm 34

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Last summer when so much of the world was going crazy in so many ways, I saw an article inviting people to get away. It described a totally self-sufficient property that had been designed for disconnecting from society and all the craziness that was going on at the time. Surprisingly it was all crammed onto a little less than an acre. Some chickens and a few other selected animals for meat, carefully divided up parcels of land for farming different kinds of fruits and vegetables, a modest home with a well for water, solar panels on the roof and couple of wind turbines for electricity. Supposedly it would allow a family of four to live independently, off the grid, separate from the rest of society.  Maybe that kind of lifestyle has some appeal to you, or maybe it seems a bit crazy, but whatever your opinion is, I’m guessing that the idea of independence and having control of your life is something you value. After all, we find ourselves looking for it throughout life. As young adults, we look forward to being independent of parents, teachers, and others in authority and free to make decisions for ourselves. On the other end of life, as senior citizens, we often desire to retain our independence as much as we can! We move into places labeled as “independent living” even as we prepare for the possibility of needing some level of assistance. None of this should be surprising, because the idea of independence and taking care of yourself is built into the fabric of our culture. What’s the real name for the fourth of July? Oh yeah, Independence Day!



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"This Will Kill That"

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, October 18, 2020

Text: 2 Chronicles 33:1-13

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Dear Friends in Christ, “This Will Kill That” is the catchy title of a chapter in Victor Hugo’s famous novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The book has been made into several movie versions over the years, so even if you are not familiar with the storyline, you’re probably familiar with the name. The story takes place in Paris around the year 1480.



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God Knows Better

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, October 4, 2020

Text: Jonah 4:5-11

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My wife and I met in New Ulm; she spent a couple semesters at Martin Luther College before moving back home to Michigan to finish nursing school.  I hope that she would say the best thing about her time in Minnesota was meeting me; I do know for sure what she’d say the worst part was—she was not a fan of the Minnesota winters.  When Bethany and I got married, we had no idea where we were going to end up. I had three years left of seminary, and then came call day, when I would be assigned to serve somewhere.  Looking ahead to call day, the possibilities are on everyone’s mind. But if you asked Bethany back then where she would have liked to wind up, I know her answer, because it became a familiar refrain over those three years: “Anywhere but Minnesota.” 



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Freely Forgive!

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 27, 2020

Text: Genesis 50:15-21

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Forgive and forget, the saying goes. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, and perhaps you’ve even said it. It sounds nice, and it comes out easily. Forgive and forget. But how well does that actually work? Maybe it’s not all that hard when you’re forgiving something small and petty that most everyone involved has forgotten about within a couple of days, but what when it’s something big and painful? How well does “forgive and forget” work then? Is it even possible to forgive and forget when a friend has betrayed your confidence and shared something you told them in secret? Is it possible to forgive and forget when a spouse has been unfaithful? What about when parents have made mistakes that have turned your life upside down? What about when the physical or psychological wounds of sins in the past still persist today? It’s easy to say the words “you’re forgiven,” but forgive and forget? Well that’s a bit harder.



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Our Role as Watchmen

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 20, 2020

Text: Ezekiel 33:7-11

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Dear Friends in Christ, They vary for each of us and they don’t come all at once, but throughout our lifetime we all fill multiple roles. Son, daughter, spouse, parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, employee, employer – these are just some of them. All are important. All come with a certain amount of privileges. All also comes with a certain amount of responsibility.



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United in Praise

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Unity Sunday - Sunday, September 13, 2020

Text: Isaiah 42:8-13

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Our nation could use some unity right now. Even though we live in a country whose pledge of allegiance makes claims to be “one nation under God” and “indivisible,” perhaps you’ve thought especially lately that every day we stray farther from God, and America seems pretty divisible lately. It seems like no matter what you think about literally anything at all, you can find someone who disagrees wholeheartedly, and loudly, and angrily. Whenever we live through times like these, it’s easy to be divided especially about names, and I’ll mention two that we all have heard before. We still have Donald Trump and Joe Biden. At the same time, there are some new names: George Floyd, Joseph Mensah, Dr. Fauci, Jacob Blake, Kyle Rittenhouse... With every name, there are emotions that come to mind, and then there are reactions, and opinions, and arguments to be made about who’s right and who’s wrong. And so, there is division.



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What God Does: Eternal Life

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 30, 2020

Text: Acts 14:21-28

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This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Those thoughts probably crossed the minds of Barnabas and others as they gathered around the battered body of the apostle Paul. A city that had welcomed Paul and Barnabas with open arms had turned hostile. Enemies who had been there every step of the journey had now arrived in Lystra, and stirred up the crowd against Paul. A joyful crowd had turned into a vicious mob just like that. Shouts of adoration and praise turned to threats and mockery, and a peaceful assembly soon became a riot. As tensions increased, Barnabas and others had been shoved side and then the rock started flying. Unable to dodge them all, Paul eventually went down and his motionless body was dragged triumphantly out of the city where he was left for dead. As the crowd dispersed, his little group of followers gathered around. Some had to be thinking: this isn’t how it was supposed to go. After a little while, the apostle started to stir – the stoning had been brutal, but not brutal enough. God’s protecting hand had preserved the life of his missionary, because he had many more things planned for Paul. Just before the words of today’s sermon text, Luke wrote: “after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” (Acts 14:20 – NIV84).



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