Sermons

Category: Pastor Bitter

Faith Works

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The First Sunday in Lent - Sunday, February 21, 2021

Text: Genesis 22:1-18

Watch Service Video

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to answer the “why” questions when it comes to the Bible? Why did God do this and not that? Why does God allow this difficult thing to happen? Why doesn’t God use his almighty power to address that? Why did God set up his plan of salvation in the way that he did? The list goes on, and in such situations we know that God wants us to trust him, but that’s not always easy to do – especially when what we see going on around us doesn’t appear to match up very well with what God has promised us! God is powerful and promises us that he’s in control…but we look around and see a lot of chaos and turmoil! God is loving and promises to do all things for our good…but there is still heartache and pain in life. God is forgiving and promises that because of what Jesus did our sins are forgiven so much that it’s just as if they didn’t happen…but we still struggle with guilt and the consequences of our own sinful decisions. Situations like these are among the devil’s favorites for trying to get children of God to doubt. Did God really promise that? Is he really going to come through? Has something changed with God’s plans? No matter what the specifics are, it’s a variation on the same temptation the devil’s been using from the very beginning when he led Adam and Eve to question God’s plans and promises. Did God really say…? Sadly, such temptation is just as effective today as it was back then!



Keep Reading >>

The Greatest Miracle

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany - Sunday, February 7, 2021

Text: Mark 1:29-39

Watch Service Video

What makes something count as a miracle? Miracle is a word you hear pretty frequently. Let me give you a few examples. “Miracle on the Hudson” – a label applied to the dramatic emergency landing of a passenger aircraft in the Hudson River in 2009. Miracles of modern medicine treat or cure diseases that at one time were fatal. You see it a ton in sports. “Miracle” is the title of a movie about the improbable victory of the 1980 US hockey team over the Soviet Union. NBA headlines this week included this one: "Wizards score 6 points in 4 seconds in miraculous comeback vs. Nets.” What is it that makes people call something a “miracle”? Examples like these would seem to be things that are improbable, things that are highly unlikely to happen but amazing when they do! You and I probably see a miracle as something even greater than that – something impossible without outside help! A miracle is what you hope for when all other options are exhausted and all hope seems to be gone.



Keep Reading >>

Your Savior Calls

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Third Sunday After Epiphany - Sunday, January 24, 2021

Text: Mark 1:14-20

Watch Service Video

How much change can a person expect in life when following God? I don’t know about you but that’s the kind of question that comes to my mind when I hear Scripture sections like we have before us today. How much change can a person expect in life when following God? Take Elisha, for example, in the first lesson. We find him plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, which probably means he had 11 hired workers helping him farm. Not too shabby for society at that time! But then one day a prophet named Elijah comes along and asks Elisha to put all that aside and become a traveling prophet, living off the generosity of others. A huge change when you think about it, but Elisha does it eagerly! You almost find yourself wondering if Elisha knew the whole story. Did he realize how this prophet thing had gone for Elijah? Did he not know that just a short time earlier Elijah had been on the run from the wicked queen, isolated in a cave on a mountainside, so depressed that he just prayed that God would take his life because his ministry had been such a failure? Why would Elisha put aside his life of wealth and comfort to follow someone in doing that?



Keep Reading >>

The Father's Approval

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

Text: Mark 1:4-11

Watch Service Video

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.



Keep Reading >>

News for You!

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

Text: Luke 2:25-40

Watch Service Video

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?



Keep Reading >>

Seven Letters to the Seven Churches: Sardis

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

Text: Revelation 3:1-6

Watch Service Video

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!



Keep Reading >>

Letters to the Seven Churches: Smyrna

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Midweek Advent 1 - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Text: Revelation: 2:8-11

Watch Service Video

The year was about 95 AD. The small group of Christians in the city of Smyrna, located in modern day Turkey, were feeling besieged on every side. The roots of their struggle go back a couple of decades to a time when the Roman emperors started claiming to be gods as a way of solidifying their power. They then expected their subjects to honor them as gods. From a human perspective, they weren’t asking anything too huge. A pinch of incense burned before a statue of the emperor, an occasional sacrifice offered at his altar, or some other simple demonstration of commitment to the state and the emperor is what was expected. But Christians were unable to participate in such worship acts in good conscience, so they walked past the statues and didn’t visit the altars. And maybe it could have just stayed like that. Quiet religious objection, but not making much fuss, were it not for their enemies. This group of enemies seems to trace their background into Judaism. These were people who had wanted nothing to do with Jesus, and they also wanted nothing to do with his followers, and they saw in this an opportunity to get the Christians in trouble with the Roman authorities. Rumors started to circulate. The Christians were religious objectors (true) and because of that, they were trying to undermine the emperor’s authority and the whole empire itself! Such slander had about the effect one might expect as Christian beliefs foreign to the Romans were dragged out into the public sphere and grossly misinterpreted. Damage had been done to their status in society, to their income, and even at times to their physical health and well-being! What were they supposed to do?



Keep Reading >>

See Life Clearly

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Christ the King Sunday - Sunday, November 22, 2020

Text: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23, 24

Watch Service Video

Just over a week ago, I went in for my annual eye doctor appointment. As I look at those of you in person, I see a number of pairs of glasses, and I suspect there are some contacts I can’t see, so I’m sure many of you have had the same experience. If not, you can probably imagine it pretty well. First, the doctor checks the health of your eyes. He looks at them from different angles through different lenses and with different colors of light. Then the doctor checks your prescription by having you look through different lens combinations, one eye at a time. Which is clearer? One, or two? Three or four? And so on. Finally, the most interesting part: you look through your updated prescription with both eyes and see what 20/20 vision actually looks like. If you’ve had a big change to your prescription, or if it’s your first-time getting glasses, you can see what you were missing as you look around with 20/20 vision and See Life Clearly. It can be an amazing experience. I remember first getting glasses when I was in grade school and making the discovery that the candles in the front of the church weren’t actually candles at all…they were light bulbs that flickered! Apparently, I’d needed glasses for quite some time! Maybe some of you can remember a similar experience.



Keep Reading >>

This is Nothing New

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Reformation Sunday - Sunday, October 25, 2020

Text: Daniel 6:10-12, 16-23

Watch Service Video

Do you think Luther ever wondered if it was all worth it? It’s easy to look back and the events of the Lutheran Reformation 500 years ago and see God’s hand at work, but in the thick of things. Do you think Luther ever wondered if it was all worth it? If you’re familiar with any of his life, maybe you remember him on trial at the Diet of Worms, called to account for his writings and beliefs, seemingly with the whole world allied against him. Former friends were now enemies. Powerful people in both the church and the state wanted him silenced or dead. There had been threats on his life. Was sticking to the truth of God’s word worth it?



Keep Reading >>

Freely Forgive!

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

Text: Genesis 50:15-21

Watch Service Video

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.



Keep Reading >>

Older Posts >>