Sermons

Category: Advent

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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Rags to Riches

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fourth Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 19, 2021

Text: Hebrews 10:5-10

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In the mid-1960s, a girl was born in England. Her parents named her Joanne. By many measures, Joanne was born in ordinary circumstances. Her father was an engineer at a factory and her mother worked for a school science department. Her childhood was relatively unremarkable, but things were challenging in her teen aged years. Her mother was diagnosed with a serious illness, and she became estranged from her father. Adulthood didn’t get any easier. A troubled marriage ended in divorce, and Joanne was left to raise her daughter alone. She struggled with mental health issues of her own, bounced around from job to job, even trying to write a novel but being rejected by a dozen different publishers. She stayed afloat due to various government programs, and was in her own words, “poor as it is possible to be…without being homeless.” Finally, one publisher agreed to publish a limited print run of 1000 copies, and the tide started to turn. Fifteen years later, J.K. Rowling was a multi-millionaire as the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter book series. Her story is a true rags to riches story – from the humblest of beginnings to tremendous wealth and fame.



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The Savior Comes: To the Waiting

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Midweek Advent 3 - Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Text: Luke 1:26-45

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Among all the participants in the Christmas story, other than Jesus himself, no one is more involved than Mary. Everyone else in the Gospel accounts comes in later or leaves the scene earlier than Mary; many come and go along the way. Mary, however, would be close by the whole time. Today’s Gospel reading from Luke chapter 1 introduces us to this young woman, who will forever be known as the mother of our Lord.



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What to Give Up for Advent

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Third Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 12, 2021

Text: Philippians 4:4-7

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Dear Friends in Christ, Embedded within this text is a short four-word sentence that summarizes the entire message of Advent. This is it: “the Lord is near.” That statement is kind of like the sun in Paul’s inspired thinking, with everything else he says revolving around it.



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Advent Reminders

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Second Sunday in Advent - Sunday, December 5, 2021

Text: Philippians 1:3-11

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Dear Friends in Christ, Today clearly belongs to John the Baptist. Two of our three readings reference him (Old Testament and Gospel). Next week’s Gospel reading will also revolve around his work. The announcement of his birth was the subject of our first midweek Advent service this past Wednesday. And he’s mentioned a number of times in our hymns for today.



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The Savior Comes: To the Doubting

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Midweek Advent 1 - Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Text: Luke 1:5-25

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Dear Friends in Christ, In each of our three midweek Advent services this year we will consider a person whose life was intertwined with the birth of Jesus Christ. By taking a closer look at who they are and the part they played in the overall Christmas story as they waited for it to unfold, it will be our goal to learn from them and through them.



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Against All Expectations

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The First Sunday in Advent - Sunday, November 28, 2021

Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

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Sometimes events happen that make it hard to be thankful for the present and very difficult to be optimistic about the future. Even though it was Thanksgiving, this might have been a week like that. We saw reports of increased concerns about COVID, continuing supply chain issues, rising fuel prices, and all topped off by senseless violence in a community just down the road. Sometimes what you see going on around you not only makes it hard to be thankful right now, it also makes it hard to look toward the future with an expectation for anything but more of the same – and worse! Now, as Christians, none of this should be surprising, even though we wish it were different. The Bible reminds us that we live in a world that has been cursed with sin and the consequences it brings. That means we really can’t be surprised when we are disappointed in society. Sin means we shouldn’t be shocked when people disappoint us, even family members or friends we care about very much. And then there’s our own personal struggles and sins that we desperately try to prevent other people from finding out about! With so much brokenness and sinfulness surrounding us, it’s hard to be optimistic for the future! The temptation comes to fall into a state of despair, or to direct anger and frustration at God for the way he allows the world to run!



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