Sermons

Category: Epiphany

Jesus Is Changed - And So Are Those Who Know Him

Pastor Joel Leyrer

Text: 2 Corinthians 3:12 - 4:2

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Dear Friends in Christ, If we’re looking for a single thought to describe the emphasis of this Sunday, a reasonable choice would be the word “change.” This theme is reflected in all our Scripture lessons. In our Old Testament reading we see a change that came over Moses when he had been in the presence of God on Mount Sinai. We’ll talk more about that in just a bit. In our Gospel lesson, we see Jesus momentarily changed or “transfigured” from the normal state his disciples were accustomed to seeing him to the glorious state that was and is his as the divine Son of God. Through this event the disciples were given a glimpse of the glory that awaits all who embrace Jesus in faith – including modern day disciples like us.



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Where Is Justice?

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Text: Romans 12:14-21

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From 2011-2015, ABC produced a TV drama under the title “Revenge.” The show was set in the Hamptons – an extremely wealthy neighborhood on Long Island – and was centered around a woman who had grown up in the neighborhood, but whose family had been falsely accused and forced to leave the area in disgrace when she was a kid. Later in life, she amasses a fortune and the show tells the story of her moving back to her childhood home…to seek revenge on those who had destroyed her family despite her father’s encouragement to forgive and move on. Over the course of the show, viewers watch as this woman befriends her enemies and then manipulates them against one another, using their own selfishness against them as she seeks her revenge and slowly destroys all of their lives. Not really an appealing premise for a TV show in my opinion, but reading the reviews it seems as though many critics found the plot oddly compelling. A phrase that kept coming up in the online reviews I read referred to the show as a “guilty pleasure.” I suppose there’s something appealing about watching someone carry out the kind of vengeance that you might find yourself wishing for even if you know you shouldn’t pursue it yourself. 



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Man's Plans; God's Promise - February 17, 2019

Pastor Joel Leyrer

Text:  2 Corinthians 12:7-10 

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Dear Friends in Christ,  Imagine this.  Ever since you were a little boy or a girl you’ve been fascinated with the city of Paris.  You’ve read everything there is to read on its history, you know the places that interest you the most, and you know exactly what you want to see once you get there. Now you’ve reached a point in your life when you can make the trip, so you board the plane with great anticipation of just how wonderful this long-envisioned vacation is going to be.  It’s a direct flight, so you don’t have to worry about layovers or connections.



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The Cause and Effect of Salvation - February 10, 2019

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: Romans 10:13-17

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Quite often, the most difficult questions to answer are the ones that begin with the word Why?  For instance, at some point we have probably asked ourselves or other people questions like, “Why is the sky blue?”  Or, “Why is it so cold today?”  Or, “Why do solar and lunar eclipses happen?”  You might know the answers to those questions, but you didn’t always know.  If you do know, it’s because you did some scientific research, and by reading a book or a website or asking an expert, you found out how the world works—that there are a whole lot of cause-and-effect relationships built into God’s creation.



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God Works by Grace - February 3, 2019

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Text: Romans 10:18 - 11:6

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With the wintery weather conditions over the past couple of weeks here in southeastern Wisconsin, I’m guessing most of you took the time to watch weather reports on T or look up forecasts on the internet just to see what exactly was coming. Maybe as you were doing that, you happened to see some of the weather forecasts from other parts of the country. I don’t know about you, but I always find it kind of entertaining to see how the warmer parts of the country respond to cold weather. For example, I saw a clip of weatherman from Florida warning people to bundle up and stay indoors because…the temperature might dip below freezing. I was talking to my brother who lives in Atlanta, and he was telling me how traffic in the city is usually paralyzed and school is often called off by a dusting of snow and a little ice. In the middle of a Wisconsin winter, it’s easy to laugh at that kind of stuff, but it also makes some sense. Most people in Florida don’t have a lot of heavy winter clothing…and so temperatures below freezing do present a significant challenge. According to the public records, the city of Atlanta owns just 40 salt trucks to clear the ice from a metro area populated by 6 million people. For comparison, the City of Wauwatosa owns 41…with 100 times fewer people. Having the right tools for the job makes a huge difference when challenges arise in any part of life, whether it’s extreme weather, home repair projects, or just about anything else!



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A Mission and Ministry Prayer - January 27, 2019

Pastor Joel Leyrer

Text: Acts 4:23-31

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Dear Friends in Christ, From ev’ry stormy wind that blows, from ev’ry swelling tide of woes, there is a calm, a sure retreat; 'tis found beneath the mercy seat. Those words written by the 20th century English clergyman Hugh Stowell rightly describe the events recorded in our text for today. 



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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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Faith Relieves Frustration - February 4, 2018

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Job 7:1-7

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Faith Relieves Frustration: The bible figure Job is fairly well known for the remarkable suffering he endured throughout his life, but perhaps less well known are the events that were going on behind the scenes in the spiritual world – events that allow us to see Job’s predicament in an entirely different light. This man named Job was blessed with incredible wealth, a huge family, abundant material possessions, from an earthly perspective, everything a person could want. As God looked down from heaven on his creation, he pointed to Job as a man who demonstrated godliness and faith in a sinful world – a man whose faith serves as a demonstration of God’s victory over the devil and the forces of evil. A sinful man, like any other, who puts his trust in God. One day, Satan decided to challenge God on that claim by pointing out that Job has it pretty good from an earthly perspective. It’s easy to have faith when you receive blessing after blessing, Satan says, but surely Job’s faith will falter if those blessings are removed! And so, God allows Satan to test this accusation by taking away Job’s material wealth and family in a series of tragedies. But it was to no avail – Job’s words were “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!” (Job 1:21 – NIV84). Satan further insisted that things would change if Job’s own health were in peril, so God allowed him to take that away too, but Job’s attitude remains the same.



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