January 2023

Think Meekly; Act Boldly

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany - Sunday, January 29, 2023

Text: Zephaniah 2:3, 3:11-13

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If you were asked to name a sermon that Jesus preached during his three-year ministry, what’s the first one you would think of? Of course, there are so many to choose from. You might think of a favorite parable. You could remember one of the great “I am” sections from John’s gospel, where Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” or “I am the Good Shepherd,” or one of the others. Jesus never preached a bad sermon; in fact, all of them were perfect—and still are. But if we were put on the spot to name a sermon of Jesus, wouldn’t many of us think first of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount?

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The Light Still Shines in the Darkness

Pastor Joel Schwartz - The Third Sunday After the Epiphany - Sunday, January 22, 2023

Text: Isaiah 8:19-9:4

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Certain cities and towns are shrouded in darkness because of some event from their history. Some of you might know what I mean when I give the names of towns like: Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Maryland. Sharpsburg, MD is where the Battle of Antietam was fought. 22,000 died in a single battle. Out west, Burke, ID was a mining town abandoned in 1991 because of a century of violence and chaos in the town, it has a dark past. The city of Waco, TX I’m sure has many wonderful qualities and characteristics about it, one of my earliest memories of watching the evening news was a cult leader named David Koresh holding out in a compound in Waco, TX. Finally the compound went up in flames and 25 people died. I still associate the city with that event. Maybe there are places that are similar in your own mind?

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It All Begins with Baptism

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Baptism of Our Lord - Sunday, January 15, 2023

Text: Isaiah 42:1-7

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Dear Friends in Christ, If you were present at the 10:30 service last Sunday you would have witnessed approximately 25 men installed into their offices as various church leaders. If you were present at the special afternoon service we held three weeks before that on December 18, you would have witnessed Pastor Schwartz installed into his office as a pastor for St. John’s.

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The Glorious Light of Epiphany

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Epiphany of Our Lord - Sunday, January 8, 2023

Text: Isaiah 60:1-6

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Wasn’t today (yesterday) glorious? Does anyone else feel like it had been a while since we had such a nice sunny day? I suppose it’s typical around here. It’s no wonder so many people take advantage of a holiday break or use vacation time or take a few months if they are able to head south. For one, the days are still short, even if they are slowly gaining some daylight; but even during the day, more often than not lately it’s been either mostly cloudy or completely cloudy all day long, with some rain and snow flurries mixed in. This time of year, some people find themselves feeling more tired than usual—whether it’s having a hard time getting going in the morning, or a lack of energy later on in the day, and there’s a reason behind it. Scientists tell us that a lack of sunlight translates to lower serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and even depression. We all benefit from some light in our lives.

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A Powerful Blessing of Preservation, Pardon, and Peace

Pastor Joel Schwartz - Circumcision & Name of Jesus - Sunday, January 1, 2023

Text: Numbers 6:22-27

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The big game is winding down on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day and the camera shows some shots of the hard working crew, either the camerapersons or the crew behind the controls in the truck. They are the group that makes viewing the game possible. They give them five seconds of TV time, enough time to wave and say hello to their families. It is a nod to the fact that this crew in the truck and on the field left their homes on a holiday to bring you the big game.

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New Year - Same Jesus

Pastor Eric Schroeder - New Year's Eve - Saturday, December 31, 2022

Text: Hebrews 13:5-8, 14

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Where has the time gone? As we pause on the Eve of yet another New Year, maybe we find ourselves asking questions like that to note how quickly time seems to fly by. Where has the time gone? We can think back to something that happened five or ten years ago and say, “I remember it like it was yesterday.” Any of us who remember New Year’s Eve of 1999 and the fears that all of our computers were going to quit working because of the Y2K bug can stop and marvel now that this “new” century is already 23 years old—almost a quarter completed. Generally speaking, the older we get, the more we realize how precious time is, because once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. And it does go quickly.

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