November 2021

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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Don't Forget to be Thankful

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 25, 2021

Text: Deuteronomy 8:10-18

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I’d imagine that we’ve all said it at some point in our lives: “I’ll be so thankful when this is over.” Maybe it was a tough stretch in school, when the homework projects all came due, and the big final tests piled up. Or it could have been a stressful family situation where strong personalities refused to budge, and tension was high. Perhaps it was one of those weeks at work when everything seemed to go wrong, and the weekend couldn’t come quickly enough; everyone just needed some space and time apart. Or maybe it was an illness that you couldn’t shake or a long, lingering injury that sure took its time to heal. If you’ve been through one or more of those situations, you certainly know the feeling…” I’ll be so thankful when it’s over.”

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Christ Our King

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Christ the King Sunday - Sunday, November 21, 2021

Text: John 18:33-37

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Dear Friends in Christ, It is an early hour on the first Good Friday, perhaps first light. Jesus had been arrested the night before and subjected to a mock trial convened illegally by Jewish leaders. (According to their own strictly enforced rules, advance notice for such a meeting was required. But when you see your power and influence slipping away, apparently exceptions can be – and were – made.)

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Gathered for Triumph

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Saints Triumphant Sunday - Sunday, November 14, 2021

Text: Mark 13:24-27

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24 “But in those days, following that distress, “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 26 “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Every now and then, life presents us with those critical moments when everything seems to change in an instant. And when that happens, when we go through a sudden life-changing event, which way does it normally go? What I mean is this: of all the huge moments that you have observed in people’s lives or that you have been through yourself—especially the unexpected ones, does life get better or worse immediately after?

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A Life Lived Shrewdly

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Last Judgment Sunday - Sunday, November 7, 2021

Text: Luke 16:1-15

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If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you’ve probably seen reports on the large numbers of Americans who have been changing jobs in the last year or so. Maybe some of you are among them. Pundits offer different reasons why this trend is happening. Some point to things on the job: working conditions, wages, and benefits. Others point to factors outside the workplace like childcare, family situations, and health concerns. A couple weeks ago, I read an article that proposed another idea that was kind of thought provoking. This author theorized that for many people, their career was the primary source of meaning and fulfillment in their lives. When the events of the last couple of years changed everyone’s relationship with work, many were left feeling empty and discouraged and looking for something new. What’s the real reason? I suppose some combination of all three, but for today I’d like to think about that last one a little more. We have a built-in desire to see meaning and significance in our lives. When we get to the end, we’d like to be able to look back at everything that has been accomplished, the time invested, the energy poured out, the money spent, the relationships built, and all the rest of it and conclude – that was worth something. That had meaning and value and significance.

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Standing Firm in the Gospel

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Reformation - Sunday, October 31, 2021

Text: Mark 13:5-11

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You may have heard it said, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” I suppose one way to rephrase the sentiment is to say that we all need one or more foundational principles that we live by—they guide our goals, our plans, our decisions and how we look at the world. “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” A simpler way to say it would be this: if you don’t know what’s true, you’ll never recognize all the lies that will be told to you. “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”

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