March 2022

The Semblance of Legality

Pastor Tom Kneser - Midweek Lent 5 - Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Text: Luke 22:66

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Brothers and sisters in Christ,​ Did you ever stop to count how many trials Jesus had to endure on that last day of his life? In reality it was SIX! There was the pre-trial hearing before Annas, while the Sanhedrin was being assembled. Then there was the parade of false witnesses before that Jewish assembly. Next came the one in the verse I just read. After that he was handed over to Pilate who sent him to Herod who then sent Jesus back again to Pilate who finally gave the command to have Jesus crucified. And through all of them no impartial jury would have ever been convinced that Jesus was guilty.

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God Crushes Our Condemnation

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fourth Sunday in Lent - Sunday, March 27, 2022

Text: Isaiah 12

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When I was in school, I worked as a waiter at a couple of different restaurants. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you probably know that in that area of work you meet a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds – both among the patrons of the restaurant and the coworkers you work alongside. Lots of kind and friendly people, lots of different backgrounds, and a few more challenging people as well! One I remember in particular was an outspoken atheist who enjoyed arguing with Christian people. It never really seemed to be anything personal – he wasn’t all that hard to get along with – but his questions and accusations did prompt some challenging conversations. Things took an interesting turn one day. I remember arriving at work to find everyone in a frenzy. This gentleman had been involved in a terrible ATV accident and was severely injured. He was hospitalized for several weeks, and it took months of rehab before he was able to work again. The people at the restaurant jumped into action to help. They donated food, hosted a fundraiser, and helped out however they could. But alongside that kindness for a person that some had not even gotten along with all that well, there was another question that I remember being posed on a number of occasions. Was this tragedy God’s condemnation of this man’s beliefs and lifestyle? Was this something he deserved, a debt that was to be paid, because of his previous attitudes and actions? That’s a natural conclusion to draw, and maybe you’ve seen a similar thing.

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What to Remember When You Are Seized with Remorse

Pastor Ben Wessel - Midweek Lent 4 - Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Text: Matthew 27:3,4

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“I shouldn’t have done that.” But you did. Nobody forced you to. You made the choice. You took that extra trip to the buffet when you knew your stomach was plenty satisfied. But it looked so good and smelled so good and you really wanted to try it. And then your satisfied stomach was overstuffed, and you had indigestion and you didn’t feel so good. “I shouldn’t have done that.” What do you call that? Regret, I suppose. It’s that realization that you really shouldn’t have done what you did.

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Who I Am

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Third Sunday in Lent - Sunday, March 20, 2022

Text: Exodus 3:1-15

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Do you know who Moses was? That might be the easiest question anyone asks you today. Anyone who has read the book or seen the movie knows that Moses is the guy who freed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, led them through the Red Sea on dry ground, and then shepherded them through the wilderness for forty years on their wandering way to the Promised Land. Along the way, he carried the Ten Commandments down Mount Sinai on two stone tablets—not once, but twice…but that’s a longer story. The point is, we all know who Moses was. But do you know who didn’t know who Moses was? Moses.

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They Bound Him

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Midweek Lent 3 - Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Text: John 18:12

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Dear Friends in Christ, Tonight’s short text takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a place familiar to Jesus and his disciples. Judas, the former disciple recently turned betrayer, knew that, and anticipated that our Lord would be there. He brought with him a detachment of soldiers and Jewish leaders just in case he needed back-up to carry out what he had been contracted to do – deliver Jesus into the hands of his enemies. The entourage came prepared for resistance. John tells us “They were carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons.”

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Jeremiah: Example and Prototype

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Second Sunday in Lent - Sunday, March 13, 2022

Text: Jeremiah 26:8-15

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Dear Friends in Christ, One of the figures the great Renaissance master Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in Rome is a powerful looking man with his head buried in his hand, obviously in grief. He’s been called “the Weeping Prophet” because the judgments God asked him to pronounce upon his people brought him no satisfaction, only personal and emotional pain.

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Satan Has Asked to Sift All of You

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Midweek Lent 2 - Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Text: Luke 22:31

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This year’s Lent series walks us through key moments in Jesus’ suffering and death under the theme The Crucial Hours. Each week we have the chance to focus on one interaction from Jesus’ final hours as we marvel at his completion of God’s salvation plan. Naturally most of these moments are focused on the things that happened to Jesus, but tonight’s moment is an exception to that. Tonight, we get to consider what these events looked like from the outside, from the perspective of Jesus’ followers. What were they thinking as they watched these events unfold – especially since they were only beginning to understand what was happening? What effect did this have on their faith? How trying was it for those who had been following Jesus for three years already?

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The Heart of a Champion

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The First Sunday in Lent - Sunday, March 6, 2022

Text: 1 Samuel 17:4-11, 32-40, 45-49

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Most people enjoy cheering for the underdog in a contest. Perhaps it’s clearest in sports. If you’re watching a sports game, and your favorite team isn’t involved, whom do you cheer for? Maybe you really like a specific player, but beyond that I think most would cheer for a close game, something exciting to watch, and the team thought to be a long shot making a run at an improbable win! And it’s not just in sports. In movies, in books, and in day-to-day life we enjoy those inspirational stories of people who overcome long odds to win by working hard and persevering. We especially like the attitudes we see sometimes – the calm confidence in the face of tremendous pressure – the attitude we might call the Heart of a Champion – they found a way to overcome against all odds! Today’s first lesson shows us one of the most famous underdog stories of them all – David and Goliath. The young shepherd boy against the mighty warrior in a battle to the death – with the fate of two nations hanging in the balance! Sounds like something right out of the movies, doesn’t it? So, let’s take a closer look.

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What Happens to the Worst?

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Ash Wednesday - Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Text: 2 Samuel 12:1-13

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Let’s start with an uncomfortable question: what are the worst kinds of sins you can think of? Sadly, it doesn’t take us long to start a list, because we can think of a great many ways people can disobey God that are incredibly offensive to us as well. No doubt, murder would make our list. Maybe something like armed robbery or human trafficking. Anyone who preys on the weak, terrorizes the innocent, or abuses a child fits into that category. And perhaps the longer we live, the more aware we become of so many ways that the sinful mind can devise to hurt, exploit, damage and destroy one another. We don’t like thinking about all the possibilities, because the world can end up being a really scary place if we spend too much time worrying about everything that can go wrong.

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