April 2019

Jesus is In Control

Seminary Student: Eric Zabell       Saturday Evening, April 27, 2019

Text: Mark 4:35-41

 “Yeah, I’d consider myself a pretty decent driver.”  A lot of us would respond this way if someone asked us how we drive: “I’d say I’m good.”  After all, driving a car’s not exactly rocket science – you push some foot pedals and you steer around.  On our own, many of us like to think we’re good drivers. We know the rules of the road and can even carry maps in our heads.

Sometimes when we’re driving though, we go just a little too fast or we make a wrong turn without realizing it.  Before we know it, we wind up with a ticket or lost.

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My Friend Dave

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Confirmation, April 27, 2019

Text: Psalm 62:1,2

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Family, friends, and Confirmation Class of 2019;  These young men and women have heard plenty of stories from me over the past couple years; some were related to what we were talking about in class, and some weren’t.  But we have time today for one more.  It’s a story about my friend Dave, and I assure you, it has an application that we can take away on confirmation day. 

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A New Day Dawns

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Easter Festival - Sunday, April 21, 2019

Text: Exodus 15:1-11

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They laid the cornerstone 856 years ago. It took more than 200 years to complete construction, and it stood at the center of Paris for 9 centuries.  Millions of people have passed through the doors and sat in the pews to worship. The building has seen kings coronated and an emperor crowned. On Monday, the Cathedral of Notre Dame burned. You’ve probably seen the live footage of the 226-foot spire crashing down and smashing through the roof of the nave. The flames roared and fire fighters continued to labor as the sun set on Monday night. Parisians held their breath, wondering what would be left in the morning? Would anything be left in the morning? Given the lack of 800-year-old fire codes, it looked like all hope was lost. 

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Pastor Eric Schroeder - Good Friday, April 19, 2019

Text: John 19:30

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There is a big difference between stopping and finishing. An example or two might go a long way in reinforcing that gap. Example #1: Running a marathon. I have no doubts in my mind that every single person here could start running a marathon. In addition, every single person here could also stop running a marathon. But only one out of four pastors would be confident that we could finish a marathon. That narrows it down, some, doesn’t it?  Example #2: Climbing Mount Everest. Again, every single one of us here could start climbing Mount Everest. In addition, every single person here could also stop climbing Mount Everest. How many of us would be confident that we would have the mental and physical ability to finish climbing Mount Everest, to make it all the way to the peak and then safely back down? Do you see the point? There is a big difference between stopping and finishing.

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A Meal Unlike Any Other

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019

Text: Luke22:7-20

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Dear Friends in Christ, if you’re looking for an icebreaker at a social gathering or find that you’ve come to a lull in the conversation, the topic of food is always a good option. Questions like – If you knew a meteor was going to destroy the earth and you could have whatever you wanted for your last meal, what would it be?  Or: What is the strangest or most exotic food you ever ate? Or: What’s your favorite ethnic food? – usually can generate some dialog, maybe even provide fodder for some good-natured disagreements. Because food and eating meals is something we all have opinions about and all have in common. Many things happened on that first Maundy Thursday evening, but perhaps that for which we remember it most is the institution of the Lord’s Supper. That’s the centerpiece of our Gospel lesson. Not surprisingly, that’s also what we’ll be focusing our thoughts on tonight. While we all have different and personal preferences about the food we eat either daily or on special occasions, one thing we can all agree on is this:  What Jesus prepares for us tonight is

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An Ancient Sermon for Holy Saturday

This ancient homily (sermon) was written by an unknown writer for Holy Saturday. 

What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: "My Lord be with you all." 

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The Lord Needs It

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Palm Sunday - Sunday, April 14, 2019

Text: Luke 19:28-40

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I know that as we celebrate Palm Sunday, we are supposed to talk about Jesus—and we will (don’t worry).  But first let’s consider some of the other participants in the historical account.  For the first small group, it’s a little difficult because we don’t know their names, and we don’t know much of anything at all about them, except for a few words here in Luke’s Gospel account.  So we’ll simply call them “the owners,” because that’s what God inspired Luke to call them.  As much as we can, though, let’s try to put ourselves in their shoes.

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Take Him Away!

Pastor Benjamin Wessel - Midweek Lent 6 - April 10, 2019

Text: John 19:14-18 

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        Have you ever been in a crowd of people where just about everyone seems to be making noise, all of them at the same time, but not in harmony? Everyone is reacting to the same thing but all with individual voices, so it’s just a noisy mess? And it’s loud!

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An Urgent Appeal

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Lent 5, Sunday, April 7, 2019

Text: Luke 20:9-19

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Dear Friends in Christ, If we were using modern day phraseology, and if we were looking at things from a purely non-spiritual outsider’s point of view as just a moment in history, we might say the walls were beginning to close in on Jesus. His opponents had had enough. Recent events and the undeniable recognition they as religious leaders were losing their influence and control over the people had pushed them over the edge. For some time they knew he had to go, but now they were in the active planning stage of deciding just how to make it happen.  And conversations like the one recorded in our text for today only sped up the process.

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Limitless Grace

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Lent 4, Sunday, March 31, 2019

Text: Luke 15:1-3,11b-32

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What would you do if you got to church and sat down in one of the pews, and a little while after the service started, someone came and sat next to you? So you look over to see who it was, and the face looks familiar, but you just can’t place it. The worship service continues, and it’s in the back of your mind, and suddenly the realization comes crashing down on why that face was so familiar. You’d seen that face on the news, or on the neighborhood social network. A face that belonged to a convicted felon who had served his time in prison and was now released back into society! How would you react? Or, what if instead of a face from the evening news, you looked over and it was that homeless guy you’ve seen holding a sign by the freeway off ramp asking for help? How would you react? Or, what if it was someone from work or school – someone who has not treated you kindly at all? I’m going to guess that most of us would have the maturity to be civil and composed, but it might be hard to keep the thought from popping into you head: “what are they doing here?”  or, “Does that person really belong at my church?” Even though you probably know God’s answer both of those questions, it’s quite possible that they arise. If you can envision that happening, then you can probably also understand why some people in Jesus’ day were a little uncomfortable with his ministry. 

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