Sermons

April 2021

The Role and Goal of Our Chief/Good Shepherd

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Good Shepherd Sunday - Sunday, April 25, 2021

Text: 1 Peter 5:1-4

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Dear Friends in Christ, After a pastor has accepted a call to serve a new congregation or a new field of ministry and before he officially begins his duty, it is customary to hold an installation service. Sometimes these are large affairs with lots of area clergy participating; other times they are smaller more intimate events. Regardless of size, if you have ever been to one, it is quite possible you found it to be a moving reminder of the importance and blessing of Gospel ministry. It is also quite possible you would have heard the words of our text incorporated somewhere into the service.



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Are You Ready?

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Confirmation - Saturday, April 24, 2021

Text: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

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Are you ready for what’s next? I suppose you’ve faced that question in a number of different ways as your grade school years draw to a close. Are you ready for what’s next? New school. New friends. New opportunities. New challenges. How about in terms of today? Are you ready for what’s next – after confirmation? In a few minutes you are going to make promises to remain faithful the God and the teachings of the bible – even to the point of death! Are you ready…to make such promise? Maybe more importantly, Are You Ready to keep such promises? You’re about to move into a new phase of your spiritual life. To this point, your spiritual care has been in the hands of your family and under the umbrella of St. John’s. That means you’ve had religion classes every day in school. Chapel every week. Your class sings in church on a regular basis. Your teachers ask about your church attendance. You’ve been primarily surrounded by Christian friends. You’ve learned all kinds of information about the bible, as demonstrated by all the challenging questions you answered the other night at examination. But, Are You ready? Does all of that make you ready? From here on, things will be different. No matter where you go to high school next year, you’re going to slowly become more and more responsible for your own spiritual life as you move out more and more into the adult world. Are you ready for a world where eventually you’ll go to church because you decide to do so, not because someone makes you? Are you ready for a world where there will still be some who share your beliefs, but many, many others who don’t? Are you ready for a world where being faithful to your beliefs will at times be very difficult?



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Confidence Through Christ

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Third Sunday of Easter - Sunday, April 18, 2021

Text: 2 Corinthians 2:12-3:6

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It seems like it’s about time to ask the question this year: Is the Easter season only a thing at church? Now that we are just two weeks out, the leftovers from Easter meals are either eaten up or thrown away. Most of the good candy is gone, except for maybe the jellybean flavors that no one in the house really likes. The stores have cleared out most, if not all of the decorations by now and replaced them with preparations for Mother’s Day, graduation season, and spring lawn and garden supplies. And even I have to admit it; it’s hard for me to keep the primary focus on Easter, because here at St. John’s, the upcoming week is going to be filled with everything that it takes to make sure that Confirmation goes well next weekend.



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The Transforming Effect of the Risen Christ

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Second Sunday of Easter - Sunday, April 21, 2021

Text: John 20:19-31

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Dear Friends in Christ, If you are a baseball fan or a bit of baseball historian, you might remember the name Bill Buckner. He was a professional baseball player who played for five major league teams over the course of a 21-year career. He retired in 1990 and died a couple of years ago.



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Hope for the Hopeless

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Easter Sunrise - Sunday, April 4, 2021

Text: John 20:1-18

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Hopeless. Seems like that word would be good description of the people in today’s gospel – at least before they realized what had happened! Put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a minute. Mary and her friends had been with Jesus through the good and the bad – and sometimes it seemed like they were the only ones. Ceaseless energy and support for Jesus and his mission – even when his own disciples had wavered. They had thought he was the Messiah. They had seen the miracles. They had heard his teaching. But now he was dead – just another prophet in the long tradition of prophets being murdered by the very people they’d come to serve. Once his body was anointed one final time, it would all be over. And Mary’s hopelessness can be seen as she comes for that very task. She hardly seems to realize she’s talking to angels – instead, she sees insult heaped on top of injury. The empty tomb must mean Jesus’ body has been stolen! Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”  “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” (John 20:1-2, 11-13 – NIV84). Hopeless, and Mary wasn’t the only one.



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Certain Hope

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Easter Festival - Sunday, April 4, 2021

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

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I had a churchgoing man try to convince me once that the idea of the resurrection of Jesus Christ came from the early church. His position (as I understand it) was that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a man whose teaching of love and acceptance of all was worth following—and his followers sensed all that, so after he died, they came up with this grand story of resurrection in order to establish his legacy and his legend, so that Jesus and his teaching would live on throughout the ages as this mythological message spread throughout the world.



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Once For All

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Good Friday - Friday, April 2, 2021

Text: Hebrews 7:26-28

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Dear Friends in Christ, These were the crucial hours. Today we are confronted with the crux of that which matters for all eternity.  



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A Covenant Signed in Blood

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Maundy Thursday - Thursday, April 1, 2021

Text: Exodus 12:21-30

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From 2005-2017 FOX produced a TV show called Prisonbreak, featuring a man with a comfortable career and life intentionally got himself thrown into a maximum security prison. Why? It was all part of a crazy attempt to break out an inmate who was on death row in the same prison – a man who had been falsely convicted. Why such dedication to this man? As the show unfolds the viewer finds out the two men were brothers. That blood connection serves as the motivation for all kinds of self-sacrifice as the plot develops. That’s not a unique idea newly discovered by this show. The ideal of loyalty stemming from being connected by blood is one that can be found in all kinds of movies, plays, and literature. And it goes beyond blood-line relatives. There have been many periods in history when an oath made between two unrelated people might be sealed in blood as a way of demonstrating commitment! Such practices are not common anymore in our part of the world, but a quick internet search will show you references to promises sealed with blood in most of the major cultures of history, from the far east to Africa to Europe to Native American and many more. There is something significant about blood and promises. 



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