Sermons

July 2018

Unity Without Uniformity - July 29, 2018

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16

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What is it that makes a business work? What makes a sports team work? What makes an orchestra work? What makes a car or truck or any machine work? What makes a body work? What makes a church work? If you already looked at the title for the sermon today, you have the answer: Unity Without Uniformity. What exactly does that mean? Well, let’s run through that list of examples again:



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Jesus Tears Down Walls - July 22, 2018

Pastor Kyle Bitter

Text: Ephesians 2:13-22 

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Americans have never been more divided. I’m guessing that if you are keep yourself connected to the news at all, you’ve probably read an article with that title or something similar. Americans have never been more divided. Despite the technology that allows people to remain connected no matter where we go, surveys that have been taken and just the general tone of societal discourse would seem to indicate that people in our country are more divided than ever before – causing many to struggle with loneliness and feelings of isolation. Some even say that the fallout from all this division will be the foundation of the next major social crisis looming on the horizon, and I suppose only time will tell how this challenge plays out in society. Whatever you personally think might be the cause of such a trend, I’m guessing you have experienced it at some point in life. Perhaps you feel separated from other people because your life situation doesn’t allow you much social interaction. Or, perhaps you are surrounded by people much of the time, but you feel isolated from them because none of them seem to understand or care about your perspective on life. Or, perhaps you your background is different and that divides you from many of those whom you interact with and you just don’t feel like you to fit in anywhere. Whatever it might be, and whatever you might be feeling, in today’s second lesson God’s apostle Paul delivers the good news to God’s people of every age. No matter where in life we feel divided and marginalized, no matter in life we feel isolated and lonely, Jesus Tears Down Walls. He tears down the walls that separate people, he tears down the walls that separate people from God, and in their place, he builds his kingdom. 



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The Christian Long View - July 15, 2018

Pastor Joel Leyrer

Text: Ephesians 1:3-14

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Dear Friends in Christ,
If we know it’s more than just a greeting when someone asks us how things are going, our natural response is to reflect our present circumstances.  Our answer will register our feelings at the time; whether we are calm or stressed; happy or sad; emotionally up or emotionally down.  All the while it is understood that the answer we give today may be entirely different than the answer we give tomorrow, or two weeks from now, or next year – or even later in the day.



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Thankful for Thorns - July 8, 2018

Pastor Eric Schroeder

Text: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

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This past week, my older daughter and I noticed that the wild blackberries were ripening. So, we grabbed a couple of plastic containers from the parsonage and worked our way around the church parking lot looking for as many ripe berries as we could reach. By the time we were finished, we ended up with just about a pint of berries, but since I happened to be wearing shorts at the time, if you had looked at me from the knees down, you might have guessed that I had been in a fight with a cat . . . because as we all ought to know by now, blackberry bushes have thorns—lots of thorns. And I can’t say that I was thankful at the time. Today, we have the opportunity to consider thorns from a biblical perspective. Not just words on a page, though; it’s a very personal perspective, as St. Paul opens up to the Corinthians, and to us, about something difficult that he was going through in his life. Let’s read the opening verse again: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. On the one hand, we might wish that we had more information here. What exactly is Paul talking about when he refers to the “thorn in his flesh?” Some Bible commentators take what we know about Paul’s life and try to speculate as to what it might be: for instance, we know Paul faced physical beatings, even stonings from those who opposed him; maybe his thorn was an injury that didn’t heal right or left him with chronic pain. We know that there was a time when Paul became very ill on his travels; maybe he had some lingering effects of malaria or some other disease. We know Paul wrote with a larger font than usual; maybe he had poor eyesight. We know that Paul on occasion let Barnabas or Silas (his traveling companions) do a lot of the talking; maybe Paul had a stutter or some other speech impediment. In the end, we can’t say for sure.



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From Rags to Riches: The Life of a Christian - July 1, 2018

Seminary Student: Jake Brohn

Text: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13, 14 

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The United States of America has long been a country of promise to those who have nothing. For many, many years, a countless number of individuals have come to this country because of the possibility of making a name for themselves. I would guess that many of us here have ancestors a couple generations back who did this very thing. American history is full of people who have started from the very lowest of places and worked their way to the top. People like Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and even Oprah Winfrey. All these people started with nothing, and eventually became rich. As Christians, we may not realize it, but we also have a similar story. We started out as the poorest of beings and are now richer than we could ever imagine. Christ’s sacrifice has made us rich, and we can use our riches for the benefit of others. 



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