August 2020

What God Does: Eternal Life

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 30, 2020

Text: Acts 14:21-28

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This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Those thoughts probably crossed the minds of Barnabas and others as they gathered around the battered body of the apostle Paul. A city that had welcomed Paul and Barnabas with open arms had turned hostile. Enemies who had been there every step of the journey had now arrived in Lystra, and stirred up the crowd against Paul. A joyful crowd had turned into a vicious mob just like that. Shouts of adoration and praise turned to threats and mockery, and a peaceful assembly soon became a riot. As tensions increased, Barnabas and others had been shoved side and then the rock started flying. Unable to dodge them all, Paul eventually went down and his motionless body was dragged triumphantly out of the city where he was left for dead. As the crowd dispersed, his little group of followers gathered around. Some had to be thinking: this isn’t how it was supposed to go. After a little while, the apostle started to stir – the stoning had been brutal, but not brutal enough. God’s protecting hand had preserved the life of his missionary, because he had many more things planned for Paul. Just before the words of today’s sermon text, Luke wrote: “after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” (Acts 14:20 – NIV84).

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What God Does: Resurrection of the Body

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 23, 2020

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

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Dear Friends in Christ, He had lived a long and full life, which was now coming to an end. The hospice nurse informed the family that it could be any time. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.  But very soon. The children gathered. Their father – although growing weaker by the hour – was still clear-eyed and alert and able to carry on a conversation. He asked them to call the pastor, who came as quickly as he could.

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What God Does: Holy Christian Church

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 16, 2020

Text: Acts 2:42-47

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Today’s sermon directs our attention to Luke’s description of life in the early years of the Christian church as recorded in the book of Acts. Luke describes believers: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possession and goods, they gave to everyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47 – NIV84). Have you ever found yourself listening to a description like that, or other similar ones in other parts of Acts, and having a sense of longing? It all sounds so simple, so loving, so good. Even though you know it wasn’t quite that simple, it’s not hard to long for such clear-cut unity in the face of persecution that threatened to divide, for such generosity and care for others, despite their own poverty! For such amazing numeric growth in the church that they had the privilege of being a part of! If only some of that could carry over to today! Now, you know as well as I do that it wasn’t quite that simple – there were certainly things in first century Christianity that involved struggles and persecutions that you and I can be incredibly thankful we have been spared by the grace of God. But, when you read little descriptions like these, it can still be easy to think – I wish more of that were around today! 

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What God Did: Returns to Judge

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Tenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 9, 2020

Text: Luke 18: 1-8

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We don’t get to decide whether or not we’ll be judged. It’s just a part of life. It could be a piano festival or a theatre audition. It might be a diving competition or a basketball tryout. It may be a college entrance essay or a job interview. In these and so many other situations, we find ourselves being judged, where our evaluation and possibly even our future rests in someone else’s hands. Sometimes we have more than one attempt to earn their favor, so we can shake a bad one off and try again. In other instances, the pressure is really on. It’s now or never, a once-in-a-lifetime, make-it-or-break-it situation that will affect the rest of our life. That pressure might energize you and motivate you…or it might overwhelm you. But either way, being judged is a part of life.

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What God Did: Reigns on High

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 2, 2020

Text: Acts 26:12-18

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Dear Friends in Christ, He rules the world in truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love… Those words may seem out of place on an air-conditioned August weekend, but you probably recognize them as coming from the beloved Christmas hymn:  “Joy to the World.”  Let’s keep that opening phrase in mind as we make our way through the sermon this morning:  He rules the world in truth and grace.

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