The Gift of a Godly Friend

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 19, 2019

Text: 1 Samuel 20:12-17

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Some of the best stories are those of unlikely friendships.  A generation or two ago, American television viewers followed the story of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, the “Odd Couple” of men (each of them recently divorced) who wound up sharing an apartment together.  What made it interesting was that Felix was a neat freak, and Oscar was a slob, and the whole show is built around how their personality differences lead to a whole lot of conflict and comical situations. 

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The Shepherd and His Flock

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Good Shepherd Sunday, Sunday, May 12, 2019

Text: Ezekiel 34:25-31

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Dear Friends in Christ,  Within the church, today is designated as Good Shepherd Sunday.  And, as most everybody knows both inside and outside of the church, today is also Mother’s Day.  Can we make an unforced connection between the two?  I believe we can. 

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Seeing the Light of Easter

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Third Sunday of Easter, April 5, 2019

Text: Acts 9:1-19a

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If you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would you choose to lose?  That’s one of those questions that makes for an interesting conversation, and maybe you have already considered the relative value of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. Perhaps we look for an example from people we know. I would imagine that all of us know someone who has lost some of his or her hearing; that seems to be pretty common and tends to happen slowly over time. I have known a few people that have either temporarily or permanently lost at least some ability to smell or taste; and yes, they miss it, especially when it comes to their favorite foods, but they seem to get by. I don’t know that any of us can even begin to imagine what life would be like with absolutely no sense of touch, but as life-changing as it might be to never feel anything again, there is still one more that people would rather hang onto. 

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Too Good to be True

Pastor Kyle Bitter  -  Easter 2, Sunday, April 28, 2019

Text: Genesis 15:1-6

When I was in middle school, I remember hearing my mom answer the phone.  After listening for a few seconds, she politely said, “no thank you, we’re not interested” and hung up.  My brother asked, “Mom, who was that?”  She said, “Just some telemarketer.  He was trying to say I had won a free car.  Probably some kind of scam.”  “What kind of car?” my brother asked.  “Some kind of SUV.”  Probably similar to something you’ve experienced yourself, and probably on a number of occasions.  So why does it stick in my memory?  Well, there is more to the story.  What my mom didn’t know was something that had happened about a week earlier on the day when my brothers and I had attended the local fair.  While our family was volunteering at our church’s booth, my three brothers and I took a break to make the rounds of vendors and collected the candy and free stuff that businesses hand out…and we entered a drawing to win a brand new car.  An SUV, to be precise.  And because none of us were 18 yet, we had entered my mom’s name…and she had won!  But when the phone call came, a free car seemed too good to be true, and nothing more ever happened. 

Now, to be perfectly fair to my mom, it’s entirely possible and perhaps likely that had the phone conversation continued, there would have been some kind of catch, and speaking for myself, I too have hung up on many such phone calls over the years as I’m guessing you have too.  But, because there was no number to call back and they never called us again, we can only guess, and it certainly hasn’t stopped us from teasing my mom about how we might have missed out on a free car because she thought it was Too Good to be True.   

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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, 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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