Sermons

Love in Action - May 21, 2017

Pastor Schroeder

Sermon text: 1 John 3:13-18

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Can you remember the longest sermon you ever heard?  Was it a half-hour long?  45 minutes?  Did the sermon alone take a full hour?  Or did it just seem like it?... A few years ago a pastor in Florida named Zach Zehnder began preaching a sermon with some representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records on hand.  He actually combined a number of sermons into one marathon sermon lasting for—any guesses?—53 hours and 18 minutes.  It’s probably safe to assume that the pastor is the only one who didn’t fall asleep at some point.



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The Blessing of Clarity - May 14, 2017

Pastor Leyrer

Sermon text: 1 Peter 2:9

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Dear Friends in Christ, Some things we know with certainty.  For example, on this weekend we know for sure that God-fearing mothers – and by extension, all the devout Christian women who have played and continue to play such a vital role in our lives and the life of our church – are great blessings to us.



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Follow Your Good Shepherd - May 7, 2017

Pastor Bitter

Sermon text: Hebrews 13:20-21

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When the little mechanized voice chimes in: turn left in 350 feet, do you listen?  Or do you second guess the GPS system and take an alternate route?  When you’re in a strange and unfamiliar city, it’s pretty hard to beat a GPS for leading you to your destination.  I’m going to guess, though, that if you use a GPS in an area that you know well then there’s probably been a time when you second-guessed the GPS and took a local shortcut.  Perhaps, if you have an older model that doesn’t automatically update the maps, you have even run into a place when the roads have changed and the GPS is flat out wrong!  The technology is always improving, but it’s still not perfect.  Sometimes you have to second guess what you are following! 



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You Don't Belong Here - April 30, 2017

Pastor Schroeder

Sermon text: 1 Peter 1:17-21

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At various points in our lives, I think all of us will find ourselves in situations where we feel like we don’t belong.  I had one recently…Last week my wife and I were in San Antonio for a ministry retreat, and one night around 9:30 or so, we left our hotel with another pastor and his wife and went to a part of town within walking distance.  Our trip happened to coincide with “Fiesta” time, a citywide festival with music and parties and food, and so we thought we would take in some of the local culture. We walked down a street that was closed off, absolutely full of people and vendors and stages for the bands, and we got to the other side, where we found ourselves in a market district that was shutting down for the night.  And there were a handful of police officers there.  We were going to ask if there was a public restroom around, but they quickly changed the subject.  One of the officers took one look at us and said, “You don’t really want to be here…”  You could tell that she was trying to find the right words, and finally she said this: “Pretty soon there are going to be a whole lot more people here with prison tattoos than people who look like you.”  And that was all she needed to say.  Suddenly we felt like we didn’t belong there.



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Live in Hope and Joy - April 23, 2017

Pastor Bitter

Sermon text: 1 Peter 1:3-9

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Don’t get your hopes up!  When do you usually hear that phrase?  It’s common, isn’t?  Sometimes it’s that internal voice of the pessimist who always assumes that things will turn out poorly.  Don’t get your hopes up.  Other times it’s the voice of experience, trying to inject a little reality into a situation so you aren’t too horribly disappointed.  Wherever you hear it, “don’t get your hopes up” does seem to be a reasonable phrase to describe life in general, doesn’t it? 



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The Sacrifice Is Complete - April 14, 2017

Pastor Bitter

Sermon text: John 19:17-30

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If you had been in Jerusalem on this day about 2000 years ago, would you have gone out of the city to see the spectacle that was taking place on Mount Calvary?  By this point, likely just about everyone in the city knew something was up.  Palm Sunday’s welcome had not happened hidden in a corner, and neither had the trial before Pilate.  So would you have gone out to watch?  Or would you have done everything in your power to stay away?  Maybe the thought of such gore and violence nauseates you a bit, or maybe you would feel compelled to watch even though you aren’t really sure you want to, much as drivers on the freeway seem compelled to slow down and look at the scene of an accident. 



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Understanding Easter - April 16, 2017

Pastor Leyrer

Sermon text: Colossians 3:1-4

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Dear Friends in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, The English poet William Wordsworth wrote a poem about a man who strikes up a conversation with an eight year old little girl.  When he asks her how many are in her family, she tells him that, including herself, there are a total of seven brothers and sisters.



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The Lasting Love of Jesus - April 13, 2017

Pastor Schroeder

Sermon text: John 13:1-15, 34

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The time was right around sundown.  That doesn’t usually mean anything special according to our way of keeping time.  But for the Hebrew people, it meant a great deal.  It might seem odd to us, because we are so tied to our clocks and consider midnight to be the time that changes the date, but each new day on the Hebrew calendar began when the sun went down.  Why does this make any difference at all?  Well, it has to do with the way we think of the days of Holy Week compared to the way Jesus would have thought about Holy Week.  We call this day “Maundy Thursday,” named after the command given in the last verse of our gospel reading and sermon text.  We call tomorrow “Good Friday,” and we remember it well as the day Jesus died on the cross to take away the sin of the world.  But for Jesus, these events all took place on the same day; it all happened between one sundown and the next.  So this particular sundown was especially significant for Jesus. 



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Glory from Humility - April 9, 2017

Pastor Bitter

Sermon text: Matthew 21:1-11

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I wonder what the Roman soldiers stationed in Jerusalem thought of Palm Sunday.  Maybe their first notice was when they heard the commotion and wondered if they were going to have to put down another insurrection from among those odd Jewish people that Caesar had asked them to keep in line.  And then they heard the cries of “Hosanna” and “blessed is he.”  One of their Rabbis was coming into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and the people were waving branches and shouting, pretending that he was a king.  It seemed harmless enough.  Perhaps some mocked the folly of these people with such limited perspective.  Didn’t they know what a king’s welcome really looked like?  Perhaps some of the Romans had seen the spectacle of a Triumph parade, thrown in honor of a Roman general and his army as they returned victorious.  In comparison to this guy on a donkey?  Not even worth comparing.  Glorious entry into Jerusalem?  Maybe to these Jews with the limited perspective from their little corner of the world, but likely not much more than that. 



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Repent! Turn to Jesus - and Not to Yourself! - April 5, 2017

Pastor Knickelbein

Sermon text: Luke 18:9-14

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To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'



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