Sermons

Fear of Missing Out

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 15, 2019

Text: Luke 13:22-30

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Fear of missing out – commonly abbreviated FOMO in text messages and on social media – has become a common phrase among younger generations in our country. Fear of missing out. If your friends are doing something and you’re not there, you might miss out on something and regret it forever, and so the phrase is used to tease people who make great sacrifices to be there anyway. Even though the phrase is probably used most in social settings among friends, the sense behind it certainly isn’t limited to that. Fear of missing out can be a big motivator in other parts of life too that have nothing to do with social life. If you are offered a new job or a different position and you waffle back and forth for too long…the job might be offered to someone else instead and you might miss out. If you wait too long to start a project, you might not be able to finish it in time, and you miss out. The social aspect of the phrase might be somewhat new, but the general idea behind it isn’t new at all. Phrases like “Strike while the iron’s hot,” “Early bird gets the worm,” “Snooze you lose” have been around for a long time. The ancient Roman poet Horace coined the phrase “carpe diem” – seize the day – to communicate the very same idea! When opportunity comes, take it, because that opportunity might not come along again! Don’t miss out!



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Eucatastrophe

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Unity Sunday - Sunday, September 8, 2019

Text: John 3:14-17

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Dear Friends in Christ,  In a private letter written to a friend in 1944 the English writer J.R.R. Tolkien, best known as the author of the Lord of the Rings book series, created a new word for the literary world.  It’s printed in the service folder as the theme of this sermon. The word is “eucatastrophe.”



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Jesus is the Treasure

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 1, 2019

Text: Luke 12:32-34

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You don’t need to raise your hands or anything, but how many of us have ever wished we could have walked with Jesus and heard him preach to us? Wouldn’t it be amazing to watch his expressions as the words come out and  he reveals the Father to us in his teachings? Maybe the thought occurs to us on the days when church seems particularly boring: “If only Jesus were preaching instead of this guy…”  Maybe it happens when you pray, and it seems like silence on the other end: “If only Jesus could answer my questions directly…”  Maybe it happens when you are struggling with temptation or guilt or worry: “If only Jesus could know what I’m thinking and preach the perfect sermon I need right now…”



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Amen!

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 25, 2019

Text: Genesis 18:20-32

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A popular children’s book bears the title “If you give a mouse a cookie…” I’m guessing many of you have read it, but if you haven’t, the basic plot goes like this. A little boy gives a cookie to a mouse, who then asks for a glass of milk to wash it down, and then a straw to drink the milk, and then a mirror to avoid a milk mustache, and so on from there. The illustrations throughout the book show the boy getting more and more frazzled as he satisfies request after request after request – each one seemingly reasonable and logical after the last, but also increasingly unreasonable because there are so many demands! Its silly story designed to be entertaining for kids, but like most children’s books, there is a subtle message in it as well. Usually, when you ask someone for a favor and they are generous enough to give it to you, you don’t then turn around and ask them for something more! It usually comes across as a bit ungrateful at best, and perhaps at worst looks like you’re taking advantage of their generosity.



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Deliver Us from Evil

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Tenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 18, 2019

Text: 2 Kings 6:8-17 (The Seventh Petition)

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Dear Friends in Christ,  Today we come to the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer. We are asking the Lord to deliver us from evil, or as it could also be translated according to the Greek and found in many modern translations, deliver us from “the Evil One.”  Both mean the same thing; one identifies the source, the other identifies his product.



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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 11, 2019

Text:  Job 1:6-22

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A couple of months ago, Pope Francis made a bit of a stir among Catholics and broader Christianity when he approved a new translation of the mass that had been prepared by the Italian Bishops Conference. Among the changes made was a slightly different rendition of the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because the changes really didn’t have a major effect on the meaning and don’t affect us at all in the Lutheran church, but I bring it up today as an illustration of a simple fact.  Some people find the sixth petition to be a bit difficult to understand when they overthink things a little. For example, some have wondered, if we didn’t pray, “lead us not into temptation,” would there be a chance that God might actually lead us into temptation? That doesn’t really fit with the rest of what God tells us about himself and his plans in the rest of scripture, so what is God inviting us to pray that he would do in time of temptation?  Where can God’s people turn in time of temptation? Afterall, living in a sinful world and shackled to our sinful nature, it’s a daily struggle!      



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Forgive Us Our Sins as We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 4, 2019

Text:  Matthew 18:21-35

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See if you can guess the answer to the riddle. We all think we understand it, but it’s one of those things we might find difficult to define clearly and concisely.  We all desire it—and even expect it at times—but we are hesitant to hand it out to others. We use it on a daily basis, sometimes without even thinking about it; other times we refuse to spend it, because we don’t want to be taken advantage of.  Sometimes we obsess about it too much; most often we take it for granted.



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Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, July 28, 2019

Text: Matthew 6:25-34

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Dear Friends in Christ,  We’ll begin with very little introduction other than to say today we’ve reached the mid-point in our examination of the Lord’s Prayer. We’ve looked at the address and the first three petitions thus far, and after today we will look at the final three plus the closing statement (referred to as the “doxology”). But our focus this morning is on this middle petition, where Jesus directs us to present this request before our Heavenly Father:



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Your Will Be Done...

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, July 21, 2019

Text: 1 Kings 17:17-24

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In 1970, Spencer Silver was working in the 3M research facilities. He was trying to develop a stronger glue. He invented a new substance, but it was even weaker than the glue that 3M already sold. It stuck to things but could be easily lifted off. The substance seemed useless, but Spencer Silver didn’t throw it away.  Four years later, in 1974, Arthur Fry, another 3M engineer, was singing in the choir at his church. He was frustrated because every time he opened his hymnal, his page markers would fall on the ground. With a sudden flash of insight, Fry remembered Spencer’s uselessly weak glue. He put in on his book marks, and found that he could stick them to pages and un-stick them again without doing any damage. Thus, the post-it note was born (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/postit.htm). Some inventions are made intentionally and by design when people see a problem and set about fixing it, but many many others come out of nowhere in a sudden flash of inspiration that allows a person to see ordinary things that have been there all along in a completely new way. 



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On the Road to Bear a Cross

Pastor Paul Lehninger - The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, July 14, 2019

Text: Luke 9:22-27

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            In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. In 1957, Viking Press published a book called On the Road.  It was written by Jack Kerouac, who with William S. Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, and others, formed the core of what was called the “beat generation.”  Much to the original beat generation’s disappointment, this morphed in popular culture into the beatniks of the 1950s, with confusing connections to the hippies of the 1960s.  The book itself remains a classic, though, and is ranked number fifty-five of the one hundred best English language books of the 20th century by the Modern Library.  Aside from all the sex, drugs, and aimlessness, at the heart of the book lies the theme of sojourn, quest, and longing, which the main character and his friends try to fulfill in various ways, although none of them very successfully.



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