Sermons

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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Your Kingdom Come...

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, July 7, 2019

Text: Matthew 13:31-33

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243 years ago, men from 13 British colonies gathered in Philadelphia to discuss a serious matter.  By the time they parted ways, they had changed the course of human history.   And they knew it, even back then.  John Adams, who would later serve as the second President of these newly founded United States of America, wrote a letter to his wife Abigail, in which he included these words: "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America."  Why July 2nd?  That’s when the actual vote to declare independence took place; July 4th was the day the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was ratified. 



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Hallowed Be Your Name

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Third Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, June 30, 2019

Text: Acts 9:36-42

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If your funeral were today, how do you think people would remember you?  How’s that for a morbid thought to start the day with?  But it is an interesting question, isn’t it?  I remember my grandfather’s funeral a number of years ago.  After the worship service, there was a meal at the church and gathering for family and friends.  And during that gathering, people shared various stories of experiences they had with my grandfather during his life.  I found it fascinating, because I think I learned more things about grandpa on that day than in the previous 25 years that I had known him.  There were a lot of people who had been affected by him over his nearly 80 years of life!  I’m guessing many of you have attended a funeral and have probably experienced something similar – when a person dies, it’s then that you have the chance to take stock of things and notice just how much God was accomplishing through them.  So what kinds of things would people remember about you?  What would people say about you?  In the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Hallowed be your name.”  Will your life be remembered as one that brings honor and praise to God’s name?  So what kids of things would people remember about you? 



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Our Father in Heaven

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Second Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, June 23, 2019

Text: Luke 11:11-13

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At a certain point in your life experience, it suddenly occurred to you that not everyone is good at his or her job.  For a long time, all the teachers that you had were smarter than you, so it was hard to tell early on.  But not all teachers are good at what they do.  Your doctors seemed fine as long as you were healthy, but then you got really sick, and maybe they had a hard time figuring out what was really wrong with you.  The police in the community have your respect, but every now and then an officer gets caught breaking the law instead of serving and protecting the citizens. 



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A Blessed People

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Trinity Sunday - Sunday, June 16, 2019

Text: 2 Corinthians 13:14

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Dear Friends in Christ, The story is told of how, at the Fountain Abbey in the north of England, medieval monks heard a sermon from their spiritual leader on every Sunday of the year except one.  On Trinity Sunday there was no sermon delivered “owing to the difficulty of the subject.”



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A Common Language

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Pentecost Sunday - Sunday, June 9, 2019

Text: Genesis 11:1-9

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Over the years, I’ve had a number of friends who have traveled abroad do some foreign language immersion work in the hopes of becoming fluent.  As you might guess, such experiences are most effective if the person has minimal contact with their native language, and that means it can be kind of a lonely and isolating experience at times.  Thanks to some of the modern technology available in the interne age, that’s starting to change.  Online tools like google translate and other similar services have become available – allowing users to type what they want to say in English and then see Spanish or German or whatever other language you want come out the other end, and it works in reverse too.  I think it’s a fascinating piece of technology, and it does allow communication to take place where it otherwise might not be possible, but at the same time you don’t have to use it very long to realize that it’s not quite the same as speaking the same language.  Usually you can understand what’s being said, but idioms and words with multiple meanings tend to be confusing and sometimes you find yourself wondering if you’re actually saying what you think you’re saying.  There’s just no substitute for two people speaking a common language. 



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What We Have In Common With Missionary Paul

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Seventh Sunday of Easter - June 2, 2019

Text:  Acts 16:6-10

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Dear Friends in Christ,  At one time in his life he was an arch enemy of the Christian faith.  He considered Christians to be dangerous heretics, and like a spiritual exterminator he spent his time and energy trying to rid the world of them.  He was smart.  He was zealous.  And he was committed to his cause. But everything changed one day as he was traveling to the city of Damascus on one of his seek-and-destroy campaigns. 



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The Work is Done; The Work is Not Done

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Ascension Day - Thursday, May 30, 2019

Text: Luke 24:50-53

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Dear Friends in Christ,  Some of us with long and deep roots in this congregation may have had snippets of it passed down to them, but nobody present was party to the conversation our St. John’s forefathers had when they built this church and had to make a decision on what Bible story of image they wanted on the big stained glass window everyone would see as they exit the church.



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More Than You Can See

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Sixth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 26, 2019

Text: 2 Kings 6:15-17   

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Just over 78 years ago, on May 9th, 1941, most of the world was engaged in a massive confrontation that we know today as World War II, and a not very well known but important event was taking place.  It started in an ordinary enough way.  British ships found and attacked a German submarine, damaging it heavily.  Thinking they were about to sink, the German crew abandoned ship, but the submarine didn’t go to the bottom as quickly as they had anticipated.  The British sailors managed to board the vessel and took everything they could find that seemed to be of value, including a strange looking typewriter-like machine in the radio room and a book that was beside it.  Upon further investigation, this strange device proved to be a code machine known as an Enigma machine to history, and the book was its key.  The capture of this device and book allowed the allied forces to read German radio messages for the next couple of weeks and contributed to the eventual deciphering other German communications.  Knowing where the German forces were going and what they were doing was a huge strategic advantage! 



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The Gift of a Godly Friend

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fifth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, 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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