Sermons

A Mountain Top Experience

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Transfiguration - Sunday, February 23, 2020

Text: 2 Peter 1:16-21

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This past week, residents of Wauwatosa had the chance to vote in a primary election for a new mayor for our city. Since local elections like this one are supposed to be non-partisan, candidates don’t run attached to broader platform of a specific political party like we see in state and national elections. They usually run on more specific local issues. It makes sense, but it also means that it can take a little more work to figure out just what a candidate stands for and whether they’d pursue the kinds of policies you prefer or not. In the days leading up to the election, I saw an online thread in one of the neighborhood forums where people were talking about the candidates and trying to determine where they fit on the spectrum of political ideology. It was interesting to see how the conversation unfolded. People shared information from various media sources, and then the accusations started flying. That information comes from Breitbart! It’s biased! The response? Well, you need to watch something besides CNN. It went downhill from there. Probably the only useful information shared was the stands candidates had taken on various policies when they had served in previous positions – information that could easily be verified online. Discussions like this aren’t unique to politics, but politics does seem to illustrate the point clearly: people are skeptical of information they receive second hand and can’t verify for themselves. With all the agendas and biases that exist in our world, that’s not necessarily a bad thing even, but it does cause doubt and skepticism to occur in a lot of places in life.



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The Life That Pleases God

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Sixth Sunday After the Epiphany - Sunday, February 16, 2020

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

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It can be a little dangerous to base a whole sermon on a section like this, because there would be potential for misunderstanding. Of course, we would never say that any portion of God’s Word is inappropriate for us to consider—that’s not the issue. The danger arises whenever we pull a sermon text out of its biblical context and treat it as if it contains all we need to know to understand it well. These words from St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians are a prime example. Just look at the first word, and I think you’ll see.



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See Yourself Clearly!

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Fifth Sunday After Epiphany - Sunday, February 9, 2020

Text: 1 Peter 2:9-12

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Take a minute and choose a word that you’d use to describe yourself. Then, ask this question: would other people who know you well choose the same word? Or something different? Back in 2013, the cosmetics company Dove put an aspect of this question to the test and created a short film both to make a point and use in advertising. Maybe you’ve seen it – it was pretty popular. The premise is this: Dove hired a sketch artist from the FBI and a number of people who had never met each other. While the cameras rolled, the FBI sketch artist drew pictures of the people, one at a time, but with one big wrinkle: he never saw any of the people. He sat behind a curtain and drew pictures based on how the people described themselves. Once he had finished, the whole process was repeated, only this time the participants described not themselves, but one of the others. The short film concludes when people see the pictures side by side and realize that the sketches based on their self-description were far less flattering than when someone else had described them. When it came to flaws and faults, people were able to See Themselves Clearly – more so than others around!



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The Ways of God

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Fourth Sunday After Epiphany - Sunday, February 2, 2020

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

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Dear Friends in Christ, In Isaiah chapter 55 we read this proclamation from God:“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Many of us know that passage. Many of us have no doubt contemplated and found strength in these words. Especially at times when things happen in our life that leave us mystified, or that according to our way of thinking, make no sense, we hold tightly to the promise that our loving God is still in control even during times of personal darkness. And that is an appropriate and comforting application of this passage.



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A Voice in the Dark

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Third Sunday After Epiphany - Sunday, January 26, 2020

Text: Isaiah 8:19-9:2

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You and I don’t remember those days, but we all started life in the dark. It was all we knew at the time, and we had everything we needed in that cozy little space. But as our tiny bodies developed, something changed early on, because we could hear voices even before we were born. One was the most common, you heard just about everything she said, but there were others, too. And sometimes they were talking to us, even though they couldn’t see us yet.



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Irreplaceable Savior

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Second Sunday After Epiphany - Sunday, January 19, 2020

Text: Acts 13:38-49

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How long is that going to last? It’s a question worth asking whenever you make a purchase. How long is that going to last? New tires for your car. How many miles are they good for? The car itself. How many years is the warranty? That new computer – how long before it’s obsolete? You ask the same question in other areas of life. You start a new medication. How long will this work for? You have joint replacement surgery. How many years is this good for? It’s a fact of life – things wear out and are replaced. The same things happen with habits and interests. What you enjoyed as a child is different from when you’re a teenager or an adult. You pursue one hobby, and after a while your interest in that passes and you move on to something else. It’s even true of work for many people. According to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm), the average American changes jobs more than ten times during their career. Things run their course during life and are replaced by something else.



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Baptism = A Beginning

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Baptism of Our Lord - Sunday, January 12, 2020

Text: Acts 10:34-38

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Dear Friends in Christ, we are now two days shy of two weeks into the New Year. Historically and traditionally, each new year marks a new beginning. Those who make resolutions toward some sort of changed behavior see January 1 as the time for a fresh start. Sort of an annual reset button to get things right or make things better.



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The Mystery of Grace Revealed

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Epiphany - Sunday, January 5, 2020

Text: Ephesians 3:2-12

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We love to have a good mystery revealed—at least when it comes to our entertainment. Maybe you know someone like my mother, who reads one book after another. Most often, she is reading some type of suspenseful mystery novel, the kind that begins with a serious crime scene that shocks the community and leaves everyone wondering who could even be capable of something like that. Over time, the detectives carry out their investigation; they analyze the evidence and put the clues together and solve the case, usually with just a few pages to spare. Maybe you enjoy the same kind of mystery books, or you watch the dramatic TV shows like Law and Order, because there is a part of us that loves to see a good mystery revealed.



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Jesus Christ is the Same Yesterday, and Today, and Forever

Pastor Joel Leyrer - New Year's Day - Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Text: Hebrews 13:8

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Dear Friends in Christ, “So, what’s new?” All of us have been on receiving end of this common conversation opener. How do you respond to it? My guess is one of two ways. If there is something truly noteworthy that has taken place in the not-too-distant past or some family milestone that was reached or is being planned for the near future, you’ll mention that.



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One More Year

Pastor Kyle Bitter - New Year's Eve - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Text: Luke 13:6-9

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Was 2019 a good year or a bad year? The weeks leading up to New Year’s usually seem to be filled with discussion about that question, and as a result you see articles listing the top ten greatest moments in sports, the top ten news stories, and all kinds of similar things looking back and giving opportunity to review the blessings and challenges of the past year. So how was 2019? I suppose that depends on which issues you are most interested in. If you look at things from an economic perspective, it seems that by most measurable numbers 2019 was a pretty good year for most Americans. If you look at things from a political perspective, on the other hand, one might conclude that 2019 was not so great as the partisan bickering and strife seemed to somehow reach still greater levels of discord than in the past! If you like sports, I suppose it depends on how your team of choice did. Was 2019 a good year or a bad year?   



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