Sermons

"This Will Kill That"

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, October 18, 2020

Text: 2 Chronicles 33:1-13

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Dear Friends in Christ, “This Will Kill That” is the catchy title of a chapter in Victor Hugo’s famous novel, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The book has been made into several movie versions over the years, so even if you are not familiar with the storyline, you’re probably familiar with the name. The story takes place in Paris around the year 1480.



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Which Son Are You?

Pastor Rich Gurgel - The Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, October 11, 2020

Text: Matthew 21:28-32

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This Sunday’s gospel takes us to the most tragic context surrounding a set of Jesus’ parables. If we don’t understand what went wrong in the hearts of those listening then, we are in grave danger of repeating that same tragedy. If we repeat what happened here, we will forfeit our place in the kingdom of God. That’s why Jesus’ parable before us today begs to ask each one of us: “Which son are you?”



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God Knows Better

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, October 4, 2020

Text: Jonah 4:5-11

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My wife and I met in New Ulm; she spent a couple semesters at Martin Luther College before moving back home to Michigan to finish nursing school.  I hope that she would say the best thing about her time in Minnesota was meeting me; I do know for sure what she’d say the worst part was—she was not a fan of the Minnesota winters.  When Bethany and I got married, we had no idea where we were going to end up. I had three years left of seminary, and then came call day, when I would be assigned to serve somewhere.  Looking ahead to call day, the possibilities are on everyone’s mind. But if you asked Bethany back then where she would have liked to wind up, I know her answer, because it became a familiar refrain over those three years: “Anywhere but Minnesota.” 



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Freely Forgive!

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 27, 2020

Text: Genesis 50:15-21

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Forgive and forget, the saying goes. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, and perhaps you’ve even said it. It sounds nice, and it comes out easily. Forgive and forget. But how well does that actually work? Maybe it’s not all that hard when you’re forgiving something small and petty that most everyone involved has forgotten about within a couple of days, but what when it’s something big and painful? How well does “forgive and forget” work then? Is it even possible to forgive and forget when a friend has betrayed your confidence and shared something you told them in secret? Is it possible to forgive and forget when a spouse has been unfaithful? What about when parents have made mistakes that have turned your life upside down? What about when the physical or psychological wounds of sins in the past still persist today? It’s easy to say the words “you’re forgiven,” but forgive and forget? Well that’s a bit harder.



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Our Role as Watchmen

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 20, 2020

Text: Ezekiel 33:7-11

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Dear Friends in Christ, They vary for each of us and they don’t come all at once, but throughout our lifetime we all fill multiple roles. Son, daughter, spouse, parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, employee, employer – these are just some of them. All are important. All come with a certain amount of privileges. All also comes with a certain amount of responsibility.



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United in Praise

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Unity Sunday - Sunday, September 13, 2020

Text: Isaiah 42:8-13

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Our nation could use some unity right now. Even though we live in a country whose pledge of allegiance makes claims to be “one nation under God” and “indivisible,” perhaps you’ve thought especially lately that every day we stray farther from God, and America seems pretty divisible lately. It seems like no matter what you think about literally anything at all, you can find someone who disagrees wholeheartedly, and loudly, and angrily. Whenever we live through times like these, it’s easy to be divided especially about names, and I’ll mention two that we all have heard before. We still have Donald Trump and Joe Biden. At the same time, there are some new names: George Floyd, Joseph Mensah, Dr. Fauci, Jacob Blake, Kyle Rittenhouse... With every name, there are emotions that come to mind, and then there are reactions, and opinions, and arguments to be made about who’s right and who’s wrong. And so, there is division.



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The Importance of Remembering

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 6, 2020

Text: Joshua 4:1-9

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Dear Friends in Christ, From time to time all of us, young or old, find ourselves taking a trip down memory lane.



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What God Does: Eternal Life

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 30, 2020

Text: Acts 14:21-28

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This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Those thoughts probably crossed the minds of Barnabas and others as they gathered around the battered body of the apostle Paul. A city that had welcomed Paul and Barnabas with open arms had turned hostile. Enemies who had been there every step of the journey had now arrived in Lystra, and stirred up the crowd against Paul. A joyful crowd had turned into a vicious mob just like that. Shouts of adoration and praise turned to threats and mockery, and a peaceful assembly soon became a riot. As tensions increased, Barnabas and others had been shoved side and then the rock started flying. Unable to dodge them all, Paul eventually went down and his motionless body was dragged triumphantly out of the city where he was left for dead. As the crowd dispersed, his little group of followers gathered around. Some had to be thinking: this isn’t how it was supposed to go. After a little while, the apostle started to stir – the stoning had been brutal, but not brutal enough. God’s protecting hand had preserved the life of his missionary, because he had many more things planned for Paul. Just before the words of today’s sermon text, Luke wrote: “after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” (Acts 14:20 – NIV84).



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What God Does: Resurrection of the Body

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 23, 2020

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

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Dear Friends in Christ, He had lived a long and full life, which was now coming to an end. The hospice nurse informed the family that it could be any time. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.  But very soon. The children gathered. Their father – although growing weaker by the hour – was still clear-eyed and alert and able to carry on a conversation. He asked them to call the pastor, who came as quickly as he could.



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What God Does: Holy Christian Church

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 16, 2020

Text: Acts 2:42-47

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Today’s sermon directs our attention to Luke’s description of life in the early years of the Christian church as recorded in the book of Acts. Luke describes believers: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possession and goods, they gave to everyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47 – NIV84). Have you ever found yourself listening to a description like that, or other similar ones in other parts of Acts, and having a sense of longing? It all sounds so simple, so loving, so good. Even though you know it wasn’t quite that simple, it’s not hard to long for such clear-cut unity in the face of persecution that threatened to divide, for such generosity and care for others, despite their own poverty! For such amazing numeric growth in the church that they had the privilege of being a part of! If only some of that could carry over to today! Now, you know as well as I do that it wasn’t quite that simple – there were certainly things in first century Christianity that involved struggles and persecutions that you and I can be incredibly thankful we have been spared by the grace of God. But, when you read little descriptions like these, it can still be easy to think – I wish more of that were around today! 



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