Sermons

Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 26, 2021

Text: Numbers 12:1-15

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Dear Friends in Christ, What were your immediate impressions when you heard this lesson read from the lectern a few minutes ago? If you thought to yourself “there is a lot going on here,” you’d be right. There are a number of story lines that could be pursued.



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A View from a Pit

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 19, 2021

Text: Jeremiah 38:1-13

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Do you sometimes feel like these are dark days that we’re living in? Jeremiah would certainly understand. If we do a quick comparison of our situation and his, we’d find that his days were probably darker than ours (not that it is a competition anyone wants to win); there is a good reason why Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet.” When God first called Jeremiah, God warned the young man that his ministry would be characterized by the daunting task of calling God’s people to repentance for abandoning God…and not just his fellow countrymen, but the people in power: kings, officials, priests—in other words, the kind of people who could make life extremely difficult for a young man like Jeremiah.



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Sing to the LORD a New Song!

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Unity Sunday - Sunday, September 12, 2021

Text: Isaiah 42:8-13

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On Unity Sunday, I suppose a question worth asking is this: what unites you with other Christians? Of course, the obvious answer is shared faith in Jesus as our Savior, but what about beyond that? What unites you with other Christians? Maybe for many it’s what we are doing right now – gathering together to hear God’s word, to receive the sacraments, to see our Christian friends and join together in learning and praising God. Maybe for others the connections made through our school. Maybe you have attended, or your kids have, or in some cases both! Perhaps it’s the sense of shared purpose that comes from working together with other people. Those are all good examples of the kinds of blessings that come from membership in a congregation like ours, but today I’d like you think about an even bigger one. When you look at scripture as a whole and observe some of the things that are the same for people in all kinds of different times and places, you start to see a number of common themes emerge. One such theme that can be seen in the context of today’s first lesson is the theme of captivity and freedom. You find it all over scripture, and even though it might sound odd, it’s something we can identify with even amidst the freedoms we enjoy in our society.



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Jesus Sheds Light on Some Cloudy Thinking

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, September 5, 2021

Text: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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Dear Friends in Christ, In the early 1930’s a husband-and-wife team of historians named Will and Ariel Durant took up the rather ambitious project of writing a history of the world. Forty years later the end result was a monumental eleven-volume set of books entitled, “The Story of Civilization.” Each of the volumes had their own separate title corresponding to a period of time, many of which used the same formula: “The Age of…” (Faith, Reason, Napoleon, etc.).



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Songs of Scripture: Faithfulness

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 29, 2021

Text: Psalm 71

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Some of us might remember well one of the longest running ad campaigns in the last century.  Those who are too young can still find it on YouTube… It was way back in the days before you could skip over commercials on your DVR, so anyone watching TV in those days saw them on a regular basis. From 1991-2004, an advertising agency hired by Chevrolet ran a campaign that aimed to brand Chevy trucks as dependable, reliable, strong enough for any task, powerful enough to pull any fully-loaded trailer, built for whatever one might need it for. The agency gained permission to use a song from Detroit’s own Bob Seger, and then it was easy to put it all together and remind us all time and time again that Chevy Trucks were made in America and built “Like a Rock.” 



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Songs of Scripture: Wisdom

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 22, 2021

Text: Psalm 1

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A journey starts with just one step. That’s true of just about anything you want to accomplish – starting something new, breaking an old habit – it starts with just one step. If you decide you want to kick your caffeine habit, it starts with the first cup of coffee you pass up. If you decide you want to get into better shape, it starts with that first trip to the gym or that first step out the door. If you want to eat healthier, it starts with that first changed meal. A journey starts with just one step. It sounds kind of simplistic, because one cup of coffee, one workout, one meal – none of these do much in and of themselves. But, if they’re the first steps in a new routine? You might look back in a few weeks or months and be amazed at the progress!



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Songs of Scripture: Trust

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 15, 2021

Text: Psalm 34

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Last summer when so much of the world was going crazy in so many ways, I saw an article inviting people to get away. It described a totally self-sufficient property that had been designed for disconnecting from society and all the craziness that was going on at the time. Surprisingly it was all crammed onto a little less than an acre. Some chickens and a few other selected animals for meat, carefully divided up parcels of land for farming different kinds of fruits and vegetables, a modest home with a well for water, solar panels on the roof and couple of wind turbines for electricity. Supposedly it would allow a family of four to live independently, off the grid, separate from the rest of society.  Maybe that kind of lifestyle has some appeal to you, or maybe it seems a bit crazy, but whatever your opinion is, I’m guessing that the idea of independence and having control of your life is something you value. After all, we find ourselves looking for it throughout life. As young adults, we look forward to being independent of parents, teachers, and others in authority and free to make decisions for ourselves. On the other end of life, as senior citizens, we often desire to retain our independence as much as we can! We move into places labeled as “independent living” even as we prepare for the possibility of needing some level of assistance. None of this should be surprising, because the idea of independence and taking care of yourself is built into the fabric of our culture. What’s the real name for the fourth of July? Oh yeah, Independence Day!



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Songs of Scripture: Abundance

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 8, 2021

Text: Psalm 145

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I know it’s August, but do you remember what Thanksgiving looks like? Of course, you do. If you have been to church on Thanksgiving Eve or Thanksgiving Day before, you can almost picture the decorations up front. In our part of the world, Thanksgiving generally coincides with the harvest season, and so there might be corn and pumpkins and squash, and maybe other fruits and vegetables on display as a reminder of God’s glorious provision of all that we need and all that we have. Some churches even have a wicker cornucopia, a horn of plenty, and it’s usually overflowing as a symbol of abundance. Today, we don’t have any of those decorations up front. But we do have Psalm 145 as a reminder of how today and every day is a good day to practice thanksgiving and praise to God.



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Songs of Scripture: God's Presence

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Tenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 1, 2021

Text: Psalm 84

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Dear Friends in Christ, we sometimes hear people talk about escaping bad news or a stressful situation by saying they are going to their “happy place.”  It’s usually said in a lighthearted yet wistful manner. Maybe you’ve used this cliché yourself. What does it mean, and where is it?



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Songs of Scripture: Rest

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, July 25, 2021

Text: Psalm 23

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A long time ago, there was a young man who spent years on the run.  The authorities of his homeland were after him.  They were ready even to take his life if needed.  He fled into the wilderness, accompanied by just a few of his closest friends.  He didn’t know where his next meal would come from. He didn’t know if one of his friends would betray him, bought out by the bottomless royal treasury. He slept with a weapon at his side, always wondering if this would be his last night.  One can imagine he didn’t sleep very well. Restless nights, unsure of what the future would hold. 



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