Sermons

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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Saved from the Monsters

Pastor Eric Schroeder - First Sunday after Christmas - Sunday, December 29, 2019

Text: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

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How many of us can remember a time when we were afraid of monsters? Maybe it started after watching a scary movie or hearing a scary story. For a while, even though we never actually saw the monsters, somehow we were so convinced that they were there—hiding in the closet or under the bed, right around the corner or behind the boxes in a dark basement.  Sometimes these monsters kept us from falling asleep, and sometimes they startled us awake when they gave us bad dreams. It’s a good thing we grow out of those stages, and eventually we discover that we were safe from the monsters all along, because they don’t really exist…apart from our imaginations.



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For God So Loved the World

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Christmas Day - Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Text: John 3:16-18

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy Holidays! Season’s Greetings! How many times have you said that, or something similar, already today? How about over the last couple of weeks? I’ve already long-lost count of how many times I’ve said Merry Christmas this morning, and it’s barely mid-morning! Out of all the times you’ve said words like those, or really the words of any greeting, for that matter, even if it’s not a seasonal one, how many of those times were those words spoken earnestly and thoughtfully, fully meaning exactly what you’re saying?  I’m going to guess it might be a much smaller number. And that’s not necessarily a horrible thing – to a degree we are just fulfilling social expectations and what it means to be polite, but I think it does demonstrate a point. Talk is cheap. Words are easy to say. Sometimes they’re sincere, other times they can be kind of mindless.



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A Quiet Faith

Pastor Eric Schroeder - Advent 4 - Sunday, December 22, 2019

Text: Matthew 1:18-26

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Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the songs…Silent Night…Away in a Manger…Joy to the Word… For many of us, these traditional hymns are what we expect at Christmastime, and if we don’t get the chance to sing them, we might feel like something is missing from Christmas. Songs surrounded the first Christmas, too. The song of Mary might be fresh on our minds, since we sung it during our midweek services this Advent. When John the Baptist was born, his father Zechariah broke out in a song, too. On Christmas night the angels lit up the sky in the fields outside Bethlehem, where they announced the birth of Christ and then broke out in the song that taught us a little bit of Latin: “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”—Glory to God in the highest.  When baby Jesus is brought to the Temple, we are introduced to a man named Simeon, who gave us a song of his own, now often sung after the Lord's Supper in our services.



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Unexpected Confidence!

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Midweek Advent 3 - Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Text: Job 1:6-22

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Dear Friends in Christ, You’ve heard them before. In some form or fashion you’ve probably asked them yourself. And they are routinely used as the trump card by those who skeptically demand empirical evidence for the existence of a gracious God. We’re talking about what we might collectively call “the questions.” Such as…



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Realistic Expectations

Pastor Kyle Bitter - Advent 3 - Sunday, December 15, 2019

Text: Matthew 11:2-11

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A pastor I know sometimes uses an odd sounding phrase to encourage students who were struggling in various ways. He’d say something along the lines of this: “cheer up, it’s only going to get worse.” Clearly not what a struggling person would usually expect to hear, but his personality and tone was such that you could tell he wasn’t being cynical in any way – he was trying to make you think a little. “Cheer up, it’s only going to get worse.” You can find some practical wisdom there. Each phase of life comes with its own unique challenges and blessings. The life of a middle school or high school student is quite a bit more complicated than that of a kindergartener. The responsibilities and challenges of being a working adult or a parent or an elderly person are even greater. So, don’t be shocked when hard things happen – every stage of life has its own challenges when you’re living in a sinful world! Don’t be surprised when you find that to be true! Having struggles in life doesn’t mean you’re weird. It doesn’t mean God is against you. It just means the world isn’t going to be perfect. “Cheer up, it’s only going to get worse.” Perhaps more than anything else, this phrase was wise council to enjoy the blessings God gives you in life right now, even amidst the challenges, and have Realistic  Expectations about what is to come.



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