"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edge sword, it
penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the
thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
Memorial Sermons Online
Click on the date below to listen to the sermon:
(Please note that not all Sunday sermons are taped.)
November 26: "What Part Didn't You Understand?" - Rev. Pete Sestak
When we think of a king, we probably tend to think of someone who has great power and authority. That certainly would describe our Lord Jesus. Today’s reading from 1 Corinthians speaks of Jesus in this way.
But do we also see in a king a capacity to care and to serve? This exercise of power certainly also describes our Lord Jesus. In fact, as He spent everything of Himself for our sake – even to the point of dying on a cross for us – He demonstrates for all what true power actually looks like.
November 19: "Rich in Every Way - The Lifestyle of the Rich"
So, are you ready to live the lifestyle of the rich?
November 12: "Rich In Every Way - Overflowing Rich"
So, last week we established that “being rich” isn’t only all about money. God has richly blessed us with many uncountable gifts!
On the other hand, it’s impossible to ignore that our riches certainly include blessings of money. We constantly use money as we live our lives, providing for our needs and the needs of others. The Scriptures speak a great deal about the use of money.
Wouldn’t you agree that it’s appropriate and important to listen to God’s Word of guidance as we plan for and make use of all the blessings God has caused to overflow in our lives – including our financial wealth!
November 5: "Rich In Every Way - Gifted Rich"
Have you watched the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” How many of you out there are ready to answer an honest “Not I” to this question? It probably makes more sense to simply say “Who wouldn’t want to be a millionaire!” than it does to ask the question.
Interestingly enough, the apostle Paul (who wasn’t especially known for being a millionaire-type person) makes the following statement in 2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be made rich in every way.” Really? What is meant by that? This is God’s Word we’re hearing from. What’s the catch?
Let’s find out together over the next three weeks what God means by this promise.
October 29: "Christ Alone"
God’s Word plainly declares this truth about Jesus Christ: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Peter’s words to those who criticized him for preaching about Jesus Christ and His resurrection.)
Though our sin has caused a separation between us and God, we’ve graciously been forgiven, rescued, and given new life through our Savior Jesus Christ alone. To Him belongs all glory!
We join our confirmands today in declaring our faith in Jesus Christ alone!
October 22:"Faith Alone - God's Wonderful Gift"
Faith Alone – God’s gift of salvation is received through faith. God Himself graciously changes our sinful hearts to hearts that trust in His work for us in Jesus. It is not our love, our actions, our intentions, or even our sincerity that moves God to save us. We don’t have to fret about whether we’ve done enough good things or if our feelings have been truly earnest. A “Faith Alone” understanding helps us see that saving faith trusts simply in what God has done for us!
October 15: "Scripture Alone - Why Does It Matter?"
Scripture Alone – We turn to the Word of God – the Scriptures – to learn and understand what God has accomplished for us. We don’t rely on human traditions or ideas to inform us of what is true. We base our faith on what God’s Word tells us.
October 8: "Grace Alone - Why Does It Matter?"
Grace Alone – God’s gift of salvation is exactly that – a gift! A gift is not earned; it’s received with thanksgiving. Because of sin, nothing in us causes us to deserve God’s blessing of life and new life. But He freely gives us this life through the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus – God Himself!
Being clear on this truth is critical for proclaiming comfort from our saving God to people like you and me.
October 1: "To Tell The Truth"
2017 marks two significant anniversaries: the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses and the 75th anniversary of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League. Confessing the faith has not gotten any easier since these two events occurred. In fact, it may be more difficult to speak and to live as Christians now – and the future may be even more challenging. Yet God is faithful and has promised that His church will survive all the trials that the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh can throw at us. Since 1942, the LWML has affirmed each woman’s identity as a child of God and her relationship with Jesus Christ, encouraged and equipped Christian women to live out their lives in active mission ministries, and supported missions around the world through their sacrificial gifts of mites, tithes, offerings, and tireless service. Now is our time to “Be Ready to Confess!” faithfully and boldly of Christ’s redemptive work for all.
September 24: "Free Food"
Welcome! Perhaps a friend invited you to join us for worship – or maybe you brought a friend along with you this morning. Perhaps you’ve been here many times as a member or a visitor – or this is possibly the first time you’ve been to church for as long as you can remember. Regardless, it’s good to be together with you in church. God’s words about our lives may be challenging for us to hear, but they also bring the comfort the flows from His great compassion for each of us!
September 17: "Encouragement Comes In Bunches"
If you were the only individual to find yourself involved in serving the Lord, how discouraging the days could be. When we understand God’s desire to draw all people together in Jesus, we readily see that it’s not all about any one of us. We are together in a body of believers to encourage one another and to be encouraged by one another. It’s important for us to be back at church together.
September 10: "It's A Joy To Be Back"
It would be an awesome sight to see our whole congregational family at church at the same time. But before we can think of making sure everyone else “gets to church,” the first focus for each of us is to realize how important it is that “I” am back at church. Today’s Christian Education emphasis also helps us realize that we’re not making our way to church just to make sure we get our name on the “good list.” Instead, there are things that God wants to accomplish in each of our lives by keeping us closely connected to Him.
September 3: "Fitting Labor For The Day"
Labor Day weekend – What do you think of when you think of Labor Day?
Probably most of us consider Labor Day to be the unofficial end of summer. School’s either started or just about to start and summer vacations are pretty much over. This weekend provides our last “hurrah” of summer.
On the other hand, Labor Day causes us to think of and give thanks for many who work hard in life to bring us goods and services. We also reflect on the work we are given to do as a blessing from our Lord. Good labor can actually serve to uplift us even when placing a burden on our shoulders.
Today’s Scripture readings present images of labor – even hard labor – but labor that serves a blessed purpose!
August 27: Gifts - "Why More Than What"
Today marks our final Sunday in our Reading Romans With Luther series, and it’s certainly fitting to close with Paul’s words that speak about Christians using gifts God gives to us to share this Good News that has been discussed throughout the book of Romans.
It’s interesting to note in looking at spiritual gifts the apostle Paul appears to be helping us understand why God gives His gifts to us perhaps even more than focusing on what those gifts actually are.
August 20:Grace That Changes - "Grace That Changes" - Rev. Scott Sailer
Martin Luther is most known for helping make plain the Scriptural message that salvation is the gracious work of God alone – our works and our own will cannot earn for us a right standing with God. However, Martin Luther also taught that God’s grace that saves us also changes us! While the Law never gives us the power to accomplish what it demands, the Gospel does. Christ who gives Himself freely for us is also at work in us producing a love for the people around us.
Our works are directly influenced by God’s gracious work for us. In fact, the more we understand the depths of what God has done for us, the more His gift changes us. Christians don’t love more freely because they’ve been told that they need to. Christians become more loving because they understand how much they’ve been loved! (adapted from Grunewald, p. 105)
Today we welcome Pastor Scott Sailer, our SD District President, to share God’s Word with us.
August 13: Suffering - "Suffering - My Thoughts And His Thoughts"
RJ Grunewald writes (p. 97 of Reading Romans with Luther): “Life is hard. Regardless of a person’s relationship with God, he’d be a liar if he suggested that life doesn’t come with seasons of intense pain and difficulty. From the everyday struggles of life, such as a difficult job or rebellious kids, to life-altering moments, such as a diagnosis, a betrayal, or divorce papers, life is full of suffering.”
“It’s this reality that makes Paul’s words (in Romans 5) so difficult: ‘We rejoice in our sufferings…’
“Rejoice in suffering? Seriously?”
August 6: Sinner and Saint at the Same Time - "In Two Places At Onc"
A common understanding regarding human nature is that there are basically two types of people: There are saints and there are sinners – you’re either one or the other. Non-Christians who look at others through this filter are skeptical of people who consider themselves to be Christians, but are proven to still fall to temptation. Christians who are swayed by this point of view may become very discouraged and even despairing when their own attempts to live right come up short.
Paul, moved by the Holy Spirit, wrote about his own frustration in this matter to fellow Christians in Rome. “I’m a miserable wreck!” he exclaimed. “I do the things I shouldn’t and don’t do the things I should. Can anyone help me?!?”
God’s Word of comfort points out that even as forgiven children of God, we will struggle with sin as long as we still live in this world. But thanks be to God! He rescues us through our Lord Jesus Christ!
July 30: Righteousness - "Righteous, Brothers" - Rev. Kirk Douglas
“Throughout the Scriptures, we see a distinction in two kinds of righteousness: there is a righteousness that comes solely from the work of Christ, which describes our standing before God. And there is a righteousness that comes in our relationship with our neighbor.” (Grunewald, p. 82.)
The righteous that comes in our relationship with our neighbor does not result in our salvation, however. This righteousness is based on our works of the Law – and is always made imperfect by our sinfulness. Our actions are never enough to make us right before God. We are being fooled if we think otherwise.
The righteousness of God, however, is based on Christ’s action for you, and is given to you as a gift. In Christ’s righteousness you stand as God’s child. This gift we humbly trust and believe, because God has declared it to be so!
July 23: The Power and Primacy of the Gospel - "What Only God Can Do"
The Gospel is powerful because its message is all about what God has done and not about what we can do. Salvation is God’s gift – a gift that can’t be earned; a gift that depends on our merciful God and not on someone’s will. We are saved by the work of Christ alone. No efforts or intentions – nothing but the death and resurrection of Jesus will forgive our sins.
This is the primary message of the Church. It is the message that brings peace to troubled consciences; life to those who are dead in their sins; hope to hearts that are in despair. This is the message of rescue that God announces to sinners like you and me. This is the message we live by!
July 16: The Bad News - "A Powerful, Dangerous, And Necessary Tool"
A powerful tool can be deathly dangerous when used irresponsibly.
When we come into contact with God’s Word, His expression of His perfect will – The Law – has a powerful effect on our lives. Because God’s Law is perfect, it has the power to condemn us as it exposes our sinfulness.
The power of God’s Law to destroy our pride is important for preparing our hearts to hear God’s Good News for us in Jesus. But if the Gospel isn’t present with its rescuing power, the bad news left by the Law can crush our hope and leave us in despair. Thanks be to God for His compassionate reach to us in Jesus Christ!
July 9: Law & Gospel - "It Is Finished"
God speaks to you and me in His Word. He desperately desires people to know and trust that He is our saving God! Without what He has done to forgive our sins, there can be no future for us with Him. He wants us to be sure of this truth. Therefore, there are two basic parts to God’s salvation message:
The Law – which makes it clear to our hearts that we cannot save ourselves because we are sinners.
The Gospel – which makes it clear that in Jesus, He has accomplished the work that needed to be done to forgive our sins and that He gives this forgiveness to us freely through faith in Jesus Christ.
These two themes work together ultimately assuring us that God’s saving work is full and complete for us!
July 2: The Old Man - "A Race That You CAN'T Win"
The old man in us doesn’t trust God. The old man is fearful that God doesn’t have our best interest in mind. The old man “goes along with the rules” only because he’s afraid he’ll get caught. The old man is obedient only when it’s convenient. The old man is all about “me, me, me.”
There’s only one way to fix the old man. He needs to die so that you and I can be made new and have a real life to live!
June 25: A Worship Problem - "A Worship Problem" - Pastor Pete Sestak
We would probably never figure that we’d have a problem with God’s command to not worship any idols. Yet God’s Word in the book of Romans makes it clear that all sin is idolatry – we’ve allowed ourselves to exchange the truth of God for our own thoughts and ideas. We place our own concerns over God’s concerns. We worship ourselves rather than God. We can even make our worship of God more about us than about Him. Thus, we struggle with idol worship.
Yet, the Lord God will always remain as the only true God – and extends His compassionate reign toward us by providing us with all things we need. He especially covers us with the gift of forgiveness through our Savior Jesus, restoring in us a new life that truly worships Him!
June 18: The Human Condition - "Wanted: Dead And Alive" - Pastor Pete Sestak
Chap. 2 – What’s wrong with us? Why do we do bad things? Why do we fall short of perfection in anything and everything we do? Shouldn’t we be able to work hard enough or with enough good intention to place ourselves in a failsafe position of choosing good? We’re tempted to think that our sins are simply mistakes that we can find the power to correct if we work long and hard enough at it.
That’s not what God’s Word tells us, however. Scripture tells us that we’re diseased. Sin is the disease. “We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we’re sinners.”* Since the Fall of Adam and Eve, sin is our human condition. We cannot save ourselves. The only cure for this condition? The Gospel – namely, that the Son of God who took on human flesh “gave Himself selflessly so that we might be united with Him in spite of ourselves.”* *quoted sections from Reading Romans With Luther by RJ Grunewald
June 11: Go, Make Disciples - Pastor Pete Sestak
The Almighty God who created uis the very same Almighty God who saves us. The Lord who made all people is the same Lord who commissioned His disciples to carry forward the ministry which brings His saving work to all people. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,” Jesus told His disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
We welcome to Memorial our guest Pastor Peter Sestak who will share insight into what God’s Word is saying to us today!
June 4: Life Flow
Flowing water provides a refreshing picture of life! Flowing water doesn’t become stagnant. Flowing water packs power.
When Jesus spoke about the work of the Holy Spirit, He used the image of flowing water streaming from the life of a believer. By His gifts, the Holy Spirit causes God’s people to overflow with words and actions that carry to one another and to others God’s words and promises of life.
By the Holy Spirit’s work in us, you are I are beloved children of God – believers in Jesus Christ! We overflow with the life God has given us The Holy Spirit is at work through us!
May 28: Exposed - "Greater Exposure".
In the early 1500’s, 500 years ago, Martin Luther helped God’s people rediscover the greatest treasure of life found in the Word of God – namely, the clear message of God’s gift of forgiveness and life through Jesus. We need to daily rediscover God’s Good News as we live our lives in the year 2017. Too many distractions and deceptions in our world threaten to keep us from joyfully and freely living the forgiven life in Jesus Christ. In his book, “Reading Romans With Luther,” RJ Grunewald helps us walk together with Martin Luther as we listen to some of his teaching on the book of Romans, the letter which Luther calls “the purest Gospel.”
Chap. 1 – “Exposed” – We often protect ourselves from having the actions, the thoughts, and the motives of our lives examined too closely. We hide certain parts of the story. We spin a revised version of the truth. We don’t want to look bad – but wind up suffering greatly when our unaccounted-for guilt nags at our hurting consciences. If we’re afraid of other people seeing the whole truth, how much more do we shudder at the thought of the whole picture being exposed to God Almighty?
But what if we were to stop hiding? What if we would learn that we can be honest about those things we’ve been keeping a secret? What if we were exposed to an Almighty God who graciously declares us to be forgiven? . . . Then we would count the exposure as the greatest blessing in life!
May 21: Where's Jesus?
On the second of his missionary journeys, Paul entered Athens and found the city to be filled with many very religious people. There were many places dedicated for worship that the people apparently visited quite often. There were many religious ideas being talked back and forth by very interested folks. But there was something missing from their practice that made everything they said and did totally incomplete.
Jesus was missing! The religion that was being practiced by the people had developed out of their own thoughts and ideas rather than on the revelation of God. But having spent some time observing his surroundings and talking with the people, Paul found an opportunity to introduce the truth of God’s revelation and the Good News of Jesus!
May 14: Caring, Sacrificing, Healing, Leading, So That . . .
Sheep need to be cared for. They don’t do so well on their own. They need help finding the basic needs of life. They get lost. They easily walk into situations that get them in trouble. They readily follow influences that lead toward danger. They need a fully committed shepherd.
As the Bible helps us see, we are like sheep. For many of the same kinds of reasons, we need a fully committed shepherd – and not just for our physical needs, but one who can provide what we need on our relationship with God, as well. That’s why we need Jesus as our Good Shepherd – the shepherd who heals, according to 1 Peter 2:24.
Note well – the Shepherd doesn’t do the things He does so that He looks good as a shepherd. He does what He does SO THAT we the sheep have a life of purpose to live; “SO THAT we might die to sins and live for righteousness.”
And since we’re thinking about Mothers’ Day, doesn’t this kind of shepherding help us understand the job description of a mom?
May 7: Gotta Share This Hope
The apostle Peter, moved by God the Holy Spirit, wrote a letter of hope and encouragement to early Christians who faced many trials and even persecution for being disciples of Jesus Christ. It’s a letter that also addresses the huge need for hope that our world has today.
Our hope comes in God’s announcement that we are His special people! Hope just has to get shared – this announcement is a message for everyone to know about. We cannot help but “declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”