180121 Mark 1:14-20

Text: Mark 1:14-20
Theme: God Is Calling You

I may not be a dinosaur yet, but according to recent statistics I am now in the minority. You are too...if you still have a land line telephone in your home. More than half of American households have made the switch to exclusively use cell phones, and there are a number of reasons why.

Many people find cell phones to be more convenient. You can use them just about anywhere. You can put them on silent. If you want, you can even turn them off. Some people think that cell phones are more fun too. You have the ability to change your ring tone whenever you want, and you can set specific tones for specific people. Perhaps the biggest reason so many people have made the switch is cost. Cell phone plans are generally cheaper. Many include unlimited minutes. Some plans allow calls to designated foreign countries at no additional charge.

So if cell phones are more convenient and more fun and more economical, then why do almost half of us still have a land line? Because we think the signal is more reliable? Because we love getting calls from telemarketers? Because they will never embarrass us by going off in the middle of church?

I'm not trying to convince you to keep your land line. And I'm not suggesting that cell phones are the only way to go either (I actually use both). What I do want you to know is that no matter what kind of phone you use you are on the receiving end of a call, a special call that is described in our sermon text for today. This call is not from someone who is trying to get you to sign up for something or make a donation. This is one call that you and I dare not screen. The call is urgent and important, and it deserves your undivided attention because...

GOD IS CALLING YOU

I. He calls you to a life of total commitment
II. He calls you to a life of meaningful service

Read more: 180121 Mark 1:14-20

180114 The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

Sermon Text: The Small Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther

Theme: Catechism Review of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism

So, did you get it? I'm talking about that gift that you were really hoping to get this Christmas. When you were asked to make out your Christmas list, you put this one thing at the top of the list. And when you opened your Christmas presents, there it was; THE gift you were hoping to get this year!

Today, we want to spend a little time talking about a gift that is far greater than any gift you received this past Christmas. It is a gift given to us by our loving Savior-God. It is the gift of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

Read more: 180114 The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

171231 Luke 2:28-32

Sermon Text: Luke 2:28-32

Sermon Theme: As We Leave 2017, Depart in Peace!


Just one week ago, you and I heard the angel comfort the shepherds when he said to them: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." What is that Good News? "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." As you and I celebrated Christmas, we joined our voices with the choir of angels who sang out: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Peace. Looking back on this past year, would you say that it was a year of peace? Seeing the effects of sin in our world and in our own personal lives, you and I may not feel very peaceful this morning. Today, as we meet together here in God's house to continue our Christmas celebration on this first Sunday after Christmas; today, on this December 31st, as you and I bring to a close another year of God's grace to us as individuals and as a congregation; today, as we leave 2017, the encouragement you and I hear is: "Depart in peace!" I invite you to listen once again to a portion of the Gospel Lesson that was read earlier. From Luke chapter 2, we read verses 28 through 32:

Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

This is the Word of the Lord.

Read more: 171231 Luke 2:28-32

171225 Luke 2:13-14

Text: Luke 2:13-14
Theme: Peace For The Broken

It was our first Christmas in our first house. Shannon and I had lived in three different apartments the first three years after we got married, but now we finally had a place we could call our own. We could paint the walls whatever color we wanted. We could pound nails into the walls wherever we wanted. And we could decorate our house for Christmas however we wanted.

That first year we didn't go over the top with a Griswoldesque outdoor light display, but we did go out and get a tree, a real tree with lights and tinsel and ornaments. Part of the fun of putting ornaments on the tree is that each one is special. Some have sentimental value. Some have monetary value. And a few ornaments have both.

My wife is an Irish girl from an Irish town, and so one of our first ornaments was a gift from one of her friends who worked at the Irish store. It was one of those delicate glass blown ornaments. I can't remember if it was a leprechaun or a shamrock or something else, but I do know that it was green.

One day I noticed something on the tree that didn't look quite right, and when I tried to fix it that's when it happened. I knocked the wire hook holding up the Irish ornament, and it fell. Even though it felt like it was falling in slow motion, I wasn't able to catch it in time. The shiny, green, expensive ornament hit the hard floor, and when it did it broke. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it shattered into pieces.

My initial response was panic. I tried to pick up the pieces. For a brief moment, I entertained the thought that I might be able to glue all those pieces back together, but reality quickly set in. I couldn't undo what had been done. I couldn't fix what I had done. The ornament in my hands was irreparably broken.

That long-forgotten memory flooded back to me when I looked at this postcard. It's a picture of an ornament, a broken ornament. We mailed out a few thousand of these Christmas invitations a couple weeks ago. Maybe you are here today because you received one and decided to check us out. Maybe you shared this invitation with someone you know.

But much more important than the picture on this postcard is its message. Much more important than any Christmas decoration is the message of Christmas. It was this good news of great joy the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. It is the same good news our Savior shares with us today. On this Christmas Day the Christ child gives us a priceless gift. Today Jesus opens his hands and holds out...

PEACE FOR THE BROKEN

Read more: 171225 Luke 2:13-14

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  1. 171217 Romans 16:25-27

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Sunday
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9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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