160214 Psalm 91

Text: Psalm 91
Theme: The Wonder Of Wings

What would it be like to have wings? That was the question I posed to St. Matthew's kindergarten class last week. If you are familiar with the total honesty and wild imagination of the average five-year-old, you will probably be interested in hearing more about the answers I received.

The responses fell into two general categories. Some students thought that it would be kind of scary to have wings. Trying out a new pair of wings would be like riding a bike for the first time. You might lose your balance. You might not be able to go straight. You might even crash.

The rest of the class (including most of the boys) thought it would be fun to have wings, to be able to fly around wherever and whenever they wanted. One boy said that that he could use his wings to fly home after school. Another was more interested in speeding through the halls and crashing through a wall.

Maybe you don't have that kind of imagination. Maybe you have only dreamed about it. Or maybe you haven't thought about it at all. If you haven't, consider the possibility. What would it be like to have wings? Think of the added convenience. No more traffic jams. No more slipping on the ice. No need for elevators or escalators. And just think of the time you would save if you could fly from place to place.

In his wisdom, God has chosen not to equip human beings with wings. But just because none of us has feathery appendages protruding from our shoulder blades, that doesn't mean that wings are of no benefit to us. Our text for this morning, Psalm 91, mentions not one, but two examples of how wings help wingless creatures like us.

In the time we have together today, let's take a closer look at these two examples and consider what God's Word has to say about...

THE WONDER OF WINGS

I. The wings of God
II. The wings of God's messengers

Read more: 160214 Psalm 91

160210 Luke 18:9-14 Ash Wednesday

Text: Luke 18:9-14
Theme: One Man Went Home Justified

Irony. As I moved from thinking about this sermon to putting some thoughts down on paper, I discovered that irony is a concept that is not exactly easy to explain. And it is much easier to give real-life examples than it is to come up with a definition.

Roaches infesting a pest control service. Weight Watchers and Baskin-Robbins sharing the same building. The words, "Nothing is written in stone," etched on a block of stone. Those are all examples of irony, but if you want to go beyond examples, if you want to come up with a working definition of irony, you could do worse than this: a figure of speech for the disconnect between what appears to happen or what apparently is said and the actual truth or reality.

We are in church, not English class, so why all this talk about irony? Because the theme of our midweek Lenten devotions this year is "Ironies of the Passion." Because there is no shortage of ironic statements and events leading up to our Savior's suffering and death. And the specific irony of tonight's text revolves around a single word: justify.

The coach who suspends his best player before the biggest game of the season will be forced by boosters and reporters to justify his decision. The husband who gets his wife a brand new vacuum cleaner for Valentine's Day will have a tough time justifying his choice of a gift. When we use the word, "justify," it is usually in the context of sticking up for ourselves, explaining our choices, presenting evidence to defend our behavior.

But in a theological context, the word, "justify," takes on a radically different meaning. In the New Testament "to justify" means "to declare not guilty." And we can't do that because we are guilty. Only God can remove guilt. Only God can forgive sin. Only God can declare a sinner to be "not guilty." And the Lord emphasizes that point in the parable before us on this Ash Wednesday.

Tonight Jesus introduces us to two men, two fictional but very believable characters who have much to teach us about ourselves and our relationship with God. And at the end of this story Jesus makes it clear that only...

ONE MAN WENT HOME JUSTIFIED

I. Not the one who tried to justify himself
II. But the one who humbled himself

Read more: 160210 Luke 18:9-14 Ash Wednesday

160207 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:3 – 6
Theme: We Preach Jesus Christ as Lord!

What should be the main job of the Church? In a day and age when parents are so quickly ending their commitments to each other as husband and wife, some say the focus of the Church's ministry should be on helping couples stay together in the life-long commitment they made to one another on their wedding day. With the aging of America, others would say we should focus our ministry efforts on the elderly. On this day that we as a congregation are celebrating "Lutheran Education Sunday", many would say that we need to focus on bringing up the next generation in the Word of our God and encouraging our young people to go into the full-time ministry of the Church. I'm sure if we thought about it long enough, we could come up with quiet a long list of areas that would benefit from greater focus in the ministry of the Church.

Read more: 160207 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

160131 Luke 4:20-32

Text: Luke 4:20-32
Theme: When Jesus Talks, People Listen

The atmosphere in the upscale restaurant is lively. Thanks to the lunch crowd, every chair in the place is filled. The clicking of silverware and the buzz of conversation make it very difficult to distinguish individual words. But it is possible to pick up on a conversation at a table in the middle of the dining area where the discussion is about financial matters.

A businessman tells his friend that you'll never regret the purchase of a good stock, and that his broker told him this particular stock was a very good buy. When he asks his friend what his broker says, the other man leans over the table and says: "Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and Hutton says..." At that moment, everything in the room stops. People stop talking. Waiters stop serving. The only movement comes from people stretching and leaning over as far as possible to hear what this man is about to say.

Maybe some of you recognize this commercial or others like it from the late 70s and early 80s. If you remember the ad campaign, there is a good chance you also remember the slogan that went along with it: "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."

It was the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. He had just completed a successful preaching tour of Galilee. Everyone praised this new teacher and his new teaching, and he was beginning to attract a following. When Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, the excitement continued to build. People were proud of their hometown hero. They wanted to hear him too, and so they invited him to speak in the synagogue on the Sabbath.

As Jesus stood up, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).

As Jesus took his seat, the room was completely silent. Every eye was fixed on him. Every ear was eager to hear him. But this was no commercial. This was real. And the anticipation of the people of Nazareth demonstrates this important spiritual truth...

WHEN JESUS TALKS, PEOPLE LISTEN

I. His message brings initial popularity
II. His message creates intense hostility
III. His message possesses divine authority

Read more: 160131 Luke 4:20-32

Our Mission Statement:

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.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

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

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
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Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985

 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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