150906 James 1:17-27

Text: James 1:17-27
Theme: For Christians Every Day Is Labor Day

If you are one of those lucky people who don't have to go into work tomorrow, you might want to thank Matthew Maguire. Maguire was a machinist who (some believe) first proposed this annual observance in 1882 while serving as secretary of the New York Central Labor Union. And about a dozen years later President Grover Cleveland signed legislation that established Labor Day as a national holiday.

Do you see the irony here? To honor our nation's labor movement, to remember the contributions workers have made to the strength and prosperity of our country, millions of Americans will take Monday off and relax. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we need to rest. Sometimes we need to recharge our batteries.

But Christian employees don't just work for the weekend either. God doesn't want us to view our jobs as a necessary evil, as something we have to do so that we can go out and do the things we really enjoy. Even though our jobs will never be as fulfilling or rewarding as the work the Lord gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the ability to work remains a blessing. Work is a gift from God. Work gives our lives purpose, and through our work God gives us opportunities to serve.

James isn't specifically addressing employees in our text for today, but he makes a similar point about our lives of Christian service. It doesn't matter if you are too young to get a job, if you are retired from your job or if you are in between jobs. As disciples of Jesus, our Lord has called all of us to serve God and God's people. And our service is not limited to a forty hour work week. We don't take breaks for summer vacations or holidays.

FOR CHRISTIANS EVERY DAY IS LABOR DAY

Read more: 150906 James 1:17-27

150830 Joshua 24:14-15

Text: Joshua 24:14 – 15

Theme: Serve the Lord with Gladness!

What is your reaction when you hear the Pastor or other leaders of the Church talk about stewardship? Maybe you are like many who hear the word "stewardship" and you immediately think of money. But, it is important for all of us to remember that a gracious Lord has given you and me so many more blessings in addition to the money that he provides for us. He has also given us our time and the talents that you and I have. What is your reaction when you hear the plea looking for people to use their time and talents in some area of our congregation's ministry? Do your eyes go down, with the thought, "I hope they don't ask me." Or maybe the thought comes to mind, "Why do they ask me? Don't they know that I am already busy enough with things at home and at work." Or, "I did my time...it's now time for the next generation to step up!" But it is important for you and me to remember that as Christians, everything we do at home, everything we do at work, everything we do for the Church, all this is service to the Lord. Today you and I want to spend some time talking about our service to the Lord. The encouragement that you I hear from God's Word is "Serve the Lord with Gladness!" Listen now as I read a portion of the First Lesson for this weekend's worship. I am reading from Joshua chapter 24, verses 14 and 15:

Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Read more: 150830 Joshua 24:14-15

150823 Ephesians 5:15-20

Text: Ephesians 5:15 – 20
Theme: Are You a Smart Christian?

It is that time of year again. Many schools in our area, including our own St. Matthew's Lutheran School, are beginning classes. Are you sad or excited that school is starting again? Maybe you are sad, because summer didn't seem long enough to you. Maybe you are excited, because as a parent it means your children can get back to a more "regular routine"; or as a student you are excited because you know that you will get to see your friends and classmates more often. One of the main reasons for going to school is to get smarter. How about you? Are you smart? I am not talking about whether or not you have a lot of "book smarts". Rather, are you a smart Christian? Do you make the most of every opportunity? Do you understand what the Lord's will is? To answer these questions, we will use the Second Lesson from God's Word assigned for our worship this weekend. I invite you to listen as I read from Ephesians chapter 5, verses 15-20:

Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more: 150823 Ephesians 5:15-20

150816 1 Kings 19:3-8

Text: 1 Kings 19:3-8
Theme: Elijah's Journey Is A Lot Like Mine

Elijah. You could make a strong case that the prophet of God belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Old Testament heroes of faith alongside the likes of Abraham and David and Moses. Elijah visited a starving widow in Zarephath and promised that her cooking oil would not run out as long as there was a drought in the land. And it didn't. And when that widow's son got sick and died Elijah stretched his body over the boy's lifeless body and brought him back to life.

Elijah was the prophet who stood alone against hundreds of pagan prophets in the showdown between Baal and the Lord on Mount Carmel. Do you remember the details of that account? Both parties built altars and sacrificed bulls and prayed for their god to send down fire to burn up their offerings. The prophets of Baal wailed and cried and even cut themselves, but no matter what they did they couldn't create a single spark. When it was Elijah's turn, he soaked his offering with water, lots of water, and then he prayed. God heard Elijah's prayer and sent down fire from heaven that burned up his offering and the wood and the stone altar and all the water around it.

These and other accounts demonstrate that Elijah was a towering figure in Old Testament history, but he also figured prominently in the New Testament. When Jesus asked his disciples what the people were saying about him, they reported that some were convinced he was the second coming of Elijah (Mathew 16:14). When Jesus spoke from the cross some people misunderstood what he was saying and thought he was calling out to Elijah (Mark 15:35). At his transfiguration, when Jesus gave his disciples a glimpse of his glory, he appeared with Moses and Elijah. And tucked into the last chapter of James we find the last reference to Elijah in the Bible, where James makes the claim that "Elijah was a man just like us" (5:17).

Really? Do you buy that? How much do you and I really have in common with a man who communed with Jesus and called down fire from heaven and raised the dead? Maybe more than you think. In today's text in 1 Kings 19 Elijah is on the move. He is in trouble. He is in danger, and he is in desperate need of help. And as we examine the circumstances surrounding this unplanned trip I pray that each of us will find that...

ELIJAH'S JOURNEY IS A LOT LIKE MINE

I. Going my own way leads to a hopeless end
II. Trusting in God's guidance leads to an endless hope

Read more: 150816 1 Kings 19:3-8

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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.

 

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

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

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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