121104 Revelation 14:6,7

Revelation 14:6,7 * November 4, 2012 * Reformation * Pastor Pagels

In the name of Christ Jesus, dear friends:

Today we are celebrating Reformation Sunday, but when did reformation begin? The date generally accepted by Lutherans (and the reason we are celebrating this festival this weekend) is October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

There are others who prefer a different date, June 25, 1530, the day when a group of German princes presented Emperor Charles V with the Augsburg Confession, a document that defined and defended the teachings of the Lutheran church.

If you don't like either of those choices, how about 1514? That was when Luther had his so-called "tower experience," when the Lord led him to realize that the righteousness that matters before God is not the righteousness that individuals bring to God by obeying the law. Instead, the righteousness God demands is the righteousness God himself gives through faith in Jesus Christ.

When did reformation begin?

Read more: 121104 Revelation 14:6,7

121028 Mark 10:35 - 45

Sermon Text: Mark 10:35 – 45

Sermon Theme: "Do You Want to Be Great?"

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." 36 "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 37 They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." 38 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" 39 "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Read more: 121028 Mark 10:35 - 45

121021 Ephesians 6:18-20

Ephesians 6:19-20 * October 21, 2012 * Pentecost 21 * Pastor Pagels

In the name of Christ Jesus, dear friends:

It happened a couple weeks after I had accepted the call to serve at St. Matthew's. I was at a high school football game when I ran into a member from my former congregation, St. John's, Wauwatosa. He had heard that I had taken the call. He told me that his family would miss me and my family. And then in an attempt to lighten up the conversation a little he said: "Well at least you can reuse all your old sermons now."

I want you to know that I didn't take this call so that I could recycle all my old sermons, but I would like to make an exception today. I would like to reuse the text and theme from the first sermon I ever preached as a pastor. I am a little older and a lot grayer now, but thirteen years after my ordination into the public ministry there is one thing that hasn't changed.

Read more: 121021 Ephesians 6:18-20

121007 Joel 2:12-17


The following sermon was written and preached by Seminarian Lucas Bitter.

Sermon Text: Joel 2:12-17
Sermon Theme: "Rend Your Hearts and Not Your Garments"

She was just getting ready for Christmas. Her husband had dug out the boxes of decorations from the basement and they were stringing up garlands around the house, hanging up Christmas lights, getting the house all cozy and happy for the family to come over. She was standing on this ladder at the foot of her staircase, hanging up a wreath on the wall, and suddenly she lost her balance and slipped. Eight feet down and crunch. Soon as she hit the ground she knew something was wrong. She had broken in a really bad way, just below the knee. I went and visited her in the hospital and she was in a ton of pain. But they set her leg back into place, and then right away they did an operation and put in a steel plate and some screws. Before you knew it she was able to leave the hospital and go home. She had to stay in bed for a while but pretty soon she could sit on the couch and even start hobbling around without too much pain. Her leg didn't hurt that much– but there was bad news. She still had to go to physical therapy. And physical therapy was painful. See, her leg had done some healing but there was all kinds of scar tissue built up around the knee joint. She had nowhere near to the range of motion that you're supposed to have in your knee; she couldn't straighten her leg at all. Now if she stayed at home in comfort on the couch she wouldn't have to deal with the pain; she could just relax. But she would never regain full movement of her leg, and she would be limping for the rest of her life. And so she went in to physical therapy and she had a young, helpful nurse sit her in a chair and crank and stretch on that leg until tears rolled down her cheeks it hurt so bad. A couple hours. Twice a week. It was very painful. But it was what she had to do. Sometimes short-term pain is necessary in order for long-term healing to occur.

And that's not just true for broken legs, is it? It's true for broken hearts as well. This is what we hear from the prophet Joel in our Old Testament lesson today. See, every day we do sins. And those sins are like a terrible sickness or injury, deep within our heart. We might want to hide that sickness. We might think that we can cover those sins up with good deeds, or ignore them and hope they scab over. But that's not how it works. That's not real repentance. No, Joel says, "Rend your hearts and not your garments." We've got to dig in there to the root of the actual problem, painful as that may be. And only then does Jesus heal us, bind up our hearts and bring us back to health again.

Read more: 121007 Joel 2:12-17

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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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