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

120930 Psalm 31

Sermon Text: Psalm 31 (verses taken from CW)

Sermon Theme: Surely It Is God Who Saves Me!

 "You are a real life saver!" Maybe you said this to someone who helped you out after your computer at home crashed and you thought you had lost everything. With just a few clicks of a mouse, within a matter of minutes, they found what you thought was lost forever. There are people who have jobs that require them to be real "life-savers". For example, maybe we think of a lifeguard, who will jump into a pool to save someone who is drowning. Maybe we think of a firefighter, who will run into a burning building to rescue a child who is trapped by the flames. Today, you and I give all thanks and praise to our Savior-God, who is your lifesaver and mine. It is Jesus Christ who pulled us out when we were drowning in the deep waters of our sins. It is Jesus Christ who rescued you and me from the eternal flames of hell. Because of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus Christ won for you, you are able to say today, "Surely it is God who saves me!"

Read more: 120930 Psalm 31

120916 James 1:17-18

Sermon Text: James 1:17 – 18

Sermon Theme: "Every Good and Perfect Gift is from Above"

I'm sure that all of us enjoy receiving gifts. We look forward to our birthday, or Christmas, because we knew that at those times we will most likely receive some gifts. For some people, giving gifts is just as enjoyable as receiving gifts. This morning, based on God's Word before us, we have an opportunity to talk about some very precious gifts. These are the good and perfect gifts that have been given to you and me and are ours to enjoy. Listen now as I read from James chapter one, verses 17 and 18. If you would like to follow along as I read, you may follow on the screen or turn to the second page of the bulletin:

1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Read more: 120916 James 1:17-18

120909 Psalm 119:97-103

Sermon Text: Psalm 119:97 – 103

Sermon Theme: "Spend Time in the Word of Your Savior-God!"

97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

We know that each day is made up of 24 hours. How do you make use of the 24 hours you are given each day? Maybe you put in a long day at work. Maybe you spend most of your time each day watching your children. Maybe you spend the majority of your time in a classroom. A recent study found that on average, we as Americans spend almost 3 hours a day watching television or movies. This study also concluded that on average most Americans spend about an 1 ½ hours a day driving a car. This compares to just 20 minuets a day spent on sports or other forms of exercise. This got me thinking. How much time do you and your family spend reading God's Word together? One survey that I read not too long ago concluded that most families in our country spend less than 10 minutes a day reading and studying God's Word together. Today, as our Sunday Bible School and our Adult Bible Study classes resume, we hear the encouragement from our loving Lord to SPEND TIME IN THE WORD OF YOUR SAVIOR-GOD.

Read more: 120909 Psalm 119:97-103

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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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