170514 Exodus 20:12

Text: Exodus 20:12
Theme: Honor Your Mother

Since 1886 the Statue of Liberty has towered above Bedloe's Island at the entrance to New York Harbor. Standing over 150 feet tall, this American monument is recognized around the world as an enduring symbol of the freedoms we enjoy.

The French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi devoted twenty years of his life to building the statue, personally supervising the raising of the $4,000,000 needed to complete a work of such magnitude. When the subscriptions lagged, Bartholdi pledged his own private fortune to defray the expenses and practically impoverished himself over the work.

When Bartholdi began his search for a model whose form and features would embody what he hoped to reproduce as "Liberty," he received much contradictory counsel. After examining all the possibilities, Bartholdi chose as the model for his colossal masterpiece (according to some accounts)...his own mother.

What an honor to be viewed as the face of freedom for over 130 years! What an honor to be the symbol of opportunity for millions who have passed by on crowded ships as they journeyed to a new world! But above all, what an honor to be held in such high regard, to be so dearly loved, to be memorialized in such a meaningful way by one's own child!

It would be impossible for us to match the grand scale of Frederic Bartholdi, but today we honor our mothers in our own unique ways. For Christians Mother's Day is also a day of thanksgiving because we recognize the source of this great blessing. God himself established the family. God gives women the ability to become mothers. God gives women the wisdom and gentleness and patience to be good mothers. And the Lord spoke about the relationships between parents and children long before Hallmark was printing its first Mother's Day cards.

On this Mother's Day, we are not just celebrating a national holiday. We are here to thank and praise God for the gift of God-fearing mothers. And our gratitude will show itself as we seek to put into practice the timeless words of the Fourth Commandment (altered slightly to fit the occasion)...

HONOR YOUR MOTHER

I. She is God's chosen representative
II. She is God's channel of blessing

Read more: 170514 Exodus 20:12

170507 1 Samuel 17:34-37

Text: 1 Samuel 17:34-37
Theme: The Lord Is My Shepherd

My father sent me to the battlefront to get a report from my brothers. I came home with a war story that is still being told today. I went to the front lines carrying provisions for the armies of Israel. I came home with the head of a giant in my hands. At the beginning of that day I was an unknown shepherd boy. By the time the sun had set I was a national hero and the clear choice to be my people's next king.

Many of you are familiar with the events of my life, and no event is more famous than my battle with Goliath. It was a high point for me. It was a turning point for my people. And it will be the starting point as I speak to you on this Good Shepherd Sunday.

My name is David, and years after these events took place I wrote a psalm, the same psalm you sang earlier today. There were many times in my life when I found comfort in the opening words of Psalm 23, and those words were running through my mind as I prepared to face the Philistine.

When I looked up at Goliath I thought about what it took to be a shepherd. I thought about how much it meant to have a shepherd. And that was enough. I didn't need a sword or shield to protect myself. I didn't need months of military training to prepare for this battle. The only thing I needed to remember when I faced this giant, the only thing I needed to remember when I faced any challenge in my life, the only thing you need to remember when you face huge challenges in your own life is this...

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD

Read more: 170507 1 Samuel 17:34-37

170430 Acts 2:14a, 36-47

Text: Acts 2:14a, 36-47
Theme: The Lord Builds His Church

April 2, 2008. You might not be able to remember the significance of that date, but what happened on that day is something our community will never forget. On an early spring afternoon a gas main ruptured by road construction caused an explosion that destroyed a church just a few blocks away. Pictures of the scene after the blast revealed that all that was left of the nearly century old structure was the bell tower.

Reporters rushed to the scene, and the tragedy was the lead story on every channel that evening. The pastor and a number of parishioners were interviewed. Some were visibly shaken. Some expressed thanks that no one was killed. One member even talked about rebuilding. At the very end of the story one of the newsroom reporters said something significant. He made the comment that in the midst of tragedy there was still hope because the church isn't about a building. The church is about people.

The early Christians understood that. They didn't have a place to call their own. They met in the temple courts. They met in each others' homes. But it didn't matter. It didn't matter to them because they understood that the church wasn't about the building. It's about people.

Luke introduces us to some of those people today. When the sun came up on the day of Pentecost the believers numbered about a hundred and twenty (Acts 1:15), but at the end of the day the church had grown by 3,000! As impressive as the numerical growth was, it was matched by the spiritual growth of the members.

How did this happen? Who or what was responsible for this exponential growth? It wasn't a fool proof program. It wasn't a dynamic speaker (although Peter could preach with the best of them). It was God. It was the Lord working through the water and the Word. And as we examine how the Lord blessed the early church we will see that he works through the same means to build his church today...

THE LORD BUILDS HIS CHURCH

I. He gives people the faith to believe
II. He gives people the desire to serve

Read more: 170430 Acts 2:14a, 36-47

170423 John 20:19-31

Text: John 20:19-31
Theme: Peace Be With You!

Two weeks ago, as we celebrated Palm Sunday, we talked about the peace that Jesus alone is able to offer because he is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Last Sunday, as Pastor Pagels shared with us the sermon of the angel on that first Easter, we heard the message of peace: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." Today, our living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, comes to each one of us and says: "PEACE BE WITH YOU!" From our look into God's Word today we will see that THIS PEACE IS OFFERED TO US BY OUR RISEN LORD and that THIS PEACE MOTIVATES US TO DO THE RISEN LORD'S WORK.

Read more: 170423 John 20:19-31

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  1. 170416 Matthew 28:1-10

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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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