161207 Isaiah 35:1-10

Text: Isaiah 35:1-10
Theme: Promises Made, Promises Kept: The Redeemed Will Rejoice!

Have you ever made a promise, and not kept it? I think that most of us here have at one time or another made a promise, but then we failed to keep the promise. How do you feel when someone makes you a promise but doesn't keep it? For example, how would you feel if someone told you, "On Christmas morning there will be presents for you to open.", but then Christmas morning comes and there is not one present that has your name on it! I am sure that you would be very disappointed.

Most likely there were many of God's people living at the time of Isaiah who were afraid that God would not keep his promises to them. The Lord made them a promise that as they lived out their days in exile, they would have reason to celebrate. I am sure that as year after year went by, there were some who doubted more and more that the Lord would keep his promise. But after the 70 years in exile came to an end, and God's people returned to the promise land, they had reason to rejoice.

In his Word, our Lord God has made you and me promises as well. As we take a closer look at Isaiah chapter 35 this evening, we will see that they are promises made and promises kept. Tonight, the Savior God's promise is that THE REDEEMED WILL REJOICE! At this time, I will read again verses 4-7 of chapter 35:

Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

Read more: 161207 Isaiah 35:1-10

161204 Romans 15:5-6

Sermon Text: Romans 15:5-6
Sermon Theme: Given A Spirit of Unity, We Celebrate!

As I was looking forward to this celebration Sunday, there were certain hymns that came to mind such as "We All Are One in Mission" (which we will sing in just a little while) as well as words of praise found in certain Psalms such as "O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!" But there was this one other song that kept coming to mind. It is not a hymn found in our hymnal. It is not one of the hymns of praise found in the Psalms. Rather, the song that came to mind is one that is played many times after a home team wins their game. The song is "Celebration" that was released by the group Kool & The Gang back in 1980. Now, please don't go running for the doors at this point. I know that "Celebration" it is not a song we would use in our worship services. If you haven't heard the song before, and you are curious, there is a youtube video available. But, there is a verse in that song that I think we can make fit for our "Celebration Sunday" this weekend. It goes like this:

There's a party goin' on right here
(we would say a worship service)
A dedication to last throughout the years
(we could say that this is what we have been asking for from our members the past month or so; you have been asked for a dedication to last throughout the years; to be more specific, to consider a 3 year commitment to our FORWARD capital campaign)
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate and party with you!
(with joy in our hearts, with smiles on our faces, you and I gather together this morning and celebrate)

Let's turn our attention back to the Word of our God. The portion of the Bible that I would like us to focus on at this time is two verses taken from the Second Lesson that Pastor Pagels read for us earlier. On this special Sunday, thanking the Lord of the Church that we have been GIVEN A SPIRIT OF UNITY, WE CELEBRATE! I invite you to listen as I read from Romans chapter 15, verses 5 and 6:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more: 161204 Romans 15:5-6

161127 Romans 13:11-14

Text: Romans 13:11-14
Theme: How To Have A Happy New Year

If you missed it, you probably weren't the only one. When the clock struck midnight last night, the Christian church entered a new church year. And most of the world didn't even notice. There were no television specials, no champagne toasts, no balls dropping in Times Square.

Even though it happened very quietly, even though there was no media coverage, even though today is not a national holiday, this is still an important day for Christians. Today we start at the beginning. Today we begin a sequence of Sundays and seasons that will allow us to review and relive the life of Jesus. This morning we light the first candle on the Advent wreath to remember that our Savior came in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and to remind ourselves that he will come again.

And even if the rest of the world thinks that New Year's Day is still a month away, we know better. We know that a new year in God's grace begins today. And because it does, we have every reason to celebrate.

If you want to know how to mark this special occasion, if you are looking for new ways to celebrate the New Year, the apostle Paul has some ideas. In words that were inspired by the Holy Spirit and written for the Christians at Rome Paul tells us...

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR

I. What we need to know
II. What we need to wear

Read more: 161127 Romans 13:11-14

161120 Jeremiah 23:5-6

Text: Jeremiah 23:5-6
Theme: Keep Calm: Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

"The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness."

If you spent any time at all on social media during the days and weeks leading up to the election, most likely you saw something like this: "No matter who is president, Jesus is King!" This is a good reminder for all of us that while we elect human beings to serve in positions of leadership in our government to rule over us, ruling over them is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Remembering that Jesus is our King is also fitting for us as we watch the turmoil taking place on the streets of our country, as well as on the paths of our own lives. Today from God's Word, on this Christ the King Sunday, you and I receive this encouragement: Keep Calm: Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Read more: 161120 Jeremiah 23:5-6

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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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