Sermon for July 23, 2017: “What’s In An Anniversary?”

July 23, 2017                                                                          Text: Romans 8:19

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

A nation.  A family.  An individual.  Each punctuates its life with anniversaries.  They point to the past and define the present.  When did you last observe an anniversary?  Last year I had two milestones my 25th year in the ministry and our 25th wedding anniversary.  I look back and find it hard to believe that I have been a called and ordained servant of the Lord for that long.  Toni looks back at our anniversary and probably thinks, “How have I lived with this guy for 25 years!”  These are happy moment in our life.

Anniversaries can also be sad.  This past week on Monday my mom would have been 75.  You have your own dates of loved ones birthdays or dates of death that you remember when the dates come and go.

This is an anniversary year in the Lutheran Church.  The Reformation – 500 years ago.  What do such moments mean?  Are these moment’s in the church’s life no different than other anniversaries?  Are they simply the church’s equivalent of 1776 or a 25th wedding anniversary?  St. Paul, speaking as an apostle of Christ, calls us to a very different type of observance.

“WHAT’S IN AN ANNIVERSARY?”

Our text for this morning.  “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”  There is a different dimension to the church’s observance of the Reformation.  More than just a remembrance or an observance it is a confession.  A confession of Christ.  Christ’s resurrection has changed everything.  For those who are in Christ, there is a new calendar and a new creation.

This confession began in our baptism.  “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we to may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)  When the church marks its moments, it confesses that every moment is now lived out in the light of Christ’s resurrection.

We still live though with the oppression of death.  Luther knew about it.  We know about it first-hand, up close and personal.  Death touches each of us.  It arches over all the structures of this world.  The years teach us that creation is caught.  Ultimately death devours every emperor and nation and family.  Pride and self-indulgence is no match for its power.  Our culture’s technological glitz and entertainment lifestyle can disguise the reality of death.

One of the most sophisticated of planned communities in Southern California, Irvine, has bicycle paths, golf courses, and swimming pools beautifully placed amidst the homes.  But nowhere, nowhere, in this state of the art, planned city is there a cemetery.  But, you and I know, the disguise doesn’t work.  It too needs a cemetery.

The years, and months, and days envelope every project, even the planned community.  Time can be managed.  It can be spent wisely or foolishly.  But, all too soon, it is gone.

Into this trapped world, however, comes another way to measure time.  “In the year of our Lord.”  A church anniversary is an affirmation that Christ has defeated death.  And, now every year, and month, and day is a confession of His holy name and life.

United to Him in baptism, guided by His living voice in the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures, and nourished by His very body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, we confess His presence as the living Lord.  As Luther wrote in a hymn, “Sin, death, hell are now undone.”  This is why St. Paul can write, “The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”

Nations will come and go.  Corporations and tycoons will fade.  But the church, the body of Christ, will live life and “live it to the full” (John 10:10) because “Sin, death, hell are now undone.”

Join this confession.  Join her Pastors who at the font, before the altar, from the pulpit, by the bedside, on the street, in the classroom, beside the casket make this confession with their lips by God’s grace:  “In Christ, sin, death, and hell are now undone.”

“With angels, and archangels, and all the company of heaven,” that is our confession.  With creation we wait with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed.  We seek to bring this confession to the world.  As we work and wait for His coming, confess Him in your observance of this Reformation anniversary.  Confess Him in your prayer and your homes and your daily walk with Thee.  Such a confession will not fade.  Such an anniversary will not pass.  Rather, this confession will continue until each child of God beholds the face of Christ.

Lastly, pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who make this confession in fear and silence.  In the end as our Gospel lesson from Matthew 13 reminds us, all will be revealed, and God’s children will receive their reward.

May the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – grant such a life and confession of Christ our Savior.

Amen.

Bulletin Announcements

July 23, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  It is very easy to get caught up in the present and lose track of our ultimate destiny in the Kingdom of God.  St. Paul encourages us to keep eternity in mind.  This certainly has an application to our support for the Gospel – if we keep our focus on “the glory to be revealed” we will see our tithes and offerings in a new light.

NEED A RIDE? If you are unable to drive to church, we have an option that is available.  Please speak with Pastor who has the details.  Thank you.

OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL meets at 9:15 a.m. in the Choir Room which is located on the 2nd level (the west side).

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.  In conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are studying about that time period with “The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians”.

TODAY in our 10:30 worship the Sacrament of Holy Baptism will be showered upon Rylynn Jayne Doddek, infant daughter of Jordan and Heidi Doddek.  Rylynn’s sponsors are Nate and Beth Hornig.

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the AUGUST NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

NEW CHURCH SIGN:  In celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and with inspiration from Martin Luther, Good Shepherd will be “posting” a new church sign on the south side near the lower parking lot.  Parts will be interchangeable and can be used for Outreach to our community.  Congregation involvement will include creative ideas for the signage and gifts toward the purchase.  The second collection of monies will be next Sunday, July 30, 2017..  We will then collect on the last Sunday of each month through September with a final collection scheduled for some time in October.  If you do not have a jar and want to participate you may pick one up in the narthex.

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF SCHOOL KITS:  It’s that time again for the LWML’s Project Lutheran World Relief School Kits.  We need your help filling the School Kits with the following items for each School Bag:  4 Notebooks; 1 Ruler; 1 Pencil Sharpener; 1 Scissor; 5 Pencils; 5 Pens; 1 Box of Crayons; 1 Eraser; 1 Book Bag.  If you have any questions, please see or contact Joann Hart (309) 310-9205.  Thank you for your help!

CAN YOU HELP?  We have a sign-up on the table in the narthex for Summer Sunday School.  The dates and lessons are listed.  We would like to have someone covering and to give Sarah Lange a break for the summer.  Once you sign-up, please speak with Sarah who will have the lesson for you.  Thank you for helping in this way.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Confidence To Face Whatever Comes Our Way” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 8:28-39.  No Matter what life throws our way, God promises that His eternal purposes can never be thwarted. Reverend Dr. Gregory Seltz will be the speaker.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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Sermon for July 16, Text Form

Again, we apologize for the camera problem.  Curt got it fixed and all should be well for this Sunday.  Here is the sermon in text form.

July 16, 2017                                                                          Text:  Isaiah 55:10-11

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

How much water did you drink this past week?  Because of the heat and humidity I am going to guess you drank more than normal.  Did you find that cool glass of water refreshing?  Did it energize you?  Was your thirst quenched?

Drinking water can initiate all kinds of chemical reactions in our bodies that are a great benefit to us.  The Word of God acts in the same way.  By God’s design and desire, his Word can energize and refresh us.  It can even “cool us off” when the heat is turned up in our lives.  It also provides great benefits to our spiritual health.  We inhabit a planet thirsting for hope and salvation.  God pours out His love on us through the water of His Word.  Come to the living waters and . . .

“DRINK UP!”

Water is vital for life.  Science proves it.  Our bodies know it.  If we don’t get enough a kidney stone or dehydration can put us on our knees on the floor of a local emergency room.  Water is needed for plants and animals and humans.  Almost every living organism needs water to survive.  People can go 20, 30, even up to 40 days without food, but do that with water and you end up a statistic at the local morgue.  Even a camel and cactus need a reasonable amount of H2O.

We need the water of God’s saving Word to survive spiritually.  Without the Gospel of Christ in our lives we die spiritually and eternally.  Water saves and so do the words of our Lord.

God provides life-giving water in abundance for his creation.  In my lifetime I have seen drought in California and the Southeast and the Southwest and here in the Midwest.  But at some time the showers or snows come again.  In the mountains of California they were shoveling snow in early June after years of parched lands.  We junior agriculturists in the middle of prime farmland know that water is needed to grow the food we depend upon.  The effects of this watering are ongoing.

God’s love is shown to us as he gives us our “daily bread” in verse 10, “bread to the eater.”  The watering causes the earth “to bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower.”

God sends out His Word in the same way.  Watering His creation with its life-giving effects.  God’s Word is the saving message of the Gospel.  Jesus is the Word that has come in the flesh.  His death and resurrection are God’s ultimate provision for his children.

At times our days are parched.  We need something, anything to get us out of the malaise of daily tasks, kid trouble, parent watching, job unrest.  The water of Jack Daniels or Miller Lite is not the answer.  We can’t quench our thirst by binging on Netflix or winning a string of computer games.  Our phones can’t energize us for the days ahead.  We are like the plant we bought Toni for Mother’s Day that adorns our front yard.  Without water it droops, loses its color and has no life.  But we can water that plant and in an hour or so it is standing at attention, happy to be at 2707 Essington and ready to beautify our landscaping.

When Christ comes to us in the waters of Holy Baptism, we receive the gift of faith for eternal life.  The very Spirit of Jesus is in our hearts.  The effect of His Word in our lives is ongoing.  We are granted salvation through this Word.  We have abundant life that we can drink up through the fruits of the Spirit, the fellowship of believers, the peace of Christ.

Water as we have all experienced can be powerful.  Last Sunday returning from Ohio, we were near Danville when a downpour hit.  One of those where you can’t run the wipers fast enough.  We found ourselves in the left lane next to a semi-truck.  We could see the sun in the west so we knew we would drive out of it, but when?  Thankfully and with God’s help I knew the road, we kept going forward and within a few miles, Eden was upon us and tragedy averted.

God’s Word has power.  It can bring us from death to life.  It can squash sin and the devil in our lives.  It can bring us through the rainstorm to the safety of God’s loving arms.  It brings comfort and freedom.  It can accomplish the purpose for which the Lord sent it.  It is His doing.  He held that steering wheel last Sunday.  We are never without hope, even in seemingly hopeless situations, because God’s Word assures of our ultimate victory in Christ.

Enjoy that cool refreshing water provided by your Savior.  In His Word He is pouring out His love for you.  Step to His altar and DRINK UP!

Amen.

SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2017

Good afternoon, everyone. Due to some technical difficulties with the camera, I am unable to upload both service and sermon this afternoon. I hope to be able to supply you with the text of Pastor’s sermon tomorrow when he sends it to me. I deeply regret this and please forgive us for the camera problems. We will back online next week.

Bulletin Announcements

July 16, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Romans 8:12 –  “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.”  We owe the flesh, the world, and the devil nothing at all.  We are not debtors to these enemies: we are freed by the blood of Christ.  We are joyful servants in Christ’s kingdom – servants that He calls friends.  We share our Lord’s plans and purposes – and this gives direction and purpose to our lives.

NEED A RIDE? If you are unable to drive to church, we have an option that is available.  Please speak with Pastor who has the details.  Thank you.

OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL meets at 9:15 a.m. in the Choir Room which is located on the 2nd level (the west side).

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.  In conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are studying about that time period with “The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians”.

NEXT SUNDAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the AUGUST NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

CAN YOU HELP?  We have a sign-up on the table in the narthex for Summer Sunday School.  The dates and lessons are listed.  We would like to have someone covering and to give Sarah Lange a break for the summer.  Once you sign-up, please speak with Sarah who will have the lesson for you.  Thank you for helping in this way.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Overcoming This World’s Obstacles” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 8:18-25.  Despite all the world’s brokenness, God has something better in store for us, through Christ. Reverend Dr. Gregory Seltz will be the speaker.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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Bulletin Announcements

July 9, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Mark 10:42 – “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”  The tithes and offerings you give to the Lord’s work in His church go to supporting all manner of discipleship: they provide for a minister of the Gospel to preach, teach, and conduct the Sacraments; they provide for our missionaries and ministries of mercy here and abroad; and they make sure that the folks in your area have a place to go to worship the Lord.  The Lord is pleased with this work – and He wants to bless you through supporting it.

NEED A RIDE? If you are unable to drive to church, we have an option that is available.  Please speak with Pastor who has the details.  Thank you.

OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL meets at 9:15 a.m. in the Choir Room which is located on the 2nd level (the west side).

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.  In conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are studying about that time period with “The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians”.

TODAY:  In Pastor’s absence this morning we thank the men from our Board of Elders for conducting worship.  Pastor will return to the office tomorrow afternoon.

CAN YOU HELP?  We have a sign-up on the table in the narthex for Summer Sunday School.  The dates and lessons are listed.  We would like to have someone covering and to give Sarah Lange a break for the summer.  Once you sign-up, please speak with Sarah who will have the lesson for you.  Thank you for helping in this way.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The July-September 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today!

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS:  The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell.  We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee.  If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled.  We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

YOU ARE INVITED:  In celebration and thanksgiving to God, you are invited to attend the Ordination & Installation Service for Charles A. Bahn TODAY, July 9th at 2:00 p.m.  at Trinity Lutheran Church, 801 S Madison St., Bloomington IL.  A reception at the church will follow the service.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “The Power Of a Spirit-Given Adoption!” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 8:18-25.  God provides for your adoption into His family, by grace through faith in Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Reverend Dr. Gregory Seltz will be the speaker.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Tune in!  You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN:  If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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