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.


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.


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 . . .


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!


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.

Elder, Usher, and Acolyte Schedules July 2017

Elder and Usher Schedule

July 2Craig Culp, Jeff Piper, Joshua Parry, Lucas PiperNathan KluenderBrian Dirks, Karson Lueck
July 9Gene Fuller, Richard RossBud Kessler, Greg McNeely
July 16Daryle Schempp, Gerald Semelka, Paul Gerike, Steve ParryMike FieldMike Huth, Theron Noth
July 23Ben Holland, Mike FieldPaul GerikeBrian Dirks, Greg McNeely, Karson Lueck
July 30Jeff Piper, Joshua Parry, Lucas Piper, Nathan KluenderBarry HamlinBud Kessler, Curt Kessler, Mike Huth

Acolyte Schedule

8:00 AM
10:30 AM
July 2Chloe HitchWilliam McNeely
July 9EldersElders
July 16JT PiperPastor/Elder
July 23
Pastor/ElderMatt Williamson
July 30Summer SheleyJustin McNeely

Celebrating July 2017


7/4 Joann Nottingham

7/10 Bob Love

7/14 Nick Henson

7/22 Joann Hart

7/24 Katey Parry

7/25 Andrew Benjamin

7/25 Stephanie Schempp

7/27 David McEleney

Baptismal Birthdays

7/8 Isabella Kessler

7/11 Richard Ross

7/12 Keyyon Pleasant

7/13 Kathy Hitch

7/13 Summer Sheley

7/14 Bryan Reichert

7/16 Jennifer Cloyd

7/20 Ruth Gerike

7/21 Anna Holland

7/24 Finley Mosier

7/28 Eugene Fuller

7/31 Erin Dirks