United Under God’s Promise of Yes

Based on: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 Unity. What is it? Here is some human wisdom on the topic: “All for one and one for all!”- Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers). “United we stand, divided we fall” – Aesop. “When spiders’ webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” – Ethiopian Proverb. “We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end” – Woodrow T. Wilson.

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Love One Another

Based on:  John 13:31-35

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” That was the new command Jesus gave to his disciples as they left the upper room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus was crucified. It is also Jesus’ command for you. It is not a suggestion. It is not some optional feature to being a Christian, nor is it some hopeful wish on the part of Jesus. It is a command.

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Do Future Mission Work Now

Based on:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9

One of my seminary professors was talking about family devotions with a group of people.  He showed them a picture of a family from the late 1800’s.  The mother had died and the picture showed the father with his seven or eight children.  I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember the very compelling main point.  This man had plenty to do to raise his children, but he consistently took time for devotions with his family and taught them the truths of God’s Word.  The value this man placed on God’s Word showed throughout his life and his example made a huge impact on his children.  Not only his children, but also on his grandchildren and great-grandchildren as his love for God’s Word was passed on from generation to generation.  In fact, you can still see his love for God’s word in many of his descendants, one of whom was my seminary professor.  From this one family has come two Synod presidents, dozens of pastors and teachers, and hundreds of faithful lay men and women.  If you think about the many people that would have heard about Jesus through this one man’s descendants, you could say that he had and still has an impact on thousands of people because he shared his love for the Gospel with his children.

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Christians are Alive and Will Live

Based on: John 5:25-29

Today is “Saints Triumphant” Sunday.  No, I’m not talking about the New Orleans Saints football team, even though they are undefeated so far this season.  If you are a Saints fan, that might make you feel “triumphant”, but if you are a fan of another football team without a perfect record, you might feel not quite as triumphant.  However we are here to talk about an even greater triumph than winning football games.  We are here to remind ourselves that Christ’s death was our victory over death.  We are here to focus on the victorious life we have and the triumph we will enjoy when God calls us home to eternal life.

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The Reformation Continues

Based on: Jeremiah 18:1-11

Just north of Zhengzhou, China there is a road cut into the side of a cliff.  It is less than a mile long and only about twelve feet wide with a wall of rock on one side and a sudden drop of hundreds of feet on the other side.  It is called “The road that does not tolerate any mistakes”.  It sounds like the title fits, don’t you think?  On a road like that you have to constantly watch where you are going.  You must always be careful to stay on the road.  The Reformation is like that.  The Reformation is a constant vigilance concerning God’s Word to make sure we stay on the road.  We dare not think of the Reformation as an event in the past.  No, the Reformation continues.

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God lives in us and we live in God

Based on: 1 John 4:13-21

Was there ever a relationship that you were unsure of? Perhaps you just offended a friend and you didn’t know if you were still friends or if that person even wanted to see you again? Now just imagine the relationship Adam and Eve had with God before they sinned.  It was the closest relationship possible – God lived in them and they lived in God.  God blessed them with everything they needed and more, and God was pleased with everything they did.  Pleased, that is, until they ate the fruit God told them not to eat.  This action was a revolt against the God who gave them every good thing they could imagine.  They realized they had ruined their perfect relationship with God, and they were afraid.  They had no hope of restoring this relationship on their own.  Yet, in love God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to restore this relationship.  Now as a believer in Jesus Christ we have this close personal relationship with God.  God lives in us, and we live in God.  We know this is true by God’s display of love and we can see this from our own display of love.

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Connected to the Vine

Based on: John 15:1-8

On Easter four weeks ago the front of our sanctuary was full of flowers.  Think about the beautiful symbolism.  On Easter we celebrate Christ taking back his life and the life he gives us.  It makes sense, doesn’t it, to fill the front of our sanctuary with living things.  When we decorate the front of the church with flowers, you know that sometimes we use potted plants and sometimes we have flowers that have been cut from the plant and then arranged with other flowers.  Both are wonderful and both are given as an offering to our Savior.  Now, let me use those flowers as part of an illustration.  You know better than I do that once you cut part of the plant off from the rest of the plant, that part is going to die.  The potted plants are still whole and since the rest of the plant is still connected to the roots, they will continue to live as long as they are taken care of.  They are still connected to the roots that provided the nourishment they needed to live. 

As Christians we are just like those flowers.  We need to be connected to the rest of the plant to survive.  And we are – we are connected to the vine.  We are connected to the vine as a branch and we are connected to the vine to bear fruit.

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Make Us Bold, Lord

Based on: Acts 4:22-32

Good morning Stanley, Dustin, Carlie, Andrew, Daniel, Mackenzie, and Mikyla!  You have finished two years of catechism instruction, two years learning about what Scripture says about God and how he has rescued us.  I must say that of all the classes that I have taken through two years of catechism instruction, yours is by far the best!  Let’s just not tell anyone that so far yours is the only class that I have taken through two years of catechism.

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