Messages from God's Word

All Saints' Day

Coming out of Terrible Suffering • November 1, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

Even in the midst of terrible suffering, God’s children through faith in Jesus can joyfully serve Him who cleanses their sin and gives them His presence and protection. 1) As Jesus’ forewarns His followers, suffering is normative a. Sermon on the Mount – blessings b. Hated by the World 2) Our robes have been made white in the blood of the Lamb a. Represents putting Christ in Holy Baptism b. Reminds us to continually turn to God 3) We joyfully serve in His presence, under His protection a. Before the throne of God b. He will spread His tent over us

Reformation Day

God's Approval Through Faith Alone! • October 25, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

Today we celebrate Reformation Day! Luther is rightly remembered as a champion of the Gospel, but he also called himself “the apostle of good works.” For only in being set free by the Gospel can we do good works. Jesus has set us free, and His blood covers over our sins. We stand before God as His beloved children, and we are invited to live our lives to His glory for the good of His kingdom.

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Secret of Christian Stewardship • October 11, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

We learn the secret of Christian stewardship though charitable concern for others, consistent contentment in all situations and a confident conviction in the God who always comes through for us. 1. Christ gives us a genuine concern for other people a. I have seen the oppression of my people b. Philippians shares the troubles of St. Paul 2. Christ teaches us the ability to be content in all things a. Contentment must be learned in life’s reality b. A person with contentment is not easily disturbed 3. Christ gives us a confident conviction that God will always come through for us a. I can do everything through Christ b. God will supply our every need in a glorious way

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Lutherans in Africa • September 27, 2020 • Rev. Timothy Rossow

Guest speaker Reverend Timothy Rossow tells of the work of Lutherans in Africa, forming African Lutherans to be teachers of the faith.

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

For the Common Good • September 20, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

Although followers of Jesus are torn in two directions, the desire to follow where Christ leads for the common good outweighs all other thoughts and feelings. 1. I long to leave this world and live with Christ a. We all are infected with homesickness b. That obviously would be the best thing for me. 2. It is probably more necessary for me to stay here on earth a. Many things make us sick and tired of this world b. We are governed by a greater necessity 3. I shall not leave this world quite yet a. “living” to me simply means Christ b. To help y’all forward in Christian faith and find increasing joy

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Absolute Necessity of Forgiveness • September 13, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

The absolute necessity of forgiveness points to the new reality of God’s kingdom in which the unpardonable offense is pardoned, the unpayable debt is deleted and our hard, cold, calculating hearts are transformed by the warm, generous embrace of God’s mercy. 1. In God’s kingdom, unpardonable offenses are pardoned a. Outside are only retaliation, revenge and anger b. God invites us to forsake the rebellion of sin and death 2. In God’s kingdom, unpayable debts are deleted a. Some debts are too great to ever be repaid b. The only hope is for someone else to absorb and thus erase, delete and cancel our debt 3. In God’s kingdom hearts of stone are transformed by mercy a. By nature, we all have cold, hard, calculating hearts b. By grace, we are changed by the warm, generous embrace of God’s mercy

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Take Care with the Little Ones • September 6, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

Becoming like a little child, welcoming the little ones and protecting their relationship with God cannot happen without the transforming power and presence of the Holy Spirit who opens the Kingdom of heaven for all believers. 1. Jesus’ followers become like Little Ones a. Characterized by childlike qualities b. Such are greatest in the Kingdom of heaven 2. Jesus’ followers welcome Little Ones in His Name a. Open to new life: physical birth and spiritual birth from above b. Is Jesus Christ welcome in your home, church, community? 3. Jesus’ followers are careful to protect the faith of Little Ones a. Terrible consequences for those who cause loss of faith b. Their angels see the face of My Father in heaven

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

A Christian Response to Politics • August 30, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

When we listen to the wisdom of God’s Word about our life together in the City of Man, we will find that a Christian response to politics involves choosing men of proven capabilities who fear God, who have earned the trust of their neighbors and who hate corruption – so that we may live peaceful, godly lives and freely spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. 1. God raises up those who rule in justice and the fear of God. a. The last words of King David: b. What does God require of us? Micah 6:8 2. God raises up those who tremble at His Word a. Capable men: fearing God, earning trust, hating corruption b. God’s solution to original sin: local government: Exodus 18:21 3. God raises up the righteous so His people may rejoice a. God governs so that all may be rescued from sin and death b. People rejoice when they learn to walk in God’s paths

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

The Hard Sayings of Jesus • August 23, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

• "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." —Matthew 5:48 • "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." —Matthew 6:13 • "'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'”—Matthew 27:46 The hard sayings of Jesus force us to reexamine our cherished assumptions and challenge us to rethink our view of His life and the life of the Church of which He is the Head. 1. Jesus teaches us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. a. We mistakenly assume the impossibility doing what Jesus commands. b. Be all-embracing, without restriction, in your acts of mercy 2. Jesus teaches us to pray for strength in our spiritual struggles. a. Jesus is NOT teaching a rapture/escape from temptation, tribulation, testing. b. May our faith stand firm in the time of trial / temptation. 3. Jesus’ cry of dereliction shows that He would pay any price for us. a. Jesus felt the full weight / consequence of sin. b. Jesus’ experience of God-forsakenness is our rescue.

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

A Christ-centered Response to the Issue of Poverty • August 16, 2020 • Pastor Mike Thurau

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

A Christian Response to Socialism • August 9, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

"If anyone doesn’t take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever." —1 Timothy 5:8 "Thieves must quit stealing and, instead, they must work hard. They should do something good with their hands so that they’ll have something to share with those in need." —Ephesians 4:28 "Also, make it your goal to live quietly, do your work, and earn your own living, as we ordered you." —1 Thessalonians 4:11 "While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.” We hear that some of you are not living disciplined lives. You’re not working, so you go around interfering in other people’s lives. We order and encourage such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to pay attention to their own work so they can support themselves. Brothers and sisters, we can’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing what is right." —2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 Nowhere in Scripture are we given any expectation to live from the labor of others, but rather we each receive from God various talents and abilities with which we work diligently to provide for our own family and have an abundance to support the spread of the Good News, save for the future, and give generously to our neighbor who is in need. 1. In God’s economy, we are warned against falling into certain traps a. Thieves must quit stealing! Borrower is slave to the lender b. Some live undisciplined lives, interfering in other people’s lives 2. In God’s economy, everyone receives the gift to work diligently a. To care for their own relatives and immediate family b. Pay attention to our own work in order to support ourselves 3. In God’s economy, everyone receives a gift to manage wealth wisely a. So that we’ll have something to share with those in need b. So that we won’t get tired of doing what is right: Good News

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

From one man: A Christian response to racism • August 2, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’" —Acts 17:24-28 When we remember that God not only created us, but provides everything we need and desires us to live as His offspring in a relationship of love and gratitude with Him and each other, we will have found the only effective response to the racism that threatens to tear us apart. 1. God is the Maker of heaven and earth a. He made the world and everything in it. He owns it b. He gives mankind life and breath and everything 2. From one man He made every nation a. He scattered us and created diversity of language and tribe b. He determines allotted times and boundaries of our dwelling 3. He desires all mankind to live in a relationship of love a. He is not far; in Him we live and move and have our being b. We are indeed His offspring -- in Jesus, crucified and risen

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Throw the Net into the Sea • July 26, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea. It gathered all kinds of fish. God’s Kingdom comes always as a free gift that radically changes our perception of this world and equips us to become the spiritual net cast into the community to bring in those for whom Christ died and rose again. 1. The Kingdom of God’s grace comes to us as a free gift a. Even when we are NOT seeking it b. When we are on a quest for answers 2. The Kingdom of God’s grace changes our perception of this world a. Every life is valued differently b. Every possession has value only in relation to God’s reign 3. God’s Kingdom of grace throws a net into the sea of humanity a. God’s net of good news thrown into all the world b. Every child of God becomes a living part of that net

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Maddening Mixture of Good Seeds and Weeds • July 19, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

He replied, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; and the good seed—these are the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Since the end of the age is not yet upon us – of that day there will be no doubt – we live, work and pray as those who believe that God can take even children of the evil one and make of them children of His good and gracious Kingdom. 1. Two kinds of people are being planted in this world a. Children of the Kingdom b. Children of the evil one 2. How we live in this world has an impact for good or ill a. Frightening possibility of being pulled to the dark side: Saruman, Darth Vader et al. b. Joyful possibility of coming to the light: C.S. Lewis “On Living in an Atomic Age.” 3. There is coming a Day of reckoning and ultimate accountability a. Weeds will be separated by holy angels b. Wheat will be gathered into the Father’s barn

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Where the Seed is Planted • July 12, 2020 • Pastor Paul Becker

As Jesus begins to teach in parables various aspects of His life and ministry among us, • He invites us to exchange our natural understandings for the supernatural • and embrace His Gracious Kingdom that produces bountiful blessings. 1. Surprisingly, Jesus’ ministry does not have automatic “success” a. The Pharisees have already determined to destroy Jesus b. We live in humble dependence on the grace of His Word 2. Jesus’ ministry does produce faith and good works a. He creates great comfort and confidence b. Faith is never alone – good works and blessings abound 3. Jesus’ ministry moves us to marvel at the generosity of God a. Friend of tax-collectors and sinners b. Tell the Good News to every creature 4. Jesus’ ministry calls us to live in wisdom and vigilant discernment a. The wicked one, troubles/persecution, worries and deceitful wealth do not retire b. Undeterred, Unhindered and Unashamed!