WEEKLY MESSAGES


11/04/18

 Sermon

Revelation 21 promises that everything will be made new. The reconciliation that God has been seeking with humanity since the fall of man in Genesis is finally realized. Revelation 21 reads “he said to me, “it is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Since the fall of man God has been working to restore the relationship with humanity. In revelation 21 we see where that is finally realized. Once again there will be “no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.”
               
This Sunday we will recognize All Saints Sunday. On a Sunday when we celebrate all the saints who have gone before us. We are reminded that death is not final, restoration will come, and relationship with the creator will be restored, as Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden, we will dwell with God.


Come and see.  Come and worship.  Saturday at 5:00.  
Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


10/28/18

 Sermon

Some 650 years before Jesus was born, God appeared to a young boy named Jeremiah.  God said to him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you.  I have appointed you to be a prophet to all the nations.”  This young Jeremiah, maybe 16 years old, was having none of it.  He started to make excuses.  “Lord, I do not know how to speak.  I am only a boy.”  God, in turn, didn’t want to hear his excuses: “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
    
This weekend, eight young people will be asked to say ‘Yes’ to something that their parents said ‘yes’ to many, many years ago.  After having made public profession of their faith, they will be asked to say ‘Yes’ to the following charge, “Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and dee, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?” (ELW Hymnal, page 236)  

In the same way that God came up to Jeremiah and called him into mission, God has called these eight young people in their baptisms to serve all people, proclaim Jesus in word and deed, and strive for peace and justice in all the world.  Guess what!  God has called each of us to that same mission.  What does that look like for you?

Come and see.  Come and worship.  Saturday at 5:00.  Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


10/21/18

 Sermon

In 1933 Helen Keller wrote an article for the Atlantic Monthly. The title of the article was, “Three Days to See.” In that article she outlined what she would do if God were to grant her three days to see. She said that she would dedicate the first day just among friends and family, to finally see the faces of all those who have touched her all these years. The next day she would dedicate to nature, just to concentrate on what trees and lakes and mountains. Finally, the third day she would spend around her home in New York, just watching the busy city. She concluded it with these words: "I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you were stricken blind.”  Why is it that someone who was born blind seems to see life better than those of us who have supposedly 'seen' all of our lives?  

While Jesus is passing through the city of Jericho, a blind man hollers out to Him, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." (Mark 10:46-52). Jesus asked him, 'What do you want me to do for you?' Interesting question. At first it should be obvious, but maybe it's not. If Jesus passed by you today with the same question, how would you answer? What can we, who supposedly can see, learn from this man who supposedly can not? 

Come and see. Come and worship: Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35. 


10/14/18

 Sermon

We live in a culture that has some pretty screwed up ideas about models for leadership. 2003 was a very infamous year for many NCAA men's basketball coaches and their programs. On April 28, 2003, The Des Moines Register carried pictures of Iowa State head coach, Larry Eustachy, kissing several young women and holding a beer at a frat party near the University of Missouri's campus just hours after the Tigers defeated his Cyclones. That same year St. Bonaventure’s basketball program was heavily penalized when the president of the university claimed that a great basketball recruit from an area junior college had an Associates degree from that college when, if fact, all that he had was a welding certificate. The most egregious of the violations that year took place in Baylor University where a young man on the basketball team was murdered by a teammate and the coach was caught on tape saying about the infractions in his program, “Let’s blame it on the dead guy.”  Just in sports? Do we dare open up the conversation about the Church – where the scandals of sex abuse continue to ripple outward and upward?  Then – of course – where would we even begin regarding the abuse of power within our governments: local, state, and national?
 
Two of Jesus' disciples come up to Him with a peculiar request, "When you come into your glory, grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left." (Mark 10:37) Jesus called together His disciples and reminded them of a different standard of leadership, "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (vv. 44-45)  What can we learn from Jesus in our own expectations of good leadership? More importantly, how can we be empowered to be a Christ-like leader?

Come and see. Come and worship: Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35. 


10/07/18

 Sermon

Smack dab in the middle of our baptismal liturgy is a series of six questions that invite us to say ‘no’ to one way of life so that we can say ‘yes’ to God. ‘Do you renounce the devil and all the forces that defy God? Do you renounce the powers of this world that rebel against God? Do you renounce the ways of sin that draw you from God?’ In renouncing these things, we say ‘no’ to that which draws us away from God. Then comes the three questions to which we are invited to say ‘yes.’ ‘Do you believe in God, the Father? Do you believe in God, the Son? Do you believe in God, the Holy Spirit?’ In the end, one cannot be walking away from God and still follow Him. We say ‘no’ to those things that claim to be God, so that we can say ‘yes’ to the true God. 
 
A man comes up to Jesus and asks Him a loaded question, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus responds, ‘You know the commandments: Do not steal, murder, bear false witness, or commit adultery.’ The man responded, ‘I’ve honored these since my youth.’ Jesus believed him, but added one final and most difficult thing, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have, give it to the poor, and follow me.’ In other words, ‘Say ‘no’ to your riches so that you can say ‘yes’ to following me.’ Whoa! Scary words. What do we need to say ‘no’ to, so that we can say ‘yes’ to God?
 
Come and worship: Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35. Sunday school at 10:35.


09/30/18

 Sermon

To be a disciple of Jesus is to be His apprentice. Apprenticeship is a little different than being a regular student. The job of a student is to learn the material being taught and then move on. The job of an apprentice is not only to learn the material but - in the end - become like the teacher. To be a disciple/apprentice of Jesus is to seek to be and do as Jesus is and does.  

This weekend's Bible story has Jesus continuing to teach His disciples about what it means to be apprentices of Him. But these guys are pretty thick-headed. Moments after Jesus' lesson about self-sacrifice, the disciples break into an argument about which of them is the greatest. (Mark 9:30-37) Will these guys ever learn? Jesus, being a really good teacher, uses the moment to teach an important lesson about what it really means to be great. It isn't what they (or we) would normally think. Come and hear what Jesus did.

Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00.  Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35


09/23/18

 Sermon

One day when Jesus is walking with His disciples, He asks them an interesting question, 'Who do the people say that I am?' The disciples respond with what they have heard, 'Some say you are John the Baptist back from the dead. Some say you are Elijah. Some say you are one of the prophets.' Then Jesus turns and asks them the all-important question, 'Who do YOU say that I am?' (Mark 8:29)

Why is this question so important? Very simply, if we are called to be apprentices of Jesus and if apprentices are called to become like their masters, then we need to understand who Jesus is in order to be like Him. After all, if I am an apprenticed electrician then my goal is to become like my journeyman electrician teacher. Who does Jesus say that He is? The answer to this question tells us not only how Jesus sees His own life but how we are to live our lives.

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


09/16/18

 Sermon

There are times in our life when we just need to get away. There are times when we just need a change of landscape to clear our minds. Travel has the potential to not only just entertain us but change long-help opinions and perspectives. This is especially true when we get off of the beaten path - when we venture beyond the bus tour or the cruise ship. The more we have a chance to immerse ourselves in the daily lives of other cultures and races, the more our minds and hearts are expanded.

This seemed also true for Jesus. Jesus and His disciples went on a trip to the region of Tyre, a place where no Jews lived. Jesus needed some time away and chose a place where He had hoped to go unnoticed. But, in spite of Jesus' desires, His reputation proceeded Him. A local woman with a demon-possessed daughter threw herself at Jesus feet. She was desperate. Her daughter was desperate. Help!!!!! At first, Jesus was anything but helpful - in fact He was darn right rude. But the woman was not to be denied. She had a determined faith. That faith not only changed the life of her daughter, it seemed to change Jesus as well.

Interested? Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00, Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


09/09/18

 Sermon

One of the reasons that I love baseball is that I am a math guy. I grasp numbers pretty well. Baseball is a game dominated by statistics. We judge a player's success by the particular statistics of his position. One's batting average, earned run average, or fielding percentage has been the topic of conversation among baseball fans for more than 100 years. If one finishes a season with a .300 batting average and has also hit 25 home runs, that player has enormous value.  If a pitcher wins 15 games and has an Earned Run Average of less than 2.5, that pitcher is a sought-after commodity.  Over the course of the last ten to fifteen years, however, we have been inundated with a whole host of other statistics that measure a player's value.  We are now just as likely to hear about OBP (On Base Percentage), OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging), or RISP (Runners in Scoring Position). There never seems to be a lack of ways that we can measure a player's success. 

In the Bible story for this week, a group of religious leaders ask Jesus a very pointed (and very 'judgy') question, "Why don't your disciples follow the traditions of our religion like we do?" (Mark 7:1-23) For those religious leaders, one was judged based upon how closely one would follow a particular set of laws and traditions. But Jesus throws a different statistic into the conversation:  the condition of one's heart. How we treat and talk about others are also important measures of one's spiritual well-being. 

What does this mean for us, both as individuals and community?  
Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35.


09/02/18

 Sermon


08/26/18

 Sermon

Ask any good reporter what the most interesting part of interview is and they will tell you that 'who,' 'what,' 'when,' and 'where' are important but it is the 'why' that enters into the heart of the story. Why do we do the things we do? God tells the prophet Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and proclaim God's word. Jonah balks. Instead of going east to Nineveh he goes west to Tarshish. The first three chapters of the O.T. book of Jonah tell us the what, where, when, and who. It is the final chapter that tells us why he disobeys. In the end,we find out that it is nothing less than prejudice and hatred towards the Ninevites. Jonah refuses to forgive the Ninevites for their role in a war against his country.

Forgiveness is difficult. But we all have seen countless times that a spirit and practice of unforgiveness can ruin one's life. What does the Bible teach us about unforgiveness and why?

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday and 9:00 and 10:35.


08/19/18

 Sermon

Think about a time when you were convinced to make a significant, positive change in your life (maybe a new career, a different relationship status, a spiritual or health practice). What were the factors that finally helped you make that decision? For most of us, part of that decision was in consulting with someone that you trusted: a friend, a doctor, or a pastor. A friend, doctor, or pastor earns trust by taking time to listen and getting to know your story. This is something that can only be done up close.

The prophet Jonah is called to proclaim God’s word to the people of Nineveh. The Old Testament book of Jonah tells us that Nineveh was huge – so big that it would take three days to cross it (Jonah 3). Jonah enters the city one day’s walk and begins to preach – and – amazingly they listen. Everyone, all the way from the king to the dogs and cats of the empire, repents. Jonah didn’t just set up shop on the outskirts of the city and throw bombs of judgement. He took the time to enter into the city, to see and hear its people, and he was listened to. 

It is easy to point fingers and condemn from afar. It is easy to do ‘drive-by’ evangelism, assuming that we know the issues of people without spending time with them. The harder, but ultimately more fruitful course of action, is to enter “a day’s walk” into the lives of the neighborhood and listen to people’s stories. As we continue to seek God’s purpose for Shepherd of the Hill, I can’t help but think we have much to learn from Jonah.

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5, Sunday at 9 and 10:35.


08/12/18

 Sermon


07/29/18

 Sermon

We live in an age that seems to be desperate for heroes. Just think about the most attended movies of the past few years: Avengers, Captain America, Black Panther. I see the same thing in our political process. We look for the next George Washington or Abraham Lincoln and when we don't find him or her or we find him or her to be less than perfect, we become disillusioned and cynical. 

The reality is that the Bible warns us against putting too much trust in our leaders. 
'Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, . . . on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose help in the God of Jacob.' (Psalm 146:3-5)   

David was the greatest king that Israel would ever know. Poet, musician, warrior, king - a man after God's own heart. Yet he was far, far, from perfect. Perfection would not be found in him, but rather in his descendant, Jesus. It is in Jesus that we trust and find perfection. Join us as we finish this summer's series on the life of David. 

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35. Wednesday at 6:30.


07/22/18

 Sermon

We often think that most of the characters of the Bible are somehow more righteous, somehow less broken than we are. It doesn’t take a very deep study to find out how wrong that idea really is. The Bible is very honest about the “human nature” of its characters. Abraham hears the call of God and screws up enough faith to follow it – but within a chapter or two, he loses that faith and tries to pass off his wife as his sister to save his own neck. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, tricks his meathead of a brother out of his birthright for a bowl of soup. And then there is Jacob’s sons, who grab their arrogant and snotty little brother Joseph and sell him into slavery, just to be rid of him.  

Then there is King David – arguably the Old Testament's most venerated character. Even he was far, far from perfect. David's coveting of another man's wife led to adultery, cover-up, and murder. David's arrogance hardened his heart and blinded him to his own behavior. God, through Nathan the prophet, broke through David's lies and pointed out the truth. In the end, David recognized his sins, confessed them, and received forgiveness. (2 Samuel 11-12) That forgiveness did not free him from the consequences of his actions. However, God did create a new heart within him, empowering him to endure those consequences. There is a reason why we begin our worship with confession. Confession allows God to create a new heart within us.

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35, Wednesday at 6:30.


07/15/18

 Sermon

When I would ask my friend, Van, the question, 'How are you?' He would always answer with the words, 'Better than I deserve.' That unexpected response never failed to cause me to think, 'Yeah, I suppose that is true for me as well.' A week ago we learned that mercy was related to two other Biblical words: justice and grace. A working definition of 'justice' is to give someone something that they deserve. 'Grace' means to give to someone something good they do NOT deserve. Mercy is to NOT give to someone something they DO deserve. (I'll give you a moment to reread the previous three sentences.)

As we continue our story of David, Saul - the previous king - is dead. His sons are also dead as well as most of his grandchildren. There is only one person left that could possibly claim the throne - a young disabled grandson named Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9). According to the practices of the ancient world, if someone kills a king, then all of his possible heirs were to perish as well. After all, you don't want someone coming to claim the throne, do you? (Where do you think George R R Martin got all his ideas for Game of Thrones?) 

Come and hear how David - in the mercy he showed Mephibosheth - showed us one of the reasons why he was a man after God's own heart.

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday 9: & 10:35, Wednesday at 6:30.


07/8/18

 Sermon

As we continue this summer's series on the life of David, we join the young 'king-to-be' in a very difficult situation. King Saul, whose heart is consumed by jealousy and hatred, is chasing David throughout the wilderness of Judah. As providence would have it, Saul enters into a cave where David and his men are hiding. David has the opportunity to take the situation into his own hands and kill King Saul once and for all. (1 Samuel 24) But David takes a different (and merciful) path.

What is mercy? What does it mean to give someone mercy?

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday 9:00 & 10:35.


07/1/18

 Sermon

This past week five high school age youth spent the week serving the residents of Green Bay, Wisconsin. During the week they along with 350 youth from across the Midwest served local residents by painting houses, cleaning yards, and repairing and building decks.

Not only  did they serve the local residents but their day was packed with worship, devotions, and youth group meetings. This week's theme was Grit. Rick Lawrence defines grit as "the engine that drives perseverance in life. It's the core strength that helps us face and overcome challenges and obstacles. And it is the essential characteristic that sustains our lifelong pursuit of Jesus." Come and hear the stories of how our youth served the people of Green Bay and also learned about the spiritual grit in their life.

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35, No Wednesday service on the 4th of July.


06/17/18

 Sermon

For many people, Father's Day is complicated. If one be fortunate enough to have a good relationship with their father (and their father is still alive), the day can be filled with barbecues and gifts of neckties or power tools. But, unfortunately, not everyone has had a good relationship with their father. In these cases, Father's Day reveals places of pain in need of healing. 


We are in the midst of a series of messages about the Old Testament character, David. While we know nothing of David's relationship with his father, we know a great deal about his relationship with King Saul, in whose home David lived. King Saul was mentally and spiritually broken and was prone to fits of great rage and violence. Through no fault of his own, numerous times David had to run for his life. Fortunately, David was not alone. God provided people to protect and care for him.

What can we learn from this painful chapter of David's life? 

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35, Wednesday at 6:30.


06/10/18

 Sermon

David vs. Goliath

Chapter 17 of the Old Testament book of I Samuel tells one of the most famous stories of the Bible. The armies of Israel and the Philistine nation are staring at each other across a great valley. The potential for bloodshed is enormous. By the end of the day tens of thousands could lay dead. An option arises out of the ranks: a contest between the greatest warrior of the Philistines and the greatest warrior of the Israelites. Winner take all. The Philistines put forth the giant, Goliath. But the Israelites cannot find a taker. I mean - look at the guy! 9-feet tall with impenetrable armor and weapons twice as big as any Israelite warrior. 

Finally, an adolescent shepherd named David steps forward and shouts out to the giant warrior, "You come to me with sword and shear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD." (v. 45) David takes out the tools of his trade: a shepherd's staff, a sling, and five smooth tennis-ball-sized stones. With one shot, the giant is unconscious, face-down on the ground with a stone embedded in his forehead. Huh? Who would have thought?

What are the giants in your life? What 'tools of the trade' have been given to you so that you can fight your giants?

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35. Wednesday at 6:30.


06/03/18

 Sermon

The Story of David: A Man after God's Own Heart

What do Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter all have in common? They are all examples of a type of story-telling called the "Hero's Journey." Each story begins with an unknown and under-appreciated young person who somehow senses that there is more to life than what has been lived so far. Suddenly a mentor shows up out of the blue and calls the the novice hero to a new life and adventure beyond their imaginations. Through trial and fire the heroes pass, changing their lives forever. When they finally return home, they are no longer the same people. In the Hero's Journey, some of the details may change, but the basic story line stays the same.

A young shepherd boy named David is minding his father's sheep one day when he receives a call that would change his life forever. God had told the prophet, Samuel, to anoint this young boy to be the next king of Israel. There was a problem, however: Israel already had a king and he was very much alive and very, very jealous. God's call to David would put David on a journey that take more than 40 chapters of the Bible to tell. David would not only eventually be known as Israel's greatest poet, musician, warrior, and king, he would be known as one of Israel's most famous fallen saints and forgiven sinners. Through it all, God would refer to him as "A Man after God's Own Heart." 

This week we begin a summer-long series: David: From Shepherd to King, Poet to Warrior, Fallen Saint to Forgiven Sinner.  Come and see. Come and worship.

NOTE the new summer schedule:
Sundays at 9:00 and 10:35.  Wednesdays at 6:30


05/27/18

 Sermon

When was the first time that you were absolutely overwhelmed with awe and wonder? When was the first time you looked at something and just said, "Wow!"? Maybe it was the first time you saw the Rocky Mountains or the Grand Canyon. Maybe it was the first time you held your newborn baby. 

It isn't hard to imagine the young shepherd boy, David, lying in the middle of a pasture, tucked in between the sheep of his care and staring up at the nighttime sky. This was 1000 years before Jesus was born and the only light available would have been the myriad of stars and the moon. Years later he would write Psalm 8 and I can imagine him thinking of those nights staring up at the star-filled sky.  'When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are humans that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care from them?' (Psalm 8:3-4) 

Good question. Who are we that God - the Creator of the universe - would pay attention to us? That is exactly what the Church's doctrine of the Holy Trinity answers. How can God be both awesome and majestic as well as personal and caring? 

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35


05/20/18

 Sermon

Did you ever stop to think about the miracle of good communication? In order for Person A to communicate effectively with Person B a whole chain of events must take place. Person A has a thought, the thought must be formed into words, the words must be vocalized (or signed) and travel across the open space from Person A's mouth (or hands) to Person B's ears (or eyes). That word must then be translated into something that Person B can understand and react to. Effective communication involves a lot of moving parts.


This weekend we hear the story of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes upon the followers of the resurrected Jesus giving them a miracle of communication. These simple fisherman who have never traveled more than 90 miles from the place of their birth are given the ability to speak the native tongues of people from all over the Roman Empire. Those hearing the message of God's grace, love, and deeds of power are amazed. ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?' (Acts 2:7-8) The Holy Spirit gives the miracle of good communication. 

How can we give control of our communication to the Holy Spirit? A place to start is in a humble and serving heart. There is an old saying that says, 'People will not care about what we know until they know we care.'

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00, Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35


05/13/18

 Sermon

Sometimes our perspective is just plain wrong. Sometimes we make a big deal out of what - in the grand scheme of things - is very insignificant. I'm sure than any of us can come up with any number of examples. Maybe it is a fuss about what you will wear on a particular day or a "bad" hair cut or a scratch on the side of your car. In nearly every example it is forgotten a day or two later; it wasn't worth the worry.

This weekend we celebrate Ascension Day - the day that the resurrected Jesus ends His earthly ministry and "ascends" to sit on the right hand of God. (See Acts 1:3-11).  After Jesus' resurrection, he continues to teach His disciples for 40 days and then prepares them for His departure. But even after three years of hanging out with Jesus, the disciples still don't get it. They ask Jesus, "Is NOW the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?" Jesus gently but firmly corrects them. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (v. 8). Basically Jesus tells them, 'You are thinking too small. You worry about Israel - God wants to use you to rescue the world.'

How do we think too small about what God is doing in our lives? How do we think too small about what God is doing in the life of Shepherd of the Hill?

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35


05/06/18

 Sermon

It almost seems unfair. It seems like we should be able to say that if we are in a good relationship with God, then life should be easy. Shouldn't it make sense that if we have been forgiven and are in good standing with God that we shouldn't get cancer or lose our job or go through marital difficulties? 

We need only to look at Jesus to see that that argument doesn't make sense. The relationship between God the Father and God the Son was perfect, yet Jesus' life contained sadness, pain, and death. In His ministry, Jesus entered into a very imperfect and suffering world. For the sake of that world, Jesus entered into its suffering. But Easter morning proves to us that suffering did not have the last word. That was true for Jesus and it is true for us. 

In this weekend's Bible reading (Romans 5:1-11), Paul tells us that Jesus is present to us even in our suffering and that suffering develops our endurance, our endurance develops our character, and our character develops our hope. Come and hear what this can look like in your life.

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


04/29/18

 Sermon

There is a powerful scene at the beginning of the 2004 movie, Luther. Martin Luther had just celebrated his first mass as priest and he had done the unthinkable; he had spilled the wine. He was humiliated. His father, who had come to witness his first mass, was indignant and stomped away in disgust. It was a horrible way to begin his career as priest. The next scene has Luther back in his monastic cell. He is punishing himself, arguing with Satan. Luther was convinced that he was too sinful to be a priest. In the midst of his maniacal ranting, he is paid a visit by the leader of the monastery and his mentor, Johann von Staupitz. "What do you seek, Martin?" he asks. Luther replies, "I seek a God who is just, a God of love." 

This opening scene tells us the backstory of Luther's quest for forgiveness and love from God. He would spend the first half of his life looking for ways to be 'good' enough, 'holy' enough, 'righteous' enough, 'contrite' enough. Finally, in his study of Romans, chapter 1, he found the answer: it is NOT what we do that makes us right before God, it is what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Paul writes in Romans 1:17, "In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed." What does the righteousness of God look like in our life? How does it remove our sin and shame? 

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


04/22/18

 Sermon

Jesus tells a story about a man who goes out into the field to sow seed. Some seed fell upon hard ground and the birds ate it up right away. Some seed fell upon rocky soil; the seed grew but quickly died because the roots were shallow. Some seed fell upon soil populated by thorns. The seed grew within the thorns but the plants were eventually strangled by the weeds. Finally some seed fell upon good soil and grew to produce greatly. 
 
What accounted for the success in only 1/4 of the seed? The sower was the same. The seed was the same. Even the desire to sow was the same. The variable was the soil. Good soil allowed the seed to produce where hard, rocky and thorn-infested soil did not. Why is it that sometimes we hear and understand God's love, grace, and forgiveness and sometimes we do not? Here is a hint: it has something to do with the readiness of the soil of our hearts. How can the soil of our hearts be changed?

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


04/08/18

 Sermon

In this weekend's familiar story, the resurrected Jesus bursts into a locked room of very frightened disciples with a word of peace (John 20:19-31). In fact, in this short passage of the Gospel of John, Jesus extended His peace three times. What does it mean when we extend the hand of peace? Is it the same peace that Jesus offered His followers? The sermon this weekend will explore what it means to say "Peace be with you," and help us to be a little more intentional when we offer this greeting. 

Come and see. Come and worship. 
Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.


04/01/18

 Sermon

Perplexed, Terrified, Amazed


In many parts of the world, for nearly 2000 years, the greetings between Christians (especially in the weeks after Easter) have sounded like this: one would say, 'Christ is risen!' to which the other person would respond, 'He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!' 

For those who came to Jesus' tomb on that first Easter morning, their responses were not nearly as joyful. The women went to Jesus' tomb looking for a dead body; instead they found an open and empty grave. To say they were perplexed would probably be an understatement. Then when two angels appeared, their perplexity accelerated to terror. When the male disciples caught wind of the strange occurrences going on, they ran to investigate and they left amazed. (Luke 24:1-12) It would take a while for it to sink in that, CHRIST IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH! 

What does the empty tomb mean for us? What does Jesus' resurrection hold for our lives nearly 2000 years later? Come and hear what it has meant for others and what it can mean for you. Come and hear how we can move from perplexed, terrified, and amazed to Hallelujah!

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00.


Please contact the SOTH Comminication team if you are looking for additional messages at Soth.communicaitons@shepherdofthehill.com