We get this. The parables that Jesus tells us in Luke chapter 15 move our hearts in some deep ways. We can connect with these stories because they are real life. We understand exactly what is happening in these stories because they’ve happened for us in real life. We’ve lost pets. We’ve lost money. These stories grab us because they happen in real life. Yet, Jesus isn’t just telling us stories for the sake of stories, he is trying to teach us something. He wants to teach us something about who he is and what gives him joy. He wants us to know his heart, his pursuit, his desire. This is a sermon about that. This is a sermon about what gives God joy. A sermon on Luke 15:1-10.
We get this. The parables that Jesus tells us in Luke chapter 15 move our hearts in some deep ways. We can connect with these stories because they are real life. We understand exactly what is happening in these stories because they’ve happened for us in real life. We’ve lost pets. We’ve lost money. We’ve lost children. We’ve even been lost ourselves.These stories grab us because they happen in real life. Yet, Jesus isn’t just telling us stories for the sake of stories, he is trying to teach us something. He wants to teach us something about who he is and what gives him joy. He wants us to know his heart, his pursuit, his desire. This is a sermon series about that. This is a sermon series about what gives God joy. A sermon series on Luke 15.
This Sunday, we're wrapping up the Esther series. It's been a really powerful series in so many ways. We've spent some time in a book of the Bible that many people don't know a whole lot and, perhaps, miss what the inspired writer was talking about. It also speaks to our hearts because in so many ways, Esther's story is a lot like ours. No, not many (any?) of us are queens. Not many (any?) of us are faced with execution as a race of people. The circumstances of our life are very different from Esther's in a lot of ways, but the seeming silence of God is exactly the same. When was the last time God whispered in your ear and said, "This is what I'm doing right now." When was the last time you saw God do something? I know that he is, but I haven't seen his hand writing on the wall of my life. God seems to be silent. How are we supposed to make sense of our lives and the paths that they're taking? How are we supposed to understand our story? That's what we want to understand as we finish up the book of Esther. A sermon on Esther 8.
Pride comes before the fall. We can see it so clearly in the arrogance and actions of Haman. He goes to extraordinary lengths to put Mordecai down. And yet, in a seemingly coincidental and certainly ironic turn of events, Mordecai gets the honor and Haman thought he was getting. Instead of getting honor from the king, Haman got the death he had prepared for Mordecai. Pride certainly comes before the fall. Pride is such a dangerous thing to us too. Haman’s pole, his gallows, would be our death too. This is where the story turns for Haman, for Mordecai, for us. At this pole, at our Savior’s cross, our history turns and instead of dishonor, the King delights to honor us. A sermon on Esther 6.
So much is on the line right here. Will the king welcome Esther and receive her into his throne room unannounced? It’s been a month! She didn’t know if he would or if he wouldn’t. On the third day she went and he welcomed her into presence.On the third day she was granted life instead of death. Had the king not extended this mercy, her execution or banishment would have been an ominous potent of the things to come for the Jews. But on the third day in the throne room of the king, Esther was granted life in place of death. This scene pictures a gracious act of a king who holds life-and-death power. Had God not extended the cross of Jesus Christ to the world, all would die in his presence. But “on the third day” after the final judgment transpired on the cross, Jesus Christ arose to imperishable life, guaranteeing safety to enter God’s presence to all who reach out in faith to touch that cross-shaped scepter.” A sermon on Esther 5.
The story begins to come into focus: Esther is uniquely positioned to intervene for God’s people and bring relief and deliverance. It means facing a death that is coming for her anyway – either at the hands of Haman’s decree or at the hand of the king who didn’t invite her to come. There is nothing for her and her people to do but “fast, weep, and mourn” and to “return to the Lord your God” (Joel 2:12-13). Esther must claim and live in her identify as a child of God and come into who she was in her God. So also we. In any and every circumstance it is time for us to fast, weep and morn, to return to the Lord our God, and claim and live in our identity as his child. “Regardless of the straights you find yourself in, turn to the Lord. Rend your heart and not your garments; “fast, weep, mourn,” and return to the Lord your God. His purposes are greater than yours. And, who knows? Perhaps you have come to your present situation for such a time as this.”
Mordecai saves the king, but is not recognized. Haman is somehow promoted. Thus begins the war between Mordecai the Jew and Haman the Agagite. The scene is set. Nothing is by chance. In circumstances like this we often complain that God is not fair, that God is unjust, that God is absent, or even worse that God is evil. But we are still in the middle of the story as were Mordecai and the Jewish nation (also back in Jerusalem!). We cannot see the end of things from the middle and must walk by faith, not by sight. God intends to save and protect his people in Christ and ultimately to destroy those who wickedly remain opposed to Christ. There is no power, no enemy, that can thwart God’s electing purpose. We, too, like David in Psalm 16, can praise God because he has made our lot secure in Christ.
There is no audio or video of the sermon this week.
Esther is caught up in a story that is beyond her control. What should she do? She goes along with the story and the plan. The author doesn’t both to discuss the morality or the rightness of it. The king calls her by name and elevates her to be his queen. God is silently moving everyone and everything into place. Even more than that, God is being a husband to his people, even to us. Esther is called by name, as are we by our God to live in this world as his people. It is not always clear how we are to live our lives as God’s people, but this much is clear that we are caught up in his plan whether we know it or not. We are God's own and we live for his applause. A sermon on Esther 2:1-18.
It’s hard to know the end of the story from the middle of it. It’s hard to see God’s hand of power, love and protection at work when we’re living it. In the book of the Esther there is a silence that speaks loudly. You don’t hear the name of God. You don’t hear a prayer from God’s people. Yet, the silence of Scripture speaks volumes about God in her life. We do not know the end of the story from the middle of it, but God’s story in Esther helps us see God’s hand at work in all of it. A sermon on Esther 1 by Pastor Nate Bourman.
"I believe in God even when he is silent."
~ found scratched into the wall at a Nazi prison camp.
Throughout history, there have been times when it seemed like God has gone silent. Esther lived at such a time. A terrible and dangerous king named Xerxes ruled the known world. He and Haman laughed when together they decided to exterminate the Jewish people. However, their plan did not succeed. Truth be told Haman hanged himself in an almost satirical turn of events. The God of the universe brought about an incredible salvation through Esther, but never once is God or the Lord named in the book. Still, he's there directing, controlling, and saving. Even when he seems silent, we believe. We believe in the God who comes to us through Jesus, his cross, and his empty tomb. We hope in him against all hope.
In a world where it is increasingly difficult for us to see God as the end nears, in a world where we are faced with difficult choices, in a world that where the rich laugh and the poor remain marginalized, the life of Esther will speak. Into our lives where we can’t see the hand of God at work, where we struggle to hear his voice, and see his plan in our lives, the God of Esther will speak. God does indeed seem to be silent in our lives. God’s does indeed seem to absent from our lives. But the book of Esther will assure that God is indeed not silent nor is he absent. This Sunday, we start into Esther. We keep telling her story all summer. We need to see all God does for his people. God is on the move in our lives, even if we can't see him. More on Sunday (6/30). You won’t want to miss a single Sunday.
A sermon by Pastor Bublitz on Joshua 5:13-6:5,20.
The truth matters. It matters to our triune God, and it should matter to us, his church. Holy Spirit, guide us into all truth so that we might believe the truth, live in the truth, and share the truth. This sermon based on John 16:12-15 was preached on Trinity Sunday, June 16, 2019, by Pastor Aaron Bublitz.
Jesus promises his Holy Spirit who must testify to us through his Means of Grace. Jesus then tells us that we must testify about him - what he has done for us and all people. This sermon based on John 15:26,27 was preached on the Festival of Pentecost, June 9, 2019; by Pastor Aaron Bublitz.
Jesus’ prayer and God’s heartfelt desire is that the church - that we - would be united and one just as he is one. It’s what Jesus prays about on the night he was betrayed. But what does that look like? What does the church look like at her very best? Listen in, I think you might be surprised and moreover both challenged and comforted. The church is at her best not because of her behavior, but because of her Savior. Listen in to this sermon from Pastor Bourman on John 17:20-23.
Where is God? Where do we find him? That’s what many people want to know throughout their lives. That is what we want to know as we make our way through this life and especially when times get tough. Where is God? He is exactly where he promises to be. Listen in as Pastor Bublitz shows us where this is on the basis of John 14.
Construction projects are happening all over our city right now. Roads, business, and homes are being built and being fixed up. There’s a construction project going on here on our corner of 60th & Hampton too. It started 92 years ago, and it is continuing to take place today. God is at work here. He is using his powerful tools to create, strengthen, and build for himself a people that are loved and prepared to go and love. God is at work! In us, and through us.
5/26 - God at work...instilling peace in our hearts and lives
6/2 - God at work...establishing unity with him and each other
6/9 - God at work...preparing us to testify
6/16 - God at work...guiding us in truth
6/23 - God at work...giving us faith in what seems impossible
A sermon on Psalm 23 by Pastor Christian Winkel.
So much about our lives is frustrating and discouraging. We sweat pulling weeds and labor against thorn and thistle. Much of our existence is a spitting into the wind. That’s the curse of sin. We even feel it in our own bodies. But God has a promise for us that who we are now is not what we’re going to be like in all eternity. We are not who we’re gonna be. Listen in as Pastor Bourman takes to the end of 1 Corinthians 15.
The resurrection changes everything about the way that we live our lives. It changes the way that we get ready to die. Because of Jesus resurrection we get to live completely ready to die, to meet our Lord, and to live with him forever. It also changes the way we live until we die. We live with purpose and victory and hope. We live not for ourselves, but for him who lived and died and rose again. The resurrection changes the way that we live our lives. Listen in as Pastor Bublitz takes us further into 1 Corinthians 15. The Spirit will raise you up in your spirit.
The resurrection of Jesus is everything. It is that on which we stake our hopes. It is that which gives our lives meaning. It is that which assures us that our guilt is gone and our sin is forgiven. And the list goes on. The resurrection of Jesus removes the if from our lives so that we can live with resurrection courage and confidence. Listen in as Pastor Bourman takes us into 1 Corinthians 15:12-28. The Spirit will raise you up in your spirit.