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Friday, February 27, 2015

02252015 Wednesday of Lent 1 - Knot

Sermon Audio

February 25, 2015
It’s all in the knot

Creator of Heaven and earth, from the beginning of the universe, You knew what would occur.  From Your divine vantage point, everything You created had a purpose.  May we truly understand that not only are Your hand prints all over creation, but they are all over each of us gathered here during our Lenten Journey exploring the Salvation Bracelet.  For it tells the story of our salvation by Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

Tonight, we encounter, not a bead, but a knot.  Unlike the knots we have in our hair, shoe laces or electrical cords, the knot we encounter tonight has a divine purpose.  God in His infinite wisdom, knowledge and foresight tied a knot in the wrinkle of time in order for each of us to not only enter into creation, but be with Him in His Kingdom.

You see God not only had a divine purpose, but God planned for each and every one of us to be born, live a life and even when we will die.  Paul in Colossians 1:16 says it well, “16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”  Paul’s words clearly apply to each of us that not only call ourselves human, but especially Christian.  God from the beginning of time not only created the heavens and the earth from nothing, but made each of us gathered here this evening.

We are not only the apple of God’s eye, but that which God created.  Just as the knot serves the purpose to hold the beads together on a length of cord in a circle to form a bracelet, God has a divine plan for each of us gathered here.  Each and every one of us wants to clearly know and understand our purpose in life. For some this is even more of a challenge.  Specifically for those who have lived a full life and their bodies are failing them, whether eye sight, hands, legs and sadly, but especially the mind.  When I visit Good Samaritan or Wheat Ridge, I encounter individuals who are at this point in their lives.  They wonder what God has in store for them?  Do they serve any useful purpose now?  Some are angry for being left in the home by family members, others are troubled because nobody comes and visits them or cares for them in the way they want.  Each of them is in desperate need of hearing the truth from God from not only me the Pastor, but especially we the people of God that God still cares for them.  This message for them and for each of us gathered here tonight is simply in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel of Jesus Christ the salvation story like we can explain from the salvation bracelet is like a loose end that is tied into a perfect knot.  The knot is that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to hold us up and hold us together.  Jesus Christ is the knot that keeps us together and we share this with others through the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  God’s message has a clearly defined purpose to give hope to the downtrodden to uplift those down in the spirit that seem to have no hope and especially for we who gather here tonight as His children.

The salvation bracelet our Lenten series is based upon wouldn’t be a bracelet without a knot.  So to the Gospel of Jesus Christ would not offer salvation nor have the importance or impact without Jesus Christ as the perfect knot that ties it all together.  Just as Jesus Christ came into the world to set the world free, so to Jesus Christ came to be our sacrifice and live the life we could not live.  Just as a knot can hold two strands of cord together, Jesus Christ holds onto us His children, you and me and offers us the gift of eternal life.  Jesus Christ offer is a divine fulfillment of God’s plan and offer made for all of mankind.  It is this offer that God offers us through the plan of salvation fulfilled by Jesus Christ the perfect knot.

This same purpose and plan we are a part of with our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection and we are tied into salvation history.  God offers us this out of His great love for us, not for a select few, but for all of mankind.  We who gather here this evening are invited into this special knot and can be tied into the greatest knot of living history, that of Jesus Christ.  For this gift of grace is tied together in the perfect knot for all of mankind, but especially including each and every one of us gathered here tonight to hear about the first knot of the salvation bracelet of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lutheranism 101 Chapter 3 Part 1

Lutheranism 101
Chapter 3 Part 1

Here is the audio and notes for Lutheranism 101 Chapter 3 Part 1.  We only covered part of the chapter due to the great conversations and learning about our Lutheran heritage.

If you would like to come to the class, please contact Pastor.  Currently we have 8 embarked on this journey of the faith.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gospel of Mark 1 14 to 20

Gospel of Mark
Chapter 1:14-20

Here is the audio and notes from the class this morning Feb. 24, 2015.

If you would like to attend, please contact Pastor Darian.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

02222015 Invocavit - First Sunday in Lent (Lent 1)

Sermon Audio

February 22, 2015
All about words…
Holy God, ruler of all, we come before you during this Lenten season to not only learn more about Jesus last words from the Cross, but speak them ourselves.  For Jesus clearly spoke out of love for You.  And His task was to fulfill Your plan for all of mankind.  Enable us to embrace Jesus Words and emulate them in our daily life as we demonstrate for others our commitment to Your plan of salvation.  AMEN.

“Sticks and stones, may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  In schools across our nation many children have been taught this phrase when bullies and kids who are just plain mean hurl insults, not only at the kids sitting in the same seats, but also at the teachers and others in authority.  As we journey through Lent this year we will be hearing Words and phrases from Jesus Christ.  Unlike the bullies, Jesus Words that we will be hearing are the “Words from the Cross”.  Jesus words are a fulfillment of prophecy and for our spiritual edification during Lent.  Jesus words are simply to teach us to what degree, Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself in order for us to be with Him in His Kingdom.  The first phrase we will ponder today is from Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” 

Clearly this phrase in 11 simple words clearly articulates what Jesus wanted for all of mankind, including the soldiers who had in the last 24 hours beaten Him, scourged Him, mocked Him and ultimately had nailed Him to the Cross.  Jesus was declaring what they in fact didn’t deserve, but what He was willing to give them.  Why would Jesus ask His Father to forgive them?  These men who had humiliated Him, stripped Him of all human decency and clearly made His life a living Hell.  Were those men acting on their own?  Or were those men merely puppets and pawns?

Jesus own words reveal what Jesus was willing to do, ‘forgive them’, even in the face of evil.  These men were instruments of evil.  Their actions were the most heinous, but in all actuality had a divine purpose not only in mind, but fulfilled in Jesus being nailed to the Cross.  The purpose was in order that Jesus would suffer the worse fate of any man, ask God to forgive them and all of mankind and to die for all of mankind, including you and me.

The fate Jesus endured was what we deserve.  But Jesus Christ was willing to endure the torture, pain and humiliation for you and for me because of His love for us.  In these 11 words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”, we hear Jesus Christ plea, not just for the men who inflicted the pain upon Jesus, but for the pain we inflict upon Jesus daily when we sin.  Jesus suffered and was nailed to the cross not just by the men who drove the nails, beat Him and mocked Him, but by each and every one of us who gather here today.  What keeps Jesus on the Cross of Calvary is not the mere mortal nails driven into the wood, but our sins that hold Jesus to the Cross.  Our daily transgressions, our words that inflict the pain of broken relationships and show sin in our lives, whether to our friends, family or even here in the church by our attitude or feelings of superiority or self-indulgent righteousness.

But Jesus Christ through these words, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”, that we hear from the Cross of Calvary offers each and every one of us gathered here today true forgiveness.  Jesus Christ in the most powerful way offers us the forgiveness of sins, by His simple declaration.  It is a declaration first proclaimed in the hearing of and for the men who nailed Him to the Cross, and today it is proclaimed for each of us gathered here who hear those simple 11 words.

Jesus Christ in true humility and service, declares all of mankind, including each and every one of us gathered here today, “Not Guilty”.  We are forgiven for our sins.  God through the life of Jesus Christ endured the worst of mankind, in order to offer us the forgiveness that only Jesus Christ could offer with His life.  We who gather here today who hear Jesus Words of forgiveness are offered the greatest gift of life and salvation by Jesus simple declaration of forgiveness.  Jesus Christ came and offers us today the true forgiveness of sins and life and salvation for all of mankind, including each and every one of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel on this first Sunday in Lent who hear, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  AMEN.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

02192015 Funeral Sermon for John Darrel Willems

Funeral Sermon for John Darrel Willems

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Gracious God and creator of heaven and earth, as we gather to remember and celebrate our brother in Christ, Darrel, we know You planted not only the seed that sprouted in the Garden of Eden, but created Darrel to be a farmer who planted seeds of wheat as a farmer here in Northwest Kansas.  Yet today, we gather mourning his entrance into the church triumphant, but are firmly assured of the seed of the Gospel planted in his life, manifest in his baptism, fed by Your Word here in Your house and nourished by his receipt of the Body and Blood of Your Son and His and our Savior, Jesus Christ from around this altar.  Cover us and comfort us with Your Holy Spirit as we mourn and keep us secure in the promise of the salve of the Gospel that proclaims the clear message of salvation offered through Jesus Christ death on Calvary for all of Your saints, especially the saints of Darrel’s family and friends gathered here at Emmanuel to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Two years ago this very week of the liturgical calendar in the days that followed Ash Wednesday, we gathered to remember Darrel’s betrothed, Judy.  Separated by space and time, we again gather, singing some of the same songs, hearing the same lessons and praying the same prayers, but today we gather to say goodbye to Darrel.  Today we acknowledge the clear reality that death has again visited us.  But we come here today not to proclaim the victory of death, but to proclaim a more profound victory.

The victory we come to proclaim and celebrate today Isaiah the prophet clearly preached, proclaimed and punctuated with these words.  Today we come “To proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God”.  For today we come to proclaim the vengeance of our God in the victory Isaiah found of the good news of salvation.  It is the good news of salvation found in Jesus Christ.  On May 28, 1950, John Darrel Willems was washed clean in the blood of the lamb of God that took away the sin of the world.  Jesus Christ on that day claimed Darrel in the waters of Holy Baptism and offered him the gift of eternal life.  And today we gather to put the final exclamation point on the life of John Darrel Willems.

Granted, the Darrel all of us knew, who some would swear had nine lives because of his brushes with mortality on more than one occasion, was a quiet man that liked to get a rise out of or elicit a reaction from the nurses and staff at Good Sam and even his own family.  When I arrived here at Emmanuel in 2010, Darrel was a shell of the man he once was, but still had the glint in his eye and that spirit of fun coursing through his veins.  Having lived his life here in Northwest Kansas, served in the National Guard and planted more wheat than I can even imagine, Darrel lived as one who had not only the scars of life and the brushes with death, but as one who was surrounded by a family that loved him and put up with his antics and loved him all the more.  Still living on the farm with Judy and Kyle, I remember celebrating our first Christmas here in Kansas with Darrel’s family.  And looking at Darrel across the table and seeing the legacy he had not just of his children, but even his grandchild Kaylee.  But it was not just a legacy of pride in the free spirit of Lezlee, the artistic ability of Kyle or that his youngest son Kent had followed in his footsteps and become a well-known and respected farmer here in Sherman County.  Darrel’s legacy with his wife Judy was found as well here in the church.

Isaiah reminds us that God and the church has a clear purpose for we who gather here today, even on the day after Ash Wednesday where we received the Ashen Cross.  God sent His Son Jesus Christ “To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.”  Today we gather to be comforted with the Word of God that became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus Christ.  Today, the day after Ash Wednesday still with a small smudge of ash on our forehead, we can find solace and peace through Jesus Christ and lay claim to the garland offered to us through what Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary for Darrel and for each of us.  Just as any good farmer knows, when they plant the seed in the soil, whether like Darrel did of wheat in the fall, or corn in the spring, the planting is just the beginning of the journey.  So to for Darrel on that faithful Sunday in 1950, God planted the seed of the Gospel firmly in his life and it began a journey that sees its completion today.

For today, we gather remembering Darrel, his smile, his wry sense of humor, his legacy in Lezlee, Kyle and Kent and their lives.  But today we especially gather to remember the legacy found in the seed planted in the waters of Holy Baptism, nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lamb of God, and harvested last week with Darrel’s entrance into the church triumphant.  We gather today to as Isaiah said, “To proclaim…freedom”.  No longer is Darrel held captive by the limitations of his earthly body.  We “proclaim the favorable year of the Lord”.  God has won the victory, the battle is now over for Darrel because of what Jesus Christ did on the Cross of Calvary for Darrel and for each and every one of us.  And today, Darrel now wears not just the “mantle of praise”, God “has clothed Darrel with the garment of salvation” for all eternity.  God has “wrapped Darrel with the robe of righteousness” and now holds him united with his betrothed Judy in the palm of God’s Holy, and precious arms for all eternity. 

We who gather here today can be assured of this and comforted by this fact, because of God’s promise fulfilled in His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ for all of mankind, but especially for all of us gathered here to say goodbye to Darrel, but especially for all the saints of Darrel’s family.  Thanks be to God for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, for Darrel, and for all of us who gather here waiting for our robe of righteousness and entrance to be with our Lord and Savior with Judy, Darrel and all the saints proclaiming the victory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of God’s victory for Darrel and each one of us!  AMEN! 

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

02182015 Ash Wednesday

Sermon Audio

February 18, 2015
All aboard…the sin express
Heavenly Father, we come tonight to confess our sins, have the ashen Cross inscribed on our forehead as a reminder of our returning to dust, but more importantly to receive the forgiveness of sins from You.  For it is through the Cross of Jesus Christ we receive the greatest gift of grace.  And our response of “Amen” is a prayerful reminder of God’s fulfillment of the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.  May we not only be reminded of this, but empowered to claim the Cross of Christ that sets all of mankind free, but especially all of us gathered here on this Ash Wednesday night at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

If one were to hear, “All Aboard”, the first thought for travelers would be of a train.  And this is correct.  For tonight, on Ash Wednesday we embark upon a pilgrimage, not with a destination in mind determined by railroad tracks, but a journey of exploration about our salvation.  This journey unlike some has a guide with clear and unmistakable meaning.  Our guide is not a person, but simply a piece of jewelry.

The jewelry for our journey is not made with precious metals of silver or gold.  It is does not shimmer in the sunlight.  It is simply a modest cord of rope with a few beads and knots.  The jewelry is simply a bracelet that tells a story.  It is a story we will explore on Wednesday night for the weeks of Lent that tells the story of salvation.  Not just any salvation, but salvation offered to each of us by and through Jesus Christ. 

The salvation bracelet tells the simple, but complete story of salvation that God offers us through Jesus Christ and the bracelet and beads connection not only to scripture, but how the Story of Salvation comes full circle like the bracelet.  During the coming weeks we will learn about other colored beads and their significance, the knots used to tie the bracelet and how our Christian lives have a story to tell that the salvation bracelet helps us to not only understand our Christianity, but our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our first stop on this journey is the ‘black bead’.  So, let’s embark on our journey as we hear our conductor saying, “All aboard.”

In order to clearly understand salvation history, one needs to first hear and understand why salvation is a concept that is needed to be clearly understood.  And the “black bead” clearly signifies and symbolizes not a place, but an action all of us are born into.  The “black bead” signifies “sin”. 

In Lutheranism 101, this week we talked about a three letter word and asked a simple question.  What is in the middle of “sin”?  The answer is not rocket science, simply “I” is in the middle of “sin”.  Just as Adam and Eve were wooed by the Devil in the Garden of Eden and put themselves first, they fulfilled what Paul says this “black bead” signifies.  Paul wrote in Romans 3 (3:23), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  It was not just one or two people that fell short of the glory of God, but “all have sinned”.  Each and every one of us gathered here tonight boarded the ‘sin express’.  We are all guilty of putting ourselves first and daily each and every one of us “fall short of the glory of God”.  It is not a choice, but in our very nature of who we are.

Just as we will in a few minutes receive the sign of the cross on our foreheads reminding us that ‘we are dust, and to dust we shall return’.  The salvation bracelet puts the reality of our sin squarely first.  This is not to ‘beat us up’, ‘put us down’, ‘make us feel bad’ or ‘make us feel angry’, but putting sin first is to get the worst idea and event of human and biblical history out of the way on our journey.  For our journey does not end at sin.  Just as Christians we believe that our journey does not end at the grave, our journey we embark upon tonight is just beginning.  For even though we sin, God sent Jesus Christ to overcome sin and be the ultimate sacrifice for all of mankind and for the sin of the entire world.

Jesus Christ came in order that we might be set free from our sin.  Jesus Christ came to take our sin upon Himself.  For Jesus Christ was clearly unlike what Paul wrote in Romans.  Jesus Christ became and took upon Himself our sin in order to set us free.  Jesus Christ came in order that we might be set free from the devil, our sin and even death to be with Him in His Kingdom.  This is what Jesus Christ did for each and every one of us.

Yes, in a few minutes we will be marked with a black cross from the ash made from the burnt palms of last year’s Palm Sunday.  But our sin that we are reminded of with the ashen Cross and the black bead on the salvation bracelet is only a reminder of what our Savior Jesus Christ came to earth to overcome.  Jesus Christ came to not ‘fall short of the glory of God’, but to be the glory of God for each and every one of us on the Cross He was nailed to on Calvary.  Jesus Christ came to overcome what the ashen Cross and ‘black bead’ symbolizes and remove the spot of sin from our lives.  Jesus Christ came to remove our sin from each of us and replace it with the garment of salvation of Jesus Christ innocence for all of mankind.  And this includes each and every one of us gathered here at Emmanuel. 

Tonight, as we gather to receive the Ashen Cross, we begin this journey of discovery of what the salvation bracelet means for each of us through Jesus Christ sacrifice for each and every one of us.  For God’s sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ removed the ‘black bead’ that symbolizes sin from our lives in order for all of us to be with Him for all eternity.  Thanks be to God for the Gift of Grace of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ that we come to honor and receive with an Ashen Cross this Ash Wednesday night.  AMEN.

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Lutheranism 101 Chapter 2

Lutheranism 101
Chapter 2

Here is the audio and the handouts from February 17, 2015.

If you would like to join us, please contact Pastor.

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Powerful reminder of Good Friday

On this Ash Wednesday as we have a Cross made on our foreheads, this video is a poignant reminder of what is coming on Good Friday!!!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To This Day Project...Bullying NEEDS to END!!!!

To This Day Project by Shane Koyczan

After watching the below video, I feel led to call out USD 352 of Goodland, Kansas to stop bullying!

This video tells a compelling story and clearly demonstrates how not only our society, but our world has turned a blind eye to the needs of putting an end to bullying.

Why you might ask, am I speaking out?  Well, my daughter, Sarah who now just started school at West Elementary in the fall has experienced bullying.  And I do not want her to live in fear!!

Let's call on the administration, principals, teachers and parents to be held accountable!!!  Our children deserve a better future!!!!

Watch this video and let me know what you think!!!

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Gospel of Mark Chapter 1 9 to 13

Gospel of Mark Bible Study

Mark 1:9-13 Section of the Gospel that we covered this morning in Bible Study.  Here is the audio. And here are the notes.

If you would like to attend, please contact Pastor!

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

02152015 Quinquagesima Esto Mihi Sunday

Gospel Audio
Sermon Audio

February 15, 2015
God’s anointed, it is not Who we expect!
Lord of Heaven and Earth, You look not with the eyes of man that You created, but into the very heart of our existence.  Look beyond our outward appearance as You did with David and change our heart to be like David’s, engaged in Your work in Your Kingdom to spread the Gospel.  For Jesus came to seek and save all of mankind no matter how we look nor how we dress.  Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ sacrifice for each and every one of us.  AMEN.
            When doctors first tried to determine how the human body worked, they at times were perplexed and didn’t understand.  What malady was on the outside of the body seemed easy to treat, but sickness inside the body was a different story.  As time passed and the time of the enlightenment began medicine men learned that inside the human body was a vast wilderness of what became known as organs, blood vessels and at the core, the human heart.  Not only did the doctors learn that the human heart pumped the blood throughout the body, they learned that without it man was dead.
            In our Old Testament lesson this morning we hear one of the greatest stories of the bible that tells of God’s choosing a king for the Israelite people.  Previously, Saul the first king of a united Israel had been anointed by Samuel to rule the people who were direct descendants from those who had fled Egypt.  Though Saul was a great king, he like a lot of biblical figures beginning with Adam and Eve eventually sinned and became rejected by God for his disobedience.
            But once Saul was rejected, God was ready to choose a new king who would follow God’s own heart.  The new king was none other than David.  He when chosen was a simple shepherd boy.  David would become famous not only for the being able to defend his sheep from ravenous wild animals, but also his slaying Goliath.  David was chosen specifically by God for three reasons.  God chose David, because God could see into David’s core, his very heart, God knew his loyalties and God trusted him to do what God desired.  Let’s talk about each of these three a little bit more and how they emulated the true  King.
            First, God could see into David’s heart.  Clearly God had the attribute of omniscience, all knowing.  For God was God and all powerful and all knowing.  God clearly knew what would happen in the future with David, but God had chosen David as King, because of the need to have not only the heart of a shepherd who could care for his people, but also the heart of a warrior who would defend them when needed.  As well when the cards were down God was looking for a leader and King for His people Israel to make the decisions needed that brought the greatest glory to God.  And God knew the future and could see David’s heart and knew David was just the right shepherd for what was ahead.

           Second, not only could David shepherd the souls of the people, he could also remain loyal to God.  It was not just a loyalty of the heart, but a loyalty to the plan that God had for His people no matter the cost.  David was clearly the right person.  Not only was David to continue the legacy begun by Saul, but David would usher the Israelite people into a deeper relationship with God.  Clearly the people and leaders had previously had a personal relationship with God, but being so far removed from the Exodus from Egypt, nearly 400 years earlier, and the miracles performed, the relationship that God had with His people would have diminished in their minds and hearts.  And David chosen by God would not only be loyal to God and the plan, but return this heart relationship component with God to and for the people of Israel and their relying upon God and their relationship with Him. 
Third, the relationship between God and David also had a clear and compelling component of trust.  For God did trust David to do His bidding and follow God’s commands.  Saul towards the end of his reign turned away from God and didn’t follow God’s plan and paid the price.  Enter David as leader of the Israelite people.  He would not only lead the people but build trust in the relationship between himself and God as well as rebuild the trusting relationship between the people of Israel and God.  This would then lead to the clear continuing of David’s reign and connection with the promise that was given in the Garden of Eden.
Remember in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve before the fall were God’s chosen first family.  They lacked nothing, experienced a clear, close and comfortable relationship with God the Father.  But after the fall, the entrance of sin into the world, the relationship radically changed, and not for the the better.  No longer was there the trust, no longer was there the clear communication between God and man and no longer was there the loyalty of man to God.  So what was the only recourse for God.  God like a great coach, whether of basketball, baseball or any sport, had to make a change.  God needed a new play, a new more powerful play that would fulfill what He wanted.  God had to send in a substitute, come up with a new plan.
God with the entrance of sin put into motion the ultimate plan of salvation.  And this plan like a thread that weaves through the garment of life, clearly intersected David.  David not only was King of Israel, but he was the ancestor to none other than Jesus Christ.
Through King David, the compassion of God came clearly upon the people of Israel and the link firmly established in the Word of God connects David to Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ was David’s heir.  Jesus came not just as a prophet, but priest and like His ancestor, the true King.  But Jesus was not just King of the people of Israel, Jesus Christ was and is the King of all Creation including all of us.  As God’s Son, Who sits at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus Christ not only exhibited the characteristics of King David, but clearly followed God’s heart, was trusted by God and had the most intimate relationship with God the Father.  And we who gather here today are connected to God through our baptism into this relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
As we come and receive not a representation, but the actual true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, we receive the gift of forgiveness offered for all of mankind.  In, with and through our receipt of Jesus gift of grace for us, God plants into each of our hearts, souls and spirits the same potential of relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ.  For when we come and as the hymn says, “Eat His Body and drink His Blood” we celebrate not just the gift of forgiveness for us, but the offer of grace freely offered for all of mankind.

It is in this meal we receive God’s Son, sent down from heaven as the Word made Flesh Who dwelt among us.  We receive forgiveness of sin, life and salvation from God through Holy Communion.  This is God’s gift for us and the fulfillment of the plan of salvation.  The plan begun in the Garden of Eden, clearly continued through Saul and with David’s being anointed King and His descendent Jesus Christ death on Calvary for all of mankind, including each and everyone of us gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

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Will you go to the church of the "Hologram"?

Being a tech guy, this post from Tony Morgan entitled, "Holographic Technology" intrigues me.

Will we be attending churches with "Hologram's"?  Only time will tell, but I believe this technology could be well used for churches, if used for the right purpose.  Ultimately, the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

02082015 Sexagesima Sunday

Sermon Audio

February 8, 2015
God’s Seed will not return without a harvest!
Gracious Heavenly Father, as we inch towards Lent and Spring, may our hearts become like the ground in the spring, pliable and ready for the planting of the seed of the Word of God that leads us to the Cross of Calvary.  And may the harvest be of more people in Your Kingdom through Your Word that came and died in order that we might live.  We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord and King.  AMEN.
            There was once a man who was well known in the community.  It wasn’t what he did in the community that brought him notoriety, but what he said.  Unlike most his words were not like society or what we hear on television, read in the newspaper or even read on Facebook.  The words he said were well placed, direct and to the point.  His Words were at times soft, but carried great meaning.  At other times His words were sharper than a double edged sword so when He spoke it was a truth that cut through most people’s façade.  His words revealed every persons heart desires, but also spoke a comfort for them that even healed their wounds they had carried for years.
            The person I am speaking about is none other than Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ clearly can speak words into each of us and our lives that can cut through our man made façade.  Yet, when Jesus spoke in His day and time the words He spoke revealed the pettiness of the scribes and Pharisee’s of His day.  He was not only looked down upon by the synagogue authorities, but they even plotted to kill Him.  Jesus Christ, Word of God incarnate, the Word that became flesh, Who came to set us free from the bondage we have in our lives of sin, death and the devil was a marked man, because of His Words.  With His Words, captured in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He clearly and unmistakably planted a seed in people’s lives that would grow and break their hardened hearts and make them more pliable.  This even continues today for some of us who gather here in the church.
            In our Old Testament lesson this morning we heard the prophet Isaiah clearly not only prophecy of Jesus Christ, but also talk about of all things planting, but the application for Jesus is clear and unmistakable.  Jesus Christ is the seed that we Christians who gather here today plant.  Jesus Christ is the seed of the Gospel of our salvation.  It is Jesus Christ sacrifice that we plant in our daily lives.  Just as Jesus Christ walked among the people 2000 years ago and healed their bodies of the maladies, cast out the demons that tormented them and healed their hearts of the hurt that they had carried for countless years, Jesus Christ offers each and every one of us gathered here this morning this same opportunity of help, healing and wholeness found in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
            When we plant the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God will water it and make it grow.  Just as farmers plant the seed of wheat, corn or milo, and insure the ground has the right moisture, the right nutrients and the right conditions, God is the one that makes the seed grow of the plant, but also the seed of the Gospel.  In the Word of God, God is the active agent not only in the planting of the seeds we use for our daily bread that puts money in our bank accounts, food on our table and jobs for us to go to.  God is the active agent that planted the seed of the Gospel in each of our lives.  God is the one Who planted the seed at our baptism, watered it with the Word of God from the scriptures we read weekly, the waters of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion that we celebrate, and God even makes it grow and be ready for the harvest when we go to be with Him in His Kingdom.
            Today we heard about what Feed My Starving Children as an organization has done for the world.  But more than just the organization, these ladies from our community and church who have come and presented have stood up and been willing to plant the seed of hope for people across the world they have never even met.  This is exactly what God is calling each and every one of us to do today.  God is calling us to plant the seed of His Gospel from this day onward.  My question for us today is, “Are you ready to plant?”
            This question is not about whether you have taken your tractor and planter into John Deere, Case or New Holland and had it serviced.  Nor if you have done the work yourselves or gone and bought the latest planter direct from the factory.  It is more a matter of in your life today ‘are you ready to plant?’  When you walk out your door in the morning, are you ready to live a life that plants the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in another’s life?  When you talk with members of the congregation or community will what you say, not have an agenda?  Will what you say, would you be willing to say, in front of Jesus Christ?  Or will you pull people into private and plant seeds of destruction that are not of the Gospel of Salvation or for His glory?
            We as children of the light, baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection are called to plant the seed of the Gospel.  We are called to plant the seed that points to Jesus Christ and His gift for each of us on the Cross of Calvary.  God is calling us to clearly and unmistakably “Lift High the Cross” of Jesus Christ and plant the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever we go.
            When I was a child, I was an acolyte from Confirmation until I graduated college.  I not only lit the candles, but our church also had a processional cross similar to the one we have here by the altar.  Every Sunday, the Cross would lead the procession both into and out of the church.  So important was the Cross that even for funerals, we would have acolytes.  And the Cross would process into and out of the church and even to the grave site when loved ones were buried.  But what distinguished the use of the cross every time it was used was the opportunity the congregation and the church had to see the Cross of Jesus Christ lifted high at every worship service.

            Today we conclude our worship singing this very song, “Lift High the Cross”.  For we who gather here today can lift high the Cross of Jesus Christ.  We can answer the question, “Are you ready to plant?” not with the Spring time answer that has a crop that is harvested in the Fall, but more importantly and eternally the crop of saints that will be gathered in God’s Kingdom on the last day.  So let us remember as we “Lift High the Cross”, we can remember it is for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel who sing the refrain, “Lift High the Cross, the love of Christ proclaim, for all the world, proclaim His Holy Name.”  AMEN.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lutheranism 101 Chapter 1

Lutheranism 101

We have started a new Tuesday Night Bible Study.  It is Lutheranism 101.  Here is the audio from the first class and the notes.  The audio is about 56 minutes.

If you would like to join us email or call Pastor or the church.

Pastor Darian

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Monday, February 2, 2015

02012015 Septuagesima Sunday

Gospel Audio
Sermon Audio

February 1, 2015
Putting God to the Test!
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

            Since Sarah is in Kindergarten, I thought that she would attend school for her first official year, learn how to play well with other kids, start mastering her numbers and letters and maybe even begin to learn to read.  When we received her first report card, I was in for a shock.  It wasn’t that she had gotten bad grades or been sent to the principals office.  The standards of learning that are used presently require the use of a four letter word, ‘test’.  Kids these days like Sarah take a test in order to determine how well they know their colors, their numbers, how well they write with a pencil or cut with scissors and even if they can count to 100 by 10’s.  But still, a test for a standard could be a good thing, but for the Israelite people from our lesson this morning, ‘Putting God to the test’ isn’t as positive as one might think.

            God creator of the Universe, giver of the Israelites very life, Who had a vision of what would occur in the future was being put to the test by them.  Consider the Israelite people had been enslaved in Egypt by Pharoah.  Moses had been born and God had used Moses to rescue them and deliver them from bondage.  These same people had experienced the plagues that God had sent including, water into blood, frogs, flies, boils, locusts and even hail.  Then the first celebration of Passover, where the Angel of Death took the first born child of every home that did not place blood on the door post.  And the people of God had escaped into the Wilderness.

            Now after all of the miracles God had performed through Moses, because they didn’t have water to drink or to bathe in or give their animals, they were complaining.  Was it a thirst of their body, or a lack of faith they had that God would provide for them?  Probably all of the above, for the Israelite people asked a simple, but profound question, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”  They were putting God to the test and testing God and His resolve to help them.

            How often do we do the same thing?  How often do we pray, “God if you will only…”?  More than likely this occurs daily, if not every hour of every day by a lot of people.  Whether it is the tests that we took when we were in elementary or high school, the wrestling matches or basketball games we played, or even in our relationships.  When we saw the pretty girl who worked in the next room or we saw walking down the street.  Even in the Ultimate Life, the story line revolves around an encounter by Red Stevens and his asking the girl out that he had seen walking down the main street of town.

            But what happens, when we don’t get the response, the outcome or what our heart desires from our ‘test of God’.  Whether of grades, the crop we planted and tended all winter or summer or even the match with an opponent.  We quickly judge God and blame God and doubt God even cares for or about us.  We doubt God, because He is the easy target.  God is the one Who we can hurl insults, innuendo and anger at verbally and try even physically but even in our mind, heart and spirit by our doubt of His existence.

            Clearly we are no different than the Israelite people.  For the Israelite people, they had a challenge that we cannot claim today.  If you read carefully, our text is from the Book of Exodus.  Though they had experienced God in clear and unmistakable ways, they did not have any written ‘laws’, except what was on their heart.  For the 10 Commandments had not been carved on the stone on top of the mountain as of yet.  But we who gather here today are not only separated by 3500 years, but we have laws, including, the Ten Commandments and even a text we call the Holy Bible.  But we still like the people of Israel, ‘put God to the test’!  We doubt God, because unlike the Israelite people who had personally experienced God’s miracles and salvation from the Egyptians and Pharaoh, we have not had a clear and tangible experience with God.  Or have we?

            When the Israelite people ‘tested God’, they had experienced God through the work of Moses.  Moses was clearly the intermediary between God and Man, but clearly, Moses was just a man.  But for we who gather here at Emmanuel today, we have a greater intermediary.  It is Jesus Christ.

            Today as we gather around the table of our Lord, we receive not only the gift of grace and mercy of Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood, but especially the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.  It is in, through and by our receipt of the gift of Jesus Christ precious Body and Blood around the altar that we have the most profound and tangible experience with Jesus Christ, short of our being in heaven.  Yes, it isn’t like being hugged by our parents or children.  It isn’t like our going on a cruise or learning how to make cabinets.  But what we receive from the altar this morning in, with and under the bread and wine, of the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, clearly and radically changes everyone who receives it.

            No longer do we have to question or discern whether God is doing what He promised to do or put God to the test like the Israelite people.  Because as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.  In the meal we receive today we proclaim that God ultimately sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary in order that we might be set free.  We no longer are bound by this world and the human desire to question and put God to the test.  When we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we proclaim, Jesus fulfilled the promises of God for all time.

What we then have the opportunity to do is not just believe that the promise is fulfilled, but we can live that.  And this is exactly what will drive Satan crazy.  Unlike the Israelite people who questioned God at every move, every opportunity and every twist and turn in the path that led to Israel, we who gather here today can go on faith and trust in the fulfillment found in Jesus Christ.  For Jesus Christ is not only the Rock that our church is built upon, but Jesus Christ is the Rock of our Salvation that holds us up and will never let us down.  The Israelite people didn’t have a book to follow, a story of a Savior, nor a building to go in and worship their God.  But we do!

God wants us to worship Him, trust Him and not put Him to the test.  For God has been faithful and fulfilled His promise of His Son Jesus Christ.  And God passed the ultimate test with and by His offering His Son Jesus Christ, not for a select few, but for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

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