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Sunday, May 31, 2015

05312015 Trinity Sunday - To God be the Glory

Gospel Audio
Sermon Audio

May 31, 2015
To God be the Glory

 As I entered the room, the people gathered around the bed had tears running down their cheeks.  The bed wasn’t like what I get into at night, it was metal, functional and looked uncomfortable.  The wires that were draped over the sides running to the machines were clear sentry’s with an unmistakable purpose, to signal when the battle was over.  The faces of the people that were huddled around the room and especially the bed were drawn and showed signs of the weariness that words could not heal nor take away the pain they were feeling inside.  But this wasn’t just a sterile hospital room, this wasn’t just a place that would witness the final hours, minutes and seconds of relationship between husband and wife, father and daughters, brothers and sisters.  This humble room was where God’s Glory would be fully revealed and the promises of God would be clearly and unmistakably fulfilled.  This was where God meets man and this is holy ground.
The people gathered around the bed are not unknown to me.  I have played games with all of them, I have eaten meals around the table with each of them.  I have worshiped God both in their church and mine.  This is my family gathered together, huddled, holding each other and helping each other because of the reality that confronts us now, death is about to intimately touch and visit us.  Laying in the bed is someone I am more like than I can truly comprehend or understood.  Laying in the bed, dying from four types of cancer is my Uncle Don.

Though we grew up in different times, had different experiences as well as parents, what my Uncle taught me in death has stayed with me for the last twenty two years.  Simply it is what Paul concluded our epistle with today.  Paul wrote, “To Him [that is To God] be the glory forever. Amen.”
Paul in his epistle clearly understood how death does separate loved ones.  Even when Paul finally encountered and understood on the road to Emmaus the Person Jesus Christ when he saw Him face to face, that place of his encounter with Jesus for Paul was holy ground.  Jesus Christ had died outside Jerusalem and right in front of Paul’s eyes Jesus stood and spoke to him.  From that moment on, Paul’s very existence changed from being destructive of human life and Christianity, to a life epitomized in what he wrote in Romans.  “To Him be the glory forever.  AMEN”

Some of us have not had this ‘mountain top experience’ of clear personal encounter with the divine while here on earth.  But we have encountered death in our lives, whether of children we never met, spouses that we built lives and experienced love with, parents that carried us and nurtured our very nature and even siblings or friends that died at a young age or even after a long life.  Death has touched each of our lives.  But for Christians, death is not an enemy, but a doorway to walk through in our lives and an opportunity for us to look beyond death and not just repeat Paul’s words, but know the connection we have with Paul and all the saints of all time and place.  Paul understood this and hence why he stated clearly for God’s glory to be forever.

But how can we have ‘God’s Glory forever’ here at Emmanuel?  I do not have the answer.  Let me state that again, so everyone can clearly hear my personal confession.  I, Darian Hybl, Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Goodland, Kansas, do not have all the answers.  I cannot by my own reason or effort explain what or why.  I cannot foresee what will happen in the next month, year, three years or five years.

This is a very humbling and hard pill to swallow.  What I have to do is like Paul, die to self.  I have to die to my knowledge, my ego and my ability, because with them, all I have done, and will do is drive people away from God and the church.  Like Paul, who captured Christians and dragged them to the authorities and to have them executed, all I am personally capable of in and of myself is the destruction of the church.

Hence, why Paul’s statement is so profound for me and for us today.  On this day that we celebrate the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the confession of the Athanasian Creed, I need to stand with Paul and say clearly and emphatically, “To God be the Glory”!

You see, in order to stand with Paul and make this confession that we all will do in a few minutes, I have to do something I learned from my Uncle Don, who died of cancer.  My Uncle Don loved to fish, and he was good at it.  He could horse fish out of the side of a stream bank that had been fished hard on opening day of trout season.  He could walk up to a part of the stream and tell exactly where every fish was and if there were multiple fish.  In less than 100 feet of stream he could catch his limit of 7 fish and easily go back for more, because he was that good.

While visiting him eight years before he lay in the hospital bed, I went out fishing with him to learn some of his tricks and tips, because I wanted to learn how to be a better fly fisherman.  We came to a stream that flowed out of the bottom of a lake not far from his house.  For those of you who don’t know, the coldest water is at the bottom of any body of water and the water flowing from this lake out of the bottom into the stream was about 35-38 degrees.  As I had learned from my father, get close to the stream and make a good presentation of the fly.  With clear determination I got as close as I could without getting wet and cast the fly.  It landed perfectly.  My uncle stood back and watched.  I held my breath and waited.  The fly floated closer and closer and finally went down stream past me, so I did as any fisherman does, I tried again and again, and again.  But I couldn’t get any fish to rise.

With the wisdom of many years, my Uncle Don, looked at me and said, ‘you have good technique, but you are in the wrong place’.  Being right next to the stream I looked at him with great pessimism and in a teenage tone said, where should I be, in the middle of the stream?  And he said simply ‘yes’.  You see I had to die to all the knowledge I had up to that point and be humble and in one sense get out of my comfort zone, on the side of the stream and get right in the middle of the stream.  I had to get wet.  As I inched into the water my ankles began to lose all feeling.  Not only were my shoes wet, my pants were drenched and I was getting cold.  For the next ten minutes I stood in the middle of the stream with cold water streaming between my legs and faithfully casting my fly to every part of the stream that I could reach in search of the illusive trout that was supposed to be in the water.

Each time I would cast and follow the fly, my teeth would chatter because I was thigh deep in the coldest water I had ever experienced.  My Uncle Don watched every move and would on occasion give me little nuggets of direction and advice to catch the illusive trout.  Then it finally occurred.  I was concentrating on my casting technique, and just happened to look down.  Lo and behold right behind me swimming right up between my cold legs was none other than a….mink.  At that moment, I was supposed to be fly fishing by picking up my fly for another cast up stream, but I froze.  Right underneath me was one of the most elusive creatures in the wilderness world.  And because I had been so concentrated on ‘fly fishing’, I was now blessed to have one of God’s creatures swim up behind me and between my legs like I was a part of nature that he called his world.

In utter disbelief I stood there trying not to breathe to hard, trying not to move, chatter my teeth or shake my legs and scare the mink.  And as quick as the mink swam up and between my legs he swam up stream in search for his next meal. What I experienced in that short window of time was nothing other than exhilarating.  My Uncle Don watched the whole experience from the shore and was in utter disbelief of how close I came to such a wild animal.  As I stood there in the stream I stood on nothing other than holy ground. 

The reason I tell you this story is because I didn’t deserve the experience that even my Uncle Don had never had in all his years of fishing, hunting and trapping.  The place where I stood in the middle of the stream of extremely cold water was holy ground.  In that one moment, being as close to the wild mink as I was I saw and experienced the greatest nature experience I have ever had.  Clearly at that time, I felt closest to God and nature all at the same time.  What it also did was cement an experience between me and my Uncle Don.  For me it epitomizes what Holy Ground was for Paul and what and why he meant for people like us to join together and confess our faith.  Where we stand or sit today when we confess our faith is holy ground.

Years later as I entered his hospital room, I stepped again onto holy ground.  In that place, where my Uncle met face to face with His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and was taken home, Paul’s acclamation of “To God be the glory forever and ever.  AMEN.” was surely felt though probably not spoken.  But God’s presence was palpable and tangible for everyone gathered around the hospital bed and in the room on holy ground.  Even for us today God’s glory surrounds us daily and this is a fulfillment of His promise to and for each of us gathered here this morning.  God’s glory is a constant and what we need to do is be active in what we are supposed to be doing and God will show up when we least expect it, like the mink that swam through my legs.

For when God shows up His plan and purpose is simply for His glory to be revealed.  Whether standing at the bedside of a loved one close to death, in the middle of a stream with a wild animal swimming between your legs or even here at Emmanuel as we work on the kitchen remodel or confess our faith in the Athanasian Creed.  God clearly shows up and we can celebrate the certainty of His presence with and for us today.  For God comes not only to gather us up into His Kingdom, but to clearly unite us in the faith we confess.  For this faith points to what God has done for each and every one of us on the Cross of Calvary.  May we today be emboldened to confess with Paul and all the saints of all time and place in the words of the Athanasian Creed what God offers each and every one of us through His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, eternal life.  AMEN.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

05172015 Sunday After the Ascension - We are kept from stumbling

Gospel Audio (Will be added soon!)
Sermon Audio (Will be added soon!)

May 17, 2015
We are kept from stumbling
Have you ever stubbed your toe?  Or have you tripped over something that was in your way.  Whether the toy or messy living room that was left by one of your children.  The hitch on the trailer that you thought you had cleared when filling the seed box getting ready to plant or even a tree root that you have walked over countless years and one time you catch your toe just right and fall to the ground.  We all have had these experiences.  Whether it was the Lego’s or Lincoln Logs in the living room, the teddy bear in the hall or even the shoes that should have been left by the door or in the mud room.  We clearly stumble easily, whether toddlers who get to running to fast and even older adults who move more slowly or need help from walkers or canes.  All of us are susceptible to stumbling both physically, mentally and emotionally.

 Yet as Christians, God clearly doesn’t want us to stumble in our faith life, but we do.  We daily encounter people who lure us away from God.  We encounter a culture who even questions our need of God and the feeling that events are more important than daily encounters with the almighty.  From sports teams that play on Sunday, our own desire to ‘have a day of rest’ from the business of life, to even our relegating God to tomorrow or next week or the next holiday, because we have so much we feel we need to do today in order to pay the bills.  We daily fall clearly into the trap set by evil and fall away from God, whether in what we watch on television or the internet, what we look at in the store or online and even here in worship, when we don’t listen to the readings, but let our minds wander.  We stumble and fall.

Could God get mad about this and at us?  Yes, God could easily be very angry with each and every one of us, even me the Pastor.  But God doesn’t get mad, doesn’t get even and doesn’t hold a grudge against us.  God loves us, with an unmistakable love that is above and beyond what we deserve.  God Who loves us and wants us to know of His boundless compassion and love does something that would be out of character for mankind.  God gives us a gift.  And this gift is none other than the Holy Spirit.

You see this past week on Thursday, the church celebrated Jesus Christ ascension into heaven.  Hence why the Pascal Candle has moved yet again.  From its being on the level with the people of God when Jesus came in the manger, it was next moved to next to the Baptismal Font with His Resurrection and now is at the Right Hand of God.  This is where our Creed’s we confess clearly every Sunday show where Jesus is today.  But now that we are alone after Jesus ascension, how can the Holy Spirit be a gift.

Simply the Holy Spirit is the gift from God of God’s presence here among us and for us today.  No matter the season of the church year we always have a clear and present representation of the Holy Spirit here in worship.  When I walk into the sanctuary at night, I always can look and see the Eternal Light, God’s reminder to and for we who gather here in His house, of God’s eternal presence with us in the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit daily keeps us from stumbling.  This is the clear job of the Holy Spirit to keep us from stumbling in the darkness that surrounds us.  The Holy Spirit is the reminder for each of us of God’s Love for us and His abiding Holy Spirit given to each and every one of us.  We are not left alone.

For the Holy Spirit has four tasks in each of our lives as Martin Luther says.  First the Holy Spirit calls us.  We are not just called, “Christians”, we are called by name.  When we stumble, the Holy Spirit calls our names, gently and firmly, but the Holy Spirit also reminds us that God is there to love us, forgive us and protect us.

Second the Holy Spirit gathers us together.  We are gathered here as the Body of Christ.  We have heard God’s Word, we will be receiving in a few moments His Sacrament of Jesus Christ True Body and Blood.  And we gather in unity like a family not only as a symbol, but a clear confession we are God’s Children.

Third, God’s Holy Spirit promised to us by Jesus Christ enlightens us daily.  When we see the sun rise in the morning when headed to the field, the smile of our children or parents, this is a gift for us from the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and clearly demonstrate God’s continued love for us each and every day.

And finally God sanctifies us.  Sanctify is a ’50 cent’ word.  It simply means, God makes us Holy.  God through the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies and makes us holy, but keeps us in the one true faith we have been baptized into and called by God to guard, protect and proclaim in our daily lives.
God gives us the Holy Spirit to be His Witness.  James says it so well, we need to be ‘doers of the Word’, ‘not just hearers’.  This is how the Holy Spirit gives us the spirit of power and might to stand up and proclaim that Jesus Christ died for all of mankind.

The best example of this comes not from outside of our church, but inside.  Last year, the Pre-School program of our Vacation Bible School took time and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to pray.  The whole class was given an opportunity to pray and through their words, of both boys and girls, their prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit not only melted the hear
ts of everyone, but were bold witnesses of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in each of them.  Each child showed their faith and the strength given by the Holy Spirit in their lives.

The witness they gave not only inspired each other to pray with boldness, but even inspired the leaders to tell me of the power they felt resonating from the mouths of the children entrusted to us.  This is how the Holy Spirit not only emboldens us, but insures we will not stumble when we fully rely upon Him.  For the Gift of the Holy Spirit is not only for a select few, but for all of mankind including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning insuring we are kept from stumbling by the Holy Spirit.  AMEN.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

05092015 Funeral Sermon for Dorothy Mae Savacool

Sermon Audio

May 9, 2015
Funeral for Dorothy Mae Savacool
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!  Heavenly Father, today we mourn the death of Your child Dorothy.  At her baptism You through Water and Word promised her entrance into eternal life.  Today You have made good on that promise.  Enable each of us today to hear Your Word and be comforted by the salve of the Gospel.  For Your Word shares the message of salvation and eternal life for all of mankind, but today for Dorothy and one day for each of us who gather here to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Imagine if you will the canvas of life that if hung on a wall, would include every event, every encounter and every episode of our lives.  Until today the canvas of Dorothy’s life was incomplete.  Like all the puzzles that Dorothy loved to put together, the picture wasn’t perfect, the job wasn’t done and the painting of her life wasn’t fully complete.  But today, the final piece of the puzzle is ready.
Today we gather to see the pictures and hear the stories of Dorothy’s meticulous nature, her tenacious appetite for winning and her stubbornness even in the face of logic.  But that was Dorothy.  Whether it was working on the porcelain dolls and insuring every step in the process was completed properly and perfectly.  From pouring the molds, firing the piece in the kiln, glazing them and re-firing the piece and making sure they were perfect.  To even their placement in her shop and apartment and the deeply engrained warning and even unspoken fear everyone understood simply stated “do not touch”.  Dorothy loved working with her hands and took great pride in creating works of beauty we have before us today.

Or her tenacious appetite for winning, whether it was her beloved Bronco’s and every player including Rick Upchurch, AKA “Upchuck”.  To her ability to pick up the spare in bowling even if it was a 7-10 split.  Or changing the game that was being played, whether Pinochle, Pitch and even Poker, because Dorothy didn’t like to lose.  Dorothy was unique.

But Dorothy’s stubbornness and unique nature was a gift from God that was formed in her mother’s womb and experienced by each of us.  There were days that we shook our head at her nature.  Whether it was when we continuously changed the toilet roll, after she had, and finally even super glued it.  But it was very clear, like a painting, what you saw was what you got.  Even when you would get the ‘silent treatment’, for an argument over cards.  Yet in the silence, we have today in our loss of Dorothy we can find solace.

Our solace can come not from who Dorothy was that we experienced, but Whose Dorothy was, God’s redeemed child of God.  The solace we can find comes none other than from God.  We can find solace, simply because of one image that I believe Dorothy as a good catholic emulated.  It is none other than the one image that daily I believe she did without fail, because of her belief in God and His promises to her of eternal life and salvation through Jesus Christ that she was baptized into by Water and Word.

When I was in seminary, we would have retreats at an Old Catholic monastery that overlooked Niagara Falls.  On one visit I bought something my family still has today in our bathroom.  Simply it is a glow in the dark set of hands.  It is an ordinary set of hands, but has for us today a divine and comforting explanation.  The hands are representative of the need and necessity we have of praying daily for the people we love.  And I firmly believe Dorothy prayed daily.  When she would hold her rosary and pray the Our Father, she would lift up in her prayers to her Lord and Savior the family God had given her in the firm belief that God’s gift of family was His gift to her.

Even though it took years for her to understand and even accept God’s gift of family.  As well the true understanding that people loved her and cared for and about her.  God through teaching Dorothy to pray the Our Father and the Rosary was melting her heart through the prayers and preparing her for today.  For what God was preparing was the fulfillment of the promise He made to her in her baptism, entrance into eternal life.  For it is God Who through His Son Jesus Christ forgave Dorothy of her sin, even her desire to have things like a poinsettia.  But God also today completes the canvas of her life with the final piece.

The final piece of the puzzle is now affixed in its perfect and proper place.  The dolls that she crafted with her own hands and cared for and loved find new homes with her grandchildren and are placed in places of honor, respect and possibly ‘no touch zones’.  And now the woman with the “Betty Boop” tattoo rests comfortably in her Lord and Saviors arms, praying with Him the prayer that He taught all of us.  And all of this only occurs, because of God’s love for Dorothy and for each of us, through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

You see the final piece that is affixed today into the tapestry of Dororthy’s life is a display, not of what might have or did hurt us, but of what God did for Dorothy on the Cross of Calvary.  It is the display of forgiveness found in and for all of us by Jesus Christ.  And today we celebrate this forgiveness, even for stubborn, long to hold a grudge, Dorothy, because she was baptized into Jesus Christ, life, His death on Calvary and His resurrection.  May we be comforted not only by the forgiveness all of us find in Jesus Christ, but especially in the final piece of Dorothy’s puzzle, the prayer He taught His disciples and that Dorothy now prays with Him in His arms remembering all of us gathered here to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Let’s join in that prayer that Jesus taught us.

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05102015 Fifth Sunday After Easter - Our hero overcame the world!

Sermon Audio

May 10, 2015
Our hero overcame the world!
Avengers has been all the rage in the last few weeks!  The media outlets, television and our culture has been anticipating the release of this the latest Marvel movie.  In the first day, Avengers: Age of Ultron made $84.5 million dollars.  Why is our culture so enamored by these Superheroes?  Simply it is because our culture is searching for someone or a group of someone’s to save the world.  But how can the church answer this desperate need to find a hero?  How can we the people who come Sunday after Sunday respond or give answer to our youth that has grown up with gadgets, gizmo’s and glitz on a silver screen?  What can we do to answer the age old question, “Who is your hero?”

The hero our culture needs today doesn’t wear Star Spangled tights, nor does He wear armor made by a computer controlled machine, nor does our hero change into a ‘beast’ that science cannot explain or replicate.  The hero our culture needs simply is a humble Man, Who walked the earth and transformed those who came to see Him.  Our hero overcame the world!  Our hero is none other than Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ unlike the mythical god of storybook and legend, Thor, is the real deal.  Jesus Christ not only was born, grew up in a small town of Nazareth, but walked everywhere He went.  Jesus Christ unlike the fiction characters of the Avengers overcame the world that we live in.
Today our youth and our culture are searching and have a desire to find God.  Our youth ask questions, where is God when bad things happen to us?  Where is God when my friends get sick?  Where is God when we do not feel safe?  Where is this God Who overcame the World?
Simply, God is right here.  God is in each and every one of us.  God Who came into the World lives inside of each of us.  The difficulty we face is seeing God in the person we sit next to in the pew, across from at the dinner table or pass in the hallway or aisle at Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or even sitting next to us on the couch at home or laying next to us when we go to sleep at night.

Our hero Who overcame the world, lives in each and every one of us.  The reason we don’t see Jesus Christ in the person next to us is because there has been to much dust and dirt collected that hides our God.  When we choose to listen to culture and societal convention we forget the image that we have been created in our mother’s womb by our God.  When we let our anger overcome us and lash out at our loved ones, the image of our hero, Jesus Christ is pushed farther and farther out of the light of day.  Those times that we choose to ignore the hunger in our souls for connection with God or even challenge our hearing from God or feeling His presence, we tarnish the beauty of God’s creation in each of us.

Yet, our hero, Jesus Christ, overcame the world and does something that radically flies in the face of our society.  Jesus Christ forgives us and welcomes us back.  Jesus Christ Who overcame the world on the Cross of Calvary, welcomes each of us back because of His great love for all of mankind and especially for each and everyone of us.  Jesus Christ Who looked His betrayer, Judas Iscariot in the eye, not only forgives, Judas, but Jesus Christ forgives each and everyone of us gathered here this morning.

The reality is, we search for a God that can come off the page of the silver screen, because we have been programed to do this.  But the God that made us, has put His mark on each of us and each of our lives.  This same God celebrates with us today, both the graduates that we celebrate another milestone with and also all mother’s everywhere, but especially all of the mothers that gather here this morning.

Our God, our hero, Jesus Christ, Who overcame the world, celebrates with us today, because He sees us, not as we see ourselves.  We look in the mirror in our bathroom or cars and see the scars of long nights waiting for our child to return home, or worried because we don’t want them to make the wrong choice.  We see in ourselves lives that seem wasted here in Goodland, Kansas, where we have made the wrong decision whether about our health, our relationship with spouse, child or family and even our livelihood.  We see in the mirror all of what is wrong with each of us.

But Jesus Christ sees each and every one of us differently.  Jesus Christ sees us as not only His creation, but His crowning achievement.  God see’s in each of us our uniqueness.  God sees His child that He loves, cares for and even, made in His image and more complex than even the superheroes we spend money to escape our daily reality to see on the silver screen.

We are unique, because each of us has not only God’s fingerprint, but His seal of forgiveness and approval on each of us in our baptism.  With Water and Word, we are wonderfully made into the redeemed children of God.  And God doesn’t make junk.

Not only are we unique, the image of God is on and in our very DNA, our complexion and even our souls.  From the time of conception, God has been forming and shaping each and every one of us.  Though we may struggle and turn from the path He would like, God still loves us and overcame the world and our sin for each of us in His Son Jesus Christ.  And this was clear tangible demonstration of His great love for each and every one of us gathered here today.

God’s love for each and every one of us is clearly manifest, because our own abilities cannot save us.  Unlike our world that not only gravitates to ‘superheroes’, but creates a culture and business that puts them on a pedestal, our God, Jesus Christ used His divine ability and overcame the World.  And God created us as complex creatures with diverse personalities and allows us to experience many things individually.  Just as one of our graduates will go to college in the fall, one will serve in the military and our other two honorees will return to their native lands, each of their experiences will be vast and different.  But they will still have unity with one another as children of God redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ.

Unlike the Avengers, the graduates that we honor this morning have a unity even with the women we celebrate today on Mother’s Day.  The unity is found in believing that their God, Jesus Christ, overcame the world.  Jesus Christ overcame the world because He knew not only no one else could, but because in Jesus overcoming the world, He demonstrated once and for all His clear and unmistakable love for all of us.

For when Jesus Christ overcame the World on Calvary, Jesus Christ overcame what our culture felt was impossible.  Today as we celebrate the graduates, they are our future and they will encounter many challenges.  It is my personal prayer that the future you graduates create is rooted in the reality that Jesus Christ is the one person Who overcame the world, for all of mankind, but especially for each and every one of you and all of us gathered here to celebrate your graduation.  AMEN.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

05032015 - 4th Sunday After Easter - We need a guide...the Holy Spirit

Sermon Audio

May 3, 2015
We need a guide!
This afternoon, the ladies will be celebrating another year of their Spring Tea.  It is not only a festal time, but one where mother, daughter, granddaughter, aunt and cousins and all the ladies can enjoy conversation and cordiality as ladies need.

One of the advantages that women have is that they are not afraid to stop and ask for directions.  Most men if lost will drive either until they break down or run out of gas.  Women on the other hand do not have a problem stopping and asking for directions.  They are easily guided and even seek out a guide.  This trait is one of the reasons women are so well loved in the church.

In our Gospel this morning Jesus after allaying the fears of the disciples and foretelling that their grief will be turned into joy, now transitions and tells them, “One is coming to be our guide”!  The One Jesus is talking about is none other than the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit.  With the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus wants us to understand three things.

First, we cannot do life alone, we need a guide.  Unlike the machoism that the disciples probably had of going it alone, Jesus is clearly telling the disciples, they need a guide.  They need someone to help and to guide them along their journey.  So to we who gather here today need this same guidance.  We need a guide.  We like the disciples need the Holy Spirit to poke and prod us to be the Children of God He has made us to be.  Just as we need parents to be born, we need the Holy Spirit to birth within each of us the desire to serve God.  For we cannot do it alone.  Left to our own devices, we do and will find reasons to pull away, whether from family, friends and even the church.  But the Holy Spirit as our Great Guide is there to fulfill His role to as Martin Luther said, to “Call, gather and enlighten” each of us and “keep us in the Christian faith”.

Guides are great, but even with a guide, we need to understand a guide is only as good as the one following the guides directions.  Whether the guidance farmers get from the USDA office or the crop consultant, they are a guide for our economic future.  But we need a spiritual guide as well.  In essence, we need to do what our spiritual Guide says.  Since God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, we need to follow the directions, poking’s and prodding’s of the Holy Spirit.  It would be like when spraying in our fields, gardens or yards and we read the directions on the chemical of how to mix the spray.  But when it comes down to it, we want the expensive chemical to last longer so we only put in half the required amount of concentrate.  Then two weeks later when the weeds come back and we either have to go back and respray or even when we do spray again, the weeds don’t die, because they have become resistant, we wonder why.  It is because we have not listened nor followed the directions of the manufacturer.

So to in our lives, God is our manufacturer and God sends His Holy Spirit to give us the directions we need.  We aren’t called to doubt the Holy Spirit, because we ‘know better’, or explain away someone’s action, because ‘they are that way’.  God is calling us to follow and do His bidding to reach the world, impact our community and lead our church as His Children by doing what He is calling us to do as His followers and be guided by the Holy Spirit to do what is right.

Not only do we need a guide and we need to follow what our Guide says, but most importantly, we need to trust the Holy Spirit.  Trust for some is very difficult.  Whether it is because it has been violated by our family or friends or even by the Shepherd God sent to lead the church.  Trust is a commodity that some will only give, if it is a last resort, like when we are dealing with cancer and the medical community is the last hope for us.  Or when we take our tractor, combine, planter or vehicle we drive daily to the dealership, we have to trust the mechanics to replace the parts needed to keep it running so we can make the land payment, pay off the note after harvest and even insure we can make it to town for groceries.

So to we don’t have to, but we need to trust the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.  God sends the Holy Spirit to rebuild our trust and heal the trust that has been violated.  For the Holy Spirit will not violate our trust.  For when we trust Jesus Christ Words from our Gospel and we receive the Holy Spirit and trust the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will be changed.  The change we will experience will be from the inside out.

For when we trust the Holy Spirit, God will change us and the Holy Spirit will help us to pray for things that are not even on our radar.  A question we all need to ask and answer for ourselves is what kind of legacy do we want to leave?  What is most important in our lives?  What will we be remembered for?  Is it having the most land that we farm in Sherman, Cheyenne, Wallace or Rollins County?  Is it the best farmstead?  Or is our legacy to be a follower of Jesus Christ that follows God’s Word, listens to the Holy Spirit and trusts God with everything we hold dear?

God has a simple goal in mind, our being with Him in heaven for eternity.  We can get there if we remember we can’t do it alone, we need a guide, the Holy Spirit.  We can’t get there if we don’t do what our guide the Holy Spirit says.  And finally we won’t get to heaven, if we don’t trust in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as our guide.  For Jesus Christ came to die on the Cross of Calvary in order to set us all free.  This is God’s offer of Grace and a demonstration of His love for each and every one of us.  When we trust God and His Grace and His Holy Spirit we then will be changed from the inside out and made new creatures that have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  This is what Jesus Christ is offering each and every one of us who gather here today and believe.  This is God’s gift for all of mankind, but especially all of us saints gathered here this morning who trust in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as our guide for each of us today.  AMEN.

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