Thursday, May 17, 2007


May 17, 2007
Acts 1:8
Preparation to Witness

Introduction: Today is one of the chief feast days in the life and history of the church. What does this day signify? What is so important concerning this day- this Feast of the Ascension of our Lord?  Ascension marks the fact that Jesus’ work on earth is complete. Today marks the fact that Jesus' mission is complete. Yet, there is work for the members of His body to do- We review Jesus words, “And you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You shall be witnesses of Me in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria- even to the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus by these words reminds us that we shall receive:

The Power: “But ye shall receive power…”

Jesus has not let us weak- He has not left us powerless.  To the contrary, The Lord has given power and strength to His church. He equips us to work for Him as His representatives.

The places where we are given this power are found specifically in His Word which is preached, taught, read and shared. It is found specifically in His blessed Sacraments. It is found specifically in the message of Christ’s forgiveness. 

Transition: There is power there are also provisions the Lord has for His people.

The Provision: “After that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…

God has provided you with His Spirit. Some believe that in the Ascension Jesus has left us. These believe that there is somehow a sense of separation or distance between Christ and His Church. They reason that the Church is on earth and Christ is in heaven so somehow Christ has distanced Himself from His people.  Not so! For He has sent us His Holy Spirit.

For what is the role of the Holy Spirit? He calls, gathers, enlightens sanctifies and keeps us in the one true faith. Luther would remind us that the Holy Spirit has called you by the Gospel, gathered you into His church, enlightened you with His gifts, makes you perfect, blameless and holy and will continue to keep you faithful to Him and to the Christian faith.  This is the provision He has given to you.

Transition: There is power given, there is provision of the Holy Spirit. There is also the prospect of being witnesses for Christ.

The Prospect: “And ye shall be witnesses unto me…” 

The early Christians said repeatedly; “We are witnesses of these things” All the disciples and believers spoke concerning what he Savior had done. The result? Whole families were brought into the family as the Lord was adding them those that were being saved. 

You too are witnesses- You too tell the wonderful news concerning Jesus Christ. This is the only way the Church of Jesus Christ grows- one Christian at a time. Yet it is always the Holy Spirit who adds the increase.

Transition: Yet where shall we go? The Holy Spirit has also provided the place.  

The Places: “In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

It’s where God has planted you. For the early Christians of the 1st Century it started in Jerusalem, then Judea, it grew into Samaria- then finally to the uttermost parts of the earth.

For us, living in the 21st Century? It starts sat Friedheim, then it expands into Preble Township, it grows into Northeast Indiana. And with respect to the uttermost parts of the earth. It’s getting so much easier to reach so many. The nations are literally coming to our borders. Residents from foreign lands continue to make their home here in our area. These are also the people God places in your life. This is your mission field.

Conclusion: The 1st Century directive of reaching out continues to be our directive. God the Holy Spirit does all of the work from front to back. He simply uses us to be His instrument. The Holy Spirit has provided the power, the provision, the prospect, the place. Thanks be to God. He has done it all.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Confirmation 2007

May 6, 2007
Philippians 4:13
“I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me”

Introduction:  This is the day the Lord has made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it. Today is a special day in your life. It is a day you have no doubt looked forward to, it is a day your parents, and members of your family have been anticipating. I’m sure there have been many people close to you who have remembered you in their prayers.

None of us, you see, goes it alone in your Christian walk. We need each other, we need our Lord, of course, and we need the support of family, our friends. Together we walk the road of faith with our Savior.

The  passage of Scripture you have chosen speaks to us concerning our relationship with the Savior. Says St. Paul, “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me” Now, to use Jessica’s answer she gave us last Sunday; technically, we can not do all things, because we’re sinners, weak, fallen, and frail. That’s why we need a Savior, and with Him by our side, directing our life, the possibilities are endless. 

I.        I can do all things

A.     You’ve been given talents, abilities, gifts.

1.      To be used in this world as witnesses of our Savior’s mercy and grace.

2.      For the good of our neighbor and the praise of our heavenly Father.

3.      In the next five years think of the decisions you will make and the opportunities you will be given. Take advantage of them.

B.     But there are some things you can’t do.

1.      Live a perfect life

2.      Please God and serve your neighbor perfectly

3.      Make atonement for your sin

Transition: Because of sin we fall short of the glory of God.  Return to Jesus who directs your life.

II.     Jesus is the One who give you Himself.

A.     Consider His work and life.

1.      He is your Lord and Savior

a.       Who broke into time and space when He was born in this world

b.      Who took your burdens, sins, cares, and trials

c.       Who suffered in your stead and broke free from the tomb on Easter to offer you His gifts.

(a)    Forgiveness

(b)   Life

(c)    Salvation.

2.      He is the One who orders your days.

a.       He knows your needs.

b.      He knows your desires.

c.       He knows your heart.

d.      He can read your thoughts.

e.       He has promised to meet those needs.

B.     All He asks of you is to dedicate your life to Him. This is what you are doing this day “Commit your life to Him, trust in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Transition: Since Jesus has begun His work in you He will see it through to completion.

III.   He strengthens you.

A.     By His Word

1.      Read - In Holy Scripture.

2.      Taught - In Catechism and throughout your life.

3.      Preached – His timeless truths.

4.      Shared – As you give witness of Him by your life.

B.     By His means of grace – the Sacraments – marks of His love and affection.

1.      Baptism – where He called you by name to be His own.

2.      His meal – given to offer forgiveness, strength of faith, peace with God.

What more can be said other then Godspeed - Fair thee well child of god – Remember the things taught you, cling to that which is good. May the Savior direct you now and always.