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Sermon: “Pr. Saul’s Greatest Hits”
Text: Isaiah 43:1-3a, 4a; Romans 6:3-5; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:16-17
When you’ve heard a pastor preach for 17 years, certain themes keep recurring. Today, on His last official Sunday, Pr. Saul shares the Biblical and Lutheran themes he’s most passionate about. (Just in case you missed them the first time.)
Sermon: “Beggars All”
Text: Luke 18:9-14
Two men approach God in prayer, with two very different attitudes. Martin Luther, at the time of his death, was said to have written: “It is true; we are all beggars before God.” The only difference is that the tax collector knows he doesn’t deserve God’s love and grace. Do we?
Sermon: “Free to Be” – Pr. Stan Satre
Text: Luke 12:49-56
“Go ahead, little bird. You can fly if you want to.” Those could be the words to describe the reason that Jesus came to this world. He came to make it possible for us, human beings, to be what we were intended to be, but which we could never be without his help.
Sermon: “Lofty Promises”
Text: Genesis 15:1-6
Well advanced in age, Abram was promised by God that he would be a Father. It seems like a pretty lofty promise. It’s hard to believe – Abram doubts and Sarai laughs! What other promises are we given that seem a little too-good-to-be-true? And what if – they actually came true?
Sermon: “Praying for the World”
Text: Genesis 18:1-10a , Luke 11:1-13
We know that Abraham was blessed by God so that he and his descendants could be a blessing to others. In the Old Testament lesson today, Abraham “bargains” with God in an attempt to spare the city of Sodom from judgment. Abraham is bold in his intercession for others. Are we?
Sermon: “Distracted by Many Things”
Text: Luke 10:38-42
Martha is very distracted in today’s gospel reading. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens. Jesus tells Mary that she has chosen the better part. How are our distractions keeping us from hearing what Jesus wants to say to us?
Sermon: “Our Down to Earth God” Prastor Stan Satre
Text: Luke 10:25-37
God saw our helpless predicament and for the sake of love alone came down to set it free. He comes in his word every day. He enlightens us with His spirit.
July 3 – Joint ELCA Outdoor Worship
Text: II Kings 5:1-14
Naaman is such a great man that he expects Elisha to do something very special and magical to cure him of his leprosy. But our God often works his miracles in everyday, simple ways. It’s so easy to miss the miracles in our lives.
Sermon: “Future Focused”
Text: Luke 9:51-62
Jesus rebukes the disciples in today’s gospel reading for wanting to take care of business at home before continuing their ministry. At first his words seem a little harsh. Jesus was focused on the future. How can we look to the future of our congregation, of our country, and of the world?
Sermon: “Set Free”
Text: Luke 8:26-39
The man in today’s story is thought to be possessed by demons. He is a figure of revulsion living among the tombs. But Jesus doesn’t turn away. Instead, he heals the man and restores him to wholeness. When Jesus sees the terrible things we try to keep hidden, he doesn’t turn away from us, either. Instead, he heals and restores us.
Text: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
When the prophet Nathan looks at King David and says, “You’re the man!” he’s not praising his athletic ability. Rather, he’s pointing out David’s terrible sin. Sometimes the Word of God acts to convict us of our sin in a way we cannot ignore or explain away. Only then do we see our need for a savior. Only then are we ready to hear the gospel of forgiveness.
Sermon: “Do You Love Me?” Pastor Stan Satre
Just saying you love isn’t really enough. You need to show it. If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
May 29 -High School Senior Recognition
Sermon: “Holding Onto the Gospel”
Text: Galatians 1:1-12
Paul scolds the Christians in Galatia for turning away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we send our High School Graduates out into a world filled with many false gospels, we pray that they will hold onto the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith which they have learned here at First Lutheran.
Sermon: “Speaking the Truth in Love”
Text: John 16″12-15
Sometimes it can be challenging to hear the truth – the truth about ourselves and our sinful nature, or the truth about others. It can be even harder to speak the truth to a brother or sister when we know it will hurt or offend. Sometimes this tension causes us to become silent. How does the Gospel help us to move into being truth tellers? And how do we share the true, good news of God’s love with others?
Sermon: “Children of God”
Text: Romans 8:14-17
Paul tells us in Romans that we have all been adopted into God’s family. We are truly children of God. As we hear from our confirmation students’ faith papers we see how they understand what it means to be God’s children.
Sermon: “At Home in God”
Text: John 14:1-14
When Jesus promises that he is preparing a place for those who believe in Him, it’s not just about what happens after we die. Jesus has prepared a place within the family of God where, right here and now, we can truly home in the presence of God’s love.
Sermon: “The Peace of the Lord”
Text: John 14:23-29
Jesus offers us his peace today. The peace of Christ is a gift, promised to all who believe in Him. How does this peace change our lives? How do we share it with others?
Sermon: “Loving One Another“
Text: John 13:31-35
Today, we hear again the words Jesus spoke to the disciples at the Last Supper: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Wow! How can we hope to love others as Jesus loved us?
Sermon: “Hearing the Shepherd’s Voice“
Text: John 10:22-30 & Psalm 23
Christ is the shepherd who leads his faithful sheep to springs of the water of life. We, Christ’s sheep, follow the shepherd’s voice and celebrate the gift of new life, eternal life, which is the gift of the risen Christ. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Sermon: “Payback Time“
Text: John 21:1-19
Peter was no doubt filled with shame and remorse after he had denied Jesus 3 times, even though he had pledged to follow him no matter what. And yet, after Easter, when Peter met Jesus on the beach, Jesus didn’t rebuke him; he offered him breakfast, and another chance.
Sermon: “Easter Joy“
Text: John 20:19-31
How many Lutherans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. Lutherans don’t believe in change. The ancient church celebrated “Bright Sunday” on this Sunday after Easter – a day to celebrate the joy of the resurrection. Today we celebrate Holy Humor Sunday and gather to celebrate the joy that we find in the risen Christ.
March 27 – Easter Sunday
Sermon: “Easter Treasure”
Text: Luke 24:1-12
The women go early on Easter Morning and discover and empty tomb. They were perplexed, but the emptiness of the tomb declares that Christ is Risen. And the treasure of new life – eternal life – belongs to all who believe in him.
Triduum (The Three Days)
Sermon: “God’s Treasured Children“
Text: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
On this Maundy Thursday, we hear God’s love story – written for you and me, his beloved children. Today we learn a new commandment: that we must love one another. How do we share God’s humble servant-like love of us with others?
The Adult Choir will lead us in a solemn contemplation of the events of Good Friday. As each candle is extinguished, music and scripture help us meditate on the deep meaning of Christ’s death. The cross is veiled at the close of the evening service. The savior of the world is dead.
Sermon: “While its Still Dark“
Text: John 20:1-10
The Easter Vigil reminds us that God does some of His best work in the dark.
March 20 – Palm Sunday
Sermon: “Jesus Trash or Treasure?”
Text: Luke 23:1-5, 13-25, 32-49 (Passion Narrative)
In today’s readings, we hear a vast spectrum of different attitudes toward Jesus. First Jesus enters in a grand procession – and soon Jesus becomes ridiculed and mocked. What once was treasured soon becomes trash. How do we approach Jesus today – as trash or treasure?
Sermon: “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”
Text: Philippians 3:4b-14
The apostle Paul had a lot he could boast about. But he considers all of this rubbish in order to be found in Christ. Jesus is a true treasure. What will we find in our treasure chest this morning?
Sermon: “Treasure of a Father’s Love”
Text: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Jesus tells a beautiful story of a father’s love in today’s Gospel. And then he says, ‘That’s what God is like.” God is not an angry, vengeful judge. God is a loving father who longs to welcome us with open arms, whether we are the younger son or the elder brother.
Sermon: “Treasures for All“
Text: Isaiah 55:1-9
Come! Eat, and Drink! Today’s text offers a gracious invitation to exiles living outside of Judah to come to the land that is overflowing with abundance. God’s gifts overflow for all of us. How can we be gracious stewards of God’s treasures and help share these gifts with the world?
Sermon: “Count the Stars”
Text: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
How many stars are in the sky? Our universe is vast, huge, and amazing. Today, childless Abram is promised descendants as many as the stars. What a promise! Today we join in thanksgiving to God for the treasure of God’s good creation.
Sermon: “Worldly Temptations”
Text: Luke 4:1-13
Three times the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness with worldly treasure: food, power, and security. Three times Jesus resisted the temptation, trusting in God
February 10 – Ash Wednesday
Text: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Jesus words at the end of our Ash Wednesday Gospel set the stage for our Lenten Theme: Lent: Discovering the Treasure, when he says, “Where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Sermon: “Breath of Heaven”
Text: Genesis 2:4b-8, 18-25
In the second creation story (in Genesis 2) when God breathes his breath into the man, he is given life. God continues to breathe his Holy Spirit into men and women today. Transfiguration Sunday is about seeing God at work in our world. How would your life be different if you acknowledged the breath of the Holy Spirit within?
Text: Jeremiah 1:4-10
An epiphany (revelation of God) is always a surprise. Jeremiah is surprised that God would call him, but God has had his eye on Jeremiah for a long, long time. If God puts his Word in our mouths, we too can share the gospel with the world, no matter what our age, experience, or gifts. We are all called!
Sermon: “Not Some Day but TODAY”
Text: Luke 4:14-21
The salvation promised in the Bible is not just going to happen “someday” far off in the future. It is happening already today. Jesus takes “someday” and pulls it into this day.
Sermon: “Jesus: The Life of the Party”
Text: John 2:1-11
In today’s reading, Jesus is at a wedding and the wine has run out. This is a big problem. But Jesus provides and turns the water into wine. In our daily lives, Jesus is also extravagantly generous, providing us with what we need each and every day.
Sermon: Guest Preacher, Jody Johnson, Luther Crest Director
Text: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Sermon: “The Surprise of Christmas”
Text: John 1:10-18
In John’s poetic telling of the nativity story, we hear that the word became flesh and lived among us. How do we, in this new year, hear this story in a new way? Today we pause and reflect on the beauty of the Christmas story and hear this story again with a light spirit.
Sermon: “Clothed in Love”
Text: Colossians 3:12-17
In Colossians, God declares the amazing truth that you and I are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.” And he urges us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. And, above all, we are to clothe ourselves in love. How can we do this?
December 25 – Christmas Day
The traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, brings Christmas Day to life with rich music. We hear the Christmas story in the regal language of the King James, sing some of our favorite carols, and break bread together. (There is no sermon.)
December 24 – Christmas Eve
Text: Luke 2:1-20
While “all the world” is rushing around to comply with Augustus demand for a census, the shepherds are “living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.” Like migrant workers or the newly homeless family who live in their car, they are unnoticed by the bureaucracy. They are, quite literally, not worth counting. And yet, they are the ones to whom the angels come with the good news of the birth of a savior. Why?
Sermon: “Calm, Cool, and Collected”
Text: Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]
According to scripture, when Mary learns that she is carrying the son of God, she isn’t angry. She isn’t mad. She’s calm, cool, and collected. How can she be so peaceful with this news? Today we join with Mary in thanksgiving and gratitude for the gift of Jesus, who is coming soon.
Sermon: “God’s Victory Dance”
Text: Zephaniah 3:14-20
In the midst of all our talk about waiting and preparing in the darkness, comes a wonderful prophecy: God will rejoice over us with gladness. He’ll sing and dance a victory dance when our salvation is won. Can we join in the dance?
Sermon: “A New Creation”
Text: Philippians 1:3-11
Paul expresses his confidence that God, “the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” ELW Hymn #651 asks Christ to enter our hearts and “finish then thy new creation,” that we might be restored in Christ.
Sermon: “The God of Promise-Keeping”
Text: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Advent is about waiting. It is about waiting for God to keep his promises to us and to the world. “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made…” How do we wait for a promise so long delayed?
November 25 – Thanksgiving Eve Worship at 6 p.m.
Sermon: “Thanks Living”
Text: Matthew 6:25-33
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday where we give thanks to God for the many blessings we have received. How can we celebrate thanksgiving, not just one day out of the year, but each and every day in a spirit of thanks-living?
Sermon: “Not Your Everyday Kingdom”
Text: John 18:33-37
The Kingdom of Christ is most definitely not a Kingdom of this world. And yet, by the power of the Holy Spirit, our eyes can be opened to see signs of the kingdom in our midst; as the hungry are fed, the outsiders are included, and we who gather in Christ’s name are made one.
Sermon: “One in Christ” (2014 Tanzania Video)
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-21, 24b-27
Our Christian brothers and sisters in Tanzania already have the Gospel. But as our Mission Team in the Summer of 2014 discovered, God uses the encounter with the Christians there to deepen our own love and understanding of our Savior. And we come to understand the meaning of the three words on the back of the Team T-shirts: “One in Christ”.
Sermon: “Giving It All”
Text: 1 Kings 17:8-16
If someone were to ask you to give away everything you have, what would you say? How would you react? Today we hear two examples of faithful, extravagant giving, and ponder what it means to give extravagantly.
November 1 – All Saints Sunday
Sermon: “Love for Everyday Saints” Guest Preacher – Pastor Stan Satre
Text: John 11:32-44
We usually think of saints as bring too perfect to be anything like a real person, but the story of God’s dealings with human beings is more a story of everyday saints; each of you whom you would recognize as being “more of a real person”.
October 25 – Reformation/Stewardship Sunday
Sermon: “I Don’t Want Your Money” Guest Preacher— Pastor Jimalee Jones
Text: John 8:31-36
Today’s Gospel speaks of freedom for those who “…continue in my word,” and are truly Jesus’ disciples. As disciples of Jesus, we will explore together what freedom means for us and for the world in which we live. Does Christian freedom mean that we do what we should do? Does it mean freedom to do just anything? Or does it mean something else altogether?
Sermon: “The Servant Leader”
Text: Mark 10:35-45
What does a Christian leader look like? Is a leader the most wealthy, the most demanding, the most bossy? Today we learn about Servant leadership and how to follow Jesus with our actions.
Sermon: “The Old, Old Story“
Text: Mark 10:17-27
Today’s Gospel story is our story. Like this decent, religious man, our many possessions and self-reliance hold us back like an immovable anchor. Can our loving savior free us from our “stuff” and pull us through the needle’s eye and into his kingdom? Hear again the old, old story of grace and find out.
Sermon: “Made for One Another“
Text: Matthew 11:25-30
Fergus Falls has experienced some unspeakable tragedy in recent weeks. As a community, we are grieving. Today, we gather together in worship to cast our burdens on Jesus, knowing that Jesus will carry everything that weighs us down.
Sermon: “Howdy Duty”
Text: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
We may think we are a welcoming congregation to visitors. But, I wonder? Greeting shouldn’t just be the job of our official greeters, those who are on “Howdy Duty” for the day. Rather, to paraphrase Moses’ words in our Old Testament lesson: “Would that all the LORD’S people were greeters, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”
Sermon: “Childlike – Not Childish“
Text: Mark 9:30-37
The children in our midst on Sunday morning are a sign of the welcome that God offers to all persons regardless of their status in the world.
September 13 – Rally Sunday
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
As we welcome our Sunday School Students back to Sunday School, we celebrate this year’s Sunday School theme: “Shine.” At our baptism we heard the words “Let your light Shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” What do these words mean? And how do we let our light shine?
Sermon: “Be Opened“
Text: Mark 7:24-37
It is sometimes easy to go into our own little bubble, to hide from the world’s problems, to refuse to look outside of what is happening in our own world. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus gives the invitation “Be Opened” as he heals a deaf man. How can we, like him, be opened to hearing and seeing with the eyes of Jesus?
Sermon: “Sanitizer for the Heart”
Text: Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23
In a world where it is really easy to cleanse ourselves with hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and soap, God calls us to clean more than our exterior. Our interior is where the real dirt lives. God calls us to clean our hearts and minds and promises to walk with us even when we’re dirty.
Sermon: “Nowhere Else to Go”
Text: John 6:56–69
Jesus’ teaching about eating his body and drinking his blood is difficult to accept. Yet, as we come to the altar to receive the bread and the wine, all that is required of us “is simply a believing heart” as Luther said in the Small Catechism. Oh, that believing was so simple! But we truly have nowhere else to go.
Sermon: “You Are What You Eat“
Text: John 6:51–58
There’s a saying that we are what we eat. What does that mean for us, when we eat the body of Christ in Holy Communion? St. Teresa of Avilla said, long ago, “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.” We are the body of Christ in the world.
August 9 – Outdoor Worship at Pebble Lake Picnic Shelter
Sermon: “You’ll never be Hungry Again”
Text: John 6:35, 41–51
This is the second week of four when our Gospel text is part of the “bread of life” sayings of Jesus. Jesus tells us that whoever eats of this living bread will live forever, and never be hungry again! Can this be? Or is this just another inflated diet claim, guaranteed to disappoint us after a while?
Sermon: “Snow in August?”
Text: Exodus 16:2–4, 9–15
Is it snow that is coming down from Heaven today? Today the Israelites receive a strange gift – the gift of manna in the wilderness, raining from Heaven. How does God provide manna in our lives in unexpected ways?
Sermon: “The Pot Luck that Never Ends”
Text: 2 Kings 4:42-44
How did Jesus do it? He fed all of those people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish? And they had leftovers? It is an amazing mircale story, and yet it helps us to think of the bread of life that Jesus offers us each day and the ways in which Jesus feeds us. Today we gather to receive the Word of God and the Bread of Life and we are sent to share that blessing with the world.
Sermon: “Rest for Body and Soul“
Text: Mark 6:30–44
Jesus knew how tired the disciples were after their missionary journey. He invites them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” Jesus sends the disciples (and us) into the world to minister to those in need. But he also has compassion on us and ministers to us in our weariness and need. He gives us rest and renewal.
Sermon: “Rise Up“
Text: Amos 7:7–15
Today we send the 2015 National Youth Gathering team to Detroit. We each are called to rise up – to see ourselves as witnesses to God’s story in the world , through our baptismal promises to: Live among God’s faithful people, Hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, Proclaim the good news of God in Christ through words and deed, Serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and Strive for justice and peace in all the earth.
Sermon: “We are Weak but He is Strong“
Text: 2 Corinthians 12:2–10
Paul, the great witness to the gospel, doesn’t have a pain-free life because he’s a believer. He prays repeatedly for God to remove his “thorn in the flesh.” But God gives Paul a different answer: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ It’s like we learned back in Sunday School: “He is weak but we are strong.”
Sermon: “Breathing In and Breathing Out”
Text: Mark 5:21–34
The woman who has suffered bleeding for 12 years somehow knows that if only she can touch Jesus, his healing power will flow out to her. We cannot touch the flesh and blood Jesus. But He offers us something just as good: his very body and blood. In the bread and wine of Communion, Jesus gives himself to us in a way we can touch and taste. His healing power flows into us today so we can leave here ready to share that healing with the world.
Sermon: “Kingdom Specs“
Text: Mark 4:26-34
The mustard seed is a good example of how the Kingdom of God works – we see the small picture, the small thing, the small possibility, where God sees the larger picture, the large thing, and the large possibility. For today, we will try on some “kingdom specs” and try to see the world with a better, broader, landscape view.
Sermon: “Sleepy Jesus“
Text: Mark 4:35-41
Is anyone out there? Is God real? Does God hear our prayers? These are things we probably all wonder from time to time. Today Jesus appears to be asleep in a boat, while the disciples are afraid for their lives. With just a word, Jesus calms the disciples, and does the same for us.
Sermon: “A Family Story“
Text: Genesis 3:1-15, 21
The first story from the book of Genesis is one of those ancient family stories that tell us something about ourselves about about where we come from.
Sermon: “How can I Keep from Singing“
Text: Psalm 95: 1-7
Martin Luther once said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” First Lutheran has truly been blessed throughout its history with this great treasure. This morning, we take time to honor, thank, and celebrate five of our music staff members for providing a combined 100-plus years of marvelous music.
Sermon: “Love One Another”
Text: John 15:9–17
Today Jesus gives us the most important commandment: “Love One Another.” Today we receive the incredible gift of God’s love for us and receive the encouragement to share that with our brothers and sisters, even when it’s not so easy to love them.
Sermon: “A Very Special Prayer Partner”
Text: Romans 8:22–27
Paul assures us in Romans that even when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit “Intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” Each of our seniors has had a human prayer partner since 8th grade. Today we remind them that the Holy Spirit is their divine prayer partner.
Sermon: “Nick @ Nite”
Text: John 3:1–17
Poor Nicodemus. He has questions about his faith and he is embarrassed to ask them, so he goes to Jesus in the dark. On this Trinity Sunday, we examine some things about God that are hard to fully understand. And yet we receive the assurance that God is with us among our questions and our doubts.
April 5th – Easter Sunday
Sermon: “God’s Greatest Surprise”
Text: Mark 16:1-8
The women on that First Easter Sunday are still in an emotional wilderness. There is nothing on their mind but death, failure, and the end of all their hopes. But God has a surprise for them – the wonder of the empty tomb. And nothing will ever be the same.
Sermon: “A Cradle In My Heart“
Text: Luke 2:1-14-20
Martin Luther, in his Christmas hymn writes, “Ah, dearest Jesus, holy child, prepare a bed, soft, undefiled, a quiet chamber in my heart, that you and I may never part.” The prince of peace comes again at Christmas to make his home in your heart.