Heaps and Heaps of Burning Coals

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander
Text: Romans 12:9-21
Service: Epiphany 7



How many of you are taking advantage of the warm weather this weekend to bring out your grills from winter storage and do some cooking on the grill? If you did do some grilling – or if you are a griller all year long, no matter the weather – are you a gas griller or a charcoal griller? I have heard debates go on for several minutes at a time about why gas is better or why coal is better. While I’m sure that that debate will go on for a long time, today I’m going to opt for coals – coals not on the grill, but coals on the head – coals on the head that comes from the thought of God’s Word in verse 20 near the end of our lesson: “On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him: if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” As we reflect on all the commands and encouragements of this reading from Romans 12, I hope that we will see that we all have a great need to be receiving – and that we all can find great joy in giving – heaps and heaps of burning coals.

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Can You Be Better?

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free  Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12


Can you be better? Can you be a better student? Can you be a better employee? A better employer? Can you be a better son or daughter? Can you be a better parent or grandparent? How about this one, can you be a better Christian? That last one – can you be a better Christian? – that’s a difficult question to answer. And what makes it so difficult? Well, what do we mean by “better”? Better in comparison to whom? And why are we asking ourselves that question? Is it not true that Jesus died for my sins and my works play no part in my salvation? “For it is by grace through faith and this not from yourselves”, right?

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Choose to Serve the Lord

Speaker: Pastor Philip Casmer  Text: Joshua 24:14-24


Think about one of those classic hard-choices of life. Between two careers - artist or accountant; between two people to marry - Trixie or Gina; between two places to live - California or Wisconsin. Those kinds of choices feel pretty hard. They’re the sort that call you to take your notepad and divide the page and start making your pro/con lists. Though, you often find, don’t you, that you’ve listed out the pros/cons but the choice is still hard - Wisconsin is the place of family, but California’s rolling wine-country hills and mediterranean climate would mean never pushing a snow-blower again; artistry might put you on the cutting edge of the visual arts and introduce you to all kinds of amazing people and allow for much more family freedom, but odds are accounting will provide well for those you love and be much more reliable; and Trixie and Gina - well, whatever the pros/cons there, you should probably burn that list later... Sometimes the choices in life are really hard.

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Looks Can Be Deceiving

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free  Text: Daniel 3:13-27


Have you ever seen a commercial on TV, specifically a fast food commercial, and thought to yourself, “That looks pretty good.” Like an Arby’s commercial where they pile on all that roast beef onto a bun and then they plop it down next to a big soft drink and a large fry, and then the voice in the background says “Arby’s, we have the meats.” And it does look so good, doesn’t it? But then you go to an Arby’s and you order the sandwich that was on the commercial and you open that little box they put it in, and does it look like what you saw in the commercial? Often, no, it doesn’t. Half the beef is off the bun. The bun itself is soggy and the fries that, in the commercial were all long full curls, instead look as though someone stomped on them a few times and gave you the bits and pieces. Looks can be deceiving. It looked good on TV, not so much in real life.

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For Those Living in the Land of Zebulun and Naphtali...

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander  Text: Isaiah 8:19-9:2


Don’t you think life was really hard for those living the land of Zebulun and Naphtali? It depends, right? It depends on who the people were who were living in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali. Do you know or remember who the people of Zebulun and Naphtali were? Zebulun and Naphtali were two of the twelve sons of Jacob of old who were therefore brothers of Joseph – the one who got sold into slavery into Egypt because his brothers hated him – and who had areas of the land of Israel named after them – areas of Israel way up north in the province called Galilee by the great Sea of Galilee. Their location might be comparable to where Superior or Minoqua are in the state of Wisconsin. One of the things that made life rough for the people of Zebulun and Naphtali was that soldiers from other nations kept marching through their place on their way to other places, causing all kinds of destruction and death that is hard for us to fathom, although we can certainly get a feel for it with the many horrible attacks we have had to try to wrap our minds around in the last few years in our nation and in our world.

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Honored Like The Son

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free  Text: Isaiah 49:1-7


While at a basketball game a young man couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of the people in front of him. While listening, he struggled to call to mind the word used to describe the act of listening in on someone else’s conversation. So he asked his friend sitting next to him, “Hey, what’s the word for listening in on someone’s conversation again?” It was then that the person behind him tapped him on the shoulder and said, “It’s called eavesdropping.”

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Proclaim the Good News of Genuine Peace

Speaker: Pastor Philip Casmer  Text: Acts 10:34-38


As you may have read in the introductory paragraphs of the bulletin, we've now entered the season of Epiphany. It is the second oldest season of the Church year; important, cherished. That’s because it’s a season that tells how God shows himself to the world in Jesus. And what does he say? In the Savior, Jesus, God proclaims the good news of genuine peace.

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What's In A Name?

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free  Text: Luke 2:21


If I were to say the name Aaron Rodgers, what first comes to mind? That he is a great quarterback? That he will hopefully -- or maybe for some here, hopefully not -- carry his team to the playoffs today? A few weeks ago, if you heard his name would you be thinking the same thing? Maybe not, maybe instead, like many Packer fans, you’d be wondering why his playing was so poor?

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Lift Up Your Voice in 2017

Speaker: Pastor Philip Casmer  Text: Psalm 142


Have you ever had one of those moments where you didn’t know what to say? Maybe your teacher caught you off guard with the implication that you had plagiarized a part of your term paper - untrue, but how to respond? Or you had one of those awkward burgeoning-relationship moments where you heard, “I love you” but you weren’t really ready to say the same. Sometimes it’s just one of those situations on the news; those jaw-dropping stories that leave you a bit flabbergasted, “I just don’t know what to say about that...”

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He Wanted to Be Like You!

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander  Text: John 1:1-14


The story is told of a plastic surgeon in the mid-1900’s who encountered a woman whose love for her husband left a mark on him that was greater than any mark he could have made in the lives of someone whose body he helped repair. Perhaps you have heard the story – the story of a woman whose husband went into a burning house in a failed attempt to rescue his parents, resulting in wounds for himself that left his face horribly scarred and disfigured, so much so that he didn’t want anyone to see him, not even his wife, rejecting all attempts for help until… until the day his wife went to the plastic surgeon, who assumed she wanted help for her husband, whom he assured her he could heal until… until she told him that since her husband refused all help, she wanted the doctor to disfigure her face, too. “Maybe then,” she said, “maybe then he will let me back into his life.” And so the doctor went to visit the man, who wanted nothing to do with him or any attempts to help his injury until… until the doctor said, “Your wife … wants to be like you.” It was the expression of that kind of love that led the man to begin accepting the help that he so desperately needed.

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