Sermons

Fifty Years of Sending People to the Principal's Office

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander
Text: Matthew 25:31-46
Service: LES 50th Anniversary

 

  

Getting sent to the principal’s office was always a scary thought for my friends and me when we were kids, especially because our principal seemed to be so good at seeing what was going on in his classroom, even when he wasn’t in the classroom. His office was connected to our classroom by a door, which we didn’t figure out until a long time afterward had a window in it, from which – when the door was at a certain angle – he could see almost everything that was going on in the room – spitballs and all. I will never forget my friend Randy getting called into that office and then having to write on the board one hundred times the classic “I will not shoot spitballs again,” all the while casting a glance back at the kid with the crewcut sitting in the back corner, who must have been just outside the angle of that window. I always felt I owed Randy for him being the only one who ended up in the principal’s office that day! 



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Sheep Among Wolves

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free
Text: Matthew 10:16-23
Service: Reformation

 

  

He knelt to pray. Three times a day he knelt to give God thanks. Yet, today it was different. Today, it was decreed that he could no longer pray to his God – he knelt and prayed anyway. He refused to obey the king’s decree and because of his act of disobedience, he was cast into a den of lions and left to die.



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Gather with the Many to be among the Few

Speaker: Pastor Philip Casmer
Text: 2 Chronicles 30:1-5, 10-22
Service: Pentecost 21

 

  

Introduction

Can you imagine? Surely among us we have a wide variety of wedding reception stories: of frightful best man speeches and great matron of honor tributes, of stellar dance moves (and not), of good food, fun, friends. Few of us, though, probably have a wedding story like the one in the gospel. The groom’s men hog-tying and dragging out a shabby guest; he showed up to the black tie affair in his sweat-stained, mud-crusted Carhartts. The heavy, oak doors swing wide to the dark night and, with a one-two toss, out he flies, to a bruising, bloody tumble. That would be embarrassing - memorably so. But the story’s worse than embarrassing, it’s life-ending serious. For the truth is: the wedding banquet is the great feast of salvation. There the Church, who are the bride and the guests, feast in joy with Jesus Christ, their bridegroom by faith. There belong all those who long to feast on God’s goodness, those who love to be in his presence, those who have been clothed with Christ’s perfection and who have proudly worn it. There, at the feast, are not those who choose to clothe themselves in whatever else they could find. So, fitting, the groom’s striking cry: “Many are called but few are chosen…”



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Is He Unjust?

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free
Text: Ezekiel 18:14, 25-32
Service: Pentecost 19

 

  

Life’s not fair. That’s not fair. This isn’t fair. Have you ever thought or uttered words like this? It’s not fair! It’s not fair that I didn’t get that promotion at work. It’s not right that my classmates never get in trouble but I do. It’s bogus that I’m barely getting by while others who don’t deserve it seem to always have success. It’s unfair that as the youngest my parents let me get away with way more than my older siblings – well maybe the oldest sibling would think that, not the youngest. But have you? Have you ever thought like this? Have you ever said words similar to this? Is life not fair? What about this? Have you ever, as you pondered the unfairness of life, let this slip: “God’s not fair”? Because, today, in the book of Ezekiel, as exiled Israelites griped about their lot in life, we see that complaint being made. “God is unjust…God’s not fair.”



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What a Difference a Worm Makes!

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander
Text: Jonah 4:5-11
Service: Pentecost 18

 

  

I personally have never had much time for worms. One of the reasons I never really wanted to learn more about fishing as a kid is because I knew that in order to fish you had to touch worms, and touching those squishy, creepy worms before having to touch those slippery, slimy fish was not something that sounded like fun to me… But what a difference a worm makes to those who really enjoy fishing, because those worms are the way many people put food on the table and the way some people make a living.



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Know Your Place

Speaker: Pastor Philip Casmer
Text: Genesis 50:15-21
Service: Pentecost 17

 

  

Introduction

“Know your place…” That’s one of those sentences that we’d prefer never to hear from someone else, right? Somebody says, “Know your place…” when they think you’ve overstepped your authority, or when you - the junior partner - make the senior VP’s idea sound silly in a meeting, “Know your place, Smith.” Sometimes it’s just a disrespectful way to shut someone down or to discriminate against someone. We’d prefer never to hear those words from someone else, but they are useful to know for ourselves, aren’t they? It’s good to know our authority, what it is and isn’t. It’s good to know the workplace and social norms we’re a part of - what’s expected of us and not. And it’s good to know where we’re at, what our situation is, and what we can expect.



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I Got Your Back

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free
Text: Ezekiel 33:7-11
Service: Pentecost 16

 

  

Let’s get this conversation out of the way. The theme laid out in your worship folder for today it’s not the best grammar, is it? I can see some of you English majors cringing in your seats. “I got your back?” Would it not be better to say, “I have your back?” But what does that even mean “I got or have your back?” It really is a weird phrase, “I got your back” – what? – but it’s an idiom that, at least to my knowledge, is fairly common. “Hey Pastor Kolander, I got your back” means I will support you or help you if you need it. I’m right behind you. I’m there for you.



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Don't Stare At Samson!

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander
Text: Judges 16:22-31
Service: Pentecost 15

 

  

Does anyone here remember – or remember hearing about – that huge gorilla at the Milwaukee County Zoo named Samson? The work of a taxidermist allows you to see Samson at the Milwaukee County Museum, but if you were able to see Samson in person, you were able to see the largest gorilla in captivity – a 652 pound show-off who loved banging on the large windows in front of his exhibit to scare half to death any big or small person who was just standing there, staring at him. People just loved being entertained by him, especially, I’m sure, because they felt safe and secure on the other side of those windows.



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Tell Them

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free
Text: Joshua 4:1-9
Service: Pentecost 14

 

  

I remember it. I was being held in the arms of one of my parents; I don’t remember which, but they carried me across. And I remember seeing this wall of water being held at bay as I glimpsed our leader, Moses, holding up his staff leading us to safety. I remember the screams and the shouts as that wall of water collapsed and our captors, the Egyptians, were washed away never to threaten or enslave us again.



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This Is a Great Faith

Speaker: Pastor Philip Casmer
Text: Matthew 15:21-28
Service: Pentecost 13

 

  

School is, generally, back in session. Fall is now officially only 19 days away (or this weekend already). Here at the end of Summer, it’s a good time to look back. We’ve been building this Summer on the Rock, Jesus Christ. You could short it and say that we’ve been working on our faith; we’ve been sharpening the way we think about God and ourselves in Christ. Now, if we were assessing where we’re at in this building process, we’d like to say that things are good, wouldn’t we? We’d like to say that we’ve built something worthwhile, that we’ve grown, advanced - even gotten to great. But have you? In your faith life? Would you call it great? If you’re not sure, the gospel writer Matthew brings a picture this morning of what we seek. He shows us Jesus and a Canaanite woman as if to say to you and me, “This is a great faith.



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