Not So With You

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free
Text: Matthew 20:17-28
Service: Lent 3 (Midweek)



“Not so with you.” You will think different. You will act different. You will be different. “Not so with you.” What do you think the disciples thought when Jesus said this to them? Here they were all twelve of them bickering, fighting, and acting like a bunch of children over who gets the front seat on the eternal van ride with Jesus in heaven. “Not so with you.” Four words. Jesus spoke four words to remind these twelve men, his disciples, his chosen, that they were just that, chosen by him to be his followers; to be different. But what led up to this moment? First, a request.

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It's Always Daylight Saving Time...

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander
Text: Ephesians 5:8-14
Service: Lent 3 (Sunday)



Does last Sunday’s beginning of Daylight Saving Time already seem like a distant memory to you, or does it bring back all kinds of frustrating reminders of how tired you were and how unwilling you were when the alarm clock said, “Wake up!”   I myself had a bit more frustrating experience than normal last Sunday morning, because while I was still fast asleep there was this blare of a beeping sound I had never heard before, which for a minute or two I thought would just fade away and could be ignored, until I wondered if it might be a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, so I stumbled out of bed only to find that the alarm clock on the bathroom counter, which  I did not even know until that moment was an alarm clock, for some reason was beeping for all the world to hear – and telling me that it was 2:32 in the morning.   I still haven’t come to a conclusion as to why that alarm was ringing at 2:32 in the morning, but what I do know is that that alarm clock was basically saying, “No matter what time it is, it’s time to wake up.”   And so I was pretty much awake – and I would have been awake under those circumstances, daylight saving time or not.

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What Can One Man Do?

Speaker: Pastor Jason Free
Text: Romans 5:12-19
Service: Lent 1 (Sunday)



I will need your imaginations this morning. Imagine that long ago one man, out of curiosity, uncertainty, and doubt took hold of a piece of fruit. A piece of fruit he was told specifically not to eat. A command which was in essence an act of worship for him, because by obeying that one command he was showing his love for the God who told him to not eat the fruit. Yet, this one man took that fruit from the hand of his wife and he bit into it. And as the juices of that fruit ran down his chin, and as he slowly chewed that bite, his eyes were opened. His eyes were opened and he realized that his entire life, his entire world had changed. All of it, through one transgression, through one sin – through his sin! – was ruined.

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No Ashes for Jesus

Speaker: Pastor David P. Kolander
Text: Matthew 4:1-11
Service: Ash Wednesday



These words are not easy to say, nor are they easy to hear:  Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes…   If those words, for example, take you back to the loss of a loved one in death, they can cause some honest pain, can’t they?   At the time of death we confess what the Bible tells us, that our bodies which came from the dust of the earth when Adam was created will return to dust and ashes when we are buried in the earth after we die.    But even as those words might make us gulp a bit and maybe even cause us to feel a tear forming in our eyes, why is it that in the midst of those present tears and in the midst of thinking about our own future ashes, we can lift up our heads and still live with joy – and still worship with joy -- even during this somber season of the year – and, in particular, on this somber day?   The reason is because there are no ashes for Jesus.  

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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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