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On the Road with Jesus Summer Photos

Summer is a time when many of us are on the road. Jesus also goes on the road in the Gospel of Luke, beginning with Luke 8:1, “Soon afterward He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

Starting June 22, we began a summer sermon series, “On the Road with Jesus.” We look at where Jesus goes, what He says and does, how it’s received by those who live there, and what He does next. We also look at Jesus’ travels in the context of our own lives. What does Jesus do in our lives? How do we receive the words and actions of Jesus? What does He do next for us?

Send us Summer Outing Photos #OTRWJ

We have created an “On the Road with Jesus” wall in the Atrium. Please email photos of your family “on the road” this summer, whether at the zoo, at the beach, on a family bike ride, on vacation . . . take a photo of your adventures as you’re out and about, as we remember Jesus is with us everywhere we go.

Email photos to and they will be posted. Tag your photos #OTRWJ in social media. We have “on the road” take away logo sheets for you to hold up in your photos.

Download the logo sheet

You are also invited to send scenic “background” photos (without people) to Katie Priskorn, for potential use in our summer powerpoint presentations ( ). You just might see your photo up on the big screen!

Unity

Unity in the church is tested regularly by two different points of stress. These stress points push us toward discord and strife. 

Differences

We struggle to know what unity looks like in the kingdom of God. I look around and I see people who are different from me. Different ages, situations, and settings are present in the church. Some young families have arrived to a worship service, and I can tell they are looking for people similar to them. Of course it is not just young families, but we all spend time searching for our own tribe. We can feel out of place or disconnected from a community when we don't find a common thread that will hold us together. Our community can unravel when we keep feeling different and out of place. I remember a person telling the story of visiting different congregations. They would drive through the parking lot before the service and see the different cars lined up in the spots. Would their beat up van fit in at this church or would they feel like outcasts?

St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12 about how there are many different parts to the body of Christ, with Christ as the head. Different gifts, but the same Spirit. Different areas where we serve, but the same Lord. Different activities, but the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

There is in the Kingdom of God a celebration of differences that are united in serving the same Lord. The differences we celebrate are not our sins and violations of God's commands. The differences we celebrate are the variety of gifts that God has placed into us to make Himself known. Unity in the kingdom is not defined by us all looking or acting the same but by us all serving the same Lord.

Weakness

In the kingdom of God we not only have different gifts, but the value of these gifts is flipped upside down from what the world may value. Paul goes on to explain in 1 Corinthians 12 that in the body the weakest and most hidden parts of the body are so composed that God gives greater honor to those parts that lack it in the world. The body of Christ is a mystery to the people who will value power and control. Christ works through the weak and forgotten to reveal His grace in the world. No one should find themselves discarded or unnecessary in the kingdom of God. 

Love

All these different gifts will tear us apart if we are not held together by the love of Christ. All these weaknesses that we identify in others and in ourselves will cause us to push away others or shrink away ourselves. Our unity in the church and in the world is found in the love of Christ. We do not demand a homogenous community that looks all the same. We believe in Christ to be the glue that holds us together.

With God

The relationship with God will be disrupted by sin. We do ourselves no favors by pride in our sin. Find pride in God's amazing love for the sinner among us, because this love includes you. With God we no longer are defined by our sins but become revelations of the love of God in this world.

Gather, Nurture, Serve

At Our Shepherd we gather around God's Word. We nurture our faith as we live life together. We look for opportunities to serve in the world with our words and works so that we can make the love of God made visible. All three of these processes find there starting point in God. Our unity springs from the work of God. Our strength comes from God's gifts. If Jesus is not raised from the dead and still remains defeated by sin, death, and the devil then we are fools. But indeed Jesus is raised from the dead and so we live victorious for Him.

Posted by Evan Gaertner
Tags: love, pride, unity

Which Side of the Rock Will You Live?

During Holy Week I was looking at some past sermons I have preached during these holy days of remembrance. Here is a sermon I preached in 2014.

Which side of the rock are we going to live? 

On one side there is fear

The women approached the tomb. There was a great earthquake. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

His appearance was like lighting, his clothing was white as snow.

In fear the guards trembled and became like dead men.

The angel spoke to the women and encouraged them with the words, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, as he said.”

These words also came with an invitation, “Come, see the place where he was laid. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…”

We have two responses:

1 - The guards who trembled and became like dead men

2 - The women who received angelic and christological comfort which generated mission for others.

The angel charted for the women a way to move beyond the fear.

Come and see…move beyond the fear.

The women become witnesses and messengers.

The message of the empty tomb was an invitation to move ahead.

Today by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in this resurrection word you are invited to live on the side of the rock that leads you to see life and promise is real.

Here are some moments when God's people in the past have been moved by the spirit to live on the other side of the rock. 

Joshua - Jordan river, each tribe grabbing a rock and placing that rock and creating a memorial in Gilgal.

David - Philistines gathered against Israel and he picks up the rock and defeats Goliath. David was able to live in victory because he lived on the promise side of the rock.

Nehemiah - Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He lived on the side of promise, even as there were constant threats, he showed the people they could live in the land and rebuild the walls.

Monday Demonstrations at NikolaiKirche in Leipzig. 1989. It was not certain that that East Germany was going to fall away from Communism. But every Monday protestors gathered in the square of the church in Liepzig, confident that the Lutheran church supported their non-violent resistance. Soon Monday protests spread throughout the country as people learned about the boldness of those Christians who stood on the side of hope and promise.

The question is, “What side of the rock are you going to live on? Will you live on the side of fear or on the side of life?”

There is no in-between. The questions of following, worshipping, and acknowledging this Risen one hangs in the balance. The pivot point of our lives upon which we tilt towards fear or tilt towards life is Jesus Christ.

Not our good works or obedience or wealth or anything else will change our lives from fear to life besides this promise. We cannot move ourself towards hope. The move happens when we witness the resurrection of our Lord.

To those of you not yet in the gospel, not yet sure about the good news of Jesus Christ as risen from the dead, the invitation is, “Come and see the place where he was laid.”

To all of us, the scandal to the world is that this good news of Jesus Christ will be shared by those on the side of the rock that is filled with life and promise. It is not filled with our good works, our perfect clothes, our abundant wealth. We are the side of the rock that is filled with the work of God. It is an undeserved love, what kind of live is this that my Lord would die for me.

The angel of the Lord called upon the women to be witnesses of the empty tomb, to tell the disciples that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead just as he said. In the first century - Women were not allowed to be witnesses in court. God uses those women to reveal His truth. He would not be defeated by death.

This was a fear inducing call for this women. Will they be witnesses?

Yes! By the call of God they respond as messengers.

Which side of the rock are you going to live? Will you believe in Jesus to be the one who died and rose again?

By the power of the Holy Spirit we do stand at the tomb in fear and trembling like the guards. We are sent like the women to be witnesses of what we have seen and messengers that their is mission, we go forward with the confidence that there is victory today. Alleluia! Christ is Risen.

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