Guard Your Tongue

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Steve Woodfin Text: James 3:1-12 Most of us have probably heard these words from a parent or teacher: “think before you speak!” And there is great Biblical wisdom in that command. Consider Proverbs 13:3: “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly comes to ruin.” Isaiah wrote of it. Solomon and the Apostle Paul as well. And in this passage from James chapter 3, God makes it abundantly clear. Our tongues are small, but extremely powerful. They are uncontrollably dangerous. And they are astoundingly inconsistent. So what’s a follower of Jesus to do? What can we do to control this deadly weapon God has given to each one of us? And how in the world does this passage point to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? God’s Word reveals answers to these questions as we, by the Holy Spirit’s leading, seek to live out the words of Solomon in Proverbs 25:11: “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Be Strong; Fear Not!

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: Isaiah 35:4-7 When people have been caught in the grips of violence and despair, hope for a God-filled future seems like wishful thinking. Yet God invites you to still hold onto this hope. God opens your ears to hear this good news. He loosens your tongue to share this good news. The life-giving work of God is present amidst a barren and dead world through the waters of Baptism. The drought is over. God’s waters are flowing. With the arrival of the good news you no longer need to be afraid. Be strong; God is with you. Fear not; God is at work in this world.

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge Text: Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9; Ephesians 6:10–20; Mark 7:14–23 As we open God's Word, all of our readings this weekend come with an urgent plea from God: Listen and understand what God would have us hear. Why is it so hard for us to listen? We want to be heard, we want our voice to matter, but we fail to hear the eternal voice of our Heavenly Father. And if we do happen to take the time to hear it, then we so often fail to understand what He is saying. Take the time to hear the words of God, and also take more time to inwardly digest them, so that you may understand. We are at war and God gives us His armor to protect us. We need not do anything but listen, understand and believe. The battle is His and He has already declared victory. "Hear me, all of you, and understand!"

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: The Rev. Steve Woodfin Text: Colossians 1:17 As Our Shepherd Lutheran School begins a new year, we look together into this year’s theme verse: Colossians 1:17. In this first section of Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, the apostle makes it clear that Jesus is fully God. From His presence at the Creation, to his headship over His body on earth, the church, Jesus has always been, and will always be, with His children. Most of all, Jesus, in whom “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” came to “reconcile to Himself all things” through His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. Because of Christ, we are brought close to God the Father, close to one another, and held firmly together by His love, His grace, and His majesty. Because of Christ, we never dwell alone, but are given to one another for forgiveness, encouragement, and to share His love with one another and the world.

Live and Walk with Jesus

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: Proverbs 9:1-6 God invites you to live in the feast that He has prepared for you. Leave aside your naivety, and now live and walk in His ways. If we live only in the wisdom of this age, we will be starved for insight in what God has planned for us. St. Paul cautioned the Ephesians, saying, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Jesus is the Word of God that has been made flesh to dwell with us. He fills our empty lives and words with His life and His promises. Do not become partners with empty words that are designed to deceive. Feast on the promises of Jesus, and walk as children of Light.

The Bread of Life

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: John 6:35-51 In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus makes several “I am” statements. These “I am” statements are filled with imagery and meaning to help us see the promises of God contained in Jesus. The lesson for this weekend includes Jesus’ words, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” These words from Jesus spark controversy among the religious authorities. They wonder how a man they know as the son of Joseph, whose father and mother they know, can speak these words. People who have a glancing awareness of Jesus will know that he speaks and acts with love and care for other people but they will also struggle and grumble to see more than a nice guy. What does Jesus ask you to see and believe in him? Jesus is the bread of life. It is time to find God’s promises fulfilled in Jesus.

Speaking the Truth in Love

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: Ephesians 4:1-16 We are called to live in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. We are called holy, beloved, and redeemed by Christ. Live in this identity with love for others.

He Intended to Pass By

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Steve Woodfin Text: Mark 6:45-56 Very often, both Christians and non-Christians alike ask this question about God in the midst of life’s challenges: “Why?” It’s likely the disciples were asking the same question in Mark 6. It’s somewhere between 3 AM and 6 AM. The disciples have been struggling to sail across the Sea of Galilee for many hours. They are exhausted, broken, and hopeless. Why would Jesus allow this? And why did Jesus intend “to pass by them” in verse 48? Was He going to walk past and ignore their struggles? Moses (in Exodus 33) and Elijah (in 1 Kings 19) experienced moments of exhaustion, despair, and hopelessness. Here too, God chose to “pass by” them. Not to ignore, but instead to walk before their eyes, to cross their path, so they might clearly witness His power and might. To reassure His people He knows their struggle, He demonstrates His glory, and He rescues. In the storms of life, we have the assurance from God’s Word that Jesus sees. Jesus shows. And Jesus saves.

Jesus does the Impossible

Summary of VBS 2021 "Jesus Does the Impossible"

God's Wild Kingdom

ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Text: Mark 6:14-29 Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge We continue our walk through the Gospel of Mark, and what we have seen so far is Jesus healing the sick and teaching parables about the kingdom of God. But all of a sudden, the Gospel message for today is a wild story about the death of John the Baptist. What could the message be that we are to hear today in this story? God's ways are not our ways, and sometimes Scripture readings leave us wondering and scratching our heads, even though we know God put these verses here for a reason. God's Word will not return empty, but will accomplish what God has sent it out to do. May God reveal to us what He would have us hear from this wild and hard story of the death of the very messenger who declared, "prepare the way of the Lord!"

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