ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Text: Ezekiel 2:1-5 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner The prophets of the Old Testament spoke with the confidence that the Lord God was at work through them as they spoke words of punishment and redemption. Ezekiel was a prophet that embodied humanity and our weaknesses. He is called "son of man" 93 times in the book. Ezekiel could not accomplish what God charged him to do through his own strength. Ezekiel needed the presence of God to be a prophet. St. Paul also learned from God that the Gospel would be shared in the midst of his own weaknesses. God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Jesus also sent out his disciples to a world that may not honor them with praise. The confidence of the disciples would not come from the praise of the crowds but in the truth of the Gospel. The disciples of Jesus go into this world to share the message of repentance and redemption because we trust that God is at work in us. Trust today you are part of the kingdom of God because of the surpassing mercy of Jesus Christ.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Text: Lamentations 3:16-23 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner The beautiful hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” brings to melody the hope and solace we find when we trust in the steadfast love of God. How do we hold onto our faith in God when our security, comfort, identity, and hope in the future appear to be in such peril in our world? You may not be very familiar with the Old Testament book Lamentations. As the title suggests, the book is full of laments and woes. Jeremiah wrote the book for a people whose world seemed to lose all sense of order and purpose. The traumatic destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple in 587 BC by the Babylonians was very frightening. Listen to the words of Lamentations this week. Discover how we are called to be witnesses both to the suffering around us and to the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases.
In this weekend’s Gospel reading in Mark 4, Jesus speaks directly to the relationship of faith and fear. He asks the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” In the movies and on TV, courage is depicted as the hero acting with absolutely no fear. The message: courage is the absence of fear. But is that reality? What about faith and fear? Does faith remove fear, or does it make it possible to deal with it? Perhaps faith and fear co-exist in ways that cause us to seek comfort, strength, and guidance from our gracious Heavenly Father. What moves us away from fear and towards faith? Maybe, just maybe, the answer is not a “what” but a “Who.” Jesus is there. He desires us to approach Him, no matter our state of mind. And He offers His presence and His peace as we dwell with Him, even as He equips us to stand firmly, and to boldly go into the world in His strength, carrying His love.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge Text: Mark 4:26-34 Our Gospel reading this weekend is two short kingdom parables, both including seeds. At first glance these are short and simple readings, and at first glance a seed is also simple, small and insignificant. So then, if it is so simple, tell me: how does a seed grow? We take for granted the wondrous miracle of a seed as it is transformed into a large tree, bearing fruit and protection to all those around it. Our gift of faith is also something that seems so simple and something we often take for granted..... but it is a powerful, life giving miracle from God that bears the fruit of the Spirit and protects us from sin, death and the power of the devil. May we ponder the wonder and majesty of God's Word as we meditate upon it this weekend.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: 2 Corinthians 4:16 We wait for the Lord. Our souls wait for the Lord. Our bodies may waste away but we do not lose heart. Christians trust that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us into his presence. The promises of God are not just written on the sands by the water to be destroyed by the rising tides. The promises of God are written in the resurrected flesh of Jesus Christ. Every day renew your hearts by looking not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge Text: John 3:1-17 This weekend we enter the long season of Pentecost - or the "Season of the Church" - in our church calendar. And we begin, as we begin each worship service, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This is Holy Trinity Sunday! So we'll focus on the wonder and majesty of the Three in One. As we unfold what John has for us to hear in his Gospel, we'll also look at other "three's" on which he focuses throughout this book; Breathe, Wind, Spirit and Water, Blood, Spirit. These "three's" are themes interwoven in the Gospel of John and also interwoven in the life of the church.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: Acts 2:1-21 God confused the language of the people at the tower of Babel, and we continue to find confusion and division among us. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit arrived with a sound like a mighty rushing wind and divided tongues of fire rested upon each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in the heart language of all the people gathered in Jerusalem for the festival. Still today the Holy Spirit unites us in this good news. At worship this weekend we rejoice that the Holy Spirit unites us in the good news of Jesus and equips us to share this good news in the language that people can understand in their hearts.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge Text: John 17:11-19 Jesus' words hang heavy this weekend as He says "I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world." Here we sit, right between Ascension Day and Pentecost in a void where Jesus left this world as He ascended to the Father, but where He has not yet sent His Spirit to be our Comforter.. What words does Jesus give us this weekend as we dwell within this void? He gives us the words of His High Priestly Prayer, where he prays for unity that we may be one. Unity is a word the world speaks of often these days, but we do not see people living as one. Rather, we see division and separation everywhere we look. Where can we find the unity that Jesus was praying for today in a world that hates us? We can find it in the very place that the world finds it's hatred. "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.....Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." Let us be sanctified as we open God's word of truth and hear His words for us today.
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Ephesians 1:15-22 What is your hope? What are your riches? What is the power of Christ that gives you this confidence?
ourshepherd.net Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Steve Woodfin "As the Father Has Loved Me" John 15:9-17 What has shaped the way you imagine God? Is it a Bible story, a life experience, the love (or lack thereof) of a parent or family member? As we celebrate the gift of mothers on this Mother’s Day weekend, Perhaps you consider the love of your own mother as a major influence in how you imagine God. Dr. Martin Luther, ever one to speak his mind, said very simply, “when I think of God, I think of a man hanging on a tree.” On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus said, “as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” As He faces the cross, Jesus will do anything and everything to make sure we dwell in the love of the Father forever. Many of us have seen a glimpse of that self-sacrificial love in our own mothers, or in those who have acted as mothers in our lives. We thank God for the love we share in this life – imperfect as it is – and look to the cross, and the perfect love of a Savior who gives out of the greatest love as He “lays down His life for His friends.”