Forgive and Don't Forget Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Steve Woodfin Jeremiah 31:34 Soap operas are famous for the element of “convenient amnesia.” Whenever it helps the storyline for one of the characters to forget critical information, along comes the amnesia, and magically, all is forgotten. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could choose to forget a betrayal or a sin against us that chews away beneath the surface, tempting us to hold a grudge or contemplate revenge? God can. God DOES. In Jeremiah 31:34b, God says: “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, God looks at us and sees holy saints; He treats us as those who have never sinned against Him. There are some wrongs which we may never be able to forget. But to that memory we can add something glorious, powerful, and eternal: God’s grace through Christ Jesus. If God can forget our transgressions, with His help and by that same grace, perhaps we can let go of the grudges which only serve to weigh us down.

Lent Midweek Vespers Rev. Mike Vieregge preaches on the theme Return from Denial Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Text: Numbers 21:4-9 The people of Israel in the wilderness struggled to believe in God’s promises as they moved toward the unknown. They complained to God and Moses about the wilderness and desired to go back and live in slavery in Egypt. Going forward into the unknown is impossible if God’s promises remain unknown to us. In the face of all the forces that work against us and try to destroy us, we must continually look to God as our life and salvation. As the Israelites looked upon the bronze serpent, we look to Jesus lifted high on the cross. The people bitten in judgment for their sins found healing in God’s promises. Today you are invited to look on Jesus with faith that in Him. In Christ find healing for your sins and relief from judgment. The unknown is hard to move toward. Without faith in God it is impossible to move forward. Look upon the cross and find your victory.

A Fool's Errand

This weekend we welcome to our pulpit Rev. Tyler Cronkright, who serves as Associate Pastor at Family of God Lutheran Church (FoG). FoG is located in the Springwells Village neighborhood on the southwest side of Detroit. In 2021, it is very easy and tempting for us to follow a different Jesus. We follow this Jesus as he does whatever it is that we want him to do, answering our every beck and call. The reality for us, however, is that this is not the Jesus that died for our sins. As Paul says, "We preach Christ crucified." We follow the true Jesus on the fool's errand that leads him to death. But it is in this exact place that we are given life eternal.

Midweek Lent 2 sermon by Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner in the CPH Lent series Return to the Lord Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 "Rejoice in Hope . . . Rejoice in Suffering" Genesis 17:1–7,15–16; Mark 8:27–38 Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge As we continue our walk to the cross this Lenten season, we look forward, keeping our eyes fixed on the cross with a hope of the resurrection. Though we are filled with the joy that the certain hope the empty tomb brings us, we also know that we will endure times of suffering as we make that walk. Sometimes those sufferings are physical, as we will hear in our Old Testament reading where Abram and Sarai suffered, as they longed for a child of their own. Other times we suffer through moments of doubt in our faith, as we hear in our Gospel reading where Peter would not keep his eyes focused towards the cross of Christ. Whatever season of suffering you are in, whether it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, remain anchored to the hope that we have.... a hope that was born out of the bitter suffering and death of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As Hebrews 12:2 reminds us: "Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross." May we too, endure or own crosses and sufferings with joy for the hope that has been revealed to us in Christ.

Return to Prayer

Midweek Lent 1 sermon by Rev. Steve Woodfin in the CPH Lent series Return to the Lord

The Lord will Provide

God tested Abraham. It was an unfathomable test, which Abraham could not pass by his own wisdom. Abraham had to have faith in the mercy of God when he offered up for sacrifice his own son. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Abraham trusted that God would be able even to raise up his son from the dead. After the Lord provided the ram in the thicket, Abraham called that place of sacrifice, “The Lord will Provide.” We enter Lent, the season of wilderness and sacrifice, believing in the promise that God will provide life and salvation. We keep arriving at the cross. All seems lost, and yet we discover that the Lord provides life and salvation. Act with faith in the moments when God is not yet visible and trust that the Lord will provide.

Return to the Lord

Ash Wednesday Sermon

For three weeks, we will focus on one verse that the Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the church in Corinth. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). In this last week of our stewardship emphasis, we see how God has blessed us to "Abound in Every Good Work.” This weekend, our stewardship series and the Transfiguration of our Lord wonderfully collide. As we look to the mountaintop and see Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus, we are reminded God accomplished good works through these flawed, sinful men…and by His power, for His glory, He will accomplish good works through you and I, as well. In fact, He declares through the apostle Paul that before we even existed, God prepared good works for us to accomplish, “that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). God’s love is so deep for us that He allows us to experience the joy of being “Kingdom bringers” as He uses us to share the blessings He has given to us, with those He has placed in our lives. Matthew tells us as Jesus was transfigured, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” This light, this glory, is something God shares as He gives each of us everything we need to “be the light” that breaks the darkness of the world, and shines forth His love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His life.

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