The Greatest of These is Love

As we enter the last week in Advent, we have heard messages of Hope, we have heard messages of Peace, we have heard of messages of Joy, and now we hear from the angel directly a message of Love. No greater news was ever delivered, a message to Mary by the angel Gabriel when he told her that "nothing will be impossible for God". That message of God's love still echoes today. We will hear it from the mouths of the children from Our Shepherd as they recall the story of God's unending love. We will also hear it from the pulpit as we respond as Mary did: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to our word.” As Advent comes to a close we say with hope, and with peace, and with joy, and especially with love.... "Come Lord Jesus, please come quickly!"

Advent Midweek catechism series: Unwrapping the Gifts Parts 3 and 4 of Baptism

Free to Serve Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009 Preacher: Rev. Steve Woodfin John 1:6-8; 19-28 John the Baptist was a rock star in his day. Matthew tells us that “Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him.” Imagine what he could have done on Facebook! Yet, John didn’t seek all that attention for his own self-promotion. Instead, he came “to bear witness to the light.” In that role, he found perfect comfort and peace. For that role, he was prepared to sacrifice every hour of his life. In today’s culture of social media self-promotion, God’s calling to His people stands out dramatically. We are not the light. We bear witness to the light. But in the confidence of our status as heirs to God’s heavenly treasures, we are free to sacrifice our lives in faithful service in pointing to the light which has come to shine in the darkness.

Second Part of Baptism

Catechesis is the focus for the Advent Midweek Vespers at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church. Week #2 Pastor Woodfin preaches on the Second part of Baptism.

In the Wilderness

"In the Wilderness" Mark 1:1-8 John the Baptist was a bold and strange witness who was sent by God to prepare the way of the Lord. He caught the attention of the people that went out to meet him. He wore strange clothing and ate strange food. As people went to see the wonder of this man in the wilderness, John told them that there was one greater than him that was on his way. John the Baptist was the messenger preparing the way for the Lord. Just as Israel arrived to the promise land after the exodus from Egypt through the wilderness, we arrive to the gospel of Jesus Christ through the wilderness.

First Part of Baptism

Catechesis is the focus for the Advent Midweek Vespers at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church. Week #1 Pastor Gaertner preaches on the first part of Baptism.

Mark 13:24-37 In the Gospel reading for this weekend, the first Sunday of the church year, Jesus explains in no uncertain terms that when He comes, everything we know will be turned upside down. Since no one knows the day or hour, He cautions those listening to "be on guard, keep awake" for the coming of His Kingdom. But here's the joy: The Kingdom has already come. When Christ was born in Bethlehem. When He walked dutifully to the cross of Calvary and destroyed death by His own. God's Kingdom comes. And through us. Yes, God brings His Kingdom through the good works His people do, by His grace, through His Spirit's leading. And each moment of kindness given, love shared, Gospel proclaimed, brings a piece (and the peace) of the Kingdom with it. So the "staying awake" is not static, but dynamic. When we bring His love, Christ comes. When we make sacrifices for others (and this year, that might mean gathering in smaller groups, or not at all), Christ comes. When the glorious Gospel is proclaimed, Christ is present, He comes, and His Kingdom extends. And the more that happens, the more our world is joyfully turned upside-down. Preacher: Rev. Mike Vieregge Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009

Thanksgiving Day Sermon

The King Jesus Revealed

Matthew 25:31-46 Preacher: Rev. Dr. Evan Gaertner Title: The King Jesus Revealed “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). We encounter Jesus as the King who has authority in judgment and as the one who is the least among us. Blessed are the ones who find God without vainly aiming for glory and praise but by trusting that God can be present in the ordinary. It is our Savior Jesus that has made holy the least among us by His incarnation. He has joined us in our sins on the cross, walked with us in our sickness on the road, and talked with us in our loneliness at the well. Jesus is no longer invisible. Jesus is the Savior that wears the crown of the king, the crown of thorns. Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, School, Childcare in Birmingham, Michigan 48009

Who we are in Christ

In the parable of the talents, the master of the house blesses all three servants with very generous gifts, “each according to his ability.” Jesus doesn’t specify religious denomination, political party, or ethnicity. This is a picture of a trusting, generous master and three simple servants. They are all treated the same. That one of the servants misjudges the master speaks not of who the master is, but who the servant is, or rather, how the servant simply does not grasp the reality of such grace and undeserved generosity. Our Heavenly Father gives His gifts to His beloved creatures! He loves us and accepts us for who we are, regardless of the identities which we give ourselves, or which the world gives. These identities may or may not have much importance in this life, but ultimately, they do not define who we are; only God does that. And by grace, through the gift of faith, He has given us identities which will stand for eternity: we are dearly loved children of God.

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