Monday, September 13, 2021

Sept. 11-10, 2021 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Acts 3:1-10 “WHAT I HAVE I WILL GIVE YOU!”

 

PENTECOST 14

Sept. 11-10, 2021

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Acts 3:1-10

 

“WHAT I HAVE I WILL GIVE YOU!”

 

Acts 3:1-10 (EHV) Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour] an hour of prayer. A certain man who was lame from birth was carried there every day and placed at the temple gate, which is called Beautiful, so that he could beg for donations from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked them for a donation. Peter looked directly at him, as did John. Peter said, “Look at us.” So the man paid close attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered the temple courts with them, walking, jumping, and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 They recognized him as the one who used to sit begging for money at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”

 

          His day began like so many other days before had. His friends, good friends, faithful friends, stopped at his house and carried him to the Temple. They carefully placed him in position by the gate called Beautiful. It was the best spot for begging. His friends always wanted to do more but they only made enough to feed their own families. This was as much as they could do and he was grateful. Many people from many different places came to the Temple to pray so there was a steady stream of potential helpers. Over his life he had gotten used to the looks. Most of pity and compassion. Some of disgust. The hardest ones were when the children were with their parents. It was not their fault. They were curious and did not know any better. The finger point. The whispered response to the innocent question, “What happened to him?” By the body language and wide eyes he could tell when it was said. It had been repeated by the rabbis. “Either he or his parents sinned. That’s why he can’t walk. It’s judgment from God.” He hated that because all his thinking life he had asked the same question and came to the same conclusion. I’m not good enough for God to help. Now one of his friends had told him about a man named Jesus. Many said he was the Messiah. This Jesus taught that God was first and foremost merciful and compassionate and wanted sinners in heaven. That’s why Jesus had come. But the rabbis and teachers of the law said he was crazy and in league with the Devil. And then over Passover the Romans had put him to death. A glimmer of hope faded away.

          He looked up. Fresh meat approaching. Time to get ready for action. By their dress they looked like Galileans. Probably not much money there. But you know what they say, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” He went into action. “Eleison! Eleison!” Have mercy. Have mercy. They stopped. Good news! And then…and then… “Peter looked directly at him, as did John. Peter said, “Look at us.” So the man paid close attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately the man’s feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered the temple courts with them, walking, jumping, and praising God.”

          Brothers and sisters, there is all kinds of neat stuff in the word of God but what I want you to really focus on is this phrase, “What I have I will give you.” First the Holy Spirit put our eyes on Peter and John who were just going about daily life. Then he introduces us to a man who is a beggar and knows he is a beggar but he thinks he knows what he needs but really doesn’t. He thinks what he needs is silver and gold. He thinks what he needs is to be able to walk. But what he really needs is Jesus as His Savior. And that’s exactly what he got. Now you might think that this lame man was just happy he could walk again but look at his response. Walking and jumping and praising God. Not Peter and John. No thanks to them. His relationship with God was restored in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s what Peter and John gave him and if you want to crack open those Bible in front of your or on your phone app and read the rest of the story you will see Peter and John using this healing miracle to point not only the onlookers at the Temple to Jesus but also the Jewish Sanhedrin, their ruling council. What I have I will give you.

          Where did that come from? Well Peter and John knew that they were beggars too. These are disciples of Jesus post Pentecost. That means the Holy Spirit matured them in a hurry. Peter so bold and brash and self confident who gets the dirty laundry of his threefold denial of Christ despite repeated warning splashed on the pages of Scripture. John, whose, early “what’s in it for me” is also clearly exposed. But you know what? I contend Peter and John are glad that’s all they got outed for. They have the same sinful hearts you and I have and if you don’t think that’s all that bad then imagine if God would miraculously display on these screens all your evil thoughts from the past week? Would you want to be here? I’d never show my face around here again! They were beggars before God. What could they offer Him? “Here Lord, this is what I bring to the table, choose me.” And God sees a pile of smelly sins. “No thank you. But I choose you anyway.” “Freely you have received. Freely give,” Jesus said. “What I have I will give you,” Peter and John said. They had Jesus and they gave Him.

          What I have I will give you. Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge that we too have been beggars before God. With what shall we buy His love? Our money? No, let’s offer Him our holy righteous living. Oh, not so good. How about this? At least I tried. Yuck. Not good enough. Nothing in my hand I bring simply to thy cross I cling. We were beggars before God entirely dependent on God’s mercy. Eleison. And God said, “Yes. I have had mercy on you and now I give you my Son Jesus. He is your Savior. You are now His sin and He is your righteousness and I give you the right to live and rule with me in heaven.” Do you see what that means? We are beggars no more. We are rich! “Freely you have received. Freely give,” said Jesus. “What I have I will give you,” said Peter and John.

          And so can you and I. Let’s go back to the beginning. Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour an hour of prayer.” What were Peter and John doing? Just going about their regular business. It was a time for prayer so they were going to pray. God put in their path someone they could give to. God’s way of working has not changed. He still wants all people to be saved. He still chooses to use His people to be a part of that work which means He has chosen you. When Jesus said “You will be my witnesses,” He was graciously speaking to all of us. Here at St Jacobi we are making a congregation wide emphasis to get us all actively involved in sharing Jesus. What I have I will give you. Our fall Bible Class series “One by One” will help open our eyes. And that’s really where it starts. With a prayer. Lord open my eyes to see the beggars you place before me. These beggars who are ready for Jesus will likely think they know what they need. To get over the loneliness of the death of a loved one. Cure from a disease. Fix a broken relationship. But what they really need is Jesus. You have Him. What I have I will give you. It’s that simple.

          There’s no Paul Harvey “the rest of the story” about this lame man who had been healed. We are not told that he joined Peter or John on any missionary journeys or went himself anywhere special. He may have. Or more likely he stayed in Jerusalem, lived a normal life, but realized he had as supernormal purpose. Keep his eyes open for more beggars to share Jesus with. Freely he had received Jesus. Freely he would give Jesus. Keep your eyes open, brothers and sisters, and when the Lord provides your opportunity remember, “What I have I will give you.” Then give ‘em Jesus. Amen.

Monday, August 23, 2021

August 21-23, 2021 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Ephesians 5:15-20 (NIV 1984) “LIVING THE WISE LIFE!”

 

PENTECOST 13

August 21-23, 2021

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Ephesians 5:15-20 (NIV 1984)

 

“LIVING THE WISE LIFE!”

1.     Means realizing there is a foolish life.

2.     Means prioritizing God’s words.

 

5:15-20 (NIV 1984) Be very careful, then how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 7Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

          You’ve heard the phrases. Ask someone how things are going and they may reply, “I’m living the dream!” and their Fakebook account might make you believe it because they seem to forget to post about the normal and unpleasant things in life. Here in the Milwaukee area we know about living the High Life, right? You know what you don’t seem to hear from anybody? Living the wise life. Unless of course you are reading your Bible. Then it comes out clearly, over and over again. God’s appeal to His people to live the wise life. You heard it in what God wrote in Proverbs where Wisdom was personified sending an open invitation to partake of God’s wisdom. So today let’s dig into God’s Word to see what the wise life looks like and why it is so important.

          Living the wise life first of all means recognizing there is a foolish life and we don’t want any part of it. Be very careful.” I want you to think for a moment. What kind of people in your life have urged you to be careful? Well moms say that a lot to their children, right? “Be careful. It’s hot. Don’t burn your tongue.”  Parents say that when their kids go driving. “Be careful! There’s a lot of crazy drivers out there.” One of the TV shows I liked watching when I was a little younger than I am now was Hill Street Blues. Remember it? Another good police show. That reminds me. We need to pray for our law enforcement people and their families. Their service to us has them facing all kinds of dangers. On that show Sgt. Phil Esterhaus would always say to the officers about to leave roll call, “Let’s be careful out there.”

          Those who urge you to be careful are ones who know there is a danger and care about you deeply. “Be very careful,” Paul wrote. Only remember this is the Holy Spirit of God speaking through the Apostle Paul first to the Christians at Ephesus and then to every other Christian who reads it until Jesus returns. God loves you. He knows there are dangers for believers. The danger of the foolish life. Be very careful, then how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 7Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” We are people much like the brothers and sisters in the church at Ephesus. The Holy Spirit has worked in our lives through the Gospel message in word and Sacrament. We know and believe that the words of Scripture our true. We know Jesus is our Savior. Why the warning for them and us to be careful? The days are evil. No one has to convince us of that. Naturally we think of the evil of the Taliban, the evil of the senseless violence on our cities, the death by drag racing, the rise of carjackings and window smashing. Abortion and same sex marriage have been a part of our lives so long we may not even register that evil. But the worse kind is what the Ephesians had to face and now we are. Living among people who have many gods and want you to believe there are many ways to heaven. People who want you to exchange the wise life for the foolish one.

          Understand what the Lord’s will is. He wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. What truth? The one you already know “For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” It goes on “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” The wise life holds dearly to that truth and will of God.

          The foolish does not. You heard in Psalm 1. Only two paths. Righteous through faith in Jesus. Unrighteous and wicked any other way. No in between. Living the wise life means recognizing the only other option is foolishness. Saying there is no god. Rejecting Jesus as the only Savior. Unlike the Ephesian believers many of us have not had to come to grips with the fact that loved ones were rejecting Jesus and following other gods. If God Himself does not change the course of America I believe every one of us will. And then the temptation to compromise comes. Be very careful how you live. Understand the Lord’s will, then stand under it. Accept it. And realize that to throw away God’s revealed truth is to throw away your salvation. Living the wise life means realizing there is a foolish life and we want nothing to do with it.

          Living the wise life is also marked by an obvious prioritizing of God’s Word. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Apparently Wisconsin is not the only place that has a fascination with alcohol use and abuse. Ephesus did too. Living the wise life could be summarized with ‘Don’t be filled with spirits but rather the Spirit.” Too much of the spirits of wine or beer or other alcoholic beverages and your inhibitions are lowered. You do sinful things you wouldn’t normally do. Debauchery.

          Instead be filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit protects your faith. The Holy Spirit builds up your faith. The Holy Spirit gives you strength to resist sin. The Holy Spirit enables you to live the wise life, the godly life. Be filled with the Spirit. How does that happen? Psalms. Hymns. Spiritual songs. What do they all have in common? If they are any good they proclaim the word of the Lord. That’s how the Holy Spirit fills us. Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Speak to one another. Here we see the importance of getting together in person if possible. You can’t speak to each other and encourage each other when you are sitting by yourself at home. But you can when you are together at church! You might like the sound of your voice better when you are singing in the shower or in the car but you can’t sing and make music that will benefit others when you are by yourself.

          So I guess we could say living the wise life is really living a worshipful life, a life that worships God individually and together with others. Which brings me back to a memorable phrase from this part of God’s Word. Make the most of every opportunity. Literally in the Greek of the New Testament it says, “redeem the time.” Not only is it true that time is money it’s also true the time is like money. You only get so much and you have to be wise in how you spend it. What does your time budget look like? What’s set aside for the Spirit filled word? Kids, I know it’s fun to play video games and if you enjoy playing a sport that’s great and you can try to be the best at it you can be but be careful. In the end the fact that you missed a free throw or a spike or serve won’t have any impact on your faith and ability to live the wise life. Missing time with God’s word will. Make the most of every opportunity. Do you have a devotional life? Can you schedule some get together times. All kinds are coming up with the restart of Kids’ Club and armory. All our different Bible classes and ways to make music. It’s part of the wise life.

And the wise life is what we want to be living. Those who say they are living the dream upon further review are being deceptive. They are not owning up to their nightmares. Living the high life. Well depending on how you understand that, not so good. The wise life is what God chose us for. The wise life is what we are born for at our Baptism. The wise life keeps us connected to Jesus. The wise life leads to heaven and right now you are living it. So let’s be careful out there! Amen.

Monday, July 19, 2021

July 17-19, 2021 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Ephesians 4:1-6 “UNITED WE STAND!”

 

PENTECOST 8

July 17-19, 2021

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Ephesians 4:1-6

 

“UNITED WE STAND!”

1.     United on Christ we stand.

2.     United for Christ we stand.

 

Ephesians 4:1-6 (EHV) “As a prisoner in the Lord, therefore, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. 2 Live with all humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in the one hope of your calling. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all.”

 

          I have a question for you. What do Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Satan have in common? Give up? They are all regarded as master tacticians who have successfully employed a military tactic known as Divide and Conquer. You divide your enemy’s forces and then you can take them out little by little. We need to know this because we are enemies of Satan. He hates us. He hates us because we have faith in Jesus and we have every intention of holding on to that faith and sharing it with others so more and more in this Greenfield area and beyond will believe in Jesus and be saved. Since he hates us and we are his enemies what do you suppose he is going to try to do? Divide us. This is nothing new. As Solomon once said, “There is nothing new under the sun,” and so if you want to look at how Satan will try to attack our church just read through the New Testament letters to the churches and you will see. Take Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the believers in the church at the city of Ephesus. What did he say? “Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Why would he need to say that? Satan had been busy dividing. So let’s look together at this word of God so we don’t fall into Satan’s trap and so that United We Stand.

          United on Christ we stand. There are all kinds of things that can separate and divide people. Back in the early church times whether you were a Jew or a Gentile threatened to divide congregations. Economic status, whether you were rich or poor or whether you were a free citizen or a slave threatened to divide congregations. Whether you were male or female caused divisions. In our time we have seen many others. Cultures: the language you speak or skin tone. King James version of the Bible or NIV. Traditional Lord’s Prayer or modern. New hymnal or old. Will we do that again? More recently strong feelings on political issues or politicians has been doing that. How you handled or what you thought of Covid has done that. You know recently I learned one of our new teachers is an ardent Bears fan. Talk about a divider! But seriously, those other ones are serious. Hard feelings can separate. Then we’re divided. Then we are not working together. Then Satan wins.

          And we haven’t talked about our worst divider, our sinful natures. Nothing new under the sun. Listen to what Pastor Luther wrote to people in his day. “Learn here to see your neighbor as a lost sheep, to cover his shame with your honor and to let your sanctity be a cover for his sins. But now, when people come together they hack one another to pieces to prove how fiercely they fight against sin.” He’s talking about how easy we find it to find fault with each other and overlook our own faults. Talking badly about each other instead of defending and building each other up divides.

          Now how can we possibly stand against all these tricks of Satan? Christ. United on Christ we stand. “Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in the one hope of your calling. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all.” By virtue of our one Baptism into Christ we have been given the unity of the Spirit. We have the same Father in heaven. We believe the same faith. We share the same sure hope for heaven. We have received to unity of the Spirit. We don’t have to work to get it. It’s there. We just need to maintain it. That happens when as we remember it really don’t matter who we cheer for or against, what music we like or don’t, how we think the country or health matters should be handled. What matters is we are family, brothers and sisters in Christ. Our common faith unites us. And we need each other.

 

          Watch this little video prepared by our synod.

 

          We need each other. So love for Christ moves us “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. 2 Live with all humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love.”  That word patience used to be translated “long suffering.” It reminds us that it’s not always easy to get along. You have to work, forgive, put up with each other… like Jesus does with us. And that’s why we can do the same for each other. Can I really not forgive when I’ve been forgiven so much by Christ? Can I really not put up with the things that bother me about my fellow members when Christ is constantly putting up with me? United on Christ we stand.

          It’s important that we do because we have a most important mission. United for Christ we stand. In our world, in our country, in our community our Lord Jesus has chosen us to be His representatives and His ambassadors. Like Paul and the Ephesian Christians were. Look again how Paul started. “As a prisoner in the Lord.” Why was Paul in prison? Oh yeah, that’s right. Satan hates those who are loyal to Christ. He knows what that message can do. But he couldn’t stop the message, could he? He thought he had Paul sidelined but instead together with the Ephesian the message kept spreading. They were united for Christ.

          So are we. I know it gets a little frustrating to hear the anti Christian rhetoric. Those of you who watch politics know about the Equality Act passed by the House of Representatives that if it becomes law would place serious restrictions on our ability to preach and teach the Word of God faithfully. This should not surprise us. Satan hates those who are loyal to Christ. But Christ is bigger than Satan and united for Christ we stand. Look at what He has done for us, our facilities, the workers he has given us. We have increased enrollment in preschool and school. He has perfectly positioned us to keep teaching His truth and be his witnesses. If we are going to do that and continue to do that we need each other. There is strength in numbers. Every single prayer matters. And so does 1200 going up together. Every single offering matters. And so do 1200 put together. Each one of us needs to stand up for Jesus. 1200 together side by side, shoulder to shoulder, makes it easier. We are God’s gifts to each other. United for Christ we stand.

There is this one phrase Paul used that keeps bouncing around in my head. “Make every effort.” Make every effort. I have to ask myself and I have to ask you, “Am I making every effort? Are you making every effort?” We need to be together. We need to know each other well. We need to be a united laugh together, cry together, work together, play together family so more and more will want to be a part of us. We need to be together to encourage each other. Make every effort.

          United we stand. On Christ. For Christ. United we stand. I think you all know how that phrase goes on. Divided we fall. Satan knows that too probably better than Julius Caesar and Napoleon did. But we know it as well. And we have Jesus. And you know what always happens when Jesus and Satan fight? Jesus wins! Amen.

 

Monday, June 28, 2021

June 26-28, 2021 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Mark 4:35-41 JESUS CARES!

 

PENTECOST 5

June 26-28, 2021

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Mark 4:35-41

 

JESUS CARES!

1. He allows storms when needed.

2. He controls storms for our good.

 

Mark 4:35-41 (EHV) “On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.” 36After leaving the crowd behind, the disciples took him along in the boat, just as he was. Other small boats also followed him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves were splashing into the boat, so that the boat was quickly filling up. 38Jesus himself was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. They woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to drown?” 39Then he got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still lack faith?” 41They were filled with awe and said to one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”

 

          Into the lives of every person, storms must come. It is the way of things in a sin ruined world. It may come in the form of the unending drizzle that settles in the very day you planned a garden party or the thunder and lightning that sends picnic and beach goers scrambling for their cars. Every storm is a very visible reminder that this world is broken by sin. And that reminds us of some others storms that must come into the lives every person—storms caused directly by sin, ours or another’s. And so you think of how a marriage or family or friendship relationship gets ruined by careless words or actions, or words spoken in haste, anger or hurt. Or you think of the storms that serious accidents, illness, death or financial loss can bring. For those that know the Almighty God is the Almighty God there is almost always a faith struggle when storms enter their lives. “Don’t you care? Don’t you care about what I am going through? Don’t you care how I am feeling?” Good News brothers and sisters, Jesus cares. And He shows He cares. Run with me to God’s Word and have your faith built up. You’re going to need it for your next storm.

          Mark’s Gospel records, “On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.” 36After leaving the crowd behind, the disciples took him along in the boat, just as he was. Other small boats also followed him.” We are picking this up in the middle of an account. That day Mark is talking about had been a busy one for Jesus. He had been doing many miracles of healing and teaching and fending off jealous Pharisees with their accusatory questions. It was time for some rest and a new place for Jesus to serve. Some tried to follow. “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were splashing into the boat, so that the boat was quickly filling up. 38Jesus himself was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.”  Into the lives of every person storms must come. This was not just any storm, a great windstorm feeding waves so high they were swamping the boat. All the while Jesus is sleeping.

          You can picture it, can’t you? Experienced sailors working the oars or sails, trying to keep the boat aimed correctly, using every trick in the book to prevent their boat from sinking, tacking back and forth, bailing water. And in the midst of all that work they were doing what do they see? Jesus. Sleeping. You know what’s coming. We would have said it too. They woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to drown?” Don’t you care! Spouses say it to each other when they feel left out. Children say it to parents when the children don’t get what they want. Believers say it to their God when they don’t understand why the Lord has allowed storms into their lives. Car accidents. Deaths of children. Financial disaster. Tropical storms when you are trying to sit on the beach. We ask that question because we know something. Jesus is in control. He sends storms. He stops them. We wrestle with the why. Why is He allowing this to happen? Doesn’t He care?

          It’s important that as we wrestle we never get tricked into forgetting our Lord’s great love for us. You heard what happened when Job forgot that it was a loving God allowing all of his troubles. “Then the LORD responded to Job out of a violent storm. He said: 2 Who is this who spreads darkness over my plans with his ignorant words? 3 Get ready for action like a man! Then I will ask you questions,

and you will inform me.” (Job 38:1-3) I don’t know about you  but I’m not signing up for that one. Friends, when the Lord allows or sends storms into your lives it’s for a reason and not just any reason, a good reason. Those storms are needed by you, by others. This particular one Mark tells about may have been sent so too ardent or inquisitive people would stay home where they belong. The disciples needed another lesson on putting faith into practice. Every Bible reader needed more evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. We need to learn how to handle storms in such a way that we give God glory. Jesus allows storms only when they are needed. So if you are going through one right now understand this. It is needed. When your next one comes, and it will come, hold on to this truth, Jesus is only allowing it because it is needed. And Jesus cares!

          Friends, how rude it is to turn on the one who takes Hell for us. How disloyal to call into question Jesus’ care for us when we know for a fact we are the ones who often care too much about ourselves and too little about our Lord Jesus. In the face of the storm of unfair criticism and stinging questioning of love Jesus cares. And he shows it. He controls storms for our good.

          “Then he got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind stopped, and there was a great calm.” There is absolutely no question. Jesus is in control of storms. There is absolutely no question. We are not. Chris and I vacationed on the beach last summer with friends. There was a tropical storm. My first one. When it subsided a little we went out to see what it was like. Lean into the wind. Sand stinging your ankles. I’m a little bit of a risk taker but I wasn’t going anywhere near those waves. I’ve been pummeled by them before when the flags were only green or yellow. If any of you have been caught out on the water in a boat when a storm came up you know. You felt the fear. You are not in control. Jesus is. “Peace! Be still!” and the wind and waves obeyed. We can’t get our kids to that. Jesus did with a few words to a powerful storm. Jesus cares. He controls storms for our good. He did that with the storm Paul went through in our second reading.

          He used this one to help the disciples. “He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still lack faith?” Look at when Jesus said this. After he had stilled the storm. He saw their hearts. They have been following Jesus. They had seen a day full of miracles. They had just seen another one. Why so afraid? Do you still lack faith? Yes. But Jesus didn’t push them away in disgust. He didn’t stomp off across the water because He was surrounded by incompetent weaklings. Jesus’ words had the effect that the miracle did not. “They were filled with awe and said to one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” Jesus controlled the storm for their good. Their faith and their awe were built up.

          So it is with you. If you are going through a storm of some family upheaval or relationship mess or threatened disaster hopefully you realize how out of your control it is. Don’t fight that or get frustrated. Rejoice. Rejoice that there is someone better than you in control. Jesus. And Jesus cares! You can try every trick you know like the disciples did but it takes Jesus to control the storms and if He has not stilled yours yet there is a reason, a good and loving reason. You don’t have to be afraid. He’ll set it still at the right time. And if you are feeling ashamed at how you have handled it and your lack of faith know this. Jesus does not reject you or push you away. He sees your weakness. He gives you this, His word, to still your heart, to build your faith. Jesus cares! And whenever Satan whispers in your ear to try to get you to doubt, run to the cross and see your Jesus giving His life for you, because He loves you. Jesus cares! Always. And He always works for the good.

          Last week Chris and I were at the beach again. And again a tropical storm, Claudette, moved in. Are we sensing a pattern? Hoping to have some family time with our girls on the beach you know what we wanted. No storm. You know how we felt. Disappointed in God. Doesn’t He care that we want this good thing? But that same storm that kept us off a beach moved a lot of moisture to parts of the country that have had drought. Jesus cares. We can trust Him. Into the lives of every person storms must come. Let’s learn to thank God for them. They are only allowed when needed. They are controlled for our good. How do we know? Jesus cares! Amen.

Monday, June 14, 2021

June 12th-14th, 2021 Pastor Waldschmidt Genesis 3:8-15

https://youtu.be/bh9NT7tfS4M


Genesis 3:8-15   They heard the voice of the LORD God, who was walking around in the garden during the cooler part of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 The LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  10The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” 11God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13The LORD God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14The LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all the livestock, and more than every wild animal. You shall crawl on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.

The Biggest Mess The World Has Ever Seen

I.  With Damage Mankind Could Never See

II.  With A Fix Only God Could See

     I’ve seen some messes in my day.  Like the time I ran out of dishwasher detergent and thought  dishwashing soap was the same thing or maybe the time when the Christmas tree fell over or the time the clothes washer overflowed two days before the confirmation gathering at our house.  I’ve seen pictures of messes too.  Like the tornado that went through Oakfield in 1996 or Hurricane Katrina that flooded New Orleans in 2005.  This week, on the anniversary of D Day, we were reminded of the carnage on the beaches in Normandy.  As bad as all of those messes were, the Bible takes us today to “The Biggest Mess The World Has Ever Seen.”  I.  With Damage Mankind Could Never See  II.  With A Fix Only God Could See.

     “They heard the voice of the LORD God, who was walking around in the garden during the cooler part of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.”  When I’ve gone to the zoo or walk through Whitnall Park I’ve often thought of how cool it would have been to walk through the Garden of Eden with God “during the cooler part of the day”- to hear God give fun facts about all the animals and the plants in the garden.  But there would be none of that when God came into the Garden after the first sin.  Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and brought on the biggest mess the world had ever seen.  There was more damage than mankind could ever see. 

        I wonder how obvious the change from perfect world to sinful world was to Adam and Eve.  Did sharp thistle weeds shoot out of the ground for their bare feet to step on?  Did the mosquitoes suddenly become biting pests in the garden?  Could they suddenly feel their bodies lurch toward the day of their death?  Even it wasn’t obvious yet to Adam and Eve’s eyes right away, it’s clear that that there was terrible damage in God’s perfect world-damage that went beyond what they could see.  Sin brought damage on the inside.  It was the biggest mess the world has ever seen.

        I don’t know how much of the damage was clear to Adam and Eve, but looking through the camera of God’s Word we can see some of that inside damage.  When Adam and Eve heard God in the garden, rather than running toward God they ran away.  They tried to hide from God.  The Bible says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God.”  The wall was up.  There was a separation from God on the inside.  Their first thought was not, “Let’s run to God” but rather “let’s run away from God.” 

         Part of the big mess is that sin is not smart.  In the cartoons sometimes the characters try to hide behind a tree but it’s always obvious where they are. Did Adam and Eve really think that God would not be able to see where they were?   “The LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”    The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”  Sin is not smart.  The best that Adam could come up with was a lie?  What a mess!  And now Adam was lying to God to whom all hearts are open. 

     It gets worse.  Now in the middle of this mess with sin and guilt all over, the blame game starts.  “God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”  God gives Adam a chance to at least admit what he had done.  But instead from the mud and muck of sin, Adam spits in God’s face.  “The man said, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  At first it seems like Adam is blaming Eve.  He could be blaming “anyone but him.” But listen again, “The woman you gave to be with me.”  Adam was blaming God.  According to Adam, this whole big mess was God’s fault.  If he had created Eve, this whole mess would not have happened.  So it was God’s fault.  Sin is not smart.  What a mess!

     Adam wasn’t the only one affected by sin.  Eve plays the blame game too.  “The LORD God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  What a mess!  With more damage than Adam and Eve could have seen at the time. The damage sin went beyond Adam and Eve could see that day.  Wars, disease, suffering hatred, famine would make their mess  through the ages.  Sin had spread from Adam to Eve and would be spread to all people. In their immediate family there would be a murder.  Their oldest son Cain killed his brother.  That sin disease passed to all of us.  When we are little no one has to teach us to be naughty.  It comes from inside.   That trait of blaming others for one’s own sin would be passed on to future generations.   The Bible tells us that even though Adam and Eve were created holy and perfect, since that day of disobedience in the Garden “the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth and that all of the thoughts and plans formed in their hearts were only evil every day.  Have you noticed how when we are confronted by our own sin, the very first thought that goes through our mind is to deny our sin, lie about it, blame someone else or minimize the wrong we have down?

       Some might wonder how eating a piece of fruit could cause such a mess.  But remember what was behind eating that fruit- disobedience.   By doing what God had told them not to do, Adam and Eve were saying that they knew better than God- that they were going to listen to the devil rather than their loving creator.  The wages of sin is death.  That disobedience brought sin and death pouring into God’s perfect world.  That first mess brought all of the other messes into the world through the ages.  More damage than Adam and Eve could ever have seen. 

        God had the ability to destroy the whole world from a distance.  He could have fried Adam and Eve with a lightning bolt from miles away.  But yet the Holy God trudged through the sinful mess of his broken world to go looking for the selfish disobedient people who had made all of this mess.  He didn’t go hunting for Adam and Eve to destroy them nor close the distance in a millisecond to get right in Adam’s face as he had every right to do.  Instead he walks into the garden.  He doesn’t break Adam and Eve’s eardrums with a God scream.  He speaks in measured tones, about the greatest mess the world had ever seen.  He speaks about the fix only God could see. 

     “The LORD God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all the livestock, and more than every wild animal. You shall crawl on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”  It sure might have seemed like Satan in a snake’s costume won that day.  But the Lord gave some permanent reminders for people that Satan did not win the war that day.  Satan’s defeat was sure.  Rather than being admired for its smarts, the snake who was more crafty than all of the other animals the Lord God had made, would bring a reaction of disgust.  Because the devil had used a snake to deceive and tempt,  the serpent would spend all of its days with its face in the dust. 

     “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.”  The root word for hostility is a wedge.  God saw that the people were on the same side as the devil against him, but God would send the Savior, the wedge who would put the people back on God’s side.  Only God could see a fix for the mess of sin.  Only God could bring the fix for the biggest mess the world had ever seen.  God would come himself.  The devil who  looked so scary and so smug there in the garden would have His head crushed.   Jesus, the God man lived perfectly in our place  and had his heel crushed paying for sins on the cross.  But his death was not a head crushing blow,  Jesus rose again.  The relationship would God was perfectly restored. 

       Can you see the huge mess sin has made in our world?  In our life?  Jesus is the one the  Bible points to and says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Those who push him away in unbelief have only that separation from God Adam and Eve felt a taste of  in the garden to look forward to.  But those who trust that Savior will live in paradise with him.  Those who push him away in unbelief It was a fix only God could see. 

     Have you made a huge mess out of your life?  Is there a huge mess facing you in your life right now?  Come again and look what God can do.  He showed his love for you in the Garden and at the cross.  He can fix things no one else can fix.  Trust in Him, His love, His power. Amen. 


Monday, June 7, 2021

June 5-7, 2021 PENTECOST 2 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Mark 2:23-28 “WHEN JESUS IS LORD…”

 

June 5-7, 2021

PENTECOST 2

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Mark 2:23-28

 

“WHEN JESUS IS LORD…”

 

          In 1 Peter 3:15 the Holy Spirit had the Apostle Peter write these words, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” It was in a section where Peter was encouraging Christians who were experiencing unjust suffering to still be winsome witnesses for Jesus as Savior. The key to doing that was to have Jesus as Lord of your heart not something or someone else. His words remind us of a key truth: if Jesus is not Lord to you than nothing you do or accomplish or try actually matters and you will mess up everything that God has given.

We have a great example of that in the word of God before us. We have some familiar players. Jesus and the Pharisees. People familiar with the Bible kind of spit out that word, Pharisees. If someone calls you a Pharisee it is no compliment. They are calling you pompous and arrogant and someone who thinks they are better than everybody else. Please remember that the Pharisees started out as the good guys. They were a religious sect of the Jews that tried to be very zealous for God. They accepted the Old Testament as the words of God. They cared very much that God be honored and His laws kept fully. They even added all kinds of protective laws around God’s laws in an effort to really, really keep them and they demanded that everybody else keep them too. Now how can people who are trying so hard to get things right get it so wrong?

 

1.     You know who Jesus is.

 

It’s because for them, Jesus was not Lord. They didn’t know who he was. Once on a Sabbath day, Jesus was passing through the grain fields, and his disciples began to pick heads of grain as they walked along. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath day?” You see Jesus walking with His disciples and your first impulse is to question him. The implication was clear. “Jesus, why are you letting your disciples break the law of God? Don’t you care about God’s laws?” Why? They saw Jesus as a rival teacher of the law and not as the Savior from sin they needed. They saw their way to having a relationship with the Almighty God was by doing the right things. In their minds they could do those right things so they didn’t need a Savior and so Jesus was not their Lord.

Is He your Lord? Do you know who He is? Maybe for a summer project you decide to reread all 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If you do that notice how focused Jesus is on His mission. He doesn’t stop people from sinning but He talks plenty about sin. He doesn’t try to overthrow the Roman government or wipe out crime, poverty or injustice. Instead he carefully obeys all laws and slowly but surely marches into Jerusalem to give His perfect life on the cross. He is Savior from sin. The one God had promised back in the Garden of Eden who would crush the Devil’s head. And when Jesus is Lord you know that.

Do you know that? Obviously you do. You are here worshipping Him or doing so online. And yet we have to work to keep knowing that. Remember those Pharisees? Remember they started out as the good guys, accepting the Bible as God’s Word and zealous for His commandments. Hey, that kind of sounds like us today, doesn’t it? While so many of our fellow Americans don’t accept the Bible as God’s Word, we do. While so many are rejecting the commandments of God we do accept them as absolute right and wrong. Do you see the danger for us? The Devil could trick us into becoming Pharisees. Some things to think about. If you are watching the news and you see God’s holy will rejected over and over again is your first thought, “I wish God would strike them down,” or “Good thing we have a Savior,” and “Come Lord Jesus!” Is Jesus your go to guy when you want to use His “Love your neighbor as yourself” to manipulate someone to follow rules established by man or your own opinion or is He your go to every morning and every night as your earnestly pray, “God have mercy on me, a sinner,” fully expecting Him to because Jesus is your Savior. Is Jesus primarily the fixer of all earthly ills or the one who lets you have a smile on your face in the midst of earthly ills because He has saved you for heaven? When Jesus is Lord, you know who He is, Savior.

You also know how to use the law. The Pharisees sure didn’t. “The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath day?” 25He replied to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry (he and his companions)? 26He entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the Bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for anyone to eat, except for the priests. He also gave some to his companions.” The Pharisees had high respect for the law. But because Jesus was not Lord they didn’t know how to use it. They saw the law and their ability to keep God’s commands as their way to heaven. They thought that was why God had given it. In other words they thought that God came up with the law and then He created people to serve it. Jesus pointed out it was in fact, the other way around. “Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is the Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Let’s go back to when the Sabbath was set aside to begin with. It was in the perfect world before sin. In the creation account we are told. “On the seventh day God had finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy, because on it he rested from all his work of creation that he had done.” God set aside the Sabbath after Adam and Eve were created. It was to be a blessing for them. It would serve them by letting them get rest. It wasn’t to be used to keep hungry people from eating. That was the point of referencing what happened with David. Only the priests by Old Testament law could eat the Bread of the Presence which was bread that had been set offered as a sacrifice to God. But when David and his men came and were hungry and that was the only food available. God’s laws were there to serve people not people to serve the law. The law was a blessing and since Jesus is Lord He tells you how to use His laws.

 

2.     You know how to use the Law.

 

And when Jesus is your Lord you know how to use the law. As a blessing. It’s first purpose is to show us our sin. Can I suggest another summer project? Pull out your Luther’s Catechism and review one commandment and its meaning per week. If you do that you will discover you are sinning a whole lot more than you are aware of. How can that be good? It will help you hold on to Jesus as Savior. It will help you appreciate all that Jesus has done for you. As one sainted Seminary professor used to put it, “You make your sin small, you make your Savior small. What size Savior do you have?” I have a big one. So do you. And using the commandments to make us conscious of sin does that. The law is a blessing. The second thing you will see is that all of God’s laws for all people were given with our best interests in mind, to bless us. Whether it’s the laws that point us to God first and using His name properly or valuing word and worship or protecting property and marriage, they all make earthly lives better.

And other’s eternal lives better. In 1 Peter 3:15 Peter followed, “But in your heart set apart Christ as Lord,” with “Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” When you get into those religious conversations about what is right and wrong don’t have the law as Lord but Jesus as Lord. Don’t merely answer the right and wrong question. Then it’s just a matter of rules. Christian rules, Jewish rules, Muslim rules, Lutheran rules. Get to the one who is Lord, Jesus. After answering the morality question, acknowledge there is a lot of sinning going on and by you and that’s why God sent Jesus, your Lord and Savior who is big enough for both of you. Amen.

Monday, May 24, 2021

May 22-24, 2021 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: John 14:25-27 “NO WORRIES!”

 PENTECOST

May 22-24, 2021

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: John 14:25-27

                                         “NO WORRIES!”

1.     The Holy Spirit provides the teachings we need.

2.     The Holy Spirit provides the teachers we need.

 

John 14:25-27 (EHV) “I have told you these things while staying with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I told you. 27“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.”

 

          Perhaps you have had an experience like this. You are in a class or a presentation for work or school. The teacher or presenter fills you with loads of information. As the class wraps up the teacher says, “OK, I hope you took good notes. You can use them for the test tomorrow.” What? Why didn’t you let us know that at the beginning? I would have taken notes. Your heart sinks. To be sure, you should have taken notes whether the teacher told you to or not. That is your responsibility. But at that point, it’s too late!  Now if you have had that type of an experience or feeling I’d like you to try to imagine being one of Jesus’ disciples in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday evening. You have been following Jesus for nearly three years. You have seen things that have astonished you. You have heard things that confuse you. Clearly He is the Messiah, the Promised one from God. He is the Anointed one. He will rule Israel. Yes, He has talked before about being put to death and leaving you but you never really believed it. Here in the Upper room, on this night, things are different. Jesus speaks bluntly, clearly, about betrayal, death, and leaving you to go back to the Father. “Oh, there’s one more thing, dear disciples,” Jesus says. “You will take over teaching the people everything I have told you.” What? Why didn’t you tell us that at the beginning? We would have taken notes. To be fair if they had tried to do that, they would have had a wagon load of scrolls to pull around. I imagine their mouths agape. How are we going to do that?

          No worries! Jesus swooped in. He promised to send the Holy Spirit. Today we observe the church festival of Pentecost. It celebrates the 3rd person of the Triune God, the Holy Spirit, and the gifts He brings to believers. That reminds us of our secondary emphasis this weekend as we say good bye to one retiring teacher and four teachers who will be leaving to serve God elsewhere. No worries! No worries for people moving to a different place. No worries for one finding new ways to serve. No worries for St Jacobi congregation. Why? The Holy Spirit provides gifts for believers, gifts we need.

          He provides first of all the teachings we need. That’s what was promised. “I have told you these things while staying with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I told you.” It’s like that dreaded test became an open book test! “No worries disciples. You don’t have to remember everything I taught you. The Holy Spirit will take care of that for you.” And that, my friends, is exactly what happened and how we got the New Testament of the Bible. As you heard in the Acts reading the Holy Spirit filled these disciples now called Apostles. They received special gifts to rapidly spread the Good News that Jesus is Savior for all. They knew how to speak languages they never studied before so when they went to different countries they could speak God’s truth in the language the people would understand the best. They were given the ability to do miracles to authenticate that God was behind these teachings. And they were given total recall, the ability to remember the teachings and even exact quotes of Jesus. And they wrote them down. Matthew, Mark and John’s Gospels. Or told them to someone else, Luke’s Gospel. And the Holy Spirit continued to work in them and through them inspiring the words of God that we now have in the Bible.

          Do you understand what this means? No worries! We have the teachings we need. There are all kinds of things that you and I may want to know about heaven or resurrected bodies or why God let the Devil continue to exist, but we don’t need to know them. We have what we need. We need to know we are sinners who can’t save ourselves. So you will find as you read your Bibles, the laws of God that are absolute, no matter what the laws of our country say. Murder is murder whether you pull a gun and shoot someone who cut you off driving or tear apart a little baby in its mother’s womb. Sexual sinning is sinning whether it involves heterosexual or homosexual. Trusting first in anything other than God who has revealed himself in the Bible is idolatry. Thinking you can do anything yourself to get to heaven is arrogant blasphemy that denies that Jesus is the Christ, the only way to heaven. We need to know those things so we repent in our own lives. And then you have the Good News, the Gospel, that tells you God loves you anyway. That He has sent His only Son Jesus who is your Savior. Your sins are forgiven. While you can’t get yourself forgiven or to heaven Jesus already has. So no worries. Don’t worry about questions you have that aren’t answered in the Bible. You don’t need them. Do concern yourself with understanding what’s in the Bible.

          Which takes us to our second Holy Spirit blessing. Not only does the Holy Spirit provide the teachings we need. He provides the teachers we need too. A few weeks ago you may remember we had the reading from Acts about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Remember the guy was riding in his chariot and reading from the book of Isaiah. He could not understand who it was talking about. Do you remember what happened next? The Holy Spirit sent Philip to explain it to him. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. He provides the teachers we need, teachers of God’s word.

          Listen again. “I have told you these things while staying with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I told you.” YOU! Over and over again Jesus was speaking directly to the disciples. They would be the teachers that time needed to teach God’s people God’s holy will. To help them keep their eyes fixed on Jesus no matter what. To remember that their true purpose in life was to be witnesses for Jesus wherever they were at and whatever they did. The disciples called apostles did just that. They started in Jerusalem and then went further and further out, guided by the Holy Spirit. They were the teachers that were needed so they were provided by the Holy Spirit to teach the people back then. Over time these disciples called Apostles died. What then? The Holy Spirit provided more teachers.

          And He has been doing the same thing since, also here at St Jacobi. Those of you who have been at St Jacobi a long time have seen a relatively few pastors. Some remember the first Pastor Eckert and then of course the second. Some remember Pastor Henning and then all of you know who you’ve been stuck with lately. On the teacher side you have seen many different teachers as we have a large school. If you are relatively new to St. Jacob and you heard throughout the school year that teachers were leaving for various reasons you may have been a little worried. No worries! The Holy Spirit provides the teachers we need and he has. We are ready to go for next year. Thank you, Holy Spirit!

          Just like the teachers who are leaving were the ones we needed at the time. We thank, Kari Falck, Paul Frisque and Jeff and Sarah Roloff. You will be going to new places where the Holy Spirit has provided you to serve others. We thank you for your service here and pray for God’s continued blessing on your new endeavors. Mrs. Sue Saatkamp, you have chosen retirement which means you get to do work without getting paid! We thank you for your service over the years. The Holy Spirit provided you as a gift to us. So now what? Are you worried what you will do, how you will feel next school year when you won’t be going back to school? No worries!

Listen to the voice of your Savior! “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.” That’s another one of those teachings we all need. Jesus gives peace. Not like the world’s peace which only lasts until the next crisis. His peace is a calmness we get to have because He is with us always through thick and thin, good times and bad, working or retired. Jesus is with you. The Holy Spirit provides what you need. Always. No worries! Amen.