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St Andrew's Messages

Messages from St. Andrew Lutheran Church of Middleton, WI.
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Now displaying: Page 2
Feb 4, 2024

Everyone loves a good shortcut, but they’re usually called that for a reason. If it were truly the best option, it would just be the way. With a shortcut you’re sacrificing something or taking a risk. In Romans 2, the apostle Paul warns about spiritual shortcuts, a temptation

that plagued ancient Israel and first century Christians. Today’s world is no different. We want all the credit, but we want things easy. Let God’s Word teach you what the best and only way is through our study of Romans 2:25-29.

All rights reserved. Music used by permission under CCLI #1600166, OneLicense #A-709447, and Worshipflow.com. Pre-service music all rights reserved by Koine (koinemusic.com) & Michael Schroeder.

Jan 28, 2024

One of the biggest stumbling blocks that keeps people from listening to Christ and giving him a fair hearing is the hypocrisy of religious people. Yep, that would be us. The Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to speak to us about it in the book of Romans. He doesn’t speak to crush us, but to show us every reason we have to rejoice in the kindness, tolerance, and patience of God.

Jan 21, 2024

Think of a gigantic spring you're trying to compress. While you're pushing down with all your might, it's resisting you and wanting to spring back up into its original position. In Romans 1, Paul says that's what we do with the truth of God. By nature, we take that truth of God and press it down to get it out of our minds. Yet even with all of the strength we use to suppress that truth of God we just can't get rid of it. It's everywhere. It's pushing back up. Thank God, it's pushing back up. That’s why we gather -- to encourage each other and receive encouragement that the truth of God might have its way with us. If there’s any way we can serve you, please let us know.

Jan 14, 2024

John Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople in the 4th century AD had the book of Romans read to him four times a week so that he would remain familiar with it throughout his life. English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge said Romans is "The most profound book in existence." Martin Luther wrote, "The epistle to the Romans is the true masterpiece of the New Testament and the very purest gospel, which is well worth and deserving that a Christian should not only learn it by heart, word for word, but also that he should daily deal with it as the daily bread of men's souls. It can never be too much or too well read or studied, and the more it is handled the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes." St. Augustine of Hippo, a 4th century church father in North Africa, wrote, "I wish to have seen Christ in the flesh and Paul in the pulpit."

Get fired up for our next worship series on Paul's epistle to the Romans. One way to get the most out of our study of Romans is to set aside ten minutes each day to read however far you get. Then the next day, pick up where you left off and read for another ten minutes. Or read chapter one every day for two weeks, then chapter two for two weeks, etc. Whatever your plan, you'll be among those who have found Romans to be a great source of transformation and blessing.

Jan 7, 2024

Isn't joy something that happens to you? Can you really control it? A recent Westside Christian School staff Bible study discussed the differences among joy, happiness, and gladness. Maybe the distinctions are arbitrary, but one that was proposed was that joy is more constant and less dependent on precisely what is happening in a given moment. Be inspired by the wise men of Matthew 2:1-12: their deliberate action and their joy.

Dec 31, 2023

You know it’s coming. Get ready for it. Someone will ask you, “Will you stay awake until midnight?” If you ask it, you can anticipate a range of answers from, “I’ll just be getting started,” to “The new year will come in whether I’m awake or not.” If someone asks you, “Will you stay awake until midnight?” you might answer, “I’m not sure what I’ll do, but I know I’ll be celebrating a baby who went to church.” His or her quizzical-looking response might give you the chance to explain, “I’m still celebrating Christmas and the truth that God not only came to earth as a baby, but he went to church as a baby.” It’s not the expected answer, but you’re pointing to the best news everyone needs: a Savior has come for the world. We’re so glad you’ve gathered with us today to continue celebrating the truth that will make our new year great: “Christ is born.”

Dec 25, 2023

Why did the angels say “fear not” to so many people at the very first Christmas? What’s there to fear about a little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay? What's there to be afraid of? The angels knew any human being coming into the presence of the glory of the Lord would have to be afraid. So do we. We tend to bury that fear with distraction, polish, and the illusion that we have plenty of time to figure it out. The angel announced a better way: “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy.” Let’s marvel at the good news both on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day

Dec 17, 2023

In the novel Charlotte’s Web, a pig named Wilbur enjoys an unusual friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When a little farm girl discovers Charlotte can write words in her web, the girl’s mother takes her to the doctor, concerned that something is wrong with her. The doctor agrees he can’t understand how a spider can write words in a web, but he points out, it’s just as impossible to understand how a spider can make a web in the first place. We have to leave room for the mysterious. The angels show up at the birth of Christ to keep us from writing off the wonder of God learning how to walk and talk and just staring at things like little babies do. Don’t say, “Impossible.” Just say, “Mysterious.” And let the angel tell you what he told Joseph: “Do not be afraid.” We’ve gathered to revel in the mystery and worship God for it. We’re so glad you’ve joined us!

Dec 10, 2023

Immaculate

adjective: free from fault or flaw; free from errors

Can we ever apply this term to any human effort? Luke 1 describes two different encounters between an angel and a human. We can see something immaculate, or very close to it, in the account about Mary. Let's learn together from one of the greatest announcements of all time.

Dec 3, 2023

Welcome to Advent, the first season of the church year, the four weeks before Christmas. Advent means "coming." In Advent we celebrate three things: Christ came in the past as a baby in Bethlehem, Christ is coming now as we, his church, gather around his Word and sacrament, and Christ is coming again to make all things new and judge the world in righteousness. Advent is about our lives. When God's angels appeared to tell the Good News, they began with, "Do not be afraid." This Advent season, let their words sink deeply into your heart. Take time to ponder what their message means to you, and in worship give your attention to and give thanksgiving for the gift of our gracious God, in his Son, the Savior of the world. Fear not.

Nov 26, 2023

A tradition in Christian worship that goes back to the 400s AD includes a service to celebrate the dates believers of the previous year died, which they called their "birthdays" into eternity. Their names were read at services or sometimes at cemeteries or catacombs. Since then, it's been called Saints Triumphant or commemoration of the departed saints. Whatever you call it, it's a way to allow departed saints, by the grace of God in their lives, to continue to encourage us. Gather with your brothers and sisters to worship the Lord for the rich variety of the young and old, learned and ignorant, people of action and contemplatives, whose common denominator is simply that the grace of God worked mightily in them.

Nov 19, 2023

Who doesn't want to encounter God? Ah, yes, with head bowed while soft light streams through stained glass. Ah, yes, like a picture-perfect Facebook or Instagram post, with a cup of coffee steaming next to an open Bible . . . bonus points for a journal next to it. Sure, those are ways to experience God. But Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Job, and a host of other Bible heroes would have gladly traded their experiences of meeting God with such idyllic scenes. They met God in suffering. And so might you. Welcome to the end of our series on the Poetical Books of the Bible. Today we'll ask the Spirit to bless us through the conclusion of the book of Job. It’s not just the end of Job’s suffering. May we see in it, the end of our suffering, and maybe some purpose to it.

All rights reserved. Music used by permission under CCLI #1600166, OneLicense #A-709447, and Worshipflow.com. Pre-service music all rights reserved by Koine (koinemusic.com) & Michael Schroeder.

 

Nov 12, 2023

They say God gave you two ears and one mouth so would listen twice as much as you speak. This proverb is not in the Bible, but it makes sense, as long as we’re listening to the right sources. Today, we’ll hear some of God’s words of wisdom from Job 38. Wisdom from above can be unexpected and counterintuitive.

Nov 5, 2023

God invites us to call him Father. He calls us his children. That makes Jesus our brother and makes us the family of God. In addition, the Bible tells us he places us in families. That's a lot of family. Yet no word likely conjures up more good or bad feelings than the word family. Today, we head back into the book of Proverbs and ask the Spirit to give us God's wisdom for families. Whatever our family situations, this is wisdom for all of us.

Oct 29, 2023

"Adversity assails us with hurricane force," has been attributed to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. That was true for him, and it was true for an earlier Dr. Martin Luther who wrote, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." A fortress will outlast a hurricane. So where do you turn when adversity assails you? For millennia, God's people have turned to the inspired words of Psalm 121. We’re glad you’re with us today to find in it our mighty fortress.

 

All rights reserved. Music used by permission under CCLI #1600166, OneLicense #A-709447, and Worshipflow.com. Pre-service music all rights reserved by Koine (koinemusic.com) & Michael Schroeder. Video used by permission from Sermonspice.

Oct 22, 2023

What's the difference between a medication and a placebo? A placebo has no real power; it's only effective because it's believed in. Medicine, on the other hand, has real power and can help you whether you believe in it or not. "Ah," some might say. "I see where you're going: some religions are real, and some are placebo." Not at all. Some religions are real medicine and will heal you, some are poisonous and will kill you, but no religion works because it's believed in. Believe in the revelation God has given us in his Word because it's true, but don't imagine it's only true because you believe in it. One purpose of the book of Ecclesiastes is to show us that it's foolish to imagine this life is all there is—that your belief in God only works because you think it does. Then life is meaningless. But another purpose of the book of Ecclesiastes is to point us to a heavenly solution: wisdom from above. May the Spirit who inspired it bless you through it today.

Oct 15, 2023

Solomon's Song of Songs 8:5-7 continues to describe the love of a man and a woman, but we can learn from some of its details about the love of God for his bride, the church. Marvel at the intense love of God that surpasses even the amazing love of a committed married couple.

Oct 8, 2023

What can we make of all the inequities of life? Does hard work pay off? How can we find satisfaction in life? Why does King Solomon seem to promote the Epicurean philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry"? Let’s pursue godly wisdom and a meaningful life today and throughout our lives.

Oct 1, 2023

Knowledge is one thing; wisdom is another. Wisdom is the ability to take what you know and translate it into how you live. You can find Part 1 of Sex in the Bible on our website under worship/past sermons/September 10. The text was from the Song of Songs. Today the Spirit speaks to us through words he inspired in the Book of Proverbs. The main message of the Bible, and every book in it, is the salvation God freely gives through Jesus. But throughout the Bible he helps us apply that knowledge to every area of our lives, including our sexuality.

Sep 24, 2023

In Psalm 139, David prayed: search me, know me, test me, and lead me. Those simple requests are at first beautiful, but can you see how they may also be frightening. That’s really what you want God to do for you? Those prayers only become beautiful again when you learn to pray them for the same reasons David did: you belong to the Lord. Your life is his. Your times are his. You are his. And you can trust his plan in making you just the way he did. Of all the places to get to answers about who God is and what he’s like, you’ve come to the best place: his Word. We’re so glad you’re with us.

Sep 17, 2023

It's one thing to know the "why" of suffering, but even if you manage to get that answer (which many don't), it still leaves you with the "how" question: how do I get through this? The answer is, of course, comfort. Job helps us get the “why” but even more he helps us get the “how”—how do I find comfort? Is your question right now, how do I give comfort? Either way, we’re glad you’re with us, fellow comfort-seekers, to gain from our encounter with the living Word of God. If there’s any way we can serve you, we’d be honored to. Feel free to use your Connection Card to let us know how.

Sep 10, 2023

Song of Songs doesn't show up on many lists of preaching texts, but it's in the Bible so it shows up at St. Andrew. We're in a worship series on the Poetical Books of the Bible and that includes Song of Songs. As you read the love poem that is Song of Songs, you learn that God is not anti-sex at all. God created sex, not Satan. Sex isn't dirty, filthy, and disgusting. God intended his gift of sex to be a thrilling, physical, biological happening that's also spiritual. Yes, it's personal and private but we are not ashamed to discuss that which God was not ashamed to create. It's a discussion that's healthy for men and women, married and single, young and old. Oh, you're worried that you haven't gotten it right and might feel out of place for this one? You'll be in good company; no one here today has gotten it right all the time. That claim belongs only to Jesus. And no one here today has out-sinned the grace of God. Our thanks for that goes only to Jesus.

Sep 3, 2023

Solitary confinement is used as a punishment for a reason. Research has linked it to extreme negative effects. This doesn’t mean that ever being alone is bad, but God created us with a yearning and need for community. God’s Word in Ecclesiastes 4 gives us insight on the benefits of relationships. Today let’s look into four of those benefits.

Aug 27, 2023

Is God really in charge of all things, or do my choices matter? Or is it 50/50 my choices and God's choices? 60/40? 80/20? The book of Proverbs addresses the subject of wisdom: the ability to make wise choices. You’ve joined us as we enter a 15 weeks series on books of the Old Testament called “Poetical” or sometimes, “Wisdom” books. May the Spirit use these words he inspired to guide you in your decisions.

Aug 20, 2023

“Real isn't how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.” “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?” “It doesn't happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”  ―Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

That's more than just a poignant and sweet children's story. It's what God is doing in you when you suffer. We’re in a study of the poetical books of the Old Testament. This week: Job. May the Spirit use Job's words to give you resources for when you are suffering.

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