Sermon: Perfect

Sunday, December 24, 2018
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Schuyler, NE
Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!

In my sermon a few weeks ago, I shared a little bit about what Christmas was like with my family when I was growing up.  To me, it was always a magical time.  I told the story of how my brother and sister and I always had to wait at the top of the stairs with our mom while Dad went downstairs to “get his camera” – I still remember the thundering sound of our feet on those creaky old stairs with their ugly brown carpet as we raced down to see what “Santa” had brought us.

My parents always made Christmas special. My mom in particular had a way of making the holiday magical – it seemed like our house was always full of cutout Christmas cookies and felt Christmas crafts and the sound of Christmas carols. And on Christmas Day, we would all gather at my grandma’s house – a whole motley crew of cousins and aunts and uncles, all celebrating and feasting together.  It was perfect.

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Sermon: A Well-Lived Faith

Thursday, December 13, 2018
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Schuyler, NE
Funeral of Elaine Wolta
Romans 6:3-9     Psalm 23     Matthew 11:28-30

Psalm 23 is an old favorite psalm for many of us.  Of all the psalms it’s by far the most popular choice for funerals – and for good reason.  The image of God as a shepherd leading us is very comforting.  And the poetic reassurance that God is with us – even in the valley of the shadow of death – makes days like this one easier to bear.

But I think that Psalm 23 is a particularly fitting psalm for us to read today as we remember our dear sister Elaine – because, in many ways, Elaine perfectly embodied this psalm.

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Sermon: Lights on the Way

Monday, August 13, 2018
Funeral of Bill Swanda
Svoboda North Chapel, Schuyler, NE
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Psalm 23
John 14:1-6

One summer, many years ago, I drove through a terrible, terrible storm.  It was the fourth of July.  My family and I had driven down to Norfolk, about an hour from my hometown, to go watch the fireworks.  The show ended up getting cut short by a tornado warning, so we decided to hightail it out of there to try to get out of the storm’s path.  By the time we finally got out on the highway, the rain was pouring down in thick sheets and the wind howled around us as it ripped through the darkness. It was pitch black and almost impossible to see anything, even the road.  It felt like all I could do just to keep my car between the fog lines.  But up ahead of me, I realized I could just make out two little red lights in the darkness – the taillights of my dad’s SUV. As I gripped the steering wheel of my car with white-knuckled hands, I kept my eyes on those lights and followed them all the way through the darkness to home and safety.

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