Easter Imperatives - Stay!

Jesus describes the mission of the disciples--of all us--to be His witnesses in the world.  You would expect the next imperative to be, “Go!”  instead it is “Stay!”  “Stay in the City until you have been clothed with power from on high."  Don’t go out in your own power, in your own time to carry out the mission.  You can’t do it. It's His mission not yours. We need to wait on His timing and His Spirit..

Mary Vandergraff
Be My Witness

Pastor David Federwitz with Lutheran Bible Translators continued in the sermon series entitled, "Easter Imperatives" with his message on May 6, 2018, "Be My Witnesses" based on Acts 1:1-11.  In this text Jesus lays out His plan for the mission of the church--You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem (right where you live); in Judea and Samaria (to your state and country); and to the ends of the earth. Pastor Federwitz describes the work of making God’s Word available to people in the language of their hearts. 

Chris Gould
Easter Imperatives - Make Disciples!

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his sermon series entitled, "Easter Imperatives" with his message on April 29, 2018, "Make Disciples" based on Matthew 28:18-20.  There is only one imperative in the Great Commission - "Make Disciples".  Discipleship is the life long process by which a person is reshaped to be more and more like Jesus.  How are disciples made?  First, Jesus says "Go" (Mathew 28:19) Next Jesus sends us baptizing.  Third, Jesus sends us teaching.  There are two very important things to know about God's mission.  First, God's mission is all about Jesus.  (John 14:6)  Secondly, this is the Great Co-mission.  The work is not all up to us! (Matthew 28:20)  Faith is HIS work!  God has not called us to be successful.  He has called us to be faithful!

Chris Gould
Easter Imperatives - Come Follow Me!

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his series, "Easter Imperatives" with his message on 4/22/18 entitled, "Come Follow Me" from John 21:15 - 19.  We live in an imperfect world that demands perfection.  Often this is a perfection based on comparison that drives us to do all sorts of thing to keep our place - much like a game of musical chairs.  Behind such fears is the ultimate fear - does God have a place for you and me?  Nothing speaks comfort to our fear of rejection like the story of Peter.  Jesus takes time to speak grace to Peter. "Follow me" John 21:19.  That's the message of Easter - God has a place for sinners.  Just as He did for Peter, Jesus takes time to speak His Easter imperative to you and me.

Chris Gould
Easter Imperatives - Believe

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his Sermon series, "Easter Imperatives" with his message on 4/15/18 entitled, "Believe" from John 20: 24-31.  In areas of faith, every one of us has doubts.  If one of the Apostles had a faith struggle, why should anyone be surprised that we do? (John 20:25)  How does one come to such doubts and struggles of faith?  By isolating ourselves, disillusionment and disappointment, theological questions, guilt.  The truth is that believing is hard, in fact for us believing is impossible.  God knows all about our faith struggles.  His response is grace.  Through His word, God might give us what is impossible - the gift of faith.  Through our faith struggles, God grows us so that we can be a blessing to the faith of others.  Jesus who spoke His Easter imperative to you and me now speaks that imperative through you and me.   

Chris Gould
Easter Imperatives - "Peace be with You!"

Pastor Wayne Braun started a new sermon series, "Easter Imperatives" with his message on 4/8/18, "Peace be with You!"  His message was based on John 20:19-23.  "On that evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."  John 20:19.   We all have such locked doors that imprison our hearts.  So what is this peace Jesus so urgently wants to give us?  It means wholeness, completeness, security.  The peace Jesus offers is not a feeling.  God's peace is a gift we can always count on because the living Christ is always present with us and because of all that Jesus did for us.  God's peace doesn't change our circumstances - it changes us! 

Chris Gould
Cross Purposes - Change (An Easter Message)

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on Easter Sunday was entitled, "Cross Purposes - Change" based on Mark 16: 2 - 8.   Some truths about change: change can be hard.  Change is also inevitable.  The changes God made that Easter morning are what enables us to live in this ever-changing world with faith, hope, and purpose.  At its heart Easter changes the one unchanging fact of life - Death.  By changing death, Christ's resurrection changed everything.  Christ's resurrection changes grief to hope.  "Jesus died and rose again and so God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."  1 Thessalonians 4:14  Christ's resurrection changes how we live each day - from living in the moment to living with eternal purpose. 

Chris Gould
Cross Purposes - Humility

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his Lenten sermon series "Cross Purposes" with his message on March 25, 2018, entitled "Humility" based on Philippians 2:5-11.  Jesus Christ calls us to live a Christ shaped life, a life at cross-purposes with the world - a life of humility.  A humble life is a life that is not all about you or me.  "Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form as a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself..." Philippians 2:6-7a

A humble life is a life of obedience. The humble life is a life of sacrifice.  He "humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross"  Philippians 2:7

The humble life is a life of faith.  "Father into Thy hands I commit my spirit." Luke 23:46

Chris Gould
Cross Purposes - Life

Pastor Allen Bauer continued the Lenten sermon series "Cross Purposes" with his message on 3/11/18, entitled, "Cross Purposes - Life!" . How does the world view Christians?  Being a Christian is about being for something NOT just against something.  We live in a sinful world but God saved His people.  Jesus came to pay for our sins.  Jesus came to give us eternity.  Jesus came to transform us and the world!  "For God so love the world he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  John 3:16-17   

Chris Gould
Cross Purposes - Cleansing God's Temple

Pastor Wayne Braun continues his sermon series, Cross Purposes, with his message on 3/6/18 entitled, "Cleansing God's Temple".   In scripture, there are many places referred to as God's temple.  The tabernacle (Exodus 40:38), the temple (1 Kings 8:29), Jesus himself (John 2:19) (John 2:21) (John 1:14), us (Eph 2:21), and each individual believer (1Cor 6:19).  Jesus and the people who believe in Him, not the buildings are the house of God.  Jesus' love for God's people is behind the anger of Jesus in our text as he drove the money changers out of the temple. (John 2:15-16)  What does Jesus find when He comes to His Father's house here at Fishers?  What does Jesus find when He looks into YOUR  heart and mine?  Zeal for God's house and love for God's people?

Chris Gould
Cross Purposes - Self Denial

Pastor Allen Bauer continued the Lenten sermon series with his message on 2/25/18, "Cross Purposes - Self-denial".  This message was based on the Gospel of Mark 8:27-38.  The way of the world is different than the way of God.  In the Gospel passage, Jesus was talking to his disciples.  "He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.  He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him." Mark 8:31-32  The disciples wanted glory without sacrifice.  Jesus says God's way is self-denial.  

How do we practice self-denial?  1) We must die to the world and live for God.  Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Mark 8:34.  2) We must help others.  3) We must proclaim Christ.  And we must remember that Jesus is always here to help us.

Chris Gould
Cross Purposes - Testing Your Faith

Pastor Wayne Braun started his Lenten sermon series entitled, "Cross Purposes".  His message on 2/18/18 was "Testing Your Faith" based on James 1:2-4, 12.  "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds" James 1:2 James uses the word "when" not "if".  According to the Bible, those trials and tests will be of "various kinds".  Persecution, suffering we bring on ourselves, suffering caused by others, "Acts of God" (ie. Hurricane Harvey)  James wants us to "Count it all ....".  You should evaluate your times of trial and testing within the larger context of your faith.  Your God is Almighty!  Your God loves you!  God's purposes are always good purposes. 

How do we come to learn all these wonderful things about our God?  Through times of testing.  That is God's cross purpose in times of testing - that we would learn that He can be trusted!

Chris Gould
Called to Fullness in Christ

Pastor Wayne Braun continues his sermon series, "Called" with his message on Sunday, 1/28/18, entitled, "Called to Fullness in Christ" based on Ephesians 4: 11-14.  What is the fullness of Christ? Christ gives us identity, meaning, and security.  "He died for all so that we who live should no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:15 Following that call is a life-long journey of continuously growing.  For that journey God gives us people to help us along the way.  "Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up...."  Ephesians 4:11-12

Chris Gould
Called to Maintain Unity of the Spirit

Pastor Wayne Braun continues his teaching series "Called" with his message on 1/21/18 entitled, "Called to Maintain the Unity of the Spirit"  He has called us "to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3

Richard Crouch
Called to Live as God's Baptized Children!

Pastor Wayne Braun continues his teaching series "Called" with his message on 1/14/18 entitled, "Called to Live as God's Baptized Children!"  What happens in baptism?  Baptism means living in the confidence that God has written your name on His gifts.  Baptism is not a loophole for sinning as much as you want.  Living as God's baptized child is living in the "already" and the "not yet" of faith.  Because of the "already" of faith you live spiritually debt free.  The "not yet" of faith means that as a baptized child of God you are both saint and sinner.  God has already determined that your whole life will be a life of daily dying and rising.  "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:3-4 

Chris Gould
Called to Shine!

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on 1/7/18 was entitled, "Called to Shine!" from Isaiah 60:1-3. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the LORD will rise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you. And the nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising."   God has called every one of us, "Come! Follow Me" but too often we respond by hitting the snooze button.  God wants you and me to shine right where we are.  God want people to see right through you so that they can see Jesus.  God has not called you to reflect His light.  He calls you to shine!

Chris Gould
The Gift of Purpose

Pastor Allen Bauer concluded his teaching series, "Searching for the Perfect Present" with his message on December 31, 2017, entitled, "The Gift of Purpose".  God made us and wants what is best for us. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10b.  How can we unwrap the gift of purpose?  In Luke 2, the angels said that they brought good news of great joy for ALL people.  God wants us to come and see the gift he has given us and to share the Good News with joy.  "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15  Go out in joy and praise God!

Chris Gould
The Gift of Joy

Pastor Allen Bauer continues his teaching series "Searching for the Perfect Gift" with his message on 12/17/17 entitled, "The Gift of Joy".  There are things in our lives that are joy killers but God wants us to be joyful.  "For the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10b. How can we unwrap the gift of joy?  Remember that joy is NOT happiness.  Recognize God as joyful.  Remember Jesus' resurrection and remain close to Jesus.

Chris Gould