Fishers of Men???? - A People Who Know Whose They Are

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on January 13, 2019 was entitled, "Fishers of Men???? - A People Who Know Whose They Are" from Isaiah 43:1-7.

The key to knowing who and why we are is to know whose we are. "Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" ~Luke 1:34

To understand who Jesus is, we need to know whose He is. "Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." ~Luke 3:21-22

Who are we?  We are His!  "that I might be His own and live under Him in His Kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness." ~Luther's Small Catechism

Amy Benitez
Fishers of Men???

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on January 6, 2019 was entitled, "Fishers of Men???"  "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."  ~Mark 1:17

God wants us to be a community of the most unlikely missionaries.  "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power.  Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given to me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ..." ~Ephesians 3:7-8 

Because of Jesus, God has done the most unlikely thing - He has chosen you and me to be His missionaries. "through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known..." ~Ephesians 3:10

Amy Benitez
How to Live Christmas Every Day

Pastor Allen Bauer's message on Sunday, December 30, 2018, was entitled, "How to Live Christmas Every Day". 

Mary and Joseph followed the law and brought Jesus to the temple to buy Him back from God according to Exodus 13. There they meet Simeon and Anna. What can we learn from these two to make Christmas more than a one day event but a year long event?

Amy Benitez
Advent Living - Living by Faith in a Skeptical, Unbelieving World

Pastor Wayne Braun’s message on 12/23/2018 was entitled, “Advent Living - Living by Faith in a Skeptical, Unbelieving World”

I often hear people say that they don’t know how they could face life without faith in Jesus.  Yet many do in this unbelieving world.  Faith is no easy thing.  That’s what makes the story of young teenage Mary so amazing--believing that God really was going to use her to bring God’s Son into this world.  That faith in God--His grace, His promises, His power and His faithfulness--is what sustained her in the face of the world’s skeptical, unbelieving scorn.

Amy Benitez
Advent Living - Living Joyfully in a World of Sorrows

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on Sunday, December 16, 2018, was entitled, "Living Joyfully in a World of Sorrows" from Philippians 4:4-5 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand.”  

Joy seems such a rare commodity in today’s world. Ironically this is especially true at Christmas time--the season of Joy.  Could it be that we sense that we are alone--that God is not with us?  Well, Paul puts that to rest.  No matter the circumstances in life, God is near.  That is the message of Christmas--Jesus is Immanuel--God is with us.  Joy, is the fruit of God’s Spirit--the fruit of God’s presence in our lives.

Amy Benitez
Advent Living - Prepared for Eternity in a World that Lives Like There's No Tomorrow

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on 12/9/18 was entitled, "Advent Living - Prepared for Eternity in a World that Lives Like There's No Tomorrow" - Malachi 3:1-4.   

Too many of us live our lives like there is no tomorrow.   "And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts,  But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? - Malachi 3:1-2  

What kind of tomorrow will that day be if we fail to prepare today?  While we spend our lives as if there is no tomorrow, Jesus spent His life so that you and I might have a tomorrow that lasts. Advent Living sees today as a God given opportunity to prepare for tomorrow.  "Come you who are blessed by My father." -  Matthew 25:34

That's Advent living - living today in preparation for the tomorrow that God has promised. 

Amy Benitez
Advent Living - A Life of Hope in a World of Despair

Pastor Wayne Braun's message on 12/2/18 was entitled, "Advent Living - A Life of Hope in a World of Despair" from Luke 21:25-28.  25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding.  27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."  There are two reactions to the same events - Despair and Hope.  We allow our life's circumstances to determine our outlook on life, but we see hope in life's struggles, because we have been given hope in Jesus.

Amy Benitez
Christ the King Sunday

Pastor Allen Bauer's message on 11/25/18 was entitled, "Christ the King".  Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" John 18:33  Jesus said, "My Kingdon is not of this world...But now my kingdom is from another place."  Christ is not the same kind of king as the world kings, so how can we be careful we don't miss Him?  We choose to worship Him and let Him affect our whole lives.  We show His love and forgiveness to the people around us.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of  you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the LORD forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14 

Chris Gould
How to Live Thank-Filled Lives

Pastor Allen Bauer's message on 11/18/18 was entitled, "How to Live Thank-filled Lives" .  Have you ever struggled with being thankful?  You are NOT alone.  There are benefits to living a thankful life.  How do we know what God wants? Choose to live a thank-filled life.  It is NOT about things.  Follow God alone.  Come to worship.  Make it an Act of Faith.  "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Chris Gould
Jesus is the Door!

Pastor Wayne Braun preached his final sermon in his series, "Doorways to Spiritual Growth" on 11/11/18 entitled, "Jesus is the Door!" from John 10:9 and Philippians 3:4b-16.   "I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." John 10:9  Jesus not only knocks at the door, Jesus is the door.  He is the only door into the green pastures of God's grace and forgiveness.  Spiritual growth is not learning about God.  Its about knowing God.  Growing in Christ is a life-long process. 

Chris Gould
Growing in the Grace of Giving

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his sermon series, "Doorways to Growth" with his message on 11/4/18 entitled, "Giving - Growing in the Grace of Giving" from 2 Corinthians 8:7-9. Giving as an adult is no different than giving as a kid - we gave what our parents provided.  Now we give from what God provides.  God does not provide for us so that we can be stingy and live a life worrying about our stuff.  He has provided all that we have that we might be generous in our giving to family, to friends, to others in need, to church and more.  The problem is ownership.  The things we think we own, end up owning us.  The only owner of everything is God!  When He owns us, those other things can no longer own you or me. 

In addition, it was Lutheran Women Missionary League Sunday and Tracie Hollis, President of Lady Fishers (our LWML chapter) gave a temple talk about what LWML does.

Chris Gould
Worship & Music That Transforms

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his sermon series, “Doorways to Growth”, with his message entitled, "Worship and Music That Transforms" from Psalm 27:4-7 and John 4:19 - 24.  When we make those things the issue in worship and music we are majoring in the minors!  The worship that He desires is that you and I have faith in Him.  Worship and music that transforms us, is worship and music that first offers us God's gifts.  Jesus is the greatest gift God gives to us in every aspect of worship.  He fills us with his good gifts so that we can offer Him the worship He desires.  "When in our music God is glorified and adoration leaves no room for pride, it is as though the whole creation cried: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! LW Hymn 449 stanza 1  

Chris Gould
Christian Relationships: Loving Like Jesus

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his sermon series, "Doorways to Spiritual Growth with his message on 10/21/18, entitled, "Christian Relationships: Loving Like Jesus" from Ephesians 4:15 - 16. Christ wants his church to be unshockable.  Having such relationships with other believers is essential to growing in faith.  You will only really love and be loved by God as you allow yourself to love and be loved by others.  You will only really allow yourself to know and be known by God as you allow yourself to know and be known by other godly people. "If anyone says, "I love God" and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20  Yet as essential as such friendships are we work hard to avoid them.  He is not a God who is content to stay at arms length.  His adoption has made us brothers and sisters, members together of His family. 

In addition, Lynn Dassow, head of small groups ministry team, talked about getting involved in a small group. 

Chris Gould
Called to Witness

Pastor Lonnie Gonzales, City Director of LINC Houston, gave the message on October 14, entitled, "Called to Witness".  What is our purpose here on earth?   "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"  Matthew 28: 18 - 19 (NIV)  "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8  Pastor Lonnie emphasized how it is up to ALL of us to go and be witnesses to the ends of the earth as we proclaim the message of grace and salvation.

In addition, several members of our mission team spoke about opportunities here at Fishers of Men to be witnesses as we act out the mission Jesus gave to us. 

Chris Gould
Hearing and Doing the Word

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his sermon series, "Doorways to Spiritual Growth" with his message on 9/30/18, "Hearing and Doing the Word" based on James 1:18-25.   "I read my Bible.  I hear the sermon. I attend Bible study.  Sometimes I feel better for awhile.  Yet I never really change. Why?"  Too often we keep God out on the front porch, but never allow His word to take up residence in our lives.  Being a doer of the word means letting God do something about the mess in our lives.  He has purpose for giving us His word: He wants to save us.  He wants to transform us.  He wants to reshape us in the image of Christ.  He is a God who practices what He promises.  He is the God who blesses us by giving His promises and keeping them.  We need not fear stepping out in faith to be both a hearer and a doer of the word. That's when the word of God becomes a doorway to spiritual growth in your life...when by faith you become a hearer and a doer. 

Chris Gould
Doorways to Growth: Times of Testing-Embracing Your Weakness

Pastor Wayne Braun continued his sermon series, "Doorways to Growth" with his message on 9/23/18, entitled, "Times of Testing - Embracing Your Weakness" from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  We grow more in difficult times than in easy times.  Times of testing will come to all of us.  Such times of testing can either be shut doors blocking your way or open doors leading to growth. Our Lord invites us to see times of testing as doorways to growth.  The greatest growth happens when by God's grace you embrace your weakness.  The God who hung on His own cross is with you on your crosses. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9b

Chris Gould
Doorways to Growth - Prayer as a Way of Life

Pastor Wayne Braun continues his sermon series, "Doorways to Growth" with his message on 9/16/18 entitled, "Prayer - A Way of Life" from Luke 11: 1-13. Prayer was also our Lord's way of life. (Mark 1:35, Luke 11:1)  Jesus is inviting us to a life shaped by our relationship / conversations with Him.  In prayer we come before God as beggars.  In prayer we come to God as His beloved children!  We pray in the confidence that our God desires to give us good gifts.  "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." Luke 11: 9-10

Chris Gould
Doorways to Spiritual Growth - Jesus is at the Door

Pastor Wayne Braun has started a new sermon series entitled, "Doorways to Spiritual Growth".  His message on 9/9/18 was entitled, "Jesus is at the Door" based on Revelation 3:20.  Biblical stewardship is about how in response to God's love, and in partnership with Him, we manage everything He has given us in every area of our lives to His glory and in His service!  "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."  Rev 3:20.  Jesus stands at each door.  A faith that isn't moving forward is moving backwards.  Why bother going through these doors?  Because Jesus stands at these doors inviting us.  As we walk through these doors, we walk into the hand of a God who finishes what He starts! “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”  Phil 1:6

Chris Gould