Here is the service from Sunday, May 15, 2022.
Monday, May 16, 2022
Sunday, May 15, 2022
M: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Cong: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
In the name + of Jesus.
Our Epistle lessons throughout the Easter season have come from St. John’s Revelation. At the very beginning of Revelation, St. John is shown a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ in his exalted state. He is no longer a man of sorrows. Instead, John saw “one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters” (Revelation 1:13-15). John saw the glory of the Lord and tried to describe it in terms we could understand. John was the beloved disciple of Jesus. For years, they were close friends. But when John saw Jesus in his bare glory, they did not embrace in a joyful reunion. John, still in his humble, fallen state, fell on his face in fear.
We often think of God’s glory as John saw it. We know that God is holy—pure and without a trace of evil. That goes beyond anything we know in this world. It is glorious. We know that God is almighty. He can do whatever he pleases, and no one can prevent it. That is glorious. We also know that God is present everywhere and knows all things. He knows the plans being discussed in the Kremlin, the conversations in coffee shops in Australia, and even the secrets of your heart. That is glorious too. But none of that is comforting. Trying to understand it makes our heads spin, and it makes our hearts weak. God knows everything. He holds us accountable for everything. Since he is holy, his judgment is perfect. Since he is our almighty Creator, he has the right and authority and ability to do with us what he pleases and to give us what we deserve. If we assess ourselves honestly, we know we deserve his punishment, and we cannot prevent it.
Jesus told his disciples, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once” (John 13:31-32). Although Jesus is true God—holy, almighty, all-knowing, and so forth—his glory is not revealed to terrorize. We get a hint of how God is glorified from the first phrase of our Gospel lesson: “When he had gone out” (John 13:31). The “he” is Judas Iscariot, and he went out to set in motion the betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion of Jesus. That is where God is rightly glorified. The glory of the Lord is that he loves and saves sinners. Jesus’ glory is revealed in the saving and in consoling sinners. See how God is glorified!
Jesus declared, “God is glorified in him” (John 13:31). In other words, God the Father’s glory is made known through Jesus. God is glorified because he loves his creation. Even when the whole world fell under God’s curse because sin corrupted it, God did not remove his love from his creation. Everyone comes into this sin-broken world bearing the image of sinful Adam. We cannot do the good as God demands—freely, gladly, willingly, constantly. Nevertheless, God has not withdrawn his love from us. God reveals his glory as a merciful redeemer by sending his Son to pay for the sins of the world.
Jesus declared, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31). In less than 24 hours after saying this, Jesus was nailed to a cross. It was on that cross that the sacrificial death of the innocent Son of God was given for the guilty. It is there that we see God the Father so loved the world. It is there that we see the love God the Son has for his Father, that he would willingly fulfill the mission he was given. Jesus was sent to suffer a punishment that he did not deserve and die a cursed death that he had not earned. In doing that, the Son of God took away every trace of wickedness that had stood against us—from the selfish schemes we have concocted to the unkind conversations we have had to our innermost thoughts of jealousy and revenge. God knows all these things, but he does not condemn us for them; for he has condemned his Son in our place so that we could have pardon and peace. See how God is glorified! He has redeemed sinners and reconciled us to himself by the sufferings and death of Jesus.
Jesus was further glorified after his crucifixion. When Jesus rose from the dead, he did not shed his humanity. To this day, Jesus Christ is both true God and true man. Jesus never stopped being true God when he lived in his humble state as a Jewish peasant. Although Jesus retained all the attributes of God, for the most part Jesus chose not to use them. After Jesus rose from the dead, he resumed the full use of these divine attributes. What’s more, those divine attributes now have been granted to his humanity. So, when St. John saw the revelation of the glorified Jesus, he was still the Son of Man. But now this man appears in divine glory.
See how God is glorified. Rather than dispose of his humanity, Jesus exalted his humanity. This man lives and reigns with all authority over all things—and he does this for your good. His word of forgiveness is supreme. His judgment for your salvation is indisputable. He assures you of glory, not that you will become divine, but that your humanity will be exalted and perfected forever. See how God is glorified.
Although Jesus spent three years instructing his apostles to teach and preach about the kingdom of God, Jesus would not remain with them forever. Jesus was preparing his disciples for this change on the night he was betrayed. He told them, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’” (John 13:33). Jesus has ascended into heaven where he lives and reigns hidden from our sight. We will see his glory when he comes again to judge the living and the dead. Or perhaps you will see it when you close your eyes in death and open them in heavenly glory. But we are not there yet. For now, we dwell on earth, and our Lord gives us work to do.
See how Jesus is glorified. He is glorified in you! You are his redeemed. His death purchased and won you for himself. He put his name upon you in Holy Baptism. And just as he has made you children of God, now he calls upon you to live up to that. He told his disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
See how God is glorified in his redeemed! He lives and works in you to live according to his word and to act according to his will. Therefore, we strive to love one another as Jesus himself has loved us. That is made evident in many ways. We come to each other’s aid when someone is suffering loss or hardship. We offer words of consolation to those who are mourning, and we weep with them. We offer words of encouragement to those who are struggling and support them with our prayers. We rejoice with those who are blessed with no need to be jealous of them. We speak to one another honestly and lovingly. We deal with one another in patience and kindness. We continually strive to do what is good for one another. And even when we have different opinions, we recognize this as evidence that God creates wonderful, diverse personalities and we get to enjoy them as such—assuming our opinions do not stand in opposition to God’s word.
See how our God is glorified in you. The most significant way this glory is known is that we freely forgive one another as Jesus forgives us. We are God’s children, but we are still sinners. We can still get petty and snippy. We can mistake each other’s motives or wrongly interpret someone’s words as criticism or condemnation. The devil attempts to drive wedges between us when these things happen.
When you get closer to people, it can be harder to love them. It is often easier to love strangers. You only have to deal with a stranger for a few minutes. Anyone can be polite for that long. But the longer you know someone, each person gets a little more comfortable with the other, and one’s true character begins to show. You get to discover darker attitudes, arrogant opinions, and annoying characteristics. It is harder to love someone when you see all their faults and are subject to their failings.
But see how God is glorified. He knows all our faults, weaknesses, and wickedness. Yet, he does not disown us. He continues to love us, have mercy upon us, and forgive us. Our place in his kingdom is not so fragile that one misstep will get us expelled. The Lord is patient, kind, and compassionate—even when we struggle and fall.
Since you know what it is to be shown mercy, you get to show mercy to one another. Since you know what it is to be forgiven, you get to forgive one another freely. Since you know how hard it can be to fight off temptations and sins, you can be patient with others who have their own struggles and bear a different cross. And since you know how unfair it is when people assume the worst about you, you get to be gracious and put the best construction on what others say and do. When people see that you love one another as Jesus loves you, they will see God glorified among you.
Jesus concluded, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Our desire is that people will know about the promises of God which have been confirmed in Jesus. Those promises are known only when you confess them. Not everyone will get to hear your confession of faith, but everyone does see your words and actions. The love you show to others reflects the love that Jesus has shown to you. When people see that, they may become interested in knowing why you are patient, kind, and merciful in a world that seldom sees that kind of love. Faith in God’s word is not only what we believe, it is also what we put into action. This is how they will know that you are one of Jesus’ disciples, and it is how God is glorified in your life.
See how God is glorified. God the Father is glorified by sending a Savior to redeem sinners. God the Son is glorified by taking away your sin and granting you eternal life. God the Holy Spirit is glorified by working in your mind and heart so that you are merciful as the Lord your God is merciful. This is what makes you a disciple of Jesus, and this is your glory.
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Thursday, May 12, 2022
Much can be said (and deserves to be said) about the abortion controversy. Many consider it a political issue. While it is that, it is far more significantly a moral issue. God is the creator of life. God grants the life of children through sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. While pregnancy is not the guaranteed result of every act of intercourse, it is the means by which women become pregnant. Both the man and the woman engage in sex, therefore both are accountable for the results.
When this is done in the confines of marriage, the resultant pregnancy is a great blessing. At least, God thinks so. "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them" (Psalm 127:3-5)! Sadly, many today disagree.
This Pastoral Concern focuses on one aspect of the abortion issue: The symbol of the coat hanger by the people who champion abortion as a right and as a good thing. The argument is that, if abortion should be made illegal, women will have to resort to a dangerous "do-it-yourself" program of taking a coat hanger and engaging in a self-administered abortion.
It is supposed to produce such a shock that we would feel compelled to preserve a safe, clinical method of aborting a child. Well, the shock value has worked on me.
I am shocked, appalled, and saddened that any woman would think that taking a coat hanger and injecting it into her uterus for any reason is a necessary and noble act. I am shocked, appalled, and saddened that any woman would knowingly and willingly take a coat hanger, crank it around in her uterus like an egg-beater, and believe that this is a saner option than giving birth to a child. I am shocked, appalled, and saddened that any woman who recognizes that she is pregnant would consider the child in her uterus something to be rooted out in such a violent, unhealthy, and vicious way.
So, well done abortion activists. Your shock tactic has worked on me. But it has backfired. You want me to have compassion for your cause so that you will not resort to using a coat hanger for a self-inflicted abortion. Rather, I am shocked that you would consider doing this to yourself at all--as if the risk of self-mutilation is a superior choice to giving birth to a child, a child that others would joyfully adopt and raise if the hardship is genuinely too much for you.
Dear women, you deserve better than this. And I pray that you will see that aborting your child is a great evil and that pregnancy with a child is not--even if it is unintended or inconvenient. God thinks so. I hope you will, too.
NOTE: If you choose to do the right and noble thing (which is not to say that it is the easy thing) and carry your child to full term and deliver it, you will find people who are willing to help you to alleviate your hardships in raising a child. Most churches have people who are willing to provide such help. You can also appeal to pregnancy care centers, such as the Redford Pregnancy Care Center.
Divine Services are at 10:00 AM on Sundays.
Sunday School and Adult Bible Class are Sundays at 8:45 AM.
Bible Matters meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM. The schedule for our Spring session can be found here.
EVERY MEMBER VISITS – 2022
LADIES SPRINGTIME BRUNCH
On Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 AM, all the ladies of Good Shepherd are invited to a brunch which will be hosted by the men of Good Shepherd. This is our opportunity to express our appreciation for the ladies in our lives. The men will be pleased to cook for you, serve you, and clean up afterwards.
The invitation is for the youngest to the oldest. It is an opportunity for all the ladies to visit, to tighten the bonds of existing friendships, and to make better acquaintance with anyone you don’t know well.
While you are gathered together, some men representing the Church Council will be asking your opinion on how we can serve our ladies better. We welcome suggestions for areas of improvement or for areas of service that we are not tending to either well or at all. We can’t guarantee that we can follow up on every suggestion, but we are eager to be a congregation that both serves and provides opportunities to serve for as many as possible.
In order to know how many to prepare for, please RSVP to (248-349-0565) or to email@example.com . You are also welcome to invite family or friends who would be interested in this springtime brunch. Just let us know who and how many you might bring.
THIS SUNDAY (May 15) after church, we will have our monthly Long-Range Planning meeting. The main focus is to determine a vision for what we want our congregation to look like in three years, five years, and/or ten years. Once we have a goal in mind, we can take the steps necessary to get there. The steps will be delegated to the committees we have. All are welcomed and encouraged to be a part of the Long-Range Planning meeting and the committees that will follow up to see that our plans are put to work. Planning great things only goes so far. We need our members committed to doing them and praying that God will bless them. If you have question about the Long-Range Planning committee, please speak to Rob Skrycki.
EVANGELISM & STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE MEETINGS
In order to make the most of opportunities to proclaim the Gospel in our community, we need to budget our expenses and our time. We will be meeting to determine our plans and to pray that God will bless them. Our efforts are both to tighten the bonds of fellowship among us and to gather others into our fellowship. For this reason, we are combining the efforts of the Evangelism & Stewardship Committees. We will meet on Sunday, May 22 after church to discuss the best ways to do that.
The immediate issues we will discuss: Summer activities; Food trucks at Good Shepherd; Family VBS (July 25-27).
GOOD SHEPHERD ON YOUTUBE
Services are uploaded to YouTube each week, usually the Monday after the service. Feel free to share the videos. Sunday, May 8: (2) Good Shepherd Novi, Divine Service, May 8, 2022 - YouTube
Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM – Noon. The pastor will be in his office unless a meeting has been scheduled elsewhere (consult the weekly schedule). The pastor is also available by appointment. Call or text (248-719-5218). You may also email (firstname.lastname@example.org), but the response may be slower.
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DIVINE SERVICES are on Sundays at 10:00 AM.
Sunday School and Adult Bible Class are Sundays at 8:45 AM.
Bible Matters meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM.
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PASTOR SCHROEDER’S BLOG
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Sunday, May 8, 2022
THE SHEPHERD KEEPS THE SHEEP SECURE.M: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Cong: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
In the name + of Jesus.
The Pharisees who had gathered around Jesus made a ridiculous request of him. They “said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly’” (John 10:24). The question was ridiculous for a few reasons. Jesus listed them. “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe…” (John 10:25). Jesus had not only fulfilled Messianic prophecies, he even declared himself to be the great I AM. The Pharisees had picked up on that claim, and then picked up stones to kill him for it. The Pharisees could not deny the miracles Jesus had performed, but they would not accept them as signs from heaven. They refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ or the Son of God. The Pharisees did not ask Jesus about being the Messiah because they wanted to know if they should follow him, listen to him, or worship him. They were looking for reasons to slander and accuse him.
How could the Pharisees be so blind as to reject so much evidence of Jesus as the Messiah? Because if someone refuses to believe the word of the Lord, they will reject any evidence presented to them. Jesus summarized the Pharisees’ attitude exactly that way: “You do not believe because you are not among my sheep” (John 10:26). But the true sheep listen to the Shepherd, and the Shepherd keeps them secure.
Now, you are among Jesus’ sheep. You know and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. You did not come to this on your own. The Holy Spirit worked through God’s word to enlighten you to see the glory of Jesus. The Holy Spirit worked through God’s word to open your ears to recognize the voice of truth. The Holy Spirit has converted your heart and your mind to agree with the word of God. The Bible states, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). So, the Shepherd speaks. By his word, he gathers his sheep to him. And the Shepherd keeps the sheep secure.
How secure? This is what the Lord says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10:27-29). The Shepherd guards and protects you from all enemies. The Shepherd keeps the sheep secure.
The enemies are sin, death, and the devil. The Shepherd keeps you secure from sin because he has taken your sin away from you. He stood between you and God’s wrath to absorb all of God’s wrath for your sins. If God’s wrath has been taken completely by Jesus, the Father has nothing left for you but blessing. The Shepherd keeps you secure from death. Oh, yes, I know—we are all going to die one day. But death does not own you. The Lord Jesus went into death for you, but he has risen from the dead. Your Good Shepherd has overcome death and the grave, so they do not get to keep you. Rather, the living Savior will summon you up from your grave and give you a body that will never again be subject to sickness, weakness, stress, sorrow, decline, or death. Your Shepherd keeps you secure from the devil as well. Jesus snatched you out of the jaws of the devil who then focused his attack on Jesus. The devil sank his fangs into Jesus because, as your Good Shepherd, he is your protector and Savior. And though the devil’s bite was lethal, his victory was momentary. For, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He has robbed the devil of any power or claims on you. Jesus has delivered you from the curse of sin, the power of death, and the claims of the devil. The Good Shepherd keeps you secure from all your enemies.
Once again, note how secure you are in Jesus’ care. He said, “No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10:28-29). You cannot get kidnapped out of the kingdom of God by the devil. The Shepherd keeps the sheep secure. Jesus tells you how: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
But the Good Shepherd’s voice is not the only one which tries to instruct and influence you. The devil tries to draw you away from the word of the Lord. He cannot snatch you away, so he entices you to leave on your own. He either gets you to stop listening to God’s word or he seduces you to turn away from God’s word to something he convinces you is better. The devil tries to deceive you with clever sounding arguments. The world pounds its sentiments at you so that you would adopt its wickedness as praiseworthy or harmless—or at least as something you would not dare call evil for fear of being cancelled. And your own sinful flesh is an ally. We all still have a sinful nature which finds such deceptions attractive and appealing.
So, for example, you will hear people say, “God just wants us to be happy.” Well, that sounds fantastic. And guess what: I want to be happy! So, God and me, we agree on this! But here is the problem: What is it that makes you happy? Some would say, “I like getting drunk. That makes me happy.” Others might say, “I like gossiping about my co-worker so that her reputation destroyed. Maybe she would even be forced to quit. That would make me happy.” Most recently, the battle over abortion has heated up again with the leaked opinion from the Supreme Court which suggests overturning Roe v. Wade. Those who support abortion are outraged. Men who impregnate women want to be free from responsibility for the babies they father. Women who do everything that results in pregnancy reject accountability for their actions. This is couched in terms of health care and freedom. It is the murder of a child. What is especially heinous is that doctors have to invade the womb to do it. But to keep abortion legal will make many people happy. Self-serving, self-glorifying, and self-righteous actions and attitudes make us happy. Is this really want God wants???? Repent.
The teaching, “God just wants us to be happy,” is a lie. God does not want you to be happy; God wants you to be faithful to his word. If God has converted your heart and mind to believe that his word is true and good, then you will find joy in hearing his word, meditating upon his word, and putting his word into practice. You will even find joy in being corrected of your sin and redirected so that you walk on the path of righteousness. By clinging to the word of the Lord, you retain salvation and security. By listening to other voices, you will be drawn away from the Good Shepherd. And while it may appear attractive and even beneficial to embrace other voices, there is nothing outside of the Lord’s sacred fold except sin, death, and the devil. You will be consumed by the enemies Jesus would save you from.
The Shepherd keeps the sheep secure. But take note of how he does this. He told the Pharisees, “You do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:26-27). The Pharisees had God’s word in their possession. They read it in synagogues. They heard it from Jesus himself. Their problem was not ignorance. Their problem was not lack of evidence that Jesus is the Christ. Their problem was their own sinful, stubborn unbelief. They were not Jesus’ sheep, but it was by their own fault. They believed that they earned God’s favor by their own morals and virtue. They trusted in their church attendance and their piety—tithing, fasting, and prayers. They had the praise and admiration of the people and assumed God must feel the same way. This is why they despised Jesus. He taught that God’s favor is not given because people prove themselves worthy. God’s favor is a gift that comes by faith in Jesus alone—even for the likes of tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus rescues sinners from the jaws of the enemy and protects them from being prey again. The Shepherd keeps the sheep secure.
Jesus continues to speak to you so that you will not be seduced by worldly wisdom, no matter how attractive or appealing it sounds. Occasionally, that will mean God’s word will strike you with a corrective blow. When a shepherd tends his sheep, he uses a rod and a staff. The rod and staff can be used to offer a little whack to correct a sheep which is going astray from his master. Of course, the sheep does not like being whacked, but he gets the message. To wander away from the shepherd means danger, perhaps disaster. So, the shepherd afflicts the sheep for his own good.
The Lord does the same for you. If you are drifting away from the word of God because a worldly spirit is attracting you, the Lord will offer a corrective whack with his word. It may seem harsh or mean. No one likes to be whacked, but God wants you to be aware that there is danger or disaster if you depart from him. God does this out of love so that you do not leave the path of righteousness. He calls you to repent and to amend your ways for your own eternal good. With Jesus, you are assured of eternal good. He promises, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
The Lord Jesus laid down his life for the good of the sheep. Then he took it up again for the good of the sheep. He lives to grant you eternal life. He reigns to keep you secure from your enemies. Even though the devil, the world, and your own sinful flesh are always seducing, always stalking, and always present, Jesus spreads a table before you so that you may feast in peace and joy for strength, for salvation, and for security. Jesus supplies a joy that cannot be stolen—the forgiveness of your sins, the hope of the resurrection, and the confidence of salvation.
The Shepherd keeps the sheep secure; for he has secured your forgiveness, your resurrection, and your place in his fold. Goodness and mercy are yours. And you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saturday, May 7, 2022
M: O Almighty God, who did send forth your Son to be born of a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and who by His holy incarnation did in truth cause her to be the very Mother of God, thereby crowning and honoring all motherhood, grant your perpetual favor and blessing upon all of our mothers, that they in turn may be a blessing to all their children. Bless the memory of those of our mothers who have passed on from this vale of tears, and leave us not comfortless. Grant also to the Holy Christian Church, which is the Mother of us all, prosperity in faithfulness, that we through her pure milk of the Word may gain everlasting joy, through the Son of Mary, your only Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
NOTE: I don't know the source for this prayer, but I know that it did not originate with me.