Matins Service

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[75] Our election to eternal life does not rest upon our righteousness or virtues but solely on Christ’s merit and the gracious will of his Father, who cannot deny himself [2 Tim. 2:13*], because he is changeless in his will and essence. Therefore, when his children become disobedient and stumble, he again calls them to repentance through his Word, and it is the will of the Holy Spirit to exercise his power in them to convert them through this Word. When they return to him again in true repentance through genuine faith, he will show, as before, his fatherly heart to all those who fear his Word and return to him with their whole heart, as is written in Jeremiah 3[:18-19],

“If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he accept her once again? Would not such a land be greatly polluted? But you have played the whore with many lovers. Nonetheless, come to me once again, says the Lord!”

[76] Furthermore, it is correct and true when it is said, “No one comes to Christ unless drawn by the Father” [John 6:44*]. But the Father does not intend to draw us apart from means. Instead, he has preordained his Word and sacraments as the regular means and instruments for drawing people to himself. It is not the will of either the Father or the Son that people not hear the proclamation of his Word or have contempt for it, nor should they expect to be drawn by the Father apart from Word and sacrament. According to his normal arrangement, the Father draws people by the power of his Holy Spirit through the hearing of his holy, divine Word, as with a net, through which the elect are snatched out of the jaws of the devil. [77] For this reason every poor sinner should act in such a way as to hear the Word diligently and not doubt that the Father is drawing people to himself. For the Holy Spirit wills to be present with his power in the Word and to work through it. This is the drawing of the Father.

Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 652–653.

Connie Leimkuehler

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Connie Leimkuehler

Date: Saturday, June 8, 2019

Text: Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus’ Yoke Is Easy.

Grace and mercy to you, Ken and to your family; To Brian, Glen and Cheryl and your spouses and your children.  To friends of the Leimkuehler family and to all gathered this morning at Our Savior Lutheran Church. Grace and mercy you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

It is written: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Thus far the text.

We Prayed

The prayer requests trickled in at first.  Pastor Connie is having hip surgery. May we add her to our church’s prayer list?  Of course. The surgery went well. Pastor can we say thanks and pray for Connie’s recovery.  Of course. Then the request that we should pray for strength and healing. It sounded like Connie wasn’t going to recover.  And then the news.

Ken, you and Connie moved to Arizona before I arrived in Iowa.  We met a few times during your visits back to Muscatine. You introduced me to Connie.  We shook hands and said hello. And although I don’t know you and your family well, I can say this, your family has been a blessing to this congregation.  And you have many friends to support you this morning. Even mourn with you.

But look at the place we have gathered.  It is the house of God.

God Acted

The truth is we can’t talk about Connie without talking about her her God.

The very first thing Connie’s God did for her was, was what?  God knit her together in her mother’s womb. This Holy God who has no beginning gave Connie a beginning.

A new life born into this world on October 3, 1939.  

But God didn’t stop there.  

The world may have been starting its second world war but God was building an eternal kingdom.  

This Holy God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, gave Connie eternal life on November 24, 2939.  Connie is born and then born from above by Holy Baptism.

Before the foundation of the heaven and earth were set in place.

God planned to create Connie and give save Connie from all sin and death

The gift of Holy Baptism cost God our Father the life of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  

Connie was given physical life.  Connie was given eternal. All before she was two months old.

Jesus Promised

Jesus promised Connie that He would never leave her nor forsake her.  And He kept His promise. Jesus remained with Connie as He taught her His word at home and at Sunday School.  Jesus confirmed Connie on April 8, 1960.

But Jesus had more gifts to give Connie as well.  

On June 7, 1959, Jesus gave Ken to Connie; and then children; and then grandchildren, too.

Jesus continued to keep His promise to Connie.

Even last fall, when the yoke and burden seemed too much for her, she was not alone.  Ken, you were at her side, caring for her. Family and friends, too. But most importantly, Jesus was at her side.  Jesus bearing the yoke and burden of Connie’s sin and death.

Come To Me

The gift of her baptism is not ended.  

Connie is alive with her God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now, Connie has no yoke to bear.  The burden of death is no more.

She is now experiencing nothing but the goodness of God.  We are the ones who feel the burden of losing her. We live in the veil of sorrow and tears.

But Connie is alive.  The only thing she has yet to wait for - is the day of resurrection.  That day will come and then she will be raised imperishable - in the flesh.  How? No one knows. That is a God problem. Jesus has promised that He who is the firstborn, raised from the dead, He will also return - in the flesh.

She has died to all evil.  Jesus took on all her sin and death and despising the shame of the cross died for Connie that she might live.

She is alive to all the goodness of God. No more sin and death.  Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. That goodness is yet to come.  

Connie is even now with God in heaven.  

And then on that day Jesus will say stand up.  Come to Me. And she will rise up bodily from the dead.

Jesus Is The Priceless Treasure

So, I guess what I am saying, to you Ken, is that at some point, you will be able to have a meal with her again.  You will be able to physically hug her. The same is true for all of you - children, grandchildren, friends in Christ.  

Jesus is the priceless treasure.  He Himself. And He says, come to Me, all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

Even you are buried in the death of Jesus and He is risen from the dead.

We follow Him into death by means of Holy Baptism and faith in Jesus.  And the promise stands that all who are baptized and believing in Jesus will rise in a body, this very body, but without sin and therefore without death.

Risen bodies in a new heaven and a new earth.

Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden.  And I will give you rest.

Connie is resting secure in the fulfillment of all the promises yet waiting for the resurrection.

You and I are called to rest in Jesus.  This comes by the baptism and the ongoing forgiveness of sin.  This is true even as we wait for the death and resurrection of our bodies.  This is so for the sake of Jesus.

Come, let us give thanks to a good and gracious God who keeps His promises.  Come, let us give thanks to a good and gracious God who even now is taking care of Connie.  Come quickly Lord Jesus; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep you, body and soul, through Christ Jesus, Our Savior.  Amen.

The Seat Of Power


The Ascension of Our Lord

June 2 & 3, 2019

Mark 16:19-20

Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

It is written: 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

The Ascension of Our Lord has a lot to do with power.  Oh if we only had power over death. Life is much better than death.  The struggle for life against death even makes for a good movie, Such as the Marvel movies that are so popular right now.  Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, and Spiderman are a few of the Marvel characters that fight against the bad guys.

Thanos Reigns in the Infinity Wars

Infinity Wars and Endgame are the two the biggest Marvel movies of last year.  Together they are the epic battle between Thanos and all the Marvel characters.  Here is a quick recap.

Thanos is the bad guy.  He has a glove called the Infinity Gauntlet which has a place to put each of six Infinity Stones.  Each Infinity Stone holds immense power. Thanus is on a quest to get his hands on all six. Each Infinity Stone requires Thanus to do something awful before the stone will give itself up to Thanos.  For example, Thanos had to drop his adopted daughter off a cliff to get the Soul Stone.

But the result? Receiving that power nearly kills Thanos himself but gives him the power to manipulate souls.   One stone closer to having all six. And then ultimate power over life and death through the universe.

What does Thanos want to do with all this power?

Thanos wants the power over life and death.  He can snap his fingers and immediately half the population turns to dust and blows away.  Not even all the Marvel characters, the good guys, can stop Thanos.

Wanna know a quirky fact?  Wanna know the connection between Thanos and the Ascension of Jesus Christ?  Thanos is a Greek word. It is appropriately used as a name for this character.  Thanos is death. Thanos is the bad guy. The Marvel characters are fighting against death.  

And so are you, aren’t you?  The real Thanus, death himself, has power to turn all people and all living creatures to dust.

And Death Reigns In Our Lives, Too

Death is the last enemy of God to be defeated.  It is said there is nothing certain in this world except taxes -  and death. Positive thinking does not weaken death. Diet and exercise doesn’t not prevent death.  

Last week was Memorial Day.  We remembered in prayer all the soldiers who died in active duty and we gave thanks to God for what they gave to protect us.  This Saturday we will have a Memorial service for Connie. We will remember how the Lord blessed her and will give thanks for the blessing she was to so many people including this congreg

The Ascension Of Jesus Is The Death Of Death

The World is defeated in the death of Jesus.  

Satan is defeated in the resurrection of Jesus.  

And now it is written, “after the Lord had spoken to (His disciples), He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).  

Jesus is ascended that His last enemy - thanos/death.  Jesus now exercises greater power than death. Jesus has all power over death.  Death can no longer snap his fingers whenever he wants. Death is subject to Jesus.

Jesus is ascended to exercise His power over death in heaven and earth.  Our Father gives Jesus to sit at His right hand. The right hand seat of God is not place but a position of authority and responsibility.  It is one thing to have power. It is another thing to correctly use that power. Our Father gave Jesus this power and our Father gives Jesus the permission to use this power in heaven - and among us on earth.  When the Creeds say that Jesus ascended and is seated at the right hand of God, that does not mean Jesus is far away from you but just the opposite. Jesus exercises all power even on earth. Jesus humbly exercises all-power to save you from death through a spoken Word; a splash of water; eating and drink bread and wine.  Such non-powerful tools to exert such all-powerful strength.

Jesus Is Near To You In All Power

It is written, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs (Mark 16:20).

Jesus did not send out His disciples alone.  Jesus goes with His disciples and not as a back seat driver.  Rather, Jesus is with His disciples with all the power of God.  Jesus not only sends out the first disciples to preach. Jesus continues to send out disciples to preach everywhere, even here in Muscatine, IA.  And Jesus is confirming the preached Word with accompanying signs.

Holy baptism is one sign that accompanies the preached Word.  A sign that is more than a sign, isn’t it. Jesus gives the name of the Triune God to you in baptism.   In Baptism you are buried in the death of Jesus and given the Holy Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In Baptism you receive life, even eternal life.

Holy Communion is the other sign that accompanies the preached Word.  A sign that is more than a sign. Jesus’ living body, the body that once hung on the cross, is given for you to eat and to drink - Life.  Holy Communion is the promise also for your body, that should die you will be raised incorruptible.

Jesus’ Power Is For You

Think about that for a moment.  We don’t gather this morning as polite society singing quaint hymns of yesteryear.  We gather together before the Ascended Lord to receive the power of life today as well as forevermore.  That is a lot of power. But the power is not yours to do what you want with it. The power of Jesus is to live before God in faith and before others in love.

The Real Thanos Is Defeated

What next?  One option is this.  Give thanks to God that Jesus has power over death.  Thanos is defeated not by Marvel characters but by the Son of God who is Jesus Christ our Savior.  Thank you Jesus; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God, which passes understanding, will keep you, body and soul, in Christ Jesus, our Savior.  Amen.