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Greetings!

SUMMER SCHEDULE
Divine Services are Sundays at 10:00 AM.

        Sunday School & Sunday's Adult Bible Class will be on hiatus throughout the summer.  They will resume on September 8.

MID-WEEK SERVICES
        In the event that you are out of town over the weekend, you can find worship services during the week in the following locations.
        Monday at 7:00 PM –  St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church (1343 Penniman Ave, Plymouth)
        Thursday at 6:30 PM St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church (17810 Farmington Road, Livonia)

FAMILY VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
The dates for our Family VBS are Monday-Wednesday (6:30 – 8:00 PM), July 29-31. 
Rather than limit the study of the Bible to our children (and guests), our VBS will include people of all ages.  There will be an adult study going on the same time as the children.
The topic of study and discussion for the adults will be The Canon of Scripture: Why These Books?  “Canon” refers to a stick or a standard (like a “cane”).  We confess the 66 canonical books to be the Holy Scriptures.  But why those books?  And why not others?  And what about the Apocrypha; why not them?  For three nights, we will consider how God gave us the Scriptures and why we regard only the 66 books in our Bible as the word of God.
We encourage you to invite friends to our VBS sessions—both children and adults.  Look for a registration form on our web page to indicate your participation.

ANNIVERSARY SERVICE
        St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Ann Arbor, MI. (Northfield Twp.) est. 1869 - is planning on celebrating this milestone on Sunday September 15, 2019. There will be a 10:30 a.m. Worship Service followed by a catered meal at 12 Noon and an afternoon worship service at 2:30 p.m. All those who are planning on attending the meal are asked to RSVP by sending an e-mail to: stjohnsnorthfield2015@gmail.combefore August 15, 2019. Anyone who does not have access to e-mail may call: (734)-761-1740. Please indicate how many are planning to attend the meal. To view a photo of the historic church building which was built in 1932 go to the website at: www.stjohnsannarbor.org

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
Previously, there had been a teaser about a gathering of college students
and young adults to be held on Saturday, August 10 in Columbus, Ohio.  No details about this event have been released, even by asking for them.
It seems safe to assume that this event will not take place after all. 

NOTES from Huron Valley Lutheran High School (HVL)
International Host Family Needed
We have 2 applications for international students that we need host families for.  Both are from China (a freshman and a senior).  Hosting a student is a rewarding experience and expenses are covered through a $7000 stipend to host families.  If you are interested in being a host family, please contact the school office.

Registration - If you have not yet registered for the 2019-2020 school year, please go to https://mytads.com/a/huronvalley

HVL Summer Sports Camp - All students entering grades 5-8 are eligible for HVL Volleyball & Soccer Camps on Aug 12-15 (6-8pm).  Register on our website (www.hvlhs.org) or call the school office (734) 525-0160.

HVL Financial Position - Thank you for your support and contributions throughout the year.  During the past school year, HVL received $270,000 in individual gifts. While this was a little short of our goal of $300,000, each dollar was a tremendous blessing and enabled us to not only meet our budget, but also chip away at the previous years’ deficits.  Our goal for the 2019-2020 school year is $300,000 in individual gifts. Gifts at this level will allow us to meet our budget and eliminate previous years’ deficits. To give, go to www.hvlhs.org and click on “Support Us”, or mail your check to HVL, 33740 Cowan Rd., Westland, MI 48185. 

OFFICE HOURS
Regular office hours at Good Shepherd will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. While there may be some flexibility to this schedule, we will try to keep it as regular as possible. 

DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder
==============================
DIVINE SERVICES -- Summer Schedule
     Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS will resume September 8.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE

Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM
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When Martin Luther wrote "The Bondage of the Will," he responded to the claim of Desiderius Erasmus who claimed that man has free will to come to God, to do the works God requires of him, and thereby to be saved.  Luther firmly rejected the whole idea of free will when it comes to spiritual matters.  We cannot make a move toward God; for we are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1).  We do not want to come to God, because we are, by nature, hostile to him (Romans 8:7) and enemies of God (Romans 5:10).  We cannot make efforts to find God, since we are spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 4:4)

It is God who must make the move--to make us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).  It is the Holy Spirit who must enlighten us to see the glory and goodness of God (2 Corinthians 4:6).  It is the Holy Spirit who must convert us, turning us from enemies of God to those who love his word, desire his will, and do good works (Titus 2:11-14).   It is God who must create in us a clean heart and renew in us a right spirit (Psalm 51:10)

Luther goes on to state that God does more than just grant us new life.  It is God alone who sustains that new life in us.  Just as we did not give ourselves life by our own free will, so our free will does not sustain our new life in us.  That, too, remains God's work.

Something from Luther on the Spirit who sustains Christian faith in us:

"So, too, I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit's kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created he does and endeavours nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves; as James says: 'Of His own will begat He us with the word of His power, that we should be the firstfruits of His creation' (Jas. 1.18).  (James is speaking of the renewed creation.)" (page 268, The Bondage of the Will, translated by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, Baker Academics: Grand Rapids, MI.  (c) 1957.)

The good news is in all of this is that God does not leave it up to us to do what needs to be done for our salvation.  We are weak, and we often fail.  What hope could we have!?  Therefore, God supplies us with our hope and confidence as he also works in us to strengthen and keep us in the true faith.  While we make the effort to come to God's house to hear the word and partake in the sacraments, it is God who is at work through these to preserve us in the one true faith.  And as long as we are in God's care, we are safe.
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This sermon was preached at Lola Park Evangelical Lutheran Church in Redford, Michigan.  The service was in recognition and thanksgiving for Pastor Gregory Gibbons' 40 years in the office of the holy ministry and for 25 years at Lola Park.

ROMANS 8:35-39

GOD HAS VOWED TO BE FAITHFUL TO YOU.

In the name + of Jesus.

     Four decades ago, God heard Gregory Gibbons swear in church.  You swore an oath which included these questions: “Dost thou solemnly promise that thou wilt perform the duties of thy office in accordance with these Confessions and that all thy teaching and thy administration of the Sacraments shall be in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and with the afore-mentioned Confessions?” And “Wilt thou, finally, adorn the doctrine of our Savior with a holy life and conversation?” (The Lutheran Agenda)  Invoking God's aid, you swore that you would.  It has been forty years since God heard you swear that you would be faithful to him in your preaching and practice, as one who speaks and acts in the stead and by the command of Christ Jesus.
     When we swear to God—whether for confirmation, marriage, or ordination—we are asking him to hold us accountable to our vow.  A 40 year anniversary of your ordination vow certainly gives you an opportunity to reflect on the blessings you have enjoyed, but it also is a time when memories of disappointments and failures resurface.  The devil is a good history teacher, and he likes to share lessons and stories of our past with us.  He reminds us of the ways we have sinned against others, let them down, failed to follow up like we said we would, or just plain did not do what we were tasked with—whether that was due to fear, forgetfulness, or fatigue.  Then the devil shares one more history lesson with you: You swore that you would not do that!  The devil reminds you that God holds you accountable for your shortcomings and your sins—for favoring members who showered you with compliments, for despising members who criticized you and made your ministry difficult, and for being negligent in the word of God and in prayer.
     The devil is good at history lessons, and your conscience testifies that the devil gets it right.  But the devil is a liar.  He does not lie when we replays our sins to us.  He lies that they still stand against us.  He lies that we remain under God's condemnation for them.  He lies that we are judged based on the works that we failed to do or on the works that we did wrongly.  The Apostle Paul teaches you a different history lesson which corrects everything the devil claims.  He asks: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:35)
     The love of Christ is not how much you love Jesus or how well you serve Jesus.  The love of Christ is what Jesus Christ has done for you and how he has served you.  Jesus did not overlook your sins.  Instead, he acted to remove them from you.  He put himself through tribulation, distress, persecution, nakedness, danger, and sword to make himself the atoning sacrifice for your sins.  For, he was forsaken by his disciples—disciples who vowed they would never leave him.  Jesus was betrayed by his friend, condemned by religious leaders, hung naked from a cross, and pierced by the lance of the soldier in his death.  The Lord knows what it is to have people fail him, even when they swore they would not.
     Nevertheless, God has vowed to be faithful to you.  At the cross, Jesus fulfilled the vow God had made—that “the Son of Man would be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14,15)  He applied his forgiveness to you in holy baptism with another vow: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)  And the Lord Jesus continues to faithfully forgive and sustain you at the Holy Supper with another vow: “For you, for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)  God has vowed to forgive you and to save you, and the vows of God are much greater than yours.  God does not need to ask for aid or strength to fulfill his vows.  He means what he swears to you.  Jesus was faithful in fulfilling every promise, and he lives and reigns to uphold them all.  Since Jesus has faithfully completed what the Father vowed he would do for you, the sentence Jesus renders overrules any charge the devil makes.  For, God does not lie when he speaks and he will not fail when he makes a promise.  God has vowed to be faithful to you.
     While a 40 year anniversary is naturally a time to look back and give thanks to God for his faithful love, the reading for this sermon does not look back at all.  St. Paul wrote about what you possess now and what is to come.  St. Paul wrote, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
     The Lord Jesus has been faithful to you throughout your life, just as he vowed.  He will remain faithful to you, just as he vowed.  For, when the Lord swears an oath, he is bound to it.  Paul claims that, no matter what—whether we are feasting on the fattened calf or we are the sheep to be slaughtered—“we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)  We are victors over sin, over death, and over the devil by means of Jesus Christ.  His love for us took him into death to pay for our sins, and his resurrection opens the gates of heaven and eternal life to us whom he has redeemed.  Jesus lives and reigns, and he vows that we shall live as surely as he lives (John 14:19).  He vows that if we endure, we will also reign with him. (2 Timothy 2:12)  Therefore, we are more than conquerors; for the Lord has sworn to give you a place in an everlasting kingdom for the sake of Jesus.
     St. Paul goes on and states, “I am sure that ... (nothing) in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)  There is only one thing that can make St. Paul so confident, and that is the word and promise of God.  God has vowed to be faithful to you, to strengthen and keep you in the one true faith.  What could possibly overcome God's vow?  Our strength is poor.  We cannot avoid temptations or overcome them.  Our flesh fails us.  We are afraid of pressures and personalities.  Our boasting, our resolve, and our vows stand no chance against the forces of darkness in the heavenly realms.  You are right not to be sure of yourself.  But you can be sure of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  His promises never fail.  God has vowed to be faithful to you.
     It does not matter what you suffer now or what you will face in the future.  We have the same confidence as St. Paul: “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)  Ten times St. Paul uses the negative.  A perfect number shows the complete impotence of anything that would stand against God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Neither death nor life nullifies the love of God.  Neither angels nor demons nor rulers can cancel the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.  Neither the present nor the things to come will annul the resurrection of Jesus.  Neither height nor depth—that is, nothing in heaven or in hell—nor anything else on earth can invalidate the word and sacraments which bestow God's salvation upon us.  God swears by himself that he will be our Savior.  There is no higher power God can swear by.  And he has sworn: “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.” (John 10:27-28) 
     Forty years ago, the Lord heard Gregory Gibbons swear in church.  God entrusted you with his word and sacraments, to administer the same mercy and grace God has shown to you.  Despite any failed efforts, faulty words, or feeble hands, the Lord has blessed his word through you and upheld his promises to his people.  After all, it is Christ's Gospel.  The ministry is his work.  The Church is his flock; and you, dear brother, are one of them.  God has vowed to be faithful to you.  He has been.  He will be.  The love of God is yours; for you are Christ's.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 
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Zechariah, by Michelangelo

ZECHARIAH 13:7-9

THE LORD WORKS TO REFINE YOUR FAITH.

In the name + of Jesus.

     The Lord called the prophet Zechariah to preach to the people of Israel during Israel's exile to Babylon.  For centuries, the nation of Israel had been rebuked by the Lord's prophets for their faithless ways.  They had prided themselves that they were God's chosen people, but then they chose to live their lives as they pleased.  They took pride in the temple that was dedicated to the Lord's offerings, but then they dedicated their time and efforts to their own wealth and businesses.  The nation had, by all appearances, a God-fearing people whose religious ceremonies did not cease.  But the Lord had no use for animals which were slaughtered for the sake of empty traditions.  And since the people did not heed the words of many prophets who had called them to repent, the Lord raised up the nation of Babylon to destroy the temple and the city of Jerusalem, to slaughter the priests, and to kill the people.  Those who were not killed by sword or famine or disease were carried off into exile.
     You might think that the one third which survived had gained for themselves a better, easier life.  But that was not the case.  The Lord declared, “In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive.  And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.” (Zechariah 13:7-8)  The Lord was at work to refine their faith.  His plan was always to bring a remnant back to Jerusalem who would serve him faithfully and through whom the Savior would enter the world.  But to do so, the Lord would put them in the crucible.  The Lord would work to refine their faith, and make for himself a people who would be faithful to him.
     While it is true that God our Savior desires all people to be saved, it is also true that the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” (Matthew 7:13)  Sadly, only a remnant of the world's population will be saved.  But that does not mean that life for those who are in the Church becomes easier.  The easier way is the way that leads to destruction because you never fight against your sinful flesh.  But for those whom the Lord has set apart for salvation, the Lord continues to refine and purify your faith.  Just as gold and silver must be heated up and turned into a molten state so that impurities can be removed, so the Lord does to us.  The Lord turns up the heat and puts us in the crucible in order to purify us.
     The Lord works to refine our faith.  It is not just a matter of calling us to repent of sins we have practiced.  It is also calling us to not cling to the blessings he has given us.  Christians do not usually fall away from the faith because they suddenly prefer wickedness to godliness.  Many Christians fall away because they love the good things that God gives them too much.
     The First Commandment is, “You shall have no other gods.”  What does this mean?  We should fear and love and trust in God above all things. (Luther's Small Catechism)  If you want to see how easy it is for you to make idols out of the blessings God gives you, then ask yourself, “What is precious to me?  What do I trust to get me through life?  What do I fear losing?”  Your answers will likely reveal things you fear, love, and trust above all.  Common answers:  “I need more time to get things done.  I need a strong economy to guarantee a comfortable retirement.  My life is better when my team wins.  I am only comfortable when my political party is in charge.”  “I fear losing my children.  I fear losing my job.  I am afraid of losing my health or my insurance plan.  I am afraid people will mock me or ostracize me if I take my faith seriously in my life.”  In these cases, you are not craving to do wicked things.  Instead, you are afraid of losing blessings.  Even the fear of being mocked for your faith recognizes that your reputation is a blessing.  But if you think you must maintain your blessings in order to maintain your comfort and peace, and if you fear that losing your blessings means you lose your sense of worth or purpose, then you love the blessings God gives more than the God who gave them.  Then you have turned God's blessings into idols.
     The Lord works to refine your faith, and in doing so, he teaches you the hard lesson that all his blessings are temporary.  In order to teach the Israelites that the temple, the rituals, and the city of Jerusalem were not to be trusted for their safety and prosperity, the Lord destroyed them.  The remnant which survived destruction were taken into captivity.  What was the result?  “I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.” (Zechariah 13:9)  They called upon the Lord in their distress.  They cried to the Lord for mercy.  They sought after the Lord, recognizing that God was the only one whose word mattered.  Even though they lost all things, they still had God and his promises.  God was at work to refine their faith.
     The lesson for us is the same.  And it is really no different than what Jesus said in today's Gospel.  He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)  The Lord Jesus calls on us to forsake our claims on all he gives us and to put to death in us our cravings for earthly praise and popularity and possessions.  This is hard because we have to crucify our sinful desires for worldly comforts, and the sinful flesh does not want to die.  Nevertheless, all earthly blessings are temporary.  We receive them with thanksgiving and make use of what God, in his grace, gives us.  But we also ought to recognize that God, in his wisdom, can withdraw them.  And he often does.
     When God does this, we regard it as an evil we are suffering; and it is.  The loss of blessings is the consequence of living in a sinful world.  It is especially grieving when we lose something precious.  But even when such evils afflict us, God remains our good and merciful Father in heaven.  God even uses the evils that come to us for our eternal good.  He teaches us not to long for this world.  He reminds us that all blessings in this world are temporary.  And he also drives us to call upon him for mercy, for justice, for relief, and for strength.  Consider this: When are you more inclined to pray to God—when things are going well, or when things are falling apart?  We usually pray when we are afflicted by evils and when we suffer loss.  So, even though we are put in the crucible, God uses these things for our good.  God is working to refine our faith.
     But no matter what you lose—and eventually, you will lose it all; for no one packs a suitcase for the grave—you have not lost anything you truly need.  Zechariah declares the word of the Lord.  “I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)  
     When you have lost your friends, your family, your hearing, your balance, and finally your breath, you still have a Savior who lives and reigns for you.  You have a Savior who bled and died for you.  You have a Savior whose blood was poured out as the payment for your sins, was poured upon you in baptism to cleanse you of your sins, and is poured into you for the strengthening of your faith and for the forgiveness of your sins.  You still have a God who declares, “I will say, 'They are my people.'” (Zechariah 13:9)  Your worth, your purpose, and your life are all found in Jesus Christ.  Your peace, your hope, and your comfort are all received through Jesus' promises of mercy now and of eternal joys to come.  Neither Jesus' promises nor your place in his kingdom are changed by captivity or loss or pain or death.
     The Lord works to refine your faith.  And though he may withdraw his blessings, he does it all for your eternal good.  He teaches you not to love his gifts instead of him.  He teaches you not to trust in worldly goods for peace, for hope, or for joy.  He teaches you not to fear losing what he gives you for this life.  And once he leads you to realize that nothing in this world is reliable, then you have nothing left but to throw yourself completely on God for your hope, your comfort, and for your salvation.  The Lord may withdraw blessing from you, but the Lord never withdraws himself or his promises from you.  He remains your loving and merciful Redeemer.  And this is, finally, all you have ever needed.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 
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Greetings!

SUMMER SCHEDULE
Divine Services are Sundays at 10:00 AM.

        Sunday School & Sunday's Adult Bible Class will be on hiatus throughout the summer.  They will resume on September 8.
        There will be no more Thursday evening services offered this summer.

FAMILY VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
The dates for our Family VBS are Monday-Wednesday (6:30 – 8:00 PM), July 29-31. 
Rather than limit the study of the Bible to our children (and guests), our VBS will include people of all ages.  There will be an adult study going on the same time as the children.
The topic of study and discussion for the adults will be The Canon of Scripture: Why These Books?  “Canon” refers to a stick or a standard (like a “cane”).  We confess the 66 canonical books to be the Holy Scriptures.  But why those books?  And why not others?  And what about the Apocrypha; why not them?  For three nights, we will consider how God gave us the Scriptures and why we regard only the 66 books in our Bible as the word of God.
We encourage you to invite friends to our VBS sessions—both children and adults.  Look for a registration form on our web page to indicate your participation.

ANNIVERSARY SERVICES
Lola Park Evangelical Lutheran Church of Redford will be having a special service of thanksgiving for Rev. Gregory Gibbons who has served in the office of the ministry for 40 years.  Pastor Gibbons has also been serving at Lola Park for 25 years.  A special service will be held Sunday, July 14 at 4:00 PM with a dinner to follow.  To RSVP for the dinner, contact Lola Park at (313) 532-8655 or via email at lolaparklutheran@gmail.com.  

        St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Ann Arbor, MI. (Northfield Twp.) est. 1869 - is planning on celebrating this milestone on Sunday September 15, 2019. There will be a 10:30 a.m. Worship Service followed by a catered meal at 12 Noon and an afternoon worship service at 2:30 p.m. All those who are planning on attending the meal are asked to RSVP by sending an e-mail to: stjohnsnorthfield2015@gmail.com before August 15, 2019. Anyone who does not have access to e-mail may call: (734)-761-1740. Please indicate how many are planning to attend the meal. To view a photo of the historic church building which was built in 1932 go to the website at: www.stjohnsannarbor.org

VBS PREPARATION MEETING
In order to get ready for the children's portion of our VBS later this July, we will need to make sure that we have people in place for teachers, assistants, providers of snacks, promotion, and others to support our efforts.  We will meet after church Sunday July 14.  Even if you do not attend the meeting, please help promote both parts of our Family VBS for both adults and children.

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
The WELS is hosting a gathering for college-aged students and young adults on Saturday, August 10 in Columbus, Ohio.  As of this writing, only the dates is known.  More details will be published when they are released.

NOTES from Huron Valley Lutheran High School (HVL)
International Host Family Needed
We have 2 applications for international students that we need host families for.  Both are from China (a freshman and a senior).  Hosting a student is a rewarding experience and expenses are covered through a $7000 stipend to host families.  If you are interested in being a host family, please contact the school office.

Registration - If you have not yet registered for the 2019-2020 school year, please go to https://mytads.com/a/huronvalley

HVL Summer Sports Camp - All students entering grades 5-8 are eligible for HVL Volleyball & Soccer Camps on Aug 12-15 (6-8pm).  Register on our website (www.hvlhs.org) or call the school office (734) 525-0160.

HVL Financial Position - Thank you for your support and contributions throughout the year.  During the past school year, HVL received $270,000 in individual gifts. While this was a little short of our goal of $300,000, each dollar was a tremendous blessing and enabled us to not only meet our budget, but also chip away at the previous years’ deficits.  Our goal for the 2019-2020 school year is $300,000 in individual gifts. Gifts at this level will allow us to meet our budget and eliminate previous years’ deficits. To give, go to www.hvlhs.org and click on “Support Us”, or mail your check to HVL, 33740 Cowan Rd., Westland, MI 48185. 

OFFICE HOURS
Regular office hours at Good Shepherd will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. While there may be some flexibility to this schedule, we will try to keep it as regular as possible. 

DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder
==============================
DIVINE SERVICES -- Summer Schedule
     Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS will resume September 8.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE

Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM
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2 SAMUEL 11:26 – 12:10,13-15

DEALING WITH SIN IS ROYAL BUSINESS.

In the name + of Jesus.

     With Independence Day upon us, it is an easy time to get patriotic.  And it is a good thing to pray for our country and for its leaders.  The Bible encourages us to do just that.  The Bible, however, does not ask us to ignore that our leaders do not always act according to his word.  It should come as no surprise that all our leaders are sinners.  Some prove it with shameful lives and by promoting wicked causes.  While their sins may be obvious, there is nothing particularly noble about sitting on one's high horse and sneering at other people.  And there is nothing particularly artful about being outraged at someone else's faults.  It usually means that we are ignoring our own.
     There are very few rulers who go through life scandal-free.  That was true even for the likes of King David.  David was described as a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  Still, David was a man of sinful flesh, and he proved it in a most shameful way.  When his army was out to battle, David was attracted to the wife of one of his officers who had been deployed.  The result of his illicit affair with Bathsheba was that she got pregnant.  In an effort to cover up his scandal, David arranged to have her husband, Uriah, killed in battle.  This was not collateral damage which happens in war.  Uriah's death was the battle plan.  After Uriah was killed, David took Bathsheba into the royal palace and made her his wife.  I don't know if there were rumors of scandal flying around Jerusalem or not, but God's opinion of the whole matter is spelled out clearly: The thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (2 Samuel 11:27)
     Therefore, the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David to expose his sin and to call him to repent.  When Nathan told the parable about the rich man who stole and slaughtered the lamb of the poor man, David was enraged at such a merciless act.  David unwittingly proclaimed the sentence against himself: “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die... because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)  
     It is always easier to see the faults of others than our own.  We are not really too bothered by our own faults.  We give our sinful flesh whatever it craves in order to find happiness and satisfaction for ourselves.  And we believe that all is well as long as no one gets hurt or no one finds out or if our friends say it is okay.  We can get drunk or stoned on our free time.  We can watch porn with the curtains drawn.  It doesn't matter who we go to bed with; that's our private business.  Abortion becomes a form of birth control as long as you can convince yourself that what is aborted is not a baby.  This reasoning is used to excuse sins—in fact to insist that they are not sins at all.  Repent.  Evil is not determined by who gets hurt or by who finds out or if society says it is okay.
     The Lord confronted David about his sin through the prophet Nathan.  God granted Nathan the courage to confront his king.  There was always the danger of David lashing out against Nathan, saying, “You have no place to challenge the king.  Whatever the king does is royal business.  It is not your business.”  And while we are not kings, we do try to claim sovereignty over everything we do.  Whether motivated by shame, anger, or stubborn resistance about our sins, we are quick to rail against a pastor or a fellow Christian: “Mind your own business.  Stay away from me.  What I do in my own home or on my own time is nobody's business but mine!”  This is a lie.  You are not your own.  Your actions and attitudes may not be criminal, but neither are they harmless.  Most significantly, in all that you and I do, we are accountable to God Most High, King of heaven and earth.  Dealing with sins is royal business.
     When the Lord confronted David, he could have gone through a long checklist of the ways David's sins affected other people: He impregnated another man's wife and destroyed their marriage.  He ended Uriah's life.  He stole Bathsheba's husband from her.  He emboldened all his subjects to copy his rebellion against God.  He brought international scorn against the Lord since people from foreign nations would regard the Lord as a god not to be taken seriously.  And all of those things would have been true.  But this is the main charge Nathan issued: “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7)  You are the one who acted so mercilessly.  You are condemned by your own judgment.  “Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12:9)  
     Dealing with sins is royal business.  The King of the universe, the creator of mankind, has every right to say how life is to be lived, since he is the one who gives it.  God is good, and his word establishes what is good.  Still, we rebel and do what is evil.  And you cannot insist that your sins do not harm anyone else, because they do.  By your sins, you embolden others to sin against God.  After all, if God's people don't take God's word seriously, why should anyone else?  Even if no one knows about your sins, such as your thoughts, God does know.  And he asks you through the prophet Nathan: “Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12:9)  Every sin—no matter how shameful, no matter how scandalous, no matter how secret—is a despising of God's word.  Repent.
     Dealing with sin is royal business.  David may have been a king, but God's word reduced him to nothing.  David did not invoke his royal status against Nathan, suggesting God's word applied to him differently.  There were no excuses.  David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” (2 Samuel 12:13)  And immediately, God's prophet absolved David.  Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13)   
     Just as David did not excuse his sin, neither did the Lord.  Nathan's absolution was not, “Oh, it's okay, David.”  It was not okay.  David had acted wickedly against God and against his neighbors.  Dealing with sin is royal business, and so the King of heaven and earth dealt with David's sin himself.
     The King of heaven and earth humbled himself to be a servant.  He became a man to serve us in our need.  In his service to us, Jesus took our sins away from us so that we are not condemned for them.  If you want to know how God deals with your sins, look to the crucified Savior who hangs on a cross for you.  There, Jesus dealt with your wickedness, your guilt, and your rebellion against God's word.  There, Jesus suffered God's judgment against all who have defied his commands.  There, Jesus swallowed the cup of God's wrath and endured the torments of hell for you.  For the sake of Jesus who shed his blood in your place, God has issued his royal decree: You are pardoned of all sins and offenses.  God's wrath has been taken away from you, and you are now under God's favor.  You have been brought into God's kingdom which is ruled by grace and peace and life.
     It ought to be understood what forgiveness is and what it is not.  Forgiveness is the royal decree that your sins are pardoned and that God's curse has been lifted for the sake of Jesus.  This is God's word and promised to you.  By it, you shall live forever in his kingdom.  But God's forgiveness does not mean that the consequences of your sins are taken away.  Uriah did not come back from the dead.  The scorn of the nations did not go away.  In the same way, the fallout from your sins may never go away in this lifetime.  Relationships may never be restored.  Debt may plague you for a long time.  You may fight against your addiction for the rest of your life.  Regrets may haunt you until you go to your grave.  But do not misunderstand: While consequences may not be taken away, your guilt most certainly has.  The absolution which Nathan proclaimed to David applies also to you who are in Christ: “The LORD ... has put away your sin.” (2 Samuel 12:13)
     Dealing with sin is royal business.  God has made it his business to save you, to take away your sin, to mark you for the resurrection to eternal life, and to bring you in his kingdom forevermore.  Since you are God's business, you are God's redeemed.  The King of heaven and earth has decreed it to be so.  And therefore, it stands forever.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 
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Martin Luther (1483-1546) wrote a treatise called "On the Bondage of the Will" as a response to a treatise by a Dutch scholar named Erasmus (1466-1536) which promoted the idea of the free will of mankind.  In particular, Erasmus argued that man is free to choose to be good and to come to God.  Luther strongly refuted that claim (more on that in future posts), resulting in "On the Bondage of the Will."  Luther considered it one of the few things he wrote which was worthy of preserving.


This particular entry of Luther sums up what Christians can expect to find in the New Testament for the benefit of salvation and Christian living. 


"In the New Testament, the gospel is preached and this is just the word that offers the Spirit and grace for the remission of sins which was procured for us by Christ crucified.  It is all entirely free, given by the mercy of God the Father alone as He shows His favour towards us, who are unworthy, and who deserve condemnation rather than anything else.  Exhortations follows (sic) after this; and they are intended to stir up those who have obtained mercy and have been justified already, to be energetic in bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit and of the righteousness given them, to exercise themselves in love and good works, and boldly to bear the cross and all the other tribulations of this world.  This is the whole sum of the New Testament." (p 180, The Bondage of the Will, translated by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, Baker Academics: Grand Rapids, MI.  (c) 1957.)
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Greetings!

SUMMER SCHEDULE
Divine Services are Sundays at 10:00 AM.

        Sunday School & Sunday's Adult Bible Class will be on hiatus throughout the summer.  They will resume on September 8.
        Due to exceptionally low attendance, there will be no more Thursday evening services offered this summer.

FAMILY VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
The dates for our Family VBS are Monday-Wednesday (6:30 – 8:00 PM), July 29-31. 
Rather than limit the study of the Bible to our children (and guests), our VBS will include people of all ages.  There will be an adult study going on the same time as the children.
The topic of study and discussion for the adults will be The Canon of Scripture: Why These Books?  “Canon” refers to a stick or a standard (like a “cane”).  We confess the 66 canonical books to be the Holy Scriptures.  But why those books?  And why not others?  And what about the Apocrypha; why not them?  For three nights, we will consider how God gave us the Scriptures and why we regard only the 66 books in our Bible as the word of God.
We encourage you to invite friends to our VBS sessions—both children and adults.  Look for a registration form on our web page to indicate your participation.

ANNIVERSARY SERVICE
Lola Park Evangelical Lutheran Church of Redford will be having a special service of thanksgiving for Rev. Gregory Gibbons who has served in the office of the ministry for 40 years.  Pastor Gibbons has also been serving at Lola Park for 25 years.  A special service will be held Sunday, July 14 at 4:00 PM with a dinner to follow.  To RSVP for the dinner, contact Lola Park at (313) 532-8655 or via email at lolaparklutheran@gmail.com.  

VBS PREPARATION MEETING
In order to get ready for the children's portion of our VBS later this July, we will need to make sure that we have people in place for teachers, assistants, providers of snacks, promotion, and others to support our efforts.  We will meet after church Sunday July 14.  Even if you do not attend the meeting, please help promote both parts of our Family VBS for both adults and children.

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
The WELS is hosting a gathering for college-aged students and young adults on Saturday, August 10 in Columbus, Ohio.  As of this writing, only the dates is known.  More details will be published when they are released.

OFFICE HOURS
Regular office hours at Good Shepherd will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. While there may be some flexibility to this schedule, we will try to keep it as regular as possible. 

DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder
==============================
DIVINE SERVICES -- Summer Schedule
     Thursdays at 7:00 PM
     Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS will resume September 8.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE
www.GoodShepherdNovi.org

PASTOR SCHROEDER’S BLOG
www.LutheranSubject.blogspot.com
Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM
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LUKE 7:11-17

DEATH IS OVERTURNED BY A COMPASSIONATE SAVIOR.

In the name + of Jesus.

     The Psalms declare, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)  This means that God had your life planned long before you were born.  God had predetermined when you were to be born, where you were to be born, and to whom you would be born.  Even more than that, God also has predetermined how long your life will be on this earth.  All your days—from conception to death—were written in God’s book before any of them came to be.  God is far more active and interested in our lives than we often consider.
     Even though all the days which God has determined for you are written in his book, he has not revealed those dates to us.  You know that death will come; for it comes for everyone.  But you do not know when it will come.  It will not consult with you or ask permission.  It will not show mercy upon your loved ones.  Death takes, and it does not care whom it hurts.  Death doesn’t just steal people away, death also wounds the loved ones of those taken.
     In a small town called Nain, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. (Luke 7:12)  This widow was all to familiar with this journey.  She had likely made the journey for her parents and her in-laws; certainly for her husband.  Worst of all, she was now making this journey for her only son.  She was not only devastated, she was also going to be destitute.  All means of income or support for her had been carried out to the tombs.  Death had never asked this widow if it was coming at a convenient time.  Death takes, and it does not care whom it hurts or how it hurts them.
     The funeral procession which was departing from Nain was suddenly confronted at the city gate by a different procession.  The Lord of Life and the large crowd with him met the procession of death.  When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her. (Luke 7:13)  It is interesting that we don’t hear about Jesus having compassion on the deceased.  What moved our Lord to act was the fact that his gut ached for this woman.  The compassion that our Lord calls on us to have for widows and orphans was demonstrated at the city gate of Nain.  Death had taken a widow's son.  Death had deeply wounded her.  But death was about to be overturned by a compassionate Savior.
     When he acted, Jesus said something that seems cruel; then he did something that was shocking.  When the Lord saw (the widow), he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.’ (Luke 7:13)  “Do not weep”!?  That is all this woman had left!  Death had wounded her deeply.  It was like telling a paralytic to get up and stretch.  It was like telling a starving man about a five-course meal.  But Jesus was not offering a pep talk.  Jesus was going to dry her tears with a real solution.  Death would be overturned by a compassionate Savior.
     Then Jesus did what was shocking.  He came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. (Luke 7:14)  The Law had declared that anyone who came into contact with a dead body becomes unclean.  Nevertheless, Jesus came up to the dead man and touched the gurney on which he was being carried to his grave.  Jesus took upon himself the uncleanness of death, and then he restored the life of this young man.  He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. (Luke 7:14-15)  Death was overturned by a compassionate Savior.  Mercy was shown to a devastated widow.  A joyful reunion of saints took place.
     Whenever our Lord performed these miracles, he acted because he has compassion.  He saw sinners whose lives were afflicted with the evils of a sinful world, and he demonstrated his mercy to them.  The miracles such as these also gave concrete evidence of Jesus’ message: The kingdom of God is near.  Each miracle is a glimpse of the heavenly kingdom where all will be restored and perfected.  By raising the dead man, Jesus gave a glimpse of life where death is overturned and where all of the evils, sorrows, and pains that come from sin are eliminated.  Our Lord does not intend us to be reincarnated and to continue re-entering a broken world to live shattered lives over and over again.  Our Lord has come into this world of death and decay, pain and problems in order to deliver us from all of these things forevermore.
     Therefore, Jesus took on human flesh to touch our lives and connect himself to our world.  He knows our world of diseased children, grieving widows, funeral processions, and broken hearts.  Jesus himself had been in a procession to the tomb for his guardian, Joseph.  He did not just watch people hurting; he knows by experience what it is to hurt.  Therefore, he made contact with death and took into himself its uncleanness.  More than that, he absorbed from us all of the filth of our sin and wickedness which is what produces death in us.  The Bible declares: “For our sake (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Jesus exchanged his holy innocence for our sinful guilt.  He gave us his perfect life in exchanged for our cursed death.
     “For our sake (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin….” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Then God did to Jesus was sinners deserve—he put him under judgment, he found him guilty, he sentenced him to death, he put on him a divine curse, and he subjected him to hell.  And this, Jesus did “for our sake,” that is, for us—in our place and for our benefit.  Jesus did not merely witness death or sympathize with people who grieve over death, he gave himself into death for all mankind.  And this he did to put an end to death.  His death has atoned for all our sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  By faith in Jesus, we are.  Jesus' resurrection from the dead puts an end to death so that in him you too might rise from the grave to life everlasting.  By faith in Jesus, you will.  For, death is overturned only by our compassionate Savior.
     Therefore, it will not be just a young man from Nain who rises from the dead.  The grave must give up all its dead.  At Nain, Jesus gave the command, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  And the dead man sat up. (Luke 7:14-15)  Likewise, Jesus will come from the clouds and will call forth all the dead.  The grave will have to give up all people—good and bad, righteous and wicked.  All will be raised for judgment.  Death has been overturned; the grave will keep no one.  It will be just as we confess: “On the Last Day, he will raise up me and all the dead and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.  This is most certainly true.” (Luther’s Small Catechism; Apostles’ Creed, 2nd Article)
     Death is overturned by a compassionate Savior.  The widow at Nain rejoiced to have her son back.  But as I had said, this was a glimpse of Jesus' everlasting reign.  The glories of the heavenly kingdom have not begun yet.  The widow eventually made one more funeral procession—her own.  Later, her son would be carried out again, this time with no interruption in his trip to the tomb.  Likewise, we all know that we have our own grave to face.  But even in these bitter times, we still have a compassionate Savior.  He has overturned death with his resurrection.  And by uniting us to himself in our baptism, he makes us partakers of the resurrection to life everlasting.  It will be just as we confess: “On the Last Day, he will ... give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.” (Luther’s Small Catechism; Apostles’ Creed, 2nd Article)
     The Psalms declare, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:16)  Though the Lord knows how many days you will live on this earth, he has hidden that information from you.  But he has revealed how many days you will have in his kingdom, and that will be without end.  You are in his kingdom now, for you believe in him, and by faith in him you have been delivered from the curse of sin.  You still suffer the pains and sorrows here, but soon enough you will be delivered even from those.  For death is overturned and life is given by our compassionate Savior.  He will bring us into the heavenly kingdom where there will never again be death or mourning or crying or pain—or weeping widows or dying children.  For God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and God's people will live in joy forevermore.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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Greetings!

SUMMER SCHEDULE
Divine Services are Thursdays at 7:00 PM and Sundays at 10:00 AM.

        Sunday School & Sunday's Adult Bible Class will be on hiatus throughout the summer.  They will resume on September 8.
        There will NOT be a service on Thursday, July 4.

FAMILY VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
The dates for our Family VBS are Monday-Wednesday (6:30 – 8:00 PM), July 29-31. 
Rather than limit the study of the Bible to our children (and guests), our VBS will include people of all ages.  There will be an adult study going on the same time as the children.
The topic of study and discussion for the adults will be The Canon of Scripture: Why These Books?  “Canon” refers to a stick or a standard (like a “cane”).  We confess the 66 canonical books to be the Holy Scriptures.  But why those books?  And why not others?  And what about the Apocrypha; why not them?  For three nights, we will consider how God gave us the Scriptures and why we regard only the 66 books in our Bible as the word of God.
We encourage you to invite friends to our VBS sessions—both children and adults.  Look for a registration form on our web page to indicate your participation.

IN OUR PRAYERS
>  Thanksgiving for Ron Schmidt's, father of Laura Schroeder, successful surgery and for continued recovery 

ANNIVERSARY SERVICE
Lola Park Evangelical Lutheran Church of Redford will be having a special service of thanksgiving for Rev. Gregory Gibbons who has served in the office of the ministry for 40 years.  Pastor Gibbons has also been serving at Lola Park for 25 years.  A special service will be held Sunday, July 14 at 4:00 PM with a dinner to follow.  To RSVP for the dinner, contact Lola Park at (313) 532-8655 or via email at lolaparklutheran@gmail.com.  

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
The WELS is hosting a gathering for college-aged students and young adults on Saturday, August 10 in Columbus, Ohio.  As of this writing, only the dates is known.  More details will be published when they are made known.

OFFICE HOURS
Regular office hours at Good Shepherd will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. While there may be some flexibility to this schedule, we will try to keep it as regular as possible. 

DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder
==============================
DIVINE SERVICES -- Summer Schedule
     Thursdays at 7:00 PM
     Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS will resume September 8.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE
www.GoodShepherdNovi.org

PASTOR SCHROEDER’S BLOG
www.LutheranSubject.blogspot.com

Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM

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