Lutheran Preaching and Teaching from St. John Random Lake, Wisconsin
By Rev. Christopher Gillespie
St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church & School (Sherman Center) is in Random Lake, Wisconsin and is served by Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie. St. John Lutheran is God's place for Christians to gather around our Lord's Word and be edified by His gifts.
We are a congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). We unconditionally subscribe the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. St. John Lutheran School has been approved for accreditation through the accreditation process of the National Lutheran School Accreditation of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
23. February 2020
1 Cor. 13:1-13; Luke 18:31-43
Love is to be delivered over to the Gentiles. Love patiently suffers the scorn and shame of enemies and friends alike. Love is kind to those who persecute you. Love is mocked and shamefully treated. Love is spit upon. Love is flogged and killed. Love is crucified. Love gives His life for His friends. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love obeys the Father even unto death. Love dies for the sins of the whole world. Jesus is love. Whenever you hear love in the Holy Scriptures, you hear Jesus.
15. February 2020
Take heart, dear Christian! Christ Jesus has again today in your hearing given you ears to hear and tongues to confess His Holy Name. He has tilled your hard heart, crushed your rocky soil, and weeded out every care in you, so that your entire faith, hope, and love is in Christ and His salvation alone. The sower went out to sow, and He has accomplished what He set forth to do for you.
Jesus can do nothing apart from the Father (5:19, 30; 8:28). He does the works the Father sent Him to accomplish (5:36; 4:34). This is a real relationship with real, personal interaction, not just a revealing of the relationship of the divine persons. The presence of “the Jews” is helpful, because they have come to the grave, confident that Lazarus’ death is fact and death is invincible. And then Jesus overcomes what is impossible and gives thanks to the Father in full dependence. He is commanding faith in Him and the Father who sent Him! This has been the purpose and goal since the Prologue (1:14, 51).
5. February 2020
For Christ turned His face to Jerusalem, suffering all in glory, that you would be glorified in Him. He has forgiven all that would keep you from being in the presence of God. You are given not only to approach Him without terror but are given to be joined to Him. He gives you His glorious flesh and blood, food and drink rich in grace and mercy. Now you pay approach God and live. Now you may approach Him and be with Him. Now you see His face and you have peace.
2. February 2020
Presentation and Purification
Who God is, His relationship to you, and what He has done and continues to do for you, must be revealed to you.“No one has ever seen God; [but] the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, who knows the heart of the Father, and can alone reveal the Father’s thoughts. He alone has seen the Father. And therefore, only He can tell us who God is. “Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Mt 11:27).
26. January 2020
Power struggle divides us into disputes. You put brother against brother or set yourself against your pastor in an attempt to wrestle control of the situation. In the end, no one wins…except for Satan. Only the evil one benefits when you Christians war with themselves. The faith once delivered to the saints is undermined and destroyed. You will be left either despondent, scandalized, or an apostate. The devil and his demons rejoice over even one sinner who rejects the faith.
19. January 2020
Through the birth of Jesus, the light has gone out into the world. Today, you have occasion to see what this light means in different circumstances, in the church, in the home. God's glory that shines from Christ's face, spreads his light into your lives.
12. January 2019
Today, you are blessed to hear, learn, and receive the very Son of God, in the flesh, yet hidden under earthly means. Christ Jesus has come to you and made you His own by His shed blood and innocent suffering and death. He may look no more impressive than a twelve-year-old boy as He comes hidden in the words of a book, with water, in an evangelical proclamation, and under bread and wine. Yet, you, by faith still confess that you have entered through His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.
05. January 2019
Your life is like St. Joseph: a hard road to walk, no doubt. Suffer evil quietly. Serve each other in your vocations. Don’t be ashamed that life is difficult for you. But, just as it is for Joseph, so it is for you. Rejoice now even in suffering. In the end, the glory of what God has done in and through you will be shown. You are blessed while you suffer because God himself is with you as you share in Christ’s sufferings. Your faithful creator will accomplish good according to His will. You may not understand now, but in faith you know it is true as He is true. Everything will work out for your good. On the last day, you’ll be able to look back and rejoice with understanding.
01. January 2019
Circumcision and Name of Jesus
"And at the end of eight days, when [Jesus] was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb" (Luke 2:21). Merry Christmas! Today’s Gospel reading is the shortest of the church year. But packed in those few words is the entire proclamation of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ! Everything you need to know about Jesus is right there.
29. December 2019
Waiting is not easy. The life of the baptized is full of trial and temptation. As long as we live in this mortal body, the new man in Christ will always be at odds with the old man of death. Waiting with hope needs the assurance of faith. Thus the Holy Spirit brings you to faith by the preaching of the Word, through the new birth of Holy Baptism, through the declaration of sins forgiven, and through the sacred meal of Christ’s own flesh and blood. He does this in His Holy Christian Church where this one baptism is given and received. And He continues to nourish and strengthen your faith that you would be steadfast until Christ brings all His promises to fulfillment.
25. December 2019
Merry Christmas! Today, we celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God and the birth of the Son of Mary. And who doesn’t like a birthday party, especially when the child given is Himself your salvation and the savior of the whole world? Today is truly a day worth celebrating! For unto you is born a savior, Christ the Lord! But there’s another birthday today that we celebrate and that’s yours! For unto you a Savior is born, and in Him you, too, are given new life, a new birth.
24. December 2019
It may be dark and half-spent is the night. But the light has come. Jesus has come. Salvation is yours. And He still comes! His light still pierces the darkness. He still opens heaven wide, as we sing with saints, angels, and the whole host of heaven. We sing the song the angels sang because Jesus still comes! He still shines into the darkness of hearts and lives with His light and life. He forgives, renews, and strengthens by His Word and Spirit. And just as there is nothing that can separate you from the love of Christ Jesus, so we learn this night that there is no darkness in you or in this world that can overcome the glory of Jesus, the only-begotten Son. He has and will always shine His light upon you, tonight and always.
24. December 2019
Merry Christmas! When an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream, he spoke three essential truths. When God sends His messengers to you, you best listen. The message this Angel spoke to Joseph was good news for him and it’s good news for you. So, listen!
Following after the blessed virgin Mary’s faithfulness in the New Testament are Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, Junia, Sapphira, Lydia, Phoebe, Aquila, and many others. So, too, women have a place in the church, whether they were born outside of faith like Ruth, whether they come from a checkered past like Rahab, whether they laugh at God’s promises like Sarah, whether they listen to temptation’s voice like Eve, and even if their lives are marked by scandal like Bathsheba. As Mary sang, “ [He has] exalted the lowly. And He has filled the hungry with good things.” That’s mercy. That’s forgiveness. That’s Jesus!
15. December 2019
John needed forgiveness, life, and salvation. You do, too. If you don’t know this need now, there will come an hour when you will. You’ll hit rock bottom. You’ll be imprisoned by your guilt. You’ll be horrified at what you did or was done to you. You’ll wonder and doubt God’s love for even you. You’ll consider all that you have done and left undone and despair.
Just like John, so with you. Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. Look to Jesus whose bloody death upon the cross of Calvary forgives your every sin, covers all your guilt and shame, and satisfies the wrath that is to come for you. Look to Jesus who preaches over and over the good news you, the sinner, desperately need.
08. December 2019
Judgment falls only on those who refuse to believe there is no judgment. Judgment is for those who choose to stand before a Judge—who no longer has any record of sin— and make their stand on their life that no longer exists. Redemption comes to “whoever calls on the name of the Lord.” (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21) Heaven is the gift every one of us already has by the death of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 138). Heaven is the inheritance we have in our baptism into Christ Jesus. The church proclaims Christ’s death and resurrection, especially as we eat His body and drink His blood. Redemption is yours in the forgiveness of Christ, His life, and His heaven. Therefore, “Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” AMEN.
01. December 2019
For the last few weeks under the "end of the church year" our theme has been Christ returning in judgment. Now as we enter Advent and the beginning of the church year, our eyes look at judgment through the babe in the manger and through the cross towards the judgment. God’s promise is made manifest, delivered to you just as He said. Through his gracious will, you have eternal rest of Christ. In him, you are safe. In Him, you are secure. In Him, you are named His own. His righteousness is your righteousness. Christ is your Emmanuel. He ransoms captive Israel, saving you from the depths of hell. You see God's gracious action—His promised son sent for you—so that His righteousness is your righteousness.
28. November 2019
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It sounds sweet and good until you realize what he means. St. Paul is echoing Moses! Give thanks and in everything? Even under discipline, with hardship, in hunger? Even when things get rough, when they don’t go your way, when you struggle, and even when you face death? Absolutely, because in everything God is working faith for you in His Son Jesus Christ!
24. November 2019
"’ll tell you what I see. I see in you the bride of Jesus, His holy Church, waiting and watching. I see in you, lamps lit with the light of Christ who lightens the world. I see in you, the betrothed and beloved of God, trusting in your Baptism into Jesus. I see Christ’s wholly forgiven bride, keeping watch for His coming, listening to His Word, and even now feasting on His body and blood. I see restored Israel, the new Jerusalem, adorned as a bride for her husband. I don’t see anyone sleeping, but every member of Christ’s church and bride awake, praying His Word, singing the faith, recalling all His wonderful works. I see in you, Jesus doing what only He can do: giving wisdom, oil, and wicks for your lamps."
God does not need your works to save you. He works everything needed for your salvation himself. The Father gives up His Son unto death for you freely as a gift. By Christ's shed blood all alone are your sins atoned. But your works do matter and they are needed. Your works matter because your neighbor needs them.
17. November 2019
10. November 2019
The church isn’t really all that concerned with impressive spectacles and buildings, moving hearts to tears, and stirring up generous gifts from impassioned pleas. The church is concerned with delivering God’s kingdom, because Jesus will have His kingdom. The church is concerned with sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to Him, and receiving from Him everything needed both now and for eternity. And because you are here now, gathered with fellow baptized children of God, listening to Jesus, you really have nothing to fear, for you are Christ’s and He will preserve you to the end.
03. November 2019
All Saints’ Day
The Beatitudes are first and foremost a description of Jesus’ work for you and secondly as blessings that are given to you. These are not commandments but rather descriptions of God’s people with promises attached to them. Let’s not run Jesus’ words today according to the letter but by the Spirit, that is, by way of gift.