Monday, January 23, 2017

The Bethany Bullet - Week of January 22, 2017

Sermon: “ROCK”

In the fall of 1980, I was just 10 years old and entered the fifth grade.  It was my third year in a Lutheran school and in that place I came to understand the love of God in Jesus Christ was my foundation, my rock. 

For some reason I still have my report card from that year.  Why this year?  I haven’t a clue.  Looking over the record of that year I can see that I excelled in Physical Education, Memory Work, Social Studies and Science.  I struggled with Spelling and did not do well in Mathematics, earning a “D” in the first term that year.  I was able to bring it up to a B about mid-year only to end with a solid “C”.

In the end I was promoted by Mr. Smidt to 6th grade and I am sure the knowledge I gained that year was another building block in the educational foundation upon which I stand even today. 

In looking at this report card again I was struck by what is written on the back to the parents.  It reads, “In our Christian Day School, the teacher, as your representative, has the spiritual as well as the material welfare of your child at heart.  The teacher endeavors to train and develop the character of your child according to the principles laid down in the Word of God.”

This week across the country we celebrate Lutheran Schools and Lutheran parochial education.  From the thousands of early childhood centers and elementary schools to the hundreds of High Schools and including the Concordia University system, we pause to celebrate and honor what goes on in the classroom as our teachers and professors endeavor to train and develop children of God, no matter the age according to the principles laid down in the Word of God.

Education was important to Martin Luther who once wrote…. “Above all, the most important and most usual teaching, in both the universities and the lower schools, ought to be concerned with the Holy Scriptures.”

Christian education was important to this congregation as well as we are about half way finished with the 70th academic year on this campus. 

It was in 1947 when the first educational buildings were erected on this property, a three-room facility was built and three full time teachers were hired. 

The next year Mr. Pohlman was hired as the principal and teacher and would serve here at Bethany for the next 33 years.  During these early years a solid foundation was laid upon which we still stand today. 

Further growth in our school was seen with new buildings being added in 1955, 1957, 1973, and 1997. Our preschool opened in 1975 and continues to form the foundations of faith with our littlest ones on campus. 

While economic crisis and shifting values saw a decline in our student population at the turn of the 21st century we have seen a rebound in the past few years and today we welcome 90 students in our preschool each week, our largest enrollment to date and 185 students in our day school this year.   Not to mention visiting students from China who have been with us this past week.

The theme for the school year here at Bethany is Rock Solid and the verse is from Isaiah 26:4, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”

Many things over the years have changed here at Bethany. Teachers and staff have come and gone; classrooms have been built, torn down and repurposed.  Students have graduated, policy and procedures have changed to fit the times, technology has advanced.   Over the years a lot has changed. 

But there is also a lot that hasn’t changed. 

For generations there have been many people here at Bethany who wanted to see children go to a school where they could learn not just about reading, and math, spelling, and history, art and music, but about Jesus. 

This place was built on The Rock that is Jesus and it is in Christ that we have our foundation.

The prophet Isaiah lived more than 600 years ago. It was a time of many changes in the life of God’s Old Testament people. Sadly, many people had changed their focus from the One True God to the idols of their neighbors.

There were more changes that were coming as God’s judgment for their sin would lead them into captivity. God’s promise to His people through Isaiah was, “The Lord God is an everlasting Rock.”

The Rock of their salvation was the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ!

After Adam and Eve fell into sin, God promised that He would send His Son to save His people. His promise never changed. His plan never changed.

Jesus came not just for God’s people in the past, but for you and me today.  We are in need of having our feet placed back upon the Rock because we know all too well what it means when we try to go our own way.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 40.  In that Psalm we hear these comforting words of God,

“I waited patiently for the Lord.
    He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
    He pulled me out of a horrible pit,
        out of the mud and clay.
    He set my feet on a rock
        and made my steps secure.
    He placed a new song in my mouth,
        a song of praise to our God.
            Many will see this and worship.
            They will trust the Lord.”  (Psalm 40:1-3)

Because Jesus came to be our Savior, we will stand on the Rock that is Jesus forever. He is our everlasting Rock.  This is the foundation of our faith.

Jesus was a teacher who shared knowledge with his students.  He was the rabbi and his disciples learned from Him.  Matthew records the following exchange in his gospel, “ When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” Jesus replied, “Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! No human revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven revealed it to you. You are Peter, and I can guarantee that on this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:13-18)

This is the message that Lutheran school around the country share and what we here at Bethany desire all students to know that Jesus is the Rock, the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and that Rocks!  He is the foundation of our faith.

I want to use that word Rock to help us understand the foundation upon which we stand.  In Christ we can ROCK!


What is the knowledge of Christ?
  1. You are loved by God.
  2. You are called a child of the King
  3. In Christ all of your sins are forgiven
  4. You are freed to serve.

You can Rely On Christ Knowledge because it doesn’t change.  It is Rock Solid!  It will never let you down. 

School buildings change, teachers change, technology changes. Jesus never changes and He is Rock today and forever.

This is the foundation we hope all Christians have.  The sure and solid foundation that in Christ our sins are forgiven, we are restored, and an eternal future awaits us all in heaven and that Rocks!

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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