Daniel LeCouteur

Pastor Daniel LeCouteur is the presiding pastor of the Family of Faith Lutheran Church. 1646 Maple Ridge Way Traverse City, MI 49686 Mailing address: PO Box 7061 Traverse City, Michigan 49696 If you wish to contribute to Family of Faith, please use this link here

Sunday Sermon – The Oft Forgotten Commandment

Mark 12:28-37

Many years ago a shabbily dressed boy trudged several miles through the snowy streets of Chicago, determined to attend a Bible class conducted by D. L. Moody.

When he arrived, he was asked, “Why did you come to a Sunday school so far away? Why didn’t you go to one of the churches near your home?” He answered simply, “Because I find love here.”

As we think about that story, we need to ask ourselves whether others can say the same about our families and our church, and it is because we all struggle with loving God and loving others. But love is the greatest need of humans and it also the greatest obligation of humans. Let me repeat that: love is the greatest need of humans and it also the greatest obligation of humans.

If you can recall the last couple of Gospel readings – and don’t feel too badly if you don’t, because I find that a hard thing to do myself – but if you do you would recall that Jesus was continuously being opposed by the religious authorities. He was opposed by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, and in last week’s gospel by a group of Jews.

He taught them; “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But they didn’t understand, they didn’t believe. And in today’s gospel Jesus is tested by a scribe. Now, if you aren’t familiar with scribes, they were the persons who were responsible for copying the sacred texts so the next generation would have them available. Scribes were highly educated and were meticulous at their task.

Just to illustrate how meticulous they were: I am sure you have all heard of the Dead Sea scrolls.

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Sunday Sermon – God & Marriage

Genesis 2:18-25

How does one define marriage?

  • Well, to some – it is “the quickest way to kill a good romance.”
  • To a live-in girlfriend, it might be a piece of paper that guarantees she will get some money for all the time she invested in a bad relationship.
  • To others it is the answer to most of their problems – and still others it is where most of the problems began.

Turning to our first reading, however, we find that God conducted the first wedding in the Garden of Eden. Hence, we find this possible definition: It is the union of one man and one woman by the will of God into a growing relationship of love for life.

Biblically speaking, marriage fulfills four purposes God has for mankind.

  • The first is to populate the earth. In Genesis 1:28 God tells Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.”
  • The second is to avoid loneliness. In our opening verse we find that for the first time in the creation account something is NOT good. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
  • The third purpose is to satisfy sexual desires. In 1 Corinthians 7:9 Paul says, “. . .it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
  • And the fourth is to build character so as to produce godly children. This is found in Malachi 2:15, “Has not the Lord made them one?” And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring.”

Of course, one of the the most damaging situations for any relationship is one’s own demeanor. If one is content or happy with their own life, then they will most likely extend that contentment or happiness into the relationship.

And it is also true that most relationships benefit from both persons bringing this type of attitude into the relationship.

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State Of Our Union

Isaiah 32:1-8; Matthew 5:1-18

This Independence day message is from this last Sunday’s Sermon

Well, we celebrate Independence Day this week.

It is always a very patriotic time, at least for most of the nation. So, I have once again changed our readings around so that I might talk about the State of the Union. And I am going to start with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The first thing we should know about the pledge is that it was not composed by the Founding Fathers. It was written especially for children in the summer of 1892 to commemorate that year’s celebration of Columbus Day.

The pledge first appeared in print on September 8, in The Youth’s Companion, an educational publication. In its original form, it read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which is stands — one nation indivisible– with liberty and justice for all.”

Its author was Francis Bellamy, an assistant editor of The Youth’s Companion, who intended it for a one-time recitation by public school children across the country. But its immediate popularity transformed it first into an annual Columbus Day tradition – and then into a daily classroom ritual. It became one of the earliest verses memorized by students.

Since its debut, Bellamy’s pledge has undergone two major alterations. In 1923, the National Flag Conference of the American Legion replaced the somewhat ambiguously personal “my Flag” wording with the more explicitly patriotic “the Flag of the United States of America.” And in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill that added the words “Under God.”

The pledge of allegiance, then, comes to us in its present form after having been shaped and transformed over time. So too, ours is a nation which has had its character shaped by specific factors over time.

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Sunday Sermon – Not My Fault

Genesis 3:8-15

The Word of God – through which the Holy Spirit will be guiding our hearts and minds today – is recorded in our reading from Genesis. (3:8-15)

It is a familiar story to all of us, as it speaks to the origin of mankind. In this story, the only fruit in the Garden of Eden that is forbidden is that which hangs from the tree in the midst of the garden, but Adam and Eve eat from it anyway. So, God first approaches man and asks if he has eaten the forbidden fruit and man responds, “well, the woman gave it to me.” In other words, “it’s not my fault.” God then turns to the woman and asks, “what have you done?” And woman responds, “well, the serpent deceived me.” And again she was saying, “it’s not my fault.”

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes “There is nothing new under the sun,” but many in the modern world may disagree. They consider the modern world more advanced, more sophisticated. We have devices and technology un-imagined years ago. But has the world – or the people in it – really changed? Are people innately different now than years ago? Has human nature fundamentally changed because we have cars and space shuttles, televisions and computers? Have we learned anything about ourselves from those who lived long ago?

Motivational speaker Travis Robertson writes: consider the statements below and see if any of them resonate with you:

  • It’s not my fault that I’m overweight. My parents were overweight and it runs in the family.
  • It’s not my fault that I have anger issues. My dad physically abused me when I was a kid.
  • It’s not my fault that I lie a lot. I had to in order to survive growing up.
  • It’s not my fault that I lost my job. My company was mismanaged and went out of business.
  • It’s not my fault that I’m addicted to pain pills. I am in constant pain after the accident.
  • It’s not my fault that I..

…well you get the idea.

He goes on to say that all of these things may in fact be true. Many things that happen to us may not be our fault. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where things happen to us that are outside of our control. Kids are abused and abandoned. They grow up in terrible environments with terrible parents. People are permanently injured in accidents that weren’t their fault. Lives are altered sometimes through no fault of our own.

But here’s the reality: just because something isn’t our fault, that doesn’t mean it’s not our responsibility.

You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(1)

Sunday Sermon – Memorial Day

Today's sermon

Hebrews 12:1-10

  • I’d like to share something I found on the internet:
  • It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
  • It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
  • It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
  • It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us the right to assemble.
  • It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
  • It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
  • It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag,
  • It is the VETERAN who serves under the Flag.
  • It is the VETERAN who rests under the Flag.

Did you notice those last three refer to our flag? We talk about our flag and we talk about the colors of courage – but did you know that when the Stars and Stripes were officially adopted in 1777 that the red, white and blue used for the flag had no particular meaning? Those colors did, however, have specific meaning in the Great Seal of the United States.

Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, while reporting to congress on the seal, had this to say: “The colors of the pales – the vertical stripes – are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence; Red, hardiness and valor; and Blue, the color of the chief – the broad band above the stripes – signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.”

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Sunday Sermon – Palm Sunday

Rejoice Over Your King - Zechariah 9:9

Today marks the opening of a very serious and yet enjoyable time of year for Christians.

It’s the week we call Holy Week. We have been planning events, making arrangements and preparing ourselves for this special season of worship. And we call it “Holy Week” because we celebrate the events which led up to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is this series of events which point to the most significant time in human history – a point which all prior history had looked forward to with expectancy, and all history since has looked back upon with wonder.

Certainly the ministry of Jesus Christ spanned more than a week, but this one week in His life was filled with so much significance. Every moment was driving toward the culmination of His rising following His propitiatory work on the cross.

Holy Week begins today with the very memorable scene from Scripture.

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Sunday Sermon – The Adventure

Acts 2:42-47

On April 11, 1970, 3 men set off on an adventure. They were the Apollo 13 crew, and their adventure was to be the 3rd manned moon-landing. Their spacecraft looked like this drawing. The main module, the Odyssey, was designed to be their home for the journey to and from the moon, and attached to that was the lunar module Aquarius, that would allow two of them to land on and lift off the moon.

A little over two days into the flight, they contacted NASA with these now famous words: “Houston, we have a problem” Now, that that turned out be something of an understatement. What they’d had was an explosion. Exposed wires had set off an explosion that destroyed one oxygen tank and damaged a second.

They still had enough oxygen to breathe, but those oxygen tanks were also used to power the fuel cells in the main craft. With those tanks gone, the fuel cells would be increasingly depleted to the point where the crew would never be able to make reentry into earth’s atmosphere.

They realized that if they could power down the Odyssey and move into the landing module they just MIGHT make it home. But that created another problem. The landing module wasn’t designed to hold 3 men that long. So, CO2 remained the biggest issue.

You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(1)

Sunday Sermon April 30, 2017

Hope: Lost and Found

Luke 24:13-35

Years ago, the producers of Sesame Street faced a dilemma. Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, passed away, and the producers had to decide how to communicate the concept of death to the 10 million children who watched the show.

Child psychologists suggested they NOT say, “Mr. Hooper got sick and died,” because children get sick and they didn’t want them to think that they would automatically die. They also suggested NOT to say, “Mr. Hooper got old and died,” because little children think of their parents as being old.

The PBS execs wanted them to avoid religious issues and NOT say, “Mr. Hooper died and went to Heaven.”

So the show’s producers decided to say just a few basics: He’s gone, he won’t be back, and he’ll be missed. And they decided to use Big Bird to gently set the matter before the children. The show was aired on Thanksgiving Day so parents could watch it with their children.

Big Bird came out and said he had a picture for Mr. Hooper and he couldn’t wait to see him.

One of the cast said, “Big Bird, remember, we told you that Mr. Hooper died.”

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