Monday, January 25, 2016

Obituary for Rev. Stratman

Reverend William Warner “Bill” Stratman

Reverend William Warner “Bill” Stratman CODY, WY — Funeral services for Reverend William Warner “Bill” Stratman, 64, will be held at 10a.m. on, Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming with Reverend Dr. Ron Garwood, Reverend Tim Schnare, and Reverend Scott Firminhac officiating. Burial will follow in the Valley View Cemetery. Bill died, after a courageous battle with cancer, on January 21, 2016 in the Special Touch at Torrington Community Hospital with his family by his side.

Visitation hours will be held at the Colyer Funeral Home Chapel on Monday, January 25 from 3pm to 5pm. The casket will be closed at the church. The family would appreciate memorials directed to either Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming or Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cody, Wyoming. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Colyer Funeral Home and friends are invited to send condolences to the family at

Bill was born on March 6, 1951 in Scottsbluff, Nebraska the son of W.W. “Buck” and Velma (Williams) Stratman. Bill grew up and received his education at Lingle, Wyoming; graduating Lingle High School in 1969.

Bill then worked as a farm hand and implement mechanic in the Goshen County area. He married Kathy Lacy Prucha on July 19, 1972 in Lingle, Wyoming and the couple had three children. The family moved to Cody, Wyoming where Bill fulfilled his ranch dream and worked as ranch foreman on the South Fork at the Flying H. In January 1986 his wife, Kathy, was tragically killed. Bill worked to get his life up-right again and in July of 1988 he married Joan Evans and to this union a son was born. It was at this time that Bill found his calling in the religious life and entered the Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana where he graduated on May 30, 2000 and was ordained on June 25, 2000 at St. John’s in Rushmore, Minnesota. He then served as Pastor in various Lutheran Churches including Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Bill never lost his love for ranching and over-the-road long haul semi trucking to Alaska; but in September 2014 he was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) and life took on yet another meaning and new journey.

Bill loved the mountains, fishing, and hunting. He was a Big Game hunting guide in the Big Horn Mountains and he enjoyed camping trips with his family. Throughout his life, Bill continued to love ranching and pastoring. He especially loved his little dog, Phoebe, who was always by his side.
Bill is survived by his wife, Joan of Cody; his 2 sons, Terry (Stacy) Stratman of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; and Samuel Stratman of OFFUTT , AFB, Omaha, Nebraska; his 2 daughters, Rebecca (Mark)Ellis of Miles City, MT and Darcie (Cody) Rosenthal of Ord, Nebraska; 4 grandsons, Hayden and Avery Stratman and Cord and Cleve Ellis; 3 granddaughters, Faith Kelly Ellis and Katie and Gracie Mae Rosenthal; his mother, Velma Stratman of Torrington; 2 sisters, Connie (Dick) Ziller of Iowa and Charm (John) Friedlan of Torrington; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, his father, his first wife, Kathy, and a son-in-law, Tuck Seeley.

Sermon for 24 January 2016, Septuagesima

The Rev. Paul J Cain
1 Corinthians 9:24–10:5
Grace Alone
Septuagesima, 24 January 2016
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Christians are saved by grace alone. Sola gratia. That’s the Latin. We’ll talk about faith alone in two weeks and Scripture alone next Sunday. What does it mean to be saved by grace alone? We are saved by the work of Jesus Christ in our place as our substitute. Our salvation from sin, death, and the devil is a gift from God. That we are saved by grace alone means that you and I are saved apart from our conduct, apart from our good works, apart from an act of our will, apart from our piety. And we dare never claim that faith is our doing. Faith, too is a gift of the Lord.

Kristyn Getty says it this way:
What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light 
Called through the night to find my distant soul 
And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me 
That I might live and in his name be known  
So I will go wherever He is calling me 
I lose my life to find my life in Him 
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies 
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him  

The Epistle for this Sunday from the first letter by Holy Spirit and St. Paul to the Corinthians speaks of this taking up of our crosses in faith, following Christ.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

One of the saddest conversations I have ever had was with a parent who claimed to be atheist (denying the existence of God), but functionally was agnostic (not believing in organized religion), because she admitted praying to the God she said wasn’t there. Her prayer was simple, that her children would have a better life than the one she was suffering through. Her life seemed self-sacrificial in many significant ways. She was willing to do anything for her kids but held out no hope in this life or even a chance at heaven for herself. I still pray for this family.

As Christians, our run of faith has the aim of eternal life and faithfulness to the Lord in this life. We do not “box as one beating the air.” The discipline we practice in heart, body, and mind is to keep ourselves under control, lest we “be disqualified” “after preaching to others,” even our own families and friends.

We run in this world with a worldview and perspective from eternity. Some “prizes” of this world are worthless from an eternal point-of-view. We don’t need to go much farther than “You can’t take it with you” as one point in this discussion. The real danger of some things that people pursue in this life is that they often lead to something worse than death: falling away from faith, embracing an idol substitute for the one true God.

Note: Luther spends more time on the First Commandment than on any other portion of the [Large] Catechism, explaining how essential it is to know, trust, and believe in the true God and to let nothing take His place. He was convinced that where this commandment was being kept, all other commandments would follow. A right relationship with God produces right relationships with fellow human beings.

You shall have no other gods.
1 What this means: You shall have Me alone as your God. What is the meaning of this, and how is it to be understood? What does it mean to have a god? Or, what is God? 2 Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in all distress. So, to have a God is nothing other than trusting and believing Him with the heart. I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. 3 If your faith and trust is right, then your god is also true. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God [Hebrews 11:6]. Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.

Let’s pause in the middle of this portion of Luther’s explanation of the First Commandment and deeply consider his last statement: Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god. That’s deep. What you spend your time worrying about, what you spend your time on, what you give your devotion, that is your idol, your false god. There are many who worship other divinities at other altars with various kinds of sacred rites. Trust doesn’t make a false god real. A person’s false trust in a false god is a real waste of time, a waste of a life, and a waste of a soul for eternity.

Back to Luther: 4 The purpose of this commandment is to require true faith and trust of the heart, which settles upon the only true God and clings to Him alone. It is like saying, “See to it that you let Me alone be your God, and never seek another.” In other words, “Whatever you lack of good things, expect it from Me. Look to Me for it. And whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, crawl and cling to Me. I, yes, I, will give you enough and help you out of every need. Only do not let your heart cleave to or rest on any other.”

5 This point I must unfold more clearly. It may be understood and seen through ordinary, counterexamples. Many a person thinks that he has God and everything in abundance when he has money and possessions. He trusts in them and boasts about them with such firmness and assurance as to care for no one. 6 Such a person has a god by the name of “Mammon” (i.e., money and possessions; [Matthew 6:24]), on which he sets all his heart. 7 This is the most common idol on earth. He who has money and possessions feels secure [Luke 12:16–21] and is joyful and undismayed as though he were sitting in the midst of Paradise. 8 On the other hand, he who has no money doubts and is despondent, as though he knew of no God. 9 For very few people can be found who are of good cheer and who neither mourn nor complain if they lack Mammon. This care and desire for money sticks and clings to our nature, right up to the grave.

10 So, too, whoever trusts and boasts that he has great skill, prudence, power, favor, friendship, and honor also has a god. But it is not the true and only God. This truth reappears when you notice how arrogant, secure, and proud people are because of such possessions, and how despondent they are when the possessions no longer exist or are withdrawn. Therefore, I repeat that the chief explanation of this point is that to “have a god” is to have something in which the heart entirely trusts.[1]

Jesus is worthy of your trust, your true faith:
What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me 
Beneath his wings my wakened soul may soar 
All fear can flee for death's dark night is overcome  
My Saviour lives and reigns forevermore  
So I will go wherever He is calling me 
I lose my life to find my life in Him 
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies 
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him  

St. Paul returns to the contrast between faith and unfaith, a self-controlled and disciplined race and those who run after evil:
10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Why were they overthrown? They failed to keep the First Commandment.
You shall have no other gods.
What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.[2]

If we press on to read just a little more after today’s appointed Epistle, we hear this: Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were;

Idolatry is the issue. Moses called them to repentance. St. Paul called his hearers to repentance. Jesus, our Master, calls us to repent of any sense of entitlement. The Denarius given the workers in His Matthew 20 parable was given out of generosity. It was the promised payment for the service of those who began working early in the morning and continued working all day long. Did they deserve more? No. Did the others, those hired at the third hour and after deserve less? Yes. Did they receive less? No. All benefit from Jesus’ generosity.

Do you hear the spiritual danger that Moses, Paul, and Jesus all warn us about? It is idolatry. It is a First Commandment issue, like Luther says, yet it is the idolatry of believing in a false god that saves us because we supposedly deserve it. We don’t. I don’t and you don’t deserve anything but eternal condemnation and life-long suffering before that.

That’s why we Christians speak about grace, why we say that we are saved by grace alone. We can’t earn salvation. We can never deserve salvation. We can only receive it as a gift from Christ. Good works save us only when they are done by Jesus Christ. Our own good works serve our neighbor and prove that our faith is living. We are saved by grace alone.

Consider two very familiar verses from Ephesians 2 followed by a less-familiar verse: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Our good works are not salvific. Our good works are the prepared-beforehand service to our neighbor, your Thank You Note to the Lord for His gift of salvation by grace alone, your disciplined, faithful race in Christ for the prize of eternal life.

So I will go wherever He is calling me 
I lose my life to find my life in Him 
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies 
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him  

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

[1] McCain, P. T. (Ed.). (2005). Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (p. 359). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.
[2] McCain, P. T. (Ed.). (2005). Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (p. 317). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

Monday, September 14, 2015

13 September 2015, The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Pastor Cain and Immanuel
welcomed home the Rev. James Moshier
as guest preacher at Matins and Bible Class leader.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Synod president urges day of prayer to end abortion

Join Lutherans on September 12 to remember the value of life while praying to end abortion.

Join Lutherans on September 12 to remember the value of life while praying to end abortion.

Harrison encourages Lutherans to
'kneel before the Crucified One'
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and
we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers" (1 John 3:16).
Last month, thousands of people gathered at Planned Parenthood locations across the United States. Together, they participated in a National Day of Protest, speaking out against the murder of tiny babies still within their mothers' wombs. It is our hope that the media and the government took notice, and that they will begin a rigorous and honest look at the horrors that occur each day at Planned Parenthood and, one day soon, put an end to abortion altogether.
While many of you may have participated in that event, we also invite all members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to take part in a Day of Remembrance on Sept. 12 — not just at Planned Parenthood locations, but at your churches, outside your schools, in your homes and by the gravesides of children who have been aborted.
Why pray? Why take time to remember? Because our Lord has promised us that He hears and answers prayers! When we pray for the protection of these little children, when we ask Him to send comfort and peace to mothers whose choice to abort their children haunts them, when we tell Him of our desire to care for moms and babies in our midst, and when we beg Him to help us speak for life, He hears.
And He does not let our prayers go unanswered.
What the world — and places like Planned Parenthood — intends for evil, God works for good. And He is still at work even now, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us as He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us. We remember and pray because we are forgiven. The outcome is already certain.
Through the wood of the cross, joy has come into the world! Death has been put to death, and Satan's evil work against the smallest of children will only continue for a time.
That's why we pray: Because Christ is risen, and not just for us but for all people. That's what we tell those who stop outside our churches and ask what we're doing, who yell as we pray outside Planned Parenthood clinics, who are curious about why we care. We pray because as the Church, our "message is a call to be reconciled with God," as the sainted Lutheran pastor Hermann Sasse reminds us. We "have no other Gospel than the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. … What [Jesus] alone and no other person brought, and still brings, is … forgiveness."
The days are indeed busy; your various vocations fill your time, as they should! But pausing to remember the deaths of these babies, to pray for those who are plagued by guilt over the deaths of their children, to come alongside women in crisis pregnancies is worth it because each one of them is of worth to Christ. His forgiveness and His love are worth it! Reminding the world of the One who died and rose for 10-week-old babies even as He died and rose for 10-year-olds and 100-year-olds is worth it.
On Sept. 12, please join us in a Day of Remembrance. Let us together kneel before the Crucified One who yet lives, who is working all things — even death and suffering and hardship — for good. He causes us to pray and — wonder of wonders! — has seen fit to remember us day in and day out, no matter who we are or what we've done.
We have provided A Vigil of Repentance in Remembrance of the Victims of Abortion and A Sermon in Memory of the Victims of Abortion for your use should you find them helpful when organizing a prayer vigil at your congregation or school.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.S. While we expect more information regarding Planned Parenthood to be released, we as the Church will simultaneously put forth a concerted effort to share good news that upholds life, telling the stories of our Recognized Service Organizations, congregations and individual members who are working — in big ways and small — to care for the unborn and their mothers. Please visit and the LCMS Facebook page routinely to learn more.

<![if !supportLists]>·      <![endif]>LCMS Video: "It Is Time to End Abortion"
<![if !supportLists]>·      <![endif]>LCMS Life Ministry
<![if !supportLists]>·      <![endif]>A Sermon in Memory of the Victims of Abortion
<![if !supportLists]>·      <![endif]>A Vigil of Repentance in Remembrance of the Victims of Abortion
<![if !supportLists]>·      <![endif]>National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children on Sept. 12

If you have questions about this email or need assistance, please contact the LCMS Church Information Center at 888-THE LCMS (843-5267) or

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sermon for 30 August 2015, The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Rev. Paul J Cain
Luke 10:25-37
Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 30 August 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
And so we meet the Good Samaritan again. I’m not going to pretend that this is the first time you’ve heard Jesus’ parable. I will ask you to consider anew the questions that led Jesus to tell the parable.
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him [Jesus] to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
The man’s primary concern—at least the one he verbally presents—is eternal life. Perhaps there’s a question behind the question. Maybe he’s been in an argument with a friend, a family member or even his own rabbi. Why does he want to know? His question leads to our own questions.
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He [Jesus] said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
Jesus is a faithful prophet. He is Son of God and still has the vocation of proclaiming God’s Word. Jesus proclaims both Law and Gospel. We begin with the Law.
26 He [Jesus] said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he [Jesus] said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Yes. Do this and you will live. Good luck.
The Law, written on the heart, tells us what we are to do (and not do). It promises eternal life but ONLY if you are perfectly obedient 100% of the time. No lee-way here. Failure means death. And eternal death. Functionally, the law tells us what to do but gives us no power to comply. How do we respond to the law? Ultimately, we end up in rebellion, rejection, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness, or in terror, revulsion, hopelessness, and self-destruction. Secure sinners need to hear the law so that they lose their false sense of security.
It has been said that preachers are given to afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted. In Christ, that can be understood in an edifying and true way.
Consider the rest of the story, the other main teaching of Holy Scripture, in fact what is to be the predominant, pre-eminent and unique Christian teaching: the Gospel.
The Gospel is made known to us only by the revelation of God in His Word—not nature, nor reason, and certainly not experience. The Gospel tells us what God does for us in Christ. There are no demands. Jesus words, “It is finished!” sum this up well. The Gospel promises Eternal life by grace, through faith, in Christ alone, as proclaimed in God’s Word alone, to God’s glory alone! And what is the threat of the Gospel? None. Zip. Nada. The Gospel gives what it demands: faith. Faith is a gift of God (and so is repentance). In place of the effect of the Law, rebellion and terror, the Gospel produces in you faith, comfort, and salvation. And isn’t that just what alarmed sinners need to hear?
What did this fellow in the text need to hear, Law or Gospel? Perhaps his last question will give us insight: 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
He wanted to justify himself. Let’s put that in plainer language: he wanted to be right. Being right is not always pretty. You’ve met plenty of folks who have paid great costs in order to merely be right. Who is your neighbor?
Allow me to offer some answers. Your first neighbors brought you into this world. If you are married, your spouse is your neighbor. The children you brought into this world are your neighbors. And, of course, the people who live next door, attend your school, and work and play with you. Neighbors inhabit your community and congregation and country.
A pastor’s neighbors include his family, congregation and community, in addition to his brother pastors and sister congregations in the Synod. A congregation’s neighbors include all the members of the congregation, its pastor and his family, the community around it, as well as its brother pastors and sister congregations.
Your neighbor may be sick, poor, lonely, in prison, or even hungry. Your neighbor may look just like you. Or not. Your neighbor may speak English. Or some other language. Your neighbor, simply put, is a person in need that you are given to help and be a neighbor to. And that is why Jesus told the parable. A fellow with many questions may well have wanted to get out of being neighborly to somebody he didn’t want to help.
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Samaritans and Jews were “neighbors” in the proximity sense, but not neighborly. Who was a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? Even the man with all the self-justifying questions was compelled to answer correctly: the one who showed him mercy.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus had mercy on us. He, the true Good Samaritan, did a Good Friday and Easter Sunday work of mercy we could never accomplish so that we would forgive those who have trespassed against us, have mercy on those who need our help, and to share the Word of life, peace, and mercy to a world in desperate denial that it even needs God or the Word. Lord, help us to have mercy on our neighbors. Generously, faithfully, consistently, and always. Amen.

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.