WEEKLY MESSAGES


07/14/24

 Sermon

As we all know, we live in a deeply divided time.  Issues of gender, sexuality, immigration, economics, school curriculum, etc., etc., etc., seem to keep us constantly choosing sides while being encouraged to demonize the 'other'.  I suspect that each of us have felt those uncomfortable moments during large family gatherings when a conversation veers into an topic that raises defensive hackles.  

The Bible reading for this week (Mark 3:20-34) reminds us that what we are experiencing today is not new.  Even in the family of Jesus, the good news of the 'Kingdom of God among us' produced division.  At first, Jesus' family thought that Jesus had "gone out of his mind."  Others in the religious community accused him of being evil.  How does Jesus respond?  What can we learn?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

07/07/24

 Sermon

In the Bible story for this week (Mark 5:1-20), Jesus and His disciples encounter a man so deeply bound by evil spirits that he has lost his identity.  Jesus asks him, "What is your name?"  It isn't the man who answers but the demons within him.  "Legion," the man says, for there were many demons in him.  In one of the most dramatic exorcisms in all of scripture, Jesus frees the man from his condition. In doing so, Jesus not only gives him back his identity but also empowers him to be the first evangelist to his home town.  

The ending of this story surprises us, however.  When the townspeople find out that this man had been cleansed, they become afraid.  Instead of asking for Jesus to come and heal more of their sick, they ask him to leave.  Why?  Could it be that the fear of change is greater than our desire for healing?  Hmmmm.  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

06/30/24

 Sermon

The storms of our lives take many different forms.  Sometimes the storms are of our own making.  More often, the storms are imposed upon us by things out of our control.  There are times when the storms are relatively small and pass quickly.  Other times, the storms seem overwhelming.  This week's Bible reading (Mark 5:21-43) tells the story of two people passing through huge storms.  The father of a little girl comes up to Jesus, throws himself at his feet, and begs him to come to his house because his little girl is dying.  While in route to the house, a woman reaches out to touch Jesus' cloak.  She, too, has been going through a storm.  She has been sick for 12 years and no one has been able to help.  How does Jesus calm the seemingly overwhelming storms of these two people?  How does Jesus calm our storms?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

06/23/24

 Sermon

Some of our confirmation kids spent this past week at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Team Camp! Along with swimming, hiking, and team building activities and a host of other fun stuff, the kids participated in a daily Bible study related to the theme, "Created to be . . ." We are created to be free, brave, authentic, disruptive, disciples, and sent out. Join us this week as we hear the testimonies of our SOTH campers as they share what they are created to be.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

06/16/24

 Sermon

About 600 years before Jesus was born, the King of the Babylonian Empire, King Nebuchadnezzar, had a dream.  He dreamed of an enormous tree that covers the entire known world.  When he awoke, he called upon the prophet Daniel to interpret the meaning of the dream.  Daniel told him that that tree is a metaphor for the growing Babylonian Empire, an empire that would cover 250,000 square miles.  That is a big plant!! 

630 years later, Jesus is teaching the crowds about a different kingdom, the Kingdom of God.  Instead of comparing it to a mighty tree, he takes the opposite approach: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Mark 4:31-32)  Why would Jesus pick such an unimpressive plant?  How is God's reign in this world like a scrubby little bush?  Come and see!  Come and worship!

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

06/09/24

 Sermon

"WHAT?!?!?! You are giving the job to Helen?"  "You expect us to take orders from Jimmy?" "What do you mean that they promoted Cindy?"  "They’re bringing Sam in as an expert?"  If you have ever worked in a business setting with more than two people, you have probably heard (or thought) these types of questioning accusations.  People that we have known for years being put in positions of power or special focus, but we don’t recognize their capabilities. Or more accurately, we won’t accept their abilities.

Jesus had been traveling throughout Galilee preaching, teaching, healing, and casting out unclean spirits.  He had seen tremendous success.  People were being healed and cleansed - until . . . he came back to hometown of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-13).  "Hey, we know this guy; we know his people.  Who does he think he is?"  In his hometown, Jesus would see very little response.  So what happens next?  Come and see. 

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. . 

 

06/02/24

 Sermon

According to the Gospel of Mark, the first sermon that Jesus preaches is 18 words long, "The time has been fulfilled.  The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News." (Mark 1:14)  Jesus spends the rest of the Gospel of Mark showing us what it looks like when the Kingdom of God is set loose in the world.  

One would think that everyone would be onboard with the Kingdom of God being at hand.  However, that is not the case.  The Kingdom of God calls for us to question the way we look at life. The Kingdom of God invites us to change the way we think about many things and change is hard.  Who would be Jesus' toughest sell?  According to this week's lesson (Mark 2:23 - 3:6), it would be the religious establishment.  What does that mean for us?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

05/26/24

 Sermon

This weekend, we mark something a little different in our church year.  Normally, the festival days of the church calendar revolve around the life of Jesus.  Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus; Epiphany - the coming of the wise men; Good Friday - his death; and, of course, Easter - his resurrection.  Holy Trinity Sunday marks a Church doctrine: the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Holy Trinity Sunday marks the way that we can be called children of the Most High God. 

We have been called into the presence of a God powerful enough to create the universe – out of nothing.  We have been called into the presence of a God who set the electron spinning around the nucleus of the first hydrogen atom.  Yet, this God loved us so much that He came to live with us in God's Son, Jesus.  This same God knows us by name and names us as children.  How can this be?  It is the Holy Trinity that helps us understand.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/19/24

 Sermon

My father did not speak a word of English until he was five years old. My mother's older siblings spoke only German in the home until they went to school. Yet, God found them and spoke to them in the language they most needed to hear. God first spoke to me through my mother who prayed and shared Jesus with me. God then used the voices of Sunday school teachers and pastors, hymns and liturgy. When I reached an age that began to question some of that, God spoke to me through other Christian sisters and brothers who used different music and ways to pray and study the Bible. When I was a little older, God spoke through college professors and faithful Christian co-workers and bosses. The languages and voices changed but the message of God's love, acceptance, and call was always the same.

This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of the crucified and resurrected Jesus. (Acts 2:1-21) When the Spirit came it gave these uneducated Galilean fisherman, who had never been further than 90 miles from where they were born, the ability to speak in the languages of people from across the Roman Empire. Suddenly Jesus could be shared and lives changed because God, through these disciples, was speaking the language they most needed to hear.

What language does God use to speak to you? Maybe more importantly, what language is God giving you to speak about Jesus to your family, friends, and co-workers?

Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/12/24

 Sermon

The gospels tell us over and over again, especially during the most trying episodes of Jesus’ life and ministry, that Jesus would withdraw to a quiet place to pray.  Jesus, this sinless man who lived a perfect faith, still needed time with His heavenly parent to clear His head, to recharge His batteries, to discern the next move.  In nearly all of these prayers, we do not know the content of the prayer. We don’t get the chance to overhear the prayer.  

This week is different. Jesus has been meeting with His anxious disciples one last time. He has shown them what love looks like by washing their feet. He has left them with the commandment to love each other as He has loved them. He has reminded them that He will not leave them orphaned, but will send another Comforter - the Holy Spirit. As the meeting is ready to adjourn, Jesus ends in prayer (John 17) - and we get to hear it.  What is Jesus' prayer both for His disciples and for us?  Come and worship.  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/05/24

 Sermon

Many years ago, I found myself on a bus sitting next to a guy who had been born in India but had lived in the United States for most of his adult life.  In our conversation we covered many things - including our families.  He shared that his parents had arranged his marriage when he was four years old.  He remembers the day when he had met his 3-year-old future wife.  The next time they saw each other was 15 years later - on the day of their wedding.  When we sat there on that bus, he was proud to say that he and his wife had been married for thirty very happy years.  Not only were they happily married, they were also the best of friends.  

For most of us in the Western world, this sounds soooooooo strange.  According to our culture, our relationships start the same way - first attraction, then friendship, then love, then commitment.  But in the relationship of this Indian-American couple, it was the reverse; the relationship began with commitment.  The attraction and friendship would develop later.  

Jesus called a whole host of different kinds of people to be his disciples.  They were people from different professions, different social-economic classes, and different political persuasions.  These people did NOT start off as friends.  The relationships that they had with each other began with the common commitment they had with Jesus.  Like the Indian couple, their relationship began with commitment and then blossomed into friendship.  In the divided world in which we live, what can this mean for us?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/28/24

 Sermon

There is a peculiar little story in Exodus 17.  By God's hand, Moses had just led the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt. While on the road to Mt. Sinai, the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. Moses ordered Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”  So Joshua fought as Moses had ordered.  As long as Moses held up his hands with the staff, the Israelites would prevail, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would recover. The battle continued throughout the day and Moses’ arms grew tired. His helpers found a stone for Moses to sit which helped for a while.  But as the battle continued, Moses became more and more fatigued.  Finally, two of Moses' closest advisors, held his arms up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset and the Israelites prevailed.  

Some 1400 years later, Jesus told His disciples, "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."  For Jesus, love is not an emotion, it is an action.  I wonder if the actions of Moses' advisers toward Moses give us the best definition of love - to support each other, to hold each other up so we can do what we are called to do.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/21/24

 Sermon

For more than 50 years, the Fourth Sunday of Easter - this Sunday - has been known as Good Shepherd Sunday.  Every year, the Bible readings assigned for this Sunday speak of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  Of course, this begs the question: what makes for a "good" shepherd?  The 23rd Psalm reminds us that a good shepherd leads the sheep to green pastures and still waters.  The good shepherd restores and heals.  The good shepherd leads the sheep on good paths even through difficult times.  Jesus also reminds us that a good shepherd knows their sheep and the sheep know them.  On one hand, this sounds kind of cozy; Jesus and his flock hanging out together.  But - in this week's reading (John 10) - Jesus reminds us that there are more sheep than just us.  Jesus calls out to the wider community.  Jesus never stops looking and calling.  What does that mean for us? Come and see.  

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/14/24

 Sermon

During the afternoon of Easter morning, two of Jesus' disciples set off from Jerusalem on a seven-mile hike back to their home town of Emmaus.  They had heard rumors that Jesus' body was no longer in the grave, but they were dubious.  As they walked along, the resurrected Jesus joined them in their walk - but "their eyes were kept from recognizing him." (Luke 24:16)  What is it that kept them from seeing the resurrected Christ in their midst?  Was it grief, despair, or perhaps they just weren't ready to believe?  The two disciples would eventually have their eyes opened and run back to Jerusalem to tell the rest.  By the end of the story in verse 49, all of the disciples' eyes (and minds) would be opened.  How? What is it that opens our minds and eyes to the resurrected Jesus in our midst?  Come and see. Come and worship.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link.

04/07/24

 Sermon

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  And on the night his empty tomb was discovered Jesus appeared to his disciples, who were afraid and hiding in a locked room together.  Jesus brings the gift of peace to those who are hiding and afraid, saying, "Peace be with you."  He also shares the gift of the Holy Spirit with them and tells them "I am sending you out, just as the Father sent me, so I am sending you."  They are equipped with the Holy Spirit and sent out. But wait . . . the disciples are still locked in the same room a week later when Jesus again appears in the same room, despite the locked doors.  We may wonder why the disciples have not yet gone out as Jesus instructed.  

We, too, in baptism, receive this same Holy Spirit.  We, too, are equipped and sent by Jesus to go out.  Yet we, too, are sometimes afraid.  We question the value of our going out . . . after all we are just one little person.  Sometimes we, too, doubt.  

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

03/31/24

 Sermon

I bet that you know the Bible story (Mark 16:1-8) that will be preached this weekend.  Three followers of Jesus go to the tomb expecting to do what they felt they needed to do. They hadn't had time to properly prepare Jesus' body for burial. They hadn't had time to give Jesus' body the love and respect it deserved. When they arrived at the grave, expecting the stench of death, they were met by a messenger with an unexpected message.  "You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised. . . Go and tell his disciples."  (vv. 6-7)  But here is where this weird story gets even weirder. The story ends with these women sprinting from the tomb, in terror and amazement, and they said nothing to anyone. 

Hmmmm..... they must have said something to someone, otherwise Easter worship will feel pretty empty.  Obviously, the story didn't end there.  He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Come and see!  Come and worship!

Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

03/24/24

 Sermon

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday has a tendency to produce feelings of ambivalence.  On one hand, after 34 days of Lent, we are all ready for some celebration.  The parade-like atmosphere of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey while the crowds wave palm branches and shout 'Hosanna!' seems to provide a new and hopeful mood.  But, for those who know the story, we know what Jesus will encounter in just a few days.  Shouts of 'Hosanna' will turn into screams of 'Crucify him!'  Jesus comes in the gate as a king and leaves the gate as a prisoner marching towards execution.  The reality is, however, that Jesus comes in like a king and leaves still a king - a king who gives up his life for the sake of the world.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

03/17/24

 Sermon

If you were to ask me my favorite Bible verse, it probably would not be John 3:16.  I have nothing against John 3:16. I think that it is a perfectly fine summation of the Gospel.  But, over the years I have grown very fond of Ephesians 1:9-10.  “God has made known to us the mystery of God’s will, . . . set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Jesus, things in heaven and things on earth.”  In these two verses, we see the eternal plan of God – we see the purpose of scripture:  God's desire to take this broken, divided world and bring it back home, gathering it back to himself.  In today's gospel lesson (John 12:20-33), Jesus shares with the world how he will draw all people to himself.  How?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

03/10/24

 Sermon

The Gospel reading for this weekend contains the most famous verse in the entire Bible:  John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may not perish but may have eternal life."   In reality, when we were all memorizing John 3:16 in Sunday school, we should have memorized it together with verse 17.  "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."   It is God's plan to save the world, to heal it from the illness of sin and death.  How?  God sends his Son to be a light in our darkness.  What does that mean for us?  Come and see.  

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

03/03/24

 Sermon

In the story for this weekend (John 2:13-22), Jesus walks into the courtyards around the temple in Jerusalem and does the unthinkable. He drives away the cattle and sheep that were there for the purpose of temple sacrifice and he upset the table where the money changers were exchanging Roman money for Jewish money. After the dust settles, the priests come up to Jesus and ask, "What gives you the right to do what you just did?" Jesus points to Himself and says, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Why?  Jesus was proclaiming Himself as the new temple. Jesus was telling us that He was the place (or person) through whom we know God.

What does it mean for us that we can know God by knowing Jesus? How does it change our lives knowing that God is not confined to a building but lives were we live?

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link.

02/25/24

 Sermon

Many years ago I began to see on TV a series of impressive and attractive commercials for the Church of Scientology.  I was absolutely dumbfounded.  “Wow,” I said, “Why is it that we can’t put out commercials like this?”  Beautiful girls, handsome men, free falling, money, inspiration, eternal youth, dang.  Who wouldn’t want all this?  And then it occurred to me.  I don't know much about the Church of Scientology, but this is not what following Jesus is all about.  I would love to tell you that in following Jesus you will get a job.  I would love to tell you that in following Jesus you will save your house.  I would love to tell you that in following Jesus your cancer will go away and you will erase 10, 20, 50 years’ worth of aging and you will be young again.  But there is no promise.  Following Jesus is following Jesus.  He didn’t hang out with the beautiful people but with the lepers.  He didn’t hang out with the rich folk but with the folk who had given up all.  He didn’t hang out with those who had life all figured out.  He hung out with broken people, trying to find their way.  Jesus tells us that following him is not easy; in fact it can be dangerous.  Following him is a call to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and allow Him to lead us.  What can that look like?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

02/18/24

 Sermon

You know the story – as Jesus comes up from the water in his baptism, the heavens are ripped open and the Spirit of God descends upon him in the form of a dove.  Then a voice comes from God the Father proclaiming, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  What happens afterward is really fascinating.  That same Spirit of God that we normally associate with peace and love and security, - that same Spirit of God drives Jesus into the wilderness to be tested in a type of spiritual boot camp.  Jesus has just been proclaimed as God’s Son.  That is all nice and all – but what does that really mean?  It would take the boot camp of the wilderness to help sort out this heavy call.  

We, too, are proclaimed as God's children in our baptism.  We, too, are given a call.  I suspect that we need the wilderness to help figure that call out.  Join us as we look at Jesus' time in the wilderness and see what that has to do with our wilderness time.  Come and see. 

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

02/11/24

 Sermon

Six days before today's Bible story (Mark 9:2-10), Jesus told his disciples what was going to meet them when they get to Jerusalem.  "The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”  (v. 31) The road that they will enter will not be easy.  Six days later, he takes three of his disciples up the side of a mountain and shows them a glimpse of hope; he shows them a glimpse of his resurrected self.  When we are in the midst of difficult times, where can we find such glimpses of hope?  


Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

 

02/04/24

 Sermon

We pray it every week, if not every day: 'Your Kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'  What does it mean for God's Kingdom to come?  What does it mean for God's will to be done? 

On a Sabbath morning, Jesus goes into the local synagogue and there, as Jesus is teaching, a man with an unclean spirit comes up to him. “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?”  Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit, “Be silent, come out of him.”  And the unclean spirit, convulsing the man, comes out of him.  Things are set right.  The will of God is done, on earth as it is in heaven.  But  the day isn’t over.  

After synagogue, Jesus goes to the home of Peter and his brother Andrew and there, sick in bed with fever, was Peter’s mother-in-law.  Jesus enters the room, takes her by the hand and raises her up.  Things are set right; the will of God is done on earth as it is in heaven.  The fever leaves her, and she begins to serve Jesus and these disciples. 

What does it mean for God's Kingdom to come?  What does it mean for God's will to be done?  We need to follow Jesus around to find out.  Join us.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

01/28/24

 Sermon

For most of us, thoughts of unclean spirits make us think of grotesque scenes from a horror movie.  But there are other types of unclean spirits that can control our words and actions - addictions, unforgiveness, guilt, unhealed trauma can work within us, spinning our lives out of control, isolating us from friends and family.  

According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus began his ministry with a sermon of 18 words, "The time is fulfilled. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the Good News." (Mark 1:15)  Today's Bible reading (Mark 1:21-28) begins to show us what it looks like when the Kingdom of God has come near:  in Jesus, people are set free from unclean spirits. What could the casting out of unclean spirits look like to you?

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link.  

 

01/22/24

 Sermon

What happens if God calls you to do something and you do not want to do it?  That is the basis for the Old Testament book of Jonah.  God calls Jonah to proclaim God's word to the people of Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire.  Jonah was having none of it and for good reason (in Jonah's mind anyway); the people of Nineveh were evil, having captured and enslaved many of Jonah's countrymen.  Jonah and the Ninevites were enemies.  Through a very round-about way, God changed Jonah's mind.  At last, Jonah would obey.  He went to Nineveh and proclaimed the word of God.  Guess what?  The Ninevites heard and they obeyed.  How?  Why?  Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

01/14/24

 Sermon

John the Baptizer is standing with two of his followers when Jesus walks by. "Look," John says, "here is the Lamb of God." That was enough to pique the interest of John's disciples. Peeling off of John, they begin to follow Jesus. When Jesus turns and sees them following, He asks a surprising, yet, logical question, "What are you looking for?" 

The followers answer the question with a question, "Rabbi, where are you staying? [Let us see where you hang out.]" Jesus responds, "Come and see." There is a lot that can be told when you see where people hang out (and who they hang out with). Whatever Jesus showed them, they must have been satisfied; for these two men became disciples of Jesus Christ. How can we see where Jesus hangs out? How do we see how Jesus lives his life?  What does this have to do with our own discipleship walk? Come and see.

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  The Sunday 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

01/07/24

 Sermon

The portrayal of Jesus' baptism in the Gospel of Mark is short and - in some respects - kind of surprising.  Jesus shows up at the River Jordan while John the Baptist is doing his thing.  The next thing we know, Jesus is being baptized and as he comes up out of the water, he sees the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.  The verb 'torn apart' is different in Mark than it is in Matthew and Luke.  The heavens don't just slide open like the door into the supermarket; they are ripped open.  In Jesus' baptism, God rips open the barrier between God and humanity, never to be closed again.  God is set loose to renew and restore the world.  What did that mean for Jesus?  What does that mean for us?  Come and worship.  Come and see.  

Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  Sunday at 10:00 a.m. worship will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

12/31/23

 Sermon

For nearly the entire history of the Christian Church, hymns and other songs of worship have helped us to understand who God is and what God has done in His Son, Jesus Christ. Older hymns like What Child Is This, Joy to the World, Silent Night, and Away in a Manger not only provoke nostalgic memories of our childhood, they also teach us important truths about Jesus. Newer songs of worship like Carol at the Manger remind us that Jesus is still present in our midst leading us to lives of love and service.

This weekend come and join us as we sing these powerful proclamations of God's love, grace, power, and presence. In the words of Angels from the Realms of Glory, 'Come and worship! Come and worship! Worship Christ the new born King!'

In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  Sunday at 10:00 a.m. will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 
 

12/24/23

 Sermon

On Christmas Eve, we gather to make an absurd claim.  We gather to celebrate that the Son of God put on flesh and dwelt among us.  The fancy, 50-cent theological word for God putting on flesh is "incarnation".  God – the creator of the universe – enters into God’s creation – God incarnates.  God – the infinite – becomes finite – God incarnates.  God – who is pure love and pure life – becomes vulnerable to pure hate and death – God incarnates.  God puts on flesh and dwells among us in this very imperfect, often violent world.  Absurd.  

The incarnation of the Son of God, however absurd it sounds, is also our greatest hope.  God's Son chooses to put on flesh among the simplest, most vulnerable people on earth: a young pregnant girl named Mary, a confused and imperfect tradesman carpenter named Joseph, some ignored and despised essential workers called shepherds.  If God's Son chooses to put on flesh and dwell among these simple characters, we can be assured that he chooses to put on flesh and dwell in our lives as well.  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Both services will be live-streamed.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link


 

12/17/23

 Sermon

One of the things that I love most about the Christmas story is how God uses some of the most unlikely characters in the story of Jesus' birth.  God uses an adolescent girl and her reluctant fiancée.  God uses a formally barren mother-to-be and the emperor of the known world.  God uses a group of shabby shepherds, a very unhelpful innkeeper, and a group of astronomers from the East.  God uses a cross section of humanity to enter into the very heart of the human story through God's Son, Jesus.  Join us this weekend as we tell this traditional Christmas story in a not-so-traditional way using the Christmas pageant, "God's Greatest Gift" performed by the SOTH players.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

12/10/23

 Sermon

In this weekend's Bible reading (John 1:6-8 & 19-29), John the Baptist is asked to identify himself. What is interesting is that John explains who he is by starting with who he is not. "I am NOT the Messiah. . . I am NOT Elijah. . . I am NOT the prophet."  Once it is clear who he is not, he then can proclaim who he is, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord.'"

If I were to ask you who you are, how would you answer?  Perhaps, learning from John the Baptist, a good place to start is who you are not.  You are not your bank account.  You are not your profession.  You are not your past mistakes.  You are not your age, strength, weakness, or IQ.  You are not the 100's of things that may have been said to you by your parents, an ex-spouse, or class bully.  Once you know who you are not, now you can focus on who you are.  In the end, your most fundamental, eternal identity is given to you in and through your baptism.  What does this mean?  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

12/03/23

 Sermon

This weekend we mark the beginning of the Church calendar - the 1st Sunday of Advent.  In the same way we use the first weeks of December to prepare for Christmas eve, the Church uses Advent to prepare for the the coming of Jesus.  How do we prepare?  This weekend's Bible reading tells us that the whole Judean countryside and all of the people of Jerusalem came out to the wilderness to hear preaching of John the Baptist.  The trip to the wilderness  and John's message were so powerful that people were inspired to turn their lives around and live differently.  

Trips to the wilderness can come in a whole variety of ways.  Sometimes the trips are on purpose - a vacation, a camp, or a mission trip.  Sometimes the trips to the wilderness can be unexpected and unpleasant - an unwelcomed medical diagnosis, an accident, or a lay-off.  Whether planned or unplanned, trips to the wilderness invite us to look at life differently. They invite us to open our lives to the presence of God.  How can Advent be a planned wilderness time for you?  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link

11/26/23

 Sermon

This Sunday we celebrate a special date on our Church calendar:  Christ the King Sunday. Christ the King Sunday was one of the last festivals developed by the Church. For nearly 2000 years we had known when to celebrate Easter and Pentecost. Since the year 336 A.D., we had been celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25. But Christ the King Sunday wasn’t brought into the Church year until 1925. Why?

By 1925, the world was in the midst of some rapid and dangerous changes. Early in 1923 Mussolini seized control of Italy. By late 1923, Hitler had made his first attempt to overthrow democratic Germany. By 1924 Stalin was firmly in control of Russia. In 1925 American society was in the height of the pre-Depression economic boom, becoming more and more secular in the process. Christ the King Sunday was placed on the calendar of the Church to remind the supposed "Christian" nations of the world that the real king was not Mussolini nor Hitler nor Stalin nor some out-of-control materialism, the real king is Jesus Himself. However, in the lesson for this Sunday (Matthew 25:31-46), we are reminded that this King Jesus is not the kind of king we would normally expect to see.  We are also reminded that this King Jesus judges us by a completely different set of standards than we were expecting.  

In a 2023 world where more and more of the political language we hear uses the words and imagery of the 1920s and 1930s Europe, Christ the King Sunday beckons us to be clear on which king we owe our allegiance and where we are to find that king.  Curious?    

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. . 

11/19/23

 Sermon

About 640 years before Jesus was born, Josiah, the king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, ordered the long needed renovation of the temple built by King Solomon 250 years before.  While they were doing the much needed repairs, something unexpected was found hidden in the drywall: the long-forgotten Book of God's Law.  When the scroll was uncovered, it was given to the priest in charge who then brought it to the king.  As the king heard the words of this scroll (probably the O.T. book of Deuteronomy), he tore his clothes in anguish.  His country, his people had been ignoring God's word for decades.  Josiah wasted no time.  He began a movement in Judah which became known as Josiah's Reformation.  

Josiah's reformation reminds us what our call as Christians is all about.  Quite simply it is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor the same way we love ourselves.  This weekend, we hear about the work of Habitat for Humanity in Will County and why our participation in it is central to what we should be about.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

11/12/23

 Sermon

The prophet Isaiah tells the story in such a beautiful and poetic way.  God built a beautiful vineyard and equipped it with the best that money could buy.  However, when it came time for the grapes to be harvested, instead of the grapes being rich and succulent, they were wild and sour.  The story is about Israel.  Through Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon, God had called, gathered, and equipped a people to help redeem the world.  But something had gone wrong.  Instead of following God and God's law, they turned to false gods.  

Finally, God had had enough. His people had become addicted to idolatry.  That addiction had lasted for hundreds of years. Like any parent of an addict, God had tried everything to get them to change their behavior and none of it worked. It was time for God to do the most difficult and painful (as well as the most loving) thing a parent can do for a child lost in addiction - allow His people (Israel/Judah) to suffer the consequences of their addiction.  God allowed them to touch bottom.  Armies from the Empire of Babylon came and destroyed Jerusalem.  Most of those who survived were hauled into slavery in Babylon (modern-day Iraq).  There they sat, slaves once again.  Would they finally gain control over their addiction? Would they die in slavery?  Would this be the final chapter?  Come and see.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

11/05/23

 Sermon

What is a saint? For most of us, the word conjures up images of people who have lived - if not perfect - then exemplary lives. We think of St. Peter and St. Paul in the Bible who tirelessly traveled the known world proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, eventually becoming martyrs for their Christian faith. Or perhaps, we think of a particularly 'saintly' mother, grandmother, or aunt whose life was distinguished in service, patience, and love.  The Bible talks about 'saints' in another way. When Paul addresses his letter to the 'saints in Ephesus,' he is referring to those whom Jesus has called, gathered, and set aside for lives of faithful service to God and neighbor. When Paul refers to 'saints', he is not referring to perfect people (or even exemplary people); he is referring to people redeemed by the blood of Jesus. In this meaning of 'sainthood,' we are all saints. In Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit, we have been called, gathered, enlightened, and set aside for God's work! In and through Jesus, we are the saints to whom Paul is writing.

This weekend we celebrate two things: All Saints' Day and Confirmation. This weekend we toll the bell for those saints in our lives who have died this past year, giving thanks to God that they had been called, gathered, and sanctified in Christ Jesus. On Sunday, we will also witness six young people confess and affirm the faith that that their parents confessed on the day when they were baptized. On Sunday, these six young people proclaim that they are part of this community of 'saints' both living and dead.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

10/29/23

 Sermon

506 years ago, Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk and up-and-coming university professor, took great exception to the sale of indulgences in the Roman Catholic Church.  An indulgence was a piece of paper, signed by a bishop, that alleged the power to forgive one of their sins.  The Church at that time used the sale of indulgences to finance the completion of St. Peter Basilica in Rome - the greatest cathedral in Christendom.  It was a blatant abuse of the Church's power.  

On October 31, 1517, Luther posted a list of 95 points of debate (The 95 Theses) over the use of indulgences.  In their posting, Luther would declare that we cannot buy our forgiveness, neither with money nor works.  Our forgiveness, our freedom, is a gift of God's grace, in and through God's Son, Jesus Christ.  

Often we have made Reformation Day an homage to Martin Luther.  Perhaps a better use of Reformation Day is to celebrate our freedom.  In our forgiveness, in our redemption, in our justification, in our salvation, we have been given freedom to serve and love our neighbor.  We serve and love not to be saved, but because we are saved.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 


 

 

10/22/23

 Sermon

We live in an age that seems to be desperate for heroes. We look for the next George Washington or Abraham Lincoln and when we don't find him or her or we find him or her to be less than perfect, we become disillusioned and cynical. The reality is that the Bible warns us against putting too much trust in our leaders. 'Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, . . . on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose help in the God of Jacob.' (Psalm 146:3-5)   

David was the greatest king that Israel would ever know. Poet, musician, warrior, king - a man after God's own heart. Yet he was far, far, from perfect.  In fact, he was deeply, deeply flawed. Yet God would still use him, in part because David desired to have God in the center of his heart.  When he failed, David was humble enough to admit his sins, ask for forgiveness, and start again.  What can we, as very imperfect people, learn from this very imperfect David?  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person and online:  Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

 

10/15/23

 Sermon

There is an old saying that says, “Life is 5% of what happens to you and 95% of how you deal with it.” The first five verses of the Old Testament book of Ruth tell us what happened to the main characters. The remaining 80 verses describe how the two strong women of the story, Ruth and Naomi, dealt with it. 

The story of Ruth begins with a famine in the city of Bethlehem. A young couple, Elimelech and Naomi, and their two young boys are hungry and go in search of food to another country, Moab. They become economic refugees. Years pass and Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi as a widow.  But she has her boys to care for her and they get married to two nice Moabite girls. But the economic security that comes from having sons is short lived; both of her sons die as well. All of this happens within the first five verses! In five verses Naomi becomes one of the most vulnerable people of her time: a childless widow living in a foreign country. That is the 5% that happened. But 95% of the story remains. Come and see how God will protect her and give her her life back. Come and see how we are called to care for the vulnerable of our time.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

10/08/23

 Sermon

I would guess that when most people think of God's law, they do not think of freedom.  When the 10 Commandments are mentioned, most people think that God is just being a killjoy.  Aw, man - these are 10 more things that I cannot do.  

The 10 Commandments begin with a declaration of freedom for the listener.  They begin with God reminding us that he is a God of freedom: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." (Deuteronomy 5:6) Therefore, God gives us the 10 Commandments to teach us how to live as free people.  However, that freedom we are given is not just for us alone.  We are called to work for the freedom of our neighbor as well.  How?  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 
 

09/30/23

 Sermon

I would be willing to bet that you have heard the story many, many times. Most of us have grown up with the movies, The 10 Commandments and the Prince of Egypt. God's people had been enslaved in Egypt for many years. Their cry rises up to a God who they were convinced had forgotten them. But God had not forgotten. He heard their cry and remembered the promises He had made many years before. Out of a burning bush, God calls a man named Moses and issues a call, 'I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.' 

Moses has a multitude of excuses why that would be a bad idea. But God's answer is always the same, 'Don't worry about it, I will be with you.' Moses asks, 'Who am I to do this great thing?' God replies, 'Don't worry about it, I will be with you.' Moses responds, 'What if they ask me who sent me, what shall I say?' God repeats, 'Don't worry about it, I will be with you.' 'What if they don't believe me?' 'Don't worry about it, I will be with you.' 'I am not eloquent of speech; I'm slow of tongue.' 'Don't worry about it, I will be with you.' Moses will not go alone. God will be with him.

What is God calling you to do right now? What excuses are you putting forth in response? Regardless of the excuse, we can trust the answer will be the same, 'Don't worry about it, I will be with you.'.   

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 


 

 

  

09/24/23

 Sermon

Whenever you read a story from the book of Genesis, pay special attention to the names.  The names almost always reveal something about the character of the story's participants.  This week's Bible story is about a man named Jacob - a grandson of Abraham.  The name Jacob means 'trickster'.  For a good part of Jacob's life, he lived up to his name.  He was devious, ambitious, and cunning - so much so that he stole his brother's inheritance by tricking his blind father.  Jacob's brother was so furious that he threatened to kill Jacob.  Jacob fled for his life and stayed away for more than 20 years.  Eventually, he knew he needed to come home and confront his past - this brother he had cheated.  This week's lesson tells us what happened immediately before that dreaded confrontation.  Spoiler alert: it involves a change in name.   

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturdays at 5:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

 

  

09/18/23

 Sermon

When we say we trust God we are saying two things; we are saying that God has the ability to fulfill his promises and that God has the desire to fulfill his promises.  In other words, we are saying that God is both powerful and trustworthy.  In Genesis, chapter 12, God appeared to a pair of senior citizens, Abraham and Sarah, and made three promises to them.  1. God would give them the land where he was sending them.  2. God would make of them a great nation.  3.  God would make of them a blessing for all the families of the earth.  

There was a problem with these promises, however.  Abraham and Sarah did not have children.  Sarah was barren and beyond the age when conceiving a child should have been possible.  So where would the great nation come from?  25 years would pass and God still had  not fulfilled that promise.  Would they still trust in God?  Would we?

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturdays at 5:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

  

09/10/23

 Sermon

There is not just one story of creation in the Bible; there are two (at least).  In these two stories found in Genesis 1 and 2, the Bible shares with us more than just how all things were created; these stories also share with us our purpose as human beings.  In Genesis 1, God says, "Let us make humankind in our image, . . . and let them have dominion over the [rest of creation]."  (Genesis 1:26)  

In Genesis 2, the language about 'having dominion' is softened.  God creates the first human out of the dust of the earth, breathes life into him, and places him in the garden to serve and protect the garden.  Dominion is not just about using (and often abusing) the natural resources we have been given.  Having dominion is more about being caretakers and protectors of the world around us.  As we celebrate this year's Rally Day - the beginning of our congregation's programming year - join us as we look for ways to fulfill the purpose of serving and protecting the world around us.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturdays at 5:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 


 

  

09/03/23

 Sermon

To be an apprentice, whether it is an apprentice carpenter or apprentice teacher or apprentice sheet metal worker, one must spend time with the master teacher.  To be an apprentice of Jesus, one must spend time with Jesus.  How?  We do it through prayer, Bible reading, worship, small groups, service, and serving those on the margins of society.  The foundation of all of these practices of discipleship is something very fundamental:  time.  Without creating space in our busy lives for prayer, worship, Bible reading, and service, these things are not going to happen.  Without carving out time, we do not put ourselves in the presence of Jesus.  This is the purpose of sabbath.  Sabbath is more than a day - it is choosing to create space to meet Jesus.  How can we create this space?  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturdays at 5:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

  

08/27/23

 Sermon

In order to be an apprentice of someone, one must spend time with them.  You can’t be an apprentice carpenter without spending time with the master carpenter.  You can’t be an apprentice fisherman without spending time with the master fisherman.  You cannot be a disciple/an apprentice of Jesus without spending time with Jesus.  So the question remains: how can we spend time with Jesus?  Prayer, scripture, worship, and service are good places to start but where else?

While I would like to think of Jesus as just hanging out in my office or hanging out in our sanctuary just waiting for church to start, it is simply not where He promises to be.  Jesus did not spend his earthly life hanging out the in the synagogue and temple.  He hung out with those outside of the center of the religious world – with those on the edges, those most rejected, those most marginalized.  Join us this week as we consider what that means for us today.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturdays at 5:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

  

08/20/23

 Sermon

I don’t know if you have ever thought about it, but nearly all of the books of the New Testament were not written for individuals.  They were written for communities.  The writers of the New Testament recognized that to be an apprentice of Jesus is a life lived in community, a life that is lived with the support of others.  

As we continue our series of messages about our call to be apprentices of Jesus, we recognize that this apprenticeship walk is not easy.  We need a small group around us to love, support, forgive, encourage, and build us up.  At the same time we are called to love, support, forgive, encourage, and build up our siblings in Christ.  Come and see what that can look like in your life.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturdays at 5:00 p.m., Sundays at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

  

08/13/23

 Sermon

We are called to be disciples (apprentices) of Jesus.  In order to be an apprentice, one has to spend time with the master teacher.  God has given us a number of ways to spend time with Jesus: prayer, worship, reading scripture, service, small groups, giving, and hanging out with people on the margins.  This week we talk about the discipleship practice of serving.  How can serving be a means of hanging out with Jesus?  

The 6th Century Christian mystic, Teresa of Avila, writes, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”  Serving is not just abiding with Christ, it is actually becoming the body of Christ. 

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

  

08/06/23

 Sermon

Think about a time in your life when you felt inspired.  Where did that inspiration come from?  In Paul's letter to Timothy, he writes, "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16)  Here, the word 'inspired' comes from a Greek word meaning "God-breathed."  Paul is telling us that all scripture is God-breathed.  

We have been called to be disciples of Jesus, apprentices of Him.  To be an apprentice means that we need to spend time with the master.  To be an apprentice of Jesus, we need to spend time with Jesus.  How?  Knowing that scripture is God-breathed is a good place to start.  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

  

07/30/23

 Sermon

The best definition of the word 'disciple' is 'apprentice.'  Jesus wants apprentices.  An apprentice has only one goal: to be like the master.  That is true whether you are an apprentice electrician or apprentice carpenter or apprentice pipe-fitter.  Your goal is to be at least as good as the person teaching you.  That is our goal as disciples/apprentices of Jesus.  Our goal is simply to be like Jesus - to act as He would act, to love as He would love, to value what He would value.  So, how do we know how Jesus would act, love, and value?  We get to know these things through the discipleship/apprenticeship practices of prayer, worship, reading of scripture, service, reunion of small groups, and hanging out with the people that Jesus would hang out with.  This week, we will talk about prayer.  How can we shape our prayer life into something that allows the Holy Spirit to shape us in our apprenticeship to Jesus?

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

07/23/23

 Sermon

If someone were to ask you about the times in your life when you grew the most emotionally and spiritually, I would be willing to bet that it would not be during the easy times but the hard times.  Paul says in his letter to the Romans, "Suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance leads to character, and character leads to hope and hope does not disappoint." (Romans 5:3-5) This past week, six young people from SOTH participated in a Group Mission Trip to Winchester, Kentucky, where they rebuilt the porch and wheelchair ramp of a woman in need.  What did they learn about perseverance and character in the process?

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

07/16/23

 Sermon

Peter, one of the first apostles, was arguably one of the most fervent messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ. And it was a job he totally grew into from the time he set down his nets and answered the call to follow Jesus. Peter was far from the perfect disciple. But that didn’t get in the way of God’s Holy Spirit working in Peter, who grew to be a great servant of Christ and a pillar of the early church. And through God’s Holy Spirit, Peter found his voice. Join us this week as we hear Peter's words of encouragement, teaching us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus, and to participate throughout our lives in the divine nature of God.

 

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

07/09/23

 Sermon

The apostle Peter had much to say to the early Christian church and through his writing he reminded them (and reminds us today) of the divine gift we have been given in Jesus Christ. Peter's audience understood that Jesus died, was resurrected from the dead and would return. Many believers thought he would return within their own lifetime. But after decades had passed, some wondered if that was true; and some detractors, false teachers, were spreading seeds of doubt by questioning the truth of Jesus. Peter had much to say about this and he did. Join us as we hear Peter's message of truth and contemplate how we might understand and speak the truth of Jesus in our lives today.


Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

07/02/23

 Sermon

When Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" the apostle Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” (Matt. 16:16) Peter may have been one of the first to really understand this. Surely Peter did not have the same level of understanding when Jesus first beckoned Peter to follow him; yet he answered the call that Jesus placed on his life. And answering the call changed Peter's life as he continued to grow in understanding and faith even after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Peter became a cornerstone of the Christian mission.a bit and hear more about an exciting week at LOMC! 

 

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 
 

06/25/23

 Sermon

Some of our confirmation kids spent this past week at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Team Camp!  What a blast!  Along with swimming, hiking and team building activities and a host of other fun stuff, the kids participated in a daily bible study related to the things that Jesus does. Jesus Creates, Heals, Loves, Serves and Sends. The campers read and discussed scriptures related to each of those gifts that Jesus has given to us.    


Join us this week as we dive into Matthew 6:25-34 for a bit and hear more about an exciting week at LOMC! 
Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

06/18/23

 Sermon

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God."

These words from the prophet Isaiah were given to the people of Israel who were captive to Babylon after the empire destroyed Jerusalem".  Exiled from their homeland and isolated from all they had known, they lamented and worried about remaining faithful to Yahweh in this foreign land.

Exiled, yet God provided words of comfort and hope; a path home on the road that God would pave for them. Join us this week as we think about the times of exile in our own lives and in the lives of our fellow sojourners. Join us as we ponder God's comfort in times of exile and consider how we might be of comfort to those who feel exiled in our own time.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters!" God speaks clearly through the prophet Isaiah, who delivers these words of hope to a people in dire need of God's help. God hears their voices and responds with an invitation to bountiful feast where everyone may feast on all they need without price. And all are welcome. Yet this is more than just an invitation to dinner. It is an invitation to life in God's presence and a message that reinforces God's everlasting covenant for all who hear. Join us this week as ponder this feast of life and think about its implications for our lives today.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


 

06/11/23

 Sermon

"Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God."

These words from the prophet Isaiah were given to the people of Israel who were captive to Babylon after the empire destroyed Jerusalem.  Exiled from their homeland and isolated from all they had known, they lamented and worried about remaining faithful to Yahweh in this foreign land.

Exiled, yet God provided words of comfort and hope; a path home on the road that God would pave for them. Join us this week as we think about the times of exile in our own lives and in the lives of our fellow sojourners. Join us as we ponder God's comfort in times of exile and consider how we might be of comfort to those who feel exiled in our own time.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Thursday at 6:30 p.m.. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

06/04/23

 Sermon

The prophet Isaiah was a gifted writer and poet whose vivid biblical imagery allows us to sit and soak in a passage, turning it this way and that in wonderment at the sharp contrasts of God's power in that which has been and that which is to come. During June, we will indeed sit and soak in the book of Isaiah, as the texts present to us God's deep care for creation, God's will for peace and God's promise for God's people.

We are God's people. And as we ponder this week's text, Isaiah 9:1-7, we may wonder in the midst of our chaotic and often not very peaceful world, when and where and how will we ever coexist in a peaceful kingdom.  Yet God has provided the light that was in the beginning, and that through God's Holy Spirit shines into the depths of our hearts and guides us to understanding what God's deep love is all about. 

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/28/23

 Sermon

Fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, his disciples were gathered in a room in Jerusalem.  While they were worshipping, something extraordinary happened.  These followers of Jesus were dramatically filled with the Holy Spirit and given the ability to speak in other languages.  These foreign tongues came in quite handy as these disciples filed out onto the street and began to share with this diverse, multi-lingual crowd God's deeds of power.  These crowds from Asia, Europe, and Africa were amazed to hear this message in their own languages.  

In our baptisms, we have been given the Holy Spirit.  We, too, are called, gathered, equipped, and sent to share God's  deeds of power with the world.  What language are we given to do so?  While we may not be given the ability to miraculously speak another language, we are given the language of love, respect, and service.  Through our actions, our message of God's power over sin, death, and the evil can be heard.  Come and see.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/21/23

 Sermon

Romans, chapter 6, is the basis for the good news that is proclaimed at a Lutheran funeral service; "Therefore, we have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be unite with him in a resurrection like his."  (Romans 6:4-5)

Join us this weekend as we hear what 'walking in newness of life' looks like from the perspective of our guest preacher, Mike Bjerum.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/14/23

 Sermon

It almost seems unfair. It seems like we should be able to say that if we are in a good relationship with God, then life should be easy. Shouldn't it make sense that if we have been forgiven and are in good standing with God that we shouldn't get cancer or lose our job or go through marital difficulties? 

We need only to look at Jesus to see that that argument doesn't make sense. The relationship between God the Father and God the Son was perfect, yet Jesus' life contained sadness, pain, and death. For the sake of the world, Jesus entered into its suffering. But Easter morning proves to us that suffering did not have the last word. That was true for Jesus and it is true for us. 

In this weekend's Bible reading (Romans 5:1-11), Paul tells us that Christ is present to us even in our suffering and that suffering need not have the last word.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

05/07/23

 Sermon

I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is God's saving power for everyone who believes . . . Romans 1:16

2000 or so years ago, the apostle Paul wrote these words in a letter to the Christians in Rome.  Writing this letter some 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Paul had already traveled throughout the Mediterranean sharing the Gospel, the good news of salvation for all who believed in Jesus.  Christian communities were taking root all around the Mediterranean, but Paul still had much to teach.  And the concept of God's power of salvation was crucial.  This short excerpt of Paul's letter speaks to the heart of what God has done for God's people.  

Our world today is vastly different than it was 2000 years ago, but human nature has not really changed.  We humans strive to be self-sufficient.  We often are attracted to power . . . the idea of being powerful.  Sometimes we are charmed by those we perceive to be powerful, believing them somehow to be better than the rest.  But that power pales in comparison to the gift that has been freely given to all who believe.

Join us this week as we breathe together the air of God's power . . . our gift.
Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/30/23

 Sermon

This weekend we will hear part of a story that might aptly be called "Who's in charge here?"  The scripture for today begins with God's Holy Spirit speaking directly to the church in Antioch and commissioning them to set apart the disciples Barnabas and Paul for "the work to which I have called them."

The Holy Spirit has called Barnabas and Paul to go, to travel far and wide, to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  And so they go from country to country sharing this good news.  And in some places they are met with resistance from people who really don't want to hear this good news.  But . . . when they get to Lystra, they are met by a man who cannot walk and Paul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, heals the man.  And the crowd goes wild!  They are beside themselves, shouting "the gods have come down to us in human form!"  

But . . . is that a good thing?  Join us this week as we hear this story and ponder the crowd's reaction.  Join us as we think about who and what are our gods . . . and consider . . . who's in charge here.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/23/23

 Sermon

There is an old story about a rabbi who used to teach his people that as they studied the Torah – the word of God would be placed on their hearts.  One day, one of his students asked him, “Rabbi, why do you always say that when we study the Torah, the scriptures will be placed on our hearts?  Why don’t you say the word of God will be put in our hearts?”  The rabbi replied, “Only God can place God’s word in our hearts.  But reading and studying God’s word places it on our hearts so that when our hearts break, the holy words fall inside.”   

I suspect that the rabbi was correct. Why?  If we come before God pretending that we have life all figured out, we provide little room for God to work.  However, if we come before God with the truth - that we are broken and in need of God's healing - we give space for that Word of God to seep into our hearts.  Join us as we hear how two of Jesus' brokenhearted followers come to recognize the resurrected Jesus in their midst.  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/16/23

 Sermon

One of the things that I appreciate most about the TV show, The Chosen, is their portrayal of the disciples of Jesus.  I appreciate how regular they are.  They are broken and fallible like we are.  Do they mess up?  Absolutely – all the time.  Do they fight against their own prejudices? Yep - Peter starts off hating Matthew.  Andrew is frustrated by Mary Magdalene. All of them do not trust Simon.  Do they lose their nerve and try to return back to their old lives?  Of course.  These are normal folks.  They are perpetually unfinished works in progress.  Just like us.  What keeps them going is their connection to this Jesus who has called them. Jesus is the vine and they are the branches.  As long as they stay connected, they can keep going.  

In the Bible reading for this weekend, Jesus gives the disciples his final words, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing . . . and teaching them what I have taught you.  Remember, I am with you until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)  We have been called to be disciples - to be connected with Jesus and to learn and grow.  We have also been called to tell the story of Jesus, gathering and teaching.  We do so as unfinished works in progress. We do so trusting that Jesus is will us until the end of the age.  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

04/09/23

 Sermon

When Jesus was crucified, scripture tells us that most of the men who had followed him scattered.  They went into hiding – fully expecting that what had happened to Jesus would soon happen to them.  It was the women who did what needed to be done.  As Jesus’ body was placed into the tomb, it was Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of James and John, who took note of where the tomb was located.  On Sunday morning, it was the women who who came to see the tomb.  

What did they come to see?  After all, a tomb is a tomb - a hole covered by a huge rock.  Could it be that they remembered something that Jesus had said to all of them numerous times?  Jesus had told his followers “that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the religious leaders and be killed and on the third day be raised.”  (Mt. 16:21)  These women had seen the 'great suffering' and the killing.  I wonder if these women came to the tomb to see whether the final part of that prediction was going to come true.  Could it be that these women came to the tomb in hope, remembering what Jesus had told them?  That hope would be fulfilled!  He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link.  

04/02/23

 Sermon

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday has a tendency to produce feelings of ambivalence.  On one hand, after 34 days of Lent, we are all ready for some celebration.  The parade-like atmosphere of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey while the crowds wave palm branches and shout 'Hosanna!' seems to provide a new and hopeful mood.  But, for those who know the story, we know what Jesus will encounter in just a few days.  Shouts of 'Hosanna' will turn into screams of 'Crucify him!'  Jesus comes in the gate as a king and leaves the gate as a prisoner marching towards execution.  The reality is, however, that Jesus comes in like a king and leaves still a king - a king who gives up his life for the sake of the world.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

03/26/23

 Sermon

I have always been fascinated by those people at the airport who are assigned to pick up passengers they have never seen.  They hold up their signs with some random name and they hope to be found.  Do they wonder what "Bill Smith" or "Luisa Hernandez" looks like?  As they watch hundreds of people descend the elevator into Baggage Claim, do they get good at making educated guesses about age, race, dress, and body size?  In this weekend's Bible story (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus tells a parable about how we wait faithfully for Jesus to return.  The interesting thing about Jesus' parable is that He suggests that, as they faithfully wait for His return, He has been with them the entire time - in the hungry, in the homeless, in the thirsty, etc.  How can we recognize Jesus in the crowd?  Look to those whom the rest of the world ignores - those who live on the margins - the hungry, the homeless, the thirsty, etc. 

This weekend, Sarah Junkin Woodard from Jubilee House Community in Nicaragua will share with us their ministry among some of the world's poorest people.  For more than 28 years, Sarah and the Jubilee House Community have seen Jesus in the faces of their neighbors and have worked tirelessly to help.  How can we help these helpers?  Tune in to find out.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

03/19/23

 Sermon

In this week's gospel lesson, Jesus gives us a parable about the importance of being ready (Matthew 25:1-13). Ten young people have been invited to a wedding celebration. As part of the wedding customs of the day, they are expected to bring oil lamps to light the way for the bride and groom. All ten of them had lamps, but only five had oil.  The other five, the foolish ones, were left outside, not able to attend the wedding party.  In life, unexpected things happen: accidents, illness, divorce, bankruptcy, pandemic. Do we have enough oil in our lamps?  What do we do to ensure we do?  

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 


03/12/23

 Sermon

This week Jesus shares a somewhat confusing story about an elaborate banquet given by a king to celebrate his son's wedding.  The king invited his honored guests and on the day of the event sent his servants to remind all who had been invited that the celebration was ready.  All was prepared!  But none of them showed up . . .  and the king was furious! Calling those who refused to show up unworthy of the invitation, the king sent his servants out again; this time to the streets to invite everyone they met to come to the banquet.  All were welcome . . . good and bad alike!  And the wedding hall was filled with guests!  And it was good.  Until the king noticed a guest who was not wearing the proper robe for the wedding, a sign of great dishonor towards the king.  And so the king had the man bound and thrown into the outer darkness, where, he said, "there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."   Jesus ends this story saying this, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

Join us this week as we contemplate where are we in this story?  What does it mean to be ready for the banquet?  Why are all invited, but some not worthy?  And what's up with the wedding robe?  Where do I get one?

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

03/05/23

 Sermon

When we pray the words, "Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," what are we asking of God? Quite simply, we are praying that God's kingdom be more than just something that happens in heaven when we die;  we are praying that God's kingdom be with us now, in this world.  We are praying that God's preferred way for this world come into reality now.  So what does 'God's preferred way' look like?  Jesus us shows us through parables.

In this week's Bible reading (Matthew 20:1-16), Jesus gives us a parable about the kingdom of heaven. "The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard." (Matthew 20:1) The parable starts off innocent enough, but by the end we are left surprised. Some hear this parable and get angry. Why? Well sometimes our preferred way and God's preferred way are not the same. Hmmmm. . . imagine that.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

02/26/23

 Sermon

Forgiving can be difficult.  

This week we hear the parable of the Unforgiving Servant . . . one who, out of the pity of the king, has been forgiven of a great debt, yet turns around and absolutely refuses to forgive the debt of one who owes him.  In fact, instead of forgiving, he throws him into prison.  When friends of the poor fellow bring this to the attention of the king, the Unforgiving Servant is handed over by the king to be tortured until he pays his entire debt.  

Join us this week as we take some time to hear this story and to think about what it says about our own ability to forgive and the path to healing and fullness of life that God desires for us and provides to us . . . through forgiveness.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

02/19/23

 Sermon

"And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white." Matthew 17:2

You might say that the story of Jesus' transfiguration is . . . well . . . dazzling.  And it is pretty amazing to imagine the sight of Jesus becoming the light . . . the appearance of Moses and Elijah . . . and God's voice from heaven proclaiming, "This is my Son, the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.  Listen to him!"  Oh, the imagery!!  And, the transfiguration of Jesus was witnessed by the "inner circle" of Jesus, the disciples Peter, James and John, who were overwhelmed by what they saw and heard.  Imagine being a part of that inner circle on that particular day.  Aside from imagination though, how does this story relate to our lives today?  Join us as we hear this story, as we consider it from the perspective of the inner circle disciples and as we contemplate how this story might be for us, as disciples of Christ today, as well.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

02/13/23

 Sermon

When I was in middle-school, I would 'walk beans' to earn money during the summer.  For those of you who did not grow up in rural communities, 'walking beans' was the process of walking through soybean fields and cutting down (or pulling out) weeds between the rows of beans.  It was hot and hard labor - but in the end, the fields looked soooooo clean.  You can walk bean fields but not wheat fields.  Wheat is not planted in rows.  If you see a weed in the middle of a wheat field, you will have to trample a lot of wheat to get to it.  You will end up hurting more than you help.

In this weekend's Bible lesson, Jesus tells a parable about a farmer who plants good seed in the field and later that night an enemy plants weeds (Matthew 13:24-30).  When the field hands see that something is amiss, they ask, "Do you want us to pull up the weeds?"  The farmer's answer is interesting.  "No. Let them be; lest you pull up the wheat with the weeds." (Matthew 13:29)  Sometimes, we are quick to try and separate what is wheat in our lives and what is weed.  Sometimes we just have to wait and see.  How does that work in our spiritual lives?

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

02/05/23

 Sermon

Jesus was a carpenter, a builder.  He understood the importance of foundations.  In the Bible reading for this weekend (Matthew 7:24-27), Jesus paints a vivid picture of two types of foundations: one made of rock, strong enough to withstand any storm, and another made of sand which washes away when the rains come.  Jesus ends his famous (and long) Sermon on the Mount with these words, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. . . . And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”  

Join us this weekend as we study this foundation that Jesus invites us to build.  What kind of bricks is it made of?  I think you may be surprised.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

1/29/23

 Sermon

We have much to be thankful for . . . and much to worry about.  And Jesus, our teacher, our healer, our friend, our Savior, knows this.  Jesus understands the things we worry about and he tells us "do not worry."  This is a tall order for us in the middle of a world that provides endless opportunities for worry!  Jesus knows this . . . he knows our concerns and the pressure we are under; and yet he teaches us not to worry and to "strive first for the kingdom of God and God's righteousness." 

Join us this weekend as we come together to hear these words of encouragement . . . this sacred advice from the One who knows the deepest worries of our hearts.  Join us as we ponder this text from Matthew's gospel and learn together how "do not worry" might apply to (and impact) our lives and our journey of faith.

Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

1/23/23

 Sermon

Jesus begins His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) with these words:  
'Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those that mourn for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for right relationship with God, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.' 

If you look carefully at this list of people that are supposedly 'blessed', it seems completely backwards.  To be 'poor in spirit' or 'mourning' seems more like being cursed than being blessed. But Jesus uses the word 'blessed' different than we do.  To be blessed, according to Jesus, is to receive God's grace, a grace that helps us move forward in life.  The 'poor in spirit' or 'mourning' were blessed not because they were poor in spirit but because they were brought into the presence of Jesus and God's grace met them there.  How do we receive this blessing of God's grace, even if we are not poor in spirit or mourning?  Join us to find out.  


Come and see!  Come and worship!  In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link

1/15/23

 Sermon

From Birth to Baptism to Temptation in the Wilderness . . . the gospel of Matthew brings Jesus forth into his ministry in a whirlwind of activity.  Jesus is on the move and will not be deterred by anything.  No force of human or spiritual evil will take his attention away from the mission of Jesus; Jesus is here to stay.

Join us this weekend as we hear the story of how Jesus encounters the devil and prevails, then moves into the ministry that will provide light unto a world filled with darkness.  Join us as we hear how the good news of that perpetual light shines even today and will shine tomorrow for all who believe!

Come and worship!  Come and worship!  Worship Christ the newborn king! In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

1/8/23

 Sermon

In the Bible, baptism is presented in a number of different ways.  For John the Baptizer, baptism was a symbolic washing away of our past sins.  For Paul, we were baptized into the Body of Christ.  For Jesus, baptism was an entrance into his mission and ministry.  Which of these is true for us as baptized followers of Jesus?  I will give you a hint; the answer is "d" all of the above.

Come and worship!  Come and worship!  Worship Christ the newborn king! In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link.

1/1/23

 Sermon

The gospel of Matthew begins in - what might seem to be - sort of a boring way, with the ancestry of Jesus, going back 42 generations.  Who starts a good news story like that?? 

Ahhh . . . but there's the catch!  This long listing of fathers and sons includes some genuine nuggets that we don't often get a chance to talk about.  For instance . . . this lineage includes the names of four women. In ancient times women were considered insignificant, so this is something to consider!  Also, many of the people in Jesus' lineage were - at the very least - significantly flawed and - at the worst - downright jerks.

And within all of this, God has a message for us.  Join us this week as we dive into the generational soup that through the Holy Spirit brought Jesus into the world; and as we highlight the significance of the insignificant and of the imperfect ones through whom God worked to bring the Kingdom of God to dwell on earth.  Join us as we look to connect the dots between these ancient generations and our lives today in a way that helps us to better understand God's big picture.

Come and worship!  Come and worship!  Worship Christ the newborn king! In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link. 

 

1/1/23

 Sermon

The gospel of Matthew begins in - what might seem to be - sort of a boring way, with the ancestry of Jesus, going back 42 generations.  Who starts a good news story like that?? 

Ahhh . . . but there's the catch!  This long listing of fathers and sons includes some genuine nuggets that we don't often get a chance to talk about.  For instance . . . this lineage includes the names of four women. In ancient times women were considered insignificant, so this is something to consider!  Also, many of the people in Jesus' lineage were - at the very least - significantly flawed and - at the worst - downright jerks.

And within all of this, God has a message for us.  Join us this week as we dive into the generational soup that through the Holy Spirit brought Jesus into the world; and as we highlight the significance of the insignificant and of the imperfect ones through whom God worked to bring the Kingdom of God to dwell on earth.  Join us as we look to connect the dots between these ancient generations and our lives today in a way that helps us to better understand God's big picture.

Come and worship!  Come and worship!  Worship Christ the newborn king! In person: Saturday at 5:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:00 p.m.  Online: you can join us online for our live-streamed service beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. See above for the link.  If you miss the live-stream, you can watch a recording of the same service afterwards using the same link.