Ask any good reporter what the most interesting part of interview is and they will tell you that 'who,' 'what,' 'when,' and 'where' are important but it is the 'why' that enters into the heart of the story. Why do we do the things we do? God tells the prophet Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and proclaim God's word. Jonah balks. Instead of going east to Nineveh he goes west to Tarshish. The first three chapters of the O.T. book of Jonah tell us the what, where, when, and who. It is the final chapter that tells us why he disobeys. In the end,we find out that it is nothing less than prejudice and hatred towards the Ninevites. Jonah refuses to forgive the Ninevites for their role in a war against his country.

Forgiveness is difficult. But we all have seen countless times that a spirit and practice of unforgiveness can ruin one's life. What does the Bible teach us about unforgiveness and why?

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday and 9:00 and 10:35.



Think about a time when you were convinced to make a significant, positive change in your life (maybe a new career, a different relationship status, a spiritual or health practice). What were the factors that finally helped you make that decision? For most of us, part of that decision was in consulting with someone that you trusted: a friend, a doctor, or a pastor. A friend, doctor, or pastor earns trust by taking time to listen and getting to know your story. This is something that can only be done up close.

The prophet Jonah is called to proclaim God’s word to the people of Nineveh. The Old Testament book of Jonah tells us that Nineveh was huge – so big that it would take three days to cross it (Jonah 3). Jonah enters the city one day’s walk and begins to preach – and – amazingly they listen. Everyone, all the way from the king to the dogs and cats of the empire, repents. Jonah didn’t just set up shop on the outskirts of the city and throw bombs of judgement. He took the time to enter into the city, to see and hear its people, and he was listened to. 

It is easy to point fingers and condemn from afar. It is easy to do ‘drive-by’ evangelism, assuming that we know the issues of people without spending time with them. The harder, but ultimately more fruitful course of action, is to enter “a day’s walk” into the lives of the neighborhood and listen to people’s stories. As we continue to seek God’s purpose for Shepherd of the Hill, I can’t help but think we have much to learn from Jonah.

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5, Sunday at 9 and 10:35.





We live in an age that seems to be desperate for heroes. Just think about the most attended movies of the past few years: Avengers, Captain America, Black Panther. I see the same thing in our political process. 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. Perfection would not be found in him, but rather in his descendant, Jesus. It is in Jesus that we trust and find perfection. Join us as we finish this summer's series on the life of David. 

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35. Wednesday at 6:30.



We often think that most of the characters of the Bible are somehow more righteous, somehow less broken than we are. It doesn’t take a very deep study to find out how wrong that idea really is. The Bible is very honest about the “human nature” of its characters. Abraham hears the call of God and screws up enough faith to follow it – but within a chapter or two, he loses that faith and tries to pass off his wife as his sister to save his own neck. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, tricks his meathead of a brother out of his birthright for a bowl of soup. And then there is Jacob’s sons, who grab their arrogant and snotty little brother Joseph and sell him into slavery, just to be rid of him.  

Then there is King David – arguably the Old Testament's most venerated character. Even he was far, far from perfect. David's coveting of another man's wife led to adultery, cover-up, and murder. David's arrogance hardened his heart and blinded him to his own behavior. God, through Nathan the prophet, broke through David's lies and pointed out the truth. In the end, David recognized his sins, confessed them, and received forgiveness. (2 Samuel 11-12) That forgiveness did not free him from the consequences of his actions. However, God did create a new heart within him, empowering him to endure those consequences. There is a reason why we begin our worship with confession. Confession allows God to create a new heart within us.

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35, Wednesday at 6:30.



When I would ask my friend, Van, the question, 'How are you?' He would always answer with the words, 'Better than I deserve.' That unexpected response never failed to cause me to think, 'Yeah, I suppose that is true for me as well.' A week ago we learned that mercy was related to two other Biblical words: justice and grace. A working definition of 'justice' is to give someone something that they deserve. 'Grace' means to give to someone something good they do NOT deserve. Mercy is to NOT give to someone something they DO deserve. (I'll give you a moment to reread the previous three sentences.)

As we continue our story of David, Saul - the previous king - is dead. His sons are also dead as well as most of his grandchildren. There is only one person left that could possibly claim the throne - a young disabled grandson named Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9). According to the practices of the ancient world, if someone kills a king, then all of his possible heirs were to perish as well. After all, you don't want someone coming to claim the throne, do you? (Where do you think George R R Martin got all his ideas for Game of Thrones?) 

Come and hear how David - in the mercy he showed Mephibosheth - showed us one of the reasons why he was a man after God's own heart.

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday 9: & 10:35, Wednesday at 6:30.



As we continue this summer's series on the life of David, we join the young 'king-to-be' in a very difficult situation. King Saul, whose heart is consumed by jealousy and hatred, is chasing David throughout the wilderness of Judah. As providence would have it, Saul enters into a cave where David and his men are hiding. David has the opportunity to take the situation into his own hands and kill King Saul once and for all. (1 Samuel 24) But David takes a different (and merciful) path.

What is mercy? What does it mean to give someone mercy?

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday 9:00 & 10:35.



This past week five high school age youth spent the week serving the residents of Green Bay, Wisconsin. During the week they along with 350 youth from across the Midwest served local residents by painting houses, cleaning yards, and repairing and building decks.

Not only  did they serve the local residents but their day was packed with worship, devotions, and youth group meetings. This week's theme was Grit. Rick Lawrence defines grit as "the engine that drives perseverance in life. It's the core strength that helps us face and overcome challenges and obstacles. And it is the essential characteristic that sustains our lifelong pursuit of Jesus." Come and hear the stories of how our youth served the people of Green Bay and also learned about the spiritual grit in their life.

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35, No Wednesday service on the 4th of July.



For many people, Father's Day is complicated. If one be fortunate enough to have a good relationship with their father (and their father is still alive), the day can be filled with barbecues and gifts of neckties or power tools. But, unfortunately, not everyone has had a good relationship with their father. In these cases, Father's Day reveals places of pain in need of healing. 

We are in the midst of a series of messages about the Old Testament character, David. While we know nothing of David's relationship with his father, we know a great deal about his relationship with King Saul, in whose home David lived. King Saul was mentally and spiritually broken and was prone to fits of great rage and violence. Through no fault of his own, numerous times David had to run for his life. Fortunately, David was not alone. God provided people to protect and care for him.

What can we learn from this painful chapter of David's life? 

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35, Wednesday at 6:30.



David vs. Goliath

Chapter 17 of the Old Testament book of I Samuel tells one of the most famous stories of the Bible. The armies of Israel and the Philistine nation are staring at each other across a great valley. The potential for bloodshed is enormous. By the end of the day tens of thousands could lay dead. An option arises out of the ranks: a contest between the greatest warrior of the Philistines and the greatest warrior of the Israelites. Winner take all. The Philistines put forth the giant, Goliath. But the Israelites cannot find a taker. I mean - look at the guy! 9-feet tall with impenetrable armor and weapons twice as big as any Israelite warrior. 

Finally, an adolescent shepherd named David steps forward and shouts out to the giant warrior, "You come to me with sword and shear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD." (v. 45) David takes out the tools of his trade: a shepherd's staff, a sling, and five smooth tennis-ball-sized stones. With one shot, the giant is unconscious, face-down on the ground with a stone embedded in his forehead. Huh? Who would have thought?

What are the giants in your life? What 'tools of the trade' have been given to you so that you can fight your giants?

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 & 10:35. Wednesday at 6:30.



The Story of David: A Man after God's Own Heart

What do Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter all have in common? They are all examples of a type of story-telling called the "Hero's Journey." Each story begins with an unknown and under-appreciated young person who somehow senses that there is more to life than what has been lived so far. Suddenly a mentor shows up out of the blue and calls the the novice hero to a new life and adventure beyond their imaginations. Through trial and fire the heroes pass, changing their lives forever. When they finally return home, they are no longer the same people. In the Hero's Journey, some of the details may change, but the basic story line stays the same.

A young shepherd boy named David is minding his father's sheep one day when he receives a call that would change his life forever. God had told the prophet, Samuel, to anoint this young boy to be the next king of Israel. There was a problem, however: Israel already had a king and he was very much alive and very, very jealous. God's call to David would put David on a journey that take more than 40 chapters of the Bible to tell. David would not only eventually be known as Israel's greatest poet, musician, warrior, and king, he would be known as one of Israel's most famous fallen saints and forgiven sinners. Through it all, God would refer to him as "A Man after God's Own Heart." 

This week we begin a summer-long series: David: From Shepherd to King, Poet to Warrior, Fallen Saint to Forgiven Sinner.  Come and see. Come and worship.

NOTE the new summer schedule:
Sundays at 9:00 and 10:35.  Wednesdays at 6:30



When was the first time that you were absolutely overwhelmed with awe and wonder? When was the first time you looked at something and just said, "Wow!"? Maybe it was the first time you saw the Rocky Mountains or the Grand Canyon. Maybe it was the first time you held your newborn baby. 

It isn't hard to imagine the young shepherd boy, David, lying in the middle of a pasture, tucked in between the sheep of his care and staring up at the nighttime sky. This was 1000 years before Jesus was born and the only light available would have been the myriad of stars and the moon. Years later he would write Psalm 8 and I can imagine him thinking of those nights staring up at the star-filled sky.  'When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are humans that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care from them?' (Psalm 8:3-4) 

Good question. Who are we that God - the Creator of the universe - would pay attention to us? That is exactly what the Church's doctrine of the Holy Trinity answers. How can God be both awesome and majestic as well as personal and caring? 

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35



Did you ever stop to think about the miracle of good communication? In order for Person A to communicate effectively with Person B a whole chain of events must take place. Person A has a thought, the thought must be formed into words, the words must be vocalized (or signed) and travel across the open space from Person A's mouth (or hands) to Person B's ears (or eyes). That word must then be translated into something that Person B can understand and react to. Effective communication involves a lot of moving parts.

This weekend we hear the story of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes upon the followers of the resurrected Jesus giving them a miracle of communication. These simple fisherman who have never traveled more than 90 miles from the place of their birth are given the ability to speak the native tongues of people from all over the Roman Empire. Those hearing the message of God's grace, love, and deeds of power are amazed. ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?' (Acts 2:7-8) The Holy Spirit gives the miracle of good communication. 

How can we give control of our communication to the Holy Spirit? A place to start is in a humble and serving heart. There is an old saying that says, 'People will not care about what we know until they know we care.'

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00, Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35



Sometimes our perspective is just plain wrong. Sometimes we make a big deal out of what - in the grand scheme of things - is very insignificant. I'm sure than any of us can come up with any number of examples. Maybe it is a fuss about what you will wear on a particular day or a "bad" hair cut or a scratch on the side of your car. In nearly every example it is forgotten a day or two later; it wasn't worth the worry.

This weekend we celebrate Ascension Day - the day that the resurrected Jesus ends His earthly ministry and "ascends" to sit on the right hand of God. (See Acts 1:3-11).  After Jesus' resurrection, he continues to teach His disciples for 40 days and then prepares them for His departure. But even after three years of hanging out with Jesus, the disciples still don't get it. They ask Jesus, "Is NOW the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?" Jesus gently but firmly corrects them. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (v. 8). Basically Jesus tells them, 'You are thinking too small. You worry about Israel - God wants to use you to rescue the world.'

How do we think too small about what God is doing in our lives? How do we think too small about what God is doing in the life of Shepherd of the Hill?

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35



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. In His ministry, Jesus entered into a very imperfect and suffering world. For the sake of that 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 Jesus is present to us even in our suffering and that suffering develops our endurance, our endurance develops our character, and our character develops our hope. Come and hear what this can look like in your life.

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.



There is a powerful scene at the beginning of the 2004 movie, Luther. Martin Luther had just celebrated his first mass as priest and he had done the unthinkable; he had spilled the wine. He was humiliated. His father, who had come to witness his first mass, was indignant and stomped away in disgust. It was a horrible way to begin his career as priest. The next scene has Luther back in his monastic cell. He is punishing himself, arguing with Satan. Luther was convinced that he was too sinful to be a priest. In the midst of his maniacal ranting, he is paid a visit by the leader of the monastery and his mentor, Johann von Staupitz. "What do you seek, Martin?" he asks. Luther replies, "I seek a God who is just, a God of love." 

This opening scene tells us the backstory of Luther's quest for forgiveness and love from God. He would spend the first half of his life looking for ways to be 'good' enough, 'holy' enough, 'righteous' enough, 'contrite' enough. Finally, in his study of Romans, chapter 1, he found the answer: it is NOT what we do that makes us right before God, it is what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Paul writes in Romans 1:17, "In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed." What does the righteousness of God look like in our life? How does it remove our sin and shame? 

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.



Jesus tells a story about a man who goes out into the field to sow seed. Some seed fell upon hard ground and the birds ate it up right away. Some seed fell upon rocky soil; the seed grew but quickly died because the roots were shallow. Some seed fell upon soil populated by thorns. The seed grew within the thorns but the plants were eventually strangled by the weeds. Finally some seed fell upon good soil and grew to produce greatly. 
What accounted for the success in only 1/4 of the seed? The sower was the same. The seed was the same. Even the desire to sow was the same. The variable was the soil. Good soil allowed the seed to produce where hard, rocky and thorn-infested soil did not. Why is it that sometimes we hear and understand God's love, grace, and forgiveness and sometimes we do not? Here is a hint: it has something to do with the readiness of the soil of our hearts. How can the soil of our hearts be changed?

Come and see. Come and worship. Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.



In this weekend's familiar story, the resurrected Jesus bursts into a locked room of very frightened disciples with a word of peace (John 20:19-31). In fact, in this short passage of the Gospel of John, Jesus extended His peace three times. What does it mean when we extend the hand of peace? Is it the same peace that Jesus offered His followers? The sermon this weekend will explore what it means to say "Peace be with you," and help us to be a little more intentional when we offer this greeting. 

Come and see. Come and worship. 
Saturday at 5:00. Sunday at 9:00 and 10:35.



Perplexed, Terrified, Amazed

In many parts of the world, for nearly 2000 years, the greetings between Christians (especially in the weeks after Easter) have sounded like this: one would say, 'Christ is risen!' to which the other person would respond, 'He has risen indeed! Hallelujah!' 

For those who came to Jesus' tomb on that first Easter morning, their responses were not nearly as joyful. The women went to Jesus' tomb looking for a dead body; instead they found an open and empty grave. To say they were perplexed would probably be an understatement. Then when two angels appeared, their perplexity accelerated to terror. When the male disciples caught wind of the strange occurrences going on, they ran to investigate and they left amazed. (Luke 24:1-12) It would take a while for it to sink in that, CHRIST IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH! 

What does the empty tomb mean for us? What does Jesus' resurrection hold for our lives nearly 2000 years later? Come and hear what it has meant for others and what it can mean for you. Come and hear how we can move from perplexed, terrified, and amazed to Hallelujah!

Come and see. Come and worship. Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00.

Please contact the SOTH Comminication team if you are looking for additional messages at Soth.communicaitons@shepherdofthehill.com