Our response to COVID-19

Newsletter, Pastor, Worship
Further changes will be announced in worship or on Facebook, via email, and in the newsletter.   Dear friends, I'm going to get right to the point and list how we are responding to the threat of COVID-19. You should know by now from other sources that this is a very contagious virus. It is important for you to stay diligent in keeping your distance from others, washing your hands (for 20 seconds! try singing Happy Birthday twice or Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing), avoid touching your face, stay away from those who are sick, and stay home if you are sick, among other actions. Especially if you fall in the vulnerable population of older adults (elderly and those over 60!) and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart…
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Sermon from March 8, 2020

Baptism, Discipleship, Grace, Lent, Pastor, Sermons
First Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a; Gospel: John 3:1-21 Have you been born again? Our reading had “born from above”, but some translate this as “born again,” and another alternate from the translation is “born anew.” What does that even mean? Within Christianity, we might say being born again means something about giving your life to Jesus, taking Jesus as your savior…I’m sure you’ve heard the verbage before. I am uncomfortable with that language, as I imagine some of you are. And yes, I know there are some of you that like that language - it’s what you grew up with or what you are comfortable with.  “Being born again” - that phrase, isn’t common to our Lutheran articulation of faith. I know lots of Lutherans who struggle with how to answer that question (Are you born again?) because we don’t use that language. We tend to…
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Sermon from March 1, 2020

Discipleship, Lent, Pastor, Sermons
First Reading: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Psalm 32 Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19 Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11 Well, even the devil quotes and uses scripture. I guess it’s no surprise then that we people do that to each other too. Some people use scripture as a weapon to repress and control others. Some use it to make their point to feel affirmed in their own beliefs. As we see with the devil here in Matthew, scripture says a lot of things. And sometimes it contradicts itself. The Bible wasn’t all written at one time or even by people who knew each other. That’s why it’s good for us to explore it and learn the history and context behind what is written, and read before and after the text we are exploring.  Before this reading of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is the story of…
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Sermon for December 22, 2019

Advent, Pastor, Sermons
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25 I’m not sure if you noticed, but that was Matthew’s version of the Christmas story. You might want to double check the bulletin - there were no shepherds, no manger, no animals, and no Bethlehem. There was an angel, but the fact that Jesus was born is almost a side note. Matthew says, “Joseph took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.” In Matthew’s Gospel we don’t find the Christmas story we are used to hearing. We do get the narrative about the magi from Matthew, though - that doesn’t show up in any of the other gospels. We’ll hear that in two weeks, on the 12th Day of Christmas when we will also celebrate the Epiphany. Luke is the Gospel that has the Christmas story we will hear on Christmas…
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June 16, 2019 – Wake Up Process Underway

Wake Up
Hopefully you've heard Pastor Kirsten mention an upcoming visioning process in the last year. We now have a team together for this, and we've already met twice! We want you to know about the process we are following, and give you a glimpse into what we expect moving forward. The process is called Wake Up, and it's one of four processes developed by LEAD, a non-profit formed with the purpose of developing [non-rostered or lay] leaders in the church. The Wake Up process is an effort to more fully align our own lives and our congregation's life with God's mission. It's an effort to catch up to some of what the Holy Spirit is doing in our changing world and to shape our identity as disciples who live into and out of God's mission. Wake Up is a 10-step process…
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Sermon for December 8, 2019

Advent, Discipleship, Faith, Hope, Pastor, Sermons
Second Sunday of Advent Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12; First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10; Second Reading: Romans 15:4-13 John the Baptist would have been the worst caroler. “We wish you a merry Christmas!” “You brood of vipers!” John the Baptist is no sweet-sounding nativity character. He doesn’t even show up in the lineup in pictures or on your tables back home. Though it could be interesting to turn one of the shepherds into a John the Baptist-type. His language of preparation certainly fits in here - into this season of Advent where we wait and prepare for Christ to come. But his tone and his context do not. He wasn’t out preparing the way of the Lord until his adult years, long after Jesus’ birth (did you remember that they are only 6 months apart? and cousins at that). Though in paintings of him, especially from the Renaissance period, he is…
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Sermon for December 1, 2019

Advent, Discipleship, Faith, Pastor, Sermons
First Sunday of Advent, Thanksgiving weekend Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44; First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5; Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14 The lectionary seems to have bad timing. We’ve just had what might be the most universal celebration of a holiday in our country. Many of us have stuffed ourselves, had some time off for relaxing, did some shopping, we’re starting to get geared up for Christmas. And you come to church over Thanksgiving weekend, and you get to hear this gospel reading from Matthew that neither sounds hopeful nor is what we wanted or were expecting to hear. It’s bad timing. Though we might say that any time these apocalyptic texts come up. We just had another one, out of Luke’s Gospel, two weeks ago. There is a temptation today to jump right to Isaiah where there is hope and peace. We’ll be making that jump, but let’s sit…
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Sermon for November 24, 2019

Faith, Grace, Pastor, Sermons
Christ the King Sunday Gospel: Luke 23:33-43; First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6 This seems like an odd gospel for today. We’re almost gearing up for Christmas, the birth of Christ, and today we hear the story of his crucifixion. It feels like odd timing. But maybe it’s the perfect gospel for today.  “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah, the son of God!” “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us! These three statements hearken back to the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4) where the devil tempted Jesus with three questions, the last of which was to throw himself off the top of the temple and save himself. And then, in that story, since Jesus doesn’t give…
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Sermon for October 6, 2019

Creation, Deacon, Discipleship, Sermons
Many scholars consider the first 2 chapters of Genesis as two separate creation stories because they have such different styles, structure, and emphasis. Genesis chapter 1 follows an obvious pattern throughout its 7 days: God Speaks, It is so, God saw it was good, There is evening and morning. Genesis chapter 2 lacks that structure and seems to be “another look at creation” (from the New Interpreters Bible). It seems intended to describe in detail several parts of chapter 1, particularly the day we are focused on today – Day 6, the creation of the land creatures. These two stories are different, yet in both God is the sole creator of a good and purposeful world, with humankind in a key role. These two stories stand together as a coherent…
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