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Wilderness can be a scary place. Nothing is familiar or predictable. This entire past year has felt like a wilderness to so many around the world. Maybe we can learn something about ourselves in the wilderness. Maybe we will return with blessings that bring peace and healing everywhere we go. Scripture: Mark 9:2-9 Song: Retrouvailles by Ooyy Suppor…
 
How lovely to have Valentine’s Day line up with Transfiguration. What do we hear on both of these days, but reminders of love and belovedness, and how we share love with others. Scripture: Mark 9:2-9 Song: Burn Within Sight by Dylan Sitts Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our Website…
 
Never thought I’d relate so much to the questions posed by “unclean spirits” in this Gospel story but here we are. What have you to do with us? How often have I asked this very question of God in the last year? How often have you? And more importantly, how does Jesus respond? Scripture: Mark 1: 21-28 Song: Amanecer by El Neón Support our podcast he…
 
As we lean into a year with further determination to combat racism in all its forms after the death of Mr. George Floyd, we reflect on the teachings of the late Martin Luther King Junior. What kind of worship does God want from you? What kind of service? Do we owe the sovereign of the universe? Scripture: Micah 6:6,8 Song: Too Tired by Smartface Su…
 
When good ol' Martin Luther was putting together his book of teaching for parents, he made sure to have a section on baptism. Why? Because this sacrament is too important to misunderstand. Today is the baptism of our Lord Sunday, a day where we remember the skies being split open and God calling Jesus beloved. It is also a day for remembering our o…
 
Why is it that the most famous spirit that visited Ebenezer Scrooge seems to be the ghost of Christmas past? That’s the one most people think of first. Well, like Scrooge, we may feel like our past haunts our future more than a little bit. As we leave 2020 behind on this first Sunday of the new year, Ephesians has something to say about our past an…
 
Some of the most beloved Christmas songs are about how people yearn to be home for Christmas but illness or war or weather, make being home for Christmas impossible. This year, a pandemic will keep us all away from celebrating our Lord’s birth together in the church, which is another layer of meaning our "Home For Christmas" theme will explore. Thi…
 
One of the things we hear so often in the church is that we should keep watch for God. To see how God shows up in the world and around us. Throughout Matthew’s Gospel this past year, Jesus has been calling for us to be aware of who we leave out and ignore. Today, on the final Sunday of the church calendar, the reign of Christ Sunday, we get one mor…
 
Trust can often be a matter of life and death. Do you trust your doctor? Do you trust the babysitter? Trust in our political leaders is at an all-time low. The trust you have in the promises of God affects the way you live out your faith. Trust is a big issue. Maybe a good place to start is to realize how much trust God has in you. Scripture: Matth…
 
Jesus tells another parable this morning about what the Kingdom of God is like, and it involves a lot of unknowns. Boy doesn’t that feel familiar right now? There are a lot of things we just don’t know. AND YET, there are some things we CAN know, and the prophet Amos offers some very clear instruction on what God wants us to know, even in the midst…
 
Some scripture passages are so achingly beautiful, poetic and profound that it is probably better to simply stand back and behold them in the assembly than to try to explain or reduce them to some moral code or set of action items. Today we will make room to experience the awe and wonder of two breathtakingly powerful visions of God’s promised futu…
 
When natural enemies decide to join forces against you, it may be time to panic. When those enemies hold serious power and influence among much of society, it may be time to run. By the end of this incredible encounter with Jesus, someone is running alright. The truth will set you free, Jesus said. Turns out, the truth may also send you running, in…
 
When we receive an invitation, we often have some initial responses: we might check our calendars, we might ask about dress code, and we might even hold our response until we know who else is going. So what do we do when the invitation is from Jesus? As you might guess, he has a parable for that. Scripture: Matthew 22:1-14 Song: Ikigai by Twelwe Su…
 
As we do from time to time, we put the usual preaching schedule on hold while we explore public theology together. We will again field questions from the congregation around the theme of things that cause us to doubt or to question. Scripture: Philippians 3: 4-14 Song: The King Has Fallen by Rippled Stone Support our podcast here Watch the Livestre…
 
Jesus’ authority is (again) questioned by the powers that be, and his response offers more questions than answers, as per usual. We have these same questions today, don’t we? Who is in charge? Who gets to decide things? By whose authority do we do anything? Let’s dig into these questions together. Scripture: Matthew 21:23-32 Song: Cornelia (Luwaks …
 
Let’s be honest, sometimes the bible bugs us. Why should a lifetime criminal have a place in heaven right next to the lifetime, active church member, just because of some jailhouse conversion? Today we contend with the annoying reality that God occasionally does things without our permission. Scripture: Matthew 20:1-16 Song: Strending Kids by Ooyy …
 
Those of you who have seen Hamilton will note the reference to It’s Quiet Uptown in my sermon title, which to me, has been a sobfest inducing moment of grace played out on screen that I just can’t erase from my head. Jesus today talks about how much we ought to forgive the people around us. He uses a parable to illustrate our forgiveness hypocrisy,…
 
Jesus says, where two or three are gathered, I am there. Labor Day weekend is usually a time to take a breath leading up to the new school year and busy Fall schedules. COVID attempts to steal our breath away. God breathes life into us and sustains with (Ruach/pneuma) Rob Bell's Website Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Ins…
 
This is a well-known story, thanks to children’s Bibles, and also to Charlton Heston and the Hollywood rendering of the story of Moses. But more than some fantastical story of burning bushes and voices on the mountains, this is, at it’s heart, a call story. And we can learn a lot about how to find our own burning bushes and holy ground through this…
 
How do you feel about your reputation? What are people saying about you out there? How does following Jesus affect what people think about you? For that matter, what does Jesus have to say about you? Scripture: Matthew 16:13-20 Song: Bad for Me by Alder Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our Website…
 
Today’s story is hard to hear. Jesus seems very human and not very divine in his interactions with this Canaanite woman. Why would any writer include this strange encounter in a hero story about Jesus? Scripture: Matthew 15:21-28 Song: Come 2gether by Ooyy Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our Website…
 
A storm at sea rages through the night and things are not looking good for the disciples. When Jesus shows up they are even more afraid. That’s when Peter asks for the craziest thing ever! In these times of fear and anxiety, maybe we are asking the wrong questions. Maybe we have been called to something more meaningful than safety. Scripture: Matth…
 
So often, when we hear this feeding miracle, we focus on the amounts. The starting point, the ending point, the scarcity, and the abundance. But what if this miracle began long before they were gathering the five loaves and two fish? Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-5, Matthew 14:13-21 Song: Lux by Lofive Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow …
 
Jesus gives us the parables of the mustard seed and yeast and pearls and leaves us to wonder what God might be trying to tell us about the kingdom of God through these little but powerful examples. Scripture: Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 42-52 Song: Kauko by Twelwe Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our …
 
Both of the texts in front of us today are about waiting, but not just any kind of waiting, but the waiting in the midst of evil, hardship, and struggle. Well. That feels… right. So what are we to do while we wait, and what are we waiting for exactly? Scripture: Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Song: Distant Echo by Jakob Ahlbom Support our …
 
The church is currently in “Ordinary time” but that feels more than a little out of step with the rest of the world. Social unrest and racial tensions run high. A worldwide pandemic rages on. Maybe ordinary time for the church is supposed to be out of step. Maybe this old parable about the sower was always meant to disrupt ordinary life to make roo…
 
When the world feels chaotic and unsteady, where do we look? In the Bible, prophets were sent into the midst of just these times, and their words were not always hopeful. Even Jesus, who preached words of love and care for others, didn’t always have his words received with welcome. What message might God be sending us through today’s Gospel, and ho…
 
Paul says that in baptism we are united with Christ in a “death like His”. That is a phrase that should stop us in our tracks. What does it mean to be united with Jesus in a death like his? How can that death set us free to live a new life? Scripture: Romans 6:1-11 Song: Worry cover by Paul & Amy Koopman Support our podcast here Watch the Livestrea…
 
Last week we heard the Great Commission, the call to go and share the good news of what God is doing. Today we are reminded of this same great commission - that we too are called disciples and that name asks something of us. We are sent to DO something. But what? Scripture: Matthew 9:35-10:8 Song: Burn Like A Star cover by Paul Koopman Support our …
 
Pentecost. It's a day where we celebrate the start of the church with breath and fire. It's hard to not make the connections from that first Pentecost to what is happening today. As preachers, we are charged with holding the Gospel in one hand and the newspaper in the other and that's what we did. Say his name. George Floyd. Scripture: Acts 2:1-21 …
 
In this reading from Acts, Paul takes the church on the road. He decides to take the gospel right into the belly of the beast where he knows there will be resistance, if not outright mocking and rejection. Here we have a master class in sharing your faith in a distracted and skeptical world. Scripture: Acts 17:22-31 Song: Your Peace Will Make Us On…
 
This is a very familiar and well-known set of verses, most often heard at funeral services. But what does it mean that Jesus is preparing a place for us? And what kind of house does God have? And why does it even matter? Scripture: John 14:1-14 Song: Beauty Lives in Me by Johannes Bornlöf Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on I…
 
Thinking of Jesus as the “good shepherd” has been comforting for generations of Christians. Today we will revisit these beloved passages to see what they might have to say about living through a worldwide pandemic. Scripture: Psalm 23 Song: Aoraki by Ooyy Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our Website…
 
When you think of Jesus - where is he found? As a young girl growing up in the Catholic church, Jesus was always on the cross. For some Jesus is always in the manger, but today’s Gospel finds Jesus where I think he most wants to meet us - around the table. Scripture: Luke 24:13-35 Song: Midnight Walk by Twelwe Support our podcast here Watch the Liv…
 
As we do from time to time, we put the usual preaching schedule on hold while we explore public theology together. We will again field questions from the congregation around the theme of things that cause us to doubt or to question. Scripture: John 20:19-31 Song: The King Has Fallen by Rippled Stone Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Fol…
 
Everything you see may be telling you to be doubtful and afraid but the messenger of the Lord says it is going to be ok, God is with you, God is keeping the promise… do not be afraid. Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10 Song: Angel From Montgomery covered by Amy & Paul Koopman Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our We…
 
We often hear to “love our neighbor as ourselves” but how do we really love ourselves? What does it mean to be unique and to be a person with gifts and flaws, and how can we see others that same way? Mr. Rogers often uses the language “Just as you are” to describe how we are loved. What might it look like to see ourselves as loved, just as we are, …
 
This is the lentiest lent that has ever lented. And yet the readings in front of us today are all about new life RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the worst of things. Man, the lectionary does not play around. So we’re going to dig in together, and in a new way. Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14, John 11:1-45 Song: Come Alive (Dry Bones) covered by Paul & Amy Koopma…
 
Who are the helpers around you? How can you be a helper? In this unprecedented time, how have you seen people, esp unexpected ones, rising up to help? Mr. Rogers Video Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, Luke 10:25-37 Song: Hawaii by Lil' Loca Support our podcast here Watch the Livestream Follow us on Instagram Visit our Website…
 
The story begins with people talking about him as if he isn’t even there. But he was there. And by the end of his encounter with Jesus and some religious leaders, this person is able to speak for himself. You need to hear what he has to say. Scripture: John 9:1-38 Song: Beauty in the Mundane by Bird Of Figment feat. Ooyy Support our podcast here Wa…
 
In this familiar Gospel story, we have a stark contrast to the interaction Jesus had with Nicodemus last week, with everything out in the open and in the noonday sun. That contrast shows us that this story is about so much more than water, or thirst, but about how much God knows us and loves us. Scripture: John 4:5-42 Video: Zoey's Extraordinary Pl…
 
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