Sermon: “But We Had Hoped…”

Luke 24:13-35 Third Sunday of Easter May 4, 2014 First Christian Church Mahtomedi, MN   In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while the leader was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of … Continue reading Sermon: “But We Had Hoped…”

Constitutional Amendments and the Church

This fall, Minnesotans will go to the polls to vote on two constitutional amendments.  The first one would ban same-sex marriage and the second one would require photo ids before a person could vote. Now I have my own opinions on the amendments and I’m not shy about sharing them (I’m strongly against the first and somewhat in favor of the second).  However, when it comes to the context of church and in my role as a pastor, I am less comfortable in telling people how they should feel on this issue, let alone how they should pray. Recently, during … Continue reading Constitutional Amendments and the Church

Talking Back to the Strawman

As much as I love following and engaging in politics, I’ve have come to the opinion that politics is nasty business; especially for Christians and especially in these highly polarized times. The diversity of political opinion as well as healthy debate are hallmarks of a democratic society.  My mom talks about growing up in her native Puerto Rico and hearing her adult relatives chatting about politics.  The opinion of the group spanned the ideological spectrum, from conservatives to socialist.  I do wonder at times, if the talk got heated, but I think that at the end of the day, people … Continue reading Talking Back to the Strawman

Sunday Sermon: May 2, 2010

I usually post my sermons soon after I preach them, but for some reason I didn’t post this one last year.  I filled in for the pastor at Plymouth Creek Christian Church in Plymouth, MN.  Part of the reason I share this now is that I want to tell part of the ongoing story of the church that I serve at and how God is at work at this urban church. “Young Trees” John 13:31-35, Acts 11:1-18 May 2, 2010 Plymouth Creek Christian Church Plymouth, Minnesota   How do you transform a church?  That’s the question I’ve been trying to … Continue reading Sunday Sermon: May 2, 2010

"The Table Reveals Who We Are"

Disciples like to call that thing that’s up front in the sanctuary a table.  Lutherans used to call it an altar, but more and more they’ve started following us and calling it a table.  Far more humble and fitting in my view. Disciples Pastor Lee Yates reminds us that the Table reveals who we really are.  If you want to know something about the life of a church, then look how they deal with the table, which means a lot of our churches are in trouble: While much of our church rhetoric includes the table, I’ve been thinking a lot … Continue reading "The Table Reveals Who We Are"

What Church Is All About

This article has gone viral and I think sums up what church should be all about: the communion of the saints.  The writer goes after the person that likes to say they are “spiritual but not religious.” Here’s a snippet: Being privately spiritual but not religious just doesn’t interest me. There is nothing challenging about having deep thoughts all by oneself. What is interesting is doing this work in community, where other people might call you on stuff, or heaven forbid, disagree with you. Where life with God gets rich and provocative is when you dig deeply into a tradition … Continue reading What Church Is All About

Is "The Help" A Modern Tale on Materialism?

So says, Elijah Davidson: The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s serves as the backcloth for The Help, but I did not walk out of the theater with a renewed commitment to racial equality. I left deeply appreciative of women and deeply disturbed by how women are affected by our materialistic culture. To reiterate, The Help, I contend, is not about racism. It’s not about sexism either. I saw in The Help a depiction of the destructive power of materialism. The Help‘s villain is Hilly Holbrook, a racist, vindictive woman portrayed with vicious glee by Bryce Dallas Howard. Hilly reigns supreme at the apex … Continue reading Is "The Help" A Modern Tale on Materialism?

We Need This

Interesting words from Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Webber: I need to receive the Eucharist. I need to hear the gospel again and again and again, because I forget all of that. I think that’s what we do in Christian communities. We gather. We remind each other of who we are. We remind each other of God’s promises, and that’s what we proclaim. I think people, especially liberals, conflate sin with low self-esteem. They’re like, “I don’t want to talk about sin anymore,” because [they’ve been told] sin is immorality. They’re like, “I’m tired of having someone tell me I’m immoral when … Continue reading We Need This