Hard Times for the Mainline

Wither the Mainline church? It’s a question those of us who are part of a mainline/progressive denomination have been wondering for years.  Or, it is a question we continually hear about.  Our numbers continue to shrink, as does our monetary reserves. Everyone has their reasons as to why mainline churches seem to be in sort of the death spiral.  I want to use this blog post to share some of those responses and what they offer to our churches. The most common response to shrinking numbers in our churches is one of mild annoyance.  Fellow Disciples Pastor Derek Penwell, shares … Continue reading Hard Times for the Mainline

The New Orthodoxy and Me

For the last few years, I’ve been impressed with a growing number of writers and bloggers, mostly from Methodist circles, but from some other traditions as well who seem to be carrying the Neo-Orthodox/Post-Liberal banner that had seem somewhat dormant for a while. I’ve been attracted to this stream of Protestantism after finding both evangelicalism and liberal Protestantism wanting in different ways.  Writers like Allan Bevere, David Watson, the boys over at Via United Methodists and others echo some of the same feelings I’ve been thinking about God, Jesus and the church.  They show a different way of being within … Continue reading The New Orthodoxy and Me

Sermon: Getting God’s Goat

Start Play Matthew 25:31–46 | Fifth Sunday of Lent | March 22, 2015 | First Christian Church | Mahtomedi, MN | Dennis Sanders, preaching   “Not all the sheep are good all of the time. Not all of the goats are bad all of the time. We are sometimes sheep, giving of ourselves to help our neighbor and we are sometimes goats, shutting ourselves from the cares of the world. We never really know who is a sheep or who is a goat even if we think we do.” Read the Sermon Text. Continue reading Sermon: Getting God’s Goat

Sermon: The Waiting Room

Start Play Matthew 25:1–13 | Fourth Sunday in Lent | March 15, 2015 | First Christian Church | Dennis Sanders, preaching   “God wants us to be faithful to God, to make disciples, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick and visit those in prison.  Part of being prepared for Christ’s coming is to be about doing God’s work while we wait.  God is coming and being prepared means learning to follow Christ in all that we do.” Read the sermon text. Continue reading Sermon: The Waiting Room

What Are We Being Inclusive For?

There has been something that has been bothering me for a while.  Usually when people start talking about gay ordination or same-sex marriage, someone on the pro side will say something to the effect: “Jesus was inclusive,” or “Jesus welcomed everybody.” Now, I’m all for welcoming people into our churches in the way that Jesus did.  I’ve been fighting for LGBT inclusion in the church for years.  But when someone says something like the sentences above, I get a weird feeling, like something isn’t right. Recently, after reading a blog post, I finally understood what was bothering me.  In the … Continue reading What Are We Being Inclusive For?

Praying for Revival (I Think)…

A few years ago, I was at a local  gathering of Disciples (my denomination) in Minnesota.  It was a good event overall, a time when our small tribe could gather to worship and fellowship.  Somewhere early in the event, there was a slide that showed all of the Disciple congregations in Minnesota that no longer exist.  The speaker wanted us to honor the work that these former faith communities did and I was in agreement.  They had for a season, been a small example of God’s kingdom. As much as I wanted to honor these congregations, I also felt a … Continue reading Praying for Revival (I Think)…

Sermon: All Is Calm

Isaiah 52:7-10, Luke 2:1-20, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve | December 24, 2014 | Dennis Sanders,preaching “Christmas Eve of 1914 was a sign of God’s peace. No, it didn’t last long, but it showed what God intends for us for all of us, to be a peace, to be healed to become fellow messengers of peace.” Sermons from FCC- St. Paul » Blog Archive » All Is Calm. Continue reading Sermon: All Is Calm

Sermon: One Bad Mother

Start Play Work of Christmas Series | Matthew 3:1-17 | First Sunday of Epiphany | January 11, 2015 | Dennis Sanders, preaching “…today’s passage reminds us that baptism isn’t all sweetness and light.  God wants people to live changed lives and when John baptizes these people, they are saying they will live a changed life. Baptism is a wonderful experience, but it’s also asking God to come into our lives and God wants it all.” Read the sermon text.   Continue reading Sermon: One Bad Mother

This Matters.

As Jesus and his disciples traveled along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Human One[a] has no place to lay his head.” 59 Then Jesus said to someone else, “Follow me.” He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.” 61 Someone else said to Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye … Continue reading This Matters.