Salem Lutheran Church

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Temptation to Proclamation

As we begin the season of Lent, we begin with Jesus proclaiming the most critical point that he will proclaim throughout his life and ministry, “the Kingdom of God has come near…” (1:15). In Mark, as in Matthew and Luke, “the kingdom of God” is THE announcement around which the rest of Jesus’ words and deeds will revolve. But before Jesus can make this announcement, Mark…

Practice for Change

So have you been watching the Olympics? They can be addictive. Aside from hockey, though, I really don’t know anything about most of the winter sports. Although, I may know nothing about these sports, I still marvel at the abilities of those athletes. Did you see Mirai Nagasu? She is the first American female to land a triple axel in the Olympics. I get dizzy just thinking about doing…

Time to be Transformed

One of the things I don’t like about using lectionary readings is that we often read stories out of order, or begin in the middle of a story, and today is a perfect example of what I mean. Our gospel lesson today begins with the phrase “Six days later…” If you haven’t been reading the whole story from the beginning, you must be asking the question, what happened six days earlier?…

Movin' On

We are creatures of habit, aren’t we? Now, I say this not as a negative, but as an honest statement of how we live our lives. In fact, I would argue that without habits we might not be able to function. Psychologists tell us that we all have an enormous amount of activities, or behaviors, that we must do every day. These behaviors include things like eating, speaking, working, playing……

Relationships First

We have spent three of the last four weeks reading through the beginning of Mark’s Gospel and just here in the first chapter we have heard many voices speak out in this story. Three weeks ago, Mark began his Gospel with a voice of “one crying in the wilderness,” (1:3) John the Baptist, and in that same story we heard the voice of God proclaim, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you…

Yes & No!

Last week we heard John’s version of how Jesus began to call his disciples and now today we hear Mark’s version of the same story. Now, before I go any further, I want to answer the burning question that most likely many of you are wondering and that at least one of you will most likely ask me at the end of the service. The answer I have is “yes!”. The question is “Pastor, is…

Be All You Can Be

Today we are back in John‘s Gospel and in this Gospel John first tells us that Jesus is the living Word of God, then he quickly begins to explain to us how Jesus began to call his disciples. According to this Gospel, John says to some of his own disciples when they see Jesus walking by, “he’s the one” and immediately a couple of them begin to literally follow Jesus. When Jesus sees…

Heaven Torn Open

As I read our Gospel text today, you might have been thinking, haven’t we just read this story? Well, we did read the first five verses back on the second Sunday in Advent and today we hear it again as we add to it the story of Jesus’ baptism. So let’s take a look at what is happening.

Mark begins his Gospel with John in the wilderness and he says, “John the baptizer appeared…

What a Beautiful Mess!

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem…” (Luke 2:1-3).

When we think of the Christmas story…

Ready or Not: It's Time to Change Things Up

As I mentioned last week, we call this new church year, Year B, or the year of Mark, and today, on this second Sunday in the Season of Advent we start at the very first verse of Mark’s gospel. Upon reading it we learn exactly what we are about to read, "The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). My guess is that Mark thought he was just writing a biography.…

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