Salem Lutheran Church

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Don't Be A Stumbling Block

For the past several weeks we have been reading about how Jesus has been trying to teach the disciples about God’s way of thinking and turn them away from human ways of thinking, but he hasn’t been very successful. Our story ended last week this way, “[Jesus] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took…

Being the church

Mark 9:38-50 Common English Bible (CEB)

38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone throwing demons out in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”

39 Jesus replied, “Don’t stop him. No one who does powerful acts in my name can quickly turn around and curse me.40…

… and a child shall lead them!

I love that our youth are leading worship this Sunday with this scripture from Mark 9:37: “Whomever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me … and the One who sent me.”

Our church works hard at being welcoming, and if you want to see that in action, come on Sunday and watch our youth joyfully lead worship. They have been encouraged since they were little to stay in…

It's Time to Follow

Three weeks ago we heard John’s Gospel’s version of Peter’s confession of faith. This week we hear Mark’s version, when Peter says, “You are the Messiah.” If you remember in John, Jesus’ words about eating his flesh and his blood offended many of his followers, and so many of them left, but when Jesus asked the twelve if they, too, wanted to leave, “Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord,…

Who Are You?

There is an old story about a wealthy man who owned his own business. Each year at the annual company picnic the man would spend most of the day going around and talking with his employees and their families. One year, as the day was coming to an end, the man finally wandered into the food tent to get some food. As he went through the line, he was handed a plate with a chicken leg, potato…

Be Opened!

As I noted at the start of my sermon last week, there are going to be several times this fall that we are going to have to directly address some language issues in our stories if we are going to make sense about what is being said, and today is one of those days. To begin our story, Mark tells us that Jesus heads to the region of Tyre and then Decapolis. In other words, Jesus left the Jewish territories…

Elevation theory

Mark 7:24-30 Common English Bible (CEB)

Jesus left that place and went into the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know that he had entered a house, but he couldn’t hide. In fact, a woman whose young daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit heard about him right away. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was Greek, Syrophoenician by birth. She begged Jesus to throw the…

God's Ways, Not Ours

It is important that we begin today with a little lesson on what is not happening in our text. Jesus is not condemning the faithfulness of the Pharisaic system of Judaism. Unfortunately, for those of us who have been raised in the Christian tradition, most of us have been taught to view the Pharisees and scribes as self-righteous hypocrites and that somehow we are better, and passages like this…