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God’s Timing

Have you ever tried to make something happen, and no matter what you did or how long you struggled, it never worked out? Then later, under different circumstances, what you thought you wanted happened differently? I have heard so many stories of couples struggling to have a child, and when they finally adopted a child, they got pregnant. Maybe because the pressure was gone … or because they had…

Teach Us To Pray

Prayer in the Gospel of Luke is an important spiritual practice. In fact, it is mentioned more than 60 times in Luke. In this Gospel we are told of Jesus praying at his baptism (3:21); Jesus praying before selecting the twelve (6:12); Jesus praying on the mountain before the transfiguration (9:28, 29); and in our story today, Jesus was praying before the disciples asked him to teach them to pray…

A nap and a snack: Your summer reminder

1 Kings 19:3-9 (CEB)

Elijah was terrified. He got up and ran for his life. He arrived at Beer-sheba in Judah and left his assistant there. He himself went farther on into the desert a day’s journey. He finally sat down under a solitary broom bush. He longed for his own death: “It’s more than enough, Lord! Take my life because I’m no better than my ancestors.” He lay down and…

New Beginnings

Yes, it is true, I have resigned my call here at Salem, and on September 1, I will begin a new call as Bishop’s Associate of the Central States Synod.

This past Sunday, you all were so kind with your words of support, and for that I am truly thankful, but in our conversations, I also sensed a genuine concern for Salem. I heard words like, “What are we going to do?” and “It just won’t…

God's Perfect Grace

This Parable of the Good Samaritan might be the most familiar of Jesus’ parables in all of scripture. No matter where you go, if you talk about being a “Good Samaritan,” everyone knows what you are talking about. Everyone knows it is a story about caring for others and always being willing to help others. It’s a story about always being willing to do the right thing. It’s a story about…

Be the Samaritan

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” Isn’t that the truth? What makes this quote even more fascinating is who said it: millionaire Malcolm Forbes! I imagine most people he encountered could “do nothing for him,” and yet he makes a valid point: we are to treat each other with respect, no matter what we get in return.

Jesus…

Not Just for the Professionals

This past Monday a small group of us gathered in the Salem Café to discuss our Bible readings for the past couple of weeks from the Bible Challenge. As we started, one person said something to the affect, “How can we be assured when we share the Gospel that we are convincing others to follow Jesus?”. That is a great question, and I think our Gospel lesson today gives us the answer.

If…

The land of the free?

Matthew 25:35-40 Common English Bible (CEB)

“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry…

No More Excuses

Today’s Gospel text is filled with statements that probably make many of us cringe. Luke begins by telling us that Jesus had “set his face toward Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). In other words, Jesus was now steadfastly determined to fulfill the mission God had for him, and in fulfilling that mission, when he got to Jerusalem he would be arrested and killed. Jesus knew the difficulties he was about…

Time to Die

We have talked a lot this year about the “new commandment” Jesus gave his disciples the night before he died, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). It isn’t easy to love this world as Christ loves it,…

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