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Staff Trax

Time to Say Goodbye!

For the past ten years, Jill and I have had the pleasure of being a part of this faith community. It has been an absolute joy to be your pastor, and I thank you for allowing me to be an integral part of your lives. For the longest time, my hope and my prayer was that this would be my last call and that I would be here until I retired, but I think you all know me well enough to also know that I never…

It's Not About the Stuff

Our Gospel story today is often titled the “Parable of the Rich Fool,” but before we just skip over the accusation made against this man and talk about what this means for us today, I think it is critical that we understand why God calls this man a fool. Was it wrong for the man to want to store up his riches? Was it wrong for the man to save his abundance for the future? Does God think it is…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

More To Come

Today is Trinity Sunday, which means it is the one day of the year that we celebrate a human-made doctrine. The term Trinity and its meaning do not appear in scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity is a human attempt to explain how God chose to reveal God’s self to the world. As we read the scriptures we discover that throughout the centuries God revealed God’s self in many ways: wind, fire,…

Get on With It!

Fifty days ago today was Easter Sunday, the day the church celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus. On that day, Christians all over the world gathered in churches to attend worship, sing songs, give thanks and praise to God for not just the life and death of Jesus, but more importantly for his Resurrection. For the past seven weeks every time we have gathered for worship we have begun our time of…

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