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Rejoicing in the Unknown

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you…

Starting Over

Starting over. What would you do differently if someone asked you that? What changes would you make?

In this Sunday’s second reading of Revelation 21:1-6, you see a new heaven and a new earth. Starting a new life sounds tempting, but that comes with new mistakes, and so many other things come into play. This would be a good verse to dwell in the word with, and this can be interpreted differently…

What Should We Do Next?

Lately, people have been asking me, “What are Salem’s plans for the future?” Although I cannot provide a complete answer to this question right now, I can assure you that Salem’s leadership team is moving forward with a strategic planning process advocated by Mike Ward, an experienced Lutheran pastor, author, and recognized leader in stewardship ministry.

Before rushing to answer…

Growing Up at Salem

This June is my 12-year anniversary of becoming Salem’s worship and music director. This Sunday, my oldest child will be honored as one of Salem’s promising seniors graduating high school. Casey was in first grade when Salem became our church family.

When you come on Sunday, you will see many memories of this fantastic class of 2022 as they grew up at Salem. Together they have learned,…

Have Faith

We have just celebrated Easter. The Resurrection of Christ. We have spent time with families and friends and attended beautiful church services. However, I still find myself grieving for the sadness in the world right now. Sometimes I feel guilty for being happy and thankful for things in my life. This Bible verse comes to mind when I feel this way:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,…

The Connection Between Easter and Passover

This year, the Jewish holiday of Passover begins at sundown on Good Friday. This is the fourth time this century they have been on the same date, the others being 2012, 2015, and 2018. It won’t happen again until 2029.

Passover commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. But Passover and Easter don't always coincide. Last year Passover was in March, and Easter…

Poor, Just, Savior

This is the beginning of Holy Week, a week of celebration. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, "Behold thy king cometh." (Matthew 21:1–11) "He says with the words, behold, or take notice, he wakes us up from our sleep and unbelief, in that he would announce something great, unusual, remarkable, which had long been desired, and which should be received with joy." (Luther's notes on the Bible)

Healer of Our Every Ill

Lately, I have struggled to make sense of the news of war, displaced refugees, and the sheer magnitude of the world’s brokenness. If we are not careful, despair and hopelessness can quickly envelop us like a quagmire from which we cannot free ourselves. When this happens, I find it helpful to give to God what is simply too difficult for me to bear. The same is true when a dreaded diagnosis or…

The Forgiving Father

I was recently surprised to hear our scripture for this week, the beloved story of the prodigal son, described instead as the story of the forgiving father. How would you describe it? The story of the spoiled kid who wasted his inheritance? His father who continued to spoil him when he returned? His loyal brother who was taken for granted? We tend to err on the side of judgment: how we feel about…

Spring Thoughts

Spring is only a few days away. It is a time of awakening and renewal, a time of organizing and cleaning out our lives. Everyone does some type of spring cleaning. We open our windows when it is warm enough and let in the fresh air. We also can do this with our spiritual lives, a cleansing of our souls. We clean out the cobwebs and bring in fresh perspective and light. Spring also gives us hope…

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