Monday Morning Quarterback: Reflections from your Pastor

October 2, 2018

Jealous for Jesus?

Reflections from your Pastor……           I consider it to be one of the greatest faults of being human; that we are prone to jealousy or envy of others success. For some reason, we see what others have and are suddenly discontent with what we already have. We ask questions to the air like “why don’t I have all this?” This...

Read More
September 24, 2018

Holy Wonder

Reflections from your Pastor……           I have to admit that there are times when I don’t pay close enough attention to the details. I like to say that I am a big picture kind of person, but the reality is that paying attention to the details can yield a clearer big picture. So, I’m learning to lean into things more;...

Read More
September 18, 2018

Don’t sweat the petty stuff

Reflections from your Pastor…… Have you ever noticed how so often we focus on little things that have no significant impact or importance on the thing at hand? Much ado about nothing basically. Sometimes this happens in our faith practice; that we take issue with something that ultimately has nothing to do with our salvation or who we profess to...

Read More
September 2, 2018

Hanging on to Grace

Reflections from your Pastor……           I grew up, as many did, with numerous traditions, both at home and in my place of worship. To say that those traditions shaped me would be true, spot on, actually.  However, to say that those traditions are who I am, would not be an accurate description of the person I call myself. A tradition...

Read More
August 27, 2018

Practicing our Faith

Reflections from your Pastor……           Visitor to New York, steps out of a cab and asks a local man, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” To which the local deadpans, “Practice, practice, practice” Everything that I have ever excelled at, or even become fairly proficient at in my life has been in large part due to practice, practice, practice....

Read More
August 13, 2018

Blending In……

Reflections from your Pastor…… How exactly do we, as North American Christians, blend into a society that is increasingly indifferent to following Jesus? Many Christian authors and leadership gurus state that we are living in a post-Christian era. Statistics show a sharp increase in those who don’t attend any kind of worship or belong to any kind of faith community,...

Read More
July 24, 2018

You are the Light of the World!

Monday Morning Quarterback: Reflections from your Pastor…… In the Bible, Jesus tells us we are salt and light. Well, I’ve known some salty characters in my life, and I have known some pretty bright people, too. But what exactly is Jesus telling us that we are (already supposed to be) in this verse from Matthew 5? When I think of...

Read More
July 2, 2018

Not my burden…..

Reflections from your Pastor…… Watching one of those “finding my ancestors shows”, I was reminded how resilient we can be as humans. There are so many stories of how this person or these people, in spite of all odds, made it across the ocean and landed in the United States. Even after landing here, they had to deal with numerous...

Read More
June 25, 2018

The Power of Fear

Reflections from your Pastor……             Fear can be a powerful motivating factor, thrusting us headlong into something or somewhere we didn’t believe we could or may not have wanted to go.  Conversely, it can be that which causes us to “freeze up” and not take any action at all. As many times as God calls us to have no...

Read More
June 11, 2018

Caution: Controversial Content!

Reflections from your Pastor……             Theologian Walter Brueggemann is a lot like Jesus in the fact that neither is afraid to “tell it like it is”.  Brueggemann writes that the crisis in the U.S. church is not because of our political leanings one way or another, but rather it is due to “giving up on the faith and discipline...

Read More
June 4, 2018

Cracked Pots

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor……           In this the season of the ham & turkey circuit, (graduation open houses) it is not a bad time to consider Paul’s reminder to the church at Corinth when he tells them ”But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs...

Read More
May 14, 2018

Our Deepest Fear…..

            In a poem that I would describe as deeply profound, Marianne Williamson encompasses a hidden truth. The title of the poem is “Our Deepest Fear” and the opening line is “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” She goes on to say that we were born...

Read More
May 8, 2018

I am the one Jesus Loves!

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor……           Who do you say you are?  What is your identity? Would you say it is your job, your career, your possessions, your family? Social scientists posit something they call the “looking glass theory” that states our identity is formed based on how others who are very important to us, see us. For...

Read More
April 30, 2018

Staying Connected to the Source

.  Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor.......           Every now and then, we will lose our internet connection at church. For no apparent reason, it just disappears. If you are right in the middle of sending emails or researching online, it can be very frustrating. But losing are connection with God is more than just frustrating. It can have...

Read More
April 23, 2018

Tuning in to the source

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor           Have you ever tried to really concentrate in a noisy environment? When I was in seminary, the reading and homework was so heavy that it was a constant in your life. I recall one time when I took my daughters to a skating rink with all the loud music and flashing lights....

Read More
April 16, 2018

Hope is a good thing!

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor           “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding from the movie Shawshank Redemption I wonder if at some point in our lives, if we all feel this way.  The feeling that hoping for something is a waste of...

Read More
March 7, 2018

Discipleship 101

            Where do we learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ?  I know this seems like a relatively simple question, non-controversial and all that. But when you start to think about how we would answer that, we might encounter some “sticky wickets” as the British say. Naturally, a good answer would be from our parents...

Read More
February 26, 2018

Repent!!

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor           If your heart is broken over the most recent tragedy in Florida, I’m there with you.  Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with them. But more than our thoughts and prayers, I believe the time has come for us to “repent”. Let me explain; the perception of the word repent is that...

Read More
February 6, 2018

Where is your passion leading you?

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor           Now that all the hype and hoopla have ended regarding the Super Bowl,  you might be wondering who to root for now?  What do fanatical fans do in the off season with all that passion they have for the “home team. People are passionate about many things, politics, jobs, sports teams, but...

Read More
January 22, 2018

Go and Tell!

            It’s somewhat interesting to note that when the subject of following Jesus comes up we all seem to be onboard and positive about the idea. But when someone suggests that following requires leaving the comfort of our easy chair or a commitment of our time, talent and treasures, the idea of following becomes a bit more difficult to...

Read More
January 16, 2018

Come and See

Monday Morning Quarterback; Reflections from your Pastor           “Come and see” is one of those phrases that is loaded with potential. It can be used in way that seeks to prove another wrong or point out an error. It can be used when there is something cool worth “looking at”. But I think the best use of the phrase is...

Read More
January 8, 2018

Looking for love in all the wrong places

          “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places” go the lyrics from an old country song which ironically reminds me of an essay I recently read. The essay was from a teenager admitting her addiction to online social media. She stated that while she knew she should be doing other things like homework, eating, sleeping,...

Read More
December 26, 2017

Holiday Hangovers……

            Holiday Hangovers are the worst! I’m not talking about the kind that comes from drinking too much. But rather that feeling that you need a break from all the festivities and merriment. Not that we need a cessation of joy, but perhaps it feels like we need a prolonged sense of peace in our lives. It might be...

Read More
December 19, 2017

Ah, the joy of the season!

            Have you ever wondered why there seems to be a time limit on acting the way we do around Christmas? I’m not talking about the scroogy behavior some people exhibit (me!) But rather the all nice and sweet and filled with joy kind of behavior. The whole “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” behavior. I mean...

Read More
December 13, 2017

Good News!!

          In our current culture that seems to thrive on negative news, wrongdoing and conflict, the idea of “Good News” can seem like an oxymoron. If one pays attention to any number of media outlets, you might think that there is little or nothing good to report on in our world, save the feel-good story that...

Read More
December 4, 2017

The Sound of Silence

For me, the season of Advent is a time to ponder and prepare. It is a time to quiet my heart and mind and spend some extra time practicing listening to God. I’m guessing you might be reading this and thinking, “are you crazy?” This time leading up to Christmas is a zoo! There seems to be so little time...

Read More
November 27, 2017

I wonder about wonder

I wonder if we have lost our innate ability to marvel at the amazing?   I’m not trying to be cynical here, just realistic. Are we surprised by anything incredible anymore? So many advances in technology and science and medicine, we seem almost unfazed by what is going on in our world. We use the word awesome to describe everything from...

Read More
November 20, 2017

Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble….

There is something called false humility and I imagine that we have all been witness to it if not guilty of it. It is when we downplay or mention something we have done or can do with the hope of being puffed up by someone else and thus made to feel important. It can be conscious or unconscious. But at...

Read More
November 13, 2017

Waiting and Waiting

Tom Petty was right; the waiting IS the hardest part. When we are waiting for test results, waiting for our teenager to come home, waiting for a loved one to return from overseas, waiting for a response from a prospective employer; it is darn difficult. And I would propose that as a society, that we are not very good at...

Read More
November 6, 2017

Living in Fear

          A life lived in fear is not really living, but for so many of us, this is where we find ourselves. After recent mass shootings and the senseless violence that we seem to be dealing with each day, one could certainly make an argument that we should be afraid. So, is the answer to hunker...

Read More
October 30, 2017

Free to be!

The definition of a paradox is a statement that seems contradictory. For example; when Martin Luther tells us that to be a Christian means that you are perfectly free, servant to no human being, and perfectly bound, servant to all human beings. We, in our logical way of understanding, want to know which one it is? How can it be...

Read More
October 17, 2017

We Can Overcome…

Have you ever watched a sporting event, and you said to yourself, this team is better than this!  Why are they making so many mistakes? Recently while watching one of my favorite pro sports teams, I said just that. I remarked out loud that the reason they were losing (badly) was they were playing like they had forgotten all their...

Read More
October 10, 2017

You know that feeling?

That “uh-oh” feeling, when you see the flashing blue and red lights in the rearview mirror.  You know in your heart whether you have done something wrong or where you failed and you pull over, put the car in park and get ready for the penalty that is certain to come. Your mind is going through all the scenarios of...

Read More
October 2, 2017

So, are you going or not?

The word ‘maybe’ means there is a possibility of something happening, but it does not always ensure probability. In current culture, I think the word has become a bit of a dodge or a less direct form of no.  It is often used when we don’t want to make a commitment, but we don’t want to hurt another’s feelings or...

Read More
September 25, 2017

Controversy

When we read about any controversy in the media, our tendency is to quickly pick a side regarding the issue one way or the other. Sometimes, even before we are finished reading the information or hearing a report, we have made up our minds as to where we stand and how we feel about this issue. There seems to be...

Read More
September 19, 2017

Epiphany

A few years ago, I had an epiphany of sorts. You know the kind; that moment when you realize something that is so blatantly obvious and yet is has eluded you. You see I had for the longest time been harboring a grudge, an unforgiving spirit, towards a person who wronged me……when I was in HIGH SCHOOL!   Now I am...

Read More
September 12, 2017

Don’t Be Afraid

In the midst of chaos and worry regarding the hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and storms, we have been given a directive from God; don’t be afraid.  This directive appears around 88 times throughout the Bible, even more if you use the word, “worry” instead. In reality, it is more a promise from God, than it is a commandment.  For with it...

Read More
August 29, 2017

Finding a “Balance” in Our Lives

I wonder if I should start off with a prayer: (yes, always a good idea) Dear God, May the words that I write and speak be a direct reflection of who I proclaim that you are. Amen. There may have been times when we may at times sense a disconnect. Perhaps it is from our families, our faith, maybe our...

Read More
August 21, 2017

Starting With the Man in the Mirror

The story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 is a reminder to us all about having a faith that is persistent. But persistence is only a piece of the puzzle; another major part is the revelation that we don’t have the corner on the Jesus market. None of us holds all the truth when it comes to God and...

Read More
August 7, 2017

God will provide

Are we living with an abundance mentality, or are we living in a scarcity mentality. An abundance mentality believes that there is and will be enough to provide for mine and the needs of others, even when I don’t see it or necessarily possess it. It allows for a sense of trust that God will provide a feast. On the...

Read More
July 31, 2017

Believe it or not…

There are times when I get tongue tied talking to God. Recently, there have been things on my heart and mind that I just don’t have the words to say, to express verbally, some things weighing so heavy on me. Now, I know many words; I like words and I like using the appropriate word for each situation where words...

Read More
July 17, 2017

You have probably heard the story….

A tourist is walking down a long stretch of deserted beach on the ocean when he comes upon a startling scene; thousands and thousands of starfish have washed up on the shore and will not survive the day as the tide recedes. Then the tourist spots a local man, picking up the starfish, one by one, and casting them back...

Read More
July 3, 2017

Let Freedom Ring!

As we prepare to celebrate the July 4th holiday, we might pause a moment to reflect on what freedom means in our lives as Christians. One could argue that in these United States, the word freedom has become a catch-all word for being “free to do what you want”. And in some respects, that is true. We have been given,...

Read More
June 19, 2017

God’s Very Own

When Paul writes in his letter to the church at Rome about boasting in suffering, did you ever think to yourself, “Boasting? Boasting? Heck, I’d rather just avoid it altogether!”  I’m pretty sure that we don’t spend much of our time looking for ways in which to suffer so that we can boast about them. Rather, in general, we stay...

Read More
June 12, 2017

What is a Disciple?

Well, when we are talking about disciples of Jesus, it is someone who is learning, listening and growing from the teachings of the master. So, when Jesus tells the disciples (and us) to go and disciplize others in His name, he is sending us OUT to teach, to share, to show and to do.  Making disciples involves all of those...

Read More
June 5, 2017

Joy in the Journey!

I have recently read something I found fascinating. There has been a great deal of research done into the correlation between our sense of happiness and our personal health and longevity. It would seem that happier people have better overall health, fewer heart attacks, less incidence of illness, stronger immune systems and ultimately live longer. One researcher went so far...

Read More
May 23, 2017

Lay the Path for the Holy Spirit

I’ve just returned from Synod Assembly, which for us, is essentially a large tribal meeting of ELCA Lutherans in a specific geographical area. We worshiped together, discussed and voted on business together, prayed together, laughed together, rejoiced together and lifted one another up in ministry. We listened to ministry moments to find out what our tribe is doing in the...

Read More
May 15, 2017

Walking in the Way

I find it more than a bit ironic that as humans, (maybe this is just the male of the species?) we tend not to consult other sources when traveling to an unknown destination. Perhaps it is the adventurous spirit within us, perhaps it is just the sense of “I can do it on my own.” But for whatever reason, we...

Read More
May 8, 2017

He is the Good Shepherd!

The Gospel text from John known as the “Good Shepherd” ends with a statement of purpose as to why Jesus came to this earth. It states that Jesus came to give life, abundant life. In the Greek, the word means “beyond measure” or “more than we would expect.”  So, what do we envision when we hear about the abundant life...

Read More
May 1, 2017

We Never Walk Alone

Although, most of us would admit to loving a happy ending, the fact of the matter is, our life can lead us down some pretty dark and difficult paths. We cannot live very long without experiencing some sorrow and grief in this world. It is inevitable; and I think our inclination is to get past it as quickly as we...

Read More
April 24, 2017

How can I live for God?

The biblical story of “Doubting Thomas” is a well-worn, often mis-read story. It is quite familiar, at least in part, to many people, even folks who have never read the Bible. Throughout history, Thomas became synonymous with someone who had trouble believing in something. At first glance, the story does give the impression that the emphasis is on Thomas’ refusal...

Read More
April 18, 2017

He is Risen!

I have always been fascinated with foreign languages, most likely because I love words and being able to communicate with everyone I meet. Several years ago, while on a mission trip in Costa Rica, I met a woman named Esperanza. She lived with her children in a tin shack with on again/off again electricity and rudimentary furnishings. I had been...

Read More
April 3, 2017

Unbind him, and let him go

“Unbind him, and let him go.” I’m always amazed when I see an illusionist that can get out of tight, often dangerous situations. Whether they are tied up with ropes or handcuffs or straitjackets, they come out at the end of the illusion, unscathed and free of their fetters. In yesterday’s Gospel, we have the familiar story of Lazarus raised...

Read More
March 27, 2017

All I know is was I was blind, but now I see.

“All I know is was I was blind, but now I see.” It seems to me that admitting the places in our own lives where we are blind, might just be the most difficult thing to do. It is not too hard to identify places in others, in our society, in our culture where we believe there is blindness. However,...

Read More
March 21, 2017

Of course God exists, I just spoke to him this morning

“Of course God exists, I just spoke to him this morning”. You may have read this before or it may serve as the punchline to a joke. But the sentiment behind it is no laughing matter. As followers of Jesus, called Christians, the world looks at us to perceive who God is. Heavy? You bet! In many cases, those that...

Read More
March 15, 2017

Let our praise be more than Anthems and Facebook rants…

In a time when “fake news” has become a global communication problem, our job as Christians has become much more difficult. I wonder if folks are so cynical of any message that the message of the Gospel goes unheard?  In regards to the nightly news or the plethora of news media outlets, we might just tune out all news from...

Read More
February 27, 2017

Jesus brings life out of death

This was the message of Good News that Bishop Craig Satterlee brought to us yesterday in worship. I think it incredibly timely (in a God’s timing sort of way) that Bishop Craig brought us this reminder just before we begin our Lenten journey with Ash Wednesday. At its core, Ash Wednesday brings to the forefront the simple fact that we...

Read More
February 13, 2017

Be the Bible that tells of the Good News

Someone once said that “We might be the only Bible some folks will ever read.” In some cases, that could be a troubling statement. Our world is fraught with violence, mistrust, corruption, hatred and fear. We all know that; thanks to our modern forms of communication and technology we cannot help but see and hear all the latest bad news....

Read More
February 6, 2017

A champion is crowned

Well, the Super Bowl is over and with it all the hype around what some perhaps rightly call this nation’s “true” religion. A champion is crowned, record books are closed, trophies handed out and glory and honor ceremonies abound. But the one take away that I have from all of this hoopla, is that it seems that even the companies...

Read More