Sermon: The Holy Heist

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Sunday, June 10, 2018
Peace Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, NM
Third Sunday After Pentecost

I feel a lot of sympathy for Jesus’ family in our gospel reading for today.  Jesus has been wandering all over Galilee, doing God-knows-what (literally, God knows what!).  But then reports start to reach his family from other people that Jesus has lost his mind. And not only that, but that massive crowds of people have started to follow him around everywhere, just waiting to see what he will say or do next!  And on top of all that, whatever it is he’s been doing has made the religious leaders of the people absolutely furious.  So, naturally, Jesus’ family rushed off to check on Jesus, hoping to reason with him and bring him home.

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Exciting News!!!

This is the 100th post I have made on this blog, and it seems like a perfect opportunity to share some exciting news!

I received the official word this morning that the people of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Schuyler, NE, have decided to call me as their pastor — and I have accepted!!!  I am so excited for this call, which will start on August 1.  We’re still working on pinning down a date, but I anticipate being ordained sometime in the latter half of August!

I am so grateful to God for the privilege of this call and for the movement of the Spirit in bringing all this together.  I am grateful to all the people who have walked alongside me on this journey and helped form me to be the best leader in this church I can be.  And I am both stoked and humbled to get to serve the people of St. John’s — and looking forward with eager anticipation to the ministry we will do together!

God is good!!!

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Sermon: Come Dance

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Sunday, May 27, 2018
Peace Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, NM
Trinity Sunday

I don’t know what led Nicodemus to visit Jesus in the middle of the night in our gospel story for today. The text never really makes it clear. However, I am pretty confident that that visit did not go as he expected.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee, an important leader in the Jewish community; and even only three chapters into John, Jesus has already made a name for himself as a popular folk preacher who turns water into wine and hangs out with John the Baptist.  Perhaps Nicodemus came to learn from Jesus, or to try to persuade him to reconcile with the other religious leaders.  But he never actually gets to the point of his visit or even asks Jesus a question. He starts off his visit by affirming, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.”  We know.  ‘You tick all the boxes: you do signs and wonders, you definitely know your scripture, and oh man, that water into wine thing was just awesome!  Nobody could do that stuff apart from God, so God must be with you.’

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Internship Project Report

 

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This is the report from my internship project, which I actually submitted a few months back, but there’s some good stuff in here, I think, and some resources that other folks might be able to use.  In a nutshell, the goal of my project was to start laying some of the groundwork for bilingual ministry at my internship congregation, Peace Lutheran in Las Cruces, NM.  Overall, it was very successful!

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Sermon: Are We There Yet?

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Saturday/Sunday, May 12/13, 2018
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Coleridge, NE
Ascension Sunday (/Saturday)

Good evening/morning! It seems that one of this weekend’s themes is surprises.  In case anyone hasn’t guessed yet, the “surprise preacher” for today is me! Surprise!  There are also some surprises in our readings for today.  We read a surprising story about Jesus’ ascension, how he was taken bodily up into heaven.  Most of us here have been church members a long time and we may not think about this as such a strange or surprising story.  But even in a set of scriptures full of all kinds of mystery and miracles, bodily ascension into heaven is not exactly the kind of thing that happens every day. Continue reading

Sermon: What Is Love? (Seriously, though, what is it?)

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Saturday/Sunday, May 5/6, 2018
Grace Lutheran Church, Lincoln, NE
Sixth Sunday of Easter

Good evening/morning! It is such a delight to be here again at Grace Lutheran.  I have missed you all.  I bring you greetings from the people of Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, NM, and also from Pastor Mike and Kristin Ostrom, who are now at Oregon State University!

It’s so good to be here with you all again.  And it seems very fitting that love is such a prominent theme in our texts for this weekend. Grace has always been a community in which I have experienced great Christian love.

Our gospel reading from John especially highlights this theme.  This text is part of Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” to his disciples before he is crucified, in an ultimate act of love.  And his words about love raise for us a very important question. This question has one, immediate, right answer, so I want to see if any of you know what it is.  Are you ready?  What is love? Continue reading

Sermon: Roots and Fruits

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Sunday, April 29, 2018
Peace Lutheran Church, Las Cruces, NM
Fifth Sunday of Easter

This past week, we welcomed our second group of refugees: 12 families from Central America who made the long journey to seek asylum in the US. Some of them traveled for up to a month or more, some with very young children, just to get here. We have been getting a little better and more organized about welcoming them each time we’ve done it. And the volunteers we’ve had helping out have just been awesome. If you’ve helped out with this group or the previous group or have donated anything, please raise your hands. Thank you all for what you’ve been doing. Even the littlest things can make a huge difference. Continue reading