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home : columnists : joy in the journey October 23, 2017


Different ways to read the Bible
Our Thursday night Bible study is reading a book by David Lose, a theology and homiletics (preaching) professor at Luther Seminary called, "Making Sense of Scripture". It has been a delightful class for both novice and well-read Bible readers. Eye opening for me is that the people in the class are appreciating and using Lose's insights equally no matter their individual Biblical scholarship.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Congratulations reader, YOU are part of us
It is not very often that I get "anti-fan" mail, but when I do, I want to use my keyboard to lash back at my opponent. Thankfully, I typically have an inner dialogue with my self and ignore the comments, and keep my sulking to myself. So today, because I have not had any of this type letters recently, I wanted to take the opportunity to say, if you are reading this, you do not have to agree with me. Also, when I was asked 6 years ago if I would be willing to write a "Faith-Based" column, there were no parameters set.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Action of the words is where healing begins
"There is more good in the world than bad." These are the words, spoken by Ellen DeGeneres, which have been ruminating in my mind all week long. Of course, as a pastor scripture verses such as: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Saturday, October 7, 2017
Going to the Dogs
My dog loves me unconditionally. Or, she is a really good pretender. There have been times when I have found her water bowl lacking H2O, or is filmy and disgusting. There have been times when I have ignored her requests for affection. Admittedly, I have not been always timely with her breakfast and dinner.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Forgive and remember they are forgiven
Last weekend, I finally heard something about forgiveness that will stick with me forever. Many times in my life I have struggled with forgiveness and making it stick. When someone "trespasses against me," typically I can forgive quickly, but then I find myself holding onto the pain, or the memory of the offence.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Loving is what Jesus did best
Feeling a little melancholy after moving our youngest son to Kansas City last week, I have been trying to discern the cause of my angst. It dawned on me, a day or so ago, that I have been enjoying the first day of school with at least one of my children for thirty-four years.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Places where free will makes us or breaks us
Hurricane Harvey and now Irma, wildfires in Oregon, California, Idaho, and Montana are destroying everything in their paths. It would be easy to view these storms and fires as the wrath of God. It would be equally easy to lose faith that God really loves us, allowing these storms and fires ravage the lives and livelihood of so many people.
Saturday, September 9, 2017
My hope is built on nothing less
Being a pastor of a church, preaching every Sunday, and feeling responsible for a "good" church experience, my highlights of worship is much different than the person who comes to receive a blessing. My eyes light up when I see people taking notes, or taking pictures. My heart leaps for joy when I see people nodding in recognition of a truth they have experienced. I get downright giddy when people actually take time to tell me something they learned, or strike up conversation concerning the sermon topic or (gasp) ask me for a copy of my sermon.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Spiritual discipline helps us engage
The phrase 'spiritual discipline' can seem very hoity-toity to a secular person, and maybe even to some religious people. But the mere act of disciplining oneself to ongoing and intentional spiritual growth, is not only beneficial to our spirit, but also helps us engage with God in our hearts and heads.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Bible in one hand, newspaper in the other
The advice theologian Karl Barth gave to ministers of the Word, was to preach using the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Having an eye on current events, the state of our modern world, and the plight of our neighbor, while wrestling with what the Bible says about both love and hate is going to be the most effective method of reaching the ears and hearts of those who would hear.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Kindergarten learning
Seriously, I am starting to get my dander up over name calling, bullying, casting aspersions, public shaming, defamation of character, and general hate and mis-content. From social media posts and tweets, to neighborhood online bulletin boards, to television and newsprint reporting. In an age when communication is lightening fast, and the appetite for instant gratification to feed our own egos has become gluttonous. It seems fact checking and kindness have gone by the wayside.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Blessing of the ordinary backpack
Even though the dog days of summer has just settled in, we are moving oh so quickly into another tempo of living. It seems that these hot long summer days are going to bump up against the frenetic pace of the school calendar. This time of year parents, children, teachers, lunch ladies and public safety people are gearing up for the start of the new school year.
Saturday, July 29, 2017



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