Clergy Corner

A Brush with Death and the reality of God’s sovereignty

I am usually a “healthy as a horse” kind of man and keep active playing ice hockey, kayaking, snowshoeing, gardening, and doing yardwork. But July 2019 was a different story.  I won’t “gore” you with details, but here is the Readers Digest version. I had a colonoscopy (my fourth) ...

We must oppose the demonization of others

Despite all of the blessing that this nation of ours has to offer, these are distressing times. In less then 24 hours we had a mass shooting in two cities. While many will debate the cause and solution to preventing further incidents, I believe that an undeniable contributing factor is any ...

A meditation on the value of trophies

As I prepared for a new church assignment, its time to pack up my office in my old church and unpack in my new church. As I look around, I see my trophies. They have been in my office for years now. I hardly ever look at them, but when I originally received them, they meant the world to me. ...

What does it mean to ‘Pay it Forward

What does it mean to “Pay It Forward?” There is a sad, but beautiful movie by that name about a little boy named Trevor who gets an assignment from his middle school social studies teacher to change the world. The teacher asks the class, “What does the world mean to you?” “Why should ...

How does the Gospel inconvenience you?

Over the last several weeks there is a concept I have bombarded with and usually when God bombards me with something it means I need to address it. What is it that has been on my mind so much recently you may ask? It’s the idea that the Gospel is not always easy; in fact, some times the ...

Hope where hope is not

There is a word that, whether I chose it or it was handed to me by my predecessor, seems to be the center of our church’s ministry and the ministry God has lead us to bring to the people in our small town. That word is Hope. While there are people in our community that talk about ...

Clergy Corner: Communication between denominations useful for the sake of all

Two days ago, we celebrated the birth of the United States of America. Two weeks ago, I was in Milwaukee as a delegate to the General Synod (national gathering) of the United Church of Christ. In both spheres, the political and religious, I again grappled with what it means when persons use the ...

Woodstock’s lesser known message

Woodstock turns 50 this year. Although I missed the grand event, I wasn’t alone. A young folk singer named Joni Mitchell missed it too. After watching the concert on T.V., she sat down to her piano and wrote a song fittingly titled, “Woodstock.” David Crosby of the band Crosby Stills, ...

Rules: Sometimes a blessing while others a curse

I must confess that when it comes to rules, there are times when I consider them a blessing and times when I believe they are a curse. I consider them a great blessing when they help maintain order or keep me safe. I am grateful that there are rules that require cars to yield when I am in the ...

It’s never too late: Our God is a God of second chances

We have all said it, “It’s too late,” I know I have. We may say it in different ways, “I’m scared,” or “I’m too old,” or “I can’t learn anything new,” or “That opportunity has passed.” Or even the old favorite, “You cannot teach on old dog new tricks.” We may ...

When did you last check your spiritual hearing?

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me! - Psalm 81:8 In the end, I listened to an inner voice, and after a visit to an audiologist, now sport hearing aids. OK, so that “inner voice” was reinforced by my wife and others repeating more and more of ...

Put away the darkness and come alive to the world

In John 5 the writer tells the story of a man who I think we would all agree was a victim’s victim. Life had been brutal to him being that he was deeply infirmed, and even though he could get to a place of healing, he was still helpless. The story tells us that in Jerusalem there was a pool ...

We are one church

Just two weeks ago I was blessed to share a Good Friday service with some of my friends and colleagues churches. We met together, we worshiped together, we prayed together, and we broke bread together.  It is always an amazing time when we meet together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. ...

The Holocaust is not just history — it’s all about human rights for all

All of us at some time during his or her life have to make ethical and moral choices about how to treat people who are not part of our inner circle. We are biologically programmed to circle the wagons to protect our own immediate social group and defend against “the others.” How do you ...

Raised With Christ

Tomorrow we celebrate the most important holiday in the Christian year, Easter. Easter is a holiday that has largely escaped the commercialism of Christmas; it has never been tainted by pagan rituals like all saints day. Easter is still focused on the resurrection of Jesus. Even the symbols ...

A Season of Hope

Despite the conflict that seems to pervade so many aspects of everyday life; I believe that now is a season of hope.  In fact, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all will be celebrating holidays that proclaim a belief in a power greater than humanity that is at work calling us to form a more ...

Find new ways to be the people of God

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? — Isaiah 43:18-19a Those are among the many words of encouragement the Prophet Isaiah shared with a people long in exile and now returning home. ...

Inequality cannot be laid at the feet of any one system

In Matthew 13:12, Jesus makes a rather cryptic statement in the context of understanding parables: “For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” That hardly sounds reasonable, right? ...

World Down Syndrome day is a time to celebrate

It’s time to celebrate! March 21 is World Down Syndrome day. All over the globe people with Down syndrome, their families and their friends will gather together. But why come together? What is it that people with Down syndrome want? Three simple requests that people with Down syndrome ...

Ash Wednesday: Humbling ourselves before the Lord

“Repent and Believe,” these words of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ can be found in Mark 1:15. There is no mistake about word order, no mistranslation, Jesus is saying that we need to first turn from our sins if we ever hope to have the kind of faith that is required of those who call ...