He's not there... you can tell.

Most of us stood in the hall making small talk. Every once in awhile, someone would enter the room quietly and return a minute later. Friends of my grandmother had come to pay their respects and view her body the day before her funeral. Each of us in the family had taken a turn beside her casket. All of us, except for Jacob, our son. He was only ni...
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Reformation Changes - First Communion

Lutheranism is a movement within the Church that is always reforming, ever on the lookout for the new ways that God is speaking and working in the world. One of the observable areas of change within our tradition has been the gradual movement among our congregations to lower the age for first Communion. A position paper from the ELCA concludes, "Th...
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It was his word

An epic fail essay by Pr. Kathleen Braafladt.    It was only the 6 th week, but I knew I was in trouble. I thought I had better call him, before he called me. Sitting outside his office, I couldn’t tell if I was more angry than anxious. I had given up a good job, packed up all my belongings, moved to a new state. It had never been part of my plan. I remember the day I sat in the sanctuary of my home church and relented. “OK, God, I’ll go to seminary … BUT you will never get me to preach.” Now I was sitting with 4 quizzes and a paper in my hand. All of them indicated I was failing philosophy. I had never come close to failing a class before. His door opened and Dr. Lee Snook welcomed me. His reputation at Luther Seminary was legendary....
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Riding the Wave … Catching a Vision

Congregation endorses a twofold ministry vision  “... let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith ...” (Heb. 12:1) Vision 1 Self-identify as a teaching congregation of the Church, developing a 3-tiered approach to mentoring college students, pastoral interns, and pastoral residents.  Vision 2 That every child (0-18 years of age) living within a defined area (perhaps 1.5 miles) of both of Messiah’s worship sites has everything he or she needs to learn. An Important Meeting of the Congregation At its June Meeting of the Congregation, President Della Hundley and Pastors Peter and Kathy outlined the leading edges of a vision that they and Church Leadership Team (CLT) have been developing over the past year. The vision was the product of a discernment process to examine the congregation’s DNA and culture. The pastors and CLT identified the...
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Rocks and Fog

"And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" Mark 16:2-3 It wasn't the rock that bothered me. It was the fog, or the cloud, or is fog a cloud or a cloud, fog? You see it just got more and more confusing. The rocks didn't bother me. I knew I could climb over them or go around them. Most of the day I'd been doing that and actually enjoyed it. But the enjoyment vanished when the fog/cloud, whatever it was, blew in and I lost my bearings and my confidence on the trail. Probably barefoot or sandle-footed, the women who went to the tomb on Easter morning weren't expecting to scale rocks. But their heads must have...
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When 'Thank You' Isn't Enough

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Thess. 1:2-3 NRSV  Sometimes words do not seem sufficient to convey what is felt deeply inside. This is one of those times. We don't have an adequate store of words to express to each of you how much we have appreciated your Twelve Months of Gratitude for Twenty Years of Service this past year. Each month we were both surprised and grateful for the many ways you chose to celebrate our 20 years of being your pastors at Messiah. The gifts and well wishes were creative, heartfelt, and stirred within us a deep sense of gratitude and thanks for all of you. For our part, it has and continues to...
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