you thought god was an architect

now you know

A sermon on the Ten Commandments
Well, I’m up against it here. Aren’t I? I barely had your attention to begin with, and I’m losing it by the second with scripture like todays.
After all, you’ve all already heard this, haven’t you? “The Ten Commandments.” You’re familiar, thank you very much. You’ve seen the movie. You know the sweep, that no sooner does Moses go up the mountain, than the people start breaking the commands.
AND, you all already know that’s why Jesus came. We’re Lutheran, after all. That’s our bag. Our deal isn’t keeping the commands, it’s Jesus forgiving us when we’ve failed to do so!
What’s more, you’re sophisticated Lutherans. You know that once Jesus forgives us, we’re freed. And freed from sins power, we can live by the commandments. Not to try and prove our worth, but to serve our neighbor.
We already know all this. As Jerry & Elaine once said, “Yada, yada, yada.” We get it.
…Well, a couple of years ago Amanda and I went to a Jason Isbell concert. Anyone …

tell me it's okay / if you fix everything

'cause i let go

A sermon on the Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea:

When I was in fourth or fifth grade, my dad built a deck off the back of our house. Cody and I watched, and sometimes got to help. I remember waking up early with Dad one Saturday morning to go to the lumberyard to help get the wood for the deck. It was there that I first learned how to look for the choice lumber…
Well, I have a confession I suspect will surprise no one; other than the really obvious tells, I can’t really remember what constitutes choice lumber… BUT, I have retained the lesson that not all building material is created equal. …Of course, the children’s morality tale, “The Three Little Pigs” teaches that much.
Now, you all probably have better illustrations, but you’re stuck with my limited repartee. So my point is, we all know not all building material is created equal. And when it comes to construction, you only want the best, the choice materials. Otherwise, it may not hold up…
And it’s not just with…

the hidden river of my life

pursued by love

It’s always a privilege to spend time around college folks, like yourself. So thank you for the opportunity.
It’s such a pleasure for me because it was during college that I was converted. I grew up going to a church where using your brain was strictly frowned upon. Not that such frowning was uncommon, though. There was a lot being frowned on, and the message I grew up getting loud and clear was that one way or another; I was going to hell. So my first semester in college was spent rebelling from all that.
As fun as that was, it wasn’t fun for very long. Not long after I found myself lost and longing. It was my good fortune to fall in among a lutheran student ministry, like yours. It was truly an experience of the “Freedom of the Gospel,” as we say, to be among Christians who weren’t afraid to use their brains and who talked about a God who wasn’t out to judge, but love.
So I hope you will think of yourselves as evangelists, missionaries and emissaries of the Gospel. Because …

what's the worth of

all the work of my two hands

A sermon on God's first meeting with Abram and Sarai:
Abram and Sarai, later to be renamed Abraham and Sarah by God’s graciousness, with nary a word or action on their part, are chosen by God!
Out of the clear blue, as we say, God comes and promises to make of them a great nation of them, to make their name great, to bless them. God promises all this, without Abram or Sarai doing a rotten thing!
And to set these two out on the road to this promise, God begins with one simple word. One simple word that isn’t always so easy to hear…
Okay, we heard these nine verses not so long ago, but let’s brush up. Get out your bulletins. I’ll wait… Okay. What is the first word God says to Abram? This isn’t a trick question. Someone whose found them, blurt ‘em out… Yes. That’s right, “Go.”
Go from YOUR country. Gofrom YOUR kin. Gofrom YOU house. Go. God tells Abram and Sarai to LEAVE everything they’re ever known and go to some place God will show them. “Go.”
…And folks, because…

try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm

come in, she said i'll give ya shelter from the storm

A reading from excerpts from The Flood Saga:
Like many Bible stories, this one is misnamed. The story of the flood, isn’t about “The Flood.” It’s about God’s provision.
I know that’s not the way this scripture seems at first reading. At passing glance, most of us just take away the shock that God would let something like this happen. BUT, read this story carefully. See what garners more time and more attention…
Because it isn’t God planning the calamity. No, that just occupies a few sentences. What gets much more time and attention are the pains God takes to plan for creation’s survival. This story is a familiar one in scripture; it’s about the lengths God will take to save creation.
And there’s plenty of details to back this assertion up. For instance, what kind of words used to describe God in this harrowing scene? They’re not words like anger, judgement or conceit. Are they? No, they’re words to describe heart-ache; sorrow and grief