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Who Then is This??

This is the reflection on this Sunday's gospel reading that was sent out to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. 
Gospel: Mark 4:35-41

35When evening had come, [Jesus said to the disciples,]Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Every time I read a passage of scripture, something different stands out. I looked back at the …
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This is the message I shared with the people of God at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. It was not based on any particular scripture reading, but these were some thought -provoking words from our bishop, John Macholz. He shared these on June 5, the last day of our Upstate NY Synod Assembly.

I wonder, if we took seriously the growing trend of fewer candidates for the Office of Word and Sacrament and gave pause to consider a greater use of well-trained, lay persons to create now models for ministry how that would work for us? 
I wonder, would that model be made more workable by building accountability into our present system and requiring annual attendance at gatherings where the focus would be on preaching and leading worship for those we presently call Deacons in this synod?
 I wonder what would take place if we were able to let go of buildings that are weighing us down with maintenance costs that seem to grow year by year, I wonder what would happen if we created a new model for ministry wh…


This is the reflection that was sent out to the people of God at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. This is the text I'll be preaching on Sunday. 
First Reading: Ezekiel 17:22-24                                                  22Thus says the Lord God:
 I myself will take a sprig
  from the lofty top of a cedar;
  I will set it out.
 I will break off a tender one
  from the topmost of its young twigs;
 I myself will plant it
  on a high and lofty mountain.
23On the mountain height of Israel
  I will plant it,
 in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
  and become a noble cedar.
 Under it every kind of bird will live;
  in the shade of its branches will nest
  winged creatures of every kind.
24All the trees of the field shall know
  that I am the Lord.
 I bring low the high tree,
  I make high the low tree;
 I dry up the green tree
  and make the dry tree flourish.
 I the Lord have spoken;
  I will accomplish it.
Isn’t this a beautiful, encouraging, poetic piece of literature? THIS is the kind of mes…

Family Resemblance

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 6/10/18 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. It is sprinkled throughout with family pictures. The text was Mark 3:20-35.
It is nearly officially summer and we look forward to all those activities in which we participate at this time of year. For you it may be boating, bicycling or traveling. Among the various summer ventures, you may find yourself at a family reunion. And often at such events, we find quite a variety of lovely and loving family members that we may know well or perhaps never met. Then there’s always a character or two who you may try to escape throughout the reunion.
Prior to today’s gospel reading from Mark, Jesus had been quite busy teaching, healing and setting people free by exorcising demons. His popularity was on the rise. Jesus had to be exhausted, so he went home. One would expect a nice family reunion. We would expect his disciples to be with him, but as well as them, the crowd came along. The riffraff crowded around Jesus so …

Is He Crazy or What?

This is the reflection on this Sunday's gospel that was sent out to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church.
Mark 3:20-35
[Jesus went home;] 20and the crowd came together again, so that [Jesus and the disciples]could not even eat. 21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” 22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” 23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
28“Truly I tell you, people will be f…

God is Calling

This is the sermon I preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church on 6/3/18. I had the privilege of confirming three young people in their faith. The scripture text was 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
In the chapters that precede this lesson, we learn about a promise Samuel’s mother, Hannah, made to God. Unable to have children, Hannah vowed that if God gave her a male child, she would give him to the Lord. God answered that prayer and that’s how Samuel came to be with Eli as a surrogate son and apprentice. 
Even before Samuel knew God, God knew him before he was born. Allie, Lucy and Alex, God knew and loved each of you before you were born as well. 
Your parents too, brought you to God’s house to be baptized, dedicating you to God as you became part of the family of God. As a parent, I know the thrill of a child coming into the life of a family. I’m sure your folks were thrilled when you came into their lives. 
We’re told that Samuel did not yet know the Lord even though he lived in God’s house, had a rel…

God Calling

This is my reflection that went out electronically in St. Timothy's e-ministry.

First Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10  1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went…