For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Eccl. 3:1

Dear Karen, Council, and Congregation, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.  Eccl. 3:1 There are many turning points in life:  a time to build and a time to be; a time to plan and organize and a time to rest and reflect, and a time to move into the next phase of one’s life.  The time has come in my life to move into a new stage, a new way of being and resting, a time for me to retire from parish ministry with New Creation Church.  I feel both excitement for the new directions in my life, and deep sadness to end a long and intimate relationship with the people of New Creation Lutheran Church & community.  I love you all so much and have had an awesome time joining you all in your ministry and mission activities.  I have...

Second Thoughts on Gratitude

You may have noticed that I have been remiss in writing for a while.  Life seems to get in the way. Yesterday the theme was peacemaking and gratitude.  These ideas are somewhat hard to connect in a sermon, unless you suggest that to express your gratitude in words or actions to another is an act of peacemaking.  I challenged those who were in attendance to write down a person or group they were particularly grateful for and to then think of a way to share that gratitude.  I hope you all will also take on that challenge. I find gratitude very hard to express in my own life for lots of childhood reasons.  So any ideas or motivation I can receive I find really helpful.  Besides the Lotto commercial:  “To give is to win.” I also got great ideas from The Imagination...

Connecting the Dots

There are times in preaching  when I know the story so well, and am so clear about what I want to say, that I get moved by the Holy Spirit and I end without connecting the dots between where I started and where I ended.  It seems to me that happened this past Sunday, July 28th. In reviewing in my head the 3 lessons I wanted to wrap together, I may have not gotten there.  Luke presents 3 very powerful and connected stories that teach the fundamentals of our faith.  What I wanted to say is that if anyone ever asks you “what do Christians believe?” or “what do faithful lives look like?”, these 3 stories give a very full picture, through memorable stories.  In these lessons we find the greatest and second commandment, and the guide for staying connected to God and...

The Invisible Property

This is the third in my series on The Invisible Church. It is my sense that, like an iceberg, there is a whole lot more going on in a church below the surface than what we see and usually experience on Sunday mornings. In fact there is a whole lot more to this church as a business than even leadership – that is, council or committee chairs – ever expected when they signed up. We owe a whole lot to the playschool we started in 2009 for teaching us how to be a business than we ever bargained for. In fact I am thinking of writing a book on this whole idea of church as an invisible business. Like let’s start with the ownership of property and a building. This seems simple enough. As a member of the church you help keep the property looking good, with good curb-side...

The Invisible Worship

This is the second in a series of articles hopefully to give each of you a better & fuller appreciation of the inner workings of New Creation’s congregation.  This is also sent as a way to prepare you to vote on our annual budget on June 30th.  I hope you will keep each of the articles in mind as we discuss the resources necessary to support our outreach to all people.  The narthex* has left the building! I can’t think of a better way to describe my epiphany (during the Epiphany season) this year about worship and all that is invisible to most of us – even me. Let’s start back in the day… We all remember, or you have seen depictions on TV and in the movies of the traditional Christian worship – whether Roman Catholic or Protestant with a...

The Story of the Invisible Church

Dear friends of New Creation Church, In January, 2013 at the semi-annual congregational meeting, I presented an overview of our church/congregation as a way to set a perspective/an expectation of who NCC is and what our purpose is. In these following 6 months the leaders and staff have worked very hard to build a budget based on the vision team responses, our Vision, Mission, & Values, and our discernment of who we are what God is calling us to do.  During that time I discovered a few other invisible realities that go along with the invisible church: The invisible worship experience The invisible property realities The invisible realities of being an employer. As preparation for our semi-annual congregational meeting on June 30th, I invite you to visit with...

“My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow.”

This was the Gospel for Sunday from John 10:22-30. I wondered in my sermon with the congregation if, in the cacophony of voices, especially in this past week of dual disasters and death and maiming, of debris and smoke, how I sort out or recognize the Shepherd’s voice and follow it?  Can I really hear Jesus calling me/guiding me? In the myriad of voices I listed off, the one I didn’t lift up is the voice of the community of faith.  How do we as the People of the Way hear and trust the voices we hear that are competing for our attention.  As we follow down one successful church path after another in search of success and viability, for financial stability and growing membership, what is God’s voice saying? I asked that question to our leadership council...