Sunday is coming! “Going and Staying-Put” Mark 6:1-13

And (Jesus) could do no deeds of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5-6a)

It might sound counter-intuitive, but I find that it is actually easier to ‘go’ than to ‘stay-put.’

I find many people feel the opposite to be true for them – they want to be someplace that feels familiar. They seek relationships that re-enforce commonly held norms among people they know well (even if they don’t along with them). People tend to respond to expectations that feel comfortable, safe and established. Church often reinforces those feelings for them.

There is a reason both the status quo and nostalgia have such a grip on people and are so often near impossible to overcome – change is not only difficult, it is viewed as the enemy of everything we value. Which is why it is better to ‘go’ than ‘stay-put.’ When we ‘stay-put‘ our human nature resists change, we forget the stakes to which we are called and we get easily distracted from doing the ‘going‘ to which Jesus calls us. A common result is very little gets done.

A reason local service opportunities, mission trips, going to camp, advocating for others, getting together for youth gatherings that bring 31,000 of your closest friends together, and so many other things that happen ‘outside’ our faith communities are so powerful: they disrupt our everyday experience with new possibilities.

The key, of course, is to bring those experiences back with us, so that neither we nor our churches get too settled. It is when we start feeling settled that we resist being engaged, challenged or pushed to do new things because we tend to focus on ourselves, our likes and predictable life patterns.

Not for lack of trying, I can see why Jesus felt like he had ‘no power’ at home while he was effective elsewhere. People already had a vision for who they were and what they hoped to be without him. I can also see why Jesus sent his followers out into the community without any resources rather than having them set-up a well-stocked religious spot in town. Jesus has a much bigger vision for us than we could ever realize without him.

So here’s the challenge:

– What if we saw our congregations not as the havens of stability to keep us safe from the world that we so often think they are, but rather as dynamic mission outposts in which God has called us to meet other people beyond our walls?

– What if instead of operating out of fear and anxiety for ourselves, we tried living in a way that declares ‘Jesus is Lord’…’every life is interesting and beautiful and beloved and full of struggle’…’God’s grace is sufficient for you’…’the Spirit is with us’…’love wins’…’and if we ‘go,’ whatever happens, happens?’

– What if we stopped playing it safe, stopped longing for a past that was probably not as glorious as we remember, and we stopped resisting change in order to embrace God’s call into the future by embracing this messy world right now; knowing the only thing we need to take with us is Christ’s blessing?

Maybe then, we’d know the full measure of his power.

Maybe then, we’d be healed to be agents of healing.

Maybe then, we’d stop ‘staying-put‘ and ‘go‘ so we never get settled.

We might just find the spot God has called us to be a beautiful place to explore together.


Posted in 2 Bald Pastors, Camp / Outdoor Ministry, Church & Mission, Sunday is Coming!, Thinking About Church Differently

Before it begins…

Taking a brief moment before the ELCA Youth Gathering begins to think about friends I’ve already reconnected with, others I will see soon, new ones to be made, those back home, the troubles of this world & this amazing city that is about it get its ‘Lutheran’ on. Help us see you among us Jesus & change everything…#ELCAYG2018

Posted in Church & Mission, Church by Perception, Discovery, Faith Everyday, Martin Luther & those strange Lutherans, Thinking About Church Differently, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Sunday is coming! “The healing touch of Jesus” Mark 5:21-43

Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” (Mark 5:23)

I’ve sat with people who were not going to get well.

I’ve sat with families who have lost a child.

I’ve sat with people who have been connected to church their whole lives who have prayed for healing and are still waiting.

I’ve sat with people who have never been to church and lost a loved one with nowhere else to go.

In the midst of it all, Jesus shows up.

Sometimes he shows up in obvious places – in the signs we so often look to: the Word, the sacraments and prayers; beautiful places; art and song.

Sometimes he shows up through the people we would expect to be there – family, loved friends, neighbors, clergy and other church folks.

Sometimes he comes as healthcare workers, other patients, or in little kind gestures we might ordinarily overlook if we weren’t looking.

Sometimes he comes in complete disguise (like the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned [see Matthew 25:31-46]), and we meet him (or miss him) by not paying attention or falling prey to our fears.

But Jesus shows up.

The people in this story knew it. The woman who reached out to him hoping for healing. The crowd in amazement as they saw her get well. The desperate father Jarius whose daughter was about to die. The crowd who mourned her, the girl as he took her hand, the disciples as they looked in wonder as she skipped off to the table for something to eat.

Jesus showed up.

He shows up still.

Jesus shows up through you and me and all the unexpected places we find ourselves where people are hurting, mourning and weeping.

In everyone who comes to us when we are hurting and mourning and weeping, he shows up there too.

When we see him, it is like we can skip again.

When he touches us, we are made well.

When others see him, the banquet can begin.

When you embrace them with his touch, the party has already started.

Where are the hurting places where you can bring the banquet?

Let’s party. 🙂


Posted in 2 Bald Pastors, Sunday is Coming!

“Jesus is in the boat” a sermon on Mark 4:35-41


Sermon on Mark 4:35-41
“Jesus is in the boat”

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Old Saybrook, CT

Posted in on Gospel of Mark, Sermons

Songs, Spins & Cartwheels: A Marathon Adventure

Grandma’s Marathon
Duluth, MN
W/ J-Jeff, G-Geoff, Sheila
& friends

As of 6/21/2018 Team Isaiah rasied $15,000+ toward Team Superstars $89,000+

Thanks for the Love & Support.

26.2 in a fraction of the time 🙂

Posted in Faith Everyday, Minute Messages, Sermons, What We Seek


The game-changer is when you start seeing that all people have something unique to contribute rather than assuming all they want is to take something from you.

Posted in Discovery, Faith Everyday

Sunday is coming! “Storms” Mark 4:35-41

What storms do you find yourself in?

When the storm arose and overcame their boat, the disciples (several who were fishermen and knew their way around the Sea of Galilee) saw the water swamping their craft and began to believe all was lost. Fear leads to inaction. Inaction leads to helplessness. Helplessness leads to despair. The storms closes in.

Yet when things looked most dire, they woke Jesus and asked: “Do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).

Have you ever asked God that question?

We expect God to act. We seek vindication. We hope for justice to be done. We anticipate all things to work together for good. Yet it is sometimes difficult to foresee a positive outcome in the midst of trouble; a bad diagnosis; the latest tragedy; an unexpected loss; feeling stuck; outside forces pressing in on us beyond our control. We see cruelty having free reign; injustice supported by the masses; dangers that insert themselves into our lives that make us seem fragile, small or insignificant.

Yet we are not devoid of agency… Jesus is in the boat.

They woke him, “Do you not care that we are perishing?”

He responded, “Peace. Be still. Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

While our passage ends with the disciples scratching their heads in confusion and awe as the storm subsided, they still needed to get ashore (Mark 5:1).

How do you think they got there?

Perhaps once they knew the peace of Christ was with them – they acted.

What storms do you find yourself in?

What storms do you see surrounding others?

What could be possible – if you knew the peace of Christ was with you in the boat to calm that storm?

How might you enter the storms others face – and act?

Yes, God cares. Christ is with you. The Spirit is moving across the waters. Yes, the storm is raging.

Stay calm.

Let’s face this storm together.


Posted in 2 Bald Pastors, Sunday is Coming!