Showing posts from July, 2014

Notes and Quotes from my sermon on Friendship (taken from various Proverbs)

Last Sunday I had the privilege to preach the sermon at Cedarbrook Church in Menominee, WI.  Any time I am asked to preach is special, but this Sunday was especially special because I was invited out by my good friend Kyle Gunderson who is the Associate Pastor at Cedarbrook.  We have been close friends for 16 years and it is so cool to see all the things God has done in his life.  It was a fantastic day of sharing a word from the Bible and then hanging out with Kyle and his family.  

He and his wonderful wife Anna are amazing people and their four little boys get along with my kids like they have been best friends forever.  Stephanie and I both felt such an instant connection with Kyle and Anna even though we go way too long between times seeing each other.  We were all definitely blessed being together.

Cedarbrook has been going through a sermon series this summer called Life Apps.  The point of the series is that just like apps on a phone are only beneficial when they are used, the…

How (and Why) I Use the Foursquare App

In the last couple months I’ve started to use a new app on my iPhone called Foursquare. When my wife started to see Foursquare updates on my Facebook timeline she said to me, “That’s an app for people trying to find single people to hook up with.” While it may be used that way by some people, that is DEFINATLEY not why I use Foursquare.

Here’s how it works.

When you open up the Foursquare app it uses your GPS location to identify the names of business, restaurants, parks and other places around you. If you are in one of those locations you can ‘check-in’ there. Then, depending on how your options are set-up, you can share your check-in information on other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. By sharing you are letting other people know where you are and giving them the chance to connect with you.

Also, Foursquare can send you alerts when other Foursquare friends have checked-in to a location near you. Here’s a good example of why this is cool. Last Saturda…

Notes and Quotes from my Sermon "The Wheat and the Weeds"

Today I had the pleasure of preaching at Main Street Moravian Church in Northfield, MN.  I have been preaching there once or twice a month for the last couple years.  They do not have a full time pastor and so I am part of a team of pastors who come in and rotate in the pulpit.  My philosophy has always been to preach as directly from the Bible as possible and to relate everything back to the person and work of Jesus.

The sermon today was from Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.  It is the parable Jesus told about the wheat and the weeds.  Here are some quotes from the manuscript.

- So, what we know from the story so far is that it is about a wealthy, powerful landowner who had a rival. And that rival, in an act of secrecy, wickedness, and jealous has polluted the wealthy man’s good field with weeds in an effort to destroy him. It seems like a simple story, easy to understand. But what does it actually mean?

- What Jesus is saying is that in the world he has children, children who have been…

The Feeling of Being Buried Alive

Buried alive.

It is the nightmare of every mountain climber and high altitude skier. Thousands and thousands of pounds of snow slowing down the mountainside and trapping everyone and everything underneath a dense blanket of snow and rock and ice. The weight crushes the chest and the lungs scream out for oxygen but there is none to be had. There is little chance of survival in such a scenario. People buried alive simply do not usually claw themselves back out and into safety. To have any chance at all a rescue operation needs to happen, and the victims must be dug out by another in order to be saved.

Have you ever felt buried alive? Maybe you’re suffocating because of financial hardship and debt that is sucking the oxygen out of your life. Maybe you screwed up and made a choice with consequences that seem to be crushing you at the core. I know what this feels like. I have feel the crushing weight of consequences, I have felt the oxygen being sucked out of my lungs. My bigg…

8 Questions to Ask to Examine the Condition of Your Heart

Here's an excerpt from my recent sermon on The Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.....

Here’s what is scary. A lot of us hear the parable of the sower, and because we’ve heard it before, or because we’ve been going to church for a while, or because our parents go to church and have a Bible in the home, we automatically default into thinking that we are the good soil without ever stepping back and asking, “Is my life bearing fruit?” This is a critical question. Jesus said twice in Matthew 3 and in Matthew 7, that every tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”

So, get out your mental paper and pen and checklist. I’m going to read through a list of questions. I want you to think about these questions and assess yourself to see if you are growing in faith. This isn't going to be one of those funny, youth group story time moments. It is actually g…

My Beef with Your Beef About the 2014 Fifa World Cup

I have a confession to make.  Every four years something inside of stirs and I become a huge soccer fan.  This year has been no exception; I have had a great time watching the Fifa World Cup matches. It was really exciting to see the USA club make it out of the pool of death and into the knock-out rounds.  I have also enjoyed watching other countries like Germany, Netherlands, and even Costa Rica play.
One thing that bugs me though is how suddenly everyone who doesn't like soccer thinks this is the time to bring up their dislike.  I've read many opinion pieces that trash soccer.  You hear people talking about how boring it is, how the players take dives, how the field should be smaller…blah blah blah!!! Here's a great idea I had.  If you don't like soccer don't watch it and don't talk about it.  Just go ahead on your merry little way and no one will be worse off.
What really cranks me up is when people make a big deal about diving (or it is sometimes called fl…

Preparing to Handle the Valley Times of Our Lives


Two Different Types of Church

I don't know what sparked the conversation but I was talking to a friend recently about church, more specifically types of church.  I was telling him about two different camps or mindsets when it comes to the purpose of what Christians do on Sunday mornings (or Saturday if you prefer).  I described for him what I differentiate as the attractional/evangelistic model and the family-gathering/discipleship model.  Here are what I see as the major differences.

- make church fun
- sermons geared mainly for non-Christians
- more showmanship
- emphasis on excellenance in all things, all the time
- people bring friends, pastor witnesses to them
- service is done with outsiders mostly in mind

- more of a serious event
- sermons geared mainly for Christians
- less performance and more interaction with congregation
- less emphasis on everything being perfect
- people bring friends, but do the majority of witness during t…

4th of July Fireworks (Otherwise known as "Being Called a Russian Communist")

Well, we had a great 4th of July weekend as a family in 2014 doing what many other Minnesota families do to celebrate Independence Day - we went up north to the lake. So cliche isn't it? I know, it is.  We had a wonderful time visiting my parents who live in their retirement home, what used to be our family cabin.  Some of the fun things we did were tube, ride the four wheeler, ride on a motorcycle, fish, and play cards.  It always feels so good to get away for a few days and listen to the waves kiss the rocks of the shoreline and watch the sun set over the smooth blue water.  There is just something refreshing about being buried deep under the blanket of trees and northern stars.

This trip up north included a little bonus action.  Friday night we had a bit of a dust up with a man and his kids who were fishing close to my dad's dock and shoreline.  The guy in the boat seemed liked he's had a couple two, three beers and he and my dad shared a few words about property rig…

Waseca Congregational Church - Seeking the Purposes of God in Our Suffering (1 Peter 1:1-9)

The Slow Process of Soul Gardening