Pastor Dave’s Message 12-7-18

John the Baptizer said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. Luke 3:7-18

John the Baptizer came preaching to the people that the promised Messiah was coming soon. There was some unfinished business to attend to before his arrival. There was a need for the people to make ready to receive him, to confess their sin and turn away from those things that were too easily given the place of God in their lives. John the Baptist spoke of a new hope God was about to present to the world, inviting the people to join him in turning their hearts back to God.


Advent brings John’s message back into our midst. We have preparations to make, unfinished business to attend to, sins to confess. All because God has cradled hope on our doorsteps in the person of Jesus, the incarnation of Good News and undying love. Jesus has come to us today and into our lives with an invitation to live with hope, live with joy, and live at peace. Jesus has come seeking to restore and rebuild what our sin has broken down, to heal such things as only His Spirit can make whole.


As part of your Advent preparation, I would invite you to consider your unfinished business. What are those things which cast long, dark shadows across your life and the lives of those around you? What are your obstacles to living with faith and with hope? What is it that is depriving you of a peaceful soul? Who are those people to whom you have amends to make or whom you pray would come to you? Where is it that forgiveness could be offered but has been withheld out of pride or spite? What change of attitude is needed for you to make way for hope?


Some of the answers to those questions may be easy and dealing with them relatively painless. Others may be difficult and the thought of dealing with them quite painful. In some instances, the injustice or hurt may be so great that the thought of working through it may seem next to impossible. In any case, there is urgency to begin. Life lived always in the shadow of unfinished business is so much less than what it needs to be.


Like John the Baptizer, I would direct your attention to the one who is greater than any prophet, pastor or priest. Greater than any psychologist, therapist or counselor. The One who through God’s own Spirit brings his healing and comfort to us now. See Him as the hope, your hope, for freedom from whatever it is that keeps you from peace.


“All of us have unfinished business,” said a hospice nurse. “No one can die in peace until it is put to rest.” As the story of Jesus unfolds, you see how He came to put all unfinished business to rest. To restore hope where it had been lost and to strengthen it where it had become weak. He came to announce hope for those who felt hopeless and to reconcile all of God’s children to God. It is for this gift that we prepare our hearts. It is for this reason that we make room for the gift of hope, for the gift of reconciliation, for the gift of peace.


Advent is about remembering that never, ever, do we live without hope. Never, ever, do we make our way without God. We have a hope that can turn hardened hearts and brooding vipers into a people who prepare the way of the Lord and then walk in it. A people who sing about and tell others that God is coming straightaway and His kingdom is so near to you that you can see it. Not only that, but you can live in it. Today.

Pastor Dave’s Message 11-30-18

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” Luke 3:1-6

Every year, the second weekend of Advent, John the Baptizer appears in our readings with his distinctive look and his distinctive message. Every year, the second weekend of Advent, John the Baptizer shows up not only in the wilderness of Judea, but in the wilderness we call Mount Calvary. For those of us accustomed to hearing John’s story, we know the mighty action of God about to follow. We know that John’s presence means that God is about to do a new thing among His people and there are preparations to be made. In the days of John and Jesus, God’s people believed that the spirit of prophecy (the gift given to men and women who would bring a clear and decisive word from God) had died out several hundreds of years before. The rabbis taught that this spirit would return just before the Messiah would come, just before God would send a new King to ascend the throne of David and save God’s people from their enemies and bring about a new hope. We know that crusty, colorful old John was the surprise God sent the people to stir their hearts and expectations. We know that John, from the moment of his miraculous birth to the aged Zechariah and Elizabeth, was a shock to everyone’s system, a disrupter of everyone’s carefully honed routines and ruts. Everything about him, from his clothing, diet and message screamed “Stay away!” But his words, his faith, his passion…. drew you anyway. God, in God’s very characteristic way, had chosen an unlikely messenger in an out-of-the-way place to open the eyes of those who had become blind, to put a fire in those whose hearts had become burdened and heavy-laden, and to remind the people to keep their eyes wide open for the surprises God was about to reveal. 

People of God, do you have eyes wide open for those surprises God is about to unveil? Do you have that fire kindling within you that is seeking God’s Word and wonders for your burdened and laden heart? Do you trust that God will provide the prophet, the grace, the challenge and the hope you need to know that presence of God has drawn near and that, with God, hope is always yet to be? Would you know it when God’s messenger has shown up in your wilderness and bid you to bring your heart and your minds home?


This season of Advent begins with a surprising word from God. The Gospel reading for the first weekend in Advent is made up of surprising word pictures of heaven and earth all coming apart at the seams, all that we know and count on disrupted and changed (Luke 21:25-36). In that disruption and picture of divine interruption we hear a word of hope. We hear in this season that the Christ has already been born, has already lived and died for us, and comes here now among us each and every day as the light in our darkness. He comes as the one who makes a new creation out of the ashes and remnants of the old. So, we sing in this season marvelous songs of hopefulness, joy and anticipation. We look for God again, knowing that even as wildfire rages or children die, as hopes are dashed or wars are waged, as evil rages or loved ones leave—the light, the true light has not gone out. The light, our true light, still shines. We look for it. We sing about it. We invite others into it. We share it within family and friendships. And we stay alert and wide-eyed to everything that is happening to and around us for what God is bringing, for what God hopes to usher in, and for what God wants us to see.
We often ask why such interruptions and disruptions plague our world. Perhaps they happen because we live in a world where the fault lines of sin run through all that is. Perhaps they happen because things that we assumed would be forever unchanged are, in reality, transient and temporary. We live in a world where we know that any day all that we have relied upon, trusted, counted on and looked forward to could be taken away or turned on its ear. Jesus knows it—we know it—and he teaches us in this world how to live with it. He teaches us how to grow through it and how to serve in it. And it is in that living, growing and serving that hope begins to shine. When the world as you know it falls apart, when even the day seems darkened and the night never-ending—look! Look for what God is doing. Look for God’s nearness, for when there seems to be no other source of light in your darkness, God is there as he has always been. Jesus said, “When you see these things taking place, you will know that he is near, at the very gates”…at the doorstep of your heart and at the threshold of your hopes. Look for him, he is near. And though everything else might pass away, God won’t.
The birth of Jesus, the most spectacular divine interruption of all time, invites us to hold an audacious and abundant hopefulness in all things. God is here with us. God is here for us. God meets us in the most humble and humbling of circumstances. God meets us in times of strength and success. God meets us always with a vision, a hope, and a call that transforms our tomorrows. Hallelujah! Gloria in excelsis Deo!

A New September

There is so much hope and energy surrounding a new September. Children and youth returning to school in a new grade, college freshmen shaking off the shackles of adult oversight, beleaguered parents placing kids on the bus with feigned regret and then rushing off to celebrate their emancipation over coffee with their peers. There is a freshness and newness to September, as we begin our shift back from shorts to slacks, flip flops to flats, vacation to vocation and backyards to schoolyards.

Rally Weekend, September 8 and 9, our kids and guides return to Sunday School; then on Wednesday the 12th our Confirmands and guides gather for the first time this fall. Along with them, numerous other groups and studies reignite or launch with renewed spirits. Our worship theme this year is “All In God’s Grace.” Joyfully, we will worship, study and pray, seeking greater clarity and depth to our relationships with Jesus and each other. We will explore what it means to be “all in” in our discipleship and what it means to proclaim “all in” in our diverse and often exclusionary world. Confidently, we will explore the treasures that are ours in Christ, in relationships, in our community and in our world. On Tuesday nights in CrossPaths, I will lead a Bible study that was inspired by our national Bishop’s four emphases “We are Church” “We are Lutheran” “We are Church Together” and “We are Church for the Sake of the World”. I hope you will join me as we explore our identity as Lutheran followers of Jesus in this place.

What a treasure we have been given through God’s ongoing creation of our world and life, through Jesus’ transformation of the redundant life into the abundant life, and through the Blessed Spirit’s renewal of daily life. What a blessing, indeed, and what an amazing journey of discovery God has mapped out for our hearts to follow.

Come this fall to join us as we map our way to a deeper relationship with God, seeking clues for the direction God would have us go and keeping our eyes on the prize that is God’s love and favor. Joy, hope and purpose will surely abound!

Pastor Dave

The Inviting Church

Hospitality and welcome are frequent topics of discussion and focus for congregations like Mount Calvary. What is a visitor’s first impression when entering the atrium? The sanctuary? Does the bulletin assist visitors in navigating our worship? Are our members friendly and warm towards strangers and unfamiliar faces? Do our sermons and prayers reflect the hospitality and grace of Jesus? And, similarly, do our members experience warmth, welcome and gracious hospitality as strongly or stronger than they did years ago?  When we go offsite to do mission projects, do we show the compassion, humility and neighborliness of Jesus? These are important questions that always call out something more and something better from all of us. 

Hospitality and welcome are not just concerns for paid staff, but for all our members. I hope that whenever you gather here or represent Mount Calvary out in the community, you are considering the face you put forward to others. Do you make time for the stranger?  Do you greet and encourage and invite others into those things that matter to you? Do you represent Jesus and his teachings about open tables, open arms and open communities that are sanctuaries of grace? These are important questions that always call out something more and something better from all of us.

How many neighbors and friends have you invited to come be a part of our fellowship and mission? I would like to encourage and raise the bar of expectation for all of us. I want you to commit to inviting and welcoming others to worship with us, come to a Bible or study class, participate in our youth or confirmation programs, or check out what we are about in mission and see if it fits them. Instead of “wondering” about that neighbor you haven’t seen at church for a while, call them.  Ask them to join you at something or go for coffee. I also want you to be evangelists: tell the story of our outreach ministries: invite someone to join you at a packing event of Many Hands Many Meals; tell parents of preschoolers about the best Preschool in these western suburbs with our team of teachers who have a higher degree of licensure, training, and experience than any other and who have a passion for children;  tell a neighbor about our Academy of Music and encourage youth and adults to sign up for lessons…it’s a program that other congregations locally and nationally are seeking to replicate.

Hospitality is just another form of generosity and care. It is grace in action. It is sharing what you value with another and inviting them into this place where the Holy Spirit inspires and stirs up. Ask, seek, and knock…on your neighbor’s door! You will be surprised how many wonder what took you so long.

Your neighbor, 

Pastor Dave





April 15. A day that usually invites all kinds of conversations, warnings, instructions and procrastination. Unless it happens to be a birthday or wedding anniversary (a different type of taxing event), it is likely not a date circled on a calendar for any good reason. What might bring tangential joy on April 15 is seeing the grass beginning to green, some trees starting to bud, and birds returning from a winter away. The snow shovel has been tucked away for a long summer’s nap and the lawn and garden stores have rotated their inventory. The sounds of tennis balls thwacking, and aluminum bats pinging, and golf balls slicing join the songs of pregnant robins and other songbirds. “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead “(Philippians 3:13), we press on toward the goal of warm summer days and lush gardens and hats without fur. Usually.

But, we are in Minnesota. And if we have learned anything through the years it is that God’s ways are not our ways, hope and joy deferred supposedly build character, and the reason our ancestors settled here was because everywhere else was taken. We got the short straw, the upper bunk, the leftover piece of pie, the spare change, and when the unpredictable happens predictably we become Forrest Gump and opine that life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you’re going to get. Some wise Bible student will remind us that James 1:2 says “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Which only confirms my suspicion that James never drove white-knuckled down Highway 7 with zero visibility in a blizzard of snow.

So, there we were this April 14 looking out at 20 inches of windblown aggravation and trying to decide whether to persevere and open the doors to whatever fur-hatted faithful saw more adventure than aggravation on the unplowed roads (if you get my drift) and were eager to come to worship. A compromise was reached and we decided to offer one service at 10:30am. A nice-sized group assembled, though there was no need for overflow, and we plowed ahead without benefit of organist, choir, and several other key players. Mark “Frosty” Abelsen filled in on piano and Jill “Elsa” Cowan led us in singing “White Christmas” and we worshiped in a spirit of playful and reverent joy. There was a spirit in worship that I suspect was infused with the recognition that while much of the world was seeking refuge, they had chosen not to be deterred or denied their gathering for worship.

I do believe that James, though he likely never drove through a Minnesota blizzard, was onto something when he refused to disconnect joy from trials and struggle. What makes hope and joy such precious resources is that we have come to believe that, though they may be deferred, they will come. Like spring and summer, they will come. And for now, we make the best of what is, seek the best of what can be, and give our best in caring for each other along the way.

In those days in which it seems that hope or joy may never come, that hope and joy have been canceled until further notice, we gather to worship and sing and pray, break bread and believe together. Because when life gives us lemons we make lemonade and when life gives us blizzards we make snow angels. When zero visibility obscures joy or hope, we gather to white-knuckle it through together and maybe even sing about White Christmases and dreams. It’s who we are. Thank you, Jesus.

Pastor Dave

All In

All in. I love the name for our upcoming three-year capital investment appeal! It makes me think of disciples leaving their nets to follow Jesus, signifying they were “all in,” holding nothing back. It makes me think of what happens when all of our folks unite around a common mission or effort and we can say that we are “all in.” Simple. Decisive. Bold. Depending on how you use it, “all in” signifies hospitality, community, and/or commitment. I say “all of the above”!

Six years ago, we began a series of capital appeals to raise funds for the improvement and upgrades of our facility while also raising funds for outreach. Six years ago, the building focus was on the sanctuary and its technology, which after 20 years had become dated and worn. It was a huge step that made the space more attractive and functional, and embraced the advances made in sound, lights and video. Three years ago, we set out to expand our hospitality by replacing and improving access to our parking and create new restrooms just off the atrium. The new layout allowed us to create a lock-down facility for our preschool. You spoke, and we listened, upgrading our website and database technologies with increased content and capacities, as well as ease of navigation. All of these projects required funding far beyond that which would have been available from the operations and program budget. In addition, dating back almost 30 years now, Mount Calvary has always designated a portion of capital appeals to ministries outside of our congregation. In the last six years, we have been able to partner in projects to build a teaching hospital in Nigeria, bring clean water to thousands in Haiti, support Public Safety Ministry’s outreach to our police community, and help Luther Park camp build the first stage of a long-desired retreat center for adults and families.

These next three years we will be focusing on our larger group gathering spaces, especially the atrium, to improve them functionally, acoustically, and visually. We will continue addressing the technology upgrades needed and do some refreshing of other spaces around the building. Our 50,000 square foot building is key to our grace-filled worship, programming, community service and inclusive hospitality. On a typical week, easily 4000 people come through our doors. Many are not part of our faith community, but count on us for a place to gather, learn, and serve. Our plan is to focus on a different portion of the building every three years to keep it functional, welcoming and fresh. We will also continue to designate and invest one-third of all funds raised towards benevolence outside our walls. For this appeal, rather than special projects, we are focusing the funds on our benevolence partners including Lutheran Social Services, Rezek House, Many Hands Many Meals, the Minneapolis Synod, and Gethsemane in the Camden neighborhood. While we are investing in our facility, we also believe our calling is to invest in ministries outside of our congregation locally and globally. It’s who we are.

In the next weeks and over the next three years, our goal is to have us all in. You are invited to make a pledge, a gift, or both. We only ask that you consider prayerfully and faithfully what you are capable and willing to do and let us know. It has been a great source of satisfaction to see and hear how Mount Calvary and community folks have made use of and responded to our last six years of improvements. I expect to hear more of the same for what we are investing in next and seeing the fruit of being all in.


Ten years ago, I came across a book that had just been released titled Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality and Politics. The intention of the book by Pastor Adam Hamilton (author of our book study last January, Half Truths) was to challenge Christians to engage in conversations about religion, politics and the issues of the day that were truly conversations. Conversations that were marked by a willingness to listen, to examine one’s own biases and assumptions, and a desire to grow mature spiritually as followers of Jesus. Hamilton is clear that seeing ‘gray’ is not some mushy compromise in the middle, but that area between divergent positions that holds truths and commonalities we tend not to see when we are polarized and polarizing. Seeing gray is holding convictions with a humility that resists labeling and stereotyping opinions, it refuses to use convictions like barricades intended to keep challenging information out, and it lays the groundwork for a mutual respect that fosters unity rather than division. That fall, September 2008, about 50 Mount Calvary folks gathered on several nights to discuss the book.

On Tuesday nights, January 16 through February 20, I will be leading a six-week book and Bible study on Seeing Gray as part of the CrossPaths Bible study. In worship throughout Epiphany season, we will focus on “Seeing Jesus in a World of Black and White.” Sermons will bring us into stories of Jesus and the early church where those who met Jesus and those who believed in Jesus wrestled with how being disciples informed who and how they were in the world, how to navigate difficult relationships and issues, and how to be a community where others “see” Jesus through the way a community offers grace, hospitality, love and service to the world. I invite you to consider signing up for CrossPaths or reading the book with your own small group, Bible study or book club. If you choose to read it on your own, I will be posting the weekly homework assignments and podcasts from CrossPaths on our church website.

Back in 2001, following the horrors of 9/11, one of our responses as a congregation was to resolve to talk ‘with’ people who differed from us rather than just ‘about’ them. We invited folks here to meet with us in a series titled “Open Eyes, Open Hearts” where people from different faiths and life experiences came not to debate but to share. We invited them to tell us about their faith, their communities, their “God moments” and a bit about what it was like to be them. On my sabbatical in 2004, I wrote a Bible study called “The Cross-Driven Purpose.” In my closing remarks I wrote: “I consider the Radical Center of the Christian faith to be the Cross. The Cross is at the center of Jesus’ purpose and message; the Cross casts its shadow over his works, teaching and life. The Cross is the place where God literally laid down his life and descended into the deepest hell of human existence—pain, suffering, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, character assassination, undeserved punishment, and death—to show how far God would reach in his pursuit of us in order to turn our ‘No’ into God’s ‘Yes.’ I see the church through the ages struggling to hold on to this radical message, as evidenced as early as Paul’s writings to the Corinthians and Galatians, and how early we came to regard as foolish such a radical statement of God’s love. I see the church through the ages going through various stages of legalism, institutionalism, triumphalism and expansionism that silently and stealthily began distorting our message and our purpose…The Cross is a statement about the human use of power and authority that attempts to deny or diminish or even destroy what God has created for good…and the resurrection is God’s answer that God’s love and purpose will not be thwarted.”

The promise of Resurrection is the promise that we will see Jesus. Resurrection is God’s definitive answer to any tendency to minimize, marginalize or muddy the ability to see, hear and follow Jesus in a challenging world. It is one amazing, life-giving promise!

Once Upon a Manger

Some years ago, Garrison Keillor shared the Seven Principles of a Successful Christmas. Number one was not to spend too much time shopping for gifts that are going to spend the next 30 years in a bottom drawer and sell for 35 cents at an estate sale. Just buy them all sweatpants. Number two, don’t sweat the dinner. All you need is potatoes, bread crumbs, a frozen veggie, cranberries in a can, a big bird, and a tub of butter. Order pies from a bakery. I won’t share all seven, but I was intrigued by number three. When planning your Christmas dinner, don’t think of the folks as dinner guests…think of them as the cast and your job is to make the event entertaining.

The best way to have a memorable Christmas is to seat bachelor Uncle Earl with the squirting mistletoe tie next to the cousins in the Armani suits and the $100 haircuts who are trying to hide the fact they’re from Iowa. Sit your brother-in-law from Roswell, New Mexico who moved there in hopes of reconnecting with his Martian ancestors next to the sister who worked for Michele Bachmann. They probably have more to talk about than you might think. Place the brother who brought the venison sausage and the pheasants for dinner next to your cousin Wanda the vegetarian who changed her name to Moonflower. Too many people, Garrison Keillor says, only invite people who get along, think and act and look alike and that’s like trying to form a choir and only recruiting sopranos. And then what you get feels more like a committee meeting, a discussion group or a memorial service. A good Christmas always has some moment where some crisis occurs or is resurrected from the past and somebody needs forgiveness for something. A GREAT Christmas has several of them.

Sound far-fetched to you? Let’s go back 2 millennia and see the guest list, according to Matthew and Luke, invited to that very first Christmas. You have a young Jewish carpenter from a small town no one ever heard of and his pregnant teenage fiancée, you have a group of homeless shepherds who live in the fields with their sheep, you have a host of angels on a choir field trip with one spokesangel whose job it is to go around telling people not to be afraid. You have three intellectuals with lots of money and time on their hands carrying gold, frankincense and myrrh whose GPS is oriented to an unusual star (turn left at the next oasis), an 84-year-old widow who spends every day hanging around the temple and her counterpart named Simeon. In the background, you have a paranoid king, a governor with the unfortunate name of Quirinius and a clueless Emperor who all figure they should be major players in this drama but who don’t even get called to audition. And of course, the baby. At the center of it all, the reason for the coming together of all these disparate and desperate lives, the baby. A baby whose birth is not a Hallmark moment as much as it is a crisis of Biblical proportions. Lives will be changed, authority called into question, religious leaders called to account, and a whole planet of people needing forgiveness for something or hope in everything will find their attentions drawn to him.

This story of Christmas, God’s story written on the world, assembles a memorable cast of characters around the birth of a child. Memorable and diverse casts have been assembling ever since, seeking to connect that story with their own: seeking a star to guide their way, seeking a message of hope and peace, and wanting to trust that God is not so far removed that God won’t show up in the stink and funk of the stables we call home. It’s our story, don’t you know. It’s our story, God’s story, I hope you know.

Pastor Dave


From my earliest remembrances, my life began taking shape around stories. I remember the stories played from the 45rpm records at bedtime in the room I shared with my sister and brother, stirring my imagination in the moments before sleep. I remember the Bible stories told in Sunday School with the aid of a flannel board and the stories we read in our school’s elementary readers. I can still picture the covers of story anthologies titled Singing Wheels, Down the River Road, Day in and Day Out, Engine Whistles, Through the Green Gate. Then, of course, there was the recreational reading about the Hardy Boys, books by Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson, or later the science fiction paperbacks that friends traded around like baseball cards. At family gatherings, a too rare but favorite moment was when grandpa, aunts and great-aunts, occasionally even mom and dad told stories about our family and their fond remembrances of relatives and events in Norway or of growing up.

Stories open up for us a world of imagination, knowledge, perspective and relationship. Stories invite us in and sometimes become a part of us, become a part of informing us, entertaining us, and shaping us. And the older I get, the more I am aware of the story that is us. The story that is uniquely me and the stories unique to others I meet. One of the most amazing, blessed and privileged things I get to do as pastor is hear people tell me their stories. Hearing couples about to be married telling how their two stories are becoming one; hearing families dealing with death reminisce with me about the one they have lost and loved; hearing people at a crossroads in life sharing how they got there and the choices they see ahead of them; hearing young people tell me of their passions, questions and insights.

Throughout this worship year, in a variety of ways, we are focusing in on the theme “God’s Story Written on the World.” It is an amazing, compelling, life-affirming and life-changing story written on the events in people’s lives, the pages of Scripture, illustrated on the canvas of creation and through images like the Cross and empty tomb. For us, the heart and soul of it is the story of Jesus. We love to tell that story and we love to learn it and learn from it. We love it when people share their stories of faith and life events and invite us in to the miracle that is unfolding in and around them.

So, here are the seasonal themes: Fall: We Love to Tell the Story, Advent and Christmas: Once Upon a Manger, Epiphany: Seeing Jesus in a World of Black and White (book study on Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White by Adam Hamilton, the author of our book study last January Half Truths), Lent: Life Is Not A Fairy Tale ,Easter: Turning the Page, and Summer: The Story that Is You.

Expect to hear the stories of Scripture and faith. Expect to hear about our Lutheran story and our Mount Calvary story. Expect opportunities to share your story or hear someone tell theirs. Expect that the story God has written and is writing on the world will guide and inspire you. And know that it matters deeply that you know and share the story God is writing on, with and through you. It’s why we’re here!