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When Everything Was Hopeless

When Everything Was Hopeless

“When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.” Romans 4:17-18 The Message Chad Salmela could not contain his excitement as he watched Jessie Diggins incredible push to win a gold medal in cross-country skiing. His call of her efforts made that moment in time an instant Olympic classic. One of those memories which will stay in the minds of U.S….

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Can You Hear Me?

Can You Hear Me?

“He did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.” Ps. 22:24b Recurring dreams can be the most disturbing experience. Well, at least mine are never positive. These type of dreams seem to tap into my greatest fears and then replay them over and over again in my sleep. Why can’t my dream of hitting a game-winning jump shot in the seventh game of the NBA finals get repeated? The worst part is once a…

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Teach Them to Walk Blameless

Teach Them to Walk Blameless

“the Lord… said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.” Gen.17:1 We packed our bags and were ready to go home. Peggy was holding our newborn daughter in her hands. A nurse came into the room. You could see she was struggling to be gentle as she spoke to us. Looking at us both, she said,“You need to leave the hospital now, but you can’t leave until you name your baby. So you’re going to…

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Teach Me, O Lord, To Love

Teach Me, O Lord, To Love

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;” Ps 25: 5 On my drive home from work on Tuesday, an NPR reporter was interviewing Bill Gates. Earlier in the year, Bill and Melinda Gates announced their foundation would start focusing on issues of poverty. I missed some of the interview, but what I did catch was Gates stating, “This is the greatest time to be alive.” He rightfully cited statistics on crime,…

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When Carefree is Not Fun

When Carefree is Not Fun

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b In December of 2016, Netflix announced “National Lampoon’s Animal House” would be added to their line-up of streaming movie choices. I was so excited to hear the news. Animal House was one of my all-time favorites. Before I entered college, I watched it with my father who laughed out loud through the entire movie. He told my brother and I we didn’t realize how much of it…

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Storms Come and Go

Storms Come and Go

As a young parent, I loved the story of Noah and the ark. We included it in our first baby room. It’s such a beautiful story of salvation, preservation, and promise. Besides, how fun would it be to live on a boat full of colorful animals? It had to be fun because Noah and his family were always smiling. The story is great until you start thinking about it. I’m old enough to remember when zoos kept animals trapped in…

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Listening in the Midst of Noise

Listening in the Midst of Noise

“The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers.” 2 Cor. 4:4a (CEV)  At the end of each session of camp, I would deliver a message to the campers and their parents. One time, I found an excellent story in a youth ministry book about listening for the presence of God.  It seemed an appropriate message for children returning to their homes and a non-camp world. The story was a fictional tale about a wise Native American…

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Here Comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun

“The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” Psalm 50: 1 “Here Comes the Sun,” by the Beatles is one of the most covered songs of all-time. Searching the song on Spotify produces an endless list of renditions by various artists ranging from Peter Tosh to Nina Simone. Finding the Beatles original recording of it can be difficult. What is it about this song which makes it so…

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A Party of Leaders

A Party of Leaders

This past fall, the congregation I was serving celebrated its 125th Anniversary. It took almost an entire year for a group of dedicated volunteers to plan the celebration. They developed a theme and created a logo. Then they decided what kind of items to put the logo on and what to charge. They selected an appropriate venue to hold the party and tested different menus. Big parties take time and care to create the right atmosphere for celebration. As the…

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Why Do We Follow?

Why Do We Follow?

“And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Mk 1:18 The Minneapolis Miracle turned the state of Minnesota into a state of bliss. Even residents who do not follow football enjoyed the euphoria of the moment. Replays of Paul Allen’s call of the decisive touchdown made even a difficult commute seem pleasant. The Viking faithful found new confidence after the game; maybe this is the year. The year the Minnesota Vikings end 56 years of failing to capture an NFL…

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