Blessings Abound

Like many congregations, we offer backpack blessings at the beginning of each new school year. This year, as I was talking to my pastor about what those would look like, he offered an idea that we could write blessings for each other. The idea quickly evolved from there and we decided to hand out tags on which we would write a word, prayer, blessing, or thought, return them at the offering, then take a new tag on our…

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Sent in Love

Sermon on John 13:31-35 You can listen to it HERE. One of my favorite authors is Neil Gaiman. He is world-renowned, heavily awarded, and very invested in his fans. He regularly communicates with them through interviews, websites, blogs, Q&As, etc. In one of these “Ask Neil” moments, he shares a story about a time he was lucky enough to be invited to "a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things." As…

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Same Old Story

A writing for Modern Metanoia, ADVENT 1, LUKE 21:25-36If you have eyes, ears, and/or any kind of awareness of your surroundings, you might be like me right now. Angry. Heartbroken. On the verge of hopelessness. What the heck is wrong with our country – the (not so) United States of America? What the heck is wrong with our world? How have we grown so far from simple acts of stewardship and care for our earth and neighbor? Why…

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God's LOVE Changes Everything

A reflection from Colter Sprague, 10th grade.Thanks to Hope’s generosity, I was able to attend the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas. This was my first time to attend a youth gathering. During this week, I saw God’s love emerge in many different ways.  When we first arrived, we joined 31,000 Lutheran youth and I witnessed their compassion and support of each other even though we were complete strangers. One of the things we did in our…

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God’s HOPE Changes Everything

A reflection from Ben Miller, 10th grade.Hope. What a fascinating concept. Desmond Tutu said, "Hope is being able to see the light despite all the darkness." Being able to see the light in the dark. During the youth gathering I listened as half a dozen people stood in front of 30,000 high school students and told us about the most embarrassing mistakes and how they fought through them using hope. Even when they lost it for the longest…

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Gathering Roundup

Just over two years ago, I presented the dream of Hope sending youth to not one, but two youth gatherings – the 2017 Western States Youth Gathering with the theme of DREAM BIG and the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston with the theme of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. Hope captured the dream and answered the call, supporting us through our various fundraisers and buoying us in our journey with prayer. Thank you! We will never forget the experiences…

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A Little Extra

A sermon for Sermons That Work  Trinity Sunday, John 3:1-17. Every extraordinary experience sparks from the ordinary. Take a moment and reflect on the moments that have made you who you are today. Some of them may be spectacular, earth shattering, heart breaking, and more. But when we really take the time to reflect on what made us who we are right now, today, this moment, we will come up with the names of people who have filled our…

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Join the Movement

An essay for Modern Metanoia on Trinity Sunday, John 3:1-17. Every extraordinary experience sparks from the ordinary.  Full of curiosity, Nicodemus proactively seeks Jesus out at night. Jesus transforms what was an inconspicuous evening into a remarkable, life-changing event. What I love about the Gospel of John is the way we, readers thousands of years later, are turned into witnesses. We become witnesses to not just fact-based, hard-nosed, “real news,” but to God’s reality on earth. We become witnesses,…

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Be the Light: A Messy Church Preview

One of the things I am most excited about for this year is launching Messy Church into our local community life. I've been following Messy Church.UK for years, but it wasn't until I found myself in this specific congregation and community that I recognized the time to make it happen was now. One of the most difficult things about youth, children, and family ministry is that people want results and they want them now! But this is faith development we're talking…

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