Pastor Mark's Sermons

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    March 12, 2017.  So we all know that we need and hunger for community; we can’t do this on our own. What holds us back? If we’re perfectly honest, all of us have been burned by community in one way or another. All communities are made up of flawed individuals, and sooner or later they fail us. We are like Nicodemus in this week’s Gospel: we have fa... [read more]
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    February 26, 2017. With the dramatic transfiguration of Jesus on top of the mountain, it is easy to miss the important words that are said. First, “Listen to him.” As our days get busier and often more confusing, it is more important than ever that we take time to listen to Jesus. Second, "Get up" is actually more like, “Be resurrected.” Even today... [read more]
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    February 5, 2017. Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others.”  And many people today are letting that light shine through protesting.  The challenge is that we all won’t agree on exactly what light looks like.  We may have strong opinions about certain issues, but people we know and love may feel very differently.  Don’t underestimate the imp... [read more]
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    January 29, 2017. In Jesus’ first teaching in Matthew, he offers what we know as The Beatitudes.  In other words, the first thing out of Jesus’ mouth is blessing.  Statements like “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” are surprising because we often confuse happiness with being blessed and sadness with mourning.  Jesus is going ... [read more]
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    January 15, 2017. Jesus' first words in John’s Gospel ask a question, “What are you looking for?”  As we begin another year of ministry and mission, I think we at Bethlehem can answer that question: We are looking for community, silence in a world of noise, relationship in an isolating culture, a chance to serve in a world that encourages us to put... [read more]
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    December 4, 2016. Sometimes we associate the word “repentance” with saying you’re sorry.  Or better, that you’re really, really sorry and will never do it —whatever it is—again.  But repentance really means realizing that we are out of step with God’s dream for us and for our world, and turning around and taking another road.  That’s the hope of Ad... [read more]
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    November 27, 2016.  We begin our Advent Series, And on Earth…Peace, by hearing the dream of Isaiah that one day all tools of war will be transformed into instruments of peace.  While most of us don’t march at the head of armies, we do possess tools that wound, particularly our words.  What if we declared our church a “disarmament zone”? Then we cou... [read more]
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    November 13, 2016. Download/print this sermon: Nov13-BldgCommunity    
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    October 30, 2016. We take the celebration of Reformation Day as a reminder that we are always being called back to the “basics” of our Lutheran heritage.  As Martin Luther reminded the world, we are not forgiven or saved by what we do, but "because, because, because, because, because" of who God is—a God whose doesn’t keep score and doesn’t hold a ... [read more]
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    October 16, 2016.  Jesus uses an example of an unjust judge who finally gives in to the unrelenting pleading of a widow as and encouragement for all of us to keep praying and not lose heart.  "How much more,” will God grant justice to those who plead for it.  In today’s political arena, we are all pleading: for freedom, for justice, for peace, and ... [read more]
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    September 18, 2016.  Jesus seems to make a hero of the kind of person we hear a lot about in the news: A financial manager who “cooks the books” for his own benefit and success.  Of course, Jesus means to shock us.  If the wicked and the crooked can be so clear about their mission to defraud, why can’t Jesus' followers be just as clear and focused ... [read more]
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    September 11, 2016. In his parables, Jesus highlights the simple joy that God feels when one who is lost is found. On this anniversary of 9/11, we can imagine the heartbreak of those who lost loved ones and friends, the absolute joy felt by those who found their lost ones, and the incredible bravery by those who sacrificed themselves to bring othe... [read more]
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    September 4, 2016. When Jesus talks about picking up our cross and following him, he makes it clear that there is no discipleship without sacrifice. Unfortunately, we have been led by our culture to think of sacrifice as a bad thing. But there are sacrifices and there are sacrifices. Some sacrifices lead to greater life, and some don’t. Some sacrif... [read more]
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    August 21, 2016. We heard a lot of “dream talk” during the Olympics. It seems that every athlete who succeeded in winning a medal talked about how the experience was “a dream come true.” In this week’s gospel Jesus meets and heals a woman who had been ill for eighteen years—what kind of dreams did she have? Jesus gets in trouble for accomplishin... [read more]
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    August 7, 2016. There is so much to fear in this world, Jesus statement, “Do not fear, little flock,” may seem a bit naïve. Actually it is a brave statement of faith. It is the reassurance that what is seen is not all that is and a reminder that the fears all around us need not have the last word in defining our life. It is a statement of absolu... [read more]
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