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September 2020


Good Friday morning. I am writing later this morning as I had important work to do! Last night the council voted to open the church for worship beginning September 27th. Praise God! I am very happy and excited to be back in our sanctuary to worship. Parking lot broadcast and FaceBook services will continue so everyone will have a choice. Lots more information will be coming soon.

Paul’s words are very pertinent to today’s news!

Romans 8:18-25

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We have had patience, but getting back into our sanctuary is an answer to prayer.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue


9.10.20 Thursday

Good Thursday morning. Did you freeze? I had to turn on the furnace. This is even too early for me!

Romans 8: 1-17 According to Halley’s Commentary, “this is one of the best-loved chapters in the Bible.”

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

This is a turning point in Paul’s letter to the Romans. It sums up his previous argument about flesh vs spirit. Even though he does not believe the mind and body act separately, he sees them as a way to seek death or life and peace. Paul is very explicit that the grace of Christ does not release us from the obligation to do everything in our power to live right!

I love his use of the word “Abba”, which Christ himself used (Marek 14: 36). We are children of the Heavenly Father and are heirs with Christ.

Blessings on your day,
Pastor Sue

9.10.20 Thursday2020-09-10T08:14:43-05:00

9.9.20 Wednesday

Good Wednesday morning. Look out, here comes Jack Frost! Can you believe it? I don’t want to! Today would have been my parents 70th wedding anniversary. I bet you are dancing together in heaven.

Finishing Chapter 7 in Romans.

Romans 7: 21-25

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

Paul expresses gratitude to Christ for deliverance from the sinful nature against which he felt himself powerless.

We are reminded of Martin Luther’s unbounded joy when he realized all at once that Christ could do for him what he had vainly struggled to do for himself. Christ did all the work for our salvation; there is nothing we can do to earn it. Great news! Worth repeating!!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.9.20 Wednesday2020-09-09T07:18:28-05:00

9.4.20 Friday

Good Friday morning. I know there’s a lot of talk about the Post Office these days. My mom was the Postmaster of Ranier and she would be livid at the cuts and slowdown. Well, I heard that Lena went into the post office to buy stamps for her cards. She was writing to all of her friends during the pandemic. She asked the clerk for 50 stamps. When the clerk asked, “What denomination?” Lena said, O my God, has it come to this? Give me 6 Catholic, 12 Protestants, and 32 Lutherans.” Oh Lena!

We begin chapter 7 of Romans which is about the law’s poisonous interaction with sin. It is complex so I hope you don’t give up on my posts.

Romans 7:1-6

7 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only during that person’s lifetime? 2 Thus a married woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is discharged from the law concerning the husband. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man, she is not an adulteress.

4 In the same way, my friends, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.

In other words, we are not slaves to the law, but freed by Christ.

The law was given to prepare humanity to see its need of a Savior. It makes us aware of the difference between right and wrong and shows us that humans, born of a sinful nature, will always fall short of complete obedience to the law. Not until we realize our helplessness is there a desire for, and an appreciation of, a Savior.

How can you show appreciation for our Savior today?

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.4.20 Friday2020-09-04T06:17:31-05:00

9.3.20 Thursday

Good Thursday morning. I’m up really early listening to the thunder and the rain.

Romans 6:20-23

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Short, but sweet message! Sanctification is the process in which a believer is brought closer to the will of God. Luther believed that God works in the justified sinner to mold life and character, but he feared too much emphasis on sanctification would lead believers back to justification by works, as if justification depended on one’s holiness. Even though we aren’t worthy, God who is merciful, blesses us with forgiveness. God’s people are sometimes said to be sanctified because they are set apart for God’s special purposes in the world. Remember, it is an ongoing process. How are you set apart for God’s special purposes in the world?

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.3.20 Thursday2020-09-03T03:45:23-05:00

9.2.20 Wednesday

Good Wednesday morning. Another beautiful day on tap for today. Yesterday, Shawna and I attended the Cambridge-Isanti Ministerial where the Superintendent of Schools, Finance Director and the some of the levy team explained how important the levy is to save the school district from bankruptcy. Please take some time to educate yourself on this important issue if you live in that school district.

Paul uses slavery language in this next text because it was common in his time. He also uses a sort of military language as there were prisoners of war in his time. He explains why we can’t be servants of sin and servants of Christ simultaneously, which is funny because Luther said we were simultaneously sinners and saints!

Romans 6:12-19

12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

Praise God for grace! Verse 14 says it clearly: sin will have no dominion over us! Such good news in difficult times.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.2.20 Wednesday2020-09-02T06:52:13-05:00

9.1.20 Tuesday

Good Tuesday morning. September One! Last night Marsha W. and I brought our guitars and camp songbooks over to the Hookers. We led a singalong with a bunch of Renae’s family and friends. Renae was tapping her toes! She hangs on tightly to a prayer cross that I had given her months ago. It was so much fun to sing songs and laugh to lighten the sadness. It was a holy time with the presence of our Lord felt. “Wherever two or three are gathered, there I will be also.”

This chapter of Romans is so poignant in the face of death. It is used as an opening to many funerals. It reminds us that through baptism we are saved from the finality of death. We are saved for eternal life.

Romans 6:1-11

“6 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

On our drive home, Marsha and I talked about what facing the loss of a loved one would be like without faith or a faith family. How empty and alone one would feel. Last night Renae and her family were surrounded by love; everyone stopped by her bed to touch her and tell her how much she is loved. The room was filled with life, not death! Praise God for our salvation, for the love God shows us through others, and the peace that comes from knowing we will all be reunited in a heavenly place.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

9.1.20 Tuesday2020-09-01T07:14:37-05:00

August 2020

8.31.20 Monday

Good Monday morning. August 31st. Goodbye August. It is pouring rain here right now and the temperature is delightful. I spent the day on Saturday at Minnehaha Falls park walking, biking and climbing stairs. What a beautiful area to spend time in God’s amazing creation.

Let’s finish out chapter 5 of Romans.

Romans 5:18-21

18 Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19 For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

One for all! Adam’s sin=all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Christ’s death=all have been saved from the dominion of sin. Verse 20 “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” That grace includes eternal life for all who believe.

How can we respond to God with that precious gift of grace? Could we offer grace to anyone today? Is there anyone in your life that really needs to hear the gospel of grace?

Take a moment and thank God for this wonderful gift of grace that takes away your sins and promises you eternal life!

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

8.31.20 Monday2020-08-31T06:51:48-05:00

8.28.20 Friday

Good Friday morning. Did you hear those thunder boomers? I checked the radar and there’s more coming! Did your family have any sayings about thunder when you were young? Like the angels are bowling, the elephants are running? Please share.

In Romans 5:12-17, Paul wrote about how sin came into the world and had dominion until Jesus came into the world. Sin brought about darkness in our lives. Today feels like a pretty dark day with the storm, the hurricane, Covid-19, violence in Mpls. and Kenosha. There is no time like the present to cling to the good news of Jesus Christ!

“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14 Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”

The work of Christ on the cross far surpasses the effects of Adam’s disobedience. Death invaded creation when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, but death was defeated when Christ died and rose from the dead. Not that we don’t die, that’s a 100% guarantee, but that we are free from sin’s grip on us; we are forgiven with a free gift, and promised eternal life. One died for all. One died so that all may live. Great news for a dark day.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

8.28.20 Friday2020-08-28T06:45:26-05:00

8.27.20 Thursday

Good Thursday morning. I just watched Shawna’s broadcast from last night. I like that I can watch church at 5 am or any time I want. This is a new way of doing church that will probably continue long after the pandemic is over. It will be over, right?

Paul writes about how suffering produces character. The church, along with everyone else has certainly been suffering due to Covid-19! We should really be developing a bunch of character!

Romans 5:1-11

5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

These are such beautiful passages filled with hope, reconciliation and salvation. He is going to hit us in chapter 6 with the responsibilities that come with that gift. We are saved by Christ, but we are now expected to live righteously. Paul will tell us what that looks like.

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

8.27.20 Thursday2020-08-27T05:58:59-05:00
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