Friday, August 3, 2018

Ephesians 3

The apostle Paul prays for this congregation (and for us) that we would consider the expansiveness of Christ's love.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Baptisms at Trinity Point

One of Trinity's treasures is our summer worship and camping space at Maple Lake near Mentor, MN. The casual worship environment creates a welcoming space for anyone enjoy a summer Sunday worship experience. We even do baptisms in the lake! All are welcome for church at 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ephesians 2:11-22, Sermon by Rev. Karla Mickelson

Part 1 of Rev. Karla Mickelson's sermon.

Part 2 of Rev. Karla Mickelson 's sermon

Rev. Karla Mickelson shares her message on "bridging the gaps" in this world with our Christian faith.

My own sermon at First Presbyterian lifted up three things that we can do to help heal the deep divisions within our society and our churches.

1. Unity among people, especially those in deep conflict, begins at the foot of the cross. It is an act of confession that brings us to a state of our own humility in light of what Christ has done for us. The question we can ask ourselves, "How do I contribute to the disunity that exists?"

2. While Christ has granted us redemption through the cross, we still have to work our own redemption with others in order to make relationships whole. It often means a word of apology, both in word and deed. The goal is to build up the relationship and find resurrection life. Can we laugh again?

3. It is often helpful to build unity by working on something together. Our proclamation and living of peace is made real when, in Paul's words, "we are building together a spiritual dwelling place for God. Find a project that people can work on and share in the making of decisions and the realization of something completed together.

What do you think?

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Making a Difference in Houston

Wanted to share with you a few interactions I've had with people in Houston as we send out 10,000 servants each day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Service Day has us wearing blaze orange t-shirts as we go out to serve. As you can imagine we are disrupting things from restaurants, public transportation, and hotel life.

Sat next to a woman on the light rail train. She inquired as to 'what's going on with all these young people in Houston?' I gave her a brief overview of the ELCA National Youth Gathering. "God bless you," she said. "I've seen them in my neighborhood. It just gives me chills knowing they're doing it as God's work." She is a school teacher.

I'm playing nurse at the hotel for a couple of kids. Went to McDonald's a block away for lunch. Cashier sees my blaze orange t-shirt, smiles at me and says, "Your kids were in my neighborhood cleaning out the cemetery by my house. Thank you."

Looking for soup at Starbucks and the barista is talking to a co-worker. "These kids are all over. They were picking up trash where I live. I wish I could give free drinks to them all. This is great!"

Nice to hear that in spite of the infusion and interuptions that come with 30,000+ extra people in a metropolitan area, people are seeing the witness of the ELCA through our young people who are doing God's Work with Our Hands. Yeah, God!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Some quotes from speakers at the Gathering

Bryan Stevenson, “It is important that we spend our time NOT talking about the things we did but about the things we are going to do.”

Aaron Fuller, “It is by faith that we walk with people in their time of pain. No one wants us to fix their problems but they want to know that we will walk with them as they figure things out.”

Erin Power, “Like the woman at the well, people need to know there is a place for them. That this church is their home.”

Marlon Hall, “Comfort is the enemy of creativity. You were born to make an indelible mark upon the world. God’s love can rise us through the ashes, like a phoenix. Your job is to reclaim God’s love when people reject you.”

Diversity in a Positively Charged Environment

I am always amazed at the number of exhibits at the Interactive Learning Center during the ELCA National Youth Gathering. 2018 was no different. Youth have so many things to choose from for activities. 
If you enjoy music there was karioke, performance, and music writing areas. Sports people could do high ropes, dodgeball, bumper cars, as well as areas for basketball, soccer, and other sports. Arts and crafts people have numerous opportunities for creativity. Advocacy and issues around justice concerns abound. Lutheran colleges are represented. There are relaxation zones and prayer corners. There is, literally, something for everyone. 
And all the while church groups are trying to attach items to backpacks and items of clothing. Usually they are clothes pins with decorations and the name of the church. Others do key chains, flat Jesus, or pens with church names. Trinity-Crookston kids gave out compimentary sunflower seeds, a donation from our local Synopta plant!
This diversity also plays through in our Mass Gatherings in the evenings. The speakers come from a plethora of cultural and life experiences. One dance number included volunteers and used the entire arena floor in their production. Our emcees are made up of young people with diverse backgrounds. Musicians include a stage band, solo performers, a charismatic DJ, and we ended the Thursday evening gathering with a large brass and percussion band. The youth are loving all these aspects. 
In many ways, the Gathering reflects the world in which our youth live. Issues are complex and often difficult to process. Everyone has something to contribute to the betterment of the whole. But the message remains the same. JESUS CHANGES EVERYTHING! Thanks be to God.