From the Pastor

2023 Messages


Join us at St Michael Lutheran church on Christmas Eve as we join with Christians throughout the entire world to celebrate the love of God shown to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

As we read in John's gospel: God so loved us, that he sent us his son that we may be saved in him.  We are loved and wanted and important enough that God chose to live among us as one of us. This is truly good news and something to be celebrated.

We hope you can be with us this Christmas Eve to celebrate and give thanks for God's free gift of love in Christ.

Advent 4

The Final Steps on the Advent Path

We approach our 4th and final Sunday in the season of Advent. Our Gospel reading is a reading about announcement. The angel announces to Mary that the promised one is coming. Even before the announcement to the shepherds in the fields by the angels, this is truly the first announcement of the good news of Jesus.

God has good news to speak to you. “Do not be afraid!!”

God has a path for you. But it requires your “yes” and an openness to how God will call you to change.

Join us to walk these final steps on the path of Advent here at St Michael.

Advent 3

Advent Invites Us To Testify


As we approach the 3rd Sunday of Advent, we are invited by the Gospel for this Sunday to reflect on what we testify to in our lives.

In the Gospel, John gives clear and unwavering testimony that Christ is the center and the reason for his ministry and even his very life.

The Gospel reading tells us:

He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 

This season of Advent, the season of quiet waiting in hope, calls us to reflect on what our lives testify to. What do our words and our actions bear witness to?

We are reminded by all the readings in Advent that Christ is to be the center, the message, and the testimony we give to the world.


Continue to walk this path of Advent along with us at St Michael.

Advent 2

We continue on the path of Advent

        As we enter in to the 2nd week of Advent, we hear two voices, those of Isaiah and of John the Baptist in the wilderness. They both give us the same message: Prepare!! Something incredible is coming.

        A message is shouted. God is ready to set things right! Comfort will be given! Reward will be given! We will be fed and gathered, carried and led in gentleness!

        As Mark announces in this beginning of his Gospel, this is truly good news.

The Holy Spirit has wonderful things ready for those who are prepared to receive them.

        Come and join us at St Michael as we prepare together for the coming of the Christ.

Advent 1

Welcome to the Season of Advent

Advent is the season in the life of the church where we are called to stop and look and listen. It is a time of hopeful waiting for the promise of God. And this promise is not only for the awaited messiah, Jesus, over 2000 years ago.

It is waiting in joyful hope for Jesus' coming now into our lives in a new way.

It is living not with expectation, but with expectancy.

'  Expectation puts a form on how we think Jesus will and should appear.

'  Expectancy is about waiting with openness and surrender to God in whatever form God chooses to come to us.

So, I invite you at the beginning of this church year to come and join us during Advent as people who quiet our hearts to listen for the God who is coming and who is already here.


-       Pastor David


In last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus talks about the importance and the value of small acts of kindness and compassion, such as welcoming a stranger or giving a cup of cold water out of service to God. 

The kingdom of God is brought about by small, often unseen acts of service. It is in these small seeds planted that may seem insignificant, that extraordinary things grow.

Jesus speaks about this often in the Gospels.


We each have both this ability as well as this calling to serve God in our own small corner of the world in any way and at anytime we are given.  And we will be surprised if we are paying attention, how often we have those opportunities.


I told the story on Sunday of a humble and exceptional person named David Breaux who, in small ways everyday, brought people to think and reflect and hopefully act with compassion by asking them a simple question.

You can revisit the story on YouTube HERE


In last week's Gospel , Jesus calls us to follow him, not simply admire him.

Below is the full writing of Soren Kierkegaard the Danish theologian that I quoted, on what it is to admire Christ and what it is to truly follow.



Followers, Not Admirers

Jesus never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents.

No, he calls disciples.

By Søren Kierkegaard


It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression “follower.” He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for.

Christ understood that being a “disciple” was in innermost and deepest harmony with what he said about himself. Christ claimed to be the way and the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6). For this reason, he could never be satisfied with adherents who accepted his teaching – especially with those who in their lives ignored it or let things take their usual course. His whole life on earth, from beginning to end, was destined solely to have followers and to make admirers impossible.

Christ came into the world with the purpose of saving, not instructing it. At the same time – as is implied in his saving work – he came to be the pattern, to leave footprints for the person who would join him, who would become a follower. 

What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires.

The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite, to hate, jealousy, and revenge.


The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. 


The disciples are called and chosen in last Sunday's Gospel.

They are sent from Jesus to then go and live his life. They are sent to heal and free and to being peace to those hearts that are open to receive it.


What they are sent to do is to foreshadow Paul's own mission that it is no longer he who lives but Christ who loves in him.

The disciple's first mission was to go to a small group of people and to bring him to them. There was no grand task other than to be Christ to anyone whom they encountered.


And, no doubt, they made mistakes, were unsure of themselves, and fumbled a bit in their mission. But they went and did what they were called and sent to do. This is the church and the mission of every follower of Jesus, no matter who we are.


This past Sunday we heard the story of Jesus who revealed his mission as being one of compassion to all people, not to some. There is a universal nature to the work of God in Christ.

Jesus came for the lost, the broken, the sinful, and the scandalous, in other words, for you and I. We are no different than the "tax collectors and sinners" of the Gospel, though we may feel like we are.

Human beings make distinctions, categories and walls. We delineate and label. God sees no such separation.

To conform ourselves to Christ, as Paul asks us to do, we must act as Jesus did.


This past Trinity Sunday we were reminded of the very nature of God as creator and unifier. The God depicted in Genesis is the God who creates, who builds up, who blesses, who makes life and says that it's beautiful and good. 

God is the God who is not divided, who doesn't know separation or exclusion.

God who didn't create us for tribes and biases and resentments. 


As those created in God's image and likeness, it is creation, inclusion, building up and blessing that we also must be about. 


In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the disciples and us as well to remember that he is with us always. That reminder is not restricted to the disciples only, but is for all people. It is Jesus through whom we interpret all things in life.


Below is a link to an excellent reflection by Richard Rohr on Jesus as our “hermeneutic” (our lens for interpretation) for all things, including the scriptures themselves. 


We were incredibly blessed last Sunday as a church to witness eight of our young disciples affirm their faith and their baptism. While it is the end of a two year journey, it is also a beginning. It begins in a new way the life of the Spirit.

As they were reminded last Sunday, they have everyday power given to them by God to affect peoples lives. They, and we, have that power to act and speak and choose what is just and compassionate, what lifts people up, and what makes a real difference to their lives.


The Spirit, as Jesus teaches us, goes where it will. It is not bound by any human creation, definition, dogma, creed, or convention. God will place us in the paths of others without warning and at inconvenient times, and then we have to choose to live in the Spirit for them.

The Spirit of God calls us together and seeks to build bridges between what human pride has separated. Look for those times, those unscripted, ill-timed connections that God gives you. They will happen today and later in the week and on beyond these. 


Jesus' prayer in this past Sundays gospel was that his friends would be one with each other as he and God were one. It was a prayer for blessing and protection for those who had been entrusted to him and those who were seeking to follow after he was gone.

A friend once raised a thought in a bible study that we focus so much on Jesus' death and resurrection, and, while this is good and right, the result is that we sometimes forget about his life.

Bringing heaven to earth, revealing divinity within humanity, and showing us God's dream for the world were why he came to be with us. And living out all of these things reveals the path back to God.

The prayer in John's gospel for his friends protection and blessing is a prayer for this mission to continue. 


Tomorrow, May 18, the church remembers the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is the conclusion of his ministry on earth. Jesus blesses the disciples and returns to God.

We are promised that, in him, we continually have an advocate before God.

The ascension is a celebration often overlooked by the church. It is one of those minor celebrations in terms of the attention given, but still very important in the history of our faith. 

Jesus told the disciples in John during the last supper that it was through his return to the father that ‘another advocate” would be sent to them.


We now have Jesus, the way to God, who continually invites us in our humanity to connect with God and draw closer. It is no insignificant detail that Luke’s gospel gives us the final act of Jesus as blessing the disciples and, in his 2nd volume, Acts, the promise to them that God would always be with them in the Spirit.

The Ascension is about the same thing as the incarnation: Emmanuel, God with us.


Jesus reminds his disciples that God is always closer than we could ever expect. The oneness of God with God's people is an extraordinary thing and something that we often miss. God's love brings God together with the people. There is a unity between God who loves and we who are the beloved. This is why Jesus is trying to tell his friends in the Gospel last Sunday.

Therefore when suffering happens, God suffers. This is Luther's Theology of the Cross; that God is found in the most terrible and unexpected places and moments we can imagine.

God will bring us through the cross to resurrection.

That is our story as Christians.


Jesus uses the familiar image of himself as the Good Shepherd in last week’s gospel. Not living in a community that is familiar with the life of shepherds as was the audience he was speaking to originally, this is a familiar and nostalgic but also a distant image for us.


Shepherds care deeply for the sheep and the lambs they tend. They are the center of their lives. They are devoted, attentive, and gentle with the flock.


This is what Jesus intended for the people to understand regarding the nature of God. God is not a judging, condemning, or exclusive God; rather, God embraces all God's people as a shepherd tends all the sheep.

Jesus is a shepherd of compassion and unconditional acceptance.

Rather than a video, attached is an announcement about an exhibit and times for conversation on diverse images of Christ. Traditionally, we see images of Jesus as a person of European background. And yet Christ is in all and for all, and so he should be depicted as all. 


We hope that the congregation will take part in this conversation as a way of welcoming and learning more deeply who Christ is.


The two disciples on the road are all of us. We walk often in anxiety, disappointment, hurt, or confusion. In that path Jesus finds us, though we don't often recognize him. 

It was in stopping, giving all there hurt over to Jesus, in them listening to what he was telling them, and finally in the welcoming that they recognized him.

The two disciples had no idea who this person was. He was a stranger to them. Yet they found healing in welcoming him.


How easy it can be for us to dismiss others due to our busyness, our preconceived ideas, or past hurts. And yet there is Christ, waiting to be recognized.

Along with a story of healing and Easter joy, the road to Emmaus is a story of welcoming the stranger and breaking bread with them. And, in that, Christ is always found.


Thomas, in many ways, is our twin. He struggled with faith and with belief in the absolute power of God to do unimaginable things. Thomas' doubt was his doorway to a deeper faith. Jesus used that confusion and doubt and even his denial as a way to draw him closer. And, really, the other disciples were no different than Thomas.

They only rejoiced at seeing Jesus after he showed them his wounds.

We shouldn't fear doubt or confusion or struggles in our faith. God knows us in our humanity. We should, rather, give it to God to use to show us what we need to know God's power. Just like Jesus gave Thomas and the others what they needed to believe, he will give it to us as well. 


The Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, aka Easter, is a time when we as a Christian people celebrate and remember and restore our trust in the power of God to overcome what we imagine is impossible. There are boulders and blockages that stand in our way that our human eyes reveal to us as deal breakers, impossible to move.

And yet, Paul reminds us to see with a spiritual mind. That is what the resurrection points us to.

Death and violence, fear, anger and pain can seem endless. But they are really very short when seen in the light of life and faith. 

How long those two days must have been for the two Mary's from the Easter gospel. And yet, once God was revealed in the resurrection, they were gone. And life overcame death, as it always will.


Lazarus, Martha, and Mary experienced the power of God in their lives. Jesus wasn't a savior who promised some far off beautiful heaven in the clouds. He didn't point to a Kingdom for “someday” that we could simply watch and wait for.

Jesus saw God's power and God's kingdom as here and now. Jesus restored hope and gave second chances to Lazarus and his sisters.

Jesus responds to what we need today, in our bodies, in our minds, in our everyday life.

God wants us to experience God's dream for us now, in this life.

This is what Lazarus experienced. New life today is what Martha and Mary received.

God hears you now. God reaches out to you now. God is concerned about you now.

The question Martha is asked by Jesus is asked to us now: “ Do you believe this?”

Do you believe that God's power can overcome even this?

Do you believe that God's power has no limits?

Do you believe that in the face of this desolation and death staring back at you

that God can still bring life?


The man who was healed, the man who Jesus rubbed mud on his eyes, was captive. He was a captive to more than just his blindness. He was captive to people who didn't see him, religious leaders who couldn't see God in him and who could only see rules broken rather than God's power.

Jesus came to him to lead him and us out of all of that. We can see ourselves in this man. Jesus comes to lead us out of anything that hold us captive, fear, anger, bitterness, even religion. 

What Jesus had to say to the leaders was too much for them. They weren't able, or weren't willing to hear or see who was there. They couldn't bear it.

The Spirit can frighteningly and suddenly break us out of our well trodden ways of thinking and believing, as comfortable as they may feel and as certain as we may be about them. But it is still up to us to follow or to stay behind.

As Paul reminds us: eye has seen, nor ear heard,

                                   nor the human heart conceived,

                                   what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor 2:9)


When Jesus met the woman at the well, it was not a good day for her. It really wasn't probably a good week or month etc, etc. She was in pain, rejected, and deeply broken.

Who knows what the back story was that led up to this day. Honestly, that isn't important now. What is important is that God had something God was trying to tell her: a message God no doubt had tried over and over to tell her. But she didn't hear.

Because pain and fear are the two great deafeners of our spirit.

But that day, God came to her and met her where she was in her life. God met her in the mess and the rejection and the hunger she had.

God met her at the well in thirst, physical and spiritual, and in loneliness.

She was broken. But in that brokenness, God showed through to those she spoke to. And they believed.

God will meet you in the messiness and confusion and fear of life. And God will chase you relentlessly and speak in many ways and through many voices.

In our hurt and brokenness, God IS trying to tell us something.


On Sunday, we were reintroduced to Nicodemus, a man who hungered for more, and who found that 'more' in Jesus. And Just as Jesus had to let go of his own need to be in control in the wilderness, Nicodemus also had to let go and follow and trust that God would make a way, where he didn't see one.

The need to know, understand, or see can often be the greatest obstacle to the Spirit. Perhaps this is What Jesus meant when he said, :”You hear the sound of the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with those born of the Spirit”

The Spirit cannot be controlled or boxed in, or planned for. And those who seek to live in the Spirit must surrender control and knowing. Paul reminds in 2 Corinthians, “We walk by faith, and not by sight”

Just as Abram in the first reading was told simply to go with out and exact destination, Lent calls us to follow and not always to know exactly where we are going, but trusting that God knows, and that's all that really matters.


The Gospel from last Sunday recounts the beginning of Jesus' ministry when he was called into the wilderness. His temptation, regardless of what form it took, was to rely on himself and his gifts to live out his calling.

The wilderness for Jesus, the season of Lent for us, is meant to remind us of our radical poverty and our complete dependence on God. The theologian and scholar Johannes Metz reminds us that our humanity is entrusted to us and we must embrace that humanity in all of it's messiness. 

We are not in control, thought we like to believe we are. We are utterly and completely dependent on God. And when we embrace that and see our brokenness and need, it is only then that we can truly encounter God.

Jesus recognized this as he returned again and again to God as his source in the wilderness. Only then was he prepared to live his purpose for God.




Ash Wednesday is our first step into the desert. It's a sacred day that call us to confront what haunts us, what brokenness exists in our minds and spirits. It's an invitation to give all to God and accept our radical poverty, our absolute dependence on God.

This was Jesus' triumph in the desert. He overcame brokenness and need and hurt and hunger and pride, by returning to God again and again.

Lent is a time of quiet and stillness that allows us to strip away what hangs on us and what keeps us from Jesus Christ.

Walk freely into this time that begins today. It is a time of absolute transformation that ends in new life, rebirth, resurrection.


Below is a link to a beautiful reflection on what Lent is to be about.

The first 4 minutes are spoken meditation on the season followed by a musical reflection by Ben Thomas.


In the final section of the sermon on the mount in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus invites us to more. He calls us to live more deeply in relationship wit each other, to not simply do the basics, but to rise to live lives of deep grace. He is, in real sense, inviting us to grow, to grow up, to grow into God's servants, God's field, and God's building as Paul calls us in the second reading last week.


       Often the most difficult invitations is to forgiveness and reconciliation. We are told the worship can wait. That what is most central in God's eyes is the healing of God's children. While reconciliation is not always possible, with grace, forgiveness is.


Reconciliation heals a relationship and those in it. Forgiveness heals the one who forgives. Both are of God.


       As we approach Lent, the season of the desert, we are asked by the Spirit to examine our life and our relationship and to see where reconciliation and forgiveness are possible, and then to begin the road toward them.


      In the Gospel last Sunday, Jesus tells those who followed him, that they are salt and light for the world. He didn't say that we should, or can, or might be. Jesus said clearly that we are. Salt and light affect what they touch. They make a difference, and it only takes a small amount to make that difference.

       By what we decide, what we say, and how we live our faith in the hard times of our lives, when we fall, when we're in pain, when we aren't sure how things will turn out, it is then that we can be salt and light and witness to others the power of God.

        And it's never to lift ourselves up as the message, but always to point to the goodness of God. And so we live what Jesus said also in last weeks Gospel: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and give glory to God.


The The Sermon on the Mount began this past Sunday with what we call 'The Beatitudes'. This entire Sermon was Jesus' declaration of how he saw discipleship and God's Kingdom.

       If we truly look at what Jesus says we see that his message is that who God is and how God calls us to live is often RADICALLY, PROFOUNDLY different than what religion teaches, what creeds profess, or what history has taught.

       Jesus and the Gospels are not for those who wish to remain in comfort. Though they will bring healing and peace to those who need it, his message not for those who wish to remain neutral and on the sidelines.

Church and faith and the Gospel are not an escape from the world.

On the contrary, the Gospel message points us directly out into the world


In the Gospel this past Sunday, the four disciples, suddenly and without warning, in the midst of an ordinary day, are invited to a new life. Jesus approaches them and invites. They are called to follow and become different.

They choose to let go of the nets and the ropes they carried in order to follow him. They choose to let go of the past and the things that keep them from following fully, and they are open and welcoming and free enough to receive the call of Jesus to be disciples.

The Spirit comes in many forms and at any time with the same invitation. And just like Simon, Andrew, James, and John, we have to let go of the things that weigh us down and that pull us away from the Christ.

You are invited and will be invited suddenly and without warning.

Welcome all that the Spirit has to invite you to this day!!


We are marked by God as holy and good. Jesus always recognized the divine in others. He did not focus on sin and fault but on the goodness of every person. Peter and Nathaniel were seen and recognized in the Gospel this past Sunday as good and sacred.

That is how we are always seen by God. But we don't always see that in ourselves or in others. We are led by the Spirit to see and act and live from a place of holiness. That is how God has made us and how God sees us.

It is God's original plan from creation. God created all things and saw that they were “Good”. See the good and the God in yourself and in others. 


In the first reading this past Sunday, God, speaking through the words of Isaiah, names Israel 'God's servant', 'chosen', 'called', and a covenant with the world.


Jesus, in the Gospel, is identified at his baptism as beloved and well-pleasing to God.


As beautiful and meaningful and powerful as these moments are, they belong to each of us. We are all invited and chosen for the work of God.


But it is what happens after the invitation is given that matters. This is our response, the movement out to be people of justice, which is simply allowing people to live God's dream for them. God's dream is freedom, respect, peace and love for all people.


It is our response to grace that God seeks. The invitation, given to all of us, is not our choice. It is a free gift from God. It is the next step that we either choose or reject.


This past week was the final Sunday in the Christmas season. We heard the final Gospel reading and the conclusion of the Christmas story in Matthew's Gospel. This story of dreams and calling and following remind us that God has a path set for us and for those we love.


And, just like Joseph and the magi, we have to follow where we are called, as counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem. God's way is always the way to something more beautiful and extraordinary than we can imagine.


Following means encouraging and witnessing to faith. It means, as Christmas teaches us, being the Gospel in flesh and blood. It means doing as Jesus did.


Followers are those who live what the early church fathers called “Kenosis” which is the emptying of one's self to ego and pride to then be filled in a new way with the Spirit of God.


This is the mark of a follower of Jesus.