Think you've seen someone?  Look again.

What questions do you have about the Christian faith?  John the Baptist gets us going.

Jesus never does the same thing the same way twice.  But that's because he (and God!) are full of surprises!

What does the Sabbath really mean?  And how do we remember it?  As usual, Jesus shows us the way.

How do we catch people?  By going deep.

Jesus is just beginning. I am just ending.  What does this mean?

We are baptized just like Jesus was baptized. So, what does his baptism mean for him?

Why did Jesus come?  What does this mean for us?  John provides us a clue.

John the Baptist appears to be foolish - a madman in the wilderness - who in reality is as wise as they come.

Joel calls us to return to God - with open hearts - that we may know divine mercy.

How do we live when our faith seems ruined and we are subject to oppression?  Daniel shows us.

What kind of judge is Jesus?  What can we expect from his reign?  You'll find out - today!

When we are in trouble, where do we turn?  Who is our refuge?  Who is on throne?

Everybody remembers the whale, but do you know what happens after that?

It's easier to talk about trust than to live it.  Elijah shows us the way.

Self-control may be last in the list, but it is essential to all the others, because it trains us in choice.

Generosity begins when, as children, we learn to share.  But growing in generosity is a lifetime practice.

Whether it is our own craziness or the craziness of other people, we do everythig we can to avoid it.  but if we are willing to face it, we may be surprised at what we see.

When you hear this story about Jesus, where does your attention go?  What do you see?  For there is more here than meets the eye.

Sometimes those outside the church have more faith than those inside.  Amazing!

Honesty is the best policy. Even with God.  God knows you and gets you and speaks your language.

Resurrrection is not a surface change but a deep-down thorough transformation, made possible because Jesus rose from the dead for us.

Love - as shown us in Jesus - stands at the center of our life.  How does this affect us and what does it mean for our way of life?

The cross is foolishness?  Just let go and let God.

The pace of life these days can knock us off our feet. How can we find solid ground?

Over and over God does what is amazing!  Why should we expect anything else with Jesus?

The last meal that the disciples had with Jesus wasn't what they expected.  But it was just what they needed.

Real change is not easy.  We are likely to resist.  But we should remember - this is only the beginning of the birth pangs.

Why are we here?  What is our purpose?  These are questions Jesus thought about - and he had an answer.

When something goes wrong, do you look to blame others?  Do you look to take responsiblity?  Do you look to Jesus?

What does it mean that Jesus is Messiah?  The answer will open your eyes!

How does one receive eternal life? The answer may shock you.

Lots of people are trying to judge Jesus - but the jury is still out. So, what do you say?

The kingdom of God is at hand!  This is what Jesus proclaims, this is what he teaches and this is what he shows us when he goes where no one has gone before.

In the face of diffculties and doubts, trust that God's Word is in you, planted in good soil.

Forgiveness can be easy.  Forgiveness can be hard.  But either way it is a sweet release.

When does the story of Jesus start? It starts with us.

Angles don't just appear in Bible stories.  They can appear, anytime, anywhere.  All we need to do is stop and listen.

When the people of Israel returned to Jerusalem and began rebuilding their beloved temple, we would expect there to be shouts of joy.  What we do not expect there to be cries of grief.  Yet both are precious to God.

After 200 hundred years of silence and suffering, a word finally comes - Comfort!

Never pray without giving thanks.  It will take you out of your worries and root you in God.

In spite of everything in the world, God continues to hope and to work for the coming of that hope.

Even when Israel is at its worst - when it ignores the knowledge of God, God's love continues. And so also with us.

Sometimes we need to be challenged about our choices in life. In ancient Israel, that's what the prophets did.

Who we listen to is important.  Those who are old know this.  So does the Bible.

Martin Luther moved the Word to the center of the life and faith of the church.  But he was not the first to do so.

Of all the commandments of Moses, which one is the most important?  Rabbi Jesus gives us the answer that leads to life in the kingdom of God.

God speaks to Moses out of a burning bush.  What is even more amazing is what God says.

Jacob's whole life was a struggle - with mortals and with God.  But at last he came home at peace.

God promises amazing things and we laugh.  But God still does wonders beyond our comprehension or our deserving.

What does it mean to be a human being on the earth? What does it mean for God?

We may want to avoid people who are different from us. Yet they are also made in the image of God and may have something to teach us.

Jesus is a teacher extraordinaire. He has not only mastered the material. He has mastered life.

When we listen deeply, we can say thank you from the heart.

Good or bad, happy or sad, God takes us as we are.  So, we can be real with God.

With all the dangers in the world, where can we turn?  Whom can we trust? 

There is power in weakness.  It is the power of God!

Our God does not remail aloof, distant in the heavens. Over and over again, God reaches down to lift up the poor and the lowly.

How do we become happy - truly, deeply happy?  Not in following our own path, but in seeking the path of God. 

When faced with suffering, where do we turn?  What do we say?  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

What exactly happens in baptism?  What difference does it make?  It makes the difference between death and life.

Why would a righteous man die?  To prove God's love.

Life not working out the way you expect? Then, learn to live by faith.

Is this all there is - the world this way? Or is there hope for more?

In the face of tragedy, it's easy to blame God.  But if we follow the example of the woman, we will look for ways to provide.

If Jesus is the king, why didn't he come down?  As it turns out, for the same reason he did everything - love.

Isn't mindfulness doing nothing?  It turns out, there is a lot more going on than you think.

Through all the darkness and deception, beyond human conception or control, God is working the divine purposes out - in Jesus.

Do you multi-task when you eat?  Then maybe you are getting everything you can out of eating.  Here are some suggestions to enhance your everyday eating experience:

The trial of Jesus is like no trial we have ever seen, yet, still, the truth is revealed.

How do I stop my thoughts?  You can't.  But maybe you can do something even better.

Why does God offer is only Son - whom he loves? Why does Jesus go along? It is always and only out of compassion.

How can you be more present to whatever you are doing?  Bring your attention to your breath.  It is always there.

Amidst the resistance, rebellion and running away, Jesus remains faithful.  And because he does our relationship of forgiveness with God is sealed.

Are you rushing through life not really ever arriving or finding what you are looking for?  Maybe it's time to slow down and become aware of what is right in front of you.

Who shows us what it means to be a follower of Jesus?  It's somebody you've never heard of - but that's how she is remembered.

Who is the greatest?  Don't look up - look down - and become a child.

How do we gain our lives?  How do we experience joy for ourselves and those around us?  It is only in giving up our lives, losing them for the sake of others.

Jesus calls us to beyond the safe and secure lives that we have esdtablished to life in the kingdom of God!

Where we place our hearts - what we treasure - shapes our hearts, Jesus teaches us.  So, put your hearts where true joy is found!

How can begin to live the life to which Jesus calls us?  Look for opportunities to be generous!

This is the sermon Pastor Chris preached at the ordination of Craig Simenson, called to serve Grace Lutheran Church, Darlington.

Jesus is baptized by John "to fulfill all righteousness."  But what exactly is that righteousness?  And what does it have to do with us?

Jesus escapes while other babies are murdered.  What can we do but weep?

Later in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus laments that people do not know the things that make for peace.  Some soldiers from World War I and Jesus himself teach us how.

As Matthew tells the story of the birth of Jesus, no one seems to notice.  How can we see him born among us?

In order to introduce us to Jesus, Matthew gives us along genealogy.  If we look closely, in the midst of all these unpronouncable names, there is good news.

Jesus gives one final teaching to the disciples and to us - where we can see and how we can live the kingdom he came to reveal.

Jesus speaks with authority. But where does his authority come from? It comes from digging deeper.

Judging others can have a boomerang effect, but so can treating them with compassion.

Jesus says, "Don't worry!"  That's easy enough to say.  How do we do it?

When we are filled with questions and doubts about prayer, Jesus shows us the way to pray - not only for ourselves for the world.

What happens when we give without thought to expecation or reward?  Heavenly!

Jesus says we should be perfect, like God is perfect.  How do we do that?  There is no better way than to pray for our enemies.

Is Jesus serious?  Why does he say such crazy things?  And what does he expect to do with these words?

Jesus calls us to a righteousness of grace and mercy and compassion - a righteousness of inner transformation. 

We have been blessed by God, not merely for our own sakes, but for the sake of the world.

At the beginning of his great sermon, Jesus invites us into a life of blessing - a life that is good and true and beautiful.

Now that God has shown us unbelievable mercy, what do we do?  Make love our aim in everything.

To change our minds, sometimes all we need is to tell ourselves a different story.  And there is no better story than the story of God's love.

The story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman raises great questions - and also shows us great faith!

"A sower went out to sow... "  But not everyone believes.  Why?  Jesus lets us in on the secret.

What is the easy yoke?  Listen to the questions of Jesus and find out.

What's Paul's secret to peace and contentment?  It's simple - pray with thanksgiving.

When Paul meets Jesus, he drops his old life like a hot potato.  He has found true freedom and joy!

How does Paul face his situation with such joy?  It's win-win.

Paul has no outward reason to be joyful.  But his joy has nothing to do with his circumstances, because he continues serving Christ where he is.  And that gives him joy!

Paul takes the good news about Jesus to Athens - birthplace of philosophy and a center of paganism - and he declares what they are yet to know.

In the story of Jesus and his followers, significant things happen on the road.  What road are you taking?

The risen Jesus doesn't reveal himself all at once on Easter morning, but rather in steps.  Still the destination is the same - new life in him!

If you want to know what the Christian faith is about, you need look no further than I John 4 - God is love!

What makes us truly free?  And where does it come from?  As usual, Jesus shows the way.

To speak about love is easy.  To be loving is hard.  How do we do it?

Jesus is not what we expected.  But that is far better!

How do deal with sin?  Don't ignore it but bring it right into your relationship with God!

It is not magic.  It is not a miracle.  It is a model that Jesus shows us how to be servants of one another

How does the Gospel of John shape our faith?  The first letter of John gives us some clues.

The raising of Lazarus seems almost beyond real, but in fact it is very down to earth.  And it points to an even greater raising.

Jesus came to give us abundant life. Is your life abundant? Maybe it's in the light you see it.

Jesus causes quite a stir with his comments about water and belief.  But can someone from Galilee really be the Messiah?

After being fed by Jesus, the crowds track him down - and they get a mouthful!

Want some proof about God's love? Look no further than Jesus.

She is a woman with a long past and little future, but Jesus accepts her as she is and draws her closer to the water of life.

Have you ever had the feeling that everything you always wanted wasn't enough?  You're not alone.

Jesus' first miracle is understated, hidden from all but the servants, but it still gives us an eye-full.

We don't need to hide our questions.  We can use our questions to deepen our faith.  That's what Jesus did.

Isaiah invites the people of Israel who have been living in exile for generations to return home and take up their true calling.

Israel is far from home with no chance of returning.  Ezekiel gives them a recipe for hope.

When people think they know what's going on with God, Jeremiah makes them think again.

The birth of a child is no big deal, right?  Not according to Isaiah!

Amos, the prophet, has a tough word for us.  But sometimes that's just what we need.

Elijah is a great prophet, but he has lost hope.  How does he find a way to keep going?

Where do we find God?  Wherever God has promised to be!

 David was a great king.  But he also did some awful things?  How can that be?  Lutheran theology gives us a key.

Have you ever heard God's voice?  How did you know it was God?  Is there a way to seek God's guidance?  Let's see what we can learn from Samuel.

The people of Israel are free!  Now they need to learn skills fully to enjoy that freedom.

When God speaks to Moses out of a burning bush, he takes off his shoes, as he is told.  But Moses is not so crazy about the rest of the stuff God tells him to do.

Jacob has made a mess of his life.  But that is where God meets him!

Are you spiritual, but not religious?  Are you religious, but not spiritual?  Either way, you could use the gift of Christian community for the deepening of your faith.

We all have dreams - even God!  But God's dream in greater than ours.  And God wants us to live the dream!

Think wisdom leads to a good life?  Not so fast.  Ecclesiastes gives us a second opinion.

Wisdom from King Solomon helps us to live better lives.  Here's a story about another ruler who seeks wisdom for living.

When we are in a tight spot, we may try to figure it out on our own.  But God is there, ready to help us.  All we need to do is trust God.

Want to know the secret of a good life?  Start with God - with honor and respect and humility. 

Jesus tells us, "Do not worry."  That's easy to say, but hard to do.  So, instead, we give thanks.

With so much trouble around, how can we see God's kingdom?  More importantly, how can we be a part of God's kingdom?

What is God really like?  And where is God exactly?  And how do we live in relationship with God?  This and more at the beginning of what we call the Lord's Prayer.

Believe it or not, we are children of God, heirs with Jesus.  Baptism makes it so!

Knowing our expectations of others, especially outsiders, is more important than we realize.  Good boundaries may keep things in good order, but may also keep us from seeing God and following the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit crosses boundaries, breaks down barriers and goes where no church has gone before!

Two disciples are headed down the wrong road after Easter morning.  But a stranger - present, but unseen - steers them right.

Are the disciples on Easter morning simply, "Men behaving badly?"  Or can we learn something from them?

While Jesus attend many dinners and eats with many people, on the last night of his life, he also feeds his betrayer.

As Jesus approaches Jerusalem, he meets two different men who are both rich.  There the similarities end.  And the world of difference begins!

With the recurring themes of repentance and reversal, Jesus is letting us know that he has come to bring the joy of heaven to earth - and he is showing us how we can live in the same way.

Jesus doesn't look at people they way we do.  God doesn't look at you the way you look at yourself.  When God looks at you, God feels more joy!

We think of Samaritans as self-less and kind, models of compassion.  But, in Jesus' day, they were thought the most unlikely to show love.  How about you?

Is Jesus a healer or a teacher, a suffering servant or a glorified savior?  Who is Jesus, really?

Miracles make Jesus look really cool.  But is that their only purpose?

When you find yourself running as fast as you can just to keep up, make Jesus your traveling companion.  He is Lord of the Sabbath.

Jesus returns to Nazareth as a hometown boy made good and gets a warm welcome.  But, when he opens his mouth, things turn pretty chilly.

John the Baptist preaches fire and brimstone to the crowd.  To our surprise, they respond, not with fear, but with hope.  What's up with that?

You might that the Son of God would be born in the center of action and power.  But Jesus is born far from the limelight - not where he is expected, but where he is needed.

When the people of Israel return home to Jerusalem, there are many challenges.  But they still have the covenant.  And they are still called to be a blessing to all nations.

When the people of israel return home from exile, it's not what they expect.  But then, it seems, they are not what God expects.  What is the same is God's desire for them and God's love for them.

What do we do when the things we normally use to support our faith are taken from us?  How do we stay connected to God in difficult times?  Daniel provides us an example.

Enmeshed in the events of the day, the great prophets are more poetry than story and they are meant to be read.

Everybody knows about Jonah and the whale.  But what happens next?

With the end of the united kingdom, the figure of the prophet now steps to center stage in the story of Israel.  Meet...Elijah!

Where can we get access to God?  How can we do it?  These are timeless human questions - that have been answered by Jesus.

King David wants to build a house for God.  But - as often happens - God has something much better in mind.

God works in surprising ways with unexpected people.  Do you know these heroes of the Bible?

It doesn't take long for the children of Israel to begin behaving badly.  When God is ready to put them in permanent time-out, Moses steps into the middle of the fight - and an amazing thing happens!

What do we want our children to remember?  And how will they remember it?  A meal is not a bad place to start.

In a world of hurt, it is not merely God's forgiveness, but our forgiveness that brings healing and peace.

When there seem to be no other options, God still acts.  God starts small with the end result far into the future.  God calls Abraham and Sarah and, together, they seek a new future for the world.

When we read the Bible, we often ask, "Is it true?" by which we usually mean, "Did this really happen?"  But the Bible is more interested in helping us understand who we are and how we are to live.  And we can discover this truth when we seek to live out what it teaches us.

When Jesus comes for baptism, it is not what anyone expects. But, while Jesus is all about fulfillment, this is not the last time he does the unexpected.

With all our differences, how do we become one? In marriage? In the church? In God? We look to the love of Jesus revealed in his glory.

We tend to think that God only calls people of great faith, impressive skills and impeccable moral credentials. But - no - over and over again God calls people as they are. And so it is with us!

Can we really see the risen Jesus? Who knows? He may turn up right before your eyes.

An earthquake surprises those at the tomb of Jesus. But it is Jesus' response that creates the more lasting effect on the disciples - and on us!

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. We see it in Jesus. We see it in Lazarus. And we can see it around us.

How do we move from knowing to doing? Jesus the Master Teacher tells us how.

We all have people we disagree with - even in church! How can we get along? As usual, Jesus has a few suggestions.

Do you strive for food and drink and clothing? God has greater things in store for you.

What matters most to you? Is it how others see you? Or is it in doing what God sees?

What assures us that God has not forgotten us? An inner knowing! A mountain top experience? Or just the simple promise of Jesus?.

Jesus challenges to do more than conform to the law. He invites us to become the kind of people who naturally love the way God loves.

What tops Jesus' list of commandments? It's one from the heart - Make friends and seek reconciliation.

Who are we and what are we to do?  Jesus mixes salt and light and comes up with compassion.

The Beatitudes of Jesus are not so much a set of instruction or a list of attitudes, but a promise that God is available to matter what.

Although it may be heard to see sometimes, there is something big going on in the world - and you're invited!

Jesus is tested in the wildnerness. We can learn from him as well.

As we begin to move away from Christmas, questions begin to emerge: Who is Jesus and what is he going to do? For Matthew, it begins with an understanding of the past.

If a newspaper had covered Jesus' birth, what would the headline be?

Jesus is not what we expect. But is he what we need?

Santa needs to pick up some speed. How will he do it? A wise, old elf finds the radical solution.

How do we get ready for the inevitable, but unexpected? Practice, practice, practice.

In the wrap-up to Revelation, it is the White Rider who appears - as the conquered hero and king.

What does it take to be a good steward? All you need is love.

And you thought the Angels defeated the Dragon? It was the Saints.

Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus, but ends up discover who Jesus is for himself.

As with the Exodus, disaster is piled on disaster, but then the mystery of God is revealed.

When the scroll is open, the four horsemen ride herd on the earth. Who can stand in the face of such disasters? Angels and Christians.

John begins his apocalyptic journey in the middle of an eternal worship service - but then things begin to change.

Does your faith need a word of encouragement or a wake up call?  Maybe John of Patmos can help you decide.

While Revelation finishes big, we hear John's main themes even from the beginning.

What is the book of Revelation about? Where is it headed? As usual, God is up to far bigger things than we can imagine..

One simple word drives the story of redemption. One simple word ends it.