Pastor Travis Norton

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.” Revelation 21:3 

Happy Thanksgiving and blessed Advent! The holidays are here! I hope you had a great time eating and drinking with family and friends. I hope you felt grateful and returned thanks to God for all that He has given you. I know I am grateful for each of you. I’m grateful to get out of my room and back out in the world after my covid isolation. Thank you for the cards and kind words. 

This Sunday we enter into Advent and our new sermon series, Dwell With Us. When the senior staff and I were developing the theme several months ago we didn’t know what the state of the pandemic would be when we got to Advent. I had this image in my mind of a raging storm outside and a family of faith riding it out together. As we looked through scripture, this phrase “God’s dwelling place is now among the people” jumped out at us. For us it’s a prayer to God and a petition to one another. “Dwell with us?” or “Dwell with us!” 

As a prayer we ask God to weather the storm with us. Knowing that if God is present the dangers that lurk around cannot overcome us. As a petition to one another it is an invitation to remember our unity in the face of those threats that otherwise might tear us from one another. It’s a simple phrase, ‘Dwell with us’, that evokes a quiet waiting and just being together. I’m reminded of a Winne the Pooh cartoon where Piglet sidles up to Pooh and calls him by name. Pooh responds ‘yes, Piglet?’ to which Piglet says, “nothing, I just wanted to be sure of you.” Dwell with us is a call to one another to just be there so we can take comfort from one another’s presence. There’s nothing to do, but being together is important nonetheless.

The storm of the pandemic is still raging around us, but we are united and strong in our faith. We’ve lost some core members recently and we grieve together. We come together again during the holidays to do old things in new ways. But we do it together. So, let me invite you to dwell with us this Advent and Christmas. Be with your church family. Sings the songs of faith. Pray the prayers and trust that God dwells with us too.  

-Pastor Travis Norton

“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
-Revelation 1: 4 & 5

This is likely one of my favorite greetings addressed to the readers, to a community, in the bible.  The notion that Jesus was, is, and is to come gives me comfort that anything we are facing, Jesus has already faced, that he is with us and will be for those who are still to come.  Nothing provides the certainty that Jesus does, his kingdom is of both earth and heaven and reigns with grace and truth.

Christ the King Sunday is upon us, the church year is coming to an end, and we are preparing for the world to turn.  It’s my hope that as we reflect on this past year we can find the ways and places that our faith has been strengthened through Jesus.  That going into this new year we are filled with hope for all that is to come, but especially for a Savior who is, who was, and who is to come.  Where will you witness to Christ in the new year?  How will our community grow together as we enter into a new season of hope?  Come, dwell with us, as we await the coming of a King.

-Pastor Carrie

Pastor Travis Norton

“For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 

Every year I preach a stewardship sermon prior to our annual pledge drive or ingathering of commitments. And everyone seems to recognize that it needs to be done, although it’s not something we look forward to. I remember one year someone shaking my hand on the way out of worship and saying something like “nice money sermon.” Honestly, I probably should preach about money more often than I do. Jesus certainly talked about it a lot more than we do in worship. We should talk more about it because our money is so connected to our hearts. Touch your wallet or your purse and pay attention to the feelings that wash over you. Gratitude, fear, joy, insecurity, pride, shame etc. Everything we do with our money is spiritual for better or worse. Jesus sees our hearts and the truth just as he did with the widow. We’ll talk more on Sunday about our wallets and our hearts. Bring both.

-Pastor Travis

OWL’s (Older Wiser Lutherans) Meet Again!

Space Foundation Discovery Center
Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Meet at the church at 9:00 a.m., depart 9:15 a.m.; Cost: $7.50
Our lunch stop will be at Marigold Café & Bakery. Please choose your entrée during sign-up.
Please sign up here or call the church at 719.632.8836 to sign up. Deadline for sign-up
is TODAY Monday, November 8, 2021.

Here are some photos from the last outing the OWL’s went on to Weidner Field in October.

Revelation 21:1-6 and John 11:32-44

Each year we recognize the first of November as All Saints Day.  We remember the beloved’s  that have died and now make their home with Jesus.  The pain of losing a loved one is fresh and raw for many, and for others it is an ache that remembers the past yet takes comfort in the resurrection promise received.  Take some time this week and remember all the saints that have had an impact on you, those who were forebears of your faith.

Here I share with you a few verses from For All the Saints, text written by William W. How, a most appropriate hymn for this week:

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever bless’d.
Alleluia, alleluia!

But lo! There breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array,
as God to glory calls them all away.
Alleluia, alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
all praising Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Alleluia, alleluia!

-Pastor Carrie

Pastor Travis Norton

“For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.” Romans 3:28 

Romans 3 is always the appointed text for Reformation Sunday, which we will celebrate this coming Sunday, October 31. But when I read through Romans and think through the reformation, I must confess that it doesn’t rouse my passion. On the surface it feels like an intellectual argument better left to theologians. Are we saved by works or by grace…we hold that… etc. etc. I think we need to a better job showing how our theology of salvation by grace works in real life. I remember a dying woman asking me if God approved of her. She still had in her head, this idea, that she had to earn God’s favor by living a certain kind of life. At the end of the day, we all look at our lives and recognize that if we’re saved by works then we’re sunk! So, I reminded her of the good news that our faith is founded on, the good news she’d heard all her life in the Lutheran church. God approves of you, loves you, cherishes you and welcomes you into his Kingdom because of who God is and what Jesus has done. Your salvation is a gift to be received by faith. She believed and she died in faith and at peace.

-Pastor Travis

New Adult Seminar!

Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence
Lead by Pastor Ralph Anderson
October 17 – November 21
9:30am, Fireside Room

Who in the world is Jesus? Most of us can answer that question in a variety of ways, some very personal. Some based on what we’ve been told. Some have come from our studies, from what we’ve read. We know the stories, the experiences of others, the history of the Church.

He stands at the very core of the Christian Faith. Over 2000 years of history have helped define him. Even people of other faith traditions say that he is an important religious figure. The Muslims, for example. Many of us feel that if all followed Jesus the world would be a better place.

Diana Butler Bass, a well known theologian, helps us understand Jesus in some fresh new ways in her book, Freeing Jesus, which I recommend purchasing in advance. Out of her own experience she helps us understand and embrace the Jesus of history and faith. 

Come join us for six Sunday mornings of her reflections, beginning on October 17 at 9:30 AM in the Fireside Room: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence.

Pastor Travis Norton

When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  -Mark 10-47-48

They told him to be quiet. I understand why. Imagine you’re a follower of Jesus and someone comes and starts yelling and causing a scene. Wouldn’t your impulse be to protect Jesus, get the noise maker out of there? Of course the issue is that we see the world and people differently than Jesus does. Jesus sees every person as a person, not as a problem or an issue. I wonder how much our society would change if we learned how to see every person as an individual loved by God? What does it look like to see people as people and not problems?

-Pastor Travis

Pastor Travis Norton

“Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” -Jesus

We read that line a lot in the church. Whenever we install anyone to an official position from pastor to lay Professional, to council or Sunday school teacher. When we send someone on a mission trip we say these words of Jesus. We have this value as Christians that we serve each other, that we treat others as higher than ourselves. We need constant reminding because it is so easy to think we are owed thanks, recognition or respect in exchange for our service. We think we are owed or should be paid in some way because that is the way of the world. Jesus said it to his disciples; that among the Gentiles those who are rulers “lord it over them.” I think about myself when I read those words of Jesus and wonder if I ever give anything to anyone without some thought of what I might get in return. I have a long way to go to learn how to be a Christian. How about you?

-Pastor Travis

Mark 10: 17-31

Jesus flat out turns to the disciples and calls them children.  Now perhaps this is endearing in how he is speaking to them, but maybe it’s not.  I’m sure it is frustrating for them too, they have left what they had and are following Jesus, trying to live as he asks them, watching him embrace the people on the margins and break the earthly rules that they have always been taught to live by, and now he is telling them that it still not possible for them to enter into eternal life without even more emptying of all that they have.
How disconcerting to think that nothing they will do is enough for them to get into heaven. Probably the most famous line in this text comes from verse 27, Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

The comfort of this verse is that God is with us too, that God is the way to eternal life, that our promise of joining the heavenly kingdom doesn’t come from the rules that we live by or the tasks that we complete but by the love and grace of God.  This text presents us with more things that we are asked to give up, the question I have to ask myself is not what am I going to lose by giving up things that I might be accustomed to or that bring me comfort, but what are others going to gain by using what I have for good?

-Pastor Carrie

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