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

LFS Refugee & Asylee Volunteer Program

Lutheran Family Services (LFS) Refugee and Asylee Services program is busy preparing to welcome more Afghani families to the Colorado Springs area and will need our help.   At LFS, there are a variety of ways you can volunteer to help refugees. Whether it be compiling welcome baskets or working closely with refugee families themselves, we offer an array of opportunities suited to your specific preferences.

The first step to volunteering with our refugee programs is to review the opportunities available in your area and attend an orientation training session. After you have attended an orientation training, you will need to complete and submit an application and a background check. These forms should not be submitted until after you have attended orientation.

A training session is available this Tuesday, October 5th.  You can learn more and sign up here.

When do we find ourselves surprised by Jesus? 

Jesus certainly surprised his disciples in many of his teachings, interactions, and expectations. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking more deeply into Job and Mark 10 exploring the teachings of Jesus and what they tell us about relationships, wealth and trying to get ahead. I always marvel and how the questions of 2000 years ago are still relevant today. The questions that we struggle with are often the same and what Jesus prescribes in how we journey through those times of struggles and disbelief carries us through today too. 

While we go through this series, we hope that you will look at the places in your life where you have found Jesus speaking to you in unexpected ways. Jesus works in ways that sometimes we do not understand and often ends up leading us to do better and to be better as we come through situations and circumstances of our own doing. I encourage you to look for the ways that Jesus is speaking to you through the scriptures and stories in the coming weeks. What are the unexpected stories of your own life and where do you find Jesus in them? 

Pastor Carrie Baylis

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16

This is the last text in our sermon series “Faith that Works”. It comes down to prayer in this last text, prayer that is life-giving, saving, healing, truth-telling, revealing.  James declares that “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” It made me wonder, how do we know that our prayer is powerful or effective?  It’s not that I don’t believe that to be true, it’s that I want to know how that manifests itself in our daily lives. Do we see the power of prayer in action through the way we behave, the way that we speak, the ways that we care for others?  In a faith that works, prayer is an essential piece of our relationship with God, it’s the piece that connects on a personal level that opens us up to express our brokenness and our joys in ways that reveal our deeper connectedness to a God whose faith works for us.

This text describes the prayer of faith as one that we both receive and one that we share.  When I read these verses, I have also come to understand that sickness is not just a physical ailment, but it perhaps how we can identify sin, that sin in and of itself is a sickness.  When we come before God to pray, we should know that this is our faith in action.  We need an active faith to save the sick and bring forgiveness to the broken, to the sinners. Forgiveness itself, not a free pass or solely an act of grace, but God’s mercy on us as we confess our sins. The author says, “confess your sins to one another,” and pray for one another.  It is in our confession, coupled with prayer that is our faith in action and brings us to the healing mercies of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Carrie Baylis

OWL’s COG Railway Update

The summit parking lot is being paved over the next few days, and those who planned to drive to the summit for our OWL’s trip tomorrow, will not be able to go past Devil’s Playground. This DOES NOT affect those who are riding on the railway! The visitor center will remain open for COG railway passengers and hikers. See you tomorrow!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
-James 4: 7

Whew.  Just those first few verses of this text have left me a little exasperated.  I have never given much thought to negativity being a direct connection to the devil.  Think about how easy it is to slip into negative thoughts which so often turn into negative words or actions.  It makes me wonder what can we do to negate that, how do we choose to keep Christ on our hearts, in our ears and from our mouths.  Some of it might just be some sense of awareness and self-reflection, to remind oneself that Christ would not talk this way or do these things.
I saw a meme recently that makes me chuckle, a subtle reminder of our life situation..

James offers us many reminders of the good that Christ intends for us and that we need to keep those at the forefront of all that we do.  It’s the last few verses of the text that bring us the good news.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Remember that to resist the devil is to embrace our identity as children of God, made in the image of God, and called to live like Christ.  If we humble ourselves surely the devil will be put on the run.

-Pastor Carrie

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