The Installation of Pastor Ron Valadez

Preached at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Clovis, CA
on October 20, 2013

If you’ve installed anything at all lately, it was probably an update for your laptop software.  A patch, I think they call it in the biz.  You know the drill:  first there’s a pop-up message that something new is available.  (Is it just me, or do those always seem to come at the most irritatingly inconvenient moments?)  Then a dialog box:  You will be guided through the necessary steps to install this software…  Licensing agreement.  (Click)  Validating packages.  Writing files. 

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The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Preached at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Wilmington, DE
on September 29, 2013

Weekend Conference: Learning The WAY

Most of Jesus’ parables present us with a problem to be solved or at least a puzzle to be pondered.   But this one seems like a slam dunk, doesn’t it?  How is this rich guy going to get himself into heaven? How is he going to get himself into heaven after a lifetime of treating Lazarus – and I bet a whole lot of other people with whom he came into contact – like a third class citizen?  And

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The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Preached at First Congregational Church, UCC in Elgin, IL
on September 22, 2013

Weekend Conference: Learning The WAY

It’s as if Jesus had just walked in the back door and was talking about us, isn’t it?  Not very kind of me to characterize all of you, my new Elgin friends with such a broad dysfunctional brush stroke, but I’ll own it.  The details might be different, but this parable of Jesus’ is the story of my pathetic life, and the life of the world I live in. Lay aside the plot details, and stop worrying about the money

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The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Preached at Luther College in Decorah, IA
on July 21, 2013

Festival Closing Worship, Lutheran Summer Music

The world we all return to is a world of agony and ecstasy. It seems like slithering on every tree we walk by is a new temptation – Adam and Eve have nothing on us. You are headed home to high schools that are not perfect, to families and communities that might be broken or dysfunctional. None of us has it made. At the same time there will be amazing musical and academic moments ahead. And here is the most amazing thing of all, and perhaps the most complicated: God will be in it all.

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The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Preached at Lutheran Summer Music/Bach Cantata Sunday in Decorah, IA
on July 14, 2013

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Ida Blasser was not going to let us out of our third grade Sunday School class until we got the point.  You have to learn to be like this Good Samaritan.  When people are in need you help them.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think this was a good idea; it’s just that I found it really hard to put into practice.  And it kept getting harder.  It’s still hard.   One of the things that makes it so hard

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The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Series C, RCL

Preached at Lutheran Summer Musc, Luther College in Decorah, IA
on June 30, 2012

It’s so interesting that Jesus underscores the urgency of our living into these qualities by saying that if we look back, if we turn aside from them, we are not “fit” for the kingdom of God. Not fit. It’s an athletic challenge, don’t you think? There’s nothing final or judgmental about it. Jesus simply says we’re not yet in shape. Now is the time for us to get to the spiritual gym, and get toned: well exercised in the athletics of love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and self-control

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The Second Sunday after Pentecost, Series C, RCL

Preached at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, MO
on June 2, 2013

Yesterday, I got locked out of the cathedral. I ate lunch with some of the other participants at the workshop, and then I just needed a shady spot to relax for a few moments.

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Paul’s Final Sunday at PRLC

Preached at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA
on May 19, 2013

Pentecost, Series C

An apprentice to the devil was summoned by Satan for a conference. Your assignment is to go into the world and wreak havoc, the Prince of Darkness instructed. Tell me what you will tell them, he said, to test his young protégé. I will tell them there is no heaven. Satan snickered. They have all staked their lives on heaven. What makes you believe they will listen to you? Then I will tell them there is no God. This time

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The Marriage of Darren Hochstedler and John Bumanglag

Preached at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA
on April 21, 2013

In 2006, a rumor began circulating that on any given day, in any given Starbuck’s, the coffee consumer is faced with a choice of 87,000 different drink possibilities. Clearly, “pour me a coffee” will no longer do. Since then, the number has been both confirmed and denied – by marketing agents inside the company and mathematics geeks outside. But – give me a break – even if the number were only 87 instead of 87,000, that’s still way too many

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Easter 2013

Preached at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA
on March 31, 2013

The Resurrection of Our Lord, Series C

If you’d be interested in going to Mars, then the Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lasdorp is your man. Bas is busy these days planning for a 2023 expedition that his non-profit organization in the Netherlands is organizing for six groups of four people each to make the historic voyage. Any physically and mentally healthy person over 18 can apply, regardless of nationality. A rudimentary knowledge of English is helpful, and applicants must also be willing to dedicate eight years of training

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