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  • Sermonette: June 24, 2024

    Pastor Jeff Halvorson|Jun 24, 2024

    Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ. This week we continue our survey of the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels. Having covered Matthew and Mark, we move onto Luke. Luke is the longest and most comprehensive of the Gospels. It is possible Luke was a Jew but most likely he was a Gentile. This would make him the only Gentile author in our New Testament. He was a physician. He traveled with the apostle Paul for much of his journeys and Paul referred to Luke as “the beloved physician." Luke has also been regarded as a noted h...

  • Living on Purpose: Thoughts on abundant living

    Billy Holland|Jun 24, 2024

    One of the more popular verses about blessings in the New Testament is John 10:10. We notice Christ is speaking: “The thief does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But, I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” This statement is a wonderful promise of confidence, as it generally describes how the devil is evil and is trying to destroy us, and that God is always good and desires for us to be victorious representatives of His glorious kingdom. You would thi...

  • Sermonette: June 17, 2024

    Jeff Halvorson|Jun 17, 2024

    Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ. A quick review in case you were unable to read last week's Sermonette. I've changed my style of writing these messages somewhat for this series and will be presenting a review of the four Gospels in our New Testament. Last week we discussed Matthew's Gospel. We talked about that Matthew's intended audience was mainly the Jewish people. His main focus was to assure them that Christ was indeed one of them. Matthew points out that Jesus was born into a Jewish family and raised in accordance with Jewish...

  • Sermonette: June 10, 2024

    Pastor Jeff Halvorson|Jun 10, 2024

    Usually my writings for these Sermonette articles are on the informal side. I try to take everyday-type experiences and tie them into our faith and responsibilities as Christian people. I'm changing things up a bit for this series and will be discussing the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If it plays out the way I'm thinking it may seem more like a Bible study series than what you are used to reading from me. If you decide that you don't like this path, just let me know and I'll go back to my previous type of articles. I should note here...

  • Sermonette: June 3, 2024

    Pastor Jeff Halvorson|Jun 3, 2024

    June is a month of change. Colleges and high schools have had their graduations. The college graduates are no longer students. They are either already in or are seeking a place in the work force. High school graduates are approaching adulthood wondering what the future holds in store for them. Will they be seeking full-time jobs or perhaps a summertime job until fall? Will they be going on to college or military service? Maybe just staying at home or working on the home farm until they make up their minds is their plan. For other students and...

  • Sermonette: Esther 4:14

    Pastor Joe Greiner|May 27, 2024

    A couple of months ago, I was working through Esther for Sunday School when I discovered an extremely powerful verse I didn’t know existed. The passage occurs at the most important point of the entire story. Esther, a Jewish woman, has risen to be the brand new queen of Persia, and her uncle/adopted father Mordecai has discovered a plot to wipe out all the Jews in the Persian empire. He comes to her and begs that she intercede on behalf of her people. Esther is, unsurprisingly, hesitant. The previous queen was disposed of for merely d...

  • Youth affirm baptism at First Lutheran Church

    May 27, 2024

    On Sunday, May 19, the people of First Lutheran Church celebrated with 13 young people as they confirmed their faith in Jesus and said "yes" to the God who said "yes" to them in Holy Baptism. This milestone day was the culmination of three years of learning, service and Christian fellowship through the church's LiFT! Confirmation Program. Areas of study included Martin Luther and the Reformation, the Apostle Paul and the early church, Lutheran theology, and a deep dive into the teachings and...

  • Sermonette: Esther

    Pastor Joe Greiner|May 20, 2024

    At church and among fellow church people, there are a lot of discussion circles around what our favorite books of the Bible are. What books of the Bible do we find easy and fulfilling to read or have spoken to us? We like to compare and contrast our favorite list with other Christians, and see what other people think. Along with this, however, many of us avid Bible readers have a list of our least favorite books of the Bible. These are the books that we don’t like to read, and we don’t get excited about when the pastor chooses to preach fro...

  • Sermonette: Gideon

    Pastor Joe Greiner|May 13, 2024

    You might find this strange, but I don’t have a favorite passage of scripture. I know this is kind of odd, especially coming from a pastor, but my favorite parts of the Bible aren’t specific verses; rather I enjoy a certain type of passage. Instead of having favorite memory verses, I particularly enjoy any passage of scripture where a human has a discussion with God. Adam and Eve, Moses, Job, the entire book of Habakkuk, and even when Jesus debates with the Jews. I find so much depth and truth reading examples where man has shaken his fist at...

  • Sermonette: An appearance of Godliness

    Pastor Joe Greiner|May 6, 2024

    Check out this gem of a verse I noticed the other day. In his 2nd letter to Timothy, Paul warns Timothy of how people will be in the last days. There’s a lot to this verse, but focus on the penultimate phrase in the list. "For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance o...

  • The Resurrection: a beacon of hope in spring

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Apr 29, 2024

    As we move through spring and turn our gaze toward summer, we are reminded of the profound connection between these seasons of renewal and the central event of our faith – the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In the midst of blooming flowers, lengthening days and the promise of new beginnings, we find echoes of the eternal hope that springs forth from Christ's triumph over sin and death. The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:20, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fall...

  • Sermonette: Parable themes in Mark's gospel

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Apr 22, 2024

    What is the definition of a parable? Well, if you google this question you get several thousand answers. For the purpose of this article, let’s define a parable this way: A parable is a story told by Jesus that draws us into it and communicates something important that connects to our own lives. Telling parables was Jesus’ favorite way to teach his disciples. Was it the most direct form of communication? Not really, but maybe that was the point. Parables invite us to wrestle and wonder and seek God’s wisdom as we enter the story. Jesus tells...

  • Sermonette: Fear and faith

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Apr 15, 2024

    There is much for Americans to be fearful about these days; economic concerns, gun violence, the threat of terrorism, global pandemics, loss of faith in our government, the growing negative impact of AI and worldwide armed conflict to name a few. Some blame the media for overstating the danger we are in. Some blame the government and politicians. And some don’t feel the need to blame anyone because they believe all the fear is unwarranted. Wherever one falls on the spectrum of belief and blame, it is safe to say that we indeed are living in a...

  • Sermonette: Peace be with you

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Apr 8, 2024

    When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven...

  • Sermonette: The world has been moved

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Apr 1, 2024

    I have a good pastor friend named Scott who recently taught me about someone named Archimedes. Now some of you might know of Archimedes, but I had not. Well, maybe I had heard his name in seventh grade, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of him since then! Scott taught me that he is the most famous of the Ancient Greek mathematicians, and that he famously said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” More info I just learned: A lever is one of the 6 types of simple machines – those machines...

  • Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust: Block 3 – St. John's Cemetery: Part IV of IV

    Kathy O'Connor|Apr 1, 2024

    This is a continuation of Block 3 of St. John's Cemetery. This part includes the final five of the 12 unmarked graves in Block 3 – Joe Burke, Thomas Georges, Mrs. John Pottner, Martin C. Connelly and Martin J. Connelly. Joe Burke: Joe Burke was born Aug. 24, 1863 in Hastings, Minn. to parents Thomas and Bridget Burke. In the 1910 census, Joe was a single man living in Eddy Township, Eddy County, N.D., being a hired man for Andreas Odegard and his wife Mabel. In the 1930 census, Joe was in the village of Minnewaukan, N.D. at the Benson County j...

  • Sermonette: It is finished and new life has begun

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Mar 25, 2024

    Jesus said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30 Now, if this is where our story stopped, we would not be living as people of the resurrection. We would be stunted at the crossroads, having no clue where to go and what to do. We would not know who we are or where we were going. But thanks be to God, that is not where our story ends, that is just the beginning. God does something miraculous through Jesus Christ, so we are able to shout with joy-filled hearts on Easter Sunday, "CHRIST IS RISEN!" He is no...

  • Sermonette: Hosanna in the highest

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Mar 18, 2024

    As we approach the beginning of Holy Week, our hearts are filled with anticipation and reverence for the profound journey that lies ahead. Palm Sunday marks the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, a moment of celebration and jubilation for the people gathered there. Yet, woven within the palm branches and shouts of "Hosanna!" lies a deeper significance – a reminder of the paradoxical nature of Jesus' mission and our own call to remain humble in the midst of our complicated world. As we wave our palm branches and join in the chorus of p...

  • Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

    Kathy O'Connor|Mar 18, 2024

    This is a continuation of Block 3 of St. John's Cemetery. This part includes three more of the 12 unmarked graves in Block 3 – John Monahan, Alice DeGree and Crescentia Weimals. John Monahan: John Monahan was born in September of 1853 in Ireland. The 1900 census states that he immigrated in 1883 and was living in Superior Township, Eddy County, N.D. and owned their own farmhouse. Living with him was his wife Catherine and six children; Rose, Susie and Lizzie, all born in Ireland, Kathryn, born in Ohio, and Edward and Mary born in North D...

  • Sermonette: Should we get what we deserve?

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Mar 11, 2024

    Grumbling seems to be a part of our human nature. We see it way back in the Old Testament, when the Israelites grumbled, telling Moses they would have been better off if they had stayed slaves in Egypt. In chapter 20 of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard workers and there is lots of grumbling there too! They grumble because they are convinced that they are not getting what they deserve. Their gripe is made clear in verse 10, where we read, “They thought they would receive more.” Clint Eastwood was in a movie back in th...

  • Sermonette: We believe. So what?

    Pastor Amy Kippen|Mar 4, 2024

    Several years back. I was leading a youth summer trip to Montana. After riding all day on our charter bus, we finally reached our destination. As we were unloading all our stuff from the bus into the church building, I passed by the front doors several times. On each there was a decal with a cross that said, “We Believe.” That’s nice, I thought. But as I passed it again and again, something happened. I have no idea why on this particular day, when I had certainly seen and said the words “we believe” thousands of times in my life, my mind form...

  • Living on Purpose: It's time to do some spring cleaning

    Billy Holland|Feb 26, 2024

    Do you believe there is such a thing as good and evil, God and Satan? When something good happens do you thank God because you believe He blessed you? What about when something bad happens? In Jeremiah 29:11 the God of the Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Looking at this carefully, we notice that our life was mapped out before we were born, and our creator had every intention to...

  • Living on Purpose: When emotions attempt to control us

    Billy Holland|Feb 19, 2024

    How often do you hear it's not what happens to us, but how we respond? We know we will face trials in this life, so it only makes sense to prepare how we are going to react when they arrive. The way we perceive develops our thoughts and views, but what if our thoughts are wrong? The most important factor to prevent our emotions from controlling us is to realize we decide what we think about. When we bow down to our feelings they become our master. The Bible demands for our mind to be renewed...

  • Sermonette: Run the race

    Pastor Joe Greiner|Feb 19, 2024

    Currently in Sunday school at my church, we are working through the Book of Acts. This week, we arrived at Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders in chapter 20. In verse 24, Paul states that his entire difficult life will be worth it if only he can finish the race. This struck me because I am a runner. I did a quick word search and found that Paul talks about his run and/or race nine separate times across eight different letters! This was surprising to me that Paul uses the reference so many different places. Obviously, the ‘running the rac...

  • Living on Purpose: Grace that is greater than all our sin

    Billy Holland|Feb 12, 2024

    Since you were conceived God has wanted your attention. He has never neglected or ignored you. If you were to write down all the blessings and victories He has given over the years, they would prove He has been guiding and helping you all along. How could any of us even consider we were created by chance? The truth is that God specifically called you and has many wonderful things planned for your future. You are His masterpiece. I’ve noticed in my life, that even though I know these things a...

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