Sermons by “Pastor Torgerson”

The Beloved

You know how it works when someone asks you if something is a threat or a promise, right?  Like if you get really mad at someone and you snap at them, “If you don’t knock it off, I will leave right now” and they snark right back, “Is that a threat or a promise?”  Oh, the days are surely coming when my children will use such a line against me, just as I used it against my mother before me.

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A Righteous Man

           There’s hardly a part of the Christmas story that I don’t like.  Angels and shepherds, magi and stables, words of wisdom and stories of wonder – it all plays out in this powerful cosmic story that we get to hear again and again every year.

Even the stories that lead up to the Christmas story fill me with joy and amazement.  I’m always especially drawn to the story from Luke 1 about how Mary finds out she’s pregnant with Jesus. 

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Such A Time As This

This story takes place in a particularly dark time for God’s people.  About a hundred years before, the Israelites were conquered and taken from Judah into exile.  The temple in Jerusalem was demolished.  While the Persian king had recently started allowing Jews to return to their homeland, there was very little to return home to.  Many Jews remained in Persia as strangers in a strange land, trying to obey God and live their lives in exile.

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Dwell With You

I’ve heard more and more from people about a series of articles the Star Tribune has been running since this summer called “Test of Faith: The Unchurching of America”[1].  It focuses on the stories behind the trends that church professionals and religious writers have been raising alarm bells about for probably thirty years: the church is shrinking

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“My God, My Rock”

“The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.”  The Psalmist describes something that we have felt in our own lives. Death is everywhere.  No matter what I did or where I looked, all I could see was death.  Death keeps winning.

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Truth And Power

            For me to tell you about the thing David did that displeased God, I have to tell you about who David is in the first place.  Last week, we heard how Joshua led God’s people into a renewed commitment to the God who had brought them out of slavery in Egypt and into victory in the land God promised them.

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Go

    Hey, I don’t want to freak you out, but you’re not safe here.  Did that sound a little ominous?  Good, because I meant it to.  I mean, don’t panic, but what you just heard, and what it means, and what it says God does in our lives?  That’s not safe.  God’s call to Abram, who God will later rename Abraham, it’s not a call to security or prosperity or reliability or stability.  If you want to stay safe in your faith, you’re not gonna like this.

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Strengthen Your Hearts

Yesterday, Arizona Senator John McCain was laid to rest.  I didn’t always agree with him or his politics, but then, there’s never been a politician I can say that about.  I can say that I had respect for his intellect, service to country, personal morality, and leadership.  Someone who spent six years as a prisoner of war and twice lost on achieving his highest professional ambition must know something about suffering, endurance, and patience.

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The Testing of Your Faith

For two months, you’ve been hearing sermons about faith practices.  Faith practices are those actions and habits that are not only a means to themselves, but also have the effect of building faith like a muscle every time they’re practiced.  We’ve talked together about practices like doing devotional readings, being immersed in reading scripture, and making the choice to be generous both with your money and your time. These faith practices are essential to an active, engaged, meaningful Christian life.

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