The God of Love And Justice :: Romans 3:21-26

Joshua Skogerboe

6/18/17

Description:We tackle a meaty text today - one of the most important texts in the whole Bible. It confronts and addresses what may be the PRIMARY PROBLEM of the Bible, which is, "How can a holy, righteous, just God ALSO be merciful, kind, and loving to rebellious sinners like us?"How can God be both a God of love AND justice?

The Promise is For You :: Acts 2:22-41

Joshua Skogerboe

6/11/17

Description:This text follows last week's Pentecost Sunday telling of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today, we look into the event that immediately followed - Peter's great sermon to the crowd on the temple steps, where 3000 souls were saved. This stands as an archetype for us of what it means to become a Christian.

The Fire of God :: Acts 2:1-12

Joshua Skogerboe

6/4/17

Description:Penetecost Sunday. In a moment the Church of God became connected to God by the indwelling Holy Spirit, something never before experienced. As we read about the way God sent His Spirit to the believers in Jerusalem that day, we see some of what it means to live in the fullness of the Spirit now.

Resist the Devil :: 1 Peter 5:6-11

Joshua Skogerboe

5/28/17

Description:The devil is real.Not a cartoon in a red suit and horns. Not a fairy tale. He is an active enemy of the Church. Like a lion... hunting us. So be courageous, and be ready. Stand firm in the faith.Peter tells us, know your enemy. Know your strategy. And know your God.

Dangerous Prayers :: Send Me

Joshua Skogerboe

5/21/17

Description:Whenever. Wherever. However. I am AVAILABLE God. The answer is YES... now what are you calling me to do?SEND ME. This is a very dangerous prayer. To surrender yourself to God before you know what He will ask of you... that's the sign of a surrendered heart. But how do we get there? To this place of devotion and trust?When we genuinely encounter the presence of God, we recognize our sinfulness, and we understand the depth of God's life-changing grace, the devil better get ready... we're coming.

Dangerous Prayers :: Change Me

Joshua Skogerboe

5/14/17

Description:Ephesians 4:17-24When we talk about CHANGE in church there seems to be an even split between those who say, "NO - leave me alone" and those who say "YES - but I don't know HOW." Paul gives us some insight here. There is a holy balance between the HARD WORK we must do, and the transformative reshaping of our heart and mind that only God can do for us. Both are necessary. But it starts today with a dangerous prayer... Lord, CHANGE ME.

Dangerous Prayers :: Break Me

Joshua Skogerboe

5/7/17

Description:Mark 14:3-9, 22-25Why would we EVER pray that? The most dangerous of prayers... Break me, Lord.Because God's highest priority ISN'T our COMFORT. God has made us to grow - into greater and greater maturity and deeper and deeper Christlikeness. And sometimes those deep, life-transforming blessings only come on the other side of BROKENNESS. Trust the One who loves you the most.

Dangerous Prayers :: Search Me

Joshua Skogerboe

4/23/17

Description:Psalm 139:23-24Today we embark on the dangerous path. Most of our prayers are way too SAFE. But these prayers are anything but. These prayers are DANGEROUS, because they come at a cost. They will cause discomfort, self-examination, humility, dependence, submission.Today we pray with King David, "Search me..."

I AM :: The Resurrection + The LIFE!

Joshua Skogerboe

4/16/17

Description:EASTER MORNINGThe resurrection isn't an event. It's a PERSON. And when Jesus Christ walks into the room, dead things don't stay dead.

Good Friday :: I AM

Joshua Skogerboe

4/14/17

Description:ego emi -- Jesus said these two little Greek words many many times in the book of John. He applied them to Himself, declaring his divinity with the words "I AM." On this Good Friday night, we see how they lead us from our fears and failures to the cross.

What Kind of KING is This? :: Luke 19:29-40

Joshua Skogerboe

4/9/17

Description:Palm Sunday.This was a game changer. As Jesus entered Jerusalem with a shouting, worshipping throng, He left no doubt that He was coming as a King. But not just any King...

I AM :: The True Vine

Joshua Skogerboe

4/5/17

Description:John 15:1-11 -- Jesus invites his disciples to stay connected to Him through His love and through His Word, in order that He might be our life-source forever. If we do, His promise to us is that our lives will be FULL of God-honoring evidence of His influence. And like any good Father, He loves us too much to allow us to remain immature and self-centered. His discipline is for our good.NOTE: Audio from a video by The Skit Guys called "God's Chisel." To order your own copy visit >> https://skitguys.com/videos/item/gods-chisel

Genesis 49 :: The Blessing of Jacob and the Lion of Judah

Joshua Skogerboe

4/2/17

Description:Genesis 49:1-2, 8-12 :: Jacob is on his deathbed. He gathers his sons around him, the patriarchs of the future twelve tribes of the nation of Israel, and he prophesies over each of them. Some blessings. Some curses. But the truth."And Judah," he says, "From your bloodline shall come the Kings of Israel, and eventually One whose reign will span the whole of the earth for all of time." A Lion is coming...

I AM :: The Way + Truth + Life

Joshua Skogerboe

3/29/17

Description:John 14:6 -- "I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."This may be the most controversial statement in the whole Bible.Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only available rescue from hell? Because at the end of the day what really matters isn't whether or not His Gospel is FAIR, but whether or not it might possibly be TRUE.

Genesis 42-45 :: The Redemption of Judah

Joshua Skogerboe

3/26/17

Description:Joseph is overseeing a massive food relief effort during a time of unprecedented crop failure in the known world. Even the nations surrounding Egypt are coming to him to keep from starving. This is what leads to an intense reunion with his brothers, who don't recognize him... the brother they beat and stripped and sold into slavery many years ago.We focus today on these brothers and the trial they are put through by Joseph, and ultimately, by God. And we especially note the transformation of one brother... Judah.How does God change a man? What process does He use to get to a man's core and break it open? We learn something about His love for us in the redemption of Judah.

I AM :: The Good Shepherd

Joshua Skogerboe

3/22/17

Description:John 10 and Psalm 23In this latest I AM proclamation, Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. Those who live around sheep can tell you that they get lost easily, they're vulnerable, stubborn, and filthy. SHEEP NEED a SHEPHERD... just like WE need a SAVIOR.

Genesis 40 and 41 :: Implications

Joshua Skogerboe

3/19/17

Description:Something we don't usually think about: choices we make today sometimes have ENORMOUS implications down the road that are IMPOSSIBLE to see in the present moment.We learn from the life of Joseph... Speak truth. Honor God. Walk humbly. Reflect grace.

I AM :: The Door of the Sheep

Joshua Skogerboe

3/15/17

Description:Lent 2017 :: John 10:1-10Jesus is teaching his disciples in the presence of a pack of wolves... Pharisees and self-appointed religious leaders who trample on the people under their care to secure their own power and position. "Thieves and robbers," Jesus calls them.There is an enemy at work today, too. There are wolves outside the walls. But we thank God for the safety of His protection. As long as you enter by the one and only DOOR, you'll find refuge in here, too...

Genesis 39 :: Our Weakness and Our Strength

Joshua Skogerboe

3/12/17

Description:The next chapter in the story of Joseph is a lesson for us in dealing with TEMPTATION. Whatever you struggle hardest with... whatever you consider your own personal Kryptonite... Genesis 39 has some insight for you. So you can RESIST that temptation and ultimately OVERCOME it, in the strength of Jesus' blood leveraged on your behalf.The temptation of POWER defeated. The temptation of SEX defeated. The temptation to DESPAIR defeated. Jesus offers something BETTER.

I AM :: The Light of the World

Joshua Skogerboe

3/8/17

Description:Lent 2017. This year we are focusing on the various "I AM" statements of Jesus in the book of John.Tonight, we reflect on his declaration in John 8:12 and John 9:5... "I AM the light of the world..." A statement of HOPE for those who feel ashamed and lost and trapped in the darkness. Those days are over for you if you hear His voice and believe His words... "Neither do I condemn you."

Baptism :: God's Saving Work

Joshua Skogerboe

3/5/17

Description:Baptism 101. From a Lutheran theological position, this is what our church believes about Baptism in a nut shell.The first question to ask on our faith journey is, "Is a clean slate NECESSARY?" In other words, "Do I need forgiveness? Am I sinful?" And does the Bible actually say that EVERYBODY is guilty of sin - even perfect, cute, innocent-looking new babies?Today we answer those questions and help our church family understand God's gift of BAPTISM as a starting point of faith in Jesus Christ.

Genesis 37 :: The Unseen Reality of God's Better Story

Joshua Skogerboe

2/26/17

Description:The first 36 chapters of Genesis cover thousands of years of history. But then the pace slows, and beginning at chapter 37, God focuses our attention on the story of one man, Joseph, for thirteen chapters.Today begins a look into the life of Joseph, with the story of his dreams, his robe of many colors, and his jealous brothers who sold him off into servitude in Egypt. No hero's story looks like this. Unless this story's hero isn't visible in the story yet...Whether we know it or not, Church, God is writing His story through us. And more often than not, much of the bigger picture is unseen by the characters in it. Trust the Author.

Genesis 32:22-30 :: Wrestling God

Joshua Skogerboe

2/19/17

Description:Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham has been wrestling his whole life. Striving to receive the blessing of God without understanding what that blessing really looks like. Since before he was born, his contention has been with his brother Esau. Until one night alone in the dark, he wrestles a stranger until the sun is about to come up. And in one moment of clarity, Jacob's life is changed forever.Our life-changing encounters with God must happen on His terms. Otherwise, we will spend our lives wrestling and not gaining any ground.

Genesis 28:10-22 :: Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Joshua Skogerboe

2/12/17

Description:Jacob was the son of Isaac, son of Abraham. He is on a journey north from Beersheba to Harran when he stops for the night. He dreams of angels and hears from the Lord at a place called BETHEL. With a command from God to return to this place, Jacob vows to return... only he stops short. 20 miles short. Close enough right? He's like, 95% committed to obey the Lord. No big deal?Sin is subtle, and it carries sometimes unknown and far reaching consequences. Is it possible that living 95% committed to the Lord is really not being committed to Him at all?

Genesis 21 and 22 :: A Promise, a Son, a Lamb, and a Mountain

Joshua Skogerboe

2/5/17

Description:This was our entrance back into the book of GENESIS - a great reminder of the UNITY of the Scriptures, that all tell the redemption story of God, centered on the life and death and resurrection of God's Son, Jesus Christ.Today, we reflect on the birth and "almost sacrifice" of Isaac, Abraham's promised son. And we see that one of the most well known and studied stories in all of ancient literature points squarely at the coming Messiah.

Foolishness and Power :: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Joshua Skogerboe

1/29/17

Description:Why is it when we talk about Jesus some people receive it like a tall drink of cold water on a hot day, and other people can hardly tolerate it? To some, the story of the cross is the POWER of God. To others, it is foolishness. Why is that?The answer lies in the CALL of God.

This Is What We Do :: Forgive Without Limits :: Matthew 18:21-35

Joshua Skogerboe

1/22/17

Description:Part three of a three part series laying out just what it is that we DO when the church bumps into the culture and invites people IN.And this one is a doosie. This one is the hardest. This one might be impossible...But we have the heart-transforming power of Christ that can do anything in and through us. So this is what we do... we forgive without limits. We really do. Just as God forgives our ongoing nonsense, tantrums, and power grabs. Come experience what a clean slate really means.

This is What We Do :: Love Without Condition :: John 13:34-35

Joshua Skogerboe

1/15/17

Description:Week Two of a three week series declaring what we do as a local church, desiring to make disciples in our neighborhood.We LOVE without condition.We can do a lot of things well, but if we fail to do this, we are failing. Come and experience love here, as soon as you walk in the door, no matter your back story, no matter your color, gender, job, address, sexual orientation, political affiliation... no matter WHAT. We want to love people like Jesus loved.So come to church. We love you already.

This Is What We Do :: Welcome Without Judgment :: Luke 7:36-50

Joshua Skogerboe

1/8/17

Description:Today we begin a partnership with Harvest Bible Chapel, Vertical Church Films, and a number of other like-minded, disciple-making churches as we begin a new series about the way our church interacts with our neighbors called "This Is What We Do."Following the lead of Pastor James MacDonald from Harvest, we embrace three Biblical, Christ-like imperatives... we welcome without judgment, we love without condition, and we forgive without limit. To be all that God has called His bride to be in 2017 and the years ahead, we must stand on these principles. THIS IS WHAT WE DO.Our thanks to Harvest and Vertical Church Films for their partnership. We are looking forward to the January 20 theatrical release of "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone," which reflects this theme so well.For more information on the #GavinStoneMovie, visit http://www.resurrectionofgavinstonemovie.com/For moreinformation on Harvest Bible Chapel and the "This is What We Do" series, visit http://thisiswhatwedo.church/

Help

Pastor Cliff Hoper

1/1/17

Description:At the start of a new year, Pastor Hoper talks to us about one of the most important prayers we can pray.

We Have Come to Know and Believe :: 1 John 4:9-16

Joshua Skogerboe

12/25/16

Description:"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him." -1 John 4:9Christmas morning! A perfect day to see what the Bible teaches us about the nature, purpose, and result of LOVE.

Come to Worship (Christmas Eve 2016) :: Bend Your Knees

Joshua Skogerboe

12/24/16

Description:Part four of four, tonight we reflect on the call from "O Holy Night" to "Fall on your knees..."As the wisemen did. As everyone who has ever seen God for who He is has done since the beginning of time. God doesn't command us to bow before Him, because He knows that when we truly see Him, bowing will be the immediate, reflexive response of every heart to the overwhelming power and glory He exudes.But this message is His INVITATION. Come to the manger, behold your King, and bend your knees before a God who loves you.

Come To Worship (Advent 2016) :: Pour Out Your Heart

Joshua Skogerboe

12/18/16

Description:One of the great miracles of our relationship with God Almighty is the reality that He allows us to come to Him - WELCOMES us, even - with our honest thoughts and feelings. Our deepest cares and concerns and frustrations. Even our anger. And our questions. He knows us already anyway. He knows our hearts. So He says, COME TO ME, and POUR OUT YOUR HEART as an act of worship.And as you do, you may begin to see His steadfast love for you in ways you didn't expect. Faithful in the past, and good in our present moment, we can TRUST HIM with our future, too.

Come to Worship (Advent 2016) :: Bring Your Gifts

Joshua Skogerboe

12/11/16

Description:The second of a four-part series exploring our postures of worship for Advent. This week we see the wisemen, at the end of their 900 mile journey from Persia, coming face to face with Mary and Jesus... and they bring GIFTS to Him.One powerful way we worship our Savior is by bringing our gifts. Our time. Our talents. Our treasures. But more important than WHAT we give to the King, is the WAY we bring our gifts... May you find yourself inclined to give yourself to the newborn King this Christmas with great JOY. A Savior has been born to YOU - He is Christ the Lord!

Come to Worship (Advent 2016) :: Lift Your Hands

Joshua Skogerboe

11/27/16

Description:This is the start of a new message series for Advent 2016 that invites us to join with the wise men and shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and the angels at the birth of Jesus. Come to WORSHIP.Today we examine the first posture or expression of worship with "Lift Your Hands" What does it mean to express with our hands what is in our hearts? And why does God take delight in our upraised hands?

Truffles, the Cubs, and an Amp That Goes to Eleven :: Titus 2:11-14

Joshua Skogerboe

11/13/16

Description:What happens when you "get saved"? Becoming a Christian is transformational on many levels. Jesus changes your values. He changes the way you face the future. And He floods your life with purpose and passion.So if you're a skeptic, this is a good one for you. God loves you, whether you know it or not.

That You May Know :: Ephesians 1:15-23

Joshua Skogerboe

11/6/16

Description:God must reveal Himself to us before we can experience the HOPE, RICHES, and POWER available to us through relationship with Jesus Christ.

Worthy of His Calling

Joshua Skogerboe

10/30/16

Description:Paul writes to the believers in Thessalonica, a healthy congregation, growing in faith and love. He's proud of them. And his prayer for the church reveals for us what it means to walk in deep and ongoing communion with God.

Keep the Faith :: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Joshua Skogerboe

10/23/16

Description:This is the Apostle Paul's epitaph. Written perhaps days before his execution from a hole in the ground Roman prison, Paul's words to Timothy are his last words to the Church before he passes the torch of ministry leadership and enters glory face to face with Jesus.Here lies a summary of his LIFE, and a summary of his FAITH.

The Life-Blood of the Church :: 2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:5

Joshua Skogerboe

10/16/16

Description:LIFE-BLOOD: the indispensible factor or influence that gives something its strength and vitalityThe good news for Christ-followers is that the life-blood of the Church ISN'T US. It's not our faith or our devotion or our passion or our obedience.Our strength and vitality is ONLY FOUND in the life-giving Word of God. The GOSPEL is the LIFE-BLOOD of the Church.

How to LOVE PEOPLE :: Lonely Loved

Joshua Skogerboe

10/9/16

Description:This week we talk about RELATIONAL poverty and how the Church is uniquely positioned to help HEAL relational brokenness.

How to LOVE PEOPLE :: Poor Empowered

Joshua Skogerboe

10/2/16

Description:Those of us in North America tend to think of poor people as primarily lacking MATERIAL resources. Not enough money. Not enough food. Inadequate housing. Lack of education. Unreliable transportation.But when the you ask those who are stuck in a cycle of material poverty what it means to be poor, their answer focuses on other, less tangible things. Fear. Hopelessness. Humiliation. Worthlessness. The poor define poverty as a MINDSET.God has called every Christ-follower to serve the poor - and to love them. Not only to share our material resources, because in many situations, to do so is actually more harmful than helpful. Instead, the Church is called to LOVE PEOPLE out of poverty and back into WHOLENESS, as God restores relationships with Himself and with other people, and brings PEACE and HOPE to men and women who matter so much to Him.

How To LOVE PEOPLE :: Orphans Embraced

Joshua Skogerboe

9/25/16

Description:The Church is God's PLAN A for taking care of children in need. If we want to reflect the heart of God to our community, that MUST change the way we live and do ministry in our own backyard.

How to LOVE PEOPLE :: Races Reconciled

Joshua Skogerboe

9/18/16

Description:Jesus was once famously asked, "Who is my neighbor?" In other words, "WHO do I have to love, Jesus?" But Jesus answered a different question... Not WHO, but "HOW do we love?"And he used a shocking picture of one man breaking through long-standing racial hostilities to show love and dignity to a fellow human being.

How to LOVE PEOPLE :: St. Olaf's Call to ACTION

Joshua Skogerboe

9/11/16

Description:Rally Sunday 2016Today we begin a five-week series exploring God's heart for the vulnerable and marginalized people we interact with as a local congregation. Picking up on the theme of last week's message from Jay Curtis regarding God's "Big Four," (widows and orphans, foreigners, and the poor) this message sets the trajectory for ministry here at St. Olaf this fall and into the coming year. And beyond.

The Big Four :: Growing Closer to the Heart of God

Jay Curtis, President and CEO of FVCA

9/4/16

Description:St. Olaf welcomes the President and CEO of Fox Valley Christian Action, Jay Curtis, to encourage and challenge our congregation with regard to our ministry opportunities in our local neighborhood. FVCA is a strong partner ministry, helping us bridge the gap between our church and the people surrounding us. Jay both illuminates his personal story and connection to FVCA, and highlights God's heart to love the most vulnerable people in society, often represented thoughout scripture by the widows, the orphans, the foreigners, and the poor.

The Offspring and the Land :: God's Covenant With Abraham

Joshua Skogerboe

8/28/16

Description:From Genesis 12, 13, 15, and 17The Old Testament books, beginning with Genesis, tell the Redemption story of God and His people, pointing to a coming Messiah who will save the people from their sins. And the great themes of Genesis weave through history in the telling, all pointing to that Messiah. As God spoke His covenant promises to Abraham, two of those themes are especially prominent: The Offspring and the Land.

Genesis 12:1-7 :: Now the Lord Said GO (The Calling of Abraham)

Joshua Skogerboe

8/21/16

Description:God's first word to Abraham was GO. Leave your comfortable place. Be obedient. It's OK if you don't know the plan, because you know the Planner.We see this pattern again and again in scripture. When God meets someone face to face, and they really see him for who He is... they become men and women IN MISSION. It always costs them something. But they are blessed, and they become a greater part of God's unfolding redemption story.Do you want more of God - deeper faith - greater blessing - more fruit? You've got to GO...

Genesis 11:1-9 :: PRIDE and PREJUDICE

Joshua Skogerboe

8/14/16

Description:The story of the tower of Babel tells us about the corruption of the hearts of mankind. Even after the worldwide flood - God's great reboot of creation - still man was full of pride and determination to "make a name for ourselves."And so, the peoples and languages of the world were dispersed by the God who will not share His glory with idols. But the shadow cast by that tower still falls on us today.

One Direction

Alan Reynolds

8/7/16

Description:A look at the defining difference the cross of Jesus makes from Alan Reynolds, a gifted teacher from our congregation.