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14
Jun 2021
Practice Getting Uncomfortable

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was also part of the anti-Nazi resistance and died by hanging as a POW at the age of 39. He had a rich spiritual life and was a prolific writer. He believed there were some specific things each Christian needed to do to maintain their relationship with God and enjoy God’s peace: to take time each day for reading and meditation on Scripture, spend time in prayer and to allow God to intercede. Bonhoeffer also believed that faith is not to be taken......

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07
Jun 2021
Keep Being WEIRD

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) Ken Kuhn, our Church Council president, pointed me to a concern that’s been on my mind ever since. As we’ve trudged through COVID and social upset, church membership in the United States has dropped below 50 percent for the first time in 80 years, according to Gallup. Through the 20th century, membership in churches, synagogues, and mosques hovered around 70 percent. Beginning around 2000, however, membership began to drop rapidly, finally reaching 47 percent in 2020. The trend is......

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12
Apr 2021
Trust Yourself...

In the book of Galatians, chapter 3 we read that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Of course to the early believers in Galatia, obeying the Old Testament law was part of their life and upbringing. If they were Jews, the commandments were drilled into them. But even for people who were not Jewish, the laws of Abraham and Moses were a part of their society and everyone’s upbringing. Even today, with fewer people than ever attending church or reading their Bible, the law still does its work in many......

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06
Apr 2021
Follow Me

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were......

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22
Mar 2021
Train Up A Child

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” What does it mean to “train up a child in the way he should go”? It seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? It is certainly one of the most quoted verses in the Bible and people often use this verse as a guarantee that if you raise your child with discipline and instruction that they are going to turn out all right. As parents, we all want......

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15
Mar 2021
Everything Has Become New

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! Green beer and Shamrock Shakes for everyone! . . . or is it something more?Who was Patrick? Hmmm. I sense an inspiring story unfolding! It was a long time ago . . . over 1,500 years ago! A teenager was kidnapped, taken......

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17
Feb 2021
Trust In The Lord

Can you think of a time when you reacted poorly to an inconvenient situation? Maybe it was while you were in the car after having a tire go flat, or in a traffic jam somewhere or even with the kids acting up in the back seat after you’ve had a less than perfect day at work. Sometimes the best judge of someone’s character is how they respond to challenging times.  From beginning to end, the Bible teaches us that our actions and attitudes indicate the content of our hearts. Think about Jonah......

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10
Feb 2021
Our Identity In Christ

For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13) It comes out of nowhere and at the strangest times. You see the news and hear of a city burned and looted or national monuments vandalized. The words come quickly: “Why? Who do they think they are?” The “why” and the “who” are important words. They are identity triggers. Just pause for a bit and ask yourself, “Why do I do the things......

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09
Feb 2021
Not By Might But Spirit

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b) When the above words were spoken, the children of Israel were a conquered people. They were under Persian rule. The temple had been destroyed. Jerusalem lay in ruins. They knew they were up against insurmountable odds. How would they survive? God spoke to Zechariah, “’Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” It’s not by human grit or by mustering an army that guarantees success. It is God,......

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09
Feb 2021
Taking Time to Pray

Have you taken the time to pray today?  I can just hear some of the thoughts going through the air right now.  “Pastor Scott, are you crazy, we’ve been praying like crazy” or “Of course we have, there’s a pandemic going on!” I believe that we are living in a time when more people than ever are praying.  Maybe some for the first time.  I hope their prayers continue.  We all live busy and hectic lives the way it is and now with the anxiety and fear produced by Covid-19, it can......

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12
Dec 2020
They Can't Do That!

They can’t do that! That’s the refrain that is loaded and waiting in our minds just in case family gatherings are limited due to COVID-19 – or a mask order is put into place. The shadow of the pandemic has affected all of us, limiting our closeness to each other and our ability to interact, play games and share meals. These are not small matters. It pushes us to either get ornery or creative.So I invite you to ponder another situation: What if baking with butter, cream, eggs and sugar was against......

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05
Dec 2020
Surprise!

Have you ever been surprised by something? Maybe a party thrown in your honor? Maybe an unexpected gift? How about that all important day when you were asked to be married? Now of course these are all surprises with happy endings (at least I hope so). But what about those surprises where the ending isn’t so happy? Like a diagnosis at the doctor, an IRS audit, the termination of a job, or the end of a relationship. This is also important when acknowledging that Jesus is truly and fully God. Throughout Jesus’......

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26
Oct 2020
Jesus Teaches and Heals

“I’m stuck and I’ll need a pull.” It was a distress call from a hunter who had gotten himself into a “pickle”.  His four-wheel drive truck met its match when he tried to navigate a sloping drive on the way to his deer stand. Pastor Dahl writes about getting unstuck >...

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24
Oct 2020
Looking for direction? Proverbs!

We are looking at the book of Proverbs for the next couple of months and I forgot how much I enjoy reading God’s words of wisdom. One verse I just read was Proverbs 24:27 which states, “Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” Now at first you may think I am getting at the fact that fall is in the air, it is harvest time and we need to get our outdoor activities done before winter sets in. But that is not quite......

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25
Sep 2020
Right Now Media Solutions

We continue to face concerns that isolate us. The political situation pulls us one direction & then another motivating us to point fingers at each other. We want to open every opportunity for you to know what it means to follow Christ in every situation....

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19
Sep 2020
Back to School Blessings

While we realize that we all have differing opinions as to how to provide Christian education in these interesting times, we do have a common goal. All of us want to pass our faith on to the next generation in a meaningful way while keeping our children safe. Learn More >...

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19
Sep 2020
Fall Plan Regarding Coronavirus Measures

Any plan can change overnight. Here is our best take on what is before us:We are paying attention to the positive COVID-19 cases in our county and the actions of the Tomah Area School District. We recognize we cannot stop the spread of COVID-19. We cannot guarantee our building and classrooms are safe from exposure to COVID-19. However, we think that the benefits of gathering for the spiritual development of both youth and adults outweigh certain risks. We also are intent to follow basic precautions to mitigate, but not eliminate, exposure to......

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17
Aug 2020
Glory to God in the Highest

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27) Tough times, civil unrest, social agendas . . .......

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03
Aug 2020
Choose Life

I made a joke that my time of Sabbatical was supposed to be a time of rest but afterward I looked in the mirror and noticed that I did not look very rested. But the fact is that I did enjoy some good rest....

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10
Jul 2020
Join or Die

For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.(Ephesians 6:12) Do you like your country? What’s helped me answer that question is spending time in other countries. Every time I’ve returned, I come back wanting to kiss the ground of this nation. Compared to any other nation, we have institutions that can be depended upon. No, they’re not perfect. But if I’m in trouble, 9-1-1......

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06
Jul 2020
Rooted in The Lord for 75 Years

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 We have great news! Mark VanderTuig is coming to help us kick off our celebration in July! So please mark your calendars, pray for our Nation’s healing and look forward to July 12, 2020. Due to the “safer at home” state and national guidelines we decided to shorten our original plans of May 2020 to......

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03
Jul 2020
What Would Christ Decide?

What Would Christ Decide? Have you ever thought to yourself, for such a small decision, it sure seems to have affected a lot of things? I know at times in my life I’ve made some decisions that didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. But then later on down the road I discovered that the decision had bigger ramifications than I would have thought—both for me and for the people around me. We all have decisions to make. It’s part of living in free society. If some type of......

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08
Jun 2020
We Gather Together

But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9 The last few months have presented us with a constant array of challenges as a church. The latest challenge may be the trickiest yet: how to wisely resume in-person gatherings. This is my plea to you: Please pray for your Church Council and your pastors as we navigate the course ahead. We’ll be talking about these days for decades to come. So what do you want to remember? Let me volunteer......

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19
Mar 2020
In Times Like These

This time in our country is unprecedented. Trying to do life, church, and community during the Covid-19 pandemic is a new challenge. The staff and Church Council of Gloria Dei are determined to help you to navigate the challenges you’re facing. Paul wrote to Timothy when facing challenging times, “for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NRSV). May God’s Spirit inspire us to face these new circumstances with power, love and self-discipline. We are......

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05
Feb 2020
Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Do you remember the date of your baptism? For most of us who were baptized as infant, it is not a date you recall. It is not like your birthday, which everyone knows immediately. It was not all that long ago that I looked up my baptism date and found out that I was baptized on September 29, 1963. Like most of you, even though I am getting older, I still celebrate my birthday. But now I also celebrate my baptismal date. In the Large Catechism, Martin Luther explains that the Holy......

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03
Feb 2020
How Do We Follow God in an Angry Culture?

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 “I don’t even watch the news anymore. I can’t take the negativity.” Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays where we celebrate coming together as a family and as a nation. These last few years – and especially this past year, we did not have that experience. On the contrary, the networks projected images of our elected leaders arguing, name-calling, finger pointing and the like. We also felt the......

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01
Feb 2020
No Other gods Before Me

I read an article the other day about idolatry. It’s a word you don’t hear much in casual conversation and the article talks about what an idol really is. It was written by Jennifer Slattery, a writer and speaker who has addressed women’s groups, writer’s seminars, church groups and conducted Bible studies. She talks about how idols are anything we treasure more than God; anything that drives our thoughts and actions in life. Her list surprised me in many ways, mentioning things that I never really thought of as an idol. Here’s......

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16
Dec 2019
Finding Trust

What is trust? The dictionary defines it as a firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; confidence or reliance. It goes on to say that trust is to believe, to expect confidently or hope, like “I trust that the job will soon be finished.” When I think about trust as it pertains to the Bible, the verse that always comes to mind is from a song I’ve sung in worship. It’s from Proverbs 3, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean......

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13
Nov 2019
Do Not Lose Heart

“Getting old is not for sissies.” Aches and pains and sorrows pester us and try to take center stage in our conversations. But there is a blessing to growing older. Experience brings a bigger perspective. Questions about our larger purpose loom larger in our minds and the answers to those questions become more urgent. I follow certain people on the web. One of them is David Powlison. He’s written a lot of stuff concerning the intersection of psychology and God. I’ve found him to be a true disciple of Jesus. David passed......

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08
Jul 2019
Trust God's Promises

With all the rain we’ve had lately, it’s had me looking for rainbows. And because of that, I took a fresh look at what the Bible has to say about therainbow. We all know that God put the rainbow in the sky as His covenant that He will never again destroy the earth with the waters of a flood. And for manypeople, the rainbow is a symbol of hope, but the rainbow is so much morethan that. It’s God’s promise. And for us, it should also be seen as a demonstration of......

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05
Jul 2019
Gnats of Freedom

Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. (Psalm 3:7-8)   Gnats. Gnats everywhere! Such tiny creatures can make us so uncomfortable so fast. But stop and think a moment. . . Our forefathers and foremothers would help us to know that such inconveniences are small problems. Take the years following the Revolutionary War, for instance. We often think the Revolutionary War ended with the signing of the Declaration......

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24
Jun 2019
God Bless America

You may not know it, but for American Christians, there might not be an issue more complicated or wrapped in history and politics than patriotism. I’ve heard many different opinions on the subject of patriotism. A love for one’s country is looked on with both respect and disgust, both by the world at large and those who are Christian. So, is there a right way for the Christian to think about patriotism? Is there a Christian response to patriotism? And how can faithful Christians merge their love for country and their primary......

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10
Jun 2019
Encourage One Another

“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” John 4:29 Little yellow flowers popping up in our lawns are a sure sign that snow is gone and summer has begun. A number of us regard these hardy little gems with contempt as weeds in our lawns. In fact, we spend good sums of money to rid this curse from our yards. This curse has a name. It’s the dandelion! “Dandelion” comes from the French “dente de lion”, for “tooth of the lion”. It......

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15
Apr 2019
The Big Reveal

11 While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they......

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08
Apr 2019
Take Time to Pray

Here we are and the Lenten season is almost over and soon Easter will be here with all of its promise and beauty. I pray that Spring is a true blessing to each of you and that all our flooding problems have subsided. When I say the words “I’ll pray for you,” or “You are in my prayers” what comes to your mind? Do you know that I will hold you up in prayer? Are you confident that you are being prayed for? Oftentimes when someone tells us about a struggle they......

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25
Mar 2019
The Last Words of Christ

Our last words carry weight. You feel it at these moments: When leaving the house to go to work When heading off to war When reading the last page of an autobiography When breathing your last breath God, my God, why have you forsaken me? … I thirst. … It is finished. … Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. To help us feel the depth of Jesus’ last words, we’ll hear from the Paralytic Man, the Rich Young Ruler, John the Beloved, Martha – the sister of Lazarus, Matthew –......

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11
Mar 2019
How to Be Strong

As I get older, I find it harder and harder to keep up my physical strength. Things I used to do with ease are not so simple anymore. How can I develop a spiritual strength that is greater than my physical strength? Learn More>...

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18
Feb 2019
When the Right Time Came

During my short lifetime, I have witnessed the advent of the personal computer or PC, the change from green screens to full-color flat panel screens, from figuring out what the printout is going to look like from the commands you see on the screen. Pastor Dahl discusses how time changes but God doesn't....

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04
Feb 2019
The Fear of the Lord

Wisdom isn’t a word you probably hear very often in casual conversation. It may not be a word you’ve heard very often lately, period. So, what is wisdom? And why is it so important to us as we live out our lives in the Christian faith? In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon makes it very clear that having wisdom allows us to understand life itself. From God’s view, to “get wisdom” is better than receiving gold. Those who get wisdom find life and receive favor from the Lord. The Teen Study Bible......

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28
Jan 2019
Pray for Guidance for the New Year

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b) The problem with resolutions is that they include a “forever” commitment. We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future, and spend more time with family. We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life and have some kind of impact on the rest of the world. I remember a few years ago, I made a resolution to work out 3 times......

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