It is New Year’s Eve. This is the moment we look back to see what God has done and look forward to dream what God might do in and through us in the new year. I will use this post to reflect on some of the big events and work I had the privilege to experience in 2018.

I tend to divide my professional/public life into three parts: Pastor, Teacher, Artist. Here is 2018 seen through those three categories:

On the Pastor side of things:

I preached 27 sermons. Click to expand and see them all…

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  • A Deeper Love | A Sermon for Advent 4 from Luke 1:46-55 December 26, 2018 This sermon concludes the four weeks of A Deeper Advent. We explore Mary’s beautiful prophetic poem–the magnificat–in Luke 1:46-55. Is it really loving for God to cast down some people and exalt others? Is there, perhaps, a deeper love that brings healing to all people, no matter what side of our many human divisions we may find ourselves. Download PowerPoint Read Manuscript We have been lighting candles during Advent. As the days have been getting darker, the light ...
  • A Deeper Hope | Sermon for Advent 1 from Psalm 25 and Luke 21:25-36 December 5, 2018 This sermon lights the candle of hope on Advent 1. Advent is a season in which we embrace the darkness. Our hope is not in the wishful thinking that God will someday remove everything we don’t like. Rather, our hope lies in the promise that God is with us, God is for us, and God will journey with us through the darkness to the light. The key texts are Psalm 25 and Luke 21:25-36. download sermon ...
  • Grateful | A Sermon on Generosity and Thanksgiving from Luke 17:11-19 and Deuteronomy 26:1-11 December 1, 2018 This sermon is our last stop on the twelve-week series A Deep Life. The key texts are Luke 17:11-19 and Deuteronomy 26:1-11. It was presented on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and explores both generosity and thanksgiving. When we take the time to reflect on God’s activity in our lives and the world, it bubbles up in an attitude of gratitude. Scroll down to experience the visual sermon, or scroll while you are listening to the audio. ...
  • In _________ We Trust | A Sermon from a Deep Life of Generosity November 13, 2018 This sermon begins a three week series on Generosity. In ______ We Trust? What would you fill in that gap? Americans have been trained to say, “God” because it is printed on all our money. I wonder how true it is. Genesis 3:1-13 sets the stage for the human condition and reminds us why it is so difficult to be generous. Read the Manuscript We have been in A Deep Life for Nine weeks now. We spend the ...
  • Worship Beyond Time, Space, and Religious Boundaries | A Sermon from A Deep Life November 7, 2018 This sermon happened both on All Saints Day and one week after the Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh. Worship is the communal practice that shapes us into particular communities, AND ALSO unites us across religious boundaries to the infinite, eternal flame of God’s Shalom. I did not write a manuscript for this sermon. It is the combination of two blog posts: All Hallow’s Eve | A Meditation on All Saints Day Worship Shabbat Shalom | Standing in Solidarity with ...
  • Why Worship? | A Sermon from A Deep Life Series October 24, 2018 What is worship, and how is it relevant in a secular age? That is the big question for this sermon as we continue our Deep Life Series. The key texts are 1 Chronicles 16:23-31, Acts 2:43-47, and Matthew 4:8-11. Read the manuscript Talking about worship to a group of people gathered in a traditional Lutheran worship service on MEA weekend is a bit like preaching to the choir. You’re here. You obviously find some value in worship. Yet, ...
  • How to Listen to God | A Sermon on Prayer from A Deep Life Series October 17, 2018 This sermon is part two of a three-week mini series on prayer from A Deep Life series. We live is a noisy world filled with hundreds of voices screaming at us every second of our mediated lives. How can we discern which voice is God’s voice? This sermon explores three practical steps to do just that. Read Manuscript What would you do if you received a Facebook friend request from God? Would you automatically think it was ...
  • Why Pray? | A Sermon from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 in A Deep Life October 17, 2018 This sermon continues A Deep Life series and launches a three-week mini series on prayer. What is prayer and why is it important. The main text is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Read the Manuscript Prayer is weird. Think about it. You talk to someone, or something, that you can’t see and that never seems to talk back. You ask for things, but don’t always get them. Then, to make things even weirder, when we gather together we spontaneously regurgitate a ...
  • Growing and Going in A Deep Life | A Sermon from Colossians 2:6-7 September 20, 2018 What are the three questions we must ask when we take a trip? Where Am I? Where Am I Going? How Will I Get there? This sermon explores A Deep Life with the metaphor of a journey, and applies these questions to the process of growing in faith. How can we continue growing and going in A Deep Life? The main text is Colossians 2:6-7. We started A Deep Life Series with this image. A Deep Life ...
  • What is A Deep Life? | A Sermon from Psalm 1:1-3 and John 15:1-5 September 12, 2018 This is the introductory sermon to the series A Deep Life and looks at Psalm 1:1-3 and John 15:1-5. We live in a busy world that pulls us in many directions. A Deep Life is one that takes a breath and sinks roots deeply into the Love of God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the world. I invite you to take out a writing utensil. You can ...
  • Spirit of Hope | A Sermon on the Revelation September 10, 2018 Why is there so much violence done in Jesus’ name? Much of it comes from a misunderstanding of the metaphors found in the biblical book called the Revelation. This sermon revisits Revelation and demonstrates how the first and second coming of Jesus don’t contradict each other. Jesus’ victory is through truth and love, not violence. Images from the sermon ,    
  • Spirit of Loving Neighbor | A Sermon from the Alive Series July 24, 2018 This sermon continues the Alive Series taken from Brian McLaren’s book We Make the Road by Walking. We cannot say that God is love or that we love God without recognizing that the love of God is the love for neighbor. The story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10:1-49 sets the tone for how the Holy Spirit shatters our cultural boundaries and leads us into God’s radical love. Read this post and this post and this ...
  • Walking in the Spirit | A Sermon from the Alive Series June 19, 2018 This is the second sermon from the Summer Worship Series: Alive! The question today is “How do we walk in the Spirit?” Colossians 2:6-7 gives us three keys to understanding what it means to walk in the Spirit and keep in step with how God is moving in the world. Follow the PowerPoint   Read this post to get more background in the text. Here is a visual exegesis of the text.
  • How to Process Grief | A Sermon from the Overcome Series May 31, 2018 This sermon explores the topic of Grief. What is it? What does the Bible say about it? How can we deal with it? The story of Job gives us some clues about how to sit with someone in grief and how not to sit with someone in grief. Sermon Manuscript Lona’s scream pierced my soul. We knew all day that something was not right. No one had heard from her Dad that day. He was on location in ...
  • Overcome (by) Anger | A Sermon from the Overcome Series May 7, 2018 This is the next sermon in the Overcome Series. It deals with Anger. Jesus was angry. Paul said, “Be angry, but don’t sin.” Anger is a gift from God that alerts us to a threat or a violation. The real challenge is how to channel that anger into something constructive, not destructive. Read this post for notes.
  • A Sermon on Anxiety from the Overcome Series April 24, 2018 This sermon is the first in a series on mental health issues called Overcome. This week we look at anxiety. What is anxiety? What does the Bible say about anxiety? What are we called to do with anxiety in the church today? Read this post and listen to this podcast to get the study behind this sermon. Follow the Slides as you listen to the sermon. This is the RSA Video on Brene Brown’s presentation on Empathy that I ...
  • Snowpocalypse, You Can’t Stop Church! April 16, 2018 This was a very eventful weekend for churches in Minnesota. We had an historic blizzard spiral over the state for three days with a bullseye on the Twin Cities. I think the official snowfall was 15+ inches…in mid April! All the church buildings that I know shut down and church leaders told everyone to stay home and be safe on Saturday night and Sunday morning. The text messages flew across my phone on Saturday evening as ...
  • Where Does New Life Dwell? | A Sermon for Easter from John 20:1-18 April 3, 2018 He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia! This is my first Easter sermon at Easter Lutheran Church. We have been following the Narrative Lectionary since Christmas as it tracks through the Gospel of John. The series is called Come and See. View all the sermons from both campuses here. There is no manuscript or PowerPoint for this sermon. I simply used the images from the Visual Meditation found below. Enjoy. https://www.stevethomason.net/2018/03/30/a-visual-meditation-on-the-resurrection-of-jesus-in-john-20/
  • What Were You Expecting? | A Sermon on the Triumphal Entry in John 12:12-27 March 26, 2018 What were the people of Jerusalem expecting the day Jesus rode into town? Did they want a King who would lead them into battle to finally defeat the Romans? Probably. That’s not what they got. Instead, they got a man riding on the back of a young donkey who was prepared to give up his life for the sake of the world. This sermon examines John 12:12-27 and shows three ways that Jesus may surprise us ...
  • Here, Your King | A Sermon on John 19:1-16a March 21, 2018 This sermon concludes the two-part exploration of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. Here we see scenes 4-7 of this story found in John 19:1-16a. Pilate ultimately condemns Jesus to death at the prompting of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. We encounter three truths about Jesus and one choice we all have to make. The presenting question of this sermon is: How far will fear drive us away from our core convictions? View the visual meditation that prepared ...
  • What is Truth? | A Sermon on John 18:28-40 March 14, 2018 The trial of Jesus before Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, takes place in seven scenes. This sermon walks through the first three scenes in John 18:28-40. We explore that age old question, “What is Truth?” The answer might surprise you. View this post to see the images from the PowerPoint.
  • Peter’s Denial | A Sermon on John 18:1-27 March 9, 2018 Do you ever feel like you have to pretend to be someone else in order to survive? This sermon explores the story of Peter’s Denial of Jesus and what leads us to do the things we don’t want to do. The good news is that Jesus waits for us on the other side of our fear and doubt. This sermon comes from John 18:1-27. Read Manuscript slide 01 Do you ever feel like you have to pretend to ...
  • The Woman at the Well | A Sermon on John 4:1-42 February 7, 2018 We continue the Come and See series through the Gospel of John this week by looking at John 4:1-42. Jesus had to go through Samaria because he had to show us where he abides. He sits in the light of day with a Samaritan Woman who has suffered the oppression of her male-dominated society and the schism between Jews and Samaritans. This woman shows us what true evangelism looks like. Follow the PowerPoint Watch the Movie I decided ...
  • What Does it Mean to Be Born Again? | A Sermon on John 3:1-21 February 1, 2018 This sermon continues the Come and See Series through the Gospel of John. Nicodemus visits Jesus at night in John 3:1-21. Jesus tells him that unless you are born again/from above you cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God. What does this mean? What does it mean to step out of the darkness and into the light? Read more in this post. Follow the PowerPoint
  • What Makes God Angry? | A Sermon on John 2:13-22 January 27, 2018 This sermon continues the Come and See series through the Narrative Lectionary selections of the Gospel of John. Jesus’ angry cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem stands in stark contrast to his sign of abundance and grace at the wedding party in Cana of Galilee. Both stories illustrate where God abides; not in temples of stone, but in the hearts and lives of all kinds of people. There is no manuscript, but you can read the ...
  • Come and See | A Sermon from John 1:35-51 from the Narrative Lectionary January 9, 2018 Four people encounter Jesus for the first time in John 1:35-51. Each of them have a different experience. Jesus invites each of them, not to memorize a creed or join an institution, but to follow him and to come and see where he abides. That is the invitation of the Gospel of John. Come and See who Jesus is and how we can abide with God each day. Follow the PowerPoint Read the Manuscript I hope you had ...
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Launched a new Website

Staff Changes

I said goodbye to two colleagues this year. Pastor Rolf Jacobson took a medical leave to care for his son. Then he did not renew his contract.

Pastor Kris Capel, our lead pastor, also took a medical leave for three months (March – May) then resigned.

I was sad to see both of them go. We now have a part-time interim associate, Angela Denker, and an interim lead pastor, Lamont Koerner (see pastors page). Lamont is leading Easter through the transitional process. A call committee for a new lead is supposed to be formed sometime in May.

I continue to serve as the Pastor of Family Faith, supervise the Amazing Children, Youth and Family staff, lead the Confirmation Program, preach, and perform pastoral duties as requested.

On the Teacher/Scholar Side of Things

On the Artist Side of Things

Art for Teaching

I create art for teaching every single week. To display every piece here would be overwhelming. Here are some links to posts and highlights:

This is my favorite teaching piece from the year.

Art for Fun

Here are some galleries of artwork from 2018:

Inktober 2018

Day Off Doodles:

Joined the Figure Drawing Co-Op.

I won’t show the images here, so not to offend anyone. Check out the co-0p here. We meet twice a month to simply draw. It is wonderful.

Thank You.

Thanks for indulging me in this year-in-review. Thank you for reading and subscribing. Please share with your friends.

I look forward to the adventures that 2019 holds.

May you feel the deep love of God in your life this year.

peace.

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