10 Commandments Sermon

“I’ll Be Your Mirror” is one of my favorite songs by the Velvet Underground. It’s a plaintive song of one singing to another that they will reflect the beauty of the other because they simply can’t see it themselves.  “Please put down your hands, cuz I see you,” she sings.  The song ends with the overlapping “Reflect what you are/I’ll be your mirror.”  What if we saw the 10 commandments as a mirror?  [Read more…]

Breathing Lessons

Exodus 19:3-7: 20:1-17 preached in worship on Sunday, September 30

Can you breathe?  On the surface of it, it sounds like a silly question. But I mean, full, deep breaths? Filling your lungs so you can feel your toes and the tip of your head? Full breaths that tell you you’re alive and that there is life in you and around you?  Do you breathe like that? Let’s take a few moments. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Slowly. Deliberately. Close your eyes. Here you are. Right now. Isn’t that invigorating? Isn’t that freeing? [Read more…]

Joseph in Jail

Genesis 39:1-23 – Preached in worship at River of Hope on Sunday, September 21, 2018

In the Bible, there are often headings of chapters put there by the interpreters in an effort to help the reader know what’s going on. Sometimes they are great headings and truly helpful and other times, not so much. I’m going to sum up Joseph’s story and see if you can guess what title I’d give these chapters in the Bible: Joseph is daddy’s favored of the 11 children of Jacob. He even gets a fancy coat so that everyone is clear about that. That’s not fair.  [Read more…]

Noah’s Ark

Sermon for September 9, 2018–Noah’s Ark

Genesis 6:5-22, 8:6-12, 9:8-17

When I think about this story in the Bible, I always have questions. Like, “How could all of those animals fit on the ark? How did Noah feed them all? Did it smell really bad?” or “Were Noah and his family the only good people left on earth? Why did God choose him? Weren’t there other “good” people alive? There had to be, right?”Did you know that the story of Noah’s Ark can be found in the Bible, the Koran, and the Torah? But does that make it real? According to the BBC Documentary Noah’s Ark-The Real Story that I watched on YouTube (and because everything on YouTube is real, this must be true), scientists have been trying to prove or disprove the story for over a hundred years. [Read more…]

Open your heart


Acts 28: 17-30            September 2, 2018

Have you ever felt your heart go dull? Or your ears shut down? What has blocked your vision? When is it seemingly impossible for you to hear Good News as just that – Good News? It’s the situation we find Paul in today. He is under house arrest and yet is still able to preach freely. Yet he’s preaching to folks who cannot hear, whose hearts are closed off.  He’s invited faithful Jewish people and leaders into his home to make the case for Jesus. And they aren’t having it. [Read more…]

Unusual Kindness



Acts 28:1-16    August 26, 2018

It’s like a scene straight out of the tv show Lost. Imagine, you live on this island. You don’t get visitors. You’re going about your daily routine along with all the other residents of the island when suddenly, there’s a ship really pretty close and it has run aground and now there are 276 bobbing heads, swimming and floating on pieces of the ship toward the island. How on earth did we get here in our story!? [Read more…]

“These People…”



Sunday, August 19, 2018        Acts 17:1-15    “These People…”

Leilani was born with a bad heart. Her heart has stopped and she’s died 5 or 6 times. Once, in jr. high, there was substitute gym teacher who egged her on to run with the class, not knowing her medical status, and Leilani’s heart stopped. So she’s in her 20s when her cardiologist tells her that she needs to be on the transplant list. Her heart isn’t going to last much longer. She gets the call 4 months later. “It’s a match,” they tell her. [Read more…]

Acts 16:1-15


Pastor Donna Olsen

August 12, 2018

Acts 16:1-15

In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen Jesus said, “Come.” His disciples followed him – to Caesarea Philippi in northern Israel: a pagan worship site if there ever was one. At that place, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”  One of them answered, “Elijah.”  That’s an amazing answer. To Christians, Elijah is a Hebrew Scriptures prophet who was faithful to God. And that’s true. But to a Jew, Elijah is more than that. [Read more…]

Acts 15:1-21


Pastor Donna Olsen

August 5, 2018

Acts 15:1-21

This passage from Acts is about a church argument. The early church was arguing. It just goes to show that the church has been disagreeing since its beginning. That’s not to say that disagreeing is always bad. As church people we do argue. Over what, do you think? Parsonages. Finances. Pastors. Sexuality. Worship style. Communion reception. And on and on. Church arguments are not always negative things. It depends on what the disagreement is about. [Read more…]

Mark 6

Sermon Mark 6

Jess Olson

River of Hope

Good morning. I am grateful to have the chance to worship with you again today… I’ve only had the chance to worship with River of Hope once before…at Pastor Laura’s wedding…what a service of celebration that was. This community is gifted at celebration and hospitality…and joy. These are gifts that sustain us all through all times and all places – hospitality, celebration and joy – gifts that we give and receive in community. Gifts that River of Hope has in abundance… these are gifts we can call upon when times don’t feel so easy and breezy.

Our gospel today speaks of such a time for Jesus and his disciples. The story begins with the disciples giving report to Jesus of all they had done and taught and he says, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”  In classic Mark fashion, we are not given many adjectives – it’s simple reporting language. The disciples did this and Jesus responded.

[Read more…]