Sermons by “Pastor Torgerson”

Live By the Spirit

Somewhere from one out of ten to one out of five Americans defines themselves as “spiritual but not religious”. Most strictly speaking, this means that the person does not have any organized religious affiliation; in some cases, even defines herself as agnostic or atheist. However, if you are spiritual but not religious, you nonetheless find a need for a pursuit of that which is other, that which is holy, that which betters the self and serves the whole.

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The Life I Now Live

Finish this sentence for me: you are not a Christian if you…

How do you think that sentence ends? You are not a Christian if you… what? What is it about what you say or do or believe or are that someone says keeps you from living a life in Christ? There have been a few ways that others have finished that sentence for me.

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Unless Someone Guides Me

Let me start with a hypothetical situation. If I were to tell you that a white, straight, blue-collar, male, gun-owning, evangelical fundamentalist from a southern state ran into a black, lesbian, academic, female, Bernie-backing, progressive Protestant from a major urban area, and the two just so happened to immediately connect about scripture, and not only would they inspire each other to greater faith, but not a single word would be wasted on all their differences and arguments, but rather the two would come away still more ready to serve God in their own, dramatically different lives, would you suppose for even a second that such a thing could be possible?

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Deserve

We hear Pilate’s words, and we know that Jesus “has done nothing to deserve death”, and yet the words that come out of our mouths are “crucify him”.

How did it feel to demand Jesus’ death with your own voice? Did you feel a little removed, because you feel certain that you never would have demanded that? Is it easier for you to remove yourself from this suffering because it wasn’t your fault?

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Good Things

This text does not answer the question of how to get into heaven. You know the answer to that question. I mean, honestly, do you believe that Jesus has saved you?

Seriously, I’m asking you: do you believe that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection have destroyed sin and death for you?

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Compassion and Repentance

Does your Bible use headings before sections of scripture? Many Bibles will have a little subtitle inserted by an editor before each chunk of text to give you an idea of what it’s going to talk about, like a sort of mini-chapter heading. In one of my Bibles, the description that comes before this passage in Luke 13 is: “Repent or perish”.

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God’s Faithfulness

Different parts of the Bible are written in different styles. The Bible contains history, prophecy, letters, and poetry. We should take the style of scripture seriously and read it accordingly. It’s the same reason that we have different subjects in school – you’d never read Shakespeare the same way you read your geography textbook.

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On the Sabbath

I have a problem with rules. Like, just in general. I’m not a troublemaker per se, but rules have always made me want to break them, especially if they’re presented as “this is the way things are”. I hear a rule like the third commandment – remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy – and I’m immediately going to ask: why? How? So what? I realize that many rules give life and promote community, but man, if I can’t see that right off the bat, I don’t love rules.

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Today

My home congregation called me home early in my theological education to preach on a summer Sunday. They didn’t ask me to preach at just any service. They asked me to preach at the county-wide non-denominational Sunday service held at the grandstand during the county fair, the big hometown gathering of the year. Class reunions, family gatherings, and huge events all center around this weekend, and it culminates in worship at the grandstand. What do you suppose the gospel text was for that morning?

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