Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Don't forget to save some room for Christmas Cookie baking later this week!

Friday and Saturday, November 27 & 28, 10am—4pm

Want to bake Christmas Cookies with your family but don’t want to buy the ingredients, make the mess and clean up too? Join Lou Dalton on Thanksgiving weekend to make your cookies together as a family.

Come when you can and stay as long as you want. Walk-ins are also welcome. A freewill donation will cover the cost of the cookie supplies. Lunch will be provided. For more information or to RSVP please call Elizabeth Paul at 952-881-5801 or

P.S. More help is needed with the cookies. Even if you don't have time to bring your kids consider coming and helping out on Friday or Saturday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Contest!

In the spirit of being thankful for all the blessings in my life and the life of St.Luke's, Kids Crossing is having a little blog contest for Thanksgiving.

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment on this blog with something that you are thankful for this year!  Oh, and be sure to leave a working email address so I can contact you about your prize if you win!

What do I win? I will choose a winner by a random number draw and the winner will receive an additional lesson in Thankfulness in the form of Veggie Tales!  This fun video is enjoyable for kids and adults alike and is great to introduce the idea of thankfulness for what we have in a materialistic world!

Our Thanksgiving contest is open until Sunday December 6th and you do not need to be a church member to participate!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Playground!

Keep your eyes on the east end of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. A Rainbow play system was put in place TODAY!

The money that St. Luke’s CrossWoods Sunday School children collected several years ago during their January missions month and the offerings collected during confirmation classes last year helped make a playground for the St. Luke’s ministries become reality along with other preschool and church families’ donations. More good news is that it is very possible that a Boy Scout will do site preparation as his Eagle Scout project. Additional donations will be needed for site prep and other equipment, but we have a wonderful start and hope to be ready for more work in the Spring!

The support from both preschool and church staff, the Church Council (including Exec), the Preschool Board, and Pastor Phil are very much appreciated. The children at St. Luke’s are going to enjoy this new play set!

The staff was eager to try out the new playset!

Tuesday Family Devotion - Word of Grace

Scripture Reading - Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Thought of the Day
Have you ever been given something even when you didn’t deserve it? Have you been forgiven when you’ve said something mean or when you didn’t obey your parents? We know that God has given us a LOT of gifts. He made us and loves us, just like our parents do. But sometimes we don’t act very nice to Him or to others. We do things wrong. If we were judged only by what we did, we would all be in trouble because we’ve all done things wrong. But one of God’s biggest gifts and most powerful Word’s is GRACE. Grace means that we are forgiven and loved even when we don’t deserve it. We have faith that we’ve been given grace since Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Discussion questions
1. Imagine that you had to do the exact right thing your WHOLE life. Do you think you could do it? Would it be hard?

2. Would it be easier to try to be good knowing that you would be forgiven if you couldn’t?

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. We know that we couldn’t hope to be good enough to earn your forgiveness, so thank you for forgiving us when we sin. We all need your grace and we know we are blessed to have it. Help us try to be good, but when we aren’t, give us the faith to remember that you’ve already forgiven us because of your grace. AMEN.

Monday, November 23, 2009


On Sunday a class of students were confirmed here at St. Luke's. This is a time that never fails to move me, even more so as these are students that I have worked with in my own time here. It is a beautiful thing to see teens willing to take on their own responsibilities in the church and to confess their own faith in Jesus Christ.

These are good kids. They work with the Sunday School kids. Many volunteer through our Teens in Ministry (TIM)team. I am grateful to have seen these children and parents thrive through the process of confirmation and I am thrilled to have even a small part of it.

As a parent Confirmation is moving too. It often is presented like a graduation, but it is more than that. This is a declaration of faith that the children make, and likewise the parents promise to continue to walk with them on the path to faith - side by side now, together.

It is true, some of these students may drop away from the church - for a short time or for longer. But the church remains a part of their life and one day they will realize the impact that confirmation and their parents had on their faith.

But whether they stay or go, it is always a lovely thing to watch them proclaim that they believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

St. Luke’s Family Christmas Cookie Baking

  • Want to bake Christmas Cookies with your family but don’t want to buy the ingredients, make the mess and clean up too?  Join Lou Dalton on Thanksgiving weekend to make your cookies together as a family. 

  • Are your Grandparents in town?  Take them to church for some quality time in someone else's kitchen!

  • Do you not want to hit the mall on the busiest shopping weekend of the year?  Get your baking done as a family without the mess.  All the prep and clean up is on us! 

Come when you can and stay as long as you want.  Sign up in the Great Hall or with Elizabeth Paul. Sign ups are encouraged but walk-ins are also welcome.  A freewill donation will cover the cost of the cookie supplies.  Lunch will be provided. For more information or to RSVP and indicate the day you plan to attend please call Elizabeth Paul at 952-881-5801 or

Friday and Saturday
November 27 & 28
Fellowship Hall

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Family Devotion - The Armor of God

Scripture Reading - Ephesians 6:10-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Thought of the Day
Sometimes life can be dangerous. We have seatbelts and airbags in cars to protect us if we get into an accident. We have life preservers when we go on a boat. We have lifeguards to protect us at the pool. Sometimes things can be dangerous and we don’t realize it. Lying can be dangerous, or stealing or cheating. What Ephesians reminds us is that if we put on what we have learned from God’s Word as armor, we can be protected from the dangerous things we can be tempted to do. The more we know about God and His Word the more we are protected from those dangerous things.

Discussion questions
1. What are some things that God can protect us from?

2. If we don’t know if something is wrong or right where can we look to find out?

3. How does knowing the Bible protect us from sinning?

Loving God,
We know that you want us to be safe and protected in the world. Thank you for giving us your Word to use as armor against sin and temptation. Give us the strength to remember to keep our armor on and follow your Word. AMEN.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meet the Trailguide: Matt Roberts!

Welcome to the first Meet the Trailguide postOur Trailguides are critical parts to our Sunday School program.  They act as guides, advisors, friends and leaders for each Sunday School class and we are blessed to have them participate each week in CrossWoods.  Matt, today's Trailguide being spotlighted, also serves as the Children's Ministry representative on our church council and works with our Wednesday night programs as well.  So, please say hi to Matt! 

Trailguide Interview - Matt Roberts

Who are you?
My name is Matt Roberts. My wife, Kim, and I have 3 boys, and we live in Savage. I grew up in Bloomington, and have been a member of St. Luke's all my life.

What do you do outside of church?
I work for the family business fabricating ornamental iron work. When I'm not working, I'm usually kind of a homebody, at least until fall comes around. Then I really enjoy getting out hunting with at least one of my boys and the dog. I also love watching baseball, baking, and reading.

How many years have you been a Trailguide?
I'm going into my 5th year as a Trailguide.

What is the main reason that you volunteer in CrossWoods?
I enjoy being part of passing on a faith and traditions that were passed down to me. Growing up I can recall so many people that were part of shaping me, and many of those people were here at St. Luke's. I am grateful to have the opportunity to stand in and serve where others before me have served.

Who were your faith mentors in growing up?
My parents, Howard Rasmussen, and Tim Krieg, just to name a few. The thing all of these people have in common is that I don't believe they ever were necessarily aware they were teaching me anything about life, and faith. Most of what they passed on to me was by the examples they set, and the time they spent developing a sincere relationship with a boy that looked up to them very much. I still have (and need!) faith mentors in my adult life.

How has being a CrossWoods volunteer deepened your own faith?
I have become more familiar with the Bible stories we have studied. I believe the Bible gives glimpses of other peoples relationships with God over thousands of years. We are God's people, and knowing these stories helps me better understand what that means to me. The other thing that has deepened my faith is all the questions the kids ask. When the kids ask questions (and many of them are tough!), it really forces me to think more about what I believe- things I might not otherwise have thought of.

Would you share one story about your time in CrossWoods?
Not completely a Crosswoods moment, but without a relationship that developed in Crosswoods, this moment might have passed by unnoticed by me. Over the years I had gotten to somewhat know a student that was in another grade then the class I was trailguiding.

One day while I sat in worship, I noticed this then 5th grader going up for communion with their family. Having not yet gone through 1st communion class, there was an interaction between the child, parent, and pastor; some may be familiar with this. Child approaches pastor, pastor gets ready to give a communion wafer, child eagerly begins to hold out hand only to be foiled by parent who reaches out and gently pulls the childs hand back down to their side. I was amused to see we were not the only ones that did this little dance of sorts. There is a brief wordless exchange where I believe the child says "I am ready for this", and the parent says, "be patient- almost".

A month or so later, its Maundy Thursday, and I see this same student going up for communion, this time ready for their First Communion. The look on this young person's face after receiving communion was that of true joy, and I could tell the parents could see and feel it as well by the expression on their faces. I can't explain how moved I was at that moment; I have never before experienced a more meaningful communion, and I think of it often when I take communion now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Movie Review: Disney's A Christmas Carol

Deb, a church member, mother and Trailguide at St. Luke's attended the new movie version of A Christmas Carol from Walt Disney this weekend.  Here are her thoughts:

This movie is the retelling of the classic Dicken's story but updated in Disney's animated 3D.  The movie follows Ebenezer Scrooge in his discontentment and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and That is Yet to Come.  The movie presents the story as written by Charles Dicken's, so the characters recite/speak as they do in the book, which at times had my 12 and 10 year old confused as to what was being said.  The scenes with the ghosts, particularly when Bob Marley arrives, were also more intense/suspenseful than what we had expected, and my kids got a little scared.  

The movie has wonderful 3D special effects and the characters look more realistic than "cartoonish".  It is a good "classic" version of the story, I caution parents with young children that the movie is not as "holly and jolly" (as my son Luke commented), meaning that this isn't your typical "Disney" lighthearted version.  It's worth seeing- has a good message about how we treat others in life- I would just prepare your child if under the age of 9.   

To watch the movie trailer click here.
To read another movie review click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Family Devotion - Our Identity Continued

Scripture Reading - 1 Peter 2:9-10

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Thought of the Day
Last time we talked about how God had chosen each and everyone of us to be his child. These verses in 1 Peter remind us that while we have been chosen as individuals, we have also all be chosen together. Not only are we God’s child, but we are God’s people. Our identity is wrapped up with everyone else’s identity as well. I have been chosen but so have you and so has your neighbor or the kid down the street, or the cashier at the grocery store. The gifts that we receive from God: His grace, His mercy and His love are meant for all of his people. And as a part of God’s people, we are called to share that with them.

Discussion questions
1. Has there ever been a person that you didn’t like?

2. Does your opinion of them change if you remember that they are a member of God’s family too?

3. What are some ways that we should treat God’s people in the world?

Dear God,
We know that we have been given a very special identity as your child. Help us to remember that other people have been given this gift as well. Even people we don’t like are your people. Give us the strength to see everyone as your child and part of your people, just as we are. AMEN.

Monday, November 9, 2009


As more people I know get the H1N1 flu I am wondering about the fear that comes with an unknown illness.  No one I know who has gotten sick has suffered visibly more than an ordinary flu and no one has had serious complications out of the folks I know.  Still there is the fear associated with this illness.  Is it because it does seem to be worse for the young, because the vaccine is untested, or just the fear of the unknown in the first place.

St. Luke's has gone to a verbal passing of the peace in lieu of handshaking due to the threat of the flu.  Observing people this Sunday I noticed some sticking with idea, others presumably ignoring or forgetting and some blatantly doing the opposite.  I had at least one person hug me on Sunday saying, "I'm a hugger, some little germ doesn't scare me."  That may be, but does it scare me?  Or the thought of my young son getting it?  What is the response to an unknown and unseen threat like the flu can be?

I try not to live in fear but it can be difficult.  It is easy for precaution and responsibility to be reduced to neurotic fears and extremes and many are struggling with that balance this year. 

What are you doing differently (if anything) because of the threat of H1N1 this year? Why?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Family Faith Practices – Keeping It Simple!

Today's blog post is written by church member Kelly Meyers.  Kelly is married and has three girls ages 18, 14 and 3.  Kelly also works in the church office as our Media and Communications expert.

Often, when we hear phrases like ‘rituals and traditions’ or ‘faith practices’ we imagine grand events that take a lot of time and effort. In our family, we have found that the simpler we make it, the better. All of us suffer from the ‘busies.’ When someone asks you how you are, how do you respond? “Good, but we’re all so busy.” So how do we add one more thing to our ever-growing ‘to-do’ lists? I have good news for you: we don’t have to!

Have you ever watched your child open a gift at Christmas that you were really excited to give them, and then they spent all of Christmas Day playing with the giant box it came in? When you think back to Christmases as a child, what do you remember? Is it a specific gift or is it time with family and friends? What about other memories of growing up? Do you remember and cherish what you did or who you did it with?
Research tells us that children are profoundly affected by things we do as a family that offer them feelings of consistency, safety, trust and respect. So how do we create that in the midst of our busy schedules? Here are two of the things our family does to create simple rituals, discuss/share our faith, and give our children those feelings of security.

Make family meals a priority.
Because we have a blended family, and now have 1 child in college, this sometimes means only once a week! But we make it a priority to eat together as a family as often as we can. Be sure to turn off the TV and sit at the table. This time together allows us time to cover so many rituals and traditions!

1. Prayer – a simple prayer of thanksgiving prior to a meal reminds us that we are thankful for the food and family we have been blessed with. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate, long soliloquy. We always say the “Come, Lord Jesus” prayer. And we always hold hands. This simple gesture often breaks down walls between those who are angry or frustrated with each other.

2. Highs and Lows – as often as we can, we go around the table to give our ‘highs and lows’ for the day. Even our 3 year old has something to offer. Sometimes these conversations can take up our entire meal time. What a marvelous way to ‘check in’ with each other, celebrate joys & successes, and support each other in difficulties!

3. Clean up together – this isn’t always possible and is a new one for us. But a family that works together knows how to play together. Work done together goes faster, is easier, and gives everyone a feeling of being a part of the family ‘team.’

Windshield time.
Sometimes I think I spend more time in my car than I do sleeping. Can you relate? And how often do you have a child (or children) with you? I challenge you to turn off the radio (and the phones!) and engage in a conversation. Avoid ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions. Not sure what to ask? Try asking specific questions about school, sports, etc. (i.e. “Tell me something good/bad that happened today.” “What class was your favorite today and why?” “What was the best part of practice today?” “What did you talk about in Confirmation today”). I have also kept all sorts of cards in my car throughout the years – even trivia cards (which the kids LOVE to play!). Anything to start conversation and remind your child that what is happening in their life is important to you.

I highly recommend getting a set of the Faith Talk cards from the Youth & Family Institute. Just keep them in the car. Ask your child to pick a question and you’re off and running. We have samples of these cards at St. Luke’s if you would like to preview them.

If some of these activities or ideas sound awkward, that is perfectly OK! Most of us did not grow up in an environment where we talked about our faith openly. We need to give ourselves time to figure out what works best for us and our families. Be patient with yourself and do not feel like you need to have all of the answers (or that the answers even have to be correct). Simply enjoy listening and learning together.

What do you think?  (Don't forget to comment and give Kelly some internet love!)
1. What are some other ways to bring faith discussions into our everyday activities?

2. What are some of the ways we share our faith with our children non-verbally? Do those actions really speak louder than words?

3. Does anyone have some simple prayers (meals, bedtime, etc.) that work for your family?

God bless your family time and traditions!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mainstream Media

Have you seen this piece that WCCO did this week?  It is about teaching religion to children and whether parents should "force" their kids to attend church or let them decide on their own terms.

Their answer: neither.

Really it comes down to what we say all the time - parents should lead by example, pass on that which they think is important and give children the basis to make the decision for themselves when the time comes.  That is all we can really do.  Forcing church upon kids, particularly when parents aren't involved is counterproductive, so is never exposing your children to the community and traditions of worship, Christian education and church in general.

As a parent I don't always like all the pressure to give our kids the right balance of everything they need: academics, extracurricular activities, food groups, socialization, vaccinations whatever.  The fact of the matter is that we are main source for our children to see how all of these things apply to life as a productive, happy, faithful adult.  And it can be overwhelming to figure out how it works, but as this report points out it can sometimes be as simple as leading by example.  Do you want your kids to go to church when they are adults?  Then take them to church and go as a family.  Do you want your children to follow along in the service ?  Show them how, open to the hymns, sing along, and model the behavior.

These things aren't hard, they just take the time and dedication to do them.  And we as a church need to accept that children will occasionally be loud and disruptive and know that it is a blessing that they are there to be able to make noise!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday Family Devotion - Our Identity

Scripture Reading - Psalm 8

O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!
       You have set your glory
       above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants
       you have ordained praise

       because of your enemies,
       to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
       the work of your fingers,
       the moon and the stars,
       which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him,
       the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
       and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
       you put everything under his feet:

all flocks and herds,
       and the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air,
       and the fish of the sea,
       all that swim the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Thought of the Day
Psalm 8 reminds us that we have been an extraordinary gift from God. Our identity is because of God and God chose to make us in his image. He chose for us to be children of God. We are not like the animals or the plants around us. Each one of us is unique and special because God has made us who we are. We have done nothing to deserve it; instead it is a free gift to us! The same God that made the stars in the sky and the mountains and the trees made us just as we are.

Discussion questions
1. What makes you exactly who you are?

2. What are some gifts that God has given you?

3. Why do you think God gave us all these gifts?

Great God,
Thank you for making us exactly who we are. Each one of us is different but each one of us is special in your eyes. You have given us great gifts, but the best gift of all is that we are one of your children. We know that you love us just as we are. AMEN.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Saints Day

The day after Halloween is All Saints day in the church.  I look forward to this day each year.   It is a time to remember those whom we've lost, this year in particular.   Now most years I have enjoyed this day in the church as a time to reflect on the promise of eternal life that God gives us and all of the saints who have gone ahead of us in a way, as it has been a while since I lost anyone I knew well.  This year was different however.  This year I lost two people who re-focused this church holiday and moved it from the general to the specific.  So this Sunday I had two people on my mind:  My friend Emilie and my husband's Aunt Barbara.

I didn't know my husband's Aunt well but when we traveled down to her funeral I got to hear and know more of the extended family than I had known before and it was clear to me that I am blessed to be a part of this family.   It made me said that I hadn't had more time to get to know her before she passed.  She never got to meet baby goat either, but in a way because of her funeral baby goat got to meet much more of his family more quickly than he otherwise would have.   I admire her tenacity though, her commitment to her community, and her love of books. 

The other loss this year is even closer to me.  On Christmas Eve last year my dear friend Emilie lost her battle with cancer leaving behind a husband, two small sons and a cathedral full of friends and family who miss her.  I think about Emilie a lot.  I've dreamt about her.  I wonder what it would have been like to raise our sons together.  I wonder about her family and how they are doing, not just in general but in the everyday reality of missing her.  She has given me a picture of how to live a life of generosity, courage and grace and I miss her.

The beauty of our faith in Jesus Christ however, which we celebrate on All Saints Day is that these people are not gone.  They are living life eternal and live both in our memories and in Christ.  We can take All Saints Day to celebrate the lives that we have lost, but while grief is a part of this there is also joy in celebrating God's gift to them and to us.  Death is not the final end and that means that our loved ones are not lost to us.

These are my saints who I remember.  They join the ranks of my grandmother, grandfather and countless others who have shaped my life and my faith.  Who do you remember?   Think about those people we've lost.  Have you share stories of them recently?  Share stories with your children, particularly if they don't remember these saints in our lives.  Tell their stories and remember them and God's promise to us all.

As you think of these saints in your life listen to one of our well known hymns sung on  All Saint's Day:

Here is the text of the hymn as it appears in our hymnal:

1. For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
2. Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
3. O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
4. And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
5. The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
6. But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
7. From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!