Article: Our Values

For the past two weeks I have been sharing our core values at Community Lutheran Church.

Some might think, “Big deal. More words for the website.”

Others might be wondering, “What about those other words we use? Words like: Real People, Inclusive God, Radical Grace and Inspired Growth.” Are those going away?

Yet a few more might be thinking, “What do we even need core values for?”

What I have been sharing with you is way more than words on a website! And no, what we believe about ourselves, and God has not changed. We still believe that we are REAL PEOPLE who follow an INCLUSIVE GOD who gives RADICAL GRACE and puts us on a path of INSPIRED GROWTH. 

We literally spent time defining ourselves. We can now state who we are without ambiguity. 

We are and we strive to be:


These are benchmarks for us! We can do a heart check at any time! Just ask yourself the question, “Am I being…” and fill in the blank with any or all of those words above. 

We all need self-evaluation occasionally… even me.

However, the most exciting thing for me in all the data the congregation provided me was that you told me very specifically what INSPIRED GROWTH looks like at Community Lutheran Church. I didn’t ask for that, but you offered it up anyway! 

So far we have talked about the importance of:

Embracing WELCOME

Community in WORSHIP

Seek to LEARN

And there are two more we will cover in worship this weekend! (I don’t want to let the proverbial cat out of the bag!)

Each one of these practices will help us mature as Christians which in turn will help us grow as a church. 

Soon, our staff will gather to talk about each of these practices and define them even more. 

We now have a roadmap that tells us where (and who) we are and we have clear directions towards our destination! 

A person may plot out their course, but it is the Lord who directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

It is an exciting time to be at CLC!

Show up this weekend and discover our last two practices that will complete our pathway of growth!

God bless,
Pr. Ben

Article: A Little Self-Reflection

Self-Reflection is good. It is helpful. Growth follows reflection. 

Self-reflection and self-awareness go hand in hand. 

In the 5th century, an ancient Greek playwright by the name of Aeschylus first wrote these words, “Know thyself.”

If you know yourself, you will know what makes you mad, sad, and so on. This is good advice.

Even as Christians, it is helpful, on occasion to look inward. We can look inward for a whole host of reasons. 

Maybe it is time to make some changes in your life. Jesus talked about that. 

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

Jesus is talking about getting your own house in order before worrying about someone else’s life. That takes reflection. 

The Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 586BC and Jeremiah the prophet wrote the book Lamentations in the midst of this tragedy. In the 3rd chapter of this book he wrote…

Let us examine our ways and test them and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40

More self-reflection. 

Is there something that needs to change in your life? Do know why you do certain things? It is good to take time to look inside yourself and even ask some questions. Jeremiah even reminded us to test our actions. Do our actions reflect our intentions?

We recently did this as a congregation! I asked everyone to reflect on our core values as a church and with a little work, we know what is most important at Community Lutheran Church!

Starting this weekend, I will share with you what we discovered. I hope you make time to worship with us over the next several weeks to hear what we hold dear.

God bless,
Pr. Ben

Article: God’s Way is Our Way

Today this verse popped into my head…

Jesus said, But seek first God’s kingdom and the Lord’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 

I believe when verses come to me, they are given for a reason. Inspiration shows up when you least expect it!

When I took a moment to ponder the words of Jesus, it struck me. This is what we are pursuing at Community Lutheran Church. Seeking God’s Kingdom is what we do! 

There are some who think we might be chasing after other things, but let me assure you we not only want God’s Kingdom to be manifest among us but also the entirety of Jesus’ love to change our hearts and this city. 

See, at the center of it all is love because “God is love.” 1John 4:8 To seek God’s Kingdom is to seek the source of all love. 

We are also commanded to seek the Lord’s righteousness too. That sounds complicated, doesn’t it? It isn’t. Righteousness is what is given when we are in relationship with Jesus. Simply put, we should grow closer to God so that we may grow in righteousness. We want to grow in God’s way of living life. Righteousness is found when we love more. God’s way is the way of love.

That is exactly what we are up to at Community Lutheran Church!

If we keep the main thing the main thing, Jesus tells us that, “all these things will be given to you as well.” We are reminded that everything we worry about will be taken care of when we focus on what is truly important.

That’s what we are going to keep on doing… seek first God’s kingdom.

God bless you,

Pr. Ben

Article: What Are Your Core Values?


If you have worshipped with us in the past two weeks you heard me announce that we are doing work on discovering the Core Values of Community Lutheran Church. 

Our Core Values are separate from but complementary to our Mission Statement of: Real People, Inclusive God, Radical Grace, and Inspired Growth. 

Our Core Values already exist, and we are living into them, we just need to name them. Naming our Core Values will help us understand why we do what we do, as well as informing how we can best grow our faith and congregation in the future.

This past week we offered 6 different Core Values sessions during which we gathered the thoughts and input of our members who are currently worshipping in-person. Today on the home page of our website and in our weekly email, we shared an electronic version of these sessions for anyone who calls Community Lutheran Church their church home but who couldn’t attend an in-person session.  We are still collecting input and hope every member will participate. The more input we have, the better!

I anticipate being able to report back on the results of these sessions by the end of October. I’m excited to dig into the feedback that we received in writing and during the group discussions. It will take some time to go through all the submitted responses (close to 300 of them already!) and recording that information into a spreadsheet so that we can do an in-depth analysis and summarize our findings. It will be a big project, but I promise to report back as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

This important project will help to uncover and articulate the Core Values of our church family at Community Lutheran. But what about our own personal core values? We all have our own values, of course. But have you ever taken the time to name yours or to write them down?

Even Jesus indirectly named his core values. 

After his temptation in the desert in which Jesus demonstrated his divine self-control (see Luke 4:1-13), Jesus went home to Nazareth and went to the synagogue to worship with the people he had known his whole life.

It just so happened that they asked Jesus to read the scriptures that day and make commentary on them and so this is what happens…

The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:17-19

Right there Jesus tells us what he is all about.

Preaching the good news of God’s love

Proclaiming freedom to those who feel boxed-in and captive

Bringing sight to the blind (physically and spiritually) 

Breaking the bonds of oppression for those who can’t see a way forward

And if you doubt those are Jesus’ core values listen to this…

Then Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:20-21

Essentially Jesus told those in the synagogue that day, “This is what I am about. This is my mission, and this is at the core of who I am.”

Now get this, when Jesus died on the cross for you, me, and countless billions, he accomplished all of that in the greatest gift given to humankind.

What about you? What are your core values?


I value … 

Connection with Jesus
Caring for my family
Consistency in my relationships
Commitment to my calling

God bless,
Pr. Ben