ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S
UNITED CHURCH(ELCA)
            

Pastor's Page

Rev. Steven E. Thomas, Pastor

Rev. Steven E. Thomas, Pastor

      Pastor Steven Thomas was born in Houston, Texas. He graduated from New Mexico Tech with a BS in Chemistry. He was working as a chemist in Baltimore for a few years, and then decided to pursue the dream of being a pastor. In 1993, Pastor Steve graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He is married to Pastor LaDonna Thomas who serves at St. David Lutheran Church in Hanover, PA. They have one daughter, Rebekah.

      Pastor Steve enjoys kayaking, reading, and motorcycling. Pastor Steve’s passion is always looking for greater understanding - especially in how our expanding scientific knowledge reveals additional wonders of God.

      Some of his favorite books are The Bible (of course), Awareness by Anthony DeMello, The Shack by William P. Young, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, E=mc2 by David Bodanis, and the Tolkein trilogy.


Contact Pastor Thomas




Sample Sermon

Nathan and David


John 18:12-27


Joel 2:12-14


The Prodigal Son


Theodicy Sin Suffering


What Life Is All About


Keeping Sabbath


Jesus the Prism of Life


Isaiah 40:1-11


The Theology of Sin vs Sins


     Sometimes we use the words “sin” and “sins” to mean the same thing.  And yet, “sin” and “sins” mean two different things.

     You could define “sin” as the basic source for all of the bad things that we do (“sins”).  The Lutheran understanding of sin is that when we are born, we are born with a basic human selfishness and rebelliousness towards God.  That sin, or brokenness, is encoded in our very DNA as humans.

     The apostle Paul calls it “the flesh” - the part of us that is anchored in the brokenness of this world.  All of our individual sins develop out of that basic selfishness and desire to have our own way.  And so, we have all of the individual sins of greed, lust, envy, pride, hate, slander of our neighbor, despair and every other sin(s) that you can imagine.

     Sometimes a person does not feel very sinful.  In fact, they might feel like they do not really sin at all since they have not killed anyone or directly stolen anything from anyone.  And yet, that very basic sin is a part of every human being.

     For instance, each of us generally wants to get the cheapest price for any product that you might buy.  That feeling is the individual sin called “greed”.  It is the product of our basic selfishness or sin.

     Now, you might assume that expecting the cheapest price for a product is “fair”.  And yet, we often get products at such low prices because the initial laborers are not paid fairly.  This would be called the sin of “injustice”.  It is also a product of our basic sin. 

     But since other middlemen create the system where the laborer does not get fairly paid, you and I do not see this injustice directly.  The larger economic system that we live in and support creates the injustice.  But you and I are an integral part of this system.  It is our system and so, we are tainted or collaterally sinful as a result.

     This is why the church supports such things a “Fair Trade” coffee and chocolate.  These products as more expensive because the laborers are more fairly paid.  But they do not begin to cover the abundance of unfairly paid products - like the bananas we eat every day.

     Another reason that many of our products are so cheap is because we out-source the environmental damage that manufacturing these products produce.  For instance, our blue jeans are made in Mexico because it would be too expensive to obey the environmental laws that keep America clean.  The same is true for all of our plastic toys and cups and bowls, etc.

     And then, of course, there are the various direct sins like hate, and anger, and deception which is also called lying.  And stealing does not have to come from a store, it happens every time you download a song that someone else bought (or didn’t buy).

     The bottom line is that each of us is steeped in sin - and we all commit various sins daily - even if you really would rather not do these things.  It is very important that we recognize our sinfulness.  While it may make you feel guilty at first - the intention is to make you feel thankful to God that Jesus has forgive all of your sin (and sins).  So that you are fully a part of God’s love and joy and eternal life.  Living in that continual forgiveness is called grace.  Living in God’s grace.

     There is a very important scene and parable that Jesus tells on this point - Luke 7:36-50.  (You should stop reading this article and read that parable for deeper understanding.)  Those who know they are forgiven much live in joy and thanksgiving every day.

- Pastor Steve

Pastor Messages of Special Interest

Suicide - Surviving Life’s Darkest Moments



Video of Archived Sermons

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