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.

      Pastor Steve enjoys hiking, kayaking, and reading. 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, One Minute Nonsense by Anthony DeMello, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, E=mc2 by David Bodanis, and the Tolkein trilogy.


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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


Take My Yoke Upon You

 


     In Matthew 11:29, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  I feel like we, as Christians, often make Christianity a lot more difficult than it has to be.

     Once upon a time, I felt that I had unlocked the core of the gospel – and it was, and is, that forgiveness is understanding – and understanding is forgiveness.  And, we are all one – with each other and with nature.  A simple beauty. 

     I still believe that is the core of the gospel.  But recently, I have had another insight.... When you love, you participate in whatever Christianity is supposed to be.  In I Corinthians 13, Paul ends these amazing verses by saying, “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

     When St. Paul uses the word “abide”, he means that these remain forever.  That is, they are eternity in motion.  This directly reflects where Jesus says in the gospel of John, “Abide in me as I abide in you” and “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love” (John 15).

     And in I John 4:16, the author writes, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”

     We tend to make Christianity a lot more difficult than it needs to be.  Just love – in thought, word, and deed.  This includes forgiveness for others and for yourself.  It includes great works of service, like caring for an elderly neighbor or family member – or building a wing of a hospital.  But it also includes simply listening to the troubles of your coworker. Love is very simple, but you can make it as complex as you like.    
     Sometimes I believe that we make Christianity difficult because we believe that every Christian has to believe and act with the same emphasis that we do.  You can see this misunderstanding in Luke 10, “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ 41But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’”  Jesus does not put Martha down, but He makes it clear that both methods of Christianity – serving and listening to Jesus are part of the whole.

     We can sometimes feel like only benevolent action is love.  But love is a multi-faceted wonder of God’s presence in our lives and in the world.  You can’t nail this stuff down.  And the minute you do, it is no longer the dynamic love that is of God.

     And the last thing that I would suggest here, is that The Word is Love.  Jesus is The Word incarnate.  Jesus is Love incarnate. 

     Quite amazing, really.  A wondrous complex simplicity.  

 

- Pastor Steve

Pastor Messages of Special Interest

Suicide - Surviving Life’s Darkest Moments



Video of Archived Sermons

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