Faith Formation Class on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Social Statements

ELCA Social Statement Class

Beginning on Monday evening, May 2, 6:30-7:30, we will begin a faith-formation, life-changing series of classes on the ELCA Social Statements. Here is a link to our website for more information: Our first study/discussion will be on “Race, Ethnicity, and Culture.” A copy can be downloaded from our website.

Here is the ZOOM link to join us for these faith-formation and life-changing classes:

Meeting ID: 892 2438 5410  Passcode: 013684

One tap mobile  +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

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Everyone are welcome to join us as we continue to learn about and live God’s love for the world.

Pastor Rick Roberts

What is one of the most difficult things to believe about the "faith" God gives us?

What is one of the most difficult things to believe about our lives of faith? I believe, it is to believe-in, God’s unconditional love and forgiveness for all. When Jesus died on His Cross, forgiving all sin(s) while dying, and when God vindicated Jesus’ life of love and forgiveness, for all, when God raised Him on that glorious Easter Morning, we, the world, all people, and “All means all”, were given God’s gracious gift. If you believe, or are made to believe, you are “not good enough” for God, for any reason, you are invited to St. John’s this Sunday to hear the “good news” of God’s grace for you, just the way God created you. Our ZOOM Worship is at 9:00am (Central Time, USA). Instead of labelling people “not good enough” for way too many reasons, causing all the destructive and devastating wars and problems we all have, what if we believed God so loved and forgave the world? What if we believed, and lived, seeing all people as God’s children, beloved and forgiven, forever? Our world would be filled with more love, peace, and hope. Come join us. Here is our ZOOM link:

Meeting ID: 884 6359 9881  Passcode: 846146

One tap mobile +13126266799,,88463599881#,,,,*846146# US (Chicago)

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What was the Greatest Day Ever - that Can Change Our Lives Forever?

 Here is a YouTube link for this blog:

Here is the written blog:

The greatest day ever was not our birthday, anniversary, or any number of holidays; even Christmas. From a Christian viewpoint - it is Easter. Because of God raising Jesus from the dead, God vindicated Jesus’ “life of love” for All! When the world did all it could to live “hate” by murdering Jesus, God showed the epitome of love for the world on Jesus’ Cross and at the Empty Tomb.

Christians, do we believe that Jesus unconditionally lived and died for all people? We profess that with Jesus’ words of John 3:16 and His many words of love from the Cross. However, do we truly believe in God’s love for all? If we do, why do we label so many people “not good enough” for way too many hurtful reasons - or - try to change their lives and/or their lifestyles? Aren’t we trying to fit them into “our” religious belief system and not God’s?

If we truly loved the world, all people, as God and Jesus do, as they always have, and will always will do, I truly believe there would be less wars; less food insecurities and homelessness; less gun violence, suicides, and drug abuse; and less abuses caused by all the social, racial, political, and religious unrest in the world.

Love is the answer to every problem in our lives. The Beatles sang, “All you need is love” and many artists sang, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”

I believe at the heart of all religions is love. Here is an all-religion challenge for the world. What if we truly lived love for all? From a Christian viewpoint, what if we unconditionally welcomed, accepted, forgave, and loved all people - as Jesus did? If we all did, I truly believe our world would be a far better place to live in. There would be so much less…… pain and suffering - and so much more needed peace and hope.

Christians, we profess we, and the world, was loved and forgiven, forever, on that first glorious Easter. For us, The Greatest Day Ever! I know we will never do it perfectly, but what if we actually followed Jesus’ example and command in the Great Commission to Go; to live God’s unconditional love for all as Jesus did? In our world filled with way too much hate, and all the pain and suffering it brings everyone, how can we not, live God’s love for all? Let’s try it. It might just work.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. How about an online or in-person forum/discussion on the implications of The Greatest Day Ever; on God’s love for all?

The Power of the “Presence” of The Christ!

When all of Jesus’ disciples, men and women, experienced His resurrection, their lives were changed. Why? They witnessed Jesus’ resurrection! They knew their sin of denying, betraying, and deserting Him was NOT held against them. Their sin did NOT lead to spiritual death. They were forgiven, forever (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 23:34). They also knew “physical” death was not the end! Jesus was alive again!

Knowing their two greatest fears of “spiritual” and “physical” deaths were defeated, they were given new life. They, then, allowed God to equip and empower them to be witnesses for the Risen Christ; helping their world know God’s unconditional love, for all!

With all that is going on in our world: war, hunger, and poverty; all the social, racial, political, and religious inequalities and unrest in our world, what the world needs is the “presence” of the resurrected Christ in their lives.

That real “presence” comes to us in the hearing of God’s Word and in the sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism. Every time we gather together to hear God’s Word, have communion, and remember our baptisms, the real “presence” of God’s forgiveness and love comes alive in us; giving us hope and peace.

God’s “presence” created the world in love (every-person and every-thing); Jesus’ pre-and-post-resurrection “presence” redeemed the world (every-person and every-thing). Jesus promised the real “presence” of God’s love for all (every-person and every-thing) when He returns one day.

In the meantime, what could our world look like as we allow God’s Holy Spirit to equip and empower us to witness the real “presence” of God’s love in all, for all? How much more peace would we all have?

We at St. John’s Lutheran Church believe and are striving to live and share God’s real “presence” that is in all, and for all, through all we do. You are invited to join us wherever you are in the world, for the sake of the world in need of more hope and peace. 

#stjohnsnashville    #stjohnsdonelson

Jesus’ Universal Resurrection Love for All!

Think about the worst sin and/or sinner ever…. What sin(s) come to mind: murder, stealing, any and all abuses, etc. What great sinners come to mind: Putin, Hitler, etc. What is the most egregious sin/sinner ever? I believe it was the “sin” of the “world” that crucified/murdered Jesus!  And what did Jesus say as He hung, dying on His Cross? “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

In John’s gospel, he introduced Jesus by saying, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the ‘sin’ of the ‘world’!” (John 1:29b) Then, as we heard on the Cross, Jesus forgave the most egregious “sin/sinners” ever (the world/all people). At His death, we believe, Jesus descended to the dead to proclaim and give that same forgiveness for all. And at His resurrection, Jesus gave us the proof of God’s universal, once-for-all, forgiveness and love, forever.

Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension was, and is, all about God’s amazing gift of grace: reconciling love and forgiveness for all. As we learn to die to ourselves, God resurrects us to know and believe-in God’s love for us. As God helps us to know that gospel truth, God equips and empowers us to live God’s universal gift of grace.

At St. John’s Lutheran Church in Nashville, TN, we are striving to live resurrection lives for the sake of the world God so loves. You are invited to join us.

An Easter Reflection on: Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia

We shout on Easter Sunday, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia!” Why do we always shout that wonderful phrase on Easter? Because God raised Jesus from the dead on that glorious first Easter; defeating the power of sin and death; giving the world God’s gift of grace. That is our main belief as ELCA Lutheran Christians.

 As important, and needed, Jesus’ resurrection was, it was NOT just for Him. In Matthew’s gospel, as soon as Jesus died, many people began to rise (Matthew 27:52). As we believe, when Jesus died, he descended to the dead (not hell), the dead, for the purpose to preach the “good news” of God’s grace to them, too; to resurrect them to new life (1 Peter 3:18-20).

 Jesus’ resurrection is also a resurrection for the world, for all people. There are many people in our world, living, as though they were dead, because of all the devastating effects of sin (you know them all, right?). Like the first witnesses of the resurrection, and many since, our calling as the Church of Jesus Christ is to live and share Easter Resurrection Joy everywhere and every day!

 Our calling is to live and shout, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia!” How do we shout that phrase? Not, by just shouting it. Rather, by following Jesus’ example and command to actively live God’s love all. It’s as simple as greeting a store clerk, donating food items to a local food bank to help those in need; by talking life issues with family and friends; being an advocate for social justice issues, and the list goes on and on.

As Jesus died, descended to the dead, was raised by God, and walked out of that tomb that day, He left the sin of the world in that tomb. Jesus freed the world from the power of sin and death and left our sins, all sins, and “All means all”, in that tomb; forgiven, sealed, and forgotten, forever!

“Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia!”

What if we “shouted” and “lived” that phrase everywhere and every day for all to hear, come to believe, and live God’s resurrection love for all? How much more joy, hope, and peace would the world have? How can we NOT!

Holy Saturday, Living in Despair!

With all that is going on in our world: war, terrorism, mass-shootings, climate change issues, homelessness, starvation, and way too many “isms” (racism, sexism, etc.) causing way too much pain and suffering in body, mind, and spirit for all; with all that is going on in our lives: being bullied, illnesses and deaths, worrying about the daily-growing inflation and high cost of living and worrying about how we’re going to afford… everything; the world is living in the despair of Holy Saturday.

Last night was Good Friday. Throughout His life, and especially as He hung on the Cross, Jesus, personally, experienced, all the pain and suffer - we will ever go through - even, and especially, death!

Even though, at times, and most likely more than we will ever admit to, we all live in the despair, helplessness, and hopelessness of Holy Saturday.

The answer to all of ours, and the world’s Holy Saturday despair, is just, One Day Away, Easter! Tomorrow, we will shout, “Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!” When God raised Him from the horror of Good Friday, of life, Jesus completely defeated Holy Saturday’s despair by defeating the power sin and death had over the world.

At Jesus Cross, we saw the fullness of God’s Love for the world as God watched and allowed God’s only begotten Son, be murdered by the sin of the world. At the Empty Tomb, we see the fullness of the vindication of God’s Love for world.

Tomorrow, as we shout, “Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!” May we pray for, and ask God, to let those words take flesh in us. May we learn to love as Jesus loved. As we do, yes, sorry, there will still be despair in our world, in our lives. However, as we live Jesus’ love, God also promises, we will have more Easter joy, hope, love, and peace.

What could our lives, our world, look like, with less Holy Saturday despair, and more, Easter joy, hope, peace, and love? Tomorrow, as we shout, “Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!”, let’s let those words “take flesh in us” and begin to live Jesus’, God’s Love for all; and as we proudly profess at St. John’s, “All means all!”


Holy Week Services


Jesus’ Passion for the World to See and Know God’s Love for All!

 Here is a YouTube link for a video invitation to join us for our Holy Week ZOOM Services:

 Here are ZOOM links for our Holy Week Services. Come join us. All are welcome.

Tuesday’s Holy Week Healing Service; 6:30pm

Meeting ID: 886 2602 5168  Passcode: 023449

One tap mobile +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

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Wednesday Evening Lent Worship; 6:30pm

Meeting ID: 824 4828 6659  Passcode: 583867

One tap mobile +13126266799,,82448286659#,,,,*583867# US (Chicago)

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Maundy Thursday Worship; 6:30pm

Meeting ID: 836 6391 2924  Passcode: 569063

One tap mobile +13126266799,,83663912924#,,,,*569063# US (Chicago)

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Good Friday Tenebrae Service; 6:30pm

Meeting ID: 832 0213 1129  Passcode: 468989

One tap mobile +13126266799,,83202131129#,,,,*468989# US (Chicago)

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Holy Week: The Passion of God’s Relationship Building Love for All!

With the Season of Lent coming to a close, we now enter the most Holy of Weeks. Throughout His life, and especially for the last six weeks, Jesus has been preparing us for this week. At the culmination of this “Most Holy Week” we will see, again, the fullness of God’s relationship building love for the world, for all people.

We will see Jesus defiantly and triumphantly ride into the lion’s den, into the fullness of our sin, to shouts of “Hosanna”; knowing, in one short week, many of the same people will be shouting, “Crucify Him!” In spite of their/our sin, we will see Jesus continue to teach, preach, heal, forgive, and love them all. We will see Jesus institute the Meal of God’s reconciling relationship building love for all. We will see Jesus complete God’s plan of salvation for the world, prepared from before the creation of the world, when Jesus will shout in victory from His Cross, “It is finished!”

During this Holy Week, you are invited to join us at St. John’s to witness, “The Passion of God’s Relationship Building Love for All!” Here is our worship schedule:

April 10: Palm/Passion Sunday: ZOOM at 9:00am; In-Person at St. John’s at 10:30

Jesus’ Passion for the World to See and Know God’s Relationship of Love

April 12: John 9:1-34 - Jesus’ Sign of Giving Sight: Healing Service, 6:30pm ZOOM

April 13: John 11:1-44 - Jesus’ Last Sign, A Preview of Resurrection Love for All, 6:30 ZOOM

April 14: Maundy Thursday, The Fulfilling Meal of God’s Relationship of Love for All, 6:30pm ZOOM

April 15: Good Friday, “It is Finished!” 6:30pm on ZOOM

April 17: Easter Celebration of God’s 8th Sign, God’s Resurrection Love for All!

7:15 Sunrise Service at St. John’s; ZOOM Service at 9:00am

An Easter Egg Hunt after each service. Both at St. John’s

 Please email me for ZOOM links at:

What is the definition of Eternal Life!

 The words “eternal life” is an important phrase in the New Testament. Matthew 19:16-30, 25:46; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 10:25-37, 18:30; and John 3:16, 3:36, 4:14, 36, and found in chapters 5, 6, 10, 12, 17 of John’s gospel.

Many scholars believe the phrase “eternal life” is Not just living forever with Jesus/God in heaven when we die. Whereas that is true, according to the gospel writers, who received their material from Jesus, “eternal life” was more about living the “good news” of God’s love for all Now! That makes a lot of sense as we pray in The Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth - as it is in heaven.” Jesus’ words in the references above attest to that gospel truth. Jesus lived to help people live lives of love, right then, to help them have the life God intended for the world to have at creation. What if we loved, forgave, welcomed, and accepted all people, now, as Jesus did throughout His life and ministry? We would have more peace and hope, more “eternal life”, now, that our world, we all, so desperately need. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

The “key” word in John 3:16!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (NRSV)

I believe a very key word in this beloved Bible verse is “everyone.” Why? Well, according to Jesus, everyone means everyone. Remember, Jesus is speaking here and not you or me. We tend to want people to believe in Jesus, the way we do, and/or by our prejudices. Many Churches believe Jesus came for everyone; however, to truly “have eternal life”, to be “saved”, “everyone” has to have “their” beliefs. What if people of color, of a different nationality, sexual persuasion, homeless, on death row, etc.; what if they knew Jesus’ word “everyone” included them? What if “everyone” loved, forgave, accepted, and welcomed all people as Jesus did? What could, what would our world look like? As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Meditations on Jesus’ Seven Last Words:

 As we prepare for Holy Week, here is a series of Meditations on Jesus' Seven Last Words.

“Father, forgive them”, Luke 23:34

“Truly I tell you, Today, you will be with Me in Paradise”, Luke 23:43


"Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother”, John 19:26-27


 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, Matthew 27:46


 “I am thirsty”, John 19:28


 “It is finished!”, John 19:30


 “Father, into your hands, I commend My Spirit.”, Luke 23:46


Psalm 23: The Lord is "my" Shepherd

Psalm 23 is arguably the greatest Psalm. Here is a meditation on God's love for "you" and "all people" beloved Psalm: 


Jesus said, “You always have the poor with you.” (John 12:8) Contrary to some people’s understanding, Jesus was not dismissing the poor; to not care for them. Here is my understanding of the context of Jesus’ remark: I welcome your thoughts.