Spring Ahead

Realizing that winter can return for a short-lived storm, spring is springing today.  April is a month of transitions.

  • The weather is changing and soon new life will emerge.
  • This also means ‘tick’ season and safeguards begin to protect our pets as well as those who suffer from ‘Limes’ disease.
  • In the Church Year, we move from Lent to Holy Week to Easter.
  • This year, Palm Sunday is April 9th; Maundy Thursday is April 13th; Good Friday at Riverside will be the 14th and Resurrection Sunday will be celebrated Saturday April 15th and Sunday April 16th.


I cannot imagine a larger transition from our Lord’s death on a cross to the message of the Angels.

  • A church father once said that is every light in the sky were linked to an event of our Lord’s incarnation … Christmas would be the moon and Easter would be the sun!
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus says “Amen” to the will of his Father to die for the world and in the Garden of the Empty Tomb, God the Father gives his “Amen” to the Son.


This Lent we explored a new attitude we have with the Roman Catholic Church as we approach the 500th
Anniversary of the Reformation.

Beginning with the first Sunday after Easter we will return to studying the ‘Texts’ or the assigned ‘Readings’ for the upcoming weekend worship.

  • The Book of Acts describes the birth of the Christian Church.
  • The Book of Peter reminds us that our living hope in Christ’s resurrection gives peace in the midst of the stresses of life.
  • The Gospel of John retells the story of ‘Doubting Thomas’ on Easter evening. The Gospel of Luke gives the beautiful story of Jesus walking alongside two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

The 40 days the Risen Jesus walked our earth before is Ascension is in stark contrast to the 40 days of Lent.  Come to worship and be filled with God’s Spirit of Life and Victory!



Pastor Steve

Lenten Bible Study

Lenten Bible Study #1 is the first of five studies that plans to incorporate Readings from the Book of Romans with Martin Marty’s book,

October 31, 1517. 

These studies will be offered on Sundays @ 9:15 and Mondays @ 10 am in the Luther Room.

Lesson #1 REPENTANCE.        

Read Romans 2:1-11.  In the early church who is to receive no partiality and why? 

Who is passing judgment on whom?  In verse 4, the kindness, forbearance and patience of God

are Hebrew (Jewish) traits. 

Kindness in Greek is (chrestotes). According to Barclay it is the compassion that Jesus bestowed upon the woman who was anointing his feet as well as the compassion shown the woman who was to be ‘stoned to death’ for adultery.

Forbearance means (anoche) or to have a truce that ceases hostility for a period of time.

Patience (makrothumia) according to Chrysostom is having the power to crush an enemy and choosing to withhold that power.

Barclay:  “… almost everyone has ‘a vague and undefined hope of impunity’, a kind of feeling that ‘this cannot happen to me’.  Paul told the Jewish converts that they were taking the mercy of God as an invitation to sin rather than an incentive to repent.

Read Chapters 1-3 in Martin Marty’s book,

October 31, 1517. 

(If you need a copy please contact the office.)


Chapter One:  An Invitation  1. Martin Luther said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘repent’ he intended the entire life of the believers to be repentance.”  What is you initial response to the word repentance?  Do you think of repentance as an important part of your own spiritual journey?  Why or why not?  Are there time of the year –Lent perhaps – when you might think more about repentance?


Chapter Two:  Repentance Here Means a “Change of Heart”  1. The concept of ‘repentance’ is not popular today in secular circles, and indeed in some Christian ones.  Does that influence your own understanding or appreciation of repentance?  If you consider repentance as a “change of heart”, does that cast the concept of repentance in more positive light?  Repentance can be an individual or corporate exercise of a nation or congregation.  How does personal or corporate repentance have any “effect” when the past is done and gone?  Has personal repentance in your own life helped you to develop new patterns or resolves?


Chapter Three:  A Five-Hundred-Years-Ago Argument over “Penance”  3. Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses took place at a time of great discontent and upheaval in the church specifically about the “rites of penance” — or the means of repentance in the Catholic Church at that time.  Today confession and repentance are important in both Catholic and Protestant traditions, but they are practiced in different ways.  Consider how integral confession and repentance are in you own life.

Come to Bible Study and Lenten Worship.  Lesson 2: Justification; 3: Communion; 4: Reconciliation; 5: Transformation. 

Let us grow together!


Pastor Steve


Happy New Year! 2017

Happy New Year!  I pray that 2017 will be a blessing to you.  This month the 12 Days of Christmas end on Friday January 6th  with the Star of Bethlehem.

 On New Year’s Day, we celebrate the “Name of Jesus” which is the last Sunday of the Christmas Season.

The Star and the Wise men begin the Season of Epiphany on Friday, January 6th.  With the Star of Bethlehem, God begins to show us who Jesus is.

The first Sunday after the Epiphany (January 8) celebrates “The Baptism of our Lord”.  From the Jordan River Jesus begins his public ministry to redeem creation.

The second Sunday (January 15) we are invited to “Come and See” who Jesus is.

The third Sunday (January 22) declares from Isaiah that the ‘people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’.

The fourth Sunday (January 29) shares with us the “Beatitudes”.  In short, they teach us the faith.

For adult education the class on the New Testament will continue with “The Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems as well as – Solutions and Methods”.  From there we will study the Acts of the Apostles and more.  Class is at 9:15 in the Luther Room.

For our Calvary Family we reveal our reports and priorities and who we intend to be with the Annual Report.  For all of us this ‘Epiphany’ prepares us for our Congregational (Annual) Meeting, Sunday, January 29 at 11:30 in the sanctuary.

In addition, the seven nominated Call Committee members will be voted upon.  As always we will thank all of our members who have served faithfully. Ginger Woodrum stepped down at the beginning of December to tend to family care.  She is to be commended for her faithful service to our Lord.  In addition Pastor Ron Mohr has moved on from our service.  Thank you Pastor Ron!

We worship our God who tells us who He is in Jesus.  We behold our Father, Son and Holy Spirit by faith that is humble of heart.  We gather as a congregation dedicated to core values of the Holy Spirit.  One of these is transparency and honesty.

Again as we travel into 2017, God’s Holy Spirit will guide our church in faithful ministry!


Pastor Steve


Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands Article

Here is a link to an article that speaks to the wave of hate crimes after the Trump election.  

Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands

Advent is the Season to Prepare

As I write this article on November 15, 2016 the weather is beautiful with no hint of winter.

  • As you read this greeting we may have already dug out of many storms.
  • It is hard to be prepared for the wrath of a blizzard with such weather.
  • But we gladly receive such grace!


            Advent is the season to prepare … the way of the Lord!

  • Like preparing for winter there is good reason to have a checklist of things that need attention.
  • Like preparing for Christmas with family and friends, there are so many important details that need doing.


With the onslaught of sales encouraging us to buy … buy … buy … many are overwhelmed and what suffers is our faith and church.

  • Scripture calls us to “Repent”. Prepare the Way of the Lord!
  • Repent and prepare for the Christ child in your heart.
  • Repent and take the time for family worship around the Advent Wreath.
  • Repent and let the Holy Spirit use us to foster faith in the lives of those we love.
  • Repent and take the time to tend to the work of Calvary that needs all hands in order to be effective.
  • Repent and turning to Christ may our talents and gifts be used to further God’s Kingdom.


In our world of endless advertising we can be lulled to sleep.  Like the beautiful November, we can forget to prepare for what is coming … like winter.  We must not forget to prepare for WHO is coming … Christ. 


 Our Lord wants us prepared so let us pause for devotions.

  • Let us set aside moments for prayer.
  • Attending worship, let us take the time to volunteer our lives for our Calvary family of faith.
  • Let us offer our first fruits (our first payment) as an offering to our God.


This Advent let us not be lulled to sleep but placing first the “Reason for the Season” we are ready and the spirit of Christmas will carry us into a New Year!


Merry Christmas,

Pastor Steve

Important Decisions

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your great attendance and participation at our Dedication services and Rally Sunday!

Last night the Council met and made some important decisions.

  • MSP that Dana Kocka will be reassigned from Learning Core to Family Ministry Core as a part of a staffing plan as yet to be determined.
  • Dana will continue to serve the Youth Core and Learning Core until the staffing plan is adopted and staffed.

What Does This Mean?

  • This means that Calvary staffing will continue as we are until Congregational Council adopts a staffing plan and with the approval of the congregation to staff it.
  • This means that when staffing is complete, the reassignment of Dana Kocka’s position goes into effect.


Note:  The motion was made by the representative of the Family Ministry Core (Jamie Linkowitz) and seconded by the representative of the Learning Core (Jo Judson).  With Dana’s full support the council is united.


A second decision is that the Congregational Council accepts that “Absentee Balloting” is in conflict with the ELCA Model Constitution for congregations which states:


Voting by proxy or by absentee ballot shall not be permitted.


What Does This Mean?

  • Any change to the constitution of Calvary Lutheran Church cannot conflict with the model constitution.


What authority can allow for a change?

  • Only the Churchwide Assembly can change the Model Constitution.
  • This means that the Northwestern Minnesota Synod is not able to grant exceptions.


For this reason, Forums to explore Absentee Balloting at Calvary Lutheran Church will not be called.

I want to thank Synod Minister Paul Erdahl for researching this concern. 

I want to thank First Lutheran in Akeley for letting us know that their language approving absentee balloting was removed.

If you have questions please call me or contact Joel Vorhes @ 218. 252. 7430.


As you can see our Congregational Council is addressing concerns as well as moving forward on a comprehensive staffing plan.



Pastor Stephen Norby



A Tour of Our Intersection of Grace and Service

With Highways 71 and 34 intersecting by our church we are blessed to be at one of the busiest crossroads in Northern Minnesota.

             Friends … September 11th will mark the dedication of our facility to the ‘Glory of God’! There is so much to celebrate!

 As we leave the sanctuary we enter an expanded ‘Narthex’.  When it comes to hospitality, information and support for each other at funerals, weddings and Sunday worship the expansion of this area is priceless.

Traveling west we turn clockwise to be greeted at our ‘New Offices’ with three beautiful carvings by Glenn Anderson who captured the mission of our church.  Come and see them!

  • Certainly the nerve center for Calvary’s mission begins with the Office Manager, Laura Kujawa, and the Office Assistant, Julie Warmbold.


  • On the left is the Congregational Treasurer’s Office that is faithfully tracks all congregational spending. Wayne Pearson who gives exceptional service administers this charge.  (He is also our Custodian)


  • Across the hall is the Office of ‘Lead Pastor’. Currently I have the privilege of serving in that position.


  • The next office is that of ‘Pastor’. Pastor Ron Mohr is doing an outstanding job of visiting our homebound and others.


  • Finally there is the office of ‘Youth Director’, ‘Parish Education Director’ and Dana Kocka is second to none in service to our Lord.


  • With its own entrance is our ‘Community Room’ that often hosts outside groups for meetings. This is where our ‘Discretionary (charity) Fund’, is shared by lay volunteers on Thursdays at 2pm.


  • Across the north side of the building is our Parish Education Wing with two restrooms insuring that no student has to leave the area.  The ‘Commons Area’ is an exciting space that will be used for Sunday School Openings as well as Youth Group Activities.


  • Traveling south we pass classrooms and last on the right is the ‘Youth Room’. Bed’s Plus donated the furniture and it is nicely appointed.


  • Across the main hall on the right are the Men’s and Women’s Restrooms that are up to code!
  • Backtracking we enter the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the project and that is our state of the art Kitchen!


  • Past the kitchen is the newly remodeled ‘Fellowship Hall’ with the original design of window across the south wall. On the east wall just below the window is a sculpture of “God’s Left Hand” that signifies our Creator’s bounty and desire for justice.


  • Looking across is the ‘Cross’ on the west wall, which is expected to have light restored from within it.


  • Between are tables that can seat 150, which can be expanded if, needed. Between the hand of the Father and the cross of the Son is the work of the Holy Spirit creating community and giving support through fellowship.


  • All the tables can be stored out of sight in the closets that line the north side of the Fellowship Hall.


  • Entering the doors on the right the ‘Adult Education Room’ will provide offerings that will challenge and comfort those who wish to study our faith.


  • The doors on the left enter the Narthex at a space that doubles as our waiting area.


  • This will house a fireplace when it is done and it shares hospitality with those who visit.


  • Besides all of this, boilers are replaced, roofs shingled, heating pipes are replaced.


  • Outside volunteers are preparing our property with green grass to say welcome to Calvary.


  • So much more could be said, but I am out of space!


Come to the Crossroads of Grace and Service as we celebrate God’s mission being enhanced beautifully by our new and remodeled church!

Pastor Steve


At the Crossroads of Grace and Service

With Highways 71 and 34

intersecting by our church we are blessed to be at one of the busiest crossroads in  Northern Minnesota.


     Our theme “At the Crossroads of Grace and Service”

has been literally carved into the fabric of our congregation.  One of the panels designed and chiseled by Pastor Glenn Anderson features this phrase.


            With our stain glass windows designed by Dr. David Hetland

our sanctuary is literally gallery of God’s    Grace and love.  When you worship there are 20 windows that begin with Creation.  From the ‘Hand’ of God a red ribbon   of grace flows though all the windows praising the work of the Holy Spirit.


      This Sunday (July 24) we will read our Lord’s words when he said, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you   will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”

      Jesus is talking about receiving God’s Holy Spirit.


Let me tell you,

God’s Holy Spirit has blessed Calvary

with gifted people who have dedicated themselves to the work of our Lord.
  • Consider yourself as one such gifted member who is set free to love God, love your neighbor and love yourself.
  • As we celebrate the summer with the joys of our lake country, joys of gardening and farming, come to worship and the Holy Spirit will refresh and inspire you.


At a recent funeral

service a member of the family came from far away.  We stood at the front of the sanctuary looking up at the skylight.  He said, “Wow, you get to work here everyday.”
  • I was humbled. He is right, it is a blessing to be your pastor and serve the Lord with you!
  • The Holy Spirit has gifted every person who reads this article.
  • Together we are an ‘Extraordinary Community of Love’.


God the Holy Spirit will answer your prayers and appear to you when you search and knock.


I tell you, God’s Spirit is with us, in us and works through us.  Come and be inspired!



Pastor Steve

Summertime and Living Is….

June (Summertime) and the living is ‘hectic’ ‘wild’ ‘crammed’ ‘running’ ‘helter-skelter’ almost anything but … EASY!

  • I do pray that we take the time to simply wet a line and fish … or put on our helmet and take a bike ride … or take time for boating (with lifejackets!) … or sewing, painting, doing photography, quilting, gardening or whatever helps you to relax.
  • We are blessed with beauty all around us and may we take the time to breathe.


Our church remodeling is moving forward.

  • Saturday Night: 5:30pm  Your council is working very hard and I thank you for your continued prayers and support for our leaders.
  • The Call Committee Process is being discerned and soon the focus swings for you to weigh in. Soon there will be application forms for those who wish to serve.  In addition the council will plan for some forums to listen to your views about calling a pastor and affording it.
  • The Worship Hours for the Summer are set:

      Sundays: 8am and 10 am with fellowship between services.


  • The council approved a fund for donations toward a Council approved project by Glenn Anderson to carve a relief of red oak to be installed on the front of our receptionist desk. Estimated cost to the congregation is $1500 and this includes a discount of hundreds of dollars given to the congregation by Glenn.  (Please consider using memorials to achieve the goal.  Form below.)
  • I will be conducting a New Member Class in June between services.
  • In July I hope to bring samples of future classes for you to help prioritize for the fall etc.
  • In addition the Resources Core is busy developing a Kitchen Use Policy.
  • As you can imagine … much is happening.


Psalm 133 is called, “The Blessedness of Unity”

     How very good and pleasant it is

     When kindred live together in unity!

     It is like the precious oil on the head,

     running down upon the beard,

     on the beard of Aaron,

     running down over the collar of his robes.

     It is like the dew of Hermon,

     which falls on the mountains of Zion.

     For there the Lord ordained his blessing,

     Life forevermore.


Pastor Steve

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!


April is the month that we walk with our Risen Savior for the 40 Days of Easter.

  • A Church ‘Father’ once wrote that if every star in the sky were an act of Jesus in the world, the Resurrection                               from the Dead would be … THE SUN!                       
  • The Victory of our Lord is just that BIG!

Our Triune God is personal. 

  • This means that we are baptized by name into Christ.
  • This means that at Holy Communion the body and bread are for you … personally. In English, you can be plural like ‘You-All’ or singular like ‘You’ as a person.  In Greek the endings of the words are different … plural has a different ending than the singular.
  • At the Lord’s Supper the singular you is used when Jesus said … “This is my body, this is my blood given and shed for YOU.”
  • Our Lord wants you to know this love personally.
  • Our Triune God is personal that’s why we are baptized by Name.


Enjoy this poem that does a great job of explaining the relationship between Jesus and YOU.

The U in JesUs

The U in JesUs

Before U were thought of or time had begun,

God stuck U in the name of His Son.


And each time U pray,U’ll see it’s true,

U can’t spell out JesUs without including U.


U’re a pretty big part of His Wonderful Name

For U, He was born; That’s why He came!


And His great love for U is the reason He died.

It even takes U to spell crucified.



Isn’t it thrilling and splendidly grand

He rose from the dead with U in his plan?


The stone was moved, the gold trUmpet blew

And this word ResUrection is spelled with a U!


When JesUs left earth at His Upward Ascension

He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.


“Go into the world and tell them it’s true

That I love them all-just like I love U.”

Christ is Risen…

Pastor Steve