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  • On Faith: Easter offers reflection on our joys and sorrows

    Matt Kohl|Mar 22, 2024

    As someone who has attended my fair share of funerals, I have often found them to be bittersweet. Funerals can be joyful, as they are frequently filled with wonderful stories about our loved ones, encounters with long lost relatives, good food, and even the knowledge that our loved ones are no longer hurting and struggling but are at rest. Of course, I’m speaking in broad generalizations, but by and large most funerals have some joyous and hopeful moments. On the flip side, funerals really stink. They stink and they really hurt, because the p... Full story

  • On Faith: It was God who pulled off the ultimate heist

    Pastor David Handsaker|Dec 8, 2023

    Have you ever seen the movie, “Oceans 11”? If you haven’t, you should. It stands as one of Hollywood’s better renditions of a heist movie. Its characters set out to do the impossible — to rob the shared vault of three casinos on a fight night, when security would be at its highest level, but when the payday would also be the greatest. As you watch the heist unfold, you begin to think that things have gone wrong. Alarms have been tripped and the SWAT team is on its way. Only after the heist is completed are you allowed a behind-th...

  • On Faith: Finding some good in our weedy existence

    Pastor Seth Wynands|Nov 17, 2023

    Why do bad things happen to good people? A couple of years ago, Andrea and I started a vegetable garden. Since then, we've learned at least one thing: we're pretty lousy gardeners. Or, at least, I am. I can tell I am a lousy gardener because, when I talk to serious gardeners, I usually have no clue what they're talking about. This is especially true when it comes to weeding. No matter what we plant, by the time things start growing I can't tell a bean or tomato plant from any other plant that... Full story

  • There's a new church in Esko

    Brady Slater|Nov 3, 2023

    Seven years after it was purchased in 2016, a prominent property in Esko is nearly ready for its big reveal. "We're basically starting over," said Mike Blanchet, who, with his spouse and fellow pastor, Sally Blanchet, will open the doors to Living Word Church later this month. Located at 3 W. Highway 61 across from the post office, the nondenominational church expects to open around Thanksgiving, with 10:30 a.m. Sunday services and additional days of prayer on Wednesday and Saturday nights. The... Full story

  • ON FAITH: Evil can strike anywhere; stay vigilant

    Rev. Nicholas Nelson|Oct 13, 2023

    I am not sure about you, but the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel this past weekend woke me up. For a long time after Sept. 11, 2001, I was concerned about terrorist attacks. But more recently that concern has dissipated. First of all, because there haven’t been any large-scale terrorist attacks on American soil since then. Second, there are many other concerns to attend to in our own country, including economic, cultural, and other issues. But with these latest attacks, we see that there are still people who desire and have the means to c... Full story

  • Welcome back!

    Sep 15, 2023

    The month of September is always an exciting time of year, filled with all kinds of returns. Throughout this month, our schools have been filled with returning students, faculty, and staff while our sports fields and gymnasiums are already filled with returning athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators. And throughout all these returns comes a great wave of excitement, but also so nervous trepidation. Most of us at one point or another have experienced a child returning to school from the... Full story

  • On faith: Messed up family dynamics can change

    Rev. Brian Cornell|Aug 11, 2023

    My congregations have been reading from the book of Genesis this summer and focusing on the story of Jacob. Some might know Jacob from songs about "climbing Jacob's ladder." Others might recognize Jacob from his fraught relationship with his twin brother, Esau. Still others may know Jacob as the father of the "coat of many colors," Joseph, who is sold into slavery by his brothers. Regardless of how familiar you are with the story of Jacob, it is a story of a dysfunctional family, full of poor... Full story

  • Church remodel aims to ease way to 'encounter Christ'

    Brady Slater|Jul 14, 2023

    A new accessible entrance and buildout of a youth center are the focus of a significant expansion at a prominent church in Cloquet. Journey Christian Church associate pastor Fred Goldschmidt called the construction an appropriate metaphor. "We're making it easier for people to get in the door," Goldschmidt said. "As Christians, we want to make it easier for people to get involved with Christ." The $420,000 project is being conducted by Ray Riihiluoma Construction of Cloquet and it's hoped it...

  • Faith: Bringing forward all the beauty within us

    Jun 10, 2022

    Is beauty a religious value? The ancient Greek philosopher Plato spoke of the good, the true, and the beautiful as a kind of philosophical “trinity.” If a thing was good, he said, it was also necessarily true and beautiful. If it was true, it had to be beautiful and good as well. And if something was beautiful, you could be sure it was also good and true. These three qualities were mutually implicated in one another; you couldn’t have one without the others. So, in the ancient classical world... Full story

  • On Faith: Bring a love that heals

    Chris Hill|May 20, 2022

    It has been good to be here. For almost 10 years, Cloquet, Esko and Carlton and the surrounding lands have been home for me and my wife, Sandy. We have lived here and worked here, played here and prayed here, served here and learned love here. As I plan my retirement for later this year, and look back on ministry and mission I have shared here in this place, it is my hope that in that time I was able to help folks in these parts love each other and God just a little bit more, just a little bit... Full story

  • Zion Lutheran: Imagine a Lenten season reimagined

    Pastor CJ Boettcher|Mar 11, 2022

    There is a story in the fourth chapter of John's Gospel about a woman Jesus meets at a well. We don't know much about her, but we do know that she has been married to five different men and was now cohabitating with a sixth. We know she is languishing under the weight of crushing expectations and not measuring up to the societal standards of the day. Now it would be easy to assume that she must be in this position because she is promiscuous or immoral, but the text doesn't say that. You see,... Full story

  • Grieve well and thrive now and always

    Pastor Seth Wynands|Dec 17, 2021

    I used to love Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I still love Christmas, but bear with me for a minute. What I have always loved about Christmas was the warmth of the season. I love that people gather with family and friends, and I love the undercurrent of joy that runs underneath all of it. Then, in the year 2015, a whole lot changed for me. I moved away from my friends and my home. When I got to my new home, I struggled to find a job. Once I did, I didn't feel like I fit. A short time later, my g... Full story

  • On Faith: Finding empathy in angry times is worthy work

    Pastor CJ Boettcher|Oct 15, 2021

    It was one of those appointments I wasn’t looking forward to. The confirmation program had made a big change and the kids and parents weren’t happy, to put it mildly. Tension had been building for months and finally had boiled over into open conflict. Ron, whose daughter was in confirmation, had asked to come talk to me. I knew the conversation was going to be difficult. He came into my office, closed the door, and took a seat. He immediately vented his anger, making his case that the kids wer... Full story

  • Area church youth gather in Cloquet

    Pine Knot News|Sep 17, 2021

    Approximately 200 people gathered at the Common Ground building in Cloquet last week to gear up for the fall church season. Pastor Brandon Monson, youth pastor at Grace Baptist in Cloquet, said 10 youth groups - from Cloquet, Duluth, Meadowlands and Two Harbors - came together on Sept. 8 "as one body" to focus on the next season. Two professional speakers addressed the crowd of mostly young people and their leaders. Jesse Smith, a former backup dancer for Justin Timberlake and Rihanna and now... Full story

  • FAITH: Look before you let go a 'like'

    Pine Knot News|Sep 10, 2021

    House to House Heart to Heart Carlton County Church of Christ Before you hit “share” or “like” on that post, consider Paul’s admonition from Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” • Is it true? Each day, hyped- up fear- fed articles are posted about new applications, foods, vaccines, politic... Full story

  • On Faith: Find a good place for your emotions

    Brian Cornell|Aug 13, 2021

    I'm hearing people are having all the emotions. Are you hearing this as well? Maybe more importantly, are you experiencing this? Several weeks ago, I read about the rise in airline incidents with unruly passengers and an increase of incidents with patrons at restaurants. The article went on to quote a noted psychologist who said the collective anxiety and grief we experienced these last two years has created a perfect storm for negative emotions to come forth, often unfiltered. So this is...

  • Christian music festival goes back to its roots

    Pine Knot News|Jul 16, 2021

    After missing last summer due to the pandemic, a new version of an annual Christian music festival will return to Cloquet's Veterans Park on Aug. 14. The Wood City Music Festival will now be known as the Wood City Worship Festival. Lee Harris, who helps lead the Kingdom Builders Ministry that puts on the annual festival, said it hit the reset button during the pandemic, both for the Common Ground Coffee Bar & Deli in Cloquet's West End and the music festival. "We're really getting back to why... Full story

  • On Faith: Vaccination is the Christian thing to do

    CJ Boettcher|Jun 4, 2021

    In the Lutheran tradition we affirm the idea of now and not yet. This is particularly important as we bask in the post-Easter glow. God's promise of new life and resurrection has come to pass and yet it has not been realized in its fullness. We have the down payment, the first installment but the day is yet coming when all will be brought to fruition. We find ourselves in such a moment more than a year on from the outset of this pandemic. Vaccines are available to nearly everyone or soon will... Full story

  • On Faith: It's planting season!

    David Handsaker|Apr 9, 2021

    The parable of the sower has always been one of my favorites. Found in Matthew 13 and Luke 8, it should come as no surprise that a farm boy from Iowa would relate to the imagery of planting. As I write this, planting is almost ready to start down in Iowa and many farmers will soon be running full-out trying to get the crop into the ground. The speed and size of their efforts have increased dramatically. Corn planters are much more amazing machines than most people would assume. They have to... Full story

  • On Faith: We need to break down the walls of bias

    Chris Hill|Mar 12, 2021

    I find myself saddened by a painful change in our community: It is harder to listen to each other and to understand each other. That difficulty then makes it harder for us to care for each other. As a follower of Jesus, I believe I am called and equipped by God's Spirit to care like Christ. If I do not listen to you, how can I really care for you? Why is this happening? Pastor and author Brian McLaren (author of "The Great Spiritual Migration" and "Faith After Doubt" and others) suggests that... Full story

  • On Faith: Power lies in people when it comes to freedom

    Father Fish|Feb 12, 2021

    When Sunday school students see beyond the superficial details of the story of Adam and Eve, they begin to reflect on the reality of sin. A typical response appeals to their sense of justice. “Well, that’s not fair,” they will say. They understand the presence of so much violence, selfishness, corruption, stupidity and cruelty in the world, but they are not satisfied with the cause. After all, we weren’t the ones in the garden disobeying God, why do we have to suffer the consequences? In trying to find a solution to the problem, the questio... Full story

  • Think of new year as an opportunity for kindness

    Pastor John Napoli|Jan 8, 2021

    For 39 years my family and I have been engaged in this area. I am blessed to have had the good fortune to have wonderful opportunities to engage with thousands of area people over the years. My involvement included restaurants - Perkins and Black Woods - operating a small business, Northern Kawasaki, and pastoring a small church, River of Life. My appreciation for living in this area continues to grow with each passing year, and I look forward to the coming year, 2021. A community is known by ho... Full story

  • On Faith: Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving

    Pastor Bruce Bergstedt|Dec 11, 2020

    Merry Christmas and God's blessing on you and your families. The Bible, in Isaiah 9:6, says "for to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, Mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace." What wonderful words to focus on during any time but especially during this Christmas season. Jesus is the reason we celebrate. He is the reason we live. Jesus is why we know the reality of our salvation. He... Full story

  • On Faith: Take stock of how you use your time

    CJ Boettcher|Nov 13, 2020

    "I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." - J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring" It's been a long haul hasn't it? Our "new normal" hardly seems new anymore, as we can most accurately measure its duration in months. Much of our lives seem more complicated, more difficult, and sometimes downright impossible. We see the number of cases climbing, our sch... Full story

  • On Faith: Freedom derives from faith

    David Handsaker|Jul 3, 2020

    I once had the opportunity to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts. The trail is a red line painted on the pavement and guides people from the central city park to many of the historic sites that are preserved in modern downtown Boston. Sites like the Old North church where they famously hung one or two lanterns to reveal the British invasion route. Paul Revere's house, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution are all stops along the route. In July we celebrate those who... Full story

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