Treasure Valley Prays

Reimagining Church Together

We are ELCA leaders and pastors from the Treasure Valley and Northwest Intermountain Synod.
Together, we are reimagining and revisiting what it is to be church together with daily devotions.

swirling in chaos

God Brings Life out of Chaos

God brings life out of chaos. This was the theme of my senior thesis paper in college, looking at it through the lens of Ezekiel 37 (the valley of dry bones). It is also a phrase/theme I have heard brought up quite a few times recently as we are living through a time rife with

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infant with mother a safe haven

Safe Haven and Rest

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. (Psalm 4:8 NRSV) Lately, I have found myself restless at night. All the things I didn’t get done or need to get done run through my mind. Worries and what ifs pop up to keep

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bird flying high

Deeper and Higher

Last November, soon after one of our two older dogs passed away…we got a puppy! He filled the dog-shaped void and lifted our heavy hearts. Puppy joy is something else! But, then there’s puppy shoe destruction, and fear of puppy getting loose and lost. On one particular evening five months later he quickly ran out

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trust the unknown

Trusting and Transformation

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge [God] And [God] will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) For those of us who have grown up in the church, trusting God may seem like a given. It’s just expected and assumed; like

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ordination

Nurtured in Faith

It was 38 years ago on September 5, 1982 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Endicott, Washington that I was ordained into a ministry of Word and Sacrament. It’s been a long, joyous and sometimes strange journey that has taken me throughout the United States to be a pastor, a shepherd of the flock as they

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hand holding a candle

“Trust Me, I’ve Got This!” says God

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you… Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this… And when two or three of you

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watching the sun rise

A Meditation on Joy

“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5). I heard this story about a college student practicing the

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two-way conversation

A Two-Way Relationship

My best friend Penny is an introvert. This is a good thing, because I am an extrovert so we balance one another nicely. Penny knows me very well; and understands my tendency to talk on and on about things in my life. She listens well and offers good feedback. We’ve known one another for over

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mature woman sitting on bench

Not Expendable

“They make us sound so expendable,” was a comment made a few months ago by several people in my congregation and in my family/friend circle. What did they mean? These elderly people were repeating the sentiment they have read or heard that they are old and that their potential deaths from COVID-19 are just part

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hugging

Losing Touch

“People were bringing little children to him so that he might touch them…” (Mark 10:13a) For me, one of the greatest losses, since COVID-19 hit and changed our lives, has been the loss of touch. I deeply miss being able to hug friends and even shake hands with strangers. I’m lucky in that I have

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Expectations

My parents were intentional when they named me “Penelope.” They voiced the expectation that I would live up to the name’s various meanings. Many of you are familiar with the Greek myth about Penelope, the loyal wife of Odysseus. She stayed home for 20 years while he fought in the Trojan War and traveled the

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Time for Change

Time for Change

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” ~Anne Lamott Tweet I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters…that I am addicted to being plugged in. What? You may ask. Isn’t this the lady who goes off to a hermitage twice a year and

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joyful girl

Talitha’s Story

A friend of mine, a Lutheran pastor, author, and story- teller, Walter Wangerin, tells the story of his youngest daughter, a child of a mixed-race marriage, whom Walt adopted. It’s actually the story of her “story.” It is scary and wonderful all at the same time, and as an adopted person myself, I thought it

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woman waiting by water

The Waiting

“I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.” (Isaiah 8:17) Waiting is not something I’m very good at. I admit I’m impatient and it’s hard for me to watch the slow pace of change over the years. Yet that all changed

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hope in new birth

When Hope Seems Fragile

In this long season after Pentecost, also called Ordinary Time, the New Testament lessons have been working their way through the book of Romans. About a month ago (July 19th) the reading was from the first part of chapter 8 ending with verses 24-25 “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen

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scrabble letters spelling friends

Friends

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 Jesus said, … “I have called you friends…” John 15:15 The landowner replied, “Friend…” Matthew 20:13 One

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Rev. Paul Olsen

Thank an Unfair God

In Matthew 20, Jesus tells a parable:
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them out into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” (see video)

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hame altar items

On the Road

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.  I give thanks

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driving through giant redwood

Trusting God

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. O give thanks to the God of gods, for

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vote

Fulfilling our Vocation

A couple weeks ago we observed Labor Day, a time to reflect on our vocation. Typically, the meaning of that word is synonymous with employment,

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tomatoes in garden

Messages from Agriculture

Living in Idaho, we can relate to Jesus’ agricultural parables – the sower and the seeds, the workers in the vineyard, the wheat and the

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bedraggled bird

Our Unfailing Refuge

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will

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poem

This Daily Bread

One of my favorite artists to connect with on social media is Lori Hetteen, a Minneapolis-based self-described “haikuish” poet. She is witty and gentle in

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Fire and Smoke

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141: 2 Almost all

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