Wednesday, 08 February 2023


"Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

Two weeks on one passage (Mark 10:17-31) … tell me it is not so! This is an important passage for teaching in today’s society so let’s look at it more closely.

The statement above comes from a slightly breathless man who obviously has it all together. He is young and wealthy, so the text tells us.

The fact that he's concerned about his salvation tells us he's wise. The fact that he's come running to Jesus to ask the question tells us that this is a zealous man who wants to follow the Lord.

To the disciples and others gathered around, this is an excellent prospect for a follower. He's the kind of guy who would volunteer to serve on committees and get a lot of work done. He's the kind of guy who would be an asset for whatever sort of plan or strategy needs to be launched by Jesus.

But the conversation doesn't go the way it's supposed to. At least, it doesn't go the way the disciples think it's supposed to … who would ever imagine that this slam-dunk disciple would walk away sorrowful a few minutes later? What happened?

Let's examine the exchange: "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" The problem has already begun, because the question he asks is flawed.

Listen again: "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" The question tells us that man assumes that he can work his way into heaven by the things he does.

What he is asking Jesus is this: "How much more of God's Law do I have to keep in order to earn my way into eternal life? What do I have to do?"

Although the man is sincere, he is far from faith. He doesn't want Jesus to save him from sin, but to approve of who he is and the good that he has done.

"Teacher, all these things (the commandments) I have kept from my youth!" Then, Jesus, who loves this man, preaches one more bit of Law: "One thing you lack," says the Lord. "Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

This time, the man sees how the Law accuses him, and it crushes him. Jesus has just pointed out to him his sin. But what sin is that, exactly?

The sin our Lord condemns here is not wealth; Jesus is not preaching a sermon against being rich. We must make this clear so that we can understand the true sin and the marvelous Gospel of this text.

Bible stories like this one have been used to declare that wealth is innately sinful; that is not true. In Luther's time it was considered a great work to sell all and make a vow of poverty, for poverty was considered to be more pleasing to God.

But this is not what the Lord is saying. So, is the sin greed? There is greed here, yes, but the greed is not the big problem here: There is a far more dangerous sin at work.

The greater sin is this: The man thinks that he can save himself by how well he works at keeping God's commands. He believes that he can work his way into heaven by being good enough.

For greed alone, the man can be forgiven as he trusts in Jesus, the Savior. But as long as the man believes that he can save himself, he does not trust in Jesus to save him; thus, there is no forgiveness.

In other words, Jesus says to the man: "You can't save yourself. But I can save you. I will save you by going to the cross and dying for your sin. Do not trust in your own efforts, but in mine.”

Here at First Lutheran Church, we are trying our best to prayerfully respond to putting it all in Jesus’ hands as this passage commands us.

If you need help to recover from the fires of this summer, we do have some financial and food supply assistance available.

Please join us Sunday, Oct. 21, and approach one of the leaders for a form to fill out.

Worship is at 11 a.m., lunch following the service, and then our monthly food cupboard for those in need of food and personal hygiene products.

All are welcome so please come as you are!

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

One of the challenges I have when I do confirmation classes is the need for the youth to understand the Ten Commandments.

The reasoning behind that is not to overwhelm them with law, but instead to make them aware of what God’s law means for society today.

There are three ways Martin Luther wanted us to understand the use of the law.

First, how it convicts us (pedagogical use), second, how it guides us (normative use), and third, how it keeps our society safe (civil use). The Ten Commandments are not something that is foreign to our hearts, minds, and souls … the Ten Commandments are how our brains should “Naturally” respond to the challenges of life. That is how creation works!

And so, when I teach the Ten Commandments, I break it down to simple math which is where I get the equation 1 + 1 = 10. And if you look at how the commandments are bundled or tiered, there are basically two sections.

When Moses was given the Commandments by God on Mt. Sinai, they were pretty specific, and it was the rule of the law that if the people broke it, they were to offer sacrifices for atonement for breaking the law.

They couldn’t keep the law, only one person in history ever was able to do so, and so Jewish folks celebrated on days like the Day of Atonement and daily sacrifices were offered as a way for them to be forgiven for breaking the law.

Then came Jesus … and he turned the whole idea of the law upside down. No longer were there 10 commandments, there were two. Love God, love your neighbor. That was it!

What we do not realize is Jesus changed nothing about the Ten Commandments and that is where the math works. 1 + 1 = 10. Love God plus love neighbor = Ten Commandments. Two tiers, 10 commands.

Which brings us smack dab into the middle of the Gospel of Mark 10:17-22 stating, “17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 And Jesus said to him … 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" 20 And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

Did you ever notice when reading this passage what Jesus is asking this man? He is asking him about one of the two tiers of the Ten Commandments and that is, “Do you love your neighbor?” And the man responds, “I have kept this law all of my life.”

So, for the most part this man has kept one tier of the law by doing things for his neighbor. And now Jesus drops the bomb on him. When Jesus says to this man, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

The question He is asking this man is simply this, “Do you love God, do you love what I came here to do for your salvation … is that worth more than your money And the answer … no … money was more important.

And that takes us 2,000 years into the future and nothing has changed. Every time we put anything ahead of God we are violating the love that Jesus asked us to have for both Him and for our neighbor. And society today tells us that we are #1 and we deserve whatever we can get.

The top priority to many is the almighty dollar, not Almighty God. What a shame that is.

Please join us for worship this Sunday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. as we discuss this in more detail. This is a special service in that we will be baptizing several people so please join us for this time of worship.

If you have not already been baptized and you want to join us in this sacrament, please call the church at 707-274-5572 and I’ll provide the details.

All are welcome so please, come as you are, grab your family and friends, and join us for a time of worship, fellowship and food!

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Social media have brought more information to our electronic devices than ever before.

These media give us instant news with live interviews of people experiencing situations in their lives.

Some of this has been a blessing to people in need. Rescuers bringing assistance to people in times of a crisis like the fires we have experienced over the past four years and can receive calls, texts, emails and messages from people who need help.

First responders can pinpoint where these people are and where the nearest rescue team is to bring help and assistance.

But social media have, for many, raised the level of fear and uncertainty about their safety and even future.

Church and school shootings, terrorist acts, and threatening Facebook postings are just a few things that have robbed many of any sense of security or peace.

Instead of the world moving closer and closer to peace and love, the world is moving closer and closer to destruction. Hatred and division are on the rise while love and peace seem to be losing.

Where does a person go for peace and security in an uncertain world like ours? Hiding will not help. We are all brought face to face with the reality of insecurity.

In 2 Samuel 15ff, you might remember that Absalom would rise up early in the morning and stand by the city gate engaging people and telling them how their lives would be better if he were king.

The Bible tells us that Absalom “stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” After doing this for four years he gathered his supporters at Hebron and declared himself king.

When this news came to King David, he had to flee Jerusalem quickly, and if it weren’t for God’s spirit moving Absalom to believe bad advice and thereby not immediately pursuing King David, David might not have survived this attack. Certainly, David was in a very precarious situation.

Whatever situation David was in when he writes Psalm 62, he shares with us his strong response to threat and uncertainty. This Psalm proclaims David’s strong faith, and it proclaims where we find rest and peace when we are confronted with the threats and uncertainties in our world. Rest and peace are found in God alone. He is the rock, fortress and salvation we need.

You may have heard about Melissa Falkowski, a journalism and English teacher at Parkland High School in Florida, who hid 19 students in her classroom closet when she learned there was an active shooter at the school. This heroic woman is a reflection of God who hides us in the shadow of His wings as evil rages (Psalm 57:1).

What other eternal refuge can there be than the God who sent His Only Son to defend us and give His life for us.

What did Jesus do? He was like Assistant coach Aaron Feis at Parkland who stepped in front of students to protect them from the assault. Aaron Feis gave his life for his students. On the cross, Jesus took what would crush us and died in our place.

The only place we can find lasting rest in this turbulent world is in the One who conquered death and gives us all life. Through the living Word, we receive rest.

Through the presence of Jesus in Holy Communion, we are hidden in Jesus’ grace, strength and forgiveness. This world will rage. It may even injure you physically and emotionally. But Jesus, who is Lord over all, is our rock of protection and our salvation.

Please join us this Sunday, Oct. 7, at 11 a.m., to hear more about the “Rest We Share.” Worship is followed by a hot lunch.

All are welcome, so come as you are!

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Since January, I have had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of Lake County residents, first through our five community visioning forums in January, then more than two dozen community visioning updates before business associations, service organizations and senior centers, and again in June, with roundtable discussions at our three economic development visioning forums.

On each occasion, I have been heartened by the resilience and ingenuity of Lake County’s people, and moved by the depth of our shared commitment to facing the deep-seated issues that hamper our distinct communities, and building a brighter future.

There is no doubting that Lake County has known hardship: nine disasters in a three-year span; cycles of poverty that are deep and systemic; outcomes in public health and education that have consistently placed us toward the bottom of state rankings.

However, in my more than two decades as a Lake County resident and leader in our county government, I have repeatedly seen individuals, families and organizations rise above the floodwaters of the challenges that come, break through the shackles of low expectations and achieve incredible things, for the betterment of us all.

I have seen wildfire and displacement bring generosity and a nurturing spirit to entire neighborhoods. I have seen financial hardship bring creativity, seen leaders stand up, and inspire those around them to unceasingly search for pathways to success, to recognize those resources that we have in abundance.

Vision 2028, passed by the Board of Supervisors in April, was an invitation to look beyond the immediate difficulties we face, and ask a basic question: What kind of community do we want to become?

Do we want to continue to struggle to do more with less, or do we want to expand ourselves and our opportunities? Enhancing public safety, fully recovering from disaster, improving our infrastructure, making Internet access for all a reality, caring for Clear Lake – these things require a stronger, more vibrant economy.

Next week, in Kelseyville and Nice, renowned North Bay Economist and Sonoma State Professor Robert Eyler will share a plan developed through June’s economic development forums. This truly exciting plan identifies specific opportunities for growth in our communities.

Realizing the plan will require that we all do our part, that we all shed some old views and collectively reimagine our economic future. Please join county and community leaders, Dr. Eyler, and the Lake County Economic Development Corp., and support our taking critical steps to move Lake County forward.

The forums will take place as follows:

– Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m., Kelseyville High School Student Center, 5480 Main St.;
– Thursday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m., Robinson Rancheria Ballroom, 1545 State Highway 20, Nice.

For more information, call the County Administrative Office at 707-263-2580 or the Lake County Economic Development Corp. at 707-279-1540, Extension 101.

Carol Huchingson is the county administrative officer for the county of Lake.

Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – How many of us have heard our parents tell stories of their youth? You know, the ones where they had to walk to school uphill in the snow – barefoot.

Well, here’s mine: “When I went to Kelseyville High School, you had to play sports in the gym with NO air conditioning. It was sweltering. It’s amazing we didn’t all die of heat stroke.” (A little drama makes the story sound better, don’t you think?)

In all seriousness, that gym was HOT and now it’s not, thanks to one of the many bond measure projects we’ve completed so far.

In 2016, local voters approved a $24 million bond measure and I’m here to tell you it’s making a really great difference for students and community members throughout our district.

Master plan

The school board started with a master plan, reviewing all the projects we would do if we had money to burn.

Next, those school board members did the hard work of prioritizing the projects, so we could address the most pressing problems and spend our limited funds in a way that would help the most people.

Kelseyville High School

At Kelseyville High School, we installed air conditioning in the gym, replaced portable classrooms that were anywhere from 20 to 30 years old with nice, new modular buildings.

In January, we’ll finish a brand-new shop building where students will be able to gain practical skills in woodworking, ag, metals, and mechanics.

Before we’re through, we also plan to update our track and field facility – sprucing up the football field, adding new sports fields, installing an all-weather track, improving seating and providing better accessibility for the community.

Because we want everyone’s hard-earned tax dollars to go as far as possible, we’ve applied for a Career Technical Education grant that would pay for the shop building. If that happens, the money we spent on the building will go back into the bond reserve and we’ll be able to go back to our master plan and figure out what’s next on the list.

Mountain Vista Middle School

At Mountain Vista Middle School, we added new shade structures over ADA-compliant walkways to keep kids cool in the summer and protect them from rain in the winter. Now, we’re moving on to bathroom renovations and replacing the gym floor.

Once that’s done, we’ll pour concrete foundations and relocate some of our modular classrooms to create a more open and attractive campus layout.

Once the modulars are out of the middle of the campus, we’ll landscape the area, adding a lawn where kids can play under the shade of the mature trees we are so lucky to have.

Kelseyville Elementary School

At Kelseyville Elementary School, we’re building a multi-use room, or MUR, a building that will serve as both a cafeteria and a gymnasium where elementary school students will be able to eat indoors when it rains.

The MUR will include a basketball court with an LED scoreboard, shot clock, bleacher seating and a concession stand. We’ll have water stations and drinking fountains, a nice foyer and access to the building from Oak Hill.

Because the basketball court meets high school standards, Mountain Vista Middle School and Kelseyville High School will also be able to use the gym for practices and games. We could even host tournaments there.

While we’re waiting for the MUR to be built, the students can enjoy the new asphalt in the playground and the renovated bathrooms.

Riviera Elementary School

At Riviera Elementary School, our newest school, we’ve redone our parking lot to improve safety and enhance the flow of traffic. We’ve separated bus traffic from parent drop-off/pick-up, replaced gravel with asphalt, and ensured ADA compliance.

We’re also working on putting in a new septic system – one of those projects you really want to take care of before there’s a problem, like we are.

Big thanks

All these projects have been done on time, and many of them under budget. We’ve spent almost $17 million of the original $24 million, and we continue to watch every penny.

We’re hoping to fund additional projects with Proposition 51 money, but we don’t know when that money will arrive from the state. When it does, we’ll review our master plan and keep going down the list.

To all of you who voted in favor of this bond measure, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kelseyville is an awesome community where we come together to help each other.

I also want to thank our maintenance staff, the contractors, the architects and our project manager.

It’s kind of amazing we were able to finish the projects we started this summer, given the interruption of the fires. Everyone worked really hard to make it happen.

Another big thanks to our students and staff who have been wonderfully patient while all this construction was under way.

I feel lucky to live and work in such a great community.

Dave McQueen is superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

In the Gospel of Mark 9:42ff Jesus talks about tying a milestone to your neck so you could drown, and cut off your hand, cut off your foot, pluck out your eyeball if any of them cause you to sin.

Say what! This is Old Testament law. Why would Jesus say these things since He came to fulfill the law, not force the law down our throats.

The reason is quite clear. In Verse 50 He confirms the message, “Be at peace with one another.” He wants to make the point about the very grace offered by God through faith in Jesus.

At one time in my life, before following my call to serve the Lord, I was the guy who would stand up in front of major accounts all over the world on behalf of the company I worked for. At the time, it was the largest telecommunication company in the world and I would in fact take the bullet for the company.

That was my job really. Take the responsibility for whatever problems our major customers had. I knew when I travelled to China, Singapore, Japan, Europe, all parts of Asia and Africa, and especially the Middle East, that when I got there, I was in the midst of customers who were angry and wanted their pound of flesh.

And many of those customers hate Americans so much, they would destroy us if they could. That is because a large percentage of the world do not understand what freedom and equality really means. They look at you with a murderous rage, wishing we would just cease to exist … maybe even thinking of how they might carry it out. There is no grace when there is hate! And those who don’t know Jesus cannot understand what grace is.

Jesus says that if you cause a little one to sin, then it is off with the hand, off with the foot, and out with eye. You mess up, and you pay the price big time. Certainly, Jesus never meant this be to be taken literally, but suppose we read it that way and acted accordingly.

What would the prison system in our country look like? Most of the prisoners would not be there because they would have been put to death at the town square every Friday like they do in Saudi Arabia.

Many would walk around with no hands, feet, tongues, whatever, because they would have had justice take place the Friday after they were sentenced. In that country justice is carried out publicly and immediately. No grace there and no appeal process! But in Christ, there is grace, and many cannot comprehend what grace is.

What Jesus really meant here is that the only way to sacrificial peace is through the grace he offered us on the cross. Thank God we have grace.

Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about how the tongue gets us into trouble, how peace can only be achieved through the cross and today we talk about what it is going to take to bring justice to a country that is moving away from the grace offered by a man who experienced the worst that Rome had to dish out and yet offered eternal life through His sacrifice.

Remember that phrase – “Father forgive them”? In the USA and more importantly Lake County as we recover from the summer fires, we can never let hate take over our freedom nor our love for Jesus or for each other.

For now, at least, there is still grace, there is still forgiveness, there is still a sense that justice can be served not by chopping off people's’ limbs, but by offering the peace which surpasses all human understanding. The grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. That simply means reaching out to help people recover from the devastation!

Please join us this Sunday for our quarterly country gospel service. Wear your cowboy hats, boots, western shirts, whatever you’ve got, and join us for a service that is truly a Gospel blessing.

Worship is at 11 a.m. followed by a hot lunch for all immediately afterward.

All are welcome, so come as you are!

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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