Paul Olsen

on the way…not there yet


I’m pretty sure the world doesn’t need another blog, but I need a place to think and write and own it.  If you find something here that is helpful or thought provoking, well and good.

I am Paul Olsen, an Intentional Interim Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  As an interim pastor and a regular pastor, I have served congregations in Iowa, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Idaho.  (continue)


On Freedom and Love in a Time of Pandemic

Freedom. There is hardly a more soul-stirring word in America, since the Declaration of Independence named “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  It is the bottom-line last word for every argument, or at least the last word for not listening to one. In these pandemic times liberty, …

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Sent: Stats, Purpose, Potatoes

Stats As I write this, there are 5,023,649 cases (48,690 new cases as of August 9) of COVID19 in the United States, and 161,842 deaths (558 new deaths), more total cases than any country in the world—indeed, Americans alone account for about one-quarter of all the cases in the world.  To put that into perspective, …

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The Last Minstrel Show

We didn’t even know what a minstrel show was. Seventh grade English always put on a play every year, chosen and directed by our teacher.  Apart from the Easter parade (bonnets for girls, rabbit ears for boys) in kindergarten, I’d never been in a play before.  Now it was our turn, we were excited. “Here’s …

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Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve

Loving Weeds & Neighbors

It is permissible to hate very few things in this world,but weeds must be one of them. I hate weeds; I admit it.I used to have weeds, lots of weeds in my garden, choke weeds.I’d pull them out, but they’d just come back worse than ever. And grass—weeds in the grass, and grass in the …

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Failing with Jesus

Jesus was such a failure. Read the Gospels, if you don’t believe me; he preaches and teaches and heals and astounds, and people love him at first, but the more they listen to him, the more they realize Jesus just isn’t what they expected. And in the end, miracles not withstanding, most of them seem …

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Welcoming Jesus

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth… Will you pray with me please?God, grant me the serenityto accept the things I cannot change;courage to change the things I can;and the wisdom to know the difference…. Amen. A lot of you probably know that little prayer, often called The Serenity …

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video thumbnail of Pastor Paul

Welcome Everyone as Christ

Jesus sends his disciples out into the world with this promise:Whoever welcomes you welcomes me,and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Hospitality is the mark of the church;we receive everyone as though they were Christ himself—it is our business, it’s what we do. In my house, near the guest rooms, I have …

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I Doubt It

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them …

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Fish For Breakfast

John 21:1-25  (& Matthew 5:1-11) Good morning.A friend of mine challenged me to do a sermon while cooking,so I accept the challenge.Today we’re having fish for breakfast. And why not? Jesus did.John, who always tells the best stories,tells us how it happened. It’s a few weeks after that first Easter;Jesus has appeared to his beloved …

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