Pastor Ben Unseth

Ben Unseth is a long-lost Minnesotan delighted to be repatriated from California. In addition to serving as a pastor, he teaches at Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute, has published books, managed sales teams, and led a social service agency.

 

He would love to welcome you into an encouraging community—Resurrection Lutheran Church. At your pace, he can help you dig into a few big questions: Why are you here? Why did God send Jesus into the world? What does the Bible have to say about you and your life?

 

He delights in helping people discover meaningful relationships, fulfillment in their work, and freedom from life’s negative baggage.

 

He helps people understand that you can reconnect with your Creator (Luke 19:10), experience a life of fulfillment and purpose (John 10:10), and find freedom from wounds and nagging habits (1 John 3:8).

 

His favorite blessing is from Moses’ last words to God’s people:

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

May the Lord bless all your skills and be pleased with the work of your hands.

May he ride across the heavens to help you.

May you abound with the Lord’s favor and be full of his blessing. Amen

Contact: pastor@resurrectionmankato.org

​Newsletter articles:

September 2020

 Why Is Our Church Here?

 

I am not here for me. You are not here for you. We are here because of Jesus.

 

So the guiding question is: Why did Jesus come?

 

The Bible answers this question in simple, powerful words:

  1. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

  2. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

  3. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8).

 

Why did Jesus come?

  1. He came to rescue people from being lost and estranged from God, to restore them to being found and reconciled (Luke 19:10).

  2. He came to fill people’s lives with purpose and joy (John 10:10).

  3. He came to give people freedom from lies, addiction and oppression (1 John 3:8).

 

This means a lot of things that I do not tend to think about when I gather to worship with people who accept me and appreciate me, with people who share my values. I forget some very important truths:

 

Jesus loves my unemployed neighbor more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor with chronic illness more than I do.

Jesus loves my disoriented, international student neighbors more than I do.

Jesus loves my foster kid neighbors more than I do.

Jesus loves my feuding neighbor spouses more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor thinking about suicide more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor drowning in credit card debt more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor in jail or prison more than I do.

Jesus loves my refugee neighbor more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor with financial struggles more than I do.

Jesus loves my addicted neighbor more than I do.

Jesus loves my hungry neighbor more than I do.

Jesus loves my disabled neighbor more than I do.

Jesus loves my underemployed neighbor more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor who has lost hope more than I do.

Jesus loves my neighbor crushed by shame more than I do.

Jesus loves my lonely neighbor more than I do.

 

I am not here for me. You are not here for you. We are here because of Jesus. How can we serve together as Christ’s ambassadors to focus on one of these needs? Jesus will guide us.

 

Let us pray. Let us discuss.  Let us serve in the name of Jesus our Savior.

In Christ,

Ben Unseth

  

August 2020

 Peace in Crisis

We and our neighbors need good news because we are in a generational crisis. We are under siege by enemies we do not know how to defeat.

 

Every generation faces crisis. Some crises come suddenly. President Roosevelt told America that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Overnight, America plunged into three and a half years of sacrifice and desperate conflict.

 

Some crises emerge gradually. In 1959, the U.S. had fewer than 1,000 members of our military in the Vietnam War. By 1963, we had 16,000. However, when we left Vietnam in 1973, 2.7 million Americans had served! When President Eisenhower sent 1,000 in the 1950s, he did not plan for millions to follow and for nearly 60,000 Americans to lose their lives. Crises create fear because we do not see the end.

 

Since Vietnam, we have seen limited national crisis. The war in Grenada in 1983 lasted only a week. Gulf War combat in 1991 lasted barely a month. However, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC, in 2001, shook us to the core! How could we fight an enemy that we could not see? Nineteen years later, we have learned to live with the unquenched enemy of foreign terrorism.

 

In 2020 we face two great crises that strain our families, our social ties, businesses and civil society. To flatten the curve of COVID-19 virus infections, America largely began to quarantine in March. Virus deaths peaked in April, with hospitalizations and deaths greatly decreased since May. But the virus remains a threat.

 

While a record number of people felt stressed from COVID-19’s unemployment, Minneapolis police officers were charged with murder for the death of George Floyd on May 25. Large protests have expanded into rebellion. Nightly large crowds in Portland, Oregon, have engaged in protest, and sometimes riot, since May 28.

 

Virus deaths have declined, but we remain cautious and concerned. Protests and riots are isolated, but we remain cautious and concerned. What would Jesus say?

 

On the terrible evening of his arrest, Jesus promised his disciples…and Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Nicollet Counties, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). After Jesus was brutally executed and buried, and his followers had lost hope and fearfully locked themselves in a room, our resurrected Jesus came and blessed them again, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).

 

No matter the crisis, Jesus promises his peace and presence: “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Tell yourself. Tell your neighbor. Jesus is our king of peace.

In Christ,

Ben Unseth

July 2020

 Adjust and Trust

Christ’s promises are true:

“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

“Surely I am with you always” (28:20).

 

These promises are especially comforting because church life feels upside down. COVID-19 was the first tidal wave to rock our boat of safety and freedom.

 

While the internet mocks “Karens,” one of my favorite Karens gave me some great advice for this turbulent time we are navigating. She said that Jesus calls us to ADUST AND TRUST.

 

The governor told us to stay home. Our church canceled worship services. Adjust and trust.

 

Eight weeks later, we began services online. Four weeks later, we added services together in our sanctuary. Adjust and trust.

 

As a pastor, I visit with people on their patios. I don a mask and gloves to serve communion. Adjust and trust.

 

People sit in the entry as a no-singing area. We forego coffee and snacks together. Adjust and trust.

 

Christ’s promises are true:

“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

“Surely I am with you always” (28:20).

 

However, the neo-barbarian response to George Floyd’s murder is a second tidal wave that rocks our boat of safety and freedom.

 

With church buildings being attacked across the country, I double-check the door when I exit to make sure it is locked. Adjust and trust.

 

On June 22, a “social activist” with more than one million followers declared that most statues, paintings and stained-glass windows of Jesus should “come down…come down.” Adjust and trust.

 

Christ’s promises stand true:

“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

“Surely I am with you always” (28:20).

 

We will pray. We will love our neighbor. We will offer the good news of reconciliation and hope to our society that is destroying its own roots. I am learning to adjust and trust.

In Christ,

Ben Unseth

June 2020

 Face to Face—Complete Joy!

We have continued worshiping and serving as Resurrection Lutheran Church every day during the quarantine. But things have not felt normal! God created us to live together. I ache with the Apostle John as he wrote: “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 1:12).

 

We begin our return to normal this coming Sunday, June 7. We can come together again. We will hold off from the hugs we long to share, but many of us will come together. To promote health and safety, we will use some safety precautions that you can read about in our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. We will use every other pew, to support social distancing. We encourage you to wear a mask, but it is not required. The entry, or narthex, will be a no-singing area. We will bring communion to you so that we will not clump together in the front of the sanctuary. If you feel safer coming at 10:15 to receive communion, we welcome you! If you do not feel safe coming together yet, please call the church office so that I may bring communion to you.

 

It is my privilege and joy to join Resurrection in serving and witnessing to Blue Earth, Nicollet and Le Sueur Counties. I am eager to visit you at your home. Please let me know what day is good for you. Call the office, or email me at pastor@resurrectionmankato.org.

 

In Christ,

Ben Unseth

:

(507) 345-4455

1735 E Main St, Mankato, MN 56001, USA

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