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Phone: 541-382-4401
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.koski
Instagram: @stevenkoski
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skoski

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All Profiles > Rev. Dr. Steven Koski

About Rev. Dr. Steven Koski

I am at First Presbyterian because I am crazy blessed to get to serve an extraordinary, loving, compassionate, brave, creative, mission-hearted, curious, and fun community of faith. And for some reason they put up with me.

Before serving here, I was cheering loudly for the Chicago Blackhawks as Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.

I love being constantly reminded that I am one lucky guy to have married “up” to Laurie and to be blessed to be dad to two amazing young men, Jacob and Jonah. I love yoga. Although, the people next to me in yoga class look like pretzels while I look and move like a block of cement. I love walking the many beautiful trails of Bend. I love, love, love, love sports. My dream job would be a sports talk show host sharing my limitless sports wisdom with the rest of the world. I love Scrabble, a good book, U2, single malt scotch, theater, and ballet (not necessarily in that order).

You can reach Steven at [email protected], and follow him on Instagram: @stevenkoski.

Happy Fourth of July! One of the responsibilities and privileges of freedom is to humbly reflect on how we are choosing to exercise that freedom.
There’s a big difference between loving America and worshipping America. You can put your hand on your heart, salute the flag, express profound gratitude to those who sacrificed everything for our freedoms AND weep when we witness our freedoms exercised in ways that diminish the humanity in others.
On this day we celebrate our freedom, we might summon the courage to ask if we are exercising the privilege and gift of that freedom in a way that brings about the freedom of all people. Are we exercising our freedom in a way that makes our country AND our world a better place, not just for a privileged few but for ALL?
Rev. William Sloan Coffin wrote, “There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country.” A lover’s quarrel patriotism sees there is danger in an uncritical love of one’s own positions AND there is danger in letting one’s anger and outrage turn into loveless criticism. A lover’s quarrel patriotism celebrates our freedoms by exercising those freedoms in a way that reflects the very best of our humanity, choosing to love.
Pablo Casals wrote, “The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border.” Love for one’s country is a beautiful thing but if that love stops at the border it is not love but idolatry. Love is infinitely boundless and recognizes no one really wins until everyone wins.
As we celebrate the land of opportunity today, consider taking some action that might increase the opportunities of another.
As we celebrate our freedom, which is also the freedom to disagree, what if you exercised your freedom reaching out to some one who holds very different views? Choose to listen. Ask about stories that led this person to see the world the way they do. Don’t judge. Be curious. Get close. Hate can’t survive proximity.
What if we exercised our freedom today asking how we might be the healers of our broken and divided nation and this broken world of ours?
Happy Fourth of July! One of the responsibilities and privileges of freedom is to humbly reflect on how we are choosing to exercise that freedom. There’s a big difference between loving America and worshipping America. You can put your hand on your heart, salute the flag, express profound gratitude to those who sacrificed everything for our freedoms AND weep when we witness our freedoms exercised in ways that diminish the humanity in others. On this day we celebrate our freedom, we might summon the courage to ask if we are exercising the privilege and gift of that freedom in a way that brings about the freedom of all people. Are we exercising our freedom in a way that makes our country AND our world a better place, not just for a privileged few but for ALL? Rev. William Sloan Coffin wrote, “There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country.” A lover’s quarrel patriotism sees there is danger in an uncritical love of one’s own positions AND there is danger in letting one’s anger and outrage turn into loveless criticism. A lover’s quarrel patriotism celebrates our freedoms by exercising those freedoms in a way that reflects the very best of our humanity, choosing to love. Pablo Casals wrote, “The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border.” Love for one’s country is a beautiful thing but if that love stops at the border it is not love but idolatry. Love is infinitely boundless and recognizes no one really wins until everyone wins. As we celebrate the land of opportunity today, consider taking some action that might increase the opportunities of another. As we celebrate our freedom, which is also the freedom to disagree, what if you exercised your freedom reaching out to some one who holds very different views? Choose to listen. Ask about stories that led this person to see the world the way they do. Don’t judge. Be curious. Get close. Hate can’t survive proximity. What if we exercised our freedom today asking how we might be the healers of our broken and divided nation and this broken world of ours?
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh  Thich Nhat Hanh said smiling is spiritual practice, especially when it seems there is little to smile about.
He was challenged by someone who said, “How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.” Thich Nhat Hanh responded, “We must smile to our sorrow to remind ourselves that we are much more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn Love on, we are Love. If we turn sorrow on then we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. This doesn’t ignore the painful realities present in life that cause our sorrow. The smile changes the way we are present to those realities. We can not let just one channel dominate us. We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.”
In the 16th century, a century of religious bigotry, intolerance and violence, much like this one, St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “How did those priests ever get so serious and preach all that guilt and gloom? I don’t think God tickled them yet.
Beloved - hurry!”
Imagine being tickled by grace awakened to the sheer miracle, wonders and gift of life itself. This doesn’t deny pain and sorrow. It may change the way we are present to those realities. Life is both brutal and beautiful. There is so much suffering, but there is also so much beauty to be found wherever we are. Our best bet to bring healing and peace is to turn on the channel of peace within. A smile is your remote control.
Try this breath prayer:
Breathe in - I quiet my runaway thoughts and calm my body.
Breathe out - This breath is gift.
Breathe in - I dwell in this moment.
Breathe out - This moment is gift.
Breathe in - My heart smiles.
Breathe out - I smile.
Breathe in - I dwell in Love.
Breathe out - I choose to love today.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh said smiling is spiritual practice, especially when it seems there is little to smile about. He was challenged by someone who said, “How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.” Thich Nhat Hanh responded, “We must smile to our sorrow to remind ourselves that we are much more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn Love on, we are Love. If we turn sorrow on then we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. This doesn’t ignore the painful realities present in life that cause our sorrow. The smile changes the way we are present to those realities. We can not let just one channel dominate us. We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.” In the 16th century, a century of religious bigotry, intolerance and violence, much like this one, St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “How did those priests ever get so serious and preach all that guilt and gloom? I don’t think God tickled them yet. Beloved - hurry!” Imagine being tickled by grace awakened to the sheer miracle, wonders and gift of life itself. This doesn’t deny pain and sorrow. It may change the way we are present to those realities. Life is both brutal and beautiful. There is so much suffering, but there is also so much beauty to be found wherever we are. Our best bet to bring healing and peace is to turn on the channel of peace within. A smile is your remote control. Try this breath prayer: Breathe in - I quiet my runaway thoughts and calm my body. Breathe out - This breath is gift. Breathe in - I dwell in this moment. Breathe out - This moment is gift. Breathe in - My heart smiles. Breathe out - I smile. Breathe in - I dwell in Love. Breathe out - I choose to love today.
  • Breathe
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh said smiling is spiritual…
    Details
  • Life is not a lesson to be learned but a gift to be unwrapped
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    Life is not a lesson to be learned but a gift to be unwrapped layer upon layer trusting there are hidden jewels waiting to be discovered. I don’t believe things…
    Details
  • Happy Pride Month!
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    “The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And that idea is there are lives that matter less than other lives.” ~Fr. Greg Boyle God’s love revealed in Jesus…
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  • We need each other. We don’t need who we pretend to be.
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    “How are you?” “Im ok.” “No.Really? How are you?” And just like that my impenetrable walls of defense crumbled. I felt seen and loved. Some people possess a superpower. They…
    Details
  • Let the Beauty of the World Heal You
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” ~Anne Frank Let the beauty of the world heal you because the world is crying out…
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  • How can I best love you?
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    “What would love look like for you today? How can I best love you?” Those questions asked of me yesterday left me stunned. I was used to being asked is…
    Details
  • Life happens.
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    The definition of stress is when the demands of life exceed your “perceived” resources to meet those demands. We focus on the demands of life and like a magnifying glass…
    Details
  • Your thoughts are a useful servant if they are serving a greater Wisdom.
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    Your thoughts are a useful servant if they are serving a greater Wisdom. Your thoughts can be a relentless tyrant imprisoning you behind the bars of anxiety. The key to…
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  • I don’t know.
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    The more I know the more I realize how little I know. The more I know the more I realize how easy it is to settle for easy answers and…
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  • “God, grant me patience and give it to me NOW.”
    Posted: Tue, Jul 16, 2019
    We jokingly pray, “God, grant me patience and give it to me NOW.” The irony is that NOW is precisely the gift patience gives us. Patience is the space between…
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