Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
I love Christmas. However, I have found that with small children, my mind runs in 8 million directions this time of year. On top of the daily activities (diapers, naps, getting dressed, dinner, dishes, etc) there are many other things I think and worry about (school choices, homeschooling, usage of computers, internet, health, nutrition). Obviously include my vocation as pastor and your whole world is turned upside down.
This is why the words on Christmas day hit me extra hard this year, "“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" We sing these words every "non-communion" worship service in the Gloria Patri. I have chanted it hundreds of times in my 3 1/2 years of ministry, but it really hits home in my relatively chaotic life that the peace of God is here.
And if he brings the peace of salvation in a baby boy, how is he not also going to take care of us through whatever it might be (even late night awakenings from my son). May this peace be upon us all this Christmas.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
We we base things off of pure numbers it was more than success. Over 300 in both services and ended up with more at 5:00. Once again the candlelight singing of "Silent Night" was an emotional time thinking of what Jesus gave up to be our Savior.
May the peace of Christ rest upon all people this evening and the Spirit work in our hearts.
May the presence of Christ be upon us all this day and tomorrow as we celebrate and live under His grace knowing that He has dwelt among us.
Thanks be to God for His unending mercy
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tonight my wife and I went out, even with all the snow, and found it interesting on the way home witnessing a small pizza delivery truck attempting to go up a hill with rear wheel drive. He tried everything: going in circles, having someone push, etc, but to no avail. Either the pizza was not delivered or they had to change vehicles.
This Christmas may this remind us of our lives as sinful human beings. We are trying to make it up the hill to salvation constantly, if not to find salvation to find acceptance in our world. But the more we try (works, help, love, etc), the worse it gets and to no avail. The only chance to be delivered from this work is for someone to pick us up and do the work for us. This the work our Lord has done for us on the cross and He is the one who carries us through everything as we struggle up the hill of life.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I think. To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.
It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic.
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
Friday, December 18, 2009
One of our biggest problem as Lutherans is what I call the "Debbie Downer" mentality (made famous with SNL). We think, "our theology doesn't allow us to be missional, we focus too much on confessions, and we have no chance." It is too bad that we place "missional" above understanding theology. Or thinking they are separate things. This is why A.L. Barry bolded professed as our President, "Be the message right, get the message out." If we don't have it right, then why get it out?
Mark Driscoll in his book, "Vintage Church" defines a missional church in the following ways.
A Missional church is:
1) Biblical-believes in the inerrant Scriptures
2) Practices and preaches repentance-bring the law
3) Goes into culture-knows the community and engages it
4) Contextualizes the Gospel-brings Jesus to people
5) Loves singles AND couples
6) Trains Christians as missionaries-each person a witness to their surroundings
7) Supernatural-they expect miracles
8) Countercultural-Lives by Scripture and not culture
9) Multiplies-more churches and groups
10) Messy-a bunch of sinners
He does a great job defining what a missional church looks like, but I found one striking thing missing-Gospel. I'm NOT saying that Driscoll denies the Gospel, but we as Lutherans would confess that all people need to hear that the Gospel is for YOU and to receive His precious forgiveness. In John 20 Jesus tells his disciples to proclaim forgiveness to all who repent. Driscoll as a good reformed guy, he loves calling for repentance (as do we). But he does fall short in focusing on the forgiveness piece. Big problem for us Lutherans.
So what does a missional Lutheran church look like?
1) Messy-Driscoll puts it at the end, we would put it at the beginning. No perfect people allowed.
2) Practices and preaches repentance-Brings the law and show their sin.
3) Vigorously proclaims forgiveness when repentance occurs (I John 1:8-9). Show us a Savior.
4) Goes into culture-Know the community like the back of their hand. And serves that community for what they need.
5) Brings Jesus to people-Applies the Gospel to all situations: couples, singles, children, and the eldery.
When things are understood in a church they will automatically love singles and couples, they will want to be missionaries, they will be countercultural, they will be biblical, they will multiply, but it will be with the focus as to what Jesus tells us: Forgive as I have forgiven you.
Once again, it doesn't begin with the goal to be a HUGE church. But begins with Jesus. When our hearts are centered on Christ, the church will grow in His time.
Lord have mercy
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Recently I have been blessed by the sharing of Advent traditions among friends and congregation members. Growing up, our family did not really have many traditions during the Advent season. This was probably due to our congregation not having Advent services and did not make a big deal of the Advent season. Nor did we have many "Christian" traditions with Christmas besides worship on Christmas eve.
Three traditions that our family is trying this year to prepare our family for the coming of Christ:
1) Advent Candles at home. Each week of Advent we are now lighting the candle which corresponds to the candles lit in church (purchased from Northwestern Publishing House). After supper we light the candles while singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." We have a short reading from a kid's Advent book and then before blowing out the candle we sing, "Silent Night." This has helped our children learn the hymns and gets them excited after supper for the "birthday party" for Jesus.
2) Number of presents for the kids. While speaking to a good Baptist family, they commented on how their children only receive three gifts for Christmas. I said, "Oh, any particular reason?" "Yes" they said, "If Jesus only got three, then we don't deserve anymore." Although this tradition is not something to use in a legalistic way, it does help keep us all pointed to the reason for Christmas and hopefully fends off a little bit of materialism. This year the Finnern kids will only get three presents each (more than likely they will not be that big either).
I'm hoping for a new tie!
3) Present for Jesus/other child. We continue the tradition of St. Nick (not Santa) of giving this time of year through stockings. We have stockings up for all the members of our family and then an extra one for Jesus. We will gather letters and small gifts (stickers, trinkets that can be sent by letter) and we will then send the gifts to our sponsor child in Kenya through Compassion International. The kids are very excited about getting presents for Jesus and a great teaching moment of how when we help others, we are in essence serving Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46).
Hey, our family doesn't have it all figured out. Too many mistakes made here at the Finnern household. I would love more input from other families of ways to keep Christ at the center.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Mark Driscoll offers a relatively simple thought to the visible church in his book, "Vintage Church":
1) Regenerated believers in Christ (I Corinthians 14:22-25)
Driscoll comes from a Reformed background and it shows in the way he speaks of regenerated believers (made outside of Baptism) and Holiness (as if we have a chance). However, I would say the rest has proof according to Scripture. Yet, I do think that the church can be even more simplified. I propose a simple, Lutheran understanding of church can be in this order:
(AC=Augsburg Confession and SC=Small Catechism)
1) Baptized believers who are deeply sinful and need Jesus (AC VIII)
2) The Gospel purely proclaimed (AC VII) and people who hear the words of Jesus (Luther)
3) Sacraments administered by God's command (they do something and regenerate hearts)(AC VII)
4) Repentance is called for (AC XII) and forgiveness is pronounced ALL the time (SC, Confession)
5) Acts of Mercy are a part of the work of the church in response to the Gospel (AC VI)
This understanding points us to our sinfulness and the MERCY of Christ, not only to his Sovereignty.
Man, it is disgustingly simple. I am appalled as an American, but as a Christian, it really is that simple. Be baptized, hear the words of Jesus, repent, and be forgiven. PERIOD.
As Lutherans we might not have the biggest churches or the most amazing programs. But first and foremost, what we do have is Christ and Him crucified. The one whom we follow humbly and let Him do the work.
Lord have mercy
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
When at a Youth Gathering the whole assembly knew this common Christmas carol, but most could not tell you the first lines of "A Mighty Fortress." That aside, how much Gospel does Santa bring? Alright, he makes a list of good and bad, he watches over you to see if you have been nice, and you better not shout or cry or ELSE, he will not bring you a gift.
What is even more fascinating about the Santa dynamic is that we live in a over-Gospeled society (no law), but we at the same time promote the most law oriented, judging figure in all of history: Santa the Claus!
Why promote a law monger when we can promote the Word made flesh? Why promote one that can't be everyone all the time for one who only shows up one night a year? Why promote a judge with no Gospel, when we can promote the one who kills us in the law, but then lifts us up into His arms? Why promote a sinful Santa, when we can promote a sinless God who has done it all?
Am I saying NO SANTA ever? Not necessarily (even though that is what our family does), BUT are we celebrating Santa more than Jesus? If so, why is that a problem?
Lord have mercy
Thursday, December 10, 2009
How many people look upon the church this way. The church doesn't seem to be a worship place for many people, it is a place to get what they want. If it isn't what they want, it isn't really worship.
I think today's problem isn't a church problem, it is a worship problem. And most people are worshiping everything under the sun rather than God. A couple lives together before marriage, they are worshiping each other. A family that allows the sports season to dictate their attendance, worships sports. A person who shows horses on the weekends and never goes to church, worships the horse. And the pastor who gets more excited about drinking Dr. Pepper than reading the Bible, worships Dr. Pepper.
No wonder God places the 1st commandment with the big ball buster, "You shall have no other gods." What do you worship right now? Don't try to explain away your worship habits, don't justify them, come to the cross, repent, and receive God's forgiveness and sin no more. No more excuses. Who are you gonna worship? May it be the lordship of Christ!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Juno highlights some very disturbing themes. It promotes pre-marital/casual sex, dysfunctional families, and allowing adoptions to a family without a husband/wife. These things are a major problem in our society today and must be addressed in a merciful and serious ways. When I speak of these problems, I am not endorsing these values and neither am I suggesting that everyone should watch this movie.
However, there is a distinctively pro-life message. It is simple: girl and boy have casual sex, girl gets pregnant. She is about to have an abortion a girl outside the clinic says, "Your baby has finger nails" and she leaves the clinic because she realizes it is a person. She puts the child up for adoption and her and the father stick together in love.
This shows us an opportunity and the place where there needs to be work. Today's movies and shows uplift life (Psalm 139, Jeremiah 1:5), however, they do not support sexual morality put into place in creation (Genesis 2:24). Will we have to fight the abortion debate as much as in the past, I would argue no. But our new problem will be things like sexuality and family dynamics (both of which are much larger than abortion by itself).
Tomorrow I will end with Finding Nemo and ways that we can promote the pro-life message and take on the new problems that God is calling us to address.
Lord have mercy
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This week I Am going to finish my piece on the pro-life message in many current movies. From there, I will work on proclaiming Christ and addressing it to today's world.
Lord have mercy
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
The movie that has the BEST pro-life message of all movies and it very well made is called, "BELLA." Bella takes place in New York City in a Mexican Restaurant. The cook, Jose (Eduardo Verastegui) witnesses a co-worker, Nina (Tammy Blanchard) get fired and has compassion and wants to help. It was revealed to Jose that she was pregnant. It is never revealed who is the father, but the rest of the movie shows Jose's history (which is tough to watch as a parent) and his attempt to help her through the decision. The movie is greatly pro-life and the ending will tug at your heart strings. I highly suggest it for everyone.
It has been highly publicized since bella won a plethora of awards that the producers and writers were of the Roman Catholic faith. Their goal was to write and produce a high quality movie with a pro-life message. Since this movie it has become evident in our society that the pro-life message is quite popular, especially with young people. Following bella have been a number of popular movies that has an obvious pro-life message. I will highlight the following movies this week: Finding Nemo, Knocked up, Juno, and Defiance. Let me know if you have other ideas of pro-life movies.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
This is most apparent in the movie, "Click, that came out in 2006. Adam Sandler plays an architect named Michael Newman. He on the fringe of making it big in his company (under David Hasselhoff of all people) and works LONG hours. His wife, Donna (played by Kate Beckinsale) and two children are almost forgotten in the mean time. The kids don't know their dad, his wife is frustrated and always argues with him and there is potential danger of divorce.
In an effort to "speed" up his life he goes to Bed Bath and Beyond to find a universal remote, ends up in a dream buying a "life remote" that could speed up his life or slow it down. As any good American, he speeds up the time in traffic, complaining with his wife, making love, etc. In the meantime he misses prominent moments in his marriage, fatherhood, and even in his job. Ending with him being divorced, not knowing his kids, and his children making the same mistakes.
As he woke up from his dream it was made apparent that the premise of the movie was to spend quanity of time with your family because you only get one shot, that's it.
This is important for us as men to see. We can easily get caught up in our jobs and let our families go by the wayside. We think that if I get that next promotion or spend those few weeks with long hours at work, it will get better. When in all reality we need to think about our families first, especially our wives, and spend so much time with them that they almost can no longer stand us. In those quanity moments, opportunities abound and an opportunity to be the head of the family arise.
Thank you Adam Sandler.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
This is why I will be highlighting a number of modern Adam Sandler movies and how it relates to Godly men.
" I think that your point was a little misconstrued by the slightly offensive and chauvinistic tones to your argument. Inferring that all women do is sit around, make crafts, and bake casseroles is a huge generalization and also quite sexist. If you want your audience to include only single males, then by all means, continue."
I appreciate her comments because without honesty, how can I really reflect about my blog and what I am saying. My main purpose with these articles was for one purpose to motivate men and at the same time encourage women to allow our men to be men, especially in the life of the church.
When one looks at the typical church in today's society, they are typically set up in a few ways. 1) Sing very floaty, feministic songs (a.k.a. Beautiful Savior). 2) All gathering include potlucks (cooking), and 3) One of the biggest ways that the church does mission is through quilting, bake sales, and crafts. This by no means says that all women do this, BUT one must admit that all of these things encourage more feministic ideals than manly. The bigger issue is not "sexism", but men not being included in anything but as the ones to clean up the grounds and move chairs.
If my audience is only men, then that is fine because men in our world need a kick in the pants. Megan, pleasae keep on reading and let me know your continued thoughts. I would appreciate a little more opportunity for dialogue so my writing can hit home for a larger audience.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
One thing on the mind today that I have a desire to promote/analyze is what is called "The Manhattan Decarlaration." On Tuesday, Bishop Harry Jackson described this document that promotes amoung Christians to be bold on Biblical issues (life, marriage, and religious liberty). Their goal is to have over 1,000,000 people sign this document.
Something that is interesting about this declaration is that it doesn't promote us trying to force Gap, Wal-Mart, or Target to say, "Merry Christmas" or picketing a courthouse that takes out the 10 commandments. This declaration, started by Chuck Colson, points everyone to the important Biblical truths that every Christian should take seriously. It is a timely document as many of these truths are not agreed upon within Mainline Protestantism. Once again showing why it is important to confess our dogma in a world that confesses a lot of nothing.
Check out the website and also the show on Issues Etc-http://issuesetc.org/?p=1480
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This show from Issues highlights how a Christian should watch New Moon and also what it means from a Christian worldview?
Posted using ShareThis
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Last night my wife and I watched the series finale of John and Kate. It was bittersweet. I was glad to see the show end after their marriage was destroyed, but also very sad to see the relationship surely end.
I think the most disheartening thing was both John and Kate constantly saying: "I'm going to do everything for my kids." This has danger written all over it. In Scripture God gives us many references on how to love our wives and husbands, but little on how to raise children. And many studies have found that when parents love each other and are willing to say, "I am going to do anything to love my spouse, love automatically outflows to the children.
And to think, my wife and I were almost looking for advice from the show. What a mistake. Here is a simple way to have a strong family: love your spouse unconditionally (Christ loves the church and the church submits to Christ). Start there and let the Lord lead you.
God's blessings to John and Kate, but I do hope there is much repentance on both ends. I repent for my own failings on this regard.
Monday, November 23, 2009
What we can control is our congregation. No more singing Beautiful Savior every other Sunday, no more watering down God's Word, not so much "crying" in a sermon, and STRONG Law/Gospel sermons. IF you looked around our congregations, it tickles the fancy of many women. Activities that encourage sitting, crafts, and casseroles. Where is the kick-butt activity of the disciples? Where is the bold proclamation? Where is the hymns that are so powerful that basically only men can really pull it off? Talk to your pastor about making the worship service more "powerful", get men involved in powerful things, and strongly proclaim the truths of God's Word!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Everyone loves Raymond was a unique show. It portrayed a younger family with a husband as the bread winner who worked as a sports writer in New York City. Debra was a stay at home mom and they lived next door to his parents. How much more "traditional" or family oriented can you get? If one were to stop there, one would think it uplifted family, especially men.
However, the moment you see the family dynamics, things change quickly. First of all, it is hard to determine how Raymond was a BIG TIME writer for a sports page in New York City. If he had that job first of all, he would be a stud and would know quite a bit. Yet, the moment he entered the home he couldn't figure out what shoe to put on what foot. Debra was always mad, his parents treated him like a 5 year old, and he was always looking for ways to get out of family time. On top of that, his dad was a bumbling idiot, his brother had no confidence, and the women appeared to hold it together (if that is what you would call it).
So what's the problem? Well, two fold. Raymond has been voted as the #1 dad in TV history. If this is true, a successful dad is one that is naive, a denier of family time, and has little respect from his wife and children. He was even more critical of faith. There was no prayer time, discussion of much faith, and attendance of worship was only for the sake of pleasing Debra.
My wife and I loved this show. However, it has affected our marriage and my view of fatherhood (good or bad). We are still looking for a strong man in the TV world, that is a model for all young boys into the future.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We will evaluate the great, Al Bundy. The man who had a bright future to play college football, but impregnated his girlfriend (Peg Bundy), married her, and ended up working at Gary's shoe store selling women's shoes.
Now would Al Bundy be consider a "manly man?" Well, you might think he is a good 21st century male. He watches football, loves beer, and complains about women. It is the standard joke about men in our culture. What' wrong? a young boy might ask these days.
First off, he is constantly ripping into his wife (even though she has her own problems). He definately doesn't treat her like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5) and also downgrades his own daughter as stupid and a ditz.
Secondly, he has no responsibility as a leader of the home. He works a dead beat job, has no money, and doesn't seem to want anything more but to complain, scratch, and drink.
What implications does this have? In all honesty, it was funny. It brought to light some struggles we all have in marriage and raising children. Brought some reality to people who had dreams, but were shattered. Yet, it basically gave no hope for men stepping up in trial. It presented troubled teens as a glorious way of life. And the idea of discipline was nowhere to be seen.
I would argue that Married with children started a horrible trend of the downgrading of men. Men as the "village idiot" and taking no responsibility for his family. Especially, uplifting his wife and children. The Al Bundy affect will be with us for some time, but by God's grace, things will improve.
Lord have mercy
Monday, November 16, 2009
It is a far cry from 1949 when "Father knows best" was on TV, followed by Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, and the Brady Bunch. Fathers were someone to look up too. The father would possess wisdom, a respect from his wife, and prominent name in the community. I realize that these shows did not indicate complete realtiy of those days. Yet, does portraying ALL men as village idiots portray accurately a father in today's world?
What does Scripture tell us of Fatherhood? It tells us much about fatherhood, but it probably boils down to three main ideas:
1) A father must first be a good husband (Ephesians 5:25-33). First and foremost, he must love his wife as Christ loves the church. If love is seen for his wife, the children will know he is a man of integrity.
2) A father must be the head of his home (Ephesians 5:23). He must take an active leadership in the goings on in the house. It is not for his benefit, but for the WHOLE family.
3) A father must be a provider for his home (1 Timothy 5:8). A father who does not provide according to Scripture is no better than an infidel. He is not to sit at home and do nothing, but provide (physically, financially, and spiritually).
How many guys on TV do this? Not many. This week I will cover a variety of shows and show how the portrayal of men is very degrading and also what we can do about it.
Lord have mercy
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
What religious beliefs kicked in? Was it my Luheran disposition to call for repentance and pronounce forgiveness? Was it to gently ask if that was real smart? Or even to repent of my own failings of "drinking too much" in my past? Nope, my favorite religious practice kicked in: Thinking like a Pharisee.
I thought to myself, "That's real mature!" and "Thank goodness I don't do those kinds of things, especially as he is almost 60 years old."
When I stand at the throne of God and he judges me, I will probably stand next to this guy and what will I say? Well, I might have gotten drunk in my past, but I gave it up and it was when I was young. Do I think that God will say, "Oh, thankyou Brady, how good of a Christian you are." Probably not. I need the same forgiveness as this guy, I need to repent just as much as him, and we all need the same Christ crucified for our forgiveness of our many sins.
"Chief of sinner though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In many ways, I think young families think the same way of Baptism. Parents become worried that the child will not have God in their lives, they run to a local church which they are not connected with and beg for Baptism. The Baptism occurs. The parents feel better, the child has a better chance of going to heaven, and they become compacent in faith. "After all, she is baptized."
The implications can be dire and baptism does so much more than a flu shot. A flu shot works for one simple illness and may or may not work. However, in Baptism, God changes the whole body and soul. He basically digs out, kills the muck inside and creates a new person. not only that, it works every day in the sinner (Romans 6). Killing, rising, and resurrecting a dead soul, EVERY DAY!
Our nervousness will continue concerning the swine flu, even after a shot. Yet, we have the assurance of salvation, life, and forgivness through our children's Baptisms. But that is not a get out of jail free card, we continue to instruct, call for repentance, and forgive as we live in the grace of our Lord.
Monday, November 9, 2009
In the human flesh, we have two options: Life or Death. In the world, life is the best option. To live is to make money, have children, buy homes, travel, etc. But death means I can not do any of those "very important luxuries."
As ones in the baptismal life, both options are nothing to fear. In life we have Jesus, living in us, forgiving us, and loving us. In death, our spirit is at rest with Jesus. Not a bad deal either. While we live, our bodies are to be living sacrifices that Christ may be known and in death may Christ be glorified.
May we live life not fearing death, but serving in our vocations for the proclamation of Christ. And I cling to the hope of my grandmother resting with her Lord and the future life where death is no longer an option!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
As I left the parking lot I received a phone call concerning my grandma Finnern who passed away from cancer in Wamego, KS. Donna married my grandfather 13 years ago after the both lost their spouses and she has been a God send to all of us. A devout Catholic, a loving mother, and grandmother battled cancer for the third time and within two weeks of feeling sick, she is resting with her Lord. She will be missed.
We are currently in Kansas and I have spent all week in hotels and no home cooking (not good for the beltline). In all reality, we are all very tired and weary.
Today, as we arrived in Wamego after 600 miles with the kids, I had one of those "baptismal pick-ups." My almost one year old son was crawling across the long hallway in the hotel when he grabbed his stroller, grasped onto the handles, and began to walk a long distance down the hall. First time I saw this in him. As he walked he fell down once the stroller hit the wall, but he got right back up again and continued to stumble down the hall the whole time with a smile on his face. What a joy to see.
I feel like my son right now. I know for a fact that I can't walk on my own. And when I began to walk, depening on unsteady objects, I fall. Especially when brought to my knees with the death of my grandmother. However, through that "death" by the Spirit and the resurrection through forgiveness. I am lifted up once again to stumble through life, hopefully with a smile on my face, not because it is always a joy, but because the ride is all in His hands.
Thank God for strollers, stumbling boys, and a Lord who picks us up. Pray for the witness of the priest tomorrow to be bold and points us to the cross.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
So what would our answer be? What verse(s) would be the best to explain it in a minute or two?
Instead of the typical John 3:16, what would you use? My thought was two unique passages for people to think about:1) John 20:30-31. The Scriptures are written that people may believe in Christ. Since our theology is all about Christ at the center that would start thing right. or 2) John 16:13-14. When speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus tells us that the HS is not here to uplift itself, but Christ and His redemptive work. That is our goal as Lutherans also.
What do you think?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Here is my proposal, once my kids are older, we will have a rip roaring "Reformation Party." But what would one have at such a party? German things (Beer, Brats, and craut) or something to symbolize saved by grace? Some kind of posting of the 95 thesis tradition?
Just a few thoughts...would love your input
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Reflecting on ministry, I often wonder if that is our only hope? As a matter of fact, where is our hope?
I think 99% desire to have our hope only in Christ, but we love to be fundamentalists, even to things that are not necessarily mandated by Christ. It can be the Kyrie for a liturgical nut like myself. Does it specifically point us to Christ? No. Do I tend to treat it like it is Christ more than I should. You also see it in contemporary music crowds also. Where they will use certain songs that do not specifically point us to Christ, but they will not give them up even if people want more Jesus (Wait upon the Lord?). We do it so often it is ridiculous: singing from the hymnal or not, screens or no screens, potlucks or catering, heating/cooling, times of worship, and the number of voter's meetings a year. How many times have you seen a congregational member stand up and complain about Jesus not being mentioned enough? I fear that the number of voter's meetings have gotten more complaints throughout the 21st century :-(.
It also shows up on how we see Scripture. Due to our fears from the 1970's Seminex days, we love to cling to each Word of Scripture, which isn't all bad, but at the expense sometimes of forgetting Christ. A great example is if someone claimed that we should get rid of 2 Peter (which many respected theologians agree with), people would be up in arms in our churches. But if our preachers never preach Christ but quote many Scripture passages, they tend not to be upset. What was Scripture given to us to know? Each word as the foundation? Or Christ? (reminder: I am a firm believer in the inerrancy of Scripture before someone claims that I want to get rid of the Bible).
If you sing this hymn "My Hope is built on nothing less..." What would be your next words? Jesus and His righteousness? Or Kyrie or no Kyrie, Shine Jesus Shine or Mighty Fortress, hymnals or printed off bulletins, screens, 8:00 worship, or voter's meetings? Lord have mercy. Wretched man that I am.
May it be upon Christ and Him crucified.
At our congregation we also celebrated Consecration Sunday. Throughout the month we have focused on stewardship through Consecrated Stewards. Most importantly we have looked at our hearts, centered on Christ's redemption, and called people to repentance (mainly me).
The theme for the month was "Freed to serve, give, and commitment. (John 8:31-36, Ephesians 2:8-9, and Joshua 24:14-18).
Stewardship is often seen as something NEVER to discuss, especially using the word Money. However, if Jesus talks about it, God talks about it, and everywhere in the world does, why doesn't the church? If we do not discuss it as a matter of faith, what will happen? We slow the faith process for our people and in essence hinder our mission.
May we all grow in the grace of giving and live in the palm of His hands.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I just finished reading, "Simple Church" by Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger. The book was based off of findings of "successful" churches and those who were in maintenance mode. After researching various churches the findings were in essence, simple.
The churches that grew had simple missions, simple worship services, simple programs, and a simple focus. The findings even went as far as to say that a simple church spends its time in worship, Bible study, and serving one another.
Ever thought that us Lutherans had it right a LONG time ago, but jumped on the "corporate" band wagon and forgot who we were. Our definition of church is simple, People, Gospel, and Sacrament. That's it! But all of the sudden we start eight million groups, no mercy, little ministry, watered down worship, and by the time we get it all going, people want what we used to have. People to know me, the Gospel in purity, and the Sacraments.
I suggest this book and look at our own churches to see if we are in line with what our confessions proclaim.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Lord knows I do not deserve a lick of it. And by God's grace I move forward.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Yet, I don't think anything has brought us parents to our knees as the swine flu. We almost have NO control over this one. One person sneezes in a room and bam, we have it. I must admit my prayer life has benefited from this outbreak of swine flu. If we think we can totally prevent it, we have another things coming. If we think we should intentionally get it so that we grow immune, we are crazy.
What should we do? Trust in the Lord. Use the wisdom He provides. Wash your hands, sleep, fluids, and vitamins, but for pete's sake, pray. "Come onto me all who are burden and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Lord have mercy.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
He then went to some friends from the "Reformed Camp" and what was their conversation concerning? Law and Gospel and how to apply it.
In Mark Driscoll's book, Vintage Church, he tells of preaching. The importance of preaching faithfully, preaching from the Word of God, and then he makes a Lutheran move...proclaim Jesus over and over again (101-103). He tells that if one only studies the Bible and does not focus on Christ, they become knowledgable, but with no faith. WOW, is that Lutheran or what?
We live in a society that is looking for truth and strong answers. Are we as Lutherans going to proclaim the truth, focus on Christ, and be theological? Or are we going to discuss funding models, programs, and perching?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
However, when life comes at ya the former life becomes less and less of a focus (family and kids). This is my vocation God has given and if coaching takes a back seat, then so be it.
Yet, what does God bring from our passions into ministry? Could I be more involved with my passion of throwing and it being part of ministry? Who knows. I'm not saying I work more on throwing/coaching than ministry, but can it be done?
As pastors, often we begin to see ministry as me and the church. Hours upon hours only with people in the church, little time with people in the community, and little time in places that pastors don't usually hang out at. But why do we do this? For the kingdom of God? To fulfill a job description? Or out of being uncomfortable with the world that surrounds us?
May the Lord use us in our passions, to build relationships, serve our community, and proclaim the name of Christ
Monday, October 12, 2009
1) Gospel Presentation-Jesus died on the cross.
2) Gospel Proclamation-Jesus died on the cross for you.
-Pure grace-No demands on us.
-Primary discourse-Direction declaration of God for you! Here and now.
-From the outside-Extra nos-Outside of us-Truth of what God does to me.