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.
In opening worship, Rev. Jeff Cloeter pointed us all back to our main emphasis these next few days: receiving God's gifts and encouragment to keep in the mission.
As part of our confession time, we highlighted that one of the major sins we commit as church workers as we gather is "preaching and perching." We will bring up how great we are doing, covet other people in their ministries, and little encouragement is given.
Our hope is that we will dig deep into our understanding of what it means to be Lutheran in our current day. Keeping our doctrine and practice consistent and never sacrificing Law and Gospel. Should be interesting, since most of the time I am among pastors to discuss these things. I look forward to being engaged with other groups. More to come.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Then in a unique twist, we traveled to St. Louis today for a gathering called Regeneration. On the way, we happened to not be going 16 miles over the speed limit and a car cut us off while showing us the middle finger with a variety of words to say.
It goes well with the saint/sinner paradox. We have the joy of worshipping, receiving His gifts, but we also live in a crazy world that is willing to disgrace, dishonor, and disapprove of anyone that gets in their way. The worst part: what was my temptation with the car that cut us off? A finger back. Chief of sinner right here.
Lord have mercy
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Is it threats to do more missions?
Is it to have the Synod have more power?
What are our churches to do?
Does this sound like it is written today?
Friday, October 9, 2009
When we read Acts 2 and 4, we never hear of a democratic idea of motivation for each individual to do their best, but we hear of helping each other so much that no one is in need. Selling land, giving away everything, and loving one another.
How does that relate to today? Descriptive or prescriptive? We always take cultural influences into effect, however, how does that work in a 21st century context? Something I would like to study more on and get feed back.
Lord have mercy
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The issue comes down to a number of issues. First, younger people today have less denominational loyalty and more personal loyalty (a pastor they know well). Secondly, people don't see the connection of doctrine and practice. They don't like how they don't baptize infants, but they like the worship service, so they keep going even if they don't believe in what they believe. Thirdly, younger people don't value membership. So they probably won't "join" that other church, but still consider themselves Lutheran.
Any thoughts? I am working through this and want some ideas of how to proceed.
Monday, October 5, 2009
I am NOT saying that growth is bad or that every pastor needs to know everyone as well as their parents. However, we must always remember the care for the ones who are faithful members. Do we need to witness to our community and look for growth? Absolutely. Do we need to care and love for members? Yes.
At the end of the day, we always could be doing more on either end. This is where confession/absolution and the trust in Christ comes. God is in control, we repent, He forgives, and we faithful proclaim and administer His gifts.
Lord have mercy.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
What I find interesting concerning movies in general is that we go to the theatre many times to get out of reality. When you look around the movie theatre, many are alone, couples don't talk to each other, and young children are glued to the screen. We love movies because it takes us out of our real world, especially when the real world is very dark. The movie theatre is a place where most of the time nobody will know you, it is too dark to judge, and no one looks around after the movie starts to see what you are eating or drinking. It is the perfect getaway.
The problem is that in 90 minutes or less, you are back to the real world. The pain, the guilt, and people. A world we do not want to confront.
When we live in this way we will never get to the real problem: sin. We will try to sidestep issues, move farther away, and act as if nothing has happened. Yet, the problem never goes away. We continue to fall farther and farther away from the reality of God and look for more things like movies to help cope.
Here is a proposal: Instead of looking to movies for a release from reality, how about going to your pastor? Your boring, simple dressed, slightly frumpy pastor. Go to him, grab your hymnal, turn to page 292 (LSB) and bring your grief, guilt, and sins to Chrst. Look reality right in the eye, repent, and hear the precious words of forgiveness. The guilt disappears, the pain subsides, and you are made clean by Christ. Then the pastor ends with the words that a movie never brings, "Go in peace."
Try it once and you will always go back! No charge and no popcorn necessary.