Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On This Day...

In 1930, the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod's radio program, The Lutheran Hour, made its debut. Thanks be to God Almighty for giving the LCMS 76 years of broadcasting the Gospel.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Luther Sprache

Luther said, "Don't argue with the Devil...he has had five thousand years of experience. He has tried out all his tricks on Adam, Abraham, and David, and he knows exactly the weak spots."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Man's Most Priceless Possession...

My wife is gone for a few days. She went back to Indiana for a friend's wedding, leaving me a very lonely and sad husband. Luther could not have been more correct when he said, "The greatest treasure on earth is a liebe Hausfrau," and "A good wife is not found accidentally and without divine guidance. On the contrary, she is a gift of God and does not come, as the heathen imagine, in answer to our planning and judging."

My dear Lesa, I miss you a whole bunch and I love you 2 bits!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Devotional Thought

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" John 3:4

This was the verse upon which my daily devotional, Faith Alone, focused.

It got me to thinking about "re-birth" and being "born again."

One would not say to a baby in his mother's womb, "You must get a job to pay for your delivery before you can be born." It's ridiculous! The parents have to take all the initiative and responsibility for the birth of their child. All the expense is borne by the mother and father. And if the parents are good, God-fearing, Christian parents, they will go to great lengths to raise their child to be responsible and productive both in their family and in society.

It is the same with God, who calls Himself our Father. He does not tell us, as some Christians would assert, either by their words or their actions, "You must earn your rebirth! You must do the proper works to be born again into Christ." Rather, God our Father, with great love and kindness, gives us everything. He provides the great price of our delivery in Jesus Christ. He has spared nothing that we might be born anew into His family. As a good Father, He will also provide all we need and go to great lengths to bring us up to be responsible and productive members of His family and workers in His kingdom.

The message of the Gospel is the sweetest and most beautiful treasure in all of heaven and earth and God has freely given all for our salvation!

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Do Not Fear!" (John 20:36)

If you are not familiar with the works of St. Peter Chrysologus ("golden words") you are really missing out! He has some really beautiful and deep insights into the faith.

Do not fear, Peter, on account of your denial; John, on account of having fled; all of you, on account of having deserted me, of forming judgments about me with every one of your thoughts devoid of faith, and of still not believing even though you see me. Do not fear, it is I, who have called you by means of grace, have chosen and pardoned you, have sustained you by my steadfast kindness, have supported you with my love, and out of goodness alone I now take you back, because when a father receives his son, and when affections recovers its own, neither one is able to see any faults.
--St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 81, par. 3

Special thanks to Pastor William Weedon for making this and other great patristic quotes available through his blog.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Memo to Pat Robertson from God

Wait a minute...I think I'm getting something...Nope, just that bean and potato burrito. Damned
Big Bell Value menu!

TO: Pat Robertson, basic nut job who won't stop "talking for God"
FROM: God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
DATE: 18 May 2006

Pat, it has come to My attention (I am omnisicent), that you have started "talking" for Me again. Apparently, if you heard Me right (which is just ludicris! I have made Myself abundantly clear in a little book you may have heard of...THE BIBLE!) "...the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," and,"There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."

Now, Pat, honestly, this has gone too far. If I, the Pantocrator, the Most High God, YHWH, were going to do something, do you really have such a big ego that you think I would clear it with you first?

Now, don't get me wrong, I still love you. I am God after all, and I am love. But, Pat, I'm beginning to think you're the reason that bumper sticker was made. You know the one, it always makes Me laugh, it goes something like "It's a good thing Jesus loves you, because everyone else thinks you're a butthead."

Pat, enough of this. I've told people all they could ever need to know.

Your Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Luther Sprache

Luther said, "When Jesus Christ utters a word, He opens His mouth so wide that it embraces all Heaven and earth, even though that word be but in a whisper."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On this day in Lutheranism...

On May 16th, 1529, Martin Luther published the Small Catechism. Thanks be to God!

O merciful God, what a kind and gracious Father You are, who deals so sincerely and fatherly with us poor and condemned sinners. You cast Your only Son, Jesus Christ, Your most precious possession, into the jaws of death and the devil. You required that He should descend into the deep and again ascend on high and lead captive the captivity which has held us all in bondage. Through this we are Your dear children, His brothers and heirs of all His eternal, heavenly blessings. Give us Your Holy Spirit so that He may preserve us in faith to the end. Grant Your grace that young people and those unborn, the weak in faith and those not properly instructed may gain and keep a right understanding of the doctrine that they also are privileged to become fellow citizens with the angels. This is the privilege of those who believe in Christ. Amen

Martin Luther

Monday, May 15, 2006

How the world rewards service

As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, "This is the way your servant treated me," his anger was kindled. And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.
Genesis 39:19-20

Losing his good reputation and being thrown in prison was certainly Joseph's worst hardship. What disgraceful wages he received for his years of faithful service! His impeccable character and hard work were rewarded with punishment and a ruined reputation. We serve, teach, counsel, comfort, and do what God tells us to do. For the most part, we do this for undeserving people from whom we get nothing in return except hatred, envy, and suffering. It seems that our lives are wasted on being kind to people who don't appreciate it.

Don't ever expect the world to acknowledge or reward your faithfulness and hard work. The opposite often happens, as Joseph's life shows. Therefore, make sure that you direct your service and life elsewhere. Don't look for favor and kindness from the world. Its favor can quickly turn into furious anger.

If you are called as a pastor or teacher, or if you are in some other position, set this goal for yourself: I will do my job faithfully without expecting any reward from the people I serve. I won't assume that they will be grateful to me. Rather, I will bless others the same way my heavenly Father hands out his blessings. He gives money, talents, peace, and health even to the most ungrateful and evil people. I will remember Christ's command, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). This means that we must serve people who are wicked, undeserving, and ungrateful. A few will acknowledge our service and thank us. But the others might even threaten our lives. Joseph's example shows us what reward we can expect from the world for even the greatest of kindness--being tied up and thrown in prison.

Excerpt from Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional by Martin Luther, edited by James C. Galvin

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What a load!

Of what, you may ask. I'll tell you of what...of Episcoplaian, "open-minded," liberal, gay CRAP!
A new "bishop" (of what? The Devil?) has been elected for San Francisco. He's not the gay one, but he might as well be. Read his address to all people, the gay and lesbian, the single and "partnered" (whatever the crap that means!)

This is really too far. In my opinion, which is informed and formed by the Word of God, the Episcopal Church is NO church of God, but a den of vipers and a white-washed tomb.

Where were you on this day 485 years ago?

Well, you were probably still skippin' tater rows, but Luther was getting an extreme make-over. From Augustinian monk turned "heretical" reformer to "Junker Jörg," a hairy Knight. When asked about Luther the Reformer and fugitive, Junker Jörg would reply "I know notink."

Talk about your witness protection program!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Importance of the Virgin Mary

Yes, she is important, very important to the Christian faith. Yes, I am a Lutheran, very Lutheran. But I have been thinking about the Blessed Virgin (I know, that sounds Catholic or Orthodox, but she most certainly is "blessed"; Luke 1:28, 45, 48 [especially]), and her central role in the Christian faith.

First, I do not in any fashion advocate Mary as an intercessor or mediator, "for there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5.)
However, to totally kick her out of the picture is unfair and I believe dangerous. She is the very Mother of God, the gottes mutter or theotokos or mater theou (Ap. XXI, 27; SA I, IV, Latin; FC SD VIII, 24.)

We confess that in all three ecumenical creeds (conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary...incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary...and man of the substance of His mother.) Besides Pontius Pilate, she is the only other person mentioned in the creeds.

Without her humility, her obedience, her favored position, we would not have a Christ (granted, God certainly could have used someone else, but her faith was great.) She is the human part of the equation. Her humanity is the reason Christ was able to die for the sins of the world, including her own sinfulness. And while I will not worship or pray to her, I will certainly give thanks to God for her often. I will remember her in my devotions, and I will look to her as an example of an obedient and humble servant of the Most High God.

I also would encourage the celebration of her feast days in the Lutheran Church (i.e., the Feasts of the Purification, Annunciation, and Visitation,) as well as the feast days of other pillars and defenders of the Christian faith (i.e., John the Baptizer and Forerunner, Peter, Paul and the Apostles, Luther, Augustine to name a few.)

Some may think I've lost it. Maybe I have, but that should really be a given. The Blessed Virgin Mary is an example of pure love for Christ, of obedience to the Holy Triune God, and the bearer of Salvation for all humanity, including her own, in the one perfect God-man Jesus Christ.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Let each his lesson learn with care...

If you've read Luther's Table of Duties in the Small Catechism, you may be familiar with these words. "Let each his lesson learn with care, and all the household well shall fare."

It's a nice little ditty, it is easy to remember, but does it have any impact or practicality in our "modern" world?

I've noticed, as I get older and think about raising a family someday, that people don't know their "lessons." That is, people don't know what is expected of them and therefore do not do what is expected of them. Granted, some people do know their "lessons" but just decide to ignore them. Look at the problems with our society; homosexuality is becoming "normal," children are getting pregnant and have no respect for authority, husbands leave their wives and wives hate their husbands. People don't know their lessons, therefore the "household" does not fare well.

Adults want to be children, children want to be adults; parents want to be children, and children want to be parents; men want to be women, women want to be men; husbands want to be wives, wives want to be husbands; leaders want to be followers, followers want to be leaders; and in the church, pastors want to be laity; laity want to be pastors!!

Enough of all of this nonsense! Be who you are called to be in God's Kingdom. There is nothing wrong with being what God has called you to be. There is nothing wrong with taking the role God has given you and doing it to the best of your ability.

Let each his lesson learn with care, and all the household well shall fare!


The Test results are in...I'm a DORK for Jesus!!

Pure Dork
34 % Nerd, 17% Geek, 56% Dork
For The Record: A nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia. A geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one. A dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions. You scored better than half in dork, earning you the title of: Pure Dork. Like our friends Napoleon Dynamite & co. It's not as though you were some whiz-kid in school. Oh, sure, you probably did okay in some classes, but were probably awful in others. Certainly most people thought you were smarter than you thought yourself to be. And it's not that you have some overriding passion, like computers or Star Trek that sets you apart for the crowd, though you likely share some interest in some of those sorts of things. You just like to be yourself, and want to express yourself for who you are. And, really, there's nothing wrong with that. Being who you are often invites scorn, and so it's a difficult thing in a world that rewards conformity. Be proud of your dorkiness, for often it's just another word for individuality. (I'd vote for you!)


Friday, May 05, 2006

Attributes of a Good Preacher...

Again, my Old Lutheran Tidbit of the Day Calendar has given me a little golden tidbit from Herr Doktor Marty.

"It is commonly said that these three are the three qualifications which mark a good preacher: First, that they stand straight when in the pulpit; secondly, that they speak up and say something worthwhile; thirdly, that they know when to stop."

Well said, Bruder Martin, well said!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Clergy Comic

This Speed Bump comic for May 2, 2006 just made me smile. For some reason, the artist often uses clergy in his strip, but never in an unflattering way. It's a good comic, very amusing.