Thursday, October 25, 2007

UP Vacation Pics

Here is a link to some select vacation pics. Enjoy!

A Real Dilemna

There are so many ins and outs when buying a house! It makes your head spin. We have been looking around at home-owners insurance. We have always been happy with State Farm for all our insurance needs, but they just could not beat the premiums offered by Farmers. This is the dilemna. I really like being faithful to businesses that have good customer service. I think its important to reward good business practices, but as a young pastor with a child on the way, buying our first house, we just cannot afford to be faithful to the best service. We have to go with the least expensive.

I HATE that it has to be this way, as I mentioned above, we have always been very pleased with State Farm, just as we are often much more pleased doing our business with smaller or more specialized stores as opposed to the "big box" retailers. It really makes me feel bad to do this, but what makes me feel worse is when people do this kind of thing to the Church. They are not looking for the "cheapest," but for the church that offers the most, for their children, their parents, their dogs, cats, whatever. People by and large do not look for the church that is faithful to Scripture above all else. People only want what makes them feel better, what fits their "needs." I feel like I am doing the same on some levels by leaving one company for another for a difference of $140 per year.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On Vacation

I am taking my lovely wife up to the northern lands for a few days. This is our last vacation without diaper bags, strollers, bottles, etc. Pray for save travel and a restful time away.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moving Again

The Lord has blessed us in so many ways. With my call to Good Shepherd, with a baby (in early March), and now with a home! Lesa and I are in the final stages of buying a home in Middleville. It is a mile from the church, and has plenty of room or our growing family. Here is a link to pictures of the home. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we close on this home and move in. God gives so much more than we could ever dare imagine or ask, and yet, He is always beckoning us to ask and receive, seek and find, knock and come in.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guess who's ABLAZE!

That's right, now that he has stood before his maker, that ol' arch fiend and holder of the office of the anti-Chirst, Pope John Paul II, has seen the light! Who knew that in all the issues Lutherans and Catholics have disagreed upon over the years, the ABLAZE! program would actually unite us, even after death? The pope has officially been Fanned into Flame! Ecumenism will never be the same!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Viva la Revolution!

I proudly bear the anti-mauve movement coat of arms! Next to Luther's Rose, it is the best Lutheran seal! Kids, say no to mauve, dare to not be tacky!*
* This message proudly sponsored by Mauve Must Die! (TM)

The Results are in and its a...

GIRL!! We had our ultrasound today and found out our first child will be a little girl!! How cool is that? Here is a link to our Roemke Family page for ultrasound pics. Please continue to pray for little Baby Roemke and Mom during the second half of the pregnancy. Everything looks very healthy and good and we thank our gracious Father for that.

Also to keep in your prayers: We are in the process of buying our first home. It is a great 4 bedroom, 107 year old, very well maintained home exactly 1 mile from "my parking space" at the church. God continues to bless us in such wonderful ways!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Romans 14 and My Grandma

One of the most influential people in my life is my Grandma Marian. She is such a rock of faithfulness and has been committed to the Lutheran faith for over 50 years (since she married my now at rest Grandpa, another titan of the faith). It was not easy for her to become a Lutheran. She went through adult instruction at a time when non-German, non-Lutherans were practically the same thing in the Midwest. She was seen as a dreaded Methodist outsider, what Gus Portokals from My Big Fat Greek Wedding would have called xeno. She came into this lifestyle from a broken home, a rarity in those days. She endured suspicious looks and German "converstations" about her for years. It was a long time until she felt accepted at her church. And yet she endured and grew in her faith. She now is a widow with severe arthritis and mobility issues, but she makes it to church. It is a priority, end of story.

It is no exaggeration to say that this dear woman's example is a very big reason I entered the seminary and am now serving the Lutheran Church as a pastor. And yet, we are two different Lutherans. My Grandma's church in the the greater Ft. Wayne area, so they always have field workers. I learned a lot from my Grandma about field work. She always told me while in seminary who important it was to make sure my alb was straight and ironed, how important it was not to talk to quietly or too loudly, how important it was to be polite to the old ladies in my congregation in St. Louis. She still tells me her opinions of the field workers. But I find that some of the things she finds odd and even questionable are things I do every day. For example. she has noticed more and more how these seminarians are always crossing themselves. How they bow all the time and walk around with their hands folded. It really made me realize that the things I do out of respect and a healthy piety can be objectionable, if not outright offensive to some of the pillars of the faith. Now, that does not mean that we should chuck all these "high-church" pious and reverent gestures, but it has made me very sensitive to the needs of people like my grandma: faithful men and women who have lived in their faith, who know more about being and living as a Lutheran than I do, people whose faith is firmly rooted in the gifts of God's Word and Sacrament.

They don't understand why us youngsters are so anxious to look "Roman," and why should they? They were taught by well-meaning, and perhaps some not-so-well-meaning, pastors that some things are just not for Lutherans. So, in my own congregation I continue to boldly live my own rather catholic Lutheran faith, but I try to keep in mind Romans 14 and remember that I am the weaker brother to my dear Grandma Marian:
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel
over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak
person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who
abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who
eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant
of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will
be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What makes a bad teacher?

If you do not learn something from someone, does that make that person a bad teacher? I remember using that excuse often in school. "But Mom, it wasn't my fault I got a bafd grade. You don't understand, Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. So-and-So is just a bad teacher!"

Perhaps that line of reasoning is familiar with all of us to a certain extent. Perhaps, in some cases, it is true that we fail to learn because our teachers are bad. But, who's responsibility is it to learn? A bright and motivated student can learn something even from the most inept and incompetent teacher. And yet, isn't it the very essence of our sinful nature to try shift the blame off of our own short-comings?

I pose this question to encourage thought about the liturgy of the Church. The liturgy is a teacher, very old, very wise, but not always terribly "relevant" or "with it." I myself used those reasons for putting down and refusing to learn from the liturgy as a kno-it-all high school student. How many of us try to shift the blame for our poor church attendance, our lack of basic Biblical knowledge, our lack of evangelistic zeal, or even our less-than-sanctified living on the liturgy? It is convenient for us to say in our hearts, to our elders, or pastors, "I would go to church more often if it wasn't so BORING with the same old liturgy every week!"

The truth of the matter is simple: it is not the liturgies fault that you are a sinner! It is not the liturgies fault that you don't find it entertaining! It is not the liturgies fault that you don't follow along! it is not the liturgies fault that you don't understand it! It is YOUR fault and mine! The liturgy is a beautiful teacher of God's Holy Word. When you blame the liturgy for not being interesting, you are blaming God's Word. Instead of constantly pointing to the perceived deficiencies of your teacher, look at yourself. What is it about the liturgy that you really don't like? Could it be that it does not revolve around you? Could it be that it makes you feel uncomfortable, what with all the confessing of sins?

Sometimes the teacher is at fault, but God's Word is never at fault. Be a better student and you will find that old teacher is not nearly as irrelevant as you once thought.