Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Importance of Confessing

Until you can truly confess what God's Word says about you, you can never truly confess what God's Word says about Christ.

I think I may have made this up, but I could have read it somewhere. It jumped into my brain one night while trying to fall asleep. I think it is very true. Unless we confess, that is, speak with, God's Word the truth that we are by nature sinful and unclean, that there is nothing good that dwells within us, that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, we cannot faithfully or truly confess God's Word that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that He was given for the forgiveness of sins, that He has made atonement for the sins of the world and that He is the only way of salvation.

Meditations on St. Michael's Day

About a year ago I put together the following meditations on the Holy Angels named in Scripture (and the Apocrypha), Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Meditation on St. Michael the Archangel

Jude 1:9-St. Michael relies upon the power of the Lord

9But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

Revelation 12:7-10-St. Michael casts Satan out of heaven at the authority of Jesus Christ

7Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world— he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Prayer: O Lord God, as Your servant, St. Michael the Archangel remained faithful in all ways to the truth of Your holy name by refraining from a blasphemous judgment, may I in all my dealings be found without presumption and faithful to Your truth. As St. Michael and his holy angel legions cast Satan out of heaven at the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, may I be strengthened in the holy baptismal waters to daily cast the works of Satan out of my life and stand in righteousness and purity in the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Meditation on St. Gabriel the Archangel

Luke 1:18-20- St. Gabriel speaks good news to Zechariah

18And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." 19And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time."

Luke 1:26-33; 38- St. Gabriel the Archangel is sent to proclaim the birth of Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

38And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Prayer: O Lord God, as Your servant, St. Gabriel the Archangel spoke good news to Zechariah, the father of the forerunner to our Lord Jesus Christ, and again spoke the good news of Jesus who was born to save the world from sin to the Blessed Virgin Mary, His holy mother, so speak to my heart and soul that great good news of life and salvation that is found only in Christ Jesus. May I not disbelieve the Gospel, but strengthen my belief. Give me ever faithfulness as a called and ordained servant of Your holy Word to proclaim life and salvation in Christ alone to Your people even as St. Gabriel did, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.

Meditation on St. Raphael the Archangel

Tobit 3:16-17- St. Raphael is sent in answer to the prayers of God's people

16 As Tobit and Sarah were praying, God in heaven heard their prayers17 and sent his angel Raphael to help them. He was sent to remove the white film from Tobit's eyes, so that he could see again, and to arrange a marriage between Sarah and Tobit's son Tobias, who, as her cousin, had the right to marry her. Raphael was also ordered to expel the demon Asmodeus from Sarah.

Tobit 12:6-18- St. Raphael the Archangel encourages the two men to praise God for His provision

6 Then Raphael called the two men aside and said to them, "Praise God and tell everyone about the good things he has done for you, so that they too will honor him and sing his praises. Let everyone know what God has done. Never stop praising him.15 I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand in the glorious presence of the Lord, ready to serve him. 16 Tobit and Tobias were terrified and fell to the ground, trembling with fear.17 But Raphael said to them, "Don't be afraid; everything is all right. Always remember to praise God.18 He wanted me to come and help you; I did not come on my own. So sing God's praises as long as you live.

Prayer: Praise God. Praise him for his greatness. Praise all his holy angels. May he continue to bless us. Praise all his angels forever. O Lord God, You are indeed mighty and worthy of all praise and honor. You have ordered Your holy angels to guard and keep Your people. As You sent Your holy servant, St. Raphael the Archangel to heal Your servant Tobit with the sacrifice of a fish, so heal the world through that blessed and holy ichthus, Jesus Christ, God's Son, our Savior. You bless Your children with the gift of marriage, so bless and heal the marriages of Your people. You drive far from Your children the attacks and assaults of demons, so guard and keep me from the attacks of evil influences and tempting spirits, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Unofficial Fun Poll

Please put your answer to the following question in the comments (if you comment on Facebook I will transfer it to the blog with your name):
If you were given the great honor and responsibility to re-name your current church or to start a new congregation and name it, what would you name it and why? (This poll is open to all denominations, however, any comment without the reason why you gave it that name will be deleted)
I'll start: Holy Archangels Evangelical Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Why? The Holy Archangels are God's sacred messengers sent to give the good news of the coming of His Messiah, Jesus Christ. St. Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, giving him the news of the coming Forerunner and the coming Christ (Luke1:5-24) and again proclaimed the birth of the Christ to the blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38)

The Archangel, St. Michael, is also a holy messenger of God whose name means "who is like God". Not only does Michael proclaim God's Word faithfully, as when contending with the devil over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9), he also is given the charge over the angel legions to wage war against Satan and cast him into the pit (Daniel 12, Revelation 12:7-17) Because of this power over Satan and his name, some theologians think Michael the archangel is at least a type of Christ if not Christ Himself (sermon on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels preached by Rev'd President Matthew Harrison from Issues, etc.)

Since the Holy Archangels deliver God's message of Law and Gospel faithfully and perfectly, as well as proclaiming the Incarnate Lord, I think it is a wonderful confession to name a church Holy Archangels because this is what we must always be doing in Christ's Church.

From "Roemke's Dogmatics, vol. I" On Heresies

Poop Brownie-A little bit of heresy mixed with what looks to be, for the most part, orthodox theology. A poop brownie (Lat. Fecal Crustulum, lit. "poo-pastry") is most often found in a church that says it believes in the "fundamentals" of Christianity but rejects those fundamentals with heretical or unorthodox practice (as in the Divine Service).
The point: no matter how much or how little poop may be in a brownie, and no matter how good the brownie may be otherwise, it would not be prudent or wise to eat a brownie with any amount of known poop in the mix.

This point was made in Bible Study this morning while discussing Pietism, Rationalism, Romanticism and Revivalism as an introduction to the study of Walther's Law and Gospel

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


My very good friend, Rev. Tom Chryst, just posted this
I feel I must respond with the following
Thanks, good ol' pal and confidant!

And Tom has also always reminded me of the late, great, the lady who put the MAN in wo-Man, Bea Arthur! The resemblance is uncanny, don't you think?

The Sermon for the Installation of Rev. Matthew Harrison and Vice Presidents

You may watch the Bishop's Sermon here

Friday, September 10, 2010

The "perfect church service"?

I read this wonderful C.S. Lewis quote from Pr. Jeffrey Ries on Facebook:

"The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself, and thinking about worship is a different thing from worshiping."
~C.S. Lewis

Wonderfully put and absolutely true. Come, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith!

Coming Soon...

Audio sermons from Good Shepherd will soon be posted on this blog. I hope to be posting them by the middle of October.

Witness, Mercy, Life Together

This sounds like church language, which is good considering that these words are what our new Synodical President, Rev. Matthew Harrison, is focusing on as he takes office (installation tomorrow at the Chapel of Sts. Timothy and Titus).

Some thoughts after a long hiatus

I have not really blogged in a very long time. There have been many reasons for this, the biggest of which is just shear laziness and lack of interest. But, I think it important that I do begin to blog again. So, here is a thought after the long hiatus: Why can't western Christians (especially in the US) take their faith as seriously as many Muslims? I am not suggesting that we threaten death to anyone who criticizes us, or draws a blasphemous cartoon of the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ, or even martyrs one of our brethren in a country that is hostile to Christianity (most of the predominately Muslim eastern nations). But what I do think is missing is a healthy reverence for holy things. We grumble a bit when someone does this, but, by and large, we do not seem to care when the holy things of God are trodden upon. This sends a very clear message to those outside the one true faith, just as the reaction of many Muslims to the proposed Koran burning in Florida sends a very clear message. We are telling those outside of Christ's Church that we don't really believe what we say we do. When a female priest (sic) gives a dog communion it is a hard sell to nonbelievers that we really believe the bread and wine are Christ's Body and Blood or even represent our Lord and Savior. And just as bad a message is sent to the unbelieving world when we haphazardly celebrate the Lord's Supper in our churches in the LCMS. The clear and unmistakable message Western Christians are sending the world is that tolerance for falsehood, a casual, almost flippant attitude towards holy things, and the individual is our God. These things we will not tolerant any irreverence towards. These are the things we get really up tight about. And that is not right. Repent, Church of Christ! Hold dear and sacred those blessed gifts, those most holy things that have been given through the merit of Christ Jesus!

My Seconds...

My second time on a Pastor's Round Table and my second time on the second petition of the Lord's Prayer.
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pope-like? Really?

I ran across this article and was surprised at the headline. Regardless of what you may personally or politically think of Jerry Kieschnick, isn't it a bit alarming to hear of a Lutheran church leader referred to as "pope-like"? Especially given what Lutherans confess about the office of the papacy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The one time you can be certain no one will come to church...

is when you don't have services. So I say, have services everyday during Holy Week. People might not come, but better to think that people *might* come. I can assure you that no one will come if there is no service of the Word or Sacrament.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

One of the many reasons I don't care for Methodism

Their signs are almost always stupid. What the heck does this one even mean anyway? Is it supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to be a commentary on Methodist theology? On this particular church?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Uppity Vicar Encounters Rev. Daystar

The following is a real exchange that happened to a young Lutheran vicar. The speaker came to the church promoting an ecumenical mercy group. Names are withheld to protect my butt, but not the innocent. I still insist on the Gospel ALL preaching and as a called and ordained servant of Christ, I will not tolerate anything else. Think of this when the Daystar thugs try to influence your vote this July in Houston.

{Dear Sir}
I wanted to let you know that I was affirmed through my High School Bible Study by your speech at our congregation. When I asked them what they thought of your presentation, the resounding answer was that there was no mention of God, Christ or the Gospel. While this is not good for your speech, it was very good that my High School students recognized this in a sermon and missed it.


The Uppity Vicar

Dear Uppity Vicar:

I am at a loss for words! What do you mean you "were affirmed through
"my" high school Bible study by your speech at our congregation." UV -
I have no intention of engaging you in some frivolous conversation on e-mail.
Were you evaluating a speech rather than listening to a homily? Where were
these young people when I referenced to the poverty of God in Christ Jesus? "Though
He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might
become rich? " Where were they and you as a matter of fact when I said you only
see Jesus in the eyes of the poor?

Come back to me, dear friend. I have no idea what you have in mind by this kind of
adolescent comment. I regret your high schoolers were not in my educational
forum to ask questions and see a brilliant DVD on the ministry of Jesus to the poor.
UV, If I am missing the point of your post, inform me so. I am put off by this kind
conversation and more and more have grave concerns about what is happening in
theological education to produce this kind of non-professional judgment on a speaker.

If you want to call me and explain what in the world you mean or have in mind, do so.

With serious disappointment,

The Dear Sir, Ph. D., Pastor Emeritus

Dear Sir,
Please accept my humble apologies, sincerely. It was indeed wrong of me to criticize in such an adolescent manner. I respect the work of your mission, but honestly sir, and with true humility, the proclamation of the gospel was simply not there.

Again, I beg your forgiveness for my immaturity. It was out of line.


The Uppity Vicar

Dear Uppity Vicar:

I have received your e-mail re: "Sermon Affirmation" posted
February 06, 2006 8:42 PM in which you expressed "humble
apologies and in the same three sentence paragraph added:
"but honestly sir, and with true humility, the proclamation of the
gospel was simply not there."

Furthermore you added in a two sentence paragraph, "Again,
I beg your forgiveness for my immaturity. It was out of line."

UV, I want to follow up this correspondence for the sake of
learning and common decency and order in the life of the
church. It is not a proper or good posture to begin in anyway
defensively. That just digs a deeper hole of misunderstanding.
I need to understand what prompted this response from you,
how it ever became a matter of discussion with the youth
[I assume Bible class] of the congregation, if you brought
this up or some disgruntled teen asked a question about
the morning sermon.

I was disappointed when 65 persons who stopped for breakfast
after the early service left before my hour presentation with
video and conversation. 12 adults remained and expressed
gratitude for the added emphasis on dealing with issue of
abject poverty in the western hemisphere. The video was
repleat with gospel references to the action of the Christian
Life, references aplenty to Matthew 25 and the final judgment.

But even more important, UV, is the greater concern I have
for someone [and I do not know whom] who called the
{Social Gospel} headquarters and complained that I
had preached about a "generic" God. UV, do you know
anything about this telephone call? If you do, I would
appreciate your response[s].

When I introduced the homily reference was made to the
problems Paul was having with the church in Corinth - do
you remember that? "I do not say this as a command,
but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the
earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of
our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for
your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you
might become rich."

The gospel is proclaimed in deed and in truth. This
issues of abject poverty require such a stretch for
wealthy Christians, one speaks the gospel in the
actions of love and care for the poor. Remember - you
only see Jesus in the eyes of the poor. . .

What is of concern for me, is talking behind one back,
what is loveless is stirring a pot when there may be
misunderstanding. What hurts and cuts to the center of the
heart is what has been going on in the synod for more than
four decades, these kinds of accusations and often
it results in lovelessness and professional lynchings.

Uppity Vicar, I have preached for 44 years, over 2000 times, beginning
as a prepie, student at the seminary, a vicarage in [a salt water district][many] years ago, and years and years as a professor
and pastor of the church and NEVER have I been accused of
what you have written. O, yes, I have preached some lousy,
bad, poorly constructed, misunderstood, I'm sure, sermons.
We all do. No one is perfect and there is never a perfect

Remember, dear young vicar, when you are young and ambitious
and often critical of others - you probably approach every
preaching situation wanting to preach a good sermon. That's
great! I have taught communications and homiletics for more
than 40 years. But Uppity Vicar, as you mature and grow into the
demands of ministry you will need to think about preaching a
sermon that does some good! That's what we are called to

As I gave my examples of caring for the poor, I was walking
in the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus didn't preach as much as he
taught, he didn't lecture as much as the loved, and forgave
healed and ate with the street people of his world .

Please be careful, not to judge people, to create kangaroo
courts to denigrate others. If you are having difficulty with
someone, go first to that person for clarification and

I feel violated by someone, UV. I pray it was not you and I
have no evidence it was and cannot accuse you of that
unkind act. But if you know of anyone that did this to me
please direct that person to me. That is step one in
solvng a spiritual problem for the well-being of both parties.

I remember my vicarage very well. My bishop made it very
clear to me that I made no decisions that were not his. I was
a student preparng for pastoral ministry. The grace of my
supervisor was this that if I did make a mistake he took
responsibility for it, and then helped me to grow in ways that
avoided doing the same thing wrong twice.

I write as one who had the responsibility of placing thousands
of Lutheran students into parish ministries world wide and
pray that the continuation of your year of internship will be a blessing
to you as you await that special calling wherever it my be. As I
lecture in the University classroom during this spring semester,
I am aware of how things have changed in our beloved synod.
The classroom is filled with those who have no active faith, is
represented by students pregnant out of wedlock, and the list
could go on. There is never a moment when the gospel message
is not worked out in word and deed.

Thanks for reading this rather lengthy transmittal. I pray that you
will receive it with grace and in the spirit of Christian love.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Dear Sir, Pastor Emeritus