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Author Archive -- Pastor Nathan Higgins


Pastor Higgins was a member of the Bemidji Circuit (one of the best in MNN) of the Minnesota North District when Pastor Joshua Scheer served as a pastor up there in the northland. He is also one of the assistant editors that produced Treasury of Daily Prayer for CPH. The Rev’d Nathan W. Higgins is a 2002 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has served as Pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Long Prairie, Minnesota (emmlp.org) since December 2008 and has participated for many years in the Lutheran Mission Association (lmamnn.org) which provides relief in Haiti.

Where could you spend 2.3% of your time?

December 31st, 2013 6 comments

Associate Editor’s Note:  The following was written for the newsletter of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Long Prairie, MN (Independent) which is served by LCMS Pastor and BJS Contributor Pr. Nathan Higgins. The article is a good reminder of spending time at church. As we turn the page on another calendar year, I find myself thinking about a hymn in the “New Year” section of our hymnal. It is #123 – “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”. The sixth stanza of that hymn reads: Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly forgotten as a dream   More…

Why Does God Allow Disasters and Suffering?

November 15th, 2013 6 comments

The most recent issue of Lutherans Engage the World (Nov. – Dec. 2013, Volume 2, Number 2) features a ‘Meet and Greet’ with the Rev. Ross Johnson. Rev. Johnson is the incoming director of LCMS Disaster Response. He answers “10 Questions” (page 2), of which, number seven particularly caught my attention: “What do you say to people who ask: Why does God allow disasters and suffering?” It’s not an uncommon question for pastors to receive. For Johnson, the question is particularly appropriate, given his new position with Disaster Response. I was impressed with the points that he covered in his   More…

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Celebrating the Passover Seder

I always find it remarkable how many Christians are drawn to celebrate a ‘Passover Seder’. Around this time of year, I usually start seeing threads popping up on e-mail lists, how this congregation or some neighboring congregation is doing it. Then, the inevitable follows, where the matter is discussed – pros and cons ad nauseum, until finally Easter arrives and people eventually move on. Several factors make it remarkable to me that Christians would try to celebrate the Passover. First, and most obvious, unless you have Jewish ancestors, you really have no business celebrating the Passover. God neither brought you   More…

Responding to National Tragedy

February 14th, 2013 37 comments

 Perhaps the best way to respond to a national tragedy – or any kind of tragedy, is with mourning, repentance, and faith. One especially relevant biblical account is that of Luke 13. Here, Jesus is told of a situation, in which Pontius Pilate had mingled the blood of some Galileans with their sacrifices. Jesus responded to this tragedy, saying: “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:2-3; NKJV). Jesus continued, by giving report of another,   More…

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Minnesota Lutherans Divided Over Proposed Marriage Amendment

Here in Minnesota, we will be voting in November on the “Marriage Protection Amendment” to our State Constitution. If passed, this Amendment will give our state a constitutional definition of marriage as being between ‘one man and one woman’. (On the ballot, voters will be asked: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”) At current count, the Constitutional Amendment is being opposed by five Minnesota Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (postbulletin.com). (Whenever I listen to the   More…

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Grape Juice (Communion in One Kind — Part Two)

Having been encouraged to study the Book of Concord (see my previous post), my Wednesday evening adult Bible class turned to Luther’s Small Catechism. Beginning in the Preface, we found quite a bit to provoke discussion. I was surprised at the direction that this discussion took, when Luther made passing reference to the practice of ‘Communion in One Kind’: “O ye bishops! … You command the Sacrament in one form [but is not this the highest ungodliness coupled with the greatest impudence that you are insisting on the administration of the Sacrament in one form only, and on your traditions]   More…

Minnesota North Encourages Its Congregations to Study the Book of Concord (Communion in One Kind — Part One)

One feature of District and Synodical Conventions is the “mom and apple pie” resolution. These are the kinds of resolutions that no sensible person can really vote against. Cynics suspect that such resolutions are set forward in order to get the “yes” votes rolling, so that the train might continue to roll right through the more controversial topics. (Note to those in charge: This might sound good on paper, but it doesn’t always follow through in actual practice. Use with care.) Whether or not such reasoning is actually the case, I also suspect that it doesn’t look too good in   More…

Liturgical Colors in Leipzig

Using color to mark times and seasons of the Church Year is nothing new to most of us. The idea of using liturgical colors seems so normal to us, that you can often find people with strong opinions about such matters, as: Should Advent be violet or blue? Should rose be the color for the weeks of Gaudete and Laetare, or is parading your Pastor around in pink something to be avoided like the plague? Should weddings and funerals retain the seasonal color, or should we be flexible enough to use other colors on such occasions? As we talk about   More…

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Hurry Up and Give the Benediction Already

When you talk to some people, you might get the impression that they view their attendance at church services simply as an obligation.  They go, because God expects them to go.  Yet, when they go to church for God, they have no intention to exceed God’s expectations.  As long as they put in the minimum time that God requires, they believe that they are good. I can’t help but wonder: What is the minimum amount of time that God expects of our attendance at worship services?  An hour?  Forty-five minutes?  Half an hour?  If we could squeeze it all into   More…

Steadfast in Worship — Three Words about Worship in the Lutheran Confessions

 I would like to spend a little time with three words mentioned by Pastor Martin Noland in his response (comment #32) to my previous post.  Thank you (and everyone) for your comments! In the Missouri Synod’s latest Rite of Ordination (published with LSB), pastors specifically promise to practice according to the Lutheran Confessions. When you look through the Lutheran Confessions, you find various worship practices set forth.  As you consider these practices, they fit within at least one of three categories: Prescriptive – The Confessions say: “Do thus.” Proscriptive – The Confessions say: “Thus, thou shalt not do.” Descriptive –   More…

Steadfast in Worship — Considering all of the Confessions.

When I became a pastor in the Lutheran Church, I said that I would perform the duties of my office in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions. I promised, with the help of God, to preach and teach and administer the Sacraments in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and these Confessions. (To the best of my knowledge, such statements are standard at the ordinations and installations of Lutheran pastors, at least in the Missouri Synod.) So, when push comes to shove and the rubber hits the road, what is the result of these statements and promises? What does it mean –   More…