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Posts Tagged ‘Lutheran’

The Church in Need – A Hard Look at Giving – Guest post by Vanessa

December 19th, 2014 13 comments

Thanks to Vanessa for this guest post.  For more by Vanessa check out her regular blog: Bible, Beer, and Babies. No one likes to talk about money. I know of no church elder, pastor or lay member who enjoys standing in front of their congregation to talk about dollars, debts and givings. Whether we avoid the topic due to fear of accusations of legalism or worry over ties being drawn to televangelists and word of faith scammers who cheat people out of money, promising health, wealth and promises God Himself didn’t make all for a small fee, the fact remains — we suck   More…

“A Mighty Fortress is Our God” — Sermon for Reformation Sunday

October 25th, 2014 No comments

Reverend Christopher I. Thoma + Text and Theme: Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 656, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (The Preaching of the Gospel for this feast takes a different form than what is our usual practice. The intention is to combine the preaching of the Gospel with the singing of the hymn. The pastor will preach a portion and the congregation will respond by singing a stanza. This is to happen in consecutive order with the sermon conclusion being the final stanza.) In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The fortress is   More…

In the Town, but Not of the World

October 19th, 2014 7 comments

Here in the commonwealth of Virginia, we moved Concordia Lutheran Mission from Lexington to Buena Vista because we were led to find a great rental property.  We have now worshipped in our new location three Sundays, including today.  One of our members told me about going to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Sale store in Buena Vista and some of his finds for the Mission, but he also told me something else. Our brother was talking with the clerk and he told the clerk that he was looking for stuff for our new mission.  The  clerk responded by saying that you are   More…

Climbing the High Dive

October 3rd, 2014 6 comments

Every year in January my congregation holds a special assembly. We call this gathering our “Getting Organized” meeting. At the meeting this past year, I presented the results of an informal survey I conducted. Essentially, I called the local Methodist, Baptist, ELCA, and two non-denominational churches and asked several questions, one of which was: “What is the process for becoming a member of your congregation?” Here’s what I discovered. The two non-denominational churches I contacted are very similar to one another. Both encourage prospective members to choose and join one of several small groups they call “Life Groups.” These groups   More…

Dorky Jip – FiveTwo’s Definition of Worship

September 30th, 2014 56 comments

Wait a second… Did I read that right? The FiveTwo folks are asking on their website “What does worship mean?” But the definition given so succinctly reads: “Worship is everything we do in response to God.” So, holy worship is about me, what I’m doing for God? This can’t be right. I’m Lutheran. I know the definition of worship. These guys are saying they are Lutheran, too, but they’re giving the same mixed-up definition given by the Reformed and the dorky megachurch wannabe rock star pastors. Let me read back through this thing again. Maybe I missed something. Okay, let’s   More…

If you are a pietist …

September 16th, 2014 93 comments

IF YOU ARE A PIETIST, FOR THE SAKE OF THE LUTHERANS, PLEASE REMAIN ONE. PLEASE. As you can see from the photo, the bottle is nearly empty. That’s not entirely my fault. I purchased this whisky on my way to visit a good friend. He played a big part in its demise. But anyway… I received a Facebook message from a fellow pastor who suggested that I spend more time writing about theology and less about whisky. He appreciated the hymn study postings on my blog, and he delighted in the sermons and poetry offered there as well, but he was a   More…

Hey, Pastors! Get in the Game! (Right to Life)

September 8th, 2014 3 comments

I was asked by Right To Life of Livingston County Michigan to write a “brief” article, and these were the simple parameters given in the email: “We would like your article to address how to reach other pastors to attend our church outreach meetings which are held only three times a year… The article would help our church representatives know how to better approach their pastors about this.” These are pretty clear instructions, but they assume three things. First, they assume that as a preacher, I can be brief. Second, they assume that I will leave the task of reaching   More…

Great Stuff — Thrivent Has Directly Funded Planned Parenthood and NARAL

January 15th, 2014 13 comments

By Pr. Michael Schuermann Found at http://daringlutheran.net/2014/01/15/thrivent-has-directly-funded-planned-parenthood-and-naral/ Thrivent Financial promotes itself as “a faith-based, not-for-profit membership organization nearly 2.5 million members strong.” Thrivent confesses to do business in this way: “Being membership-owned, Thrivent Financial does what’s best for our members, supporting the values of faith, family, stewardship and service.” And in this way: “We’re a faith-based organization, called to care for others.” “The common bond of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is Christianity.” But, according to statements and documents provided by persons familiar with the matter, Thrivent Financial has directly funded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, at least four Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the United States,   More…

My First Time — An experience of Private Confession and Absolution

January 13th, 2014 7 comments

I was scared. I wasn’t sure what I would say. Could I really be honest? I wanted to do it but wasn’t sure if I was ready. You may have heard of it, but thought it wasn’t for you. You probably feel like there isn’t anything that really troubles your conscience enough to warrant it. You probably think the confession and absolution in during the divine service is enough, don’t worry it is. For some people that isn’t enough. That general confession of sins isn’t enough to ease a troubled mind. I don’t know about you but the moment of   More…

The Divine Service Can Be Like Going to Mars

August 12th, 2013 37 comments

Have you ever been to a foreign country where the language and customs of its people were utterly strange to you? Visiting some countries is nearly an extraterrestrial experience and interestingly enough, going to the divine service for the first time can feel like one has traveled to Mars! Understanding what is going on in the divine service can be daunting for the “noobie” Lutheran, to say the least. I know something about this, since I am not a lifelong Lutheran and my first divine service was somewhat puzzling to me. Prior to becoming a Lutheran, I was an atheist.   More…

Lutherans: The Confessing Church

August 9th, 2013 17 comments

Lutherans confess their faith in Christ; that is, we actively give reasons for the hope of Christ in us. Evidence of this is clearly seen with the Book of Concord which spans fifty years and displays the profound seriousness Luther and our fathers took in putting clear Biblical expressions of our faith down on paper to be read by all and especially by any who would dare make these expressions their own confession of faith. Of course, written expressions of what one believes, teaches, and confesses was not something invented by Lutherans. Perhaps the earliest Christian expression of the faith   More…

Guns, Commandments, and a paper Caesar.

Gun control seems to be a big topic politically in our nation.  Among the fallout from the horrid shooting in Newtown, politicians have set their cross-hairs on guns again.  This is certainly a topic by which people can very passionately disagree, but I have been trying to think of some theological things in regards to the ownership and use of firearms. You can see in the graphic to the right, others have already started to mine the depths of Scripture to find answers.  In this case Luke 22:36 is cited. He said to them, “But now let the one who   More…

Steadfast on Campus — The Spirituality of the Dross

If you’re looking for the opposite of what Gene Veith describes as The Spirituality of the Cross, here it is!  Since dross rhymes with cross and, in as much as dross is waste matter, I think “The Spirituality of the Dross” is a fitting title for what our students are being taught. One of our students thought he would attend the spiritual wellness seminar offered on campus.  He returned to my study with high delight and placed into my hands a worksheet for “Developing Spiritual Wellness”1 (You may find a pdf copy here).  I read it.  I laughed.  He knew   More…

Women in combat? The Law has been changed – But the original question must still be answered by Rev. William Foy

January 31st, 2013 19 comments

Associate Editor’s note:  This article is a guest article by Rev. William Foy, pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, IN.  He was my wife’s pastor and is also the godparent of my second child.  As a former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, pastor, husband, and father he is well-qualified to give comment on this current event. Are women just men with a few different biological parts? Can or should women be welcome to fill all of the vocations of men with the exception of the ones that they cannot due to biological impediment? Is Christ’s sacrifice   More…

Human Machines, Free Will, and Moral Evil

January 22nd, 2013 17 comments

There’s a popular view on love and free will that I regularly encounter. It goes something like this: In order for love to be genuine, the agent has to have the ability to choose not to love. Unless there is freedom of one’s will to either love someone or hate them, it isn’t really love. I’ll call this the Genuine Love Principle. This principle is regularly called upon to support claims on a variety of subjects. Something like it was behind Western culture’s shift away from arranged marriages to marriages based on mutual choice. Many Christians, most notably C. S. Lewis (for whom a   More…