From Creation to Jacob: Communicating the Promise

What does the Bible say about how people who lived after the Flood could know about the Creation and Fall of Adam? Well, first is the testimony that the Scripture gives about God’s direct revelation to particular individuals: Adam, Noah, … Continue reading

A Bible Study Every MegaChurch Pastor Will Hate

Do you love uplifting praise music that focuses all on your feelings and not on the Gospel at all? Do you like it when church services and Bible studies replace the Gospel with catchy themes and clever cultural references? So does … Continue reading

LadyLike: A Book Every Man Should Read

LadyLike: Living Biblically is an outstanding collection of forty-four short essays which provide an unapologetically biblical perspective on matters significant to life in family, church, and society today. Sisters Rebekah Curtis and Rose Adle write in a style that is engaging, … Continue reading

The Cost of Becoming a Pastor

I absolutely love being a pastor. There isn’t a single thing I would change about what I do—not even the meetings (which often include one of the prayer offices and theologically-driven conversation). It is a joy to be in the pulpit, … Continue reading

Prayer Is Not Always a Good Thing

One of the most frequently abused gifts of God among Christians today is prayer. For some reason we’ve gotten this notion that prayer is always a good thing. It is not. Prayer can easily become an attempt to approach God on … Continue reading

Tolerance: Narcissism in Disguise

We live in a highly individualistic age, an age which fancies itself tolerant. The sad description of Israel under the Judges could equally well be said about our selfish generation. In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone … Continue reading

Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church

I was raised Roman Catholic. Now I’m a Lutheran pastor. But I didn’t just leave the Roman Catholic Church because I happened to marry a pretty Lutheran girl. Nor was my attending seminary part of the deal when we got married … Continue reading

When Shadows Are Better than Reality: A Devotion for Easter Tuesday on Exodus 15 & 16

“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come…” (Hebrews 10:1) Who would settle for looking at a shadow all day if you had the option of seeing the real thing? You don’t get very … Continue reading

Introducing… The Church Growth Translation of the Bible!

Do you want to grow your congregation? It’s simple! Just follow these two easy steps. 1) Read the Bible. 2) Do the exact opposite. See! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But don’t worry, if you’re so apathetic to the Bible that you won’t … Continue reading

Why the McDonald’s Bathroom Isn’t as Holy as the Divine Service

Prolegomena: This is the sixth and what will likely be the final chapter of the recent discussion on praise bands between Pr. Reeder and myself, as he has indicated that he will not be making any further response. For my part, … Continue reading

The Most Dangerous Situation You’ll Ever Encounter: A Sermon for Wednesday of Judica on Psalm 130

Click here for a free, downloadable Bible study of Psalm 130 from Around the Word. Out | of the depths*      I cry to you, | O LORD! O Lord, | hear my voice!*      Let your ears be attentive … Continue reading

Why the Praise Band & I Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together

Please note: This post is a response to Pastor Kent Reeders’ response to my post, “Why I Quit the Praise Band.” If you haven’t read those two articles already, please do so as it will provide you with the necessary context … Continue reading

Bible Studies That Don’t Ask You to Talk about Your Feelings

This Lent I began editing and co-authoring a weekly free, downloadable PDF Bible study with Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller on the Penitential Psalms (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) for Around the Word. We’ve had a number of people tell us how useful they’ve … Continue reading

Why I Quit the Praise Band

Quitting the praise band wasn’t easy for me. Nor did I just play in the praise band— I started it. It was my baby. I was a guitar performance major in college, and as providence would have it, my (LCMS) … Continue reading

Why Christians Make the Sign of the Holy Cross (and a word on genuflection)

In The Small Catechism, Martin Luther encouraged Christians to retain the practice of making the sign of the cross. The Missouri Synod, following Luther’s advice, has encouraged Christians to continue making the sign of the cross, notably at a number of places during … Continue reading

Suffering as the Key to Evangelism

Recently I was up at the hospital providing pastoral care to one of my members. As usual, I was wearing my clerical attire, and, as often happens, this gave me an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone I wouldn’t have … Continue reading

False Christs and Wrong Answers: A Sermon for the Confession of St. Peter on St. Mark 8:27-35

From the very beginning of St. Mark’s Gospel, things hadn’t been going particularly well for our Lord. In chapter 1 He’s tempted by Satan, opposed by demons, and disobeyed by even those He had healed. In chapter 2, the scribes … Continue reading

What Happens to the Sacrament (the Reliquae) after Distribution?

It is not by accident that there is a great deal of reverence in the Divine Service associated with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Words of our Lord are chanted deliberately and carefully,[1] the body and blood of … Continue reading

In This Together: A Sermon for the Baptism of Our Lord on St. Matthew 3:13-17

So far this liturgical year we’ve prepared for the Lord’s coming, celebrated His Incarnation, witnessed the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, and looked on as God drew the Magi to worship Him by the leading of a star. Today, for the first … Continue reading

Jesus in the Lions’ Den: A Sermon for the Nativity of Our Lord

Our celebration of the Savior’s birth can become so routine that we become numb to the joy—and the horror— of it all. On the one hand, it’s really odd that the Incarnation of our Lord is one of the Church’s … Continue reading

“Inviting Some and Keeping Back Others”: Who is Welcome to the Lord’s Table?

Christ established His Church on earth so that sinners might receive His gifts of Word and Sacrament. Put another way, the Church exists to give sinners Jesus. The last thing we want to do is to put a barrier between … Continue reading

Löhe on Koinonia, Novelty, and the “Modern” Pastor

A great deal of practical wisdom for the church today can be found in Wilhelm Löhe’s “Three Books about the Church.” In this first excerpt, Löhe considers the possibility that a communion might need pruning from time to time, especially … Continue reading

Meditation: Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you … Continue reading

Sacramental Entrepreneurship or Franchise Corruption?

The first Lutherans didn’t use the term “Lutheran” to describe themselves. They identified themselves by the much more apt term “evangelical.” After all, the Lutheran church is founded on the pure proclamation of the Gospel and not the man Luther. So … Continue reading

Satan’s Angelic Disguises

If you were to stop and consider the devil’s appearance for a moment, you might imagine something frightening.  He very well may show up in your mind’s eye complete with horns, hoofs, and pitchfork. Maybe you’d dream up something that looks like … Continue reading