The Challenges of Planting a Church

Editor’s Note: Below is the State of the Congregation Address that Pastor Andrew Richard recently gave to his congregation. It is magnificent as it addresses the actual struggles of the congregation – applying the truth and comfort of God’s Word … Continue reading

The Second Table of the Law and Sanctification by Martin Luther

Beyond these seven chief ways of Christian sanctification there are also additional external marks by which the holy Christian church is recognized. Put another way: The Holy Spirit sanctifies us also according to the Second Table of the Law. The … Continue reading

Why Parents “Can’t” Bring Their Kids to Church

One of the biggest challenges congregations face when it comes to catechizing their children is the demanding schedule of sports and extra curricular activities. It’s commonplace for games, practices, recitals, etc., to be held on Sundays. When it comes to trying to … Continue reading

The Sin of Niceness

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3: 15-16) A dear friend … Continue reading

Living Catechisms

Despite all of the emphasis Scripture puts on life together, it’s really common for Christians to see faith individualistically. Of course you can’t believe for anyone else, but it’s easy to overlook the impact your faith (or lack thereof) has … Continue reading

You Aren’t a Christian if…

…you despise preaching and the Sacrament. In other words, Christians go to church. Those who leave the fellowship of the Church are not Christians (1 John 1:29). Sometimes physical disabilities prevent people from making it to church. In those cases, … Continue reading

American Idolatry

Though the First Amendment has established what is commonly referred to as the separation of church & state, the state nevertheless promotes its own brand of civic religion—a religion which is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith. American civic religion features … Continue reading

A July 4th Rumination on  Resident Aliens

The blessed Reformers did not invent but discovered the theology of the two kingdoms in the Bible.  Jeremiah wrote of this in terms of the way Israel would live in Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat … Continue reading

Sisters of Katie Luther — Comfort for Those Tending to the Lord’s Littlest Sheep, Part 1

Part I: The Why of Taking our Children to Church Full of frustration and embarrassment I am driving away. Away from the staring faces, away from the haughty looks, away from the very place I should love to be. I … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

That Ain’t No Church!

During the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church defined and recognized the visible church by structure and polity. This made sense to the average churchgoer of the sixteenth-century. If an average churchgoer was asked in the sixteenth-century, “What is the church?” … Continue reading

A “Restoration” of the Church and of the Gospel?

With my son’s recent call to serve as a pastor in the Salt Lake City area (at Hope Lutheran Church in West Jordan, Utah), I have been prompted to do some reading once again in the history and teachings of … Continue reading

Why Church? A Sermon for the Third Sunday after Epiphany on St. Matthew 8:1—13

If you ask people why they come to church, they might say, “It makes me feel good.” There’s nothing quite like gathering together around Word & Sacrament with God’s people. Church often makes us feel good, and when it does, thanks be … Continue reading

A New Era in American Evangelicalism?

The lead article in the December 2013 issue of Christianity Today (hereafter CT) was about the Colorado Springs megachurch called New Life and the years that have followed the scandal surrounding its founding pastor, the Rev. Ted Haggard (see Patton … Continue reading

Where could you spend 2.3% of your time?

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 … Continue reading

Hot for Preacher — The issue of lust in the church.

Lust. To be honest, this seems to get a lot more attention as a man’s sin. Men – with their visual-driven minds – are warned against the danger of this sin repeatedly. And we know lust exists in the church. … Continue reading

What Is A Pastor’s Wife To Do?

In a Facebook conversation the other day a person said, “Evangelicals are notorious for having impossibly high expectations for the pastor’s wife. Does the same happen in Lutheran circles? Is there a cure for this?” Indeed, there can be some … Continue reading

The Anti-Church

New ideas require new ways of speaking.  Old terminology doesn’t cut it when it comes to modern conceptions of church, especially when those modern approaches represent a radical break from traditional ecclesiology.  To be sure, it is helpful when this … Continue reading

Steadfast Moms — encouragement to get those little ones to church

by Holly Scheer Hey, you. I see your tired face. I know that this morning while trying to brush your teeth your kid knocked over your coffee. I know that finding clean socks for everyone can sometimes be embarrassingly difficult. … Continue reading

One Question Satan Wants Every Church to Ask

Not all questions are good questions.  Godly curiosity has limitations.  The serpent’s question, “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1) resulted in the fall into sin.  The question seemed innocent enough, which is exactly what Satan wanted.  After all, the tree … Continue reading

Reforming The Local Congregation

It has been said before that the church is in need of a continuous reformation. In other words, this call for reformation is a plea for the church to daily reclaim her fundamental roots. The reason why the church is … Continue reading

What Do We Seek At Church?

If we see ourselves as sinners (damned by our thoughts, words and deeds) we will go to church to hear the Gospel Word and to be gifted the forgiveness of sins in the Sacraments. However, if we reject original sin … Continue reading

Jesus and Bullying

In my community right now there is a ton of emphasis on bullying in our local schools.  This has been a real issue across our country as kids, corrupted by Original Sin have found ways to exercise the Old Adam … Continue reading

Church Fellowship: Bond of Peace Between both Preachers and Hearers

Before I begin my delayed vicarage, I need to finish my treatise. I am writing on the church in the theology of John Andrew Quenstedt and David Hollaz, and their emphasis on the synthetic church. One of the major features … Continue reading

“A Church without Chicken”: Comments on Marcus Borg’s Lecture Notes

A month ago a well-known Biblical scholar, Marcus Borg gave two lectures at Lexington Presbyterian, “Lex Pres”, here in Lexington,Virginia. Lexington is home to Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute.  Lex Pres is one of the historic churches … Continue reading