Here’s the Video – Judge for Yourself (Wilken Commentary Appended), by Pr. Rossow

We thank Pastor Ben Ball from Brookfield, Illinois for discovering the now infamous NID opening devotion video on the internet.

Give a look and then ask yourself, is this what a convention of confessional Lutherans ought to have for the opening devotion of their churchly gathering? Also ask yourself if you think it is appropriate to grace/disgrace the convention with a video that has an opening and a conclusion that is based on references from the coarse language of the culture (i.e. “size matters” and “shi_ happens”)? Finally, ask yourselves if the proper response to this video is a) the world is changing rapidly and so the church needs to change in response (this is the point the pastor leading the devotion made after we watched the video) or b) the world is changing so rapidly that we need to preach a steadfast,  changeless Gospel of Christ  and retain the centuries old traditions of the church?

Here is the link:

Of course you may decide to respond as Pastor Wilken did upon seeing the video this morning:

I just watched the “Shift Happens” video.

The message for the LMCS seems clear: 1) buy one of those future $1,000 laptops, 2) elect the $1,000 laptop president of synod, and let it run things.

I’m all for that.


You’ll get his point once you watch the video. (BTW – there are already some excellent comments on the video toward the end of my post from yersterday.)

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Here’s the Video – Judge for Yourself (Wilken Commentary Appended), by Pr. Rossow — 34 Comments

  1. The video failed to include the factoid that by 2049, the $1,000 computer will come with such a bloated Microsoft operating system that the memory needed to handle it will require the silicon from the sand of all the beaches in the world.

  2. Wow, this is a “devotion”? I thought maybe it would mention the church or God or something. The very fact that it doesn’t makes it obvious to me that the response should be B: the unchanging nature of the Gospel.

    It really just seemed like an overload of “who cares?” statistics that were framed in such a way to try to make people go, “WOW!” But seriously, I don’t know anything about fiber optics and I DON’T CARE. What does this have to do with church?

  3. It’s a combination of tragic, funny, and boring. Overall, it’s pointless.
    This was obviously produced by someone overly fascinated by collections of facts, and someone who mistook the rest of us as likewise fascinated.
    It could have been shown at a sales meeting or an industrial expo. But, even then, I’d have wondered: what’s the point? And why’s it so boring? And will there be a quiz?
    Honestly, any churchman impressed–let alone fascinated–by this video is the one who’s missing the point.

  4. The YouTube video was prepared by Michael Arnold and based on a PowerPoint slide presentation done by Karl Fisch.

    Karl Fisch (B.S. Mathematics Education, Northwestern University; M.A. Education, University of Phoenix) is the Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School, Centennial, Colorado. (Hmmmm, check out the Arapahoe Guy Cheers-Tom Boys cheerleading squad.

    In 2006 Fisch (his profile) posted (and later updated) on his Fischbowl blog site a presentation he made at his high school faculty meeting at the start of the school year (a sort of pep talk for the teachers).

    Fisch describes where he got the various ideas to do this, what changes he made along the way, and why he did it. One main purpose in presenting it to the high school faculty was “To get them to really think about what our students are going to need to be successful in the 21st century, and then how that might impact what they do in their classrooms.”

    In his blog he gives links to the:

    – “Did You Know” PowerPoint version
    – Windows Media Player version
    – “Did You Know” Sources (Word or PDF) – includes the links to where he got his factoids
    – “Did You Know” Text (Word or PDF)
    – Follow-Up Post about “Did You Know?/Shift Happens” along with the chronology of how the various versions and video spread on the internet version Scott McLeod made, which removed school-specific slides.

    Was any of this source information provided to the attendees at the NID convention?

  5. WOW, that was a 6 minute summary of Thomas Freadman’s book “The World is Flat”. Thank you LCMS for being my source for ecomonic wisdom! While the world may be changing (like it has since God created it), God’s word NEVER changes!! Maybe some of our synodical officials have forgotten that.

  6. Okay here goes I”m not wealthy , rich , or just able to throw money around .Went to a good lap top and some inexspensive small speakers so I can listen to the GOOD GODLY program Issues Etc.. We feel it is money well spent and . We can take this with us and keep in touch with programs and people. Saves our phonecard too!

    As far as the blog video …we get all that in USA Today. I”m constantly reading out loud to my spouse …did you know this ..did you know that…and best of all this paper has the best cartoons on the Editorial page…especially by Stahler.

    Nothing devotional about all that was on the video.

  7. This video was shown as a “devotional”? Please say it ain’t so, Pr. Rossow! Nevermind the bit about size mattering and “shift happens”… where’s Christ in any of that? Answer: no where to be found. *sigh*

  8. Now for some good news….tomorrow we celebrate Ascension…one of my favoite church festivals. There are many hymns that run thru my mind ….tonite before… we retire say our prayers,and then play a C D. from an Ascension service. The choir is simply beautiful that made this CD.

    Tomorrow we go to church and hear our lovely choir…and sermon too. Then we can look forward to our Holiday weekend …good bar-b-que and and put our flags out to fly.

    JUst plain and simple!!!!

  9. Why would any group of lutheran pastors need to see that video?

    I’m just a layman, I don’t get the point.

    Computers are getting more powerful and cheaper too?
    We all already knew that.

    The world changes?
    Big deal. Is the Gospel supposed to change?

  10. And there’s a lot of people in Asia and will be more people in Asia in the future! The gospel has been in Asia for a long time too. Well, it actually originated in SW Asia.

  11. For an opening devotion at an LCMS district convention? The guy would fail homiletics 1 for sure.

    Several things some to mind about this. The presenter obviously thinks the worshipers are poor unenlightened rubes who have either not seen the video before or too stupid to understand it the first time so he “the enlightened one” will wave it by our darkened eyes and minds and perhaps, make a crack in our thick skulls. Secondly, I am impressed by it’s hopelessness – typical world view, and its Christlessness – even more typical of a worldling. Is this what a pastor of the NID wishes to pass off as a devotion? What a mess! Why didn’t the DP get up and remove this guy from the rostrum for his pretending to be a pastor? Why didn’t the Convention pass a resolution of rebuke?

  12. Could someone explain to me why I just spent 6 minutes of my life watching that boring video? I think I must have expected something devotional to occur at some point in it, so I suffered it out till the end. I don’t see how it can be a lead in to a devotion. Lord have mercy!

  13. This video brings back the bad memory I have of the Michigan District All Pastors Conference I attended a couple/few years ago, when a certain St. Louis prof began his presentation by playing a video which showed a few teenagers and a couple twenty-somethings making an emotional appeal for the Church to change the way she speaks and worships, because the old language and old styles of worship just don’t speak to them today. After the video, the prof launched into a lengthy motivational speech, the point of which was that we need to change the way we “do church.”

    In the midst of his presentation, he played the song, “Wake Me Up Inside,” by Evanescence. After we were done jamming to that, he spent the remainder of his presentation leading us through a study of the lyrics of that song and a list of questions he had prepared, so that we could determine how best we could reach those who are crying out to be saved from the darkness and the nothing they’ve become (per the lyrics). I really could not believe that I was at a Lutheran Pastors’ Conference.

    But, wait, it gets worse . . . After we were done with our “Evanescence ‘Wake Me Up Inside’ Study,” it was time to pray. We were asked to hold hands with those sitting at our tables and just spontaneously pray with one another as the “spirit” moved us, asking God to give us the courage to broaden our horizons and try new things, so that we might win the lost for Jesus. And, no, I’m not making this up!

    The Spirit moved me (and, evidently, a few others) to excuse myself and I headed out the back until the Pentecostal Prayer Session was over. After the “spirit” was finished moving everyone inside, the prof concluded his presentation to the sound of roaring applause.

    I remember thinking, “How in the world is this guy serving as a prof in one of our seminaries?” But, far worse, I was thinking, “How in the heck am I ever going to enjoy listening to Evanescence again?!”

  14. You Confessional Lutherans are such sticklers. Perhaps you should cut this “Lutheran” pastor some slack. He obviously did not think there would still be some people at the NID convention who need to hear the Gospel and who would be offended by the use of the language and message of our culture while leaving Christ and His Cross for the forgiveness of sins out of the devotion. First you want the Gospel in the convention devotions, next thing you know you will expect it to be proclaimed in the worship services and sermons in the churches of the NID and even in new mission congregations. Don’t you know you have to shift to the ways of the world if you want to grow and be successful and you have to grow the size of your congregations if you want to matter.

  15. Back to Mike Strongs comment, I believe the Synod thinks we’re all unenlightened rubes. Secondly, why do all of these pastors think they need to be “hip” to reach the young people? For some reason they and many parents today think they need to befriend their children instead of lead them and teach them about the gifts Christ has given us.

  16. Could this computer be the “H-A-L 9000”

    …When Dave returns to the exterior of the ship, he asks Hal to open the pod bay doors to let him inside. But Hal refuses to do so, stating that Dave’s plan to disconnect him puts the mission in jeopardy…

  17. See, this is the problem I had with Pr. Rossow’s description of this at the NID Conference–that it took the place of a “devotion”. This isn’t a devotion–it’s an interesting footnote that could best be presented as a paragraph in a handout.

    This same monologue was shown to a gathering of us Lutheran teachers at the Central/Southern Illinois conference in Springfield. It’s a very frequently quoted essay that cites many different statistics in demographics, education, etc. It has no place in a confessional church. This is great for inspiring motivation in public education, or businesses specializing in technology and communication, or political activism–but we are none of those.

  18. Also, I have a feeling whatever $1,000 laptop of the future will still not be able to run Crysis :v

  19. Some thoughts….
    Pastor Rossow, why did you go to a Microsoft convention?

    China and India are growing rapidly….seems like a good place to send missionaries. Wait a minute, that would take away from funding for a really cool new coffee shop, or a really cool billboard, or A/V system, or…. (sorry, I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning)

    I am positive the video was not meant to offend anyone. I am sure it was an attempt by the Pastor to sell the idea of relevancy (which in NO way resembles a devotion). IMHO… By chasing modern relevancy, they are making themselves irrelevant for the future. I would think that the message of the rapidly changing world that was put forth would cause one to look for a consistency that transcends ever-changing modern trends. According to the video, China/India have more honor students than we have students. The message should be we need to educate, not “dumb down” the Gospel in order to reach an increasingly intelligent world. I think that by trying to wrap the Gospel in a trendy gimmick, the net effect is saying “since you’re not smart enough to understand…” or “they will never notice I’ve tricked them into hearing the Gospel.” The Church needs teachers, not salesmen.

  20. Ariel:

    You wrote: “Also, I have a feeling whatever $1,000 laptop of the future will still not be able to run Crysis”

    For about $600 you can build a rocket of a desktop that will run Crysis with everything turned up. I know, I did. Maximum Game!


  21. Did you know that the Apostles didn’t even have laptops, YouTube, or Powerpoint?

    All they had was a crucified and risen Jesus.

    “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

    For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”


  22. First and foremost I have to ask…WHATS THE POINT? Second I don’t know about any of you other poor uneducated rubes, but I saw a different rendition of that video last month. ,personally i think that this redition is much better, at least it doesnt have the apocolyptic music playing in the backround, but of corse it does require the audience to read the factoids at about a 5th grade level, which may be why synod chose the other video. Which leads me to my point… If this is supposed to be an example of how we can be “relevant lutherans” we just need to stop. The church will never be on the cutting edge of the culture. The most relevant methobaptipentagelical churches out there are at least 10 years behind the times, and we poor lutherans are trying to emulate thier strategies 30 years after they have discarded them. None of it works and it just comes off hokey and sad… kinda like wathcing someone go through a mid life crisis.

  23. Todd Wilken, will you please teach me how to build that desktop???

    I don’t think the video was bad. It is full of facts that are interesting to an extent and show us how the world is full of chaos, babel-like tower-building and people. It’s not a bad thing for pastors and people to be aware that the world is nuts and getting nutser.

    I also guess I’m not that offended by the “shift happens” thing, but, then again, the video is so non-“devotional” that out of the context it was seen its hard to imagine it being used for a devotion. I suppose one could have come back and said, “Look at this chaos that’s coming? What are we going to do? Who will save us from this planet of death?….”

    Could have… ;D

    But…on a brighter note, Terminator: Salvation comes out today! There’s your supercomputer fun and games.

    pax vobiscum

  24. OK, I’m on, like, Minute 2:38 and I want the past 2 minutes and 38 seconds of my life back — and I’m thinking, what the plumnelly does this have to do with anything?

    Do I have the right video? I think I do because it said “Size does matter.”

    This is an insult. The counter’s now at Minute 4:26 and I’m turning it off. God’s only given me so many hours on this earth and I have better ways to use my time to Honor God and Serve Others, than watch this pointless, monotonous mess.

  25. Montana Mike: “The most relevant methobaptipentagelical churches out there are at least 10 years behind the times, and we poor lutherans are trying to emulate thier strategies 30 years after they have discarded them.”

    It is also painful to hear sermons introducing buzzwords and faddish phrases that had made the rounds in business, motivational, and other secular trade journals and were already passé months ago.

  26. As with so much of extremeist CG sermons and devotions I walk away asking “so what?” instead of “I am a sinner and Christ died for me” or at the very least my mind is engaged. This is not only boring it is the greatest sin one can possibly comitt in God’s church, it ignores His Law and Gospel. We know the field is ripe for harvest which is why our faithfulness to His Word is so central to our mission. We do not need some tech hyped wided eyed child king to tell us what we already know.

  27. Don’t worry Kevin in Indiana – there was no point.

    I filed this video in the Waste of Six Minutes directory, then deleted the directory, the emptied the recycle bin.

    Seriously, I can’t help but think that the video illustrates hopelessness. Is this the outlook of a Christian, or someone who is pathologically depressed? When do we get to the “trust in the Lord” part of the video?

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
    Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV

  28. A day before the convention, I listened to the Issues, Etc. archive on the topic of Law and Gospel. Then I witnessed the opening devotion. For those of you who weren’t there, the presentation never did get around to the Gospel. To me, that was more appalling than the video’s content. Day 2’s devotion was in sharp contrast to this one, though. Apostles’ Creed, Word, Law, Gospel, Justification, Sanctification, Lord’s Prayer.

    Here is the link to the Issues, Etc. archive

  29. Does anyone know how I can contact the presenter of the alledged “potty video”. Since I’ve been apparently branded as a member of the CGM, I’d like to contact a leader of the group as you described the presenter. One last comment, anyone who thought there were dirty references from the video must have dirty minds. You need to repent & be forgiven for those thoughts.

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