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Consciousness of Transcendant Worth.

 

Looking at the Letter to the Hebrews again.

The writer is apprehensive that some of his readers may have become indifferent to their Christian faith. This peril of indifference would grow more and more serious as time went on and Jesus delayed His return in glory to save those who were eagerly expecting Him. Therefore the author was moved to write these Christians this stirring epistle. The cold and indifferent among them must be startled our of their torpor and neglect and be roused to a new consciousness of the transcendent worth of that which they possessed. The epistle is, in the truest sense, an impassioned oration centered in recalling to unshakable devotion to Christ weary and wavering disciples, to a steadfast faith which would triumph over all trials, temptations, impending persecution and death. Some of these readers had become dull of hearing the Word, they had ears to hear but did not hear (5: 11) ; they were neglecting corporate worship (10: 25); and they were in great danger of apostasy. “Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day as long as it is called today” (3: 12,13). Paul Bretscher “Faith Triumphant”.

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The Prophets and Mercy and Order

Isaiah 58a

We looked at the Prophets and their look at social issues and mercy a while back from the perspective of Theodore Laetsch.  In their proclamation of Law they understood that only the Gospel can motivate.

“The prophets knew that this Gospel was the only means whereby a people could be called into existence that would be willing and able to comply with the high social standards set up by the God of holiness for His chosen nation. Therefore they were not satisfied with mere denunciation of social ills, with demanding justice and mercy and humility, nor even with what manner of outer social reform they might have attained. God was not satisfied with anything less than a change of heart, and a change of heart effected by faith in His Son as the promised Redeemer, and also the prophets were satisfied with nothing less. They would think of changing God’s plan as little as they would think of changing God’s demands. In the very center of the social order proclaimed by them as the will of God for His people stood the Woman’s Seed, the Messiah, the suffering Servant, and His vicarious death, from whom radiated strength and willingness into the hearts and minds and members of the believers to live up to the demands of this social code, constantly progressing in justice, increasing in mercy, growing in humility.”

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Project 24 and Other Partners – Can You Spare a Buck?

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The picture is from Erik Lunsford and the article is from the LCMS Website

For an online donation of $1 or more, you can help provide computers for students at a Lutheran boarding school in Kenya, East Africa.

In its first two weeks, the Synod’s latest crowdfunding project, “Computers at Christ’s Care for Children: Kenya Library,” received $260 in pledges toward its $1,900 goal. As of this writing, about a month is left to raise the remaining $1,640, and the project will only be funded if the total is pledged by the Sept. 16 deadline.

“Crowdfunding” is the practice of funding a project by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.

The LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) project — launched Aug. 1 in partnership with Wheat Ridge Ministries — seeks to purchase four computers for students at a “Project24” boarding facility in Chepareria, Kenya. Project24 is a partnership of the OIM and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya to establish 24 such facilities to house and provide care for students while they attend local primary schools. Four Project24 facilities — providing free lodging, meals, classroom supplies and medical/spiritual care for students who might otherwise drop out of school — have been started so far with funding from both church bodies.

“Most children in Project24 are academically challenged, due to their families’ backgrounds,” explains its director, John Kissinger Nyang’au. “Computer labs will provide an e-learning opportunity for children to improve their academic standards,” he says, as well as prepare them for “computer world technology.”

The Rev. Shauen Trump, area director for Eastern and Southern Africa with the OIM, notes that “around the world, computer literacy gives you a step up — a skill set that vastly expands your network and increases your earning potential. In the more developed world, children often learn to use a computer at home in their early years — and we presume that just about everyone in the workforce can do so.

“But in Kenya, computers are rare in homes and many adults never have the opportunity to learn, much less guide their children in utilizing this valuable resource.”

To give go here.

https://weraise.wheatridge.org/en/projects/32049-Computers-at-Christ-s-Care-for-Children–Kenya-Library

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Whatever Happened to Minnesota Nice?

trumpThe Star Tribune said that they were “unruly”.  I thought they looked like the old brown shirts.  Kicking and spitting on people, punching an old man and a woman.  I’m sure that the Trump supporters that were attacked in Minneapolis thought the folks attacking them were a bit more than unruly but it is all in the eye of the beholder I guess.  When I see well dressed families being attacked by hooligans with bandanas over their faces I think of robbery but that is my perspective.

I wonder what descriptor the Star Tribune would have used if a bunch of well dressed, well coifed, middle aged folks would have punched and kicked and spat on some of those “occupy types”.  Armageddon like language would have been used no doubt.  Unruly would have changed to thug like.

We should not be too surprised I guess.  A city council that spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about bicycle paths has let much of downtown Minneapolis turn into a danger zone.  Going out at night for supper can be hazardous to your health so why should a Trump Rally be any different?

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Mercy and the Social Order.

Micah

There used to be a general acknowledgement of something called natural law.  The gist I suppose, would be to say that there are certain things that human beings cannot help but know are wrong.  They are “written on the heart” and human beings violate them by ignoring their conscience.  Because of the flexibility of conscience and the human ability to self justification, Prophet voices hammered that Law home in the Old Testament.  Theodore Laetch wrote back in 1940 about the Law of God and the social order (CTM Vol XI).

“Wherever the social order as demanded by the Lord was maintained and complied with, this was due to the untiring efforts of the prophets of God and their conscientious preaching of God’s Word without addition or diminution. And wherever prophets so called, deviated from the Word of God or the people refused to hear and obey the faithful spokesmen of God, deterioration, disintegration of the social order, set in and increased in the same ratio that the setting aside of God’s Word became the accepted fashion of the times. Once more let us recall to memory that all the social messages of the prophets of which we have taken notice so far are addressed to Israel, the theocratic nation, divinely instituted as such. The prophets had messages also for the surrounding Gentile nations, and many of their proclamations to these nations or to individual members touched upon social questions. Consistent with their call to be spokesmen of God, they preached these messages with the same scrupulous avoidance of any addition or diminution. They left the Law of God unchanged, that Moral Law which obligates every human being to unselfish service of God and his fellow-man, that Law which God has inscribed into man’s heart. this Moral Law they proclaimed just as God had given it, without omitting or altering one jot or tittle of its demands, of its threats, of its universal obligation.”

Because the Law is God’s Law it has a universal obligation. It is not our morality that we are trying to impose on others, it is a universal obligation place upon all human beings because they are human beings.  The call of the Law is to unselfish service to God and our fellow man.

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John Vessey R+I+P

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Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Garrison, MN lost a “chief vacuum cleaner operator, stewardship committee member, Bible study teacher, usher . . .” this morning when John Vessey went to be with Jesus.  He served the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod on the Board for Mission Services, the predecessor to the Board for International Mission and headed up a campaign to endow our churches colleges which was called “For the Sake of the Church.”  He described himself as a chief vacuum cleaner operator in an interview in the LCMS Reporter back in 2012 when he turned 90.

This kind of self effacing modesty marked his interaction with folks like me.  Someone introduced him to me awhile back at the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod International Center.  We talked for awhile and he went on his way and I remembered being taken by his modesty and range of theological interest.  The name was lost on me until I remembered the title – General.  Then my brain started to process facts that I had forgotten.  He was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff  under Reagan.  He is accounted with the greatest peacetime strengthening of the Armed Forces in history.

This from the Reporter article by Jeni Miller.

“General Vessey fought in North Africa and Italy in World War II, as well as in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

In addition to his extensive active service, he also served as first commander-in-chief of the Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command and as the appointed Presidential Emissary to Hanoi to negotiate with the Vietnamese government regarding the fates of missing Americans.

His numerous honors include the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Defense Distinguished Service Medals, in addition to many other military decorations. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart and other medals from 19 friendly and allied nations. In 1992, President Bush awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  General Vessey is also the only person to have ever achieved every rank the Army had to offer.”

He liked to quote article 16 of the Augsburg Confession and gleaned from it that Christ is present with us wherever we are.  From the battlefield to vacuuming  at his church, John Vessey held onto Christ who redeemed Him with His blood and purchased Him, and now has taken Him to life everlasting.

 

 

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Prayers Ascend.

vikenI had the privilege of preaching in Hesperia California at Faith Lutheran church and talking about Project 24 a few years back thanks to Pastor Brad Viken who used to be at Immanuel in Grand Forks.  Hesperia is in San Bernadino Co in what is called the High Desert.  The so called Blue Cut fire on El Cajon Pass has brought a lot of evacuees into that town.  Pastor Viken posted this picture and these words.

“Fires are still crazy. Prayers encouraged. Several from the church are evacuated but no injured and among our church family there have been no structures lost. Several stranded away from home. Faith Lutheran church will gather today for those available from 3-6 for fellowship, games etc. at 5 pm we will eat pizza. At 6 pm we will gather in the sanctuary for a prayer service. Join us if you can.”

Lord Have Mercy.

 

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Volunteers Needed

baton rouge
This is from Paul Krueger and the North Dakota District Task Force on Mercy –
Recent flooding in the greater Baton Rouge, LA area has left local responders looking for outside help. Thousands of homes have been flooded, including several hundred that are owned by LCMS members. The need for volunteers has never been greater! SEE “VOLUNTEER REQUEST” HERE
 
Individuals who are able to travel and are interested in immediately assisting may register directly to volunteer by clicking HERE.
For other interested individuals and congregational groups, the District Task Force on Mercy will coordinate a group response shortly for members from our LCMS congregations to participate in together. Please contact me (Rev. Paul Krueger) if you or your congregational members would be interested in assisting.

 

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The Christian Citizen and the Social Order

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When I was in Milwaukee a few weeks ago I wrote about the “Black Lives Matter” protests and some of the community reaction to it.  I was quite taken by the police who are pictured here paving the way for the protesters and making sure they were safe.  There is a tension called into more graphic clarity by political election seasons between “law” and “order” and between justice and social justice.  The tensions may naturally exist because of a fallen world or they may be artificially produced by political agitation.  It is hard to  take seriously a student at an Ivy League school whose parents are spending $100,000 a year on tuition, asking for tests to be delayed because he is stressed out from protesting the horrors of the “establishment”.  But there is a place for social action and demands for justice.  This from Theodore Laetsch written back in 1940 (CTM)

The Christian citizen as a Christian will demand of all men no more and no less than God requires in His Word concerning social relations within and without the Church. He will never forget that the social order laid down by the Lord Himself is the only social order which the Church as Church, and he as a member of that Church, must proclaim and maintain. Yet he will constantly remember that it is God’s will to have this order established only within His Church and by no other body than this Church.  While he will make use of every opportunity to bring Christ and all spiritual, material, and social blessings connected with the Christian religion to the unchurched, he will realize that he can never hope for a Christianized world or a Christian social order within this world. He will therefore endeavor by word and example to help in establishing and maintaining a social order of the highest possible standards within his community. To this end he will study to understand the underlying causes of social maladjustments and bend every effort to the removal of these causes.

 

 

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Total Recall

recall

Hilary Clinton, in one deposition, I don’t recall which one, said that she “did not recall” 50 times.

Cheryl Mills, her top aid could not recall things either.  She said so 189 times.

Ms. Clinton says that the mother of a Benghazi victim who blames her for her sons death doesn’t “recall correctly” what she was told by Clinton as the body of her son was brought home.

Recollections are interesting things.  Sometimes we forget, but why should we believe that Ms. Clinton remembers what she said to that poor women that day?

Recollection means to re – collect.   Ms. Clinton “recollected” what the FBI Director said about her and heard something completely different.  It is truly stunning.  She can’t remember stuff and what she does remember has no grounding in reality and there is videotape to prove it.  She recollected being under sniper fire in Bosnia and there is video tape to show how quiet and peaceful the whole thing was.

I have been doing some recollecting myself and I recollect that the press was appalled by the amount of money that would be spent in the Presidential campaigns.  They lamented the amount of “pac” money that would be involved.  Now they commend the candidate that is spending millions as having a professional campaign and accuse the other one of being “unprepared” because he is spending very little.

We are told that lying and cheating and years of shady dealings is baked into the cake of one candidate but the truthful, sometimes a bit crazy and often coarse comments of the other are constantly surprising and shocking even after years of public boisterousness.

Public policy is an interesting and problematic thing.  It should be formulated in public but often is not. Those shaping it have bragged of late how they fooled the public and lied to the press.  Think Obamacare.  They should be publically accountable but because they are the minions of the accountable they usually are not, so the folks in charge should be held accountable which is really what elections are all about.  The presses job is to keep these folks honest and of course they have become the mouth pieces of a stunningly incompetent group of folks.  Religious leaders have fallen for the stunning lie that religion has no place in the public square and so another possible corrective disappears and on and on we go.  More an more the elected in a representative republic are acting like monarchs and benevolent dictators.

There is another recollection that I have and it is the words of God to the Prophet Samuel when the people of Israel asked for a King.  God told him plainly that when they asked for a King they were rejecting God.  Now understand that Israel from the beginning was a theocracy meaning that God ruled them.  The United States is not, but the point I am making is that God pretty much pointed out exactly what happens when people put their trust in princes and some kind of ruling class.  It is in 1 Samuel 8.

“So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

When God hears them cry He will not recall that He knew them – scary stuff.

 

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Your comments are welcome but will be held until approved to avoid misuse. Comments posted by visitors to this site reflect the personal opinions of individuals and may not necessarily reflect the beliefs and practices or official positions of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Individual articles from this blog may be reproduced by LCMS congregations (i.e., in church newsletters, bulletins, etc.) without writing for permission. Such reproductions, however, should credit the "Northern Crossings" blog as the source.
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