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Heralding the Gospel – the Task.

One of the original Greek words used in the New Testament for gospel preaching means “a public proclamation by a herald”. In those days heralds represented kings, princes, military leaders, magistrates or civil authorities, personally and publicly conveying their messages to the people, unchanged and with clarity and solemnity. Such heralding emphasized the representative character of the commissioned herald, and the seriousness, dignity and authority of his proclamation, since it is “always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed” (Thayer’s New Testament Greek Lexicon).

There are a lot of other words used as well.  My old seminary professor William Schmelder wrote about the paucity of language that we use in describing and Heralding the Gospel. There are 30 some vocables used for heralding the good news in the Bible.  He lists the depth and breath of meanings that come from those vocables than most of us simply translate as “preach”.  The concern is we lose something which was a living reality in the early church. Preaching is a form of exhortation. To exhort people in the name of Christ is the equivalent of the sermon.  Sometimes it means  to “herald the Lord” with exultation. In Hebrews 13:22 “exhortation” is used for up building the household of God. Preaching is to encourage and console.  It is to appeal. This word can take on the connotation of a reasoned argument for the good news of Jesus against the bad news of the world. It can be a careful side-by-side examination of facts. It can be teaching, and setting forth the truths of the scripture and what they tell us of Christ and how we are in Christ.  It can be the reading of Scripture, as the reader witnesses to the truths of God’s Holy Word.

Thirty times in the New Testament there is a specific Greek word used as a way of talking about preaching and it comes across as “comforting exhortation”.  The greatest possible comfort comes from the doctrine of Justification and the highest worship in the gospel is the desire to receive forgiveness of sins. Preaching is fundamental to the church.

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The Green Season

We are entering the Sunday’s after Trinity and the altar colors in the churches are green.  We cycle through the life of Jesus and the Green Season goes through the life of his followers and those who hear the voice of their “Good shepherd”.  The next few Sundays are interesting to me because we are told by Jesus himself how strange the Gospel is to sinful human beings.  He tells his disciples to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God and that they are to heal the sick, make the blind see and the lame walk, let the deaf hear and cast out demons and then he tells them the results of their work.  It will disrupt families and cause divisions and people will hate them and persecute them (Matthew 10).  He sends them out like “sheep among wolves” yet promises that they who endure to the end will be saved.

Jesus says to pray that there be workers in the harvest field and he tells the disciple that the harvesting will be dangerous and difficult but he promises that the ones who endure to the end will be saved.  “The last book of the New Testament contains a sevenfold echo of this promise of Jesus in the words of the exalted Christ to the afflicted seven churches, and we can find there the fullest and most colorful commentary on the words “will be saved.” The steadfast endurer, the conqueror in the conflict, shall be saved: He shall eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7). He shall not be hurt by the second, the eternal, death (Rev. 2:11). The “hidden manna” of the last Exodus of the redeemed people of God shall be his to eat (Rev. 2:17). He shall live and reign with the Christ (Rev. 2: 26,27). He shall be clad in the white garments of the victor. His name shall be in the book of life, for the Christ will confess him before the Father (Rev. 3:5). He shall have as his name the “new name” of Christ Himself (Rev. 3:12) and shall share the throne of the Christ, the very throne of God: “He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I Myself conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev. 3:21) Martin Franzmann

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LWML Convention Theme – Missionary Action

 

The LWML is in Convention in Albuquerque NM this week.  The Convention theme is “Jesus Christ Above All” from Philippians 2;9.  Convention Goal Statement:  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, through Word and Sacrament, I will proclaim Jesus Christ above all.

This is the place where our mite offerings are sent around the world into the mission fields.  District conventions do marvelous work and the national convention extends that work.

The theme from Philippians is important because it is a missionary text. 

Jesus humbled Himself even to the point of death on a cross, and His death on that cross was at the same time exaltation. For it was there that Satan met his match and was conquered. Furthermore the cross held forth the promise of resurrection on the third day. (Cf. John 12:32, 33; 17: 1 ) In addition, when His mission was accomplished, God exalted our Lord by raising Him from death to the eternal throne (which was always His), and by giving Him a name which is above every name. Now, at the very mention of His name, every knee should bow in reverent devotion. He is the Lord and King above all lords and kings. All creatures everywhere owe Him homage. Every tongue must now confess Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This takes place already in His church, but not yet in all the world. But the day is coming when all will recognize Him as Lord, some to their sorrow but the faithful to their joy. Then all will know Him as Lord and Master even over death!  So wrote Thomas Edge many years ago.

The LWML task is to bring the lost and erring into eternal fellowship with Jesus.  God bless their convention.

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Sober Minded in a Crazy World – Don’t Major in Minors.

The world seems to be unhinged and in many ways insane.  Every discussion lately seems to be about how crazy things are.  There is a word used in the Bible especially in 1 Peter 1.13 13 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action,2 and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.  Whenever the word is used it has to do with hope.  The idea is that Christians have a perfect hope so they should hope perfectly.

“In every instance it indicates that clear, calm sober-mindedness which in a dispassioned, unbiased, objective manner views and judges all things, uninfluenced by passing whims and notions, the latest theories and isms, the fashions and customs of the day, the spirit of the times, the voice of the people, or the desires of the Christian’s own depraved flesh. The perfect hope towards which he is journeying is the motive which he applies to all
matters of this life. In the light of unending glory, to be manifested at the revelation of Jesus Ohrist, he views all the joys, and advantages, and comforts, and honors of this world. This hope will keep him sober-minded, will preserve him from the mistake so frequently made of unduly stressing non-essentials while losing sight of, or neglecting, things really worth while. At all times he will have the loins of his mind girt up, so that the boons of this life may not become a bane._ This blessed hope permeates, elevates, sanctifies, and brings nearer to perfection, the performance of his daily duties.”

Theodore Laetsch

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The Death of Education.

I have to be careful because most of my family considered themselves to be “educators”.  My Father was a teacher in a one room school house for many years.  Many of aunts and uncles were teachers.  My dad had the final test for 8th graders from the old days that made me wonder.  It asked questions about the span of a bridge over a ravine and how much it could bear before it collapsed under the weight of a certain train.  I remember thinking that I couldn’t understand the question let alone do the math.  People hiring  new graduates today tell me that they cannot do simple math and they cannot give change at a cash register.  They have to literally have their phones taken away before they go to work.  I heard a story  of a man in Lowe’s who asked one of the employees where to locate something and the young man said “how should I know?’ and walked away. That would be an egregious sin if you listen to the Lowes commercial and read their mission statement.  Stories are told of recent college graduates with loads of college debt hiring at some pretty good jobs at some pretty prestigious places having to attend remedial classes to get them up to a minimum standard of work knowledge.  One begins to wonder what students learned in all those classes that cost so much in the first place?  Classes like “Sexism in the Marvel Multiverse” might be fun but it doesn’t help you learn how to deal with real people in the real world.  At some point we might have to admit that the public education everyone thought was the crown jewel  of a liberal democracy is a deadly disaster.

We are faced with the spectacle of adults moving back to live with their parents and it really is frightening from a sociological perspective.  Back in the day when we were primarily an agricultural society, the four generation household was common.  In the post industrial world it is an issue because the job market is volatile and the displacement of families is a part of the new world of work, especially in the high  job market.

Our public education system has also done tremendous damage to our churches and schools because it secularized our young people and basically created a nanny state.

Here is a blast from the past – Around the time I was born in 1952 a man by the name of Dr. M.E. Sadler said at the 39th meeting of the Association of American Colleges in Los Angeles and said –

“As applied to our education, we have interpreted the great principle of religious freedom to mean freedom from religion and have permitted the development of an educational system which has produced a secularized, materialized society. Nothing could have been farther from the desires and purposes of our fore-fathers than the
stupid interpretation which we have given to their great principle of religious freedom. They wanted freedom of religion, but they wanted religion. Schools have proceeded on the entirely false assumption that if they did not teach religion, they would be neutral. Any school in America which does not teach theism is actually teaching atheism. Children and young people are encouraged in the belief that they will find in their school education a preparation for the important things in life. When they do not find religion in such a school, a powerful negative impression is made on their minds. Our schools cannot prepare the kind of citizens we need unless and until they do return. pure religion to its rightful place in education.”

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Peripheral Piffle

You can go back and look at the importance that many of the old timers had for not messing around with preaching the Gospel.  There were warning signs all around that preaching was loosing prominence and that programs and pious clichés were taking over.  There was an amazing little article about a book of sermons where the author used the text, “they let him down in a basket” (Acts 9:25).  The fellow writing about the sermon said, “to pick a text like that out of the inexhaustible riches of God’s word is an absurdity.

It gets better though – “Are your ears red! A chance to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to an
immortal soul about to be called before the Judge, and you went clear out to the
edge of God’s Word and presented him with a little peripheral pebble. You might have
preached Christ, as Paul always did; but no, you had a different idea. You could
have taken some important moment from St. Paul’s life when he, speaking by the
Spirit of God, gave some ringing revelation of divine truth important to all men for
all time; but no, you wanted to go away in a corner and pick up a little pebble that
no one else would think of using. So you talk about such things [circumstances
connected with the suggested event in the Apostle’s life} for thirty minutes to the
hungry souls in your congregation. And let them down in a sermon.”

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Laborers in the Harvest

If you refuse to have the right kind of preachers, then you shall have the devil
and his preachers, who preach lies to you. These you will have to accept, and you
will have to let them govern you and torment you.’ Because the Gospel has been
refused and even persecuted in our Germany, the corners are full of sectarians,
fanatics, and Anabaptists; and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. The
right preventive measure here would be to take the Gospel seriously and to pray God
faithfully that He may send true and faithful laborers into His harvest (Matt.
9:38).”

Martin Luther

 

 

 

 

 

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Bye Debbie

Deb Larson has been a fixture in North Dakota LWML service operations for years and she served on the National level as well.  Always smiling and usually happy she was a witness to God’s gracious activity in her life to those around her.  Debbie is moving away to parts unknown and we pray for her and her family.  She will be missed.  Here is a profile of her written before she was the North Dakota District LWML president.

Vice President of Organizational Resources Debbie Larson always seems to have a smile on her face. “As His forgiven child, I have a lot to be thankful for,” she says, “and I can’t help but smile!” Debbie enjoys LWML events because she says it’s like coming home. She feels welcomed, and like at any family gathering, she can just pitch in! Her sisters and brothers in Christ give her advice, encouragement, support and love. With another smile on her face she says, “I feel like I’m the one who benefits. I get much more out of it than I put in.”
Debbie’s vision for the LWML is that each woman desires to share Christ and be Christ to everyone she meets and that she is given the love and support to do just that.
Many people have mentored Debbie through the LWML: Past LWML Presidents Florence Montz and Kay Kreklau, Dottie Sincebaugh, Rev. Tim Jenks, every single woman in her own church group, and her mother-in-law Dolores Larson. In fact, as Debbie introduced her daughter-in-law to many LWML sisters at a past annual fall retreat, she realized she said each woman was her favorite person – and they were, all of them!
Debbie has held most offices on the local level of the LWML. On the district level she has served as the LWML North Dakota President, Convention Co-chairman, Vice President of Mission Grants, News Editor, and Recording Secretary. On the national level she has served on the Christian Life Committee and the Ablaze Task Force, and most recently as Public Relations Director. As she continues to serve God through the LWML she is most excited to encourage LCMS women to become involved in this incredible organization so they, too, can know the joy of Serving the Lord with Gladness!
Married 38 years and counting, Debbie and Scott have two married children and three very active grandsons. In her local church, she is a member of the bell choir, chairman of the board of education, director of the annual Living Last Supper drama, coordinator for the annual Chili Cookoff, and a member of the funeral committee.
Debbie has served on the local Lutheran school board of directors and she and Scott enjoy volunteering for before school care each week. In her spare time she loves to cook, watercolor, read, play Sudoku and spend time with her grandsons.
Many favorite Bible verses come to mind for Debbie, but she refers often to Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Larson has been a fixture in North Dakota and the LWML for years.  Always smiling and ready to witness she served in almost every capacity that can be an area of service n the LWML.  She is moving away to parts unknown and she will be missed.  Here is a profile written about here before she became LWML President in North Dakota in 2004.

V ice President of Organizational Resources Debbie Larson always seems to have a smile on her face. “As His forgiven child, I have a lot to be thankful for,” she says, “and I can’t help but smile!” Debbie enjoys LWML events because she says it’s like coming home. She feels welcomed, and like at any family gathering, she can just pitch in! Her sisters and brothers in Christ give her advice, encouragement, support and love. With another smile on her face she says, “I feel like I’m the one who benefits. I get much more out of it than I put in.”
Debbie’s vision for the LWML is that each woman desires to share Christ and be Christ to everyone she meets and that she is given the love and support to do just that.
Many people have mentored Debbie through the LWML: Past LWML Presidents Florence Montz and Kay Kreklau, Dottie Sincebaugh, Rev. Tim Jenks, every single woman in her own church group, and her mother-in-law Dolores Larson. In fact, as Debbie introduced her daughter-in-law to many LWML sisters at a past annual fall retreat, she realized she said each woman was her favorite person – and they were, all of them!
Debbie has held most offices on the local level of the LWML. On the district level she has served as the LWML North Dakota President, Convention Co-chairman, Vice President of Mission Grants, News Editor, and Recording Secretary. On the national level she has served on the Christian Life Committee and the Ablaze Task Force, and most recently as Public Relations Director. As she continues to serve God through the LWML she is most excited to encourage LCMS women to become involved in this incredible organization so they, too, can know the joy of Serving the Lord with Gladness!
Married 38 years and counting, Debbie and Scott have two married children and three very active grandsons. In her local church, she is a member of the bell choir, chairman of the board of education, director of the annual Living Last Supper drama, coordinator for the annual Chili Cookoff, and a member of the funeral committee.
Debbie has served on the local Lutheran school board of directors and she and Scott enjoy volunteering for before school care each week. In her spare time she loves to cook, watercolor, read, play Sudoku and spend time with her grandsons.
Many favorite Bible verses come to mind for Debbie, but she refers often to Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

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Three Quarters of a Century of Service – Ed Behling R+I+P

Those Northern Crossings connections are all over the place.  Ed Behling was kind of ubiquitous in Minnesota North as a pastor and a pastor emeritus.  He has children in Grand Forks and after almost 3/4 of a century of service he will be missed.  His funeral was June 14 at Park Rapids MN.  Blessed be his memory.

 

Rev. Edward Fredrich Behling, age 88 of Park Rapids, MN, peacefully and unexpectedly entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on Friday, June 9, 2017 at Essentia Health Medical Center in Fargo, ND with his loved ones at his side.

Ed was born on November 25, 1928 in Boyne City, Michigan to Harry and Gertrude (Stenke) Behling as the 10th of 12 children. After high school, he went on to attend Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, IL, graduating in 1955. He was united in marriage to Rose Wilhelmina Heinamaki in 1954 at Ft. William, Ontario, Canada. After serving Missouri Synod Lutheran parishes in Canada and Minnesota he retired from full time ministry in 1992 but has remained active as an interim pastor right up until the present time when he was serving churches in both Menahga and Wolf Lake, MN. Ed will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Rose of Park Rapids; his four children: Lois (Steve) Disterhaupt of Hayden, Idaho, Rev. Robert Behling of Twin Valley, MN, Stephen Behling of Park Rapids and Peter (Wanda) Behling of Grand Forks, MN; five grandchildren: Aaron (Shawna) Disterhaupt of Hayden, ID, Jason (Jennie) Disterhaupt of Los Alamos, NM, Kyle, Cody and Allison Behling of Grand Forks, ND; four great grandchildren: Aubrie Disterhaupt of Hayden, ID, Hayden Behling of Grand Forks, Natalie Disterhaupt of Los Alamos and Lincoln Edward Disterhaupt of Los Alamos who was baptized by his great grandfather just two weeks ago in Wolf Lake, MN. Ed is also survived by his sister, Cora Manthei of Petoskey, MI; his brother, Henry (Barb) of Hot Springs, Arkansas and brother, James (Marge) of Boyne City, MI; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers: Robert, Herman and Al; and five sisters: Helen, Mary, Louise, Lorraine and Bessie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Half a Century of Service

Nine former Presidents and the current President of the LWML met in the hospital room of Marlene Brandenburg last week.  Marlene was president from 1992 -1996.  Top left to right Dottie Sincebaugh 1996 to 20001, present President Valerie Biberdorf, Dee Pavicic 1968 – 1972, Debbie Larson 2004 – 2008, Sue Corwin 2008-2012, Paulette Huber 2012 – 2016, Lilly Hintz Henke 1984 – 1988.  On the floor left to right – Kay Kreklau 200-2004, JoAnn Bladow 1988-1992.

That is a half decade of service there and a lot of “serving the Lord with gladness”.    Thank God for the LWML and their service to missions around the world and support of our churches at home.  We also pray for Marlene and her recovery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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