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Month: August 2013

The Church and mercy and losing our minds.

 G.K. Chesterton, was a political thinker who cast aspersions on both Progressivism and Conservatism, saying, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected”.  I can see that all around me, in politics and in the church.  Conservatives, despite what the press and Liberals say are usually too nice to try and correct the mess that progressive liberal policies and actions have done to the church and the world. But Chesterton was also a bright lay theologian and creative Christian writer.  The Church is, according to Chesterton, “the trysting place of all the truths in the world.” A trysting place is where lovers meet.  Chesterton was in love with the truth.  He was constantly searching for the truth, and as someone has said, to pull this off you have to actually live in the trysting place, which means to live in the truth, which means to live in Christ, which means to live in the Church where Christ has promised to dispense the means of grace.  Christ who is the way and the truth and the life dwells with sinners and dispenses to them the means of His grace and mercy in the church. So I have come to the conclusion that the church is the...

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Paul’s evaluation of his “call” and mercy.

    Galatians 2 – 2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been...

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Orphans and Mercy – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

 Syrian Orphans in a Refugee Camp We partner with 1001 Orphans to try and alleviate some of the issues that take place in our partner church in Kenya.  Our partnership has hit a few rough spots and some of us are irritated with the time it takes to build a center, or the amount of Orphan support that gets through, or the measure of cleanliness, or the lack of mosquito nets especially since we are trying to partner with Lutheran Malaria Initiative, or whatever.  There is a lot of grumbling about capacity and who is in charge of what.  Some have called into question some of our partners abilities to sustain these efforts.  Every time we talk about these issues I think of the situations that we and our partners are dealing with.  Political instability, factions in the church, donor demands, accessibility  and things to numerous to mention.  We sometimes act is if our partners, both here and in the emerging country and partner church are not as responsible and active as they could be. Then I think of some other stuff like – “We, meaning all of us through our government promised Vets that we would take care of them after their service .  70000 Vets cannot get the benefits they were promised including healthcare, and meanwhile the same folks that have accomplished this shameful act now are...

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Mission and Witness and Persecution.

We have some interesting conversations about whether Luther had a theology of world missions.  Ingemar Öberg, Luther and World Mission: A Historical and Systematic Study, writes, “ After all the disappointments, in the middle of all the fears of the disciples, it occurs, and despite all that Luther had said about the church of the patriarchs, the Holy Spirit is poured out and Christ’s universally oriented church is founded. The age when God’s reign will be offered to all through the Gospel has dawned. Its message is something different than Sinai and the Law. One preaches that the Crucified One is risen and lives. The mission of the Church has its start in this first “Christian” Pentecost and continues until Christ’s coming again. Now there is no longer any need to fear. Indeed, one is ready to accept martyrdom if only God’s salvation can be preached in the entire world. Now the Spirit of God roars and whistles in the hearts of those true to Christ and in the hearts of the apostles, says Luther.” And then there is this ………………. There were a lot of Resolutions passed at the Synod Convention.  Rev Hartwig the Synod Secretary wrote that his favorite is  Res. 1-09A “To Prepare LCMS Congregations and Pastors for Defense of our Christian Faith.” He writes,”its first whereas paragraph strikes me as one of the most timely...

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The sermon

For some reason I have had a chance to listen to a lot of preaching this summer and although it is my job to put the best construction on everything most of what I have heard was pretty sad.  Sorry that is just a fact.  Part of the problem with being a Pastor is the inability to sit and let someone else preach the Gospel to you.  I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the sermon that should be preached rather than the sermon that I am hearing.  That problem is compounded when the preacher never gets to the Gospel. Luther once said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” Luther was of course polemical.  He was defending the Gospel all through his life and this concept of “professing Christ” versus “confessing Christ” is important for today.  Where is the devil and the world attacking when the preacher preaches? At a funeral I would suggest that the devil...

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