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Month: March 2014

Rev. Joseph Samuel – prayers ascend

I found this picture of a presentation at Karuni in India.  It brought back some great memories.  One of my memories is the silly enjoyment I took at each one of these events, in my name being a bit bigger than John Fales on the signs that graced the proceedings.  Senseless, but I got a kick out of it.  Chairman of the Board was a big deal.  I felt like Frank Sinatra.   This was the opening of a sewing training center for displaced folks from the tsunami. Anyway my pride in getting my name up on a poster and having it bigger than Rev. Fale’s also reminded me of Rev. Joseph Samuel.  He was the president of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church at the time I was there.  He was an example of service and humility that I found inspiring.  His health has not been the best and Mr. Ravi Jesupatham who has been a contributor to these pages notified me and asked for prayers.  My prayers have ascended and will continue to do so.  I pray that you will pray for this kind and humble man too. Share this on:...

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The Reward – More Responsibility.

This parable is part of what Luther called a “terrifying” Gospel. It is found in Matthew 25: 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done,...

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The End Times View of Mission and Mercy and the Strangeness of Preaching.

Some one gave me this little wall hanging years ago.  I look at it everyday and I laugh but I also think a lot about the strangeness of what we do as Christians. I just got into a conversation (actually the conversation has been going on for a while because of difficulties, trials and tribulations we are experiencing with Project 24) about the “validity” of mission projects.  What makes any Christian Project valid is not its chances of success, but does it bear the marks of the Church?  Is it something that God wants us to do?  How do we know?  Does it relate to the gifts given us with a view towards the end of the age and life everlasting? If we have this “end time” view of Christ’s mission, our mission, our witness and our life, we have then a stamp of approval on what we “do” as church and believers. We are living that famous statement that Paul made when he said “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2 and 2 Corinthians 5). We have a stamp of approval that comes through the marks of the church. Through the proclamation of the Gospel we are assured that Christ himself is with us “even to the end of the age”. Through the office of the keys we believe we...

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Martha Stewart look out! A Good Thing? – Really!

I used to love it when Martha Steward would say, “It’s a good thing”. After worship last night it snowed and rained again and so I am in a bad mood anyway.  I am tired and cranky in the midst of Lent and for that I repent.  We prayed in the evening prayer for the President (by name) and the congress and those in authority over us.  I offer those prayers sincerely  and ask that God would bless the government which is, really, one of God’s good gifts – then I watched the news this morning. After hearing Sheila Jackson Lee talk about the American Constitution being 400 years old, we now have Alan Grayson coming out and saying that the Russian annexation of Crimea was a “good thing”.   After all the inanities uttered by Nancy Polosi and Harry Reid’s raspy nastiness I have come to the conclusion that the great issue facing us today is not the politicization of everything that some worry about, but the deification of a political party.  The only explanation that I can think of for what is happening today is that a political party has become for about 1/2 the population,  its religion. There is no reason for the election of folks like the ones I have mentioned above unless you have a blind faith in an ideology.  Unhinged from a Biblical perspective the new faith is...

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Letter from the President.

For those of you who don’t know, the Supreme Court is hearing this case today.  Tired of Hobby Lobby? You’re tired of hearing about Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court, tired of all the talk of fines and health-care plans and reproductive rights, tired of being bombarded with words spoken in anger from both sides of the aisle. You want to put your fingers in your ears, switch the channel, and wait for the ruling and the rest of it to just go away. But even though you are tired, even though you’ve grown weary of having the same discussions about the same points, Hobby Lobby and fines and health-care plans still matter. They matter because your country – the United States of America – was founded on the principle that you were born with certain rights: the rights to seek and follow truth, to live according to your beliefs, to worship freely. And no one, not even the government, gets to tell you how to do that. Today, our federal government threatens that right, consistently refusing to protect religious liberty as our Constitution and the laws of nature demand. In the dozens of cases against the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate, the government has started dictating the boundaries of religious beliefs, and to pick and choose which beliefs – and which individuals – deserve religious liberty protection....

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