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Month: April 2014

Look in the Mirror

James 1: 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. We all know this. We know the hearer of whom our text speaks, the hearer, who one likens to a man, “Who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” And this man is not some neighbor of yours in the church or your opponent.  No, you are the man. When you leave your house you steal a quick look in the mirror, a fleeting glance, to see if your hat and tie are in...

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LWML – Your On Call – (and so are the rest of you)

Ignore the picture – it really has nothing to do with anything.  I just thought it was nice.  One of the more interesting and endearing parts of my life has been my relationship with the LWML. The women of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League are dedicated to the task of supporting missions, and helping women to recognize not only the gifts they received because Jesus suffered on the cross and died for them, and rose again for their salvation, but also to recognize their corresponding gifts in the work that they do in their vocations in life.  The reason this is on my mind this morning is that it’s the beginning of LWML convention time. Anyone who’s had anything to do with a convention knows how busy these times are. In all the preparation and all the “busyness” of the days and weeks ahead, one little phrase keeps popping out in my correspondence with different LWML’ers  – “Pray for me”.  There is a concomitant to that as well. How often I’ve heard the phrase, “I’ll be praying for you”. The other day when I was at the hospital visiting someone the individual said to me “you’re always on call aren’t you?” I haven’t really thought about it for quite a while but that’s true. Pastors are, or should be “on-call” 24 hours a day.  But guess what the non-Pastor portion...

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It is Christ’s Ministry

This is the kind of smarmy nonsense that gets me sometimes.  Bill board Christianity is a menace.  Here is a bit of it of Micheal Horton from “Modern Reformation”. Reformation teaching affirms with the New Testament that the church is “the creation of the Word.” The Spirit gives us faith through the preaching of the Word—specifically, through hearing the gospel. That is why the growth of the church in the book of Acts is reported with the phrase, “And the word of God spread.” We live out our callings in the world not as if we were the gospel, but because of the gospel and in a way that brings those around us into the atmosphere of its blessings. It is certainly true that our hypocritical practice can repel people from hearing the gospel. If people do not hear the gospel proclaimed, however, they will not be saved. This is why the central mandate of the Great Commission is to “proclaim the gospel to everyone”: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). Faith is expressed through love and good works, but it does not come from them. Peter says that we are “born again…through the living and abiding word of God….And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:23, 25). Share this on:...

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God’s Work – God’s Mission

Acts 2 – Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers More and more it seems that there are many among us who think that preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments are one thing, and mission is something else. What seems to have happened is that for some the emphasis has shifted from God’s work – God’s mission, to our mission – our work. As Michael Horton has said “being missional often seems not only to mean the appropriate pursuit of methods of informal witness and service in addition to the official gathering of the covenant people but also to dispense with all formal elements of the public service itself.”  As I have said on these pages there are those who go off into the mission fields with no intention to plant churches. That’s not the way it happened in the book of Acts. “Converts were immediately baptized and incorporated in the ordinary life the churches public gathering where they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers,” says Horton, and the mission and marks of the church were never separated.  (Michael Horton, “Christless Christianity”) Share this on:...

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Expect the Worst – Hope for the Best

Our theology and our experience of history not only permit us to expect the worst but require us to. The tendency of history like nature points itself towards cruelty and dissolution. That is precisely why there’s room and need for what the apostle Paul calls hope.  Christians need to live in hope because if we could simply expect the best, or even a steady drift towards the better then hope would be meaningless.  Romans 15: 3For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,… Share this on:...

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