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Archive for May, 2015

President Kay and the Board For International Missions

photo (15)The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League exists to support Missions in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and to strengthen women in their faith and knowledge of Christ as Lord.  President Kay Kreklau take that mission very seriously.  The Board fro International Missions exists to do the same.  At the latest Board meeting in St. Louis President of Synod Matthew Harrison presented Kay with a large poster with a certificate of appreciation and messages from staff and Board members.  She seems to appreciate it.

Her work has been appreciated and Kay finishes her term this summer at the LWML convention in Des Moines.

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Induction From Particulars

From the Particular to the General.

From the Particular to the General.

An inductive argument is one in which the premises are supposed to support the conclusion in such a way that if the premises are true, it is improbable that the conclusion would be false. So, the conclusion follows  from the premises and inferences. Here is an example –

Mercy is charity.

Charity causes dependence.

Mercy makes people dependent.

I have been listening to this kind of stuff for a long time.  There has always existed a fear of “mercenary conversions” meaning that folks would claim faith in Christ in order to get something like food or shelter.

There is an example in the scriptures.  The end of the story of the feeding of the five thousand in John 6:14–15, says . “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’ Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”  They wanted to make him a bread king.  These were mercenary conversions and a false trust in Christ.  When they hear about suffering and death on a cross most will leave.

Jesus doesn’t stop doing mercy though.  Mercy is what he is and God is always true to Himself.

I have said before that in mercy we work we do what we do not to make others believe but because of what we believe.

 

 

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What Do You Say the Week After Pentecost?

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“If Christ did not sit at the right hand of God, or daily pour out his Holy Spirit, the Christian faith would languish, for it is contrary to all human reasoning and opposed also by the devil. Therefore, if there were not this daily outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the devil would not allow a single person to cling in faith to Christ, proclaimed by the Pentecost message… But our dear God in heaven has erected an everlasting, divine bulwark to prevent this, namely, Jesus Christ, his Son, our exalted Lord at his right hand. By the Pentecost message he sustains and keeps us in the Christian faith, until such time as we become unthankful and God needs to punish us because of malice and unthankfulness, and inflicts a penalty by permitting the devil to tear away God’s Word, as happened in the case of the Anabaptists and the Sacramentarian enthusiasts.

However, the Pentecost message and the Christian faith must endure until the end of the world. If by our unthankfulness we lose it, others will receive it while the world lasts.”

Luther, Monday after Pentecost 1534

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Peace Be With You.

I wrote this song after seeing a plague in a gift shop that talked about the peace of the rolling waters, the silver moon, the shining sun and the gentle wind being with you.  I started thinking about where true peace comes from and here is the song I wrote.  We all need a little peace these days.

Cincopa WordPress plugin

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All Men Are Liars.

liarAfter listening to the political news and reading some very popular blogs over the weekend I have determined that I need to go back and look at the Biblical injunction against lying. The 8th commandment concept of “putting the best construction on everything”, or “explaining things in the kindest possible way could be construed as a way of lying without really denying the truth.  The 8th commandment is one of the real conversation starters in confirmation classes.  It seems that lying to or about one another is a popular past time among young persons.  It is a great generator of “drama”.

There seem to be gradations of lying that are troubling.  Telling a part of a story can be a form of lying.

I was surprised to see that in the King James version of the Bible, “lie” is only mentioned about 115 times and of course sometimes that means to “lie”, like when Jacob laid down with only a rock for a pillow, a condition brought about by lying by the way.  If you look at the word falsehood and permutations the numbers get crazy.

We understand that lying is a part of original sin and David in the Psalm cries in despair that all men are liars which is the truth.  That statement causes some consternation.

The paradox was once discussed by St. Jerome in a sermon:

“I said in my alarm, ‘Every man is a liar!’ “(Psalm 116).  Is David telling the truth or is he lying? If it is true that every man is a liar, and David’s statement, “Every man is a liar” is true, then David also is lying; he, too, is a man. But if he, too, is lying, his statement: “Every man is a liar,” consequently is not true. Whatever way you turn the proposition, the conclusion is a contradiction. Since David himself is a man, it follows that he also is lying; but if he is lying because every man is a liar, his lying is of a different sort.”

There was an old joke that said you could tell when so and so was lying because his lips were moving.  That may not be so funny.  A lie can be perpetrated by not saying anything as well.

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Memorial Day Prayer

cemetary 2

This is a slightly changed version of an Armed Forces Day prayer from the LCMS Commission on worship.

With grateful hearts on this Memorial Day, we thank you, Lord, for the men and women who gave their lives in service of our country. They died honorably, protecting the life and liberty of so many others. Lord, make us appreciative of the blessings we enjoy as Americans, and of the lives which were given that we might live in peace in this land.
Lord, in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Our Lord Jesus once said, “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends”. May we seen in the soldier who lays down his life in battle, a reminder of our Savior who laid down his life at the cross.
Lord, in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We also thank you this day for our men and women in uniform who so selflessly serve God and country. Be with them deployed overseas, in armed conflict or wherever their duties carry them. Grant them courage in battle, compassion on the wounded, and strength in your grace to endure unto victory. Be with the family of each serviceman
or woman who anxiously awaits their return, with the promise that you are with us even unto the end of the world.
Lord, in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We pray for all who are in positions of leadership and great responsibility governing over the affairs of our nation. Grant them wisdom from above as they seek to administer justice and mercy rightfully in the sacred halls of government. Grant us your grace as a nation to be a beacon of hope and to establish a just and noble relationship with all other nations in the world.
Lord, in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Heavenly Father, how can we ever thank you enough for your enduring grace that sustains our life in trouble, comforts our souls in distress and shelters us from disaster. Through the presence of your Son Jesus, our resurrected Lord and savior, we remain strong, and through your Word we will endure unto the end. In a world filled with conflicts and wars, He alone is our source of true and lasting peace.
Lord, in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Hear now our petitions and receive now our thanks, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Memorial Day and Mission

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The LCMS as part of our mission has a Ministry to the Armed Forces.  As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day and remember the sacrifices of so many in the Armed service over the years we should remember our chaplains called by our church and the folks that they serve.  We also have many resources for congregation and groups that support or want to support personnel and their families.  We hope that you will remember in prayer the training and recruiting and endorsing that took place so that our 67 active-duty LCMS military chaplains could be deployed. Another 71 chaplains serve Reserve and National Guard units. We also support 22 Civil Air Patrol chaplains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Mission Remembered – North Dakota and Minnesota

St. Peters Lutheran DEvils LakeThis is St. Peter Lutheran Church in Devils Lake.  When I first came to the North Dakota District the Pastor there was I believe Rev. Heinert (if anyone can help with that I would appreciate it).  If my memory serves I used to take his brother home to Mission South Dakota in the spring after school.  At that time there was a mission that North Dakota and other Districts had to the deaf that was headed up by Pastor Roger Leonhardt and based out of Devils Lake because the school for the Deaf was there.  I can remember going to Immnauel in Grand Forks for something or other and seeing a big travel van outside and inside Pastor Leonhardt signing to a congregation of deaf folks.  He was on his way to travel the circuit around in Minnesota and then back to Devils Lake.  Anyway got this from Rev. Stoudt.

St. Peter’s and Grace Lutheran Churches will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Roger Leonhardt on Sunday, June 7th, at 12:00 at St. Peter’s Lutheran in Devils Lake (corner of 7th Ave. NE and 7th St. NE). This will be a fairly simple celebration; a pot luck dinner followed by the giving of gifts and cards. The Leonhardts do not need any gifts that would require display in their home, as they have so many such gifts after 50 years of ministry that their home has no more room for displaying them. Many of his years were spent in ministry to the deaf, so a memorial gift to the School for the Deaf here in Devils lake would be appropriate. Roger spent all 50 years of his ministry here in Devils Lake. The first two decades were spent exclusively in ministry to the School for the Deaf, here in Devils Lake and extending out as far as western Minnesota. Every Sunday he and his family would load up in their mobile home and travel more than 200 miles to do services at 4 locations, all in sign language. As some of those schools closed down, and the need for Sunday services decreased for others, since the children would go home on the weekends, that ministry decreased. Roger then was extended and accepted a call to serve as Pastor for St. Peter’s Lutheran in Devils Lake and Grace Lutheran in Lakota. He also began a ministry to seminarians by engaging in the vicarage program. He had about 2 dozen vicars over the years. About 15 years ago, after suffering a major heart attack, Roger retired from the ministry, but he remained in Devils Lake. He and his wife, Sonya provided sign interpretation for the services at Devils Lake, as some of the students at the deaf school had become members of the church during his ministry to them. He also continued to mentor young pastors, providing both support and advice to the two men who followed him in the service at St. Peter’s and Grace. You are welcomed to join us as we honor this faithful servant of the Word. Divine Service is at 10:30, and the celebration will be shortly after the service, approximately at 12pm. If you are unable to make it for the celebration, cards may be sent to: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church attn. Rev. Roger Leonhardt PO Box 834 Devils Lake, ND 58301-0834.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eleemosynary – say what?

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As I get older I become more aware how glibly folks around me forget their history in particular and our shared history in general. The concept that there was a world of wonder and beauty and horror and war and death before they were born seems to be a novel concept to many, so it may be good to review some historical realities sometimes.

There seems to be a general lack of understanding of words and the fact that they mean things as well. Events in the news this last week show that the word “charity” for one seems to be losing its meaning very quickly. Charity comes from the Latin word “charitas” which means love for your fellow man in a Christian context. Some people may not like that but it is the truth. The command of Jesus to love one another as he loved them was taken very seriously indeed. Christ’s sacrificial death was understood by Christians as example but also as the powerhouse that enabled them to care about others as they cared about themselves, sometimes more than they cared about themselves. It has been said that before Christ came into the world it was a world without love – charitas. It was a world without compassion. That word comes from a Greek word meaning “from the bowels”. The Greek word is a translation of the Hebrew word that means – hold on to your hats – the womb of God Almighty. Compassion is not just empathy or sympathy, it is a literal hurting from the inside that has to be acted upon in a charitable, merciful way, and when the action is complete God has given birth to a new person. The father of the prodigal has compassion on his wayward son and when he comes home the father welcomes and forgives and the son who was dead is alive again. Jesus has compassion on a leper and heals him and the man is born again to a new life.

The Roman world had never seen anything like the love that was poured out on it after the Resurrection of Christ. There were no homeless shelters, hospitals, orphanages, places for the blind or handicapped; Christians created them. It was Christians who bankrupted themselves and their churches by ransoming slaves. It was Christians who cared for the dying at the risk of their own lives during plagues when everyone but them deserted entire cities. It was Christians who opened up schools for girls. These places of charitas started out in individual homes but as the churches grew and there needed to be more organization they became institutionalized and were called “eleemosynary” institutions because they relied upon the charitas of donors. Eleeomosyna means “alms” and is an alternate word for compassion. All of these existed because of the motive force of the love of God in Christ and a corresponding love for Christ and others that Christians had.

The reason for the history lesson is that we forget the hospitals in the United States back in the day were all Christian institutions, as were most of the orphanages, nursing homes, and colleges. Bethesda and Good Samaritan should be names that are recognized. It was Christians that cared for the homeless and immigrants and found places for them to eat and live until they found work. So it is surpassing strange to me that Christians should be lectured by temporary functionaries who happen to hold office on the nature, function and reason for charity while they go out of their way to regulate eleemosynary institutions out of business. Charity cannot be mandated. Mandated charity is not charity but legislated theft. Charity not motivated by the Gospel is not charity. You can find a word describing it if you try real hard.

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Those Pesky Words

JoshSpokesmen are supposed to go before the country and explain and answer questions about politics and policy.  Over the years they really became more information hiders that information providers but sometimes maybe they should just shut up and not say anything.  Josh Earnest is the White House spokesman.  He has a kind of perpetual lemon sucking look on his face like he has to get rid of a bitter taste in his mouth which he probably has.  His predecessor had a perpetual smirk.  Anyway the spokesman spoke the other day.

“Are we going to light our hair on fire every time that there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL?” Earnest asked reporters rhetorically in Tuesday’s briefing. “Or are we going to take very seriously our responsibility to evaluate those areas where we succeed and evaluate where steps are necessary for us to change our strategy where we sustain setbacks?”

I’m glad the reporter was at least smart enough to recognize a rhetorical question when he heard one.

Does anyone care or understand that when there is a setback against ISIS or ISIL or DASH or whatever the latest word is (at least we call them terrorists), Christians and many innocent Muslims really do get set on fire.   There is a lot of talk out there about sensitivity because words really can hurt you I guess in America today.  This in my mind seems to be pretty insensitive but I don’t get to define what words mean like some folks so it makes no difference.  I don’t get to define who is insensitive and who isn’t so it makes no difference.

There is an interesting idea in the Talmud that the Jews ended up in slavery in Egypt because of words – insensitive words.  Joseph bad mouthed his brothers and they got huffy and sold him into slavery and the rest, as they say, is history.  I wonder where the insensitive words that we hear scattered over the airwaves will take us?

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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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