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Archive for May, 2016

LWML’s will be convening –

2016 LWML MN North District Convention Logo

ND LWML

May 29

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League North Dakota District Convention will be held June 24-26 in Jamestown with the theme, “Rejoice in God’s Bounty.” Registration will begin at 12 noon on Friday, June 24 at the Jamestown Civic Center, with servant events, choir practice and a delegate meeting in the afternoon followed by a fellowship dinner and worship service at 7:00 pm at Concordia Lutheran Church. All women, spouses and guests are invited to attend any or all of the convention. The registration form can be found at ndlwml.org or talk to your LWML unit president. Blocks of rooms at local hotels are being held for you to reserve. The list of hotels is found on the website.  Hope to see you in Jamestown.

Minnesota North Convention will be June 20-22 in Willmar MN

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Memorial Day

I am always haunted by an image of a young man who I assume came from the prairies and working the soil, to stand guard on a palm lined shore in a place that he probably couldn’t find on a map.  I never see his face.  He stands in silhouette against a setting sun.  The image comes to my mind because my father and several gentlemen that I have known well had served in the Pacific during WWII.  The fields of France and Germany would have been familiar to them so the South Pacific brings to my mind the strangeness of their situation.  It is not war that is strange.  Human beings have been killing each other since antediluvian days usually because of greed and the jealous desire to have what someone else has.  The pure cussedness of human beings makes war inevitable.  The strangeness of their situation is that plucked away from family and friends, and transported halfway around the world to fight and perhaps die, most of them did it willingly.  Today all who serve do it willingly.

I would be remiss not to mention the women who served.  In my family I have several women relatives who attained high rank in the military during WWII.  I remember trying to get some history from these ladies at a family reunion and their response was that they didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy.  Well they did and so today we remember those who died and we thank those who served.  Being thankful for their service doesn’t seem to be noteworthy either but in todays world it is.  In the milieu of hashtags and selfies sacrifice and self forgetfulness seem as far gone as the antediluvian murderers.  Veterans dead and alive remind us of sacrifice and service to something other than self and that is indeed noteworthy.

 

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Men – Not God’s

psalm 2

 

So the President of the United States tells all who will listen that foreign rulers are “rattled” by Donald Trump.  There is an interesting discussion going on in some circles that ask a fascinating  question – after 8 years of being confused, ignored, lied to and stabbed in the back as allies, or coddled, apologized to and fawned over if you are our enemies, can being “rattled” be such a bad thing?.

There are all kinds of chicken little speeches and apocalyptic language being used by, as Douglas MacArthur called them, ‘temporary functionaries holding office”.  The number of people who are beginning to realize that Government usually does more harm than good is growing but so is the number who see it as a Savior.  The number who just want to be left alone remains seemingly stagnant.

Big events can be frightening and fear mongering is a classic political ploy.  Luther had some interesting comments to Christian’s who were depressed about how badly things were going for them as Christian’s.  Luther commented on the verses in Psalm 2 that talk about nations raging and the kings of the earth plotting against God and against His Christ.  We have talked before about the fact that governments by nature must get to the point where they are god.  That is why religion must be kept in the private sector and be a personal matter.  God’s response of course is to laugh at these political animals and Luther says……..

Since now the eternal and almighty Ruler, who is called God and who remains eternally, laughs at them and holds them in derision, why should we be afraid of them, fret, and weep? Truly God holds them in derision not for His own sake (He will evidently remain living as the One in heaven in spite of their anger) but for our comfort, that we too might take heart and courage and so might laugh at their onslaughts. Therefore in these matters nothing is necessary for us but to believe such things and in strong confidence to pray in the name of Christ that God, because He has erected His kingdom and this is His work, would desire to strengthen the same. For since He has stimulated all this through our activity, counsel, advice,
thoughts, and undertakings, and up until this time has regulated it, guided it, and maintained it, I do not doubt in the least that He will surely complete it by our counsel and doings. For I know (says St. Paul), on whom I have believed. I also am certain that He can give more, can do, advise, and help exceedingly much more abundantly than we ask or understand. He is called the Lord, who wonderfully, gloriously, and mightily can and will help, and especially when the need is most pressing. We should be men and not God. {Wir sollen Menschen und nicht Gott sein.} We should comfort ourselves with His Word and with all confidence in His promise call upon Him for His deliverance in the day of trouble; He will help us.

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Spoiler Alert.

alert

There is nothing worse than reading a book and someone tells you the end of it before you get there.  Same with a movie that you want to see and someone tells you how it ends before you see it.  Because of the proliferation of information today we invented a phrase – spoiler alert.

spoil·er a·lert
noun
noun: spoiler alert; plural noun: spoiler alerts
  1. (in a discussion or review of a film, book, television drama, etc.) a warning that an important detail of the plot development is about to be revealed.
    “the third season ended (spoiler alert if you don’t want to know) with the intervention of a ‘lady in red’”

Pastor Baneck the North Dakota District Presidet writes sentences that we can put in bulletins for all to read.  Next week there is a particularly important announcement so if you want to wait until next Sunday this is a spoiler alert – if not read on.

We are the North Dakota District – The District Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) Convention is this month, June 24-26, in Jamestown.  The LWML is a great blessing to the ND District, especially with the many faithful women who cherish God’s Word and desire to be faithful servants of the Lord in their many and various vocations.  We are also thankful for the LMWL mission grants, which totaled $76,000 for 2014-26.  These grants can be seen on ndlwml.org.  Blessings on your convention, LWML!  – Pastor Baneck, DP

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Delivering the Promise.

old dominion

Sitting outside the hotel room where we stayed in Wisconsin I watched a truck drive by that had a huge slogan on the trailer that read, “Helping the World Keep Promises”.  That is a great attention getter.  There is something evocative about watching an 18 wheeler going around the block in circles obviously looking for someplace to make a delivery and wondering what promise might not be kept if the driver gets lost. 

I was so struck by the motto that I googled it and found out it is the old dominion freight company. What a marvelous phrase. “Helping the World keep promises”.

I think of all the promises made an implied in the Scriptures. And implied promise not to eat a certain kind of fruit. And implied promise to fear love and trust in God above all things. And implied promise to hear Gods word and respond to it as a loved creature, and all the imply promises that went with that promise. A promise

made before crossing into the promised land that as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Promises of faithfulness, and fidelity, and hope all broken.  We made promises as pastors. To preach the word in season and out of season, to take care of the flock over which we see, and to rightly divide the word of truth.

Great and good promises that we often don’t keep and for which we will make excuses.

I had intended to extol the vocation of pastor by using the model of the freight company. We deliver the freight. The freight is the word of God and we deliver it in order that the world might keep promises.  But that is not right. We deliver the freight and the freight is promises. Promises that God makes and God always keeps. A promise to put flesh on a promise.

A promise that the Promise would take on Himself the sins of the whole world. A promise that His promise will remove our sins by his blood, and a promise that in His promise, all his other promises are yes and amen. 

And God makes a promise to frail and shambolic folks like us, that when we preach his word, he promises, his word will not return to him empty, but it will accomplish what he purposes. And what he purposes is that through that word we can keep our promises. Not through threats or compulsion, not through coercion or for payment, but because we are part of the family. The family of the forgiven whose sins have been removed by the blood of Jesus.  We keep the promises because God’s promises, is very great and precious promises, which are all yes and amen in Jesus, allow us to participate in his nature, be a part of his family,and live forever in righteousness, and innocence, and blessedness. This is most certainly true.

2 Peter 1: 1-4

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

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Any Means Necessary.

1 Cor 922

I have said before in these pages that what we as Lutherans really need to do in life is look at the end and work or way back to the present .  We have been given the gift of eternal life and through Christ we live that life now.  In light of the end when Christ gathers all his own together from every tribe and tongue and nation and people, we look to present circumstances and put all of our life into bringing others into fellowship with Him.

Though it seems strange the ministry is about the forgiveness of sins.  It is about delivering the forgiveness won by Christ on the cross.  Jesus said in Luke 24 –45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

One of the missionaries in his papers and documents in applying for missionary status was asked what he felt his major task was as a Pastor and missionary.  His answer awed and inspired me because it is so true of all Pastors of the true church – “to offer the forgiveness of sins by any means necessary”.  That is what we are to do.  Anything else is commentary.

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Lenkishon

lenkishoinProject 24 Lenkishon site a few hours south of Nairobi, Kenya.

The construction of this site is co-sponsored by the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Things are progressing well!

We have an opportunity to hear from Mr. John Wolf who is going to be the mercy coordinator in East Africa and will be working with Kissinger and Britt and Rev Shauen Trump.  If you would like a mission speaker this summer please contact me – http://bernie@polarcomm.com.

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Those Pesky Rebellions……

shaysI wondered how long it would the nattering class to mention it.  The establishment politicians of course will steer clear of the word.  Bernie Sanders has come close by calling his followers and his campaign a “revolution” which to most American ears has a patriotic ring.

The word that hasn’t been uttered even in the midst of the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Black Lives Matter” nastiness is the word “rebellion”.  The media never used the word when talking about Ferguson, or Baltimore, but burning down cities and attacking the police and fire fighters certainly have the whiff of rebellion about it.  It is interesting that real rebellion can take place in Democrat strongholds and it is called free speech and sacrosanct protest.  When a Presidential candidate who is not even elected speaks what the nattering class does not like, finally the “media” class is starting to use the word and find themselves in the strange position of actually teaching history.  They may want to be careful here.  Actually informing people about the past may have the obverse effect than that which they so obviously seek.

The American Revolution was a complicated affair and the leaders had been apotheosized in the past to the point of absurdity.  Certain political factions in this country have tried to knock them down a peg by referring to their racism and ownership of slaves and many of their peccadilloes as a sign that American exceptionalism is a figment.  The fact is that they were great men who created a great political innovation that is the envy of the world.  They were also the one percenters in todays parlance.  A simplistic cynic once said that the American revolution was about a wealthy class of landowners who were in debt and no longer wanted to pay their debt, hence the Declaration of Independence.  The average American colonist in those days, if many historians are right, just wanted to be left alone.

There are two lines from movies that in my mind might express what the average American colonist felt, and why the American Revolution was such a close run thing.  The first is from the movie “The Patriot” where the protagonist says, “why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away?  An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a king can”.

The second is in the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”.  Natty Bumppo (AKA “Hawkeye) has been reprimanded by a British Officer for not discharging an order.  The officer in derision makes a scathing statement – “And you call yourself a loyal subject of the Crown?” to which Hawkeye says, “I have never considered myself to be subject to much of anything”.

It is surpassing strange that the British Army had scarcely returned home when the new nation had to raise an Army to fight other Americans because of rebellion.  The “Whiskey Rebellion” was an insurrection against of all things – taxes.  The new nation that had just fought a war over taxes kind of went to war with it’s own citizens over taxes.  That was however a minor skirmish.  Washington led about 13,000 militia to root out the rebels who promptly disappeared.  Those caught were charged with treason but only two were found guilty and they were pardoned.

Shay’s Rebellion was more serious.  It was about the imprisonment of debtors, and the belief that land should be the “common property of all”.  People actually died and it was a major impetus to finally write a constitution and establish a “more perfect union”.

Anyway Joe Scarborough wrote an interesting article in the “failing” Washington Post that is worth your time.  There seems to be rebellion in the air for a number of reasons.  I want to think about that for a while and bring it all back to mercy, and the churches ordered life together.

 

 

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Project 24 Gets a Special Gift

IMG_1681Choice financial in Grafton ND has a junior bank board that gives gifts to various entities each year.  This year they gave a gift to Project 24.  Sam Novak is on the Board and Sam’s brother Kyle was one of the first Mary Okeyo scholarship fund travelers.  Thanks to Choice Financial and Sam.

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Assurances and Promises.

Luther said –

So we always have many precious and comforting promises and assurances of God, of which the entire Psalter and all the gospels, yes, the whole Scripture, are full. These are not to be despised in any way but are to be prized most highly, such as Ps. 55:23 “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Ps.27 “Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.” Also Christ Himself says, John 16 , “But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” It indeed is not false, this I know for sure, that Christ, the Son of God, has overcome the world. Why, then, do we fear the world as if it were a victorious conqueror? A person really ought to fetch such a passage on his knees from Rome or Jerusalem; however, because we have so many such [passages], we despise them. But that is not good.

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