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Archive for November, 2017

Thank You

Luther on Thanks as found in First Article.

This is what I mean and believe, that I am a creature of God; that is, that He has given and constantly preserves to me my body, soul, and life, members great and small, all my senses, reason, and understanding, and so on, food and drink, clothing and support, wife and children, domestics, house and home, etc.  Besides, He causes all creatures to serve for the uses and necessities of life sun, moon, and stars in the firmament, day and night, air, fire, water, earth, and whatever it bears and produces, birds and fishes beasts, grain, and all kinds of produce, and whatever else there is of bodily and temporal goods, good government, peace, security. Thus we learn from this article that none of us has of himself, nor can preserve, his life nor anything that is here enumerated or can be enumerated, however small and unimportant a thing it might be, for all is comprehended in the word Creator.

Moreover, we also confess that God the Father has not only given us all that we have and see before our eyes, but daily preserves and defends us against all evil and misfortune, averts all sorts of danger and calamity; and that He does all this out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a benevolent Father, who cares for us that no evil befall us. But to speak more of this belongs in the other two parts of this article, where we say: Father Almighty.

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Well Done Good and Faithful Servant.

I have to be reminded once in a while that the marvelous words that I hope to hear some day, “well done good and faithful servant,” are spoken in the midst of the story about the final judgment. It is in the parable about receiving something and doing something with it to please the master. It is also well to remind  ourselves that the master gave the talent, before he gave her responsibility. We know that we are not justified, or forgiven, or destined for life everlasting because of what we do, but because of what Jesus has done for us and there are certain things we are expected to do. Just as the master came back looking for a return on his investment God wants a return on his investment to. In the merciful washing of baptism he says now you go and live a merciful life to your neighbors. When we are spoken free in absolution, God says now go and speak your neighbors free. In the Lord’s Supper we get Christ whole and entire to your neighbor. We get the gift before we get the responsibility, but God does expect a return. Purely out of Grace he claims us. Purely out of mercy he allows us to live as his children. Purely out of divine goodness and mercy he gives us all things so we can share with our neighbor. “Well done good and faithful servant, I’ve given you gifts and you’ve used them responsibly for my Kingdom” is what we can expect to hear on the last day because of Jesus gifts to us and His death to free us.

The LCEF Fall Leadership Conference was held last week and I remember that I used to attend these events with Bill Sharpe.   We had many adventures and a lot of fun.  We learned a lot and Bill took his work with LCEF very seriously indeed.  He was remembered at the LCEF Conference for being a good and faithful servant.   Bill received his reward after being faithful in much.  We are starting to all realize how much Bill did and how much he accomplished.  We pray for Tammi Ulland and President Bertch and all the District folks as they work hard for our District.


Well done good and faithful servants.

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Adolescence is Wasted on the Young


I read that folks can now buy “likes” on Facebook.  I can imagine being a company and wanting to increase your “likability” by purchasing some fake goodwill, but I understand that individuals can do the same.  They seem to be a lot of young folks.

Psychiatrists have pontificated lately on the sexual-harassment quandaries we find ourselves in today. The big takeaway is if someone thinks they were sexually harassed, it’s true to them.  It may not be factually true but it is true to them.  Same story with hate speech and bigotry, sexism and ethnocentrism.  This especially applies to young people.

77% of college educated young people believe that gender is not determined at birth but is chosen.  The little factoid called college educated youth “adolescent”.  I thought adolescence stopped when the “teens” stopped.  Now I am told that adulthood starts at 30.

Eugene Peterson wrote in a book called “The Contemplative Pastor”, that our generation shows it’s sinfulness by being adolescent and a-historical.  Adolescence means being  unrealistic and having misdirected expectations, impatience, a high degree of self centeredness, and a fragile ego.  To be a-historical means that anything from the past could not have any meaningful impact on today.  This ain’t your grandpas reality tunnel.

The rise of social media and internet obsession has created a crisis that some are calling the “social validation feedback loop”, which is, near as I can tell the idea that we only receive our validity as human beings by how many times we are friended on Facebook or retweeted on twitter.  I have images in my brain of a  pajama boy in his basement looking at his Twitter follow list and acting like Sally Field at the Oscars holding her trophy and crying and wailing, “you like me, you really like me”.

I am not sure what any of this means.  The deficiency of meaning seems to apply to anything anymore.  I marked in one of my notes a statement that I will have to find the author of someday.  In a rant about “kids these days”, he came to the conclusion that they are meaning deficient too, and that they will inherit from their parents a spiritual void and the bill from the card it was charged to.


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Important Stuff Happens Under Fruit Trees


Adam and Eve had some issues with fruit trees and the biggest disaster in history happened because of it.  Whatever the fruit was it caused the Fall and all the resulting craziness we experience everyday of our life.

William Stukeley, wrote a biography of Britain’s greatest scientist, entitled Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life.

He tells of having dinner with Newton after which they went into the garden and had tea and Stukeley wrote “Amid other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly the notion of gravitation came into his mind. Why sh[oul]d that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself; occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood.”

Newton was a bit off on gravity as Einstein showed but his ideas worked fine for a few hundred years.

Martin Luther was accosted by his superior in the garden in the courtyard of the cloister at Wittenberg and told that he had to begin preaching.  Under a pear tree, Luther argued and fought and told him that preaching would kill him, to which the supervisor responded that God had a lot of stuff to do and he needed smart people in heaven too.

Luther had a great effect on preaching.  He said a preacher should know how to get into the pulpit, know that he had to be there for a time, and know how to get out of it.  Amen

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When God Seems and Enemy

Romans 8:15-16New King James Version (NKJV)

15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Thinking of the statement that someone made that apart from Jesus it is hard to tell God from the devil.

Luther on this passage says,

“Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.

Fear does not say Abba, but rather it hates and flees from the Father as from an enemy and mutters against Him as a tyrant. For those people who are in the spirit of fear and not in the spirit of adoption do not taste how sweet the Lord is (cf. Ps. 34:8; 1 Peter 2:3), but rather He appears to them as harsh and hard, and in their heart they call Him a virtual tyrant, although with their mouth they call Him Father, just as that slave in the Gospel who when he had hidden his master’s money said to him: ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, etc.’ (Matt. 25:24).

Such are the people who are displeased that God accepts no man’s merits but has free mercy. Thus they say: ‘Thou has commanded the impossible, Thou hast not given grace but only knowledge; this I still have, and I give it back to you.’

Rather they ought to rejoice because He has not put our hope in ourselves but only in Himself, in His mercy. All who are of this mind are secretly saying in their hearts: ‘God acts in a tyrannical manner, He is not a Father, but an enemy,’ which is also true.

But they do not know that one must agree with this enemy and that thus, and only thus, He becomes a friend and a Father. For He will not come around to our way of thinking and be changed for us, so that we may become His friends and sons.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works: Lectures on Romans, Volume 25 (St. Louis: Concordia, 1972), 358-359.


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More Posts from Jerusalem.

Bob sent this post as well.  A post from Jerusalem – get it?  The name of the newspaper over there is the post …. ok.  Anyway he said this was some art work on a wall there.  He didn’t say which wall and I can’t imagine it would be “the Wall”, but I still think it is pretty cool.





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Greetings From Jerusalem

Bob Wurl one of the original Project 24 guys sent me this on my Birthday.  He is obviously near the wailing wall and there is the Dome of the Rock.  Nice Birthday card and have a safe trip Bob.



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Howl at the Sky

We were graced with some more of the left’s performance art view of life as anti-Trump protesters gathered in locales such as New York City’s Washington Square Park for an event urging attendees to “scream helplessly at the sky.”  It was interesting and annoying and proved that what many of us believe is probably true, that these folks are pagans.  Standing around in various spots in the country and howling at the sky at all the perceived injustices might be a fun diversion for an evening but to paraphrase my mother, ‘if you want to scream  and howl, I’ll give you something to scream and howl about”.

There is coming a time when there will not just be screaming and howling but weeping and gnashing of teeth

There are interesting picture of folks howling and screaming at the sky that come to us at this time of the church year.  When Christ appears at the end of the age and the great crack appears in the sky there will be howling and every eye shall see him that they have pierced.  The coming judgment produces howls and screams and moans and even cursing.

There are images of God’s judgment by enemy armies in the Old Testament that picture the enemy growling over the prey and howling in the spoils.

The picture from Revelation is most interesting.-

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [rescue] draws near” Luke 21:25

Someday when folks are howling at the sky out of fear, Christ folks look up and – praise.




Isaiah 5:30

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Thanks and God Bless

Friday marked the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and there were observances nationwide, both to celebrate the founding of America’s first marine force of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Marines, on November 10th, 1775, and to remember all the Marines throughout history who gave their lives defending America, our allies and countless victims of tyranny and oppression worldwide. (From Mike Huckabee)

Yesterday, November 11th was Veterans Day. Memorial Day is reserved for those veterans who died in the line of duty, but Veterans Day is a time to show appreciation for everyone who ever wore the uniform of the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, past and present.


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Some Clarification Please

I don’t know why I do it but I still think that it may be possible to get up and have a cup of coffee and get some news without being insulted or having my intelligence abused or just getting frustrated.

Question:  I am sure that Republicans would have loved to have won the race in Virginia although the guy running, Gillespie, seemed to wonder why he was even in the race.  Virginia was won by Hillary.  Virginia has never been Trump country and never will be some pundit said and then proceeded to report the loss as a loss for Trump.  The reaction to Gillespie losing the race in a State that Hillary won and then acting like it is a referendum on Trump is fascinating.  Presidential coattails only go so far but lousy candidates trip on their own.  The press still cannot identify bad candidates.

I found it touching to watch the images of little Chinese girls dancing and singing and waving the American flag.  Having some sour puss on the news comment that it was a “staged event” while forgetting that NFL games and the protests that take place there are also “staged events”.

There is a certain caucus in Congress that is bent on impeaching the President before Christmas.  Their reason is the usual laundry list of “isms”, many of which they could not define or explain.  A commentator, Mark Stein, brought a bit of light into the morning gloom today by actually making me laugh out loud.

I had forgotten all about Advent calendars.   If you don’t remember them they were a wonderful way to countdown to Christmas.  The calendar was  a picture and everyday was a panel that could be opened and there was a picture inside.  The panel on December 25 was the child Jesus in the manger.  Other panels could be Bible verses or whatever.  I thought people had forgotten those calendars.  Mark Stein said that he can imagine an impeachment calendar an each panel would be one of the “isms”  December 1, ethnocentrism.  2.  sexism, 3. homophobism, 4. racism  – you get the point.   Not so funny really but nice to know that someone remembered those calendars.

Has anyone heard anything more about the Las Vegas shooter?  Fascinating the silence.  One thing we do know was the FBI said the guy had no connections to ISIS within three hours of the shootings.  Strange.  It has been over a year and the FBI still cannot tell us about Russian collusion.

We are told that for the average US taxpayer to get a whopping $1200 dollar reduction in their taxes the congress has to find a way to “pay for it”.  The implication is that the government cannot afford to cut anything.  At the same time we are told that there are 17 intelligence agencies in the US Government and none of them after a year can tell us if there was Russian Collusion, what was in Hillary’s emails, what really happened in Benghazi, or what happened on the tarmac between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch.

We were told after the last Presidential election that data was dead and polls were meaningless.  Why are we still hearing about them?

I spend a lot of time worrying about missionaries.  There are things that happen in the interior politics and natural order in other countries that effect our missionaries safety and health.  It would be nice to get some news about other countries.  My Kenyan friends are much more aware of what goes on around the world than we are here.  They are voracious readers of newspapers.  They don’t get their info from Facebook or twitter but from actual newspapers who have real reporters not commentators disguised as newsmen.  I am doing a countdown to see how long it will take to be informed here that the Black Death is back in Africa and it is airborne.  We may not hear about it for a long time until someone figures out a way to blame it on Trump.








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