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Evaluation’s part 2

This is Kissinger and James Wolf.  Many of you hosted James as he got ready to deploy.  He is doing well and word from the field is that he is busy and working all across East Africa.  His newsletter can down loaded and applied for at the LCMS website.  Please pray for these gentleman as they continue to work on our behave for mission and ministry with our partners all over Africa.

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Magnificent Evaluations

I was at the Board of International Missions meeting last week.  We heard many reports and called some missionaries.  I also had a chance to meet with a few folks back from Africa and I always ask about the Project 24 progress since we have all kinds of interests and connections.  Over and over again I hear about John Kissinger Nyang’au and his hard work and dedication.

One of the folks said that he is almost like three people.  He seems to be everywhere making sure that there is responsibility and accountability and that everything is done decently and in order.  He is much appreciated by all who know him.  Those of us who care about Project 24 believe that we are in good hands.





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Falling to Pieces

One of the grand old gentleman of our church body was Norman Nagel.  He talked a lot about things falling to pieces in relationship to ourselves and to God.

“When we throw ourselves against God, it is not God that falls to pieces. “In pieces” rightly describes our society and the people in it. Instead of wholeness, we have pieces, and particular pieces are picked up and treated as if they were wholes. Christ came to put the pieces together. They can’t stick together until they have been washed. Forgiveness washes clean and puts together, just as sin divides, separates, and shatters. Separation number one is from God, separation number two is from others, and separation number three is the going to pieces of a person.”

Meditations on that Biblical truth will be the theme of Lenten Devotions at Zion English Lutheran Church in Grafton and Trinity Lutheran Church is Drayton. The meditations are every Wednesday night beginning February 14th which is Ash Wednesday. There will be the impositions of Ashes and Communion. Services after that will be short meditations based on the theme, “Falling to Pieces”. Every Wednesday night from February 14th until March 24 will be a Lenten meditation. These are short, contemplative, quiet, services that are meant to allow Jesus to put us together again.


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Roland Bainton on Luther’s Preaching

“On Saturday, he wrote what he intended to say. On Sunday, his students took down what he did say. And on Monday, he wrote out what he wished he’d said.”  That is how Roland Bainton described Martin Luther’s preaching,  Luther preached by what some have called “conzepts”.  They were brief noted that he would expand upon and explicate in simple and profound ways.  One day a sermon might go one direction and another day a completely different direction.  Luther used a text and wrung every drop of meaning out of it.  He wanted it done simple and understandably.

Preaching simply and efficiently is not easy.  One has to include in getting ready for preaching your own foibles and issues, the congregations issues and foibles and the general drift of humanity.  What might be a comforting and hopeful sermon to one can be an offensive harangue to someone else.  And then as Luther says, “the defects of a preacher are soon spied. Let him be endued with ten virtues, and have but one fault, and that one fault will eclipse and darken all his virtues and gifts, so evil is the world in these times.”


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Living On a Different Planet

A very famous person said not long ago, that if you listened to certain news outlets you are living on a different planet and no truer words have ever been spoken.  There is a planet on which you could keep your Doctor if you liked him/her, even though you couldn’t and your health premiums would go down except they didn’t.  There is a planet on which if you allow lunatics to get nuclear weapons you will be safe, but if anyone makes jokes about the lunatics the world might end.  There is a planet where thinking of firing someone might be obstruction of justice but where the weaponization of the IRS is no big deal.  There is a planet where talking about things is a sin but actually doing those things is protected.  There is a planet where the protectors of society are lampooned and detested, and those who corrupt society are hailed as heros.  There really are two different planets.  What is frightening is that those two different planets are in the same space.

Children are taught early on that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

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Evening Prayer


It was my privilege to lead worship for the Board of International Missions on Thursday night.  Here  is a picture of the cross and the altar and the Saint Louis dark in the background.  We used Evening Prayer” out of LSB.  It begins with a song – “Joyous Light of Glory”.  We sing this at the setting of the Sun and we pray that God would guard and keep us as the earth spins around until sunrise and we begin again.  There is a hymn I love that always brings tears to my eyes.  I think of it often at eventide.

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

As the Board for International Missions meets we think about these things.  The church gathered around the world never sleeps, always prays and always praises, and we seek to extend that church to every tribe and tongue and nation.





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Chepulis, the Chasuble, and Webmaster Mariel

Rev. Mark Chepulis is the Pastor of Our Saviors in Cavalier and St. Paul’s in St. Thomas and Redeemer in Langdon ND.  He was also the chaplain at our convention and organized the worship and devotional services.  He did a fine job.  Great music played by Rev. Daenzer who played the Rogers organ.  On the right running the video is webmaster Marie.  She filmed and live streamed the convention.  She is also responsible for the District website and she is the administrator of this site as well.  Marie Johnson is also the grand – daughter of Rev. Victor Tegtmeier who served as the Chaplain at the All Faith’s Chapel in Grafton for many years.

Anyway back to the chasuble.  It was originally a traveling garment in the late Roman Empire and means a “little house”.  It evolved into the primary garment worn to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Pastor Chepulis has an explanation of all the vestments as a part of the worship folder that was really helpful.  Thanks to all these folks for all the hard work.








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Phantom Speeches and Phantom Opinion and the State of the Union.

Today on the “news” I hear something truly bizarre.  College students were asked what they thought of the Presidents State of the Union.  Of course these glittering gems of American education generally berated the speech and all the terrible things the President had said.  The only issue is that the speech doesn’t take place until tonight.

We are also being treated to folks who should know better discussing whether or not “thinking” about firing someone is and obstruction of justice.  Remember these folks were educated in the same institutions where folks listen to phantom State of the Union speeches.

It has become apparent over the last few years that the so-called “news” is not really a reporting of facts that have taken place, but a kind a crystal ball into which people appear to try to figure out what will take place. Rather than waiting to actually listen to the President’s State of the Union address we are greeted with questions about what we can expect to be said at the State of the Union address. It is also extremely apparent that the media, rather than being a reporter of news is trying to shape our notion of reality. The other day I was told that I should not listen to my uncles and my dad and my grandpa about their opinion of the NFL and the protests that many people believe has caused the league to lose revenue, viewership, and fans. Well I haven’t been listening to any folks like that but I have been listening to younger people. I haven’t met any at the think the protests are a good thing, in fact many of the people that I listen to tell me that if they are going to watch a game they tune in after the anthem. Many folks that I have talked to refuse to listen to sports radio anymore because they said “we don’t get any sporting news we get political commentary”. Instead of hearing people talk about how the Patriots can pick up the blitz, we are treated the commentary about whether or not Bob Craft is a racist or if Tom Brady will go to the White House if they win another Super Bowl.  The last safe place the average American had to escape politics was the football field. That safe space is gone and rather than being angry like uncles and grandpas might be, the middle aged and the young among us are simply sad.  Maybe these folks need to go to an institution of higher learning and listen to phantom games and phantom commentary that appeal to them.

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Jesus spoke as one who had authority Mark records in his Gospel. We have a lot of people today who are authorities on just about everything. Authority in our world is someone who has an opinion because your opinion is just valuable as mine. “Free speech” makes everybody an authority whether they know anything about the subject matter or not. Authority also means the ability to act freely in such a way that others are bound to follow you or heed what you say. Jesus spoke with authority because he wasn’t just spouting off his opinion, but he was bringing in the words of
his Father. The Word that created the world was speaking to the world.  He has authority because all things were made through Him and for Him and because all things fit together in him, and all things will finally be brought under his Lordship. All through his ministry Jesus was asked “by what authority to you do these things?” The sneaking suspicion that Jesus did have the authority to do what he did and say what he said because he was the Messiah is the essential problem that faced the people of Jesus day. It is the essential problem in our day as well. Either Jesus is who he says he is, or he’s the greatest liar the world is ever known.  C.S. Lewis said Jesus is either a liar or a lunatic or he is who he says he is.

Jesus showed His authority over the demons.  He basically told them to be quiet and stop doing whatever nefarious things they were doing and they obeyed.   Jesus shows His ultimate authority on the cross where He died to take away sins.  When he said “it is finished” the devil has to shut up for good.  He can no longer accuse us because our sins are gone.  He has to be quiet because his time is over.  You get to talk, and praise, and witness to the Christ whose authority freed you.


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Tammi and Kay

Kaye (without the e) has served on various Boards and Commissions over the years and was elected at this convention to be a member of the ND District Board of Directors.  Congratulations.  Kay was also the national President for the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.  Kaye is on the left.

Tammi Ulland was recently chosen to be the business manager for the North Dakota District.  This was her first convention and I cannot imagine what it entails to get a convention up and running and organized and keep track of whether I am wearing my voting badge or not.  Congratulations Tammi on a job well done.  You did the voting badge thing so well I took mine home.









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