Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And Deeper Still . . .

Building on this post ("A Little Deeper") of a few days ago . . .

As I was working on one of my presentations for the Higher Things conference next week, it occurred to me that replacing creation with evolution also means that your value is also constantly evolving. What are you worth? What is your value?

creation (physical) - God's careful plan, meaningful, purposeful
new creation (spiritual) - carefully redeemed (re-created) by God's Son, who trades His life for yours!
All God, all gift. Unchanging, steady, reliable.

evolution (physical) - gradual, self-guided process, survival of the fittest
your value - gradual, society-guided process, survival of the fittest
                       whatever is valued by the world at the time
All man, all our doing. Constantly changing.

So years ago, the elderly were honored and revered. Now, just in the way and use up health care dollars.
Years ago, teachers important. Now, athletes.
Years ago, a beautiful woman meant meat on the bones, curves, shapeliness. Now, extreme thinness is considered beauty by many.

And these are constantly shifting, changing, elusive. So if your value, worth, and self-esteem come from the world, you're chasing after the wind. But if your value, worth, and self-esteem come from God and the fact that you are worth the life of His Son, that's something you can count on.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pure Goofiness


And yes, this is real! Here's the link to the whole story.


No, not mine! I still have a ways to go. My son graduated high school yesterday, which I guess makes me officially old! ;-) I'll (hopefully) post a short video of him receiving his diploma soon, but for now, here's a picture of the graduate with Pa and Ma Peasant.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Little Deeper . . .

Yesterday in my sermon I mentioned how when God created everything in the beginning, He spoke - or preached - to the formless and void creation and ordered it. In the New Testament, Paul uses the term "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17) to describe what we are in Christ. This is not novel. The foundation of the New Testament is the Old Testament and when you hear the New Testament you should hear echoes of the Old ringing in your ears. Another example is when Jesus talks about His resurrections as "the sign of Jonah."

Those, therefore, who deny the validity and truthfulness of the Old Testament are impacting the New also. If no creation, then no "new" creation. If no Jonah, then no "sign of Jonah." If no first Adam, then no second Adam. And there's lots more examples that could be listed here.

But it occurred to me yesterday to then take this a little deeper . . .  Those who deny creation usually do so in favor of evolution of one sort or another. But in addition to "no creation, no new creation," what other impact could this substitution have on theology? If creation is really evolution, then by extension is "new creation" really evolutionary as well? Follow along:

creation (physical) -> God speaks and it is so
new creation (spiritual) -> God speaks and it is so
All God, all gift.

evolution (physical) -> gradual, self-guided process, survival of the fittest
spirituality -> gradual, self-guided process
                       decisions, progress, morality, survival of the fittest
All man, all our doing.

What do you think? Does this pattern hold? What other ramifications could there be?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Us three kids got my father this elevated garden so he could still get out and plant and dig as he used to and always so enjoyed. We actually gave it to him a couple weeks ago when it arrived so he could start planting. Gotta love the big cheesy grin he gave us for this picture!

There's so much I remember of being his son. Good times and rough times. I remember how in the morning I would come down to get ready for school and I would find him in his chair with his Bible open on his lap, praying. I remember how he was down to his last $250 sending me to college - of course, he wouldn't tell me that and I didn't know it until much later. I remember his service at church in so many offices and roles. I remember disappointing him but also making him proud. I remember the two weeks I spent with him after mom died. But through it all God worked, by grace, all by grace, to get us where we are today.

I am happy he is living with us now and I can help take care of him for however much longer God will give him to us. It's hard for him and at times for us, but what a blessing and a privilege. Happy Father's Day dad!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Well, I spent all day yesterday (except for taking my father for a hair cut and a quick lunch) working on the rebuild of the sermon archive on the church web site. Last year when our web site suddenly disappeared, so did all the sermon files. So I have had to take them all, one by one, and convert them into posting format and upload them to the site. I was doing well but when the Lent and Easter seasons hit, I got too busy and didn't get back to it. So now, I believe I have the entire Pentecost archive completed - at least, mostly. There are probably a few broken links that will need attention and I still have to upload a lot of audio files, but most of the text files should be in place. The next step is testing all the links and finding out which ones are broken and how to fix them. But with this, the archive is almost complete! I still have to do the Easter season and the special sermons - but Pentecost was the biggie! And now I also have all these files in the cloud as well as on the web site, so should this ever happen again, I am prepared!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Sometimes you just don't have a good day. That was true for me today. Not sure why. Maybe just the end of a long week. Here's hoping next Sunday is better . . .

Sad also about the Pope's "prayer meeting," praying with those who deny the divinity of Jesus and that He is Saviour and that there are other ways to salvation. Difficult to present the Gospel with clarity with stuff like this out there.

One good thing: took a nap this afternoon. That felt good! :-)

UPDATE: The Mormons came by after dinner. I should just go to bed . . .

Saturday, June 7, 2014


On Thursday, the sale on my father's house closed. The old homestead is sold. It really wasn't in very good shape. My father had been unable to take care of it for the last number of years and it needs a lot of major work. We were fortunate to find a buyer willing to buy it "as is, where is" without having to put it on the market. Also, after he guts it and fixes it up he is going to move in - he's not going to flip it. That was important to my Dad. He wanted to find a good neighbor for the guy he shares a driveway with.

It will be strange not having a house in Philadelphia to stay in anymore. It was the perfect halfway stopping point to my sister in Connecticut. But we'll also no longer have to worry about getting the grass cut and the utilities paid. Lots of good memories there: tree climbing, ball playing, dog chasing, and much more. May the man who bought it and will live it be as blessed as we were there.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Great Headline!

A friend of mine showed me this newspaper headline this week. You can't make this stuff up. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The "S" Word

Here's what I wrote for my newsletter article in our latest issue:

A New Way to Think About
the “S” Word

I was asked to attend the LCMS Stewardship conference that was recently held in St. Louis. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but since the synod was offering to pay for it, I decided to give it a try and hear what they had to say.

For many people (myself included), stewardship is a topic that we’d really rather not talk about or think about. At least, not very much or in polite company! Too often I have been bashed over the head with the Law by well-intentioned folks trying to talk about stewardship. Too often it has been co-opted as a chance to beg for money. Too often, the same tired old phrases are trotted out and my eyes glaze over and my head goes numb . . .

There was some of that in this conference as well, and my eyes did glaze over and my mind go numb a little! But one presenter also offered a new way to approach thinking about this that was quite refreshing to me. He linked this topic to sanctification and living in your vocations with the terms presence and support. Let me explain:

In our lives, all of us live in what Luther called the “three realms:” the home, the church, and society. And within each of those realms, we have callings, or vocations - places or stations in life where God has put us to do good and receive good from others. So in the home, that would include father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister. In society that would include worker, student, neighbor, friend, citizen, soldier, and many more. And in the church we have the vocation of “Christian” in our local congregation, in our synod, and in the global church. We all have many, many callings, or vocations, in life. So far, so good.

So, he said, in each of those vocations, we have the duty of presence and support. What does that mean? Well, it’s really not very complicated! Presence, of course, means simply to be there. Be there for the people around you who need you. And support means to help them in whatever ways you are able.

Now think about how that would work in your home, in your family. Be there for one another and support one another.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Yet how often is not even this done?What would that mean for your callings in society? How can you be there for others and support them? What would that look like? And then finally for the church - be there and help and support as you are able.

There is nothing complicated about that! And each person can think about what that means for them depending on their age and abilities. And sometimes the two even go together - you help and support just by being there for someone, just by visiting, just by being in church. Just by doing that, you are being God’s blessing to your fellow Christians. 

Presence and support. A new way (for me, at least) to think about the “S” word. To think about what I do and why I do it. To think about how I can live the life God has so graciously given me among the people He has so graciously given me with the gifts He has so graciously given me. 

What about you? How can you be there for someone? How can you support them? And how are they God’s blessing to you in these ways? Presence and support. Seems like a pretty natural - and not forced! - way of life. Yes, even of stewarding the life God has so graciously given you. Think about it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Baptism is Bigger Than You Think

If you had to name the three biggest feasts in the Church year, I think there would be little argument - they are Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.

Don't know why, but it occurred to me today that Baptism is linked to all three.

Christmas is the incarnation of the Son of God as a son of man; in Holy Baptism we sons of men are made sons of God. He is born here below, we are born from above (John 3:3).

Easter is the resurrection of our Lord; in Holy Baptism the old Adam in us is drowned and a new man raised up. Or as Paul puts it in Romans (6:5): in Holy Baptism, we are joined to Christ in His death and resurrection.

Pentecost is the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church; in Holy Baptism the Spirit is given to us through water and the Word (Acts 2:38).

So perhaps we could say that Holy Baptism gives us the whole Christ - from birth to resurrection to the sending of His Spirit. Or as Luther put it: "Therefore, Baptism is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and whatever other terms we can find to praise it. This is all because of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, which no one can praise enough. For it has, and is able to do, all that God is and can do." (Large Catechism)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why I Don't Trust the Dealer

So I have a recall repair for my Toyota van. I take it to the dealer and figure while it is there, I will have them look at something else as well. The switch that controls the power side view mirrors fell back into the dashboard. So I ask them to pull it out and give me an estimate to remount it. They tell me they cannot remount it - something is broken and they will need to buy a whole new switch at a cost of approximately $200. Well, just leave it hanging outside the dash, I said. At least I can use it that way. They still changed me $35 for that!

So another week or so later, I take the van in to my usual mechanic for an oil change and for him to check something else out. When I go back at the end of the day to pick it up, lo and behold, even though I did not ask him to do it, the switch is remounted in the dash! And for no charge. So, that is why I do not trust anything my Toyota dealer says to me. Sad.