The Pastor Challenge

The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Monday, September 22, 2014

Two Things

Two rather eyebrow raising things for you this morning . . .

#1: The front page, front and center, above the fold, prime location, lead story of the Washington Post Sunday paper yesterday: "When No Gender Fits." Really? With all that's going on in our country and world, that's the story you lead with? C'mon!

#2: In our study of the book of Romans (chapter 1) last week, we came across this passage:
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

What surprised us in that right in the midst of that lengthy list of sins was "disobedient to parents!" How lightly we take that in our day and age. It's almost seen as natural. Teenage angst. Part of growing up. No it's not! God includes it here as part of this list of serious sins. Maybe we should think about that a little more . . .

Friday, September 19, 2014

An Early Description of Christian Life

In reading for my exams I came across this quote, an early description of Christians living in this world in "an amazing and unexpected" character and paradox (a kind of "being in the world but not of the world"):
"They are at home in their own countries, but as sojourners. They participate in all things as citizens and they endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign country is their homeland and every homeland is a foreign country."  (Epistle to Diognetus 5:4-5)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

For You

Jesus died. That's history.
Jesus died for our sins. That's doctrine.
Jesus died for ME. That's the Gospel.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No Favorites

I received a very good piece of advice from the recently retired Kantor Resch when I was at seminary. He said, "do not talk about or take into account favorites." Favorite hymns, favorite liturgies, favorite anything. Do everything in the Church based on the Word and the Word alone.

This avoids a lot of potential problems. Whenever anyone asks "why don't we sing my favorite hymn?" I simply respond: I do not pick hymns because of likes or dislikes, but because of the Word. The hymns that best fit the readings and theme of the day is what we sing. (Note: Sometimes there are hymns that fit well and sometimes not, but that is the goal! To have all that is spoken and sung unite in a common confession of the Word that day.)

This is also true for our liturgy. I have some folks whose favorite liturgy is Divine Service 3, some like Divine Service 4, and my organists absolutely hate Divine Service 2! (They tell me it is the most difficult to play.) Fine. We do them all over the course of a year, rotating seasonally. Why? Well, I recognize there is benefit in using only one liturgy and getting to know it well, but I also want my people exposed to as much of the hymnal and liturgies as possible. That way, when they travel or move to another place and attend another church, they will feel at home with whatever liturgy the church is using that day. They've done it and know it. That is a great benefit.

Do I have favorite hymns? Sure I do! But I won't tell you what they are. (I have too many anyway!) But I do not pick my favorites, or anyone else's, just because they are favorites. All in service of the Word and the Word alone.