Monday, August 31, 2009

one doctor's observation

As Congress and the people consider restructuring the American healthcare system, they must keep in mind that rationing health care may not be undeniable, but it is unavoidable. To claim that Congress will devise a new federal healthcare plan that will not involve rationing is like claiming that it will invent a triangle that doesn’t have three sides. Currently, within the private sector of health care, we have a large number of private insurance companies vying for the business of their customers. They ration health care on the basis of evidence-based medical necessity. The Obama health plan, the details of which are still being worked out, will also ration health care. The alternative to that is an accelerated escalation of aggregate healthcare costs. But the single-payer system to which Obama’s plan will lead will have no competitor and no pressing financial incentive to please its customers. No competitor for the single payer means no alternative for the patient. We can reasonably expect that a single-payer system of rationing will be largely implicit rather than explicit, and governed as much by cost and political considerations as by medical evidence. Such a system would likely combine the fiscal responsibility of the Postal Service, the customer friendliness of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the smooth efficiency of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

You can bet your life on it.

Eric Chevlen, M.D., is a medical oncologist in Youngstown, Ohio.

13th Sunday after Pentecost

+ Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost +
August 30 2009
Deuteronomy 4:9
Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.
Make them known to your children and your children's children—
 The malady: We forget what we have seen and heard and consequently God’s Word and Spirit departs from our hearts.
Introduction: “Don’t Give up on the Child of God. He’ll be there when the battle is over. He will make it through the storm, find his way through the darkest night. Don’t give up on the child of God. He’s the one whom God is keeping. Don’t give up on the child of God.”
As those who receive God’s strength and spiritual armor, we can not only stay in the race but cross the finish line as faithful servants.
1. God’s Word is our only life assignment
a. Listen to them, do not add or subtract, keep them and do them.
b. Make them known to your children and your children’s children
2. God’s Word is our only source of strength and protection
a. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood
b. Only safe way to use the Word of God is by praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
3. God’s Word is our only heart cleanser
a. We are obsessed with externals, with religion
b. The Word of God can enter and cleanse our hearts

Friday, August 28, 2009


"Hell was not created by God, but by His creatures and their refusal of His love; and that God equally loves those in hell, but His love is inoperative where it is rejected" (St. Isaac the Syrian.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

full communion?

And while the resolution allowing for homosexual ministers in the ELCA passed by a relatively slim margin (559-451), the resolution concerning fellowship with the Methodist Church passed by an amazing 958-51 vote.

First of all, what is “full communion”? According to an ELCA news release, it is defined this way:

Full communion is not a merger. But it means that the two churches express a common confession of Christian faith; mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing Holy Communion; join worship and freedom to exchange members; agree to mutual recognition of ordained ministers for service in either church; express a common commitment to evangelism, witness and service; engage in common decision-making on critical matters; and a mutual lifting of criticisms that may exist between the churches.

Starting with the issue discussed above, that of practicing homosexual ministers, one is surprised to read this statement: “mutual recognition of ordained ministers for service in either church.” Now, the UMC’s official position still is this:

While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.

Good for the UMC!

believers need the law

the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration VI:

For this reason, too, believers require the teaching of the law: so that they do not fall back on their own holiness and piety and under the appearance of God’s Spirit establish their own service to God on the basis of their own choice, without God’s Word or command. As it is written in Deuteronomy 12[:8,28,32], “You shall not actall of us according to our own desires,” but “listen to the commands and laws which I command you,” and “you shall not add to them nor take anything form them.” Furthermore believers also require the teaching of the law regarding their good works, for otherwise people can easily imagine that their works and life are completely pure and perfect [FC-SD VI, 20,21].

Sunday, August 23, 2009

we condemn

"they (these controversies)are of such a nature that the positions of the erring party, neither could nor should be tolerated in the church of God, much less be excused or defended." (Quoted from the Lutheran Confessions by Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, speaking at the church wide assembly in Minneapolis on 8/22/09).
Sadly, our SP did not apply these convicting sentiments directly to the apostasy of the ELCA this past week. How unlike our unapologetic and politically incorrect Lord Jesus in today's Gospel, confronting those who "make void the Word of God for the sake of their tradition."

Friday, August 21, 2009

praying for our children

“Pray and then speak. That’s what to do with your children. If you are constantly lecturing them, you’ll become tiresome and when they grow up they’ll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts. That is, you shouldn’t give guidance to your children with a voice that they hear with their ears. You may do this too, but above all you should speak to God about your children. Say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I entrust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please, illuminate them.’ And God will speak to them and they will say to themselves, ‘Oh dear, I shouldn’t have upset Mummy by doing that!’ And with the grace of God this will come from their heart.” He also said, “It is not sufficient for the parents to be devout. They mustn’t oppress the children to make them good by force. We may repel our children from Christ when we pursue the things of our religion with egotism.”

Wounded By Love by Elder Porphyrios

Thursday, August 20, 2009

mere christianity

"The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether...If you do not think you are conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed." (C.S. Lewis)

Friday, August 14, 2009

worshipconcord journal

The Worship Narrative

What is this narrative?

We come from our daily lives into the presence of the Triune God with praise.
But in that presence we are aware of our utter unworthiness because of our sin, leading us to confess our sin and our sinfulness.
God, however, answers our confession with His word of absolution, the verbal Gospel.
We respond to this forgiveness and grace of our saving God by praising Him.
Our relationship with God restored, He teaches us so that His Word might shape us more and more into His image. He teaches us through the Word of Scripture itself, and the Word of Scripture explained and applied in the sermon.
We respond to this Word by confessing our faith in Him, lifting our prayers to Him and offering our lives to Him, represented in our financial offerings.
Then He invites us in closer, through the veil, into the Holy of Holies, with a foot in heaven itself as we gather around the table. Here we are drawn into Christ’s own narrative, brought into the upper room as the narrative of the Last Supper is recited. And here the Gospel comes to us again, this time the Gospel as bread and wine, body and blood.
Forgiven, renewed, and strengthened, we are blessed and sent back out into the world to bear His image as His disciples, to take His narrative into the narratives of our lives.

into the darkness

The journey of Moses into God's presence is an apt symbol for the odd progress in our spiritual life; the progress takes us through the darkness father than from the darkness into the light of God. As we mature in faith, we move away from pride in ourselves and our own achievments to a gradual awareness of our spiritual failure and Christ's work in us as we entrust ourselves to Him. We move away from the conviction that we are self-sufficient to the repeated experience of spiritual bankruptcy. We move on from delusions of our spiritaul importance to a growing sense of our utter insignificance and the glory of God. We move on from delight in our own power to the painful recognition of our spiritual weakness....Christ fills our emptiness and justifies us by grace. (From Grace Upon Grace: spirituality for today by John Kleinig)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

out of touch?

Detroit, Mich. - Michigan just experienced its coldest July on record; global temperatures haven't risen in more than a decade; Great Lakes water levels have resumed their 30-year cyclical rise (contrary to a decade of media scare stories that they were drying up due to global warming), and polls show that climate change doesn't even make a list of Michigan voters' top-ten concerns.

Yet in an interview with the Detroit News Monday, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) - recently appointed to the Senate Energy Committee - made clear that fighting the climate crisis is her top priority.

"Climate change is very real," she confessed as she embraced cap and trade's massive tax increase on Michigan industry - at the same time claiming, against all the evidence, that it would not lead to an increase in manufacturing costs or energy prices. "Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes."

And there are sea monsters in Lake Michigan. I can feel them when I'm boating.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

keep fanning

Fan Into Flame! – the Ablaze! campaign to raise $100 million by 2010 – had raised only $14.9 million in cash by the end of fiscal 2008. But fundraising costs totaled over $10 million, meaning that the entire campaign has cleared less than $5 million – in four years!

Of the $10 million in fundraising costs, a whopping $5.3 million was spent on fundraising consultants in the last three years alone. This despite the fact that Fan Into Flame! has its own large staff and fundraisers at LCMS headquarters.

Domestic Ablaze! funds have been given to dozens of churches that hide their Lutheran identity – not even including the word Lutheran in their name. One Ablaze!-funded church ran a sermon series during Lent on the topic of improving your sex life. Another ran billboards purporting to come from Satan with the phrase “Jefferson Hills Church Sucks.” One district gave Ablaze! Funds to start a Cub Scout troop, even though no religious outreach can take place in troop meetings. Ablaze! funds have even gone to churches that have been denied membership in Synod for failing to meet basic standards.


A top-heavy ratio of over two St. Louis bureaucrats for every one missionary in the field. As of August 2008, the LCMS has only 29 pastors serving as foreign missionaries and 67 World Mission staff members sitting in St. Louis headquarters. The number of bureaucrats in St. Louis has more than doubled since Ablaze! began while the number of career missionaries has declined.

Pastors who serve as foreign missionaries are required to raise some 85 percent of their own expenses. In some cases this amounts to more than $100,000 each year – a difficult feat while serving remote lands. The LCMS only picks up 15 percent of the costs. New missionaries now have to collect 100 percent of their operating expenses.

Overhead for LCMS World Mission is reported to range as high as 65 percent, depending on the mission field. According to the Better Business Bureau, a charity should spend no more than 35% on fundraising.

Synod priorities and resources are skewed. While the number of actual pastors to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments in the field declines, the number of laypeople sent on week-long “missionary tourism” trips has skyrocketed to over 500 each year.

happy transfiguration

In honor of the vast majority of Christendom celebrating the Transfiguration of our Lord today, this quote from Fr. Richard Veras:
The love of the Father is the origin and goal of everything. It was dependence upon the Father that brought us Jesus in the flesh to reveal to us the Father's love. I can depend upon the Father by depending upon Jesus present in the flesh of his Church and in the flesh of that part orf the Church in which the Father's love reaches me.

sadness of separation

If we fear the grave as little as our bed, because we know that Christ is risen indeed, then we shall not fear nor flee the sorrow of separation, either, but rejoice in the communion of saints and the great cloud of witnesses with which we are ever surrounded: from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
Posted by Rev. Rick Stuckwisch

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Three Dollars

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. -- Wilbur Rees (From Voice of the Martyrs, August 2009)