Monday, November 30, 2009

happy new year

+ First Sunday in Advent +
29 November 2009
Ready for His Coming

" that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints."
We can be ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus by welcoming Him as He chooses to come to us with His gifts of humility and love.

1. Ready for His Coming by Humility
a. Christ humbled himself and became obedient even unto death
b. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

2. Ready for His Coming by Love
a. God will fulfill the promise He has made; Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely
b. Increase and abound in love for one another and for all

3. Ready for His coming by welcoming Him as he chooses to come to us
a. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!
b. Word and water, bread and wine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

renewal through the Word

“Others would heal Joseph’s wounds with tighter church governance. They say, if our presidents, visitors, and commissions had more authority, if they could prescribe things to congregations and the congregations had to obey, then life would be brought to those dead bones. Without question, if such a yoke were laid upon the necks of the children, many external works would be produced. Indeed, it wouldn’t even be that difficult to get the money to begin flowing. But that would in no way elevate spiritual life. In fact, it would suffer a terrible retrogression. The Gospel tolerates no hierarchy.”

– Friedrich Pfotenhauer, “Revitalization of the Synod Shall Come from Neither Missions nor More Synodical Power: The Word is the Only Remedy,” 1936

Christ the King

+ Christ the King +
22 November 2009
A Kingdom Treasure of Love and Freedom
The time has come for us to get over our problem with Commitment! Commitment is part
and parcel of who we are as human beings made in the image and likeness of God our Almighty Father and Creator. We see it in smaller ways such as the commitments made by some college students to attend chapel a certain number of times each semester, or in the cadets at a military academy who commit to the following: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Upon entering the estate of holy matrimony, husbands and wives commit to be faithful to each other for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish until we are parted by death. The founding fathers of our sometime republic ventured to commit themselves thus: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. It’s past time for us to get over our problem with commitment!
Our problem with commitment stems from our forgetfulness that we are made in the image and likeness of God and from not fully hearing the Gospel of God’s radical commitment to us poor sinners.
Christ Jesus our crucified and risen King gives us a kingdom treasure of freedom and love that we offer back to His glory alone.

1. Christ the King loves us like an ocean without a bottom or a shore
a. The commitment of God’s love for us –The Word became flesh and dwelt among us!
b. Mary models commitment for all believers: “Be it done for me according to Thy Word.” What does the Word say about money?
2. Christ the King freed us from our sins by His blood.
a. The commitment of His shed blood that breaks the power of sin and death
b. Our commitment to pay the price of preserving and extending freedom: “Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice…the truth shall set you free.”
We give so that others may hear His voice!
3. Christ the King made of us a Kingdom and priests unto His God and Father.
a. Jesus gives us His Kingdom treasure of love and truth, the presence of God
b. One of the ways we seek first his Kingdom is by giving back to God the tenth.
This Christ calls to Himself all sinners and promises them rest, and He is in earnest [seriously wills] that all men should come to Him and suffer themselves to be helped, to whom He offers Himself in His Word, and wishes them to hear it and not to stop their ears or [neglect and] despise the Word. Moreover, He promises the power and working of the Holy Ghost, and divine assistance for perseverance and eternal salvation [that we may remain steadfast in the faith and attain eternal salvation].

thankful for

Things we have to be thankful for Things we DON’T HAVE to be thankful for
Adoption Abandoned
Blessed Broken
Creation Condemned
Doctrine Doubt
Eternity Emptiness
Faith Foolishness
Generosity Guilt
Hope Hardness
Invitation Infirmity
Jesus Judgment
Kingdom Kindled
Love Lost
Marriage Mocker
New Night
Opportunity Overthrown
Peace Perish
Quiet Quarrel
Rejoice Rejected
Spirit Sin
Truth Trouble
Understanding Unclean
Virgin Vanity
Word Wickedness
XL Xenophbia
Yoke Yesterday
Zion Zedekiah

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baltic Bishops Rock!

At the present time a common witness of churches is vitally important, therefore we express our
deepest concern about modern tendencies that weaken the fellowship among Christians and cause
divisions in and among churches. The recent decisions made by some member churches of the
Lutheran World Federation to approve of religious matrimony for couples of the same gender and
to equate such conjugal life with marriage or to ordain non celibate homosexual persons for pastoral
or episcopal office epitomize these tendencies that are tearing apart fellowhip among Christians. We
affirm that the marriage is the conjugal life between a man and a woman and that a homosexual
activity is incompatible with the discipleship of Christ. We believe that in following the modern
trends, churches are departing from the apostolic doctrine of human sexuality and marriage. We see
the Lutheran communion and eccumenical efforts endangered by such decisions and actions
because they lead to a situation where the Lutheran churches, members of the Lutheran World
Federation are not able to fully recognize each others ecclesiastical offices, to exchange the
ministries and to participate together in preaching the Word and celebrating the sacraments.

We call upon our Lutheran sisters and brothers to unity and co-operation based upon the foundation
of Holy Scripture and loyalty to the Lutheran confessions. Contemporary challenges demand a
firm stand based upon timeless truths and values. The common understanding of the Gospel by
churches is a treasure we cannot afford to lose and it needs to be passed on to the current and future
generations. Our mission is to be faithful in that which we have received, God’s mercy. We are to
serve our Lord and our neighbours thus until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of
the Son of God (Eph. 4:13)

Archbishop of Riga Janis Vanags
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia

Bishop of Daugavpils Einars Alpe
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia

Bishop of Liepaja Pavils Bruvers
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia

Bishop Mindaugas Sabutis
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania

Archbishop Andres P├Áder
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Archbishop emeritus Kuno Pajula
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

Bishop Einar Soone
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church

prayer from Magnficat

O God, our Healer and our Good, you sent you Son to cure the world's sickness by taking upon himself the burden of its guilt. Heal the diseased vision which causes us to mistake evil for good; heal the sickened mind which causes us to mistake selfishness for love; heal the unhealthy habits which we have made our own, that we may stand before you, whole in body, soul, and spirit, to sing your praise for ever with all the saints, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2009

talent in Christ

+ Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost +
15 November 2009
The Question of Talent
I’m afraid we have a rather distorted idea of “talent” nowadays, largely because of the dominant media control of pop culture through shows like “American Idol” or “Britain’s Got Talent.” These shows can turn someone into a star almost overnight given the right combination of circumstances. From a biblical world view, however,talent has very little to do with entertainment, pleasing the judges or winning contests. For the believer, talent is not so much a matter of getting the approval of men as it is being faithful and getting the approval of God.
As we see from today’s lessons, talent has more to do with being wise, faithfully attending the Divine Service and being prepared for the dangerous last days. As the prophet Daniel said, “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” All the baptized have been given talents in Christ to use both within the Christian community and through their vocation in the world to build up the kingdom of God.
1. Talent in Christ makes you shine like the brightness of the sky above
a. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). That’s you and me!
b. How will many be turned to righteousness? Only through the Word and Spirit of God.
2. Talent in Christ strengthens our community of faith.
a. As we hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering
b. As we meet together faithfully and thus stir one another up to love and good works
3. Talent in Christ defines our vocation in the world
a. We have work to do! Jeremiah 29:4-7, 10-14. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
b. Love that casts our fear and anxiety can withstand persecution and endure to the end.

role of Synod

C.F.W. Walther: According to our constitution, no synodical resolution is binding on the individual congregations. No resolution. Mark that well! What we resolve here in convention the pastors and lay delegates must report to the home congregations and say, “This is what the convention resolved.” But they cannot say, “Now you must also observe this.” No; on the contrary, the congregation can say, “As soon as it is a matter that has been left free for us as Christians, we can disregard the resolution of the convention,” and the Synod can say nothing against that (Harrison, 271).

Friday, November 13, 2009

good advice

You will not be sorry that you took the time to watch "Don't Talk to Police" on You Tube. Know your Constitution:)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

what ever became of sin?

C.F.W. Walther: "The second type of so-called orthodox Christians, on the contrary, maintains that with Christ, a person can continue to sin safely. These individuals portray Christ as a servant of sin. They, too, have a false Christ in their heart. Christ wants to cover our sins, but He also wants to take them away. He wants to clothe us with His righteousness, but He also wants to take shape in us, to be the High Priest who reconciles us with God, and to be the King who rules over and in us. He suffered and died to atone for our sins, but He also rose and ascended into heaven that He might live in us and we in Him and so we might walk in new life." *God Grant It!* p. 888

HT: The Rev. William Weedon

Monday, November 9, 2009

His house

We are the house, building and temple of God, built as living stones, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone and one foundation. Jesus promised that He would build His Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. We are fully equipped to storm the gates of hell with the full armor of God and the love that first loved us and conquers all things. To this love and this truth all authority in heaven and on earth belongs. We love Muslims, Hindus, communists etc. but hate their confession, their teaching. They will be won to the Prince of Peace with unconditional love against which the evil foe has no defense.

Friday, November 6, 2009

awake, my soul

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true and only Light,
Sun of righteousness, arise,
Triumph o'er the shades of night;
Day-spring from on high, be near.
Day-star, in my heart appear!

Dark and cheerless is the morn,
Unaccompanied by thee;
Joyless is the day's return,
Till thy mercy's beams I see;
Till thou inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

-- Charles Wesley (1707 - 1788) LSB 873