Thursday, February 25, 2010

meaning of lent

With thanks to Rev. Matt Harrison!

III. De fructu verae et seriae poenitentiae,
Johann Gerhard, Meditationes Sacrae
(Concerning the fruit of true and serious repentance, John Gerhard, Sacred Meditations)

Fundamentum et principum sanctae vitae est salutaris poenitentia.
Ubi enim vera poenitentia, ibi remissio peccatorum;
ubi peccatorum remission, ibi gratia Dei;
ubi gratia Dei, ibi Christus;
ubi Christus, ibi ipsius meritum;
ubi Christus meritum, ibi satisfactio pro peccatis;
ubi satisfactio pro peccatis, ibi justitia;
ubi justitia, ibi laeta et tranquilla conscientia;
ubi tranquillitas conscientiae, ibi spiritus sanctus;
ubi spiritus sanctus, ibi tota sacrosancta trinitas;
ubi sancta trinitas, ibi vita aeterna.

my paraphrase:
The foundation and priniciple of a holy life is saving repentance:
where there is true repentance, there is forgiveness of sins;
where there is forgiveness of sins, there is the grace of God;
where there is the grace of God, there is Christ;
where there is Christ, there are his merits;
where there are the merits of Christ, there is satisfaction for sin;
where there is satisfaction for sin, there is justification;
where there is justification, there is a joyful and tranquil conscience;
where is there is a tranquil conscience, there is the Holy Spirit;
WHere there is the Holy Spirit, there is the entire Holy Trinity;
WHere there is the Holy Trinity, there is life eternal.

watch and pray

Lord, teach us how to pray aright
With reverence and fear;
Though dust and ashes in thy sight,
We may, we must draw near.

We perish if we cease from prayer,
O grant us power to pray;
And when to meet thee we prepare,
Lord, meet us in the way.

God of all grace, we come to thee
With broken, contrite hearts;
Give what thine eye delights to see,
Truth in the inward parts.

Faith in the only sacrifice
That can for sin atone;
To cast our hopes, to fix our eyes,
On Christ, on Christ alone.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

words to live by

Teach them to your children. Talk about them all the time--whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning == Deuteronomy

Thursday, February 18, 2010

seen on the desk of a fellow pastor

Father, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth. Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ash wednesday prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

daily prayer for Lent

by St. Ephraim the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness,
lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility,
patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King!
Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

prayer is powerful

For all who tonight in any place stand in need of love and protection:
Hear us, good Lord.

On those beset by temptation;
On those who have yielded in the hour of trial;
On those who are in mortal sin;
On those who are given up to worldiness and have forgotten Thee;
On those who have never known Thee;
And on those who in this hour are in danger of losing Thee forever:
Have mercy, good Lord.

40 dyas for life begins 2/17/10

I, the LORD, live among you people of Israel, so your land must be kept pure. But when a murder takes place, blood pollutes the land, and it becomes unclean. If that happens, the murderer must be put to death, so the land will be clean again. Keep murder out of Israel! Numbers 35:33-34

Monday, February 15, 2010

transfiguration Sunday

+ The Transfiguration of our Lord +
14 February 2010
And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. (Luke 9:29)

The Transfiguration clearly reveals both the identity and mission of Christ Jesus and of his body, the Church.

1. The identity of Christ Jesus
a. The one spoken of by Moses and the Prophets
b. Very God of very God, of one being with the Father
2. The mission of Christ Jesus.
a. He reveals the heart of God the Father
b. In His exodus, he fulfills the Passover
3. The identity and mission of the body of Christ today
a. We are those who consider Jesus, listen to Him
b. We are those who hold fast our confidence and our hope.
“For the past few months, I have been training for a half-marathon. I love running in the mornings as high school students are biking to school, elderly people are buying fruits and vegetables at the market, and work is beginning in the rice fields. I was running down a busier road when an elderly woman, perhaps in her 70s, was riding slowly on her bike. Rather than passing me, she began talking to me in Chinese. We talked about what I was doing in Taiwan. I told her that I was a Christian and was here to teach English and the Bible. She was persistent in really wanting to get my phone number and learn English. We came to a stoplight and I could have shrugged her off saying, ‘Nice to meet you’ and separated ways. Instead, I let her give me her phone number. Even though I could not understand everything she was saying in Chinese, I could tell by her hand gestures that she was inviting me to come to her home, which was apparently a little further ahead.
“So, I kept running and she kept biking. As we opened the door to her home, there was one student desk, three plastic chairs, and an old TV. Was this really all she had? I began to pray, ‘God, thank you so much for this opportunity. What do you want to come from this?’ She showed me a notebook full of English words that she had written. I wrote down that I could return on Friday so we could practice English. She understood! On Friday, I came with a children’s prayer book designed for young children. On one page is the simple English prayer of a child and the other page has the simple Chinese. It is my level of Chinese and her level of English, so we can communicate with one another! I also gave her a New Testament in Chinese. She really valued these two books and was interested in where our church was! Praise the Lord for such an opportunity.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a hymn for Haiti

Sustained By Faith Among the Rubble

1. Sustained by faith among the rubble,
God's children face calamity.
Earthquake or storm--whate'er the trouble,
Christ will your strong defender be.
Even in times of great distress,
We know in all things God will bless.

2. God does not promise earthly pleasure.
Sin and its wages take their toll.
Yet He gives comfort without measure.
Baptismal waters soothe the soul.
Christ will forever faithful prove.
Trust in His grace, for God is love.

3. In His great mercy God has given;
In His great love He takes away.
When thunder rolls, when waves are driven,
When illness falls, when buildings sway,
Assailed by Satan's demon band,
We rest in God's almighty hand.

4. God hears the prayers of all who seek Him.
Boldly approach the mercy seat.
Call on His name--fear not! Bespeak Him.
His grace is sure, His bounty sweet.
God answers prayers--so says His Word.
"Thy will be done", we pray, O Lord.

(c) Alan Kornacki, Jr.
98 98 88
Tune: Wer Nur Den Lieben Gott (LSB 719)

Monday, February 8, 2010

from the fathers

You were thinking, do doubt, that the Widsom of God was going to say, 'Learn how I made the heavens and the stars; also, since in me all things, even before they were made, had been numbered, how in virtue of their unchangeable ideas even the hairs of your head have been numbered.' Is that the sort of thing you were thinking he would say? No, but first this: 'that I am meek and humble of heart.'
We are striving for great things, let us lay hold of little things, and we shall be great. Do you wish to lay hold of the loftiness of God? First catch hold of God's lowliness. Deign to be lowly and humble on the same account, yours, not his own. So catch hold of Christ's humililty..." -- Augustine (+ 430)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

with the shoes from off the feet

This from the Forum Letter of January 2010 (from an article by Richard O. Johnson, editor)
"I think there are some benchmarks, however, for reading the text faithfully. The first is to recognize that God's Word is not intended to confuse or mislead us. It is, 2 Peter tells us, "a lamp shining in a dark place." secondly,...we cannot understand without Christ. John Henry Jowett: "It would be far better, to have no critical apparatus at all, and to know nothing about scholarship and nothing about learning, and to come to the sacred page with the shoes from off the feet, than to go burdened with all manner of learning, and scholarship, and tramp loudly and flippantly in the most sacred place." Scripture in the context of let the Holy Spirit work in my heart through the words the Holy Spirit has inspired.
Thirdly...we believe that the Holy Spirit speaks and acts through the church. I'd rather read with the church...The Holy Spirit acts through the church, and it is with the church we must read--and not just the Church of What's Happeneing Now, but the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church through the ages. There's no better way to set aside our own prejudices and presumptions."
This is absolutely revolutionary and remarkable, considering where we have been over the past few generations of higher-critical vs. inspiration/inerrancy battle(s) for the Bible. What breath-taking humility and love for the revelation of God! May his tribe increase.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

thoughts on BRTFSSG

that's blue ribbon task force on synodical structure and governance for the uninitiated:)

What is the LCMS? "...a living history of Christian believers united in congregations established by God and confessional, missional, like-minded congregations banding together to form a church body -- the LCMS -- to carry out together the mission imperatives of Christ, the Head of rthe church."
If I could ever find a congregation that was literally established by God Almighty himself, I would join it in a heart beat. Christian believers? What happened to Lutheran Christians? Is "missional" a word? I'm afraid that "like-minded" constitutes a healthy dose of wishful thinking. The difference between Lutheran Christians banding together in congregations to fulfill the Great Commission and "banding together to form a church carry out together the mission imperatives of Chrsit" strikes me as the difference between day and night. The mission imperatives of Christ are fulfilled in the local congregation. Period. Synod serves the congregation by 1. training faithful pastors and teachers, 2. printing faithful literature and worship material for congregational use. Anything else is probably beside the point.
The BRTFSSG is conviced "that its recommendations will provide the continuing arrangements or means of assistance for the Word of the Lord to grow in our beloved Synod, resulting in a renewal of congregations walking together in mission, with the characteristic of a Spirit-filled church in action, boldly walking together "in the fear of the Lord," and possessing the "comfort of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:31)."
This is revolutionary. The BRTFSSG would elevate the structures and schemes of men in their constitution and by-laws to the status of the means of grace, Word and Sacrament. To disagree with them equates with being against clean water and air -- unthinkable. And yet I must do just that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

President's Message on Life

Statement issued for 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade
January 20, 2010

Friday, January 22, marks the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that altered how our nation had valued life for the previous 200 years. Abortion has caused nearly 51 million deaths since 1973, when medically assisted termination of a pregnancy was declared legal.

Yet this solemn anniversary also gives us reason to hope as throngs of people will converge on our nation's capital – as they have each of the past 37 years – to call for repeal of the Roe v. Wade decision.

We thank the LCMS Lutherans who will join an anticipated crowd of more than 200,000 pro-life marchers on this day to worship, to pray, and to share with the nation the truth of God's Word that life begins at conception. This year, their presence in Washington, D.C., is more important than ever as Congress considers health care legislation that could allow the use of taxpayer money to fund abortions.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has consistently affirmed and given thanks to God for the miracle of human life from conception until natural death and fought for its preservation. We have also taken action through international and domestic programs to demonstrate our care and compassion for those who live on the other side of the world, for our neighbor down the street, and for the unborn in the womb.

As we reflect on the significance of this day, we boldly profess our belief that Christ Jesus sanctified all human life by His birth, life, death, and resurrection for all mankind. Both in our church body and in society at large, the LCMS remains committed to upholding the sanctity of human life and devoted to caring for those who are the most vulnerable and helpless among us.

Gerald B. Kieschnick
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

new book

The American Empire: Before the Fall

Here’s an excerpt:

“The Founding Fathers would be shocked. They had constructed an American Republic that vehemently opposed crusades, constant warfare and virtual deification of the President. They had pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to defeat the British Empire, and to renounce entangling alliances as the bane of peace, checks and balances, limited government, and individual liberty. President Thomas Jefferson's First Inaugural Address proclaimed: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.”...

Monday, February 1, 2010

farewell to alleluia

(translation by John Mason Neale)
The strain upraise of joy and praise, Alleluia.

To the glory of their King
Shall the ransom'd people sing Alleluia.

And the choirs that dwell on high
Shall re-echo through the sky, Alleluia.

They through the firlds of Paradise that roam,
The blessed ones, repeat through that bright home, Alleluia.

The planets glitt'ring in their heavenly way,
The shining constellations, join, and say Alleluia.

Ye clouds that onward sweep!
Ye winds on pinions light!
Ye thunders, echoing loud and deep!
Ye lightnings, wildly bright!
In sweet consent unite your Alleluia.

Ye floods and ocean billows!
Ye storms and winter snow!
Ye days of cloudless beauty!
Hoar frost and summer glow!
Ye groves that wave in spring,
And glorious forests, sing Alleluia.

First let the birds, with painted plumage gay,
Exalt their great Creator's praise, and say Alleluia.

Then let the beasts of earth with varying strain,
Join in Creation's Hymn, and cry again Alleluia.

Here let the mountains thunder forth, sonorous, Alleluia.
There, let the valleys sing in gentler chorus, Alleluia.

Thou jubilant abyss of ocean, cry Alleluia.
Ye tracts of earth and continents, reply Alleluia.

To God, Who all Creation made,
The frequent hymn be duly paid: Alleluia.

This is the strain, the eternal strain, the Lord of all things loves: Alleluia.
This is the song, the heav'nly song, that Christ Himself approves: Alleluia.

Wherefore we sing, both heart and voice awaking, Alleluia.
And children's voices echo, answer making, Alleluia.

Now from all men be outpour'd
Alleluias to the Lord;
With Alleluia evermore
The Son and Spirit we adore.

Praise be done ro the Three in One.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!