Thursday, June 30, 2011

Herman Sasse on Baptism

In Baptism the Holy Spirit is communicated; we are “all baptized into the one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Those who are baptized have been baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3). These are all realities that take place, not alongside of Baptism, but in Baptism. In the New Testament, Baptism with water, inasmuch as it is a baptism into Christ, into the name of Christ, is Baptism with the Spirit, it is a being born anew and at the same time from above “of water and of the Spirit” (John 3:5). Certainly the New Testament knows of no regeneration without Baptism and independent of Baptism. Baptism, therefore, is not a sign but a means of regeneration. To take it only as a sign of a regeneration, that also takes place without it and independently of it, is unbiblical.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What our youth are learnign at Higher Things c. 2011

Breakaway Session A
Tuesday, July 12 08:00pm - 09:00pm
Available Sectionals:
•Answering Critics of the Scriptures with Rev. Jacob Ehrhard
•Christ-Types in the Old Testament with Rev. Stan Temme
•Consumed by Addictions with Rev. Dr. David Balla
•Finding Comfort in Difficult Times: The Hymns of Paul Gerhardt with Dr. Jon Eifert
•H2O: Ordinary and Extraordinary with Rev. Paul Mumme
•How Hollywood Views Christianity with Rev. Klemet Preus
•Is God Against Me? The Theology of the Cross with Rev. Kim Scharff
•Jesus and Genesis on Creation with Rev. Dr. Joel Heck
•Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes with Rev. Jeff Pflug
•Me? Play the Organ? How Do I Even Get This Thing to Turn On? with Mr. Chris Loemker
•Mormonism Exposed! with Rev. Brent Kuhlman
•Taking the “Crisis” Out of Crisis Pregnancy with Mrs. Amy Beisel
•Talking about Homosexuality in a Tolerant World with Rev. Len Astrowski
•Talking to Your Non-Lutheran Friends about Jesus with Rev. Mark Buetow
•When Should I Get Married? Why Not Now? with Rev. William Foy

A Christian response to evil action

Bishop Nicholas Dimarzio (New York) drew a new line in sand. "In light of these disturbing developments..." he said, "I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation. Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration... [T]he governor and state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex 'marriage.'" But, as the New York Bishops write, "We just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union... This definition cannot change."
We must fear God rather than man.

Monday, June 27, 2011

only a cup of cold water

+ 2nd Sunday after Pentecost +
June 26, 2011
Matthew 10:42 You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.
What to do in the face of bad news. When we face times of discouragement, pain and loss, we realize that the depths of evil only serve to highlight the incomparably greater goodness of God.
1. Jeremiah truly was the prophet of doom and gloom
a. The exile to Babylon and its consequences cannot be reversed
b. The LORD has truly sent that prophet whose words come to pass

2. Paul brings homes the power of sin.
a. It was sin, producing death in me…so that sin through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. (Romans 7:13)
b. You also have died to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to one another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we bay bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)

3. Jesus reveals the hard truths of entering the Kingdom of God.
a. Belonging to Christ comes with a cost – painful, but temporary.
b. Belonging to Christ comes with a reward.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

food for thought

The solution to marijuana prohibition is finally at hand

It is time to end those legal fictions and end the War on Drugs in America. The solution is to:

#1) LEGALIZE marijuana across the country.

#2) REGULATE marijuana and allow it to be sold through licensed retailers.

#3) TAX marijuana sales and use the tax proceeds to fund addiction support programs for those small percentage of users who end up addicted.

The results of these actions will be:

#1) A COLLAPSE of the drug gangs. If marijuana is suddenly legal, who would bother buying it from a street dealer?

#2) A COLLAPSE of drug profits. If it’s legal, the price goes down. Suddenly there’s no more money in trafficking the drug, either, so the drug gangs are instantly out of business.

#3) A HUGE INCREASE in revenues to the states from collecting taxes on the legal sale of marijuana.

#4) A REDUCTION in young people trying the drug. What teenager wants to try something if it’s LEGAL? Legalizing pot takes all the “fun” out of it for many young people. It’s no longer cool. Kinda boring, actually. And it makes you cough.

#5) A SAVINGS of billions of dollars off all the money states are right now spending arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people for possessing marijuana. This money could be used to build schools, roads, job re-education programs and more. And don’t court judges have better things to do than sentence pot smokers?

#6) AN END to prison overcrowding. End the sentences for those incarcerated merely for marijuana possession. Set them free and end the prison crowding. Save the prisons for the real criminals such as murderers, child molesters and Wall Street bankers.

#7) A FREER, more just society that respects human dignity. If you treat addicts like criminals, you take away their dignity, and your entire society suffers a net loss. By recognizing the humanity behind the addiction, we can restore human dignity to the entire process of how we deal with drug addicts in society today.

Action item: Call your Congressman to support this bill!

Thank-you, President Harrison!

Preaching Is All About 'You'
We need to preach more about the Gospel!” a wellmeaning pastor admonished his brothers at a pastoral conference. As he continued his speech, a little old man shuffled up to the microphone. It’s hard to believe that this old pastor, barely over five feet tall, had been among the very first in all the German churches to reject publicly the Nazi Party platform and then struggled against Hitler for the rest of the war. He declared to his brother pastors: “For more than 50 years I have never preached about the Gospel. I have only preached the Gospel!”

Hermann Sasse put his finger on a perennial weakness in our preaching. The sermon is not mere information. The preacher must dare to speak the biblical “you!” in both Law and Gospel. “You killed the Lord of glory!” “Your righteous deeds are as filthy rags.” “You are the man!” (Nathan to David).

And the Gospel is proclaimed the same way: “Today is born for you a Savior.” “Your sins are forgiven.” “You are raised with Him in Baptism.” “The blood of Christ, shed for you.”

Preaching is a finger-pointing business. It takes courage to stand in the pulpit and let fly, accusing full-on with all the force of the damning Law. “The Law is to be preached in its full severity” (Walther). It takes even more skill to preach the full and sweet Gospel to sinners accused. Yet the Bible is packed to the brim with Christ’s full and free forgiveness, ready to be dished up and delivered by the lips of the preacher. “By killing he makes alive,” Luther emphasized again and again. And so our preaching must kill the old man, damn him thoroughly to hell and raise him up again with Christ and His free forgiveness.

Preachers, let’s sit at the feet of the apostles. Notice how many times “you” appears in Peter’s sermon:

“Men of Israel . . . The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. . . .

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled. [You] repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to Him in whatever He tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up His servant, sent Him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness” (Acts 3:12a, 13–15, 17–26 ESV).

I love a bit of humor in a sermon, a rhetorical surprise. A story is great, even the occasional personal story. I’m a fan of all sorts of styles, of changing things up and “finding a new string to thump” on occasion (Luther). But through it all, let’s stop preaching limply and merely only about the Law and the Gospel. Let’s preach the Law in all its condemnation and the Gospel in all its sweetness.

Pastor Matthew Harrison
“Let’s go!” Mark 1:38

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to get rid of Lutherans

Thanks to Pr. Bill Weedon for this post!

19 June 2011
Interesting Info from the Deaconess Conference from Dr. Herl...

...the year was 1616. Johann Georg, Margrave of Brandenburg, converted to Calvinism and sought to enforce Calvinism on his very Lutheran territory. What changes did he demand?

All images are to be removed from the church and sent to the court.
The stone altar is to be ripped from the ground and replaced with a wooden table.
When the Lord's Supper is held, a white cloth covers the table.
All altars, crucifixes and panels are to be completely abolished.
Instead of the host, bread is to be baked into loves, cut into strips, and put in a dish from which the people receive it in their hands; likewise the chalice is received by the people with their hands.
The words of the Supper are no longer to be sung, but rather spoken.
The golden chalice to be replaced by wooden.
The prayer in the place of the collect is to be spoken, not sung.
Mass vestments and other finery no longer used.
No lamps are candles to be placed upon the altar.
The houseling cloth is not to be held in front of the communicants.
The people are not to bow as if Christ were present.
The communicants shall no longer kneel.
The sign of the cross after the benediction is to be discontinued.
The priest is no longer to stand with his back to the people.
The collect and Epistle no longer to be sung, but spoken.
Individuals are no longer to go to confession before communing, but rather register with the priest in writing.
The people are no longer to bow when the name of JESUS is mentioned, nor are they to remove their hats.
The Our Father is no longer to be prayed aloud before the sermon, but rather there is to be silent prayer.
Communion is not to be taken to the sick, as it is dangerous, especially in times of pestilence.
The stone baptismal font is to be removed and a basin substituted.
Epitaphs and crucifixes are not longer to be tolerated in the Church.
The Holy Trinity is not to be depicted in any visual form.
The words of the sacrament are to be altered and considered symbolic.
The historic Epistles and Gospels no longer used, but rather a selection of the Bible by the minister, read without commentary.

Monday, June 13, 2011

St. Clement

Let every one of us be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift bestowed upon him. Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect to the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless God, because he has given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by mere words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to himself, but leave witness to be borne to him by another. Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence