I'm a sheepdog of the Good Shepherd

What is the role of the pastor?  
What is he given to do?

Perhaps the best explanation that I've come across was shared with me at Doxology by Rev. Harold Senkbeil.  He shared the following quote.
"Now those sheep-dogs that afternoon gave me a much better address on the way in which pastoral work among souls should be done that I shall be able to give you. They were helping the shepherd to deal with a lot of very active sheep and lambs, to persuade them into the right pastures, to keep them from rushing down the wrong paths. And how did the successful dog do it? Not by barking, fuss, ostentatious authority, any kind of busy behaviour. The best dog that I saw never barked once; and he spent an astonishing amount of his time sitting perfectly still, looking at the shepherd. The communion of spirit between them was perfect. They worked as a unit. Neither of them seemed anxious or in a hurry. Neither was committed to a rigid plan; they were always content to wait. That dog was the d…

Please Read This Before Choosing A College

Choosing the right college isn't easy.  Things like the size of the school, academic reputation, majors offered, and available housing are all considerations.  The odds are good that before choosing a college, you've made at least one visit to get a feel for the campus and investigate things.
But there's one aspect of choosing a college that is far too often overlooked by parents and students and that is the spiritual life of the student.
Ah, but you think, "I'm sending my child to a Christian college, so they'll be good to go!"  As much as I wish that this were true, it simply isn't.  Many colleges that have a Christians heritage are now Christian in name only or far worse, they retain some of the outward appearances of being Christian while actively teaching things that undermine the Christian faith and can be detrimental to the spiritual life of students. 
So before you choose a college, please consider the following. 1. Does the college claim to b…

Who Cares About Membership?

This year at Hope Lutheran Church, we're doing a study of the book "Connected to Christ: Why Membership Matters."

The question might be asked, "Why are we bothering with this study?" It's a valid question, so here are some answers.

Very few people have any idea what it means to be a member of a church.  In my years as a pastor I have observed that some elderly members have a good concept of membership, a few middle aged and younger members understand it, but the vast majority of Christians have no concept of what it means to be a member at all. There's a myth that "membership" isn't biblical.  It is biblical, but the word "member" does have a very different meaning than how the word is often used these days. When we understand what it is to be a member of a congregation, then we are better equipped to faithfully live out that calling from the Lord.If we're going to be doing outreach, we'd better understand what it means f…

A Picture of Baptism

Yesterday, because of the heavy rain we've had recently, the prayer garden behind Hope Lutheran Church was flooded.  As some of us looked at the flooding, I couldn't help but be struck by the visual of the cross in the water and how it reminded me of baptism; specifically it reminded me of these verses.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. W…

Baseball/History Books: My Take

I love baseball and I love history, so books that have history and baseball are among my favorites.  Below I've categorized several books I've read that fit into the category of history and baseball.
Not Recommended Cobb: A Biographyby Al StumpAl Stump was a hack. Actually that's putting things far too kindly.  Stump made loads of money by making up stories about Ty Cobb that were entirely untrue, but have been widely shared as if they were fact.  Book stores shouldn't even carry this book anymore, but they do.  If you want to read about the shady work done in this book, check out this article. 
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrigby Jonathan EigAs I read this book, I had to ask myself, "Why does Eig dislike Lou Gehrig so much?"  Eig takes every chance he can to diminish Gehrig and his words seem to indicate that he truly didn't like or respect Gehrig. I was very disappointed in this biography.  Recommended With Reservations Red Legs and Black Sox: …

Recommended Reading For Christian Growth

Recently I was asked for recommendations for biblical study material. It's a good topic, so I thought I'd share a few resources and ideas that you might want to consider for your own reading in pursuit of growth.

First, you might want to check out this post on "A Layperson's Theological Library" for a start in building your personal library. In this post I won't duplicate recommendations I made previously, but you'll certainly want to check out those recommendations in addition to what is shared below.

Now, on to the recommended reading. There's a lot more I could add, but this will suffice for now.

Bible Study "Reading Romans with Luther" by RJ Grunewald
I actually haven't read through this one yet, but enough trusted friends have done so that I feel confident in recommending it.  The book of Romans can be intimidating and this book helps you to be able to understand the message of the book, using Luther as your guide.

The following are…

1 Christmas Savior

I’ve been doing a countdown on different topics this week from 7 to 1. 

Today is Christmas, so here’s #1 and of course #1 is Jesus. There might be a lot of reasons to celebrate on Christmas; family, food, health, presents, etc. However, without Jesus and what He has done for us, all of those things would have the shadow of sin and death looming over them. But because of Jesus we can have boundless, unhindered joy because He has conquered sin and death. 

What a blessing to again hear this truth: Unto you is born...a Savior. 

Merry Christmas!