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Showing posts from 2012

The Baby Lab

It's good to see that Yale researchers are finally learning what my confirmation students already know and what God's Word makes clear; Babies are born with a conscience, but they are also born sinful.

Now I know that the researchers wouldn't put it that way, but if you read the transcript or watch the story that aired on 60 Minutes on Sunday you'll see that they discovered that babies pretty much come wired with knowing the basics of what is right and what is wrong.  They also discovered that the conscience (my word not theirs) of the baby is flawed.

But like I said, my confirmation students (as well as anyone who has received even a half way decent instruction in the Christian faith) already know that we're born with a conscience because that fact has been made clear by God's Word.
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law unto themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the…

The Descent of Man

Recently the big news was that David Petraeus, the retired 4 Star General, former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, director of the CIA, had hastily resigned after it was discovered that he had been having an affair.

This is indeed a sad story, as it is always sad when a marriage is damaged by infidelity.  It is a tragic story for the wife of Petraeus.

But what pricked my interest was the comments that I heard after the news broke.
"The problem is that Americans have a prudish view of sexuality."
"We need to be more like European and South American nations that simply expect for leaders to have a mistress.  After all, this is simply how men are wired.  We can't expect them not to have a mistress."
"What's the big deal?  Clinton did the same thing and stayed in office."

Sadly, the reason Petraeus had to retire wasn't because he had acted immorally or lowered his office by his behavior, but because in having an affair he might have opened h…

Are Lutherans Cannibals?

It was brought to my attention by some of my members that on Sunday a local pastor whose sermons are broadcast on the radio made the claim that Lutherans must be cannibals because we believe that in the Lord's Supper a person actually receives the body and blood of Jesus.

So, is it true? Nope.

We do believe, teach, and confess that in the Lord's Supper we truly receive the body and blood of Jesus.  However our confessions (confessions are statements of what we confess to be true) absolutely reject what this pastor was accusing us of.

The funny thing is, this is hardly the first time that someone has accused Christians of cannibalism, but it used to always be from outside of the church that the charge came.  In the early days of Christianity it was common for Christians to be accused of cannibalism and of sexual deviancy..
It was apparently common knowledge that Christians drank wine when they met together, and that men kissed men and women kissed women in their gatherings.  The…

His name is...

Boaz.
Yep, we've gotten some looks of "Where in the world did you come up with than name?" and plenty of people saying, "Oh...that's an interesting name."

Where did the name come from?  Well the Bible of course.

From the book of Ruth to be specific.  If you aren't familiar with the story I'd suggest that you go and read the book of Ruth, it won't take long.  But I'll give you a short rundown of what occurs.

The account begins with Elimelech and his wife Naomi, who had moved to Moab while Israel was in the midst of a drought.  While they are there, their sons Mahlon and Chilion take Moabite wives; Mahlon marries Ruth and Chilion marries Orpah.

Then tragedy strikes; Naomi's husband Elimelech dies. Then both of her sons die.  So Naomi was left without her husband and sons, living in a foreign land, with only her daughters in law with her.  And remember that at this time women weren't able to work as they do now, they had few rights, and…

Christ's Church

On the Urgency of Baptism

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We've decided not to schedule when we are baptizing our soon to be born baby, but instead to baptize the baby on the closest Sunday after the baby is born.

Why?

Very simply because baptism is for the baby and the sooner the child can be baptized, the better.  The baptism of a baby isn't for the parents, it isn't for the sponsors, it isn't for the congregation or relatives or anyone else, but it is for the baby.

If we take Scripture seriously (and we should) then we must acknowledge that we are...
all born sinful (Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5), and in need of rebirth (Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:5-6 and [We] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:3). Since we are born sinful and in need of rebirth, why would we want to wait to bring a …

Parents and Christian Education

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There's no better time than the beginning of the school year to think about the role that parents play in the education of their children. The classic Lutheran understanding is that the parents are responsible for the education of their children. The school is there to help, but the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents.

This is also the case for their spiritual education.

Our Lutheran School, Sunday School, and church are all ways in which children learn the things of God, but is is primarily the responsibility of parents (and specifically fathers) to instruct their children in the things of God.

This happens by what we say to our children.  This happens by the examples we set for our children.This happens by the things we show that we value by what we choose to be a part.This happens by the things we show that we value by involving our children in them.
Teaching children the things of God isn't optional, but the primary responsibility of parents.

"…

Pastor Gravesmill

Yesterday Pastor Keith Gravesmill died. He was, I believe, only 50 years old.

This is indeed a sad thing.  He was a faithful pastor and friend to many.

Christine and I attended Our Savior, where he served, for most of our college years.  It was about a 20 minute drive and there were several other congregations that were closer, but Pastor Gravesmill's faithfulness and the warmth and welcome of the congregation was well worth the drive.

I doubt that he would have remembered me.  Christine and I were just some of the many college kids who made their way through his congregation, being spiritually fed while away from our home congregations.  And yet he had a deep impact on me.

He and his wife welcomed us (along with other college aged students) into his home, fed us, and talked about the things of God with us.  The joy with which he served was contagious.

He was a good communicator from the pulpit, but it was his love for his people and for his Lord that made listening to him just a …

Two Ditches of Church

The Fourth Commandment
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
What does this mean?  We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

and from Luther's explanation to the third article of the Apostles' Creed...
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.
In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

There are two ditches I see when it comes to attending Sunday services (the Divine Service).
"I don't have to go to church to be a Christian."  This is a very American and very postmodern attitude, but not a biblical one. "Because I go to church I'm a Christian."  The response to this attitude h…

God's Name and Our Lives

Sharing Our Lives

We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
(1 Thessalonians 2:8)

As Christine and I were planning our wedding, we were considering what hymns and Scripture readings we would like to include in the service (a Christian wedding after all is a worship service).  We read through many passages and talked about music that we liked.  I was the pre-seminary student, but she is the one who brought up this verse from 1 Thessalonians.

At the time, the idea of sharing our lives with others meant, at least in my mind, that we were glad to have the opportunity in our wedding to have the Gospel of Jesus shared and to share our lives with those who came.

Little did I know how true this verse would be for us and our marriage.

In the years since we've been married we have been sharing our lives with others constantly.  At seminary, we shared our lives with my brother and his family as well …

The First Commandment

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You shall have no other gods.
What does this mean?

We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things. 

The Romans perfected the use of the archway.  Without mortar or cement, these archways held together so well that some are still in existence today.  The key to the archway was the heavy, perfectly fitted, keystone that was at the center of the archway.

The archway would hold together as long as the keystone was in place and held it's integrity.  However, remove the keystone or have it crumble, and the archway will quickly fall to the ground.

In a very real way, the First Commandment is like the keystone of an archway.  When God is first in your life, when you truly do fear, love, and trust in God above all things, then the other things fall into place.

When you honor God then you will...
honor parents and others in authority, even if they don't deserve it, out of love for God.use God's name properly.desire to be in God's house to receive his gifts.love your nei…

The Basics and Beyond

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How long has it been for you since you reviewed the basics of the Christian faith?  How long since you seriously examined your life, your beliefs, where you are and what you are doing in light of God's Word?