No Doubt About It: Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Today was my very first Easter away from home and apart from family and friends.

Thankfully, I was able to celebrate Easter Sunday with fellow believers at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL.

Anyway, this is the short blurb I put up on my Facebook page today that I thought I'd share...



Sure, I suppose that a case could be made that Thomas may have had an "excuse" for his doubts...until he came face-to-face with Jesus Christ (John 20:24-29).

An empty tomb.

A resurrected and risen Lord and Savior.

Multiple accounts written by divinely inspired eyewitnesses.

What's your excuse for your disbelief? John 20:29 says, "Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'"

Today, we live in a skeptical age that operates by saying, "I'll believe it when I see it!" However, in the Word and Sacraments, we see and we do receive the benefits of Jesus' death and resurrection.

Those who believe receive God's divine favor, for whoever believes has everlasting life (John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him"), and this is God's will for you.

How do we know that? 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

People commonly and mistakenly think that Biblical books were written mainly to provide rules for godly living. Speaking through John, God announces the "Good News" of the Gospel that Jesus is His Son and that by faith in His name, we have life and salvation -- the core message of the entire Scriptures (John 20:30-31)!

Even though I do not now see You, Lord, I believe and rejoice with inexpressible joy!


Happy Easter to you and yours!

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Palm Sunday, Palms Someday

First, I have to share with you my wonderful experience this morning at an LCMS Church here in Tampa, FL.









In short, I know it was only one visit, but I truly left feeling as though that was the very first Lutheran Worship Service I have attended since becoming a Confessional Lutheran within the past year, and I am so thankful to God for that today.

So, today is Palm Sunday, or the day when we Christians celebrate the account given to us in the Gospels about Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem toward fulfilling God's plan for humanity, which takes place about a week before his Resurrection.



John 12:12-20 (ESV) 12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!" 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him."


For starters, I'd like us to take a quick journey through the Scriptures from Exodus 12 to John 12. In the end, we'll also take a quick look at Revelation 7 and Psalm 118.

Riding on a donkey, Jesus enters Jerusalem on the Sunday of Passion Week. Leaders of the Jewish nation reacted as we often do when we are no longer in control: frustrated and fearful.

But Christ comes in a humble and gently manner, eager to listen to our prayers for salvation. "Hosanna!" is literally "help" or "save, I pray" and is a clear plea for divine help or deliverance found frequently in Psalm 113 to Psalm 118 (the Hallel), psalms for morning prayer. It became a general acclamation ("Hosanna! Please save us, O blessed Lord. Amen.").

Why is Palm Sunday signifi cant (in a nutshell, and without oversimplifying the sheer magnitude of what was taking place thousands of years ago that would have rami fications for all of mankind and for the rest of time)?

Have a quick look and a listen...


VIDEO: Palm Sunday: Why Is It Signifi cant?


Like His birth, Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem was unlike anything the people expected for the One who would become their glorious Savior, and yet, they should've known better.

That's because the Word of God was proclaimed through the prophets of old, and it told of what would happen (Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9). Christ's actions fulfilled what the prophets said.

Palm Sunday is all about celebrating God coming to us. When Jesus Christ would appear in His glory, it is in His meekness, not in His majesty, and in mercy, to work His plan of salvation for us.

Incredible that meekness and outward poverty were fully seen in Jerusalem's King for a second time upon the world's stage. Like the Pastor said this morning at the church I attended, it truly is a "Riches-To-Rags" kind of story, isn't it? It demonstrates Jesus' humility once again. Jesus wanted to do God's will without recognition.

As the Gospels tell us, the celebrating people there at that time set down their cloaks in front of Him, and they also put down small branches of trees, or palm branches. Little did they know that He would soon put His life down for them, and for all of us.

We're told that the people also sang part of Psalm 118 (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9; John 12:13)...


Psalm 118:25-26 (ESV) 25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.


Palm trees grew plentifully near Jerusalem and had become a Jewish national symbol, appearing on Judean coins. I also find it interesting that the palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in Jewish tradition, and is treated in other parts of the Bible as such (Leviticus 23:40).

In fact, we also see it mentioned and used in the same way, but in some key prophetic verses that give us a glimpse of our future too believe it or not.

My dear friends, we would be wise to prayerfully consider this day what the Scriptures tell us about palm branches, but more so about another (and future) use of palm branches (particularly in the Book of Revelation) that includes us...


Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV) 9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"


John's vision in Revelation 7:1-10 depicts God placing a protective seal on His people and thus marking them as those who will be delivered from the great final conflagration.

Yes, given the signs that daily surround us, God could release the devastating winds of His divine and righteous judgment at any moment. Yet, God holds back now because He is "patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

The palm branches mentioned in Revelation 7:9 are a symbol of victory. Again, they were displayed when victorious kings were welcomed and most famously when Christ entered Jerusalem.
Here's where we come full circle though: The "Hosanna!" cried on Palm Sunday means "Now save us!" but in this vision recorded in Revelation 7:9-10, salvation is acclaimed as an accomplished fact!

John gives us a glimpse of the glory that is Christ's. How incredible to be a part of that blessedness! Drawn onward and upward by the magnificence of this hope in Christ, God's people join in the heavenly chorus even now.


By Your grace, Lord, keep me among the faithful, so that I may forever sing Your praises in the glory of heaven. Amen.


Just stop and think about John's reaction here for a moment though.

Much like those in Jerusalem who witnessed Jesus riding into their city on a donkey, and later being crucifi ed and killed on the cross, he was shocked and surprised as indicated by the words "I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages," and that gives us an idea of the contrast between the two visions too.

So, instead of the comparatively few who were sealed (the 144,000) in the preceding vision, an innumerable group were seen in this next vision, and that's why surprise was John's natural human response. It's also worth noting that John didn't even attempt to number the people he saw there either.

We read here in Revelation that this multitude before the Throne of God in Heaven (you and me!) will also have "palm branches in their hands" someday just as those in Jerusalem did when Christ rode in on the back of a donkey (John 12:13), and that it will serve as an emblem of Christ's faithfulness and love for us, and that He saves just like He promises to.

A few final comments to try and wrap things up for us today.

After Christ was crucified and raised from the dead, the disciples were able to understand how he had fulfilled prophecies (Exodus 12). Christ's actions fulfilled what the prophets said (John 12).

Passover marked a new era for the people of Israel (Exodus 12) and foreshadowed the new, spiritual Israel in Christ (John 12). He is the perfect Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 7:27).


O Lord, I am in need of a Shepherd to seek and to save me, for I am a straying sheep. You are the Good Shepherd, who seeks and saves the lost. Save me, O Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Amen.


In closing, I would like to point out how it is said that the the more weight that is hung upon the palm tree, the higher it rises, and the straighter it grows. Think about that in connection with what we know about Palm Sunday and where we're headed this upcoming Holy Week when it comes to Christ's ultimate sacrifice!

Earlier, we mentioned Psalm 118. Now, I'm only mentioning this as a casual observation (so I hope you will grant me the license to share this), but I think it's de finitely worth noting that even when man attempted to put his own "spin" on the Scriptures (when chapters and verse numbers were first added to the text where they would remain until the present day), God, in His infi nite wisdom, still had the last laugh.

What do I mean by that exactly? Well, what chapter is right in the middle of the Holy Bible? There's some dispute, but the commonly held belief is that it's Psalm 118!

The report I saw also said that Psalm 118 is preceded by 594 chapters, and it's followed by 594 chapters. If you add the number of "preceding chapters" to the number of "following chapters" you get 1188, or Psalm 118...and Psalm 118:8 (or the total number after adding the "preceding chapters" to the "following chapters")...get this...is the center verse!

If true (and sorry, but I don't have the time to sit down and try to verify this on my own right now), how absolutely amazing would that be, especially in the context of today's Bible study?

What does that "center verse" say? Not surprisingly, it says the following...


Psalm 118:8 (ESV) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.


I know this is rather "speculative" and "subjective" perhaps (particularly for a Lutheran), but this just seemed like a good place to quickly make a few comments about it.

Oh yeah, and if Psalm 118 is indeed the chapter "in the middle" of the entire Bible, then how cool is it that the "shortest chapter" is Psalm 117, and the "longest chapter" is Psalm 119?

Finally, how beautiful is it then that Psalm 118 is said to be the "central chapter" in all of God's Word, and that portions of it were recited and sung by the very people who welcomed Jesus Christ into Jerusalem when He was on His way to fulfilling God's plan for humanity, which is now celebrated annually as Palm Sunday?

Whether Psalm 118 is the center of the Bible or not is immaterial. Either way, it doesn't change the overall message and truth of today's entry on Palm Sunday. I pray that it wasn't lost on you or that I didn't discredit any of it by making mention of this bizarre coincidence.

As we've said several times before, the palm branch is well known to be a token of victory, and so it serves as an appropriate emblem of victory and triumph for us believers in Jesus Christ over our common enemies such as sin, death, the flesh, the world, and Satan, or EVERYTHING we struggle with in this life.

Thankfully, the Lord made it possible that we would repent for our sins and believe that we are forgiven, redeemed, and saved by the sacrifi ce, shed blood, death, and resurrection of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, may this Palm Sunday remind us that we should be rejoicing because we will also praise Jesus with palm branches someday.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Defying The World: By Faith Alone, Not Reason Alone

The words from the title of this entry have so much more meaning to me today than they did just a day before.

Sometimes it takes a conversation with a non-Christian to emphasize the profound truth of those simple words.

As you know, I'm in Tampa, FL for three straight weeks of Corporate Training for a new job. Yesterday evening, by the sheer grace of God, I patiently endured a 3-hour tirade from an angry non-believer who's a member of my Training Class.



It was a very unusual experience for me personally.

What's remarkable is how innocently it all began.

For several hours leading up to this point, we had been getting to know each other within the larger group as so often happens in these situations.

We both remarked how fortunate we were to have met -- particularly because we were so similar and shared many of the same interests and perspectives in life.

He even started to show me pictures on his cell phone from back home when this one from comedian Louis CK popped up:



Now, wanting to be as faithful a Christian as I could be in this vocation I've been given (1 Peter 3:14-16), I read it and said something along the lines of, "You know, that's a great quote because it's so perceptive about us all being dead right now since God says we're all sinners who are dead in our trespasses, and the wages of sin is death, but as a Christian, and because of my faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for me and for all of us, I would completely disagree with the line about there being nothing but death and more death after this life."

I'm not going to spend any time sharing all the specifics of what we talked about from that point on, but suffice it to say that he didn't like that comment one bit. No, unfortunately, this is a young man who's God is Science and whose Savior is Man's Own Intellect.

I will say that I did almost fall out of my chair and into the pool when he insisted he was a Christian, but doesn't believe in Jesus at all let alone that the Bible was the Word of God!

He doesn't believe in Jesus whatsoever, but regularly wanted to quote Jesus as proof to support the arguments he was trying to make. Oh, and "the Bible can't be trusted because it was written some 2,000 years ago" although "Science proves that the universe is 6 billion years old" and therefore we must believe it over and above God Himself and the divinely inspired writers of the Old and New Testaments.

While debating and discussing the common criticisms, objections, and questions that people have about Christianity is certainly nothing new to me, it was the very first time I encountered an individual who was dead set on making sure he had his say on each and every subject stemming from our shared and cherished faith that he believed raised a legitimate point of contention.

He literally left no stone unturned, and yet, emphatically chose to ignore the only unturned stone that mattered most in our dialogue.

Luke 24:2-3 (ESV) 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.


You name it, there wasn't a rabbit hole we didn't travel down together!

Of course, I patiently let him state his case for quite awhile (only interjecting here and there strategically with a Bible verse or two since I didn't want to give the impression that his voice wasn't allowed to be heard) before jumping in with both feet firmly planted on The Rock (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 18:46; Psalm 19:14; Psalm 31:2-3).

That's when I started asking him direct questions in response to something he said he believed; questions that demanded a "Yes" or a "No" answer. Guess what? He never answered any of the "Yes" or "No" questions!

Instead, those were ALWAYS the places where he would choose to become passive aggressive and begin saying things like, "See, this is usually the point where I have to stop talking with other Christians like you. I don't know, you seem like you're getting pretty mad. Are you getting angry, Jeff? Look at your body language? Why are you so closed minded? Are you starting to hate me because I don't believe what you believe?"

I do believe God's Word and my attempts to proclaim Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind (for you, for me, for him) was beginning to take its toll on his heart and mind though, because he kept getting angry about the idea that he would go to Hell if he died without repenting for his sins and believing in Jesus.

And I didn't go all "Westboro Baptist" on him either. He asked me what I believe, I told him, he didn't like it, and I simply said that it's not my opinion and that I was only quoting what the Bible (God's Word) says about it.

I kept asking him to seriously think about why he was reacting that way and whether or not it could be the Holy Spirit convicting his conscience (Romans 10). I mean, after all, if he truly believes that Christianity is all a myth, then what does he care what I believe anyway? It's all a lie according to him, right?

I'm getting sidetracked though. I have to say that it was difficult for me at times, because my old Evangelical persona wanted to show itself repeatedly whenever it started thinking that God could be proven rationally through Apologetics and that it was up to People-Like-Me to simply give People-Like-Him the "proof" that would finally answer all of his questions once-and-for-all. When my old Evangelical persona wasn't doing that, it was desperately trying to get me to present some kind of "Decision Theology" to him instead.

It was funny, because every single time I sensed myself doing that, or wanting to do that, I hit the brakes and invited him to church with me tomorrow morning. I figured some good old Law and Gospel Lutheran style on Palm Sunday might be just what the Lord wanted me to offer him.

In any event, it's been awhile since I encountered someone as angry as him. Don't get me wrong, he's a stand-up guy and all, but this is one subject that really gets him hot under the collar!

Looking back, the warning signs were there though. I remember how he remarked to us over and over again earlier in the day how he is a "headstrong" person and "borderline arrogant" and that he knows it. I was completely shocked when he first said that to us and even remarked that even though we had just met, I would never even guess that about him, but said I thought it was good that he was at least able to humble himself and admit to that though. Later, he added that he is very opinionated and likes when he encounters others who are very opinionated, but who hold views different to his own. He made it clear that he respects those who stand up for what they believe in, no matter what, and is perfectly willing to be friends with someone who he vehemently disagrees with. We'll see. And, come to think of it, I do recall getting some weird glances from him whenever I stopped to quickly (and silently) pray before my meals this week.

Now, all of that would be ironic enough...if it weren't for the daily devotional that I just happened to read that morning, or a full 15 hours earlier!

In fact, the book "By Faith Alone: 365 Devotional Readings Updated In Today's Language From Martin Luther" was given to me as a gift before I left to come here.

This is what I read first thing yesterday morning...

DEFYING THE WORLD

John 15:19 (ESV) If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.


Christ warns us here about the world's opposition to Christians. We must learn to despise the world's envy and hatred and whatever else it tries to do to us. It's inevitable that the people of the world will hate God and Christ. And because they hate Christ, they will also hate us. Because of this ongoing opposition, we must know how to overcome it by despising the world's arrogance. The more we let the world's arrogance bother us, the more the devil and the world likes it. If the devil could make us agonize and worry day and night about the world's opposition to the Gospel, he would laugh up his sleeve and have great fun with it. The people of the world would only rant and rave longer and louder. They would think they were succeeding because they were making us wail and cry. But if we defiantly ignore them, they become angry, sad, and irritated that their enemies are mocking them to their face -- even when their ranting and raving is at its peak. The devil is extremely arrogant, and so is his bride, the world. So there's nothing worse to him than being despised and mocked. When he experiences this and can't do anything about it, he retreats. Otherwise, he doesn't stop until he makes us discouraged and exhausted. He urges and pushes so long and hard that one could die of sorrow. But when he sees that we're determined to hold out against his hatred and that we continue to be cheerful and even mock him on top of it, he'll be the first one to grow tired. He's so haughty that he can't tolerate it when we defy him.


Isn't it just like God to speak to you through His Word like that to prepare you for things that He knows are coming? Love it when He does that!

I was left thinking about two things primarily. First, that our recent Bible study about the "fool" is so relevant in this case. Second, that the claim that Christians "hate" non-Christians and are so "un-loving" toward them is absurd.

Look, please understand that it's NEVER about "Winning A Debate" either. It's about a faithful confession of the faith so that God can win (a.k.a. save) souls. So, please pray that Kyle thinks about the faithful proclamation of Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind (for you, for me, for him) that he heard last evening and that the Holy Spirit will use it to one day bear the fruits of repentance and faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

All is not lost though it may appear that way to my eyes (Isaiah 55:11). Plus, my "Car Buddy" here from Training just told me tonight that his father-in-law was an LCMS Pastor in North Dakota, and so I invited him to go to church with me tomorrow too. He said to give him a call in the morning at 9am!

Christian witness begins with a person's own faith. We must know what we believe, teach, and confess according to God's Word. Positive testimony and witness to the truth of the Gospel is called for (1 Peter 3:15; Galatians 1:6-10).

Christianity stands up to scrutiny and investigation because it's true. Christians are to be prepared to tell others about this truth whenever they have the opportunity. Others may notice the Christian's faithful response to adversity, which may cause them to seek the reason and thus hear the Gospel.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, defending the Gospel should not be done with arrogance or militance, because God calls for a gentle witness to the truth.

Jesus blesses us by allowing us to tell others about the life we have in Him so that they, too, may share in His blessings.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Prayers For One's Vocation And The Working Man Away From Home

Just a brief programming note that Your Humble Host And Servant In Jesus Christ will be away in Tampa, FL for the next 3 weeks for corporate training as I begin my new job as a Membership Recruiter with Nielsen!

So, that means that I'll be in a classroom setting Mondays-Fridays all day and will probably have homework to complete each night so I'm not quite sure how much time (if any) I'll have to write new material for this blog during that time, but I'll certainly do what I can to fill in the gaps and to kill some time perhaps on the weekends.

For now, I thought I would share the following prayers from the Lutheran Book of Prayer that seemed appropriate for a time like this -- prayers for one's vocation and prayers for the working man away from home.



PRAYER FOR FAITHFUL WORK


Almighty God and Father, without whose help and blessing all labor is in vain, remember me in my work this day. If it be Your will, give me a prosperous day and lead me to find satisfaction and contentment in the tasks at hand. May all my work be done well, that I may glorify You with honest work; for the sake of Him who completed His work for us, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


PRAYER FOR JOY IN MY JOB

Heavenly Father, Creator of heaven ad earth, it is out of Your love and wisdom that You gave me work to do and fitted me in body and mind to do this work. And yet my sinful will too often dreads the workday and casts about for other things to do. But You, O God, have called me to this work. Forgive me my sin. Strengthen me by Your Spirit that I may see that my place of work is a field of Your service to my family, my fellow worker, and my neighbor. Give me joy in my vocation, and make me glad and grateful for the strength to serve You; through Jesus Christ. Amen.


PRAYER FOR COMFORT CONCERNING VOCATION


Dear Lord, I have Your Word, and I trust that You certainly bless me in my present calling -- this I know. Yet I look around and see everywhere a lack of answers, a lack of help, and a lack of that which I need now! I can turn to no one for help except to You. Help me with all of this. My comfort is in this: You have said and commanded that I should ask, search, and knock, and so doing I will certainly receive, find, and have that which I desire. Amen.


PRAYER OF ONE WHO IS IN BUSINESS

Lord, You have prospered the labor of my hands and have given success to my undertakings. Oh, kind and gracious Father, grant me always a grateful heart, that I may never forget how completely unworthy I am of all the mercies and of all the truth You have shown Your servant. Grant me a lively sense of my responsibilities and obligations, which You have placed upon me. Deeply impress upon me the need of remaining humble, of trusting not in wealth or material goods but in You, the living God, and in Your Son, my only Savior. Keep me mindful that You, who have so richly given me all things to enjoy, can quickly take away all that I have. Teach me, O God of love, to be rich in good works, always ready to help my brothers and sisters, ever willing to contribute, according to my abilities, toward the building up of Your kingdom, both here and abroad. By the power of Your Spirit, help me to store up treasure not merely upon this earth, but especially in heaven, which Christ has procured for me by the payment of His precious blood. Amen.


PRAYER IN BUSINESS REVERSALS

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name or the Lord! My dear heavenly Father, Your poor, tormented child flees to You for comfort, peace of mind, guidance, and help. You know better than I the worries and anxious feelings troubling my heart and my mind. There is nowhere else to go in my distress but to You, my gracious Father. Humble me under Your mighty hand, so that I may cast all my cares upon You, the One who loves and cares for me. I know that even these business reversals are sent as a needed humbling for my eternal welfare. Heavenly Father, for the sake of Your Son, my Redeemer, forgive me all my sins. May these losses teach me to know the uncertainty and vanity of all earthly possessions. Create in me that godliness and contentment that is of greater gain. According to Your gracious and holy will, lead me to success and prosperity. If not, then, Lord, let me become richer in faith and in good works. Supply me each day with daily bread, and grant me the grace to live trustingly and to remain as Your loving, obedient child, even as You correct me. Enable me to firmly cling to the words of Your promise: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). Your will be done, my Heavenly Father; for Jesus' sake. Amen.


PRAYER FOR THOSE AWAY FROM HOME

Lord, gracious and merciful, who watches over even the sparrow and upholds everything with Your everlasting arms, protect and keep my loved ones while they are away from home. Watch over them tenderly so that no evil comes to them during our separation. Keep them faithful to Your Word and Your Church. Guard and protect them as they are tempted by the lusts of sin and the unbelief of the world. Keep them pure in heart, clean in mind, and healthy in body. Dwell in them day by day. Abide with those of us left behind as well as those who go, and bring them safely home to me and at last to the eternal home in heaven. To You both now and forever be glory and praise, world without end; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


PRAYER WHILE AWAY FROM HOME

O Lord, who is present everywhere, be very near to those at home, and protect them from every danger of body and soul. Heavenly Father, You comfort me and all Your children with the promises of Your Word that You are our hiding place and refuge -- a very present help in every situation of life. As the caretaker of all who call on You, grant that these promises may give me needed spiritual security. Gracious Lord, turn all things to the good of those who love You, and therefore direct all things in our lives and homes to our eternal welfare. Increase my love for You. You came to me in Baptism, that by grace I might be Your child and You my loving Father. Strengthen me in this gracious gift, that I might ever stand in the blessings bestowed through water and the Word. I confess that I have not always loved You with all my heart, yet in mercy You do not turn away from me. O compassionate Lord, forgive me all my sin. Protect all whom I love during the coming night. Unite us together with You through Your Word and holy Sacrament, through our faith and eternal hope, and in our common confession of our one Lord, until that time when You bring me safely home. In Jesus' name I ask this. Amen.


Please pray for me and my family.

No, I know we have nothing to complain about when you think of military families and how long loved ones are typically apart in that case, but this will be the very first time that I'll be away from all of them for any extended period of time, and the thought of me being gone for 3 full weeks is a bit of a shock to our systems.

Plus, I'll be away during Holy Week and Easter and won't be able to head home even for that weekend to celebrate with them!

That being said, I'm also going to have to find a local LCMS Church to attend while I'm down there. I've done a little research already, but the thought makes me both a little nervous and excited.

Obviously, I don't want to stumble into an apostate congregation where CoWo and "Your Best Life Now!" is all the rage, but I'm also excited at the possibility that I might finally get to see and hear what a confessional and faithful LCMS Church might look and sound like during their Traditional Worship Service this time of year.

Who knows, maybe my experiences will give me something good to write about here in my spare time. In the meantime, I'll be spending most of my free time calling, emailing, and texting my wife and kids.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, please pray "Thy will be done" in our lives while I'm away.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that perhaps wouldn't be too big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in interpreting a specific portion of Scripture exegetically, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 4/5/2014)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was for Luther a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins like Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the commercials! Let's get the show started already, shall we?



8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): So the trailer for a film called Fight Church was released on April 2nd (or a day after April Fool's Day) so I was initially skeptical to believe it's legit. Then I read the description: "Academy Award Winning Director, Daniel Junge (Saving Face) and director Bryan Storkel (Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians) team up with producers Eben Kostbar and Joseph McKelheer (The Hammer) for a feature documentary about the confluence of Christianity and mixed martial arts, including ministries which train fighters." It's legit. Lovely, huh? You know, I put this in our Vitamin A category this morning, but now that I think about it there's nothing "funny" about this at all. This is incredibly sad and sick, IMHO. Just stop. Please.


8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS):
First, Rev. Mark Buetow gives some insight on whether you should see movies based on Bible stories or not (I'm looking at you Noah!). Second, Alan Kurshchner says, "Christians who endorsed the movie Noah have some explaining to do now. And those who criticized me for calling this movie blasphemous." Why? Because "the movie Noah was based on Gnosticism, not Genesis." He then cites Brian Mattson who documents this well. Be sure to click the link to read the entire detailed review. Here is an excerpt from Mattson's conclusion: "Darren Aronofsky has produced a retelling of the Noah story without reference to the Bible at all. This was not, as he claimed, just a storied tradition of run-of-the-mill Jewish 'Midrash.' This was a thoroughly pagan retelling of the Noah story direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources. To my mind, there is simply no doubt about this. So let me tell you what the real scandal in all of this is. It isn’t that he made a film that departed from the biblical story. It isn’t that disappointed and overheated Christian critics had expectations set too high. The scandal is this: of all the Christian leaders who went to great lengths to endorse this movie (for whatever reasons: 'it’s a conversation starter,' 'at least Hollywood is doing something on the Bible,' etc.), and all of the Christian leaders who panned it for 'not following the Bible'...Not one of them could identify a blatantly Gnostic subversion of the biblical story when it was right in front of their faces. I believe Aronofsky did it as an experiment to make fools of us: 'You are so ignorant that I can put Noah (granted, it’s Russell Crowe!) up on the big screen and portray him literally as the 'seed of the Serpent' and you all will watch my studio’s screening and endorse it.' He’s having quite the laugh. And shame on everyone who bought it. And what a Gnostic experiment! In Gnosticism, only the 'elite' are 'in the know' and have the secret knowledge. Everybody else are dupes and ignorant fools. The 'event' of this movie is intended to illustrate the Gnostic premise. We are dupes and fools. Would Christendom awake, please? In response, I have one simple suggestion: Henceforth, not a single seminary degree is granted unless the student demonstrates that he has read, digested, and understood Irenaeus of Lyon’s Against Heresies. Because it’s the 2nd century all over again." I didn't see the flick, but it's tough to argue with that assessment based on everything I've heard and read about it from others. Kurschner concludes by stating that, "Some readers may think I’m being hard on people for not noticing the Gnosticism at the heart of this film. I am not expecting rank-and-file viewers to notice these things. I would expect exactly what we’ve seen: head-scratching confusion. I’ve got a whole different standard for Christian leaders: college and seminary professors, pastors, and Ph.Ds. If a serpent skin wrapped around the arm of a godly Bible character doesn’t set off any alarms...I don’t know what to say." Yep, my sentiments exactly. For emphasis, check out Bill Muehlenberg's "Noah And Christian Discernment" too. Bottom line? Doctrine and discernment are sorely needed in the Christian Church today.


9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL):
"Good prayer books are hard to find. While good prayer books are available, most people are after convenience. Just as many people 'nourish' their bodies with whatever they can find at the local fast food establishment, so also many 'nourish' their faith with whatever they can find in the 'inspirational' book section at Target or at the local Christian mega-store. While fast-food places may have a few nutritious items on their menu, most of their stuff is really bad for you. The same is true with these fast-food style Christian booksellers. They may sell a few really good things (like the Bible), but most of their books reflect an American evangelical perspective. Such books teach a purpose-driven (mis)use of the Law, where God’s Law is seen as something to empower the life of faith rather than something that kills. The centrality of God’s grace in Word and Sacrament is almost never taught and is often denied outright. While a few salutary nuggets may be found in these books, they end up getting lost in a sea of error. Even the worst foods often have some positive nutritional value (however slight it may be), but it is usually better to avoid such foods altogether. The same might be said about most of these books. Which brings us back to the original point: good prayer books are hard to find— or so it would seem. Luther had this same problem in his day. The Hortulus animae ('a little garden of the soul') was an early 16th century bestseller, which contained prayers to Mary and the saints, apostles, virgins, and holy widows, just to name a few. ... Luther himself found these books were in need of 'a basic and thorough reformation if not total extermination.' According to Charles Arand, this shortage of good prayer books is what led Luther to write his own. His Little Prayer Book (1522) was built around the three texts of the catechism (The Ten Commandments, The Creed, & The Lord’s Prayer). Luther saw the catechism as a book to be meditated upon and prayed. The influence of the Small Catechism (structure & content) can also be seen in Luther’s A Simple Way to Pray (1535). ... Fortunately, we still have his Small Catechism today, which is a wonderful, lifelong treasury of daily prayer! The catechism, as a summary of the Scriptures, has the same goal as God’s Word: to create and sustain faith (John 20:31). The entire Small Catechism can thus be prayed with this goal in mind. ... Apart from Scripture itself (especially the Psalter), it’s hard to imagine a better prayer book than Luther’s Small Catechism. In truth, good prayer books are not hard to find." Pastor Eric Andersen


9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Here's Rev. William Weedon's homily from yesterday morning's Chapel on John 6:1–15 that's way more than just a few words about bread and a food shortage: "Jesus tosses Philip a hot potato, a problem that he cannot solve. 'Where can get bread for these to eat?' Philip is one of you numbers people. He sizes up the crowd and figures out that having 200 days wages would not be enough for each one to get a bite. His attention is captivated by the huge size of the need. Andrew is a tad more practical, I suppose. He checks out the resources at hand: five loaves, two fish. He comes to Jesus shaking his head: 'What are they among so many?' Dismay and despair over the huge need and the meager resources and so the disciples fail the text. For they don’t look up from either to the face of Jesus. 'Give them to me,' he says and then He offers His thanks and praise to the Father who loves His children and provides them with all they will ever need. Then Jesus takes those meager resources and sends the disciples forth: 'Go give it away.' Can you see Peter… then the look of surprise… no matter how much he gave away, the chunk in his hand didn't diminish. From shock to the joy of giving it away to the hungry crowd! Now ask yourself IF they had used their noggins and kept the food, how much would they have had at the end of the day? Their measly five loaves and two fish? Probably not even that, because they'd have eaten it! But because they did what Jesus told them to do: give it all away. What did they come away with at the end of the day? 12 baskets full of left overs. No, makes no sense at all. But this is God’s arithmetic. And it is the arithmetic of Jesus’ own life. We fear if we give our lives away, we won’t have anything left for ourselves. But Jesus, who can take the bread and bless it and give it away and come up with more than you could ever dream, this is the Jesus who does the same with HIS LIFE. He spends His life in love for others, for you and for me. He pours Himself out till He’s all spent and there's nothing left but a corpse to put in a tomb. And yet raised from the dead on the third day, He shows how His Father vindicates such a life. Love is as strong as death, says Solomon in his Song. Jesus shows: No, love is stronger than death. Don’t be afraid, people loved by God, to spend and be spent in loving service to others. You don’t come up the loser. You can’t. Jesus invites you to look away from the vast need, to look away from your meager resources, to look to Him and to dare with Him to venture all on God’s amazing economy where love triumphs. Amen."


10:00AM DOES OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE):
Say what? This is just bizarre. Pope Francis is going to beam a 3D image of himself to the world on April 27th, 2014!?! It sounds like something out of Science Fiction (or a Dan Brown novel), but it's legit: "Pope Francis will become the first pontiff seen globally in 3D during the upcoming April 27 ceremony in St. Peter’s Square when two of his predecessors, John Paul II and John XXIII, will be canonised as saints. The unprecedented double canonisation event will be produced in 3D by the Vatican TV Center (CTV) in a partnership with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia, BSkyB and Sky Deutschland payboxes, and Sony. The ceremony will also be beamed into 3D movie theatres across Europe and in North and South America, in what is being touted as the first convergence of HD, 3D and 4K technologies for such a high-profile multimedia 3D event. At a press conference in the Vatican, CTV chief Monignor Dario Vigano said the live transmission will require 'more satellites than the Sochi Olympics.' Vigano underlined that the Vatican decided to offer the canonisation ceremony to the world in 3D in order to give people who would want to attend but cannot, for many reasons including economic ones, the chance to get a 'fully immersive' experience.The production will use 13 3D cameras positioned in spots that will give a unique and exclusive vantage point of St Peter’s Square. The HD feed will be carried by 100 broadcasters, including Italo pubcaster RAI, and viewed by an estimated 200,000 global TV audience. Roughly five million pilgrims are expected in Rome for the event, which will see four popes united in St Peter’s, given that the Vatican has confirmed that former Pope Benedict XVI will attend. Benedict, who stepped down from the papacy in February 2013, has been living a secluded existence inside the Vatican walls." So now we see the Roman Catholic Church going all "Church Growth," "Emergent," and "Missional" by taking a page out of the mega-church playbook with a fancy-schmancy display of cutting edge technology. Just what the world needs more of.

Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.


In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed and, hopefully, you're wide awake by now so go and serve your neighbor in love today.


Grace and peace to you and yours!

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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PODCAST: Episode #9 -- Third Base Ministry? Or Running The Bases?

Please make some time to check out today's podcast on BlogTalkRadio.

No, the world doesn’t need to hear another podcast, but it does need to hear the simplicity of the Gospel, or Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind (John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9).

If I can help myself learn His truth while using Social Media to promote the Lutheran confessions of our shared and cherished faith and its profound differences over and above any others, then that's just a bonus (Jude 1:3).

Either way, Christ will add to His Church as He wills -- with or without me -- and it will be all to His credit for His glory, His honor, and His praise and not mine whatsoever (John 6:44; John 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:7). I am only a servant in Jesus Christ looking to carry out that calling through my various vocations.





Current Christianity Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with A Lutheran Layman on BlogTalkRadio


[Episode #9] Please join us for our next broadcast of A Lutheran Layman in an episode we're calling "Third Base Ministry? Or Running The Bases?" during which we'll be discussing...


* A Review of Chapter 4 From Pastor Rodney E. Zwonitzer's 2002 Book Titled Testing The Claims of Church Growth I love Major League Baseball! Now that the 2014 MLB Regular Season is officially underway, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a quick review of Pastor Zwonitzer's classic book on the "Church Growth," "Contemporary Worship," "Emergent," "Missional," and "Purpose Driven" churches and movements in this country by focusing in on one chapter in particular that contains one of the best sermons (by way of one of the best analogies) that I've ever come across in my life to describe the Christian faith and life.


Of course, we'll take your comments and questions on-air as time permits. You can send me your questions or comments to: info@lutheranlayman.com or @LutheranLayman

[AUDIO: "Bittersweet Symphony" Instrumental; "Wedding Song" By City Harmonic; Some Additional Sound Bytes From Table Talk Radio As Part of Intro Theme; YouTube Clips From Public Domain; Worldview Everlasting; Boars In The Vineyard; Concordia Publishing House Promotional Sound Bytes]

[NOTE: All Bible Readings And Expositor Commentary From ESV Lutheran Study Bible Unless Otherwise Noted]


This one's about 1.5 hours long, but I promise the time will fly by if you're anything like me and passionate about this topic.

This podcast is still a Work-In-Progress so please let me know what you think!

At the end of the day, I just want the confession of faith and the information you hear on this show to be accurate and, above all, faithful to God's Word and our Confessions that point us back to Jesus and the Word.


Please make a note to bookmark and/or check out A Lutheran Layman on BlogTalkRadio each week where you can listen LIVE or access the Archive to listen via streaming or to download an MP3 File for use on your Mobile Device.

Do feel free to contact me to let me know what you think (with your comments and questions), especially if it's to correct me on my handling of God's Word and in confessing the Lutheran faith. I can't stress this enough since I would love to get some feedback from those of you who have tuned in so that I know that no traces for my former Evangelical life are finding their way into the program.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, may this humble podcast be used for God's glory and your edification (Philippians 3:3; Romans 15:17; Galatians 6:14; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:2; Jude 1:3; Galatians 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:7).


NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Children Should Be Enriched With Scripture

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday's "Ribs And Kidney Stones" podcast.

First, here's the link to that excellent resource ("A Guide For Christian Parents") from Grace Lutheran Church in Parker, CO. We shared most of the content from the article during the show and I really like it because it contains advice on topics like:


* Raising Children In The Church
* Teaching Children How To Pray And Sing
* Why Children Should Participate In The Liturgical Life of The Church
* 12 Steps To Teaching The Christian Faith To Children


Next, I wanted to share a brief quote from Martin Luther about catechizing our children that we failed to include at the end of the program.



Enriched With Scripture

"Take these words of mine to hear and keep them in mind. (Write them down,) tie them around your wrist and war them as headbands as a reminder. Teach them to your children."
Deuteronomy 11:18-19


When children are old enough to begin grasping the concepts of faith, they should make a habit of bringing home verses of Scripture from church. They should recite these verses to their parents at mealtime. Then they should write the verses down and put them in little pouches or pockets, just as they put pennies and other coins in a purse. Let the pouch of faith be a golden one. Verses about coming to faith, such as Psalm 51:5; John 1:29; Romans 4:25; and Romans 5:12, are like gold coins for that little pouch. Let the pouch of love be a silver one. The verses about doing good, such as Matthew 5:11; Matthew 25:40; Galatians 5:13; and Hebrews 12:6, are like silver coins for this one.

No one should think he’s too smart for this game and look down on this kind of child’s play. Christ has to become a man in order to train us. If we want to train children, then we must become children with them. I wish that this kind of child’s play were more widespread. In a short time, we would see an abundance of Christian people rich in Scripture and in the knowledge of God. They would make more of these pouches, and by using them, they would learn all of Scripture. As it is now, people go to hear a sermon and leave again unchanged. They act like a sermon is only worth the time that it takes to hear it. No one thinks about the time that it takes to hear it. No one thinks about learning anything from it or remembering it. Some people listen to sermons for three or four years and still don’t learn enough to respond to a single question about faith. More than enough has been written in books, but not nearly enough has been driven into our hearts.

*- Martin Luther By Faith Alone - 365 Devotional Readings


I just love Luther's analogy between God becoming man and we becoming children.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, fulfill your vocation and catechize (a.k.a. teach) God's Word to your children and grandchildren today.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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