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 which include 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). For the most part, these will be things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week. 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" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?
8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): I'm not sure if Worldview Everlasting has included this funny video clip into any of their latest videos yet (because I need to catch up on my WEtv!), but they should find a way! This is the "Epic Pomeranian Puppy Sneeze" in case you haven't seen it yet. It's become an instant classic in our home with the kids! Enjoy!
8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): Pastor Charles Henrickson preached a sermon last week that could've been written just for me! It was called "Receiving God's Gifts: Grumbling Or Grateful?" and I'm willing to bet that each and every one of you who is reading this right now can take away something of significant eternal value from this sermon on Exodus 16:2-15, John 6:22-35, and Ephesians 4:1-16. Here's just a small taste: "There is a theme that runs through all three of our lessons today. Did you spot it? It is the theme of God’s gifts. In the reading from Exodus, in the reading from Ephesians, and in the reading from John–in each of those readings, God is busy giving gifts to his people. Our God is a gracious and giving God, there is no doubt about that. But how God’s people receive his gifts–how we receive the gifts God gives to us–now that can be quite another question. Do we recognize the gifts God gives us? Do we grumble about them, that they’re not what we want, and really, God, we’d rather have some other things instead of what you’re giving us? Or do we recognize and receive God’s gifts for what they are, which is, the best that God has for us for now and for eternity, even if we don’t understand why we’re getting what we’re getting? And so our theme this morning: 'Receiving God’s Gifts: Grumbling Or Grateful?'"
9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): The Augsburg Confession is as relevant to the Church today as it was during the 16th Century Reformation. Pastors and Bible study leaders who desire to help their members understand the Confessions in a current context will appreciate how this study, Lutheran Doctrine And Practice Today, uses detailed 21st Century scenarios to bridge the gap between eras. Perfect for every LCMS church!
9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Romans 13:1-7 (ESV) "1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." My Lutheran Study Bible has this to say about these verses: "While all governments fall short, Paul implies that the first century Roman government was adequately carrying out its two essential functions: approving those who do good and punishing evildoers. Paul acknowledges that all authority comes from God, to whom ultimate obedience is due. 'We must obey God rather than men' (Acts 5:29). Believers are to honor those in authority, obey the government, and pay their taxes (cf 1 Peter 2:13-17). To fail to do so is to suffer the consequences from those in authority and possibly from God as well. God is the ultimate authority; He used His power to save us (Romans 1:16). Thank You for caring for me through those You have placed in authority over me: my parents, teachers, and government officials. Guide them to use their authority according to Your will and help me to obey them. Bless those believers who live under corrupt governments, and guide their consciences to respond in ways pleasing to You. Amen." This brief study seemed appropriate after Thursday night's Republican debates.
10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): I saw a lot written about a new Christian documentary called "The Overnighters" that seems intriguing. After reading a few reviews and comments on Twitter (without having seen the movie yet), I have to say that "I'm terrified of that kind of love" described too. At the same time, certain circumstances in my own life from just this past week have demonstrated to me the power of this kind of unexpected, crazy love. Guess we'll all have to check out that film for ourselves and report back with our thoughts.
Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.
In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day in your God-given vocations.
Grace and peace to you and yours!
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!