As usual, this will present a problem for us when it comes to attending church on Sunday.
If the Eastern District-LCMS is any barometer, then the challenge will be finding a truly faithful (and confessional) Lutheran church where we're going so that we can worship there in good conscience this coming Sunday.
That got me thinking about the importance of finding a local church that adheres to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) because it understands that "there is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).
In a world where our life could end in death at any moment, give me a church that is interested in my soul.
In a world where I'm beaten up daily by the devil, society all around me, and my own fallen, sinful flesh that constantly wars with the Spirit, give me a church that preaches the forgiveness of my sins from week-to-week.
In a world where nothing is sacred and where we are all too smart for our own good, give me a church that offers me the fullness of the mystery of God's presence through His Word and Sacraments, which delivers to me the free gifts of His forgiveness and grace.
In a world where we are entertaining ourselves to death, give me a church where I know what to expect and can look forward to the traditional Divine Liturgy and the ritualistic nature of the service from week to week.
In a world where Christianity has sold out to culture and political correctness, give me a church that faithfully and properly distinguishes between Law and Gospel on a regular basis regardless of how popular it might be to modern man's ears.
Yes, I realize that there is no "perfect" church, but give me one that offers me all those things rather than a constant message that proclaims "10 Steps To A Better FILL IN THE BLANK" and "Do! Do! Do!" as opposed to "Done! Done! Done!" through preaching about a formula for how to obtain health, wealth, and happiness all the time, and that will instantly become the church that me and my family will attend.
Give me a church that's like that and it would be viewed as both a hospital for this sick sinner and a sanctuary for this redeemed saint.
Jesus at the center and cross focused -- Christ died and resurrected for me, for you, and for the sins of all mankind! Give me a church that preaches that on a weekly basis.
In a Lutheran layman's terms, give me a church that is exactly the kind of church that Christ intended for all His churches to be.
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, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 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/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) 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 I 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 footnotes 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 under-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 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!