“One Name, One Flock, One Shepherd” (Acts 4:1-12; John 10:11-18)
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” the day in the church year every year when the propers–that is, the various parts of the service–revolve around Jesus as our Good Shepherd. The Holy Gospel is always a portion of John 10, in which Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. The Psalm is always the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd.” The Hymn of the Day, which we just sang, is “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” And so on. This theme of the Good Shepherd really comes through loud and clear.
Now the First Reading today, from the Book of Acts, chapter . . . Read All
We live in a highly individualistic age, an age which fancies itself tolerant. The sad description of Israel under the Judges could equally well be said about our selfish generation.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
There are really only two options: either you live by self-chosen standards or you walk according to the Law of the Lord. Many people in our time have deliberately rejected the latter in favor of the former (though it’s impossible for us to keep God’s Law; Romans 3:19-20). To reject God’s Law, whether deliberately (outright antinomianism) or not (Romans 7:14-25), is particularly insidious for Christians, since living to please one’s . . . Read All
Easter 4, April 26, 2015
Sermon Text — John 10:11-18
Come back later for the audio of this sermon.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. John’s gospel account the 10th chapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
In the Wilderness
The call to follow the Lord is often a call into the wilderness. Abraham was called to go from his country, his kindred, and his father’s house to a land revealed by the Lord. Following Israel’s baptism in the Red Sea the people dwelt in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised Land. David, anointed by Samuel to be king of God’s people first wanders about . . . Read All
Editors note: This is always timely but is being reposted because several examples of this horrid, shameful, and unchristian behavior have come to my attention.
If you or your congregation are considering taking that “vote” to remove a pastor (or using such a vote to coerce his resignation), check to make sure that it is for legitimate reasons (persistent adherence to false doctrine; great public shame and vice [scandalous conduct]; willful and real neglect [or inability to perform] of his office). If you are an official involved in removing a pastor check also to make sure it is for legitimate reasons…
Here are some thoughts to consider if your pastor is not teaching falsely, living in scandalous conduct, or gladly . . . Read All
Guest article by Pr. Bruce Timm.
Previous articles, reasons 1-3, found here; reason 4 found here.
Why do I use the liturgy?
Reason #5. The liturgy teaches the young and sustains the old.
This is one of the chief pastoral reasons I use the liturgy. I grew up in the 70s. I remember everything was an experiment. I had three different catechisms growing up. I went to youth gatherings where we tried something new every time. When I first became a pastor I was a little more open to variety. But experience as a pastor and father has brought me to believe that the liturgy is the very best worship we can offer our youngest and our . . . Read All
“To Understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:36-49)
Have you ever thought about what the Bible is all about? I mean, if you had to boil it down to just a few short sentences, what would you say is the main message of the Scriptures? You know, a lot of people have a lot of different opinions about the Bible and what it is saying. They pull this verse or that verse out of context and twist it like a wax nose to make it suit their purpose. People approach the Bible with their presuppositions and then find in the Bible what they want to find. But what really is the main message of the Bible, if you had to sum it . . . Read All
Christ and Culture Podcast
The Christ and Culture Podcast is a new podcast by Pr. Scott Stiegemeyer. Pr. Stiegemeyer discusses various topics to show how Christianity and culture intersect and interact. I’ve pulled two representative episodes. In the first, Pr. Stiegemeyer talks to Pr. Eric Andrae about Bo Giertz and his book “Christ’s Church.” The second is a discussion with Pr. Todd Peperkorn on the topic of depression.
EPISODE 3 – Bo Giertz on Christ’s Church with Pastor Eric Andrae
EPISODE 7 – Depression & the Christian Faith
. . . Read All
In a recent article highlighting examples of how LCMS institutions sow confusion among members, the comments overwhelmingly concerned Tullian Tchividjian’s recent address at Concordia Seminary St. Louis (CSL). The comments were quite balanced in favor of and against Tchividjian’s appearance at CSL. That means your author failed to properly convey the problem, so I am going to try again, this time with assistance from a professional.
Zwingli Memorial outside the Wasserkirche, Zurich. © 2015, Tim Wood
Let me get there by starting with a light travelogue for the sake of illuminating the issue. The Swiss Reformer, Huldrych Zwingli, is commemorated with an imposing bronze statue in front of the Wasserkirche in Zürich. Notably, he holds a large sword . . . Read All
After attending my first district convention as a member of the LCMS I confess myself disappointed. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much. I tried to keep a positive attitude and if you knew my personality you’d know that I am a pessimistic person. I understand that the LCMS is made up of sinners. I do have to say there were moments of great confession and moments when I wanted to bang my head on the table. I’d like to share with you the good and the bad from the layman perspective.
There were many good things that I took away from my district convention. There was morning devotions with Dr. Paul Raabe of Concordia St. Louis titled . . . Read All
Guest article by Pr. Bruce Timm.
Previous article, reasons 1-3, found here.
Reason Number 4 for Using the Liturgy – They used the Liturgy in the Garden of Eden
It’s quite a bold assertion that Adam and Eve used the liturgy in the Garden of Eden. Let me explain what I mean by this seemingly outrageous claim. Adam and Eve lived on the gifts of God. They lived by His Word. God spoke both a promise and a curse to Adam and Eve. The promise of His Word was that they would live forever in a blissful marriage with each other and in communion with Him. God had given them everything necessary for life including the fruit from . . . Read All
I was raised Roman Catholic. Now I’m a Lutheran pastor. But I didn’t just leave the Roman Catholic Church because I happened to marry a pretty Lutheran girl. Nor was my attending seminary part of the deal when we got married (my wife never went “semming”). So why did I leave the Roman Catholic Church? From the Council of Trent, Sixth Session. Chapter IX: “Against the Vain Faith of Heretics.”
“But though it is necessary that sins neither are remitted nor ever have been remitted except gratuitously by divine mercy for Christ’s sake, yet it must not be said that sins are forgiven or have been forgiven to anyone who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of
. . . Read All
What would happen if we really would make the saving of souls the ultimate purpose, the end and aim of our joint work? . . . Even though all kinds of strife-causing questions might arise yet, the question: ‘Which course is best for the salvation of souls?’ will quickly give the right solution … Whatever will win the most souls for Christ, that would decide between us …” – CFW Walther, Address to the 1st Session of the Synodical Conference, 1872.
As I unwound from Holy Week, I was perusing some of the books I received this past Christmas and ran across a full translation of CFW Walther’s address to the first session of the Synodical Conference in a translation . . . Read All
“Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness” (John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; Acts 4:32-35)
Did you get any gifts for Easter? Maybe an Easter basket, filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and Easter eggs that you open up and there’s a coin inside? Well, I can think of some Easter gifts that are even better than that. And today I want to tell you about them. They’re right there in our readings for today, and they are these Easter gifts, three of them: “Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness.”
Faith, fellowship, and forgiveness: three Easter gifts that we have because of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And our readings today from John, 1 John, and the . . . Read All
In the movie, Saving Private Ryan, Private Reiben asks, “Where’s the sense of riskin’ the lives of the eight of us to save one guy?” Captain Miller says, “We all have orders, and we have to follow ‘em. That supersedes everything, including your mothers.” Private Reiben asks, “Even if you think the mission’s FUBAR, sir?” “Especially if you think the mission’s FUBAR,” answers Captain Miller.
Corporal Upham asks, “What’s FUBAR?” As things go from bad to worse, he learns what FUBAR means: fouled up beyond all recognition. (sanitized version).
When something is messed up so badly that it cannot be recognized as what it is supposed to be, that’s FUBAR. That’s what happened to Jesus when He was executed . . . Read All
Great stuff found over on WMLTblog:
Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ!
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.” (Ps. 107:1)
We are blessed with the gift of faith through Holy Baptism and the preaching of God’s Word in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions. We give thanks to our Lord for so many blessings, including the opportunity to carry out our Lord’s mission in our respective vocations and with the talents God entrusts to us.
In July 2013, the Synod in convention set before the Office of International Mission (OIM) a challenge to double the number of career LCMS missionaries (Resolution 1-11, “To Recruit and Place More Career Missionaries”). By the Lord’s grace, we project that by . . . Read All
Found at Logia Online.
Highly needed and valuable, a review of Dr. Matthew L. Becker’s book, Fundamental Theology: A Protestant Perspective, by a competent academic, scriptural Christian, and confessional Lutheran. Now we have it Logia‘s book review by Dr. Jack Kilcrease.
From “Book Review: Fundamental Theology”:
Under the principle that the Bible is not actually the Word of God (or perhaps only in a very qualified sense!), Becker posits that those earlier eras’ written witness to revelation can, in many cases, be discarded altogether in favor of the better human apprehensions of God and his ways during later stages of salvation history (289–90).
Read the whole review here.
. . . Read All
This blog is read by thousands of people but not all of those readers will admit to it. Once again we have proof of the BJS impact.
A few weeks ago we posted information about the Concordia University Irvine Great Commission Summit and how Catholics, Evangelicals, and Methodists were identified as “ministry partners” and how that was unhealthy ecumenism.
I just got an email blast from Concordia and they now identify only LCMS groups as partners and the Catholics, Evangelicals and Methodists are now simply identified as our friends.
Do I know that without a doubt this is a result of BJS? No I do not. Do I suspect it? Yes I do because we have seen this before in . . . Read All
There are a number of things I remember about the ELCA church I was a member of during my childhood. Some memories are good and some are bad. I remember the candlelight service every Christmas Eve. I remember being an acolyte. I remember always sitting next to my dad and being offered some of his breath mints. I remember being dropped off for Sunday school. In my teenage years I remember attending dances and other social gatherings that had nothing to do with strengthening my faith. My memories come to an end after I was confirmed and stopped attending church services. Sifting through the good and bad memories of my mind the most powerful memory are certain parts of the . . . Read All
Marilyn and I were walking in Nice, Provence. While passing a gallery, something on a wall inside caught me. I stopped, stepped back, took a second look, and said, “That can’t be here. It’s in Chicago.”
Marilyn humored me as we went inside and headed straight to the painting that was the spitting image of one by Post-Impressionist painter, Paul Cezanne. Everything about it seemed true: colors, lighting, Post-Impressionist technique. Marilyn said, “What’s wrong.” “Nothing,” I said, “except that this hangs in the Art Museum of Chicago.”
A gallery assistant removed the painting from the wall, turned it around, and showed its certificate: “Vrais Faux 23/125.” I do not speak French, so I had to rely on Latin roots from . . . Read All
“Speaking of Life”
Other Holy Week sermons from Pastor Asburry:
P: Christ is risen! C: He is risen indeed!
Friday left us in the darkness of death, the valley of the shadow of Christ’s crucifixion and burial. Saturday gave us a day of rest, just as Christ rested in the tomb from His labors of recreating the world. And today? Well, today we come to life, the resurrected life, the new life in Christ’s image. Actually, it all began last evening. In the Biblical way of telling time, the day begins at sundown the evening before—evening and morning, Day One, and so on. So, we just couldn’t wait! We . . . Read All
Yesterday Pr. Rossow told the news of my promotion here at BJS. There will be much more to come on that in the coming weeks, including some new projects currently underway and some other tweaks to the site. First though I wanted to say thank you to Pr. Rossow for this site. He gives me much credit, but he has been there for these years as a great resource (not to mention the foundation he began long ago with this little blog). It is not too often you can find a man from Iowa (I know, Iowa!) who manages capital campaigns, loves cats, knows philosophy, paints with watercolors, can ponder politically, and yet through all of this maintains proper theology . . . Read All
Some information below was found over on WMLTblog.org.
My predecessor, Rev Dr Anssi Simojoki, former director of LHF-Africa was defrocked by the capital chapter of the Lutheran Church of Finland yesterday. He was ordained in 1972 when things were very different than they are today. Dr Simojoki was very outspoken and published many critical op-eds in the Finnish papers against the direction higher criticism and liberalism took the church.
What was his offense and reason for defrocking? Not obeying church authorities and not submitting himself to the bishop. It didn’t matter that the theology and practice of the bishop was in error. The new standard is obedience to the bishop. This phenomenon is not limited to Finland but the . . . Read All
Indiana is ground zero in our nation as people struggle to live under law protecting the rights of all. The legislature of Indiana has modeled the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” or RFRA (pronounced “riff-ra”), of the 1993 federal law signed by President Clinton after a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives and a 97-3 vote in the Senate. For 20 years RFRAs existed in the Federal government and 19 states before Indiana’s legislation.
Discrimination of any kind is wrong whether towards people of faith or those in the LGBT community. How to proceed politically is the Gordian knot in our land. Where is Solomon when you need him? That is why RFRA was implemented.
As a Christian my starting . . . Read All
Guest article by Pastor Bruce Timm
It’s a fair and common question for which I should have an answer (and I do.) The question has obvious grounds for being asked. Not every congregation in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod uses a liturgy. Not everyone uses an organ. Not everyone has confession of sins. Some congregations do not use the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed.
I believe the liturgy is the very best way to serve God’s gifts to the congregation I serve. Not everyone would agree with me. It has been said that the LCMS is engaged in “worship wars.” Those who use the liturgy are attacked as old fashioned, traditional, and out of touch with people’s real needs. . . . Read All
After a year or so of talking about it Joshua Scheer and I have decided this is a good time to hand off the BJS editorship.
Joshua has been the driving force behind BJS for the last couple of years and so it makes sense that he take over the reigns of our beloved BJS. He is the one who recruited our great cadre of new writers in the last few years and he put together our very successful speaking line-up at our conference this year. Josh has also been the moving force behind BJS expanding into KFUO and the Steadfast Throwdown program.
I relish the challenges and the excitement of the start-up and BJS has had a great beginning . . . Read All