Don’t write off entrepreneurs in the church. I know some great churchy entrepreneurs such as Todd Wilken (Issues, Etc.), my partner in ministry here at Bethany, Jonathan Fisk (Worldview Everlasting), Bryan Wolfmueller (radio, publishing, comedy, etc.), and even Matt Harrison who before he headed up Lutheran World Relief put together an ambitious urban renewal project sponsored by his parish (Zion, Fort Wayne), the LCMS and the city of Fort Wayne.
Furthermore I take personal offense to those who cast stones at entrepreneurs “cuz I is one.” I started a publishing company that was a bust (although there are still a few Blue Pomegranate books out there), one of the most read Lutheran blogs (you’re . . . Read All
Our previous article focused on the people associated with the FiveTwo Network and how they relate to the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). This time we’ll focus on FiveTwo’s formative influences. The findings are disturbing for Confessional Lutheranism if the FiveTwo organization is allowed to continue hiving within the LCMS as a shadow synod.
FiveTwo’s “Sacramental Entrepreneurship” model is social entrepreneurship glossed with a light Lutheran varnish. Like all social entrepreneurism, it reduces to the fusion of business fads with do-goodism. Corporate strategy and marketing are the business disciplines that most inform social entrepreneurship. They are also the most impulsive and mystical fields in any business school, and whose chief characteristics are change for the sake of change.
At . . . Read All
I’d like to die in my sleep. I’d like to be in my eighties or even my nineties. I’d like to have roast beef with potatoes and gravy for dinner that night. Maybe even a glass of my favorite beer or a Scotch before bed. I’d like to be able to do my nightly prayers and go sleep soundly thinking of my savior. I’d like to peacefully fall asleep and await the resurrection of my flesh. This seems like a good way to die. Others have different ideas on how they’d like to die. Maybe you’re an avid motorcyclist and would like to be on the road in your last moments on earth. Maybe you’d like to die with your . . . Read All
A great post found by original BJS columnist Mollie Hemingway found over on TheFederalist.com excerpted below:
I just received an email asking me to “save the date” for a “Christmas” party to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 3. “Hi friends, get a jump start on your holiday planning with our Save the Date for the [redacted] Christmas party,” the email read. Attached was a card that read “sleigh bells will ring, JINGLE, JINGLE, JINGLE So let’s get together to MIX & MINGLE.”
Even though Advent is marked in this country by millions of Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians and many other Christians, it’s almost invisible in media coverage and cultural celebrations. And Christmas, in this country, “ends” on the day . . . Read All
Posted over on Steadfast Throwdown:
How does a person become a Christian and stay a Christian? Not by doing things, but by hearing the Word of Christ. And should we really condemn someone for their faults, foibles, and sins in life, or should we focus more on the doctrine? Dr. Matt Phillips, professor of history at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska, joins us to discuss his articles “Becoming a Christian by Listening” and “Distinguishing Between Doctrine and Life.”
Read Dr. Phillips’ article “Becoming a Christian by Listening”
Read Dr. Phillips’ article “Distinguishing Between Doctrine and Life”
. . . Read All
UPDATE: The pastor concerned has alerted me to an inaccuracy that as been corrected. His church was not in decline.
For weeks we have been justifiably preoccupied with Pastors savaging the Great Commission, and mocking our Confessions. There’s a nasty flipside. I read this weekend of one of our LCMS Pastors being abused by his congregation. It’s all about the root of all evil and that Artemis sized idol – the love of money.
City Methodist Church, Gary, IN.
Courtesy Michael Kappel.
In this case an already small congregation had cash flow problems, but it is asset rich. However, the Church leadership cannot bear parting with its savings or selling assets to cover shortfalls, and heaven forbid that leaders . . . Read All
Sermon Text — Matthew 22:15-21
October 19, 2014 AD
NOTE: Pastor Sikora’s sermons are now available in audio format; since he normally posts them the prior Thursday, these posts normally go up before the audio is available. We received this sermon late, so the audio is available. For those interested you might check back later to hear the sermons. For example, those who already read his Oct 2nd sermon may want to revisit it
to hear the audio.
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Matthew’s gospel account the 22nd chapter.
A. They Tried . . . Read All
A post by LCMS 4th Vice President (and Houston Pastor) Rev. Dr. Scott Murray over on ReligionNews:
Recently, Houston city attorneys, acting on behalf of Mayor Annise Parker and the City Council, issued subpoenas to five area pastors requiring they hand over copies of all communication with members of their congregations about a gay rights ordinance.
So what is a Christian pastor to do?
The mayor or members of the City Council are always welcome in my congregation. Sermons aren’t exactly private or privileged communications; they are proclaimed to audiences in public and placed on our website for people to listen to any time. Christian preachers condemn human sin and call people to repentance. They . . . Read All
Here in the commonwealth of Virginia, we moved Concordia Lutheran Mission from Lexington to Buena Vista because we were led to find a great rental property. We have now worshipped in our new location three Sundays, including today. One of our members told me about going to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Sale store in Buena Vista and some of his finds for the Mission, but he also told me something else. Our brother was talking with the clerk and he told the clerk that he was looking for stuff for our new mission. The clerk responded by saying that you are the new mission which is against gays and women and won’t let them serve in church. Our brother responded . . . Read All
“Render–But Don’t Surrender–unto Caesar” (Matthew 22:15-22)
“Render unto Caesar”: I think most of us have heard that expression. In fact, I would say that most Americans, whether they’re in the church or not, have heard it. “Render unto Caesar.” The average person might say: “Let’s see, I think that has something to do with what we’re supposed to owe the government.” And they would be right. It does have to do with what we owe the government. But don’t stop the saying there. It goes on, you know. “Render unto Caesar . . . the things that are Caesar’s.” And so then the question becomes: What exactly are “the things that are Caesar’s”? Where does that stop? What is it . . . Read All
Found over on stSilasLutheran.org; we previously posted an announcement of this new mission start (parts shown below). It’s great to see the growth of a new church, starting to teach the little ones.
(found here on BJS)
There’s a new church plant in town, at least if the town is North Liberty, Iowa. What’s it’s name? Agua’s Trough? Washington Knolls? The Back Street? No, try Saint Silas Lutheran Church. This new church plant, located just northwest of Iowa City, is being supported by Iowa District East. Pastor Andrew Richard, the Assistant Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Chapel in Iowa City is planting the seed. As you might have guessed from the name, this is not a plant
. . . Read All
…is it just me, or is this title hopelessly contradictory? And yet, this is the message that countless congregations endeavor to send to our culture. “We’re the genuine article, bona-fide disciples of Jesus, and we’re just like you, so you’ll fit right in!” Mercy.
So my wife and I recently visited a local festival associated with the harvest of some plant that makes delicious pies (and they were!). It was hosted by a local congregation associated with a (non LCMS) historic Protestant tradition who, though the denominational acronym had not been completely removed from their signage, had transitioned to the “Community Church” name and image. As a part of a nation-wide initiative, they were aggressively advertising “National Back to Church . . . Read All
“We have a relationship with Jesus. We are not interested in doctrine.” This talk is heard so frequently it has taken on an air of truth. But are such words true? Can we have a relationship with Jesus or with anyone apart from words, apart from doctrine? The word “doctrine” is a Greek loan word brought into English. Simply translated “doctrine” means, “teaching.” What is taught is no more than the data and facts that arise from Holy Scripture which is where Jesus speaks to us.
People claiming to have a relationship with Jesus apart from teaching, apart from doctrine have fallen for the postmodern belief that truth is a human construct employed in the pursuit of power and hence, . . . Read All
A “dominator” or cut out Cool Whip container?
Naperville, IL — While the claim of clericalism and clergy domination continues to sell tickets to the latest and greatest fifteen year old fad conferences (then again how long ago was the Korah1440BC Conference? Numbers 16?), something has been happening at the Brothers of John the Steadfast – the inclusion of more and more laity in writing and confessing the faith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. While the clergy collars may still be seen and the phrase “pastor” still used, it seems that the normal “domination” associated with these things is waning (or maybe it was never there).
Now rather than tout itself as a lay-revolution led by casually-clad reverends who direct, . . . Read All
Apologetics and Evangelism
In September my congregation was blessed to have Pr. Mark Pierson of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Long Beach, CA give a presentation on apologetics and evangelism. Pr. Pierson’s presentation is so engaging because it is largely based on his real experiences doing evangelism on campus at UCLA and Long Beach State. As with all good presenters, a great deal of the benefit was interacting with Pr. Pierson outside of the formal presentation. I would highly recommend getting in contact with Pr. Pierson (email@example.com) and have him come out and give a presentation to your congregation.
The audio can get a little rough where there are questions or comments from the audience, but the presentation is . . . Read All
This was originally posted on Tim Wood’s blog, mdxvii.com:
The dust from FiveTwo Network’s 2014 Wiki Conference continues to blow and settle in places where it is not wanted. So we thought it might be interesting to churn some of the data points from the conference. The results are revealing, and hint at problems that may need bud-nipping.
Before then, let’s recap:
- The leader of FiveTwo is branded. This is very odd for an under-shepherd who is supposed to be a voice in the wilderness; a proclaimer pointing away from himself at all times to declare: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
. . . Read All
When I was a kid, my next door neighbor was my best friend. He was a good kid. He excelled at sports and did well in school. But when his mother told him to clean up his room, he asked, “Why?” His mother said, “I’ll give you a dollar.” It was a lot of money. So he cleaned his room and she gave him the dollar.
Like an idiot, I tried that at home. Dad told me to clean up my room. I asked, “Why?” He said, “Because then you’ll have a clean room.” “Well, yeah,” I thought, “but that doesn’t say anything.” Though I could not follow his answer, I cleaned my room. There was no dollar.
Later, I . . . Read All
When thinking back about evangelistic efforts from my past, I must admit that manipulation was a welcomed friend. It wasn’t broadcast as such, but instead rationalized under the guise that “the ends always justify the means” when salvation is on the line. I can remember back in my youth group days when my pastor distributed copies of Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people” as a means to evangelize our local high school. For those of you not familiar with this work, it could be summarized as a business tool for advancing your personal agenda through being courteous, listening and investing into those who have the power to advance you. It basically encourages the reader to put off . . . Read All
Katy, TX–Bill Woolsey’s Five Two explains Sacramental Entrepreneurship in an article titled 7 Marks That Say You’re A Sacramental Entrepreneur. The title is reminiscent of Martin Luther’s Seven Marks of the Church–which Luther drew from clear Scripture. One would expect that if being a Sacramental Entrepreneur is something that God desires it should be found in God’s Word.
But the sources for this idea come from a different arena. In the article Woolsey states:
You have to get out and do some new.
Biblically speaking, the Church needs to regain its apostolic focus.
So we’re looking for the apostolic folk who want to start sacramental communities of all sizes and shapes, generations and geographies.
We call that guy a
. . . Read All
Christ our Lord spoke to His disciples saying, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).
Do we really believe this? Do we live according to these words? Do we as baptized children of our Heavenly Father, those who confess the truth of the Gospel according to the Lutheran Confessions, believe these words of Christ and live according to them? I would answer no, we do not believe them and because we doubt these words we do not live according to them.
How do I know this. Because of what I hear and see in our LCMS. If we believe that there are . . . Read All
“I’m going to stand firm in the faith. It is my First Amendment right!”
That’s funny. That actually made me laugh.
Apparently the city of Houston, Texas has decided that in order to assuage the possibilities for LBGT discrimination, they must engage in the persecution of Christians.
The whole thing stems from a non-discrimination ordinance passed by the Houston City Council which allows some pretty ridiculous things to happen…like men using public bathrooms designated for women and vice versa. Needless to say, there were quite a few citizens bothered by this ordinance, so many in fact, that they started a petition to get the legislation thrown out. Of course, the folks in charge figured out a way to get the . . . Read All
As we slowly begin the approach to the Advent and Christmas season as well as pastor appreciation month there is a new and incredible resource for Lutheran items. Ad Crucem is a site run by Wanita Wood that sells art, jewelry, greeting cards, and more- and all of it is wonderfully Lutheran with no generic “evangelical” pieces (or this “winner” ) to be found.
There are really unique Baptism cards and keepsakes.
On the greeting card front they have some amazing choices including this Luther’s Rose card that would really work perfectly for any occasion.
They sell hand-carved soapstone items made by Kenyan Lutherans.
There . . . Read All
Katy, TX–Pr. Bill Woolsey, favoring suits styled like those of Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs, expressed his contempt for the stagnation of his own church body, the LC-MS:
“The mainline, historical, sacramental church – a small slice of which I belong [sic.] – has been stumbling to the bottom since the 1960s,” wrote Woolsey.
The problem is clear. Woolsey says, “most of the mainline churches in my denomination spoke a language long gone.” Not wanting to be out-of-date, he embraced a New terminology of “sacramental entrepreneurship:” a term that was already in use in the 90s with regard to Franscois Michelin; and was shaped by “theological entrepreneurs” among the Emergents like Mark Driscoll, Rob Bell, John Franke, Tony . . . Read All
Found over on Pastor Lincoln Winter’s blog, Predigtamt.wordpress.com:
When serving at my first parish, I was privileged to be a part of the Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans. In 2001, in response to certain events, the NICL produced and published a brief statement regarding prayer and fellowship. It was named That They May Be One, or TTMBO for short.
I have not really spoken publicly about it in a number of years. There are a variety of reasons. It was not a statement of individual belief, but a statement of joint confession. As such, it was not (and is not) the particular property of any one person. Rather, it was released for, and belongs to, the church at large.. . . Read All
Found over on logia-online:
The following excerpt in translation is drawn from Wilhelm Loehe’s “Neuendettelsau Letters.” The letters were published in 1858 to explain and defend some of Loehe’s practices, chief among them the way he practiced confession in Neuendettelsau. Translated is only an excerpt relevant to the question of child/infant communion. It may be noted that the letters have no addressee. The appearance of one is a rhetorical device. The excerpt is drawn from Wilhelm Loehe. Gesammelte Werke v.3,1, pp 226–228. The bold print in the translation reflects that printing. – Jacob Corzine, 10 October 2014.
Upon all of this and as the occasion allows it, I shall also touch on a concern which you have expressed.
. . . Read All
Found over on SacrementalMinions.com.
Be sure to add SM to your readings list; here are recent posts over there:
“Starting New” Has a Long History in the Church
During the last week of His life, Jesus was found many times to confront the chief priests and the pharisees. One of the biggest problems of the leaders of Jesus day was that they had taken the initiative to usurp the divine prerogatives. They desired to take things to the next level of worship and devotion to God by instituting traditions that they devised. They thought . . . Read All