Archive for Steadfast Lutherans

Great Stuff — Forget The War On Christmas, The War On Advent Is Worse

A great post found by original BJS columnist Mollie Hemingway found over on TheFederalist.com excerpted below:

 

shutterstock_220418719-998x665I 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

Steadfast Throwdown — Becoming a Christian

FB-ThrowdownCoverImagePosted 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

A Congregation of Hypocrites and Evil Persons

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.

City Methodist Church, Gary, IN. Courtesy Michael Kappel.

In this case an already small congregation is in decline with the associated 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 should make a sacrificial contribution themselves. No, their solution was for their under-shepherd to make . . . Read All

Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — Render unto God

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.

Steadfast Sermons GraphicA. They Tried . . . Read All

Great Stuff .. Why I stand with the Houston Five (COMMENTARY)

A post by LCMS 4th Vice President (and Houston Pastor) Rev. Dr. Scott Murray over on ReligionNews:

 

Excerpted …

murray_4vp_thumbRecently, 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

In the Town, but Not of the World

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” (Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

“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

Great Stuff — St. Silas (North Liberty, IA) Now Having Sunday School

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

First Church of Authenticity and Trends

neon church…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

True Love is Built on Doctrine!

“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

The Brothers of John the Steadfast – Where Clergy Domination is Waning…

collar

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

Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — Apologetics and Evangelism

 

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 (markapierson@gmail.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

#Wiki14 / @FiveTwo – The Data Speaks

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:

VisionCasting

  • 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

Then You’ll Have a Clean Room

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

Is Manipulation Ever Loving?

manipulationWhen 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

Wiki14 5/2 Cribbing From Social Entrepreneurs

FiveTwoTwoKaty, 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

Today’s Evils

flip-calendar-1-1281977-mChrist 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

“It’s my First Amendment right!” Yeah… Whatever.

pastorinjail“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

Ad Crucem- Authentic Lutheran Art, Cards, and More

AdCrucemLogo_com_mediumAs 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.

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There are really unique Baptism cards and keepsakes.

 

 

 

LutherRoseCard

 

 

On the greeting card front they have some amazing choices including this Luther’s Rose card that would really work perfectly for any occasion.

 

 

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They sell hand-carved soapstone items made by Kenyan Lutherans.

 

PendantLuther

 

There . . . Read All

Pastor Moves His Church into the 1980s!

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

Great Stuff — TTMBO, ACELC, and the 44

Found over on Pastor Lincoln Winter’s blog, Predigtamt.wordpress.com:

 

VDMAWhen 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

Great Stuff — Wilhelm Loehe on Child/Infant Communion

Found over on logia-online:

 

loeheThe 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

Great Stuff — Startups and Upstarts in Jesus’ Day

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

“Decliners and Recliners” (Sermon on Matthew 22:1-14, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

“Decliners and Recliners” (Matthew 22:1-14)

Do you ever get an invitation to an event–a party, say–and they ask you to RSVP? So you check your calendar, and you see you’ve got a schedule conflict, and so you’ve got to decline the invitation. There’s something more important going on that day–you’ve got to work, or a family obligation–just something that’s a higher priority to you than going to that party.

But now say you’ve gotten an invitation to a party, and it’s from someone who you know throws the best parties around–fabulous dinner parties, with the best food, the finest wine, gifts for the guests, top-notch all the way. The host is a generous and gracious host, known for his hospitality. . . . Read All

The Real Reasons LCMS Pastors Want to be like American Evangelicals, by Pr. Rossow

In a post yesterday Martin Noland quoted John Hannah asserting that an aversion to Roman Catholicism is what makes LCMS’ers want to look like Evangelicals. I am sure that is a part of it but I think it is a lot simpler than that. It’s not theological. It’s personal. It has to do with the personal experience in junior high, high school and college of the young men who became pastors in the LCMS in the last generation.

I have identified seven things in the life of the pastors of the last generation that have caused them to want to look like Evangelicals. Early in my pastoral career I had a lot in common with these Evangelical wannabes and so . . . Read All

Guest Article — The Supreme Court Non-Decision

Two gold rings - reflected candlesBy now just about everyone has heard that the Supreme Court of the United State has declined to hear the appeals of multiples cases where lower courts had ruled against states holding to the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I live and serve as a pastor in Oklahoma, one of the states whose people have been overruled by unelected judges. Now because a federal court has spoken and the Supreme Court will not hear the case even more states will have to abide by this judicial legislation.

I know that there are many concerns about the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up this case. What will this mean . . . Read All

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