Monday, October 31, 2011

Hymn Monday - "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing"

Today's hymn, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" (#686), is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Come, Thou Fount of eve'ry blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mecy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee; May I still Thy goodness prove.
Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help I've come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand'ring from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter Bind my wand'ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
Oh, that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in the bloodwashed linin, How I'll sing Thy wondrous Grace!
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry; Take my ransom'd soul away;
Send Thine angels soon to carry Me to realms of endless day.
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trinity 23 Readings

Proverbs 8:11-22
English Standard Version (ESV)

11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

12 "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.
14 I have counsel and sound wisdom;I have insight; I have strength.
15 By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;
16 by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.
17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice,
21 granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.

22 "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.

Philippians 3:17-21
English Standard Version (ESV)

17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Matthew 22:15-22
English Standard Version (ESV)

Paying Taxes to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. 16And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. 20And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" 21They said, "Caesar’s." Then he said to them, "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." 22When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Confessional Saturdays #6: Chief Articles of the Faith 9-11



1 Concerning Baptism, our churches teach that Baptism is necessary for salvation [Mark 16:16] and that God’s grace is offered through Baptism [Titus 3:4–7]. 2 They teach that children are to be baptized [Acts 2:38–39]. Being offered to God through Baptism, they are received into God’s grace.

3 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the Baptism of children, and say that children are saved without Baptism.

The Lord’s Supper

1 Our churches teach that the body and blood of Christ are truly present and distributed to those who eat the Lord’s Supper [1 Corinthians 10:16]. 2 They reject those who teach otherwise.


1 Our churches teach that private Absolution should be retained in the churches, although listing all sins is not necessary for Confession. 2 For, according to the Psalm, it is impossible. “Who can discern his errors?” (Psalm 19:12).

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 35

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, October 28, 2011

Funny Friday #8

It's Funny Friday #8 We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Historical Church Writings #12: Dietrich Bonhoeffer on building the church

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
     It is not we who build. [Christ] builds the church. No man builds the church but Christ alone. Whoever is minded to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it; for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it. We must confess -- he builds. We must proclaim -- he builds. We must pray to him -- that he may build.
     We do not know his plan. We cannot see whether he is building or pulling down. It may be that the times which by human standards are times of collapse are for him the great times of construction. It may be that the times which from a human point of view are great times for the church are times when it is pulled down.
     It is a great comfort which Christ gives to his church: you confess, preach, bear witness to me and I alone will build where it pleases me. Do not meddle in what is my province. Do what is given to you to do well and you have done enough. But do it well. Pay not heed to views and poinions. Don't ask for judgments. Don't always be calculating what will hapen. Don't always be on the lookout for another refuge! Church, stay a church! But church, confess, confess, confess! Christ alone is your Lord; from his grace alone can you live as you are. Christ builds.
     -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LLC Wednesdays #5: Part 1 of Luther's Large Catechism, the Third Commandment

Today is Luther's Large Catechism Wednesdays! Each Wednesday we will be going through a section of Luther's Large Catechism.



78 You shall sanctify the holy day.
79 The word holiday is used for the Hebrew word sabbath, which properly means “to rest,” that is, to cease from labor. Therefore, we usually say, “to stop working.” Or “Sanctify the Sabbath.” 80 Now, in the Old Testament, God set apart the seventh day and appointed it for rest [Genesis 2:3]. He commanded that it should be regarded as holy above all other days. This commandment was given only to the Jewish people for this outward obedience, that they should stop toilsome work and rest. In that way both man and beast might recover and not be weakened by endless labor [Exodus 20:8–11]. 81 Later, the Jewish people restricted the Sabbath too closely and greatly abused it. They defamed Christ and could not endure in Him the same works that they themselves would do on that day, as we read in the Gospel [Matthew 12:11]. They acted as though the commandment were fulfilled by doing no manual work whatsoever. This, however, was not the meaning. But, as we shall hear, they were supposed to sanctify the holy day or day of rest.
82 This commandment, therefore, in its literal sense, does not apply to us Christians. It is entirely an outward matter, like other ordinances of the Old Testament. The ordinances were attached to particular customs, persons, times, and places, but now they have been made matters of freedom through Christ [Colossians 2:16–17].

83 The simpleminded need to grasp a Christian meaning about what God requires in this commandment. Note that we don’t keep holy days for the sake of intelligent and learned Christians. (They have no need of holy days.) We keep them first of all for bodily causes and necessities, which nature teaches and requires. We keep them for the common people, manservants and maidservants, who have been attending to their work and trade the whole week. In this way they may withdraw in order to rest for a day and be refreshed.
84 Second, and most especially, on this day of rest (since we can get no other chance), we have the freedom and time to attend divine service. We come together to hear and use God’s Word, and then to praise God, to sing and to pray [Colossians 3:16].

85 However, this keeping of the Sabbath, I point out, is not restricted to a certain time, as with the Jewish people. It does not have to be just on this or that day. For in itself no one day is better than another [Romans 14:5–6]. Instead, this should be done daily. However, since the masses of people cannot attend every day, there must be at least one day in the week set apart. From ancient times Sunday ‹the Lord’s Day› has been appointed for this purpose. So we also should continue to do the same, in order that everything may be done in an orderly way [1 Corinthians 14:40] and no one may create disorder by starting unnecessary practices.
86 This is the simple meaning of the commandment: People must have holidays. Therefore, such observances should be devoted to hearing God’s Word so that the special function of this day of rest should be the ministry of the Word for the young and the mass of poor people [Nehemiah 8:2–3, 8]. Yet the resting should not be strictly understood to forbid any work that comes up, which cannot be avoided.

87 So when someone asks you, “What is meant by the commandment: You shall sanctify the holy day?” Answer like this, “To sanctify the holy day is the same as to keep it holy.” “But what is meant by keeping it holy?” “Nothing else than to be occupied with holy words, works, and life.” For the day needs no sanctification for itself. It has been created holy in itself. But God desires the day to be holy to you. Therefore, it becomes holy or unholy because of you, whether you are occupied on that day with things that are holy or unholy.

88 How, then, does such sanctification take place? Not like this: sitting behind the stove and doing no rough work, or adorning ourselves with a wreath and putting on our best clothes. But as said above, we occupy ourselves with God’s Word and exercise ourselves in the Word.

89 Indeed, we Christians ought always to keep such a holy day and be occupied with nothing but holy things. This means we should daily be engaged with God’s Word and carry it in our hearts and upon our lips [Psalm 119:11–13]. But as said above, since we do not always have free time, we must devote several hours a week for the sake of the young, or at least a day for the sake of the entire multitude, to being concerned about this alone. We must especially teach the use of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, and so direct our whole life and being according to God’s Word. 90 At whatever time, then, this is being observed and practiced, there a true holy day is being kept. Other things shall not be called a Christians’ holy day. For, indeed, non-Christians can also stop working and be idle, just as the entire swarm of our Church workers do. They stand daily in the churches, singing and ringing bells, but they do not keep a holy day in true holiness, because they do not preach or use God’s Word but teach and live contrary to it.
91 God’s Word is the true “holy thing” [Heiligtum; relic] above all holy things. Yes, it is the only one we Christians know and have. Though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would not help us at all. All that stuff is a dead thing that can sanctify no one. But God’s Word is the treasure that sanctifies everything [1 Timothy 4:5]. By the Word even all the saints themselves were sanctified [1 Corinthians 6:11]. 92 Whenever God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read, or meditated upon, then the person, day, and work are sanctified. This is not because of the outward work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Therefore, I constantly say that all our life and work must be guided by God’s Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled.

93 On the contrary, any observance or work that is practiced without God’s Word is unholy before God. This is true no matter how brilliantly a work may shine, even though it is covered with relics, such as the fictitious spiritual orders, which know nothing about God’s Word and seek holiness in their own works.
94 Note, therefore, that the force and power of this commandment lies not in the resting, but in the sanctifying, so that a special holy exercise belongs to this day. For other works and occupations are not properly called holy exercises, unless the person is holy first. But here a work is to be done by which a person is himself made holy. This is done (as we have heard) only through God’s Word. For this reason, particular places, times, persons, and the entire outward order of worship have been created and appointed, so that there may be order in public practice [1 Corinthians 14:40].

95 So much depends upon God’s Word. Without it, no holy day can be sanctified. Therefore, we must know that God insists upon a strict observance of this commandment and will punish all who despise His Word and are not willing to hear and learn it, especially at the time appointed for the purpose.

96 It is not only the people who greatly misuse and desecrate the holy day who sin against this commandment (those who neglect to hear God’s Word because of their greed or frivolity or lie in taverns and are dead drunk like swine). But even that other crowd sins. They listen to God’s Word like it was any other trifle and only come to preaching because of custom. They go away again, and at the end of the year they know as little of God’s Word as at the beginning. 97 Up to this point the opinion prevailed that you had properly hallowed Sunday when you had heard a Mass or the Gospel read. But no one cared for God’s Word, and no one taught it. Now that we have God’s Word, we fail to correct the abuse. We allow ourselves to be preached to and admonished, but we do not listen seriously and carefully.

98 Know, therefore, that you must be concerned not only about hearing, but also about learning and retaining God’s Word in memory. Do not think that this is optional for you or of no great importance. Think that it is God’s commandment, who will require an account from you [Romans 14:12] about how you have heard, learned, and honored His Word.

99 Likewise, those fussy spirits are to be rebuked who, after they have heard a sermon or two, find hearing more sermons to be tedious and dull. They think that they know all that well enough and need no more instruction. For that is exactly the sin that was previously counted among mortal sins and is called akadia (i.e., apathy or satisfaction). This is a malignant, dangerous plague with which the devil bewitches and deceives the hearts of many so that he may surprise us and secretly take God’s Word from us [Matthew 13:19].

100 Let me tell you this, even though you know God’s Word perfectly and are already a master in all things: you are daily in the devil’s kingdom [Colossians 1:13–14]. He ceases neither day nor night to sneak up on you and to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against these three commandments and all the commandments. Therefore, you must always have God’s Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle and the Word does not make a sound, the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware [Matthew 13:24–30]. 101 On the other hand, the Word is so effective that whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, it is bound never to be without fruit [Isaiah 55:11; Mark 4:20]. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts [Philippians 4:8]. For these words are not lazy or dead, but are creative, living words [Hebrews 4:12]. 102 And even though no other interest or necessity moves us, this truth ought to urge everyone to the Word, because thereby the devil is put to flight and driven away [James 4:7]. Besides, this commandment is fulfilled and this exercise in the Word is more pleasing to God than any work of hypocrisy, however brilliant.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 367
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

And We're Back!

Well, the past two weeks have been off from the usual. I'm finally back from Beet Harvest and we're getting back into the swing of things at Faith, Family, Life. For those of you who are used to the regular posting schedule, my appologies. And now, back to the regularly scheduled program!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reflecting on God in the lives of my children

Today I was home for the first time in quite some time. I got to spend a lot of time with my 2 year old daughters. At night we end with saying The Lord's Prayer, and by "we" I mean all four of us. Once my girls start the prayer they usually pray it in its entirety.

At random times throughout the day they will ask me and my wife questions about God. From time to time they'll walk up to us and say "Jesus saved me."

When I watch my daughters I see glimpses of them growing, questions that seem deeper than before, expressions that seem older, sentence structure that is more sophisticated, more questions about the God that saved them. I watch in wonder.

I wonder what they will be, why God gave them to us, how God he reveals Himself to them. I marvel at the baptismal waters and am so thankful for them.

"Jesus saved me daddy."
"Yes he did sweety."
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Hymn Monday - "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"

Today's hymn, "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (#528), is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God, Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad, The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! The name that charms our fears, That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears, 'Tis life and health and peace.

He breaks the po'r of canceled sin; He sets the pris'ner free.
His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood avails for me.

Look unto Him, ye nation; own Your God, ye fallen race.
Look and be saved through faith alone, Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid; The Lamb of God was slain.
His soul was once an off'ring made For ev'ry soul of man.

To God all glory, praise, and love Be now and ever giv'n
By saints below and saints above, The Church in earth and heav'n.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Post Beet Harvest

Speaking at a church today about the importance of children's ministry, which in all reality would not be as needed if we as parents actually saw to our children's Christian Education personally. It's something that should happen for the most part at home. The church should be seconding the motion of the parents teaching instead of parents dropping their kids off at Sunday school or Wednesday night functions and thinking that they are actually fulfilling their spiritual duties.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 15

23 acres left. We should be able to finish up today. I sure hope so as today is my last day before I have to be gone to speak at a church. It's been a good harvest overall. Though there's still time to foul things up, I've managed to go the whole harvest with only failing to get my endgate closed once. I had several more mishaps last year, so I'm feeling pretty good about this year.

I've been listening to an Issues Etc. on pastoral care for former evangelicals. My heart goes out to this group. I was once one of them. A common issue that you'll find with in evangelicalism is a misunderstanding of Romans 7. Many within that realm will read it as Paul before conversion instead of Paul as a Christian. If it's interpreted as Paul before conversion you can see how easy it would be to say that for us too that was our struggle before salvation. Now that we're saved this is no longer an excuse and we need to get to work.

It saddens me that there are people in churches every Sunday that are getting sermons that boil down to "How to control your sin" where it comes down to your will power to conquer it, instead of being given Law and Gospel. Christians still need the Gospel and we need it daily.

Well, we finished things up. HARVEST IS DONE!

Lord of the harvest, thank you for the protection of our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 14

Today we started at 7am, which was nice for me. I had counsel time at AWANA lastnight and then private communion with my pastor. We are so blessed to have him as our pastor.

You can tell we're almost done with harvest. As soon as you pull off of the scale you usually have your pick of which piler you want to go to and drive right on. This afternoon my wife and my girls are coming out to ride in the truck with me. I'm really looking forward to that as tomorrow will likely be my last day of driving for beet harvest. We'll probably finish up early Saturday. The ground we're on today is pretty sandy.

Been listening to an Issues Etc. about Joel Osteen. So far my favorite part was when they played a clip of Osteen talking about being entitled to ancestral blessings that you don't deserve but God gives them to you anyways on account of someone in your family who is deceased had great faith and had done good stuff for God. Todd, rather befuddled, then says to his guest, Larry Rast, "What in the world Larry?" Larry responded with "I was hoping you had the answer to that one!" I laughed so hard. I was just as aghast as Todd and Larry. That's one heck of an implication. God's accountable to us on account of the worthless stuff we do? Give me a break Joel...

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 12

This morning we were held up by the cold. They wouldn't let us haul our overnight loads until 8am. We're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now. Only 100 acres left. Barring any issues, in theory we should be able to finish in the next 3 days.

Had a nice surprise this morning. One of the local pastors stopped by and rode in the truck with me for a while. I do some ministry work with the church he pastors. We had some great conversation about life and theology.

Just finished up another Issues Etc. Podcast, this one on pietism. It's interesting stuff. Unfortunately my synod has churches that struggle with it. "I know that Christ saved, but tell me what to do next." People want to know what the next seven steps are to live the Christian life. I like Todd Wilken's response as to what comes next. "Well, more Jesus."

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 11

Today I was not in the beet field, but instead at my Good News Clubs, to our weekly Lutheran Confessions Reading Group and then off to a Dr. Appointment for our future baby. All is well. We'll see you all again tomorrow from the sugar beet fields.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 10

Today we started on a different pivot and knocked out about 37 acres. A little hilly, but good size beets. We were constantly moving from field to beet dump and back to the field. I came home to find the above book had come in. WOOT!

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Hymn Monday - "O Christ, Our Hope, Our Hearts' Desire"

Today's hymn, "O Christ, Our Hope, Our Hearts' Desire" (#553), is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

O Christ, our hope, our hearts' desire,
Creation's mighty Lord,
Redeemer of the fallen world,
By holy love outpoured:
How vast Your mercy to accept
The burden of our sin
And bow Your head in cruel death
To make us clean within.
But now the bonds of death are burst,
The ransom has been paid;
You now ascend the Father's throne
In robes of light arrayed.
O let Your mighty love prevail
To purge us of our pride
That we may stand before Your throne
By mercy purified.
Christ Jesus, be our present joy,
Our future great reward;
Our only glory, may it be
To glory in the Lord!
All praise to You, ascended Lord;
All glory ever be
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Through all eternity!
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 9

Took a load into the beet dump this morning and found it to be a muddy mess from yesterdays rain. It's not so much soupy as is greasy. I had difficulty on a piler this morning as did a fellow crew member. I ended going to a different piler that's a bit steeper, but, provided better traction. I was able to make it happen on the first attempt.

Each day the ladies in the scale house put up riddles in the windows for the drivers to read and figure out while we're parked on the scale. Since today is Sunday, I'm wondering if that's not the reason why this next particular expression was posted. It read: "The owner of a wore out Bible is seldom in the same shape." A post-it note was stuck on it later that read: "Mine looks new :( ". (Yes, there was a frowny face on it.)

Here's the implication: a moral. If you spend enough time in God's word you won't have to face struggles or strife because you're pleasing Him or using the Bible as a "life guide". Spend more time using the Bible and you'll live a better life. What we have there is moralism, bondage to the law. It's not the Gospel.

Another one that was put up this last trip in to the beet dump was: "The greatest gift you'll ever receive is family." Now, I'll admit, my family is very important to me, and I believe they are a gift from God, however, as much as I love my family, the greatest give anyone could ever receive is salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Trinity 17 Readings

Proverbs 25:6-14
English Standard Version (ESV)

6Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great,
7for it is better to be told, "Come up here,"
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

What your eyes have seen
8 do not hastily bring into court,
for what will you do in the end,
when your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
and do not reveal another’s secret,
10lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
and your ill repute have no end.

11 A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14Like clouds and wind without rain
is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.

Ephesians 4:1-6
English Standard Version (ESV)

Unity in the Body of Christ
1I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Luke 14:1-11
English Standard Version (ESV)

Healing of a Man on the Sabbath
1One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?" 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5And he said to them, "Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?" 6 And they could not reply to these things.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast
7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 8 Picture

Breakfast in the rain. The blue and white truck with the headlights on is the one I drive.
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Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 8

So far it's been a drizzly day. We moved on to another field in the dark this morning. It's a piece of ground that I'd never been on before but was able to figure things out.

A local farmer came over to my truck while I was parked on the side of the field, waiting my turn to drive under the digger, and he talked with me about the status of the East End that I'm responsible for. The conversation was encouraging. Thank you, Lord.

More Issues Etc. today with Rod Rosenbladt, this time on moralism. The way I see the past several podcasts that I've listened to is that what this all boils down to is a misunderstanding of Sactification. It's not done by us, it's a work of the Holy Spirit. So stop doubting if you're saved.

When we base our Salvation on the progress of our Sanctification, we're actually denying the person and work of Christ. "That's a bold statement Leif! How can you suggest such a thing?!?!" I will do my best to put this plainly. Do we look to Christ for our salvation and forgiveness? If the answer is yes, then why would you look to yourself to see if you are saved? LOOK TO CHRIST! He's the author and finisher of our faith. Remember how that old hymn goes? (And yes this line is theologically sound) "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness." Our hope is on the person and work of Christ. He Justifies and Sanctifies. He lived the only perfect life for us, poor, miserable sinners. Our hope, even when we fail and continue to sin as saved children of God, is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. When He saved you, He did so completely.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Confessional Saturdays #6: Chief Articles of the Faith 7-8


The Church

1 Our churches teach that one holy Church is to remain forever. The Church is the congregation of saints [Psalm 149:1] in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. 2 For the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. 3 It is not necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies instituted by men, should be the same everywhere. 4 As Paul says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5–6).

What the Church Is

1 Strictly speaking, the Church is the congregation of saints and true believers. However, because many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled within them in this life [Matthew 13:24–30], it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2). 2 Both the Sacraments and Word are effective because of Christ’s institution and command, even if they are administered by evil men.

3 Our churches condemn the Donatists, and others like them, who deny that it is lawful to use the ministry of evil men in the Church, and who think that the ministry of evil men is not useful and is ineffective.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 34

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 7

With beet harvest my wife and I have been like 2 ships passing each other in the night. (We really enjoy the Horatio Hornblower series, so this expression is quite appropriate.) Each day she writes something on my lunch bag, that she packs each night while I'm to sleep between 7:30 and 8:00 each night. This is a tradition she started back when we were teachers, before our girls were born. Sometimes she writes a note, a scripture verse, and every so often let's the girls scribble something and then writes their names below. Sometimes she does something that just really makes me smile. The picture above is what she wrote recently on my lunch bag.

This morning was a well received change of pace. Today we started at 5:45 am. Lastnight we were able to load and park the trucks so we could run the trucks into the scale right away this morning when the beet dump opened at 6. I actually got close to 7 hours of sleep lastnight. WOOT! I'm hoping they'll let us run 12 hours today (6am to 6pm) and load the trucks and park them again tonight.

Been listening to an Issues Etc. Where Todd Wilken and Rod Rosenbladt have been talking about repentance. It kicks off with an evangelical pastor saying that Christians don't necessarily need to repent everyday because they don't necessarily sin everyday. (Really Skippy? You really believe that?) This really stems from the Weslyan understanding of things where you can of yourself begin to decrease your sin.
The problem is...we don't have that power. We've never had that power. Take a look at Romans 7. Paul understood this very well. (Romans 7 is written in the present indicative, meaning he was struggling with it right then, even as a saved man)

Repentace isn't about emotion or feeling, though those things may very well accompany them, however, they should never be used as a guide to see how sincere you were or how much you really meant it. The truth is you never will. Repentance is demanded of us in the Bible. It's law. However, the law will only ever demand and accuse and show us how sinful we are. The law does not have the power to change. Only the Gospel does.

So if you've been going nuts as saying to yourself "I just don't seem to be getting any better", just remember, Christ died and forgives even sinful Christians. What he did was good enough to save us, and is good enough to keep us saved.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen

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Funny Fridays #7

It's Funny Friday #7 We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 6

We started at 4am this morning. A pleasant surprise today was when our digger tractor needed to have an injector replaced we were blessed 2 hours of lunch time. I was also able to get an hour and a half nap! WOOT! Is it sad when that's the highlight of your day? Whether it is or not, I don't care. I was blessed with some extra rest I wasn't counting on.

One of the podcasts I was listening to today was on the gnostic "gospels" on Issues Etc. The gbostic "gospels" are different in that they are mostly sayings of Jesus, which is a stark contrast to our canonized Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. With the four Gospels the account is by people who were actually there, as opposed to the gnostic books.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen

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Historical Church Writings #11: Martin Luther on death

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from Martin Luther:

     St. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians [I Thessalonians 4:13-18] not to sorrow over the dead as others who have no hope, but to comfort each other with God's Word as having a certain hope of life and of the resurrection of the dead.
     It is little wonder if those are sad who have no hope. Nor can they be blamed for it. Since they are beyond the pale of faith in Christ, they must either cherish this temporal life as the only thing worthwhile and hate to lose it, or they must expect that after this life they will receive eternal death and the wrath of God in hell and must fear to go there.
     But we Christians, who have been redeemed from all this by the dear blood of the Son of God, should by faith train and accustom ourselves to despise death and to regard it as a deep, strong, and sweet sleep, to regard the coffin as nothing but paradise and the bosom of our Lord Christ, and the grave as nothing but a soft couch or sofa, which it really is in the sight of God; for he says, John 11[:11], "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep," and Matthew 9[:24], "The girl is not dead but sleeping."
     Thus, too, St. Paul in I Corinthians 15[:42-44] bans from his sight every ugly aspect of death in our mortal body and brings to the fore a wholly delightful and joyous picture of life when he says: "What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.... It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
     -- Martin Luther
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 5

We started at 4:30am this morning. Not quite sure when they'll shut us down today. We guessing around 3pm or whenever the injector for the tractor pulling the digger comes in today.

This morning I had an interesting experience. Some guy with Idaho plates decided he really needed to get somewhere so he passed me on the shoulder as I was preparing to turn to drive into the beet dump. Now, I can't say that all Montana drivers are great, but, good grief...

Listening to more Rosenbladt today. Great stuff. The one so far today is "Where in the church is the Gospel?" At one point he talked about how the Gospel is not about Jesus coming to heal people. This stuck out to me because of events from this summer. Some wing-nut outfit in my area held "Healing Services" in a circus tent for several weeks in Sidney. A Reformed pastor who is a friend of mine went to check things out to see what was going on. After an abysmal service under the tent my pastor friend ask the big wig in charge "So, what exactly is the Gospel." The man smiled warmly and answered, "Jesus came to heal people."

Well, yeah, Jesus did heal people, and I'm very glad he did, but that's not the Gospel. And what happens to those poor people who are taught that as the Gospel?

I like how Rod Rosenbladt explained it. If it's now about Christ's death on the cross, burial and ressurection for us, then it's not the Gospel.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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LLC Wednesdays #4: Part 1 of Luther's Large Catechism, the Second Commandment

Today is Luther's Large Catechism Wednesdays! Each Wednesday we will be going through a section of Luther's Large Catechism.

49 You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

50 The First Commandment has instructed the heart and taught the faith. This commandment now leads us forward and directs the mouth and tongue to God. For the first things that spring from the heart and show themselves are words [Matthew 12:34]. I have taught above how to answer the question “What does it mean to have a god?” Now you must simply learn to understand the meaning of this commandment and all the commandments, and to apply it to yourself.

51 If someone now asks, “How do you understand the Second Commandment?” or “What is meant by taking God’s name in vain, or misusing God’s name?” answer briefly in this way: “It means misusing God’s name when we call upon the Lord God—no matter how—in order to deceive or do wrong of any kind.” Therefore, this commandment makes this point: God’s name must not be appealed to falsely, or taken upon the lips, while the heart knows well enough—or should know—that the truth of the matter is different. This is what happens with people who take oaths in court, where one side lies against the other. 52 For God’s name cannot be misused worse than for the support of falsehood and deceit. Let this remain the exact German and simplest meaning of this commandment.

53 From this everyone can easily see when and in how many ways God’s name is misused, although it is impossible to list all its misuses. But, to explain this in a few words, all misuse of the divine name happens first in worldly business and in matters that concern money, possessions, and honor. This applies publicly in court, in the market, or wherever else people make false oaths in God’s name or pledge their souls in any matter. This is especially common in marriage affairs, where two go and secretly get engaged to one another, and afterward, break their engagement.

54 But the greatest abuse occurs in spiritual matters. These have to do with the conscience, when false preachers rise up and offer their lying vanities as God’s Word [Jonah 2:8].

55 Look, all this is dressing up one’s self with God’s name, or making a pretty show, or claiming to be right. This is true whether it happens in common, worldly business or in higher, refined matters of faith and doctrine. Blasphemers also belong with the liars. I mean not just the most ordinary blasphemers, well known to everyone, who disgrace God’s name without fear. (These are not for us to discipline, but for the hangman.) I also mean those who publicly disgrace the truth and God’s Word and hand it over to the devil. There is now no need to speak about this further.

56 Here, then, let us learn and take to heart the great importance of this commandment. Then, with all diligence, we may guard against and dread every misuse of the holy name as the greatest sin that can be committed outwardly. For to lie and to deceive is in itself a great sin. But such a sin gets even worse when we try to justify our lie and seek to confirm it by calling on God’s name and using His name as a cloak for shame [1 Peter 2:16], so that from a single lie a double lie results—no, many lies.

57 For this reason, too, God has added a solemn threat to this commandment, “For the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” [Exodus 20:7]. This means that this sin shall not be pardoned for anyone or go unpunished. For just as He will not fail to avenge if anyone turns his heart from Him, so He will also not let His name be used to dress up a lie. 58 Now unfortunately, this sin is a common plague in all the world. There are so few people who do not use God’s name for purposes of lying and all wickedness in contrast to those who trust in God alone with their heart.

59 By nature we all have within us this beautiful virtue, that whoever has committed a wrong would like to cover up and adorn his disgrace, so that no one may see it or know it. No one is so bold as to boast to all the world of the wickedness he has done. All wish to act by stealth and without anyone being aware of what they do. So, if anyone is caught sinning, God’s name is dragged into the affair and must make the wickedness look like godliness, and the shame like honor. 60 This is the common way of the world, which has covered all lands like a great flood. So we get what we seek and deserve as our reward: epidemics, wars, famines, raging fires, floods, wayward wives, children, servants, and all sorts of filth. Where else should so much misery come from? It is still a great mercy that the earth bears and supports us [Numbers 16:28–50].

61 Therefore, above all things, our young people should have this Second Commandment earnestly pressed upon them [Deuteronomy 6:7]. They should be trained to hold this and the First Commandment in high regard. And whenever they sin, we must at once be after them with the rod [Proverbs 13:24]. We must hold the commandment before them, and constantly teach it, so that we bring them up not only with punishment, but also in reverence and fear of God [Ephesians 6:4].

62 Now you understand what it means to take God’s name in vain. In sum it means (a) to use His name simply for purposes of falsehood, (b) to assert in God’s name something that is not true, or (c) to curse, swear, use spells, and, in short, to practice whatever wickedness one may.

63 Besides this you must also know how to use God’s name rightly. For when He says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain,” He wants us to understand at the same time that His name is to be used properly. For His name has been revealed and given to us so that it may be of constant use and profit. 64 So it is natural to conclude that since this commandment forbids using the holy name for falsehood or wickedness, we are, on the other hand, commanded to use His name for truth and for all good, like when someone takes an oath truthfully when it is needed and it is demanded [Numbers 30:2]. This commandment also applies to right teaching and to calling on His name in trouble or praising and thanking Him in prosperity, and so on. All of this is summed up and commanded in Psalm 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” For all this is bringing God’s name into the service of truth and using it in a blessed way. In this way His name is hallowed, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer [Matthew 6:9].

65 Now you have the sum of the entire commandment explained. With this understanding, the question that has troubled many teachers has been easily solved: “Why is swearing prohibited in the Gospel, and yet Christ, St. Paul, and other saints often swore?” [Matthew 5:33–37; 26:29; Acts 21:20–26]. 66 The explanation is briefly this: We are not to swear in support of evil, that is, to support falsehood, or to swear when there is no need or use. But we should swear for the support of good and the advantage of our neighbor. For such swearing is truly a good work, by which God is praised, truth and right are established, falsehood is refuted, peace is made among men, obedience is rendered, and quarrels are settled. For in this way God Himself intervenes and separates right and wrong, good and evil. 67 If one party swears falsely, he lives under this judgment: he shall not escape punishment. Even if this judgment is delayed a long time, he shall not succeed. So everything he may gain from his falsehood will slip out of his hands, and he will never enjoy it. 68 I have seen this in the case of many who perjured themselves in their wedding vows. They have never had a happy hour or a healthful day, and so perished miserably in body, soul, and possessions.

69 Therefore, I advise and exhort as before that with warning and threatening, restraint and punishment, the children should be trained early to shun falsehood. They should especially avoid the use of God’s name to support falsehood. For where children are allowed to do as they please, no good will result. This is clear even now. The world is worse than it has ever been, and there is no government, no obedience, no loyalty, no faith, but only daring, unbridled people. No teaching or reproof helps them. All this is God’s wrath and punishment for such lewd contempt of this commandment.

70 On the other hand, children should be constantly urged and moved to honor God’s name and to have it always upon their lips for everything that may happen to them or come to their notice [Psalm 8:2; 34:1; Matthew 21:16; Hebrews 13:15]. For that is the true honor of His name, to look to it and call upon it for all consolation [Psalm 66:2; 105:1]. Then—as we have heard in the First Commandment—the heart by faith gives God the honor due Him first. Afterward, the lips give Him honor by confession.

71 This is also a blessed and useful habit and very effective against the devil. He is ever around us and lies in wait to bring us into sin and shame, disaster and trouble [2 Timothy 2:26]. But he hates to hear God’s name and cannot remain long where it is spoken and called upon from the heart. 72 Indeed, many terrible and shocking disasters would fall upon us if God did not preserve us by our calling upon His name. I have tried it myself. I learned by experience that often sudden great suffering was immediately averted and removed by calling on God. To confuse the devil, I say, we should always have this holy name in our mouth, so that the devil may not be able to injure us as he wishes.

73 It is also useful that we form the habit of daily commending ourselves to God [Psalm 31:5], with soul and body, wife, children, servants, and all that we have, against every need that may arise. So also the blessing and thanksgiving at meals [Mark 8:6] and other prayers, morning and evening, have begun and remained in use [Exodus 29:38–43]. 74 Likewise, children should continue to cross themselves when anything monstrous or terrible is seen or heard. They can shout, “Lord God, protect us!” “Help, dear Lord Jesus!” and such. Also, if anyone meets with unexpected good fortune, however trivial, he says, “God be praised and thanked!” or “God has bestowed this on me!” and so on, just as the children used to learn to fast and pray to St. Nicholas and other saints before. This would be more pleasing and acceptable to God than all monasticism and Carthusian acts of holiness.

75 Look, we could train our youth this way [Proverbs 22:6], in a childlike way and playfully in the fear and honor of God. Then the First and Second Commandments might be well kept and in constant practice. Then some good might take root, spring up, and bear fruit. People would grow up whom an entire land might relish and enjoy. 76 In addition, this would be the true way to bring up children well as long as they could be trained with kindness and delight. For children who must be forced with rods and blows will not develop into a good generation. At best they will remain godly under such treatment only as long as the rod is upon their backs [Proverbs 10:13].

77 But ‹teaching the commandments in a childlike and playful way› spreads its roots in the heart so that children fear God more than rods and clubs. This I say with such simplicity for the sake of the young, that it may penetrate their minds. For we are preaching to children, so we must also talk like them. In this way we would prevent the abuse of the divine name and teach the right use. This should happen not only in words, but also in practice and life. Then we may know God is well pleased with this and will as richly reward good use of His name as He will terribly punish the abuse.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 363
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 4

A little low on oil this morning so I added some and then filled up with fuel before heading out to the field.
A pleasent surprise for me today was when my wife and daughters came to ride with me in the truck. That was probably the highlight of my day. We had to shut down at three today due to the temperature of the beets. I'm gonna hit the sack soon because we're starting at 4:30am tomorrow morning.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen

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Things to ponder on salvation from Kelly Klages

"It's tyrannical to the think of God just going around out of the blue and forcing certain people to be saved, with nothing they can do about it. That's why I believe that faith in God is about me making my decision for him. After that, I'm saved, and I can be baptized."

Water With The Word     Upon close reflection, it's a little shocking how frequently this argument is made, considering how antithetical it is to the teaching of salvation by grace alone. The belief that God does not ask for our input before saving us absolutely infuriates many believers. I have ehard Christians talk loudly about have some sort of inalienable right to deliberately walk into God's kingdom on their own two feet. They speak of God saving someone single-handedly as though it were  ruel of him to do so without their permission and assent. This is like a drowning person being furious with a lifeguard for pulling him to safety and resuscitating him without getting a signed warrant. Thank God that he saves us without our precious input! I'm inclined to ask the person raising the objection: "Are we talking about the same thing here? You think it's mean and cruel of God to raise us from death to life, to give us forgiveness, eternal life and countless blessings as a free gift, to rescue us from death and hell, even while we were still undeserving sinners and enemies of God incapable of saying yes to him?" Yes, there is a fixed notion in our culture that we must earn everything we receive, or at least look over it and approve of it before calling it our own. We like to be the arbiters of what we get, even from God.
                                            -- Kelly Klages, "Water with the Word: A Baptism Q&A"

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging: Day 3

This morning I got to the Pilers before they opened. It was still dark outside. I somehow managed to be third in line.

Now at a beet dump there is a scalehouse with a scale on each side of it. You drive your truck onto the first one, they weigh your truck, give you a ticket to hand to the guys at the piler after you've driven up onto it, you dump your beets, drive off the piler and back up to get your tier dirt (beet tops, dirt, beet leaves) and finally you drive onto the second scale on your way out to get your final weight. Truck weight #1 - Truck weight #2 = Total tons of beets. They then print and give you a slip that documents the load.

Now anyways, it's DARK outside, the yard lights are on, and it's kind of early yet. The first guy in line is raring to go and as soon as the light outside the scalehouse goes from red to green he takes off for the scale. He's all lined up, centered perfectly on the scale, lines up with the ticket window, but there's one problem....he went to the wrong scale. He entered on the exit side. So we had to all back up so he could make his way to the other side. Thinks worked like clockwork after that, though, we've still got about 11 more hours to work today :)

Today I'm listening to Rosenbladts "The Gospel for those broken by the Church." One of the things that he brought up that I resonate with is that the Sunday school curriculum that is used can be a part of the eventual broken, wearing out of believers. Sunday school lessons that are designed to teach a moral of how to live each week can establish the idea that if you just follow these examples then you can live the so called "victorious Christian life."

After awhile a person will take a steep nosedive as they realize that they can't attain perfection, conquering their sins. They start to realize that no matter how hard they try, no matter how much they pray, read the Bible, are a part of Church committees, volunteer, etc., nothing can stop the onslaught of sinful failure. They're told "just try harder" "spend more time in the word" "pray more", which accomplishes nothing more than heaping more law on an already broken person. Enough law on a broken person leads to dispair.

What they need is not yet one more burdening helping of "just try harder" or "10 steps to conquering sin" style sermons or advice. What they need is the Gospel. "The blood of Christ covered even this." He conquered sin for us, endured the cross for us, lived life victoriously for us. What Christ did was sufficient. He did this for you broken Christian. And what Christ did is enough.

Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen

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Hymn Monday - "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me"

Today's hymn, "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" (#715), is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Jesus, Savior, pilot me Over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treach'rous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boist'rous waves obey Thy will When Thou say'st to them, "Be still!"
Wondrous Sov'reign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore And the fearful breakers roar
Twixt me and the peaceful rest, The, while leaning on Thy breast,
May I hear Thee say to me,
"Fear not, I will pilot thee."
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sugar Beet Blogging, Day 2

This morning I hopped in the International truck that I usually drive and topped off the fuel before heading out to the field we were digging. I missed going into 2nd gear at one point so the digger went passed me and beets came down onto the hood of the truck. No blood, no foul. I'm thankful that my employer is gracious.

Been listening to Rod Rosenbladt this morning (thanks to Pastor Matt for lending me his CDs) and something that I caught while driving was that the doctrine of Justification is in all reality the Gospel. Haven't finished with the CD yet. Good stuff.

Lord of the harvest, I pray that our crew and the other crews working this beet harvest would be kept safe from all harm. Thanking you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen

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Trinity 16 Readings

1 Kings 17:17-24
English Standard Version (ESV)

Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son
17After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18And she said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!" 19And he said to her, "Give me your son." And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20And he cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?" 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again." 22And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives." 24And the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth."

Ephesians 3:13-21
English Standard Version (ESV)

13So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 7:11-17
English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
11Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." 14Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." 15And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!" 17And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

Blogging from the field, Sugar Beet Harvest 2011

For the next couple weeks I will be trying to do a daily blog update from the field, from the Savage, MT, area, which is just down the road from my home in Sidney, MT. I am currently driving beet truck for a friend. My hope is that each day I will post a mention of something that happened each day along with a word on some of the podcasts that I'm listening to which include ones from Issues Etc and Rod Rosenbladt.
Lord of the harvest, please protect our crew and the other crews working this harvest. Thank you for your salvation. Jesu Juva, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Confessional Saturdays #5: Augsburg Confession, Chief Articles of the Faith 4-6



1 Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works. 2 People are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. 3 God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight (Romans 3 and 4 [3:21–26; 4:5].

The Ministry

1 So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2 Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. 3 This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake.

4 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word.

New Obedience

1 Our churches teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruit [Galatians 5:22–23]. It is necessary to do good works commanded by God [Ephesians 2:10], because of God’s will. We should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. 2 The forgiveness of sins and justification is received through faith. The voice of Christ testifies, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’ ” (Luke 17:10). 3 The Fathers teach the same thing. Ambrose says, “It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving forgiveness of sins, without works, through faith alone.”

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 32
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reformation Week is coming! Absolute AWESOMESAUCE!

If you're famliar with Issues Etc., then you'll be happy to know that REFORMATION WEEK IS COMING! If you're not familiar with Issues Etc., then....shame on you :)  He's a clip of things coming for Reformation Week. Stay tuned and keep listening to Issues Etc.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Funny Fridays #6

It's Funny Friday #6 We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Historical Church Writings #10: John Chrysostom on the Centurion

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from John Chrysostom:

     I ask you to note how the centurion signified that Christ is able not only to overcome death as if it were a slave but is also able to command it as its master. For in saying, " 'Come,' and he comes," and " 'Go,' and he goes," the centurion expressed this: "If You should command my servant's end not to come upon him, it will not come."
     Do you see how the centurion believed? For what was later to be made known to all -- that Christ has power over both death and life, and that He leads down to the gates of hell and bring us up again -- is already made clear here by the centurion.... But nevertheless, though he has such great faith, he still accounted himself to be unworthy. Christ, however, signifying that the centurion was worthy to have Him enter into his house, did much greater things, marveling at him and acclaiming him and giving him more than he had asked. For he came indeed seeking for his servant bodily healing, but he went away, having received a kingdom. See how the saying had already been fulfilled, "Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added to you." For because the centurion showed great faith and lowliness of mind, Christ both gave him heaven, and added to him the health of his servant.
     And not by this alone did He honor him, but also by indicating upon whose casting out he is brought in. For now from this time forth, Christ proceeds to make known that salvation is by faith, not by works of the Law. And this is why not to Jews only but to Gentiles also the gift so given shall be proffered, and to the [faithful of the] later, rather than to the [unbelieving of the] former.
     -- John Chrysostom
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

LLC Wednesdays #3: Part 1 of Luther's Large Catechism, The First Commandment

Today is Luther's Large Catechism Wednesdays! Each Wednesday we will be going through a section of Luther's Large Catechism.

LLC Wednesday's #3

You shall have no other gods.

1 What this means: You shall have Me alone as your God. What is the meaning of this, and how is it to be understood? What does it mean to have a god? Or, what is God? 2 Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in all distress. So, to have a God is nothing other than trusting and believing Him with the heart. I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. 3 If your faith and trust is right, then your god is also true. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you do not have the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God [Hebrews 11:6]. Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.

4 The purpose of this commandment is to require true faith and trust of the heart, which settles upon the only true God and clings to Him alone. It is like saying, “See to it that you let Me alone be your God, and never seek another.” In other words, “Whatever you lack of good things, expect it from Me. Look to Me for it. And whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, crawl and cling to Me. I, yes, I, will give you enough and help you out of every need. Only do not let your heart cleave to or rest on any other.”

5 This point I must unfold more clearly. It may be understood and seen through ordinary, counterexamples. Many a person thinks that he has God and everything in abundance when he has money and possessions. He trusts in them and boasts about them with such firmness and assurance as to care for no one. 6 Such a person has a god by the name of “Mammon” (i.e., money and possessions; [Matthew 6:24]), on which he sets all his heart. 7 This is the most common idol on earth. He who has money and possessions feels secure [Luke 12:16–21] and is joyful and undismayed as though he were sitting in the midst of Paradise. 8 On the other hand, he who has no money doubts and is despondent, as though he knew of no God. 9 For very few people can be found who are of good cheer and who neither mourn nor complain if they lack Mammon. This care and desire for money sticks and clings to our nature, right up to the grave.

10 So, too, whoever trusts and boasts that he has great skill, prudence, power, favor, friendship, and honor also has a god. But it is not the true and only God. This truth reappears when you notice how arrogant, secure, and proud people are because of such possessions, and how despondent they are when the possessions no longer exist or are withdrawn. Therefore, I repeat that the chief explanation of this point is that to “have a god” is to have something in which the heart entirely trusts.

11 Besides, consider our blindness, which we have been practicing and doing under the papacy up until now. If anyone had a toothache, he fasted and honored St. Apollonia. If he was afraid of fire, he chose St. Lawrence as his helper. If he dreaded bubonic plague, he made a vow to St. Sebastian or Rochio. There were a countless number of such abominations, where everyone chose his own saint, worshiped him, and called to him for help in distress. 12 Here belong such people as sorcerers and magicians, whose idolatry is most great [Deuteronomy 18:9–12]. They make a deal with the devil, in order that he may give them plenty of money or help them in love affairs, preserve their cattle, restore to them lost possessions, and so forth. For all such people place their heart and trust elsewhere than in the true God. They look to Him for nothing good, nor do they seek good from Him.

13 So you can easily understand what and how much this commandment requires. A person’s entire heart and all his confidence must be placed in God alone and in no one else. For to “have” God, you can easily see, is not to take hold of Him with our hands or to put Him in a bag ‹like money› or to lock Him in a chest ‹like silver vessels›. 14 Instead, to “have” Him means that the heart takes hold of Him and clings to Him. 15 To cling to Him with the heart is nothing else than to trust in Him entirely. For this reason God wishes to turn us away from everything else that exists outside of Him and to draw us to Himself [John 6:44]. For He is the only eternal good [Matthew 19:17]. It is as though He would say, “Whatever you have previously sought from the saints, or for whatever things you have trusted in money or anything else, expect it all from Me. Think of Me as the one who will help you and pour out upon you richly all good things.”

16 See, here you have the meaning of the true honor and worship of God, which pleases God, and which He commands under penalty of eternal wrath. The heart knows no other comfort or confidence than in Him. It must not allow itself to be torn from Him. But, for Him, it must risk and disregard everything upon earth. 17 On the other hand, you can easily see and sense how the world practices only false worship and idolatry. For no people have ever been so corrupt that they did not begin and continue some divine worship. Everyone has set up as his special god whatever he looked to for blessings, help, and comfort.

18 For example, the heathen who put their trust in power and dominion elevated Jupiter as the supreme god. Others, who were bent on riches, happiness, or pleasure, and a life of ease, elevated Hercules, Mercury, Venus, or other gods. Pregnant women elevated Diana or Lucina, and so on. So everyone made his god that interest to which his heart was inclined. So even in the mind of the heathen to have a god means to trust and believe. 19 But their error is this: their trust is false and wrong. For their trust is not placed in the only God, beside whom there is truly no God in heaven or upon earth [Isaiah 44:6]. 20 Therefore, the heathen really make their self-invented notions and dreams of God an idol. Ultimately, they put their trust in that which is nothing. 21 So it is with all idolatry. For it happens not merely by erecting an image and worshiping it, but rather it happens in the heart. For the heart stands gaping at something else. It seeks help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils. It neither cares for God, nor looks to Him for anything better than to believe that He is willing to help. The heart does not believe that whatever good it experiences comes from God [James 1:17].

22 Beside this, there is also a false worship and extreme idolatry, which we have practiced up to now. This is also still common in the world. All churchly orders are founded on it. It concerns the conscience alone, which seeks help, consolation, and salvation in its own works. This conscience imagines it can wrestle heaven away from God and thinks about how many requests it has made, how often it has fasted, celebrated Mass, and so on. Upon such things it depends and boasts, as though unwilling to receive anything from God as a gift. For it wants to earn or merit heaven with abundant works. The conscience acts as though God must serve us and is our debtor, and we are His liege lords. 23 What is this but reducing God to an idol—indeed, an apple-god—and elevating and regarding ourselves as God? But this point is a little too clever and is not for young pupils.

24 Let the following point be made to the simple; then they may well note and remember the meaning of this commandment: We are to trust in God alone and look to Him and expect from Him nothing but good, as from one who gives us body, life, food, drink, nourishment, health, protection, peace, and all necessaries of both temporal and eternal things. He also preserves us from misfortune. And if any evil befall us, He delivers and rescues us. So it is God alone (as has been said well enough) from whom we receive all good and by whom we are delivered from all evil. 25 So, I think, we Germans from ancient times name God (more elegantly and appropriately than any other language) from the word Good. It is as though He were an eternal fountain that gushes forth abundantly nothing but what is good. And from that fountain flows forth all that is and is called good.

26 Even though we experience much good from other people, whatever we receive by God’s command or arrangement is all received from God. For our parents and all rulers and everyone else, with respect to his neighbor, have received from God the command that they should do us all kinds of good. So we receive these blessings not from them, but through them, from God. For creatures are only the hands, channels, and means by which God gives all things. So He gives to the mother breasts and milk to offer to her child, and He gives corn and all kinds of produce from the earth for nourishment [Psalm 104:27–28; 147:8–9]. None of these blessings could be produced by any creature of itself.

27 So no one should expect to take or give anything except what God has commanded. Then it may be acknowledged as God’s gift, and thanks may be rendered to Him for it, as this commandment requires. For this reason also, the ways we receive good gifts through creatures are not to be rejected. Nor should we arrogantly seek other ways and means than what God has commanded. For that would not be receiving from God, but seeking for ourselves.

28 Let everyone, then, see to it that he values this commandment great and high above all things. Do not regard it as a joke! Ask and examine your heart diligently [2 Corinthians 13:5], and you will find out whether it clings to God alone or not. If you have a heart that can expect of Him nothing but what is good—especially in need and distress—and a heart that also renounces and forsakes everything that is not God, then you have the only true God. If, on the contrary, your heart clings to anything else from which it expects more good and help than from God, and if your heart does not take refuge in Him but flees from Him when in trouble, then you have an idol, another god.

29 God will not have this commandment thrown to the winds. He will most strictly enforce it. In order that this may be known He has added (a) a terrible threat and (b) a beautiful, comforting promise. This promise is also to be taught and impressed upon young people [Deuteronomy 6:7], that they may take it to heart and hold it.

‹Explanation of the Appendix to the First Commandment›

30 I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments. [Exodus 20:5–6]

31 These words relate to all the commandments (as we shall learn later). But they are joined to this chief commandment because it is most important that people get their thinking straight first. For where the head is right, the whole life must be right, and vice versa. 32 Learn, therefore, from these words how angry God is with those who trust in anything but Him. And again, learn how good and gracious He is to those who trust and believe in Him alone with their whole heart [Deuteronomy 6:5]. His anger does not stop until the fourth generation of those who hate Him. 33 He says this so you will not live in such security and commit yourself to chance, like people with brute hearts who think that it makes no great difference how they live. On the other hand, His blessing and goodness reach many thousands. 34 He is a God who will not overlook that people turn from Him. He will not stop being angry until the fourth generation, even until they are utterly exterminated. Therefore, He is to be feared and not to be despised [Deuteronomy 10:20].

35 He has also made this known in all history, as the Scriptures abundantly show and daily experience still teaches. For from the beginning He has utterly uprooted all idolatry. Because of idolatry, He has uprooted both heathen people and Jewish people. To this day He overthrows all false worship, so that all who remain therein must finally perish [2 Chronicles 7:19–20]. 36 Proud, powerful, and rich men of the world ‹Sardanapalians and Phalarides, who surpass even the Persians in wealth› are still to be found. They boast defiantly of their Mammon. They utterly disregard whether God is angry at them or smiles on them. They dare to withstand His wrath, yet they shall not succeed. Before they are aware of it, they shall be wrecked, with all in which they trusted. All others have perished like this who have thought themselves more secure or powerful.

37 Such hard heads imagine that God overlooks and allows them to rest in security, or that He is entirely ignorant or cares nothing about such matters. Therefore, God must deal a smashing blow and punish them, so that He cannot forget their sin unto their children’s children. In that way, everyone may take note and see that this is no joke to Him. 38 These are the people He means when He says, “those who hate Me” [Exodus 20:5]; i.e., those who persist in their defiance and pride). Whatever is preached or said to them, they will not listen. When they are rebuked, in order that they may learn to know themselves and make amends before the punishment begins, they become mad and foolish. They rightly deserve wrath, as we see daily in bishops and princes now.

39 But as terrible as these threatenings are, so much more powerful is the consolation in the promise. For those who cling to God alone should be sure that He will show them mercy. In other words, He will show them pure goodness and blessing, not only for themselves, but also to their children and their children’s children, even to the thousandth generation and beyond that. 40 This ought certainly to move and impel us to risk our hearts in all confidence with God [Hebrews 4:16; 10:19–23], if we wish all temporal and eternal good. For the supreme Majesty makes such outstanding offers and presents such heartfelt encouragements and such rich promises.

41 Therefore, let everyone seriously take this passage to heart, lest it be regarded as though a man had spoken it. For you it is a question of eternal blessing, happiness, and salvation, or of eternal wrath, misery, and woe. What more would you have or desire than God so kindly promising to be yours with every blessing and to protect and help you in all need?

42 But unfortunately, here is the failure: the world believes none of this, nor regards it as God’s Word. For the world sees that those who trust in God and not in Mammon suffer care and want, and that the devil opposes and resists them. They don’t have money or favor or honor, and besides, can scarcely support life. On the other hand, those who serve Mammon have power, favor, honor, possessions, and every comfort in the eyes of the world. For this reason, these words must be understood to speak against the appearance of such things. And we must consider that they do not lie or deceive, but must come true.

43 Reflect for yourself or investigate and tell me: Those who have used all their care and diligence to gather great possessions and wealth, what have they finally gained? You will find that they have wasted their toil and labor, or even though they have amassed great treasures, they have been dispersed and scattered [Luke 12:16–21]. So they themselves have never found happiness in their wealth, and afterward, it never reached the third generation.

44 You will find plenty of examples in all histories, also in the memory of aged and experienced people. Just watch and ponder them.

45 Saul was a great king, chosen by God, and a godly man. But when he was established on his throne, he let his heart wander from God and put his trust in his crown and power [1 Samuel 9–13]. Then he had to perish with all he had, so that not even his children remained [1 Samuel 31].

46 David, on the other hand, was a poor, despised man, hunted down and chased, so that he did not feel his life was secure anywhere [1 Samuel 19–29]. Yet, he had to survive in spite of Saul, and become king [2 Samuel 2]. For these words of the promise had to abide and come true, since God cannot lie or deceive [Titus 1:2]. Just let not the devil and the world deceive you with their show, which indeed remains for a time, but finally is nothing.

47 Let us, then, learn well the First Commandment, that we may see how God will tolerate no overconfidence nor any trust in any other object. We will see how He requires nothing greater from us than confidence from the heart for everything good. Then we may live right and straightforward and use all the blessings that God gives, just as a shoemaker uses his needle, awl, and thread for work and then lays them aside. Or we may behave like a traveler using an inn, food, and bed only to meet his present need. Each person may do this in his calling, according to God’s order, and without allowing any of these things to be his lord or idol. 48 This is enough about the First Commandment, which we have had to explain at length, since it is of chief importance. For, as said earlier, where the heart is rightly set toward God [Deuteronomy 32:46] and this commandment is observed, all the other commandments follow.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 359

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria