Thursday, August 27, 2009

oh, the joys of the modern age...

I'm still here. But my computer isn't. It's in the hospital. Hard Drive crashed. And it doesn't look good. Most likely I've lost 21 months of sermons, photos, and webpages that I'd saved - and my financial accounting file too.
If you are like me, you haven't backed up your files. go. do it now. especially considering how easy it is with a flash drive.
on the plus side, I've been doing a lot more reading of books.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

book found, and thus the Gerhard quote

"O Lord, guard the vine that is Your church (Psalm 80:14) in which that seed is sown... If it seems good to You to squeeze this vine's clusters of grapes in the winepress of the cross for a time and to subject them to affliction, may they first become ripe by the fervor of Your grace so they may produce the sweetest fruit of faith and patience. Whatever is placed on the young root is changed in the clusters of grapes into the sweetest juice of the vine. Cause our souls to change the ridicule, persecution, praise, and whatever else befalls us in this world into the wine of faith, hope, and love and into the fruit of patience and humility." (Meditations on Divine Mercy, pg. 133-4).

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17

I was going to post a quote from today's commemorated, but alas, I can't find either of my copies of "Meditations on Divine Mercy". It goes something like this - "O Lord, if it seems best to you to leave me in the winepress of afflictions, let it produce the sweet wine of faith" or something like that. You can find other posts on Gerhard here and here and an older one from the Aardvard here. You can find Rev. Wade Johnston's translation of Sacred Meditations here.

Also, I noted how the psalm - after the business about clean hands and pure heart - says that God must give us righteousness (Psalm 24:5). It cannot be self-produced. It was nice to discover I wasn't finding stuff that was not there. Looking through the sample material for The Lutheran Study Bible, I found this note for 24:5 - "receive blessing . . . righteousness. God’s children are not righteous by their own works; God declares them righteous for the sake of Christ (Gal 3:6)."

Finally, unrelated to TDP, I've been following a thread on how pastors ought to talk with non-members wanting their children baptized. Rev. Kevin Vogts yesterday posted his practice, which sounds like an excellent one:

Because of the location and nature of congregations I've served (campus
community, mission congregations, etc.) I have always gotten a lot of these
calls. And that is what they usually are -- telephone calls from people who have
never been to worship. They would often demand an immediate answer, even before
or without being willing to meet with me, and start arguing with or berating me
if in that case the answer had to be no. (One woman screamed over the phone,
"You call yourself a Christian? I thought Christians were supposed to HELP

Twenty years ago I started a practice that has been very helpful: I
politely and enthusiastically respond that I would be very happy to meet with
them, tell them what time the Divine Service is, and that if they will introduce
themselves to me after worship we can then check our calendars and set a time to

I don't actually say it, but my firm rule is to NOT say or even hint "Yes"
or "No" without such a meeting, and to only set a meeting in this manner. It
seems to me that they should be willing to come to worship just once if they
wished to be married or have their child baptized here. That seems reasonable
from both a pastoral and common sense perspective.

In over 20 years, I have never had such a caller actually follow through and show up for worship. I have had many responses such as, "Well, I don't want to come to church there. I just want to be married/have my child baptized." The classic was a young woman who declared, "I really don't care what the church services are like. I just want to be married there because you're close to all the good restaurants for the

By doing the scheduling of meetings only in person following a worship service, those unwilling to attend even one service are self-selecting rather than me telling them "No."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

so, you say you haven't...

... consulted the dead through mediums, and you haven't filed lawsuits against fellow believers, and you haven't consorted with a prostitute. You're feeling pretty good about yourself, in knowing enough to avoid all those sins. But then along comes Luther in August 12's Writing, and smacks you so far down into the ground with his Law that convicts you for not knowing the Scriptures (nor Catechism) nearly as well as you ought! ouch.

(I also noted that David respected the authority of King Saul more than Saul respected the authority of King Saul. He previously rightly forbade the consulting of mediums by drving them out, and then went against the law of the land by consulting one. A good warning for Pastors, that we practice what we preach and respect the authority of the office as much as those outside the office are to respect it.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

OT August 11

(better a day late than never)

while reading about David sparing Saul's life again, I was struck by these two things:
  1. It seemed like David's chances of survival would increase if he broke the 4th Commandment, but he kept it nonetheless. Pastor Peters has an excellent post today on the respect for authority here.
  2. The Son of David also spared the lives of those rulers who sought to kill Him. For He could have called down legions of angel armies to destroy His enemies. But His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Therefore He told them to stand down.

Monday, August 10, 2009

From Yesterday's Epistle (LSB Proper 14B)

Rev. Larry Peters' has an excellent post on anger (glad to know I'm not the only one noticing this danger) here after meditating on Paul's words, "Be angry and do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26).

I connected the verse just before that to the 8th Commandment in my sermon yesterday. Found this quote explaining Ephesians 4:25 by Rev. Armin Panning in CPH's People's Bible Commentary for Galatians/Ephesians: “Dishonesty is especially damaging when it occurs among believers, ‘for we are all members of one body.’ To deceive a fellow Christian is really to harm ourselves, because just as in the human body all the members work together for the common good, so it is also in the church. Being dishonest with another Christian is like shooting ourselves in the foot” (pg. 191).

Oh, and nothing to do with the Epistle, just a great illustration from Gerhard, by way of Pr. Weedon here. Going to have to file that one away for a sermon sometime.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 6 - NT Reading

I notice Luke did something with the conclusion of Acts that tied back to the conclusion of his Gospel account. Paul is preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins, using Moses and the prophets to convince people about Jesus (Acts 28:23 - see Luke 24:27 and Luke 24:44).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What others are saying - August 5

I'm not sure how the writing for today was chosen based on today's Scriptures. I just don't see the connection. Please tell me if you do.

But Pastor Cwirla, without referencing today's writing, comments on a lady who is wrestling precisely with the "sure experience of the divine wrath", thinking that the evangelicals have substituted it "for a wish that is founded on nothing at all" (TDP 594).

August 5 OT reading

I don't think there is any theological significance (let me know if there is), but I noticed with today's reading that Saul was:

  • prophet - not by choice, against his will
  • priest - by choice, against God's will
  • king - by God's choice, and not against Saul's will

What others are saying - August 4

Most of you probably already read his blog, but if not, make sure to check out this musing by Pr. Weedon on David's winning of his bride.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

new content

I've not been taking much time to write lately. But I have been adding new content. Take a look at the Shared Items box. Especially right now, as the "Baptizing and Teaching" post by Pr. Cwirla ponders a question I wrestle with too.