The Value of Patient Endurance

Thanksgiving Turkey and Santa Claus Chimera (610x351)

This is our pastor’s newsletter article for the December 2015-January 2016 edition of our congregational newsletter.   Recently, we’ve had some discussion about singing Christmas hymns during Advent. Advent is from the first Sunday after Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Christmas is from December 25 to January 6. So, we’ll still let Advent be Advent, a season […]

2 Corinthians, Lesson 13: The Delegation Coming to Corinth

Visiting Pastoral Delegation (610x351)

Unlike some of our translations, what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 (last week’s lesson) began and ended with God’s grace. Paul finished vs. 9 opened ended, moving from Jesus’ self-giving love to how the Corinthians will channel the grace overflowing to them in Christ Jesus to others. Now, Paul goes back to the topic […]

Titus, Lesson 6: Paul’s Conclusion in His Letter to Pastor Titus

Infant Baptism2 (610x352)

Having told Titus what he was to teach (“speak”) to various groups in the congregation at Crete, Paul now moves into what God’s salvation for us means for all Christians.   How the Christian is to live in the World Read Titus 3:1-2 “Remind them”: Remind is an imperative verb, a command. This is what […]

2 Corinthians, Lesson 12: Overflowing Grace from God Channeled by God’s People

overflowing (610x351)

Having expressed the joy that the Corinthian Christians were able to give to Paul through Titus, Paul now tells the Corinthians what God has been doing in the churches of Macedonia and what God’s grace has been doing through them.  Paul and Timothy begin this section with, “We want you to know.” That was an […]

Titus, Lesson 5: What Now? The Implications of God’s Salvation for the Christian

What Now (610x352)

Having told Titus what he was to teach (“speak”) to various groups in the congregation in Crete, Paul now moves into what God’s salvation means, not for some, but for all Christians. Read Titus 2:11 “the salvation of God”: “Salvation” is not a noun but an adjective (soterios, found only here in the New Testament). […]

A Primer on the Use of Incense in the Divine Service

Incense Thuribles (610x352)

By Pr. Rich Futrell Introduction The Lutheran Church deliberately chooses to worship in a historical, liturgical way. Part of this practice is simply claiming our mantle of being part of the historic, catholic Church.[1] But it is more than that. Our Augsburg Confession, Article 14, “Concerning the Mass,” states: “For ceremonies are especially needed in […]

2 Corinthians, Lesson 11: Rejoicing

Last week, we saw Paul and Timothy command the Corinthians using three different voices:  Active voice: Come away from the false teachers [You must do this] (6:17a) Passive voice: Be separated from them [but you don’t have the power to do this] (6:17b) Middle voice: don’t touch what is unclean [the false teachers; this applies […]

Titus, Lesson 4: What Titus is to Speak

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Paul had just commanded Pastor Titus to “speak that which is proper, according to the health-giving Doctrine.” Now Paul gets specific: he tells what Titus is to speak and to whom.   Speak this to the Older Men Read Titus 2:2 The “older men” to whom Paul refers are not the same as the “elders,” […]

2 Corinthians, Lesson 10: Be Separate from what is False and Unclean!

Belial (610x352)

Paul and Timothy had just commanded the Corinthians for their hearts to “be opened” (2 Corinthians 6:13). Although a command, they used a passive voice, showing that the Corinthian Christians didn’t have the power to open their hearts—that was something that was done to them. But the Corinthians did have the ability “restrict” their hearts […]

Titus, Lesson 3: Confront the Wrong, Speak the Right

Paul told Titus “to… appoint elders in every town [in Crete]” (Titus 1:6). Paul then described whom Titus should appoint: Men with specific character traits who were “holding firmly according to the Teaching [that Jesus gave to his Apostles], a word that is faithful, so he [the overseer] can comfort someone in the life-giving Teaching […]