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 […]

Matthew 25:1-13: What Faith Does and How It Lives

Parable of the Ten Virgins2 (610x352)

Hear the Parable of the Ten Virgins. In that parable, Jesus tells us that the women are all “virgins.” That was His way of saying that they were still unmarried. So, Jesus tells us about ten virgins, ten young women who have not yet married, waiting for their wedding and the wedding reception to follow. […]

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 […]

Matthew 9:18-26: Your faith has made you well

Woman touching Jesus garment, Marcellinus-Peter Catacomb (610x351)

Look at what happens when Jesus speaks! Jesus spoke, and a sick woman then had the confidence to touch the hem of His garment. Jesus spoke, and a desperate father sought out Jesus and asked Him for the impossible. Jesus spoke, and a little girl was raised from the dead. The word of Jesus does […]

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 […]

Ephesians 6:10-17: The Spiritual War

Angels and Demons in Battle (610x351)

A 4th-century theologian of the Church, John Cassian, tells a story of a distracted monk. He was mouthing the words of a prayer, but his heart and mind were far from them. So, he went outside, hoping the fresh air would help clear his head. But when he stepped outside, he saw a terrifying sight. […]

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 […]