‘Feeling good and being positive’

I heard that from a customer in the market where I work, a co-worker, and two family members in the last couple of days. That’s what church ought be about, they said.

“Well…(I said)…it can be”. Mariakirken door by Farl

But the Bible does not speak in terms of positive or negative.

It speaks of going from death…to life.

I told them that they need to find a church where the Word of God is proclaimed in such a manner as to expose you and your ineptness, your unwillingness, to be what God would have you be. And then they need to procalim to you what God has done for you about that problem. And then they need to hand over to you, without charge, the meal that the world does not, and cannot offer, the meal that gives the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

I told them that they can be lost. I told them that Jesus will never lose them, be that the troubles and cares of this world, and their own rebellion from God, and the devil, are actively working to seperate you from God.

I told them that they need to go to church and hear the Word and receive the Lord’s Supper and to force themselves to go if they did not feel like going. Because they are dying people and will soon enter the grave and they will then need someone to pull them out of that grave to new and everlasting life.

I hope, by the grace of God, that they find a church door.



Giving recipes to the hungry?

Beat until light by Patrick Snook


Well, isn’t that what is happening in so many churches?

You’ve got someone who is starving to death (spiritually) and you lay out for them your favorite recipe on just how they can get what they need?

Then you add another ingredient to the recipe each week, so there’s no way this much needed, life giving meal will ever come out of the oven and be finished, and enjoyed. It becomes impossible to ever ‘arrive’. 

I’m here to say that that is a terrible way to “help” people.


Hand Him over!

 Give them the True Bread which comes down from Heaven, which is the meal that is completely finished for you and ready to “take and eat”.

‘How to’, ‘instructional Christianity’,  just throws gasoline on the fire. It keeps alive the Old Adam and Old Eve. It creates phonies and Pharisees. It drives people to despair. God is not interested in cleaning up the Old Adam and Old Eve in us. He wants to kill them off! He will create in their places, the New Man and New Woman, and He does this through the announcement of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake. And He does this in His Holy Supper which He lovingly prepares for you with His Body and Blood that was nailed to a bloody cross in your place. And He does this when we speak of Him and the great things He has done for us, one to another. And when we comfort each other in His Name.

This is what people need. They don’t need a ‘program’ that puts them on the fast track, slowtrack, or any other track, to greater obedience or greater spirituality.

If the non-denoms, or the Baptists, or the Roman Catholics, or the Calvinists, or the Mormons even, would hand over this bread that comes down from Heaven for broken sinners, and not put any conditions on it, then I would say “AMEN! Thanks be to God! We are in agreement!” 

To the extent that they do not hand Him over without strings attached, I will always be critical… never judgemental. Their final destination is not my business. The Lord is after the heart and knows each heart individually. He is certainly capable of making someone His own apart from any particular denomination, or church, or institution.

But we want the light of the gospel and the freedom that Christ gives to burn ever more brightly…don’t we?

So we continually place Christ at the center of it all towards that end so that some will hear and be freed from the religious project and the propping up of the self.

Don’t hand them picked-over recipes, that feature ‘what they ought be doing’. 

Hand over the One true and everlasting food that is Jesus Christ Himself and His forgiveness of sins for sinners in need of new life. And keep handing Him over, again and again, and again…in the face of all those who object that that is just not enough.

He, and He alone…is enough.    He is enough.


You got a problem wit dat?



Almost impossible

That’s how it seems to me, lately.  When pigs fly by WayneWho?

Not just on this blog, but on many others that I visit.

That people will just not accept that God acts for us, before we want anything at all to do with Him.

They will not accept the idea that God could really be present in what HE COMMANDS us to do in His Holy Name. They refuse to let God be God, and they war against the grace of God because it is not rational and because it excludes any action, feeling, or anything else… on their part.

This is what happens when people refuse to give up the ‘religious project’.

They think that we are the ones being overly ‘religious’! They have it exactly backwards.

It is almost impossible to show them that in throwing out the Sacraments and relegating them to mere symbols (in contradiction to Scripture), they are inserting themselves into the equation. This puts them on the fast track to being ‘religious’…no matter if the pastor wears Hawaiian shirts and flip flops or if he/she is in a thousand dollar suit.

Inserting ourselves into the equation is what got us into this entire mess to begin with. You would think that people would get a clue and finally figure out that maybe this is the reason that God commanded us to Baptize, and to eat His body and drink His blood. To take, and keep the project out of our hands.

But then again… it is almost impossible to make them see that.




 PS- Getting me to believe it (in Him) was (is) probably a whole lot harder for God than it would be for Him to get pigs to fly.




Utah Lutheran


         Day Hike           




But don’t we have just a little bit to do with it?



The Baptism of Jesus

 click here: The-Baptism-of-Jesus…and-your-own-Baptism  The Baptism of Jesus by Loci Lenar


 Here’s a sermon from this Sunday, on Baptism, by Pastor Mark Anderson of Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA


If you think of Baptism merely as ‘symbolic’, does this in any give you pause and have you think about it again?


If you believe that God really gives us something in Baptism, does this give you comfort and assurance, and why?





Epiphany experiences


 Law & Gospel  Thursday, January 7



 KFUO Host: Rev. Tom Baker   
 KFUO MP3 audio
     Open Lines (54 Minutes)  Pastor Baker discusses epiphany experiences in light of the Word of God.



If you can listen in for about 15 or 20 minutes, I think you’ll hear some interesting thoughts on why Lutherans place such an emphasis on Word and Sacrament.







No “real presence” means something else must be present…

                                                                                                     IMG_4372 by edirect3

…and that something else is your seriousness, your efforts, your decision, your good works, yada, yada, yada.

The Roman Church believes in the real presence but they are into the aforementioned pious activities, as well.

That’s their problem.

They believe in more than Christ alone, too.

So much of Christianity does. Lutheranism, the type that Luther espoused, rests in Christ and Him alone. This is radical. Even many Lutherans today do not accept it. There is often the call for a bit of the self in the equation. It might just be one little bit, but that is one little bit too much. You might as well tell Jesus to scoot over a smidgen and make some room on that cross for you.

What then do you end up with? ‘The God project’…that’s what.

You end up with people who look down their noses at real sinners. People who are just  a little better than everyone else. You end up with people in churches who walk alike, who talk alike, who carry similar looking bibles with similarly highlighted passages that place the onus back on the sinner. You get people who place the believer at the center and curve everything back in on him/her. You get people who are just playing a ‘religious game’. You get phonies.

You get Roman Catholicism dressed up in Baptist (non-demon) garb. The pure sweet gospel of the forgiveness of sins and the total justification and sanctification of the sinner for the sake of Jesus Christ,  just goes away. And now it all revolves around you. It’s sickening really. It’s a trick of the devil. It’s antithetic to everything the gospel is.

There’s no humility in that kind of a theology. There’s no ongoing repentance there.There’s no freedom there. There’s only the theology of glory. Becoming a better Christian becomes the goal. What does that mean?  It’s now all about YOU…that’s what that means. You know all the right Christian words, but in reality you have become a Jew. You are living under the law, not under grace.

One cannot become a better Christian than he/she is at the moment that they were baptized. (Baptized by God, by water and the Word) Please, save the baptism of the Spirit talk…that’s what water Baptism IS!!!

I know that talk like this drives many of you crazy. You hate it when people place everything upon the Lord. “We’ll, we just can’t live anyway we want!”  As if you don’t anyway. How often do you really break free from your comfort zone? How often do you really think of the neighbor, before yourself? If you’re anything at all like me, and I suspect that you are…the answer is ‘not too often’.

I would like some of you out there to put your emotions aside for a moment, and think about what I have said. Are you resting in Him? Or are you engaged in a bit of the God project yourself? I do (engage in it) from time to time when I’m at my worst. But I once again return to my Baptism, I receive Body and Blood of our Dear Lord, I hear the Word of the Law which puts an end to me, and I am once again led to repentance and new life in the hearing of His promises.

Am I better than you? Are Lutherans better than you?  Come on…you know me better than that. We aren’t better… but we know who and what we are. We know what our deeds, our seriousness, our decisions account for…not much… when it comes to the life of faith in our Dear Lord Jesus.

I hope you will take this as I intend it for you.

I intend it only as food for thought, that you might place the emphasis in your Christian life on the Lord and take the emphasis off of yourself, where it does not belong.

Then, in the freedom that flows from a greater trust in Christ Jesus, go and live in that freedom to the benefit of others and a more secure understanding of what it means to be one of His own, one of His adopted children, who do not need to perform at a certain level of faithfulness in order to remain in the family.



Please feel free to take issue with me.


Happy New You!


No…that’s what I meant to say.   New Years Eve 2008 014 edited by LocoMotion Photography

Another year has come and gone and we are a bit older and maybe not in the best shape of our lives.

As St. Paul said, the outer self is wasting away, but the inner person, in Christ, is being  held firm and strengthened by the Lord.

He does this as He works in us through Word and Sacrament and gives us everything that is needful.

He slays us with His strong Word of law and then He creates us anew with His stonger Word of forgiveness and love.

The Old Adam/Eve is put to death and the new man/woman is made new again, and again, and again.

So, on this first day of 2010… a Happy New You in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior!


Hat tip to Pastor Mark Anderson who used this theme awhile back  in a sermon he delivered at this time of year.