‘How-to’ Christianity, and Biblical Principles for Living…


…properly understood in the light of law/gospel preaching.

Listen to > ‘How-to’and biblical principles

(15 min. pastor’s class portion)


Thanks, Pastor Mark.


Thanks to quandryindustries.com, for the photo.






Have trouble discerning law and gospel?


Join the club.


These may help  

Bible study 1                              Bible study 7

Bible study 2                              Bible study 8

Bible study 3                              Bible study 9

Bible study 4                             

Bible study 5

Bible study 6

and they are in easy to digest bites.





Thank you, Pastor Mark.


And thanks to flickr and makin_bacon, for the photo.








Properly distinguishing God’s law from God’s gospel to avoid confusion in the Christian faith.

I found many things in this class that were helpful to me in being able to properly distinguish the law from the gospel.

And it quite often isn’t all that easy to do. But listen in and see if there’s something in here for you:


Listen to >      R&G – complete class



Thank you, Pastor Mark.


And thanks to flickr and Original Sin, for the photo.



“Putting on Christ”…and the importance of ‘distinguishing law from gospel’


I think I’ll call these short outtakes, ‘quick hitters’. Here’s a ‘quick hitter’ with a bit about “putting on Christ” (Baptism)…and then how important it is to distinguish the law from the gospel and the purpose of each.

This ‘quick hitter’ is under 8 minutes long. Perfect to send to someone who may just be learning about some of these important theological issues in our faith. Or…as a good refresher or reminder to someone like me, who constantly needs to hear it.

click here > Law and Gospel distinction 


Thanks, Pastor Mark.

And thanks to flickr and TrinityBayRidge, for the photo.




Sometimes the clay is just baked

Tallest man in the world by Dan Squires

Have you ever tried to discuss the gospel with another Christian   and all you get in return is a bunch of bunch of “yeah buts”?

Many of us have.

Sometimes, I believe you just have to leave it (them) alone. Sometimes they are just really into the religious Christian project… climbing steadily, improving their Christian lives, and there’s no stopping them. In such a case I would suggest that you just let them go ahead with their project. And then look for others to share the gospel with. Look for those beaten and battered by life, or their own religious projects. It is here that the law has done it’s job and it is here that the gospel may have the best chance of being heard and freeing the person from the law (what ‘they do’).

Every person and situation is different and I do not advocate a formula. But I think the general principle is fairly steady.

What do you think?



Thanks to flicker and Dan Squires, for the photo.




Sermon dissection – what to listen for

Click here  http://www.lightofthemaster.com/  , and then click on The Ambo by Lea and Luna‘sermons’ (top of page towards the right side) – yesterday’s sermon, Nov. 21 should be cued up, just click on the  start arrow.

(the sermon is about 20 minutes long, so you might want to wait until you have the time)

Listen. Do you hear the law presented as something you should be doing in order for you to be a proper Christian? Is the law presented as a way to make you better? Or, is the law presented as a way to describe the way that we really ARE ? (As a mirror, to reflect our sinfulness and our need of a savior).

Then listen for God’s promises. Are they presented with string(s) attached? Must you DO anything for the promises to be good and valid for you? Or are they just handed over to you, the unworthy, free of charge?

I’d like to know what you think. I’d like to know if you can detect a difference in this preaching, in contrast to the typical preaching in an Evangelical church.


Thanks for your thoughts.




“It’s too late…”


It’s far too late to clean up our act. Far too late.

But there is one who has cleaned it up for you, and who continues to clean it up for you.

Christ Jesus has clothed you in the perfect righteousness of his pure, white robe.

Is that not good enough?

It is.

That’s the gospel.

Too simple for ya?

Too bad.       That’s the way it is.




Are you ever an enemy of the cross?

  click here->  Enemies of the Cross audio sermon

                                    ( under 9 mithreesixtyfive - day 200 by Sarah Hall Photography (~Teewinot~)nutes long )

    A sermon delivered by Pastor Patrick Thurmer, pastor of Living-Faith-Church , Cape Coral, Florida




I think this puts the emphasis where it ought be, and exposes us for who and what we often are.


Thanks, Pastor Pat!



Heavy Law…Heavy Gospel


 The Holy Land Experience Theme Park - The Ten Commandments by Rob SheridanOur pastor decided to open the Ash Wednesday worship service with a reading of the Commandments, all 10 of them, followed by Martin Luther’s explanation of what each one means, and then time between each one of those readings for personal and silent reflection.

And then readings from Scripture about how God feels about those who keep His Commandments, and those who do not.

That’s the law. That’s heavy duty law. No wiggle room. Law that leaves you (or should leave you) no where to go.

Then, those who wished to receive ashes on their foreheads and the reminder of our mortality with the words “from dust you have come and to dust you will return.”

And then a sermon (not a class as so many sectarian preachers like to give during a church service, but a real sermon) highlighted further our complicity in not keeping the Commandments in so far as we so often ‘will’ not to keep them.

 Now there are no modern day ‘Pharisees’ left standing, but all are cut off at the knees by the sharp sword of God’s Law.

Then the pastor relates that he too is complicit in this rebellion (to dispel any notion that some in the church, by virtue of their office or calling, can handle this law project).

Then the pastor, as God’s mouthpiece, hands over to us  free of charge, the life giving Word of life, the renewing, liberating, redeeming Word of promise that Christ Jesus knows who and what each one of us we really are, but loves us so much that He was willing to take upon Himself, all our sins. That in that bloody death at Calvary, we were made right with God. Not by anything at all that we do. But by what He did.  By what He is doing, and by what He will yet do…for us.

No instructions how to improve. No decisions to make. No principles to follow. No guidelines for Christian living… just death at the hands of a righteous and loving and perfect God.  And then life from a righteous and loving and perfect God… in the love and forgiveness that Jesus gives to us from the cross.

And a reminder that all of this, every bit of it, comes to us in our baptisms, as a gift of God. (I know that rankles some)

And, like icing on the cake, we were invited to actually touch, and taste, and swallow that love and forgiveness and renewing Life, in the bread and the wine of  the Sacrament of the Altar.

So, once again, God’s Word was done ‘TO US’…and ‘FOR US’.

We are laid low, and lifted high…for His sake.

We sang some wonderful old hymns, received the benediction, and hopefully went home brand new people…yet once again.

Sound a little boring?

Not to me it wasn’t.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday evening.

( and I TiVo-ed Spongebob…so I wouldn’t have to miss it)




As a sidenote…the movie  ‘Lilies of the Field’ will air this afternoon on Turner Classic Movies. (check for time in your area)

I just love this movie about an itinerante Baptist (Sidney Poitier) and a small group of Catholic nuns in the desert Southwest.

It’s a classic.



There’s something wrong with you

That is a fact.

There IS something wrong with you.

Whether it is homosexuality, greed, arrogance, secret sexual fantasies, outright adulterous thought, indifference to the plight of the homeless and poor, idolatry of family or anything else, being lazy, being a poor steward of what God has given you, hating your brother, not loving your enemy, telling lies and half truths, hoarding money and material goods for yourself, etc., etc., etc..

There’s something wrong with me, too.

We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. I repeat… we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.

Can we overcome a particular sin here and there?  Sure, it happens all the time. God does change people’s lives. But the truth of the matter is that we like sinning.

If you really didn’t want to sin, then you would refrain from it.


So then, what is God after?

How about a little honesty? How about owning up to what you know you really are? How about a little humility? How about a little more of the publican and a little less of the Pharisee?

After all, God knows all about you anyway. He knows who and what you really are. And He loves you anyway. He loves you so much that He was willing to be staked to two pieces of rough timber for you and prayed for forgiveness for you for your part in putting Him up there.

God, in Christ Jesus, loves sinners. He loves full blown sinners. He doesn’t love the fact that you are a sinner, but He does love you. He does forgive you.

If we won’t own up to who and what we really are, then the cross just goes away and the upward and onward project that characterizes the Pharisee begins. And then it’s all about us. The gospel moves over to the sidelines while we perform at midfield, making ourselves into little gods who are at the center of it all.

The Law and the Gospel place God and His forgiveness of sins, His life, and His salvation for us, at the center.

So be thankful, and proclaim this great gift of love for sinners to all who will listen.

Every now and then someone does hear it..and the angels in Heaven rejoice!



Are you making good progress in your battle against sins?