Is it ‘Christian Magic’?

A Magical Afternoon at Hollywood Studios by Samantha Decker

Do the Sacraments just operate on their own? Or is something else required?




> Are Baptism and Holy Communion, magic?  #1


> Are Baptism and Holy Communion, magic?  #2


Are Baptism and Holy Communion, Christain Magic?  – entire class

(there’s another 25 minutes, or so, in the entire class mp3)



Thanks, Pastor Mark.


And thanks to flickr and Samantha Decker, for the photo.






Calling all “free-will” Christians…

…this one’s for you! 


070320101557 by teohyiyang


When you get to the website, click on sermons, scroll to bottom of sermons and click on’ NOVEMBER 20′ (then click the play arrow)…I know, I know, the wrong date glitch hasn’t been fixed yet. The sermon was from this past Sunday.

I’m anxious to hear where you believe this sermon goes off the rails.



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.




Is God really all that interested in our efforts to make Him our own?

I don’t think so.   In Safe Hands by Dave Hayward

I think He is busy trying to kill off our efforts.

I think our efforts at making God our own are misguided at best and very damaging at worst.

We are His own. He makes believers out of us. The person who believes he is still in charge needs to be killed off. That’s what God does in Baptism. That’s what God does in His Supper and in His preached Word.

But since we are inveterate non-believers, we find it hard to give up the religious projects that makes little gods of ourselves. And we continue to sin. So we don’t abandon, or forget our Baptisms, but rather we return to Baptism, “daily” as Luther said. Baptism moves through life with us. It carries us.

You may not like it, but our God really is…God. He is in charge. He creates, and gives life where there was none.   

Baptism is a gift of God. He kills off the old sinner in us and clothes us in Christ. St. Paul said that “all of us who were baptized have put on Christ.” That doesn’t sound like a mere ‘symbol’ of something to me.

One would think that would be  Good News for people.(It is)

But many just can’t give up their “free will”.

“Free will” is not the solution…it is the problem.

God’s will, in His Word (and that includes the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion which are visable Word) IS the solution. 

Ironically, rejecting the real presence of God in Baptism, or Holy Communion, doesn’t make one less religious in that self-centered way… but more so!   Now the whole project revolves around you, and what you say, feel, think, or do!

I guess that’s it for now.

Thank you.  Have a nice day.


PS- In trusting in our Baptisms, we can concentrate on what God has done, is doing, and will yet do for us…and we can take the onus off of ourselves. And we are free to concentrate on our neighbors. That’s where our “free will” can do some good, if we aren’t so obsessed with staring at our navels and cultivating our own holiness.



No Next Level Attained

Well, yesterday has come and gone. My wife and I went to worship the Lord Jesus and receive from Him (as my Pastor likes to say) “what the world could never buy…forgiveness of sins, life,  and salvation.”

We sang hymns, we confessed our sins, we received absolution, partook of the Lord’s Supper,  confessed our faith publicly in the Apostle’s Creed and recited the Lord’s Prayer together. We prayed for the world and the Church. The sermon laid us bare for putting faith in anything less than the Living God, such as political parties (or the princes of this world), and clothed us again in the White Robe of Jesus with His death and forgiveness of our foolishness. We learned, once again, that we ought render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we learned that God has His hand in all of it…including what Caesar does. We learned (once again) that the Triune God is actively and intimately involved in not only the goings on of this world, but in every moment of every day in our own lives.

No next levels of spirituality were attained (at least that I know of). No secrets to more Godly living were revealed. No “breakthroughs” were sited. Just the unmitigated love of Jesus Christ in His Word and sacrament for sinners…that’s all. That’s enough.

Thanks be to God that He is enough.

In a Nutshell…

My last post was probably a bit convoluted. The examples maybe were not the best.

What I was trying to get across is that so much of today’s pHMMMM, WALNUTS !reaching and teaching regarding the Christian faith is nothing more than ‘law’ . St. Paul  tells us that there in no life in the law…only death.

So when a person goes into a worship service and the law has had it’s way with them all week, at work , at home, and in society, the last thing that person needs is more law trying to get them to improve. It’s like pouring gasoline on the fire! That old, tired, sinful self needs to be killed off (not propped up!) and the new man or woman put in it’s place…by the gospel!

The problem is that so many churches have no idea of this. Their theologies are ‘man’ based to start with, and so they just naturally progress from there along the path of man’s efforts to become more Christlike. They don’t understand the objective nature of the sacraments and the comfort that they bring to real sinners. So the comfort they are seeking and that they need must come from themselves. It has to come from their feelings, their sincerity, their good fruits, as proof that they are really in Christ.

That we are Christians has nothing to do with what we say, think, feel, or do.  It has everything to do with what Christ has done, is doing, and will yet do…FOR US!

This is a real problem for folks in the law churches. For them, the whole enterprise is about what we say, think, feel, or do. According to St. Paul, this way of thinking about the Christian faith is very dangerous.

The question is how do we get them to realize this?

You are Invited to Dinner!

I hereby am inviting you to dinner at my place this evening.

Come on by!  It will start at 6pm and it will end promptly at 6dinner for eight:10 pm.

Oh, and by the way…I won’t be there. And you might as well bring your own food, because how can I offer you anything if I am not there.

Is that ridiculous, or what?

When Jesus says, ” eat my body and drink my blood”, when He tells us to “do this…” He is inviting us to dine with Him. He wants us to feast on the True Bread which has come down from Heaven for our sakes. If He’s not even going to be there… then why bother?

Of course He’s going to be there… it’s His Supper for cryin’ out loud!

He never told us to do anything where he would not be present. How can He be present? After all,  He has ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  That’s right, He’s up there, so how could He be down here with us?

What!  He’s God!  He can be anywhere and everywhere He wants to be! Simultaneously!  He is inside every molecule of every thing in the universe and beyond.  But He can’t be, or wouldn’t want to be present at the meal which He’s commanded us to attend?

That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.  And that goes for Holy Baptism as well!

If I ever invite you over for dinner, don’t worry, I’ll be there, and I’ll serve up plenty of vittles as well.                              

           – Steve Martin