In the end, what the gospel is really all about.

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The gospel.

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It’s not about our security, or our wants and desires, or our material blessings, or the good and bad in our lives.

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click > After all else…what the gospel is finally all about.

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and Livingword2012, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is ‘worship’?

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We’ve got Mary. We’ve got Judas. We’ve got poor people. We’ve got very expensive perfume. And we’ve got Jesus.

What does all of that have to do with worship?

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Listen in and see:

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click > What does worship look like?

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and magdalena 67, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why go to church?

  Make worship of God into something that you are comfortable with.Mother's Day by Spencer Finnley

Stay home on Sunday. You don’t need to go meet with a congregation to worship God, do you?  Enjoy some needed and well deserved down time with your family.

Teach your kids what really is important in life…the family. It’s more important than anything else, right?  It’s so important that many churches do not even gather on Christmas day.

Church pews, and stained glass,  pastors , and Sacraments…isn’t all that stuff  just “religion”?

So relax. Do it your way. Get comfortable.

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I think this is exactly what the devil would say, and is saying.

 

 

What do you think?

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.

Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight Fight Fight!

“You Lutherans are too religious!”

“You Lutherans have to stand up, and sit down and mindlessly repeat words that you just make up in some sort of man-made ritulal!”

“Lutheran Pastors wear vestments and you have candles in your churches!”

 

Have you ever heard this line of horse dung from fundamentalist Evangelicals before?

I have. It is perpetuated by an ignorance of Lutheranism, of the Christian faith and the history of the Christian Church.

As Lutheran Christians, we don’t have to do any of that stuff. Unlike the worship practices of the churches that are not really free, we are free to do these things…or not!

We do these things because they anchor us in Christ. Our liturgy keeps us from floating hither and yon and ending up looking like the non-denominational, entertainment style, therapuetic, self-focused, styles of worship that predominate the landscape of Orange County, California.

Our symbols speak to us. Their symbols speak to them.

Ours are centered on Christ, His Word and sacraments. Theirs are focused on the believer… their faithfulness, their decision, their comfort, their music, their law based theology. Christ is there, but He is no longer the Center. The onus shifts to the believer. Listen to one of their sermons. Who is the focus?  9 out of 10 times it will be you.

Our focus is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The killing of the Old Man/Woman by proclaiming God’s Law and the raising of the New Man/Woman with God’s forgiveness in Jesus, proclaimed freely without qualifications or conditions.

We uphold Christ’s Supper and His full presence therein. We unabashedly hold up infant baptism as it is God that does the baptism and makes His promises to the child.  Who are we to say that He needs our profession of faith before He can act on our behalf?

Every word in our creeds and liturgy is derived entirely from the Bible. It is all in there.

Is the Bible our pope? No! The only Holy Father we have is Jesus Christ our Lord.

If we got rid of some of these traditional Christian symbols, and had music that is more pop oriented would we get more people in the door? We probably would. Would it be worth it to sacrifice the centrality of Christ and the ‘other world-ness’ of our traditional confessional service to get more bodies in the door? I say no, it wouldn’t be worth it because you would inevitably start the slide towards the self. It’s a lousy trade off.

I for one, am thankful for our great confessional Lutheran message that is centered on, and anchored to our Lord Jesus and His forgiveness of our sins. I want to tell others and invite them to worship with us.   I hope you will too.   

                                   – Steve M.