Monday, January 30, 2006

Yes! I Knew It, I'm Not A Heretic!

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon

compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that

Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart

from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with

Now I need to convince the family this is the case. They think I'm a heretic because we Lutherans practice confession and absolution. That is definitely another post.

Joel Osteen Came To Town

Joel Osteen came to town over the weekend. I did not go see him Friday night. I feel like I really missed out on my opportunity to have my best life NOW. I just feel like a whiner not a winner, a victim as opposed to a victor.

I'm sure there are others who have not made a conscious decision, an act of will, and maintained an attitude of expectancy and kept our minds filled with thoughts of hope. So, with this in mind, I'll share this quote from Joel Osteen's bestseller Your Best Life Now, pg 262

"God is keeping a record of every good deed you’ve ever done. He is keeping a record of every seed you’ve ever sown. You may think it went unnoticed, but God saw it. And in your time of need, He will make sure that somebody is there to help you. Your generous gifts will come back to you. God has seen every smile you’ve ever given to a hurting person. He’s observed every time you went out of the way to lend a helping hand. God has witnessed when you have given sacrificially, even giving money that perhaps you needed desperately for yourself or your family. God is keeping those records. Some people will tell you that it doesn’t make any difference whether you give or not, or that it doesn’t do any good. But don’t listen to those lies. God has promised that your generous gifts will come back to you. In your time of need, because of your generosity, God will move heaven and earth to make sure you are taken care of."

I missed more than just tapping into the prosperity God has set aside for me, I missed hearing about Santa Claus. All because the riff raff I hang out with wanted study a two thousand year old Lukan text. Oh well, maybe Joyce Meyers will come to town next month.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Is Ablaze! Working?, It Might Be

Is Ablaze! working? It might be. All the news channels are reporting "igniting events" in Gaza City. Did the any of the people celebrating experience the Ablaze! DVD "Igniting a Vision" 16 min. video? Did anyone bother asking what really sparked these "igniting events"? I sure the participant's answers would probably be drowned out by liturgical gunfire. I guess we'll have to wait and see what the Ablaze counter says.

Joel Osteen Comes To Town

So, Joel Osteen is coming to town tonight. On Fridays, the wife and I usually go to our weekly Bible study over at our second family's place. Last night I called and asked "how about we cancel the study of Luke and go see Joel?". But there were no takers. I was ignored! This is what usually happens when I know I have a really good idea. I'm either ignored or how about this one"Frank, you're going to Hell". I heard that last one again this morning.

Joel Osteen is in town tonight. How I would love to learn how to have my best life NOW! Sure tickets would set us back a few bucks but isn't it worth it? I know that if we just trust God enough, and believe in the promise of being overcomers and more than conquerors and God intends for each of us to experience the abundant life He has in store for us He'll come through for us. And that surely means blessing us with an extra $50 for tickets. Is that too much money for our best life now? Well, apparently, the riff raff that I run with, think that it would not be an effective use of our time as well as our money.

Maybe their problem is with Joel Osteen's sermons. I'm sure they'll meet Todd Wilken's, of the radio program Issues, Etc, criteria for a good semon. Wilken asks three questions;
1.How often is Jesus mentioned? 2.Is Jesus the subject of the verbs? Is Jesus the one who acts, or are you? 3. What are the verbs? What has Jesus done and what is He doing?

So, no Joel doesn't talk alot about Jesus. No, he doesn't mention the Bible much. Since he doesn't mention the Bible much he really doesn't talk about why we just might be poor misirable sinners. For this reason we will never hear about the undeserved grace that is bestowed on us by Christ. Ok, maybe they don't meet Wilken's criteria.

But who would want to hear all about that stuff when it makes me out to be the bad guy? Why would I want to hear all that when I can have my best life NOW?! Oh well, maybe there's a reason riff raff like myself needs to go to Bible study on Fridays...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Curses, I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by the Burr in the Burgh:

Four jobs I've had:
1. Sexton
2. Avionic and Electrical System Technician For Helicopters
3. In Store Music Installation Technician
4. Laboratory Instrument Technician

Four places I've lived:
1. Newport News, Va
2. Mainz, BRD
3. Killeen, TX
4. Fayetteville, NC

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Sushi
2. Lightly Steamed Oysters, that is to say, nearly raw!
3. Good Homemade Thin Crust Pizza
4. Ice Cream

Four TV shows that I like to watch
1. 24
2. House
3. CSI
4. Lost

Four Movies I could watch over and over:
1. Lord Of The Rings
2. Citizen Kane
3. Blues Brothers
4. Memento (special edition so I can watch it forwards and backwards)

Four Places I would rather be
1. Wiesbaden, Germany
2. Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
3. Ocracoke, NC
4. Rome, Italy

Four Websites I visit:

Four people I want to tag:
1. Caroline at Our Little House on the Prairie
2. Andy at Green Underground
3. Disgruntled World Citizen at Full Throttle & An Empty Gas Tank
4. Ericka at Ericka's Vida Loca!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Confession of Saint Peter

Yesterday, we celebrated the confession of St Peter. Please go to Aardvark Alley for a great post on this. In chapel we got to sing another of my favorite hymns, By All Your Saints In Warfare. This is another one of those hymns that can bring me to tears. As soon as I find the lyrics I will insert them. We celebrate Peter's great confession not for the apostle who makes the confession, but rather He who the apostle confesses. We should all be so bold as to confess the Christ.

Confessional Lutheran Bloggers Conference Update

Last night, here at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN, I got to attend my first Confessional Lutheran Bloggers Conference. It was a hoot. To be honest it was almost surreal to meet some of the very people whose blogs I read every day. And then to find out the read mine... Our speakers were:Pr. Walt Snyder of Ask the PastorDr. Gene Edward Veith of CranachRev. Eric Stefanski of CAT41 Jason Evans of Theology Geek. Great presentations on the netwoking in the world of blogging, vocations, and technical helps. I also got to meet my new old friends at Beggar's All,Bloghardt's Reflector,Drowning Myself Whenever I Can, Indiana Jane, Preachrblog, and Aardvark Alley. While turnout was light this year, it was the first year. And I didn't know until yesterday that there was an awful lot at the sem going on that night. Next year should be better. I'm already looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Philip Is Just Not Ablaze!

The Holy Gospel for today was from John 1:43-51. " The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” "

My priest’s sermon centered on the fact that Nathanael was, well, easily impressed. Christ knowing he was under a fig tree wowed Nathanael. And who can blame him! I too am often easily wowed and easily distracted, most often by bright shiny objects. But Nathanael missed the big picture and all too often so do we. Anyways, good sermon, no complaints. No, not one complaint. Not one. I mean, if I had to write the sermon, there is absolutely no way I could have done any better. In fact, my sermon would have only ended up with me getting a visit from the circuit counselor. Why you ask? It’s because I tend to be a little more critical than most.

My problem is with Philip. Let's be honest, he doesn’t get it either. You see, he’s just not Ablaze!. Now I know it’s not his fault. Our beloved Lutheran Church Missouri Synod was just not around then. Philip just doesn’t know about the different programs or movements that we are so blessed to have with us today. Philip tells Nathanael about Jesus, he has “found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote”. So far, so good. But when Nathanael asks, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip simply screws up!

Philip should have immediately stopped what he was doing and rode his donkey on down to the local Starbucks and logged onto the wireless network. He should have pushed the beret back just a little bit, kicked his Birkenstocks up on the table, taken a long sip of his hot cappuccino and clicked on the Ablaze! link that he had left on the desktop of the ThinkPad he picked up for a steal after Hanukah season sales last year. Maybe he could have asked some of the other customers for some donations to print up some cool glossy pamphlets. Think of the joy he would have had logging in his story and watching that Ablaze counter go up up and away. And just think of the congratulatory call he would have gotten from the local Rabbi. If the story had been good enough maybe even the circuit counselor would have dropped him a line. Or if he had really worded it just right, maybe, maybe, (sorry, I’m getting a little vhklempt here) maybe he would have gotten a call from the district Pharisee. Oh the joy! In addition, maybe there would have been a feature article about his making a difference in the monthly magazine Lutherans Just Need to Witness! Oh, what could’ve been. But sadly, Philip screwed up. Nope, he’s just not Ablaze!.

But instead, Philip points Nathanael in the direction of He who is the Church. He points to the One who is the center of Word and Sacrament. He points in the only direction that faith can, to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is faith in the fulfillment of Scripture that drives him to talk to Nathanael. He does not spend any time at all rounding up the biggerest number of people to pack ‘em in. I’d bet a paycheck there are no plans to play “You Got a Friend in Me” or “I’ll be There For You” to appear all warm and fuzzy to the faithfully undecided. He does not go to the Hellenized Greeks and Gentiles, for without the eyes of faith, Christ will seem foolish. He brings the faithful to see the promised Christ. As should we!

Only bad things will happen if we fill our sanctuaries to the brim with unbelievers. Agustana VII states ‘Our Churches teach that one holy Church is to remain forever. The church is the congregation of saints (Psalms 149:1) in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. For the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments.”

Ok, Philip got it right. It’s a shame he’s not running for district president. And it’s probably good thing I’m not a priest delivering the sermon. That’s ok, there is always a need for Sunday school teachers.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Complement And A Challenge

A friend gave me quite the compliment yesterday albeit an unintended one. He has been asking me for a couple of days now for one source to get a better understanding of what it means to call oneself Lutheran. Now, I know how to answer that question. No, really I do. Really.

But my problem is one of language. I have found that sometimes people talk past one another when it comes to talking theology. We can talk about the real presence to be sure. But an enthusiast and a confessional Lutheran while saying the same spelled words will just not be talking the same language. What about words like justification or sanctification? Does anybody think a Calvinist will understand what the Lutheran is saying? Just ask Paul McCain at Cyberbrethren how that conversation is going. And how often can Lutherans talk past one another? Pretty often is my guess. Yep, it’s a language problem.

I could have started with Scripture. That’s a no-brainer. Isn’t it? I mean, as long as we believe the bible is true, that should be the starting point. Sure. The problem with that is that as sinful human beings we can’t always agree on what the Bible says. The local phone book is true but it says absolutely nothing about God’s plan for salvation. I need something that clearly states what a Lutheran is.

I could’ve easily pointed my friend to the Book of Concord. That’s an easy out! But then I’ll need to explain the history of the confessions as well as the reason we cling to them. I’ll need to explain the confessions are a defense of what scripture teaches us. Not a quick answer there. And sooner or later I’ll have to explain the word apology in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession. I can see it now, “so what you’re saying is that an apology is not and an apology. And does the word is mean is with you people?” Yeah, that should be easy.

I could have started on one of my rants about the marks of the Church, Word and Sacrament. Or I could have explained the three solas; Sola Gratia, Sola Fida, and Sola Scriptura. Yeah, that should be easy as well.

But, I took the easy way out and said “just go to my blog and look at some of my links”. After spending a little time perusing the links to other bloggers, he hit me with it. “Frank, these people that you link to, on your site…they sound like you! This one here cusses and is writing beer reviews”. Oh my, I do believe he’s still at the Terrible Swede. Yep, good earthy Lutherans. That was as good as being called a Quia Lutheran by Orycteropus Afer at Aardvark Alley. He said I sounded like the very people that I look up to. Cool.

But that won’t help him understand what a Lutheran is. And it certainly can’t explain why we get so excited talking doctrine. Being recognized that I’m in a group of like minded people will not explain much because there are more who are quatenus than quia. If it only were as easy as saying that if you are in large group of like minded people, that everything must be peachy. But it’s not. I wish that I didn’t feel like being confessional was an up the big hill battle. But sadly, it is an uphill battle because there will always be a struggle on this side of eternity for a doctrine that looks to the cross and preaches Christ crucified. It’s a struggle that the Church has fought throughout the ages and will continue to fight until the last day.

But it is comforting to click on a link to confessional Lutheran blogs and read and discuss the things that matter most. And it’s humbling when someone who knows nothing about Lutherans says you sound like the people you link to and admire most.

I did tell my friend that in the future if he would start to post questions and challenge me on the things I write I would be more than happy answer questions. I’ll just have to be careful about that whole language thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Great Book By Rev. Dr. David P. Scaer

I just finished reading Discourses in Matthew – Jesus Teaches the Church written by the Rev. Dr David P. Scaer. This was one of the most informative books I’ve read in years. My only problem with the book is that there is so much information in it that it begs to be read again and again. Dr Scaer lays out the evidence for Matthew writing the Gospel as Scripture as well as catechism for the early Church. Not only is Matthew writing a catechism, but his structure forces the catechumen to focus his attention to the Catechist, which is Christ himself. Dr. Scaer shows how the first catechumens, after hearing Matthew’s Gospel, will look to the cross and the Eucharist as the center of their faith.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Scaer, he is a Lutheran’s Lutheran. He is the Chair of department of Systematic Theology and Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament. I consider him one of the great theologians of our times, right up there with Hermann Sasse. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Scaer on several occasions while attending retreats at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’ve also heard him present several papers at the Symposia. This year, his paper is titled “The Holy Spirit, Sacraments, and Other Churchly Rites”.

I can think of few people as pastoral as Dr. Scaer. This becomes evident when reading Discourse in Matthew. Dr. Scaer writes this book not only for scholars, but for the laity as well. While the book may not be the lightest read, it is one I will read many times over

Discourses in Matthew – Jesus Teaches the Church is available at Concordia Publishing House.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sinners Prayer

Semlaker has a great post on a sinners prayer. I remember one conversation with a distraught friend who could not believe I was attending a liturgical Lutheran church. My friend was concerned that I was "worshiping the liturgy just like the Romans". Her big concern was that I was not able to hear the Gospel with all that liturgy in the way. She asked me "what happens if you just feel like singing more praise songs. What if you're not ready to hear the Gospel?". Her heart was definitely in the right place. But she was wrong, church is not about how we feel. I did my very best to explain that the Divine Service is about God's gifts and His continual service for us in Word and Sacrament and not how we feel at any given moment.

But my explanation fell on deaf ears as we were speaking two different languages using the same words. Her big question for me was how do I know I'm even in a church if we don't say a sinners prayer. I was able to show her the confession and absolution that begin the Divine Service. But when we got to the part of the pastor forgiving sins in the stead and by the command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, well, the two way conversation came to a screeching halt.

If only we had only said the sinners prayer and left it at that. I had to defend my position that just because a sinners prayer is said, that doesn't mean there is the Church. It's not my job to pick and choose who in my congregation are beleivers and unbeleivers. She seemed to think the sinners prayer takes care of that little problem. The Church is found where the Gospel is preached purely and the Sacraments are administered rightly. And believe it or not, there are still going to be tares in the wheat no matter what prayer is said. A sinners prayer has us doing the doing. And I for one take comfort in the fact that it is Christ doing it all for this poor and miserable sinner.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Does Anyone Still Take Robertson Seriously?

Why does anyone still take Robertson seriously? And for that matter why in the world is the "600 Club" still allowed on tv? I really think that the only reason it's still on tv is to embarrass Christians. Robertson is the perfect example of a thelogian of glory. I can't help but wonder how many people's faith have been damaged by this yahoo. How many people have been led astray thinking God is punishing them for not living the perfect life according it the law? How many people are led to dispair thinking that if they just did a little better God would just give them their better life now? If he can't declare the Gospel purely, he should just shut up.

(CNN) -- Television evangelist Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which Robertson opposed.
"He was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'" Robertson told viewers of his long-running television show, "The 700 Club."
"God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone,'" he said.
Robertson's show airs on the ABC Family cable network and claims about 1 million viewers daily.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Got Linked to..Wow

Well, yesterday I had quite a day. When I logged on to the site, I was sure my site meter was broke! I mean, there is just no way possible, that after weeks of blogging and only getting six or seven hits a day, the counter could possibly be right, could it?. It just wasn’t possible, was it?

After a little research I soon found out that What You Do, Do Quickly linked to my blog. Wow! This blog is one that I look at on a daily basis. So when I saw my blog called interesting…wow! Because of this one post fifty people found my site…wow! Needless to say I was on cloud nine for the rest of the morning.

After the sales manager and I got back from setting up a piece of equipment for a customer I looked at my blog again. Wow! The number of hits jumped forty or so. Wow! At first I thought that the hits were still coming from the original link at What You Do, Do Quickly. But this time I discovered Aardvark Alley linked to my blog. This is another site I look at on a daily basis. Wow! Aardvark Alley even called me a Quia Lutheran who looks like he can walk the walk and talk the talk. WOW!!!

As far as I am concerned, there are no higher compliments.