Friday, January 30, 2009

Innovative Ablaze! Funds Outreach

This was sent to the inbox from a longtime reader:

On Saturday January 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. gas prices are falling.
Jordan Lutheran Church is giving the people of western Wake County a little break from the slowing economy at the Dolphins BP station located at 5016 Common Hills Drive in Cary. The church is buying down gas $0.50 per gallon and selling it for two hours at the discounted rate.
Here is how it will work. Anyone wanting the discounted rate must be at the gas station between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The limit is 15 gallons of gasoline per vehicle. The goal is to "share the wealth" with as many people as possible!
Mike Merker, Pastor of Jordan Lutheran Church says, "People often ask why we do these types of events? The number one reason is that we want the community to know that Jesus cares for even their practical needs. We believe that showing kindness in a practical way is what Jesus would do if He were walking the earth today. We are to be Jesus' hands' and feet."
This discounted rate comes just in time for everyone who is feeling the crunch of Christmas bills. Merker added. "We want to change the way people think about church. God was the best giver of all, so that is what we want to do, give!"
Jordan Lutheran Church will begin worshipping on February 8, in Beaver Creek Cinemas located at 1441 Beaver Creek Commons Drive in Apex. The worship services start at 9:30 a.m. with a nursery and children's church available for young kids.

Jordan Lutheran Church defines itself as a cooperative partnership of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

My only commentary is that the prices and availability of a good single malt scotch in the Haut South is something that brings me significant stress. I wonder if my congregation would be willing to accept Ablaze! monies so as to do a single malt scotch outreach. This is certainly not a new idea as the awesomeness that is Mollie has long advocated for a “bar ministry.” I think she might be joking but I’m certainly not. What a great way to sit down, relax, and talk about everyone’s favorite movement. Just a thought...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today’s Quote Of The Day

Today’s quote of the day comes from Scott Diekmann over at one of my favorite blogs Stand Firm writing again about the synodical restructuring proposal in his post entitled A Tale of Two Surveys;

At this point, I’m really wrestling with “watching your life and your doctrine closely” and “putting the best constructions on everything.” These two commands are not mutually exclusive, but they sometimes feel that way. It is often difficult to reprove and rebuke, but for the love of Christ’s Church, we must. To allow changes as important as these to be presented at the 2010 Synodical Convention without proper and thorough discussion, amendment, and/or rejection, is unconscionable. Putting the best construction on things does not always equate to giving someone the benefit of the doubt. “Test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Th. 5:21).

Mea Maxima Culpa

I need to apologize to frequent commenter, all around nice guy, and my brother in Christ; Big Doofus. BD admonished me in my last post with the following;

“And don't always link "megachurch" with "nondenominational" as that's not always the case. Many a megachurch is a member of a denomination.”

BD is one hundred percent right and I should know better than to mix terminology when talking about any serious matter. Sometimes my “frankisms” get out of control and need to reigned in a bit.

Too often I fall into the trap set by mega-churches and micro-churches alike that present themselves as above denominationalism (as if denominationalism is a bad thing; hint, hint, it’s not!) while still part of a denomination bound by a common confession.

Sorry BD, and also thank you for keeping this Lutheran on his toes and holding me accountable for what I write here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Tangible And Significant Faith… Or Something Else?

How do we receive faith and how is that faith sustained? An easy question to answer ain’t it? Before you answer that let me tell ya why I’m asking in the first place.

Yesterday in my inbox I received two emails that heralded a new “program” available from CPH; the publishing house of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The email starts off:

January 22, 2009 .................... LCMSNews -- No. 8

Journey program involves senses in Passion account

How much more would the events of the week leading up to Christ's death and resurrection mean to you if you could actually taste the vinegar Christ was given on the cross or hear the crack of the whip that scourged his back?

That is the premise of a new product from Concordia Publishing House (CPH) titled Journey to the Cross, a sensory-based program that presents the biblical account of Passion Week and Easter morning through experience-focused activities appropriate for ages 3 to adult.

Kelly Bailey McCray, creator of the Journey to the Cross program and director of Christian education at Trinity Lutheran Church, Bend, Ore., originally developed the program in 2003 for a special Maundy Thursday worship event for the church's grade school.

Participants in the program begin at a Customs Station, where they receive a passport to record what they see and hear. They then walk in small groups through 13 stations and experience the Bible accounts of Holy Week at each stop.

"People remember more of what they experience than what they hear, so Journey to the Cross was made to use the senses as much as possible," McCray said. "As participants walk from site to site, they meet individuals dressed as Bible characters who tell the stories of Jesus' death and resurrection as if they had been witnesses. Every stop also has an activity that involves the senses. For example, they smell perfume, taste Passover foods, wash their hands, and pet a donkey. And the participants collect stickers in their passports at every stop, so they have a tangible record of their Journey experience."

While the program was designed for children in the school, McCray found that the parents who acted as chaperones simply walking the children between stations "came away with a renewed appreciation for all that Christ had done for them." About 275 people took part in the first journey.

The email goes on to state that it was developed in a Lutheran congregation and those who participated in Journey to the Cross share that it is one of the most meaningful Easter experiences they've ever had. The email concluded:

"And it doesn't need to be done at your church," she (McCray) added. "The whole event could be done in a public setting such as a park or parking lot or empty warehouse. The key to using the Journey as outreach is to publicize it well in your community and have a plan for connecting with visitors after the event."

McCray feels the best part of Journey to the Cross "is the chance for the events of Holy Week to come alive and not just be words in a story. Children and adults alike think they know the whole story because they hear it every spring. But when you actively participate in something that is similar to what Jesus experienced, by tasting vinegar or hearing a whip crack, then the events of Easter become more significant and less likely to be taken for granted."

So, I’ll ask you again, how do we receive faith and how is that faith sustained? It’s an important question that needs to be answered and properly understood before we move forward in any discussion concerning the email.

The old Lutheran confessors at Augsburg, defending the one catholic Christian faith against the papists way back in 1530, knew that it was the ministry that was instituted for saving faith when they proclaimed in AC article V;

So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2 Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. 3 This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake.

4 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word.

I know what some are already thinking, “See Frank, the Lord can work when and where He pleases so He can work faith in a parking lot petting zoo just like in a church!” I do not dispute that the Lord of heaven and earth can work faith in a parking lot but the fifth article of our confession ends with a condemnatory statement that bookends what we believe and confess with what we reject because of what Scripture speaks against.

What needs to be looked at closely is the condemnatory clause that rejects the Anabaptist’s wrong teaching that we experience the Holy Spirit; as the editors of Concordia write in the introduction to AC V; "through their own reflections, by enjoying nature, or by ecstatic religious experiences." The editors continue; "The comforting truth is that the Holy Spirit works through objective, external, sure, and certain means of grace, through which we receive justification by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone"

At the time of the reformation (and still today) those who believed that faith was something to be obtained through fasting, contemplation, music, and rituals were called Schwärmerei, enthusiasts who were condemned in SD II 4, 80:

4 Both the ancient and modern enthusiasts have taught that God converts people and leads them to the saving knowledge of Christ through His Spirit, without any created means and instrument; in other words, without the outward preaching and hearing of God’s Word.

80 On the other hand, the enthusiasts should be rebuked with great seriousness and zeal. They should not be tolerated in any way in God’s Church. They imagine that God, without any means, without the hearing of the divine Word, and without the use of the holy Sacraments, draws people to Himself, enlightens, justifies, and saves them.

Do you see where this going?

This whole means of grace thingy become crucial for the proper understanding of what might be wrong with a program that sets itself up to create an experiential event. If we are believe the apostle Paul when he writes to the church in Rome; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” then the Journey to the Cross should raise all sorts of red flags! By starting with the premise that “People remember more of what they experience than what they hear” the creator and promoters of the program are proceeding from a false dichotomy that pits what we experience against what we hear when it comes to the God’s Word. In taking this approach, objective faith becomes subjective based on feelings during small group meditative stations.

Now, truth be told I have no problems with an experiential event per se but only in so far as it is a means that our Lord has promised when it comes to churchly things. I would even argue that we do have real and tangible, that is to say real and physical, things that our Lord has given to sustain our faith. In the Lord’s Supper we taste our Lord’s body and blood hidden under the elements of bread and wine. In Baptism we see a child’s old self (or adult for that matter) drowned and then see a new Christian raised up. We hear our Lord’s Word in the reading of the lessons, epistles, and Gospel as well as in the words of the pastor who has been called to proclaim God’s Holy Word. Our Lord does indeed use real and tangible things to give and sustain our faith. Do we really need a program that shifts our focus away from promised means and instead has us (and our children for that matter) looking inward for the meaning of Easter?

What our Lord does not promise in Scripture is to come to us through the smelling of a container of perfume or the tasting of glass of vinegar. Jesus does not promise to be with us until the end of the age through the means of a petting zoo or hand washing demonstrations. Can anyone cite a single verse of Scripture that states if we meditate on the cracking of a whip our faith will be built up or sustained?

What is missing from many a church these days is proper preaching that points to the Means of Grace. With so many churches doing everything that they can to become seeker sensitive they frequently miss the mark and forget to preach the we DO deserve to experience everything that Jesus experienced through proper preaching of God’s Law. This is happening not only in the nondenominational mega-church down the street but all too often in our own beloved synod.

If we are smart we are thankful that we don’t get to experience anything the Jesus had to endure in our place. We should be thankful that we don’t have a God who deals with us as we deserve. We should be thankful that it isn’t us who have the flesh ripped off our backs. We should be thankful that it isn’t us that are stripped naked and having nails pounded into our hands and feet for somebody else’s continually committed sins. We should be thankful that it isn’t us gasping for breath on the account of others transgressions. We should be thankful that it isn’t us experiencing any of the things that Jesus had to endure because of our miserable and sinful nature.

I would suggest that instead of this theological navel gazing, those who wish to meditate and brood over things incomprehensible, get their hands out of the kiddies’ touch tank and find a church that can stay away from subjective experiential emotionalism as a means.

And in the for what it’s worth department, don’t think for a moment that I haven’t caught that this “program” has the theological fingerprints of the emergent church leaders like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, and Dan Kimbell all over it. Our beloved synod has for a while now has been looking to emergent leaders as a way to reach out to the unchurched and still be hip and relevant and cool with youth and people who don’t like church to begin with though these very methods. I would also argue here that these methods are monastic in nature and are the very same techniques that drove Dr. Luther to the point of despair. Do we really want to lead people down that dark road? I would hope not but…

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do All Lutherans Look At Abortion The Same Way?

Do all Lutherans look at abortion the same way? No they don’t, plain and simple.

The largest Lutheran body in the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has on their website Dig Deeper what they call “Abortion (Lutheran view)”. Quoting from The ELCA Social Statement on Abortion :

A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy.

The statement does go on to say that abortion should be a last resort but the fact that they start the explanation with the statement declaring that the unborn has no right to be born is telling in a gut wrenching kind of way.

Here’s the statement from my little corner of Lutheranism, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:

The LCMS believes that abortion is contrary to God's Word and "is not a moral option except, except as a tragically unavoidable byproduct of medical procedures necessary to prevent the death of another human being, viz., the mother"

I’ve had my share of criticisms of the LCMS but on this matter the LCMS is right on target. By coming right out of the gate and stating that abortion is contrary to God’s Word, the LCMS clearly sets itself apart from apostate groups like ELCA who claim to speak for all Lutherans. The statement is short and sweet, to the point, without any having to link to additional documents that celebrate the "Gift of Our Diversity" as justification for the taking of an unborn life.

So, do all Lutherans look at abortion the same way? Again, no they don’t.

What A Horrible Anniversary

On January 22, 1974, the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion.

Isn't it amazing that so many talk of slavery as this country’s original sin that must atoned for and in the same breath can speak of abortion as a protected right to terminate those who can not defend themselves. The idea that murder is a choice to be held up as an honored right proves that sin knows no limits or boundaries.

Come quickly Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Today’s Quote Of The Day

Today’s quote of the day comes from the awesome blog Necessary Roughness:

If God is merely a God of our many understandings, why do we bother evangelizing? Why have a church? Why be a bishop in a church?

Dan scores the touchdown and goes in for two points with his short but succinct post titled Motivation and Exclusive Truths. Way to go Dan!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two Kingdoms Theology And “In God We Trust”

Continuing my thoughts from the last post…

Without a proper understanding of the two kingdom theology, we might all as well be praying to a “god of our many understandings” when we hold up a dollar bill, read the phrase “In God We Trust”, and say that’s the god I pray to.

The doctrine of the two kingdoms teaches that God is the ruler of the whole world and that he rules the world in two ways. He rules all people, Christians and non-Christians, in his earthly kingdom through the agency of secular government, hence through the law. Equally, he rules all Christians in his spiritual kingdom with his right hand through the gospel (Church).

In addition, we are served through these two kingdoms. In the left hand kingdom we are served though vocation, that is to say gifts and talents given to us by God, to believer and unbeliever alike. In the right hand kingdom God serves the faithful through the faithful preaching of His Word and the proper administration of His Sacraments (also the Church).

Without a proper understanding of the two kingdoms, the old Adam in us has no other option but to turn God who has revealed himself in Christ Jesus into the generic “god of our many understandings” that is stamped on coins and used by both the elect and pagan alike.

Praying To Generic gods

I’ve gotten in more than one argument with coworkers and family members alike concerning the whole “In God We Trust” thingy on our currency. The disagreement really boils down to whether the United States is a Christian nation or not.

We are a nation with Christians but we are not a Christian nation. “In God We Trust” on a dollar bill or a quarter does constitute a confession of the Triune God. Our Lord has not promised to be with us in the form of stamped or printed currency but rather in His preached Word and his Sacraments. Our currency may offer lip service to a god of our many understandings but the coin is still Caesars. You know where this is going now, don’t you?

The Obama team extended an invitation to openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson to give the opening invocation of inauguration week. With Bishop Robinson so horrified by the previous inaugural prayers as "specifically and aggressively Christian”, he decided to pray to a generic “God of Our Many Understandings” at President elect’s Obama inaugural ceremony so as to not cause offense. Isn’t that special? (that last line was written in the voice of Dana Carvey’s Church Lady for my missus, just so you know)

I really don’t care that an apostate bishop has created a generic for himself to pray to just as I wasn’t upset last year when a few dollar coins escaped the minting process without getting “In God We Trust” stamped on the edges. All that bothers me is that so many are taking Robinson’s lead and abandoning our Lord who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for a god who offends no one and offers nothing.

In a city filled with monuments, I can’t help but wonder, how long is it before a statue is erected to this unknown god so we can see who it is that Robinson and our currency honor.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today’s Quote Of The Day

Today’s quote of the day comes from my favorite west coast firefly; Lutheran Lucciola, in her post Christian Freedom Versus Pietistic:

But I have to call "BS" on some Lutherans tendency to over accentuate and glorify themselves. While Lutheran piety usually doesn't fall in the "no alcohol" category, it has a strong tendency to smell like the stale, beer soaked floor of a saloon, regardless.

I personally don't wish to see my "tally" sheet of sin. Why others wish to flaunt theirs, is beyond me. What a backdoor that opens up.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Odd Temple Design? Or...

Keeping with the theme of yesterday’s post…

It is clear that the Mormons not only recognize the connections between the LDS church and Battlestar Galactica but have embraced the show even in the design of their temples.

If one understands the ties to Battlestar Galactica it is easy to see that the Mormons love of science fiction is reflected in their architecture. The San Diego California Temple for instance was clearly designed to resemble two Colonial Vipers flying side by side as they guard the fleet against the Cylon tyranny that destroyed the colonies and set them on a course to find their lost tribe on Earth.

See, it all makes sense. And truth be told, it’s clear that their architecture reflects their theology and practice better than many a seeker sensitive Lutheran church plant meeting in a coffee house so as to not offend those who don’t like to go to church in the first place.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why I Bring Up BSG When Discussing Mormons

A commenter asked me a question in the last post concerning the connection between Mormons and my favorite sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica. As I have some new readers and never explained all last year why I was hoping that Mitt Romney would at least get the nomination and at best get elected president, now’s as good as anytime to ‘splain myself. It’s not wrong to hope for Romney simply for blog fodder, is it? Anyhoo…

The creator of the series Battlestar Galactica was a member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints more commonly referred to as the Mormons. Just a C.S. Lewis infused his fictional works with Christian theology, Glen A. Larson put the Mormon theological fingerprints all over his series. Lets take a look at a cool webpage titled Observations on the correlation between Battlestar Galactica and the LDS Church;

1. Organization:
BSG: The colonies were based on a president and a council or quorum of twelve. The two words "council" and "quorum" are used synonymously.

LDS: The LDS church is headed by a president and a council or quorum of twelve. The two words "council" and "quorum" are used synonymously.

2. Origin:

BSG: The colonies originated on the planet Kobol, were all life began. The "Lords" lived there. It was called "The Lost Planet of Ancient Gods".

LDS: The LDS church believes that the Lord lives on the planet Kolob (see The Book of Abraham, Ch. 3, found in The Pearl of Great Price.)

3. Tribes:
BSG: The colonies were started by the 13 tribes which left Kobol and formed the 12 colonies. The thirteenth tribe was lost and is believed to have gone to the Earth. In "Saga of a Star World," Commander Adama delivered the following speech about their origins: "Our recorded history tells us we descended from a mother colony, a race that went out into space to establish colonies. Those of us assembled here now represent the only known surviving Colonists, save one. A sister world, far out in the universe, remembered to us only through ancient writings..." He goes on to assert that the "lost thirteenth tribe" colonized Earth. Something called The Book of The Word described the journey of the tribes of man away from Kobol.

LDS: The LDS church believes that the 13 tribes of Isreal were scattered and colonized the Earth. The 13th tribe was lost, but is believed to be in an undiscovered part of the Earth. Some have concluded that the Book of Mormon describes the 13th tribe and its journey to the Western Hemisphere. This is incorrect. The l3th tribe is still considered lost.

4. Egyptians:
BSG: The ancient records and the culture of the colonies is based on hieroglyphics and pyramids. The fighter helmet worn in a viper strongly resembles an Egyptian Sphinx.

LDS: The LDS information about Kolob and similar topics is supported by a document called the Pearl of Great Price which contains hieroglyphics written in ancient Egypt, and translated by a modern day president.

5. Marriage:
BSG: The colonists use the word "seal" in preference to marriage, and a couple is sealed "not only for now but for all the eternities." (Adama in Lost Planet of Ancient Gods.)

LDS: In the LDS church, marriage refers to a secular joining and "sealing" referes to a bond sanctified by God and "not only for time, but for all eternity."

6. Younger Wives:
BSG: In "Living Legend", Apollo tells Starbuck to re-read the Book of the Word, some of the ancient leaders of the tribes "were married to some very young wives."

LDS: In the LDS church, older leaders of the church frequently have young wives.

7. Nature of God:
BSG: The colonists believe that gods are progressed and more perfect and knowledgeable humans. At the end of War of the Gods, Part 2, the superior life form ("angel") uses the words "As you are now, we once were; as we are now, you may become" to explain the relationship between them and man.

LDS: The LDS church believes identically. Lorenzo Snow, an early Mormon President and Prophet, said, "As man is now, God once was; as God now is, man may become."

8. Free Agency:
BSG: In "War of the Gods," when the powerful being Count Iblis (Satan) tried to take over the fleet, it was discovered that just as the colonists believed, the Count could not force people to follow him and only had power over those who chose to follow of their own free will.

LDS: Among members of the LDS church, freedom of choice between good and evil is a cornerstone to their philosophy of life. According to the Mormon account of creation (The Book of Moses, Ch. 4, found in The Pearl Of Great Price), one of the reasons God cast Satan out of heaven was because he "sought to destroy the agency of man."

9. Tribunal:
BSG: When Starbuck was suspected of murder, he was tried by a tribunal.

LDS: The LDS church tries its members for transgressions in a tribunal.

10. Sayings:
BSG: Colonial saying "The glory of the universe is intelligence," as spoken by Dillon in Galactica 1980 ("The Super Scouts".)

LDS: "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (Doctrine and Covenants #93)

11. Genealogy:
BSG: Starbuck's father was a genetic tracer. This was viewed as "a sacred work."

LDS: The LDS church is obsessed with genealogy. Members are expected to find their ancestors’ names so that their ancestors can be baptized vicariously.

12. Original Sin:
BSG: The episode "The Lost Warrior" explores the concept of original sin as Starbuck is imprisoned with a large number of nth generational sinners. "You mean you are imprisoned here for sins committed by your ancestors," asks Starbuck. "Well, at least we're not original sinners like you," comes the reply. Clearly, original sin is a ridiculous idea to the Colonies.

LDS: The LDS Church in The Articles of Faith makes it clear that it believes that individuals are accountable for their own sins and not for the sins of Adam or any of the individual's ancestors.

The list goes on and on and on.

Another good site, Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism is by Michael Lorenzen. Mr. Lorenzen has a thorough article followed by a bibliography that cites eleven separate works. A great read to get ready for Trivial Pursuit, cult edition.

If there is interest, I’d be more than happy to discuss at a latter date the parallels and similarities between Mormon ritual (temple level) and that of the Masonic lodge. Joseph Smith incorporated many of the lodge’s rituals and practices when he created the most popular of the made in America religions. Y'all need to let me know if this is something that would be of interest.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mormon Belief Cartoon

Five days people, five days until BSG returns for the final episodes.

HT Fighting For The Faith

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Wedding

Yep, hands down, no ifs, ands or buts about it, the prettiest and sweetest bride since my missus.

If I had a heart I would’ve teared up or something. Thankfully, as everyone knows, I don’t have a heart.


Friday, January 09, 2009

A Wedding

In four hours my nephew will marry the prettiest and sweetest bride to come along since my missus.

Just thought I’d let y’all know.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Death And Doubt

A coworker’s father passed away after being ill for some time last weekend and as I’m wont to do on occasion I’ve been thinking about how those outside the faith perceive the doubt that the Christian may feel when he knows death is near.

Dr. Luther wrote this; “When temptation assails you on your deathbed and your spirit becomes oppressed and does not know which way to turn, you should above al things center your attention on the External Word and cling to it; otherwise there is no help.” (W 27,499)

Uh, that’s supposed be comforting? Yes, yes it is.

It is natural that we fear death, as we know that the wages of sin is death. We were never created to die, but through our first parents in the garden, death entered the world. Thankfully the Lord didn’t deal with His disobedient and fallen creatures in a manner in which they deserved. Instead, He graciously sent His Son as a sacrifice for our transgressions, a perfect love expressed but hidden on a cross.

I remember that when I came back to the faith, after fifteen long years as an atheist, I was terrified to even step inside a church. I felt such guilt for denying God that I thought that the unbelief could never be forgiven no matter how much or strongly I did believed.

Thankfully I was finally able to cling to that External Word; Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, even mine. fortunately I have a pastor who faithfully preaches that External Word and administers His Sacraments in which faith and forgiveness are obtained through no work of my own but rather that of the work of Holy Spirit.

This doesn't mean that the evil one won’t twist the fact that we can’t do anything to merit heaven by our own means into fear and doubt. Satan is the father of lies and he’s the very best at what he does. It’s not all that hard to go from half a truth to full fledged doubt with the prince of this world whispering in your ear.

So at the end of the day, we do what Dr. Luther suggests; we trust God’s Word and put aside our doubts and temptations and cling to Christ because sin, death, and the devil are already defeated and crushed by the Word made flesh, by Jesus on a cross nearly two thousand years ago. Through that cross death itself has been defeated and destroyed. May doubt and temptations be defeated as well for all those who call Jesus Lord.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

You Know You’ll Get One

Oh you know you’ll order one so don’t even try to say otherwise. I’ve already preordered my Macbook Wheel this morning.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Today's Quote Of The Day

Today’s quote of the day was blurted out during a presentation I was giving to parents of our youth who are interested in attending one of the two Higher Things gatherings this summer.

One of the parents asked me what was the difference between the national youth gatherings and Higher Things. Some of the answers to the question were;

The wine that is distributed for the Lord’s Supper will not be passed down the isles in Styrofoam cups with instructions to take a swig” (this was not made by a parent but someone who frequently chaperoned the events. I don’t know which year that was done but boy howdy it certainly left an impression)

Beach balls being thrown around during the Divine Service, (our worship service) will not be tolerated” This was contributed because one of our kids, for the longest time, talked of such shenanigans as being one of the “coolest” things about the national events with the Christian rock band playing their top forty hits during the service placing a close second.

All good quotes to be sure and any other time, each would be worthy of the quote of the day! But it wasn’t their day. The quote of the day followed my explaining that the event would be run and officiated by LCMS pastors using our hymnal without goofy liturgies written to be “hip with the kids”. The quote of the day:

Yeah, which means we won’t be line dancing the Lord’s Prayer!

Yeah, definitely quote of the day.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Uncle Frank's Favorite Gift Of The Year Award 2008

It’s time for the annual and highly coveted Uncle Frank's Favorite Gift Of The Year Award for Christmas presents. This annual post is a bit late as the missus and I needed to return to the Haut South to open those presents that arrived after we left for our Texas Christmas visit with my in-laws. Well, return we did and opened and unwrapped all our cool gifts in preparation for the bestowing of one of this website’s most coveted awards. So without any further delay…

And the winner this year is, drum roll please… a rocking Saint John the Baptist icon from my niece Valerie! A big thank you to my favorite niece!

The icon is NOT a Christmas tree ornament. To get a decent picture I tried several times with a variety of poses, with no luck whatsoever at getting a decent shot. Then my missus recommended that the Christmas tree with its dark background might make the picture work. In addition to holding the icon in place and providing a decent backdrop, the tree has the added benefit of being an alternative to a picture of my missus holding the icon. She’s a little camera shy and doesn’t want her picture out on blogosphere so the tree worked out well.


To win said prize, Valerie exploited her uncle’s love of religious art, specifically icons. By taking advantage of her uncle’s fondness of art that would give any smiling, purpose driven, evangelical convulsions as it wasn’t produced after 1966 and isn’t saccharine sweet and cute, she was clearly the favorite from the beginning. Way to go Valerie! Can you guys see why she’s my favorite niece?

For previous years winners go here and here and here and here. Anybody see a pattern?