Thursday, December 30, 2010

top 10 photos from 2010 (plus one more)

                                           camels through the eye of a needle

                                          massive lightning strike

                                          time lapse cliff diving

                                          mars sunset

                                          powerful solar flare

                                          a newly found galaxy seen by the hubble space telescope

                                          a moon rise above a meadow

                                          aurora borealis above a volcano in iceland

                                          thermal imaging of a house

                                         aurora borealis from space

                                         couldn't resist adding this one - it just cracked me up!

Monday, December 27, 2010

a really old book

while going through my dad's old books, we came across this copy of aristotle's organum published in 1598.
yes, you read that right.... 1598!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

one divine remedy


And therefore in the general ruin of the entire human race, there was but one remedy in the secret of the divine plan to save the fallen, that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression to prevail for the rest.   - Leo the Great

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

lunar eclipse on the winter solstice

A church steeple is seen as the full moon is ...

although we missed it due to cloudy skies, i found this great picture with a steeple in the foreground.
(yahoo news photo)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

lost jesus

Tis the season ... for another baby Jesus to be stolen from an outdoor nativity.
This time it happened at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, outside of the chapel.
(Even so, Come Lord Jesus, Come....)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the dawn treader

I know there are those who are disappointed that the latest Narnia movie "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" doesn't always stick to the book. But I think as long as you go in to it knowing that the movie can never be as good as the book, it's much easier to deal with. You have to let the book be the book, and the movie be the movie. We saw the movie last night and really enjoyed it - it was well done, and the main themes of the book were kept intact.

Here's more about the differences between writing books and making movies, from movie reviewer Adam Palmer...

"Let’s talk a minute about the differences between books and movies, because, well, they are very… different. On the surface, that sounds like a pretty inane, obvious thing to say, but you’d be surprised how often people forget it. Especially when people are very attached to a particular book or movie that crosses one media plane into the other. Stories are told differently on the page than they are on the screen–paces are different, character establishment is different, audience expectations are different. (Example: information that can take paragraphs to describe in a book can be given in seconds in a movie.)
It is a general rule in movies not to stick too closely to the book you’re adapting. Yes, it is a marvelous blueprint, but sometimes you have to make concessions in order to make a good film. You are not writing your story down–you are trying to tell it visually, and so visuals matter. A classic case in point is The Wizard of Oz, which as a book and a film couldn’t be more different. In the book, Dorothy gets silver shoes, not ruby slippers. The Wicked Witch of the West is a plain Caucasian, not the green-skinned cackler iconically portrayed by Margaret Hamilton. Oh, and (spoiler alert) she’s not even really set up as Dorothy’s nemesis and dies halfway through the story. And these are just a few instances in one story.
Anyway, the point is this: don’t hold it against movies when they are different from books. The filmmakers aren’t actively trying to ruin the story–they’re trying to make the best movie they can.
Another thing. Part of what I love about the Narnia books, aside from the story, is C.S. Lewis’s writing style. It is absolutely unique and an integral and foundational aspect of the magic of Narnia. He just has a way with phrasing, with language, and with description. In fact, one of my favorite lines of all time comes from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and is downright unfilmable: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” That sentence alone tells you just about everything you need to know about Eustace while simultaneously setting the tone for the entire book.
The Narnia books are filled with brilliant touches of genius like that, which is what makes them so darn lovable. When I read one of them, I feel like I’m sitting in front of a fire with Lewis, listening to him tell me a story in between puffs on his pipe. It’s a very singular, jovial way of storytelling, and it is brilliant. But it is entirely impossible to put into a movie."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

winter (by robert burns)

The wintry west extends his blast, and hail and rain does blow;
The stormy north sends driving forth the blinding sleet and snow.
While tumbling brown the burn comes down and roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest, and pass the heartless day.
The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast, the joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear than all the pride of May.
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul, my griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please, their fate resembles mine!
Thou Power Supreme whose mighty scheme these woes of mine fulfil,
Here firm I rest; they must be best, because they are Thy will!
Then all I want, o do Thou grant this one request of mine!
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny, assist me to resign.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

handel's messiah (columbia chorale)

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God...

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain...

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it...

Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land...

But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us...

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion...

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee...

For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth..

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light..

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given..

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men...

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem..

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd...

Come unto Him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and He shall give you rest...


Friday, December 3, 2010

silver dollar city christmas

The Living Nativity

Charles Dickens Christmas Carol

The whole place lit up with millions of lights

 Christmas Parade

Monday, November 29, 2010

back to narnia

In anticipation of the release of the film "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", here are a few choice C.S. Lewis quotes for you to amaze your friends and confound your enemies with this week.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen - not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time whether waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God– it changes me.”

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.”

"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

“I gave in, and admitted that God was God.”

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

lost lesson of thanksgiving

The Lost Lesson of Thanksgiving
By John Stossel

Had today's political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow's holiday would have been called "Starvation Day" instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn't be alive to celebrate it.

Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn't happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.
The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally. That's why they nearly all starved.

When people can get the same return with less effort, most people make less effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. This went on for two years.

"So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented," wrote Gov. William Bradford in his diary. The colonists, he said, "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, [I] [with the advice of the chiefest among them] gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."

In other words, the people of Plymouth moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.

"This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."

Because of the change, the first Thanksgiving could be held in November 1623.
What Plymouth suffered under communalism was what economists today call the tragedy of the commons. The problem has been known since ancient Greece. As Aristotle noted, "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."

If individuals can take from a common pot regardless of how much they put in it, each person has an incentive to be a free-rider, to do as little as possible and take as much as possible because what one fails to take will be taken by someone else. Soon, the pot is empty.
What private property does -- as the Pilgrims discovered -- is connect effort to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more. Then, if there's a free market, people will trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack. Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the community richer.

Secure property rights are the key. When producers know their future products are safe from confiscation, they take risks and invest. But when they fear they will be deprived of the fruits of their labor, they will do as little as possible. That's the lost lesson of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

it's the end of the world as we know it.... and i feel fine

If you're a male in Liberia, your life expectancy at birth is 39 years. If you're a woman in Japan, you'll live more than twice that long, about 85 years. But no matter who you are or where you're born, the mortality rates is still 100%. As Scripture says,  "It is appointed once for man to die" and "the wages of sin is death."

We all face an end— personal, national, global, universal. But then what? What comes after the end?

"Eschatology" (Greek for end times) teaches us that humanity's end is not the ultimate end.
The God who created the world and saved the world will bring about its restoration.
What began in the Garden of Eden will become Eden restored.

This hope is found in the OT prophets. Isaiah declares that God will "create a new heavens and a new earth" (Isaiah 65).  Jesus also speaks of the Christian hope of cosmic renewal. He describes redemption "drawing near" for "the whole earth".

Old and New Testament believers have confessed this "blessed hope" down through the centuries.
In the Apostles' Creed we confess " He shall come to judge the living and the dead."
In the Nicene Creed, we state Jesus shall "come again in glory to judge the living and the dead."
And in the Lord's Prayer we pray that God's kingdom would come "on earth as it is in heaven."

CS Lewis has a good analogy of the end - he speaks of it as actors in a play. We don't know everything about the play, whether we're in the first or last act, or which characters play the minor and major roles.
We really have no idea when the end of the play will come. But the plot will find its fulfillment, even if our understanding right now is limited. The Author will fill us in after it is over, but for now, "playing it well is what infinitely matters."

(from journey with jesus)

Monday, November 15, 2010

end of the church year

This coming Sunday is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. The old has gone, the new has come. Soon we will start a new church year which begins with the first Sunday of Advent.

I was reminded again of the importance of the liturgical calendar on finding these  "5 Reasons for Church Year Spirituality" from the Internet Monk....

1. It enables us to live in God's Story
2. It keeps the main thing the main thing
3. It recognizes one's calendar forms one's life
4. It links personal spirituality with worship, family, and community
5. It provides a basis for unity for all Christians everywhere

Here also are the colors of the Church year, and why they are used for different times. Just as Joseph had a coat of many colors, so does the Church celebrate our Lord's life as a coat of many colors too!


Blue is the color of the sky, our eternal hope. Thus it is especially associated with Advent, with Christ’s coming to bring us to our home in heaven. In the church’s art, the color blue is also closely associated with the Virgin Mary, and thus the tie in to Advent is also obvious.


Purple is the ancient color of royalty. It has become in the Church colors associated with our Lord’s Passion, and hence, with the season of Lent: Matthew 27; Mark 15.


Black is the color of darkness, of death, of ashes, of sorrow and grief. It is used on Days of Penitence and Prayer in the Church and can be used on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Esther 4:1; Daniel 9:3; Micah 3:6; Matthew 27:45.


White is upon the altar throughout the season of Easter and at Christmastime and on All Saints.
White symbolizes perfection, celebration, divinity, joy. Mark 9; John 20; Revelation 7.


Red, the color of blood (Revelation 6:7) and of fire, is used in the Church whenever she celebrates the days of martyrs (who shed their blood for Christ) or on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended in tongues as of fire and on “churchy” occasions: dedication of church or ordination. Red reminds us of the famous saying: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."


Green is the most widely used color of the Church year, it’s “ordinary color” if you will. Green signfies growth and we stay green and fruitful as we live our lives by the streams of God’s Word and Sacraments: Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17; John 15; Rev. 22

Through her creative use of color, the Church seeks to raise our hearts and minds to the wonderful things that our God has done for us in Jesus Christ; to call us to repentance; to keep us mindful of the Word of God that keeps us in saving faith; to help us together proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Friday, November 12, 2010

annual end of greek celebration

The fall quarter Greek students make the traditional jump into the seminary fountain at Concordia Seminary after finishing their test.  This will be the last time any class jumps into this fountain as renovations to the campus next year will mean the removal of this fountain. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

st. martin's day

On the historic church calendar, today is the day of St. Martin of Tours. Born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary around AD 316, Martin grew up in Lombardy (Italy). Coming to the Christian faith as a young person, he began a career in the Roman army. But sensing a call to a church vocation, Martin left the military and became a monk, affirming that he was ‘Christ’s soldier. Eventually, Martin was named bishop of Tours in western Gaul (France). He is remembered for his simple lifestyle and his determination to share the Gospel….

Hundreds of years later, on St. Martin’s Day in 1483, the one-day-old son of Hans and Margarette Luther was baptized and given the “Martin Luther.”

(from the meyer minute)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

know your heretics (from resurgence)

In the 5th century a debate arose between Pelagius, a British monk, and Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. They disagreed over the relationship between human nature after the Fall, as well as saving grace in Jesus Christ. 
Pelagius rejected the doctrines of original sin, substitutionary atonement, and justification by faith. Pelagius emphasized unconditional free will and the ability to better oneself spiritually without grace. This was in direct contrast to Augustine, who believed that humanity was completely helpless in Adam’s sin and in desperate need of grace.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

luther's faith

"Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream
is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by
good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they
speak and hear much about faith. ``Faith is not enough,'' they
say, ``You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.''
They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working,
creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, ``I
believe.'' That is what they think true faith is. But, because
this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything
from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn't come from this
`faith,' either.

Instead, faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives
new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us
completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits,
our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with
it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this
faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't
stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone
asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of
God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.
Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy,
joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The
Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you
freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve
everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who
has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to
separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from
fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard
against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they're smart enough
to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools.
Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain without
faith, no matter what you wish, say, or do."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010


Your Word is Truth" (John 17)
Truth is more than just facts. It's reality.What's true is true, for everyone, everywhere, all the time.
We can't create the truth - but we can discover it.We can't change the truth, but it can change us.
We all long for the truth, even when we try to reject it.

As C.S. Lewis put it, "The truth is what it is and what it was long before I was born, whether I like it or not."
God is the source of all truth. He has written His truth on our hearts.It is the natural law, which we often call our conscience. It is the basic knowledge of right and wrong, falsehood and truth.

Even though because of our sin we turned away from His truth, God still kept His promise to save the world through His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, for He alone is faithful and true. He came down from heaven to earth, into the world that He had created, in order that He might save it. This is the blessed truth of the Gospel.
Jesus said, " I am the way, the truth, and the life." He didn't say He would show the truth or live the truth or teach the truth - He said He is the truth. He is Truth Personified.

The Psalmist writes, "The God of truth is not a man, that he should lie or change his mind."
God is truth and His Word is truth.
The truth about God's forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life through Jesus Christ can be found only in the Bible, the Book of Truth, God's Holy Word.
"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

end of the world postponed...

It's a good news/bad news situation for believers in the 2012 Mayan apocalypse. The good news is that the Mayan calendar may not end on Dec. 21, 2012 (and the world may not end along with it). The bad news for prophecy believers? If the calendar doesn't end in December 2012, no one knows when it actually will — or if it has already.
Looks like end-of-the-world theorists may need to find another ancient calendar on which to pin their apocalyptic hopes...

(from live science)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


If grace is getting what you don't deserve, then mercy is NOT getting what you DO deserve. It's like 2 sides of the same coin - God's amazing grace and His tender mercy.

When God looks down upon His fallen creation, He has mercy on those whom He has created. Though we deserve nothing but punishment and death because of our sin, He shows mercy to us because of the suffering and death of His Son Jesus Christ on our behalf. Instead of punishing us and condemning us for our sin, He offers us His love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. When we believe in Him, when we put our faith and trust in Jesus and receive His forgiveness and salvation, we are not only freed from the chains of sin and death, we are also freed up to do good works, and to show mercy to the people around us who need it.
Because God has shown this tender mercy to us, we strive to do the same for our neighbor. As God's loved and adopted children, we are called to treat people with dignity, kindness, gentleness, and respect.

And as we go about our new missions of mercy as free and forgiven children of God, this short little seven-word prayer, spoken by the tax collector in one of Jesus' parables, is one of the best prayers we can ever say - "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Monday, October 11, 2010

lost michelangelo

A family in Buffalo, N.Y. may have had a painting worth $300 million tucked behind their living room sofa for 27 years, reports the New York Post.

An expert has analyzed the painting and believes it to be a lost Michelangelo -- an unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary -- potentially one of the biggest finds of the century.

How did the family get the painting?

Its history points to the work being done by Michelangelo around 1545 for his friend, Vittoria Colonna. The Pieta painting was passed to two Catholic cardinals, eventually ending up in the hands of a German baroness named Villani, according to the Post.

The work ended up in the family after Villani willed it to her lady-in-waiting Gertrude Young. Young was the sister-in-law of Kober’s great-grandfather and she sent the work to America in 1883.

Now in a bank vault, the painting, according to experts, is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions - perhaps, like those seen at the New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art -- even $300 million.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

nicene creed according to the scriptures

I Believe (Rom. 10:9, Jas 2:19, John 14:1)

In one God (Deut. 6:4, Is. 44:6)

The Father (Is. 63:16, 2 Pet 1:17, Matt. 6:9)

Almighty  (Gen. 17:1, Ps. 91:1, Rev. 4:8)

Maker  (Job 4:17, 35:10, Is. 17:7, 54:5)

of heaven  (Gen 1:1, 8)

and earth  (Ps. 104:5, Jer. 51:15)

and of all things  (Gen 1:31)

visible and invisible.  (Ps. 89:11-12, Amos 4:13, Rev. 3:5, Col. 1:16)

And in one Lord  (Eph. 4:5)

Jesus Christ,  (Acts 10:36, 11:17, Rom. 1:7, 5:1, 1 Cor 1:2, 6:11, 2 Cor. 1:2, 8:9

Gal. 1:3, 6:14, Eph. 1:2, 3:11, Phil. 1:2, 3:20, Col. 1:3, 2:6, 1 Thes. 1:1, 5:9,

2 Thes. 1:1, 2:14, 1 Tim. 6:3, 14, 2 Tim. 1:2, Philemon 1:3, 25, Heb. 13:20,

Jas. 1:1, 2:1, 1 Pet. 1:3, 3:15, 2 Pet. 1:8, 14, Jude 17, 21, Rev. 22:20-21)

the only-begotton  (John 1:18)

Son of God  (Matt 3:17, John 3:16)

Begotten of His Father (Heb. 1:5)

Before all worlds  (John 1:1, Col. 1:17, 1 John 1:1)

begotten  (John 1:1, Heb. 1:5)

not made  (Mic. 5:2, John 1:18, 17:5)

Being of one substance with the Father  (John 10:30, 14:9)

By whom all things were made  (1 Cor. 8:6, Col 1:16)

Who for us men  (Matt 20:28, John 10:10)

and for our salvation  (Matt 1:21, Luke 19:10)

came down from heaven  (Rom. 10:6, Eph. 4:10)

and was incarnate  (Col. 2:9)

by the Holy Spirit  (Matt 1:18)

of the Virgin Mary  (Luke 1:34-35)

and was made man  (John 1:1)

and was crucified  (Matt. 20:19, John 19:18, Rom. 5:6, 8, 2 Cor. 13:4)

also for us  (Rom. 5:8, 2 Cor. 5:15)

under Pontius Pilate  (Matt. 27:2, 26, 1 Tim 6:13)

He suffered  (1 Pet. 2:21, Heb. 2:10)

and was buried  (Mark 15:46, 1 Cor. 15:4)

And the third day  (Matt. 27:63, 28:1, 1 Cor. 15:4)

He rose again  (Mark 16:6, 2 Tim. 2:8)

according to the Scriptures  (Ps. 16:10, Luke 24:25-27, 1 Cor. 15:4)

and ascended  (Luke 24:51, Acts 1:9)

Into heaven  (Mark 16:19, Acts 1:11)

and sits at the right hand of the Father.  (Ps. 110:1, Matt. 26:64, Acts 7:56, Heb. 1:3)

And He will come again  (Jn. 14:3, 1 Thes. 4:16)

with glory  (Matt. 16:27, 24:30, 25:31, 26:64, Mark. 8:38, Col. 3:4)

to judge  (Matt. 25:31-46, Acts 17:31)

both the living and the dead,  (Acts 10:42, 1 Pet. 4:5)

whose kingdom  (John 18:36, 2 Tim. 4:1, 18)

will have no end.  (Luke 1:33, Rev. 11:15, Ps. 145:13)

And I believe in the Holy Spirit  (Matt. 28:19, Acts 13:2)

The Lord  (2 Cor. 3:17)

And giver of life  (John 6:63, Rom. 7:6, 8:2, 2 Cor. 3:6)

who proceeds from the Father  (John 14:16-17)

and the Son  (John 15:26, Rom. 8:9, Gal. 4:6)

Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped  (Luke 4:8, John 4:24)

and glorified  (John 4:24, 1 Tim. 1:17)

Who spoke by the prophets  (1 Pet. 1:10-11, 2 Pet 1:21)

And I believe in one  (1 Cor. 10:16-17, 12:12-13)

Holy  (Eph. 3:16-17, 5:27, 1 Pet. 2:9)

Christian  (1 Cor. 1:2)

and Apostolic  (Eph. 2:20, Rev. 21:14)

Church  (Acts 20:28, Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:24, Heb. 12:23, 1 Pet. 2:9)

I acknowledge one Baptism  (John 3:5, Rom. 6:3, Eph. 4:5)

For the remission of sins  (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet. 3:21, Tit. 3:5)

And I look for the resurrection of the dead  (1 Thes. 4:16, 1 Cor. 15:12-13, 16, 52)

And the life of the world to come (1 Cor 15:54-57, Rev. 22:5)

Amen  (Ps. 41:13, 2 Cor. 1:20)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

what is your faith?

Here is Dr. Gene Edward Veith's response to the question, "What is your faith?"  (I really like his answer.)

"I am a Lutheran Christian. Lutheranism is sacramental and liturgical, and it is also evangelical and biblical. At the same time, Lutheranism avoids legalism, affirms our life in the world, and above all focuses on the grace of Christ. For me, Lutheranism embraces the whole scope and depth of Christianity at its best." 

Friday, October 1, 2010

is there life on other planets? (from the internet monk)

Scientists say they have discovered a planet that orbits a star in an earth-like manner. And these scientists think that the newly-discovered planet may have both liquid water and an atmosphere, two things necessary to sustain life.
Do you think there is life elsewhere in the universe? By “life,” I mean intelligent life, not just some microorganism.
And if there is, how will God relate to this life? Is sin the same for them as it is for us? Would the payment for sin cost God the same on their planet as it cost him on ours?
Before you answer, you might want to read one of the books from the Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis. And read his essay entitled, “Will We Lose God In Outer Space?” In it, Lewis thought that life elsewhere in the galaxy was at least a possibility. But at the same time he says that “those who do not find Him on earth are unlikely to find Him in space.”

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

st. michael and all angels

Michael is mentioned in the book of Daniel, in Jude, and in Revelation. In Daniel, Michael is the angelic helper of Israel who leads the battle against the forces of evil. In Revelation, Michael and his angels fight against Satan and defeat him and his evil angels, driving them out of heaven. Their victory is made possible by Christ's own victory over Satan through His death on the cross and resurrection. This victory over sin, death, and the devil is now ours by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

joyful beggars

We rejoice in the fact that we are living in these last days - we are so blessed to be living in these
times. For we not only have Moses and the prophets, we have the apostles and
evangelists, We have the Word of God and the Holy Gospel. We have the Means of
Grace, the Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the
communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and
the life everlasting. We know how this whole thing is going to play out -
we know how the story is going to end!

And in the mean time we are privileged to be part of the story of God's great
plan of salvation for all people, as God uses us as His ambassadors to reach the world.

We reach out to others because we know what Jesus did for us, that He died for
our sins and the sins of all the world; that He became the last and the least for us, losing His life to win us back, laying down His life in order to save us. For though He was the richest of the rich, for your sake He came down from His great heights to become poor - poor, wretched, and miserable. He was crucified and He died in order to save you. How true it is, that "The last shall be first, the first shall be last."

“We are all beggars,” Luther wrote as his dying words. Beggars - every one of us.
Hungry, wounded, sick, sore. But the good news is that Jesus has met us there,
He has joined us there, among the dogs, the outcasts, the lost and the last and the least.
A beggar to save the beggars. A slave to set the slaves free. By His wounds we are healed. Through
His suffering we have salvation. In His death we now have life.

Rejoice! Your sins are forgiven. Your debts are paid. Death has been destroyed. The devil has been
defeated. Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again. Amen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

martyria, diakonia, koinonia

witness + mercy + life together

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

autumn song

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?

(Dante Rosetti)

Monday, September 20, 2010

the myth of independence (from the internet monk)

“When God blesses us, He almost always does it through other people.” Gene Edward Veith

Stop and think for a moment about what made it possible for you to read that sentence.

First of all, you had to be here, which means at some point in time, you were born. This happened, not by any act or choice you made, but through the actions of others. Your parents conceived you. Your mother carried you within her womb. Someone built a hospital where your mother could go to give birth. A doctor, who likewise had been born and raised by his or her parents, educated and trained by countless people, oversaw your prenatal care and birth. Nurses, aides, and other hospital staff did their part. Your parents’ employers provided the work that supplied the means for them to pay the bills. People working in banks and insurance companies took care of the process of payment.

Your mom and dad and other family members taught you to understand language, to speak, listen, and read. When you got a little older, you attended schools where you received a more formal education, schools provided through the tax dollars of millions of citizens. You had teachers, teacher’s aides and tutors, who were overseen by principals and administrators, whose classrooms were kept clean by custodians, whose teaching materials were provided by authors and publishers and those who marketed them and made them available.

A company of people developed, manufactured, and sold the computer upon which I typed this message. A complex infrastructure of computers, servers, and systems created, maintained, and operated by who knows how many people made it possible for you to see my post on your computer, which was likewise developed, manufactured and sold to you by a bunch of folks.

And then, somewhere, people are working in plants that produce electricity which made all of this possible. Someone designed and built those plants. Someone financed their construction. Someone hired the workers. Someone cuts their paychecks. Someone mined the oil, gas, or coal which powers those plants; someone transported it in trucks made by someone, which traveled on roads someone built, powered by fuel from wells that someone drilled, that was collected and transported by someone, refined by someone, transported to the gas station by someone, and sold by someone.

And there you sit, in your home or office, at the library, bookstore or Starbucks (places that came into existence through the work of a multitude of people), having traveled those roads that someone else built, in a vehicle someone manufactured, with money earned through a job someone provided. You are drinking a cup of coffee that was grown halfway around the world, after having eaten a supper that came to you through yet another complex conglomeration of people and pathways.

Somehow, some way, it all came together and made it possible for you to read the sentence at the beginning of the post this evening.

“By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1Cor 15:10). Yes, and how marvelously labyrinthine the path is by which that grace comes to us each moment! How dare any human being claim independence, self-sufficiency, autonomy, self-reliance!

With just a moment of thought, it becomes obvious that we take an extraordinary number of things for granted with each breath we take, with each simple act we perform. We fail to appreciate how dependent we are every moment of every day on billions of things beyond our control. We also fail to grasp what amazing complexity lies behind the simple statement, “God blessed me.”

If we would realize for one instant how vast and intricate the web is that leads to us enjoying the blessings of life, we would never hear the words, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life” in the same way again

"rain" by george winston

thought of this song with all the rain we have had here in the last few weeks

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ethereal effect

an ethereal effect occurs when thousands of birds fly through the twin tower lights in new york city

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

what if this is how they saw us?

A timely reminder of how we can show Christ’s love to our Muslim neighbors and how that might make a difference.
(from the internet monk -  author’s name has been withheld because of the sensitive nature of their ministry.)

“Can I walk with you?” she asked.

This Afghan lady had received a gift basket from us last Christmas, but never warmed to the gospel.
She never returned our calls. Never wanted to visit. Seemed like a dead end. What could she want now?

As we strolled to school she unexpectedly poured out her heart.
Her family struggles. Her confusion. Her pain.
And at the end of the stroll she turned and said “Thank you. I knew you would pray for me”

What if this was what Muslims thought of Christians?
What if they didn’t think of Quran burnings or troops invading.
What if this was the message we sent to the Muslim world -
That we are praying for them. That we love them.
That Jesus loves them and will answer them if they cry out to him to save them.

Today we are experiencing a crescendo of religious furor.
Threats of Quran burnings. Mosque building plans.

What will the church's response be?
Join with us and cry out to God for this lady who believes that we are people of prayer.

Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Take time to pray.

Monday, September 13, 2010

installation weekend

look out, here come the pastors!

yours truly marches in the pastoral procession toward the chapel
my good friend and mentor Martin Hoyer looks on

1000 plus gather in the Chapel of Timothy and Titus

Pastor Matthew Harrison is installed as new the LCMS President

Bishop Obare from the Lutheran Church of Kenya served as preacher
Blessings to President Harrison as he helps the LCMS to "Lift High the Cross"