Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Best Minute

So when I looked at the clock today I noticed that it was something like 12:52. Whenever I see this particular time or any time eneding in 52, I immediatly begin to think of the cross. If you look in the middle of the 5 and 2 you can see a vague picture of a cross in the middle of the two numbers. It serves as just a quick reminder of some of the things that God can use to make you think about him.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Emphasis on the earlier post through this song, therefore If you read that one first this might make more sense

I am Understood?- Relient K

Sometimes it’s embarrassing to talk to you
To hold a conversation with the only one who sees right through
This version of myself
I try to hide behind
I’ll bury my face because my disgrace will leave me terrified

And sometimes I’m so thankful for your loyalty
Your love regardless of the mistakes I make will spoil me
My confidence is, in a sense, a gift you’ve given me
And I’m satisfied to realize you’re all I’ll ever need

You looked into my life
And never stopped
And you’re thinking all my thoughts
Are so simple but so beautiful
And you recite my words right back to me
Before I even speak
You let me know, I am understood

And sometimes I spend my time
Just trying to escape
I work so hard, so desperately, in an attempt to create space
Cause I want distance from the utmost important thing I know
I see your love, then turn my back, and beg for you to go

You looked into my life
And never stopped
And you’re thinking all my thoughts
Are so simple but so beautiful
And you recite my words right back to me
Before I even speak
You let me know, I am understood

You’re the only one who understands
You’re the only one who knows me yet still loves completely

And sometimes the place I’m at is at a loss for words
If I think of something worthy, I know that it’s already yours
And through the times I’ve faded and you’ve outlined me again
You’ve just patiently waited, to bring me back and then

You looked into my life
And never stopped
And you’re thinking all my thoughts
Are so simple but so beautiful
And you recite my words right back to me
Before I even speak
You let me know, I am understood

The noise has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvaction
Your voice has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvation

The noise has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvaction
Your voice has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvation

The noise has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvaction
Your voice has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvation

Your voice has broken my defense
Let me embrace salvation
Let me embrace
Let me embrace salvation

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Learning God with a Little Help From My Friends

In case you noticed the title of this post is sort of a play on a Beatles song. And well lately I have been slightly out of "tune" with what everyone else has already realized. Sure I know that the Law is something that can't be followed and the Gospel is what saves us. But I still have a tendency to mix a little Law in with my Gospel. Thinking that if I could follow something I would not necessarily earn my salvation but that I would just feel a little better about myself. Or that if I could not "do that" I would be a better Christian and person. Of course I am never doing anymore than lying to my own face. Jesus makes it so clear in his sermon on the mount. That even the slightest breaking of the Law is still breaking it and in fact that breaks the entire thing. Gee, I'm glad that their was someone who could take that weight off my back.

Of course that person/God was Jesus. He came from heaven to say "Don't worry I'll take care of the Law you just try to live as an example to others of what I have done. You will fail but with me you will be lifted up and made right." This is what I finally realized sometimes with all of our "what have you done talk" we begin to cloud the borders of Law and Gospel. This is clearly not acceptable!

Now on to the friends part. These posts were inspired by recent posts made by Ryan over at Wretched of the Earth and Joe at The Grateful Christian. They have really said some thinks that the Holy Spirit has taken a hold of in my mind and is letting me know that if I fail and sin. Which I will do no matter what. I just need to look to the cross and I can instantly be assured that I will be picked right back up as if I never did anything wrong in the first place. To dwell on the places that we fail is to focus on the Law when the Law is not meant to be a focal point but rather an arrow that points to the saving grace of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thank you Lord for being able to account for my sins by following the simple rules that I could never dream of following so that one day I may be with you in eternity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What else does the Bible say about marriage?

Not only is marriage called for directly from God in the earliest recordings of the world, but we see the same call from the New Testament as well. Paul says that in 1 Corinthians, "It is good for a man to marry. But since there is so much immorality each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband." (1 Cor 7:1-2)

In the Bible we have a very clear description of the way that husbands and wives are supposed to love one another.

"Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for here," (Eph 5:25)

A marriage is supposed to reflect the exact relationship that our Jesus had with the church. This means that there will be struggles in the relationship but that the final goal will be used as a way to glorify God.

The themes of submission that are found throughout the Bible dealing with marriage are a way that God shows us an earthly example of how we should live our lives towards him. We can not depend on ourselves for our strength but must look to God. In this same way one partner in the marriage can not sustain it but it is an effort on both parts. Ok so maybe its not the same cause we really don't put any effort into the strength that we get from God. I'm not exactly sure what I am trying to say here. All I know is that a solid marriage is a way to strengthen faith and glorify the original plan that God had for man.

If anyone might be able to figure out what I was saying or wants to offer some more insight to these thoughts please feel free to offer them up.

What is Marriage?

This is the first post on a topic that I do not know a lot about considering that I am not married and am only 19. Which by the standards of today is too young to get married. I hope that I will be able to learn a little more about God's plan for marriage and maybe get some input from others too.

Marriage: 1. a.The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
b. The state of being married; wedlock.
c. A common-law marriage.
d. A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex
2. A wedding.
3. A close union: “the most successful marriage of beauty and blood in mainstream comics” (Lloyd Rose).
4. Games. The combination of the king and queen of the same suit, as in pinochle.

I would agree with all of these definitions except for 1. d. But that is for another post and this is of course the world definition of marriage. God speaks of marriage in this way "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."Genesisis 2:24) (KJV) This is the overall theme of the plan that God created for marriage. There is much more to it that is spoken about and I plan on addressing in future posts.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Kids Understand

As I was overseeing summer Sunday school today. In fact the very one that my buddy Ryan over at Wretched of the Earth is in charge of. You can read some of the things he has pointed out about the program. But all of that is beside the point and not why I started this post to begin with.

As I was wandering between the classrooms mainly making sure that the craft was going well. I overheard something from the preschool class that peaked my interest. One of the high school teachers had suggested that playing "Jesus says" might be a good idea, since they finished before the adult bible study had. One of the young girls stated that she wanted to be Jesus. Among the midst of noise these statements were more or less missed. Except one boy made it a point to say to this girl "No one can be Jesus, it's not polite." He continued to repeat this though I'm not sure the little girl heard it or would have cared had she heard it.

The thing that was interesting to me is that this 4 maybe 5 year old knew that their could be only one Jesus. Even if the idea was just to play a game there was no way that anyone could try to be Jesus. This preschooler singlehandedly was stating that he knew no one could be "holy" and completely like Jesus by his own actions. Adults often overlook the opinions of children in things like the church. If we were to sit back and listen I think we would learn more about faith than we expected. For Jesus said during his ministry that "Whoever does not enter the kingdom of God as a little child shall never enter it." (Mark 10:15)

Next time that you get a chance to work with a Sunday School or VBS or any other activity involving the small youth in the church I challenge you to step up and learn a little about faith that only a small child can explain. Plus there is no greater way to motivate yourself to learn than by teaching the Word of God to others.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Going to Argentina

Well actually I'm not going. My girlfriend is going with a church from her hometown. They will be working for 10 days to bring the news and joy of the Gospel to the Argentinean people. I get lucky that I have a girl who likes doing these kinds of things too. Anyways I would ask for prayers for the safe travel for the team and also that their ministry may be successful. Also a sidenote for the safe return of James a friend of mine who is due back from Iraq in the next few weeks.

That is Rachel on the left and this is also the first picture of me on my blog. I as you would have guessed it am on the right.

God's "Planned" Struggles

Our Lord places obstacles in the lives of those who he deems strong enough to overcome them, so that through these obstacles others can see the source of strength which the challenged being feeds on. Thus when things happen to us that we can not understand we must not dwell on what the implications for us are but realize that the challenge is being used for the Lord in ways we may never even know.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Update on My Dad

Thanks everyone for their prayers. The transplant went great. He is still in the hospital for the next to weeks or so to continue getting his strength back. So if you could say a prayer for his speedy recovery that would be awesome. It is amazing what science can do when God chooses to work with it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Older than Sin?

If you read this blog at all you probably know that I work in a photolab. Well the other day a lady came in and picked up some film and she said she had no idea what was on the rolls because she had just found them in her house or something. Then she preceded to say that they must be "older than sin".

I wonder if she was truly thinking when she stated this. Surely she could not have been taking pictures before sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden. (see Genesis 3). It made me want to respond but due to the fact that this could lead to me making the situation not good I elected to let it go. It really got me thinking about some of the things that we say in life that really make no sense. Another common one is "I swear to God." Clearly this is worse than the first expression because you can not really swear to God that something is true. Plus that is being pretty careless with the name of the one who can decide to squish you like an ant if he felt so inclined. Not that really happens all that much or at all. That is due mostly to the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ blotted out these sins, with his blood, in the eyes of his father.

If anyone can think of anymore phrases that we say that clearly don't make sense in the world feel free to post them.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Cross Around My Neck

As I was getting dressed this morning and putting my cross chain across my neck I began to think about what it was that makes me want to put that cross on each morning. To me it seems to serve as a daily reminder that I walk with Jesus during my day in everything I do. It reminds me of the greatness of the cross. I do not worship the cross rather I look to it for my confidence and peace in handling the daily rigor of life. This great hymn comes to mind

In the Cross of Christ I Glory
John Browning

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Great Music

Ok I think I will do the post I was talking about the other day when I am more awake. For now though how about a link to a new single from an amazing artist Memorial Stones MP3 If you would like to listen to any of his other music there are a lot of samples on his website. Mat Kearney Online

This picture is from a live show that I was at earlier this year. This guy is amazing in his lyrics and his sound. Let me know what you guys think of any of his stuff.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Verse Suggestions

So my dad is currently in the hospital for a stem cell transplant. He has non-hodgkins lymphoma. The transplant is supposed to take care of this. I would ask anyone reading if they could keep my dad, Jon, in their prayers.

Beyond that I would like to put together a list of verses that can give him encouragement while he is recovering. If anyone has any suggestions for me I would greatly apprecaite it.

Good News and Bad

Good News: After missing a season the NHL should be back in action this year. Now I will have something to do on cold winter nights besides nothing.

Bad News: Whenever I move my previous it is making a clicking noise. From what I have read it may mean that my hard drive is beginning to fail. Wonderful.

Good News: The computer is still under warranty and I have an Apple store nearby.

Hopefully tomorrow I can come up with something good to write possibly something about the Sermon I just finished listening to at Lutheran Conversations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Keep the Sowing Going

This was the title of the sermon this last Sunday. As you might guess it was based on the parable of the sower which was the Gospel lesson. It comes from Matthew 13:1-9 if you are not familiar.

Anyways I very much enjoyed this sermon partly because it is one of my favorite parables maybe just because it is so visual to me for some reason or another. But the main point that Pastor VanDellan made was that we need to continue sowing the seed of the word. We all know this but we need to broadcast the word much the same way the seed is broadcasted across the ground and not in extremely specific places.

The analogy that was give is that the seed (word) is in endless supply so we do not have to take extreme care in worrying about whether it will grow where it lands or not. The Holy Spirit is solely responsible for the seed taking root. Pastor compared the church to being a barn and that when we come to church we stock up on the seed so that we can go out and spread it until we come to stock up once again. This is one of the things that I see people doing often. They come to church and get the seed but then they never go plant it. It just sits in the shed and rots. This is not what the word of God is meant for. It is meant to be spread everywhere so that everyone can have a chance to hear of the saving grace that we have been provided through the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Using Time Wisely

In addition to some of the other books that I am reading, I have started reading the Fellowship of the Ring which is the first two books in the Lord of the Rings. As I was reading through there was a passage in the book that stood out to me. Gandalf is talking to Frodo about how the evil in the world is beginning to rebuild itself. In many ways it speaks to the evil which is perpetually rising against us in the time that we live in. To clarify here is the paragraph that I am talking about.

"Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again,'
'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. Already, Frodo, are our time is beginning to look black. The Enemy is fast ripening. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, p50)

To me this spoke to the idea that evil is always around us and many times when you look around the world it is growing more each day. The devil's plans have in fact already ripened and they ripen every day in order to attempt to keep us at bay from realizign that we are not part of the world. The only thing that we have is the ability to let the Holy Spirit take hold of the time that we have and use it for its purpose. This is the only way that we can battle against the dark that is constantly rising up in our lives and cracking the foundation that we are trying to build. It is not easy and sometimes we have so very much as to go against the world that we are living in to do what we know is write. For it is written:

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)

These are great words of encouragement to help us stay on the right track and use the time that we have been given by God for his purposes. This is not to say that we need to do things in order to gain his favor but rather because we are already aware that we have gained his favor and we should be compelled to serve him in all aspects of our life through the Son of Man.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I did have a longer post planned but I got sidetracked when I came home from work. On my porch was the books I ordered from CPH late Tuesday night and here they were on Friday. Needless to say I am impressed. Well the book that I received and started glancing through was the Book of Concord readers edition. I have some of the things inside in bits and pieces but the layout of this particular version is great. I can't wait to be able to look into some of the great Lutheran doctrine that is waiting for me to learn about.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Grace from God's view

For the past week or so as I have mentioned in previous posts I have been reading Walther's comments on the proper distinction between law and Gospel. I must admit by reading this there have been many times where something seemed to really click with me.

One thing that struck me as I was reading today was the comment that many preachers in the reformed church do not correctly divide law from Gospel. Walther writes:

"They give them a long list of efforts that they must make in order, if possible, to be received into grace: how long they must pray, how strenuously they must fight and wrestle and cry, until they can say that they feel they have received the Holy Ghost and divine grace and can rise from their knees shouting hallelujahs.
But the required feeling may rest on a false foundation. It may not be the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the heart, but a physical effect, produced by the lively presentations of the preacher. That explains why sincere persons who have become believers not infrequently feel one moment that they have found the Lord Jesus, and in the next, that they have lost Him again. Now they imagine that they are in a state of grace; at another time, that they are fallen from grace."

This feeling that people get when they hear a very charismatic preacher is something that I hear of all the time. I have in fact experienced it myself. Man can not help but get lost in what seems to be such a good thing. When in fact it is a good thing just being presented in the incorrect format. Thus causing more harm than good to the penitent sinner. The bottom line though as Walther is saying here that no matter how much we praise God is does not afford us his grace. Nor do we gain grace from anything but faith alone. That is that which consists of reaching out for the grace that God has already declared to be ours.

This is in my opinion something that the Lutheran Church does a good job of. That is making the service based on the Word and Sacraments and not how well the message is delivered. There is much more to the Church than the speaking ability of the man charged with watching over the congregation. The Divine Service provides a true worship setting. One which is focused on the saving grace of our Lord only after learning how undeserved of the grace we really are. When we base our faith off of how much we "raise our hands" or bow down to pray we are dangerously mixing the doctrines of Law and Gospel. One does not make way for the other.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Law and Gospel Game

Starting reading about the proper division of law and gospel has made me wonder what other people think about it. I can say these are probably not very hard to distinguish but let's see how people can do.

1. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Col 4:6)
2. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
(II Timothy 1:9)
3. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (I Peter 3:12)
4. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

I did use the KJV version because I have a program which made it easy to do this with. It also might mean looking into a different translation to answer. Once some people respond I'll write what I think about each one.

Books and More Books

So after a great holiday weekend despite my still working and a wonderful birthday I now have more new literature in my possession than I ever have had at one time. I have a lot of reading to do and I must say that I can not wait to start it. Here is the list in no particular order

1. God's No and God's Yes by C.F.W. Walther (actually I got this one before my birthday and am halfway through it)
2. Why Men Hate Going to Church- David Murrow
3. The Fellowship of the Ring- J.R.R. Tolkien
4. The Bondage of the Will- Martin Luther
5. The Great Divorce- C.S. Lewis
6. The Screwtape Letters- C.S. Lewis
7. The Case for Christ- Lee Strobel
8. Fundamental Greek Grammer- James W. Voelz
9. Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions-A Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord
10. Large Catechism- Martin Luther

There we go quite a list for me at least. If anyone wants to recommend where to start let me know.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Sermon Notes

I'd like to cover tonight a great sermon which Pastor Tritten preached today. Well yes technically it was yesterday. And now today I am technically 19. That's right born on the fourth of July. Well really I guess it is tomorrow still but anyways.

Back to the sermon. I recently have begun taking sermon notes. I know many people do this but it is not something that I have been accustomed to doing since I was in confirmation class. But still getting to the point today's sermon text was Matthew 11:25-30 and the title was A broken tool The general idea that Pastor T had was created by his attendance at the pastoral leadership institute last week.

In the passage Jesus tells us to take his yoke upon ourselves and he will give us rest. A yoke for those that don't know is what you would put on a plow animal to direct him in which way he is supposed to go. In this sense Jesus is saying that through working for him we will be granted rest through him. The yoke is a tool that the farmer uses to guide his animals into doing their work the right way. One thing that was pointed out however is that if a tool is used incorrectly it will break.

Here comes the idea of the sermon. When we look around at the people we see everyday many of them are burnt out. They have taken a yoke upon themselves which was not designed for them. Some have done it to make more money, others for many other reasons. But they have broken their yokes since you got it they used the tool incorrectly. When we realize that the yoke that we are to be taking is that of Jesus Christ we will no longer be under the wrong yoke. If we look first to the Lord for what course in life we are supposed to take then we will be granted rest knowing that the work we do is one that we were designed for.

On another note I received my copy of God's No and God's Yes: The proper distinction between law and Gospel today. I am very excited to read it and hope that I will better be able to understand the very thing that is so hard to explain to people who cannot grasp the real concept of the two doctrines.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Getting our teeth cleaned

Well today I had a dental appointment. On the way to said appointment I was hoping that I would find out that I had no cavities this time. This thought led me to think of an analogy in a way. In order for it to work you need to imagine that everytime you go to the dentist no matter how good you have tried to clean your teeth on your own you still have cavities.

So as you are on the way to the appointment you are hoping that the dentist won't find any of the cavities. In the same way we often hope that God will not see the sins that we commit if we do our best to try and clean them up. But in the end the dentist will find the cavities. In that same sense God will find our sin no matter what we do.

Now we come to the Gospel portion. (Just assume that the dentist can fix the cavities) When we find out that we have cavities we depend on the dentist to fix those cavities for us and the we can once again have perfect smiles. This is the same way that we depend on our faith in Jesus to wash away our sins and restore us to perfection in the eyes of our heavenly father. There we go I hope that made sense. As I tend to say at this time I'm a little tired so if it doesn't make sense or something is out of place be sure to offer some insight.