Monday, October 24, 2005

How does your offering get used?

So the other day I had the chance to go to a meeting with the President of our district Rev. C. William Hoesman. He is a great guy I really enjoyed being able to meet with him.

For those of you who don't know the district is a part of the LCMS which helps to facilitate things between churches and the synod. They also help with issues that hit closer to home such as district ministries like campus ministry. There is also some things that they do like help congregations and pastors to work things out if a problem arises. They do not however control the churches or decide what they should be teaching. They are there as a service to the churches.

Anyways the way funding works in the Michigan District. Is that money is given to the church in the collection plate. Then the church takes that money and keeps some of it for its own ministries. It then gives the rest to the district. The district here at least keeps 50%, some keep more some less, and the rest goes on to the synod. So if less money is put into the collection plate then the district has less to fund some of its ministries. This is what is happening in things such as campus ministry. Which I talk about because I am affected by it. Apparently the district budget is shrinking and this is attributed to more giving going directly to certain ministries rather than having the church be a steward of their money. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that the money is all going to the same purpose, sharing the Gospel, just in different ways. The problem lies however in the fact that while some more visible ministries are growing others that are equally as important just not as well known are being left behind so to speak.

In Mount Pleasant I am experiencing what the shortage can do to a ministry that I am involved with. This being campus ministry. No one can deny that it is important but since the district is receiving less money there ability to support these programs is also becoming less. Not because they want it to it's just how things are working right now. So I guess we should remember to keep in mind that the money we put in the collection plate each week is doing a lot more than we sometimes realize.

I really don't know where to go with that other than to explain what was presented to me on what types of things are happening. I would love to hear thoughts that anyone else has on the way that certain ministries are funded by God's people.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My Church at CMU

This is the outside of the church I realize it is dark I'll try to see if I can make that better soon.

The altar.

This is the room just outside the sanctuary where we have our fellowship and bible studies and what not.

This is our "famous" scrolling red sign. We describe our church by it often.

Setting the Mood for God

There is a danger in worshipping with the feeling that is created by the mood which is set around the one doing the worshipper. The Holy Spirit does not require a certain setting to work at the full extent of his abilities. If we say that we can get a better experience by setting the mood with the music, lighting, etc. we are deceiving ourselves of how the Spirit actually works in our lives. We do not do anything to cause him to act in us and when we set the mood he does not care that we have tried to do design a place where his work can be accomplished easier. By doing and believing thus we undermine the abilities of God.

Just a good article for more thought on one of the specific ways in which we try to set-up the mood.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Discovering Bach

So I have come to like many of Bach's works now that I have begun to listen to some of them. I had a great discussion on the tabletalk chat about which one's I should listen too since I am just starting out. I happened to stumble upon the Itunes Essentials in the music store which coincidentally released a list of many of Bach's works. If you don't know where to start and you are an Itunes user I suggest you check it out. Oh and if anyone wants to recommend some personal favorites for me to listen to feel free.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not Easy

The life of a Christian is not easy. We were not created to please the world. It is not easy, it is not supposed to be. We were not created to be a "part" of the world. There is something more important as our purpose.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Is the modern day youth group on the right track?

There was a great discussion on youth ministry on Issues etc. today. A lot of mention was given to the fact that maybe when we separate the youth from the rest of the church we do them more of a disservice. If you want to check it out it's online at Issues etc. Look for the discussion in an mp3 format. If you listen to the beginning of the second hour I even got a question in. If you have a few minutes and any interest in the youth the time will be well spent.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Lutheran Carnival VIII

The Lutheran Carnival is up once again over at Full Throttle and an Empty Gas Tank. Take a Chance to look it will be worth the time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Has God Changed?

Lately I hear a lot of talk about all of the "new" things that God is doing. Or come to church and God will show you how he wants to make you new. There are all sorts of things focusing on the "new". The idea that God is somehow doing something different for people now then he was say 10 years ago or at the beginning of Christianity seems to be the common ploy to get people in the pews.

Maybe I missed something but I'm pretty sure the saving grace that was given to us from God by Jesus is not changing at all. God is the same today as he was when he created the heavens and the earth. By getting people into church by saying that church in this time is "not your parents church" seems to be a deception. While worship might be conducted in a slightly different way than it was a generation ago, is the message any different? If God has changed the way that he chooses to save people I suppose I am behind the times, but I'm pretty sure he is the same God he has always been.

I guess it bothers me that the new wave in Christianity is that of "you were right the church isn't doing what it is made for, let's redesign its purpose so more people can start coming." In my opinion if you change the function of the church from equipping people and strengthening their faith and turn it into a form of entertainment just to get people in the door the point is being missed.

Can tradition be changed to help the church gain more members? Yes, as long as that change is made responsibly and not in such a way that people feel they are a new type of Christian. Nor should the church be willing to change just because people are not "feeling" as good as they used to when they leave the church. The bottom line is God is still operating the same way as he always has. If we try to say that there is some new form of Christianity out there we are only harming the people we want to help.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Luther is great

I am starting to get into some of Luther's stuff. Specifically the Bondage of the Will. I am really enjoying it. I have worked with the catechism and some of Luther's "lighter" stuff before. But getting into some of his more theological works is really interesting. Everything that I read lately confirms to me why the Lutheran position of "grace by faith" is really the only true thing that we can depend on. Because if we try to tell ourselves that we can do it without God's help we are sorely mistaken. Anyways I hope that I will have some more to post about the subject in the coming weeks. Including a post on where to me mainstream Protestantism is beginning to miss the mark with teaching people about the grace which is freely offered through Jesus.

Monday, October 03, 2005

National Porn Sunday

That's right you probably read this title the same way I read the advertisement at breakfast last week. What you don't know is that this advertisement was by a Christian fellowship on campus called His House. But that is only the start of the way this day was being set-up. I figured looking further into the matter was in good order. It turns out there were many more churches that participated across the country on Sunday. The idea for the service is explained at

The idea is to spend a service talking about dealing with the sin of pornography. Good intentions but lets face it singling out one sin seems to send the message of we are gonna tackle this "law thing" one item at a time until we have nothing left. Forget everything else we'll spend a whole week talking about one specific sin. I'm starting to rant which I try not to do but this is a type of preaching that seems to be hitting a lot of the quick growing mainstream churches nowadays. Oh yeah and sometimes they forget that God's love doesn't banish the teaching of the Law into oblivion.

To make matters worse the site that sponsored the whole thing is They claim to be the "#1 Christian Porn Site" I guess if you have to sensationalize to get people to visit go for it. But are they really getting people there for the right reasons, or do they think someone might click to look at porn but low and behold they find this site and everything is better. I don't know that this form of media sensationalism is the best way for people to get to know the churh.

Oh and a further look into the faq's of the website reveals these nice answers to some questions.

Why don't you have more Bible stuff or have it be more Christian?
We have Bible studies and sermons that you can listen to and a prayer wall where you can post prayers. However, we refuse to have this be your typical Christian crap website with crosses and bibles all over the place and communicating things that most in the world can't relate to. Just the truth communicated in a no-nonsense way.

Huh, I guess Jesus or God aren't needed just the word Christian is enough to help out.

The Name
XXXchurch is provocative, memorable, and it combines the seedy and the sacred. Enough said.

Combine the seedy and the sacred huh that also sounds like a great way to treat the things the Lord has created for us.

Anyways, I have gone on long enough but this really got me upset. To tackle the issue of sin like this there has to be a better way, and one that doesn't just get people upset to get a point across.