The new phonebooks are here!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Ok, they’re not. It’s something even better: the new volume in the Concordia Commentary series! The long-awaited Matthew commentary by Dr. Jeff Gibbs is out. Pretty sweet. I learned a lot from that man, and I’m extremely excited to have this volume.

Now the long wait for the second volume to appear…


Train up a child…

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

The evening routine with our kids is pretty standard. PJs, brush teeth, drink of water, devos. Then another drink of water, depending on how much procrastinating is going on, and to bed.

The devotions generally follow a pattern as well: we sing a song or a hymn, we say the Lord’s Prayer, and we close with Luther’s evening prayer.

Tonight it struck me how formative that experience has become for our 2-1/2-year-old. We got done with the song (tonight it was “Jesus Loves Me”) and immediately he bowed his head and with his right hand (albeit awkwardly, like a 2-1/2-year-old) touched his forehead, belly, right shoulder, left shoulder, and then folded his hands.

I asked him what that means.

“A cross.”

And why do you do that?

“I’m baptized.”


Shall We Play a Game?

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Let’s play “Air Supply” or Worship Team. It’s the game craze that’s sweeping the nation. I’ll give you some lyrics and you tell me if it’s a song by the band “Air Supply” or a contemporary praise and worship song. Here we go:
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Cold Turkey

Sunday, 14 January 2007

I’ve had a habit. It’s not really an unhealthy habit; not as such. But it hasn’t been a helpful habit. It’s sort of like an old familiar blanket that I would wrap around myself when the going got tough. But I hadn’t always reserved it for the trouble spots. Sometimes I found myself doing it at times when I really didn’t need to, but it was ready and available, and, well, I was weak.
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Circuit Bible Studies

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Pastors (and, for that matter, Laymen), I commend to you the bible studies that have been provided by the Synod for use in circuit meetings. Their stated purpose is “to focus conversation on the pastoral task, to encourage one another in ministry, and to grow professionally in our Scriptural understanding and practice of our ministry.” They are quite good. The series currently includes preaching, missional leadership, worship, pastoral integrity, confession (of faith), prayer/devotions, balance of family and ministry, and equipping the saints. The two regarding pastoral integrity and confession are particularly salutary. If you don’t have exposure to them, click on the following link and check them out. They are prepackaged and intended to generate healthy discussion. I’ve found that they generally mitigate any tendency to skirt the real issues.

My circuit just began using them. We started with missional leadership. It proved to be good grist for the mill and the discussion could have easily gone twice as long as the time we’d allotted for it.

Some of the studies are still being generated. At the time of this writing, studies are available for the months of October 2006 through February 2007.

I know that there are places in which circuits do not meet together. And no two circuit meetings are exactly alike. Some are largely social events. Some are theological discussions. And others fall anywhere on the spectrum between. And some may not feel the need to take up such a study. I think these are especially suited for circuits in which there is significant disagreement. It provides a forum in which differences may be addressed. And certainly it provides an opportunity for every participant to be conformed to the Word of God as He has given it to us.

As always, I invite your comments. What do you think about these studies? What might the benefits or drawbacks be for all the pastors of the Synod to engage in these studies in their circuits? What would you remove from the list of topics? What would you recommend for future series?


Wednesday, 10 January 2007


“Akismet has caught 48 spam for you since you first installed it.”

Yesssssss. I am seriously digging on WordPress. The comment spam filter has worked exceptionally well. Begone pharmaceutical advertising! It has caught the occasional legitimate comment, but on the whole it’s been fantastic. It’s just one more reason I’m thankful to have migrated to WordPress.

The Church Militant Reads

Sunday, 07 January 2007

As I’ve gotten to know a few military service members over the years, it has struck me that the Church might take a tip or two from the military. Certainly she ought not to buy into everything the military is about. Yet there is a discipline inherent in the military that seems to be generally lacking in the Church. When I think of discipline, my first thought is of a particular Marine I knew (and for that matter, most Marines).

Among many things the heads of the various armed services maintain (and I have know idea how long such things have been in effect) are recommended reading lists. These are slowly evolving lists of books that should be read by all members, divided by rank (an unofficial “ecumenical” site and the Commandant’s official list). I haven’t really spent much time with the actual lists, but I’ve been mulling over the idea of the lists. This is in part because I happen to be reading a book from the USMC list, Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire. It’s the battle of Thermopylae set as a novel. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I’m seeing it’s obvious applications to a Marine’s vocation, and not unobvious possible applications for the Church.

I think there are plenty of books, the study of which could be quite fruitful for Christians today. And not all of them are primarily theological, though significant connections might be made. If such a list were to be made, what would you like to see included on it? I’m looking for accessible, edifying books that could open doors of new understanding for Christian persons, lay and clergy alike. I’ll start the list with some familiar titles, in no particular order. I invite you to add others in the comments below.

Handling the Word of Truth, Pless.

The Hammer of God, Giertz.

Theology is for Proclamation, Forde.

A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Koehler.

And because I’ve just mentioned it, Gates of Fire, Pressfield.

My choices aren’t limited to these. Call these a little list starter. What would you add?