Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why I Plan to Vote for Rev. Matthew Harrison for Synod President and Herb Mueller for First Vice President

As I see it there are two big problems that are crippling the LCMS right now:

The first has to do with pastors and a lot of lay people who are so eager to fill chairs on Sunday morning that they claim it is the will of God to water down His word in order to keep them coming. The root of all heresy is not the preaching or teaching of false doctrine. The root of all heresy is the failure to preach and teach the full counsel of God's word. Honestly, brothers, if Paul or Peter or John walked into many of our churches today and began to preach, would your people be able to enjoy it, would they even tolerate it? You say you are being relevant to reach the people. I'll agree you are reaching down to them. But are you lifting anyone up? A lady moved into our area who had served on what she described as a leadership board in her former LCMS congregation. But she truly believed that abortion was an acceptable practice in order to get rid of unwanted children. She was flabbergasted when I refused to allow her to transfer. I'm sure this lady had never heard a pro-life sermon in that LCMS church.

The second group includes those pastors and a very few laymen who think that the ministry is limited to study, leading worship, watching TV and spending a lot of time on the internet. Some of these men will wreck years of faithful labor given by their predecessors and run for cover under the Theology of the Cross. I knew of one pastor of this kind whose people complained that he used words in his sermons that they didn't understand. The next Sunday he brought a dictionary to the pulpit and read the definitions to them. I'm not making this up. He proudly told us this is what he did! Poor, poor sheep. This man really does need the Book of Concord... Wacked upside his head. These men love doctrine for doctrine's sake, but they just don't love people. They are an embarrassment to confessional Lutheranism.

I personally know President Kieschnick, and he has always treated me in the most friendly way. I believe he is a good man, and I know he works very hard to lead this Synod. I don't have any inside knowledge of his leadership style. But from a distance I see some things that just make me shake my head. The Yankee Stadium decision and the weak followup was the first.* The Issues, Etc. decision was the second. Last of all is proposal 18 of the Blue Ribbon Task Force. (Please don't tell me this isn't centralization of power. That disappoints me even more.) I don't know the motives for these decisions. All I can say is that I don't like them. He has also had nine years to lead the Synod. He came into office complaining vigorously about the lower numbers of baptisms, worship attendance, etc. He gave us dire predictions of what would happen if things didn't change. Those numbers are still going south. So, with respect, I think it is time to take a little different approach.

I don't know Matt Harrison that well, but I've enjoyed reading many things he has written. I especially appreciated a little talk he gave at one of our pastoral conferences in which he apologized for once thinking he had all the answers to the church's problems. I do know Herb Mueller quite well. I know that his firm but irenic confessional leadership works. From my limited human point of view I think Matt and Herb are the best choices for leaders at this time. But I know that God will make the final decision through us. May God give us wise leaders and help us be the church we have been called to be.

* I was president of our city ministerial association that year, and I participated in a "kind" of serial prayer. But it was very different from the Yankee Stadium event, and no one would have been left with the impression that Jesus is just one way among many. The failure to thoroughly expound this during the event and after the event disappointed me greatly.

My "Help Me" Bible Passages

Help Me When I’m…

Afraid, Anxious or Worried

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 14:7-8 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Philippians 4:6-8 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.


Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Depressed, Discouraged, Defeated

Psalm 34:6 This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his trouble

Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

Mark 9:24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Feeling Guilty

Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Jeremiah 31.18 Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned.

1 Corinthians 6:9 & 11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?... 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Joshua 1:5 I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 23:1 & 4 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Matthew 28:20 Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Sad, Sorrowful, Suffering

Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

John 16:20 20 "Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.

2 Corinthians 12:10 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sick, In Pain

Psalm 33:22 Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.

Psalm 40:17 But I am poor and needy; Yet the LORD thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

Lamentations 3:32-33 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Revelation 22:20 "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!


Matthew 26:41 41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Colossians 3:2-3 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.


Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Hebrews 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Sharing Our Faith

In his book, "Share Jesus without Fear" William Fay tells about an encounter with Muhammed Ali. Fay was stuck in an airport when he noticed the famous boxer sitting at a table with a brief case full of Moslem tracts. Fay was amazed to see Ali, suffering from Parkinson's disease, slowly signing each of the tracts. Here was a man with limited physical and mental abilities giving his all to share his faith. Yet many of us Christians are afraid to share.

Isaiah 55.11 reminds us that God's word does not return to Him empty and accomplishes what He pleases. Paul told us that he was pleased when Christ was preached "whether in pretense or in truth." The key to sharing our faith is sharing God's word. God's word is what changes people. They may like or dislike us, but that really doesn't matter. What matters is that they hear God's word. God can use our feeble sharing of His word, but, as William Fay says, "He can't use our silence."

Paul asks "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10.14) In the Book of Acts St. Luke reminds us how "The word of the Lord grew" through the active preaching, teaching, and personal witnessing of the apostles and the church. Preaching, teaching, witnessing... It's all very challenging. But God will help us. Peter prayed for himself and his fellow apostles that they would speak God's word with all boldness (Acts 4.29). We can ask for God's help as well, and we know that God hear that prayer and give us what we need to do His will.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Doing What is Right

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6.33).

1. Seek to know what is right in all things...

2. Learn what is right according to natural law... Look it up. Do your homework. Don't just guess. God gave you a brain.

3. Learn of and believe in the righteousness in Christ... Knowing what is right and doing what is right are two different things. Christ has done it. He alone cures that broken soul inside of us through forgiveness. A soul revived and realigned with God cannot be defeated by evil. All we need will be provided.

4. Hold fast to your King by meditating on all that He has said and staying connected to Him in the communion of saints.

5. Strive to live righteously in all things not because this will save you (Christ has done this), but because it help to save others as they discover Jesus through you and become a part of God's kingdom.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fathers and Hard Work

Very few people remember much about President Calvin Coolidge. Maybe that's because he was basically a good man who brought integrity back to the White House. When Coolidge was elected, his son was working on a tobacco farm in Massachusetts. That morning he reported to his boss and asked which building he was to work in that day. His boss said, "If my father had just been elected president, I wouldn't be worrying about where I would be working." Coolidge's son replied: "If your father was my father, you would!" (From America: The Last Best Hope vol. 2 by William Bennett)

Proverbs 15.16 says, "The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway."

I'm thankful to my dad for teaching me the value of hard work. I hope to instill that same value in my children. Most of all, I hope that I and my family will always look to God for strength to do those things that He has called us to do.

Nehemiah 6.9 "Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands."