Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What to make of life's troubles?

Therefore, troubles are not always punishments for certain past deeds, but they are God's works, intended for our benefit and that God's power might be made more apparent in our weakness.

Article XII - Confession & Satisfaction, Apology to the Augsburg Confession

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Katharina & Martin Luther

In 2017 the Christian church celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We can expect a spat of new books to be released, covering the Reformation and the man who brought it about, the Wittenberg monk who became the champion of the Scriptures, Martin Luther.

However, if you have enough money to buy just one book, use it to purchase "Katharina & Martin Luther" by author Michelle DeRusha.

She does a very fine job of covering the events that led to the Reformation of the church and what took place thereafter.  But her focus is fixed on one of the most important and vital changes Luther brought - the freedom for men and women serving in the Catholic church to marry.

The story of how Katharina and Martin came together is so unlikely that one can only believe that it was the hand of God that brought the two of them together.  Their's is not a "love at first sight" kind of story.  As DeRusha explains, the two of them hardly knew one another when they said their "I do's." But what develops over time is a love between the two that is deep and abiding, a model for every married couple.

Books about Luther are endless.  Very little is actually known about Katharina.  And yet, DeRusha offers a very complete picture of the challenges the Luther's faced, the scorn they received by marrying and the full life they built for themselves and their children.

We often talk about books that were so interesting and compelling that "we just couldn't put it (the book) down."  This is the kind of book that Michelle DeRusha has written.  This is a 5 Star book. Read it and be blessed by the story of Katharina and Martin Luther!

Sunday will be action-packed!

Sunday will be one of those kind of days we'll not soon forget at Life in Christ.  Besides Sunday worship at 8 and 11 am, LICL will celebrate the completion of our building project with an Open House from 2 to 4 pm and a concert by trumpet great Jesse McGuire from 4 to 6 pm.  The Open House will feature tours of the facility, games for the kids, along with cake and other goodies.

At 4 pm the actions shifts to the sanctuary for Jesse McGuire's concert.  He an Emmy award winner and his resume includes a "whos-who" of musicians and actors.  The concert is free and a free-will donation will be taken.  You'll also be able to purchase copies of McGuire's CD's.

And don't forget  - there will also be worship this afternoon at 5 pm.  I'll be doing the preaching this weekend and the Kevin Svec group will offer the music today.  Please come and join us at LICL!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Help me seize the day today

Lord, dear Father in heaven, how many times have You come, looking for fruit and not finding any? And yet You let me remain in Your vineyard.  Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for interceding. I know what would have happened if You hadn't taken me on Your shoulders. Help me seize the day today, tomorrow and every other day as a day of grace and a gift from You. I know there is a good reason for it because You gave it to me. Help me to do and be whatever You wanted when You gave it to me. Amen.

From "To Live With Christ," page 188

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who are you listening to?

Writing in reference to 1 John, chapter 3, We may also doubt or fail to recognize our true status as God's children in this world since too often we take our cues from the world instead of from the Word.

Pastor Frank Starr, "Light for the Way," Bible Reading Guide

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An iconic musical instrument

Beatles fans will recognize what I've got leaning against the wall - the Hofner Violin Bass Guitar. When Paul McCartney moved to bass guitar (neither John Lennon or George Harrison would do so) he purchased the Hofner because, at the time, it was fairly inexpensive.  Most of us saw the Hofner on February 9, 1964 when the Beatles played for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The little group I play in a church includes Ron Taylor and he plays a Hofner - so cool! This is not a real Hofner base guitar.  It was made for a music video game (which I don't own).  Whenever I look at it I'm reminded of the joy that I've received over the years from Beatles music.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The rain can't dampen our parade

Looks like a weekend of rain (all together now: WE NEED THE RAIN!) but that won't keep us from worshiping, studying and having fellowship with one another.

On Wednesday we received our Certificate of Occupancy.  It was a long time coming but worth the wait.  A dedicated group of volunteers worked really hard this week to get tables, chairs, etc out of storage and over to the new Christian Life Center.  We're not completely moved in and that will take some time.  But we're so excited to finally utilize our new facility.

We have worship this Saturday at 5 pm with the Svec group providing the music.  This Sunday, my message is entitled, "But first, we pray."  My little group will also offer the music at services and we are very excited to sing Matt Maher's beautiful "Abide With Me" as an offertory.  Join us at 8 and 11 am for worship; 9 am for coffee fellowship in our beautiful new hall; Sunday school, youth ministry and ABC (adult Bible class) at 9:30 am.  Hope to see you this weekend at LICL!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Poster wisdom for $2.99

Shopping at a thrift store the other day I found a sign that really resonated with me. 

DREAM more
TALK less
LOVE more
ARGUE less
HOPE more
FEAR less
RELAX more
WORRY less
DOUBT less
PLAY more
WORK less

Thursday, February 16, 2017

About Good Works

Therefore, we should value good works and remember doing them is still necessary. But we should value God's Word and His promises even more highly. We will live in God's presence because we believe in what He says, not because we do good works that make us holy. We have to make a clear distinction between our good works and our faith in God's Word. Believing in God's Word defeats the devil and makes us holy children of God.

Martin Luther, "Faith Alone," February 10

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

With three pennies and God...

I didn't note in my journal where I found this story but I wish I had.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a dream. She told her superiors, "I have 3 pennies and a dream from God to build an orphanage."

"Mother Teresa," her superiors gently chided, "you cannot build an orphanage with 3 pennies. With 3 pennies you can't do anything."

"I know," she said smiling," but with God and 3 pennies, I can do anything."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Growing God's Church"

Gary L. McIntosh's new book should be required reading for every pastor.  A copy should be given to the members of the evangelism, outreach or witnessing teams.  It would be beneficial for any lay man or woman to read as well.  "Growing God's Church" is that good.

McIntosh provides updated research to explain why people are coming to church, what keeps them in church, and why it's so important for a church and its people to develop an awareness for lost souls.

I really appreciated McIntosh's emphasis on the importance of speaking God's saving Word to people. It's not enough to show the love of Jesus by doing good deeds for your neighbor.  Your neighbor needs to know what motivates you to show the love of Jesus and that is the Gospel message of forgiveness and salvation in Christ.

The book is also full of practical ways and ideas for the church to begin doing serious outreach into its community.  If your church is struggling to find ways to meaningfully share Jesus with others, buy a copy of this book for your pastor.  And one for yourself.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This Sunday will be super too!

Super Bowl Sunday - really super if you were a Patriot's fan and really duper if Atlanta was your team.  But every Sunday is a Super Sunday at worship.

You enter into the presence of God.  He speaks His Word of forgiveness to you.  He fills your heart with peace and hope with His Word of salvation.  He greets you at His table and give you His Supper, a meal like none other.  He sends you on your way into a new week by placing His blessing on your head.  What could be better?

Join us today at 5 pm or tomorrow at 8 and 11 am.  Have a blessed and "super" weekend!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Serving Goat

A young couple invited their aging pastor to their home for dinner one Sunday. While the couple was in the kitchen, preparing to serve the meal, the pastor leaned toward the couple's five-year-old son and asked, "What are we having to eat?"

"Goat!" the boy replied.

The pastor frowned at the boy, "Goat! Really?"

"Oh yes," the boy nodded. "They've been talking about it all week - having the old goat for Sunday dinner!"

From "A Laugh a Day - A Daily Dose of Heavenly Humor"

Thursday, February 9, 2017

As you prepare to do your home Bible study...

In our meditation we ponder the chosen text on the strength of the promise that it has something utterly personal to say to us for this day and for our Christian life.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from "Life Together"

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What Satan can and cannot do

Satan cannot create, but he can corrupt.

Paul E. Miller, "A Praying Life," page 78

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


While we remain in the church militant, we live by the two letters Bach used many times at the beginning of his pieces: J.J.
                        Jesu Juva
                     Jesus Help Me

Craig Parton, "The Defense Never Rests"

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sunday will be super!

We are going to have a super Sunday at LICL! We will rejoice in the good news that God does not "stand down," never takes a break, wouldn't think of going on an extended vacation, leaving His children on their own.  God is wherever His Word is proclaimed and His sacraments are shared.  So join us for a super time of worship.

Our Saturday service begins at 5 pm and our Sunday services are held at 8 and 11 am.  If you've ever wondered if God hears some prayer requests and ignores others, you'll want to hear my message.  I think it will be helpful.  So, have a blessed weekend and join us for worship! You'll feel "super" when you leave!

Friday, February 3, 2017

A disciple is...

A disciple is one who personally and freely owns his Master's mission.

Alex McManus, "Discipleship in the Way of Jesus," from "Imagine 5:16," page 115

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What is the church's priority?

Numerous nonprofit organizations, Christian and non-Christian, address social justice issues around the world. But only the church is called to proclaim salvation in Jesus Christ.

Gary L. McIntosh, "Growing God's Church," page 49

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

One reason you infuriate your unbelieving friends

Yet this unquarrelsomeness and certainty of being right in Christ is the very thing that infuriates the ungodly.  That anybody can be so sure of being right really irritates the ungodly, who know no such certainty and seek to do away with their uncertainty by pathetic demonstrations of mind or might or money.

Norman Nagel, "Selected Sermons," page 25