Thursday, April 23, 2009

Question for Today

I observe our synod's practice of closed communion. There are no church services where I am at that could be considered Lutheran let alone a service in which we have altar fellowship. So there comes an interesting topic that has created the question for today:

"Is the adoration of the Lord's Supper appropriate during the eucharistic celebrations of other church bodies?"

I have my own opinion on this one, but I thought it might make for some intersting discussion.

Consider Adding this Priceless Devotional Resource

I'm out here pretty much on my own theologically. I knew this before I got here so I came prepared. I brought my library of books. I have by Book of Concord, my LSB, and my Brotherhood Prayerbook. I have paper Bibles and Biblegateway. I have Portals of Prayer and "God Grant It". Thanks to CPH's military shipping, I have collections from Chemnitz, Gerhard, and Walther. I also picked up several CD sets of Lutheran hymns and a couple Bach CDs as well. On my computer, I have put together a nice electronic collection of papers, devotional works, and ancient texts. I have downloads of Table Talk Radio, Fighting for the Faith, and Issues, Etc. I have the Lutheran blogosphere. I have... a ton of stuff.

All of these things are at my disposal and they are all really nice to have, but there is one resource that has proven itself to be of the most value. Second only to the daily lectionary, it is fast becoming the devotional tool that I recommend ahead of all others.

Add some good sermons! Invite the great preachers of our synod to your private devotions and sit at their feet for a few minutes each day.

By my estimation, there is nothing as helpful to a layman's daily devotional time as the liberal use of quality audio sermons. There is just no substitute for good Lutheran preaching and the only thing better than hearing God's Word preached rightly is hearing it preached rightly over and over again by several different pastors on a daily basis.

Give it a try. Download about 40 good audio sermons and crank through at least 7 to 10 a week and see what I am talking about. They are also great for travel on the MP3 player or in the car.

Here are the Pastors that I am following right now:

Pastor Peterson at Redeemer Lutheran - Fort Wayne, IN
Pastor Douthwaithe at St. Athanasius Lutheran - Vienna, VA
Pastor Wolfmueller at Hope Lutheran - Aurora, CO
Pastor Parks at University Hills Lutheran - Denver, CO
Pastor Cwirla at Holy Trinity Lutheran - Hacienda Hights, CA
Pastor Stuckwisch at Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran - South Bend, IN

I am always on the prowl for LCMS congregations that are so dedicated to the preaching of the gospel that they take the time to post their pastor's audio sermons on the websites for download. As a deployed Soldier with no LCMS chaplain, this has been a priceless resource! If you know of any other than the ones that I have listed, please let me know. Thanks!

P.S. - Check out Pr. Wolfmueller's "Exceeding Righteousness" sermon dated June 29, 2008 and Pr. Peterson's "Judica 2008" sermon. Listen to them back to back. Ouch! My inner Pharisee is still reeling!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some Highlights and Random Thoughts

I have been gone for a couple weeks. I went on back home for some R&R leave from my deployment. I resolved not to blog during this time for obvious reasons. Here are just a few random thoughts and highlights to get back up to speed:

1. Thanks be to God for making it possible for me to return home for Holy Week! I got to hear Law and Gospel properly distinguished. I sat in rapt attention as I heard entire chapters of Holy Scripture being publicly read in service. I almost forgot how much I missed the Lutheran hymns and rich liturgy. Above all, I had my first opportunity to receive the Holy Eucharist since Christmas! What a rich blessing!

2. You don't appreciate how important having a strong church family and proper pastoral care is until you no longer have it.

3. I have institued quite a few changes in the way that I do business. The issues in my left wrist are becoming greatly improved. (No, Dan, I will never resort to Twitter.)

4. I have to brag on my wife. We were talking about an ancient theological dispute among early Lutherans. As we were talking about it, I mentioned that Martin Luther had voiced his opinion on the matter. I was about to tell her what Luther had said, but she interrupted me and said, "...but, before you continue, I have to ask: is this opinion of his supported by Scripture?"

Apparently her discernment detector is working just fine without me. =P

5. I have come to realize that a shocking majority of people waste most of their time looking at the macro-perspective. They worry about things they cannot change, debate issues that they are not in any position to influence, and exert maximum effort in the areas of their lives where they will get the least benefit. And then they spend the remaining time and energy complaining. I will develop this thought better in the coming days.

6. The Soldiers of the US Military constitute a largely untapped mission field for the church that is not being properly addressed. Case in point: When I was returning from leave, I was in a room with over 300 Soldiers. A chaplain gave a short welcome brief as we were processing back into theater. At the end of his presentation, he asked how many of us went to church during leave (which was the week before and after Easter). I counted only eight hands to include my own.

7. I ordered my copy of the Treasury of Daily Prayer and it is in the mail. If the sandstorms will cooperate, I might get it before the end of the month. I can hardly wait.