Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Fasting per se and on its own account is not worship of God. But if fasting is joined to repentance and prayer, that is, if fasting is ordered to this end, that the flesh may be coerced, subjugated, and reduced to servitude, lest it contend against the spirit and hinder and disturb its actions either by its willfulness or its indifference, but that we have a body obedient and fit for spiritual things and for the performance of its duties, that the mind be admonished and become more fit for spiritual desires, so that the spirit may be able the more ardently and willingly to give and devote itself to repentance, prayer, and other exercises of piety, if fasting is practiced to this end, then finally it is pleasing to God. (Examination of the Council of Trent, Vol. 4, p 263-264)
Monday, October 5, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
Thursday, October 1, 2015
2. Fasting is when we do not abstain altogether from lunch or dinner but remove something when we lunch or dine, either in the quantity or the quality of the food, or do not take as much or also as rich as cold be done even while maintaining temperance.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Fasting properly so called, is voluntary abstinence from food, which according to Scripture is exercised in three ways: 1. when such moderation in food and drink is obsessed that the body is not burdened or hearts weighed down with gluttony and drunkeness. This virtue is properly called temperance, frugality, and sobriety. As Isidore has it: "Fasting is sparing the matter of victuals and abstinence from foods
Thursday, September 24, 2015
I recently watched online a seminar where Dr. John Kleinig spoke on the subject of the spiritual disciplines. One such discipline that he encouraged was fasting. Fasting is not a subject that I have normally preached or taught on at Redeemer. On the occasion where I have spoken on fasting, it has always been in the context of the Lenten fast, or giving something up for Lent. In the lecture I watched, Dr. Kleinig spoke highly of Martin Chemnitz and his writings on fasting which appear in the Examination of the Council of Trent; Part IV. I will make this a part of my daily reading, and hopefully will cite passages of interest on the topic. One such passage is where Chemnitz begins laying out the Scriptural doctrine on fasting. He writes: "Fasting of itself and its origin is not a work prohibited by a command of God, or one that militates against the Word of God....On account of the papalist abuses some are so afraid of the teaching about fasting that they shrink back when they only hear the term fasting mentioned, as though they had heard either murder or adultery ; and some reject the whole teaching about fasting..." How true that is today! Many don't know about fasting. I will admit, I don't know a lot about it, other than it is Scriptural and a fine discipline. I plan to learn more about it in the weeks ahead, and hopefully share some insights here.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
A quote from Luther as it appears in Treasury of Daily Prayer for August 16: "Everyone myst benefit and serve every other by means of his own work or office so that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, just as all the members of the body serve one another (I Cor. 12: 14-26)"
Friday, August 14, 2015
One of the great events put on by the Church is a Doxology event. I highly encourage any and all pastors in the LCMS to enroll and attend, as Doxology's purpose is to develop pastors in the area of care for the soul. I always look forward to going as the events do not disappoint. #LCMS #Doxology
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
I confess,I am addicted to Words with Friends. Also to Gas Buddy. These two apps on my iPhone I use and abuse all the time. With Words with Friends, I am hooked at playing this game which is much like Scrabble. With Gas Buddy, I keep updating gas prices and entering enteries so that I can win a gas card worth about $100. I have never won the gas card and I keep seeing people who win on Words with Friends. So I have one question, are these people real or is Apple and the app companies playing with me?
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Not too many years ago I recall that the Seminaries were on the prowl for students. The pitch was that the Church needed pastors (doesn't the Church always need pastors?). And so, both our Seminaries were trying to enlarge their student body by promising future pastors certain employment. But now things have changed. Oh, we still need pastors, the Church desperately needs pastors. But now, some congregations don't have the money to pay pastors. So, some of the pastors who were promised positions in the pulpits by the Seminaries are now told by their congregations that the money has run out to pay for their pastors. What is a pastor to do? Look for some type of employment outside of the Church to supplement his income. I spoke recently with a pastor who is in the very situation I just described. What will he do? He doesn't know, neither do I. But I do know this: I will pray for this pastor and other pastors who are in the same boat that he is. And I hope, I pray, that the Church will do better by its pastors, by not promising future pastors a job when they graduate from the Seminary. The Church owes its pastors support, and the Church owes students who wish to be pastors the truth that there is no guarantee of a job once one becomes a pastor.
Monday, July 13, 2015
"Grace and peace, these two words embrace the whole of Christianity. Grace forgives sin and peace stills the conscience. The two devils that plaque us are sin and conscience, the power of the Law and the sting of sin. But Christ has conquered these two monsters and trodden them underfoot, both in this age and in the age to come. The world does not know this,therefore it cannot teach anything sure about how to overcome sin, conscience, and death. Only Christians have this kind of teaching and are equipped and armed with it, so that they can overcome sin, despair and eternal death. It is a teaching that is given only by God; it does not proceed from free will nor was it invented by human reason or wisdom. These two words, grace and peace, contain a summer of all of Christianity. Grace contains the forgiveness of sins, a joyful peace, and a quiet conscience. But peace is impossible unless sin has first been forgiven, for the Law accuses and terrifies the conscience on account of sin. And the sin that the conscience feels cannot be removed by pilgrimages, vigils, labors, efforts, vows, or any other works; in fact, sin is increased by works. The more we work and set to extricate ourselves from sin, the worse off we are. For there is no way to remove sin except by grace....Because the world does not understand this doctrine, it neither can nor will tolerate it. It brags about free will, about our powers, about our works, all these as means by which to ear and attain grace and peace, that is, the forgiveness of sins and a joyful conscience. But the conscience cannot be quiet and joyful unless it has peace through this grace, that is, through the forgiveness of sins promised in Christ.... Therefore your bones and mine will know no rest until we hear the Word of grace and cling to it firmly and faithfully." Treasury of Daily Prayer, July 12, 2015
Sunday, July 12, 2015
"Thus it is shown than human reason, the more it presumes to explore and fathom God's essence, works, and ways, goes farther and farther astray and finally comes to consider God as nothing and to believe nothing at all. Today there are more and more of such people who consider themselves great and wise. So it must go with all those who proceed apart from the bare Word and instead consult with reason about the articles of faith to see how they square with it. This is what has happened to those erring spirits of ours with regard to the Sacrament, Baptism, and other articles." LW 69:31-32
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
A few months ago I was asked to articulate my vision for the Ohio District. My reply was a simple one, to make disciples by following Jesus. In an age where there are bullet points and power points, I have only one point to make. I want to follow Jesus so that others will follow Jesus. Life is all about following Jesus. The saints of the Old Testament were pilgrims in a foreign land, looking to follow Jesus. The disciples of the New Testament, scattered all throughout the world, looked to follow Jesus. That is all I want to do, follow Jesus. There is a great prayer in the LSB which prays: "Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and your love supporting us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen" (#193, pg 311 LSB). If we don't know where we are going, and our paths are yet untrodden, how in the world can we have a vision statement saying that this is where we want to go? You see, it is all in the Lord's hands, He makes the plans, I only pray that He gives me a strong faith in Christ to follow faithfully. For at the end of the day, the only words I want to hear are the words from Jesus: "Well Done, Good and Faithful servant."