Archive for the ‘Blessings’ Category

Strategic Idols vs. Leaning on God

July 17, 2013

“He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works. The king is not saved by a mighty army; A warrior is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a false hope for victory; Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.  Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.”  (Psalm 33:15-22 NASB)

StrategyMeetingGrowing up, the underlining message come from the economy, government, sports, and especially the media was that winners were always bigger, stronger, and faster. Tim Allen’s old television show, Home Improvement, typified this line of thinking. This has been instilled in us since the time we were banished from the Garden of Eden. The biggest army almost always dominated when it came to capturing towns and oppressing other nations.

Throughout the years we have leaned on that mindset to further ourselves and goals. We work harder, look to those who are successful, and mimic what they have done to become successful. Over time that mindset has bled into the church. We look to what is happening over the way so that we can become bigger, stronger, and faster. We will adopt those practices in the hope that it will build the church that shows everyone else that we are successful. Truthfully, too many churches are entirely too similar to a sport’s franchise.

Our text for today speaks against that line of thinking. God blesses His people and His churches. God not only blesses them, but He understands how man thinks and sinfully strives to be like God. As such God warns these same people not to depend on foolish strategies that makes others seem like they are bigger, stronger, and faster. God says these strategies or methods are false hope. What does that say about us and the churches we attend? Where are they leading us? What are our leaders depending on? What is their ultimate goal?

Psalm33_20_22Our leaders and churches should remain fearful of the Lord and tread lightly as they move forward. Our only hope must remain on the the lovingkindness of our Triune God. He alone is the one who has delivered our souls from death and refreshes us through His Word and Sacraments. We are to turn away the strategies of man and remain faithful wait on God’s direction in how we are to function in this broken world. We are to be confident because he is our help and our shield. Where does our heart rejoice? In whom do we trust?

“For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.  Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.”

Patient and Loving Father, we come to you today humbly. We have looked to business plans and strategies to help us grow your kingdom and failed. Forgive us for trying to grow without you. Lord, we lean on you and you only. If it be your will, work through us to be servants and ambassadors of your steadfast love. Guide us to be your children redeemed by Your Son, Jesus Christ. Send your Holy Spirit to cultivate us to lean on Your teachings and to walk in Your Paths. Amen.

Sermon: Ephesians 3:14-21 – 9th Sunday after Pentecost – A Vicar’s parting prayer

July 29, 2012

Sermon: Ephesians 3:14-21 – 9th Sunday after Pentecost – A Vicar’s parting prayer

Church: Faith Lutheran

July 27, 2009

We all attended Faith Lutheran in STL today with Edens with the following families in tow: Held, Hulsman, and Riker.  Awesome service as we witness baptism. I really like the way the pastor went about the performing it. He took the time to explain why it was important and the elements. I really appreciated this portion as he put it everyday terms without sacrificing the importance of baptism. In other words, he didn’t dummy it down to the point where a person in attendance would be turned off.

The Journey Begins…

July 25, 2009

Dad left with the truck around 12pm on Friday. After running some errands in Canton I was on the road. Stopped by the Lighthouse to get my oil changed on the truck. Dropped off the table at CTGS and then it was off to Mary M.’s house to drop off the cleaner. Had a tearful hug and then I was on the road. Just me 7 cruellers from Dunkin Donuts, 2 Gatorades, and the road.  Almost to M14 and I remember I had the task of picking up Hannah’s “pureNRG” cd that was prepaid for about a month ago. Doh, so I had to turn around and pick that up. 45 minutes later I’m back on the road again.

I won’t bore you with the details of the trip. I’ll just say this I suffered hand cramps which hadn’t happen since 05. Made great time. Passed Dad at some point when he stopped to re-fuel, he didn’t call to check to see where I was until I was already 10 miles ahead.  No stopping me at that point.  Never did stop to eat.  I got into St. Louis around 9pm CST. I was about an hour ahead of Dad so I stop by the apartment and drove on campus to take it all in.  Then I headed to the Edens house where we all met up. Linda and Mom were about 45mins to an hour behind dad. We had them pick up McDonald’s for dinner.

The Rikers showed up around 4/5am in the morning on Saturday.  So, we all made it safely down to St. Louis.

CTGS Packed the Moving Truck in 6hrs !!!

July 24, 2009

The title says it all. Friends and family from CTGS came out in force to help us pack up the truck. John C (formerly a professional truck packer) was amazing. Good times hanging with friends again before heading out to Saint Louis, MO. Let’s see what happen that day…

Transportation of a King size bed frame, entertainment center, microwave,  exercise equipment, ladder, and a desk.

Destruction of the best dog house ever. Mike was amazed by its workmanship and that is was so big. Kudos Mr. Catallo you made it happen.

Cleaning of the gutters.

Moving just about everything in our house into the largest U-Haul truck available without needing a CDL license. Double blessings when you take into account my injury. One of the things I’ve learned is that sometimes it is best to sit back and let God do his work through his people.  Never one in the past to leave it to others to do the work, CTGS has been my example from start to finish of letting go and putting it in God’s hands.

Our family is so grateful for all of God’s work we’ve experienced from knowing out CTGS family over the years.


Infant Baptism

December 25, 2008

It is my understanding that Scripture teaches us that both adults and children should be baptized.  Children are to be baptized if they’re brought to us for baptism by either their parents or by parental guardians.  The scripture commonly used to support this exists in Mark 10: 13-16.  This scripture is centered around Jesus explain marriage to the followers.  At this point people were bringing their children to Jesus to be touched by him.  The disciples rebuked them, in which case Jesus answered that we must receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.  Well, it obviously can be said this isn’t talking about baptism.  This is true, but with much of Jesus’ teachings they just don’t stop there.  Baptism is also referenced in Colossians 2:11-12, but it doesn’t refer to children.
What Scripture then do we have for infant baptism?
1. Infants are flesh born of flesh and as such are lost in sin. (Psalms 51:5), (John 3:5-6).
2. It is God’s will that also infants should be regenerated (Mark 10:13-16), by their being brought to Christ (Luke 18:15-17).
3. The means by which infants are brought to Christ is Baptism (Titus 3:5-6), (1 Peter 3:21), (Colossians 2:11-12)
Scripture expressly records that in the primitive Christian Church believers were baptize “with their whole house,” (1 Corinthians 1:16), (Acts 11:14, 16:15,33).  
There is the objection that infant baptism is not mentioned in the Bible directly and as such it wasn’t practiced in apostolic times.  I hold true to the theory of though that it wasn’t mentioned simply because it was self-evident that baptism of infants and children happen.  From Colossians 2:11-12 we know thatBaptism in the New Testament took the place of Circumcision. It doesn’t stop there in early times in the Old Testament there was a similar form of ceremony of washing of babies.
Not to be forgotten the Great Commission to his apostles to baptize, and thus make disciples of, all nations, an expression which ordinary includes children.
Scripture declares expressly that little children can believe, Matt 18:2-6. Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17, I John 2:13. Their faith is not considered potential faith, but actual faith or directly faith which truly apprehends the promises offered in Baptism.
It is impossible for us to conceive of direct faith in infants.  That is truly a question we all ponder at one point or time.  It matters little if we can comprehend the mysteries of faith by reason, but whether they are actually taught in Scripture.
It is clear infants can believe from Jesus’ own words; Matthew 18:6, Luke 18:15-, and 2 Timothy 3:15.
Luther has this reasoning for infant baptism:
“The baptism of infants, and the comfort we derive from it, rest upon the word: ‘Suffer little children to come unto Me and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.’  He has spoken this, and He does not lie.  Hence it must be right and a Christian act to bring little children unto Him, which can be done in no other way than through Baptism.  For this reason it must also be certain that He blesses them and that He gives the kingdom of heaven to all who come to Him in this way; for He adds: ‘Oh such is the kingdom of God.'”
Further more we can be more certain in the faith of infants than that of adults because adults more likely will resist, while resistance is not found in little children.
One common thought I’d like to add is when we use the argument that we must do something to make the baptism possible.  While in Acts it says “repent”, is it our repentence that we give or is it the repentence that God gives us.  I would suggest folks to continue reading in Acts.  We refer to baptism as something that is man made, but in reality is something given to us by God. It is Divine, not man made.  As such through God all things are possibly and the remissions of sins in infants is also possible.  In God, all things are possible.  As I continue my research on this topic I will also revisit this blog and make changes accordingly.
God’s Blessings…

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