Tuesday, July 6, 2010

LHP Review: Recent CPH Resources

Fickenscher, Carl, Editor. Concordia Pulpit Resources, Volume 20, Part 2 February 21-May 23, 2010 Series C (Lent-Pentecost). St. Louis: Concordia, 2010. $46.99 for a one-year 4-issue print subscription. $46.99 for a one-year electronic subscription. $56.99 for a one-year subscription to both. http://www.cph.org/ (P)

Wolfmueller, Bryan. Final Victory: Contemplating the Death and Funeral of a Christian. St. Louis: Concordia, 2009. 64 Pages. Paper. $8.99. http://www.cph.org/ (LHP)

Stiegemeyer, Scott. United in Christ: Preparing for Christian Marriage. St. Louis: Concordia, 2010. 64 Pages. Paper. $8.99. http://www.cph.org/ (LHP)

Fast, Thomas E. and Carla H. Fast. The Baptism of Your Child. St. Louis: Concordia, 2007. 64 Pages. Paper. $8.99. http://www.cph.org/ (LHP)

How to Share Christ Confidently: A Guide to Comfortable and Effective Personal Witnessing. St. Louis: Concordia, 2009. 48 Pages. Paper. $2.99. http://www.cph.org/ (LHP)

Our friends at Concordia Publishing House have been busy producing solid Lutheran resources for the congregations, laity, and pastors of our Synod. This is and should be their primary task. I am also excited about how other faithful Lutherans and Biblical Christians continue to benefit from the Christ-centered and Gospel-focused books, hymnals, Bibles, and teaching resources from CPH.

I have been a faithful and happy subscriber to Concordia Pulpit Resources since before my graduation from seminary. While I fondly remember the shelves full of red volumes of The Concordia Pulpit in many a pastor's study, the sermon examples and exegetical work of CPR has been much more useful to me in the parish. And their book reviews inspired me in a special way to do this

The best part? One can archive copies of CPR to use every three years! CPH offers binders to make that storage task easier.

I only wish there were a comparable resource for the Historic One-Year Series, if only done as a special one-time project.

Concordia has a helpful new series for those Milestone events in life and one's Christian life, including Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, and the Christian Funeral. Our generous stack of review copies included Baptism, Confirmation, and Funeral, as noted in the booklist above.

These are attractive, faithful, and affordable resources intended to be given to Christians at the time of (or hopefully in preparation for) these events. Each volume is friendly, giving the reader more familiarity with Scripture, the Small Catechism, and the liturgical manifestation of our Biblical theology in the rites of Lutheran Service Book.

Faithful family practice is given a foundation in Word, prayer, and song in The Baptism of Your Child so that the baptized are taught the faith into which they have been baptized.

Rooted in the Faith (2010) grounds Christians in the catechism, showing the newly confirmed, and reminding those transferring in to a congregation, and those received by Profession of Faith that our faith is rooted in Christ and His promises in Word and Sacrament (especially Holy Baptism).

Pastors preparing couples for Christian Marriage have as a new resource United in Christ. It prepares couples to discuss difficult personal and cultural questions in the light of God's Word, preparing them for a life together and not merely one special day.

Final Victory would be best used well before a funeral service needs to be prepared. I have previously encouraged such a study in the context of a Sunday morning Bible Class. The pastor can field questions on cremation, weak and strong hymns, and why Lutherans rarely do eulogies. A funeral service planning worksheet is found in the back, one of the best I've seen.

Buy these four booklets in bulk.

Even in the LCMS, we have had evangelism program after evangelism program. Personal witnessing appears to be the most effective way that relatives and friends of our own members visit and join our congregations. How to Share Christ Confidently is a brief and encouraging booklet that could help equip (or start) a congregation's evangelism committee or be made available as a tract.

The author is honest about our fears and how to deal with the lack of words. Sometimes short-term contacts (like on an airplane in all the President Barry stories he told) are easier than folks we live or work with long-term. They can build our confidence and give us practice to witness in our own communities.

The Gospel motivates us to witness of Christ, sharing the good news about Jesus as something that has comforted us in our time of need. We hear the Word and pray in preparation, share Law and Gospel, pray after, and trust the Holy Spirit to work when and where He wills.

Author Milton Rudnick leads his readers in a Journey into Prayer as he winsomely led his readers in the previous book on personal witnessing.

I have found that prayer changes me. I love singing prayers as in Lutheran Service Book and Treasury of Daily Prayer individually, or leading school chapel or Sunday Divine Service. This book is a guide for personal prayer.

And the author has been down this road before. He knows about the roadblocks and discouraging times that hinder our prayer. He emphasizes hearing God's Word before we dare to speak, and then encourages us to repeat His Word back to Him. Personal prayer is no substitute for Corporate Prayer (Sunday worship), yet is a necessary daily supplement to the Christian life nourished by the Word.

This brief book may help some Christians understand the benefits of both prayers spoken aloud from heart and mind as well as prayers from books and hymnals that teach us how to pray.  After all, our Lord Jesus said, "When you pray, say, Our Father..."

Thanks to CPH for books that support faithful doctrine and practice in a beautiful, winsome, and faithful way!

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.