Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FW: Praise for the Praise Song Cruncher




Feed: Intrepid Lutherans
Posted on: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:00 PM
Author: (Brian G. Heyer)
Subject: Praise for the Praise Song Cruncher


A few years ago, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller (Hope Lutheran Church—LCMS, Aurora, Colo.) proposed several criteria for evaluating 'praise songs.' As co-host of a humble radio show, "Table Talk Radio," Rev. Wolfmueller uses the "Praise Song Cruncher" segments to draw attention to the error of Mysticism which imbues that genre. While steering us clear from our feelings about insipid 'praise songs,' he identifies here in this podcast the Scriptures against which so many chart-topping CCLI praise songs are crunched.

It's a simple discernment tool — just one page (linked here) exploring five basic topics. It seems incredible that it must be stated, but the first criteria is whether or not Jesus is actually mentioned in the song. If a nuddist Buddhist could sing your 'praise song,' isn't that a cause for concern? The fourth criterion is thoroughly Lutheran: Is Law & Gospel properly presented? Is Law & Gospel rightly divided? Is the Gospel presented as conditional? The fifth criterion is simply to identify obviously false teaching in the song while remaining cognizant that some songs are so blandly repetitive that they don't teach anything at all (an error itself.)

The Mystical content of the genre is the millstone which typically pulls these songs underwater, and points two and three of the Cruncher address this concern. Interestingly, Wolfmueller identifies that many of these songs don't even use complete sentences. At first it may seem a minor point against musical art for art's sake. However, Paul gave the Corinthians a going-over in Chapter 14 (the first time around) about the harm that comes when people (particularly unbelievers) don't know what you're talking about in church. The Church's acceptance of Post-Modern laxity in language is working against us here as well, but that topic will be handled in a different post by a more gifted pen.

I'm told our seminary teaches pastors to preach in manner in which they will be understood but also in such a way that they won't be misunderstood. This is also sound advice for deciding when to drift from the half-millennia of Lutheran hymns prepared for us.

(By the way, speaking of language, is it too much to ask for our churches and publications to consistently capitalize the pronouns referring to God? Back in the day, my government grade school teacher would correct essays in bright red ink if our "written language diminished the superior authority of God." That's a quote.)

The final challenge of the Cruncher is to make the user thoroughly aware of the Mystical content. Reflecting the fallen self-absorbed culture, understandably a common error is that these songs are not about God and what He has done but instead about me and my feelings. (As if my feelings have anything to do with Christ's Gospel, but carrying over sectarian worship songs introduces their false doctrines as well.) Does the song use language better suited for a Top-40 love ballad? Can you substitute your sweetheart's name in the song and still sing it? Does the song encourage abandoning oneself, being lost or absorbed into God? Does the song seek to find God inside of you? Does God come to me/speak to me internally or externally? Is this a Lectio Divina warm-up act?

It's no mistake that so many 'praise songs' make the focus of the songs not about Jesus, but about us. Because of the thorough flogging dozens of CCLI-topping 'praise songs' receive in the Cruncher, and the harm they introduce into our congregations, once again we're left with only one justification for continuing these sectarian practices: "But We Want To." Stop me if you've read this sentiment in the Old Testament over and over and know where this cycle leads.



Dear Reader, while many have declared resonance with us, many more are still considering it. We invite you to Stand With Us.

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FW: On Marriage: For Dr. Heidenreich




Feed: Lutheran Hymn Revival
Posted on: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:55 PM
Author: (Amberg)
Subject: On Marriage: For Dr. Heidenreich


I never translated a hymn Dr. Heidenreich asked me to translate, so I suppose this is my poor oblation instead.

Tune: Tallis' Canon.

All thanks to God who gives us life
Through marriage of a man and wife,
What You have joined together here
Gives labor love and duty cheer.

In Your creation we may see
The love within Your liberty,
How we are formed to serve and give,
That others through our love might live.

What blessings come from woman's womb,
Through which our God did once assume
Our flesh and blood and sanctified
The life of every human child!

Forgive us if we go astray
And leave the one and narrow way;
Call us with words of comfort sure,
Which pardon sin and make us pure.

Grant that as Christ so loved his Bride
He gave himself for her and died,
To cleanse her from her sin and shame
And give to her His holy name,

So may each man of Christian faith
Cling kindly to his wife till death,
So that in every family
We see Your love's pure mystery.

Grant that as now the Church receives
The glory that her Savior gives,
As Sarah called her husband lord,
Let every wife embrace this word.

Let every man provide for them
Whom you have given unto him,
Give every mother strength and prayer
For those You put within her care.

Drive far from us adultery,
Lest we Your wrath and anger see,
Drive from our hearts all lusts perverse
That would Your pure design reverse.

Keep well our children chaste and pure,
And when the world and flesh allure,
Grant them repentance, guard their faith,
Return them to Your Spirit's bath.

And give to each a Christian spouse,
And keep Your Word within their house,
And if it be Your gracious will,
Their home with many children fill.

All thanks to God the Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One,
To Him in whom we live and move
Be all our praise and all our love.

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FW: Of Interest to Our Readers...



About this project

Save the Margin!

You can help us to create a powerful website that the advantages of a personal Bible margin to today's digital Bible students. And, in the process, you'll be giving them something more powerful and secure than the Bible margin ever was before!
People write in their paper Bibles because they want to hold on to an insight on a verse they were reading. They want that insight to stay with them the next time they are studying that verse. They want to build on what they've learned.
But if you use the notetaking features of a Bible website or a Bible software package, that note remains locked in that environment. It's very powerful in that environment, which is nice. Notes taken in these places often let you attach the thought to a verse or a word in a verse. Often within the note itself you can include other Bible references that, when clicked on, will take you to other, related portions of Scripture. That's good.
But if you ever choose to study in a different digital environment, those notes do you no good. Many websites and software packages allow some sort of export of your notes, but then they are no longer attached to verses. Those cross-referencing links also turn cold. Sometimes you even lose notes through product upgrades without even changing to a new digital environment!

PearlVault Will Save Those Pearls of Wisdom

This project will create a web portal where you can take your Bible study notes so that they are searchable, taggable and indexed according to Bible references. It will also allow you to attach notes to words from a particular Bible translation--or even words from the original Greek or Hebrew. It will be optimized for the easy discovery of past notes whenever you study that same passage/word/topic again. It will also be optimized for use on mobile devices so that, even when you are away from your desktop, you are never away from your Bible notes. And PearlVault, should this project succeed, will be available for the rest of your life, independent of whatever study environment you use otherwise.
But for the PearlVault team, this Kickstarter project is just a first step. We've already started developing relationships with Bible software companies so that, in the very near future, we can go beyond the web portal. Your support for this project will add weight to our voices as we work with Bible software companies, Bible website providers and Bible app developers to make sure that your PearlVault notes are available in their environments as well. If they know that a single place for all your notes is important to thousands of people, they will help us to make it happen. Then it won't matter where you study or what tools you use. PearlVault will be right there with your lifetime of accumulated Scripture knowledge and wisdom.

Help Us Save the Bible Margin!

Browse through the support options. A little or a lot: It all helps, and we appreciate your support. Check out the cool badges you can get for our support forums. And be sure to check out the long-term subscriptions. Future investors may have something to say about offering such things to new subscribers, but we decided to make these special subscriptions an integral part of the Kickstarter project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What will the subscription cost of PearlVault be in the future?
A: Great question. The answer depends on the level of response to this project, but we would like to keep it under $40/year.
Q: Will there be a free version of PearlVault?
A: Yes, but it will be a read-only (but fully exportable) archive during the times when you are not a paid subscriber. While simple in concept, the synchronizations that we will have to maintain with multiple Bible study environments will be complicated. We don't want anyone to ever be cut off from their notes--and that's the real point of limiting free access. We want to make sure that the vault is sustainable into any future that we can reasonably foresee, and that means that all of us have to make a reasonable investment into the maintenance of the Vault.
Q: How long before we will be able to synchronize our PearlVault notes with popular Bible study environments?
A: Again, this depends on the response we get here. I haven't had a single provider of Bible study environments say, "That sounds stupid. Go away." Partly that's because they're not rude people by nature. But it's also partly a matter of not knowing how important this is to the Bible students that are out there. When you get even a one-year subscription and spread the word to your friends, it tells them how important this is and makes the synchronizations happen that much more quickly.
Q: How do I keep up on developments?
A: So glad you asked! You can sign up for updates at, or you can "Like" us at, or you can follow us on Twitter @PearlVault. You can also just send an email to and ask to be signed up for updates. Best of all, though, you can be part of the development by signing up for a subscription here at Kickstarter and by sharing the link to his page. I'm just a poor pastor with no money for advertising, so I need lots of word-of-mouth. Help!


Ask a questionHave a question?If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Pledge $5 or more

1 Backer

You receive the rewarding joy of knowing that you helped provide digital Bible margins to millions of people for generations to come. Plus you've given us a lot of joy just because you joined us in this venture!

Estimated Delivery:Apr 2013

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Not only do you get that same great feeling of having helped generations of people collect and access countless pearls of wisdom, but you get a nifty t-shirt as well! Plus, we'll throw in a "PearlVault: Save the Margin" decal for your computer or mobile device. And if all that weren't enough, you'll be listed as an original backer of the PearlVault project on our web portal. Sweet!

Estimated Delivery:Jun 2012

Pledge $35 or more

4 Backers

I know. You don't just want the swag. You want to get your own PearlVault and start collecting those beautiful little bits of information and wisdom in a single, permanent, lifelong place. Reward #3 gives you just that: All the swag above plus you're already covered for your first year's subscription once the service launches in the first part of next year. Plus we're going to attach a founders badge to the graphic that will represent you when you leave messages in our community forums. Now that's snazzy!

Estimated Delivery:Feb 2013

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2 Backers

You're getting the swag. You're getting your first year's subscription. And that founders badge is yours, too. Awesome.But you want to be involved in the development process too, right? Gotcha. This level gives you everything above plus beta access prior to launch. Welcome to the team!

Estimated Delivery:Aug 2012

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Want to add the value of a second year to your subscription while still getting everything listed above? Level 5 is for you!

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1 Backer

Ah. You've already recognized the pattern. You're thinking, "Well, if I get more value out of getting a two-year subscription, couldn't I get even more value out of a five-year subscription?" Indeed you could. And you've been just that much more beneficial to the project, too.For your generosity and vision we shall reward you with the swag, the beta access, plus the five-year subscription you seek. And you know that badge people are getting for their visits to the community forums? Well, yours is going to be bronze. Well done.

Estimated Delivery:Feb 2013

Pledge $200 or more

0 Backers

Ten years, you say? I like the cut of you jib--at least I think I do. I've never really understood that saying.At level 7 you've got all that stuff above plus an incredible value on many years of permanently and safely storing your collected pearls of wisdom. And you've got a silver founders badge for the forums, too. Oh, and, just between you and me, there's going to be an Easter egg in the web portal to honor you supporters at level 7 and above. Yeah. That's right. We went there.By the way, I just Googled "cut of your jib." Now I get it.

Estimated Delivery:Feb 2013

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Could twenty years have been far behind? No. Not really.And, you know what? You guys are getting the gold founders badges. Twenty years. You guys are awesome!

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I'll be honest. I don't know if this is the kind of thing we can really offer in the future, but supporters like you guys deserve the very best, so here it is:Lifetime Subscription.And tell me you guys don't deserve a platinum founders badge! You can't!

Estimated Delivery:Feb 2013

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1 Backer• Limited Reward(19 of 20 remaining)

I feel positively compelled to thank you in a very special way--not only with a lifetime subscription and everything else the other levels have going for them, but also with a personal visit and dinner. We'll talk Bible study. We'll play with the web portal together. My daughter tells me that if she gets to come along she'll even give you a hug. No promises since she's in school and all, but she'll totally do it if she gets the chance. I know she will.

Estimated Delivery:Feb 2013

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0 Backers• Limited Reward(10 of 10 remaining)

I'm not just coming to thank you over dinner. You're getting eight extra lifetime subscriptions to give to family, friends, pastors at your church, whomever! The choice is yours. And you just say the word and I'll bring along a presentation on PearlVault that I can present at your church or school. I'll even tutor your local clergy, if you want. I'm just so happy we connected!And you should know that there will only be ten diamond badges available the whole world over. And when you strut your stuff around the community forums, you'll be sporting one. I can't wait to see one myself!

Estimated Delivery:Feb 2013

Project By

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Aaron Frey

Last Login02/21/12


Trained as a conservative, Lutheran pastor, I've led three large congregations, two Christian elementary schools and one college preparatory school. All the while I have pursued with a passion ways for everyday readers of the Bible to augment their study with today's technologies, having run classes in the use of Bible software and Bible websites across the country. Hear more about my work at the WELSTech podcast (

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FW: Why Traditional, Liturgical Worship Is Not Necessary For Salvation But May Be Beneficial For the Christian




Feed: By Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Posted on: Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:39 AM
Author: aarman32291
Subject: Why Traditional, Liturgical Worship Is Not Necessary For Salvation But May Be Beneficial For the Christian


Today's Christian landscape is fueled by a dichotomy between distinct styles of worship; namely, "Traditional Worship" and "Contemporary Worship." The differences in these styles of worship seem to have grown at an exponential fashion in recent days, and the battle has escalated to such an extent that people on both sides of the aisle are willing to condemn the other for their practices. However fierce this battle may wage, keep this in mind, "The people are taught that consciences are not to be burdened as though observing such things were necessary for salvation [Colossians 2:16-17]" (AC XV.)

A good friend of mine, with whom I frequently argue about this very matter, is the Worship Leader for a non-denominational school in Garden Valley, TX. He sees "my style" of worship as being without passion, dying, and antiquated and therefore cannot help me to grow in my faith; while I see "his style" of worship as irreverent, distracting, and without solid foundation and therefore cannot help him to grow in his faith. Which of us is correct?

I don't believe this question can be answered without first defining what worship is. In my friend's style, worship is about how we come to God, to praise Him, and to show Him that we love Him. Don't get me wrong, "Blessed be the name of the Lord," (Ps. 113:2A ESV) but this praise can only come about in the other definition of worship. This definition is explained in Luther's explanation of the Apostle's creed. "I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him." When Christian's see that we are dead to sin and cannot "by our own reason or strength," praise God's name (that is to keep the 2nd commandment) we know that worship is not about what we do for God. Rather, worship is about God coming to us in His word, and "the word [become] flesh" (John 1:14 ESV) on the cross.

Now keep this definition of worship in mind: "We [are able to] praise God only because God first comes to us, lost and condemned persons, through His son on the cross for the forgiveness of sins through His word."

Now am I saying that you can't use a rock band to freely proclaim Christ Crucified? I certainly am not; this would be completely going against the Augsburg Confession and would be negating the hard work of CPH who put out the LSB guitar edition (which I use frequently for having hymn sings with my friends.) But I am stating what the confessions teach: "those practices which provide benefit to the Christian Life are to be revered and practiced," and more frequently than not, these Christ centered, cross focused, scriptural based hymns are not used in a contemporary setting.

Rev. Randy Asburry of Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis Missouri reminded me that, "Liturgical worship is not of the 'essence' of the Church (not what makes the Church the Church), but it is a gift for the 'bene esse' (well-being) of the Church, especially in keeping us 'on the same page.'" This belief is congruent with the Lutheran confessions which furthermore state that, "No tradition was set up by the Holy Fathers for the purpose of meriting the forgiveness of sins, or righteousness. Rather, they were instituted for the sake of good order in the Church and for the sake of peace," (AP XV: 13.) As Leviticus shows us, God is a God of order. The laws which he gave the Israelites were to provide order and guidance from the terrors of the world (sin, distraction, trichinosis etc.) In this same way the liturgy of the Lutheran Church is designed to focus us on the Cross.

Referring back to my frequent discussions with my "wayward" friend on the subject; he will frequently mock the bizarre nature of the vestments and lesser ceremonies in the church. Once I commented on a video of a service he led saying, "It was great, but I would put the band at the back of the church. Lutheran's wouldn't be too happy with a drum set where the altar should be." He retorted, "Yeah, you can't block view of that Advent Wreath." This brings me to an interesting point; why do we have all of these practices (proper lighting of candles, the processional cross etc.?) Melancthon writes, "Ceremonies are needed for this reason alone, that the uneducated be taught [what they need to know about Christ,] (AC XXIV.) It is this point that is especially important for children.

Over the years, my mother has spoken diligently about the importance of the liturgy in the church, even so far as to recommend contrary to the typical Lutheran practice of sitting in back. She says, "Children who can see and hear everything that is going on in the divine service are more likely to remember the liturgy, participate, and be less 'squirrely.'" Many times when new parents would come to our church, she would make a point to quickly introduce herself and lead them to the front. Children understand what is going on, and through proper experience are often more reverent than many adults I know. Children who experience the liturgy at an early age or more likely to realize… "oh yeah, this is about that big shiny guy on the cross up there, and that wine and bread must be important too."

Close your eyes and think about a contemporary worship service. Everyone is facing forward. What are they looking at? Is it Christ crucified for our sins? Oh, that's right there is a band up there. Well are they pointing us to the Cross?

"This is the noise we make with our voice and with our hands. We come to celebrate all across this land. The joy that's in our hearts makes us want to dance for you. Join as the angels sing and worship as they do. And we worship You alone with our songs of praise. One day before Your throne. This is the noise we make"
- Chris Tomlin

Not once are we reminded of our sin and need for a savior. Not once in this song is Christ crucified proclaimed. The focus of this song is clearly about what we do to praise God and creating a mystic emotional response to the music.

Now close your eyes and think about a Liturgical Worship Service. Everyone is facing forward, what are they looking at? Oh, there's a crucifix up there? What is everyone singing?

"Christ, the life of all the living, Christ, the death of death, our foe, who thyself for me once giving to the darkest depths of woe: Through thy sufferings death, and merit. I, eternal life inherit. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus unto Thee."
- LSB 420:1

The focus of that hymn is clearly Christ death on the cross for our salvation.

Now, again, am I saying that people who go to Traditional, Liturgical worship services are more righteous or even better Christians? No! Of course not, Article XV of the Apology to the Augsburg Confession clearly states that, "We do not merit forgiveness of sins or grace by celebrating human traditions," (3.) But I am saying that churches that use the liturgy of The Lutheran Hymnal, the Worship Supplement '69, the Lutheran Worship, The Hymnal Supplement '98, and the Lutheran Service Book are more likely to have a service centered on the Cross. Therefore the "bene esse" which Traditional, Liturgical worship brings is that it points us to the cross and that Cross is necessary for salvation.

Blessings in Christ,
Aaron Nielsen

P.S.  A quick shout out to Rev. Randy Asburry. He was a great help in the writing of this article. If you would like to see more of his insight, check out his Blog at

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FW: Take a Stand for Religious Liberty — How Pastors Can Organize Grass Root Efforts in Their Congregations


Christian Freedom…


Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:31 AM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: Take a Stand for Religious Liberty — How Pastors Can Organize Grass Root Efforts in Their Congregations


I was greatly encouraged to receive a copy of a letter a Lutheran pastor in Indiana has sent out to his fellow pastors in that state. He is encouraging them to organize grass-root protests and actions in their local congregations. I strongly encourage all parish pastors to do something similar in their congregations and encourage their fellow pastors to do likewise. There has rarely before been in our country such a serious threat to religious liberty. We can not simply sit back and expect, or wait, for somebody else "to do something" about it.

February 27, 2012

Dear Brothers in the Office,

In his February 3 letter, Synod President Matthew Harrison wrote, "I encourage the members of the LCMS to join with me in supporting efforts to preserve our essential right to exercise our religious beliefs." I am writing in response to this call.

A recent federal Health and Human Services Department "mandate" requires all healthcare plans to include "preventive care" that includes even abortion-inducing drugs. It also mandates several other practices that violate sincere and long-held moral teachings of other major Christian denominations. Although religious institutions are not required to list these "services" explicitly in their insurance policies, their insurance carriers must provide them to all persons covered by their health plans at no additional charge. This so-called "accommodation" announced on February 10 merely enables the pretense that those who have profound, faith-based moral objections can avoid providing these services. In fact, the rules were adopted with no change whatsoever from the version published months earlier.

It is not only religious institutions that are forced to violate their beliefs and their consciences. Faithful Christian employers who acknowledge the sanctity of life are not permitted even the fig leaf of pretending they are not implicated in these abortions or other practices that violate the teachings of their faith.

Our own LCMS healthcare plan is among the few that have a "grandfather" exemption. For the moment we are exempt from this requirement. Our exemption is, however, very fragile. Already our costs are higher than necessary because we have been unable to adapt our plan to changing circumstances and possibilities. As soon as we make any substantial change, our exemption vanishes. Even if we ourselves were totally unaffected by this mandate, however, we ought to stand with those whose freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion are being violated. Unless we defend religious liberty, we shall surely lose it.

Saint Paul's has agreed to sponsor a "grassroots" effort to respond to President Harrison's call. This plan grew out of conversations among members of several area congregations, and especially the CTS community. Further discussions followed President Harrison's February 14 letter, in which he urged again that we ".fight for constitutional sanity against secularizing forces.." We are encouraged and strengthened by his clear and courageous stand before Congress on February 26.

The plan is an Internet-assisted effort to educate our members concerning the real and present danger to the religious liberty we have thus far enjoyed, and to encourage them to take at least a small step to stand in defense of this most valuable freedom. Although American Lutherans have traditionally avoided involvement in affairs of the State, today the State is invading the realm of the Church. This violates both our Constitution and our American traditions, as Pastor Harrison has noted in issuing his call to action.

The plan is quite flexible. Each congregation can adapt it to its own situation and interests. It is interactive in that some aspects are yet to be finalized, depending on the response from our pastors and congregations. The proposed general approach is as follows:

* Saint Paul's is in the process of gathering, preparing and posting extensive background materials and resources on an Internet site and a Facebook page. These are meant to facilitate congregational and individual study of this and related issues. This material is now beginning to be posted at<> and on the Facebook page<> ). The website offers the advantage of stability and organization, while the Facebook permits quick, if somewhat chaotic, response. Particularly if a reliable moderator emerges, a forum feature may be added to facilitate discussion and interaction – based either on Facebook or the website. * More in-depth resources and analysis will be added in the coming days (and weeks). This is an interactive effort: members may offer additional high-quality materials that may be added to the site (as time and stamina permit). These resources are being developed under leadership of Chris Barnekov, a St. Paul's member with a doctorate in economic policy and four decades' experience as a senior policy analyst for six different federal agencies. In recent years, Dr. Barnekov has focused almost exclusively on issues of Church and State (a brief bio will be posted on the site). * Congregations are encouraged to discuss these issues in adult classes or other appropriate forums. The resources are meant to facilitate these discussions, gathering background information and analysis in one place, with several layers of depth. * Each congregation is encouraged to send a letter signed by as many individual members as wish (a sample letter is attached and posted on the website, but of course congregations may write their own: we simply urge that letters be kept succinct and positive in tone). * For strategic reasons, we suggest that the letters be addressed to Fort Wayne's Roman Catholic Bishop Kevin Rhoades. The main reasons for this are (1) Catholics are currently the main target (we're next), and (2) the letter can be positive and encouraging in tone, rather than negative (as a letter to HHS would have to be – but we'll send copies to appropriate government officials). See the sample attached to this email. * Congregations are encouraged to send their letters to St. Paul's by shortly after Easter. They will be presented in a public event including as many pastors (and members) as wish to participate, with media invited. * A precise date will be set and announced on the website and Facebook page, depending on how many wish to take part in person (they may choose to bring and present their own letters at that time). This event may include congregations from the wider Christian community (parallel efforts are being considered in some other denominations). * The tone of this event, as of the letters, is meant to be joyful, a celebration of thanksgiving to Our Lord for His gracious blessings of liberty. We do not, of course, have in mind a public worship service (it will involve other denominations), rather a celebration that will have the effect of a demonstration, but not the tone of a protest. * The more precise details of the proposed event will depend largely on feedback from pastors and congregations. Many interesting possibilities have already been mentioned. We will use the Internet site and Facebook to have a "conversation" about this.

The media is falsely portraying this controversy as a concern of only a few "reactionary" Catholic bishops, and claiming it is all about contraception or an assault on women's rights. The true issue is religious liberty, and this is a serious concern to all believers. We want to demonstrate this by standing, literally, with those who are currently the main target of this unprecedented assault on Freedom of Religion.

It is our hope that, if the Lord wills, we can shock the media by the unusual sight of Lutherans and other denominations rallying in support of our Roman Catholic brethren. This falls into the category of a "man bites dog story," which the media generally finds irresistible (even though they might otherwise choose to ignore us). We wish to counteract the negative image the media typically presents of Christians, and get past the usual media filter to help Americans understand the significance and danger of this assault on liberty.

More importantly, we wish to educate our own members and raise their awareness of these increasingly important issues of relations between Church and State. In past years, we could safely ignore these issues because in America the 'Kingdom at the Left Hand' largely remained within its own 'bounds.' Sadly, this is no longer true today, and we now face the unprecedented need to "defend" our boundaries. We hope to do so with the means provided by our Lord, the Gospel and the Sword of the Spirit.

We invite you to consider joining with us in this most atypical excursion into public policy, and helping us bring a Christian perspective into this controversy. I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

Sincerely in Christ,

Pastor Peter C. Cage Saint Paul's Lutheran Church Fort Wayne, Indiana

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FW: Indelible Grace Update // Hymns Discussion, Tour Dates


Hymnody Resurgent…


From: Indelible Grace Music []
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:06 AM
Subject: Indelible Grace Update // Hymns Discussion, Tour Dates


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Calvin Symposium on Worship discussion

Listen to a special discussion about the

re-tuned hymn movement


Indelible Grace founder Kevin Twit (along with longtime contributor Sandra McCracken) recently took part in a discussion about the re-tuned hymn movement at Calvin College, including an informal singing time. Click here to stream or download the discussion.


Two-day Hymnody Course in St. Louis


Kevin Twit will be teaching a two-day course on the History Of Hymnody on March 16-17 at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. You can register online for $25 and find out more information by clicking here.


Kevin will also lead a hymn sing at the Covenant Seminary chapel (along with special guests) on Monday, March 5th at 7pm. 



Matthew Smith & Indelible Grace on tour

Matthew Smith & Indelible Grace

Booking Now for 2012


If you are at a church, college, Christian school, or other venue and would like to find out how to bring a concert of hymns to your town, click here to contact us with your information, including city and venue name.



17 AVAILABLE - Chicago area - Contact us

18 Libertyville IL

20 Sullivan IL - RSVP here

21 Tremont IL - RSVP here

22 Lafayette IN - RSVP here

23 Richmond KY - RSVP here

24 AVAILABLE - Kentucky - Contact us

25 Bowling Green KY - RSVP here



19 Windsor CO

20 Sterling CO - RSVP here

21 Centennial CO

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FW: Worship




Feed: Lutheran Hymn Revival
Posted on: Monday, February 27, 2012 5:59 PM
Author: (Amberg)

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FW: The Parental Office




Feed: Stand Firm
Posted on: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:00 AM
Author: Scott Diekmann
Subject: The Parental Office


My friend Brian Yamabe and his co-blogger Joshua McNary are the authors of a blog/podcast called The Parental Office.  They're both fathers of younger kids, and are thus called by God to teach the faith to their kids.  They are producing a series of podcasts in which they discuss their parental vocation, including ideas on how to raise their kids in a God-pleasing way using Lutheran theology and resources.  As Brian states:

One issue that has stuck with me the last couple of years is how to pass on the faith to my daughters. What can we do better at home? What can we do better at church? What has worked with my daughters? What has worked for others? What should we avoid? I'm hoping the podcast can be a platform for exchanging information that helps parents integrate their children into the Christian life.

I like what they're doing.  This is more than just a "how to" show, it's a resource that might very well reorder your thought processes on how to raise your kids from a Biblical, Lutheran perspective, and cause you to reconsider you vocation as parent. 


You can follow Brian and Joshua on Facebook or Twitter.  Their podcasts are available on their blog, and are available on iTunes.

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FW: Weedon goes to Saint Louis: Hamel’s loss is YOUR gain by Rev. Charles Lehmann


On Weedon…


Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:52 AM
Author: Pastor Joshua Scheer
Subject: Weedon goes to Saint Louis: Hamel's loss is YOUR gain by Rev. Charles Lehmann


Then Vicar Lehmann with Pastor Weedon

Every time the Verba are spoken by one of the Lord's pastors over the bread and wine, heaven comes down to earth.  Angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven sing before the Lamb who was slain but is alive forevermore.  The saints in heaven and on earth join together in song and praise their Savior for His glorious condescension.

This reality is the same whether it's happening at a small rural congregation with a dozen of the faithful who are there to receive the gifts or if it's at a large cathedral in Europe that was built over the course of centuries and has all of its pews filled.  The reality is the same.  Heaven on earth.

Sometimes we are given an extra gift.  It doesn't make the reality more real.  It doesn't make the forgiveness of sins more certain than it would be somewhere else.  But it is a significant gift.  Sometimes you enter a place where because of many years of faithful teaching, the people know what's going on.  They're certain of it.  You can see it in their eyes when they sing.  You can recognize it in their posture when they kneel so that you can pour life down their throats.

That's why Saint Paul's Lutheran Church in Hamel, Illinois is a little slice of heaven.  Over the past nineteen years, Pastor William Weedon has faithfully taught them the reality of what is going on each time they gather together.  He has preached it forcefully. You haven't really dived into the Scriptures until you've done it while sitting at his feet.

I was one of a small group of men who were blessed to sit at his feet as a vicar.  My year was from 2005-2006.  It was a wonderful and difficult year.  Everything I know about being a pastor I learned from Pastor Weedon and from Saint Paul's.  I learned what it is for a congregation to love their pastor and for a pastor to love their congregation.  I learned what can happen when a Pastor relentlessly and forcefully delivers Jesus to his people for thirteen years.  I owe Pastor Weedon a debt I will never be able to repay, and I suspect his other vicars would write similar words.

Sixteen days ago, Pastor Weedon announced to Saint Paul's that he had been called by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to be her director of worship and chaplain of the International Center.  I suspected he would take it.  I knew it was going to be a devastating blow to him, his family, and all my many loved ones at Saint Paul's.

For two weeks, like many people, I was of two minds on Pastor Weedon's decision.  I wanted him to take the call.  I wanted him to introduce thousands of congregations throughout the Synod to the appreciation of the Lord's gifts he has cultivated at Saint Paul's for almost twenty years.  I also just wanted him to stay put and keep doing it there.  Most importantly, I knew that he was free to choose the call he wanted to serve.

Two days ago, on Invocabit Sunday, Pastor Weedon announced that he had accepted the call.  There were lots of tears.  I've chatted with several of my friends at Saint Paul's and they are united in their grief.  They love their pastor and they're going to miss him.  I would too.  I'm still getting used to the idea of a universe where Pastor Weedon is not the pastor of Saint Paul's.  Sometimes, I still don't like that universe very much.

Pastor Weedon

But God has called my friend to serve the Synod at large.  Jesus is in charge, just as He has always been.  It was Jesus and not Pastor Weedon who accomplished all that he did over those nineteen years at Saint Paul's.  Pastor Weedon was the Lord's instrument.  He was a wise and faithful instrument who knew to stay out of the way, but he was an instrument.

Pastor Weedon now has an opportunity to serve the whole Synod in the same humble and selfless way.  In a way God is saying, "I'd like to introduce you to my friend William.  For awhile he belonged to My flock in Hamel.  Now I want to give him to all of you."

God is giving the Synod a great gift.  No, Pastor Weedon isn't Jesus, and one of the best things about him is that he knows that.  Pastor Weedon's first words to me as a vicar still ring true today.  "A pastor who does not pray for his people is completely useless."  Now Pastor Weedon is serving the whole Synod, and because of that, you can be sure that he's praying for you.  He's probably doing it right now.

My plea is simple.  Pray for him.  Express your love for him.  Thank him for the enormous sacrifice he is making.  Thank his congregation for loving and supporting him all these years and making him into the man he is.  Thank Jesus for sharing him with all of us.

There are some who have attacked, criticized, or made jokes about Pastor Weedon's new call.  To them I say, "Repent.  God has done this, and He will work wonders through it."  Not all of us will benefit from Pastor Weedon's new position in the same way.  Some of you might be in congregations that appreciate the gifts that Christ won on the cross in a way very similar to what you'd find in Hamel.  You and your pastor will be encouraged in that!  For those of you who are not in such a congregation, I am sure that Pastor Weedon will seek to share with you what he shared with Saint Paul's.

And, finally, to my beloved friend and mentor, William:  Fear not.  You've always known that "it's a dangerous business going out your front door."

Pastor Lehmann


Rev. Charles Lehmann

Vicar, Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, IL  (August 2005-July 2006)



Associate Editor's Note: Pastor Weedon has done great things for our Synod and it looks like he will continue to do so.  We at BJS are thankful to God for him and wish him blessings at his new position and also ask our readers to keep him, his family, his former congregation, and those whom he will serve at the IC in your prayers.  A special thank you to Pastor Lehmann for writing this article to be posted here.


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