Sunday, September 29, 2013

Closing Issue 7.3 and Opening Issue 7.4

Michaelmas: Closing Issue 7.3 and Opening Issue 7.4

This post will mark the last entry in QBR 7.3, Apostles' Tide,
and the opening entry in Angels' Tide, QBR 7.4

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Received for Review

DeYoung, Kevin. Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 124 Pages. Paper. $11.99. (LHP)

Grudem, Wayne and Barry Asmus. Foreword by Rick Warren. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 399 Pages. Paper. $30.00. (LHP unsol)

Chapell, Bryan, General Editor. Dane Ortlund, General Editor. Gospel Transformation Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 1904 Pages. Cloth. $39.99. (LHP)

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

FW: An Unlikely Reformer....


Peters on Sasse…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: An Unlikely Reformer....


Hermann Sasse suggests that Luther was the most unlikely candidate to be Reformer of the Church.  Erasmus had the right pedigree, the right education, and the right perspective.  Luther had none of these.  He was not a child of the enlightenment but remained very much a product of his age. He was no radical (in spite of those who paint him such) but conservative and careful.  He was no systematician seeking to organize God and tie up all His loose ends (that was Calvin).  He was no theoretical thinker philosophizing his way to truth (that was Erasmus and perhaps Calvin).  He was a man with his own personal struggle that coincided with a window of opportunity that catapulted him from obscurity into the center of Christian history.  Not a hero or a cultural warrior or enlightenment man but obedient rebel, Luther was the surprise of God's hand at a time when the Gospel was covert instead of overtly the center of the Church's proclamation and life. The paradox of the wrong man become the right figure, proclaiming the paradox of the justified sinner in but not of the world, this is Luther and this is the Lutheran Reformation.

Christianity Today had an article by Sasse (1967) that noted "the Renaissance...must be understood as the great secular countermovement against the attempt of the Middle Ages to build a Christian world. This attempt, like all similar ones in later times, ended not in the Christianization of the world but in the secularization of the Church. The world did not become Church; rather, the Church became world. The Reformation was in its deepest nature an attempt to save the Church from that destiny."

As is often the case, people try and make the Reformation responsible for too much or for the wrong things. Luther's great regret was, of all things, the open door the Reformation would provide for those who were determined to undermine and deny that catholic faith of Scripture, creed, and tradition.  The Lutherans were cautious and careful, keeping so much that others wondered why Luther would not go where, according to their logic, one must go in renouncing all that was in order to begin anew.  Luther was no Calvinist with a bizarre sacramental quirk.  Lutherans were confident that even with all the layers of distortion and distraction, the Gospel was there where baptism killed to make alive and bread and wine set apart by His Word to feed the heavenly life to mortals.  Yet they were compelled by the errors that had clouded the air and prevented the Gospel from being the pure breath of the Church to address them as true servants of Christ.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, there will be many different pictures of the Reformation and of Luther.  Most of them will contain a glimmer of truth even though it will be hard for those remembering not to overstate the small truth until it confuses and overwhelms the greater truth behind the Reformation.  Luther was a man in keeping with the past and not some first of a whole new breed of theologians. His cause was to restore what was lost or obscured and not the demolition and rebuilding of the Church on a different foundation.  Luther did not see this as man's grand shining moment to display once for all the divine endowment but could not escape the total depravity of man after the fall and the total reach of God's grace to come to Him in our need, to declare us forgiven and righteous through the merits of Christ's death, and to open to us a new door of tomorrow in the promise of our own resurrection with Christ to the joyful and blest reunion eternal.

Luther and Erasmus, the Reformation and Humanism are neither friends nor friendly opponents but irreconcilably opposed.  Indeed that is the disappointment of the Radical Reformers.  They sniffed around Luther looking for an ally and found him disappointingly catholic. That is the disappointment of the humanist who hopes to find in Luther the renaissance man but finds instead a sinner with no hope but the grace of God in Christ.  That is still how many in Lutheranism today try to define our Church -- from the ELCA to the LWF -- the pesky past of Scripture and tradition have given way to the so-called "new" work of the Spirit in everything from ecumenism to sexuality to feminism.  Unsure of the historicity of the past, the Gospel has become to them principle instead of event and yet they do not realize that unless it is fact and all factual, it has nothing whatsoever to offer the world except an empty hope.  Sadly, too many in Missouri, Wisconsin, and the ELS find Luther also too catholic and have become more comfortable with the Reformation squeezed through the cloth of American Protestantism than with the staunch and adamant claim of the Lutheran Confessions that this faith is no novelty but that which is true, catholic, and authentic.

Sasse has it right in Here We Stand and it would not be a bad starting place if Lutherans read him again to rediscover what the Reformation was and was not, who Luther was and who he is not.  Then, just maybe, we might be able to see Lutheranism apart from the wandering eyes that look with longing to mainline Protestantism or to evangelicalism while disdaining the treasure of the obedient rebel who bequeathed to us a reform thoroughly catholic and evangelical.  In this case the truth is much better than the legend.  God help us to remember that as we lift up Luther and try to explain him and the Reformation to the world.  We do not get many chances to do so...

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Monday, September 16, 2013

FW: SALE | The Lutheran Study Bible

From: Concordia Publishing House
Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 10:29 AM
Subject: SALE | The Lutheran Study Bible


Concordia Publishing House

Order The Lutheran Study Bible for your church, home, or school. It's all about Jesus, in every way, for you!


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All 19 print editions of The Lutheran Study Bible now on sale!

Sale ends September 30, 2013.











Concordia Publishing House

3558 South Jefferson Ave

St Louis, MO 63118

Copyright © 2013 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Received for Review



Countdown Commemorative Medallions to the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation (Dr. Martin Luther; Luther Caught in a Lightning Storm; Luther Becomes a Monk; Luther Travels to Rome; Luther Receives Doctor of Theology Degree; Luther's Tower Experience). Delhi, NY; American Lutheran Publicity Bureau 2011-2013, projected through 2017. Prices vary from $1 to $18 each. (LHPN)

Jenson, Robert W. A Large Catechism. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1991, 2013. 72 Pages. Paper. $6.00. (P)

Braaten, Carl E., Editor. Preaching and Teaching the Law and Gospel of God. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2013. 174 Pages. Paper. $14.00. (LHPQ)

Wilcock, Penelope. 100 Stand-Alone Bible Studies: To grow healthy home groups. Oxford, England: Monarch Books, 2013. 233 Pages. Paper. $19.99. (P)

Hill, Kathryn Ann. To You It Has Been Given: The Parables of Jesus in Picture and Verse. Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2011. 100 Pages. Paper. $13.95. (HQ)

Corzine, Jacob and Bryan Wolfmueller, editors. Theology is Eminently Practical: Essays in Honor of John T. Pless. Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2012. 272 Pages. Paper. $16.95. (LHP)

Gerhard, Johann. Translated by Elmer M. Hohle. Edited by Heidi D. Sias. Postille: Sunday and Main Festival Gospels, Parts III and IV. Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2012. 388 Pages. Paper. $19.95. (P)

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

FW: What happens when need is replaced by something else...




Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Saturday, September 14, 2013 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: What happens when need is replaced by something else...


At some point in time we stopped talking about the NEED to go to church, to receive the Sacrament, to witness God's mercy to those who do not know it, to bring your children up in the faith starting with baptism, and to steward God's gifts guided by faith...  We stopped talking about the NEED of the Christian to do these things we began trying to make the DOING of these things attractive.  When we did this we automatically made it appear that asking them to worship on Sunday morning, to receive the Sacrament of the Altar regularly (weekly at minimum), to raise your children in the faith, to witness the Gospel in word and action, and to faithfully steward God's gifts was a burden.  When we stopped appealing to the fact that these things are the right things to do, we began trying to make these things appealing, winsome, and rewarding to those who did them.

We NEED to be in Church.  Worship is not an optional extra but the basic and essential part of the self-discipline of Christian life.  It matters not whether worship is exciting, fun, rewarding, etc...  Worship is needed.  I need it.  I need to hear the voice of the Pastor absolving me.  I need the counsel of God's Word preached to me (the full counsel of Law and Gospel).  I need to commune, to eat the Body of Christ and to drink His blood.  I need the koinonia of the Lord's house, people, and table.  This has nothing to do with pleasing the Pastor or bolstering weak statistics or any personal self-serving desire or want.  It has everything to do with NEED.  I must have it.  Or.... I will die.  Christ's life will wither in me until I am a shell of a person, empty of life, of forgiveness, of hope, and of grace.

When I was a child, my mother called us to the table to eat.  It was no invitation.  It was a command.  It was not to please her but for my own sake.  I could not be left to my own devices as to whether or not I wanted to, had something better to do, or would grab something on my own later.  I had to be there.  Jesus is not some passive character who waits for us to awaken to who He is and what He brings.  He calls us.  He sends forth His Spirit through His Word.  He seeks us out to bring us together with those who also share His name by baptism and who believe in Him.  He draws us to Himself -- not for Him or His vanity or His pleasure -- but because we need Him.  He gives us what we need or we will DIE!

I am sick and tired of trying to convince people it is worth it to them to come, trying to impress them with what could happen if they did, or trying to make it so special they will want to come.  If it is not enough that Christ is here with His gifts that we NEED or we will DIE, what can I do or say that would be more than this urgent cause to lead them to come.  Either I have to be there or it does not matter anymore.  For if I no longer feel the need to be present around the Word and Table of the Lord, is there any faith left in me?  Any of Christ left in me? 

I fear that we have given in and made relevance and reward new categories for being in the Divine Service and have turned the whole thing on end.  I have often complained of those who missed worship and then asked "Did anything special happen?"  Only to be told, "Nah, same old, same old."  Really?  We have to make it "special" to convince people it is worth going?  No.  We need to be there, we must be there.  That is the reason.  Nothing less.  I must be there and receive His gifts of grace... or I will DIE!  (Maybe not instantaneously but the long, drawn out, death of those who do not even realize they are dying!)

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Hymnody and Pulpit Review: Herberger


Herberger, Valerius. Translated by Matthew Carver. The Great Works of God Parts One and Two: The Mysteries of Christ and the Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-15. St. Louis: Concordia, 2010. 401 Pages. Paper. $44.99. (P)

Herberger, Valerius. Translated by Matthew Carver. The Great Works of God Parts Three and Four: The Mysteries of Christ and the Book of Genesis, Chapters 16-50. St. Louis: Concordia, 2011. 513 Pages. Paper. $44.99. (P)

"All Theology is Christology" is proved once again by this set published by Concordia, translated by Matthew Carver, and authored by pastor, author, hymnwriter, and "Jesus Preacher" Valerius Herberger.

Herberger (1562-1627), a Lutheran pastor in Fraustadt (now Wschowa), Poland, at the turn of the seventeenth century, preached through the books of the Old Testament from Genesis through Ruth, producing devout meditations on the Scriptures. "These he regarded rather like the linen cloths that wrapped the infant Jesus in the manger, and traced his Lord in every little wrinkle" (from the translator's preface).

Two Book Set Includes:

The Great Works of God Parts 1 & 2: Genesis 1-15
The Great Works of God Parts 3 & 4: Genesis 16-50

Pastor Valerius Herberger
(1562-1627) served St. Mary's parish church in Fraustadt (now Wschowa) Poland during the most difficult days of the Counter-Reformation when a royal decree ousted the congregation from its building in 1604. As a deacon and preacher in the congregation for nearly forty years, Herberger left us a remarkable example of biblical interpretation, application, and sincere devotion.


Matthew Carver
, MFA, is a translator of German and classical literature. He resides in Nashville, TN, with his wife Amanda, where they pursue interests in art, orthodox Lutheran theology, liturgy, and hymnody. (Publisher's Website)




Christ is the focus of this two-volume Genesis Commentary, expertly translated by Matthew Carver. His translation style and hymnological expertise is a great fit for Herberger's writing style, exegetically rich like Luther, and also personal and rich with Bible connections like Gerhard. (Our review of Carver's translation of Walther's Hymnal:


I loved Herberer's intoductory dedications, pithily quoting Bernard, how he parallels the passion of Christ with Joseph, Isaac, Jacob, and the other patriarchs, and a section on Adam and Even and Holy Matrimony that is comforting, instructive, and timely today.


We'd love to see more from Herberger/Carver. The Great Works of God was completed through the book of Ruth. Perhaps Concordia would consider adding to this set?


Order your set today at a bargain price!


Save over 40%
Pay only $49.99 for the set. (Retail Value $89.98)
Use promotional code LGW on checkout screen to receive your discount!

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

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FW: Seeking Errata for The Brotherhood Prayer Book (+ last day of the sale!)

From: Emmanuel Press Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2013 5:58 AM
Subject: Seeking Errata for The Brotherhood Prayer Book (+ last day of the sale!)




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A Call for Errata

· Our September sale has brought unprecedented sales of The Brotherhood Prayer Book, to the point where we now need to print another run of books sooner than anticipated.

· With this next print run, we are planning to add errata as an appendix in order to list errors that appear within the text. We have chosen not to actually fix the mistakes since an adjustment in the text could affect pagination and make these new books less compatible with the current copies. It is therefore most helpful that this new print run be exactly the same as previous ones with errata appended at the end. Once we have compiled the list, we will also list these errata as a free download on our website.

· For those of you who have found mistakes, please email them to us by September 30 so that we can make as complete a list as possible.

**Today is the last day of our September sale! Visit our website to save up to 35% on all books. 












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Friday, September 13, 2013

FW: Trying to be something you are not...




Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Friday, September 13, 2013 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: Trying to be something you are not...


My parents oft dashed my delusions of grandeur by saying "you have champagne tastes on beer money."  When that did not work, they would tell the most embarrassing stories about me.  It is a tactic they still do.  I do not blame them, in fact, I find myself following their example with my own children.  It can easily be mistaken as merely the delight of seeing someone squirm on the hot seat but it is truly the voice of wisdom reminding me to be who I am.  I thank God for those who still bring me painfully down to earth when my ego inflates me.

It seems to me that we live in a time when being something you are not is epidemic.  Men act like children or adolescents in our modern world.  They eschew responsibility and seem addicted to the past pursuits of their pubescent lives -- thinking that drinking craft beer, wearing brand name clothing, buying top brands of latest technology, and dominating World of Warcraft or some other video game is the same triumph as loving a wife, parenting a children, going to work everyday, caring for the home, protecting the family, and being the spiritual leader of that family.  The world needs men to be men.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Women act as if not needing anyone is the greatest achievement of all.  The modern day ideal is the self-sufficient woman who has career first, maybe a kid (with the help of a sperm donor but not a man), economic success, freedom to live as she chooses, and who makes all her own decisions.  She complains that men are not men today but she does not need or want a man so she is content to play with boys as toys.  She has become as hard, emotionally distant, and brutally conniving to get what she wants as were the stereotypical men she hates but she does not see it.  She farms off her children to day care and indulges them.  The world needs women to be women.  Nothing more and nothing less.

The Church fears that being the Church is either out of style, irrelevant, or not fun and so the Church acts like she is not the Church.  She eschews the things of God to be prophets of pleasure and self-fulfillment, she teaches self-help instead of the Word of God, and she worships at the same god of happiness as the folks around her.  She chooses to act as an orphan even though she has a family, a lineage, and a history.  She listens to polls like politicians but she has no time to listen to the voice of God in His Word.  She mimics the skeptic's mind about the things of God, Scripture, and tradition but has bought into the fad truths of identity defined by sexuality, of values that shift with the sands of time, and of a today that defines hope as optimism, eternity as the time you wait to get what you want, and heaven as your best life now.  The world needs the Church to be the Church.  Nothing more and nothing less.

I could go on...  You get the drift.  We need men man enough to repent and kneel before Him who was incarnate to bring new life to those captive to death.  We need men who are man enough to show up on Sunday morning to meet the God whose gifts are forgiveness, life, and salvation, in, with, and under the preacher's voice, the splash of water, and the taste of bread and wine.  We need women willing be women, to show the nobility of a submission borne of love, to extend love and care to their children as a holy calling noble and pure, and to make the home a center of faith, hope, and love.  We need women and men who live joyfully in the interdependence of lives made one in which God blesses this creative love with children who are raised in the Church to know the Lord.  But... first we will need the Church to be the Church.  Not some marriage between what we want to be and who we are but the Church.  Not some Champale that promises to bridge two very different things but who we are.

We are trying too hard to be what we are not.  How much harder can it be to be what we are?  The Church is not a self-help group or a personal affirmation society or the provider of interesting entertainment.  The Church is the body of Christ for the sake of the head who is Christ.  When our teaching, congregational life, and worship remember this, the fortunes of a Church living in fear will be transformed.  When we call men to Christ-like love as the men God has called them to be, women will delight in responding to that love with their own love and then the family will be set free from the tyranny of desire and pleasure to be the domain of the Lord.  We have gotten where we are trying to be what we are not.  What have we achieved?  An empty shell of a structure of church and home so filled with problems that believe the prophets of doom who tell us we are dead.  If we were who we are, we would know better.  God's creative order has not been set aside but His people redeemed to live within the holy estates with contentment and peace.  God's Church will endure and the gates of hell shall not prevail.   

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

FW: The Liturgy of Baptism & The Daily Prayer Offices Series




From: Issues, Etc. []
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:19 AM
Subject: The Liturgy of Baptism & The Daily Prayer Offices Series


IE Logo 800 


Dear Friend of Issues, Etc.,

Greetings in the name of Jesus.

We know that many of our listeners have enjoyed our past in-depth series on "The Historic Liturgy" with Pastor Will Weedon, director of Worship for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. 

We have recently concluded two more series: four interviews with Pr. Weedon on "The Liturgy of Holy Baptism" and eight interviews on "The Daily Prayer Offices." These two series delve deeply into the history, practice and theology of the Church's liturgies of Baptism and Prayer.

You can listen to these two series in their entirety by clicking here

Thanks for listening.

Wir sind alle Bettler,
Wilken signature 
Todd Wilken, host
Issues, Etc.

Join Our Mailing List


Lutheran Public Radio | PO Box 912 | Collinsville | IL | 62234


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Thursday, September 5, 2013

FW: Great Stuff — Ten Questions to Lead Your Church Social Media Strategy




Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Thursday, September 05, 2013 3:24 PM
Author: Norm Fisher
Subject: Great Stuff — Ten Questions to Lead Your Church Social Media Strategy


Given that BJS promotes New Media, here's good information for a church as it thinks about how it needs to expand into social media. This was found over on This was obviously written for the business world and modified slightly, some of the points have "church" instead of "business":


It is one thing for the church to know about social media and tweet randomly or to post a link on your Facebook page, and a whole other thing for you to actually take the time to actually come up with a working strategy. Your church needs to understand that a target is necessary, goals are established to achieve, and everything is written down so that everyone involved is on the same page.

To make your church's own social media strategy, we came up with ten questions for you to answer as you put together your social media strategy and a brief description to further explain why we asked that question. Do not breeze past this part, this is what can make your social media process a success or a failure:


  1. What is the purpose of your organization, blog, or product?

Social media is a great tool,but you need to know who you are and what you are going to be putting out there before you press forward with social media. Maybe you are investing too much in social media when you do not even know what the mission of your company is. Defining this is simply a good business practice.

  1. What will be the purpose of using social media?
    You need to know why you are using each specific network, otherwise you will not have direction with your tools. Know what the end goal is of using these resources. If it is simply to market, then define that. But realize that social media has the ability to do more than simply getting out the details of your company. You can create a brand, community, and place to get the opinions and other resources from your viewers.
  2. Who is your audience?
    If you are a local company in a small town, Facebook may be the perfect place for you. If you are a large church in a big city, you may need to make sure you are present in several networks. Defining this allows you to not waste too much time in the wrong places. This may also take some researching on your part. Survey your current customers as well as new ones.
  3. How many resources are you going to put into social networking?
    Will you be paying someone to do this or doing it yourself? How much time to do you want to invest in this a day, week, or month? Will you be advertising these networks at church, in promotional flyers, on your website? Are you up for putting a little money down to promote your company or product? All of these need to be answered to be efficient.
  4. How will you be measuring your success?
    Will you use a web app like Klout or SproutSocial or simply use the built in analytic tools with Google or Facebook's Insight? If you simply rely on the number of fans or followers, you will miss the mark.
  5. How are others who have a similar company mission doing social media?

If you know of others doing with social media, you may be able to incorporate better strategies and find new seasonal objectives for your social media accounts. Do the legwork and you will benefit from it.

  1. How will you know that you have succeeded or failed after a time?

The prep work for our strategy is done, now we need to write down how we can measure this success. Do you want your followers to go somewhere to buy something? Are you intended to have them see your blog? Or maybe you simply want us as followers to see how brilliant you are, great. Come up with at least five goals.

  1. Are those goals, highlighted above, specific and measurable?

Simply saying that you want to get more viewers is not a good strategy. How many more? Wanting to get retweeted five times a week is okay, but being more specific by stating that you want to be retweeted five times a week of at least 1,000 new people is better.

  1. Are those goals clear and realistic?

If you are new to social media, do not expect to see your website blow up. At the same time, saying that you want fifty new people to see your website does not define if you want them to see an aspect of the website, your blog, or to interact with your featured products you are selling. Make sure your strategy is clear.

  1. How are you going to adjust if you do not succeed with these goals?
    Are you okay with having lower expectations or putting more resources into it? Failure in the short term does not mean failure in the long term. In fact, that may be what you need to achieve success. But if you create a presence in the social media networks and then abandon them, you have done WAY MORE HARM than good. It is better to not have a social media presence than to have one that shows you do not care.

BONUS  QUESTION: What challenges do you foresee with social media?

Will there be a learning curve for you or do you need to bring on a consultant to help define things for you? Are you committing too much time to this that it affects the product itself? Are you presenting a good brand?

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FW: Free Download – PowerPoint files for Fundamental Greek Grammar




Feed: Concordia Academic
Posted on: Wednesday, September 04, 2013 1:38 PM
Author: Laura Lane
Subject: Free Download – PowerPoint files for Fundamental Greek Grammar


Fundamental Greek GrammarThe best-selling textbook Fundamental Greek Grammar is now even easier to use in the college or seminary classroom. Thanks to the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Philip Penhallegon of Concordia University Ann Arbor, Concordia Publishing House is pleased to announce the availability of PowerPoint files of the grammar exercises found in this popular textbook by Dr. James W. Voelz.

Dr. Penhallegon spoke to us about his work and offered some advice to beginning students:

 1. How will these PowerPoint presentations help professors of Greek?

My hope is that these files will help Greek professors communicate with their students. All of the drills from Dr. Voelz's book are now available for media display so that professors can point to exactly the part of the drill or sentence to which they are referring. In my case at Ann Arbor, we project directly onto the whiteboard. This allows me to circle parsing clues, write all over the Greek sentence, connect articles with their nouns, etc. It also saves me the time of having to write sentences on the board. 

2. What gave you the idea to put these together?

 I used to spend a great deal of time writing drills on the board, but there is never enough class time do all that one would like to do. It made sense to save time by having the drills ready to project. I am grateful that CPH allowed me to prepare these PowerPoint slides for use in the classroom.

3. What piece of advice would you give to beginning Greek students?

Study hard. Be persistent. Read Greek every day. Take short breaks to give your brain a rest, but be sure to come back to the task! Enjoy reading the Word of the Lord.

Dr. Penhallegon is currently an Associate Professor of Religion at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, MI, as well as the pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Milan, MI. He teaches biblical languages and courses in biblical content. He authored "For Such a Time as This," a CPH study on Esther. He is married to Gretchen and has four children. In his free time, Dr. Penhallegon enjoys bicycling, swimming, reading, and spending time with his family.

To obtain the free slides, visit the product page and click on "Downloads."



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FW: C.F.W. Walther: "Joy for mission work is shown in action."




Feed: Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison
Posted on: Wednesday, September 04, 2013 3:46 PM
Author: Rev. Matt Harrison
Subject: C.F.W. Walther: "Joy for mission work is shown in action."




C.F.W. Walther, from the Epistel Postille ON THE DAY OF THE EPIPHANY OF CHRIST

(First Sermon)


Lord Jesus, You will that all men be helped and come to know the truth. Thus, You have not only called out in a friendly way to coax them: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, and you will find rest for your souls"; You have also not only given the precious promise: "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw them all to myself"; You have also proven all this with action. You have indeed Yourself become a man to save all men, offered Yourself upon the cross, and, after the completion of Your universal redemption, given Your disciples the command: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures." But, with Your command, You have also revealed that You wish to call the lost of the world who sit in darkness and the shadow of death to Yourself, through men, through Your disciples, through the faithful, through us as well. Therefore, we accordingly ask You, O give to us in our hearts still today the burning, longing desire for the salvation of all men, which You have [for them]. Take away from us all indifference toward the desperate need of the soul in which countless millions today still unknowingly lie and kindle in us the ardent fire of the love that seeks all men, which You Yourself have. Accordingly, bless Your Word also in this solemn hour for the sake of that eternal saving love. Amen.



Isaiah 60:1-6 (ESV)


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. [2] For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,

and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you,

and his glory will be seen upon you. [3] And nations shall come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your rising. [4] Lift up your eyes all around, and see;

they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far,

and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. [5] Then you shall see and be radiant;

your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,

the wealth of the nations shall come to you. [6] A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah;

all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense,

and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.


The mission or, what is the same, the work of the conversion of the heathen, has, my dear ones, now and again experienced much opposition...


Yet, my dear ones, if only it could be true that only hundreds of years ago and among Jews and heathens mission work had received enmity! But [unfortunately] there is, nonetheless, enmity toward missions still today (God bewails it!), even in the mist of Christianity itself. The apostate Christians of our own day clearly call out when they see how much is set apart for missions and how much poor-as-a-church-mouse Christians offer for them, clearly, I say, they call out: "What kind of garbage is that? Wouldn't this money be better spent if it were given to the poor?" So they in this way speak like Judas, only more hypocritically, because far from presenting what was set apart for the poor, these apostate Christians desire to devote this money rather to the indulgence of the desire of their flesh. It is not mercy toward the poor that makes one an enemy of missions, but rather their enmity toward Christ, for up to His throne they cry out: "We do not want this One to rule over us!"



Yet, my dear ones, to be a true Christian and nonetheless be no friend, yes indeed even an enemy, of mission work, is impossible. Our text, among other texts as well, demonstrates this to us today. Since we now celebrate the annual, universal mission festival of the Christian Church today, let me accordingly address you on the basis of our text:


About the joy of the true believer in mission work;


We ponder two things in regard to this: 


1. how the joy of mission work lives in the hear of each true believer, and 

2. how this joy is expressed by the true believer through action.


I. "Arise, shine!" With these words, Isaiah in our text addresses the believing Zion of his

time. In this way, he demands for them to be at peace. For with the call, "Arise, shine!" he wants

to say nothing other than this: "Up, Zion, cheer yourself, cheer yourself!" For as darkness is a symbol of sadness, light is a symbol of peace. For the time of the prophet Isaiah appeared highly troubling for the church of the old covenant. We learn this already from the first chapter of the prophesies of Isaiah, where the prophet himself bemoans: "And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah."



What, then, is it, my dear ones, by which Isaiah now seeks to kindle in the hearts of the disheartened believers of his time the light of peace? It is the proclamation, made in advance, that soon a time will come in which great multitudes of the heathen would convert; it is also, in a word, mission work.



According to our text, joy in mission work lives in the heart of each true believer.



Isaiah also, at the same time, indicates the reason for this joy of the believer, when he continues in our text to say as well: "For your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you." The precise reason why the believer rejoices in mission work according to our text is therefore this: "they themselves have already personally experienced the saving power of the gospel."



And so it is, my dear ones. A man who does not yet have the true faith is self-seeking; he rejoices only over the good that befalls his own person. He does not concern himself with the his neighbor, least of all, concerning the health of his neighbor's soul. At best, the faithless man rejoices over the fact that he himself should be saved; whether another is saved is an indifferent matter for him. A faithless man speaks like Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?" As soon as a man comes to truth faith, however, a great change then comes over him. From this moment on the reign of self-seeking is broken and love for his neighbor is kindled in him; accordingly, he now carries the desire in his heart that still all men might become such blessed people as he has become through faith. As, for example, when David had come, through true faith, to the certainty of the forgiveness of his sins and therefore said to God, "Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you." In the first chapter of the Gospel of John we read further: As Andrew found the Savior and received Him in faith, he then sought likewise to bring his brother Simon, who after this was given the name Peter by Christ, to Christ; and as Philip had recognized Jesus as the Messiah, then also likewise led his friend Nathaniel to Him. Whoever has come to true faith of the heart can in no possible way keep the great treasure he has found for himself alone, but rather thinks, as the hymn says:


If only all men knew, Jesus, how friendly you are, And [how] the condition of a true Christian

Inexpressibly blessed is!



A true believer must associate with one who is not yet standing in the faith, in this way to plead with him accordingly, to enter into religious conversation to rouse him to the care of his soul, and to allure him to Christ; or if he feels too weak for that, then to seek to at least move him to go with him to church, in that way to experience how he can be saved. He also will indeed plot to place a Bible or some other salutary and rousing literature into the hand of the poor man stuck in unbelief. Before everything else, indeed, those who have come to the true faith will seek to bring those close to them to Christ: the believing man his unbelieving wife and vice versa, the believing parents their unbelieving child, the sibling their sibling, the relative their relative, the friend their friend, the master and mistress of the house their servants, maid, and worker, the boss the apprentice, the roommate the roommate, the neighbor. A Christian who has truly come to the faith also does not merely remain concerned with his individual neighbor, but also desires that his entire city, his entire land, yes indeed, the entire world be brought to Christ. For this reason, he also gladly reads such periodicals through which he comes to know what is happening in the kingdom of God [lit. experiences what time it is in the kingdom of God], for he takes to heart in every part what happens in the kingdom of God. The chance of those who have come to the true faith becoming indifferent toward those who still live without God that it is indeed more easy and likely for the newly converted to fall into an entirely unhealthy missionary zeal, by which they fail to appreciate [lit. forget] their own salvation. In short, the entire Christian Church is not only a community [organized] by men, but also a great mission society founded by God Himself; each individual congregation is indeed, so to speak, mission society branch established by God Himself, and each believing Christian is a missionary in his own [social] circle [or sphere of influence]. 



For as Peter says about all believing Christians: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." Thus we also observe that as often as the church is shedding blood a zealous mission is set in motion, and as often as the church falls into decadence, there also a zeal for this holy work becomes cold, and the work endures only through the few remaining private mission societies, as, for example, is the case in our day in Germany.



But what now is the matter over which the truly believing friends of missions rejoice so very much? Isaiah shows us in our text with the words: "And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah." 


See, the matter that gives such great joy to believing with regard to mission work is this, that through this work so many lost souls, created by God for eternal life and redeemed at such a great cost through Christ, are indeed saved from damnation and thus made blessed ones, like the believing themselves are, also that the kingdom of God expands further and all lands continue to become always more full of His glory.



Now then, my dear ones, how does it stand for you in connection with this? Do you perhaps still remain cold when you here that there are still innumerable millions of heathen sitting in darkness and the shadow of death? Do you not beat yourself up over the fact that even in this adopted fatherland of ours there are yet thousands and thousands dying heathen in darkness without God, without a Savior, without hope? Does your heart remain unmoved when you hear that hundreds of thousands of the poor darkened of our land who have indeed been freed from bodily slavery still for the most part live in a very much more terrifying slavery, namely, slavery to the devil? Are you not troubled that many of our  immigrants who share our faith arrive without a church and spiritual school, and thus either become plunder for an enthusiast [schwaermerisch] sect or sink back into open unbelief [heathenism] along with their children? Oh, if you are still indifferent in spite of these things, then you yourself still lie in spiritual death as well, without the true faith, still ruled by self-seeking. Then you are still like those who, while their brother calls for help in a burning house, stay still as he perishes miserably in the flames, or like those who, while their brother wrestles with death in the high waters of a stream, lends no saving hand, feasting away joyfully on the beach and heartlessly watching the fatally

misfortunate one being swallowed by the deep. Lament overcome you in eternity if you persist so horrifyingly without love in such circumstances!



Yet, my dear ones, the joy living in the heart of true believers for mission work is shown by them also in action. And concerning that, let me now speak to you about the second part.



II. Our text closes with the words: "All those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold

and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord." There are two parts to this, whereby those who have become believers at once demonstrate their joy in the work of missions through action: the first is through offerings for the necessary resources and the other is through prayer and intercession.



God has thus wonderfully arranged it so that for the preservation and expansion of the spiritual kingdom of the church, this kingdom of heaven upon earth, certain earthly resources are necessary. As God can preserve and extend humanity in the kingdom of the earth immediately [without means], so also He could indeed also preserve and extend the church immediately; as, however, He God only preserves humanity by means of food and drink according to His wise and loving design, so also He wants to preserve and extend the kingdom of His church upon the earth through certain earthly means, which men must provide. He wants individual Christian congregations to exist [continue], so they must have preachers and teachers called, which costs much, so they engage in and support the establishing of seminaries and the building of churches and schools; and He wants the church to set the entire mission in motion, so it must have missionaries trained and support them, often at no insignificant cost. And God has so ordained it in His great wisdom and love; of course, not because He needs men or their gold and silver (God indeed Himself says: "Mine is both silver and gold"), but because God wants to allow those who have become believers to take part in the magnificent work of the saving of a world of sinners; and also not to place a difficult burden on those who have become believers, but so that He in so doing might make them into His helpers to show them the greatest and highest honor a poor mortal and sinful man can be shown.



Therefore, all true believers view this, not as a burden, which one wants to afflict them with, but as an honor, which is shown them and should be shown to none of the unbelieving people of the world, if they were invited, as is said in our text: to offer "gold and frankincense." for the holy work of missions And since they cannot all themselves go out as missionaries to call back the lost sheep of Christ, they bring offerings of money with all the more joy, so that others in their place may, by means of it, carry out the work in their stead.



At this point it also is to be noted that God wants to reward this honorable offering with a great reward [gratuity] in eternity. For all the heathen converted through mission work will one day walk before the Judgment seat of God on the day of reward, and they all will give witness to those who have contributed the work of their conversion and salvation with their earthly possessions. Then the Word of the Lord will be fulfilled most wonderfully: "Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings." Then the tiniest mite which was offered in faith will itself become flawless and sparkling pearls and jewels which the believing, free-giving friend of missions will then wear.



Nonetheless, my dear ones, as important and necessary as earthly resources are to the carrying out of the holy work of missions, they are still not the chief way in which the true believers show their joy in missions through action. The chief way is and remains prayer. An unbelieving man can also throw money into missions, with no heart for the holy mission at all; but he cannot pray for it. That only a true believer can do, and this he indeed does. As often as he prays the Our Father, he sighs in the second and third petition: "Hallowed by Thy name," and "Thy kingdom come!" also for the poor heathen, so that the pure Word and saving kingdom of the grace of God comes to them also. As often as He gives a gift for mission work, he groans: "Lord, bless them." He bears the missionary and the entire mission upon his praying heart and is sometimes moved by the Holy Ghost to bend his knee in the silence of his closet, to invoke God and to be before His face: "praise to proclaim."



How does it now stand, my dear ones, regarding your gifts for missions, more importantly than anything else, regarding your intercessions for missions? Does it perhaps still not even strike you to pray for the conversion of others, as things appear sorrowful in your own soul, as you yourself first need a missionary? But if you have indeed already experienced that from time to time, you must scold your sadness, now then, let yourself therefore be cheered. "Arise, shine!" This word applies not only to the believers of the old covenant, but also to us New Testament Christians; for God Himself opens more doors for His pure Word in these troubled times. The Lord has already done great things and even blessed our trifling mission work beyond our prayers and understanding. For this, let us rejoice today and, on that account, praise and worship the name of the Lord. But God also further requires the work of our hands; indeed, He wants to demand the work of our hands. Amen.


This sermon was found HERE.

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