Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lutheran Hour Comes to Spartanburg

'The Lutheran Hour' Will Begin Airing on WLFJ 660 AM/92.9 FM

St. Louis, MO, February 27, 2015 — Lutheran Hour Ministries has announced the addition of a new radio station to broadcast The Lutheran Hour® in Spartanburg, Greenville and surrounding communities. Beginning March 1, The Lutheran Hour will air every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on WLFJ Radio 660 AM/92.9 FM. 
Rev. Gregory Seltz

The Lutheran Hour is the flagship radio program for Lutheran Hour Ministries and it airs weekly on 1,400 stations throughout North America. In addition to traditional radio, The Lutheran Hour is also available as a podcast from the web, online at and on the American Forces Network for members of the military and their families. Station information and broadcast times (locally or throughout North America) for the program can be found by visiting and clicking Broadcast Guide, or by calling 1-800-876-9880.

A Lutheran Hour mobile app is also now available for your iPhone or Android device so you can take the program wherever you go. The app allows you to play the audio or read the text of the program’s current sermon; search and play a sermon from The Lutheran Hour archive; bookmark your favorite sermons for easy access; learn about Speaker Rev. Gregory Seltz and Speaker Emeritus Rev. Ken Klaus; or contact Lutheran Hour Ministries.

“While we always want The Lutheran Hour to be a witness to those who are outside the fellowship of the Christian faith, through the program the Holy Spirit also nurtures and gives renewed faith and direction for life to those who already know their Savior,” says Rev. Seltz. “The program is also a witness to those who are weak, doubting, troubled, and need help and loving assurance from God’s Word.”

St. Louis-based Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) is a Christian outreach ministry supporting churches worldwide in its mission of Bringing Christ to the Nations—and the Nations to the Church. LHM produces Christian radio and TV programming for broadcast, as well as Internet resources, print communications, evangelism training and a variety of other culturally-relevant outreach materials, to reach the unchurched in more than 30 countries. For more information about Lutheran Hour Ministries, visit

Friday, February 27, 2015

D. Bonhoeffer Quote

Beware of visions and visionaries in the church.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own laws, and judges the brethren and God himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of the brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.

When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.

Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by his call, by his forgiveness, and his promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what he does give us daily.

And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of his grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day?

Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Christ Jesus? Thus, the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by the one Word and Deed which really binds us together--the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship...

Bonhoeffer, Life Together.

I Want To See This Movie

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Law & Gospel

LEARN ABOUT TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BIBLICAL TEACHINGS --- on your Lutheran Radio Station Worldwide KFUO.  The program Law and Gospel uses the theological distinctions between Law and Gospel not only to apply the Bible, but also to understand our relationship to God’s entire plan of salvation in Christ. Join host Tom Baker weekdays at 9:30-10:00am CDT.  Find it at and follow us at

CSU presidents embrace identity statement

CUS presidents embrace identity statement

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is blessed with university leadership that seeks to reflect the confession and practice of the church. The presidents of the Concordia University System (CUS), meeting in Peachtree, Ga., in October 2014, and in Asheville, N.C., Feb. 9, 2015, have endorsed* the following identity statement and its protocols as a means to demonstrate their support for the Christian teaching, Lutheran confession and practice of the church. Pastors, congregations and parents are urged to support these faithful presidents and send students as well as financial assistance so that their mission as institutions of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod might flourish and display the truth that all true knowledge and learning is rightly ordered in relation to God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.

While some have noted the drift of colleges and universities away from the churches that gave birth to them, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod can give thanks for such a clear and forthright expression of solidarity with the church. Such commitment by the presidents is distinctive and, by God’s grace, will recommend their institutions not only to members of the church but to those publics that are seeking such a full and transparent commitment to the integration of the finest in university education with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lutheran Identity Standards for CUS Institutions

As educational institutions of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the colleges and universities of the Concordia University System confess the faith of the Church. The Concordias uphold the teachings of sacred Scripture and its articulation in the Lutheran Confessions. This includes the biblical teaching that Jesus Christ — true God and true man — is the sole way to God’s mercy and grace; that at the beginning of time the Triune God created all things; that life is sacred from conception to natural death; and that marriage between a man and a woman is a sacred gift of God’s creative hand — over against the reductionistic assumptions of many in our culture who view men and women as only transitory and material beings.

As educational institutions of the LCMS, the Concordias are committed to providing an excellent, robust curriculum in the liberal arts and professional studies, which together equip students for various vocations of service to church and society. As C.F.W. Walther wrote, “As long as and wherever the Christian church flourished, it always and everywhere proved itself to be a friend and cultivator of all good arts and sciences, gave its future servants a scholarly preparatory training, and did not disdain to permit its gifted youth at its schools of higher learning to be trained by the standard products of even pagan art and science.[i] ”

Accordingly, the colleges and universities of the Concordia University System affirm and promise to uphold these identity standards:

1. Identity statements

The institution’s mission statement (and/or vision statement) clearly identifies it as a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) institution, as do the institution’s primary print and electronic publications.

2. Governing board

All of the institution’s regents are active members in good standing of LCMS congregations (Bylaw – 4).[ii]

3. Senior leadership

The president and the senior leaders over academics, student life, admissions and athletics are active members in good standing of LCMS congregations, and all faithfully participate in worship and religious activities on campus and in their local congregations.

4. Faculty

Each tenure track or continuing-level faculty search is given optimal exposure among members of congregations of the LCMS to identify faculty who are qualified in their respective academic disciplines and are members of LCMS congregations.

Ideally, all faculty members are active members of LCMS congregations. When academically qualified LCMS members are not available, faculty members will be Christians who affirm, at minimum, the content of the Ecumenical Creeds and are members of Christian congregations. All faculty members promise to perform their duties in harmony with the truths of Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and the doctrinal statements of the LCMS (cf. Bylaw

The majority of the full-time faculty are members of LCMS congregations. In cases where this standard is not met, the institution will develop a plan to reach this minimum standard and submit it to the CUS.

The institution has an ongoing faculty and staff development program required of all faculty, senior administrators and senior staff members that clearly explains the tenets of LCMS higher education and what it means to be a faculty, administrator or staff member at a CUS institution. Adjunct or part-time faculty members engage in a similar faculty development program that likewise explains the fundamental tenets of LCMS higher education and what it means to be a part-time faculty member at an LCMS institution.

5. Theology faculty

All theology faculty (full-time and part-time) are active members in good standing of LCMS congregations and fully affirm the theological confession of the LCMS. As the LCMS Bylaws indicate, all full-time theology faculty receive prior approval from the CUS Board of Directors before being appointed or called (Bylaw

6. Academic freedom and responsibility

All full-time faculty acknowledge their acceptance of the CUS statement of Academic Freedom and Responsibilities. All faculty, both full- and part-time, pledge to perform their duties in harmony with Scripture, the Confessions and the Synod’s doctrinal statements (Bylaw

7. Faith and learning

In accordance with the doctrine of the two kingdoms, all faculty strive to faithfully bring Lutheran theology into interaction with their various academic disciplines while respecting the integrity of those disciplines. Likewise, in other campus arenas, faculty, staff and administrators will seek to apply Lutheran theology within their campus vocations.

8. Required theology courses

The institution requires two to three theology courses for an undergraduate degree, typically in Old Testament, New Testament and Christian doctrine. Because these courses are directly related to the theological identity of CUS institutions and to the identity formation of graduates, these theology courses will normally be taken at a CUS institution. Exceptions to this will be approved by the institution’s called theological faculty.

9. Preparation of church workers

The institution provides resources to recruit, form, nurture and place students preparing for professional church work in the LCMS (e.g., pre-seminary, pre-deaconess, Lutheran teachers, DCEs, DCOs, DPMs, etc.). Specific programs vary by campus.

10. Campus ministry

The institution offers regular opportunities for worship that reflect the confession of the church. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in these services. The institution calls a campus pastor or chaplain, who is a Minister of Religion—Ordained of the LCMS, who oversees the worship life of the community, organizes opportunities for Christian service and witness, and provides pastoral care for students.

Assessment of institutional commitment to Lutheran identity

Each institution will submit an annual written report to the CUS Board of Directors describing, with evidence, how the institution meets the 10 Lutheran Identity Standards. The report will be endorsed by each respective Board of Regents and will be shared with the campus community.

October 18, 2014

[i] Walther, C.F.W., “Forward to the 1875 Volume: Are We Guilty of Despising Scholarship,” in Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther: Editorials from “Lehre und Wehre,” trans. August R. Suelflow (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1981), Pages 124-125.

[ii] For purposes of clarity, this document is using “member” inclusively to include both laypersons whose membership is in a local congregation and called ministers of the Gospel who are themselves members of Synod.

* President Dr. Viji George of Concordia College—New York, Bronxville, has requested that his name be removed until his Board of Regents can consider the statement at its May 2015 meeting.

Worship Notes for the Second Sunday in Lent, 2015

Thursday after the First Sunday in Lent
February 26, 2015

Blessed Lententide

Once again our unseasonable weather has led to the canceling of a worship service, this time our Wednesday evening Lent service (2/25). The roads weren’t as bad as the weathermen said, but there was no way to know. At least everyone on our e-mail list received a printed copy of the message along with the e-mail notifying them of the cancelation. It seems everyone got the word as no one showed up at church (where I was just in case). Once again, the loss of a worship service means the loss of an offering. Please remember to compensate for this by giving more this coming Sunday. The bills still need to be paid.

This coming Sunday will be the Second Sunday in Lent (March 1). We will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching for our liturgy (page 2602). This is a service of the word, not a communion service. The appointed lessons are Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Romans 5:1-11; and Mark 8:27-38. The appointed Psalm is Psalm 22:23-31 (the antiphon is verse 22).

The sermon text is Mark 8:35 and the sermon is titled “Martyrs.” Our opening hymn is “On My Heart Imprint Your Image” (LSB 422). Our sermon hymn is “Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses” (LSB 667). The closing hymn is “Just as I Am, without One Plea” (LSB 570). The sermon hymn is one of those that we have learned.

Below is a video from the Lutheran Warbler singing our opening hymn, “On My Heart Imprint Your Image” (LSB 422).  

What follows is a synopsis of the OT, Epistle and Gospel lessons, provided by the synod. After that, are the readings themselves. Finally, there are some additional notes of interest.

By the Cross of Our Lord Jesus, We Inherit Life Everlasting with God
In His covenant with Abraham, the Lord promised to be with him, to bless him and to make him the father of a multitude of nations.” It is an everlasting covenant in Christ Jesus, the seed of Abraham who is blameless before God Almighty. All who believe in this Lord Jesus are the offspring of Abraham and are blessed throughout their generations (Gen. 17:1–7), because the Christ has suffered many things. He was rejected and killed, and after three days He rose again (Mark 8:31). To comprehend this theology of the cross, we must set our minds on the things of God,” and not on the things of man (Mark 8:33). “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, having been reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” much more shall we be saved by his life (Rom. 5:10). Baptized into His cross and resurrection, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and by faith we rejoice in the hope of His glory (Rom. 5:1–2).

Psalm 22:23-31 (22)
22          I will tell of your name to my brothers;
                        in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

23          You who fear the Lord, praise him!
                        All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
                        and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24          For he has not despised or abhorred
                        the affliction of the afflicted,
            and he has not hidden his face from him,
                        but has heard, when he cried to him.

25          From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
                        my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26          The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
                        those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
                        May your hearts live forever!

27          All the ends of the earth shall remember
                        and turn to the Lord,
            and all the families of the nations
                        shall worship before you.
28          For kingship belongs to the Lord,
                        and he rules over the nations.

29          All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
                        before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
                        even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30          Posterity shall serve him;
                        it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31          they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
                        that he has done it.

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
17:1        When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. …
15          And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

Romans 5:1-11
5:1         Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and 5hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6           For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Mark 8:27-38
27          And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
31          And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
34          And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Some Additional Notes

  • Our adult Sunday morning Bible study continues its look at the “spirituality of vocation.”

  • At our voters’ meeting this past Sunday we established policy for Lamb of God in reference to marriage practices. Our policy is in line with the larger Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. However, it also recognizes that the Council of Presidents is working on guidelines, and obligates us to revisit our policy once these guidelines are available.

  • Our Stations of the Cross have been posted in our yard.

  • The March newsletter is now available on this blog.

  • Our Lenten worship services are each Wednesday, 7:00 pm, preceded by a community supper, which begins at 6:15 pm. When you arrive at church Sunday, you will notice a beautiful new banner in the front of the church inviting the community. The theme for the homilies this Lent is “The Hymns of Lent.” We are looking at the teaching in some well-known Lenten hymns. This Wednesday’s homily will look at the theology behind “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” LSB 425.

  • Our seasonal Choir has its practices following our Wednesday worship services. New singers are always welcome.

  • Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 your closest neighbors from If you have no internet access, speak with Rachel Swain or Kitty Rickert and they will sign you up and get you a list.

  • The Board of Evangelism encourages our members to greet our visitors before our worship services begin. Think of it as welcoming someone to your home.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert