Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book: Martin Luther - A wild boar in the Lord's vineyard

Martin Luther: A Wild Boar in the Lord’s Vineyard tells the story of one of the most eventful and extraordinary lives of the late medieval period.
On 31 October 1517 an obscure German monk named Martin Luther posted 95 theses protesting the selling of indulgences. This single act brought him into inevitable conflict with both pope and emperor. The dispute that followed changed not only Luther’s life, but also the religious and political face of Europe. This book offers the modern reader a concise and accessible account of Luther’s remarkable life. It explores his passionate and fiery character, introduces us to a colourful cast of friends and enemies, and explains the complex politics of church and empire. Whether you love or hate Luther, agree or disagree with him, you will be left with little doubt that his life and thought have shaped the world in which we live – and in more ways than you may have thought.

What others are saying

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Article/Essay: Preaching Matthew

Preaching Matthew by Jeffrey Gibb appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Concordia Journal. 
Rather than commenting on individual texts, it gives a longer view of preaching for the upcoming church year. 
Preaching Matthew covers:

  • Formal Considerations
  • Material Considerations
  • Matthew's Gospel language
  • Call to discipleship

Read the full article at

Small Group Study: D360 Nine conversations about whole-life discipleship

D360: Nine Conversations About Whole-life Discipleship is designed as a Bible-study resource for pastors, ministry leaders, teachers and mentors to use in helping young-adult Christians respond to Jesus' Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and develop as full-on, whole-life disciples of Jesus Christ. 
Author Greg Koenig keeps what he calls "churchy language" to a minimum and content can be read at a fairly brisk pace. Plenty of biblical citations are included for readers who enjoy stopping from time to time to study, exchange ideas, or reflect.

Each chapter of D360: Nine Conversations About Whole-life Discipleship is structured as a conversation and features a comprehension section titled Deal With It and a faith-in-action section titled Go and Do.

Although D360's design and structure are fine-tuned for use in a discipling relationship, it can also serve as a powerful tool for an individual who desires to go to the next level in his or her development as a disciple of Christ.

Conversation (i.e., chapter) titles in D360 include: 

  • In the Image; 
  • Discipleship: A Life of Response to the Work of the Holy Spirit; 
  • Christian Learning: Understanding God’s Word; 
  • Community: God, You and Others; 
  • Prayer: Your Direct Access to the God Who Listens; 
  • Worship: It Might Not Be What You Think. It’s More.; 
  • Stewardship: It’s NOT (All) About Money?; 
  • Disciple-building. And Witness. And Evangelism.; 
  • What It All Could Look Like.

For a free sample visit here

To buy D360 visit here

About the authour
Greg Koenig is a preacher’s kid, educator and writer who has dedicated a lot of his adult life to understanding and interpreting faith and the Christian experience from the perspective of someone unacquainted with churchspeak (often also called Christianese).
“The phrase image of God in this book is a good example,” says Greg. “Many of us insiders love to use the term imago Dei, which is the Latin equivalent of the Hebrew b'tzelem Elohim—image, or shadow, or likeness of God. There is an elegance and a mystique to the phrase imago Dei, but the elegance and mystique are not particularly helpful to someone
who is just learning to respond to the message ofthe Bible. That simple message from God needs to strike a chord and then resonate; the language we use must allow it to do that.”

Greg is the servant-leader of the Lutheran Campus Mission Association (, an organization dedicated to equipping leaders to reach out with the Gospel in college/university communities. He and his wife Deb live in St. Louis, Missouri; they have four children and (at last count) four grandchildren. 

RCL Lectionary Missionary Snippets June 2017

Mission Snippets are short statements for the church (ie.  all who believe in Jesus) to help us live out our calling to make disciples of all nations.   They are based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the week, with June 2017's being based on the Gospel Reading.  

Some thing to note in understanding the Mission Snippets, they are written from the perspective:

  • The Church is all Christians (not the building, the insitution, the legal identity, etc.)
  • That as God's Church we have received His Good News and know that our salvation is totally dependant on what God has done through Jesus Christ.
  • That having received God's Good News we are not called to keep it to ourselves, but God has called every Christian to be sharing His Good News.
  • They are what they are, snippets to encourage you to ask questions, to explore more, to discuss further....

June 4  Pentecost Sunday
John 20:19-23
Jesus brings peace even when there is fear
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”    John 20:19
What fears do you have in relation to your faith?
What fears might others have in relation to having faith in Jesus?
How does the presence of Jesus help overcome our fears?
How do we be in the presence of Jesus today?
How do we help others to be in the presence of Jesus?

Holy Spirit – the power for forgiveness
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”   John 20:22-23
In Acts 10:44 we are told that the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message, how are you regularly hearing the Gospel and God’s Word so you are regularly receiving God's Spirit?
How are you helping and encouraging others to hear God’s Word so they can regularly receive the Holy Spirit?
What opportunities exist for you to bring God’s forgiveness, specifically, into the lives of others?
Why might you need the Holy Spirit to do this?

June 11  Trinity Sunday
Matthew 28:16-20
Being active despite doubts
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.   Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.    
Matthew 28:16-17
What doubts do you have about Jesus?
What doubts do other Christians you know have about Jesus?
What does it mean for Jesus to say to you even though you may have doubts “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.  Therefore go……”?
How do we assist others who have doubts to be actively involved in making disciples for Jesus?

Making disciples – baptising, teaching, and being with Jesus
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 
How is your life centred on making disciples?
How are you leading people to baptism?
What are you teaching people about Jesus?
What are the blessings as disciplemakers we receive by always being with Jesus?

June 18 Proper 6
Matthew 9:35-10:8
Jesus ministry involves teaching, proclaiming the Good News and healing.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.   Matthew 9:35 
How are you regularly receiving teaching from Jesus?
Explain the Good News in your own words.
What does healing from Jesus look like?
Who are the people you are going to meet who you can teach, proclaiming the Good News  and brining healing from Jesus to?

Jesus’ ministry involves having compassion for the majority
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Matthew 10:36 
Who or what do the crowds look like  in your life?
What is harassing them resulting in them being helpless?
What teaching do they need from Jesus?
How might you show Jesus’ compassion to the majority?

Don’t be overwhelmed, rely on God and be part of God’s solution
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  10 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.   Matthew 9:37-10:1
What resources do you believe are needed to do God’s work in your environment?
What is God calling you to pray about and for?
How might Jesus be calling you to be part of his ministry solution?

Freely you have received freely give
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’   Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.   Matthew 10:7-8
What is it that you have received from God?
What does it mean for you to give it freely to others?
How does this affect how you give?

June 25 Proper 7
Matthew 10:24-39
Being like God
“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters.  Matthew 10:24-25 
What activities and situations are helpful in shaping you to learn from God to be like God?
What does it mean for you to be like God?
How are you helping others be like God?

Fearing God who cares,  more than fearing other things, ideas and people
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.     Matthew 10:28-33
What or who are you fearful of and why?
Why is it more important to fear God than anyone or anything else?
What does it mean to practically acknowledge God before others?
How we can help people with their fears that affect their relationship with God?

Godly peace over worldly peace
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—  36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’    Matthew 10:34-36
What is the difference between Godly peace and worldly peace?
Why is it important to understand the difference between Godly peace and worldly peace?
How do we help people have Godly peace when their life is not peaceful?

Losing our lives to live
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.   Matthew 10:39
Have you ever encountered someone who appears to live this out, what does it look like?
Why do you think Jesus wants us to lose our life, and what does this mean?
How would you explain this verse to someone exploring God, Jesus and Christianity, in the light of our salvation comes through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?

Feel free to use these snippets for ministry and mission work in your own life and congregational life.

Prepared by Pastor Richard Schwedes

Friday, May 19, 2017

Article: Will you be a contemporary or historic Lutheran?

Rev. Michael W. Newman Mission & Ministry Facilitator, with Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Texas District challenges us to consider whether we will be an historic or contemporary, but don't answer too quickly!!
visit to read the full article