Grand Rapids: Breakaway Session A

Getting Ready for Christmas…in July?
The Rev. Kim L. Scharff

We sing because we believe. The songs the church uses help to shape what we know of Christ, particularly the songs of Advent. What do these hymns teach us about Him? Why are these hymns important? Learn how Advent hymns enrich us in Christ and come prepared to sing - or at least hum!

Pastor Scharff serves Trinity Lutheran Church in Norborne, Missouri. 

Holy Holiness, Pastor!
The Rev. Dale Dumperth

If you’ve ever tried to read straight through the Old Testament you probably got bogged down in Leviticus. How does our Lord cleanse us from sin? What connections are there between the Old Testament sacrifices and the New Testament Divine Service and sacraments? What’s behind all those long and boring instructions? Learn the rich, saving message in Leviticus. And discover the riches of God’s mercy proclaimed through holiness.

Pastor Dumperth serves Grace Lutheran Church in McPherson, Kansas. 

Insights of a Former-Roman-Catholic-Now-Lutheran-Pastor
The Rev. George F. Borghardt III

What makes something “Roman Catholic?” What makes it not? What you think is Roman Catholic might actually be Lutheran - and what you assume is Lutheran might really be Roman Catholic! How can you tell? Bring your Bible, catechism, incense, prayer beads, holy water, vestments, candles, closed and open minds as we take a look at Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism.

Pastor Borghardt converted to Lutheranism from Roman Catholicism at the age of 18. He now serves as the Assistant/Youth Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, Texas and is the Conferences Executive for Higher Things. 

Eating to Live and Living to Eat
The Rev. James Roemke

The Lord graciously gives His own Body and Blood that we may eat, drink and live. How does this banquet build up the body of Christ in individuals as well as in Christ’s Church? Ponder what it means to join in the Feast with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven. Can you ever have too much of this good thing?

Pastor Roemke serves Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Middleville, Michigan. 

Losing Your Identity
The Rev. Dr. David Balla

Instead of someone stealing your identity, what happens when you give your identity away? It sounds silly, but when you enter into a relationship do you end up losing yourself? In marriage, two become one flesh, but does that mean someone loses out? Find out how we give of ourselves without losing our identity - in relationships, jobs, friends, family and even in the church.

Pastor Balla serves Trinity Lutheran Church in West Chicago, Illinois. 

To Date or Not to Date
The Rev. Dr. Rick Stuckwisch

There’s no lack of advice out there for Christians on dating and courtship, and on relationships in general. It can be tricky trying to avoid a legalistic approach that despises God’s good gifts. How do you know when the right one comes along - and what should you do about it? Or, what if you have the vocational gift of celibacy? This breakaway will help young people answer these and other related questions.

Pastor Stuckwisch serves Emmaus Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana. 

Manliness and the Man of God
The Rev. Gifford A. Grobien

What does it take to be a man these days? To be good at sports? Good looks? Popularity? Nice try! Being a real man actually has nothing to do with outward success or what people think of you. It does mean having strength and integrity. By looking at the real Man of Scripture, we’ll consider what it takes to be a real, Christian man, especially in today’s world. Ladies, you are encouraged to attend also - it’ll help you learn to separate the men from the boys!

Pastor Grobien is the Assistant Pastor at Emmaus Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana. 

Finding Jesus in ALL the Wrong Places!
Mr. Stan Lemon

Jesus taught with parables, but they were about Him too. Take a look at Jesus in the parables and you might not find Him where you expect. He throws a lot of curve balls in these heavenly stories with heavenly meanings, showing up in the last place you’d look. Further investigation will find the Gospel in the Lord’s least-ness, last-ness, and lost-ness.

Stan Lemon serves as the Database Manager for Higher Things and is a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. 

What Does a Pastor Really Do?
The Rev. Todd R. Jerabek

Have you ever heard the idea that a pastor works only one day a week? Hopefully you know that’s far from the truth! Just what is it that a pastor is called to do, besides dress up in strange robes and stand in the front at church? Maybe you’re curious what a pastor’s day looks like? If this interests you, come and learn - maybe we’ll even have time to pick a pastor’s brain for a bit.

Pastor Jerabek serves Zion & St. Peter Lutheran Churches in Embarrass & Pella Opening, Wisconsin. 

From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee
Deaconess Lynn Fredericksen

Teenage depression is not just about having bad moods and occasionally feeling a little sad. Are you concerned about someone because of her mood and behavior changes, eating disorders? Maybe you’re worried about a friend who’s been talking about hurting himself or others. Signs and symptoms of teenage depression, ways of helping, and related topics will be covered. 

Deaconess Fredericksen has been the Treasurer of the Higher Things Board of Directors since the beginning of time. In her spare time she pretends to be a school teacher, school principal, and registered nurse. 

Surviving College with Your Faith Intact
The Rev. Jonathon Bakker

Are you getting ready to go to college soon? Trying to pick one out? Such a life change can be exhilarating and downright scary all at the same time. How will you survive? Come and hear some straight talk about issues facing Christian students on the college campus from the classroom to the frat house. Learn what to expect and how to remain rooted in Christ on campus.

Pastor Bakker serves as the Campus Pastor at Christ the King Lutheran Chapel in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He is also the CCV Coordinator for Sola - Grand Rapids. 

You’re Going to Die
The Rev. Michael L. Kumm

No one likes to talk about living and dying. But we are dying every day, and living each day in Christ as we deal with the ways of the world. We’ll talk about our Source of strength for facing the realities of physical death, and our hope in the resurrection. Also, we’ll look at other end-of-life issues, including suicide, burial vs. cremation, those you leave behind, your will, and your funeral.

Pastor Kumm serves Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, Illinois. Before becoming a pastor, he was a funeral director/embalmer.  

What’s So Gay about Being Gay?
The Rev. Don Meyer

The picture that Scripture paints is not too pretty, nor does it imply that the homosexual lifestyle is “gay.” Is what the Bible says about this issue relevant today? We’ll discuss solid - but loving - responses to the well-rehearsed and popular arguments of the radical gay movement which cannot stand when the light of God’s Word and sanctified logic shine upon them.

Pastor Meyer serves Pilgrim & Trinity Lutheran Churches in Quimby & Marcus, Iowa. 

All Washed Up with Living Water
The Rev. Jeffrey L. Bloom

Have you been pressured to compromise your values? Ever been dumped? Maybe you flunked a a mid-term exam and Mom and Dad just don’t understand you. And then your so-called friends dissed you. If you’ve ever felt like a square peg in a round hole and that everything is hopeless - believe it or not there is hope in your Baptism.

Pastor Bloom serves Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Confessing Christ through Sacred Art
Mr. Edward Riojas

We’ll take a short trip from Calvin’s campus to Our Savior Lutheran Church to view several works of art made by Ed Riojas where the artist will discuss his work. What role does art have in the Church today? Discover how the symbols of Christian art help us receive the gifts of our Lord. Should you find a praying mantis at church?

Edward Riojas, a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a professional artist for the Grand Rapids Press. 

Finding the Gospel in Star Wars
The Rev. Richard Heinz

A virgin-born figure of redemption; a master who sacrifices himself in order that others may be saved; the son of the Chosen One ushers in a new era of peace and restoration. Does this sound like a pair of the greatest film trilogies ever? Or an opportunity to discuss the Gospel among movie buffs?

Pastor Heinz serves St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Lanesville, Indiana.