Grand Rapids: Breakaway Session D

Higher Things Talkback
Higher Things Directors and Executives

This session is about feedback. We’d like to hear your ideas about Higher Things, and we’d like to share with you what we’re thinking about for the future and ways that Higher Things can serve you and your congregations. 

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

We sing because we believe. The songs the church uses help 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. 

When Daily Bread Costs More than It Did Yesterday
The Rev. Jonathon T. Krenz

You’ve studied economics and government, so you understand what’s going on with them these tough financial times - in principle anyway. But what do you do when you feel powerless and still have to rely on your parents to be the primary bread-winners for the family? Come and learn about our Lord’s provision in light of the Fourth Petition and the First Article.

Pastor Krenz serves Epiphany Lutheran Church in Dorr, Michigan. 

A Life of Devotion
The Rev. James Roemke

Like all things in the life of a Christian, devotional living is not about us but about Christ for us. Together, we’ll explore how God’s Word teaches us to speak fluently as devoted disciples of Christ. Learn why the liturgy isn’t just for Sundays and how to take all of our senses captive to Christ. Bring a Bible.

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

How to Read the Bible
The Rev. David A. Dodge

Sure, we all believe in sola scriptura - but what does that mean? There are some strange interpretations of God’s Word and people end up reading the same passage in very different ways. We’ll explore some basic methods to understand the Bible. We’ll ask with Luther, “What does this mean?” and learn how to let the Lord do the talking through His own Word. 

Pastor Dodge serves Our Savior Lutheran Church in Union City, Michigan. 

The Shack: Reimaging God or Help with Suffering?
The Rev. Drew Newman

The Shack is a popular and very controversial novel in which a mourning man meets “God.” What does this book say about suffering and trouble? What does it say about the Gospel? We’ll examine the book in light of Holy Scripture. 

Pastor Newman serves Trinity Lutheran Church in Kearney, Missouri. 

About The Twilight Series
The Rev. Dr. Rick Stuckwisch

The Twilight series is an interesting paradox. It is both phenomenally popular and decidedly countercultural in its premises and values. But what are the books really about - vampires? Romance? Or is there something bigger and ultimately more important? Caution needs to be exercised in reading these fictional works, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn from them about life in the world, about love and relationships and commitment, marriage and family, and sacrifice for the sake of what is good and right. Explore the way these various topics are presented and dealt with in the Twilight series.

Pastor Stuckwisch serves as Senior Pastor at Emmaus Lutheran Church, South Bend, Indiana. 

Just A Janitor?
The Rev. Todd R. Jerabek

You want to be a janitor when you grow up, but your parents want you to be a pastor. Who is right? Is one of them a better, or “higher calling” for a Christian? Have you ever wondered how you can serve the Lord? Can you do it today or do you need to wait until you graduate from college?

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

Loving Our Embryonic Brothers and Sisters
Deaconess Lynn Fredericksen

John the Baptist leaped for joy in Elizabeth’s belly because fetal-Jesus was in the womb next door. But today, many seek to destroy such little lives. We’ll look at the issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning. Come and discuss how you can protect our unborn neighbors. What kind of stem cell research is good?

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. 

Campus Ministry - Just Add Water
The Rev. Jonathan Bakker

Do you have a college near you? Would you like to learn how to begin a campus ministry group at a local college on a shoestring budget? There are a variety of different campus outreach models that can easily be applied to your local context. This sectional is designed to address your specific campus situation and offer practical help and support.

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

Eating Disorders
Deaconess Jennifer (Waters) Asher

Too much...too little. Too fat...too thin. We’ll take a look at the different kinds of eating disorders. Why do they occur? How can the Christian help to direct those with eating disorders to obtain proper diagnosis and effective treatment?

Deaconess Asher serves as the Director of the Deaconess program at Concordia University - Chicago. 

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.  

Being Superspiritual - or Gnot!  
The Rev. Roger James

The ancient heresy of Gnosticism comes and goes throughout the ages in various viral forms, infecting the church. So it goes today too. Take a quick overview at the latest varieties of the old heresy that falsely promises impressive superspirituality.

Pastor James serves Zion Lutheran Church in Marshall, Michigan. 

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. 

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. 

The Almost-Forgotten Sola - Sola Dei Gloria!
The Rev. John Drosendahl

We Christians get so busy doing our good works that we often forget what these holy acts are all about - bringing God glory. But what exactly is “glory?" Our personal glory is in feeling good about our accomplishments.  But if God gets the glory for our good works as well as for His, then what glory is left for us? Can all the glory really be God’s alone? A look at several Scriptures reveals that the only right glory is God’s glory, of which it is His desire to share with us eternally in heaven above.

Pastor Drosendahl serves Peace Lutheran Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina.