San Antonio: Breakaway Session A

I’m Not a Minister, but I’m a Priest
The Rev. Dr. Ron Bogs

Not everyone is a minister, and having the word “ministry” or “minister” in the title of what some people do doesn’t make their lives somehow more sanctified than those of average Christians. Come hear how the Lutheran understanding of Vocation teaches that everyone is a priest, which does indeed make one’s life in the priesthood of all believers more sanctified.

Pastor Bogs serves St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Westfield, Texas. He also serves on the Board of Directors and as the Theological Director of Crossties Lutheran Ministries. 

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 young age of 18. He now serves as the Assistant/Youth Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, Texas.  He is also the Conferences Executive in Higher Things. 

Having an Informed Faith in a SpongeBob World
The Rev. Kevin Jennings

In today’s religious climate, the all-important question is inevitably, “What does this mean to ME?” And the result of this individualized subjectivity is an uninformed faith that is best illustrated by...SpongeBob SquarePants. We will focus on a slightly different question: “What does this mean?” Join us as we dust off those grammar skills and make your English teachers jump for joy! We’ll look at what words actually mean as we learn the purpose of the Word of God in worship.

Pastor Jennings serves Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. 

How Life in Christ Creates Leaders
The Rev. David Kahle

Is there a correlation between the knowledge of redemption through Christ and confident and effective leadership? Learn why catechized Christians are bound to be better leaders in their churches and communities. Come and see how knowing about your own salvation in Christ instructs you to lead others.

Pastor Kahle serves Zion Lutheran Church in Imperial, Nebraska. He is a veteran of Desert Storm, and an ex-registered nurse. 

Jesus vs. the Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Rev. Eric Lange

Why in the world isn’t it obvious to Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus is God? Why would anyone want to deny this basic biblical truth? Learn why it’s important for you to know that Jesus is Jehovah, the ways that Jehovah’s Witnesses respond to traditional proofs that Jesus is God, and how to talk to them about the true Jesus when they come knocking.

Pastor Lange serves Redeemer Lutheran Church in Gresham, Oregon, is a former Jehovah’s Witness and is a doctoral candidate at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. 

Military Service: What a Christian Needs to Know
The Rev. Joseph Murphy

Military service is a unique vocation offering many benefits, but what if you are called upon to kill an enemy - is it a sin? What is a “Just War?” Can a Christian even serve in the military without violating his conscience? Come and discover whether it is a vocation that has God’s blessing and how Christians can serve their country.

Pastor Murphy serves Grace Lutheran Church in Parker, Colorado. He is also a Chaplain in the Colorado Air National Guard, a reserve component of the Air Force. 

The Shack: Right, Almost Right, and Just Plain Wrong
Mrs. Sandra Ostapowich

So God sends this guy, Mack, a note in the mail. It’s an invite to a rundown cabin in the woods where Mack spends a weekend hanging out with Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu (the persons of the Trinity), getting answers about all the big questions of life, death and everything in between. Needless to say, The Shack has been one of the most popular and controversial books among Christians this year. Some people say it’s the most amazing novel ever! Yet others won’t go near it with a 10-foot pole. Who’s right? Join us as we dig through The Shack, whether you’ve read it or not.

Sandra Ostapowich serves as the Christian Education & Youth Director of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Loveland, Colorado, and as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for Higher Things. 

Confession and Absolution, One on One
The Rev. Bernie Schey

Lutherans are familiar with Confession and Absolution - we do it in the liturgy every Sunday! Just how Biblical and Lutheran is the practice of going individually to your pastor to confess your sin and receive Jesus’ own spoken forgiveness? Is it necessary? The fifth part of Luther’s “Small Catechism” teaches about this much-neglected part of our lives in Christ. Although often ignored and ridiculed, there is great comfort and peace in this gift from our risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Schey serves Trinity Lutheran Church in Copperas Cove, Texas. 

It Just Wouldn’t Be the Same
The Rev. Stephen Schumacher

You wouldn’t think of starting the Super Bowl without the “Star Spangled Banner.” And it’s just not a birthday party without singing “Happy Birthday” either. Even unchurched people love traditions and find meaning in them. Join us as we learn the ways our rich liturgical heritage benefits us as Christians. Our church calendar, liturgy, and hymnody are treasures that are great blessings for us. Without them, it just wouldn’t be the same!

Pastor Schumacher is the Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Illinois. 

What a Way…to Make a Difference!
The Rev. L. Dean Hempelmann

Meet other high school students thinking about making an eternal difference and about those already serving in a variety of full-time church vocations. Hear the personal stories of real people in lives of service. Maybe even discern your calling in life!  And learn how...to make a difference!

The Rev. Dr. L. Dean Hempelmann serves as the Executive Director of What a Way! fostering active recruitment and retention of church workers in the LCMS. 

Why the Church Needs Real Guys
The Rev. Sherman Stenson

Society and the media portray Christian men (and men in general) in some pretty negative ways. They are either seen as greedy charlatans, dysfunctional wimps, or judgmental holier-than-thou hypocrites. But Christian men don’t have to surrender their masculinity in order to serve God faithfully. Good leadership for healthy families and congregations requires the God-given attributes that only spiritually strong men can offer to the Church. We’ll explore how our biblical understanding of the Trinity and the Incarnation, as well as many current societal and churchly trends, make it essential that Christian men understand their maleness in the vocations God will give them throughout their lives.

Pastor Stenson serves as the Associate Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. 

What Not to Wear (Biblical Edition)
The Rev. Charles St-Onge

Christians often fall into the trap of legalism (”Christians should wear this, Christians shouldn’t wear that.”) or libertinism (”I’m a Christian, God doesn’t care what - or how much - I wear.”). But neither of these are truly Christian approaches to the issue of what to wear. We live under grace, not under the law. Yet we are also to love one another sacrificially as God loved us in Christ Jesus. We’ll explore how Christians, who are perfectly free lords of all by the Gospel, are also dutiful servants of all in love.  Pastor St-Onge serves as the Associate Pastor at Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas,  and sometimes knows what to wear. 

Resurrection of the Body or Night of the Living Dead?
The Rev. Jonathan C. Watt

What is the resurrection of the body anyway? It certainly isn’t a nightmare like the movie The Night of the Living Dead! Scripture tells us that it is a wonderful promise of the eternal, physical life promised to us in Jesus Christ who was also dead and buried and raised again to new life.

Pastor Watt serves Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Creston, Iowa. 

Who’s Your Daddy?
The Rev. William Weedon

Many of the Church Fathers had nearly unpronouncable names, but their teachings influence what we believe, teach, and confess even today. We’ll briefly explore some of the great Fathers of the Church and how their major writings touch on the Solas of Scripture, Faith, and Grace.

Pastor Weedon serves St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, Illinois, and is a plenary speaker for the 2009 Sola conferences.