(Times are all subject to change.)
Breakaway Session I
With Angels and Archangels: Music and the Feast
Kantor Dr. Steven Hoffman
See and sing some of the great hymns and portions of the Liturgy as we examine Dr. Martin Luther's estimation of music as God's greatest gift (second only to theology) and the place of sacred music in the context of Word and Sacrament.
Dr. Hoffman serves as Kantor at King of Glory Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, Wyoming and at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Laramie, Wyoming. He teaches Organ and Counterpoint at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, and teaches music at Trinity Lutheran School, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dr. Hoffman is also the organist for The Feast.
My Big Fat Hebrew Wedding: Exploring Jesus' Parables
The Rev. Bruce Keseman
We'll talk about how to interpret parables, focusing on Jesus' parable of the Wedding Feast. What is God's kingdom really? How is that kingdom like a king's wedding feast? Why does the king kill his invited guests? Why do you need a wedding garment to dine with the king? Is this parable intended to scare you or comfort you? Come and find out. You're encouraged to bring your Bible.
Pr. Bruce Keseman is serves the saints of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Freeburg, IL, is the Conference Executive for Higher Things, but is best known around Higher Things conferences as “The Announcement Guy.”
Aslan's Real Name
Mr. Scott DeCaluwe
Narnia was written by CS Lewis for his God daughter. It has since become one of the most beloved fantasy stories on Earth. Apologetics entered into these novels "of its own accord", yet allow many people to hear the Gospel. Edmund, the White Witch, the Professor and Aslan are all written as an allegory that describe sin, death and redemption. Too often in the post-modern society truth is denied and rejected. With The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a Lion can enter a child's heart and lead them to the truth.
Scott DeCaluwe is the Coordinator of Youth and Volunteers at Living Word Lutheran Church in The Woodlands, TX and serves as the Executive Director of Lutherans in God’s Word, a pilot Campus Ministry program of Higher Things’ Christ on Campus.
What to Do When You've Messed Up Beyond Belief
Miss Mollie Ziegler
Sometimes you make little mistakes. And sometimes you really mess up. This sectional will help you see what Christians can do to get out of a mess when it seems like all hope is lost.
Mollie Ziegler is a member of the Board of Directors of Higher Things. She lives in Washington, D.C.
One God, Many, or all the Same?
The Rev. Jerome Teichmiller
Do we all have the same God? Do we worship the same God as the Muslims? What is Unionism and Syncretism – and does it really matter? Is there ever a time when it is NOT O.K. to pray with someone else? Is there such a thing as "a little false doctrine?" How do we relate with people of other faiths and Christian denominations in a respectful way without compromising the truth of God's Word? Learn why it is so important to take a stand for truth, even in what could be a confrontational situation.
Rev. Jerome Teichmiller is Sr. Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church of Tomball, Texas, husband of Kathy, and father of Nathan, Kelly, and Noah.
Gnot the Gospel: Judas, Thomas, and other Gnostic Gospels
The Rev. David Kind
You’ve heard the hype, now hear the truth about the Gospel of Judas and other writings that didn’t make it into the New Testament. In this sectional you will discover the reasons why these texts were rejected by the Early Church and learn about the strange sect that wrote them. And we’ll actually read some of the weird and wild stuff in the Gospels of Judas, Thomas and Mary Magdalene.
Pastor Kind is campus pastor at University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis (University of Minnesota), is a member of Higher Things’ Christ on Campus Team, and is the Chaplain for the 2007 Minnesota Conference.
The Life-Giving Lectionary
Mr. Stan Lemon
Ever wonder why the Church has seasons? Why is the whole Trinity Season green? Is Advent purple, blue, or violet? Is pink really a color in the Church? What's Pre-Lent? Isn't 40 days of Lent enough? Why don't Sundays count in Lent? Where'd we get the readings for Sunday morning? Why is it important that we share a common lectionary? Come learn about our life as the Church as we live it out in the lectionary in this breakaway sectional.
Mr. Stan Lemon lives with his wife Sara in Pittsburgh, PA and is the webmaster of the Higher Things and recent graduate of Concordia University - River Forest. He also runs The Historic Lectionary Project at www.sanctus.org.
No Such Thing (As a Dumb Question)
The Rev. Walt Snyder
Ever keep a question to yourself because it was too "dumb," embarrassing, or over-the-top? Lutheran pastor, author, and blogger Pr. Walter Snyder has probably already encountered something similar in writing his Ask the Pastor column. So if you've been carrying around an off-beat question about the Bible, faith, or the Christian life, sit down with Pastor Snyder and he'll try to answer in his usual informed and winsome manner. This won't be "Bible Trivia" or "Stump the Pastor," but a forum to question, learn, and grow in the Faith. For truly personal or deeply embarrassing topics, a box will be provided for written questions to be submitted before the sectional begins. If he cannot provide an instant response, he promises to take your question home with him and email you once he's sure he's giving you the right answer.
Pastor Walter Snyder co-wrote the catechetical book What Do Lutherans Believe?, writes a weekly “Ask the Pastor” newspaper column, and has written sermons for Concordia Publishing House and devotions for Portals of Prayer. Check out his blog at http://xrysostom.blogspot.com.
Christ on Campus: Surviving College
The Rev. Marcus Zill
The Christian Faith is under attack at secular universities. How will you survive? Pastor Zill will talk about issues facing Christian students on the secular campus from the classroom to the fraternity or sorority house. Not only can you survive, you can be more than conquerors.
The Rev. Marcus Zill is campus pastor at St. Andrews Lutheran Church and Student Center, Laramie, WY. He is Executive of Christ on Campus for Higher Things.
HT-U: Youth Ministry Unplugged
The Rev. George Borghardt
What's “youth ministry”? How do pastors and counselors do 'youth ministry' faithfully? Do you need a guitar? Do you need money? How do you start doing youth ministry? How do you improve it? Are we talking gimmicks or solid ideas? Come and discuss youth ministry Higher Things style at this sectional designed for Pastors and Counselors.
The Rev. George Borghardt is Youth/Assistant Pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, TX, serves as the Executive of Internet Services for Higher Things and is the 2007 Southeastern Conference Coordinator.
Breakaway Session II
How to Read the Bible
The Rev. Jeff Grams
Today's Lutheran youth are sometimes confused by how their family and friends seem to be interpreting the Word of God. People can seemingly read the very same passage of Holy Scripture, and yet arrive at very different conclusions regarding the meaning of that passage. As Students of Dr. Luther, we have learned to ask the question: "What does this mean?" - and when we ask this question, we expect an authoritative answer! During our time together, we will explore some basic questions of interpretation and confront some of the ways that other denominations interpret the Bible. Then we will come to better understand how we as Lutherans already possess the tools necessary to interpret Holy Scripture and proclaim "Thus Sayeth the Lord!"
Rev. Jeffery W. Grams is currently serving as Pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Scottsbluff, NE. He is the Youth Facilitator for the Wyoming District of the LCMS and the Circuit Visitor for the Chimney Rock Circuit.
The Office of the Holy Ministry – Who Presides at the Feast?
The Rev. Joel Fritsche
Feasting is feeding, feeding on Christ's body and blood for forgiveness, life and salvation. Where there is feasting and feeding there is one who, according to the Lord's command and in His stead, feeds. Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Feed my sheep" (St. John 21:17). Our Lord has given the Office of the Holy Ministry to His Church to do just that, to feed His sheep-you and me. Who needs pastors? We do!
The Rev. Joel Fritsche is an Admissions Counselor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.
Striped-Back Mountain: The Church's Response to Homosexuality
The Rev. Kirk Clayton
Brokeback Mountain, Will and Grace, The L-Word, and Queer Eye. The culture is filled with "alternative" lifestyles. Today, it seems that it is even "in" to come "out." So, what does the Church have to say about this? Does the Church have an "alternative" life? Just condemnation? Is there a Gospel, Christ-centered answer to the homosexuality question? This breakaway will take a look at the Church's Gospel response to the ever-increasing gay culture.
Rev. Kirk Clayton serves as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Mascoutah, Illinois.
Being Fit for the Feast
The Rev. Rob Jarvis
What makes us beautiful? What's makes us attractive? Fit? Thin? Chubby? Personality? How important are these questions to you? Can the search for personal beauty go too far? On the other hand, can a recognition of that search eventually lead us closer to the Lord? This sectional will explore the beauty and identity that we have received in Christ in Holy Baptism.
Rev. Jarvis has been a pastor for 16 years and is currently serving at Zion Lutheran Church in Morris MN and as a campus pastor at University of MN, Morris. He is serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the 2007 MN Conference.
Dust and Ashes: The Truth about Evolution
The Rev. Dr. Ron Bogs
What do the facts say and how do we interpret the facts? Do the facts support the theory of evolution or the theory of divine creation? Learn how to respond to some of the misinterpretations of the facts according the theory of evolution. Learn how evolution contradicts itself and the laws of nature. Learn how inaccurate Carbon 14 and other dating methods really are. Above all, when listening to people tout the theory of evolution, learn how to ask the question, “Where you there?” And be informed of the many resources available for defending the truth of the Bible.
Dr. Ron Bogs is the pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church of Westfield, TX. He is on the Board of Directors and is the Theological Director of Crossties Lutheran Ministries.
On Fire for Jesus: Fire in the Scriptures
The Rev. Kent Schaaf
Fire can be found all over Holy Scripture and all over in the language of the modern day church. But what are we to make fire, burning or flame? This breakaway will briefly take a look at the variety of ways how to properly interpret God's use of fire in Holy Scripture.
The Rev. Kent R. Schaaf is the pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church, Charlotte NC. He also serves as volunteer firefighter and chaplain for the Pleasant Valley Fire Dept in Lancaster County, SC and is the Catechesis Chair for the 2007 Southeastern Conference.
In Case of the Rapture, Can I Have Your Car?
The Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller
The Lord Jesus promised, “I will return.” When? How? To do what? And what does this have to do with my life? We will cut through all the science-fiction that surrounds the teaching of the Lord's return (the rapture, the millennium, the rebuilt temple, etc.) and get to the heart of the message: the Law and the Gospel.
The Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller is pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Aurora, CO.
The Rev. John Dreyer
What does St. Paul mean when he confesses, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places." (ESV Eph. 6:12) What is this conflict of "Demons and Angels," and "between God and the Devil"? Is it like the movies portray? This sectional will address the topic of Exorcism from a Lutheran's perspective and God's intention for the daily life of the Christian in Christ Jesus as we pray, "lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one," namely, the Devil.
The Reverend John M. Dreyer is an Admissions Counselor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN.
One Cup or Many? The Quest for the Holy Grail
The Rev. Marcus Zill
Some churches use only individual cups, some use the chalice, and some use both. So what does this all mean? How did this come to be? We agree that the Lord’s Supper is gift, and that gifts are to be received, but yet this topic is often a thorny one. Why? Is that which you use to receive Christ’s gift of forgiveness an important question? Come join us on our quest for the Holy Grail as we explore how our doctrine of the Feast plays out in our practices concerning it, specifically as it relates to the use of one Cup, or many cups.
Rev. Marcus Zill is the pastor at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church & Campus Center in Laramie, WY. He is the Conference Coordinator for “The Feast” and serves as the Executive Director of Campus Ministry for Higher Things.
HT-U: Lock-Ins, Retreats, and the Web (Adults)
Higher Things Staff
Want more HT in your congregation? Wouldn't it be great to have a mini-conference or retreat with your youth, or get a great discussion going from a Higher Things magazine article or Bible study? What about a resource for devotions, podcasts, and “HT-celebrity” interviews? Come learn how Higher Things comes to you through lock-ins, retreats, and the web.
Higher Things Retreat and I.S. Staff.
Breakaway Session III
The Rev. Keith Brda
Multiculturalism and communicating the Gospel cross-culturally have been a hot topic in society for the past decade. As Christians, we are a culture apart from and distinct from any other humanly devised culture. What makes us so unique? Why does it matter? Come learn to celebrate our distinctiveness and share our culture with others.
Pastor Keith R. Brda has been senior pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Gretna, Louisiana for the last 8 years. He served as missionary-at-large to Hispanics in Northwest Indiana, and served as a missionary pastor in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is in charge of catechesis for the 2007 Southeast Higher Things Conference.
Role-Playing at Reality?
The Rev. Todd Jerabek
Role-playing games are worlds created to entertain and expand the creative juices of the imagination. Such games are also places in which many seek to escape reality. A time to discuss how an a Lutheran wander into those "worlds" and escape unscathed? Christ was not role-playing when He took on human flesh and entered our world, nor was He role-playing when He called you by name and made you His. There is a reality that is ours in Christ, and reality checks are always a good idea.
The Rev. Todd R. Jerabek is pastor at Zion and St. Peter Lutheran Churches in Embarrass and Pella Opening, WI.
Revelation and the Feast to Come
The Rev. Carlton Hein
The Book of Revelation places heaven before us. There, we stand with the Saints of all ages. There, we see God with our own eyes. There, we join in the wedding Feast of the Lamb. Join us, as the book of Revelation shows us how the Feast on earth joins us to the Feast in heaven.
The Rev. Carlton Hein is pastor of at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Loveland, CO.
Attack of the Clones...or Something Worse?
Mrs. Maggie Karner
It sounds like something out of a bad Star Wars movie, but this workshop isn't about science fiction. It's real. Find out what's going on in the cloning laboratories of today and learn how and why bioethics issues affect everyone-especially Christians.
Mrs. Maggie Karner is the Director of LCMS Life Ministries, LCMS World Relief and Human Care.
Who's Invited to the Feast?
The Rev. David Lofthus
What is this thing called "Close" or "Closed" communion? Is Holy Communion just a special thing between me and Jesus or is there more going on? Who decides who communes at the Lord Supper? Is this just some tradition that we've always done or is there some basis in the Scriptures? This sectional will take a Gospel look at the doctrine and teaching of Close(d) Communion.
The Rev. David J. Lofthus is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church and School in Harahan, Louisiana and serves as the Volunteer Coordinator of the 2007 Southeastern Conference.
Controlled Demolition: Polemics
The Rev. Todd Wilken
Have you ever watched the controlled demolition of a building? A few carefully-placed explosives, and the whole thing comes crashing down. That’s Christian Polemics. Paul writes, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The Rev. Todd Wilken is the host of the radio show, Issues Etc., broadcast from KFUO studios in St. Louis, MO.
The Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day
The Rev. Tom Chryst
When are we given to celebrate the Lord's Supper? Is it only on the second and fourth or first and third Sundays? Is it once a month? Every Sunday? Or more? How often did the early church celebrate the Feast? Luther? Come hear what Scripture AND history have to say about receiving the Lord’s Supper every “Lord’s Day”.
The Rev. Thomas E. Chryst is Associate Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Racine, WI. He runs “The Lutheran Blog Directory” as well as his own blog, “Preachrblog”.
Blood and Water from the Side of Jesus
The Rev. Charlie Henrickson
"But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water" (John 19:34). St. John is the only Gospel writer to record this detail from Christ's crucifixion. And he attaches some importance to it. Why is that in there? What is God telling us about our Savior and the life he gives? Bring your Bible and we'll explore some possible answers.
The Rev. Charles Henrickson is pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Bonne Terre, Missouri, and a Ph.D. student in Biblical Studies.
HT-U: Campus Ministry – Just Add Water (adults)
Christ on Campus Team
Have a college near you? Would you like to learn how to begin a campus ministry outreach at a local college(s) on a shoestring budget? Get some help getting started from a panel of campus pastors that represent several different types of campus ministry models: full-time, part-time, and a contact congregation. This sectional is designed to be tailored to your specific campus situation and provide practical help and support.
Rev. Marcus T. Zill (University of Wyoming) and Rev. David Kind (University of Minnesota) are full-time campus pastors, Rev. Derek Roberts is a part-time campus pastor (University of Tennessee) and Rev. Robert Jarvis is the pastor of a campus contact congregation (University of Minnesota-Morris).
HT-U: Volunteering for Higher Things
Miss Erika Preus
Do you think Higher Things is the greatest and best thing that has happened in youth ministry in a long long time? Do you think it's been a blessing for you, your parishioners, or your kids? Do you love the magazine and the website? Do you want to get more involved but don't know how? Come and hear all the wonderful opportunities and ways that you can help become part of Higher Things!
Miss Erika Preus is the Development Coordinator for Higher Things, Inc., and a member of Glory of Christ Lutheran Church in Plymouth, MN.
Coffeehouse Conversations – Table Talk with Outsiders
The Rev. Charlie Mallie
Coffee, scones, and Postmodernism. Sure Christ is the light of your world, but what illuminates theirs? How to cut through the confusion of "all roads lead home" to the road that leads to the cross. Where to start, how to get there and how to finish a conversation about the meaning of everything.
The Rev. Charlie Mallie is associate pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Tomball, TX.
Breakaway Session IV
Blade II: A Second Probing Of the Problem of Cutting
The Rev. Jeff Ahonen
The practice of cutting continues to be a popular practice among young people around the globe. Why do some view self-mutilation as self-medication for the problem? Is better medicine available to treat the condition? How can the Christian help to direct the cutter to obtain the proper diagnosis and effective treatment? Come and visit this second probing of one of DTBL's most popular topics.
The Reverend Jeffrey Ahonen is pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church at Ladysmith, WI.
The Cup of the Lord and the Cup of Demons
The Rev. Mark Maas
Is there really such a thing as “demons”? Where does one, really, does one encounter demons today? How does the unity we are to have at the altar play into what I do in my daily life and engaging the world? How does the cup of the Lord influence what I do and say? Where do we see the demons today? Pr. Maas gives to the some very sensible words to remind us that the demons are yet among us in how we live out “The Feast” in the world.
The Rev. Mark Maas is pastor of King of Glory Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, WY.
Getting all Defensive: Apologetics
The Rev. Todd Wilken
If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it. Peter tells us: “Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) Do you know what you believe? Can you explain it? Can you defend it?
The Rev. Todd Wilken is the host of the radio show, Issues Etc., broadcast from KFUO studios in St. Louis, MO.
Jesus was here! Following the Dusty Footprints of Christ
The Rev. Duane Bamsch
Do you ever wonder what Jesus really meant when he told Peter “On this rock I will build my church”? What is it about Caesarea Philippi that made Jesus say those words to Peter in that place? Join Pr. Bamsch for photos and artifacts from the archaeological dig at Caesarea Philippi and discuss the importance of archaeology for understanding the New Testament in a hands-on way.
The Rev. Duane Bamsch is pastor at Evangelists' Lutheran Church in Kingsbury, TX and has written Higher Things daily Refelctions.
The Holy Spirit or Just Jibber-Jabber?
Mrs. Andrea Fouts
Tongues – past, present and reality. What does the Bible mean by the gift of “tongues”? When did the phenomenon disappear? What are people really doing when they “speak in tongues”? What is the truth?!? This sectional will explore the historical and present trends behind the elusive “gift of tongues” and reveal what the true “gifts of the Spirit” really are.
Mrs. Andrea Fouts currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is finishing her M.A. in Systematic Theology. She is also the Assistant Editor for Higher Things daily Reflections and serves as the Publications Co-chair for the 2007 Conference Committee.
Passing the Faith to this Generation: Lutheran Service Book
Kantor Richard Resch
Why another new hymnal? Why a hymnal at all? What’s old, what’s new, what’s great in LSB? Will this be better than what we have had? Will it be a hard book to learn? How’s my grandmother going to do with this book? At this point – everyone in the church has questions about the new hymnal to be released in September. Come and hear the answers to your questions from someone who was there on the first day that Lutheran Service Book was talked about in 1997. Here is your sneak preview.
The Rev. Richard Resch is Associate Professor and Kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, serves on the Higher Things Board of Directors and is the Worship Coordinator for the 2007 Conferences.
The Small Catechism: Daily Guidance for God's X-Men
The Rev. Rick Sawyer
Do you ever wonder: "Who am I? What's wrong with me? Where do I fit in?" The Small Catechism has the answers! It says you don't need to have names like Wolverine or Rogue to feel like a mutant. You don't need super powers to be a hero. In this sectional, comic book "Christ-figures" help us understand what it really means to be a Christopher, or Christ-bearer! We'll discover that the Small Catechism isn't a dusty old text book. It's life-long guidance for the Baptized, God's X-Men, leading us through His Word to live from the Gospel as we struggle with our sometimes confusing lives as Christians. Cyclops may have his goggles to help him focus, and Jean Grey may have the mind of Professor X. But God's Real X-Men have something better. We have the Small Catechism!
The Rev. Rick Sawyer is pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and School in Brandon, MS. He's the father of two and the husband of one! On the side, he manages Vox Visuals and tinkers with other things creative.
The Theology of Harry Potter
The Rev. Dr. Rick Stuckwisch
The Harry Potter series, to be concluded in the next book, has generated a lot of interest and attention. The books are widely read and avidly enjoyed, and the movies based on the books have also been popular. But there's been lots of criticism, too, especially from conservative Christians who worry about the presence of witchcraft and wizardry in the story. Other Christians have positively compared the Harry Potter series to the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So what's the scoop? This sectional will explore the underlying premise of the Harry Potter story and how that fits with our Christian faith and life. It'll be a chance to think out loud about life and death, good versus evil, and the power of self-sacrificing love.
Dr. Stuckwisch is the pastor of Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Bend, Indiana. He and his wife, LaRena, have eight children ranging in age from one to nineteen; they are expecting their ninth in December. Dr. Stuckwisch is the Worship Chair for The Feast.
The War against Girls: Feminism’s Assault on Women (women only)
Deaconess Emily Carder
You're baptized, confirmed, have the keys to a car and maybe even your own apartment. Life is good. You can live it the way you want to. Why not have your boyfriend move in? Why jump into marriage when you can "try it out" for a while? After all, Jesus forgives all sin, so you're still welcome at His Table no matter what you do, right? This sectional presents open talk concerning women, feminist lies, and the freedom of the Gospel.
Dcs. Emily Carder serves as the deaconess Good Shepherd Lutheran Church & School in Brandon, MS. She is a regular guest on Issues Etc and writer of many articles on issues concerning women, children, and families.
The War against Boys: God's Design for Becoming a Man (men only)
The Rev. Robert Schaibley
A war against boys has been and continues to be conducted in so-called "politically correct" circles, the impact of which stretches far beyond those circles, invading and impacting the lives and development of young males even in strong Christian homes. Pr. Schaibley will outline the nature of this war, on the basis of four current books that call attention to it, and then he will suggest a pattern of healthy and strong male development from childhood into the status of princes in God's kingdom and men in God's family.
Born when he was very young and raised in Detroit, MI by his adoptive parents, educated at the University of Michigan , Concordia Theological Seminary - Springfield IL, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and the University of Wyoming. Pr. Schaibley currently serves as Pastor at Shepherd of the Springs Lutheran Church.
HT-U: Higher Things Discussion (Adults)
Higher Things Board/Staff
This session is about sharing ideas. 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. Let’s talk!