Life Issues

Created: April 4th, 2007

Daring to Be Lutheran On Campus

The world is not our friend, and the devil is always looking for ways to slip us up. By threatening our social lives, our grades, and our wellbeing Satan will stop at nothing to snatch us out of God's flock the church. He will point us to the flash and flair that perhaps bigger denominations or ministries have.

Praying for Your Front-Line Pastor

There are far too many people who seem to think that their faithful pastors are shrinking violets or spineless buffoons who are unable (or even unwilling) to hear of your demons and sins. Perhaps you fear that we cannot handle the rawness and reality of your failings. It may help to remember that we pastors spend every single day in hand-to-hand combat with Satan himself and his demons. St. Paul even gives us a reminder: "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 the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).

If You Believe, Why Aren't You Better?

The only off switch for sin is death. So Christ died. In your baptism, you will too. Every single day. Jesus says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Just mercy. It's not your job to conquer sin on your own. It never will be. It's Christ's job.

Higher Things: Oh, the Places We Will Go

What that week at For You was one of the most incredible times of my life. I met wonderful people. I was floored by the sheer force of the preaching and teaching. Plus, I had an amazing time that was fueled by very little sleep. It ended up being life changing, and I don't say that flippantly.

Moving On: A Letter from Father to Son

I hope this letter is a gift to you, Son. I hope it's a gift to the rest of you who read it, too. Your parents love you. They are proud of you. They will be proud of whatever and wherever the Lord leads you. And if you ever&mdashand I mean ever&mdashneed any help in your journey, know that your parents will be there for you, to pick you up, to remind you are forgiven, and to tell you that you that they love you.

Am I Meaningless?

Jesus became meaningless for you, taking sin upon Himself, becoming the lowest of the low, giving Himself up to death. In rising from the grave He shows sin has no power over you to devalue you or drag you down. And in the seemingly meaningless means of bread and wine, He forgives, sustains and strengthens you with His very Body and Blood. In Christ alone, who gave His life for you, you are precious, treasured, valued and meaningful in God's eyes at all times.

Same-Sex Attraction: Lord, to Whom Shall We Go?

So, to whom shall we go? We go to Jesus, who offers Himself and His many gifts given to the Church—given to you. When you go to Divine Service, you will find yourself to be a sinner-saint who is in dire need of Jesus. You find yourself seeing others as more worthy of the Sacraments than you. When you allow yourself to be shaped by the liturgy and sacraments, you will find yourself as a beggar pointing other beggars toward the Bread of Life: Jesus.

Be a True Rebel

Now there will always be something strangely attractive about being young and rebellious. In fact, you may not realize it, but I think those of you who still attend your grandpa's church and Higher Things® conferences are a different kind of rebel. You, my friends, are the true rebels.

Get in the Word

It's a big, wide world out there, full of lots of ugliness and lies and falsehoods, even from folks claiming to speak for God. Be in the Word, because it's not by your own reason or strength that you'll get by. Rather, the Holy Spirit will call you by the Gospel, enlighten you with His gifts, sanctify and keep you in the truth faith. And the Spirit does this by taking that Word and using it in His Church to daily and richly forgive all your sins. If that's not what you're getting, then it's not for you. You, be in the Word. That's where God keeps you safe.

Death Is Unnatural

Why as faithful Christians do we still feel such emotional grief at a loved one's death? The answer is that we were not meant to die. God did not create man in the garden with the intent that he would die. Mankind was created by God to be sinless. It was not until Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit that sin and death came to man.

Christ Is for You, My Child

Christ is present for you in the church. Where Christ is present there is the church. It's not a symbol of His love or grace. It's not a contrived feeling of comfort or happiness. It's real. In Christ, God loves you and dwells with you. He is present to forgive you. He is present to give you His righteousness and take away your sin. Along the way, a lot of other stuff will pry its way into your life in the church, but none of it will take away Christ for you. None of it will take away the gifts He gives and the promises He makes to you.

Celibacy is not THE Answer

Lutheran parents, pastors, friends, political activists, and counselors would all benefit our churches if they would feed their fellow Christians who are struggling with SSA the Gospel narrative, that is, the theology of the Cross. We must remember that heterosexuality is not THE answer. Marriage is not THE answer. Counseling or therapy is not THE answer. Celibacy is not THE answer. Instead we must remember that JESUS is THE answer.

Why did You Study Theology?

Recently, a young high school-aged man (considering the ministry himself) asked me "Why did you study theology?" I was quick to answer his question, but then I began realize that my answer is vastly different today as compared to 2009 when I began my studies. After some personal reflection, I was baffled when I thought about what younger René had believed about theology...something like: "I study theology to satisfy the intellectual craving of my human mind."

What I Would Like Young Adults to Know about the Church

Christ has claimed you as His own in Holy Baptism. He has written your name in the Book of Life. He has made Himself clearly present to you in His Word and Sacraments. Your journey to adulthood need not be a solitary one. The life of the church includes your life as well.

A Wrangler Kind of Church

When I think about the question, "What church is being handed down to my daughter?" I find many similarities between the church and the Jeep with one exception, the church is a much greater gift and it was given to us by God's grace and love demonstrated in Christ Jesus.

Sing for Your Neighbor

So, sing! Love your neighbor by singing for them. Sing hymns throughout the week with your neighbor and for yourself! Sing the hymns that talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for you—and for your neighbor, too! Then, when you go through trials and temptations, when you get sick and are near death remember that the church is there singing with you, singing to you, and singing on your behalf.


Kaitlin Jandereski shares a poem that she wrote for her college poetry class. The poem deals with life of the unborn and why it matters.

Anxiety and the Sacraments

Sin is a condition, not just something we do or don't do. And that means that illnesses happen, not as God's judgement on our personal sins, but because when Adam fell, the whole world was affected. Like any other illness, the physical symptoms of anxiety should be treated by doctors and therapists. And as Lutherans, we are well-equipped with an entire arsenal for handling the spiritual symptoms of anxiety. We call these weapons the Sacraments.

The Lented Life

It's a comforting thing to realize that you need Christ, and when you understand that He is the only one who could have gone to that cross on Good Friday, and die for your sins, the looming stresses are buried with Him. He also takes care of the little things in your life like college, and money, and finding time to sleep. So, as we continue in the season of Lent, we should be reminded that God's Word is always there to call us back to Him to His love and care. Lent isn't just there for 40 days; it is a way of life.

Shaming the Shamers

There is a place in this world for shame and scorn. That place is upon Jesus. All the shame and the scorn are His. That way all the smiles and good things to say are said about you by God the Father for Jesus' sake.

We Celebrate... God Become Man for Our Salvation

In the Church, we don't celebrate "Christmastime." We don't deal with the "season." In the Church, our focus isn't really on any of the numerous traditions that float around. We celebrate Christmas-that Christ Jesus became Man for us and for our salvation. Our focus is this: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Our God is with us-with us in all the things that we face in this life, be it joy and celebrations, or heartache and sorrows. Whatever we come across in this life, whatever December holds, Christ Jesus is with us.

Tales of an Unfair God: The Story of Harold and Ann

The pastor visits Ann from time to time. But now when he comes with pink and white snapdragons, he also brings with him a cup of coffee and lays a Bible verse on the grave next to hers. Harold's grave. Today that verse left on the hard tombstone reads: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." In death and in life, no truer words can be spoken.

Confessions Of A Recovering Evangelical

A week later we went in. I remember sniffing the air suspiciously. Little old ladies with polyester jackets were everywhere. The off-key organ made me cringe. Kids were crying at inopportune times. The coffee was burnt. The songs...well, I didn't know them. Why did everyone stand up, then sit down, then stand up, then pray, then go up front, then come back and sit down, and on and on. I had no idea what was going on. This was not what I expected. But in a way, it was. And I loved it.

A Christian Identity Crisis?

Each of our identities, whether self-made or imposed on us from outside, is as fragile as life. None of them will survive, and there is only one way to avoid an identity crisis-an identity that cannot be broken because it doesn't belong to us. It's an identity that depends on one thing and one thing only: Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection for you.

Holy Marriage

Thus, if a man and woman wish a Christian marriage service, then they are publicly confessing that they do not attribute their fellowship to themselves, do not owe it to their own action and cannot themselves afford it any guarantee. The public confession as a confession of poverty lies at the heart of the service of worship in the marriage service. It is extremely important that it is a confession, rather than the signing of a contract or the public announcement of such a contract. The man and woman standing before the altar of God and His people are professing allegiance to God's holy and steadfast order of marriage. And this order is not primarily law, but a gift.

Marriage, Paul Gerhardt Style

And my bride and I held the pages of that hymn it struck me: As surely as Christ is reigning over the binding of Ashlee and me into one, so does He watch over His own Bride, the church.

Hear Our Illness, and Help Us

God can and will heal us the same way He heals those with physical illness. Your help is giving us the tools to keep going, the reminder that Jesus is taking care of us, and that even when we doubt Him, He has still saved us.

Blogs and Life

Indeed, even as great as technology is, as great (or lousy) as blog posts and podcasts are, as wonderful Epistles are, Christ still comes to you in a physical, tangible way in the service -- in His Supper. He comes to you bodily. And here's the neat thing: He comes to you (plural), to your church, your congregation. Paul greets the saints in Philippi with the brothers who are with him. Our physical Lord Jesus places us in physical congregations, and calls and gathers us together with other people.

Unplanned Parenthood

I can't think of a gentle way to describe the shock that goes through the mind of a young woman when she discovers she's pregnant. For me, it was a mixture of fear and shame and guilt; those feelings were dramatically increased when I realized that at some point, everyone around me would see my sin. The secret was out. I couldn't continue to lie to everyone around me.

Sex, Gender and Identity

The world can be a very confusing place. Jesus even said that the devil is the ruler of this fallen order, so of course it's a confusing place. The devil is a deceiver. He is the Father of lies. When he lies, he is speaking his native language. He wants you to be baffled about things that matter. Sexual design is an important part of human life because marriage is a visual representation of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the church. The devil will do whatever he can do to distort that image. He does not want people to see Christ and His Bride.

At Home in the Newness

Pastor Joel Frische is missionary to the Dominican Republic. He teaches us that he and his family are home in the Liturgy even when surrounded by a new country and language.

Hurt, Part 4: Immanuel Means God Is with Us

No, God is not stuck in heaven. We don't have a Jesus who will be present with us someday. We have a Jesus who makes Himself present with us here and now.

Walking the Talk

So, how are we students to survive this ever-changing world that only continues to hate us? The most important thing is to go to church where you can continue to have your faith nurtured. Attend a confessional Lutheran church that preaches the Word of God in its truth and purity, and that rightly administers the Sacraments!

Hurt Part 3: Help Comes From the Outside

That's our only hope. God will work with and for sinners. God can work with broken Ashley and broken you. God has helped and will continue to help. He saves you from the outside in. You are not alone.

Hurt, Part 2: God Speaks Peace to Broken People

God doesn't want sin to break you. He didn't want it to break anyone. He wants it to break His own Son. He wants to give you real forgiveness. He doesn't want it to be far from you. He showed up behind a locked door and spoke peace to Peter. He sends pastors to you to bring that forgiveness right to where you need it. They bring Jesus right to where you need Him.

The Silent Cries of Psalm 22

Let us then fight for the unborn so that we may have another generation who can live in faith towards God and who can proclaim His righteousness to the next generation. Life is beautiful, for all life has been created by God.

Hurt: Cutting through the Platitudes and the Lies

When I was 17 I had a broken friend who we'll call Ashley. Ashley cut herself. I wish I had known to tell her that Jesus already bled for her. He forgives and saves. That's the peace that doesn't only exist when you're happy. It's the peace that's given for when you're hurt. God bears your pain for you and He is with you.

The Miracle of Common Faith

This is the miracle: that we all put aside whatever other differences we may have and boldly confess our common Lutheran faith to each other and to those around us through our words and deeds. We are not alone, no matter where we are; we are built on the Rock that will never break and knit together as the Church as we confess one common faith.

Funerals Are For Real

Funerals are for real. They are for those who need to hear the real Good News that Jesus has destroyed death and conquered the grave. Funerals are so people can hear about the real forgiveness of sins. Funerals remind us to give thanks for the hope of the resurrection of the body-that because Jesus lives, so do we. Funerals are so we can receive real comfort from the Word of God in the middle of one of the worst times in our lives. We have funerals so Jesus can bring His peace and hope and comfort to people who need to hear it. For real.

Blessed Forgetfulness

When you can't forget your sin, because it plagues your conscience, your pastor reminds you that when God sees you He doesn't see you as you feel: condemned. That condemnation has already fallen on Christ. Instead, He sees you covered in the righteousness of His perfect Son, righteousness that has been won for you on the cross and delivered to you in the words of absolution. This is God's promise: "I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more" (Hebrews 8:12), and this promise is for you.

What Is Your Tic?

We might not know everything about each other's lives, but we do know that we are sinners in need of Christ's forgiveness. The sin that "tics" inside of us can only be suppressed by the proclamation of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone.

Our Neediest Neighbors

Wherever you live, you've seen them, lying on park benches, standing on the roadside, sitting on street corners, easily identified by disheveled hair, baggy clothes, and bad teeth: the homeless. Maybe you've also been one of those people who walk in the opposite direction, lock your car door or roll up your window, at the mere sight of someone holding a sign reading, "God bless," as if the words written in Sharpie on the bent piece of cardboard were an imprecation rather than a benediction.

The Sky Is Falling... Again

Christ is still the Lord of heaven and earth. God will continue to cause a man to leave his mother and father and cling to his wife.

The Fine China of Creation

Indeed, even when women are called the "weaker vessel," this isn't meant to indicate a deficit, instead the phrase expresses that you are the fine china of creation.


Like the boy in this story, our life gets hard and we forget how much we are loved. We know we were loved to the point of death, even death on the cross, but we still feel hated, rejected and hurt by this world.

Let It Go: Your Identity in Christ Trumps Your GPA

There's a lot of pressure in academic circles to make the grade, to stand out, to be exceptional. It can become far too easy to let your GPA become your primary focus. Ramona examines the fine line between pursuing excellence and succumbing to idolatry and reminds us that ultimately it's Jesus and Him crucified in which we have our identity.

Kick Your Conference Experience into High Gear: Be a CCV

Have thoughts about being a college conference volunteer for next year's Te Deum conference? Kaitlin is our latest, greatest cheerleader for the cause with her memorable list of the pros of being a CCV.

Mercy and the Gospel

Worden is serving The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod in an internship in Lima as part of her deaconess studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. Her role is to provide exactly what is missing from the first scenario: mercy. She servers as the director of Castillo Fuerte, the mission’s mercy house.

Dark Addictions Need the Light

Evil doesn't take a vacation, but we do know where to find it: hiding in the dark and buried in secrets. Pastor Ogrodowicz urges us to combat the struggle with pornography by boldly shining the light of the Gospel on it.

Lustful in Adam, Chaste in Christ

When Adam saw Eve, it was on like Donkey Kong! She was the cream in his jelly donut, the icing on his cake, the Yin to his…well, you get the point. She was made from his side. He was "not good" without her.

Baptized Not "Gay"

We're not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. That is who we are in Adam. But as baptized Christians, we are also saints. That is who we are in Christ. Pastor Buetow boldly asserts that it is the very same with homosexuality. Who we are in Christ trumps that and every other struggle we have with sin.

His and Hers: A Youth Leader Couple's Perspective on Marriage

Years of working with youth have taught this dynamic couple a great many things, which is why we're so privileged that they are so enthusiastically sharing their experience with us.

Children: A Full Quiver of Blessing

Pastor Fritsche focuses on the many ways God blesses us through children, no matter what the circumstances. We especially get insight into His Fatherly love for us and see how God even blesses our neighbor through His gift of children to us.

My Parents are Divorcing... Now What?

You may be right in the throes of divorce at this very moment. Maybe it's been a few years, but you're still dealing with the fallout. Or perhaps you know someone else who is trying to navigate this storm of life. Pastor Cwirla's Gospel-filled advice will buoy the most struggling of hearts.

Is Singleness Really a Gift?

Sandra is crystal clear as she lays out the answer to that question. And if you think you are going to find the same pat answers you tend to encounter about being single, think again.

Rev. Mark Jasa: Getting to the Heart of the Matter

For 47 years the University Lutheran Chapel has faithfully ministered to students at UCLA—from those who need their faith nourished to those who have no faith at all. And since August 2005, Rev. Mark Jasa has served as pastor there, bringing his unique life experience and apologetics skills to the table, sometimes literally.

Christ on Campus: Christendom on Campus

No matter where you go to college or end up going, there will probably come a time when the views of your professor are diametrically opposed to the values of your Christian faith. Bethany Lange offers up her experience and advice on how to deal with these sorts of situations.

Ambition: Should a Christian Seek Success

Rev. Hageman encourages us to take the talents God has given us and use them to the best of our ability for His glory. Such ambition, he says, is not contrary to the Christian life.

Youth Ministry Are You Ready for a Miracle?

This is the inaugural article of our new regular feature dedicated to helping and encouraging youth leaders. Sandra makes the case that Lutheran youth crave the richness and depth that the traditional liturgy offers, as opposed to the latest, greatest cultural offerings.

Coming Down from the Mountaintop

From the highest peaks to the lowest valleys, life can be a harrowing journey, but very often, it is simply middle-of-the-road ordinary. And it's at those times when the really important things: Baptism, Absolution, the Lord's Supper, ground us and grant us strength for the next mountain or valley. by Jon Kohlmeier

Brave New World

Your freshman year of college will usher in many things, not the least of which is challenge and growth. Katie seeks to encourage those of you who have yet to experience that first year with some practical advice but more importantly with the reminder that your identity in Christ is the key to getting from the start to the finish, no matter what that year may bring. by Katie Hill

My Unbelieving Friends

Have you ever felt guilty because you believed that perhaps it was your fault your unbelieving friends haven’t yet bought into Christianity? Perhaps your argument wasn’t smooth enough.Your case wasn’t intellectual enough. Well the good news is, as Rev. Young explains, you can’t persuade someone to embrace Christianity. It is only through the work of the Holy Spirit—through Word and Sacrament—that your friends will come to Christ. Knowing this frees you up to be Christ to your friends who are still in darkness. by Rev. Phillip Young

Trust Issues

It's great to be a planner and organized but the danger comes when your happiness and joy hinge on the outcome of your plans. Thankfully, we believe in a God who can do all things—whose plans can never be thwarted (Job 42:2). Sara faithfully reminds us that it all comes back to Christ, in whom we can trust to be there for even the tiniest of details of our lives. by Sara Scheler

From Above: A CCVs Perspective

From Above - Scranton CCV, Sara Scheler, writes about the From Above conferences from her perspective.

The Church Musician in You

It's perfectly acceptable to admit to singing in the shower… we all know the acoustics are the best in there! But whether or not you think you actually have some sort of musical ability, Bethany will persuade you that making a joyful noise unto the Lord is something we can all foster to the glory of God and the benefit of our neighbor. by Bethany Woelmer

Father May I?

While various forms of social media have been a positive development in many ways, they are certainly not without pitfalls. One of those traps is called the comparison game. Facebook, for example, can easily become something that magnifies our covetousness or feelings of discontent. Heidi reminds us that who we are in Christ always trumps struggles like these. by Heidi Bliese

Marching for Life with the LCMS

The recent commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision brought about a great deal of controversy but it also invigorated those who stand for the unborn. Megan's account gives you a small window into her life-changing experience at the LCMS Life Conference.
by Megan Hammond.

Marriage: One Lord Jesus and One Holy Bride

Recently the supreme court has taken two cases concerned with "gay marriage." Pr. Buetow looks at God's gift of marriage founded in Christ and His Church. by Rev. Mark Buetow

Don't Put God Back in Schools

Pr. Buetow talks about putting God back in schools and why it might not be such a good idea.
by Rev. Mark Buetow.

Islam: Mohammed and the Sword

What makes
Islam's use of sharia law so diametrically opposed to Scripture? There is no Jesus there. Rev. Ramirez skillfully contrasts Islam's twisting together of faith and government to God's plan for church and state. by Rev. David Ramirez

But It's Not Fair!

We live in a society that clamors around the concept of equal rights. Yet in the scheme of things and if we are truly honest with ourselves, Jesus got the short end of the stick in that game when He took on flesh and died for us. Be encouraged in your vocations at church, at home or anywhere, as Ms. Ostapowich reminds us of the reality of equal rights for the Christian. by Sandra Ostapowich

Do Religion and Politics Mix?

Normally religion and politics are taboo topics in our conversations. There are those who go further and believe those areas should never overlap in our daily living. Rev. Cwirla demonstrates how to manage and balance these two areas through the filter of Luther's two kingdom theology.

So God Made Vocation

Did you see the great Super Bowl commercial about farmers? In this week's article spotlight, HT is pleased to share a blog post by Pastor Sam Schuldheisz in which he talks about the great example of the biblical teaching of vocation provided by that ad.

The Only Christian Nation

So are we a "Christian" nation? Are was a "secular" nation? Well, maybe there's another choice. Rev. Buetow explains how we can Scripturally view America by understanding the two kingdoms.

Christian Activism?

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe versus Wade decision legalizing abortion. How might Christians respond and react to these decisions? What voice do we have? Mrs. Maggie Karner addresses how Christians can participate in the public square in her article, featured this week as part of our FREE Church and State issue of Higher Things.

What Happens When Your Guy Loses

Next week, Barack Obama will be inaugurated into his second term as President of the United States. Whether you voted for him or not, Pastor Borghardt reminds us that all election results are a gift from our Lord. This article is one of many in the Winter 2012 Topical Issue of Higher Things Magazine entitled "Church and State."

Your Daily Plan for the New Year

Pr. Buetow talks about failing at New Year's resolutions and keeping the Law and Christ living in you in your baptism!

Dare to Be Lutheran: Challenge Accepted

Registration is open for the 2013 Higher Things From Above Conferences. Take a look at Caitlyn's first conference experience.

The Gospel of Halloween

Rev. Mark Buetow

Witches, wizards, skeletons, devils, and superheroes? Never mind that. Let’s get to the candy! As Halloween approaches, many calling themselves Christians will get all worked up about this supposedly satanic holiday. With emphases on witches and devils and violent horror, these folks get upset and say that Christians have no business observing this holiday and ought to do something better, something more godly and pious. Thus all over “Halloween” celebrations are replaced with “Fall Festivals.

Homosexuality in the Home: The Christian in Crisis

It's one thing to be inundated by all of the politically oriented arguments regarding homosexuality, same sex marriage, etc. It's an entirely different story when you have someone near and dear to you reveal that they are choosing to live that lifestyle. How on earth does the Christian deal with this when faced with it? Rev. Ogrodowicz demonstrates how Law and Gospel are the most vital tools to help you minister to your loved one in their time of need.


If you've listened to or been around Rev. Borghardt for any length of time, you'll know what "that" is. It actually stems back to one of his most popular conference topics: sex. In his usual impassioned manner, Rev. Borghardt makes the Biblical case for the blessings of putting "that" in its correct context of marriage.

Fish Don't Want to be Caught

It happens quite frequently when people find out that I do college ministry. They comment with words similar to this: “That’s awesome! What a tremendous opportunity!” I agree wholeheartedly with that assessment. But then comes the question, “How large is your group?” I tell them: “Three so far.” (We’ve been up to five and down to two.) The response? An uncomfortable “Oh.”

Connected to Christ at College

You’re on your way to college. It’s a time to experiment, try new things—to use a cliché, “find yourself.” Right? Maybe yes, but how does all of that fit into the life of a Christian?

Lutherans on Facebook

There are more than 800 million active users on Facebook. People from all over the world, of many different religions and world views, log into the same website to communicate with others every single day. In many ways, that makes it even harder to dare to be Lutheran than it is in our daily physical lives.

What Does God Want Me to Be When I’m an Adult?

With school finally over and a summer job or college on the horizon, you may be wondering what the future holds? Here's something to help you think about the Lord's plans for your future! For more great articles in our quarterly magazine, subscribe to Higher Things online or a print copy of the magazine today!

Speaking Hope to Homosexuals

With so-called "gay marriage" once again in the news, here's and article from the Fall 2010 issue of Higher Things magazine that will give you some wisdom and help in speaking the truth in love to someone you know that may be struggling with homosexuality.

Really Receiving

Another great article from HT's Sandra Ostapowich where she lays out the Good News of who women are in Christ. This article originally appeared in the Fall 2009 Issue of Higher Things Magazine.

Knitted Women

Growing Up? You Need Your Pastor More Than Ever!

Dressing for Jesus?

"Is This Guy Good?"

by The Rev. George F. Borghardt III

I got an email from somebody today, I wanted to respond, but the email bounced...

The question concerned whether or not a pastor was a faithful pastor.  When considering whether a pastor is faithful or not, don't go by his name.  Don't go by what other people say about him. 


Nothing More Important

by Nathan Fischer

There is nothing more important, more vital, and more necessary to the world than putting an end to suffering. At least, that is what we are supposed to believe. Suffering is the worst kind of evil. It affects everyone everywhere indiscriminately. Children go hungry, the poor freeze in the cold, and the rich contract deadly diseases. There are too many situations in life that are out of our control, ensuring that at some point, in some way, suffering comes for us all.


Help! My Biology Teacher is an Evolutionist!

by The Rev. Mark T. Buetow

First of all, don't panic! Your biology teacher didn't create you, die for your sins, or make you a new creation in Holy Baptism. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all about that work. Second, your biology teacher is just teaching what he or she's been taught. They can't help it if they've learned to trust in an unproven theory developed by a man who spent too long on a ship looking at animals he never saw in the zoo when he was a kid. (That would be Darwin...) And it's not your biology teacher's fault that the scientist who wrote the biology textbook your teacher learned from isn't the Lord who actually created and sustains all things. After all, if the Lord wrote a book about where things come from, like, say, the BIBLE—well, we know with certainty that what is written in it is true, because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. So you see? No need to panic if your biology teacher is an evolutionist. Rather, because YOU know where the world comes from and who the Savior is, you can sit back and learn what exactly it is the world thinks about where it came from without having to get all bent out of shape! That means you can study and learn all about evolution, still get your “A” and still be a Christian.

I Liked "The Shack"

by Sandra Ostapowich

I’ve been taught some pretty wackadoo theology in my lifetime. And it’s a hobby of mine to read books and watch “religious” movies just for the fun of ripping them to theological shreds. On the other hand, I’m just as eager to find nuggets of good theology out there for public consumption as well. So I was skeptical and had low expectations of The Shack because there’s rarely good stuff out there, but I also had an open mind – willing to consider a perspective I hadn’t before, and to think in new ways.

Permanently Marked

by Sandra Ostapowich

It probably wasn't most brilliant idea I ever came up with to get a tattoo in college (junior year, March 12, 1993 to be exact), but at least it was a Trinity symbol. I had been thinking of getting a tattoo for a while, I just didn't know what to get done. When I saw the triangle of three fish embroidered on a kneeler pad in Cleveland, OH, I knew that was it. Before it registered in my mind that I was a paying customer and could make the artist change the design (even if he was big and scary-looking), "Ace" was already working on the outline, which is well...permanent.

On Being Silent

by Sandra Ostapowich

More often than not, 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 is quoted to keep women in line, to remind us that we are prohibited from being pastors because Scripture tells us that we are not permitted to speak in church. It's usually quoted by men, and frequently with a scowl.

Ironic-er and Ironic-er...or Something Like That

by Sandra Ostapowich

So Tracy Lagondino became Thomas Beattie.  She apparently felt like she was really, truly a male deep down inside.  She took lots of male hormones to counteract her naturally occurring female hormones and had her girl bits cut off and the remaining stuff fashioned to resemble boy bits...but she retained the girl parts inside.

I Kissed a Girl

by Sandra Ostapowich

It takes a lot to disturb me.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is what it is.  I have been disturbed.  And of all things, by a song I heard on the Top 20 station on my radio between random errands the other day.  I normally just listen to news or the 70's station, but I was actually trying to get an idea of what teens are listening to these days.  Did I get an earful!

Future Vocations: What About Foster Parenting?

by Laura Koch, Foster Mom

My husband and I began our journey as foster parents more than two years ago. After many conversations and prayer we decided that fostering would be something that would be good for our family to do. Our children were growing up, we had the space for one child and taking care of children was something we have naturally done over the past 21 years. Our county was (and still is) in need of foster parents, so we decided to attend an informational meeting.



by Sandra Ostapowich

The way we dress communicates something about us, doesn’t it? Some professions have ways of dressing that identify people as having certain vocations. Whether they are actual uniforms or unique attire, we can usually pick out of a crowd someone who works in the medical field by her scrubs, a member of the clergy by his clerical collar, a road construction worker by his orange vest and hardhat, or even the pairs of local Mormon missionaries by their black pants, white shirts, and clean-cut hair styles.

Unconditional Love from THE Baby: Christ and the “So Called” Pregnancy Pact

by Jon Townsend

In Gloucester, MA at the local high school there was a sharp increase in the number of pregnancies amongst the students – four times higher than normal. This sparked a debate about handing out contraception in the school – even without parental permission. TIME Magazine asked the principal Dr. Joseph Sullivan about the issue and he responded: "a lack of birth control played no part" …. “That bump was because of seven or eight sophomore girls," Sullivan told TIME. "They made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together."

Does College = Losing Your Faith?

by The Rev. Richard Woelmer

As a campus pastor I’ve talked with many a parent terrified of sending their pride and joy off to college, where opportunity to exercise new-found freedom is around every corner. If your parents went to college, chances are they remember the atmosphere pretty well. Perhaps they managed to get through it with their faith intact, or were part of the majority who forsook church during their twenties, and then realized the need to return once they became new parents. I, too, remember the free-wheeling world of college life. So please understand if your parents exhibit fear. It is natural—and well founded.

The Pitter Patter of Little Feet: Are We Leaving Huge Carbon Footprints?

by Jon Townsend

Jon Townsend is at odds with a world that preaches contracepting ourselves out of existence. He invites you to rediscover the opposing view: God’s promise that children are always blessings, not curses. Better stewardship of our earth does not necessarily mean it is better to have fewer stewards! Read on!

Mothers: Changing the World, Starting at Home

by Glenda Mumme

Lately my husband, David, and I have been watching HGTV’s “House Hunters” show in the evenings after our children go to bed. Many of the commercials are various HGTV stars promoting and encouraging viewers to “change the world…start at home.” Of course they want me to do this by changing my light bulb, turning off unused appliances (or buy new, more efficient ones), or some other such “green” thing. But I change the world more by being a mother who stays home, fulfilling my role as a woman.

Mardi Gras, Carnival, and Christianity

by The Rev. Larry Beane

People who don't live in New Orleans have a lot of misconceptions about Mardi Gras and Carnival. The stereotype is that it's a pornographic display of public nudity and drunkenness. Church groups even send "evangelists" to try to convert the revelers.

Writing as a God-Given Vocation: Faith Meets Fantasy Fiction

by Frederic S. Durbin

In addition to being a writer myself, I teach writing at a university. On the first day of each new course, I talk to the students about the impact and far-reaching effects of writing. Students are considering their futures, their careers—where they will fit into the world, and how their lives will affect the people they encounter. I point out that if a person wants to change the world for the better, writing is one of the very best ways to do it. All that we know about the ancient world, we know because people wrote things down. We can feel what others have felt, see what they’ve seen, and understand something of their thoughts—all through the wondrous power of the written word to span time and geographic space.

When God Changes My Vocation

by the Rev. Jacob Sutton
God changes your vocation. God gives you meaningful employment. God gives you employers and other authorities at work. God gives you governmental authorities. God gives you parents. God gives you a family, spouse, children.

God’s Gift of Phoebe

by Deaconess Sara Lemon

Sadly, to many who hear the name “Phoebe,” the most vivid image in their minds is that of the spacey, brutally honest, but loyal blonde from Friends. A far better role model is found, ever so briefly, in the epistles.

Discover Saint Phoebe and her vocation with Deaconess Sara Lemon, as Saint Paul commends “Phoebe our sister” to you.

Exploring the Pastoral Ministry: 2007

by The Rev. Joel Fritsche

This past summer twenty-two high school men gathered at Concordia Seminary—St. Louis for its annual Exploring the Pastoral Ministry (EPM) event. St. Louis was as it always is in August—hot and sticky. Nevertheless, these young men spent three days with seminary professors, students and local pastors because someone (a pastor, teacher or relative) saw in them the potential for full-time service as a pastor in Christ’s Church.

Boyfriends and Girlfriends

by The Rev. Rick Stuckwisch

"It may sound crazy to 21st century ears, but maybe the arranged marriages of the past weren't such a bad idea."   What?!  Is Pastor Stuckwisch serious?!  Perhaps you better read this in context.  Then you can comment!  Let myHT know if you agree or disagree with our dear friend and catechist.

Review: Soul Searching by Christian Smith

by Karen Gabriel

With so many books on "youth ministry" available today, it's often difficult to decide which ones to pick up and which ones to leave on the shelf. If you are interested in youth and what is happening in the spiritual world of teens then do pick up Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

What is God's Will for My Life?

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

“What do you want to do when you graduate?” “What career would you like to pursue?”  Questions like these are asked of teens and college students all the time.  In fact, some start early, and sometimes we even ask children before they enter pre-school!  But how do you respond?

In Faith Toward You and in Fervent Love Toward One Another

by The Rev. Rich Heinz

At each Divine Service, we pray a Collect of thanksgiving following the Holy Supper. Did you realize that that you are praying to the Lord about your vocations? Take a look at how the Lord continues Divine Service between Sundays, in your daily life.

Books Every College Student Should Read

A list of books that every college student should read.