Winter 2011

Catechism: Thy Kingdom Come

By Rev. William M. Cwirla

“Thy kingdom come.” Really? Do we want that to happen? Really? Do we want to be ruled over, reigned over, lorded over? After all, we live in a democracy, not a kingdom. We have elected officials who do our bidding. We aren’t servants of a king. So what’s with this kingdom talk?

Christ on Campus: Let's Get Started!

By Rev. Marcus Zill

Do you have a college nearby? Have you ever wanted your church to start a campus ministry there? There are a lot of things to consider when starting a campus ministry from scratch. Here are just a few:

Christmas in the Nicene Creed

By Rev. George Borghardt

Homo factus est. “He became man.” God became man. The eternal Word–who was with the Father from all eternity, through whom all things were made and apart from whom nothing was made that is made–became man. The One who is God. Light of light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father. He became man.

Confessions of a Former Evangelical

By Tamara Ockree

I had the great misfortune as a child of not being raised Lutheran. It wasn’t that I was raised by atheists, wolves, or anything like that. In fact, I was raised by Christian parents. We attended a non-denominational Christian church every Sunday, and I was taught a number of wonderful things about the Bible. I knew very early on that Jesus is our Savior, that He is the only Son of God, and that He died for our sins. I was encouraged to read the Bible on a regular basis and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

In, Not Of

By Scott Diekmann

Christians are to be in the world but not of the world. You’ve heard it before. St. John tells us (John 17:9, 1 John 2:15). Your pastor has proclaimed it. Perhaps even your parents have preached it to you. And now you’re going to hear it again. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? In but not of the world. So really, how is this supposed to work? It means something like this: In this life you need to get involved in the grimy details of the lives of the people around you, whether they’re believers or unbelievers, while at the same time avoiding the temptations of a world soaked in sin.

Joy: The Serious Business of Narnia

By Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz

C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia is as well known–dare we say, lionized–for its vivid, Biblical imagery as it is for its infectiously loveable characters. Instantly, the Pevensies and Puddleglum, Rumblebuffin and Reepicheep, Mr. Tumnus, and yes, even Eustace Scrubb, come to mind. From Aslan to Z, Narnia’s beloved creatures draw the reader further up and further into this magical world, time and time again.

Planking or Cross Beaming?

By Rev. Philip Hoppe

I had heard of it. But I truly did not believe it was anything other than an odd game created by a few web weirdoes. That was until I saw the pictures on one of my youth’s Facebook page. What am I talking about? Planking. For the uninitiated, let me explain.

Talking to Your Non-Lutheran Friends About Jesus

By Rev. Mark Buetow

Have you ever had an argument with one of your friends about something related to religion? Maybe you’ve heard things like this: “Well at our church we don’t baptize babies.” or “In our church we use grape juice for communion.” Maybe even something like, “Well, our pastor teaches us not to take the Bible literally.”

The Thing About Mary

By Sandra Ostapowich

Everyone focuses on Mary as being the mother of our Lord, especially at Christmas time, and for good reason! God thought so much of women, so much of motherhood that He created us with the ability to bear children. He gave His Son a mother who would carry Him in her body, nurse Him at her breasts, change his dirty diapers, and protect and love Him as only a mother can. Pretty amazing!

When a Loved One Commits Suicide

By Rev. Peter Preus

Grieving for a loved one who has committed suicide in one sense is like grieving for any Christian who has died. You feel a deep sense of loss. You question “Why?” You wonder how you will cope without this parent, husband, wife or child. In another sense, grieving for a suicide is very different. You want to say, “He was a Christian!” “She was a Christian!” But how can you be so sure, when you were told not so long ago that those who commit suicide do not go to heaven? Until recently, many in the church believed that suicide was an unforgivable sin. The truth is, most people who take their own lives are suffering from a very serious illness known as severe depression.