Monday, January 31, 2011

An Odd Thought

I post my sermons on-line.  I also post my newsletter articles.  I do it to make them freely available to the church.

I am flattered and gratified that I occasionally get emails from all over the world about what I have posted.  I received notes from pastors who use my sermons and my newsletters for ideas, for study, for theology.  I receive notes from people from three or four continents who find solace and spiritual substance in my sermons.  I have received notes from vacant parishes acknowledging that they use my sermons to fill their pulpit while they do not have a pastor, or, occasionally, while their pastor is on vacation or absent for some other reason.

I have told my tiny congregation that their continued struggle to exist and support a pastor provides this service to the church at large, and that our congregation is really quite a bit larger than we see on Sunday mornings.  Since my congregation does not fully support me, paying a small fraction of the "budgeted salary and benefits", I find that thought comforting too, when I ask the 'coming-from-my-flesh' question of why I continue to struggle at this task.  I know that I continue because God made me to be a pastor, and called me into this work.

But the thought crossed my mind a while back about the state of the Christian faith in this internet age where many acknowledge receiving from this congregation and its pastor, and appreciating what they have received, but to date, none has ever even asked how they might support this ministry.  The Bible says that a laborer is worthy of his hire, but today many Christians feed themselves for free and consider that the way it should be, and have no sense of how they might return to God for what they have received, or have any idea that they might have some reciprocal obligation to help the laborer continue his work from which they draw sustenance and comfort.

God takes care of me, which is good.  But there is something amiss on the receiving end when there is no curiosity about how they might return something to the one from whom they receive.  Gal.6:6, "Let the one who is taught the Word share all good things with him who teaches."  Like Paul, I have learned to live within the blessings the Lord gives me, but I wonder about the church that has learned to take but not to give.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


As I read the news and the opinions sprouting from what is referred to as the Main Stream Media, I am impressed by one thing, the insanity of what is acceptable today in society.

I pray daily for this nation, but I understand why the Lord allows it to go the path it going.  Sickness and stupidity are not just accepted, but endorsed and encouraged.

Lord have mercy.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Moment of Sorrow

This year I did not receive the annual pocket calendar from CPH.  When I inquired of my friends, they told me that CPH was eliminating them.
I am just writing to express my sorrow -- and my thanks.  My sorrow that they will no longer be available.  I have looked at the regrettable replacement offered by CPH in the form of the online calendar.  Sadly, I cannot fit that into my pocket , and I, unlike my better compensated brethren, cannot afford those cute electronic devices that can access the web and fit into a pocket.
I want to express my thanks for the thirty years of calendars that I have enjoyed.  The one thing that had not changed in my ministry over the thirty years was my dependence on my "brain in my pocket" - the memory helper of that burgundy calendar.  I can track through the past thirty-plus years in the pages of those calendars, most of which I still have on my bookshelf.  I will make do with something else.  It will be a minor inconvenience, and a constant nagging pain for a while, but such is life at times.
Thanks again to Concordia Publishing House for the years of calendars in the past.  I am sorry you that CPH has decided to stop serving the church in that specific way.  I understand some of the likely reasons.  It is just a point of sorrow that it is to be no longer.