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Witness

How Luther Went Viral

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By all rights, the Ninety-Five Theses really oughtn’t to have had the impact they did. Martin Luther was a relatively unknown professor doing a completely ordinary thing for someone in the academic world of his day. There was nothing unique about him nailing these statements to the door of the local church in Wittenberg. He wasn’t looking to start a reformation. He was merely hoping to spark a bit of public debate among his colleagues regarding the practice of indulgences. Yet within a few short months, the Ninety-Five Theses had been reprinted in Nuremberg, Leipzig, and Basel. While the originals were printed in Latin, Nuremberg also reportedly published a German translation of his theses, which was unprecedented. Copies were being widely distributed and read by not only intellectuals, but also commoners. The higher-ups were taking notice of this small-town professor, realizing something had to be done about him before he rallied more people to his cause. He quickly became a household name. Put in today’s terminology, Luther went viral.

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Deadlines

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I’m convinced that little to nothing would get done in this world without deadlines. Houses would rarely get cleaned if guests weren’t stopping by, school projects wouldn’t be completed without a due date, and books wouldn’t get published without a deadline from the printer. I don’t know what it is about the human psyche, but we tend not to act until we know our time is limited. I may have a coupon for three months, but it’s not until the day before it expires that I get serious about redeeming it. I can get the hymns for a Sunday service on Tuesday, but it’s a pretty safe bet I won’t even look at them until Saturday night. I can steam mop the entire house in about an hour, but if the kids are in school, I will inevitably drag the chore out to last all day until I’m racing to finish in the final minutes before I have to leave to pick them up. And even though I have all week to write a blog post for Monday, I rarely ever work on it before Sunday afternoon. If I have time to waste, I’ll procrastinate with the best of them. When faced with a deadline, however, it’s time to get serious.

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Demons who Confess Christ

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met anyone suffering from demon possession. Yet a quick reading of the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, or Luke will show you numerous instances of Jesus driving out a demon from a person who is possessed. It seems to have been a common ailment back then. But even more intriguing is this fact: the demons know who Jesus is, and they confess Him as the Son of God.

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Why I Want My Kids to Fight

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(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the website Raising Godly Children, where it was published on March 19,2017. To read the article in its entirety, click the link here.)

My seventh grade son has a unique set of friends. A few “kind of” believe in a generic god out there, a few flat out don’t believe in God at all, a few aren’t sure what they believe, and then there’s my son. He’s grown up in the church, attended parochial schools until 5th grade, goes regularly to Sunday School, midweek (church) school, and confirmation class, and hears Bible stories and devotions at home as well. And thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, he believes those biblical accounts. He has faith in Jesus and isn’t afraid to say so, even when all his friends are arguing against him. And argue they do. Religion is a regular topic of discussion at their lunch table. Yet despite the wide variety of views among them, they have a close bond and manage to stay friends even after a lively discussion. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier that he’s fighting in school, because it’s already preparing him for life as an adult. (Continue reading.)

Photo is Fighting by Frederic C81

What We Can Learn from the Saddest Passage in the Bible

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One of the most tragic verses in the Bible is Judges 2:10. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” What?? How is that even possible? Think about this. Joshua led the Israelites after the death of Moses, and through Joshua’s direction, this band of nomads conquered the Promised Land, defeating strongholds like Jericho simply by marching around the city and blowing trumpets. They had seen God’s hand powerfully at work in their lives, and had witnessed what their forefathers only dreamed of- entering the Promised Land of Canaan. But then that generation died and their children grew up, not knowing the Lord. Why? I hate to say it, but it was because of the parents.

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Christmas without Christ

 

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Happy Holidays!  Season’s Greetings!

Our society is so exceedingly polite nowadays that we dare not offend anyone.  As a result, we tame down our felicitations so they mean next to nothing.  “Happy Holidays” could refer to Halloween and Thanksgiving.  “Season’s Greetings” could be referring to spring or summer.  So I’ll be blunt.  We’re coming up to Christmas.  And honestly, what’s the point of Christmas without Christ?

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Start with the Children

Recently I finished a book about a smuggler.  Not just any smuggler, mind you.  A man who smuggled Bibles into Communist countries to get them to struggling churches and Christians.  In some cases, the government had issued “state Bibles,” which were watered down and heavily edited to reflect state ideology.  In other words, not Bibles at all. In other cases, congregations shared between them one single Bible, or even part of a Bible.  They hungered desperately for the Word of God in their own hands.  Hard to comprehend for me personally, when I look at my bookshelf and see half a dozen different translations of the Bible.  The book was God’s Smuggler, and the man was named simply “Brother Andrew.”  His experiences were fascinating to read, and each communist country tried to stamp out Christianity in their own way.  But one particular ideology scares me more than the others.  It’s about the children.

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Casual Christians

I’m convicted.  Yesterday we sang a hymn in church that really stuck out at me.  How Clear is our Vocation, Lord is #853 in Lutheran Service Book, and verse 3 says the following:

We marvel how Your saints become in hindrances more sure;
Whose joyful virtues put to shame the casual way we wear Your name
And by our faults obscure Your power to cleanse and cure.

The phrase that really hit me was “the casual way we wear Your name.”  I don’t know about you, but most of the time that describes me all too well.  I’m a casual Christian.

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Kids in Church- Why Bother?

I don’t know why I even bother.  Trying to corral five children in church by one’s self is not for the faint of heart.  And truth be told, by the time I’m halfway through the service I’m usually mad at one or more of said children.  I generally hear about half of the sermon, if I’m lucky.  I usually have to take out the baby and/or toddler at some point.  And to what end?  Is it even worth it?  Do they even get anything out of the service?  Do I?  Like I said, I often wonder why I even bother.  And yesterday was no exception until something amazing happened.

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