I’ve been thinking a lot about peace. I think for me, peace is the biggest desire in my life. Not only do I wish for peace in the world, I also want peace in my friendships, peace in my marriage, peace for my future children. But I’m not known for my peace. In fact, for a long time, I was known for my fire. I would go from upset to angry in a moment; I was frustrated always. I wanted to burn bridges at the first sign of conflict. And yet, my desire was peace.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
My husband’s story of faith is miraculous. He was born to two loving Christian parents, had an infant baptism, was confirmed in eighth grade, and grew up knowing Jesus as Lord. In his senior year of high school, he became aware of God calling him to pastoral ministry. Now, here we are at the seminary.
One of my best friends grew up in a denomination that doesn’t believe that the Bible is infallible. Her family was actively involved in the congregation, and she enjoyed it. But she was always questioning that position, always thinking, ”If some of it is false, how can I trust the rest of it?” In college, she learned from professors to articulate why the Bible is God’s true and inerrant Word. She married an LCMS pastor. Miraculous.
The girl who ended up my maid of honor grew up in the church but without her (very much alive) parents. Another good friend came to faith in her Lutheran high school during religion class. Another struggled with the problem of pain. And another is a lifelong Lutheran whose parents’ involvement in the Church inspired her walk with Jesus.
All these stories are the miraculous work of Jesus Christ. And throughout Scripture, we see that we are called to tell others about what Christ has done in our lives.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
I didn’t go to a Christian university, but I was pretty involved with one during college. I met my closest friends, drew deeper into my faith, and learned so much about Christ through the professors, staff, and events held by the university. My life and my faith would be so different if it hadn’t been for that school in the Concordia University System. I am grateful that God has given us these institutions.
But recently, and not just because of the ongoing pandemic that has changed the educational landscape, Christian colleges—specifically, our Concordias—have been struggling. Here are some ways you can support the evangelism that is done at Christian universities.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
I appreciate the uniqueness of every church I have attended. Each one spoke the Gospel and served their community in their own way while leaning on the strengths of their congregation members. Each had its own way of evangelizing and creating opportunities to bring others into their community.
No matter where you are or how large your church is, I think that learning about the different ways churches evangelize can be helpful. Below are some ideas for how every size congregation can evangelize in their unique circumstances.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
I remember in grade school, reading books from what I considered fascinating historical times. The American Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Westward Expansion eras always drew my attention. I remember thinking, “Wow, life was so different and difficult back then.” I thought that a lot of what took place happened because it was the “old times” and that, even though I knew in my short lifetime there had been trouble and turmoil worldwide, it would never touch me. But now here we are amid a pandemic. And our lives have all been changed by what is happening throughout the world today. While all of this trouble and turmoil are around us, we can remember that this is nothing new. Throughout time, plagues and unrest have been a staple. Take a look below at a few times in the Bible where God has used turmoil in His salvation story.
I am not great at being positive. I’m a little bit of a Debbie Downer. My default mode is to feel everything is bad and there’s nothing I can do to make it better. Some people will say this is a good thing—to recognize that, apart from Christ, nothing is good, everything leads to death (morbid I know, but true). But this is not 100 percent true for all things. When it comes to people—our neighbors, family members, friends—we are to act in a different way. The Eighth Commandment tells us, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). As Luther describes in his Small Catechism, we are to “explain everything in the kindest way” when it comes to our neighbors.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
Summer is a great time to invest in others. Life seems simpler and free time more abundant. During this unusual summer, investing in others may not follow a normal path, but even with big gatherings and events canceled, you can still find opportunities to deepen relationships.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
It’s no secret that in America the Church across denominational lines is shrinking. The LCMS is no different. We, of course, are not without hope. God’s kingdom will have the ultimate victory. That doesn’t mean we say, “Oh, well,” to our young adults leaving and never consider why they’re leaving; we need to examine our retention. A few months ago, I wrote a post which used empirical data from the LCMS young-adults study to offer hypotheticals to explain the departure of many young people. This post will not do the same. Instead, in this post, I’ll take a qualitative approach to the question “Why do some people stay in the LCMS from childhood through their entire lives?”Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
A few months ago, I wrote on Luther’s thoughts on three components of the Christian life. I reflected on how it leads us to witness Christ. In doing so, I talked briefly about how living the Christian life leads us to repentance. The life of a believer is one of continual repentance. As such a vital and important part of the Christian life, I’d like to dive a little more into repentance and how through repentance we love our neighbors.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
If you couldn’t give someone a complete Bible, only a few books of it, what books would you choose? Likely, your answer includes one or more of the Gospels. As the true story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the Gospels are of utmost importance in evangelism (and in our own faith). And last month, we looked at how the Psalms are helpful in outreach. We looked at how they help us express a range of emotions that show us that God not only understands but that He is also okay with our feelings. We also talked about how they show community and point us to Christ.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]