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Showing posts from July, 2010

Keep about your work

The Lord has given to every man his work. It is his business to do it, and the devil's business to hinder him -- if he can. So, sure as God gives a man a work to do, Satan will try to hinder him. He may present other things more promising; he may allure you by worldly prospect; he may assault you with slander, torment you with false accusations, set you to work defending your character, employ pious persons to lie about you, editors to assail you, and excellent men to slander you.

You may have Pilate and Herod, Ananias and Caiaphas all combined against you, and Judas standing by to sell you for 30 pieces of silver. And you may wonder why all these things have come to pass.

Can you not see that the whole thing is brought about through the craft of the devil, to draw you off from your work and hinder your obedience to Christ?

Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars. Do not stop to stone the devil's dogs. Do not fool around your time chasing the devil's ra…

How to get rid of your pastor

Not long ago a well-meaning group of laymen came from a neighboring church to see me. They wanted me to advise them on some convenient and painless method of getting rid of their pastor. I'm afraid, however, that I wasn't much help to them.

At the time I had not had the occasion to give the matter serious thought. But since then I have pondered the matter a great deal, and the next time anyone comes for advice on how to get rid of a pastor, here's what I'll tell him:

1. Look the pastor straight in the eye while he's preaching and say "Amen" once in a while and he'll preach himself to death.
2. Pat him on the back and brag on is good points and he'll probably work himself to death.
3. Rededicate your life to Christ and ask the preacher for some job to do, preferably some lost person you could win to Christ, and he'll die of heart failure.
4. Get the church to unite in prayer for the preacher and he'll soon become so effective that some la…

Pleasing the Lord is what counts

Theodore Epp, founder of Back to the Bible radio ministry, realized something was wrong when he stopped receiving critical mail. Convicted that he was not challenging the flock enough, he changed his preaching. "I'm afraid that when I'm pleasing everybody, I'm not pleasing the Lord," he later said, "and pleasing the Lord is what counts."

This is not to suggest that a pastor is only successful when he is upsetting people! But he must be certain that he is first and foremost faithful to the One he serves. He is fulfilling a divine commission when he preaches. Just as an ambassador is entrusted not with his own message but with his superior's message, so the minister is entrusted with the Word of God. Before it is delivered, therefore, every message should be laid at the foot of His throne with one questions: "Is it faithful to You, my Lord?" Or as one German pastor would always pray in the pulpit, "Cause my mind to fear whether my heart…

Your pastor as playing coach

Since I have been contemplating a Divine Call, this week I thought I’d share with you some various articles I’ve found on the public ministry. Some are serious. Some are humorous. And some are thought-provoking.

Imagine that we are TV sportscasters standing on the sidelines of a football game to give the play-by-play.

The team nearest us is standing together, heads bowed in prayer, with the coach in the center. Suddenly they give a great cheer, and the coach trots out onto the field by himself. The players go sit on the bench. "What's going on?" we ask as we stick a microphone in front of a 250-pound guard.

"What's the coach doing out there?"

"Oh, he's going to play today."

"All by himself?"

"Sure, why not? He's had a lot more experience and training than the rest of us. We've got a lot of rookies on this team, and we might make mistakes. Anyway, they pay the coach well. We're all here to cheer and support him--…

Announcement on my Divine Call

The Lord of the Church certainly knows what He is doing. The Lord called the right person to be the associate pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and School in Hortonville. Many of the same struggles they are facing, we have faced here. Increasing the enrollment in their school, calling the straying into the fold and reaching out to the lost in the community are all things the Lord has trained me to do both in Radcliff and in Racine.

I could certainly do the work in Hortonville, but the Lord is not finished me here yet. There is much more to accomplish here at Epiphany, WLS and in Racine.

Yesterday I returned the Call to Bethlehem. I remain here as your pastor.

We have almost unlimited potential here – for additional members in our congregation, for students in our classroom, for additional called workers in our church and school, for spiritual growth among the members in Bible studies and worship, for outreach in our community and music in our services. People were reminding me, also…

The olive leaf of hope

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Genesis 8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. 6 After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface…

The Shepherd's Call

I. THE NEED FOR A CALL 1. What is personal ministry? (John 20:21-23; 1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:16; Mark 16:15)

2. What is the public ministry? (Philippians 2:19-23; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7)

3. What are some forms of the public ministry?

4. While every Christian has the call to proclaim Christ to the world, how does a Christian receive a call into the public ministry? (1 Corinthians 14:40; Romans 10:15)

5. Should a pastor preach, teach, or administer the sacraments if he does not have the call to do so? Our Lutheran Confessions assert: “Our churches teach that nobody should preach publicly in the church or administer the sacraments unless he is regularly called.” (A.C. XIV)

6. Martin Luther states emphatically: “I dare not preach without a call. I must not go to Leipzig or to Magdeburg for the purpose of preaching there, for I have neither the call nor the office to take me to those places. Yes, even if I heard that nothing but heresy was rampant in the pulpit at Leipzig, I would have…

The Pastor’s Call

Sermon for 7th Sunday after Pentecost at Epiphany on July 11, 2010


1 Kings 19:14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-- all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." 19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving…

Time Pressures

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Do you remember the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland who was late for a very important date? Let's talk about frantic schedules and the stress they cause.

The White Rabbit comically roars through the pages of Alice In Wonderland, clutching his pocket watch and scurrying off to a distant appointment. But trying to keep up with our day-to-day schedules can be far from comical.
I've found that my over-booked schedule actually runs more smoothly when I add something more to it.

Crazy, right?!

What I add is time to listen to God talk with me as I read His Word and speak with Him in prayer. Taking time for those Father/son talks helps me focus on what is important the rest of the day and keeps my thinking straight. Best of all, it gives God a chance to remind me how much He loves me.

Maybe you would find that time with God helpful, too.

This summer we are giving your family the opportunity to spend an entire week listening to God speak to you and then you talk to Him in retur…

Let's Build an Ark

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Family Vacation Bible School

Date: Monday, July 12—Friday, July 16

All Ages: Classes for 3-yr-old Pre-K—6th grade, Teens & Adults

Time: 6:00 — 8:30 P.M.

Cost: FREE

Place: Epiphany Lutheran Church, 2921 Olive St, Racine

To register: 637-5182 or epiphany-wels.org

We begin every evening with a skit as Noah’s family speaks to the children. The children will hear the real story of the flood, the ark, its precious cargo and what God’s promises of the rainbow is all about.

We are having an evening VBS so the WHOLE FAMILY can attend! There are classes for the children, but there are also classes for adults and teenagers. We will learn how to apply the story of Noah to all of our lives.

We will come together every night for music, snack and to build a six-foot model of the ark. We will make the animals, rainbow, mountains and the ark itself.

At 8:00 pm each evening we will have something extra fun!
Monday: The Racine ZooTuesday: The Johnson Wax Bug GuyWednesday: Face PaintingThursday: GamesFriday:…

Funeral for John Michael Korntved on July 2, 2010

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God’s plans

When John returned home from the hospital after his heart surgery, I think he expected he was going to stay home and recover. Then get back to his normal life with Ethel, his children, dog and trains.
But, it turns out, God had other plans.

While in the hospital, John wasn’t too happy. Wearing a flimsy hospital gown, eating green beans and Jell-O off a plastic tray and having such bland hospital food that Ethel had to sneak spices into his room in her purse. But now John is wearing the white robe of the saints and eating the feast of heaven described by Isaiah with the best meats and finest wines (Jeremiah 25:6). Everything now is perfect.

For years John lived near the Root River in Caledonia and Sturtevant. But his new home is along the River of Life, surrounded by green pastures and quiet waters. While John’s…

Celebrating Independence Day

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Here is an article from WELS President Mark Schroeder reprinted from "Forward in Christ." Forward in Christ

The Fourth of July is by no means a religious holiday. Christians can't complain, as they often do with Christmas and Easter, that this was a holy day somehow co-opted and taken over by a secular culture. The Fourth of July is a secular holiday, set aside by American citizens to remember and celebrate how this nation gained its independence and established the enduring principles of freedom, self-determination, and representative government.

So we will gather again with families and friends for the national holiday of Independence Day. Some will direct their thoughts to those early days of our nation's history, when the yearning for freedom caused patriots to overthrow tyranny imposed from afar. Others will simply gather to watch parades, devour far too many hot dogs and hamburgers, and crane their necks at exploding fireworks in the night sky. No, it's no…

Enter the valley and face the giant

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The cowering Israelites and their king on one side. The bloodthirsty gang of Philistines on the other, boasting do-rags, BO and barbed wire tattoos. In the valley stood their champion – all 9 feet of him, wearing 125 pounds of armor and carrying his 15 pound javelin. Goliath’s biceps burst, his thigh muscles ripple and his boasts belch through the canyon, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other!” (v10)

No Hebrew volunteers. Not even their tall, warrior-king. They are dismayed, terrified. No volunteers. Until today. Until David. For this will be Israel’s Independence Day!

David just showed up this morning. He clocked out of sheep-watching to deliver bread and cheese to his three older brothers on the battlefront. That’s where David hears Goliath defying God. His blood boils! No one mocks his God! That’s when he makes his decision.

After meeting with the cowardly king and rejecting his bulky armor, David takes his staff in his hand and chooses …

We Still Believe “In God We Trust”

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We live in a great country founded on important principles that many Americans have died to defend.

At Epiphany we still believe in baseball, mom and apple pie, but we also believe that God should be a part of our daily lives.

Worship with us on Sunday, July 4th at 8:00 & 10:30 am and experience uplifting music and a compelling message. We can help reconnect you and your family with the “roots” of American faith.

How does the Call process work?

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In order to better understand the Divine Call, here is something else from the WELS Q & A section.

Q: Could you explain to me how the call process for pastors and teachers works in WELS? Our pastor, whom we all love, currently has a call to another congregation, and of course we don't want to see him leave.

A: You are by no means the first church member who has had these kinds of thoughts. We are extremely grateful that you love your pastor and that the thought of losing him is emotionally unpleasant. No doubt it is equally and perhaps more unpleasant for the church that currently has no pastor and that has extended a call to your pastor to consider serving them at this time in his pastoral career.

Procedurally, the Bible does not give detailed instructions about how churches are to obtain their pastors, teachers, or staff ministers. The procedures that have been developed within our synod (and in many other church bodies as well) have served us well over the years and are an …