Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all!
Luke 2:10-11 (King James Version)

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article VII

Article VII: Of the Church.

Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4, 5. 6.

Truth, Feelings and Oprah

The truth of today’s spirituality is sometimes hard to take.  It looks into the feelings of the individual to validate Truth. So to a congregation of  22  million viewers,  Oprah,  provides a vehicle of truth that can be as diverse and wide-spread as her viewing audience.

It’s not new.  This somewhat spirituality  -  grounded in not much more than the seat one sits in to watch  – is buffet religion.  You take what you like and leave what you don’t.  If you really like something you go back for more ! Religious relativism has caused members to leave churches in droves.  When I was a young adult I too thought why do I need to go to church ? I’m a pretty good person.  Can’t I just take a walk and talk with God ? God and me…that’s the ticket !

Oprah does on a large scale what youth sports have done at the local level.  It becomes fellowship.  Mom,  dad or both,  on Sunday morning watching their child compete with other members of the congregation of holy sport.  They drink coffee as they meet in the outside sanctuary and root their children on.  They discuss their thoughts and concerns of what is going on in their life and mutually absolve each other before picking up their children and going home to watch the game.  It leaves Christ on the outside.

Oprah does what has been done before.  Pick and choose what you like from many religious sources and mix it into a truth you create.  If it is Christian,  pick the verses that speak to you and find comfort in this truth YOU create.  As a democratic society,  we want our vote to count and God wants that too…or so we are told this is why we have a  “ free will ” to choose.  Oprah,  on a large scale,  gives us the permission to seek our own way and to find God on our terms. She too is still looking and each week we can come with her to the service of self-indulgence.  Being comfortable in our sin is where we are and where Oprah is,  but it’s not just Oprah.  We all fall short at being connected to Christ daily.  Life drags us away from the source of truth and the true meaning of a happy life.

As a church we need at work harder at teaching our members what we believe and why we believe it .  We need to be able to show why the Confessions of the Lutheran Church in the Book of Concord are important and what errors the reformers were fighting. We need our members to see that Lutheran teaching is simply biblical teaching in all its fullness. We need to reach our members, those members that have fallen away, and those that need to hear the truth of the gospel - because if we don't - Oprah and her religious smorgasbord will. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article VI

Article VI: Of New Obedience.

Also they teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God's will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17, 10. The same is also taught by the Fathers. For Ambrose says: It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison: Fall Greetings

If you haven't purchased Matt's book "At Home in the House of My Fathers" do yourself a favor and get a copy. We can learn so much from those that have gone before us!

The Augsburg Confession Article V

Article V: Of the Ministry.

That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ's sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake.
They condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Ghost comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This is a class project for my SMP class - Confessing Christ in Today's World. I used my friend Paul Ruehl's song "Peace" and scanned bulletin covers from this years services. I am happy with it for a first try. I only wish I didn't have to the use the covers that were folded in my coat pocket, but it just shows that God can use all things for the good...

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article IV

Article IV: Of Justification.

Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Lord works in mysterious ways...

Wow, who would have thought the Lord would have taken this strange path to get me here?

SMP Gamma students installed as Vicars.

Fred Gaede and Steve Warren both
were installed as Vicar's at their
respective churches. God's richest
blessings on their ministries.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article III

Article III: Of the Son of God.

Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably enjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
He also descended into hell, and truly rose again the third day; afterward He ascended into heaven that He might sit on the right hand of the Father, and forever reign and have dominion over all creatures, and sanctify them that believe in Him, by sending the Holy Ghost into their hearts, to rule, comfort, and quicken them, and to defend them against the devil and the power of sin.
The same Christ shall openly come again to judge the quick and the dead, etc., according to the Apostles' Creed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vicar Installation

I was installed as Vicar of Peace Lutheran Church of Waterford today. It was a great service and I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to serve. While I complete the classes in the SMP program at Concordia Theological Seminary, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I will be under the supervision of my pastor/mentor Rev. William Merrell. God has given me the desire of my heart and I honor and praise Him for opening a way.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

SMP Gamma Class 2010

I just returned home from my first SMP class at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was truly a great blessing to be there. The Lord has placed me with a wonderful group of men who are following His call to serve Him where He has placed us. May we all remain steadfast in His work as we strive to complete our education and serve Him in our congregations. Thanks to Professor Rev. Richard Nuffer and Rev. Bill Johnson for a great class and stimulating conversation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On the Road Again...

Pastor Merrell and I leave for Fort Wayne this Sunday to begin the SMP program at Concordia Theological Seminary. It is humbling to think of God bringing me to this place for this purpose and I hope to honor Him as best as I can with His help.

My first class is "Confessing Christ in the World" and it will be taught by Rev. Richard Nuffer. The text books for this class are "We believe - Therefore we speak" by David Valleskey and The God Conversation" by J.P. Morland and Tim Muehlhoff with other assigned readings.

I'll be installed as Peace Lutheran Church of Waterford's Vicar on Sunday, October 3rd. to begin my service to the church while completing my studies in the SMP program.

Evangelism: The power of the Gospel proclaimed to a fallen world!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article II

Article II: Of Original Sin.

Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with concupiscence; and that this disease, or vice of origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.
They Condemn the Pelagians and others who deny that original depravity is sin, and who, to obscure the glory of Christ's merit and benefits, argue that man can be justified before God by his own strength and reason.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Augsburg Confession Article I

Chief Articles of Faith

Article I: Of God.

Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term "person" they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.
They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil- also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that "Word" signifies a spoken word, and "Spirit" signifies motion created in things.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

President Matt Harrison installed!

God's richest blessings on President Matt Harrison as he works for unity within our church. How many Presidents can play at their own receptions? All photos posted from the LC-MS website. Photo courtesy of LCMS/Kris Bueltmann. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

In the beginning...

          In the book of Genesis, God creates, destroys and restores.  In the beginning, before time, God exists. Out of nothing He creates Heaven, Earth and all things with his word.
          God works through time and means, command and promise.  This theme is continued in all the stories of Genesis.  God commands Adam and Eve, “You must not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil,” and then promises “for when you do, you will surely die.”  God tells Noah to “make an Ark out of Cyprus wood” but promises “to establish His covenant with him and that he and all in the Ark will be kept alive.” God destroys all life in the flood yet sustains Noah and his family through the water by the means of the Ark.
          In the story of Abraham and Isaac, God commands the life of Isaac be taken but the promise came in God’s call to Abram. “I will make you a great nation,” and “To your offspring I will give this land.”  Abraham believed God’s promise through faith and trusted that even in death God could restore Isaac to life. God restores with His word. “Abraham! Abraham... Do not lay a hand on the boy.”   He promises his descendants will be as numerous as the stars and works through the ordinary means of life - planting, harvest, birth, death; the wonder of youth and the wisdom of old age.
        God’s plan in creation was perfection.  We see in Genesis that as sin entered life through Adam and Eve, the perfect creation became corrupted. As God said, “surely you will die,” Adam died spiritually, but now must die physically.  In spiritual death he was separated from God but we also see God at work for restoration.  He sacrifices one life, an animal, to provide skins to cover Adam and Eve.  He in love banishes them from the garden, so as not to allow them to eat from the tree of life and live forever in their fallen state.
        This picture of restoration is beautifully pictured in the story of Joseph. But we can only understand the work of God as it is revealed in time.  Israel loved Joseph.  Joseph was a blessing given to Israel in his old age by God. But because of Joseph’s dream, his brothers and father rebuked him.  We only know after the story is played out in time that the dream came from God to Joseph.  Israel sees Joseph created, destroyed (lost) and then restored. But Joseph is sustained by the promise of the dream.  That the promise of the dream is from God and that in time, God will restore all that was lost or broken. “What was meant for evil, God intended for good.”  Many were saved in Egypt and Canaan because of Joseph and the promise of God.
       God promises to restore the world, corrupted by sin through the seed of the woman.  Joseph assures his brothers that “God will come to their aid.” The same Word of God that created the Heavens and the earth will in fact redeem and restore the relationship between God and man.  This is God’s promise.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lutherville...A Blog and a Real Place

I was messing with the Blog template maker and put the name Lutherville in as a joke. I thought of a small town named after Martin Luther and built around Lutheran teaching of Grace Alone, Faith Alone and Scripture Alone. A place where the true word or God is believed, taught  and confessed and the sacraments are rightly administered. I tried to back out of the template maker as I was not really ready to deal with a blog, but as I tried to exit I found I had a blog ... Lutherville ... so, I thought I would post some thoughts on my seminary journey to Fort Wayne and my vicarage at Peace Lutheran Church and other stuff as it happened to appeal to me. How surprised I was to find a small town in Maryland named Lutherville!

Historic Marker

College Manor in 2000

St. Paul's Lutheran Church

You can read a bit more about Lutherville, MD here:
And here:

I was sorry to find out the St. Paul's is ELCA, as are the other Lutheran churches in Lutherville, so it is not the Utopian town my mind's eye perceived, but still it does look like a pretty sweet town. I will continue to hope and pray that an LC-MS presence will take seed in Lutherville. Any missionaries out there?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chopin Evening Gala!

This was quite a nice concert. My company provided the Yamaha Concert Grand for the evening. It was in the Chapel at Orchard Lake St. Mary's school. You can read about it here: 

The statues of Jesus and his disciples are carved out of wood and very impressive. How did the sculptor know how tall each disciple was? :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The LC-MS, Five String Banjo and "We'll pray for you."

When I first visited St. John Lutheran Church in Rochester Michigan, Pastor Ronald Moritz found out I had a music background. He took me to meet Ken Rogner the music director . I think he thought I could be of some use to Ken and the church, but I really wanted to spend my time in the study of the word.

Ken asked me what instrument I played and I replied, "Five string banjo!" He gave me a droll look and said, "We'll pray for you." It kept me out of the Praise Band! Now, I'm not saying playing the banjo is Orthodox - but it appears like I'm in pretty good company!

Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison: A Little Fun With The Banjo: "This is for two friends, one Paul, and the other little Jotham. I remember being captivated by the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies when I..."

Playing Marie by Alan Munde.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Mighty Fortress...Rob Bourassa!

Rob is the reason that I'm Lutheran. We use to go to the Chet Atkins convention in Nashville in the early 90's and the nine hour drive consisted of guitar, food, laughter and scripture. Rob would get the attention of many at the convention with his playing but after a while he would be discussing his faith. Take some Skype lessons and you'll get more than a guitar lesson!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Luther - Man Between God And The Devil

This was my introduction to Luther. I've read a few biographies about him but this is my favorite.

SMP and Me.

Well, 30 years in the piano business just seemed to fly by. I'll be starting the SMP (Specific Ministry Pastor) program at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne Indiana on September 27th, although I feel like I've been in the program for the past year. The application process with the district and seminary seemed to take forever, but I'm sure it always seems that way.

I went on a seminary visit with my wife to Fort Wayne in September of 2002 for prospective students. I wanted to attend as a full time student but for the Lord's reasons he closed the door at that time. I've spent the last ten years teaching Sunday School, serving on the Board of Elders and for the last four years as President on the Congregation.

Last October my Pastor, William Merrell, asked me to consider the SMP program. I had long ago put my desire to serve in pastoral ministry aside and was content with serving in lay leadership. For the Lord's reasons, He has opened a door for me where none existed. I am excited and humbled.

The Elders, Church Council and Voters at my church approved this call for an additional pastor and after nine months of the application process I was accepted into the program on July 21, 2010. I begin this next stage of  my life in the SMP program this September.

While I would have liked to do it my way eight years ago and go the traditional route the Lord thought different. I trust that He knows better than me and I walk into this new calling as He would direct. May my Lord and Savior Jesus continue to bless my service to Him.