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.