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Showing posts from November, 2012

I Would Like to Be a Good Pray-er

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I’ve read the Longer Preface to the Large Catechism many times, but never in quite the same way I did today.I had read Luther’s admonition to those who neglect the catechism because they imagine they are giving their mind to “higher” matters or who are just too lazy to put forth the time and effort to learn and teach such things.I have thought, “You give it to those guys, Dr. Luther.”Like the Pharisee, I’ve proudly said to myself, “I’m glad I’m not like them.I teach the catechism.I work hard.I put in a lot of hours in preparation.” But then I noticed something else Luther writes: 9Therefore, for God’s sake I beg such lazy bellies or arrogant saints to be persuaded and believe that they are truly, truly not so learned or such great doctors as they imagine! They should never assume that they have finished learning the parts of the catechism or know it well enough in all points, even though they think that they know it ever so well. For even if they know and understand the catechism perf…

A Foolish Oil Shortage

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Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Who would’ve thought that the day would come when $3.29 would seem like such a good deal for a gallon of gasoline?But it wasn’t that long ago that it cost me over $20 more to fill the gas tank on our van than it does today.While political parties point at each other, and many say greedy oil companies are the culprit, the fact is that the high price of gasoline is caused by a number of foolish choices, shortsightedness, and the simple law of supply and demand. For several years American refiners have been operating at above 100% capacity (however you can do that).While consumption of oil products has continued to rise steadily, no new oil refineries have been built for three decades.In addition, regulators have restricted development of pipelines that would carry crude oil from Canada, and environmental concerns have prevented drilling at a number of promising oil fields.This all comes on top of the …

Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings for All People

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You can listen to an audio version of this message at http://www.christsiouxfalls.org/media/sermons/2012-11-22.mp3The text for this Day of Thanksgiving is our Epistle, 1 Timothy 2:1-6, which has already been read. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Prayer’s importance should not be underestimated.The same God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved, desires our prayers on behalf of all people, particularly in the context of public worship. The four synonymous but nuanced terms for prayer in our text indicate that the prayers we offer together run the whole gamut of conversing with God.Supplications ask God for specific benefits or needs.Prayers are respectful devotion.Intercessions are earnest appeals made on behalf of others.Thanksgivings are expressions of gratitude for mercies received.Though especially fitting for this day, prayers of thanksgiving are always appropriate even when earthly circumstances are difficult, becaus…

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!

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Our text for today is our Gospel lesson, Mark 13:1-13, which has already been read. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Even his critics knew President Ronald Reagan as “The Great Communicator.”I think much of that ability to communicate was due to the consistency of his message.No matter what the forum or audience, he always spoke of the greatness of America’s heritage, the productivity of its citizens, and the potential for even greater success. Frequently, he would close his message with these words: “America’s best days lie ahead.You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Though certainly not grammatically correct, it did get his point across and it captured the imagination of millions of supporters for years afterward.Even in the most recent election many people were looking for someone who could effectively communicate that sense of optimism and purpose. “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”I can almost imagine Jesus saying that to His disciples as the…