Pastor Gullerud was asked to share with our readers some “Convention musings.” In this article he nicely captures the thrust of the 31st Convention of the CLC (June 2014). This issue also contains one of the Chaplain’s devotions as well as an abbreviated version of the second Convention essay.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
During Convention week (June 16-19, 2014) at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wis., among the usual concerns of the delegates are the weather conditions, since this part of the Midwest can be known for being hot and humid in the summertime.
With the Lord in complete control of both the climate and the weather, the week was blessed with favorable conditions. While there were some rain showers, they were not enough to hamper the Convention.
Not only did the God of heaven and earth cause rain to descend outdoors, but He also blessed convention-goers with rain showers indoors. No, there weren’t any leaky roofs! The rain showers were of a spiritual nature, coming in the form of the proclamation of the precious Word of God.
In keeping with the Lord’s illustration, “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11), there was the thundering of the law of God which convicts us of our sinful and lost condition, and there was the pleasing sound of the gospel of Christ which soothes and comforts our troubled souls.
The chaplain, Pastor Mark Bernthal (Peace Thru Christ, Middleton, Wis.), watered the hearers’ hearts and souls on the basis of the powerful resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15. His messages bolstered, uplifted, and renewed the human spirit, reminding the audience that the fundamental Christian teaching of Christ’s bodily resurrection means that we are justified before God, that sin, death, and hell have been defeated, and that we have an endless hope of a glorious bodily resurrection with our Lord unto life everlasting. May God help us to hold fast to the resurrection truths and daily rejoice in them!
The two essays carried out the convention theme that “God our Savior Desires All Men to be Saved!” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) Pastor Paul Krause (Faith Lutheran, Markesan, Wis.) showered the convention assembly with the message of Jesus being the One Mediator of that saving Truth. Jesus is the only One through whom we sinners can be at peace with God, have access to the throne of God in prayer, and gain entrance into heaven, because He alone is our Savior and our Advocate.
The second essay delivered by Pastor Michael Gurath (Holy Cross Lutheran, Phoenix, Ariz.) set forth the Bible truth of Christians being appointed to proclaim that saving Truth. We have been called to serve as the “rain clouds” of the gospel. We should never be discouraged as Christ’s messengers no matter what the obstacles may be. Neither should we feel ill-equipped for this mission of sharing God’s truths because by His grace we have been given His saving truths and the spirit of love for our neighbor.
The gospel rain clouds moved over to Messiah Lutheran Church of Eau Claire where Pastor Neal Radichel (Luther Memorial Church, Fond du Lac, Wis.) proclaimed God’s Word at the Convention communion service. The message focused on fairness. People of the world don’t think God is fair when they don’t receive what they want—such as when they don’t receive rain during drought conditions or receive too much rain, causing flooding conditions. We might deduce that God isn’t fair when He doesn’t punish us according to what we deserve. Rather He punished His Son Jesus in our stead in order to bless us with His forgiveness and salvation. In regard to fairness or justice we should note that when God offered up His Son on the altar of the cross to take away the sins of the world, He was carrying out and satisfying the divine justice of His holy Law.
On the final day of the Convention, Professor John Reim of Immanuel Lutheran College spoke in loving memory of called servants of the Word who went to their eternal reward in the past biennium after having faithfully served in the preaching and/or teaching ministry. Among those who had planted the seed of the Word and watered precious souls with the gospel were Christian Day School teachers Mrs. Adelgunde Schaller and Helen Friedrichs, Pastor/Professor Roland A. Gurgel, Pastor Paul Larsen, Professor James Pelzl, and Pastor/Professor Patrick Udo of the Nigerian Church of the Lutheran Confession. “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (Revelation 14:13).
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)