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October 2019


TLH = The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941; WS = Worship Supplement 2000; LSB = Lutheran Service Book, 2006

Date Hymns Reading Comments
Oct 1 TLH 34; LSB 820 Deuteronomy 6:1-12 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord!
Oct 2 TLH 432; LSB 754 1 Peter 5:5-7 Instead of depending on yourselves, you can cast your anxiety on the Lord! This is true humility.
Oct 3 TLH 357; LSB 529 Hebrews 1:3-9 Jesus is above the angels. In fact, He is equal to the Father, the “exact representation” of His being.
Oct 4 WS 715; LSB 369 Hebrews 2:5-15 Everything is subject to Jesus, and yet He joins our human family and becomes our Brother so that we might be saved!
Oct 5 TLH 396 Hebrews 3:12-19 We are reminded how important it is to encourage one another to remain in the faith.Read More »“BREAD OF LIFE” READINGS October 2019

The Goal Was Unity, Not Division


Recently I came across the name of yet another Christian denomination that was new to me. I now don’t even recall what it was, but that led me to wonder just how many Christian denominations exist today. I was astounded by the answer. According to the two-volume World Christian Encyclopedia (Barrett, Kurian, and Johnson; Oxford University Press, 2001) there are over 33,000: “World Christianity consists of six major ecclesiastico-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries.” (Vol. I, p. 16).
Nor is this a declining trend. In the eighteen years since that book was published, the number of denominations has reportedly grown significantly. Although the supposition that there are over 33,000 Christian denominations is based in large part on the definition of “denomination” (a definition that is about as hard to pin down as a peeled grape) one fact is clear: Christians today have no trouble separating from others and forming themselves into autonomous groups.
It wasn’t always so. Other than the “Great Schism” of 1054 between eastern and western Catholicism, the Christian church saw no substantive division until the Lutheran Reformation of 1517. Prior to the Reformation, in other words, if someone claimed to be Christian it meant that he was either Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox (which, in reality, were just twin sons of a different father). There were some splinter groups during the 1,500 years prior to the Reformation, but such groups were routinely condemned as heretical and mercilessly crushed. The wall that enclosed “the Christian church” was broken by the Reformation, and once the outflow began, the exodus was stunning. In just seventeen years (by 1534) Christian could mean Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Calvinist, Zwinglian, or any one of their ever-growing number of offshoots. Rome has been trying to reverse the flow ever since.Read More »The Goal Was Unity, Not Division

MISSIONS: Possible


We are often told that some things in this life are just impossible. “Can’t be done,” “Won’t work,” and “You’re not qualified,” are a few of the phrases we hear. The sad reality is that these phrases often prove true. There are plenty of situations and opportunities in our lives that are simply beyond our reach. If you want to stir up angst in young people, ask them what they want to pursue for a living. College students worry they won’t be able to handle their class load, and even if they are able, what about the debt? Many wonder whether they will qualify for the positions they desire. Others may worry about whether jobs will even be available in the fields of their choice.Read More »MISSIONS: Possible

A Wakeup Call


Has the Reformation become a victim of its own success?

Remember lying in bed suffering from the telltale red rash of measles, burning up with a fever one minute and shivering uncontrollably the next? How about being told not to scratch the itchy chicken pox scabs, but still frantically doing so when Mom wasn’t looking? The swollen glands of mumps made it painful to swallow for days. If you are sixty or older you may vividly remember all these symptoms and truly appreciate the value of modern vaccines. On the other hand, if you’re a millennial who never experienced these diseases firsthand, it’s hard to relate to the danger they pose. As a result, vaccination rates in the U.S. have fallen and outbreaks of measles have been reported in a number of cities. It’s been said that vaccines are a victim of their own success. They have controlled disease so well that people have become apathetic toward the threat.Read More »A Wakeup Call