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Pastor Theodore Barthels

Honoring the Christian Wife and Mother


“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them [your wives] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker
vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of  life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
(1 Peter 3:7)

Mother’s Day is a big and special day across America. If you’re thinking of having Sunday brunch on Mother’s Day, be prepared for a long wait to get a table. Cards will fly out of the local card shops, and mothers across America will all be told that they are the very best mother of all. Then Monday comes and everything goes back to normal. Mothers will once again be taken for granted, or worse, verbally abused by spouse and children who can’t find the car keys, the homework, or the article of clothing that is needed right at the moment. We hope this doesn’t describe Christian homes, homes that are blessed with the loving presence of the Lord Jesus!Read More »Honoring the Christian Wife and Mother

The Lord’s Mysteries of Life


Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  (Psalm 139:6, 13-16 NIV)

Mankind is presumptuous. We are proud. We declare our wisdom as superior to all other wisdom, and if we cannot understand something, then we will do what we will do. And so it is with the issues of life. We behave as if we are the masters of our own fate and determine the outcome of all life, and as if there is no other authority or might or dominion over man in this world. Read More »The Lord’s Mysteries of Life

Time to get Back to the Book (of Holy Scripture)


“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.”  (2 Timothy 3:14)

“Back to school” often means back to a more disciplined routine. “Back to school” means getting back to careful study. For many parents, it means reminding children repeatedly that homework needs to be done before opening the social or game apps on their phones. Sometimes “back to school” means that parents or grandparents need to scrub some of the rust and cobwebs out of their own brains so that they can give assistance to their children or grandchildren. These are all important parts of the process of preparing for and then living a successful life.Read More »Time to get Back to the Book (of Holy Scripture)

The Wisdom of the Wise Men


The account of the coming of the Wise Men stands out as one of the highlights of the Christmas and Epiphany seasons. That account should be especially important to us, the believers of the Gentile nations. We look to the Wise Men as the first of the Gentiles to know and worship Jesus as their Savior and Lord. When they arrived in Jerusalem following a long and arduous journey, they immediately began asking about the newborn King. It seems they expected the entire nation to be caught up in the excitement of this momentous event, the coming of the long-promised Messiah. Yes, the question they posed was regarding the birth of the King of the Jews, but they made it evident that they had come to worship Him. This was something more than the usual honor paid when a new crown prince was born. They were searching for their king, a spiritual king.Read More »The Wisdom of the Wise Men

Alive to Righteousness

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

We live in a world where we are encouraged to live for ourselves. We are supposed to find whatever it is that makes us feel fulfilled or happy, and go for it. We are to be proud of how we live and what we have done. “To one’s own self be true!”Read More »Alive to Righteousness

Making Promises You Can’t Keep!


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

One thing you certainly learn as a parent, if not from other areas of life, is that you shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep. I’m not saying promises one doesn’t intend to keep, but promises one simply can’t keep. Often we do this without realizing that we are doing it. Other times we may be living in a bit of denial; we hope to keep the promise, we think maybe we could figure something out so that we might keep the promise, but in actual fact we simply are not able to keep the promise that we made. So it is that we learn a hard lesson in life, and may even warn others who promise to do things for us, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep!”Read More »Making Promises You Can’t Keep!

We Have Come to Worship Him

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:1-2).

This account of the coming of the wise men from the East is precious to us because of the significance it has for our own Gentile roots. We are thrilled to see how the Holy Spirit led these Gentiles to come and worship our Redeemer King so early in His life. We are thrilled with how clearly this spells out the intent of God that this Gospel of God’s love and forgiveness was intended for the people of all nations, and not for the Jews alone.Read More »We Have Come to Worship Him

Luther’s Catechism — A Treasure of the Reformation

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9 NIV).

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to Titus to give him direction for appointing elders within congregations. These are words that are applicable to all of us. Simply change the “he” to “we” where it appears above. How can we achieve this? Read More »Luther’s Catechism — A Treasure of the Reformation

The Gift of the Public Ministry

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
(Ephesians 4:11-16).

As we gather on a Sunday morning to worship our risen and ascended Lord, we may take for granted some of the blessings which He has given to His Church on earth. Read More »The Gift of the Public Ministry

To Rise from Sin

“. . . just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”
(Romans 6:4). 


is indeed a joyful time of the year as we celebrate the anniversary of our Savior’s resurrection. He who died for us rose again and lives forevermore! What greater joy for us than to know that our Redeemer lives! That joy comes from comprehending by faith the wonder of God’s love and the forgiveness that is ours in Christ Jesus. So we know a great sense of relief from guilt and we know peace and hope, but do we fully realize the power of the resurrection? Perhaps one’s first thought relating to the power of Jesus’ resurrection is that our mortal bodies too shall rise from the grave, Read More »To Rise from Sin