Missouri Synod Church in Downtown Memphis

Brugge’s Notes

Fear, Death, And This Christian With Cancer

We fear death. We Christians know we needn’t, but we do. It’s natural. It’s universal. But shouldn’t we actually be fearing life instead?

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Fourth Sunday in Lent – Mothering Sunday

In Europe during the 1500’s it became popular for people to return to the main church or cathedral in the community of their youth every year on the fourth Sunday in lent. These people were said to be returning to their mother church or to be going “a-mothering.” Over the years, Mothering Sunday became a day to allow children and young people that were working as domestic servants or employees to have the day off. This was so they could return home to be with their family as they returned to their home. Often, this was the only time of the year they were allowed off and for many, the only time they saw their family. Children would pick wild

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Do we really need Lent anymore?

We all like to be happy. It’s our nature. We naturally avoid things that make us unhappy. I think that is one reason that the season of Lent is not especially popular. It is a time for personal reflection. A time to examine ourselves, take an inventory of our sinful lives, and be remind of how we fall short of God’s image. But do we really need that? Do we need this downer? Can we even force ourselves to be sad when Springtime is so close? After all, we’re basically good people. We may not be perfect, but nobody’s perfect and the truth is, we’re a lot better than a lot of people we know. We live good lives and

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What Kind of Tipper Are You?

Are you a good tipper? I try to be, but that has not always been the case. I had always looked on tipping as a commentary on the quality of the service as well as how well I liked the food and I suppose, a judgement on my overall “dining” experience. I was also a sharp critic, always finding room for improvement. The result was usually a somewhat miserly gratuity. If things were not done my way I gave very little. If things were exactly what I hoped for, I tipped–well slightly more generously. Then I got a job in the food service industry. The first thing that strikes everyone that first enters that line of work is how incredibly

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The Reason for the Season – and no, it’s not good.

I lost my temper last week and said something pretty mean things. That was a sin. The penalty for that sin is death and eternal damnation. Pretty harsh, that. I mean, we condemn countries in the Middle East when they chop off the hand of a thief, so in the big scope of things, losing one’s temper and saying something hurtful is small potatoes. But the penalty remains—death and eternal damnation. The death part I don’t mind so much. I don’t like it, but it was coming sooner or later. But that eternal damnation part… I don’t know exactly what damnation is really like, but I know that it is far from good and that it is eternal. But don’t

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Happy New Year. Now, On To Christmas!

Did you miss the New Year’s celebration? You’re not alone. It passed by with scarcely a notice. I’m talking about the Church New Year—the beginning of the Advent Season. Yes it’s wonky stuff, but bear with me. Christians sometimes speak of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh at His birth, in our hearts each day, and when he returns in glory at the end of time. From the earliest of times the period of Advent was marked by fasting and penance, making one’s heart ready to receive the Lord. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming. It may surprise you

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Has God Withheld His Blessings? This Might Possibly Be The Reason.

A recent podcast of the program Hidden Brain, interviewed Dacher Keltner, the director of UC Berkeley’s Social Interaction Lab. He spoke about some of the interesting scientific studies in how people interact with each other. When looking at how people in social settings gain power, studies find something that might seem counter intuitive. If we think about power as being able to dominate by scheming and maneuvering people into positions of disadvantage, the people who display altruism, kindness, and social intelligence, these are the people who gain power and respect from their peers. But there is a catch. Once these people become powerful, their power tends to undermine the very qualities that help them get there in the first place.

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Cheeseburgers, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Holy Spirit

All of us have experienced cognitive dissonance. That is the stress that is created when we try to hold two or more conflicting beliefs or values in our head, or when we do something or learn something that conflicts with these beliefs or values.

Cognitive dissonance theory says that we all try to keep our mind (our cognitive function) peaceful and in harmony and that when a conflict arises (dissonance) we will act to reduce the conflict, most times without our even realizing that we are doing so.

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The Corrosive Effect of Hate

One of my friends, a former classmate who grew up just down the street from me, is a Christian. I know this because she witnesses her love of Christ all of the time on social media. She is a caring person. She reposts notices of lost children and lost pets as well as encouraging others to adopt a pet from a rescue shelter. She gives emotional encouragement to others by posting memes instructing people to stand up for themselves and to not let others take advantage of them. She gives honor and respect to our soldiers in the Middle East, to firefighters, to policemen, as well as to teachers and to nurses. She posts pictures of disfigured children, asking her

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Pastor Hatcher to remain in Memphis

Last month, Pastor Josh Hatcher received a Divine Call from Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. A Divine Call is issued by a congregation after a great deal of prayer and deliberation, beseeching the Holy Spirit to guide them in finding a shepherd for their congregation. The congregation issuing the Call hopes and prays that, just as the Holy Spirit has guided them to issue a Call, that the same Spirit will guide the recipient to accept this Call as well. Things do not always work out this way. This week, Pastor Hatcher, after many days in thoughtful prayer and meditation, felt guided by the Lord to decline the Call. We give thanks to God for allowing him to stay

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A Few Notes About Pastor’s Call

A Few Notes About Pastor's Call

This past Sunday, Pastor Hatcher surprised most of us with the announcement that he had received a Divine Call to Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, and that he and his family had visited with them and was now prayerfully considering the call. News of this was upsetting to many in the congregation and led to much discussion and many questions. I thought it might be helpful to say a few words about the Divine Call, what it is and how it works in the Lutheran Church. Update: On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Pastor Hatcher announced to the congregation that after much prayer and meditation, that he had declined the call to Trinity Lutheran Church-St. Louis.   The shepherd is

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Nothing You Can Say Will Convince Me to be a Christian.

What compelling argument can you make that will convince me to turn my life to Christ? I’ve heard it all and nothing you say can will persuade me otherwise.

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