Pastor’s Posts

Adapting to Change

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. ~ Isaiah 42:16 Change forces us out of our comfort zone and into the discomfort of the unfamiliar. And while it can turn your world upside down, it makes you face your greatest fears and deal with the things that steal your joy, peace, and confidence. Change can be your friend or foe, depending on how you use it. Running away turns it into an enemy; embracing and learning from it makes it one of

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BHM Spotlight: Cross of Calvary Lutheran School

BHM Spotlight: Cross of Calvary Lutheran School

“The difficulty in all this is that the pull of the old will want to intrude on the new,” Rev. David Callies, district president, warned black and white congregations who left familiar arms of tradition Sunday to embrace each other. “There will be attempts to get us back to the old ways of prejudice, selfishness, indifference,” Callies told the members of two local Lutheran churches as they united to form one church. Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Whitehaven and Calvary Lutheran Church in South Memphis. A predominately Caucasian congregation and an African-American congregation became one under the eyes of an overflowing crowd of about 300 that filled the aisles of the new “Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church.” Cross of Calvary

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BHM Spotlight – Immanuel Lutheran College

BHM Spotlight - Immanuel Lutheran College

In celebration of Black History Month, TableTalk will feature a series of guest posts about the Lutheran Church’s historic and continued dedication to diversity and the Civil Rights movement. Immanuel Lutheran College Greensboro, North Carolina 1903-1961 For a majority of the twentieth century Immanuel Lutheran College was the training ground for Black Lutheran teachers and pastors. Immanuel, started by Rev. Niels J. Bakke, opened its doors in the city of Concord, NC March 2, 1903 with five young men. It was located on the second story of a school house. This second story served as both classroom and dormitory. After the North Carolina Synod pledged funding for a school to educate and train Black ministers and teachers, the school was

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On the Hosanna’s of a Diverse Heaven

On the Hosanna's of a Diverse Heaven

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” ~ Revelation 7:9 A little boy once fell into a hole from which he was unable to climb out. A farmer heard his cries for help and brought a rope, hoping it would be long enough to rescue the boy. It was not. The farmer called a friend over to help. He also brought a piece of rope, but it too failed to reach the bottom of the hole. The two men were

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The Midnight Protest: A Reflection on the Incarnation

The Midnight Protest: A Reflection on the Incarnation

“The Incarnation is the ultimate reason why the service of God cannot be divorced from the service of man.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer Where do you come from? In John chapter 19, Jesus is standing trial before Pontius Pilate. The people He came to save were gathered in the Praetorium courtyard demanding His crucifixion. Pilate, who was growing more fearful by the minute, comes to Jesus and he asks Him, “Where are you from?” That’s the question of Christmas, isn’t it? And while Matthew and Luke both give us some great insights into the human origin of the incarnation of Christ – that beautiful story of Mary and Joseph; the baby Jesus lying in a manger – I’m just not sure

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On the Spiritual Discipline of Fasting

On the Spiritual Discipline of Fasting

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna… …to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” ~ Deuteronomy 8:3 I’ve spent the last few weeks meditating heavily on the Forty Day Temptation of Christ in the Desert, particularly in the account of Matthew chapter 4. I’m struck by the incredible strength of Jesus; how filled He is – though hungry (1) – with the Word of God, and the deep spiritual benefit of the discipline of Fasting. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “When the flesh is satisfied, it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote ones self to a

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Front Porch Theology : Why I Am a Lutheran

Front Porch Theology : Why I Am a Lutheran

“Go, and be not silent. You are not the only one to be saved.” ~ Martin Luther Last night I spent the better part of an hour in the photo department at Walgreens talking with my new friend, Kevin, as he peeled the edges off of our family Christmas Cards. It’s a much more complicated process than I once thought, the printing of Christmas Cards, which left us plenty of time to talk over one of exactly four topics I can actually hold a decent conversation about. Theology. It’s a question that comes up often here in this Southern Buckle of the Bible Belt. “What exactly is a Lutheran?” And while it’s usually a soft invitation to an intense theological

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Songs of Thankfulness & Praise

Songs of Thankfulness & Praise

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Allow me a moment of vulnerability. I find it very hard to be thankful this year. There, I said it. What do you expect? I’m a sinner who hides behind the same Christ I proclaim. I am, as I’m sure many of you are, lured constantly by the devil to equate thankfulness with blessing, blessing with happiness, happiness with the virtue of joy, and so on and so on. In other words, the trap is set for us to be thankful only for those things which make us happy. This, I’m sorry to say, represents yet another major departure that further

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Vested: Why I Won’t Preach Without a Robe

Vested: Why I Won't Preach Without a Robe

Behind the alb, the stole, and the crucifix hide men who desperately long for Christ. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Pastors feel inadequate. At least the ones I’ve come to look up to feel inadequate. I don’t mind telling you in this season of vulnerability that your pastor certainly feels inadequate. We are convicted by the very Law we preach, and comforted by the same Savior we all receive through Word and Sacrament. We’re sinners who long for Jesus. In his sermon on John 4:9-10, Martin Luther preached these words: “I hear the sermon, but who is speaking? The preacher? No indeed! You do not hear the minister. True, the voice is his; but my

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The @Church #Authentic

The @Church #Authentic

Sometime fairly early in His ministry, Jesus comes across a Samaritan woman sitting at a well in a town called Sychar. I was going to retell it myself, maybe spice it up a bit, but John’s version is funny enough on its own. Here it is… ‘He said to her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. ‘What you have just said is quite true.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.’”… … “Then, leaving her water

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All In, Part 1

All In, Part 1

It’s time to go all in. When we first sat down as what would become Trinity’s Vision Team, we were on a back porch in early July of 2011, talking about real parish growth, congregational dynamics and discipleship; and this was just a blip on our radar screen. Through prayer and thoughtful consideration, we felt the Lord was leading us to consider – when our weekly worship attendance outgrew the capacity of our worship space – to explore adding a second Sunday worship service. Considering prayerfully our Call to reach the Lost, to disciple the Found, our God-given strengths and our ingrained shortcomings, at the time, we thought this process would most likely take between five and seven years. We

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Four Cathedrals

Our lectionary at times is a cruel and unmerciful sniper. It rests the Scriptures into a well-calibrated weapon of war and fires them directly at the heart. That is, after all, what we need isn’t it – the hope of Christ to hit us where it matters; where the Word of God actually affects the way we process our earthly journey. For the last two weeks, the 3rd and 4th Sundays after Pentecost, our Scripture readings have centered around three forgiven sinners, each of which have suffered the death of their sons – the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-24), the widow at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and finally, as a consequence of his own sinfulness, King David (2 Samuel 12:13-22).

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