Archive for November, 2008

The Monty Python Channel on YouTube

November 20th, 2008 1 comment

There are moments when the Internet particularly reveals itself as a source of great and beautiful things. This may not be one of those moments, or it may well be, depending on your point of view that is. I believe it is.

Categories: Humor

A Missouri Synod District President Makes a Confession

November 19th, 2008 2 comments

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I must make a confession to you. I
struggle at being faithful at my own personal daily devotions. Does
that surprise you? I could perhaps make excuses referencing my schedule
and the daily pressures – but those are actually all the more reason I
need to be in the Word of God and prayer even more. Actually, the only
reason for my struggle is my own fault, my own sinful flesh, for the
flesh is always lazy, weak, and constantly ignores my need for the Word
of God and prayer.

But now Concordia Publishing House has
provided me (and all of us) with a wonderful resource to help in this
daily battle against the flesh. It’s called a Treasury of Daily Prayer.
Since I received my copy it has become a great tool for me in my
struggle against the flesh (see also the editor’s preface). I leave my
copy open on my desk so that the first thing when I come in each
morning I can use it right away. It is always open to each day’s
readings and prayers.

How is Treasury of Daily
Prayer such a great tool? Under one cover you have Old Testament, New
Testament readings, a reading from Luther, one of the church fathers,
or other orthodox theologians. Psalms, prayers, brief explanations of
festivals and saints days round out the daily fare. At the center of
the book, you will find all the prayer offices of the church, ready for
us. The book includes the whole Psalter, the Small Catechism,
confessional readings and a whole lot more. Under one cover, then, you
have all you need for a daily regimen of Scripture and prayer. In the
short time I have used it, I have grown to appreciate it more and more.

I say all this after a number of years using the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau’s four volume set, For All the Saints, a resource I found mostly good and helpful, but occasionally the writings are less than helpful. In the case of Treasury of Daily Prayer,
the writings included have been researched by LCMS pastors, edited by
Scot Kinnaman (who started as pastor in SID) and his staff at CPH. Thus
far, I have found the writing very helpful, connected to the lessons of
the day, and centered in Christ and His Gospel. In short, Scot Kinnaman
and CPH have done a great service to the church. Look it up on CPH’s
web site, Use it! Try it! I think you’ll enjoy it.

this just for pastors? NO! Anyone who can read will benefit! Fathers
and mothers leading their families in devotions will profit. Students
and anyone who will benefit from a structured approach to prayer and
the devotional life can use this great resource. Tell your people about
it – let them try it.

Rev. Herbert C. Mueller, Jr
District President
Southern Illinois District
Categories: CPH Resources

A Longer Look at the Lessons

November 19th, 2008 1 comment

Among the top ten requests we have been receiving at Concordia Publishing House since the new hymnal came out, has been this one: "Can you please give us a lectionary based Bible class? Something we can use to take a longer look at the appointed Bible reasons for every Sunday."

Why, yes we can.

I present: A Longer Look at the Lessons. Available now, in a convenient downloadable format, entirely reproducible, for any purpose. It's only thirty dollars, for thirteen lessons. It was written by Ken Behnken, and edited by our own Robert Baker.

Product Description

Delve deeper into each week's three Scripture readings with A Longer Look at the Lessons. This Bible study based on the lectionary in Lutheran Service Book provides
information about the readings and their contexts. A look at Greek or
Hebrew words or phrases is sometimes included. Questions and answers
mine the riches of the pericopes while encouraging class discussion and
personal application. 

This study examines the readings for the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany festivals of Year B.

  • Based on the new three-year lectionary found in Lutheran Service Book
  • Uses ESV text exclusively
  • Available only online and in PDF format
  • Reproducible for your congregation or small groups
  • Budget friendly at $30 per quarter
  • Convenient and ready in minutes
  • No shipping costs

Categories: Uncategorized

Trekkies Rejoice! This looks like it is going to be fantastic

November 17th, 2008 7 comments
Categories: movies

New Coffee Maker

November 16th, 2008 10 comments

This blog refrains from posts that deal with matters of relative trivia, but does not hesitate to report on important news and information. This is important. A new coffee maker now graces the McCain Manse. The journey toward its purchase began with a post or two by Diane Meyer, of Respublica, as she recounted her quest for a new coffee maker. I began musing on the need to replace our machine, but delayed it far too long. I launched my search in earnest a few weeks ago when our Krupss began to lose its ability to heat water to the perfect coffee-making temperature. I was baffled, since the machine was only twenty one years old! Seriously, the Krupps was purchased back in 1987.
    In its place now stands the Brew Central™ 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker by Cuisinart, which was on sale at Sam's for only $50, an excellent sale price. I did quite a bit of research, and this model kept coming up on the high-side of consumer reviews. Of course, the ultimate coffee experience is the French Press, but that takes too much time on the hurry-up-and-get-in-the-car mornings. Or when you just want coffee, now! The new machine is doing a great job. I'm particuarly impressed at how well it does on the four-cup setting. Either on 12 or 4 cup setting, the machine makes very hot coffee, not too hot, but definitely hot. It has a built in water filter, nice touch. And it is programmable, and very easy to get to the filter and basket holding the filter. The caraffe has a wonderful pouring lip: no drips or spills. And the hot plate is adjustable, so you can set it to high to keep the coffee piping hot, assuming there is anything left in the pot after the first couple of pours. All in all, I'm very pleased.

Categories: Coffee

Refuting Libel Against Concordia Publishing House

November 15th, 2008 4 comments

I've been pondering whether or not to respond to defamatory libel printed in Christian News
now several times recently. For years the editor of this weekly
publication has printed spurious nonsense about yours truly, which I
have, and will continue, simply to ignore, not dignifying it with any
sort of response. That is of no concern to me. But lately he has taken
to accusing Concordia Publishing House of ignoring and violating a
Synodical convention resolution because we have published an edition of
the Synodical Explanation of the Small Catechism using the English
Standard Version for the proof texts. This assertion is a lie.

The facts are these: at the same convention that adopted the Lutheran Service Book
hymnal there was specific convention action to make sure that the translation of words from the Bible in Martin Luther's Small Catechism, the Enchiridion, would not be
changed when it was printed in the hymnal. And they have not been
changed, neither in the hymnal nor in any printing of the Small
Catechism since the convention. The Enchiridion remains word-for-word
the same as it has been since the translation was approved by the Synod
in convention in 1986. The editor's typical "shoot first, ask questions later"
approach to his so-called "journalism" has again resulted in his
publication of falsehood in his newspaper.

What the editor foolishly fails to distinguish, in his zeal to
trash-talk Concordia Publishing House, is that there was no such
resolution concerning the Synodical Explanation of the Catechism, and in light of
literally hundreds of pastors asking us for an ESV edition of the
Explanation, this is what was published. The editor of Christian News
is printing defamatory assertions concerning the Missouri Synod's
publishing company, and doing so repeatedly.

It would be nice
to think that the editor would print, without equivocation or
qualification, a forthright statement of retraction and an apology to Concordia Publishing House.

Categories: Uncategorized

We Have a Black Belt in Our House

November 15th, 2008 1 comment


Picture 3
My son, John, today earned his 1st Degree Black Belt in Taikwondo. Here he is with his chief instructor, Grand Master Yong Sue Rho, 9th Degree Black Belt.

Categories: Uncategorized

Comprehensive Advent/Christmas Resource

November 14th, 2008 Comments off


           Saint Louis, MO—Concordia Publishing House offers a fully integrated Advent-Christmas program for the parish, Away in a Manger.
Based on the well-known cradle hymn and the Explanation of the Second
Article of the Apostles’ Creed, the congregational materials and full
sermon texts in this resource explore the promises of the Messiah found
in the Book of Isaiah and their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Away in the Manger: Resources for Advent—Christmas Preaching and Worship
for pastors and those who plan and lead parish worship features full
sermon texts and homiletic notes for each Advent mid-week service as
well as Christmas Eve or Christmas day. All materials for the Away in a Manger children’s service are available on a CD-ROM, customizable for any size congregation.

 “Away in a Manger is a comprehensive Advent through
Christmas resource for pastors and congregations that is beautifully
written, well structured, and offers everything needed for Advent and
Christmas services, with complete integration of the children’s
Christmas service,” says Rev. Paul T. McCain, publisher and executive
director of editorial at Concordia Publishing House. “Bulletins,
devotions, Bible studies, sermon helps and notes, and a keepsake book
for the children and family make this year’s Christmas observance at
congregations a particularly memorable and enriching one.”

Concordia Publishing House is a Lutheran Christian publisher based in
St. Louis, Missouri. The company offers more than 8,000 products for
use in Christian congregations, schools, and homes. Orders can be
placed at or by calling Customer Service at 1-800-325-3040.

Categories: CPH Resources

The Source and Purpose of “The Writings” in Treasury of Daily Prayer

November 14th, 2008 1 comment

My colleague, Rev. Scot Kinnaman, prepared yet another "White Paper" on the development and contents of The Treasury of Daily Prayer. This is an interesting overview and explanation of how the daily readings from church fathers were chosen for The Treasury. Be sure to click through and read the whole entry.

The primary aim of the devotional writings in the Treasury of Daily
Prayer is to serve those who pray the Treasury with solid devotional
material. Our selection of writings for the Treasury reflects the faith
and confession of the Lutheran Church, and consequently, features a
selection of writings from the church fathers. The selection of
writings in The Treasury demonstrate the Lutheran Church's catholicity,
and, where it was not fully known, to introduce our readers to their
heritage as Lutheran Christians. What Lutherans believe has always been
taught, if not always purely or fully, in the Church. Thus The Treasury
provides representation to every era Of the Church. We are not, of
course, in full agreement with everything every writer we used ever
wrote. We could not even say that of Martin Luther. But we are united
to all our writers in faith and think they all have something to say to
us. There are sure to be a few surprises even for the most well read
among us. We do hope that some readers will be encouraged to deeper
reading and for that reason (as well as legal obligations) we have
provided full bibliographic information in the acknowledgments section
of the Treasury.

Standards for Selecting Content

matter where they came from the devotional writings had to be
scripturally sound and apply the message of Law and Gospel to the life
of the reader. We wanted in every writing a clear statement of the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the first place, that is what our readers
need. But so also we believe that this what our writers would want
presented and preserved.

On top of that we wanted the writings
to serve the Word. The main component of the Treasury is the Daily
Lectionary. Wherever possible we chose writings that expounded the
day's lection directly. That wasn't always possible. Some of the
writings are related indirectly to the lection, commenting not on those
exact passages but on the same topic or parallel passages. If that
wasn't possible we connected the writings to the Church Year using
seasonal themes such as repentance in Lent and the Incarnation in

Read more…

Categories: CPH Resources

Oldest Hebrew Inscription Ever Found

November 14th, 2008 3 comments

Talk about your once-in-a-lifetime archeological moments. Please read this note my colleague, Dr. Christopher Mitchell, shared with a number of us at CPH last night. Exciting!

You may have heard that this summer (2008) an important Hebrew inscription from ca. 1,000 BC (reign of King David) was found at a military outpost called Khirbet Qeiyafa in Judah where the hills meet the Shephelah. The archaeological team included David Adams from Concordia Seminary, who said he was only the third person to hold the ostracon since it was buried 3,000 years ago. It is the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found by at least 500 years.

It, and the archaeological site, confirm aspects of the biblical record about David and the kingdom of Israel. This is a hot topic because the biblical "minimalists" think King David was only a tribal chieftan and the nation of Israel did not exist until centuries later. The inscription is scheduled to be published in the January 2009 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, although David Adams said it might be delayed to the next issue after that.

The official web site for the excavation is maintained by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; however, it does not have any information about this inscription. Their web page with photos includes one at the bottom of David Adams:

I understand that this inscription will receive great attention at the SBL annual meeting and ASOR meeting in Boston in about two weeks.

Categories: Archeology

Two of my favorite ladies

November 14th, 2008 2 comments

Picture 3
The young lady on the left is Mary, my daughter, the young lady on the right, is my wife, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday, Lynn. I love you. I appreciate being married to an older woman (she's two years ahead of me!).

Categories: Uncategorized

LOGIA: A Journal of Lutheran Theology is Now Blogging

November 13th, 2008 2 comments

 My favorite Lutheran theological journal, Logia, is now blogging. Check out their new web site, and blog site. Congrats Logia!

Picture 2

Categories: Blogging

Seeds of Faith Podcast: Check it out

November 11th, 2008 Comments off

The Seeds of Faith Podcast is a weekly discussion hosted by Dcs. Pamela Nielsen and Pr. Scot Kinnaman. It’s intended to serve as a preparatory aid for Sunday School teachers, to get into the lesson and give background and discussion of the points of the Growing in Christ lesson for the upcoming Sunday and give pointers to use when teaching students. Each episode is 30 or 40 minutes in length, and can be used by parents, teachers, volunteers… just about anyone can benefit from the discussion and also learn more about what the Sunday School lesson of the week is about. iTune subscription? Here you go.

Categories: CPH Resources

Wrong or right? You decide.

November 11th, 2008 7 comments

So, we all know that mayonnaise is not health food, yet how many of us have slathered it on our sandwiches. I was shocked in Germany to be asked at the McDonalds by the person at the counter, after ordering "pommes" (fries), "Mit mayo?" And I blurted out, "Was?" She said, again, "Mit mayo?" and then immediately added, in English, "Would you like mayo with your fries?" Sure, sounded interesting. I hated it. On the other hand….if they had offered this. I tried to visit the baconnaise web site, and obviously they are being flooded by hits, due, no doubt, to Amazon mentioning this product.


America: land of the free, and home of the brave, and Baconnaise!


Categories: Culture

Luther’s 525th Birthday

November 10th, 2008 Comments off

I was once fussed at by a retired professor who was none-too-pleased that a certain book approached the study of history from the perspective of "great men" that is, viewing history as a series of lives and accomplishments of human beings, rather than from the viewpoint of the philosophies, trends, events and circumstances behind historical events. It left me bemused. Can't we have an approach that is both/and? Events and people? Circumstances and persons? Of course we can. I can think of no better example than Martin Luther, the professor of Bible in the little backwater town of Wittenberg, brought to the relatively new university there to make a name for the university and the German prince who had founded it. And the rest, as they say, is history. So, here's to Luther! Happy Birthday, Herr Doktor und Vater Martin!

Categories: Lutheranism