Archive for June, 2009

Last Day of Half-Off Sale on Book of Concord Editions

June 30th, 2009 1 comment

Just a reminder that today is the last day of the half-price sale on Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, all editions. Place your order here.

Awaken the Sleeping Christ Within You

June 24th, 2009 Comments off

When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune: shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten His presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him…A temptation arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the moment to awaken Christ and let him remind you of those words: “Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”

St. Augustine; Sermons 63.1-3

Categories: Church Fathers

An Odd Feature of Roman Catholic Holy Cards

June 23rd, 2009 14 comments

St. StephenI recently happened across this Roman Catholic “holy card” of the stoning of St. Stephen. As I’ve often noticed before, St. Stephen is depicted as looking, frankly, like a young woman. There is a disconcerting effiminate quality about a lot of these saints cards. Now, aside from the fact that Stephen was not stoned wearing vestments, one can’t help but wonder why it is in so many of these holy cards the saints are looking quite feminine. It is just something I’ve noticed. Not sure what it means. You’d almost think St. Stephen was one of the first deaconesses.

Categories: Art

ENI News for June 23: New antisemitism, S. Korea speaks up for N. Korean Children, Denomination drops magazine

June 23rd, 2009 Comments off

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
23 June 2009

For full story, click on the “read more” link below this summary.

New strain of anti-Semitism spreading, chief rabbi in Britain warns

London (ENI). The world is in the grip of a “virulent” new strain of anti-Semitism, says the Chief Rabbi of Orthodox Jews in Britain.  Britain itself is facing an increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks, he added. Sir Jonathan Henry Sacks made these stark statements in a recently published book “Future Tense”, a work that warns of the possibility of new waves of attacks on Jews because of their often perceived support for Zionism and the military activities of Israel. [520 words, ENI-0501]

S. Korean churches urge unconditional support of children in North

Tokyo (ENI). A South Korean grouping of churches is urging its member churches and organizations to join a campaign to give North Korean children milk and bread “without any precondition”. In a 16 June statement, the National Council of Churches in Korea  said it would start “to advocate the necessity of urgent support to people in North Korea in the situation of the present critical antagonistic political arrangement on the Korean peninsula, and to mobilise its member churches”. [395 words, ENI-09-0500]

US church drops magazines adopts apartheid-era confession

Holland, Michigan (ENI/RNS). Just as major mainstream print publications struggle to forge their way into the digital age, so will the magazines of the 166 000-member Reformed Church in America. Two years after scrapping a denominational subsidy for The Church Herald, the RCA general synod that met in Holland, Michigan in early June voted 171-56 to cease publishing the monthly magazine that has suffered a sharp decline in subscriptions. [278 words, ENI-09-0502]

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Categories: ENI news stories

ENI News for June 22, 2009

June 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
22 June 2009

Ex-US President Carter sees new hope for Middle East process

Jerusalem (ENI). Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has told Christian leaders in Jerusalem he sees “new hope” for the peace process in the Middle East. “His analysis is that there is a new hope for the peace process given the new U.S. administration’s determination to press seriously for hope and to be an honest broker in the peace process,” said Hrair Balian, director of the Carter Center’s Peace and Conflict Resolution department following a closed-door meeting with the Christian leaders on 18 June at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. [590 words, ENI-09-0498]

Zimbabwe prime minister booed in London cathedral

London (ENI). Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who reluctantly joined a government of unity with President Robert Mugabe, faced the wrath of exiles from his country when he was heckled in London’s Southwark Cathedral. Tsvangirai, who was beaten and detained by Mugabe’s police in 2008, tried to tell about 1000 Zimbabweans who came to listen to him in the cathedral on 20 June that it is time for them to return home.  “There is peace and stability in the country,” he declared. [591 words, ENI-09-0496]

Young Zimbabwe Christians give ‘unity government’ low score

Harare (ENI). Zimbabwe’s coalition government has failed to address widespread hunger and human rights violations in the country, a Christian youth movement has charged. “The sad reality remains that the expectations of the public remain largely unmet,” the Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe said in a report released on 17 June and made available to Ecumenical News International. “It is sad to note that little has been done to bring about economic sanity in the country and most people are still living below the poverty datum line,” said the students, noting that the majority of workers earn one to 3.5 percent of what they need to meet the cost of basic needs. [562 words, ENI-09-0482]

US faith groups mark UN Day to honour refugees displaced

New York (ENI). U.S. faith and humanitarian groups have marked World Refugee Day with paintings that highlight the struggles of  the 42 million people worldwide forcibly displaced by wars, political conflicts and natural disasters. “Too often we see refugees as simply numbers and problems,” said New York Mennonite peace activist Mel Lehman, who, working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, helped organize a New York exhibit of paintings by Iraqi artists in exile. [342 words, ENI-09-0499]

Read the full stores by clicking “read more”

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Categories: ENI news stories

Small Churches Can Thrive

June 22nd, 2009 4 comments

I think Ed Stetzer is spot-on correct, and he makes his case in a vivid manner. You can read the whole thing here. Here is a snippet from his blog post.

As a speaker at a number of conferences each year, I continue to see pastors and leaders going from one workshop to another searching for “THE” answer. They show up and hear amazing stories about implausibly happy people who willingly follow a new vision for their lives and their church. They have heard all the strategies and promises, but for many small-church leaders, the conferences, led by rock star celebrity pastors, are like “ministry pornography”– an unrealistic depiction of an experience they’ll never have that distracts them from the real and wonderful thing. In other words, the lust of the megachurch distracts them from the mission of their church. (I’m not anti-big church–I preach at a megachurch every week– but I am also pro-small church.) The reality is that smaller churches can thrive, too. More than 65 percent of the churches that participated in the research survey for Comeback Churches (B&H)–the book I co-wrote with Mike Dodson– had under 200 regular attendees. Smaller churches are not always unhealthy churches; it depends largely on their mindset. In our research, we found that the small churches which experienced revitalization often did so around prayer and outreach.

Categories: Congregational Life

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-21

June 21st, 2009 Comments off
  • We should be certain about the promise that God’s Word preached and heard is truly the work of the Holy Spirit. #
  • Dear Lord, give us sincere hearts to look honestly at ourselves, so we may never take Your grace for granted #
  • Dear Lord, help us to see clearly the living hope that You have given us. Give us boldness to proclaim the cross to all. #
Categories: Uncategorized

ENI News for June 19, 2009

June 19th, 2009 Comments off

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
19 June 2009

Churches urged to find ‘new prophetic voice’ on racism

Utrecht (ENI). Forty years after the World Council of Churches launched a   programme to combat racism, there has been a call for a new movement to address the issue and other forms of exclusion. “There is need for a new prophetic voice that can incite the Church to action and witness, which can enable a common voice to be heard against racism,” said Geesje Werkman, of the Dutch group Kerk in Aktie (Church in Action), which helped organize an international conference to mark the anniversary in Doorn, near Utrecht in the Netherlands. [397 words, ENI-09-0490]

New head of Canada truth commission faces ‘daunting’ task

Toronto (ENI). Describing his assignment as “daunting”, the newly-appointed chairperson of Canada’s truth and reconciliation commission into the nation’s now-defunct Indian residential schools system says the body will have a fresh start after a delay of several months. From the 19th century and for much of the 20th century, more than 150 000 aboriginal, Inuit and Métis children were taken from their communities and forced to attend the schools. Many students suffered physical and sexual abuse, and aboriginal people blame the school system’s policy of “aggressive assimilation” for the loss of native languages and culture. [411 words, ENI-09-0491]

Global church event to show ‘solidarity’ with Sri Lanka Christians

New Delhi (ENI). More than 150 delegates from the 31 churches that belong to the Council for World Mission will demonstrate their support for Sri Lankan Christians by gathering at Mahabalipuram near Chennai on the east coast of India. “We are holding this assembly in India to express our solidarity with the churches in the region,” CWM general secretary the Rev. Des van der Water told Ecumenical News International on 19 June. The Church of South India, which is hosting the meeting, has a diocese in neighbouring Sri Lanka. [399 words, ENI-09-0492]

Empty chairs at climate talks ‘will symbolise’ those who can’t speak

Geneva/Brussels (ENI). When international talks about climate change open in Copenhagen in December, there should be three empty chairs at the conference table, a Church of Sweden expert on sustainable development has urged. Lutheran pastor the Rev. Henrik Grape wants three chairs left empty at all future talks on climate issues to symbolise non-participants – the poor, future generations, and creation itself. [518 words, ENI-09-0494]

African religious leaders warn of weapons proliferation

Nairobi (ENI). The proliferation of small and light weapons in Africa cannot be stemmed through reforms in the security sector alone, religious leaders there have warned. “The arms are not themselves the problem; rather, they are symptoms of other structural dynamics,” said the leaders in a statement at the end of a 16-18 June meeting in Nairobi on the issues of small arms. The faith leaders cited weak governance, corruption, competition for diminishing resources, decades of continued conflict and wars, and climate change as key factors that need to be tackled.  [364 words, ENI-09-0493]

US religious freedom panel denied visas to visit India

Washington (ENI/RNS). Indian government officials have denied visas to commissioners of a U.S. religious freedom watchdog panel for the second time since 2000, Religion News Service reports. Members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom  were forced to cancel their plans to assess religious freedom in India. Panellists, who were scheduled to leave on 12 June, have been trying to obtain Indian visas for the past seven years. [252 words, ENI-09-0495]

Full stories follow.

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Categories: ENI news stories

Fantastic New Church Fathers Resources

June 19th, 2009 2 comments

It is hard finding the needles in the haystacks of the endless books being produced these days. Believe me, I know it from an insider’s perspective. I receive tons of e-mails and track Publisher’s Weekly religiously looking at all the new releases. The majority of things published are not, in my opinion, worth the paper it is printed on. And precisely so when you bump into a “keeper” is stands out. I’ve got three publications to tell you about. Intervarsity Press has been releasing in recent years some really fine books. You might be familiar with their Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series, but now they are releasing a five-volume set called Ancient Christian Doctrine, and I learned from a colleague today of yet another project they are doing Ancient Christian Texts, featuring exegetical works of the ancient church that are hard to find anywhere in English, but mostly not translated before. I would like to draw all three of these collections to your attention. Hint: buy these at for the best price!

Categories: Church Fathers

Regular and Larger Print Edition Sample of The Lutheran Study Bible

June 18th, 2009 6 comments

Picture 1The number one question I’ve been asked in recent weeks about The Lutheran Study Bible is, “Can you show us a sample of both the regular print and larger print editions, side by side?” Well, finally, I can. I’m embedding a PDF file that gives you a chunk of both the regular print and the larger print editions. These samples are actual size. Keep in mind that the larger print edition book is going to be a large, big book, the size of a Concordia Commentary volume. The dimension and weight of the regular print edition is 7″ wide, 9″ tall and around 2.25″ inches thick. It weighs about two pounds. The dimensions and weight of the larger print edition is 7 3/4″ wide. 10″ tall and around 2.5 inches thick. It weighs about three pounds.

You can download a PDF file, and print it out, by clicking this link: Regular-Larger Sample

Just so you know, the regular print edition has the same typeface size as the Concordia Self-Study Commentary, the larger print edition is larger, as you can see. We achieved the larger print size by using a larger sheet of paper and “blowing up” the page. That allowed us to preserve the pagination between the two books and all cross-reference page numbers remain the same, that way there is complete page number compatibility between the two books.

You may place a pre-publication order, and recieve the best possible price until October 31, by going to:

We are mailing out a considerable amount of information and promotional materials at the end of July to every Lutheran congregations. The kit will include promotional videos, instructions, sign up poster, order forms, and loads of other information and samples. We will be offering custom covers for both regular and larger print editions at this time, along with custom-designed journals for daily prayer and meditation on the Sriptures, and more. So, keep a sharp eye out for this mailing. I will alert you when it is mailed in a few weeks.

Anecdote from Less Polite Times….Regarding the Motto of the Lutheran Reformation

June 18th, 2009 1 comment

The motto of the Reformation, Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum, was literally sewn on to the sleeves of the entire staff of Philipp of Hesse’s castle staffs, with the initials VDMA, from the prince down to the lowliest servant. Apparently this made for some not-so-good natured banter between the Prince and a Roman bihop on one occasion as relayed as follows:

Source: Quaint Saying and Doings of Luther, p. 246. Google books.

Categories: Uncategorized

ENI News: June 18, 2009

June 18th, 2009 Comments off

I subscribe to Ecumenical News International, one of the largest aggregating services for protestant church news and information, mostly/mainly from the protestant mainline. I’ll start posting the day’s stories and you can read them, or not, but there are often interesting insights into what’s happening here and there. I’ll not print the full stories out on the top page of my blog. You can read the full story by clicking through the “Read More” link at the bottom of this note. Here is a summary of today’s ENI stories. Sometimes I don’t get the complete text of a story, but just a headline and summary, so, here you go:

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
18 June 2009

Iran must respond to discontent, says German pastor in Tehran

Frankfurt/Tehran (ENI-epd). Iran’s leadership needs to respond to the mass demonstrations against disputed presidential elections or face greater problems in the future, says a German Protestant pastor based in Tehran. “Politicians must deal with the discontent or they will find themselves sitting on a pressure cooker,” the Rev. Karl Jacobi, pastor of the German-speaking Protestant congregation in the Iranian capital, said in an interview from Tehran with the Frankfurt-based German Protestant news agency epd. [536 words, ENI-09-0486]

Faith leaders tell G8 nations that economy needs ‘moral principles’

Rome (ENI). Global faith leaders meeting in Italy in advance of a July summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations have called for a “new financial pact” that acknowledges basic moral principles to address the global economic predicament.  “The current financial and economic crisis weights most heavily upon the poor,” said the 130 religious leaders drawn from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Parsi and Shinto faiths in a joint statement at the end of their meeting in Rome. “Africa is already hard hit by the world financial crisis and it runs the risk of being seriously damaged in its efforts against poverty with a negative impact on the economic growth of its countries,” they warned in their statement addressed to the G8 leaders, who are to meet in Italy in July. [503 words, ENI-09-0487]

Nun heading Presbyterian seminary shows ‘Reformed ecumenism’

Geneva (ENI). The appointment of a Roman Catholic nun as dean of San Francisco Theological Seminary illustrates the truth of the saying “to be Reformed is to be ecumenical”, says the general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Earlier in June Elizabeth Liebert became the first Catholic sister to be named as dean of a Presbyterian seminary in the United States. San Francisco Theological Seminary is a school of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). [261 words, ENI-09-0488]

Faith groups urge action on laws that impede HIV fight

Geneva (ENI). Civil society and faith groups campaigning on HIV and AIDS have urged United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to step up efforts to combat discrimination and criminalisation that prevent access to information and services. The call, supported by more than 20 faith-based organizations, was presented to Ban at a 16 June meeting in New York with members of the global steering committee of the World AIDS Campaign. “The secretary-general spoke passionately of his encounters with people living with HIV, the unacceptable laws and practices of some governments that violate the rights of people living with or affected by HIV,” said Linda Hartke, coordinator of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.  [492 words, ENI-09-0489]

ENI News Highlights contain summaries of ENI articles published today.

Read more…

Categories: ENI news stories

Maximus’ Maxims

June 17th, 2009 Comments off

To deny the Word is to fail, through fear, to do what is good.

To betray Him is to deliberately to choose to commit sin.

The outcome of every affliction endured for the sake of virtue, is joy.

The outcome of every labor, is rest.

The outcome of every shameful treatment, is glory.

The outcome of all sufferings, for the sake of virtue, is to be with God, to remain with Him, forever, and to enjoy eternal rest.

— Maximus the Confessor

Categories: Fathers of the Church

Book of Concord 50% Off Sale: Don’t Miss It

June 16th, 2009 Comments off

531154I wanted again to remind all of you that through the month of June all editions of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions are on sale at 50% off. I would point out that the digital edition is a particular value, since when you buy it you receive the LOGOS software with it, and also a copy of the English Standard Version of the Bible in the Logos edition, so you have two resources, for the price of only one, and now for only $15.00 given the 50% off sale. I would encourage you to consider publicizing this in your congregation and gathering a batch of orders and sending them into CPH by the end of the month, when the sale ends. To see the various editions of Concordia, please visit: Also, don’t miss out on the daily Twitter feed of readings from the Book of Concord, available at:

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-14

June 14th, 2009 1 comment
  • Lord Jesus, teach us to be open to the challenging experiences that loving others in Your name brings, so we might trust in You all the more #
  • One of the greatest joys in life is that someone comes to faith in Jesus because they heard the Gospel from you. #
  • Understanding Jesus’ incredible work on behalf of the world calls for the response of faith—“Amen,” or “Let it be so for me.” #
  • The Holy Spirit received in Baptism is God’s “deposit” of His continued faithfulness. #
  • The Gospel seeks to persuade, to encourage, and to call to faith. Christ was not sent to bear the sword or possess a worldly kingdom. #
  • Gospel ministry brings the confidence of Christ, His encouraging, sustaining, forgiving presence, is a constant blessing #
  • Dear Lord, give us wisdom never to speak Your words of judgment or grace for our own satisfaction or self-righteousness. Amen. #
Categories: Uncategorized