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Archive for December, 2011

One and Half Inch Group at 100 Yards

December 31st, 2011 5 comments

If you are into shooting you will appreciate this, the rest of you…just do something else for a moment.

I had one of my Garands out the range today and was thrilled that it shot a one and a half inch group at 100 yards from the bench. The ammo I was using was the Greek surplus that the Civilian Marksmanship Program and this particular box of it was pretty nasty looking, so I did not have very high hopes for the success of the shooting, but….

Here you go…one got away from me, but I’m pretty pleased with myself, and of course, as always, the rifle is way more accurate than the shooter.

Categories: Shooting Sports

What’s Up with the Evangelicals and Reformed?

December 28th, 2011 34 comments

Last June, an Evangelical/Reformed blogger, Kevin DeYoung, wrote an article on his blog asking what’s up with the Lutherans? In it he expressed concern that Lutherans don’t seem to be very active or present in his blogging and theological circles. I think Kevin was attempting to offer a gentle criticism and somewhat laying the blame for this on Lutherans.

The response to his post by a number of pretty well known blogging Lutherans was very vigorous and positive, with offers to be more involved in whatever forum, or conferences, or gatherings, or organizations Evangelicals have where they would welcome Lutheran input.

Despite some polite expressions of thanks for this offer, including even an interview with yours truly featured on Kevin’s blog, the response now sounds like chirping crickets, for, you see, I honestly do not believe Evangelicals or Calvinists or Reformed, or whatever term they wish to use to describe themselves, actually really do want Lutheran input nor are they really interested in the Lutheran Church. What they actually like is Martin Luther, or, frankly, the version of Luther that Evangelicals/Reformed/Calvinists have created, a Luther that does not challenge many of the core presuppositions about things like the nature of original sin, the nature of grace, faith, the sacraments. Reading many Evangelical/Reformed blogs out there I remain convince there is a deep amnesia in these circles about Church History and a very low view of and understanding of the Church as being, one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

This reality is no different than the one Hermann Sasse experienced in his many contacts across Christendom, both East and West, Reformed or Roman. He termed the path of the Lutheran Church to be the “lonely way” precisely because in spite of polite expressions of interest, and expressions of love for Martin Luther, the reality is that Lutheranism is not compatible with, nor supportive of, Calvinism and all its various offshoots, up to and including various forms of Evangelicalism.

But, of course, this does not mean we Lutherans won’t stop doing our best to be a positive influence in Evangelical and Calvinist circles, but we will still keep being Lutheran. And that’s probably going to continue to be a problem for those who wonder where the Lutherans are. We are right where we have always been, and we will continue to be here and eager to contribute to your conversations. We are still waiting and asking ourselves “What’s up with the Evangelicals?”

An Embarassment of Digital Riches – Massive Online Art Collection

December 28th, 2011 2 comments

From the History Blog: The most ambitious digitization project I’ve ever heard of is halfway to its goal of putting every single publicly owned oil painting (plus tempera and acrylic) in the United Kingdom online. A joint effort of the Public Catalogue Foundation and the BBC, Your Paintingsnow has 104,000 artworks by the likes of Degas and Reubens uploaded to the website out of an estimated 200,000. It’s the first national online art museum ever attempted. Just to give you a sense of the scale, there are only 3,000 paintings in the immense National Gallery.

You’d have to visit over 3,000 art galleries, museums, libraries, etc. to see the Your Paintings collection in person, and even that wouldn’t be enough. Some of the paintings are in private institutions like Bishop’s palaces and Oxford and Cambridge (they were deemed important national patrimony despite their technical private ownership) and aren’t on display. Even the ones in public museums are often in storage or being conserved. An estimated 80% of the 200,000 oil paintings in the national collection are not available for public viewing at any given time. Besides, even if you could access all of the paintings, it’s unlikely you’d get well-known actors and artists to take you on a guided tour of their favorite pieces and themes.

You can already search the website by artist, collection, location and thanks to the 5,000 members of the public (plus curators and experts) who have signed up to tag each painting with relevant subjects, soon you’ll be able to search the entire database by keyword as well. There are over a million tags already in the system. If you’d like to be a tagger too, sign up here.

Categories: Art

Lutheran Public Radio is Live and On the Air

December 24th, 2011 4 comments

 

24/7 Christmas music – click here

 

…and more good things to come in the new year.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Happy Festivus

December 23rd, 2011 2 comments

Categories: Uncategorized

Confessional Lutheran Artwork

December 23rd, 2011 1 comment

A number of you commented on the painting I put up on my web site yesterday, so…thought I’d share a lot more where that one came from. Here they are, be sure to click on the painting to see the largest possible version of them. Source. There are a series of photos of the Kasendorf painting in a Picasso album.

The Kasendorf Confessional Painting, 1602, by Andreas Herrneisen.

 

Detail from the Kasendorf Painting above, showing Elector John the Steadfast, and the other Lutheran princes and electors and free cities, presenting the Augsburg Confession to Emperor Charles V. You'll notice each entity has its own heraldic shield.

 

Another detailed image from the painting above. On the right side of the altar are listed Martin Luther's major writings on the Sacrament of the Altar, on the left are listed the names of false teachers, including Beza and Calvin, and in large print the phrase, "And their father, the Devil." Note that each of the Evangelists and Paul are standing with Christ helping to institute the Supper, etc.

The Confessional Painting from Bad Windsheim. This is actually a detail from the larger painting, showing, int he foreground, the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, in the center a Baptism, on the right, distribution of the Sacrament, and on the right, behind the Sacrament, Absolution, then a wedding in the far right back of the painting. Note on the left, Zwinglian being kept out of the church by armed men and dogs.

Confessional painting that was originally on display at the Nicholai Church in Leipzig, but now hangs in State History Museum. Be sure to click on the painting for a huge version you can study in detail. Similar themes as in other paintings, but this one is one of the finest examples of this kind of painting I've ever seen.

Detail from the Leipzig painting, showing the devil vomiting out heretics, and if I make out the inscription, Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.

Categories: Uncategorized

If You Have a Galaxy Nexus or are Trying to Use Android 4.0+ ….this is why PrayNow and PastoralCare for Android Won’t Work For You

December 22nd, 2011 9 comments

The short answer is PrayNow and PastoralCare do not support 4.0+. This was a change we made during the release process to contend with early complaints from users.

The long answer: Our developer arrangement was to cover versions 2.2, 2.3.3, and 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2, the versions of the SDK that existed when we bid and began development on the project. In perspective, the Galaxy Nexus came out less than a week ago, shipping a drastic change in their OS, 4.0.

You may have read some of the headlines about Google’s “iPhone/iPad killing” OS Ice Cream Sandwich–this is version 4.0. While Google advertises this as the magic platform that will solve every ones problems–as it allows phones and tablets running Android to have the same OS finally (something iOS has had from the beginning)–from a development perspective, it is simply another slice of the pie to contend with. Note, as of Dec 1, the apps we just released support 88.21% of platforms. See below, click on the image to see the original full-size image:

 

Google advertises that all new platforms they introduce are backwards compatible; but this is really a fabrication. Hence, when we had a couple users install PrayNow on 4.0, we had one user complain that they couldn’t get the app to come up without crashing. I then attempted to load the app on the 4.0 desktop simulator and all of the UI elements were misshaped overlaying controls on text, etc., but we couldn’t reproduce the crash. My solution to the problem for the time-being was to disallow installs on Android 4.0+ until we can adequately test/fix the product for those platforms.

Hope this helps explain the situation. It’s changing everyday…

We will continue to monitor and if the usage of Android 4.0+ increases significantly, we will be supporting it. But for now, for the reasons mentioned above, we won’t.

What is the Best Daily Prayer App? PrayNow

December 22nd, 2011 9 comments

Overstatement, you say? Me? Would I do that? Never!

Seriously though, I’ve spent a lot of time looking through, and at, a lot of daily prayer Apps and I will simply say it, without fear of contradiction, PrayNow for iOS and Android is, far and away, the most complete, well designed and useful daily prayer and devotional app available. Period. Why do I say this? Because it offers you an entirely self-contained resource that provides you an orderly, daily opportunity to pray through Scriptures and meditate on them, with supporting resources, like….orders of daily prayer, using the classic, historic orders of the Church: Matins, Vespers  and Compline, and more recent versions of these services. There are additional prayers available, and…can also buy the companion musical recording, load it up on your device, and you can use PrayNow and chant and sing along with the prayer offices. That recording is called “Evening and Morning” and it is available from Concordia Publishing House.

There are other daily prayer apps out and about on the Interwebs, but none this well done, this complete, or this easy to use. This app does not require an Internet connection to use, once it is installed on your particular device.

Note to Kindle Fire owners: Amazon informed us they are working on getting PrayNow into the Fire store. Somebody can tell me why Amazon just didn’t design the Fire to use any/all Android apps.

Here are more details about PrayNow.

As I said, it is now available for the Apple iOS and for Android, get the Apple version here. Get the Android version here, or here.

PrayNow is the daily prayer app that places the Scriptures at the center of daily meditation and prayer.

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Daily prayer should be central to what we do as Christians. Yet it is so easy for the pressures and stresses of daily life to crowd out the time for meaningful prayer.

Read more…

Categories: CPH Resources

A Painting Depicting Lutheran History and Worship

December 22nd, 2011 9 comments

Take a close look at this painting and tell me all the amazing symbolism you see in it. Be sure to click on the image to see the full size version of it, details much easier to notice. Look for the means of grace depicted, and how they are depicted. Notice to the far left heretics and false teachers looking on the scene. And to the far right, the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, with John the Steadfast shown talking to the Emperor Charles V.

 

Categories: Art

PrayNow and PastoralCare for Android are Available Now for Download

December 21st, 2011 19 comments

I know this is going to make a lot of Android users very happy. Great news! PrayNow and PastoralCare are both now available in Android format. They are also available in iOS, via the iTunes store.

Here is the link to PrayNow Android version.

Here is the link to PastoralCare Android version.

 

 

First Official Trailer for The Hobbit: The Movie

December 20th, 2011 5 comments

Categories: Uncategorized

How to Improve Your Prayer and Devotional Life

December 19th, 2011 10 comments

I know, it is not yet the end of the year, but…did you know there was a tradition in Germany that the new year started on Christmas? This explains why often when reading Luther’s sermons, or singing Lutheran hymns, there are wishes for a “glad new year to all the earth.” I think there is something rather nice about thinking of a new year beginning with the celebration of the nativity of our Lord. But, be that as it may, many of us make resolutions for a new year and I think, if you are like me, you probably put toward the top of your resolution list to have a richer, more faithful life of prayer and meditation of God’s Word in the new year. I’d like to suggest to you a number of resources from Concordia Publishing House that I trust you will find helpful for your prayer life.

 

The Treasury of Daily Prayer

I think it is, by far, the most complete, single-volume resource for a daily devotional life that is ordered by readings from Scripture and prayers from the Church’s historic prayer services. You can use as little of it, or as much of it, as you would like. You can have it in the form of a book, or as an iPhone App, or in Kindle or ePub format. Cultivate an enriching devotional life with a book that nourishes your time with God. This comprehensive Lutheran resource brings together Scripture readings, prayers, psalms, hymns, and devotional readings from the church fathers to guide daily prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Organized around the Christian Church Year, Treasury of Daily Prayer is designed to be an all-in-one resource for daily devotions for individuals, families, and small groups. View the “How to Use” helpful download below for a complete overview.

There are a variety of other books we offer that I think you will enjoy as well. You can use them separately, or as part of your daily habit with the Treasury. Let me show you some of them.

 

The Great Works of God by Valerius Herberger, translated by Matthew Carver, Volumes I and II.

These books are masterpieces of Christ centered meditation on God’s Word. Using the Book of Genesis, Pastor Herberger, offers rich reflection on how the events and people in Genesis remind us of Christ and His work for us, and our lives as His people. Herberger (1562-1627), a Lutheran pastor in Fraustadt (now Wschowa), Poland, at the turn of the seventeenth century, preached through the books of the Old Testament from Genesis through Ruth, producing devout meditations on the Scriptures. “These he regarded rather like the linen cloths that wrapped the infant Jesus in the manger, and traced his Lord in every little wrinkle” (from the translator’s preface). Pastor Valerius Herberger (1562-1627) served St. Mary’s parish church in Fraustadt (now Wschowa) Poland during the most difficult days of the Counter-Reformation when a royal decree ousted the congregation from its building in 1604. As a deacon and preacher in the congregation for nearly forty years, Herberger left us a remarkable example of biblical interpretation, application, and sincere devotion. Matthew Carver, MFA is a translator of German and classical literature. He resides in Nashville, TN, with his wife Amanda, where they pursue interests in art, orthodox Lutheran theology, liturgy, and hymnody. They welcomed their first child in October 2010. You can take a look inside here. And you can buy it here.

 

A Year in the New Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year

A Year in the New Testament will guide you through reading most of the New Testament in the course of a year, and do it in a way that is encouraging and manageable, taking the readers experiences of daily life into the Bible. The daily devotions follow the seasonal movements of the Church Year in a broad, general fashion, but not in the more focused and specific way that one expects for the lessons and Holy Gospel appointed for particular Sundays and festivals of the Church Year, allowing Scripture to interpret itself in its own literary contexts, and thereby also to inform and shape Christian prayer and devotion over the course of time. An overview of the Church Year, Sundays and Seasons, and The Liturgical Calendar is included. Each day contains a Psalmody, Additional Psalm, an Old Testament Reading, a New Testament Reading, Prayer of the Day, and a Meditation. There is not greater source of comfort, hope, help, and counsel than the Word of God itself. Nothing serves the Christian faith more than diligently and daily reading and searching the Holy Scriptures. Take a look inside the book here, and buy a copy here.

A Year with the Church Fathers: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year by Rev. Scott Murray

Drawn from the themes of Scripture itself, these devotions consider the salvation plan of God fulfilled in Jesus and carried to the world through the Church. The in-depth, thought-provoking content offers rich insight into Scripture and the Christian life and encouragement in the faith. Along the way you will drink deeply of the fountain of eternal life and gain in understanding of the message of God’s Word. The daily devotions of A Year with the Church Fathers follow the seasonal movements of the Christian Church Year in a broad, general fashion, but not in the more focused and specific way that one expects for the lessons appointed for particular Sundays and festivals of the Church Year. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.

Reading the Psalms with Martin Luther

This is an English translation of Luther’s Summaries of the Psalms, 1531 which was originally done in 1993. This latest edition includes the ESV translation of the Psalms, Luther’s introductions to each of the 150 psalms and a suggested schedule for reading the Psalter. The introductions demonstrate how Luther understood the Psalter as a Christ-centered book and how he used the psalms as the model for Christian prayer. Luther classifies each psalm as a psalm of prophecy, instruction, comfort, prayer, or thanksgiving and applies the message of the text to the life lived out under the cross. Luther also connects the psalms to the Ten Commandments and the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. For Luther, all aspects of the Christian’s life, including the Psalms, relate to Christ and His Gospel of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Buy a copy here.

Starck’s Prayer Book, edited by Rev. William Weedon

Since 1921, the Concordia Edition of Johann Starck’s Prayer Book has encouraged thousands of Christians in their personal prayer life. This updated edition provides a comprehensive collection of prayers and meditations that speak to contemporary Christians while preserving the richness and depth of expression of the original. Starck’s prayers do what all genuine prayers do: they draw the believer into the internal life of the Blessed Trinity and teach the joy of living in His presence throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the year, throughout the good times and the bad. This book is offered to Christians of the twenty-first century in slightly updated garb, who live in a world very different from that inhabited by a Lutheran clergyman of the seventeenth century, in the hope that those who use it will discover, in the vibrant faith that rings through and shapes these prayers from another era, the voice of the faith once delivered to the saints. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.

 

God Grant It: Daily Devotions from Dr. C.F.W. Walther

This is a stunning compilation of Dr. Walther’s Gospel sermons, each Sunday’s sermon is spread out of a week of readings. This is a translation of the collection of lectionary-based devotions for the entire church taken from Walther’s sermons and published by CPH in 1894. The translation aims to retain particular relevance for modern readers. Beginning with the first week of Advent,God Grant It provides a daily devotion for each day in the year, placing particular significance on the church year. Through these classic sermons of Walther, the modern reader will be reminded that God’s mercies are new every day, that His mercies are ours by the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Translated into modern English, these readings are intended to encourage the laity, as well as pastors, and affirm them in their daily lives as redeemed children of God. Each devotion is accompanied by a Scripture reference and a hymn verse. The daily devotion will take less than ten minutes to read. Take a look inside here. Buy a copy here.

 

To Live with Christ: Daily Devotions by Bo Giertz

The devotional writings of noted Swedish pastor, bishop, and author Bo Giertz offer what foreword writer John Pless calls “sturdy confessional Lutheranism with warm piety born of confidence in the Gospel.” To Live With Christ translates a collection of Giertz’s classic devotions for those who want to explore their Christian faith and to connect God’s Word in their daily lives. The devotional readings embrace the church-year calendar, just as Giertz did, preparing you for Sunday worship service. Each Christ-centered devotion includes a Bible reading, meditation, and a prayer. The collection points readers to the cross of Christ, offering the assurance of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness, helping them draw closer to their Lord. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.

 

Meditations on the Gospels

First published in 1948 as The Devotional Bible these devotions, based on writings of the apostles in the first four books of the New Testament, cover a variety of themes of interest to those who want to explore their Christian faith and the connection between the Word of God and their daily lives These timeless devotions will strengthen, comfort, and inform the reader. This edition is updated to include Scripture passages from ESV, and begins with a Gospel reading as the starting point for the day, concluding with a prayer. Take a look inside here, and buy a copy here.

 

 

 

 

Categories: CPH Resources

On the Death of A Diabolical Dictator – North Korea’s Killing Fields

December 19th, 2011 3 comments

Here is something you won’t be hearing much about from the major media. But you need to know.

A look inside the gulags of North Korea. As you watch, remember that many of those being tortured and massacred are brothers and sisters in Christ, members of Christ’s body. “The number of prisoners held in the North Korean gulag is not known: one estimate is 200,000, held in 12 or more centres. Camp 22 is thought to hold 50,000. Most are imprisoned because their relatives are believed to be critical of the regime. Many are Christians, a religion believed by Kim Jong-il to be one of the greatest threats to his power. According to the dictator, not only is a suspected dissident arrested but also three generations of his family are imprisoned, to root out the bad blood and seed of dissent.” (source) HT: Justin Taylor.

Categories: Persecuted Church

VBS With Purpose

December 19th, 2011 Comments off

I know, we are not even at the end of 2011 . . . before you know it, we’ll be into warmer days and that means, it’s time to start thinking about Vacation Bible School. I strongly encourage you to give Concordia Publishing House’s Vacation Bible School program a good, long look. We have continued to make improvements to it, both in content and format. All VBS programs are not alike! Amazing Desert Journey stands apart from others because it is VBS with Purpose. At the center of all teachings is God’s Word and His gracious gift of the Savior, Jesus Christ. After Amazing Desert Journey is finished, the craft glue dries, the decorations come down, and the snacks are gone, the real message is that the children in your VBS know their need for a Savior and His name is Jesus. And that’s The CPH Difference

Please visit this web site to learn more. You’ll find lots of great resources, including free downloadables, like the image here in this post. We have a full explanation of our VBS program at the site.

Categories: CPH Resources

Imam Says that Saying “Merry Christmas” is Worse than Fornication and Murder

December 17th, 2011 14 comments

…oh, yes, and drinking.

Now, as much as we Christians find this offensive, consider this. This is a message that is perfectly logical and makes perfect sense from the point of view of a committed Muslim who actually believes that Islam is the only true religion and Christianity is a false religion. At least he understands this truth, even if he has it backwards.

Categories: Islam