Posts tagged “ministry

Adapting the local lifestyle

Posted on August 14th, 2014

In a recent interview on Issues, Etc., LCMS President Matthew Harrison encouraged pastors to get to know their people, spend time in their homes, hospital rooms, lives. Only through this will the preacher be able to truly preach to his people. It reminded me of this quotation from Eric Metaxas’s biography of Bonhoeffer about his time spent in Barcelona: The intellectual dullness and the overwhelmingly languorous atmosphere of Barcelona pushed hard against Bonhoeffer’s hyperactive mind and personality. He was amazed at how people of all ages seemed to while away the hours sitting at cafés in the middle of the day, chattering about little of any real substance. He observed that besides coffee, vermouth-and-sodas were particularly popular, usually served with half a dozen oysters.…

Vocation under the cross

Posted on February 3rd, 2014

To understand what is meant by the cross of vocation, we need only remember that vocation is ordained by God to benefit, not him who fulfills the vocation, but the neighbor who, standing alongside, bears his own cross for the sake of others. Under this cross are included even the most trivial of difficulties, such as: in marriage, the care of babes, which interferes with sleep and enjoyment; in government, unruly subjects and promoters of revolt; in the ministry, the whole resistance to reformation; in heavy labor, shabbiness, uncleanness, and the contempt of the proud. All of this is bracketed with the high and holy cross of Christ; but then that too was deep in humiliation when it was erected. Gustaf Wingren, Luther on Vocation,…

God’s will regarding new forms of worship

Posted on February 23rd, 2013

This is true, indeed, that God is not bound, neither to Jerusalem nor to any other place, and that He is able to save also elsewhere. No one will deny this. But try it and see what you will get! If you invent forms of worship according to your own judgment, you will be in danger of God’s wrath. By His almighty power God could save the human race without Christ, without Baptism, and without the Word of the Gospel. He could have illuminated men’s hearts inwardly through the Holy Spirit and forgiven their sins without the ministry of the Word and of ministers. But it was not His will to do so. And God very strictly prohibited all erring forms of devotion and…

The beleaguered pastor and the lighthouse keeper

Posted on November 29th, 2012

Walter Trobisch was visiting a pastor in Africa whose marriage and health was suffering because of the incessant demands of parishioners. Here is the dialogue between Trobisch and Pastor Daniel, as recounted inI Married You: “It’s not only the telephone. The visitors and callers, too, are a problem. They come at any time.” “I can see no other solution. You must decide on certain hours when you are available, and then post these times on the door.” Daniel said, “Africans wouldn’t understand it. They would think it is very impolite. It is against their traditions.” “Listen, my brother, if you would come to Germany, and I would take you to any local parish, I can promise you that the pastor there has the same…

The overworked Luther

Posted on May 19th, 2012

I am prone to lamentation, bemoaning the oppression of too much work. I should cut that out. It’s not like I’m running a Reformation or anything! Here’s Luther’s close of the lecture on Genesis 19, where he seems to be overwhelmed by his work: This is the exposition of this chapter and indeed not a detailed one—for what can be done by me in detail in so great a mass of things to do?—but one that is simple and true.

Dumb dogs

Posted on March 8th, 2012

Often, indeed, incautious rulers, being afraid of losing human favor, fear to speak freely of what is right, and, in the words of the Truth, do not exercise the zeal of shepherds caring for the flock, but serve the role of mercenaries; for when the wolf appears, they flee and hide themselves in silence. Wherefore, the Lord reproves them through the Prophet, saying: They are dumb dogs, not able to bark. St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care

Noah the Bishop

Posted on February 18th, 2012

Luther on Genesis 9: In the first place, Noah filled the office of bishop; and because he had been plagued by various temptations, it was his foremost concern to oppose the devil and comfort the tempted, to restore the erring, to give confidence to the wavering, to encourage the despairing, to shut out the impenitent from his church, and to receive back the penitent with fatherly joy. These are almost the same duties that must be performed by a bishop through the ministry of the Word.

Not called without the ministry

Posted on January 5th, 2012

Luther’s very interesting opinion on how the call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) took place: But here the question arises: How was Abraham called, and did he hear this voice from God Himself? I am convinced that he was not called directly by God without the ministry, as it is related below (Gen. 18:2) that God visited him, conversed with him, and was even the guest of Abraham; but I believe that this command was brought to him either by the patriarch Shem personally or by some others who had been sent by Shem. What grieved pious Shem was not only this, that Terah and his children were perishing in that fire of the Chaldeans, that is, in Nimrodic idolatry, but that through divine revelation,…

Let us iPray

Posted on December 8th, 2011

Some of our congregation’s leaders routinely make fun of me for my iGadgets. Our president calls my iPad an “iFrisbee,” and I really think sometimes he’s tempted to throw it thus. When I converted to Apple, I went all the way. Now CPH has come out with an iPhone app for the Pastoral Care Companion, a book with occasional services in it (such as weddings and funerals), other rites (e.g., the blessing of a home) along with Bible passages, prayers, and other guidance for ministering the Word to people in various situations (sickness, grief, depression, etc.). It’s an important book for a pastor to have close at hand, because these situations tend to rise up unexpectedly; that is why I have two, one at…