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Of all the offices of the Church, the uncorrupted ministry of the Word and Sacraments is of paramount importance.

(The Cost of Discipleship, 253).

I am in Sioux Falls, SD for the Annual Meeting of Converge Heartland, the district of the denomination I am part of. We are blessed and fortunate to have as the keynote speaker, Dr. John Jenkins, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, MD. In his message this evening, he highlighted Psalm 145:4…

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts!

Dr. Jenkins said: “We are losing a generation because we (the church) refuse to change!”

The ability of a man and woman to live with each other day after day is, as Bill Cosby once observed, “undoubtedly a miracle the Vatican has overlooked.” When you factor in a prolonged sickness like cancer, ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) or Alzheimer’s, even the closest, most solid marital ships can find themselves near to running aground.

Regardless of these inherent dangers, those of use who are married have taken vows of commitment, generally before God and witnesses. And, most all of us make this promise to keep these vows “as long as we both shall live” or “until God shall separate us by death” or other equally strong, compelling words. Biblical admonitions about taking vows (Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5, for example) make the seriousness of such promises clear.

Recently on the 700 Club broadcast host Pat Robertson answered a viewer’s question about marriage, divorce and Alzheimer’s Disease. The caller wanted advice on how to speak to a friend who had entered a dating relationship with a lady because his wife had Alzheimer’s and she “as he knows her is gone,” speaking of her mental condition.

Christianity Today reports here.

Let me start by saying that Pat Robertson has done some good things–kingdom things–over the years. He has participated in the public square, as more Christians should. Operation Blessing is a wonderful organization. Many have been impacted by his ministry. When I met him, I found him to be a kind and gracious man. So my evaluation here should not be interpreted as yet another person on the “Bash Pat” bandwagon. Yes, Pat has said some many things I find unhelpful and just wrong, but I am glad I am not on television answering questions for hours each day. We all make mistakes…

For the rest of the article..

…In the book that de Gruchy edited, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Witness to Jesus Christ

Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 and the second world war began. After his very brief second visit to the United States…Bonhoeffer was back, fulfilling his responsibilities with the collective pastorates in Koslin and Sigurdshof. Many of his students, both past and present, were called up for military service. In order to keep in touch and continue his ministry to them, Bonhoeffer started to write circular letters (216).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote letters to his former students of Finkenwalde. These letters are known as the Finkenwalde Circular Letters.

Much of Bonhoeffer’s pastoral work was now via correspondence…to the hundred of so former ordinands.

Bonhoeffer typed these letters and the use of carbon paper helped cut the time in half. Nevertheless, he invested much time in typing these letters. This indicates the pastoral heart of Bonhoeffer.

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 383).

The Gospel at Ground Zero!
The horrors of 9/11 were not unlike those of Good Friday.
by Russell D. Moore of Christianity Today

In America, we debate our wars not just with heated speeches but also with dueling banjos. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the radio dial seemed to lurch between the children of Woodstock and the heirs of the Grand Ole Opry. Besides visiting the expected themes of war and peace, post-9/11 popular music plucked at an issue we are now revisiting a decade later: whether television networks ought to broadcast the fiery images of the collapsing Twin Towers.

“You took all the footage off my TV, said it’s too disturbing for you and me,” country musician Darryl Worley sang. “It’ll just breed anger, that’s what the experts say; / if it was up to me I’d show it every day. / Some say this country’s just out lookin’ for a fight; / well after 9/11 man, I’d have to say that’s right.”

Down the radio dial, pop guitarist John Mayer sang about waiting for a world where neighbors were home from war, where “they would have never missed a Christmas, no more ribbons on their door.” Like the hawks in the cowboy hats, Mayer blamed broadcast imagery: “When you trust your television, what you get is what you got, ’cause when they own the information, oh they can bend it all they want.”

On the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we see a revival of the debates over whether news programs should show footage from that day. Some argue that to do so is needlessly traumatizing and inflammatory, and will provoke vengeance and a sense of cowboy justice. Others respond that to censor the footage is to deny reality, a politically correct avoidance of the truth that we live in a dangerous world, where enemies wish to see us buried beneath the rubble of our national monuments…

For the rest of the article…

 

Christ, our Light

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do not try to make the Bible relevant. Its relevance is axiomatic… Do not defend God’s word, but testify to it… Trust to the Word. It is a ship loaded to the very limits of her capacity….

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Dietrich Bonhoeffer: a biography, Eberhard Bethge, Fortress Press, 2000, p. 442 (see the Book)

Praying on 9/11

With churches gathering for worship on the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I pass along the litany we’ll be praying at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville.

Eugene Peterson once said that the primary task of the pastor is to teach people how to pray, and our gatherings are prime territory for helping to inform and shape the prayers of our people. It’s our hope that a prayer like this one can teach people to express genuine angst, intercede for the world, and return to confidence and hope in the coming Savior.

**********

Lord as we gather,
celebrating your glory and goodness,
we acknowledge the shadow of today’s anniversary.

Together, we remember September 11, 2001.
We mourn for the lives lost in New York City,
Washington D. C., and on Flight 93.

We lament death’s reign,
the visible and invisible forces of evil,
the principalities and powers of this dark world,
and the evil that lurks in the hearts of all men . . . including our own.

With the Psalmist, we cry:

“How long, Oh Lord?
How long will your enemies scoff?
How long will you withhold your justice
from a world that is desparate to see it?”

We lament a world at war, and we ask you for peace

In Afghanistan
in Iraq
in Libya
in Israel and Palestine
in Egypt and Syria, and all of the nations of the earth that long for freedom from oppression.

We ask for protection over our loved ones and families who serve overseas,
we pray for the fatherless and the widow,
for the poor and oppressed.

We lift up our global leaders
that by your grace they might lead with wisdom and justice
and work for peace.

And we acknowledge that all such hopes and longings point us to one who will soon return and bring an everlasting peace and justice.

Together we proclaim:

Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 146:2-10)

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Mike Cosper is pastor of worship and arts at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He writes on the gospel and the arts for The Gospel Coalition.

Henning von  Tresckow was a Major General in the German Army. He was not a fan of Adolf Hitler at all. After Hitler gave the Commissar Order that stated Red Army leaders must, “as a rule, immediately be shot for instituting barbaric Asian methods of warfare,” Tresckow said:

…the German people will be burdened with a guilt the world will not forget in a hundred years 

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 382).

Here I am in America in the year 2011 and I am freely writing for my blog. There are no restrictions concerning my faith in the Lord  Jesus!. It was a different story for Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Germany in 1941…

Bonhoeffer was in Switzerland a month. When he returned to Munich at the end of March (1941), he discovered a letter from the Reich Writers’ Guild informing him that he was henceforth prohibited from writing. He had gamely tried to avoid this and even registered with them–something he obviously thought loathsome and did to preserve their appearance of being a “good German” in their eyes. He even had gone so far as to submit the required “proof” of his “Aryan ancestry.” But even this unpleasant ruse had been insufficient to offset the offensively pro-Jewish content of the book on the Psalms. 

(Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, 377-378).

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