More Coffee Shop – Less Theater

What the Church needs today.

This morning I had the joy of meeting with a couple that is just 5 weeks away from their big day.  I asked to meet with them since they have asked me to speak at their wedding.  When we decided to get together it was suggested that we meet at a Coffee Shop here in Eden Prairie. (For the record It was their idea to meet at a coffee shop – No objection from me!)

So this morning I got up early, ran to the farmers market, to stock up on some fresh veggies then headed off to the coffee shop. I had to circle through the parking lot twice before I went to plan B for parking. Plan B was to drive down the street and wait in the next parking lot and watch…. for a car to leave and then move in for the kill!  It worked! Before long I saw not one but two cars leave the parking lot so I moved in for a spot! 

Don’t Stop Here There is MORE>>>>

Luther Facts You Might Not Know

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Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Germany to Hans and Margarette Luder. Did you catch the fun fact yet? Martin Luder changed his name. Many believe choose to change his name to something that sounded more academic. While his father was a successful miner and ore smelter his upbringings were quite humble. Luther would begin his academic adventure on the route to becoming a lawyer but would later forego that route to begin a spiritual journey he could have never planned for.

The Reformation could have ended before it ever started. At the age of 19 Luther almost died. He was on his way home from school, when a dagger pierced his leg, cutting an artery. A classmate and friend of Luther is credited with saving his life by quickly fetching a doctor. Lying at the edge of the road till the doctor came, he cried to the mother of Jesus, “O, Mary, help!” His Wittenberg friends later criticized him for appealing to Mary instead of Jesus.

By the time Luther’s life was over he had written over 60, 000 pages. His great desire was not to be remembered, in fact, it is reported that he once hoped that “all of my books would be gone and only Holy Scripture remain.”

EGO SOLUS

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EGO SOLUS (Self Alone) is not one of the great Solas of the Reformation.

American culture has been chronicled by some great and not so great magazines over the years. These magazine titles can tell us a great deal about our self-centered human nature.

LOOK was a bi-weekly publication that began in 1937 it was a general purpose magazine with short articles and lots of photos.

LIFE began as a humor magazine in 1883 and ran until 1936. Starting in 1937 it started telling the great stories of life and living.

PEOPLE hit the shelves in 1974 and took our focus from all of life to just the people and their stories.

US which began in 1977 narrowed our focus down even more from all of the people to just -US, and not them.

SELF narrowed the focus down, even more, starting in 1979 as it began to concern itself with only me.

The reformation’s great Solas remind us that we are not at the core of our life and salvation but it is by Faith Alone, through Grace Alone, in Christ Alone, as revealed in Scripture Alone that we can proclaim:

Soli Deo Gloria – “glory to God alone.”

Martin Luther was not a “King”

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Martin Luther was not a “King”

Growing up as a young Lutheran boy I was often confused as I heard about two Martin Luthers. Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. while both were pastors and both had a large impact on their world, they are two distinctly different persons.

Christianity Today writes; “It is claimed that there have been more books written about Martin Luther than anyone else other than Jesus Christ. The name Martin Luther inevitably shows in the top ten on those lists pundits compile about who were the most influential in shaping our modern world. He is one of those few who can be indisputably proclaimed a ‘hinge of history.’”

Becoming a world changer was never on Luther’s bucket list. He was too busy trying to save his own soul. It was a promise made in the midst of a thunderstorm that brought the timid Luther to the monastery.  Caught out in the storm Luther feared for his life and in a moment of panic called out “Saint Ann, save me and I will become a monk.” She did, and He did.

It was from the walls of the monastery that Luther’s great journey of faith and discovery began.

LutheranReformation.org has a 12-week bulletin series to help your congregation celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We have created a 12-week series to run the back of their inserts to share more of the story of the reformation.  They are available for FREE as a .pdf (unbranded) for you to use.

500th Anniversary What Does This Mean?

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500th Anniversary, What Does This Mean?

Several people have asked me what exactly is this the 500th anniversary celebrating. It is the first in what could be a whole long line of 500th anniversaries.  2017 marks five hundred years since the young monk Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg – October 31, 1517.

Luther was alarmed with some of the things that he saw happening in the name of the church, not the least of which was the sale of indulgences. Through the purchase of a single sheet of paper, you could free your family members from the pains of purgatory*.  You could also buy a “get out of purgatory free” indulgence to cover your past and future sins.

These together with other teachings that Luther found troubling were posted in the theses for scholarly discussion and debate. Thanks to the invention of the printing press in 1440 and it’s ability to mass distribute information, news of Luther’s concerns spread quickly and were not well received!  This was the moment that sparked one of the greatest reformations the world has ever seen.

LutheranReformation.org has a 12-week bulletin series to help your congregation celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We have created a 12-week series to run the back of their inserts to share more of the story of the reformation.  They are available for FREE as a .pdf (unbranded) for you to use.

Observations from a coffee shop

Just Reading

This morning I stopped into my local coffee shop for a fresh cup of coffee and a little time in the Word before heading to the office. It was a typical morning in a very typical coffee shop. There was someone who was there for the long haul, he had papers and drawings spread across the table and was working his way through a large ice coffee. There was a woman reading the morning paper and someone who was on a conference call at another table with his headset microphone in place.

I took my coffee and found a table by the window and sat down to have some time in the Word.  I noticed when I came in a young man sitting in one of the comfortable chairs by the door, he appeared to be reading a Bible, but I was not 100% sure it was a Bible. As I was finishing my reading from John ‘s Gospel I noticed he had set the book on the table and was enjoying his coffee. It was a Bible he had been reading.

I caught his eye and asked, “What have you been reading this morning?” he replied, “The Bible” I waited for more information assuming it would come…it didn’t. I decided to rephrase the question, “Anything in particular that you were reading? I just finished reading a couple of chapters on the early ministry of Jesus in John’s Gospel.” I was not ready for his response. He gave me a quizzical look and said: “Just reading.”  With these words, he picked up his Bible and headed out the door.

“Just Reading” His answer made me ponder how many time I came to the Bible and was found to be “Just reading.” I prayed for that young man that the Living Spirit of God would help the words he read today to speak to his heart. God promises that His Word never returns void, but it always accomplishes that for which it was sent.  As I ponder his words again I have to admit that more often than I like I to have been guilty of “Just reading” the Word, and not letting it penetrate, not letting it encourage, rebuke, correct or train me.

12  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

11  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)

SOMETHING TO PONDER: What do you do to help you do more than “Just read” the Bible?  Really….. I would love to hear from you.