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.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July the day we celebrate our independence from England. It is a time when we talk a great deal about freedom, and we celebrate the freedom we have in America. There is much to celebrate in America when it comes to freedom, but I have a confession to make, I have squandered my freedom.
I write this today from the porch of my home on my wireless laptop computer that is connected to the internet via my wifi router, while I stream music on my iPad that plays through my Bluetooth speaker. Freedom is great I can listen to just about any song I can imagine, and write about any topic I please. I traveled last month through several states, camping as we traveled without fear. Sounds like I have this freedom thing down.
It is not a question of if I use my freedom, or if I enjoy my freedom, I do both! Yesterday as I was preparing graphics to post online, using my freedom of expression, I created the photo at the top of this post. The original meme simply read “Jesus Make Yourself Know In The USA Again.” As I pondered this statement It struck me that the task of making Jesus know in this country is a divine work of the Spirit of the Living God – THROUGH His people.
Powerless, godless, sinner that is how Paul describes you and me when God out of his great love for us sent Christ into the World. Powerless but Loved was delivered on June 18, 2017, at New Creation Lutheran Church in Shakopee, Minnesota.
The Church is the Body of Christ and nowhere is that more clearly stated than in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians was not written in response to a specific circumstance or controversy as were most of Paul’s epistles. It has almost a meditative quality. In the theme shared with Colossians – Christ the head of the Church His body – Ephesians emphasizes the Church as Christ’s body, whereas Colossians emphasizes the headship of Christ. Colossians warns against a false doctrine which diminishes Christ, while Ephesians expresses praise for the unity and blessings shared by all believers in Christ.
Craig’s latest Bible Study is available pre-publication for free as a reproducible PDF. You are free to use this study with your small group.
What is it that you don’t know? What was that? You don’t know what you don’t know? Well, the greeks knew what they didn’t know – they had an altar built to an unknown god. I’ll let you in on a secret I know who he is!
Sometimes it is only after we have spent 1/2 a day on a project that we discover there was a much better way to do this, that would have taken 2 minutes! In Today’s Pondering God we discuss how sometimes we just need to ask for help.