The Lutheran Spokesman (January 1998)
"Now faith is the substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
In this issue:
An Unshrinkable Faith
"My times are in Your hand"
The Child of Hope -- A Light to Share
The "NANNY SERVICE" of the Law
"THE MILLENIUM" -- Let's Enjoy it Now!
The Love Of God Depicted in Stained Glass
1997 CLC Teachers' Conference
For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.
If you could choose any one thing in the entire universe that would
make 1998 a happy new year for you, what would it be?
For a lot of folks the answer is this simple: "Just let the
Sweepstakes van pull into my driveway at the end of this month. Yes,
with that kind of money--millions of dollars at my disposal, nothing
in the year ahead could get me down."
Others might say, "If only I were feeling better and could do the
things I used to do . . . ." "If only I owned my own home; if only we
had a different car; if only I were promoted at work; if only . . . ."
-- on and on the list could go.
Maybe finances are especially tight at the moment and maybe you have
been living with excruciating pain. Perhaps a new home or car would
help, but none of those things can provide what we need to overcome
the unforeseen troubles lurking in the future. What can?
Consider the prayer expressed in Hymn No. 396 in The Lutheran Hymnal:
Oh, for a faith that will not shrink
Tho' pressed by many a foe;
That will not tremble on the brink
Of poverty or woe.
What each of us needs, really needs, is an unshrinkable faith.
Just what is "unshrinkable faith"? "Faith," Scripture teaches, "is the
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.
11:1). Faith is the conviction that what we believe is true even
though we cannot see it with our eyes. This distinction is worth
remembering, because what we see with our eyes is sometimes just the
opposite of what we believe.
The Bible also shows us what an "unshrinkable" faith is. Only here, it
does so by example. Of Abraham, Paul writes: "Who, contrary to hope,
in hope believed so that he became the father of many nations, . . .
and not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already
dead . . . and the deadness of Sarah's womb" (Rom. 4:18-19). God had
promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, but the
years had ticked by and now a childless Abraham had grown old with his
What Abraham saw were the same things that any of us would have seen.
He saw that his body was as good as dead and so was Sarah's womb. He
also knew that the odds against his 90-year-old wife giving birth were
colossal; in fact, humanly impossible. That's what he saw with his
eyes. Just as today--what we see is oftentimes in contrast to what we
So, we pray for a faith that doesn't shrink:
A faith that shines more bright and clear
When tempests rage without,
That, when in danger, knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt.
Abraham "did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief . . .
being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to
perform" (Rom. 4:20-21). Despite incalculable odds, Abraham clung to
God's Word. Behind that Word was the limitless power of the One "who
gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as
though they did" (Rom. 4:17).
For us to have an unshrinkable faith means trusting in the same God,
and for the same reason. He is the God of all power who does literally
anything. He is also the God of all grace, who has redeemed us from
our sins through the life, death, and resurrection of the promised
Seed of Abraham, His own Son Jesus. His sure, powerful Word is both
the cause and the basis for a faith that will not shrink.
Lord, give us such a faith as this;
And then, whate'er may come,
We'll taste e'en now the hallowed bliss,
Of an eternal home.
--Pastor James Albrecht
There is a creeping malaise of pessimism seizing the hearts and minds
of people today. This feeling of helplessness and frustration is
heightened by the passing of another year and the approaching end of
another century. There is a paralysis of spirit that is gripping not
only the world but also us Christians. Of course, this is nothing new.
David expresses these same feelings in Psalm 31. "Have mercy on me, O
LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief. Yes, my soul
and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with
sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste
away" (Ps. 31:9-10).
The problem today is that people have been led to believe that they
are in control of their lives and their destinies. The advances of
science and learning should hold out the promise of unlimited
opportunity, but the very opposite is happening. At the end of another
year, the world seems poised at the edge of some unnamed disaster. In
spite of the advances of modern medicine, we still face aids, Ebola,
and super germs. People don't know whether to worry about El Nino or
global warming. The prosperity we enjoy in the United States and the
rising stock market seem increasingly fragile. It is a terrible burden
for people to feel and think that they have to solve these unsolvable
problems. Mankind feels "my times are in my hands."
The Christian is not immune from these problems. The Christian is also
tempted by Satan to think that his salvation and his future are
dependent upon him. The religious world also seems gripped by the fear
of impending doom. This bunker mentality is seen in its extreme form
by David Koresh and other "Christian" groups who are arming themselves
in anticipation of the impending violent fall of society. Many
preachers are dwelling on the collapse of the economy and the monetary
system. Christians are urged to hoard gold and canned goods and move
to the wilds of Montana. Some speak of the collapse of society due to
the computer's inability to handle the programming changes needed in
the year 2000. We experience the inroads of the immorality of the day
in the breakdown of families and the feeling that the next generation
is going to hell in a handbasket. Among conservative Christians there
is an increasing feeling of hopelessness in facing the future.
God In Control
The answers to these feelings are not to be found in ourselves or in
trying to escape the wickedness of this world by cutting ourselves off
from the world. David in Psalm 31 fled to the Lord. "I will be glad
and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You
have known my soul in adversities" (Ps. 31:7). David found hope in the
unfailing goodness of the Lord. "Oh, how great is Your goodness, which
You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for
those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men" (Ps.
31:19)! David realized that his times, his future, was in the hands of
the covenant God. Our text is a beautiful expression of the
Christian's faith. "But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, 'You
are my God.' My times are in Your hand" (Ps. 31:14-15).
God is in control of our lives and our future. Jesus reminds us that
we are not to worry about our tomorrows because they are in the hands
of our Creator and Preserver God. Live as people who take no thought
for tomorrow. God has never yet forsook in need the soul that trusted
Him indeed. The promises of God in Jesus are sure and certain. We have
just celebrated the fulfillment of God's promises in the birth of
Jesus Christ. God's love has shined into our hearts and into our
world. The book of Revelation assures us that the Lamb on the throne
is in control. All the events and circumstances of life are in the
hands of the Lord who is our God. What more could we ask?
Instead of being frightened and out of control, we need to leave all
things to God's direction and praise Him for His love and deliverance.
David ends Psalm 31 with the positive assurance of praise. "Oh, love
the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and
fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall
strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD" (Ps. 31:23-24).
Hope in the Lord this upcoming year.
--Pastor John Schierenbeck
The wonder and joy that surrounds the arrival of a newborn infant is
something to behold. When a parent or grandparent gathers up that
small bundle for a first look, there is always a sense of awe at the
miracle of new life, and the amazing potential that lies in such a
tiny and helpless package.
Just such a special scene The Nunc Dimittis
took place one day in the
city of Jerusalem, when an Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
old man named Simeon met a depart in peace according to thy
very ordinary-looking young word,
couple, with their infant
son, in the temple. He was For mine eyes have seen Thy
not a grandparent; in fact Salvation:
he was not related at all to
the couple or their child, Which Thou hast prepared before
as far as we know. Yet he the face of all people,
was more closely tied to this
little baby than to anyone A Light to lighten the Gentiles
else in the whole world. and the Glory of Thy people
The Holy Spirit had revealed
to Simeon that the child he Glory be to the Father and to the
would meet that day would be Son and to the Holy Ghost;
the Christ, the Lord and
Savior of the entire world. As it was in the beginning, is now,
As he took this infant in his and ever shall be, world without
arms, he beheld not only the end. Amen.
miracle of new life, but the
supreme miracle of light and life for the world. The hopes and fears
of all people throughout history rested in his arms as he gazed at
the tiny face. His heart swelled with joy, and he burst into a psalm
of praise -- words which are familiar to us in the song which follows
our communion liturgy, the "Nunc Dimittis":
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy
word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared
before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and
the glory of thy people Israel" (Lk. 2:29-32).
After waiting for a lifetime to see the fulfillment of the Lord's
promises, one aged man was now ready to leave this world whenever the
Lord might call him. His heart was at peace now that he had seen the
Child of Hope. By faith he was able to look beyond the poverty and
plainness that Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus presented. The Spirit
within him testified that this was the Lord's Christ.
We now know that Simeon's faith was well-founded. The tiny infant
voice that arose from the swaddling clothes belonged to the almighty
God who had entered this world to take upon himself a human nature.
This was the same voice that would cry out from the cross, under the
crushing burden of the sins of the world: "My God, My God, why have
You forsaken Me?" And then, having paid the full price for our
salvation, that same voice would call out in triumph: "It is
Blessings And Opportunities
How fitting it is that we echo the words of Simeon at the conclusion
of our celebration of the Lord's Supper. For it is there that we
personally meet with the Lord Jesus by partaking of His true body and
blood. By the work of the Holy Spirit, our eyes see beyond the humble
outward form of bread and wine as we recognize the presence of the
Savior of all people. The joy of sins forgiven and heaven assured
makes us, too, ready to leave this world for the life to come whenever
the Lord might call.
But the Lord in His wisdom does not immediately take believers out of
this sin-sick world. Instead, He gives them the task of taking this
light of the Gospel of Christ to others. When Simeon sang of Jesus as
a "light to lighten the Gentiles," he was referring to all the people
who are still in need of a personal encounter with the Child of Hope
through the Word of the Gospel.
And that's where YOU come in. Have you been blessed to see in the
Christchild your Savior from sin? Has the light of His Gospel reached
your eyes and shown you a clear path to eternal life? Has the message
of forgiveness through His death for you on the cross touched your
heart? Then consider carefully your assignment, from God Himself, to
carry the torch of the Gospel to others:
"So the Lord has commanded us: 'I have set you as a light to the
Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth'"
This saving Gospel is a message that the Lord wants to shine in the
heart of your neighbor, your co-worker, your friend; and YOU are the
best person to show them what this Child of Hope really means to them.
The Lord wants this Gospel to shine in your community, and your
congregation has the message and the means to make it happen. The Lord
wants this Gospel to reach to the ends of the earth, and through your
church body you can do your part to see that this work, too, goes
Like aged Simeon, these blessings and opportunities come to us only
through the work of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord give us increasing
joy as we hold the Child of Hope, the Light of the World, in our
hearts. And may we ever hold His Gospel up as a beacon for the world
to see, that they may also be drawn to the light of salvation.
--Pastor Bruce Naumann
Standing Fast In The Liberty By Which Christ Has Made Us Free
THE "NANNY SERVICE" OF THE LAW
Is it important for us to know what the Lord's apostle wrote in this
part of his letter to the Galatian Christians? It was addressed to a
specific problem, namely, the threat of the "Judaizers." These people
were tormenting Gentile believers, asserting that faith in Christ is
not enough. To be justified and acceptable to God, they taught, it is
necessary that certain requirements of Moses' Law, such as
circumcision, be observed.
This may not seem to be a problem for us today. Yet ancient heresies
do keep coming, dressed in some more modern garb. If someone tells you
that you must obey some religious law (tithing, for example, or
observing a Saturday-Sabbath), follow some church custom such as
calling yourself Lutheran, or fulfill any human work to qualify for
the inheritance of the saints in light, this Scripture can serve you
well. It can help keep you in the truth of salvation by grace alone,
through faith alone.
When Paul writes about "The Law" here (v. 19), he speaks of that
splendid gift once given to Israel by God through Moses on Sinai. It
was a legal code that was to govern every aspect of life for the
covenant people. This divine revelation defined their religious life.
It gave them a perfect constitution of civil law. Its centerpiece was
the "Ten Words," the commandments which taught how their love toward
God and neighbor should behave.
With good reason, every pious Jewish patriot would pledge allegiance
to this national treasure. Understandably, many who became Christians
continued, by choice, to live "kosher" in some matters (See Acts
15:28-29). Yet Paul would not allow, even for a minute, that Gentile
believers should be placed under that Law.
Why Not, If It Is So Good?
Our Scripture portion tells us that the Law of Moses did have a place
and a purpose for a time, a "supervisory role" (v. 25). That mission
was accomplished. That Law is no longer in effect. God has "canceled
the written code with its regulations, that was against us and that
stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross" (Col.
It is vital to the biblical line of thought to understand that the Law
of Moses had only a temporary function and purpose. Important, but
only temporary. Speaking as a Jew born under The Law, Paul says that
The Law "was put in charge to lead us until Christ that we might be
justified by faith" (v. 24, NIV).
The Tough-love Nanny
In Bible times well-off people often had someone who would see to it
that a child would get safely to school and back home again. Much like
the modern nanny supervising children until mom and dad come home,
keeping them out of trouble and enforcing the rules of the house.
During four centuries of slavery in Egypt the family of Abraham got
along without a "paidagogus." When liberated, however, and moving as a
populous nation toward occupation of the promised land, Jehovah met
them at Sinai. There, through Moses as mediator, the two-party
covenant of The Law was established to serve until the promised Seed
would come. "Because of transgressions." Even God's privileged, chosen
people would be prone to sin. If they were to fulfill their destiny as
the matrix of the Messiah the nation would have to be kept together
with a rigid code of law, a law of "do's and don'ts" with threats of
punishment for sin and reward for good behavior.
Important as this service was, Paul warns against allowing it to set
aside the covenant previously established by God with Abraham, thus
doing away with the promise. In other words, you can't have it both
ways. Is it your hope to receive life and salvation by doing The Law
or by believing the Promise (the gospel)? In his own graphic way, one
of our founding fathers in the CLC (Maynard Witt) used to ask whether
you are a "Moses lover" or a lover of Christ.
Think About It!
The covenant of promise which God made with Abraham and continues to
us in Christ is unconditional. It requires no doing on our part. "Only
believe." That's why our glorious present and future in Christ is so
sure. With Paul we can exult, "Now that faith has come, we are no
longer under the supervision of The Law" (v. 25).
"Thanks, Nanny. You did a great job, but we won't need your services
any more. The children are now mature enough to discipline and care
--Pastor Rollin A. Reim
* YOUR TV, A THREAT TO FAITH--(From a Sunday bulletin this fall at St. John's Lutheran Church,
Okabena, Minn.; Vance Fossum is pastor)
It is becoming a fairly regular happening: as the new TV programs air
every fall, they fall to new depths of moral depravity. Over the years
we can mark each step downward. The daytime soap operas started the
plunge to the pits of porm. In the sixties and seventies, evening
affairs like Peyton Place and then Dallas and Falcon Crest added a
touch of class to the bed-hopping of the afternoon soaps. The sinful
affairs and pre-marital fornication of the unprincipled principals in
each story were presented ever more frequently by the writers as
"understandable," even "acceptable." "Hey, what's wrong with two
people being attracted to one another and doing what is 'natural'?"
they challenged us. So censorship was trashed for sensual trash.
The downward trend has continued through decades of moral decadence.
Made-for-television movies like Rich Man-Poor Man, North and South,
and a rash of other so-called romantic novels have further
desensitized the American public -- especially our children -- to the
lewd and the nude. In the last decade a plague of popular shows like
Doogy Howser, MD and Beverly Hills 90210 have made sexual activity
seem like the one pervasive and all-important goal of all young
people, except, of course, those very few "undesireables" who want to
keep their virginity. NYPD Blue added to the screen the screams of
victims of violence, as well as nudity and sex, making it all seem so
"real" in order to bring the lovers of violence and the lovers of sex
in front of the TV. Picket Fences, far from being white or protective
of the American family, broke down still more barriers to evil with
episodes like the one featuring two high school girl-friends in bed
together, kissing one another. The ground was being prepared for the
"coming out" of Ellen Degeneres and other lesbians and gays!
The devil is not done yet! All of television's temptings that have
fallen every fall for the past 30-40 years has been aimed at this one
goal: that the temptings--the suggestive scenes and "in your face"
immorality--may make the lie more acceptable. That lie has finally
been stated in the new series entitled Nothing Sacred. We happened to
see a few minutes of (the premier) episode. A man and woman who have
been living together for some time are talking about their marriage
the next day, while the woman is seducing him. "Wait until tomorrow,"
he says, when we are married. "We'll be together the rest of our
lives." "But," the woman counters, "It's more fun when it's sinful."
Shades of Eden? No doubt! The "forbidden fruit" has ever since been
the most sought-after by fallen mankind. First, the devil works
patiently (for 30-40 years if necessary!) to repeatedly put the
forbidden fruit "in our faces." He challenges the conscience over and
over again until the voice of God is barely audible. Then he springs
the lie: "You will not die! You will be like God, knowing good and
evil, and the evil is more fun! . . . There's 'NOTHING SACRED'."
Dear Christian man, woman, and child, your television set is a threat
to your spiritual health and life. It "talks" to you every day, like
the serpent (may have) talked to Eve. Like the serpent in Eden, your
TV may be seen as a friend in the garden of your home. But it is also
an agent of deceit, a primary tool of that great enemy who walks about
the earth "seeking whom he may devour." Don't underestimate him! Turn
him off and away when you hear him or see him enter the garden of your
home. "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
* 'SHADOWS AND SUBSTANCE--AN INDUCTIVE STUDY
OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS' -- This is a "commercial" for some reading and viewing that would be
infinitely more valuable than any time spent in front of the television
set for lesser fare.
With the encouragement of the synod's Board of Education as well as
with the encouragement and support of others including his wife
Sharon, Pastor John Schierenbeck, Winter Haven, Fla., has produced an
adult information manual and video by the above title. In 20 lessons
(11 from the Old Testament and 9 from the New), each lasting about one
half hour on video, Pastor Schierenbeck effectively shows how
"shadows" in the Old Testament are fulfilled by Him who is their
"substance," Jesus Christ. A title byline carries the Bible verse:
"The substance is of Christ"--Colossians 2:17.
There have been and are many fine adult instruction manuals out there,
such as Luther's Catechism as well as the well-known "What Does The
Bible Say?" by Oswald Riess. In abridged and unabridged versions,
Riess has probably been used most often over the years by conservative
Lutheran pastors as they instruct prospective members in the chief
What is unique about "Shadows And Substance" is that it is made clear
from the beginning that "the Bible should be used as the primary
textbook"--and it is so used! There is a well-prepared manual, yet
every encouragement is given to the student(s) to carry out the stated
aim that this is to be "an inductive study of the Old and New
Testaments." A preface to the manual explains: "Bible study should be
inductive, that is, people should draw truths out of Scripture for
themselves. One of the goals of this course is to encourage people to
read the Bible for themselves and apply it to their own lives."
In other words, this is no "quickie" course toward membership in the
church. Nor is that what we would want. The student(s) are expected to
"work" right along with the presenter. Those who diligently do this,
using either the manual and/or the video, following along in their
Bibles, and reading the suggested supplementary home Bible readings,
will surely be blessed by the Spirit through the Word.
The 82-page manual (including study guides and questions for 20
lessons) can be ordered through the author, or through the CLC
Bookhouse, 501 Grover Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701. It is $7.00 per
copy, plus shipping.* The corresponding two-set video may be ordered
from Pastor John Schierenbeck, 3015 Ave. K NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881.
The video set is $15.00 plus shipping.
The "Shadows And Substance" manual is well done (including graphics,
tables, timelines) and is a real "buy" in itself. Remembering that the
Bible is the primary textbook, each pastor could well adapt the manual
for his own presentation. As for the videos, the material is presented
while the instructor is seated. Some may be disappointed that there
isn't more flare (a few graphics and tables appear). Schierenbeck,
however, has a fine speaking voice and presents the lesson material
with a non-dramatic, measured pastoral approach. The musical
interludes are appealing. Throughout, the "Bible approach" is obvious
and it is powerful.
Throughout his ministry this writer/pastor had often heard it said
that one of the best adult instruction courses would be to use the
Bible itself, beginning with the first chapters of Genesis, then
studying the Gospel of Luke, and finally drawing on various portions
of Paul's epistles. There was always the good intention to give it a
try, but we never did. "Shadows And Substance" is an excellent example
of how the whole counsel of God can be effectively presented along the
--Editor Paul Fleischer, Reviewer
(*Note: each pastor and teacher in the CLC will be receiving a free
copy of the manual.)
The following material was originally perpared for a tract at the
request the Pacific Coast Pastoral Conference, October 1997. For
reasons of space we divide it into two parts.
-- Let's Enjoy It Now!
Will we enter a golden age when the calendar year turns on the year
2,000? Is there something magical about the number with three zeroes?
Should we look for an era during the present age--before the
resurrection of the dead--when "saints and godly men will possess a
worldly kingdom and annihilate all the godless"*?
These are not idle questions. Worldly places of entertainment are
already getting "fully booked" for the big New Year's Eve celebration.
People seem desperate for something better to hope for. The numbers
game gets a lot of players.
Yes. Some promote the idea, the fervent hope, that there will be a
thousand year period--before the ending of this age--during which
Jesus and His Church will rule the world in power, peace, and glory.
In this golden era it is presumed that there would be no crosses for
believers to take up in following the Lord.
A tempting prospect for the Church under the cross, to be sure. But it
is not the picture Jesus drew about the course of things up to the day
of His coming "in the clouds" (Mt. 24-25). It is still a pale, poor
hope compared with what the Scriptures do hold out for us in the age
to come when the Christ will say: "Come, you who are blessed by my
Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the
creation of the world" (Mt. 25:34).
The Bible View Of Our Glory
Consider what we are taught about "the living hope to which we have
been begotten again by God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead." The Apostle Peter terms it an "inheritance that can
never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith
are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is
ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1:4f). Can you imagine
anything in this present age that could compare with what awaits us
when the earth will be renewed?
"We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in
which righteousness dwells" (2 Pet. 3:13). In the meanwhile, the
Church under the cross will continue to wait for the blessed hope--the
glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus
But Doesn't . . . ?
Those who await a millennial golden age make their case with a portion
of the Apocalypse (unveiling) given by Jesus as a vision to the
Apostle John: "I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the
key to the Abyss, and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the
dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound
him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss and locked and
sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore
until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free
for a short time" (Rev. 20:1-3).
This does sound like a specific time frame of 1,000 calendar years.
But not if we reckon with the nature of apocalyptic literature.
Strange to us today, this kind of writing used images (such as very
weird beastly creatures) and symbolic numbers to convey messages. In
Revelation 13, for example, an earthly agent of the devil is pictured
as a beast with a number (666, short of the divine number 777).
Ten is often the number of perfection, the rounded whole. 1,000
(10x10x10) would then represent a very definite rounded completeness.
Such code language could communicate effectively for people of
spiritual understanding who knew their Scriptures. At the same time it
would hide information from hostile people.
What, Then, Is The "Millennium"?
Careful biblical scholarship takes the message of the "The Thousand
Years" to be a much needed word of great comfort to the persecuted
Church. The period described is a perfectly rounded time with a
beginning and an end under the controls of the God in whose hands "all
our times do rest" (Ps. 31:15).
(to be concluded)
*From the AUGSBURG CONFESSION, Article XVII. 1530
--Pastor Rollin A. Reim
"Over 20 members of Calvary Lutheran Church, Marquette, Michigan
worked together almost around the clock--in the weeks before Pastor
David Reim left for Vernon, British Columbia--to complete a large
stained glass project that had been in planning for almost a year. The
excitement built as the windows slowly began to take shape until they
were complete. The result is a beautiful reminder of the love of our
God in all His works for us." So wrote Pastor Reim. What follows is an
abbreviated explanation of the symbolism involved in the windows.
The Love Of God Depicted In Stained Glass
The predominant feature of both windows is the large radiating cross.
The cross where Jesus died on Calvary is the center of our faith and
hope. The cross shows us the amazing extent of God's love. Love so
amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. It is certainly
fitting that the cross of Calvary takes center place in our life, our
church name, and now also in the stained glass windows.
Because Christ's death on the cross has done so much for us, the
crosses are pictured as beams of light radiating down to the earth
with the light of life.
Our Triune God Saves Us
The window on the left reminds us that our God is the Triune God. The
symbol at the very bottom of the window is a common symbol for the
Trinity--our great Three-in-One. This whole window represents the
Trinity and all He does for us.
The Son of God is pictured as "the Lamb of God that takes away the
sins of the world." He is placed at the center of the cross because
that is where He made His sacrifice for the sins of the world.
The empty tomb is a vivid reminder of Jesus' glorious resurrection. It
is the empty tomb that makes the cross truly glorious for the
believer. The Easter lilies are also a popular symbol of Christ's
resurrection. Their pure white color reminds us of the beauty of
holiness that Jesus' death and resurrection has earned for us.
The Holy Spirit is pictured as the dove of peace. He descends upon us
through the Word and sacraments much like He descended upon Jesus at
God the Father is not directly pictured in any one symbol, but He is
seen in everything. He is the Creator of the beautiful earth we live
in, pictured in the hills and flowers.
May we give all thanks and praise to our Triune God. It is by His
grace alone that His love and mercy and glory radiate down upon us in
Our Loving God Comes To Us
The window on the right depicts how our gracious God comes to us. He
shows us His wisdom, power, and care in the grandeur and beauty of His
creation pictured at the bottom of each window.
The Bible is pictured coming down out of heaven, just as God gave His
Word from heaven by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The rays of
the cross shine upon the Bible, just as the redemption Jesus won for
us on the cross is the central focus of the entire Bible. The Bible is
pictured as being open to remind us that it is intended to be--and
needs to be--read and heard, not kept closed on the shelf. When we see
the Bible in the window, let us remember to use our Bibles so that we
may be blessed.
Our Lord also comes to us through the sacraments. The Lord's Supper is
pictured by the bread and the grapes and the chalice. It is placed in
the center of the cross because Jesus gives us the very body and blood
that He shed on the cross in payment for our sins.
The stream flowing through the hills can remind us of several things.
It is a picture of the water of Baptism which washes us clean of all
sins and makes us children of God by bringing us to faith. The Bible
also uses a fresh mountain stream as a picture of the Holy Spirit
coming to us in the Word, and as the water of life that refreshes and
nourishes the believer.
The tree by the stream could be viewed as the tree of life. Jesus
promises all who overcome the threats and temptations of the world: "I
will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the
paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7). The tree can also be a beautiful picture
of each believer who is thriving by drinking the precious water of
life (see Ps. 1:2-3).
The Alpha and the Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek
alphabet. Jesus says: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and
the End, the First and the Last" (Rev. 22:13).
May these windows be a continual reminder of the grace and love of our
God, and may they lead us to give all glory to Him now and forever.
Our CLC teachers converged on Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota for the
annual Teachers' Conference at Berea Ev. Lutheran Church and School on
October 15-17. The weather was wonderful and the hospitality of the
Berea family was tremendous. The conference program covered a variety
of educational topics and was well received by all of the participants
Our conference chaplain, Craig Owings, opened each day with
inspirational words for us from Scripture on our calling to teach. We
must not let anything diminish our work to which we have been called
by the Lord Himself. Our work in our schools and congregations is
infinitely important and has eternal consequences as we teach God's
Word and make a difference in our students' lives.
On Wednesday Barry Hay presented the topic of "Memory Work in the
Christian Day School." Beth Sydow covered the timely topic of "Teacher
Time Savers." Mark Kranz prepared us for "Parent-Teacher Conferences"
with his topic on how to conduct them.
The topic of "Creative Writing" was presented by the Mankato faculty.
The Title 5's consisted of a "Software Review" by Matthew Thurow.
David Bernthal presented a tool for identifying teacher helpers from
among our fellowship. "Indoor/Rainy Day Activities for Small Groups"
was given by Ruth Eserhut.
David Lundin presented a compilation of CLC school report cards and a
view toward better reporting of student progress. A presentation of
"Christmas Services" was given by Alvin Sieg. The day concluded with a
communion worship service led by Pastor David Schierenbeck with a
sermon entitled "Your God-Given Student-Teaching Calling: 'Feed My
On Thursday Douglas Libby, in his paper, reminded us of the
"Importance of the Proper Application of the Law and the Gospel in the
Christian Classroom." A paper entitled "What's Needed so a Student Can
Succeed?" was given by Carla Pelzl. Prof. Jeffrey Schierenbeck
presented "What Is Required for Freshman to Succeed at ILHS?" The
Weekly Reader Series God's World was reviewed by Kurt Koenig.
The teachers went on field trips of their choice: Mall of America,
Science Museum of Minnesota, Fort Snelling, and the Minnesota Zoo. Jim
Lau concluded the day with an Internet Workshop.
On Friday Candice Ohlmann presented "Art Activities for the School
Year." Help, My Child Isn't Learning, a book by Dr. Grant Martin, was
reviewed by Sara Pfeiffer. An idea exchange was held and conference
business was conducted and completed.
We look forward with expectation to our next conference scheduled for
Messiah, Hales Corners, Wis. October 14-16, 1998.
--David Lundin, Holy Trinity, W. Columbia, SC
The author of the article "More Than Enough" (November 1997 Lutheran
Spokesman) gratefully acknowledges the following as a helpful source
for his article: "For Such a Time as This" (Milwaukee: Northwestern
From The Editor
In our issue of May 1996 an article appeared entitled Part II. Methods
of Pietism. The article contained some generalizations which could
lead one to believe that the WELS as a synod officially endorses any
or all of some errors of the theology of the following in connection
with small group Bible study: Pastor Cho (Pentecostal), Lyman Coleman
(Serendipity), Promise Keepers, etc. The article expressed a very
subjective opinion and contained several inaccuracies.
We are not in fellowship with WELS due to substantive doctrinal
differences. However, we regret if any were misled by these unfounded