The Lutheran Spokesman (June 1997)
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy
and beloved, put on tenter mercies, kindness, humility,
meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and
forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against
another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But
above all these things put on love, which is the bond of
perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to
which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let
the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your
hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or
deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through
Him. Wives, submit to your own
husbands, as is fitting in the
Lord. Husbands, love
your wives and do
not be bitter
In this issue:
"I Am Third!"
Faith And Prayer
It's All Daddy's Fault
The Devil Seeks Our Fall
The Ten Plagues
"Oh, Sing to the LORD a New Song!"
Meet: Philip Strike
The Lord Your God Will Help You
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Does anyone remember Gale Sayers? Chicago Bears fans know the name well.
Sayers was a speedy running back who played for their team during the
1960's. For many, however, Gale Sayers is most remembered for the
statement: "The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third!"
I can't remember off hand what Sayers' religious background is, but his
statement is certainly one we Christians would applaud. It fits with
what Christ teaches in the law about one's relationship with God and
It also fits with what Christ teaches about marriage. There are three
individuals involved in your marriage. There is you, your spouse, and
the Lord. In which order should each appear? Who should be first in
importance? Who second? Who third?
Submitting To Christ
The Bible teaches mutual submission in marriage. "Submit to one another
out of reverence for Christ," says St. Paul in Ephesians 5:21. Reverence
for Christ implies that married people submit to Him first, and then,
secondly, to their spouses. The apostle's divinely inspired pecking
order for marriage would go like this: Christ first, spouse second, you
third. Scripture advocates an "I am third" mindset for marriage!
The world and our flesh, of course, protest against such a notion: What
kind of wacko talk is that? Everyone knows you have to look out for
number one, especially in marriage. Everyone knows you've got to stand
up for your rights. Everyone knows one's personal happiness should take
The "I am first" mindset pushes aside love for God and love for spouse
in favor of its own priorities. It will not sacrifice its personal
success at work, its enjoyment of some hobby, or anything for the sake
of God or mate. It will not listen to God, but will go ahead and get
a divorce -- if that's what it takes -- to protect its own interests
How sad when two individuals live under the same roof, but yet share
so little of one another's lives because they're too wrapped up in
themselves. Does this kind of living make for happy and healthy
marriages? No way! Is that what God had in mind when He described
marriage as a "joining together"? Of course not! Is it any wonder
that with this kind of mindset, marriages today have so many problems?
As a pastor counseling couples in troubled marriages, I can't tell you
how frustrating it is when married people won't see that it's often
their own self-centeredness which is the cause of their problems.
Pastors or not, we've all heard the oft-repeated phrases: "If only
he would listen to me! . . . It's not me! She's the one who needs to
change! . . . What about my happiness?!" And on and on it goes. What
miserable marriages when these are the prevailing attitudes!
The Holy Spirit's Work
Unfortunately the sinful flesh just can't see the damage this kind of
thinking brings to marriage. More than that, it doesn't want to be
second, let alone third, to anyone. It's altogether proud and self-
Does your marriage suffer because of your selfishness? Mine does! Whose
doesn't? What must happen to make things better? Repentance must happen!
Repentance is the Holy Spirit's work to change our hearts and lives. In
repentance the Spirit, by God's Word, leads us to bring our selfishness
(and all other sins) to Jesus' cross for forgiveness. In repentance the
Spirit replaces sinful pride with Christlike love -- with love that
puts God first and others before self.
Through repentance God works a radical readjustment in married people.
He works to put God first in their hearts, spouse second, and self last.
God knows that's how marriage works. He knows that if we try to reverse
His order we end up with all sorts of marital unhappiness. Self-centered
people are never happy. Marriages in which husbands and wives are self-
centered are never happy either.
But with the self-sacrificing love of Christ pulsating through their
souls, married people learn to see themselves as humble servants of
both Christ and their spouse. All that mushy, early marriage talk
about being a "beautiful princess" and a "prince charming" becomes a
wonderful reality when married people, for Christ's sake, begin to
treat one another like royalty. Hearts captured by the Gospel just
don't worry about self that much anymore. This Spirit created mindset
makes marriage a truly blessed union -- a union held together and made
joyful by Christ.
However, as every Christian couple knows, it's a daily battle to keep
things in the right order. Our flesh is constantly pushing self toward
the front. That's one reason why Christian couples keep Jesus' cross
close at hand. They know their marriages stand in constant need of
true repentance; of Christ's healing; of the Spirit's transformation.
They know that only God can keep the "I am third" mindset alive and
active in their marriages. They know that such a mindset makes for a
healthy and happy marriage -- a truly Christian marriage!
Except Thou build it, Father,
The house is built in vain;
Except Thou, Savior, bless it,
The joy will turn to pain.
But naught can break the marriage
Of hearts in Thee made one,
And love Thy Spirit hallows
Is endless love begun. Amen! (TLH 621:4)
-- Pastor Michael Wilke
May 1 has been designated as a national day of prayer. The last few
years have seen a resurgence of interest in prayer and an increased
emphasis on a national day of prayer. The conditions of present society
have highlighted the need for a spiritual renewal in our country.
Sometimes, however, it seems that people almost make prayer a means of
grace even more important than the preaching of the cross. Prayer can
become separated from Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice at the
cross. It almost becomes, as Jesus described it, a feeling that "they
will be heard for their much speaking." Prayer is a very private
response to the mercy and grace of God by God's children in their
It is important that we realize the connection between faith and prayer.
Prayer is a response of faith. Prayer is the voice of the believer who
has been rescued from sin and death by Jesus. Prayer is our
communication by thought and word with our heavenly Father. The apostle
John in his letter describes the link between faith and prayer: "Now
this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything
according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us,
whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have
asked of Him" (1 Jn. 5:14-15).
This is the confidence or faith we have in God because of Jesus
Christ. In the verse preceding, John speaks of this confidence of
faith. "I have written these things . . . that you might know that
you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the
name of the Son of God" (1 Jn. 5:13). This faith in Jesus Christ
produces the confidence that God hears us. Prayer is not the last-
ditch attempt of a person who has tried everything else and for whom
there is nothing left. Prayer flows out of the confidence of sins
forgiven and the knowledge of the love of our Father. Faith believes
that God hears us according to His promises. This faith that can move
mountains believes Jesus when He says: "And whatever things you ask
in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Mt. 21:22).
It is important to note that John speaks of asking according to "His
will." It would not take much faith to believe in the power of prayer
if God immediately granted our every wish. The proof of the power of
prayer would be seen in our new cars, our 200 MMX computers, our
empty hospitals and bankrupt funeral homes. It would be easy to
believe in prayer if prayer were simply a credit card to be used for
whatever we wanted.
It is much more difficult to pray asking God to give us according to
His will. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Nevertheless not
as I will . . . ." Jesus accepted the cross as God's will for Him. I
remember a person who was a quadriplegic as a result of an accident.
This person was told that she was not healed because her faith was not
great enough. What is not realized is that it took more faith to pray
in a way that was willing to accept God's will even if it meant
continued confinement to a wheelchair. Faith puts itself in the hands
of God and prays in such a way that it is willing to accept God's will
no matter how dark it might seem. This is truly a prayer of faith.
We tend to pray "My will be done." Jesus teaches us to pray "Thy will
be done on earth as it is in heaven." Faith enables us to pray without
dictating to God the when or the how. Someone said, "Be careful what
you pray for, you might get it." It could also be said, "Be careful for
what you pray, you might not get it." It is a gift of faith to pray with
the confidence of leaving the outcome to God's direction.
At the same time, true prayer is offered with the confidence that God
not only hears our prayers but also answers those petitions. This
seems a contradiction. Based on the cross and what we have learend
about God, we know that if God hears our prayers, "We have the requests
we have asked from Him." This is the confidence of faith that prompts
us to go to God with all of our requests and needs. Faith believes that
God hears and answers all our prayers. James assures us that "the
effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (Jms. 5:16).
It is strange that we need to be encouraged to make use of prayer in
view of its power and its promise. Prayer is a function of faith.
John reminds us that faith produces prayer. Our prayer life is not by
sight but by faith. In faith we pray according to God's will,
confident that He grants these requests. This also means that the
Gospel in the Word and the Sacraments is the power that produces and
preserves the faith that prays. Our prayer life is nurtured and
sustained by the hearing of God's Word and the regular participation
in the Lord's Supper. People, whose sins have been forgiven through
the cross pray. Let us highly treasure this gift of faith that God has
given to us His children in prayer. Our Father loves to answer our
prayers for Jesus' sake. Faith believes this even when it does not
-- Pastor John Schierenbeck
It's All Daddy's Fault
Scripture teaches us to say: "Our Father, who art in heaven," and to
confess that there is "one God and Father of all." Some people blame
Him for all the world's troubles. They got the wrong daddy.
There is another one. He has children, and is called the father of
lies. But if you state the constant claim and blame -- "the devil
made me do it!" -- you still have the wrong daddy.
There is a third. We all have this one as our father. The Bible puts
a lot of blame on him: "In Adam all die" . . . "By one man sin came
into the world." But there is still another daddy, and yet another!
Some of our churches have crucifixes, a good reminder of what Adam
deserved, but an even better picture of what the second Adam got (Hymn
369:4), to bear Adam's sin and ours. Jesus is another "daddy" in that
the Scriptures describe Him as "Father" and "Author" of our salvation
(Isaiah 9, Hebrews 12). He takes the blame, as though to receive into
Himself the accusation: "It's all Daddy's fault!" Indeed, "God made
Him to be sin for us."
Every Christian ought to have a crucifix. For the sake of a fifth daddy.
You know him, the head of the house, the one St. Paul refers to:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and
gave Himself . . . ." That kind of love means pain, the pain of blame
as well as the pain of responsibility, a good pain, the best kind there
is, better than any alternative.
To be married is good. A family -- with father, mother, children -- has
many advantages over other life styles, with many earthly benefits.
There is usually more income. Children are better balanced. Overall
health is better, and generally with more happiness and satisfaction.
For daddy particularly the family is a civilizing force, an antidote to
self-centeredness, a place where responsibility cannot be denied, where
deviant or socially irresponsible behavior has to be abandoned, where a
good example has to be set, where you just have to be helpful, do
helpful things, connect with other people, develop stable work habits,
even make painful sacrifices for others.
Even the Christian home has its share of fighting, screaming, sulking
silences, blaming, slamming of doors. There are heavy duties and
chores. Homework, boredom. Lots of tasks, less and less time,
commitment and compromise living side by side. And even then, many
unhappinesses receive the condemning refrain: "It's all daddy's
fault!" Every Christian home hears that cry.
One man recently wrote: "Without doubt, the most terrifying and
fulfilling part of my life is being a father. The terror is that,
somehow, I am failing my children in ways that will become clear only
in retrospect. The joys defy words."
The Christian husband and father experiences the joys and the terror.
The terror due, for abdication and neglect of fatherly duty. The joy
received, by love and forgiveness which comes from Word and Sacrament,
and so often, through mother and children. And also the joy that comes
from our heavenly Father and His Son, and the Spirit, these Three Who,
through Confession and Absolution, direct daddies to bring up their
children in Their nurture and admonition.
-- Pastor Warren Fanning
The Devil Seeks Our Fall
"Hit the enemy where he is weakest!" That is good military strategy.
It provides the best expectation of success with the least casualties.
Yet there are times when the attacking force is so powerful that even
the strong defenses fail.
This is not news to the devil. He will attack the strong, even at their
strong points, and overcome them.
Consider some examples from Scripture. "Now the man Moses was very
humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth" (Num 12:3).
At Meribah, using impatience and anger, the devil goaded him into
Instead of only speaking to the rock to bring forth water, he struck
the rock with the rod and said: "Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring
water for you out of this rock?" (Num. 20:10-12). Moses also failed to
give God the credit for the miracle.
God called David " . . . a man after My own heart, who will do all My
will" (Acts 13:22). Yet the devil was able to lead him through the
desires of his flesh to commit adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11). As
was the case with Moses, David repented and escaped from the grasp
of the devil.
It seems that the devil was more successful with Solomon. "God gave
Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding. . . . For he was
wiser than all men" (1 Kgs. 4:29ff). Yet the devil led him into the
foolishness of worshiping heathen gods.
God had warned the Israelites: "You shall not intermarry with them
(foreigners), nor they with you. For surely they will turn away your
hearts after their gods." Solomon had hundreds of wives, many of them
foreign. The said result: "It was so, when Solomon was old, that his
wives turned his heart after other gods" (1 Kgs. 11). The devil led
the wisest man into the deepest folly.
There was Job, a man who "was blameless and upright, and who feared
God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1). The devil used physical affliction
to lead him to the sin of resentment against God. Here too repentance
and forgiveness freed the devil's victim.
Judas was one of the twelve original disciples. He was blessed with
the opportunity to sit at the Lord's feet and learn of the riches of
eternal life. The devil blinded him to those riches and led him to seek
those few pieces of silver instead. He fell into despair and eternal
We Too Are Tempted
The devil seeks our fall as well. He may tempt us to hear the Word
without heeding it. And how easily that can happen when we allow
ourselves to be caught up in the "busyness" of this world.
How effectively the devil uses the physical cares and pleasures of
this life to accomplish his evil purposes. We see on all sides those
who are frantically engaged in the pursuit of the "good things" of
this life while they ignore the more important matters of eternal
life. The devil encourages us to do the same.
He may tempt us to expect earthly joys and physical comfort because
we are believers in Jesus. When they elude us, resentment can arise as
in the case of Job. Then the devil does all he can to lead the person
take the next step -- into unbelief.
The dangers are there -- a powerful and cunning foe and strong and
attractive temptations. By ourselves we would surely fall into sin,
be stripped of faith and perish eternally. But our gracious Lord
does not abandon us. Through His Word He guides, comforts,
strengthens, and encourages us so that we may continue in faith in
Him for the forgiveness of sins unto eternal life. We have His promise:
"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Mt. 28:20).
-- Keith Olmanson
"That We Might have Hope" (Rom. 15:4)
Exodus Chapters Five Through Fifteen
THE TEN PLAGUES
When was the first time you remember hearing the Bible story of the
Ten Plagues? Perhaps you were a youngster sitting around the dinner
table for a family devotion or listening in amazement with fellow
classmates in Sunday school. Do you remember trying to picture in your
mind what it would have been like to be living in Egypt at that time?
Perhaps you squirmed at the thought of all those frogs, and flies, and
locusts, and lice.
As you grew older and heard the story repeated, perhaps you wondered
how Pharaoh's magicians could perform some of the same feats as Moses,
or how it was possible for it to be totally dark in Egypt and light
as normal where the Israelites lived. You probably wondered how Pharaoh
could be so stupid as to stubbornly refuse to let the Israelites go
while his empire was being destroyed.
Hopefully, with each retelling of the story you were newly amazed and
full of more questions. However, sometimes familiarity with a story
can be dangerous, as we lose that fresh perspective we had upon first
hearing it. Let us, then, take a fresh look at the biblical account
of the Ten Plagues and explore the lessons God would have us learn
God's Power And Faithfulness
One lesson from this account which was impressed upon us as children
was the power of our God. Sometimes man denies God's almighty
power by attempting to explain the miracles of the Bible as some rare
natural phenomenon. Perhaps you have seen television shows devoted to
explaining the Bible in this way. By faith, we know our creator God can
accomplish anything, including the miracles involved in the Ten Plagues.
Let us not become trapped into thinking that the only miracles to be
believed in the Bible are those which can be "scientifically" explained.
What about the power of the devil in the world? Was it not through the
power of the devil that Pharaoh's magicians were able to perform some
of the same feats as Moses? Let us not underestimate the "prince of the
world." He seeks to imitate the power of God today just as he did in
the time of Moses. Because of Jesus' victory we have the power to fight
the devil. "Resist the devil and he will depart from you" (Jms. 4:7).
Another important lesson for us to learn is that God is faithful --
He fulfills His promises. God fulfilled His promise to deliver the
Israelites out of the hand of the Egyptians. He kept His promise to
return them to the Promised Land. He kept His promise to have a Savior
born in Bethlehem. He kept His promise to "crush the head of the
serpent" on Calvary. Likewise, He is faithful to the promises He has
made to us.
Our faithful God in this Old Testament account provides us with a
wonderful picture of our Savior. The tenth and final plague was
the plague of death. In order to escape this plague a spotless
lamb had to be sacrificed and its blood spread on the doorposts of
each house. The Lord passed over these houses; but in the houses of
those who did not have blood on their doorposts, death came to every
firstborn. This spotless lamb served as a picture of the Lamb of God
who was to come. It is through Jesus' blood that we are spared from
eternal death. "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
world" (Jn. 1:29).
The Justice Of God
This account also provides us with an important lesson about the
justice of God. Those who reject the Word of God will be damned. In
our "feel good" world of today many would have us believe that it does
not matter what the object of your faith is, we will all end up on the
same place when we die anyway. Pharaoh, believing himself to be God,
boasted to Moses, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?" Do
we not hear thse words echoed in our society today? The secular
humanist, like Pharaoh, places himself above God. In his pride man
believes that through his own efforts he can live a life worthy of
salvation. In society's effort to offend no one for their religion,
or lack thereof, they put all beliefs on an equal plane. But our
holy God is a just God. He requires payment for sins committed. There
is no salvation apart from Jesus, for He said, "No on can come to the
Father but by me." Those who die in unbelief today face the same
We should also learn from the example of Pharaoh the dangers of
resisting the Holy Spirit. During the first several plagues the
Scriptrure speaks of Pharaoh "hardening his heart" and refusing to
let the Israelites go. But starting with the sixth plague the Bible
says that "the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh." This should serve
to alert us to listen to God's Word when it is spoken. A heart that
continuously resists the Holy Spirit cannot be saved, for the Holy
Spirit working through the Word is the means by which faith is created
and preserved in us.
Just as we were amazed when we were children at hearing the story of
the Ten Plagues, let us pray that we continue to grow in a knowledge
of our powerful, faithful, and just God.
Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins on Thee were laid;
By almighty love anointed
Thou hast full atonement made.
Every sin may be forgiven
Thro' the virtue of Thy blood;
Open is the gate of heaven,
Peace is made 'twixt man and God. (TLH 367:2)
-- Prof. Joseph Lau
* IN OUR VIEW: A SAD ANNIVERSARY
Those in the know in the world of Lutheranism are aware that the
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS) is celebrating its 150th
anniversary in 1997. No history of Lutheranism in America could
ignore the significant role played by the LC-MS. Indeed, that synod
was used by God to establish conservative, orthodox Lutheranism in
the United States.
The synod organized in Chicago in 1847 with Dr. C. F. W. Walther
(1811-1887) as its first President. Walther, often called the "American
Luther," was determined to resist the trends of the liberal "General
Synod" centered for the most part in Pennsylvania, and to lead the
newly organized church body along a path of genuine Lutheran
A staunch and unwavering upholder of the verbal inspiration of the
Scriptures, Walther "was raised up by God at a time when the majority
of the theologians throughout the world were laboring to tear the
Church from her moorings and set her adrift on the treacherous sea
of human opinion and human authority. He was one of the few prophets
of his day who raised the cry 'To the Law and to the Testimony!' Is.
8:20. . . ." (Walther And The Church, CPH, 1938, p. 11). The trumpet
call for scriptural truth and orthodoxy sounded loud and clear in Lehre
und Wehre, a long-time Missouri church magazine of which Walther was
the first editor and to which he was for many years the chief
contributor. Walther's soundly biblical theology is nowhere better on
display than in his classic book Law And Gospel. Law And Gospel
should be on the book shelves, and the annual reading list, of every
pastor who would call himself an heir of Luther and Reformation
But back to the anniversary celebration. According to Christian News,
Missouri is producing a set of videos of its storied history. The video
guide begins: "In the spring of 1847, 12 pastors from 14 congregations
signed a constitution to form . . . " the synod. It adds: "Could they
have imagined a Synod with 6,175 congregations, 8,500 pastors, 14,822
commissioned and lay teachers, and 2.6 million members? Did they imagine
mission activities in more than 50 countries? . . . " We haven't seen the
video set. Obviously it has an inspiring story to tell.
Notice that the video guide talks about what the founding fathers might
have "imagined" -- referring then to the synod's impressive statistical
growth. What we would here wonder out loud is what the same fathers
might have imagined beyond the mere numbers.
For example, could Missouri's founding fathers, including Dr. Walther,
have imagined a synod university using a textbook promoting
homosexuality and attacking Christianity (calling God a "Black Jewish
Lesbian" and Jesus a "Drag Queen")? Could the founding fathers,
including Dr. Walther, have imagined a school in the synod's
university system allowing 4,000 Muslims (celebrating the hajj, a
Muslim pilgrimage) to gather and worship on its campus? Could the
founding fathers, including Dr. Walther, have imagined the synod's
Women's Missionary League inviting as speaker to this year's Convention
a woman who supports the ordination of women and rejects the inerrancy
of the Bible?
The information for our "imaginings" comes from front-page feature
stories in the April 28, 1997 Christian News, the same issue whose
lead headline promotes the anniversary videos. In other words, our
"imaginings" are actual occurrences. Oh, but aren't they the exception,
you ask? Sadly, such evidences of Missouri having lost her scriptural
and orthodox Lutheran moorings can be multiplied almost weekly from
news stories in such publications as Christian News and
It is sad, almost beyond words. This 150th year of Missouri's history
we would suggest the question for her and her people is not: How far
have you come? It is rather: Missouri, where have you gone?
And we have no doubt that Missouri's founding fathers, including Dr.
Walther, would pose the same question, with bitter tears.
WALTHER ON REFUTING FALSE DOCTRINE
" . . . To reprove or refute false doctrine also belongs to the
correct application of God's Word. The apostle says that explicitly in
2 Tim. 3:16. We see it in the example of all prophets and apostles
and of our Lord Jesus Himself. As often as we see them and the Lord
Himself occupied with doctrines, so often we see them add defense, not
only against coarse errors (1 Cor. 15:12ff), but also against more
subtle ones (Gal. 5:9); not only in a friendly way (Gal. 4:10-12)
but also in a serious, vehement way (Gal. 1:8-9, Phil. 3:2); not
only with reference to the false teachings, but also with reference
to the false teachers, with or without naming them and their sects
(1 John 4:1, Gal. 5:10, Matt. 16:6, Rev. 2:15, 2 Tim. 2:17...). . .
He who presents pure doctrine, but does not refute the contrary false
doctrine, does not warn against wolves in sheep's clothing, against
false prophets (Matt. 7:15), is not a faithful steward of God's
mysteries (1 Cor. 4:1), no faithful shepherd of the sheep entrusted
to him, no faithful watchman on the walls of Zion. According to God's
Word, he is an unfaithful servant, a silent watchdog. a traitor.
"It is only too clear how many souls are lost and what harm the church
suffers because doctrinal reproof is not practiced. The correct
doctrine is often correctly grasped only when the opposite is made
clear at the same time. . . ."
-- Pastoral Theology, C. F. W. Walther; Translated from the original
by J. Drickhamer, for Lutheran News, Inc. New Haven, Missouri, 1995,
Pastor John Hein, Our Redeemer's, Red Wing, Minn. gives a shortened
version of a sermon he preached to his congregation while the ILC
Tour Choir was among the worshipers.
"Oh, Sing to the LORD a New Song!" -- Psalm 98
It is a most impressive experience to be able to hear the ocean roar.
One is amazed at the substantial power behind the ocean waves as they
lap upon the seashore and as their whitecaps spray into the air. At the
same time it can be so relaxing to sit by the sea, close one's eyes,
and listen to the melodic drifting of the waves and perhaps the distant
calling of the sea gulls. Sounds of nature such as those of the
seaside, of singing birds, of falling rain, and of electrifying
thunderstorms, can bring sweet music to our ears. They have chords
which express both power and tranquillity. To hear sounds of this sort
puts us in touch with God's wonderful creation and the beauty of it
But what about sounds and chords that accomplished our salvation? Not
long age we pondered the season of Lent, the suffering and death of
our Savior Jesus Christ. Did you hear the grand symphony of this
particular season? How about the loud CRACK and SNAP of the whip
upon our Savior's back as He was scourged by Roman soldiers? How
about the dull THUD of the hammer as it drove nails into our Savior's
hands and feet?
But what about the most eerie and most devastating musical phrase of
the entier Passion? How about the loud cry of our Savior which rang out
into the dark sky as He was crucified -- that painful and chilling solo
of our Savior as He suffered the just judgment of God upon our sin --
that cry "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" An eerie solo
indeed. And yet a powerful solo. For in connection with that grimacing
resonance, the Lord's right hand obtained the victory, the victory over
sin and the power of the devil. As the Psalm declares: "Oh, sing to the
LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and
His holy arm have gained Him the victory" (Ps. 98:1).
From year to year a new song resounds within the walls of many of our
congregations. They declare to us the comforting Gospel in the words
and music that they bring to us. They do not sing these songs only to
bring sweet melodies to our ears or to bring attetnion to themselves.
But they sing unto the Lord a new song because He has done marvelous
things. He has saved us! And so the Tour Choir members bring jubilant
praises to the Lord.
Such praises are far grander than any harmonious sound we may hear in
nature. The sound of birds singing is replaced with the sound of
gracious soprano voices. The sound of the booming waves of the ocean
is replaced with the low vibrato of the bass section. The sound of
the electrifying thunderstorm is replaced with the sounds of organ,
brass, and percussion instruments. We may not hear the soothing and
powerful sounds of nature as we gather together in our churches.
Nevertheless, the music we hear from the Tour Choir has an even
greater and more elegant effect. It soothes and it moves our troubled
and guilty hearts. To hear the melodic harmonies and the powerful
sounds of sacred music puts us in touch -- not with nature, but with
the beauty and power of God's grace in Christ. He has truly done
We certainly benefit when we are blessed with the ability to hear
sounds. But we are all the more blessed when all the elements of
sound are selected, manipulated, and organized so that we have what
is called music. What a gift such music is! With music a phenomenal
power affects the hearts, the emotions, and the minds of people.
There is the Biblical story of David refreshing King Saul's troubled
heart by the music of the harp. There is the crying infant who
receives serenity as its mother or father sings a lulluby. There is
the joy of learning as a child sings the ABC's. There is the ease of
memorizing words to hymns as the melodies persist in our heads.
Therefore, with the remarkable impact that music has on us, there is
no better way for people to learn from God or to make praises to
The melodic rhythm and harmony of the ocean waves upon the seashore
can indeed be soothing and powerful. But music connected with the
revitalizing message of the Gospel of Christ can be far more soothing
and powerful, for it can comfort the human heart troubled with sin,
and move the sluggish human heart to praise the Lord. May we express
such power and tranquillity in all our sacred music as we are put in
touch with the gracious yet powerful right hand of God. Oh, let us
all sing a new song unto the Lord, for He has done marvelous things!
Meet: Philip Strike
Philip Strike began teaching at Holy Cross Lutheran School of Phoenix,
Arizona in the fall of 1996. Philip, an alumnus of Immanuel Lutheran
High School and Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wis., graduated
in 1995 with his degree in Elementary Education.
Being dismayed with the direction many public schools in our country
are taking, Philip felt teaching in one of our Christian schools was
God's plan for him to make a difference in children's lives.
Philip's favorite subjects to teach are math and science. Outside of
the classroom he enjoys spending time with his wife Lana (nee Romberg)
and son Carl. His hobbies include basketball and biking.
May the Lord of the Church continue to bless his efforts in our synod's
The Lord Your God Will Help You
The Lord your God will help you
In everything you ask.
He'll help you in your pleasure,
And in each daily task.
The Lord your God will help you
In every passing hour;
He'll guard and guide your footsteps
With His almighty power.
The Lord your God will help you,
So pray to Him and say:
"My Maker and Redeemer --
Help me, Oh Lord, today!"
-- Teacher Alvin Sieg
Minnesota Delegate Conference
Date: Sunday, June 22, 1997
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Grace Ev. Lutheran Church, Sleepy Eye
* The Role of a Congregational Board of Education -- Mr. Mark Rehm
* Encouraging Family Devotions and Bible Study -- Pastor John Hein
* Business Meeting
-- Pastor Rick R. Grams, Secretary
In accord with our usage and order, David J. Reim, who was called by
St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church of British Columbia, Canada to be its
pastor was installed on May 4, 1997.
-- Pastor Bertram J. Naumann
Change Of Address
The Rev. David J. (and Julie) Reim
1503 Pottery Rd.
Vernon, BC V1T 3W6 Canada
Phone (250) 549-5250