"[The angel] said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Why Do You Stand Gazing Into Heaven?

The disciples were stunned and dumbfounded. They had just witnessed something quite amazing. One moment Jesus was standing with them, talking to them, and the next moment "He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). They had never seen anything like that before.

More than being amazed at this unusual sight, these disciples were struck dumb for the moment because Jesus, their Lord and Savior, their companion and friend, their help and strength in every need, had just left them.

It is not difficult to imagine their feeling of loss and of being lost. Jesus had just commissioned them to be witnesses to Him, not only in Jerusalem where the Jews still hated Jesus, but also in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. That was a huge task to carry out, and now their Teacher and Helper had left them. Left alone, all they could do was stand, stunned, gazing up into heaven.

Do you ever find yourself in their position? Are there times when a task looms over you and it is so overwhelming that you just stand and stare at it, not sure where to begin?

Perhaps there are times when you are troubled by the growing wickedness in the world and the dwindling numbers in the church. You may be frustrated that people don't seem interested in hearing the true Word of God. You may be discouraged by the small numbers in most of our churches, and wonder how we can do anything? Do you stand in bewilderment and in a certain manner stare up into heaven as if to say, "Lord, what can we do? How can we stand?" Perhaps you even wish Jesus were here to lead us by the hand.

If so, then listen again to the promises of Jesus and the two angels. Just before Jesus ascended, He promised the disciples and us: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you."

Jesus did not desert His disciples. He ascended in glory to take His place on the throne at God's right hand to rule over all things in heaven and on earth. He gave them the Holy Spirit to provide the power to do the work that He had given them. With the power of the Spirit, they did carry out their mission. They gave witness to Jesus throughout the world, and by the power of the Spirit many thousands were brought to faith.

The Word Is The Power

Still today the power of the Spirit is given to us in His Word. Through the Word, the Spirit strengthens us to do His will. The Spirit works through the Word to bring about His desired effect. God's promise in Isaiah still stands: "My word will not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Is. 55:11).

Jesus is most certainly coming again. What a powerful motive for us to do the work He has given us. Jesus has made us His servants to serve in His Kingdom, and has said: "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing" (Mt. 24:46). We want to be busy doing His work as faithful servants until He returns.

Even more than that, we know that man's time of grace is short. We have the same compelling force that drove Jesus on to do His work: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (Jn. 9:4).

There are still many people who are thirsting for the Water of Life. May we go out and find them and give it to them! Let us not stand gazing up into heaven, overwhelmed and bewildered, thinking there is nothing we can do. Let us go with the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit and do the works of Him who sent us while it is day.

--Pastor David Reim


In a bad dream everything is out of control. In a bad dream we are trapped in some strange world where bizarre and unexpected events come rushing at us, and we have no power to stop them. (My most often repeated bad dream goes something like this: It's Sunday morning; church begins in thirty minutes; and I haven't a clue what I'm going to preach about. What great relief to awaken and realize that I'm not quite that much a procrastinator.)

Children, it seems, are most susceptible to nightmares. How many parents haven't been awakened in the middle of the night by a frightened child? "Mom, I had a bad dream. Can I sleep in your bed?" Snuggled between Mom and Dad, the child feels safe. Life is under control once again.

Young or old, we all need security, even when we're not dreaming. Reality can get pretty scary itself. We need Jesus to enfold us in His all-powerful arms and tell us everything is going to be okay.

That's one of the great truths Jesus' ascension teaches us. When Jesus ascended into heaven, the Father "placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church" (Eph. 1:22).

The ascended Savior is in control for you and me. When life seems like a bad dream, we trust that our all-powerful Jesus is constantly exerting His full, unstoppable strength for the welfare of His believers. Jesus deals with reality for us as only He can.

Reality tells us that we're wicked sinners who deserve to be shut out from God's presence for eternity. Check your personal record. Mine tells me that I've been a rotten, self-centered husband. It tells me I've been impatient and often harsh with my children. It shows me failure after failure in my calling as a pastor. It shows me lots of other stuff that I don't like to admit even to myself.

"Never Will I Leave You..."

I need Jesus to brush away the tears that spring from my guilty heart. I need to know that Jesus took control of my sins; that He was condemned for them; that I have God's forgiveness because Jesus shed His blood for me; and that my eternal destination has been secured. I need to know that Jesus has broken the power that sin, Satan, death, and hell once had over my life. Only in His blood and righteousness am I safe from sin's curse and hell's fury.

Not only in dreams but in the real world there's much sadness. Christians are not immune to troubles. A Christian couple watches as their prematurely born child dies in their arms. A young Christian girl in the flower of youth is paralyzed in a freak accident. A believing little child becomes the victim of divorce. And on and on it goes. Oh, how we need the Good Shepherd to hold us close to His bosom. How we need Jesus to assure us that according to His unlimited power He will make everything turn out for the good of His blood-bought children.

We also observe with helplessness as our nation appears to be spinning out of control: school violence, abortion, disregard for authority, apathy toward the immoral behavior of our elected leaders. These all can cause us to wonder if society is unraveling at the seams. We need Jesus to come to us in His Word and show us that He's got a handle on all societal events. We need His promise wrapped around our hearts: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).

Without Jesus everything is scary. But with Him I know everything is going to be okay. With Him I know that even when things don't seem okay, they really are. Jesus is my ascended Lord Who rules over all things for my personal benefit and yours!

Relax. Breathe easy. Wake up to the truth that everything is under control.

--Pastor Michael Wilke

A Mother's Day Meditation--

Foundation Work

Sometime what you can't see is really more impressive than what you can see. The Sears Tower in downtown Chicago is a good example. What you can see is an amazing building that reaches a quarter mile straight into the air, features 110 stories, and yet in the strongest of winds sways a mere six inches from true center at her very top. Very impressive.

Now consider what you can't see. You can't see that supporting this massive structure above is a complicated substructure featuring some two million cubic feet of concrete. The mighty tower wouldn't be standing were it not for a hole in the ground that was deeper than most buildings are tall. One hundred feet beneath the surface a maze of circular caisons are anchored in solid bedrock, supporting and stablizing the building above. More impressive.

The same principle is true of people. Like buildings, people need strong foundations too--not to stand high and proud or to tower over others, but to merely withstand a lifelong attack of wicked influences against them. Like Chicago's famous tower, what you cannot see--the substructure--is more important than what you can see--the structure itself.

It is here that parents, mothers in particular, have a keen opportunity. Consider:

As an adult Moses turned his back upon the posh lifestyle of the palace and cast his lot with the people of God instead. This took incredible faith, as Scripture indicates (cf. Heb. 11:23ff). Such faith didn't come from the palace. It came from a foundation that had been laid in his early childhood by his parents.

In the very short time that she had him, Moses' mother was able to instill in her child the solid foundation of God's Word. How Moses received his name, in fact, was a lingering witness to the faith of his parents who "by faith" had hidden him in the rushes against Pharaoh's decree. Each new day his mother recognized the limits of her time with him, and set about to lay a foundation that would support him through life. It worked.

Other Examples

Hannah's time with her son, Samuel, was necessarily short too. Once-a-year visits could hardly serve as enough time to pass along the faith and to teach her son to build his life upon the promises of God. Of necessity she acted quickly, and lost no time in laying a foundation for her son while he was young. Though he would grow into manhood far from home, surrounded by the unbelieving sons of Eli, Samuel had what he needed most: a sturdy foundation for his life of faith.

We know little about Timothy's childhood other than the most important thing: "And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Who was responsible for leading Timothy to the foundation of God's grace? No question about it: "I thank God . . . when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice" (2 Tim. 1:3,5).

Foundation work, like so much of motherhood, is not glamourous and scarcely receives the attention it deserves. People aren't usually impressed by things they cannot see.

But is there any work more important than leading your children to the Rock of their salvation--to the place where a lifetime of sin is washed clean and one can stand before God with the righteousness of Christ? Could anything be more valuable and impressive than that?

--Pastor James Albrecht


"That We Might have Hope" (Rom. 15:4)

Second Samuel Chapters One Through Nine

David Becomes King

Finally! David's nemesis, King Saul, lay dead on the battlefield! All those years of hiding and running for his life were over! You'd almost expect a spirit of relief and celebration in David's camp at that news brought by an Amalekite warrior (ch. 1). Instead, it was wails of lamentation over the nation's loss: "How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle!" (1:25)

David would have nothing to do with the typical practice when the throne would change hands. He did not go about destroying every last remnant of the previous king's dynasty to solidify his own claim to the throne. He did exactly the opposite. He had the men executed who had anything to do with the death of Saul and his son Ishbosheth later on (ch. 4). He also showed great kindness to Jonathan's crippled son, Mephibosheth. David said to him: "Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually" (9:7).

The way David treated Saul's family certainly shows how his heart was in the right place. He was not out for vengeance. He did not have a political axe to grind. He was simply waiting for the Lord's time. When Saul died, David asked the Lord: "Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?" (2:1) The Lord directed him to Hebron, where he ruled for several years. Ishbosheth's power over the northern tribes slowly waned, and after seven years David was anointed as king over the whole nation.

David could well have had those years of waiting in mind when he wrote: "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strenghten your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!" (Ps. 27:13-14)

David had learned patience. He had learned to wait for the Lord's time. How often don't we find ourselves getting frustrated because we haven't learned that lesson yet! We think we know best what God ought to do in our lives, and when He should do it. And when it doesn't happen that way, instead of accepting God's way as the best, don't we often resort to accusing God of injustice and unkindness?

The kind and patient attitude of heart David had during these years of his rise to power could well be identified as a hallmark of this part of his history. His concern for others and what God would have him do shines through over and over again.

For example, as he began his conquest of Philistia, we read: "So David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hand? And the LORD said to David, Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand. So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim" (5:19-20).

Trusting the Word of the Lord

Those are two things we do well to practice as well. Before he fought, David asked the Lord what to do. And when he heard God's Word, he went ahead with it. The familiar words of the hymn put it well: "With the Lord begin thy task . . . for His aid and counsel ask!" How much better it is to pursue the Lord's guidance first (!) on anything we are planning. Of course, the Lord doesn't speak to us directly, or through a prophet as with David, but how much wealth His Word contains. Be it in marriage or retirement or school or job or whatever, God has given us His Word as "a lamp for our feet and a light for our path" (Ps. 119:105).

But don't stop there! Once we have guidance from the Lord, then get at it! When David knew the Lord wanted him to fight the Philistines, he attacked. He didn't wait or wonder if his forces were strong enough. He went on the Lord's Word--and won every time!

The same principle holds true for us. For example, when it comes to sharing the Gospel, we know it is the Lord's will that we do go out. But before we do, don't we often have countless excuses and "reasons" for not speaking up in this or that situation? When the situation calls for us to correct a fellow believer and then bring him/her the sweet message of forgiveness, do we shy away, not wanting to be seen as nosy or as "better than thou"? Where God speaks and directs, let us pray that procrastination is not in our vocabulary!

We do find in these chapters a couple times when David's zeal to serve the Lord was out of place. He wanted to get the Ark of the Covenant to the capital city, Jerusalem. To do so he prepared a huge entourage of 30,000 men and had a new cart built to carry the Ark. But God had prescribed that His Ark be handled a certain way, only by the tribe of Levi--which David learned after Uzzah lost his life for touching the Ark in an irreverent manner (ch. 6).

David also wanted to build a house for the Lord in Jerusalem. "The king said to Nathan the prophet, 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.' Then Nathan said to the king, 'Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you'" (7:23). But neither one had asked the Lord about it. It was the Lord's will that David's son Solomon would build the Temple. God had another much greater blessing in mind for David: "Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever" (7:16).

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Is. 55:8-9). As great as David's plans were to build a temple, God's plans for him were greater. He gave David the promise of the divine King who would set up an eternal kingdom--a Savior who would come from his own family!

To this day we are reaping the blessings of that promise God gave to David. Whatever our plans may be, in humility may we always be willing and ready to give first place to what God has in mind, for His plans are always infinitely greater and better!

--Pastor Paul Krause

Biblical Perspectives On The End Times

Sixth in a Series--


Fictional Antichrist

He was created by a Jesuit priest by the name of Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) who lived in Salamanca, Spain. What moved this priest to create a fictional antichrist? Notice that he lived for a half century after the death of Luther. In those days almost the entire Protestant Church identified the Papacy as the Antichrist. Ribera set out to remove that burden from the Roman Catholic Church. He did that by creating an endtime fictional antichrist. In so doing, he became the father of futurism. He taught that the antichrist of prophecy would come in the distant future as a charismatic political leader who would wreak havoc upon the Jews and the church.

Ribera was successful beyond his fondest dreams, for many who believe in a future millennium have adopted his fiction of the endtime antichrist. They are futurists who believe that the antichrist will appear on the scene of history after the rapture of the saints. He is to arise as a charismatic political leader who will make a covenant with the Jews, allowing them to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Then after three and a half years he will break his covenant and institute a reign of terror known as the great tribulation. This scenario is religious fiction!

Biblical Antichrist

The Apostle John warns against antichrists in his first two epistles. He warned against contemporary antichrists who denied that Jesus is the Christ. But John also warned against a future Antichrist. The Apostle Paul did not use the term "antichrist." He called the Antichrist the "Man of sin," the "Son of perdition," and "Mr. Wicked or Lawless."

The Antichrist of biblical prophecy will not be a charismatic political leader, but One who will "sit as God in the temple of God." Don't think of the temple building in Jerusalem! Consider rather the words of St. Paul written to the Corinthians: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1 Cor. 6:19) The biblical antichrist dwells in the hearts and consciences of men, demanding submission to Himself as God--upon penalty of eternal damnation. Who is this spiritual monster who parades as God, who demands obedience to himself as to God, who places a curse on the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, and who claims the sole right of admitting people into heaven? He is the Pope or the Papacy.

Antichrist In Prophecy

The Apostle Paul gives us a prophetic picture of the Antichrist in his second letter to the Thessalonians (2:3-12): "Let no one deceive you by any means, for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Antichrist As Described In Prophecy

The Thessalonians were expecting the coming of the Lord--at any moment! The Apostle curbed this enthusiasm with an apostolic "No!" Something had to happen first--"a falling away." The word Paul used has come into English as apostasy, which means a falling away from or departure from one's beliefs. The belief that makes one a Christian is salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. In the years after Paul, but before the return of Jesus, there would be an apostasy, a falling away from that saving truth.

This apostasy would reveal the "man of sin," the "son of perdition." The word "apostasy" reveals that the sin would be doctrinal, not moral. The victims of the sin of the man of sin would suffer perdition or damnation. Christ saves; the Antichrist leads people to perdition!

What power! But the Antichrist has it! He is described as one "who opposes and exalts himself above all that is God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." The Man of sin, the Son of perdition, claims to be God on earth. He has been making that claim for centuries.

Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he had spoken of these things when he had been in their midst. At that time "the mystery of lawlessness was already at work." So the Antichrist of prophecy was not to be an endtime charismatic political tyrant, but rather an institution that developed in the church as a result of an apostasy caused by the working of the mystery of lawlessness--culminating in the Papacy!

How long would it take for the "mystery of lawlessness" to create the Man of sin, the Son of perdition? The Apostle wrote that there was something and Someone restraining this development. The something and Someone were the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, and the Someone was the Holy Spirit. As long as the gospel was preached, Jesus lived in the hearts of believers by the power of Spirit-created faith. But when, over the centuries, the gospel was replaced by work-righteousness, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were replaced by philosophers and man's reason.

First the apostasy, then the working of the mystery of lawlessness, followed by the revelation of Mr. Lawless after the removal of the Spirit, who works through the gospel. What then? Then the judgment in two stages--"whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." The consuming breath of the Lord was the preaching and writing of Martin Luther, who was our Lord's instrument in revealing the Papacy as the Antichrist. The final destruction of the Antichrist will take place with our Lord's return to this earth for final judgment.

Paul taught that the entire historical development of the Antichrist and his continuing activity till the end of time is the "working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders." The Papacy was a judgment upon the church "because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Whenever anyone rejects the truth, God imposes a strong delusion "that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." The height of unrighteousness is the claim of the Pope that all must submit to him for salvation or be eternally lost.

Prophecy In Fulfillment

Is the Pope or the Papacy the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Apostle Paul? The Old Testament gives us a picture of the coming Christ. Believers were able to identify Jesus. The New Testament gives us a picture of the Antichrist. We are to identify him in history. Remember that the truth that saves is the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus.

In Part II, Article IV of "The Smalcald Articles," written by Luther and accepted as one of the confessions of the Lutheran Church, Luther stated the well-known papal claim "that no Christian can be saved unless he obeys him and is subject to him in all things that he wishes, that he says, and that he does," so salvation is not by faith in Christ Jesus but by obedience to the Pope. This remains the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.

What did Luther and what does the Confessional Lutheran Church have to say about this claim? In the words of Luther: "This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God. This is properly speaking, 'to exalt himself above all that is called God,' as Paul says, 2 Thess. 2:4." (Smalcald Articles)

Keep in mind that Holy Scriptures teach from Genesis to Revelation that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ Jesus. What does the Catholic Church have to say on this point? For an answer we go to the Canons of the Council of Trent which met for eighteen years, from 1545-1563, and was Rome's answer to "grace through faith": "If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema [damned]."

And again: "If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake, or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema [damned]." Session VI, Canons XI and XII.

These are the confession of the Man of Sin whose rejection of salvation by grace alone through faith alone makes him Mr. Perdition.

--Pastor Em. Paul F. Nolting

Fourteenth In A Series (from an essay by Pastor Thomas Schuetze)

Psalm 133

"LORD, thank You for the blessing of Christian fellowship."

A Psalm Of Instruction

Psalm 133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing-- life forevermore.

In this Song of Ascent, the psalmist David extols the blessing of Christian unity and fellowship. He does this through the use of two illustrations: 1) the anointing oil which ran down from Aaron's head onto his beard and the collar of his robe, and 2) the dew which ran down from Mount Hermon onto Mount Zion.

These pictures would have been very meaningful and beautiful for the people of Israel. For them anointing with oil was a symbol of joyful celebration and rich blessing from God. Just as the anointing oil dripped down the high priest Aaron's head onto his beard and robe, so fellowship with God "drips down" and spreads out to His believing people.

Dew likewise is a symbol of the blessings God bestows on His people. "Just as heavy dews refresh and invigorate plant life, so the blessing of unity descends alike on all those that are within the church, and all godly virtues thrive and flourish. Discord disrupts, destroys, and kills all the finer things that could grow under the blessing of true unity." (H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms, p. 920)

How appropriate it was for the bands of Jewish pilgrims to sing this song on the way to their religious festivals at Jerusalem! They hailed from many different cities of Palestine. They came from many different walks of life. But the Lord had made them all one in heart and soul. He had joined them to Himself and each other by the bond of common faith in Him and love for Him, their Savior-God.

Our Lord has bestowed on us the same precious blessing. When He brought us to faith by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, He brought us into fellowship with Himself and united us with all believers--past, present, and future--in a tightly knit spiritual family: the Holy Christian Church. In this Church we are privileged to enjoy all the blessings of His love.

He has also blessed us, the members of the Church of the Lutheran Confession, with the blessing of doctrinal unity, so that we may glorify Him with one heart and one mouth and strive together with one mind for the faith of the Gospel. A precious blessing indeed! May the Lord graciously preserve it in our midst!



When the editor took over this chair, he was informed that he was welcome to attend the meetings of the synod's Coordinating Council (CC). "It may give an insight as to how the kingdom work is done in our midst, and you might even report on it." (Or something like that was said.)

The CC meets twice a year (spring and fall) at Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire. Its latest meeting was March 1-2, 2000. From as far away as Florida, Colorado, and Texas they come--the praesidium and many of the elected board members. Most are called servants (pastors and professors) who take time out from their "local" tasks. Others are laymen who, unless retired, sacrifice family vacation time for the privilege of serving.

As one sits in on meetings, the impression may be left that there is church "politicking" going on. In a sense there is. As these servants strive to ascertain the direction the different branches of the Lord's work among us--missions, regents, education, doctrine etc.--are going, they juggle budgetary figures and jostle verbally to further their respective agendas. They discuss, ponder, pray, and discuss some more, often right through meal times and late into the evening.

Yet when all is said and done, one marvels at the fact that, in spite of the weakness of its human components, there is something at work in the CC that only the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God can accomplish. Whether the debate or discussion is about calling another professor or how best to make the new Sunday School materials available to the congregations, there is something present far different from a political rally. Present is an evident desire to further the Lord's work by practicing the best and wisest Christian stewardship of the available--and too often quite meager--funds.

When you pray, remember those who serve the church in positions of synodical responsibility, and who do so realizing their only remuneration is the joy of serving their Lord. Pray also that you yourself, as well as your brothers and sisters in the faith, may be led to support the synodical work ("missions") as generously as the Lord has provided for your every physical and spiritual need.


Soon after returning from the February 2000 Nigeria/India trip, Mission Board member Jack Mayhew (a member at Grace of Valentine, Nebr.) posted a report on the CLC's internet source. Due to space, we can here share only a part of his report:

" . . . While visiting our churches in the CLCI in India and in the NCLC in Nigeria, we ascertained a little more specifically what the needs of the peoples there were. . . .

"It was a joy to meet the orphans. We anticipated coming to the orphanage every day and being met with the big smiles and warm greetings as if we were heirarchy. It couldn't help but warm your heart. And it was especially rewarding seeing these children fed both physically and spiritually, wondering if they would be out on the street with the thousands of children we passed, begging for just today's rice, without the financial help of our Sunday schools, ladies groups, and others. We're sending a three-month supply of dry food stuffs (instant tea, dry soup mixes, jello, puddings, etc.) to Pastor Dave and Mary Koenig. These are items they are unable to purchase in Nigeria. We're hoping at Convention we can have a collection of the same to send back with them when they return to Nigeria after Convention."

Jack concludes: "It would be Rewarding (with a capital R) for you to see firsthand the amount of good the little that we do does in India, and the joy with which it is received."

This issue contains a number of pictures from the team's overseas visitation.

Fortieth Anniversary Historical Vignettes

vignette (vin-yet'), n. 1. short literary essay; sketch

vignettist (vin-yet'ist), n. a maker of vignettes, painter, photographer, or writer

Dateline: Mankato, Minnesota


(From the Editor: The following writing is not, technically speaking, an historical vignette. Yet it is offered in this series as a pertinent reflection on the place of doctrinal controversy in our synod's past and current history.)

As we celebrate the fortieth year of the Holy Spirit's work in the Church of the Lutheran Confession, we should soberly reflect that historically orthodoxy lasts about forty years in a church body. Then begins an inexorable decline. Many times this has happened: the grandchildren of the founders have little or no direct experience of the doctrinal controversy which led to the founding of the church body. It is easy for them to take orthodoxy for granted and to assume that they know what is right. Then comes the rude awakening: a set of heretical teachings or unscriptural practices has quietly arisen, and the members are forced to choose between pastors and congregations which remain orthodox and those who have strayed.

During the history of the CLC, we have had a number of doctrinal controversies, some of which were very sharp. As agonizing as these trials were, the Lord of the Church has put them to good purpose to train the younger members of the synod to be discerning, vigilant, and diligent in the study of His Word. Even so Satan, that most wily of enemies, will seek to undermine our victories by tempting us to a casual or weary attitude towards the next controversy--just as an ambitious sports team hopes to surprise an opponent accustomed to winning easily.

At the 2000 CLC Convention we will face a difficult question of application: does membership in the American Legion or a similar organization compromise one's Christian witness? For those of us who do not qualify for membership in the Legion, this may seem to be not very relevant or not worth a lot of "fuss and bother." Nevertheless, as in all such cases previously before us, the purity of our doctrine and practice is at stake. We want no legalism to take away legitimate Christian liberty, and we want no unequal yoking with heterodoxy to cloud the clear light of God's Word among us.

The apostle Peter said it best: "Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. . . . " (1 Peter 5:8-9a). May God grant that it can never be said of us, "You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump" (Galatians 5:7-9).

Historical Markings

Where Have We Been?

Where Are We Going?

" . . . In the search for mutual encouragement and edification, a meeting was called by a congregation in Lyons, Nebraska in October 1957. This meeting was attended by seven pastors, one teacher, and a number of laymen. It was commonly recognized that a great deal of confusion had been introduced into the doctrine of fellowship during the previous twenty years. A re-study and re-thinking of this doctrine was imperative. This small group decided to start an intensive study of the doctrine of fellowship. All who were interested in contributing to this study were invited to participate freely. Pastor Winfred Schaller was chosen as the scribe.

" . . . The Cheyenne meeting was held in May 1958 as a sequel to the Lyons and Mankato meetings. The first draft of the essay on church fellowship was thoroughly reviewed and examined in the light of Scripture. Certain changes were proposed and received by the essayist. After more polishing, the document on fellowship was again read and then accepted as to its essence at the Spokane Conference in August 1958. From that time until its adoption at Mankato in January 1960, the statement on fellowship was reviewed again and again. We wanted to present this doctrine to the glory of God . . . .

"There were other doctrines in controversy in the Synodical Conference after the turn of the century, especially the doctrines of Church, Ministry, and the Authority of the Keys. We wanted to express ourselves as clearly as possible on these doctrines. An essay limited to the controversy in the Synodical Conference was assigned at the 1958 Cheyenne Conference to Pastor Gervasius Fischer with Pastor Leonard Bernthal as the alternate. Because of the failing health of Pastor Fischer, the assignment fell to Pastor Leonard Bernthal. The essay on the doctrine of the Church was first delivered at Spokane in 1958, and the essays on the Ministry and the Authority of the Keys at subsequent conferences. The essays were 'accepted' at the Watertown convention in 1960.

"The formal propositions on these doctrines were drawn up by Professor Edmund Reim, edited by Professor Egbert Schaller, and adopted in convention in 1960. These essays as well as the formal propositions were a fruit of faith, and we dedicate them to the glory of our God of grace."

--From 'TEN YEARS OF GRACE' (Pastor M. J. Witt, 1970)

Morning Star Lutheran Church--

Dedication In Fairchild

On Sunday, December 19, 1999 Morning Star Lutheran Church of Fairchild, Wisconsin held a dedication service for its new church building.

The structure is 30x70 and provides ample room for the church proper which comfortably seats seventy, with an overflow area that can accomodate another thirty people. The unit also includes an instruction room which doubles on Sundays as room for infants or children needing special attention. The building provides room for Sunday School classes and the summer Vacation Bible School, a fellowship area, handicapped access washrooms, and a complete kitchen.

Prior to this project the congregation met in a converted mobile home which provided seating for about thirty-five adults, along with two Sunday School classrooms.

Last fall it was brought to the congregation's attention that the mobile unit was in violation of several code laws. The congregation had experienced much spiritual growth and also some numerical growth, so there was also a need for a larger place of worship. Plans were made to solve the problem.

The members of Morning Star have been members of Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire who live in the Fairchild/Augusta/Humbird/Osseo areas. They have a common zeal for having a church that will bring them and their children the truths that God recorded in Holy Scripture for their learning--nothing more, but nothing less. Messiah congregation, as a part of its "outreach program," arranged to provide worship services and Sunday School on a regular basis through her pastors, ILC professors, and seminary students. Vacation Bible School was conducted annually by members of Messiah.

Under the guidance and direction of Messiah, a new building was designed. By the expert and generous leadership of Jack Mayhew (member of Grace, Valentine, Nebr.), the building became a reality in time for Christmas, 1999.

Members of both "mother" and "daughter" congregations provided volunteers from various professions along with many donations of materials. Construction was carefully supervised and inspected as work progressed. The name Morning Star Lutheran Church was chosen and, as of February 2000, the congregation is incorporated.

At present the members of Morning Star live in Augusta, Fairchild, Osseo, Humbird, Willard, Owen, Pleasantville, and Menomonie. The congregation numbers seventeen children, nine young people, and thirty-two adults plus others interested in faithfulness to Scripture teachings. Worship services are conducted each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. with Sunday School and Adult Bible Class at 10:00 a.m. Confirmation classes and membership (information) classes are conducted throughout the year as needed.

Morning Star congregation is affiliated with the Church of the Lutheran Confession. Its members appreciate the opportunities to use the Christian education facilities of Messiah Lutheran School (grades K-8) as well as those of Immanuel Lutheran High School and College in Eau Claire. The congregation also has a special interest in CLC foreign mission opportunities in India and Nigeria, including the orphanages and the Bible Institutes preparing workers for the church.

Taking God at His Word, the members of Morning Star congregation feel secure in placing all their needs, and those of the brethren, in the hands of our faithful Lord--His "daily bread" is most generous and complete!

--Submitted by Pastor Gordon Radtke


Change Of Address

Pastor Arthur Schulz
724 Rose St.
Black River Falls, WI 54615

Time Change in Millston

During the months of June through August, the Sunday worship service at Trinity Lutheran Church, Millston, Wis. will begin at 9:00 a.m. (instead of the usual 10:15).


June 21, 2000

11:00 a.m.     -- Registration & Getting Re-acquainted (meeting old 
                  friends and new)
12 Noon        -- Luncheon ($6.00 per person)
1:00-3:00 p.m. -- Program: Teaching Children To Witness (in the home,
                  classroom, world)

Display items: Advent wreaths

Anyone with suggestions for discussion or short stories or anecdotes on children witnessing or teaching witnessing, please send with your registration to 2402 Tony Ct. Apt. 3, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

To register, include your

Home Congregation:

_____ I will be bringing an Advent wreath for display.

Suggestion for discussion or short anecdote:

Stateside Address

As of June 1, 2000 the new stateside address for Missionary David and Mrs. Mary Koenig will be:

6920 Century 
Middleton, WI 

Their new phone number will be (608) 831-4710.

Price Change

An advertisement appeared in last month's issue pertaining to the 'Parenting Seminar' Materials available at the CLC Bookhouse. According to the Bookhouse, there is a necessary change in the costs. The cost is: $15.00 for the manual; $25.00 for the video tapes; $8.00 for the audio cassettes. For mailing purposes there would be a 'plus postage' cost as well.

Parenting Seminar

Immanuel, Mankato will be hosting the Spring 2000 session of its ongoing Parenting Seminar, "Building a Christian Home" on May 21 (3:00-6:00 p.m.). This session will focus on issues surrounding dating. For more information and/or registration, please contact Immanuel (507) 345-3026; 421 North 2nd Street, Mankato, MN 56001; wceichst@mctcnet.net.

West Central Delegate Conference

Dates: June 8-10, beginning at 10 a.m. (MDT) on Thursday
Place: St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Lemmon, S.Dak.
1) Devotional Study of Proverbs 12:1-7 -- Mr. Clayton Hillstrom
2) Explanation of the Liturgy -- Pastor Peter Reim
3) A Study of the Biblical Meaning of the Word 'Brother' -- Pastor John Hein
4) The Purpose of Announcing for Holy Communion -- Pastor George Dummann
5) A study of ideas of how to involve our young people (particularly ages 16-25) in more church-related activities and duties -- Mr. Don Claeys
6) Discussion of the Convention Prospectus

Conference Chaplain: Pastor Andrew Schaller
Communion Service Speaker: Pastor Michael Schierenbeck


In accord with our usage and order, James Sandeen, who was called by St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Golden, Colorado, to be its pastor, was installed by the undersigned on January 16, 2000. Assisting in the installation were Rev. Dwight Franklin Gantt, Rev. James Naumann, and Victor Tiefel.

--Pastor Peter Reim

In accord with our usage and order, Gordon P. Radtke, who was called by Morning Star Lutheran congregation of Fairchild, Wisconsin to be its pastor, was installed on March 26, 2000. Performing the rite of installation was elder Herbert Aichele.

Notice From The ILC Regents

Professor John Pfeiffer was the only nominee for the office of President of Immanuel Lutheran College for the term June 1, 2000 through May 30, 2002.

A Reunion

The Early Years of ILC-Mankato (1959-1963)

June 23-25, 2000

Informal program planned. Please send photos, past and present. For motel reservations and information contact: Gene Schreyer (507-387-7758), Dale Redlin (507-931-1951) or e-mail: hope-dale@juno.com


The Board of Regents for Immanuel Lutheran College invites all pastors, male teachers, and voting members of CLC congregations to nominate a man to serve in a new full-time position on the ILC faculty. The primary teaching responsibilities of the new professor will be in the areas of geography at the high school and college levels, and reading and language methods for the lower, elementary grades. Although not required, an interest in Art and General Business is desirable. Other assignments will be determined upon mutual agreement in accordance with needs and corresponding ability.

Those placing nominations are encouraged to include information regarding their nominee's educational background, teaching and/or other professional experience. They should also indicate how their nominee(s) might help our school in supervising extracurricular activities (theater, music, etc.). Nominations must be postmarked no later than Sunday, May 7, 2000, and sent to:


Mr. Tom Beekman, Secretary
8410 Rambil Rd.
Eau Claire, WI 54703


June 19-23, 2000

Immanuel Lutheran College

Eau Claire, Wisconsin


"God's Word Is STILL Our Heritage"

  Prof. Emeritus L. W. Schierenbeck
  Pastor John Schierenbeck
  Pastor Michael Schierenbeck

Communion Service Speaker: Pastor Gordon Radtke
Liturgist: Pastor Terrel Kesterson

Memorial Service Speaker: Prof. Emeritus John Lau
Chaplain: Pastor Michael Sprengeler
Organist Coordinator: Teacher Barry Hay
Convention Reporter: Professor Joseph Lau

Resigstration Monday, 10:00 a.m.; Sessions begin 1:00 p.m.