For Circulation and Subscription Information, click here.
Jesus describes some frightening things that will happen in the world before the end comes. "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven" (Lk. 21:10-11).
Jesus also tells about how His disciples will be persecuted. He says: "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake" (Lk. 21:16-17).
In Matthew Jesus adds: "Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Mt. 24:11-12).
Are there any of these signs that we have not seen widely in the world today? Every one of the things that Christ and the apostles foretold about the end times is being fulfilled before our eyes. We are living in the end times.
This can be frightening. Seeing the wickedness and ungodliness of the world can make us frustrated, even to the point that we despair and want to give up.
But what does Jesus say? He does not tell us to hang tough and try to make it through. He does not tell us to go hide in a cave until it is all over. No! He says: "When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
Lift Up Your Heads To Christ
In this world full of false christs and false prophets, we need to lift our heads up to the true Christ of the Bible--to the Christ who died to take away all our sins and open the door of heaven for us. Do not look down in despair. Look up to Christ in faith! We look to Him for forgiveness and salvation. Lift Up Your Heads In Confidence When we keep our eyes fixed on Christ, we do not need to cower in fear of the world but lift up our heads in confidence. Jesus assures us: "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33). Christ has overcome the world and the devil and has given us the victory. Therefore we can go about our work of spreading the gospel in the world with boldness and confidence because God "always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place" (2 Cor. 2:14). Lift Up Your Heads In Joy The troubles in the world so easily cause us to lose our joy. When we keep our eyes on Christ, however, we can lift up our heads in joy.
In Christ we can "rejoice in the Lord always" because we are the Lord's. We belong to Him. He has redeemed us and called us by name.
We can lift up our heads in joy because God has showered every spiritual blessing upon us in Christ.
Let's not go around with our heads drooping in sorrow and despair. Rather hold our heads up and show the world the joy we have in believing--the joy we have in being children of God.
Lift Up Your Heads In Expectation
Jesus says: "Lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
We have already been redeemed by Christ's death and resurrection. But the day of the final redemption of our body when we will be received into eternal glory is drawing near.
We know this is true because we see all the things that Jesus foretold. When we see all the wickedness and evil in the world we should not despair. Rather we should look up in expectation.
We know that the end is near. We can lift up our heads to the sky expecting to see Jesus coming in the clouds with all the holy angels.
This is how we can live in these end times. We can hold our heads up high, not in self-pride but in confidence and faith.
Let us keep looking to Jesus in His word in eager expectation of His return. And may we be bold to proclaim the praises of our Savior until the day He comes.
--Pastor David Reim
An Advent/Christmas GradualBreak forth, O beauteous heav'nly Light, And usher in the morning; Ye shepherds, shrink not with affright, But hear the angel's warning. This Child, now weak in infancy, Our confidence and joy shall be, The pow'r of Satan breaking, Our peace eternal making. --Stanza 7 of "Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist." John Rist; used by J. S. Bach in his Christmas Oratorio, Part 2; translated by Dr. Chas. S. Terry This heav'nly Light is now a sign: A Child to you is given. You need no more in sorrow pine, He shares with you His heaven. He'll rise from death, and you shall see Your God through all eternity. To sing His praise forever Shall be your chief endeavor. --Words by G. W. Mueller, to be sung with the familiar stanza above.
Again this month we join our nation in a day of national thanksgiving as we praise God for the bountiful and rich blessings which He has showered upon our land.
The curious thing is that one must wonder how many in our nation even begin to comprehend who the true God is, or that it is God that we are to thank.
And as for cause for the giving of thanks, it is well and good for us to list the temporal blessings which abound in our homeland, and in our homes, but what of the underlying reason for their presence?
The world doesn't even consider that it is only because of the Lord's mercies that we find our daily needs fulfilled! The world doesn't possess a clue regarding the extent of the Lord's mercies for which we are giving Him heartfelt thanks and praise. It is so easy, even for us believers, to take the blessings of food and shelter and family for granted. If WE take the abundant earthly blessings of our Lord too much for granted, how much more does the world? The seasons pass and the crops come in and we flourish, but the world does not even begin to comprehend that we are undeserving of all this favor from our God. "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt. 5:45). The rich blessings of God descend upon us all, and the Spirit leads us to say: "Oh, give thanks to the LORD for He is good! For His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 107:1).
How often we say those precious words. Yet we can only truly appreciate the richness of these words with the understanding of the salvation which we have in Christ.
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:6-8).
Christ died for the ungodly! That directs us to the real measure of the mercy of God! While WE were still sinners, Christ died for us!
When we by faith have comprehended this truth revealing the greatest treasure of the mercy of our God we begin to comprehend that the Lord is dealing with us only according to His mercy in each and every aspect of our lives each and every day.
Even when we are struggling in this life we can be confident of the fact that the Lord's mercy endures forever.
His mercy endures for you! His love abides with us. We always have cause to give thanks unto God.
When we look upon the bounty that is traditionally spread before us on our Thanksgiving tables, representing the rich temporal blessings which the Lord has again poured out upon our land and upon us, let us remember that these are evidences of the mercies of God extended to an undeserving nation, extended to undeserving sinners like us.
In the cross we see the true measure of that mercy. In our temporal goods we see its extension to the remotest aspects of our life.
PRAISE THE LORD! GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD! FOR HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!
--Pastor Theodore Barthels
Saying "thank you" is the hallmark of a polite society. We teach our children to say "thank you." The waitress brings us our meal and even if the service was not the greatest, we say, "Thanks!" We even say "thank you" to people who thank us. If someone does something nice for us, we say "thank you!," especially if that favor was not expected or was done undeservedly.
How much our heavenly Father deserves our thanks not only on Thanksgiving Day, but year around, for He gives us all of His blessings without any merit or worthiness in us. All of His blessings are given undeservedly. This means that the great blessing that He grants is His grace.
Perhaps nothing in this world shows the grace and goodness of the Father better than the fact that He provides blessings for all. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus demonstrates the goodness of the Father by showing that He provides even for those who do not love Him. "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt. 5:45).
Worldlings use the Thanksgiving holiday to tip their hat to God, even though they do not know who He is. Nor do they realize all the blessings that He gives them on this earth. Indeed, they would have nothing were it not for Him. Nor do they realize the greater blessings He would give them if they turned to Him in faith. For if our heavenly Father blesses all people, even unbelievers, surely His own children are blessed with even greater blessings.
The Best Gift Of All
Chief among the blessings that we give thanks for is the gift of God's Son, the giving of which we'll celebrate next month. This blessing is the basis of all of the other spiritual blessings that we receive from our Father, as the apostle notes: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32)
It is on account of His Son that the world is declared not guilty of sin and that we, as individuals, have the forgiveness of sins through faith in His Son Jesus. This faith is itself a gift of God, given without any merit or worthiness on our part. This faith joyfully says: "O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever."
Give thanks to our Father because He has rescued us from the dead, sinful world, and has placed us in His family with our fellow believers. What a miracle of His grace that we are the children of God!
Give thanks to our good Father because He answers the prayers of His children. Whereas the unbeliever can only hope that he gets the things he wants, the believer can approach the Father in faith. The believer can trust that his prayers will be answered, for the Savior promises: " . . . Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Mt. 7:8).
Give thanks to our good Father because He blesses us not only here in this world, but He promises to bless us with resurrection from the dead and eternal life. There we will enjoy His mercy and blessings forever.
If we leave a tip for the waitress who brings us our coffee, certainly our Father who gives us such great blessings deserves a greater gratuity. Though that would be enough reason to give thank-offerings to God, we have the greater reason. Let the world say "thanks" because they have to.
As for us, our heavenly Father has also blessed us His children with a thankful heart. Such a heart gives thanks not because it has to or not because the calendar says that today is the day to do it. We give thanks with a thankful heart because the believer's heart delights in giving thanks.
"Thank you" is a hallmark of a believing heart, the fruit of a heart that knows that no amount of thanksgiving could do justice to even a fraction of the grace shown the believer by the Lord God.
Thank you, God, for all of Your blessings, especially for Your Son, by whom we have the forgiveness of all our sins and eternal life.
--Pastor Joel Fleischer
A SOLEMN LITANYFor enabling our founding fathers to give up comfortable homes, schools, and churches for the sake of the true doctrine . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For giving our founding fathers secular work, shelter, and a place to worship with their flocks . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For granting them the two-fold privilege of not only believing in Jesus the Christ, but also suffering for His name's sake . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For Thy forgiveness when they indulged in self-pity, indignation, and also desire for revenge in those early years . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For calming their fears, correcting their errors, and for causing good to come out of their labors . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For restoring and preserving the wholesome Scripture doctrine of religious fellowship in our midst . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For guiding us to strive for unity of doctrine and practice in an evangelical rather than in a legalistic spirit . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For our schools, college, and seminary which provide doctrinally sound lay members, teachers, and pastors to carry the work forward... We thank Thee, Lord. For the continued benefit we receive from the Lutheran Spokesman, the Journal of Theology, and the Ministry by Mail . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For the Holy Spirit, who alone keeps us scriptural, evangelical, and mission-minded . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For allowing us to share the Savior with others here at home and in foreign lands . . . We thank Thee, Lord. For these and all other undeserved blessings showered upon our Church of the Lutheran Confession . . . We thank Thee, Lord.
(Pastor Em. Robert Mackensen)
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." Thus wrote author George Bernard Shaw in a brief commentary on politics.
Today's society shows him to be correct, for the blessings of liberty are being wasted on many libertines. That's the kind of person who expects honesty, hard work, respect, and public service from others, but considers himself to be free from such obligations.
When this abuse of liberty becomes predominant, anarchy and tyranny will soon follow. In the name of false liberty, real freedom is often lost.
In the latter part of Galatians chapter six, the apostle Paul urges his readers to avoid this same kind of trap. He isn't talking politics or culture, though. He speaks of something far more important, namely, the Christian's attitude toward God's will in their lives. In this area as well, liberty is to be accompanied by responsibility.
In the earlier part of this letter, Paul emphasized the blessed freedom that we have in Christ. We have freedom from the guilt of our sins by reason of Jesus' full payment on the cross, as well as freedom from the outward observance of Old Testament Jewish laws. However, Paul did not want Christians to think that they should have no concern about sin in their lives, or no concern about doing God's will. Far from it!
As Luther remarked: "St. Paul admonishes his Christians to such an extent as to make it appear as though he were overdoing it; . . . for though the Spirit is present and, as Christ says, operates in believers and makes them willing, still the flesh, on the other hand, is also present, and the flesh is always weak and tardy. . . . We have not yet reached the point where our flesh and blood would be active and leap forward with sheer joy and delight to do good works and obey God, such as our spirit desires and our faith demands; on the contrary, with all our incessant urging and prodding we can scarcely get them to move" (quoted in Walther's Law And Gospel, p. 315).
An Inner Conflict
Yes, Paul was a realist when it came to human nature, specifically, the sinful human nature that still resides in Christians. In the heart of every true believer there is an inner conflict between the sin nature and the believing child of God.
Whenever there is a battle raging between these two--the old, sinful man and the new, believing me--then I can take comfort in the fact that the Spirit is indeed at work. How easy it is, though, to tire of the struggle, to put our behavior on "autopilot" instead of actively striving for God's will to be done in our lives!
It is an alarming thing for us and our children that the vices that Paul mentions in this chapter are now more easily available to our eyes, ears, and hearts than they ever were before. Fornication, uncleanness, sorcery, hatred, selfish ambitions, and the rest are at our finger tips--with the click of the computer mouse or remote control button. And they can quickly pass from the screen to our hearts.
The devil and the world have more effective tools than ever with which to fight for our souls. They would have us make these vices a permanent part of who we are inside. But the Lord warns us that anyone who continues to live this way on purpose cannot be a child of God, regardless of whether he lives in gross, outward sins or harbors inner, secret ones.
The Bible makes clear that we must fight back! "Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh," Paul writes.
Actively engaging the enemy means denying our sinful impulses, beating back the Old Adam, in fact crucifying him. It means "walking the walk" of a renewed life, rather than merely "talking the talk" of religion with a mechanical, habitual show of shallow piety.
The work of the Spirit in us will move us to repent of our sins and find in Christ alone our forgiveness and consolation. Then we are to put up a genuine fight against the fleshly vices, and seek to grow in the fruits of the Spirit.
Righting a wrong, keeping your temper, speaking a kind word to someone who's down, keeping a promise even when it costs you, telling someone that Jesus really cares, and other random acts of kindness--these are all examples of what happens when the love that Christ has shown to us is reflected in our lives. Paul describes this with words such as long-suffering, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Freedom from sin means many things to us. It means that we need not go about with guilt, minding our P's and Q's, hoping that we might somehow measure up to God's expectations for righteousness. Jesus has done that for us. That's what LIBERTY in the Gospel is all about!
But don't forget that along with God's gift of grace in Christ comes God's gift of a new life IN Christ. Freedom from sin includes freedom from sinning. The fact that we will never do this perfectly in this life dare never detract from the earnest admonition that the Lord has spoken through Paul: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
--Pastor Bruce Naumann
There are more than a few Bible numbers that for many just don't add up. The numbers 6 (days of Creation) and 6,000 (approximate age of the earth) present insurmountable obstacles for the evolutionary mind and society; 5 (barley loaves) and 2 (fish) cannot be multiplied to feed 5,000+ people. A God who is triune (3 divine persons, yet 1 almighty God) flies in the face of human math and logic.
Yet our God, whose thoughts are as high above ours as heaven is above the earth (Isa. 55:9), is not bound by the limits of man's mathematical and scientific laws.
God's marriage math has also fallen out of favor with natural man and our humanistic society. Yet for the child of God it ever remains God's scriptural equation for a blessed Christian marriage. "And the two shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).
To put it simply, marriage in God's sight is:
One + One = One
The world has devised its own equations which it views as preferable to God's marriage equation. One of them is: 1 + 1 = 3 or more. The world sees no problem with adding a party or two to the marriage relationship. Adultery, extra-marital relationships, and other forms of immorality all do that very thing.
Between those who approve, promote, and live such lifestyles and those tolerant or indifferent to them, it is clear that American moral and marriage standards are waning.
There is another marriage equation which at first hearing sounds very reasonable: 1 + 1 = 2.
And yet God did not say: "The two shall become two." Couples are already two before marriage. In marriage they become something they never were before--one.
The world likes the sound of 1 + 1 = 2. To each party it would say: "Stay independent; become liberated from bondage to someone else; do your own thing; go your own way; follow your dreams; find fulfillment in yourself."
While such an attitude has great appeal to the flesh, it is a formula for marital disaster and is clearly in conflict with God's Genesis design: 1 + 1 = 1.
Marriage Math Applied
One + one = one. What does God mean by that in marriage? Simply this--that it is His design, purpose, and will regarding marriage that husband and wife become one in many ways:
* they are bonded together in life's most intimate union and relationship--physically, emotionally, and (we pray) also spiritually; * they become part of each other so that nothing ever separates them until death; * they cherish and care for each other as Christ does the Church; * each other's needs, desires, and dreams become their own; * each willingly sacrifices self, and anything else, for the other; * they joyfully and faithfully carry out their complementary biblical roles as husband and wife.
All of this is God's description of marital love in Scripture--a permanent, heartfelt, unwavering, unselfish, sacrificial bond and commitment patterned after Christ's love-commitment to His beloved bride, the Church.
And since God is the perfect Creator, Designer, and Implementer of Christian marriage, we do well to hear and heed His counsel as the ultimate authority on the subject.
While this ideal and intimate marital union meets daily opposition from both our society and our own sinful hearts, our hope in Christian marriage--as in life--always remains the forgiving love of our God and Savior.
His great love is the true foundation for all earthly love, including marriage. He alone can fill our hearts with the kind of love for Him and for our spouses that it takes to make life and marriage work.
May God's wonderful marriage math equation (1 + 1 = 1) add up in our hearts and lives to a God-pleasing and blessed Christian marriage.
--Pastor David Schierenbeck
When John the Baptist appeared to prepare the way for Jesus, he said: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt. 3:2). Jesus likewise began His preaching with the same admonition (Mt. 4:17). The people needed to have their consciences stirred if they were to receive their Savior at His coming.
So also we today make repentance a theme of our Advent preaching. We are prepared to celebrate the Savior's birth when we acknowledge our sins and recognize our lost state apart from Christ.
The hymn "When Sinners See Their Lost Condition" helps prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior's coming into the world.
This hymn was written by Magnus Landstad (1802-1880), a Lutheran pastor in Norway who wrote many hymns, six of which are in The Lutheran Hymnal. He also prepared a hymnal for the Lutheran Church in Norway.
Landstad became interested in writing hymns after buying two books on the subject at an auction, including one by the German hymnwriter Philipp Nicolai. He wrote three hymns for the Reformation festival in 1837 and began to collect folk songs, which also influenced his hymn-writing.
Our hymn of the month calls sinners to "see their lost condition," promising the joy and peace that Christ the Savior brings with the remission of sins. "All grief must flee before His face, And joy divine will take its place."
This hymn reminds us that Jesus calls those who labor and are heavy laden with sin, offering them rest for their souls. He "enters meek and lowly" to give complete release from sin.
There is also a strong mission element to this hymn (which was originally written as a mission hymn). The last stanza is a mission prayer, also appropriate for Advent when we celebrate the coming of the Savior of the nations. "May He soon to every nation Find entrance where He is unknown, With life and light and full salvation. . . ."
--Pastor John Klatt
To a new pastor, his time may seem to be at more of a premium than when in school. Rather than being a student first and receiver of information, he is instead a dispenser of it. But there could be no better way to spend a person's short days on this earth, for it is precious information which we've been entrusted with--the Gospel of God's love in Christ for all people.
This Gospel was ultimately the largest factor leading this new pastor from the open spaces of South Dakota to further study towards the Lord's work. All members of the family had been farmers since they immigrated from overseas. There was no long line of pastors in the family to follow after. Other more familiar fields could certainly provide an enjoyable and fulfilling life.
But living on the land gives opportunity to do a lot of thinking--thinking that elevates to things more important than why the wheat price isn't rebounding to how privileged a life to be God's own and to have what the world around us needs, and ultimately wants.
It doesn't take long to realize that we've got a job far higher than those who are "of the world." We can influence a change in life, to eternal life.
The Lord also uses fellow human beings as role models to influence us. Pastor Dummann had a number of significant role models: a former pastor who confirmed him; an uncle who pastored in South Dakota and as the CLC missionary in Nigeria; a grandfather, George Dummann, who gave words of encouragement, lived his faith, and spoke often of a need for those who could serve the Lord publicly.
It always seemed like a long way from Summit, S.Dak. to Eau Claire, Wis. And so different. The people, the countryside--nothing was quite as open and free as back home. But the Lord also gives perseverance. Near the end of the 1998 spring term, He called student George Dummann to be His ambassador in Valentine, Nebr. Words cannot express the appreciation for the Lord's hand in placing His servant among the kind of people he grew up with and in an area which did much to shape his thinking in life.
Pastor Dummann serves full-time as pastor at Grace in Valentine, Nebr. He has also been serving as interim pastor in Mission and White River, S.Dak. He is a fan of wildlife and western art. He enjoys hunting, and he hopes to be flying again very soon.
This past May Mark David Gurath, son of David and Carol Gurath, graduated from Immanuel Lutheran Seminary, completing eleven continuous years of education at Immanuel.
From his birth on January 2, 1973 until his recent graduation, Mark has been blessed with Christian education. He was born in the Chicago area, and baptized in the CLC church there.
His grade school education came from public schools until the second grade when his family moved to Fond du Lac, Wis. Mark received his grade school education in Luther Memorial School and was also confirmed there.
He then traveled three and a half hours north to Eau Claire each spring to further his education, graduating from Immanuel High School in 1991 and from the College department in 1995. He entered the Seminary the following fall.
While in the Seminary, Mark vicared under Pastor David Schierenbeck at Berea of Inver Grove Heights, Minn. in 1996, and under Pastor Bruce Naumann at Faith of Markesan, Wis. in 1997.
It was at Immanuel that Mark met his wife, Lara (nee Heisel). The two were married at Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire in June of 1997.
Since graduation from Seminary, Mark has been working full time hours at Menard's Distribution Center in Eau Claire as well as serving as the "coordinator" of the preaching effort in the LaCrosse area, which has been holding worship services in a home in Brice Prairie, Wis.
As the size of the group continues to grow, so does the work that needs to be done in their midst. Mark is certainly growing along with this small group of Christians, as he conducts the worship services on the first and third Sundays of each month. (Editor's note: Mark recently accepted the call of the Brice Prairie group to serve as its regular pastor; he was ordained and installed there on September 27th.)
May the Lord continue to be with Mark and Lara. They look forward to a life of full time service to the Lord when Lara graduates from the UW-Eau Claire School of Nursing this coming Spring.
Pastor Philip D. Matzke grew up in south central Minnesota on the farm his great-great-grandfather Carl Matzke had purchased in 1884 when he and his family immigrated from Germany.
Philip helped his father and brothers on the farm raising beef cattle, corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. He did this each summer and during vacations until he graduated from seminary this spring. He has three brothers and two sisters.
Philip attended an LC-MS parochial grade school in Good Thunder, Minn. (K-8) and was confirmed in 1982. His parents desired that he continue his Lutheran education. As a result Philip came in contact with the CLC, attending Immanuel High School in Mankato where his grandparents are members. Although he became acquainted with the CLC, he did not join the congregation until years later.
After high school he attended Bethany Lutheran College (ELS), earning an A.A. in Liberal Arts. With the two-year degree, he transferred to an LC-MS college, Concordia-St. Paul. In 1990 he earned a B. A. in Liberal Arts, minoring in history and music. After graduation he returned to the farm where he hoped to pursue a career.
One and a half years after graduating, the Lord led Philip through His Word to break fellowship with the LC-MS. He joined Immanuel, Mankato. A year later, in the fall of 1993, he enrolled at ILC, entering both the teaching and pre-theological programs.
In 1994, he decided to drop the teaching program and continue in pre-theological studies, trusting that if the Lord wanted him in this field He would provide the knowledge and finances to complete the course. The Lord did bless him, and in the spring of this year he graduated from the seminary. On May 31, St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Stambaugh, Michigan was led to call him and he accepted the call to serve as its pastor.
The ordination and installation service took place on July 19, 1998. Prof. Paul Schaller conducted the service. Prof. Clifford Kuehne, Pastor Joel Fleischer, and congregation president Martin Heisel assisted in the installation.
May the Lord bless His servant and the congregation He has appointed him to serve.
Todd Ohlmann was born on June 17, 1968 To Don and Joyce Ohlmann in Valentine, Nebraska. He was baptized and confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in Valentine. Todd has two sisters: Candice Ohlmann (who teaches at St. John's Lutheran School in Okabena, Minn.) and Desirae Naumann (wife of Pastor David Naumann who serves the CLC congregation in Ketchikan, Alaska). Todd's brother Craig works at Ohlmann Building Center in Valentine.
Most of Todd's elementary years were spent at Grace Lutheran School in Valentine. He attended one year of high school in Valentine, but then graduated from Immanuel Lutheran High School in 1986.
After high school Todd joined the U.S. Army reserves, in which he has served for 8 1/2 years. He received training in business management at Eau Claire Technical Institute. On June 11, 1989 he and Beth (Maginnis) were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Winter Haven, Fla. They returned to Valentine where Todd spent 2 1/2 years working in the family lumber business.
In August of 1992 Todd and Beth returned to Eau Claire where Todd attended Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary in preparation for the public ministry. He graduated from the Pre-theological course in 1995 and from the Seminary in May of 1998. Beth has been working toward a degree in nursing, and intends to pursue that degree at Maryville University in St. Louis.
Todd served as vicar in Eau Claire and in Millston, Wis. As part of his vicaring program he was given the opportunity to accompany the CLC visitation team to India and Nigeria. What a rewarding experience this was -- to share the precious Gospel with the members of our CLC foreign missions!
Todd was assigned, and accepted, the divine call to serve as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Ballwin, Mo. At Faith, Pastor and Mrs. Ohlmann with their two sons (Joshua, age 8 and Caleb, 8 months) look forward to serving the Lord.
(Taken from the bulletin of installation)
In accord with our usage and order, Leah Fossum who was called as full-time teacher, and Christine Fossum who was called as part-time teacher, by Holy Trinity Lutheran School, West Columbia, S.C. were installed on August 30, 1998.
--Pastor Vance Fossum
A New Recording Of Sacred Choral Music
A recording of the 1997 and 1998 Tour Choirs of Immanuel Lutheran College is now available. "Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice" features sixteen hymns and anthems, including: Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light; What Child is This; Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain; Oh, Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken; That Easter Day; Create in Me; How Firm A Foundation; The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation.
The cost of the CD is $10.00 (plus $1.00 per item for shipping costs on mail orders). Please send orders to:
Tour Choir CD ILC Bookstore 501 Grover Road Eau Claire, WI 54701
Prayer For A Godly MinistryBishop of souls, Lord Jesus Christ, Protect Thy flock, we pray, Lest into Satan's nets enticed, We perish by the way. Unto Thy blood-bought Church bestow A godly ministry, Intent Thy holy will to know, Obedient unto Thee. As stewards of Thy mysteries May they e'er faithful be To teach Thy Word's divine decrees In pristine purity. Grant unto them Thy Spirit's power, The unction from on high. Console them in the trial hour, Assure them Thou art nigh.
Note: This poem, author unknown, appeared in a pastoral letter from our synod President. -Ed.