Archive for July 2012

Working Agreement Between ECAV and the LCMS

Rev. Tony Booker, Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Rev. Marián Čop, and Dr. Jaromír Neumann Sign working agreement between ECAV and the LCMS

On 11 July 2012, The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (ECAV) in the Czech Republic signed a working agreement with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod at Saint Michael’s Lutheran Church in Prague. The working agreement is not a declaration of altar and pulpit fellowship between the churches, but rather it expresses both churches commitment to engage in further discussion as they work together in limited ways externally. For instance, both churches agree to have regular contact between the churches’ leadership, to strengthen the work of pastoral ministry through lectures and symposia, to invite each other to theological presentations, and to share theological opinions with each other, especially as these statements pertain to “theological and ethical problems of our civilization.”

Dr. Collver, Director of Church Relations, and Superintendent Marián Čop Sign the Agreement

The other concrete area the agreement covers is the operation of the English speaking congregation of the ECAV in Prague. Specifically, the ECAV has agreed to allow the LCMS to operate the English congregation as if it were a LCMS congregation, including the right to select and install a pastor in accordance with the procedures and policies of the LCMS. This agreement will allow Rev. Tony Booker, LCMS Missionary to Eurasia, to serve the English congregation as a Missouri Synod pastor upholding the LCMS position on altar and pulpit fellowship and conducting the service according to the Lutheran Service Book.

Working Agreement Ready to Sign between ECAV and the LCMS

Rev. Marián Čop, Superintendent of the ECAV, noted that this relationship with the LCMS was very important to his church. Dr. Collver noted that the desire for this working agreement shows that the LCMS has contributions to make to world Lutheranism, particularly in the realm of theological dialog,  education, and in the social and ethical arenas.

This short video introduces St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Prague and references the newly signed working agreement.

If you are interested in assisting Rev. Tony Booker with his work in Prague, please visit: http://www.lcms.org/booker

A few more pictures.

Saint Michael’s In Prague

The City of Prague in the Evening

 

Prague on a Summer Evening

The Astronomers’ Clock

The Astronomers’ Clock at 10 PM

posted: 11 July 2012

-Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, LCMS Director of Church Relations and Assistant to the President

“A Little Book on Joy” Now Available in ebook Format

President Harrison’s A Little Book on Joy (CPH, 2011) Is now available from amazon.com in Kindle format as an ebook.

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Book-Joy-Secret-ebook/dp/B0089OEKIW/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341861344&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Little+Book+on+Joy

Many thanks to CPH for making this happen!

Service of Sending for LCMS Missionaries

LCMS Missionaries Receiving the Rite of Sending

On 6 July 2012, sent twenty-nine people to serve as overseas missionaries to fourteen different countries, including China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Macau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.


The service followed the order of Divine Service One. First Vice President, Rev. Dr. Herbert Mueller preached on Matthew 16:13 – 20. Rev. Dr. Kevin Golden, Pastor of Village Lutheran Church in Laude, Missouri served as the presiding minister. Rev. William Weedon, LCMS Director of Worship and IC Chaplain assisted. LCMS Missionary to Eurasia, Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman, was both sent and served as the organist for the service.

Rev. Dr. David Birner noted that the past two years have seen more missionaries sent than in recent memory.

The outgoing class of missionaries, who completed a rigorous fourteen days of orientation, are being sent not only to new mission fields such as Singapore for the LCMS but also to long establish fields such as Papua New Guinea, where LCMS missionaries arrived after the end of World War II.

Despite the economic challenges facing the Nation and the ongoing LCMS restructuring efforts, the Lord has continued to bless his church, particularly the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, by providing laborers for the harvest. Please remember these missionaries as they prepare to serve overseas.

— Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Director of Church Relations.

Sermon on Acts 13

The following sermon was preached in the International Center Chapel this morning by the Rev. Dr. Rudolph Blank, retired missionary to Latin America. 

ACTS 13:38-49 – Sermon

Be prepared! That’s what we hear on the News during these days of extreme heat in Saint Louis. Drink a lot of water, wear light clothes, do not over exert yourself and stay out of the direct sun. When I first came to Missouri as a student in the summer of 1954 the temperature hit 115 in St. Louis and 117 in Clayton. I wasn’t prepared for that. It’s not a good idea to be unprepared. Our text from the book of Acts also calls us all and especially our new missionaries to be prepared. To be prepared for what?

Be prepared to find doors of opportunity for the proclamation of Christ and his cross. Such a door of opportunity opened for Paul when he arrived at Antioch in Pisidia and was invited to address a synagogue full of diaspora Jews and god-fearing gentiles. Antioch in Pisidia was the home town of Sergius Paulus, the roman proconsul whom Paul had befriended in Cyprus. It is quite possible that the apostle’s friendship with Sergius Paulus helped open some of those doors of opportunity among the governor’s friends and relatives in Antioch. Be prepared for the Spirit to open for you similar doors of opportunity to proclaim Christ wherever you find yourself.

If you read through Paul’s inaugural sermon in Antioch you will observe that it is peppered with one Old Testament quotation or allusion after another. These were Scriptures the Jews of Antioch had studied many times – Sabbath after Sabbath, year after year without fully understanding them. They searched these Scriptures, as Jesus said, because in them you think you have eternal life. In his Antioch sermon Paul shows his listeners how all of these Scriptures point forward to Jesus. They point to his death, his resurrection and his ascension to the right hand of the Father. Right there in the prophesies of the Old Testament Paul pointed his listeners to Christ crucified. Some time later the apostle writes: O Galatians, It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified”. Be prepared, like Paul, to use your windows of opportunity to point to Jesus.

The Spirit presented Paul with an opportunity to proclaim Christ not only to Jews but also to Gentiles. Among the hearers of Paul’s inaugural sermon we find present not only Jews but also many Gentiles: probably Greeks, Italians, Phrygians, Pisidians and other indigenous peoples. One of the most interesting and intriguing archaeological finds in Phrygia and Pisidia is the large number of “confessional inscriptions” or “Propitiation Tablets” that have been discovered in this part of Asia Minor. These tablets and inscriptions show us how the indigenous inhabitants of Asia Minor lived in dread of the curses that their gods would place upon the unjust. They feared God’s curse upon the unjust would bring sickness, loss of crops and animals and even death. To avoid the evil eye of God, the Phrygian landscape was littered with steles and tablets inscribed with confessions of sin. Accompanying each confession there is always a description of what the transgressor had done to appease the offended deity: “I have built public baths for the city of Antioch. I paid for a new town library. I have sold my grain at a loss to help feed the hungry”.

To the Gentiles who had come to Antioch’s synagogue seeking to escape the wrath of God, Paul points the Galatian god-fearers not to their monuments and inscriptions but to Christ and his atonement. It was upon Christ that the curse of the Law fell. It was upon the Lamb of God that the Law’s evil eye was turned. Some time later he writes to the Galatians: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”. Since we gentiles are still prone to erect our modern versions of the ancient Phrygian expiation tablets, be prepared to use every opportunity the Spirit gives you to point to Jesus as the one who delivered us from the curse and the evil eye by taking them upon himself.

Our text from Acts 13 alerts us to something else new missionaries should be prepared for. Be prepared to suffer. Paul on his first missionary journey learned that bringing a new church into being is like giving birth, labor pains and all. Some time later Paul writes to his spiritual offspring in Antioch. “My little children, for you I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (4:19). My dear missionary candidates, be prepared to be taught through suffering and even persecution about what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. Paul suffered not only to bring his converts out of paganism and to inoculate them against heresy, false teachers and the works of the flesh; Paul also had to deal with his thorn in the flesh. He writes in Galatians 4:13: “You know it was because of a bodily ailment (a weakness in the flesh) that I preached to you at first.” New Testament scholars have put together all kinds of theories to explain the nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh: malaria, epilepsy or severe eye ailment. Luther believed that Paul’s thorn in the flesh consisted of the many persecutions, floggings and stoning he had to endure. At the end of Acts chapter 13, Luke tells us how Paul and Barnabas were run out of Antioch. So, my dear missionary candidates, be prepared for satanic opposition to the proclamation of the cross.

According to Luke, the primary opposition to Paul came from the leaders of the synagogue, the leading men of the city and devout women of high standing, what we would call the upper crust of the town. It has been suggested that the synagogue elders who instigated the persecution acted out of fear of what might happen if they lost control of the synagogue through the influx of a large group of outsiders, of people considered by society’s standards to be   uncultured, theologically immature and just not our kind of people. It is no secret that there are those in our own circles today who feel threatened by the influx in our churches of people who are different: Hispanics, Asians, Somalis, Bosnians and you name it. It is part of our sinful human nature to fear those who are different, and to impose upon them or to circumcise them with our own version of cultural acceptability. So be prepared, to be all things to all people for the sake of the Gospel even if it brings you suffering and rejection.

There is one more thing our text calls us to be prepared for. Be prepared for joy. Despite all the satanic opposition to the proclamation of Christ, a new congregation is born in Antioch. The birth of a new Christian community is always a miraculous birth, like that of Isaac whose very name means mirth. Be prepared for joy because Christ’s power in us is made perfect in weakness, suffering and persecution. Be prepared, because through suffering the Spirit is conforming us to the image of Christ. Be prepared for joy because God’s prophetic word is being fulfilled. The poor are being filled with good things while the rich synagogue patrons are sent empty away. Even though the elder brothers might grumble, the Father’s prodigals are staring to come home. And there is more joy in heaven for one sinner that repents than for all those who feel they have no need for repentance. So be prepared to rejoice with angels.  Be prepared to rejoice with all those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Be prepared to rejoice and praise the Father, the Lamb and the Spirit together with the multitudes without number from every nation, tribe, people and language, gathered around the throne of our God, to whom be glory, now and forever. Amen.

LCMS Lutherans Commend Roman Catholics

News Story: June 28, 2012

Religious Freedom and Defense of the Unborn

On behalf of the South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Pastor Bender and District President Rev. Dr. John Wille, commended the Roman Catholic Church and Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki for their courageous stand on religious freedoms and defense of the unborn. The resolution from the district and a letter to the Archbishop from synodical President the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison was presented to the Archbishop at the 19th Annual Symposium of the Concordia Catechetical Academy on June 21, 2012. Watch the presentation and CBS 58 News story on the event.

Links:
Fortnight for Freedom: Lutherans Commend Catholic Commitment
“Love One Another” A Letter from Archbishop Jerome Listecki

Presentation Video

CBS 58 News Story