Archive for September, 2012

Executive Director of the Office of International Mission

This week Pres. Harrison sent out the message below to employees of the International Center informing them that Rev. Randy Golter, former District President of the LCMS Rocky Mountain District, has accepted the call to be the Executive Director of the Office of International Mission.

Greetings, dear co-workers in Christ!

I am writing with great joy and expectation to announce that Rev. Randall L. Golter will be joining our staff as executive director, Office of International Mission effective Oct. 25. In this role, he will be responsible for overseeing and supervising all staff, programs, projects and activities for the work of the Synod in foreign countries.

Many of you will know that Rev. Golter served as president of the LCMS Rocky Mountain District since 2003. In that role, he served as the ecclesiastical supervisor of the pastors and other church workers of some 180 congregations and the LCMS schools in the district. In addition to carrying out the administrative responsibilities of a district president, Rev. Golter also managed a $500,000 fundraising effort for the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa; oversaw the district’s commitment to the LCMS Fan into Flame! campaign; and implemented a new mission effort called “Gospel Gap Paradigm,” which emphasizes the circuits as the stewarding authority of their mission regions. Since 2009, Rev. Golter also served as the district’s mission executive.

Prior to his election to district president, Rev. Golter served as pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (2001-2003); Grace Lutheran Church, Albuquerque, N.M. (1994-2001); and Trinity Lutheran Church, Wheatland, Wyo. (1985-1994).

Rev. Golter earned a Master of Divinity degree and completed course work for a Master of Sacred Theology degree at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He currently is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.

I believe that Rev. Golter is superbly qualified for this position. Please join me in welcoming him to our team and in praying that God richly blesses his leadership for the sake of the Gospel.

In His service,

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President

Click here to read the Reporter Online article about this news. Please keep Rev. Golter in your prayers as he begins his transition into his new position. Also, keep all of the employees of the Office of International Mission in your prayers as they await Rev.Golter’s arrival. You are invited to attend Rev. Golter’s installation service October 25th during  the 10am chapel service at the International Center in St. Louis.

– Barb Below


LCMS National Housing Support Corporation


Recently, I had a chance to spend sometime working with Nicole Ridley-Turner, the new Executive Director of the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation. The LCMS National Housing Support Corporation is currently seeking qualified applicants for the Director of Advancement position. This position will be responsible for leading and managing all aspects of a comprehensive advancement program including fundraising, communications and constituent relations. Click here for the job posting and application details. You can apply online or send the job posting to a friend.

The LCMS National Housing Support Corporation’s vision is that neighborhoods close to our altars are restored and revitalized by our members’ faith active in love. The LCMS National Housing Support Corporation provides financial support to housing and neighborhood revitalization projects and partnerships. Most importantly, they lend expertise to LCMS entities who have a desire to be catalysts for change by renewing neighborhoods and bringing hope to communities others have given up on. This work is different than other housing efforts. The LCMS National Housing Support Corporation is based on changing residents lives by sharing the love of Christ and connecting communities to our churches. Through the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation, our love in action reaches out to those living in struggling circumstances and without safe, secure homes. So many opportunities exist for the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation. So many children are going to bed tonight not sure where they will be sleeping tomorrow night. For me that is intolerable. Many communities around the country need our help to make things right in their neighborhoods so that families and children can thrive and grow in a safe, secure environment.

Please read the attached recent report from the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation to learn more. HN0913DMXXX Fall 2012 Annual

The LCMS National Housing Support Corporation recently received three new board members that will bring expertise and gifts to the board.

  • Rev. Joshua Gale, Philadelphia, PA (3-year term)
  • Rev. Steve D. Schave, Cincinnati, OH (3-year term)
  • Alan F. Doud, Bakersfield, CA (2-year term)

I’m excited for the future of the LCMS National Housing Support Corporation and their continued work to  renew neighborhoods and transform lives.

– Barb Below

The Servant’s Body

Note:  The following sermon, by Dr. James Baneck, President of the North Dakota District of the LCMS, entitled “The Servant’s Body,” was preached as part of the opening devotion September 15, 2012 for the meeting of the Council of Presidents just concluded. Christ has redeemed us body and soul, preparing us for service in His name. The sermon, based on the lessons for Proper 19, Series B, especially the Old Testament Lesson, is written in outline form but should be reasonably easy to follow. With President Baneck’s permission, we reproduce it here.  Blessings!  + Herb Mueller

Baneck Sermon Sept 15


Latest from CPH: The What?

As a child attending Lutheran school, I remember our annual parading outside the school building on October 31, all children, pastors, and staff lining up on the west side of the building (facing the Roman Catholic church four blocks away) and singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” very loudly. It was an example of how we felt about things “Catholic” in those days. I guess we were hoping that our voices would carry those four blocks to their church and school in some meaningful way.

This aversion to things “Catholic” included the Bible they used. It included “extra books” that didn’t belong there, and we children knew better than ever to touch one of those Bibles, much less open it and read from it, lest our attention wander over to “those books.” At least such was my take from those childhood days.

I mention this to demonstrate how things have changed. Over the years, our attitude has softened considerably toward the Roman church. Not always, of course, as when key doctrinal differences are considered. But with a number of other important issues (e.g., abortion, homosexuality), we often recognize a closer affinity with the Roman Catholic Church than with those who share our name “Lutheran.”

And now, courtesy of Concordia Publishing House with its recent release of The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition With Notes, another old fence has come down. I was pleased to be asked to provide a review of this Lutheran publication of “those books” and did so from the perspective of one who has watched 60 years pass since singing as loud as I could every October 31 outside our Lutheran school.

This publication by CPH is far more than yet another sign of the softening of inter-church attitudes. This bold bringing of these intertestamental writings out of the shadows is a major gift to the Lutheran and Protestant world. It not only signals that these writings, rightly understood, are okay to read. It makes available to both clergy and laity alike an important aid for the study of the Bible itself. It provides a first-hand look into the historical context that God Himself regarded as “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4).

In his introduction to the publication, LCMS 3rd Vice-President Paul Maier writes, “Not only does [The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition With Notes] offer an unfailingly accurate translation of the various texts involved, via the English Standard Version, but it is also replete with scholarly notes and commentary to assist the reader–lay or professional–in every way possible….Simply put, this book belongs in every serious library, be that collection Evangelical, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Jewish. Why? No reply could be better than the introduction to the Apocrypha in the German Lutheran Bible: ‘Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful and good to read.'”

We are truly blessed as a Synod to have a publishing house in our corner of our Lord’s kingdom to provide a host of materials that we can confidently use to do the work of His Church on earth. And we are blessed with CPH leadership that looks continually for opportunities to provide helpful resources, such as The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes.

Raymond Hartwig

Not Our Performance But God’s Gift

Every other religion in the world is all about our performance, following a code of behavior or fulfilling a prescribed set of rituals.

Everyone who claims to be a Muslim, for instance, must follow the “Five Pillars of Islam:”  1)  Daily recite: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” 2) Pray five times a day facing Mecca. 3)  Give alms. 4) Fast during the holy month of Ramadan. 5) Make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once.

Our performance. It’s at the heart of every man-made religion.

Christianity does begin with our performance – or rather, our lack of performance according to God’s commands. God’s code of behavior enshrined in the Ten Commandments exposes our sin and our inability to perform, our failures and our brokenness, all of which lead ultimately to our death. God’s purpose is to show us our need for the gift He wants to give. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

At its heart, then, Christian faith is not a code of behavior – five (or ten) things you’ve got to do. Christianity is a person – Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, crucified and raised to life for us. At its heart, Christian faith is an ongoing, living relationship with a living Lord.  Our salvation is God’s action from start to finish. Christ did everything we could not do.

God in our flesh, Christ kept God’s Law perfectly. And then, when He was tortured to death on the cross, in perhaps the greatest miracle imaginable, He took upon Himself every sin ever committed and suffered every punishment we deserve. According to the terms of this exchange, everything we have done is given to Jesus. And everything Jesus has done is credited to us.

This means that every believer in Jesus now has the same favor with God, the same access to God, the same assurance of eternal life that Jesus does. When we come before God in faith, He does not turn us away in judgment, but He sees us through Jesus Christ.

Yet Jesus visibly walked the earth nearly 2000 years ago. Where do we find Him present for us now

You do not find Jesus by searching your heart or going on a spiritual quest. He finds you by means of His Word and Sacrament.

God speaks our language. And it begins not just with the Bible, but with Jesus Himself, who is God’s Word made flesh. When you read the Bible, God Himself is speaking with you. When your Pastor brings you God’s Word in the sermon, God Himself is speaking to you.  When you tell others of Jesus’ love, God is using you for His mouthpiece.

In order to be sure we would have His Word, God caused it to be written down for us: “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The Scriptures are true because they are God’s Word and God’s Word cannot lie. Then, to see to it that the Word is proclaimed, Christ gathers the church and institutes the gospel ministry.

The Word of God doesn’t just tell us about God, but it brings us Jesus Himself and, by His Spirit, brings us into a relationship with Him.  This happens also in Baptism and Holy Communion, sometimes called “the visible Word.” These are not mere symbols standing for something that is really somewhere else. But in these sacraments God Himself is at work. In Baptism God buries us with Christ and raises us to life in Him. In Communion Jesus Himself gives His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. In the word of absolution, Jesus Himself speaks the Word of forgiveness.

What is Christianity? It’s Jesus – trusting Him, and receiving Him where He promises to be. That’s the point our confession makes when it says: “For through the Word and Sacraments as through instruments the Holy Spirit is given, who effects faith where and when it pleases God in those who hear the gospel, that is to say, in those who hear that God, not on account of our own merits but on account of Christ, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace on account of Christ” (Augsburg Confession V [Latin text],  Kolb/Wengert, p. 41). 

Look for more on all this in the future!


+ Herbert Mueller
First Vice President, LCMS


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