My life journey to this point has taken a circuitous route through the Christian Church. My wife and I, having come from very different denominational backgrounds, have attended just about every Christian denomination (and non-denomination) under the sun. So how did we end up in the Lutheran church, with me as a Lutheran pastor? Good … Continue reading What & Why: Lutherans, Part 1
In the first of a new series on this Blog, I want to take a look at words that have negative baggage associated with them, even though they are actually really good things. These are words people hear - and their noses immediately scrunch up as though a bad smell has suddenly entered the area. … Continue reading Dirty Words: Religion
At some point, while watching the History Channel, talking to friends or browsing social media, you are bound to come across a familiar refrain: "Christmas isn’t Christian! Jesus was born in the summer! December 25th was stolen from the Egyptians/Babylonians/Romans! Christmas trees are pagan! Santa is an anagram of Satan!" And once again, it's not … Continue reading Christmas Is Most Definitely NOT Pagan
The church year begins with the season of Advent, which we are in now. Advent is the season of Christmas carols, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating and Christmas parties. But the most recognizable part of Advent, apart from the Advent wreath, is the Advent Calendar, which counts down to Christmas Day and the birth of Jesus. … Continue reading Advent… of What?
Wait, what's a liturgy? If you haven't already read this, it might help to start there and then come back. Liturgy might be an intimidatingly churchy word, but it just refers to the order of the service. It is from the Greek word leitourgia, which comes from the words leitos (public) and ergos (working). So … Continue reading A Walk Through The Liturgy
This is a re-post of an earlier writing, but I think it's an important one. And because of something I want to write about next, I think it would be good for you to read this first...A common misconception (because it is wrongly taught and spoken of in that way) is that worship refers only … Continue reading Worship Is…
In another entry for the "Why Do We Do That?" category, I thought I would talk about one of those things you likely either a) take for granted that everyone knows, or b) never noticed before: the church year. Many people aren't even aware that the church follows a different format than the "Puppy of … Continue reading The Church Year
No, really! Every fall, there seems to be a lot of confusion and debate among Christians around the topic of Halloween. In fact, the church I once served as a youth director actually split over the question of whether or not it is OK for Christians to celebrate Halloween. Look, I know that we want … Continue reading Halloween Is a Christian Holiday
So, now that you know what a sermon is, and now that you know that a sermon has to hit on both Law and Gospel, let's answer another common question: how in the world does a pastor decide what to preach on, every single week of the year, every year of his ministry? It essentially … Continue reading On Preaching, Part 2: What to Preach On?
In this installment of the "Why Do We Do That?" series, I hope to answer some fairly common questions about an integral part of the worship service and a primary responsibility of a pastor, the sermon. This week: What is a sermon and why do we do it? Next week: How do you decide what … Continue reading On Preaching, Part 1: What Is a Sermon?