Bound Up By Indecision? Five Guiding Principles

Rev. Scott Gress writes,
bound-up

You always have a choice. Always.

Sometimes we might not like our choices. Sometimes we might not see any options. Yet the truth is that there is always a choice. What is needed is some sharp thinking to cut through the ropes that have bound you up in indecision. So what brings about that sharp thinking?

Usually they are questions that we need to ask ourselves and evaluate our situation. The trouble is that when we are in the tightening grip of the ropes that bind us we feel like we are getting weaker and weaker. We seem to be running out of oxygen and we just have too little strength. So we swallow hard and often times settle or give in to what we’ve always done or what we instinctively know is not the best thing. But how do we address that?
Here are four questions that you can ask yourself so that you can cut free from the ropes that are strangling you in indecision.

To continue reading, click on: Indecision.

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com.

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Multi-Ethnic Symposium 2017

Multicultural Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) annual Multiethnic Symposium brings together Lutherans and mission leaders of various ethnicities from across the country for workshops, discussions and worship. The symposium explores how the church should engage in ethnic ministry and what it means — and what it will take — to become a truly multiethnic church.

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the 2017 Multiethnic Symposium will examine the various ways in which the Reformation message has spanned time and place. Participants will examine ways to turn socio-linguistic, institutional and theological barriers into stepping stones to bring the pure Gospel to people across the world.

Keynote: Dr. Enoch Wan, research professor of intercultural studies and director of the Intercultural Studies Program at Western Seminary in Portland, Ore.

Wan will lead participants in a historical review of the paradigm shift of Martin Luther that occurred 500 years ago and offer a proposal for the Lutheran church bodies in North America in the 21st century based on the global trends.

Plenary and sectional speakers from throughout The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod will share mission perspectives on how the wide-ranging effect of the Reformation impacted their respective fields of ministry.

You can register by clicking here: Symposium.

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Journey from Unbelief to Faith — A Video Bible Study Series produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries

journey_bblstudythumbHosted by Rev. Dr. John Nunes, this four-session Bible study, Journey from Unbelief to Faith, offers the viewpoints of four people who have made a remarkable journey. Theirs has been a pilgrimage from the outer edges of unbelief and apathy to a place where today Jesus Christ commands their heartfelt devotion. The road to faith was not easy for them, and many were the times when abandoning it seemed the preferred route to travel. Still, the persistence of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives brought about a different outcome, with an eternal transformation.

Consider their lives. With an upbringing marred by violence and abuse from her belligerent, alcoholic father, one woman’s journey was set in motion by a record album. For one young man, an allegiance to evolutionary theory and science trumped any idea of the spiritual at work in his life, until he grasped the nature of faith. For an Orthodox Jew it was a lengthy apprenticeship-in the back row of a Christian church-that became for him a brand new kind of life. Finally, for a New Age stargazer, a woman deep into Eastern religions who charted other people’s futures by astrology, it was an attempt to get Christianity out of her system that eventually won her over.

As with all Men’s NetWork Bible studies, The Journey from Unbelief to Faith has an in-depth discussion guide that focuses on each session’s topic, gives relevant Scripture references, offers pointed questions to promote thought and participant interaction, and contains numerous Internet links so users can explore session subjects online.

The Journey from Unbelief to Faith – Promo from Lutheran Hour Ministries on Vimeo.

Posted in atheism, Bible study, Christian Apologetics, Christian church, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith, Lutheran Hour Ministries, Lutheran Laymen's League, Missional, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Salvation, Saviour, The Lutheran Hour, Witness, Word of God | Comments Off on Journey from Unbelief to Faith — A Video Bible Study Series produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries

“Luther: He Filled the Vacuum of his time: What About Ours?” — Rev. Scott Gress

Rev. Scott Gress writes,

Luther: He filled the vacuum of his time. What about ours?luther

As I write this I am above the Atlantic ocean, flying back home from the land of Luther. As I visited the Luther sites at Eisleben, Erfurt, Wartburg, Worms, Wittenberg and others, a number of thoughts were confirmed once again.
What a convergence of things that God put in place for the reformation. There was a vacuum of reading materials, print technology and the ability to read, addressed by Gutenberg’s printing press and Luther stressing education, including girls. There was the vacuum of the gospel and a man to give it voice through Luther. There was the “vacuum” of fear and despair caused by the church’s teachings of works righteousness and buying forgiveness and Luther posted the 95 theses and was willing to take a stand. Talk about defining yourself! What a miracle that God would bring these and more together for the sake of those who are not saved through Jesus Christ who alone can justify!

So fast forward to our day. What is the vacuum of our time? Do we still address the reformation era “vacuums” or is there a different target upon which to focus in the 21st century?

Continue reading here.

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com.

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Commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation By Engaging in a Significant Outreach Project

People near and far need to hear the biblical truth proclaimed by the reformer, Martin reformation-500-anniversaryLuther: “We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.”  As Martin Luther says in his Large Catechism, “In short, unless God constantly forgives, we are lost.”

Martin Luther dedicated his life to making God’s Word of forgiveness accessible to people.  It would make sense then, that as we commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, that we would engage ourselves in sharing that Good News with others in a special or significant way.

What might you do as an individual and/or as a congregation? (And let’s think “big” … “significant” … “new initiative” … “focused on people who don’t believe in Jesus” … a major financial contribution …):

If you have ideas for how individuals and/or congregations might commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, please share them with us!

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), BC Mission Boat, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Discipleship, Evangelism, Gideons, Haiti Lutheran Mission Society, LAMP -- Canada, Lutheran Bible Translators, Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada, Lutheran Church - Canada Central District, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Lutheran Church -- Canada East District, Lutheran Reformation, Lutherans for Life, Martin Luther, Missional, Missionary, The Association of Lutheran Missionaries and Pilots -- Canada | Comments Off on Commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation By Engaging in a Significant Outreach Project

What Does the Future Hold for Bible Translation and Literacy? — Rev. Dr. Jim Keller (Director of Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada)

LBTCThe following excerpts are from an article written by Dr. Keller in the Messenger (Volume 44, Number 1, Fall 2016):

Scripture translation has been going on around the globe since the time our Lord walked among us, and despite this, more than half of the world’s languages still have no translated scripture.  On the other hand, similar estimates have concluded that as many as 95 percent of the world’s population have access to a Bible in a language they are able to speak or understand. However, more often than not these are languages spoken by conquerors or enemies that locals do not wish to use for political, cultural, or spiritual reasons. At a minimum, such persons do not have access to God’s Word in their mother tongue, or in that translators call their “heart language.” …

Martin Luther, along with many of the sixteenth century reformers, re-engaged with Bible translation as the primary means of promoting permanent growth within the Western Church.  Luther himself produced a German translation of the Scriptures that not only put God’s Word into the hands of the people, but has been credited with giving birth to the modern German language. He recognized that while the Word is powerful in itself, the hearer is benefited most when it is in a ‘digestible’ form, namely the language of the heart. …

Experience in Bible translation has shown us that when the Word of God enters the language and speech of a community, it enters and ultimately shapes their culture as well.  In other words, evangelism is properly dependent upon the presence of the New Testament in the heart language of the local population. The Bible reveals the message of salvation by grace through faith in a manageable and direct form which forgives sin and give eternal life. …

To learn how you can partner with LBTC, visit: Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada. To read, Dr. Keller’s article in its entirety, visit LBTC and request a copy of the Messenger.

Posted in Bible, Bible Translation, Discipleship, Lutheran Bible Translators, Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Martin Luther, Missional, Missionary, World Missions | Comments Off on What Does the Future Hold for Bible Translation and Literacy? — Rev. Dr. Jim Keller (Director of Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada)

Behold A Host Arrayed in White – 2015 Te Deum Seward, Nebraska

“Behold a Host, Arrayed in White” by Hans A. Brorson, 1694-1764

1 Behold a host, arrayed in white,
Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright!
With palms they stand;
Who is this band
Before the throne of light?
Those are the saints of glorious fame,
Who from the great affliction came
And in the flood
Of Jesus’ blood
Are cleansed from guilt and shame.
They now serve God both day and night;
They sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring
As they all sing
With angels shining bright.

2 Despised and scorned, they sojourned here;
But now, how glorious they appear!
Those martyrs stand,
A priestly band,
God’s throne forever near.
On earth they wept through bitter years;
Now God has wiped away their tears,
Transformed their strife
To heav’nly life,
And freed them form their fears.
They now enjoy the Sabbath rest,
The heav’nly banquet of the blest;
The Lamb, their Lord,
At festal board
Himself is host and guest.

3 O blessed saints in bright array
Now safely home in endless day,
Extol the Lord,
Who with His Word
Sustained you on the way.
The steep and narrow path you trod;
You toiled and sowed the Word abroad;
Rejoice and bring
Your fruits and sing
Before the throne of God.
The myriad angels raise their song;
O saints, sing with that happy throng!
Lift up one voice;
Let heav’n rejoice
In our Redeemer’s song!

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Heroes and Role Models — A Presentation by Stephanie Gray

Stephanie Gray was guest speaker at a recent event hosted by The Back Porch and ALIES. She spoke about modern day heroes and role models who fought against injustice on behalf of others. You can watch Stephanie Gray’s presentation at: Heroes.

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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church — Sunday, November 13, 2016

idopThe theme for this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is 2 Corinthians 1:5, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

“Pray for us …” is the cry of persecuted Christians around the world. Today across the earth more than 200 million of them are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year, Christians in more than 130 countries stand in prayer with our persecuted sisters and brothers through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). Join with us as Christians across Canada unite in prayer for our brothers and sisters who suffer because they declare their faith in Christ.

Resources are available for the day. Visit: IDOP.

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Liturgy of the Hours — Stuart Townend

Posted in Christian music, Stuart Townend, Worship | 2 Comments