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I AM: The Statements of Jesus
At the burning bush, Yahweh told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14). Jesus’ “I Am” statements during His earthly ministry showed His connection to Yahweh. In these five spiritual reflections, we will explore who Jesus says He is in connection to God the Father and in His connection to us.
Stress & Worry in the Life of a Christian
This course explores stress and worry: the causes, effects and strategies to manage them. It will equip you through God’s Word to look to Him as the source of strength. At the end of this course, you will carry out intentional actions to manage your own stress or worry and also reach out with Christian support to someone who is dealing with stress or worry.
Love Came Down
In Love Came Down, we see how the heavenly Father spared nothing—not even His own Son—to work out our salvation. Though we had rebelled in our sins and spurned God and His Commandments, He chose us—not for exclusion, but redemption. The Father’s love sought us out in our perilous condition and, in His infinite mercy, bridged the divide to our isolation through Jesus—the one Mediator between God and Man.
North American Christians know that North America is becoming more secular and unbelieving at a rapid rate.
What’s going on? An article, “Where Have All The Christians Gone,” by Heath R. Curtis in The Lutheran Witness (November 2017, p. 6-9) identifies a number of factors causing this decline:
- Secularization: “A more secular worldview in the culture at large, pushed by cultural leaders in media, government and education, has had a large impact.” (p. 6) Curtis talks of a “secular war” waged on biblical marriage and the family which is resulting in marriage rates declining, divorce rates rising, family size shrinking — all factors that put downward pressure on the “natural growth” of one’s church. He observes, “From a young age Americans are indoctrinated by their televisions and their schools to have an anti-biblical worldview on the origins of life, the meaning of the human condition, sexuality, and a hundred other topics. This puts up barriers to the Word in evangelism that must be torn down. And even more insidiously, this is an attack on the hearts and minds of Lutheran youth, alienating them from the faith.” (p. 8)
In this cultural climate, the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has seen a sharp decline in infant baptisms, but a rise in adult conversions. Congregations need to focus on membership retention: “supporting young people as they transition from the cradle roll, to the Sunday School, to the youth group, to college, to forming their own families in young adulthood.” (p. 8)
Curtis, discussing adult conversion, observes, “For example, in the Southern Baptist Convention, one adult convert joins each year for every 47 adult members in the church. The LCMS sees more adult converts per capita: 1:44. Given the massive resources they expend on outreach, it is unsurprising that the Mormons have the best ratio in this regard, but you may be surprised to find that it is only 1:40.” (p. 9)
St. Nicholas lived at a time when Roman persecution against Christians was most brutal. An article in The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM Canada Dec 2017:7), recounts,
Nicholas himself was branded with hot irons. He survived terrible beatings from the guards. And he endured other tortures as well — simply for refusing to deny that Jesus is the Son of God. How could he deny the One who was so real to him? Nicholas remained resolute in the midst of great injustice. …
If you would like to read more about the story of St. Nicholas and other Christians, past and present, who manifested faith, strength, encouragement, and hope in their lives under extreme situations, you might want to read the devotional book, “Extreme Devotion” which is available through The Voice of the Martyrs.
Serving with Joy is an outreach connector developed by Lutheran Hour Ministries — Canada in response to requests for every-day evangelism tools. The idea is to provide people you meet, in what may be very brief and casual encounters, with an invitation to find out more about the joy we have because Jesus first loved and served us.
Look for opportunities to do small helpful tasks for somebody. Do them cheerfully and when the task is done hand them a card (that you have put your name on) and say “Here’s my card. It was my Joy to Serve You because Jesus first served me.” (See 1 John 4:19)
If the person is intrigued by your smile, your action and the message on the card, they may use the Serving with Joy Quick-Response code or go to www.ServingWithJoy.net to find out more. On the SWJ website they will find links to basic information about the Christian faith and a tool to find a local Lutheran congregation.
SWJ cards are available through the Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada. The cards are free.
You can find out more about this initiative by visiting: Serving with Joy.
Dr. Douglas Rutt, the director of International Ministries for Lutheran Hour Ministries writes in an article, “God Carries Out His Mission Through Global Migration” (The Lutheran Layman, November-December 2017 p. 16),
‘Migration’ in many ways defines the 21st Century. A recent study by the Pew Research Center states that there are more than 244 million international immigrants worldwide. The United States has the largest population of people who are foreign born — almost 47 million. However, as a percentage, several other countries have larger foreign-born populations than the United States, such as Canada at 22% and Australia at 28% The tiny country of Lebanon, where The Lutheran Hour Ministries has been working since 1950, is host to over 1.5 million refugees, which amounts to over 30% of its population.
In many ways, God is using immigrants to revive and revitalize irreligious nations. In some situations, it is Christian immigrants through whom God is working to birth new churches and to revive “aging” congregations. In other cases, non-Christian immigrants are converting to Christianity in their new homeland changing the complexion of mono-ethnic communities of faith and denominations.
How should Christians respond to the challenge of global migration, especially when that migration results in people moving into your communities? Referencing the work of Samuel Escobar, Dr. Rutt makes three suggestions:
First, he [Samuel Escobar] calls for Christian compassion and sensitivity. …
Second, he recommends that churches should take a prophetic stance against the injustices and abuse migrants often suffer. …
Third, Escobar, suggests that the church see the global migrant movements today as opportunities for outreach.
If you are interested in reading Dr. Rutt’s entire article, please visit: The Lutheran Layman (Nov-Dec. 2017).
Crisis in Myanmar: Canadians have until November 28 to see their donations matched by the government into a response pool for the Rohingya Crisis
Since August 2017, more than 600,000 Rohingya people have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar. They join an estimated 300,000 refugees already in Bangladesh who fled previous spikes in violence. Thousands of people are still arriving every day, some having walked 14 days to reach safety. Approximately 80 per cent are women and children.
Your donation today will provide life-saving assistance to people like Nurkaida, 13 who fled to Bangladesh with
her mother and three brothers after her father, a farmer, died of a gunshot wound in September 2017.
“We had our own house, cattle, a hand pump, a big toilet and I had my own room. My friends used to come round all the time, and we had a big yard where we all played. It’s so different here,” says Nurkaida. “The tent is small, water is very scarce, there are no toilets and it is hard with so little food. I only have one set of clothes and everything becomes wet during the day because it’s always raining.”
Canadians have until November 28 to see their donations matched by the government into a response pool for the Rohingya Crisis. This means your donation will have double the impact!
“CLWR has a long history of supporting displaced people around the world. Thanks to the support of Canadians and through our partnerships with The Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance, we are able to provide life-saving assistance to displaced people affected by the crisis in Myanmar,” says Robert Granke, CLWR’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to the Government of Canada for announcing a matching grant. Together, we are saving more lives.”
To make your donation, click: Crisis in Myanmar.
Lutheran Hour Ministries has produced a video/Bible study series that recounts the life and theology of Martin Luther and his impact on the Christian church.
There are three parts to the series:
A Man Named Martin – Part 1: The Man
In A Man Named Martin – Part 1: The Man viewers encounter a 15th-century religious reformer from Germany who broke ranks with the Catholic Church. This Bible study is the first of a three-part series devoted to Martin Luther — a monk whose Spirit-inspired grasp of God’s justification of sinners through faith in the Savior was the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation.
A Man Named Martin – Part 2: The Moment
A Man Named Martin-Part 2: The Moment examines the errant teachings and wayward traditions of the Late Medieval Church that eventually sparked the Protestant Reformation, a theological overhaul set in motion most notably by Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg.
A Man Named Martin – Part 3: The Movement
From Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517 to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, God was at work in the Reformation. Fierce debates over Scripture, church doctrine, and late medieval church practice led to theological positions articulating salvation as God’s grace in action, with man being left to add nothing to his own salvation. In A Man Named Martin – Part 3: The Movement, viewers will see how the Reformation transformed European society and, eventually, left a profound impression around the globe.
To learn more about this video/Bible study series, visit: A Man Named Luther.
Follow directions, read instructions – who needs it? But then there’s that one life situation that confuses you or sends you the wrong way. What do you do then? Here’s the answer.
Manufacturers spend a lot of time and money creating instruction manuals so we can understand the features and get the most out of their products. That’s what God did with the Bible. It’s not a rule book, but sets out a framework for life based on the how the Creator put us together. It’s also the account of how God revealed Himself and demonstrated His love and justice throughout history. Best of all, it tells us of His Son, Jesus, who took on Himself the punishment from God that we deserve for our selfish disregard of His “best practices” outlined in the Bible. Sound interesting?
Start here for a historical account.