Official Publication of the LMS-USA
Volume 14, Number 2
In this Issue:
The Annual Gathering of the LMS-USA
June 8-9-10, 2007
Plans are well underway for the gathering of members and friends of the LMS-USA which will take place the second weekend in June at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN. Time will be set aside on Friday, June 8, for interviews with pastors wishing to make application to the LMS clergy roster, or those wishing to change their membership status. There will also be time for interviews with those representing congregations making application for membership or a change in membership status. At 4:00 p.m., Pastors of the Ministerium will meet to conduct necessary business.
Saturday is the day of our Conference, i.e., our annual forum. When the LMS was formed it was decided that one of the things that would distinguish us as a synod, would be that we would seek to meet together, clergy and lay, on an annual basis for discussion on matters of theology. And, as it turns out, these opportunities for presentations and discussions have been the highlight of our small synod. A couple of years ago our Conference theme was on Worship. As the planners looked forward to this year's Conference, it was felt that there was still a considerable amount to deal with in the area of worship. The related topic of the liturgy was suggested as a possibility. As plans have come together, the committee has had a hard time coming up with a "neat" or "catchy" theme. We need to always keep in our mind the meaning of the Church... of the Lutheran Church... of the LMS... to think again, or to rethink the function, the value, the purpose and vision of the LMS... and in all of this... to consider also the place and function of worship and the liturgy.
With all this in mind... presentations and discussions are planned that will deal with a structural revisioning of the Church, a sense of the holy, and making this all practical by looking at how in the Church, Christ is truly with us.
This Conference is not limited to persons who are members of the LMS. All are welcome, and especially we encourage any pastor or members of congregations who may be interested in what the LMS is all about, to come and join with us.
All are invited to join with the congregation of St. Matthew on Sunday for the Worship service with Holy Communion at 10:30 a.m. This year Rev. Mark Dankoff of San Antonio, Texas will be the preacher. Rev. Dankoff, past vice president of the Synod, was among the first pastors to join the Synod. At present he is serving a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod congregation in that area.
Those who would like are invited also to the adult Sunday School class which meets at 9:20 a.m. For quite a few years St. Matthew pastor, Rev. Spears has, for that day, turned that class into what he calls, "Stump the Pastors." As many LMS pastors attend the class and the lay people present ask the questions. There have been some very interesting and good exchanges over the years.
Again this year plans are for a choir to sing at the Sunday worship service. All who would be interested are asked to come to a rehearsal, the time of which has not as yet been set. But it will be later in the afternoon on Saturday, with a quick "run through" of the selections before the service on Sunday morning.
There is always a concern for lodging and meals. Special rates for lodging have been arranged for at The Best Western Crossroads Inn at 317-353-6966. These rates may no longer be available at this time. As for meals, folks are pretty much on their own when the convention is not in session. Noon meals will be provided for attendees at noon on Saturday and Sunday. And all are invited to a "cook out" just outside of the city on Saturday evening.
If you have any questions about anything with regard to this gathering, feel free to call Pastor Spears at St. Matthew Lutheran Church 888-637-8880.
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Cultures, Chorales, and Catechesis
by Daniel Zager
This article was originally published in the Concordia theological Quarterly (Vol. 64:2, April 2000); used by permission. View this article
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THE MYTH OF GAMBLING AS INNOCENT RECREATION ©
Some consideration has been given to giving room in Table Talk for short "opinion" articles or other contributions by our readers. We have never asked for such, but over the years several articles have been sent to us for consideration, the following is the most recent. If you as a reader are interested in something like this, send your article to Table Talk, P. O. Box 31, Chetek, WI 54728-0031.
Legalized gambling in Minnesota (and America and Canada and around the world!) has exploded in recent years with whole industries growing up around it ranging from counseling for its hooked and hapless victims to employment opportunities in the various entities which the gambling enterprise owns.
Gambling is paraded by its proponents as innocent fun suitable for whole families. To accommodate that (broad) spectrum of need, casinos have covered every area of human concern from provision for the care of children and youth while the parents play, to the building of hotels and elaborate food and drink establishments, erection of motels, RV parks, golf courses and the development of celebrity entertainment events. To make gambling more attractive and convenient even valet parking and on-site credit card and check-cashing services are provided.
But behind the glitter of flashing lights and the clang of coins in winners' trays at the machines of modern electronic banditry is another reality - a reality that the gambling industry does not discuss. That reality is that there are always vastly more losers than winners!
Casinos crow about the generous amounts they pay out to "lucky winners." One casino billboard bragged that "more than a million dollars is paid out daily." But friends, this amount whatever the amount might be - is never a charitable gift from a generous gambling enterprise. Its source of income is always, yes, always, the "unlucky" player who walked away empty handed and billfold broke.
Gambling is not a recreational game - it is a cruel and costly scheme that separates people from their money. The occasional winner is widely advertised. The multitudes of losers are never mentioned!
BA Commercial Education,
BA and M.Div. Graduate of Rutgers University School of Alcohol Studies,
Graduate of University of Utah School of Alcohol Studies,
Former Minnesota State Representative
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Pay Attention to Your Preaching
By John Meador
The greatest word of advice on preaching may well be the most brief! Paul’s first letter to Timothy contains a prescription—an honest-to-goodness, apostolic, biblical set of instructions that would guide Pastor Timothy, and every other pastor out there who will listen, on how to preach. Before we look at what the advice is, we might consider the why of the instruction from Paul to Timothy.
In a word, “war” was happening at Ephesus: spiritual warfare, false teachers and selfish leaders were undermining the ministry of the Word at the immense church (probably the largest on earth at the time) Timothy pastored. The apostle refers to the need to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine…” (1:3) It may have been a problem growing from the time Paul addressed the elders in Acts 20:30, saying that “…from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things…” When you consider that the church may have met in various homes with various teachers, and when you realize that the enemy loves nothing better than to corrupt the truth, it is no wonder Paul gave advice to Timothy on how to preach in such a way that would correct some of these issues.
Is it just me, or do you find yourself saying, “Boy, not much has changed over the years. We have people all over the spectrum, when it comes to beliefs.” So what’s the preacher to do? Who should give us advice for this stuff? Let’s try the Apostle Paul, and here’s the advice: “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13).
See? It is short and sweet. Exact. To the point! Paul says, “Pay attention to these things: Reading, Exhortation, Doctrine.” What does it mean?
Pay Attention to Reading
The word Paul uses here means to “know again, to read.” The word itself instructs as to why it is so important to read the Scripture as we preach. It helps us “know again” what we may have heard, or learned, but need to be reminded of. It reinforces. It changes the way we think about life. Pay attention to reading!
This is not merely advice given primarily for people to take and do at home.This prescription involves the public ministry of preaching. Read the Scripture! The greatest preachers on earth read the Scriptures publicly. Take, for example, Ezra in Nehemiah 8:2-8. Look at him reading the Law as the people stood—for hours! Watch revival break out there.
What about Jesus? He stood in the synagogue and read the Scripture (Luke 4:16) before astounding them with the application—Himself! Paul told the Colossian congregation to read his letter among themselves and to make sure the church at Laodicea did the same thing (Col. 4:16).
I’m disappointed when I attend churches known for their great communicators and find that the Scriptures are rarely opened and even more rarely read. They have just failed to touch “first base” on their way to preaching. In reality, much of what they say beyond that doesn’t count for much, in terms of transformation. They’ve excluded what God promises to bless. Not good.
Pay Attention to Exhortation
This refers to preaching. “Exhortation” means to “call near, to admonish or encourage” and refers to the persuasive discourse that should flow from the text that has just been read. Its purpose is to move people to apply what we’ve learned in our reading of God’s Word. It includes explanation, interpretation, and application.
Exhortation is vitally connected to what has been read. Reading the text and then failing to exhort from it is inconsistent with biblical preaching! This rules out the preacher who begins with a text but uses it only as his springboard to go somewhere else, never to return. It should correct the preacher that builds his message on a story or an idea and just needs a text to make it look “spiritual.” The apostolic advice—the biblical counsel (better than the latest seminar!)—would be to read, then to exhort from the text, basing the exhortation and preaching on the actual words of the Scripture.
Pay Attention to Doctrine
This refers to the teaching or instruction itself. It helps the hearer conclude, “This is what we are to believe, because this is what the Scripture says.” Can you imagine how that would destroy the false teaching of the usurpers Timothy was dealing with? Do you see how the careful reading, exhortation, and doctrine would keep the whole church on the same page of belief instead of having to confront all kinds of misinformation about God and life?
What does all this add up to? Expositional preaching. If I don’t have a scriptural basis for my message, and if I don’t take the listener to and through the text, my preaching is at odds with both the apostolic practice and the apostolic command. On the other hand, to follow this prescription is to directly follow Paul’s counsel to Timothy and the practice of thousands of years of effective and life-changing preaching. It takes me back to what the Bible teaches about preaching—and that’s a good thing to pay attention to.
This article is reprinted from the April 2007 issue of Pulpit Helps, published by AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 37421.
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The LMS-USA is a Biblical, Confessional, Evangelical, Liturgical, Congregational
expression of the universal (catholic) orthodox Church on earth. It is a
'Forum by Subscription.' As a 'Forum' the intent is that there will be an
ongoing discussion of theological issues and concerns among clergy and lay
alike. The LMS-USA meets annually for a Theological Conference and this
publication, besides carrying news of the Ministerium and Synod, functions
also as a vehicle for this continuing dialogue.
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