Categories
Stamp Collecting

History of Stamp Collecting

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

One generally collects things that have some kind of value. Tax collectors in the New Testament collected taxes because they benefited from it. St. Paul also collected, but in his case it was money to help the poor. Hobby collectors collect postage stamps and many other things, not normally for financial gain, but for the joy of bringing together small pieces of history or just beauty.

I started pulling together a history of stamp collecting, but I found the video below that does a far better job than my writing.

Grace be with you,
TBG †

Backup of Video

Categories
Worship

What is worship?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

There is much in this world and even within Christianity that labels itself “worship,” but is it truly the worship God desires?

Christian and biblical worship has its origin in the Triune God. In worship God gives and we receive. This is why we as Lutheran Christians refer to our worship services as Divine Service. Worship is primarily about what God gives us in his Son whereby we receive his love and life (John 3:16).

At the heart of Christian worship is Word and Sacrament. In worship God gathers us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the name into which we were baptized. God gathers us to distribute and receive the gifts of himself that assure us of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation which Christ won for us on the cross.

Categories
Preaching

What is preaching?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Preaching is the public proclamation of God’s Word as both Law and Gospel. This reflects the primary function of Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:43): From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  It is through preaching the Word that the Holy Spirit works to create faith (Roman 10:14-17). Preaching most commonly occurs within the worship service of a local congregation.

Preaching is the oral communication of a sermon which is a message based on God’s Word and proclaimed by a pastor.

We all love a good preacher, but we are far more blessed to hear a sermon faithful to God’s Word, no matter how smooth the preaching is.

Grace be with you,
TBG †

Categories
Bible

What is the Bible?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

The Bible is reported to be the best-selling book of all time, even though sales records cover a far shorter time frame than the actual availability of the Bible. It is also considered to be among the classics in literature and yet it is far more than a really well written book. Most significantly, the Bible has been the source of inspiration, comfort and guidance to millions who have read and listened to it. But what exactly is the Bible?

Categories
Fishkeeping

Origins of Fishkeeping

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

There are 69 references to fish in the Bible beginning with God giving man dominion over the fish of the sea (Genesis 1:26) and ending with St. Paul’s comment about humans, animals, birds and fish having been given different bodies by God (1 Corinthians 15:39). At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry he called some fishermen to become fishers of men. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the early Christian Church would use the ichthys, from the Greek ikhthýs for “fish,” as the secret symbol for their places of meeting.

Fish have played a role within Christianity and also within the larger history of humankind in terms of both food and pleasure. From this point on I will be considering the roots of fish keeping mostly in terms of pleasure.

Categories
Sermons

Blessed to Salt and Light the World

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today I want to focus on that part of the Gospel reading from Matthew 5 (13-16) where Jesus says…

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

If someone asked you personally, “Who are you?” and “What are you about?” how would you answer these questions? How would you answer those questions for your congregation?

Categories
New Testament

Matthew 5:13-16

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

I would like us to consider this text from the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, verses 13-16. Jesus said…

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

The ESV and NIV translations label this section simply, “Salt and Light.” The NASB title is, “Disciples and the World.” The NKJV identifies this section as “Believers are Salt and Light.”

Categories
Soteriology

The Gospel

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Perhaps one of the most important words Christians need to be clear about is the the word “Gospel.”

What is the “Gospel?”

This English word translates the Greek New Testament word εὐαγγέλιον (euangélion, “evangel” or “good news”). Although we can generally refer to the entire Bible as Gospel or call Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, “the Gospels,” within the context of the New Testament, the word “Gospel” specifically refers to the good news message of God in Christ.

Categories
Theology

Theology and Christian Theology

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves,

Theology…What comes to mind when you hear this word? Some people consider it to be an academic pursuit, limited to those with a higher education. Others view it with suspicion, believing it to be a source of divisiveness and perhaps even, unbiblical ideas. Some would say it’s just plain boring, irrelevant or theoretical. Perhaps though, you’re one of those who consider “theology” to be an opportunity to grow deeper in God’s word and thereby, enrich your confession of faith. All of these views are held by people, but what is theology really?

Of course, the word “theology,” like many words, can mean different things to different people, but its root meaning (Greek theologia – θεολογία) is words (logos – λόγος) about God (theos – Θεός). Theology is simply how people put into words their understanding of who God is, what God is about and what that means for life.

Categories
Sermons

Blessed are you right now!

Read Matthew 5:1-12

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Over the next three weeks I’m going to be focusing on that part of Matthew’s Gospel known as The Sermon on the Mount and today I will begin by considering the first section of that sermon, what is known as The Beatitudes, Jesus’ teaching on what it means to be blessed.

After being baptized; after facing the temptations of the devil; Jesus began his ministry preaching (Matthew 4:17), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He then went on to teach about life in the kingdom of heaven and specifically, what it means to live under the reign of Christ. Finally, Jesus took the preaching and teaching of the kingdom into the lives of people through a ministry of healing (Matthew 4:24) the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics.

Preaching, teaching and healing. These three facets of ministry seem to carry a different value for people. For example, preaching God’s Word in my current congregation draws about 70-80 people into our church facility each Sunday. However, teaching God’s Word collects a mere half-a-dozen each week. What about healing? Does our congregation offer healing? I think most people, even Christians, would struggle to identify how churches offer healing today. On the other hand, if I could heal those with any affliction like Jesus did, I believe we’d be so overwhelmed with numbers that we’d have to build a new facility. My point here is that most people are attracted by the tangible things they believe they need and want and preaching and teaching while fine more some, hold little value for most in comparison to what is offered in healing. I believe this reflects our sinful nature.