on praying through the Psalter

It is hard not to love the Psalms. They are earthy and real. They show human emotion at its most soaring and its most base. They are simultaneously reverent and painfully honest. They are worshipful and heart-felt. There is something in the Psalms to suit every emotion, every circumstance, and…

on being slow to speak

I have often repented of having spoken, but never of having been silent. -- Abba Arsenius the Great Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak... -- James This counsel, from both Holy Scripture and this saint of old, remind us of a great truth. Too often we open…

on Pentecost: deeds, creeds, and the Holy Spirit

What help to us are Jesus' birth, life, suffering, and death; what help to us are His victory, His resurrection, ascension, and sitting at the right hand of the Father; what help to us are our knowledge and worship of God and Baptism and Communion, if the Holy Spirit does…

faith in faith or faith in Christ

Living in Texas, Christianity here is highly influenced by revivalism and its decision-theology. Even traditions and denominations that reject this belief and practice can't help but be influenced by it, even if only to interact with other Christians around them. Yesterday some life-long Christians were asking about conversion experiences and…

who works in worship

and why you should care Every time a Barna survey comes out describing church attendance in America the numbers show a small but steady decline. There is no denying the trend. And, to be honest, I think this phenomenon is one we church leaders have created. Specifically, over the last…

begging for Christ's righteousness

Because of the presence and participation of the body of Christ, the Holy Supper is a meal of the most intimate fellowship and, therefore, at the same time, the highest love-meal. Just as fervent love is demanded, so fervent love is delivered. We all come together, as children of the…

when "Lord, have mercy" is my only prayer

Sometimes the prayers won't come. Sometimes the Psalter doesn't resonate. Sometimes the pain is too great, the world is too loud, the silence is too deafening. Sometimes the only prayer I can pray is "Lord, have mercy," and the Holy Spirit intercedes for me, and the Son prays for me,…

repentance and a clear conscience

You cast your sins from yourself and onto Christ when you firmly believe that his wounds and sufferings are your sins, to be borne and paid for by him, as we read in Isaiah 53 [:6], "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." St. Peter says,…

on prayer after sin

Many of us, after falling into sin, feel as though we must somehow cleanse ourselves or make amends with God before we can return to him in prayer. While this type of thinking appeals to our universal, innate understanding of sin and guilt, it is patently unchristian. Instead, as Luther…

deeds, creeds, and true Christianity

Through the years I have spent time worshipping in various denominations spanning the theological spectrum from 'conservative' to 'liberal.' Toward either of these poles, congregations, pastors, and church leaders tend to gravitate toward an emphasis on right doctrine (creeds) or right practice (deeds). Some conservative congregations I've been a…