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Confessing Christ for the Next Generation 


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October 9, 2014
Living With A Purpose: Rejoicing!  

Dear brothers in the Office:


We can be so empty inside. It is our reactivity to living in this sinful world. Things happen that we don't want. Things happen we cannot control. We are left holding the bag. We have to pick up the pieces of someone else's mess. We make one wrong decision After the other. That's why what St. Paul writes in this section of his letter to the Philippians is so timely for us. In world that is awash with dissatisfaction and amuck discontent St. Paul talks about satisfaction and contentment. He talks to us about "Living with a purpose: Rejoicing Whatever the Circumstances of Life Might Be". Rejoicing because Jesus is our whatever, Jesus is our perspective for life.


Perspective is the way a person looks at things. Stand by the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and look up; you can only see a towering cliff or two (only what's right in front of you). But stand atop one of the lookouts, from the heights and you see the beauty and the wonder of the winding river canyon more than a mile wide created by the finger of God. Standing there you know why so many flock to the Grand Canyon.  


What's true of Grand Canyon is also true of life in general. Our outlook on life depends on how we look at things. A rich man can suffer from greed and dissatisfaction as well as a poor man, if both look at what they don't have instead of what they do have. A person suffering from a terminal disease only sees the end of their life; unless there is an empty grave in view. Perspective matters.  


Paul's perspective on life is not measured from the depths of a canyon; but from the heights of God's grace. That's important because at this point in time Paul could have very easily taken a dim view of his circumstances. He is under arrest, chained to a Roman soldier twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. He cannot start churches. He cannot visit churches. He is stuck. A tough situation. Monotonous. What can he do?


But read this letter. It's easy to see that Paul is neither depressed nor anxious. Six times Paul uses the word "joy". Paul tells the Philippians, "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." Six times Paul uses the word "rejoice". Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!


Rejoice? Really? Yes, indeed! Standing high on the outlook of grace Paul understands what God has done for him. Paul understands the wonder of God's saving grace. That saving grace that God gave Paul also gives him a unique perspective on life. And it provides us with a unique perspective on life as well. Saving grace is about our Lord Jesus. Saving grace is about Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Saving grace is about God giving us forgiveness because of His Son. Saving grace is about the empty tomb where the angel told the visitors, "He is not here. He is risen!"


And that saving grace is so powerful as to have a positive effect on who we are and everything that we do. Listen to the way that Paul describes it. Paul says, "Let your attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!"


Jesus dying on the cross means that we have forgiveness. Jesus rising from the grave means that we are given a unique perspective on life. Life is not a matter of what we do or don't have. Not a matter of what we can amass for ourselves. Rather life a matter of what God has done for us and what God continues to give us through His Son. Life us an opportunity for us to thanks our Lord for all that He does for us. That's what's behind Paul's words as he writes, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Whatever is Jesus. Jesus is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Think on Jesus and everything else in life falls into its proper place. Think on Jesus and there is no reason to be worried about anything. St. Paul says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."


May our gracious Lord empower us to be models of contentment and peace for the people He has called us to serve!


May our gracious Lord bless your ministry and life with that contentment!


From a sermon on Philippians 4:4-13 

SWD News & Updates
 A Word from Martin Luther:

You must understand this in such a way that it does not take away the right of the man in the public ministry of preaching to judge matters of doctrine as well as of life. Indeed, it is incumbent on him in his office to rebuke publicly whatever does not square with true doctrine, for the very purpose of preventing sects from coming in and taking hold. When he sees that life is wrong, he must likewise denounce it and resist it. He is put there to oversee this, and he will have to give account of it (Heb. 13:17). In fact, whenever any Christian sees his neighbor doing wrong, he has the duty of admonishing him and restraining him, which is impossible without judging and passing judgment. But this is all done on the basis of an office or a commission, which Christ, is not discussing here, as we have said often enough. What is forbidden is that everyone may go ahead on the basis of his own ideas and make a doctrine and spirit of his own, imagining that he is to be Master Smart Aleck, who is supposed to correct everybody and to criticize him, though he has no commission to do anything of the sort. [Luther, M. (1999). Luther's works, vol. 21: The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (Mt 7:2). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.]


Same Sex Marriage Legal:

Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from a reporter at WISN 12 here in Milwaukee. They wanted to come over the SWD office to tape a segment on the Supreme Court's decision not to pick up the subject of same-sex marriages. After consulting with the LCMS President and our SWD legal counsel, I decided to decline the invitation. The reported stated that he was aware of our stance on the subject and wanted someone like me to respond for their 10pm news. Watching that a bit later, I am glad that I didn't respond. How would our confession come across on the tv news with so many celebrating that society now recognizes their rights according to the Constitution.


But what about our First Amendment rights in regard to the free practice of our religion? Then also, what our about responsibility to confess. Several Bible passages come to mind, especially words from Matthew 10:28ff:  


And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  


Brothers, it is my opinion that before long those words will have a different and more poignant meaning than they do right now. The question will be put to us, What do you believe? My confession is and will remain consistent with the words of the Apostle Paul: "do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."(1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)What will your confession be?


The words of Luther's hymn come to mind.

The Word they still shall let remain nor any thanks have for it;

He's by our side upon the plain with His good gifts and Spirit.

And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife,

Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won;

The kingdom ours remaineth.


See below the marriage policy for LCMS Member congregations.



Pastor Peter Preus Presents:  The Problem of Suicide - October 19 @ Peace, Sussex - 5:30 pm
Lecture - Q & A- Chili & Soup Supper
The Rev. Peter Preus presents an evening of study and discussion concerning suicide and the role the illness of depression plays in suicide, even of Christians.  The lecture seeks to answer why baptized Christians commit suicide and how the Gospel offers comfort and hope to those who are tempted and to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones by suicide.  Pastor Preus, Lutheran Church of the Triune God, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota authored And She Was a Christian: Why Do Believers Commit Suicide?  The lecture is suitable for ages teens to adult, childcare is provided and the event is free.  See Flyer.


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 PW's Meanderings:

October 1 
Call Committee meeting, St. John -Beloit
October 2 
LCEF Thank you event
October 4-5 Preach St. John - Portage
October 6  Camp LuWiSoMo leadership re: SWD Resolution 3-03a
October 7  Retired Pastors/wives Retreat - Waupaca
October 8  SWD Executive team meeting & Circuit 8 Winkel
October 9-12  Dominican Republic Partnership meeting
October 14 Oklahoma District Pastors Conference, topic "Above Reproach: The
Integrity of the Pastor Office".
October 16-17 Upper Midwest COP meeting -SWD Office
October 19 Preach at Pilgrim - West Bend's 60th Anniversary
October 20 Call meeting Prince of Peace - Racine
October 22-24 Dispute Resolution Training - Burnsville, MN
October 26 St. Stephen - Milwaukee voters meeting
October 28 All SWD team meeting 
 NEW Fall LCEF promotions:

ConnectPLUS: two year term note for NEW investors. It has an interest rate of 3% on the first $5,000 investment.  For additional information here is the link:  http://www.lcef.org/investments/connectplus.cfm  


Education Repayment Loan for Rostered Church Workers:  http://www.lcef.org/loans/education.cfm 

South Wisconsin District - LCMS | 414-464-8100 |
8100 West Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53222

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