Monday, April 30, 2012


I just hate passwords. I know that they are necessary because there are evil and sick people out there that will do their best (or worst) to reek havoc on just about any account that they can gain access to, but passwords are a pain. You have to have this password for one thing but you better not use the same password for another account because if one gets compromised then they could have access to all your accounts. And then you need to include letters and numbers and symbols in the password to make it harder for someone to hack into your account.

Why would someone hack an account? To gain information? To get access to financial gain? To be a pain in the neck? All of the above? I have often wondered why someone would want to spend their time doing those terrible things to other people. Does it give them joy? Does it give a sense of power? Or is it because they are just plain evil and want to hurt people and cause them all sorts of problems?

I guess we will never know because most hackers don't get caught. Why am I writing about passwords? Not because I was hacked, thankfully! It is because I have such a hard time remembering them. I was going to blog about the weather this morning - the rain, the lightning, the hail - but then I couldn't get onto my account because (you guessed it) I couldn't remember my password. I thought I did. But nope, not going to let you on. So I had to go through the whole routine of resetting the password, etc. Now I have to remember a whole new word that will give me access to this place. How frustrating.

And it is all because of sin, sinful nature, the fall of mankind, that which separates us from our heavenly Father. Thankfully, we do not need a password to sign onto our communication with our Father. Well, that isn't true, is it? We do need a password. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. We need to know Jesus as our Savior, or have the Holy Spirit working in our hearts to bring us to Jesus as our Savior, and then we have the password that we need to approach our heavenly Father as dear children.

Not everyone knows this password either! Believe it or not the name of Jesus is not a joyous name in all households. In many houses it is a name used in anger and frustration but never in prayer! It is a name that is taken and abused over and over again without any thought that it is the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. That is why we are to be about the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So others will have this special password of hope, life and eternity.

JESUS! The ultimate password for life, love and strength. Don't hide this password. Put it out there for everyone to know. They need to get online with Jesus!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Season of HOPE

Easter is upon us. It is tempting to say that Easter has come and gone but if you pay attention to the Church year, you come to know that Easter lasts for 7 weeks. It isn't over and done with. The morning celebrations are finished. The colored eggs have been eaten, made into egg salad or deviled eggs or thrown away. The chocolate bunny has lost his ears - and maybe more. The Easter dinner may be history, with the leftovers eaten on Monday. But Easter continues on! Hurrah for that. He is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

We had "The Season of the Cross" during Lent this year. The "seasons" continued on into the Holy Week celebration. For the Sunrise service, we had "The Season of Hope." The resurrection of our Lord from the dead, His bodily coming from the tomb to new life, gives to us hope in the midst of the hopelessness of the world. Our lives have much hopelessness. Without Christ's resurrection, that hopelessness touches not only our lives but also our deaths. When we die, we would be condemned eternally, living in hell without the love and presence of our Lord. Death would indeed be the last great enemy that we could not defeat.

But Christ defeated that enemy. He faced death, going into the grave itself, totally and completely encompassed by death and the grave only to burst the bonds of death and the grave on that first Easter morning. As the stone is rolled from the tomb, Jesus rises victorious for us, giving to us the Season of Hope.

HOPE - what is is it? I used the acronym HOPE. Hearts Overflowing with Power and Excitement. Our hearts that are crushed and defeated by sin, death and the devil, are given new life in Christ's resurrection. New life comes to our hearts in the waters of our Baptism as we die to sin and rise to a newness of life. Those very Hearts are Overflowing - even as our cup overflows, not with what we have filled it with (which would be only sinful desires and wishes) but those very Hearts are Overflowing with Power - the Power of Jesus Christ who is the Son of God who has risen from the dead just as He said He wold. Those very Hearts Overflow with Christ's Power for our daily lives. He brings life, forgiveness, hope, peace, joy and eternity to each and everyone that believes in Him. His Power Overflows from Hearts which are given new life in Him. Those very Hearts also Overflow with Excitement! There is great Excitement as we peer into the tomb and see the clothes but no body. There is Excitement as we hear the words, "your sins are forgiven." There is tremendous Excitement as we receive the body and blood our Savior in the Sacrament.

Season of Hope - Hearts Overflowing with Power and Excitement. May your days be filled with that Season even as you struggle through the other seasons of life.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Dust Clears

It has been 2 days since the announcement that the LCMS is changing its "brand" in the corporate world. And the dust has cleared. Many who were upset by it have gone on with their lives - including myself. I can only imagine that was the hope of those who brought about the change. There will be an outcry at first, but then people will get tired of the talk, will go on with their lives and we can do what we want anyway. Do it during Holy Week, and even those who are upset by the actions of the powers that be, will not have time to do anything about it. And by the time they recover from Holy Week, they will be told it is too late to stop it because things have been put into motion, so just live with it.

Does the color of the "brand" make a difference? Nope. Not at all. There is personal preference by each one of us. I prefer the burgundy. Why? I think it looks more regal and stands out better. I am a fan of the color blue. Its my favorite color. Yet I think it looks weak and "soft" as the color of our "brand."

What's up with this "brand" stuff? We are told over and over again by our confessional brothers and sisters that the church is not a corporation as the world knows it. We are not to run things like a business but as the church. Every time one of the less-than-confessional brothers or sisters says something about the way the church works, it is immediately said, "The Church does not work as the world works. It is the Church." But when it is for something that is desired, suddenly we are the corporate world once again. We use the language. We use the ideas. We act just like them. Except I think that the corporate world would not have acted so brashly and brought out a change like this without more "study," etc.

I go back to the arrogance factor. "We want it. You can't stop us. And if you try, we tell you that it is adiaphora and it doesn't matter anyway. So let it be and let us go on doing what we want." It happens whoever is in power. It disgusts me when either side do it. When the last administration was in power, if they would have tried this, I can only imagine the outcry by the current group in power.

Oh well, not much we can do about it. It is a done deal. Rant all you want Mitch, but it won't change a thing. Live with it. Years from now, we will wonder why anyone even got upset. After all, it is only a color change. It will only cost a few bucks, not millions. The money could have been better used for other purposes like vestments or incense. Live with it. The current movement is firmly in place. Be upset with it - sure. But you are only one person who will not be able to stop the juggernaut that is rolling along.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Blue Cross

It was just announced today that the LC-MS is changing the color of the logo cross from burgundy to blue. What's the big deal? Really there isn't a big deal. It is just a logo, a "brand" as it is called. It can be blue, pink, burgundy, black, etc. It doesn't really matter.

But it ticks me off. Why? Because I feel that the current administration is going to do what it wants, when it wants and we just have to live with it. Don't like the color of the cross? Spend several million over the next few years to change it because the leadership wants it. Change the names of the church calendar. Change the worship of the LCMS. Why? Because the leadership wants it that way. And they are "good ole boys" that would never lead us wrong. They know what is best for us in our lives and we just better follow along and be happy about it.

And if you complain, we will point to "adiaphora" and say, "It just doesn't matter. Don't get upset. Just live with it." When someone on the other side (politically speaking) tries to make a change, it is no longer adiaphora but doctrine and can't be done. Don't question us. We are conservative and confessional and if you question us, then you are liberal and non-confessional.

Is that truth? Probably not. But it sure comes out that way. I know, you will say that I am just ranting and there is no basis to my writing. Except when I was putting joint services together, they needed to be checked by my "confessional" brothers. When the "confessional" brothers put the service together I was told, "Don't worry about it. You don't need to check it because I am doing it." Arrogance? Yes. And that arrogance is shown over and over again when things like this logo change takes place.

What congregations had the chance to view it and see if they thought it was good idea? What pastors? The inner circle? Those that they knew would accept whatever the Bishop of the Synod said? Sorry, but we all can get things passed if we go to our friends and those who are in our pocket. The challenge is to go into the "other" camps and win them to your side.

I am ranting. I am upset. I feel that our current administration is going to do what it wants to move us in a certain direction. It is ultra-conservative, hyper-confessional and I don't like it. Interesting how the change comes out during Holy Week, when most of us pastors and many laity are so busy with extra services, sermons, etc. that there is no real time to do anything. Welcome to the politics of our leadership.