Monday, September 27, 2010

"Little Giants"

Just in case anyone missed this last week . . .

My Sentiments Exactly!

This is my new favorite youtube video (thanks to friend, Dave Lambert, for sharing on facebook! I'm thinking this one is going to have to be permanently embedded in my sidebar):

CPH does it again!

These past five or so years have seen one remarkable resource after another coming out of our publishing house, from Lutheran Service Book and all its accompanying resources, including the Pastoral Care Companion which is pure gold to this pastor, to Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (my small paperback version of this one will soon need replacing, as it is beat up pretty bad - yeah, some Lutheran pastors actually do read the Lutheran Confessions daily; just sayin'), to The Treasury of Daily Prayer, The Lutheran Study Bible, Starck's Prayer Book, and on and on and on.  And now they have added another blessing with the new Lutheranism 101, which I can't wait to receive.  Here's a video presentation on the new goodie:

This morning . . .

I drove a little over 300 miles, but arrived at a destination only 4 miles from where I started.  I got up early and headed to Detroit for one of my favorite annual conferences, the St. Michael Liturgical Conference at Zion Lutheran.  I got a later start than I wanted to, but made it to the church parking lot right as Holy Mass was beginning at 9:00 a.m.  As I circled the parking lot to find a spot (the lot was jam packed; I would have probably had to park on the street), my cell rang.  It was the daughter of one of our dear shut-ins, Violet, alerting me that Violet had been called home by our Lord, and that she and her sister would be meeting with the funeral director at 11:00 a.m. to make arrangements.  So, I sat there in the parking lot for a moment looking at the beautiful church I love to visit, coveting the blessings I knew those inside were surely receiving from our gracious Lord, said a quick prayer, drove out of the parking lot, and headed back to Alma.  I made it to the funeral home about 11:20 to give Linda and Barb a hug and help them plan the next couple of days.  So, over 300 miles to go 4.  Stuff like that happens sometimes in my line of work.  And, you know what, I don't mind it a bit.  As disappointed as I am at having to miss the conference - especially after having made it all the way to the church parking lot! - I am called to serve at my Lord's bidding, even when His timing and mine don't jive.  And, what a blessing and high privilege it is to bring the comfort of the Gospel to those in need!

Violet was a wonderful woman of faith.  She was blessed with 92 years of life here in this vale of tears, and for 88 of those years, she was in good health, and could be found sitting in the pew receiving our Lord's Divine Gifts every Sunday morning.  For the past four years, she has continued to receive those Gifts in the nursing home as the Holy Word and Sacraments were brought to her.  She wasn't a big fan of that arrangement.  She would've much rather have been sitting in the pew, and I think she mentioned that fact each and every time I paid her a visit.  Our elders, who also visit our shut-ins, could attest to that.  But, she was very thankful that these Gifts were brought to her, and she loved to receive them, which was evidenced by her eyes lighting up every time I walked in the room to deliver them.

Violet spent the last week in hospice care, and was comfortable and at peace all the way until she breathed her last early this morning.  We knew her time here was coming to a close.  In fact, last Wednesday, when death seemed immanent, I prayed the Commendation of the Dying with her, and her daughter, Barb, was there to participate in the prayers.  Her other daughter, Linda, was in Paris, France, and it seemed very probable that she would not get to see her mother one last time, as she wasn't scheduled to return until late Saturday evening.  But, our Lord, full of grace, mercy, and compassion as He is, allowed Violet a few more days here, and Linda was able to spend a whole day with her yesterday.  Pretty cool, that!

Violet knew that her Redeemer lives, as do all who have been called out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.  What an absolute blessing it is to be filled with that knowledge and gifted with that faith.  We do not mourn like those who have no hope.  Thanks be to God for that!  He IS our Shepherd and we shall not want!  We shall dwell in His House forever, even as Violet has finally received her wish to be back in the House of the Lord, worshiping now with all the saints and angels in the heavenly bliss of the Church Triumphant.   

O God of grace and mercy, we give thanks for Your loving-kindness shown to our sister, Violet, and to all Your servants who, having finished their course in faith, now rest from their labors.  Grant that we also may be faithful unto death and receive the crown of eternal life.  Be with Violet's family in their time of sorrow.  Let comfort and peace reside with those family members who know Your Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, reminding them that a joyful reunion awaits them in heaven, and bring those who do not believe to saving faith in Christ, that they, too, may experience that same comfort and peace; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

+ Rest eternal grant Violet, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her!  Amen. +          

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Holy Baptism of Abigail Marie Brown

Almighty and most merciful God and Father, we thank and praise You that You graciously preserve and enlarge Your family and have granted Abigail the new birth in Holy Baptism and made her a member of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and an heir of Your heavenly kingdom.  We humbly implore You that, as she has now become Your child, You would keep her in her baptismal grace, that according to Your good pleasure she may faithfully grow to lead a godly life to the praise and honor of Your holy name and finally, with all Your saints, obtain the promised inheritance in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

So looking forward to . . .

Divine Service this morning, during which we will observe the Festival of St. Michael and All Angels and also witness the miraculous work of our Lord, as He washes the sins away from Abigail, gifts her with the Holy Spirit and faith, dons her in the beautiful white robe of His holiness and righteousness, and tells the devil to scram, claiming this beloved child as His own in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  What a powerful object lesson to behold as we listen to our Lord tell us in the Holy Gospel (Matt. 18:1-11):  "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me.  Amen.

Unbelievably Powerful Testimony!

Was pointed to this on facebook.  Wow!  Would that we Christians all had such courageous faith! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Congrats Melissa and Jeremy!

Drove down to Monroe this afternoon to attend the wedding of now Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy and Melissa Mcdonald (Melissa is Lisa's niece, which makes her my niece-in-law:).  It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful Lutheran church (Zion Lutheran, Monroe - WELS).  The happy couple begin their life together in the Name, and with the blessing, of our Triune God.  Always a good way to start!  Very nice looking bridal party and a gorgeous bride - and lots of smiling faces.  Oh, and very good food at the reception. :)

The only downer was that, on our drive down, Aaron and I hit Ann Arbor at the time when everyone was leaving the Michigan game and merging onto I-94.  For a good half hour, we were surrounded by Michigan fans on every side - it was pure torture, I assure you!  We both fervently prayed, "Good Lord, deliver us!" :)  

Almighty, everlasting God, our heavenly Father, grant that by Your blessing Melissa and Jeremy may live together according to Your Word and promise.  Strengthen them in faithfulness and love toward each other.  Sustain and defend them in every trial and temptation.  Help them to live in faith toward You, in the communion of Your holy Church, and in loving service to each other that they may ever enjoy Your heavenly blessing; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. 

Some pics (taken by my Iphone, so not the greatest quality):

Grandma Kull, escorted by Josh, followed by Grandpa Kull
Juanita - Mother of the Bride

Here Comes the Bride!
Bride's Maids (Kelsey, our daughter, is second from the left)
"I do"
Lighting of the Unity Candle
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Mcdonald!
Kelsey and Josh
Congratulatory Bubbles!
The happy couple with Melissa's parents and siblings
One of many times the newlyweds were prompted to kiss by my wife clanging on her glass! :)
Best Man's Toast
Amanda, Maid of Honor and sister, shares a few words

Friday, September 24, 2010

Peace Movie Night

We reconvened our monthly Peace Movie Night this evening and we ended watching Darwin's Darkest Hour, which is a docu-drama exploring the life of Charles Darwin, starring Henry Ian Cusick and Frances O'Connor.  I brought a selection of movies about Biblical characters, but the group opted for Darwin instead (told you guys I was gonna put that on my blog! :).  Seriously, it was actually a good choice.  The movie centered around the turmoil Darwin faced in his family and professional life just before he had his most famous work, "On the Origin of the Species," published.  That turmoil was brought on by the fact that a rival scientist was on the brink of beating Darwin to the punch in publishing the theories and ideas that Darwin had been developing for decades, and also by the fact that he had two sick children at home, a daughter who pulls through her illness and a son who ends up succumbing to scarlet fever.  Oh, and also the fact that his wife, Emma, is a believer of sorts (National Geographic advertises her as a Christian, but she's a Unitarian - big difference).

As with anything that comes from National Geographic, one must take this little project with a big grain of salt.  You don't exactly get the whole story here, and certainly Darwin is depicted in the best light possible.  But, the acting is good and the story is presented in an enjoyable fashion.  One thing I did find a bit odd was how they had Charles explaining to his wife of nearly twenty years in vivid detail how he had developed his theory, which takes up the majority of the movie and is filled with many flashbacks.  I mean, she's his wife.  She knows the story.  But, I suppose they had to find a way to tell the story to the audience and, odd as that was, it was saved by the good acting, imho.

The best part about the evening was the wonderful discussion we had after the movie about Creation vs. Evolution, etc.  The best movie night discussion we have had in a long while!  So, as I said above, it was a good choice made by the group to watch this flick.

Fun evening, for sure - thanks to all who came out!       

The Method Is Umm . . .

(Psst: Hey Wednesday night Christian History class, does any of this sound familiar?)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

These Are Great!

Issues, Etc. is running a contest right now looking for the best invitation to become a fan of Issues, Etc. on Facebook.  Here are a couple of video invites put together by the very talented Brian Yamabe:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Pics of Trixie's Kitchen

Got the island faucet and garbage disposal installed tonight.  As I suspected, it was loads of fun working in that tiny area.  But, now I can finally say that every thing that will function in the kitchen is now functioning.  A few odds and ends left to wrap up, but the kitchen is officially open for business.  I'm thinking someone should be planning a dinner party sometime soon (hint, hint ;). 

Crammed all that stuff in there - pshew!

A pic showing the new lighting for the kitchen (all in all, nine new can lights were installed)

Here's one up close :)

Greek 2sday - "Dead Man Rising"

Pr. Fisk on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

Pr. Weedon on LSB 941

You can listen below to a wonderful review by Pr. Weedon of "We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God" (Pr. Steve Starke's marvelous hymnic paraphrase of the Te Deum) aired on Issues, Etc. yesterday.  This hymn has become a favorite in our congregation.  In fact, I think it is safe to say that of all the new hymns in LSB, this one is the favorite of favorites.  One of the things Pr. Weedon highlights is the fact that this hymn can be used in a variety of locations within the liturgy.  This is most certainly true.  We have used it as the Opening/Processional Hymn (just did that again this past Sunday), in place of the Hymn of Praise, as the Hymn of the Day, as a Distribution Hymn, as the Post-Communion Canticle, and as the Closing/Recessional Hymn.  No matter where we have sung it in the liturgy, it works well.  Of course, that's because the people love to sing it so much. :)  And, I was glad to hear Pr. Wilken ask Pr. Weedon about the tune being pagan in origin, since I know a few brothers who are not big fans of this hymn for that reason.  But, Pr. Weedon hits the nail on the head with his response, mentioning, in his enthusiastic way, how wonderful it is for the Church to steal this tune away from the pagans and use it to address the True King of all creation.  Exactly!  Besides, the whole "this tune is a pagan tune and I won't use it argument" fails to recognize that the vast majority of people have zero association with that old pagan song set to this tune, and it has indeed become a tune now owned by Christ's Church.  It is one of those tunes that has already become, and will remain, a lasting part of the Church's unending praise to her Triune God.  Call me a sap, if you will, but I am overcome with goosebumps every time we sing this hymn (and we do so multiple times throughout the year), especially when our organist drops out during the third stanza (which has become a custom for our singing of this hymn).  Our people belt this one out and I'm completely convinced that my grandchildren's grandchildren's grandchildren will be belting it out in the future (provided our Lord doesn't return before then, of course).

Anyway, enough rambling.  Here's the review:

IE Sermon Review . . .

of Archbishop Obare's sermon at the Installation of LCMS President Matthew Harrison and Other Officers.  So glad to hear that Issues, Etc. will be bringing back sermon reviews on a regular basis, and there could be no better way to reintroduce this beloved feature of the show than to review the excellent sermon preached by Archbishop Obare, to which you can (and most definitely should) listen here:

Almost there!

The counters for Trixie's kitchen arrived yesterday, and they look really nice in her brand new kitchen, which finally actually looks like a kitchen again.  Chris and I installed the new faucet, plumbing, garbage disposal, and dishwasher last night, as well as the new gas cook top.  The only thing left to do is the faucet and garbage disposal for the island sink, finish around the island with toe-kick molding (on order), and paint the ceiling, having replaced the two big fluorescent fixtures with several can lights.

A few pics of the almost-finished kitchen:

 New gas cook top

So, that's what a kitchen sink looks like! :)

A new faucet was purchased this morning and will be installed this afternoon (I am soooooo looking forward to working in this insanely tiny area - should be LOTS of fun! :)

This stuff, along with a huge garbage disposal, needs to go underneath that island sink - hope I can figure out where everything goes; definitely iffy, at best. :)

New dishwasher - and, hey, it works! :)


Voila! (part deux)

Trixie washing her hands for the first time in her new sink

Beautiful Abby supervised the work done last night :)