The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
Wednesdays Romans 1-5 in Greek

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wisconsin Lutheran College Firing Professors

I thought Wisconsin Lutheran College was dripping money from the Schwan Foundation, but it managed to run into a budget shortfall and will can a few professors.

Milwaukee Journal

The Arizona public universities are suffering from enormous cutbacks. Since they subsidize students, ASU will be turning away students.

For-profit schools seem to be doing well. The two where I work have growing enrollments. One of my friends looked around at a meeting and said, "No one is teaching 20 classes a year here!" He was talking about maxing out the teaching load (five-week classes). I knew someone. Those who wanted more classes were told, "Qualify to teach more subjects." Most wanted to teach their favorite classes alone. One said, "Back to algebra?"

DeVry University is not doing well. It was once a giant with 50,000 students. UoP has around 300,000 students and the National Conference champions playing at its stadium.

No one knows exactly where the economy will hit bottom. The Wizard of Omaha, Warren Buffet, the world's greatest investor, has seen his stock price drop 50% from its high in 2007. That is just about where everyone else far. Billionaires Buffet, Oprah, Murdoch, and Soros were all for Obamessiah. Now they have their wishes.

One reader says he is buying gold and silver. I am more inclined to repeat what the gremlin said in the movie named after them, "I am putting all my money in shotguns and canned goods."

Radio Legend Paul Harvey, 90,
Died Today in Phoenix

Paul Harvey, eternally youthful,
received an award from President Bush.

When I was a child, no one talked when Paul Harvey came on the radio. It was a capital offense. Decade after decade, I would wonder, "Is he stil broadcasting?"

Mrs. Ichabod said, upon hearing the news, "And that's the rest of the story."

Paul Harvey managed to make that simple sentence famous and immediately identified with his work. He was consistently patriotic and upbeat, a quality rare in today's broadcasters.

In the News:

He based himself in Chicago, flew aboard his Lear jet to give corporate speeches and commuted by limo each day from his 27-room home in suburban River Forest, Ill., to his 16th floor studio above a street sign that reads Paul Harvey Drive.

When Harvey was 81 in 2000, his sole employer for all those years, ABC Radio Networks, signed him to a 10-year, $100 million contract. Rivals who had lost in the bidding told him they'd be back in 2010.

Harvey's ability to sell products in advertisements, via spots that read and which flowed seamlessly from his news stories, were legendary. He is considered the greatest radio salesman of all time and sponsors — only one in 15 were accepted — were required to sign on for at least a year.

"I can't look down on the commercial sponsors of these broadcasts," he told CBS in 1988. "Too often they have very, very important messages to put across. Without advertising in this country, my goodness, we'd still be in this country what Russia mostly still is: a nation of bearded cyclists with b.o."

The idea of retirement never occured to either Harvey or his wife, Angel, whom he married in 1940 and who was his producing partner throughout his career.

"I've got an old country boy's philosophy," he told The Chicago Tribune in a 2002 interview. "When the car's running, you don't look inside the carburator. Just keep rolling."

He got his start in radio in high school in Tulsa at age 14 when a speech teacher was so impressed with his voice that she took him to a local radio station, KVOO-AM and told the program director that Harvey belonegd on radio.

He began reading news, making announcements — and sweeping floors — and a year later began getting paid."It is impossible in print to capture the rhythm and flow of his delivery, a series of pauases, dramatic and playful inflections that combine to create somethng like a piece of perfomance art, a verbal telegraph," writer Rock Kogan wrote in his Tribune profile.

"Page Two."

The Only Product John Deere Would Not Stand Behind!

You city-slicker, Fuller-attending liberals need to know -
that is a John Deere Manure Spreader.

WELS Popcorn Cathedral Training

Lutherans say, "The old man never goes away."

How did Ski get trained to develop his Popcorn Cathedral?

I added this link to the Church and Chicanery links on the left.

Let me know when Ski finally erases his blog. Maybe never. The Church and Chicaneries will back him to the hilt because he is the new Kelm.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WELS Popcorn Cathedral Training":

There is just no question from that link that Ski loves a false teacher, Andy Stanley. He loves his teaching, loves his worship, loves the fact that Stanley despises the proper role of the means of grace.

How can WELS stay in fellowship with someone who openly and proudly worships in a Baptisit congregation? What happened to my synod???


GJ - How can they discipline Ski for echoing Church Growth gurus of the past?

  1. Ron Roth started TELL to promote the Church Growth Movement in WELS, followed by Bob Hartman and Paul Kelm editing it.
  2. Reuel Schulz praised C. Peter Wagner, and Pentecostal Baptist, after studying with him at Fuller.
  3. Paul Kelm consistently taught Reformed doctrine in WELS.
  4. Valleskey gushed over Church Growth in the magazine, the classroom, and his dreadful We Believe, Therefore We Speak.
  5. Norm Berg, Joel Gerlach, and many others trained at Fuller - not just Valleskey, Bivens, Huebner, and Olson (DMin).
  6. WELS paid mission pastors to be trained at Willow Creek.
  7. WELS started Lutheran Parish Resources in Columbus, to promote the Church Growth Movement.
  8. Wayne Mueller promoted CG at the seminary at The Love Shack while denying there was any CG in in the sect.

So where does one start?

Walther's Law and Gospel Online

Walther is the ruling norm for Bronze Age Lutherans.

Walther's Law and Gospel lectures are now online. The title looks funny in the browser because there is an extra ">" in the code under title. Yes, I proof-read HTML too, so beware.

I would like to thank the people involved in the effort, because it makes reading, quoting, and citing so much easier.

The lectures are an English translation of a German transcription of his lectures. However, they are doubtless faithful to his original thought and meaning.

Many of the French Protestants (Huguenots) fled to Prussia during the persecutions in France. My father's mother's family came to America. The Huguenots were Reformed, but they were not given their own churches in Prussia. The Lutherans were supposed to convert them, but they converted the Lutherans. The Prussian Union, which Walther and Bishop Stephan fled, was a compromise where Lutherans gave up the efficacy of the Word - just like today in the Lutheran Church. Only today, the district presidents and bishops have the sword, instead of the magistrates.

Walther's Christian faith was Pietistic in origin. He could never bring himself to criticize Spener in his publications.

The peculiar double-justification, formulated by Walther and Pieper, came from Halle Pietism. The subjective-objective language was circulating widely in America in the Christian Dogmatics of Knapp (Halle University), which was published in German and translated into English. The book was used extensively by all denominations from the 1830s to the 1890s. Knapp begat Tholuck, theologically, and Tholuck taught Hoenecke at Halle University.

Synodical Conference Lutherans think church history began in 1841 with Walther and his Altenburg Theses. Here are the periods of church history in the LCMS:
1. Jesus.
2. C. F. W. Walther.
3. Jack and Robert Preus.

Walther made many positive contributions to the Missouri Synod, but he definitely took over the personality cult which Bishop Stephan began. The Missouri Synod was happy to make Walther into an idol. I even have a tiny C. F. W. Walther statue, which I got from Herman Otten in New Haven.

Many people think that anyone who questions Walther or Pieper is an automatic heretic. That attitude is idolatrous, dangerous, and sad to behold.


L P has left a new comment on your post "Walther's Law and Gospel Online":

Pr. GJ,

Many people think that anyone who questions Walther or Pieper is an automatic heretic. That attitude is idolatrous, dangerous, and sad to behold.

Absolutely correct, Pastor! It is also fanaticism, is it not? and shame on them!

Whereas Walther said some helpful things in his book, my readings suggest that he is also responsible for a type of Lutheran Fundamentalism wherein critical thinking is abhorred.



GJ - Perhaps we should blame those who came after Walther and made Missouri Walther-centric. Cascione and others seem to think I should burn incense in front of my Walther statue, like Queequeg and his idol in Moby Dick.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Question from a Reader

Eagle, by Norma Boeckler

Hi Professor Jackson,

Thanks again for the link to Ski's AWESOME Drive '08 Blog. He ROCKS! (please read with sarcasm)

So, I was wondering if you'd do an analysis of the following paragraph:

“Sanctification is a moral change which God works in every Christian. The Holy Spirit, working through the means of grace, produces an inner change in the hearts and minds of believers. As a result they do good works which glorify God. Christians cooperate with God in their sanctification. Sanctification, however, unlike justification, will never be complete in this lifetime. It is an ongoing process in which we become more like Christ. Sanctification and good works are not a cause of our justification, that is, they contribute nothing to our obtaining of forgiveness of sins. Christian living is not a part of justification. Our sanctification is a result of our justification. The forgiveness of sins which we have received in justification motivates us to show our love for God through Christian living. (Romans 6)”
John F. Brug from his essay “The Lutheran Doctrine of Sanctification and Its Rivals” (underlined section is my emphasis)
From the WLS essayfile

I've been puzzling over the WELS view of sanctification. I think Brug's paper, particularly the line, “cooperate with God..." stinks.

I'd be curious to read a commentary on this. Thanks.


GJ - Sanctification does continue throughout the life of the Christian, as the Gospel leavens the Christian's life (Luther's Large Catechism). Brug is correct about the believer cooperating with God, which is what Paul says in Corinthians, "working together with Him." We do not cooperate in our conversion. In other words, becoming a believer is very easy - ask any baby who is baptiszed (pace Stetzer). Staying a believer is difficult.God provides the Gospel and the preachers to proclaim the saving message. When the Gospel is persecuted by church leaders, as it in the Lutheran Church today, God still provides for the faithful.

The comment about justification being complete is probably a nod to Universal Objective Justification, a hallmark of Halle Pietism.

I contend that UOJ is the rot on which the Church Growth Movement has grown in the Lutheran Church. UOJ is Enthusiasm, so exchanging one form of Enthusiasm for another is not a difficult maneuver.

The WELS leaders who love UOJ do nothing about Church and Change. Small wonder.

When I expressed disappointment to Brug that Valleskey was doing the Church Growth analysis, when we expected Brug, for the Ohio Conference, he went over and told Valleskey immediately afterwards. How do I know? Valleskey made a point of telling me that at the Ohio Conference, he tried tried to prove we can gather figs from thistles, or--as he put it--spoil the Egyptians.

Desparately Seeking Borgwardt

There is no gratitude evidenced in the thanks given below.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Church and Chicaneries Yelping in Pain":

I am sitting in an airport on my way to Chicago looking for a church to go to this Sunday. After reading the many articles on your site I have chosen Crossroads with Pastor Borgwardt. Thanks for your help.

The Traveler


GJ - One WELS observer said today that the sect is probably beyond hope now. Nothing was done for the last 20 years: now the weed growth is deep and rapant.

Remember when WELS pastors used to talk about Missouri turning liberal at the headquarters and seminary? When it was happening around their WELSian eyes, no one noticed. Mequon is dominated by Growthers who are miffed that Mark Jeske is lecturing at a Missouri college (the Concordia, Mequon place WELS refused to buy). WELS has been working with ELCA and Missouri for decades, and they still do. I imagine half of The Sausage Factory faculty trained at a Schwaermer school. Most of the staff at The Love Shack did. The WELS initials are carved in the catalogue of Trinity Divinity School in Deerfield. How do you supposed that happened?

The only false teachers ever nixed by WELS were Werning and Hunter - probably because they were LCMS, not because they were worse than Leonard Sweet, Martin Marty, Ed Stetzer, and the homosexual Archbishop Weakland.

I could list the names of WELS and ELS pastors who muted themselves the moment I pointed out how obvious the Fuller/ELCA influence was, starting around 20 years ago. Some of them were vocal in private but on the opposite side in public.

Needless to say, the Mission Counselors and Parish Consultants have been dedicated to installing the Fuller/Willow Creek model everywhere while getting rid of any and all critics, including laymen.

The same things are happening in Missouri right now. The difference is that LCMS President Kieschnick has I Luv Fuller tatooed on his right deltoid. SP Schroeder does not.

The only comical thing about this mess comes from the string of denials about it happening. David Valleskey and pal Forrest Bivens never went to Fuller, but both bragged about studying there. Larry Olson had a friend deny his Fuller study in Christian News. Later Olson admitted he did have a drive-by DMin from Fuller. So it wasn't the Rose Bowl he attended, but Fuller? He almost had me Foolered. Hosts of WELS leaders like Wally Oelhaven, Fred Adrian, Joel Gerlach, and Norm Berg admitted going to Fuller while being outraged that anyone criticized their Alma Mater. Wayne Mueller said there was no Church Growth in WELS while The Love Shack bragged that TELL was started to promote the Church Growth Movement.

WELS started Church and Change with the offerings of their own members. That is like Israel sponsoring a Nazi party in Jerusalem.

Ask yourselves why it is that Church and Change congregations have women pastors already. When Mequon officially finally studies the matter, as they did with Church Growth, they will approve what is already established.

Church and Change goes on. They have obnoxiously undermined SP Schroeder every chance they could get. By all accounts a bunch of them should be fired for insubordination. They were appointed to serve, not to rule. The budget meltdown may do unto them what they have done unto others. If they push out SP Schroeder as planned, WELS is finished.

Issues in WELS - gone. No website. That was one, big fight, fellas. Round One and hit the canvas. Down for the long count. Erase the evidence. To have some fun, I asked Ski and some Latter Day Saints (newborn CG critics) about being friends on Facebook. Stetzer responded yes right away. But WELS pastors like Ski said no. And newly hatched CG critics also said no.

Here is Ski bragging about his pilgrimage to see Andy Stanley, with other WELS pastors like Parlow:


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Anonymous Does Not Get It":

You guys take yourselves WAY too serious (sic)...but then its (sic) OK for all of you to belittle, mock and be snide. Double standard. Go take your midol now.

Welcome Freddy

Freddy Finkelstein is an official follower now. Welcome, Freddy. You are known for your good comments.

Readers - you may find some good blogs by looking up the blogs followed by the followers. Does that follow?

Ichabod Dangerous to Readers' Health

The Heimlich Maneuver, demonstrated by ELCA volunteers.

A reader wrote:

I nearly choked on a piece of oat-bran-blackberry bread while reading Ichabod today!


GJ - I highly recommend the Heimlich Maneuver, although one should pick the helper with care. If no one is present, it is possible to heave against a chair and dislodge the impediment.

ELS Church and Change Flagship

Big screen, big church.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "To Use a Favorite Ski Phrase, This Nazarene "Gets ...":

Don't forget that the ELS has it's own little gem under Nathan Krause.
Mankato is so impressed that it sends vicars his way to insure the infection is spread. Keep your eye on a MN flagship.



GJ - Don't tell the Board of Doctrine. They only spot error in WELS.

Church and Chicanery PR Campaign?
Or, Smoke and Mirrors?

Up to my neck in emails. Responding to all the positive feedback for what we are doing in A-Town.
43 minutes ago from web

Emails done. Sermon work done. Drive way shoveled (no thanks to Mr. Snow Plow man) and now me & Jack are watching a little Spring Training
5 minutes ago from web

[GJ - Mrs. Ichabod says y'all can copy sermons from this blog instead of Craig Groeschel's. All of our sermons are tagged. Caution: we observe Lent.]

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Proverbs 26:4
3 minutes ago from TweetDeck

make the most of your twitter experience check out 7 Habits of Highly Effective Twitterers: Kris Colvin!
15 minutes ago from web

thompsonworld @kstrandlund absolutely awesome website!
6:02 PM Feb 22nd from web in reply to kstrandlund


GJ - Have you tried their popcorn?

Anonymous Does Not Get It

Word and Sacrament, by Norma Boeckler

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "First Lawrenz and Patterson - Now Lampe":

Where does it say in the Bible that we must observe a Lenten season in church?


GJ - Lent is a season where the message of the cross is emphasized even more than the rest of the church year. The Church and Chicaneries like to mention Jesus all the time, but they shun the cross. How can they have their market-focused happy-chapel whoopee-worship when they talk about Lent?

Joe Krohn the Rocker, the C and C loyalist, misses Lent at his Patterson-blessed, foundation-subsidized Rock and Roll Stealth Church. Wake up and smell the coffee, you Latte Lutherans.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Anonymous Does Not Get It":

How would you know Krohn's church doesn't focus on the cross? Have you ever been there?

You didn't answer the question either. I know what Lent is. Where does it say it is required in the Bible?


GJ - I know Krohn's pastor cannot think up his own sermons and texts, like Ski, and copies them from the Internet. Doebler even copies the graphics.

This Mouse is so smart he knows Lent is not mentioned in the Bible. Pagan worship is.

First Lawrenz and Patterson - Now Lampe

"Brian Arthur Lampe delivers a one-two punch to the devil and his schemes with his high powered, enthusiastic, energetic life-applying Biblical motivational speaking. We are on a quest for authentic God. By including Brian Arthur Lampe, you will have more than just a rally or a Bible study. You and your congregation will be providing men, women, and youth with an encouraging process that teaches them how to live lives of authentic Christianity as modeled by Jesus Christ and directed by the Word of God."

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Brian Lampe
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 5:25:17 AM
Subject: [church_and_change] Pure love for Jesus

Dear C & C Brothers and Sisters,

Please understand that my comments are purely out of Christian love and that I want to insure that my daughter who is 4 years old now has WELS church that will be able to reach and apply God’s Word to her when she gets into her teens and college age.

I personally witnessed my Father coming home from council meetings almost monthly upset and telling me how “yelling” and “arguing” would take place in the basement of the church. Who knew what the topics were, but every month with the fighting?

I agree that talking about issues is healthy, and I don’t want to see traditional worship disappear. However, I would like choices but for those of us who are unable to worship our God with all heart, soul, and mind because they are held hostage by the refusal of being open minded to new ideas.

I clicked and pasted this from our WELS web-site;

Read John 8:31,32.

3. What does it mean to be “set free” in the area of worship forms?

We are free to choose the best forms to present Jesus’ teaching, the truth that sets us free.

5. How do you keep from studying the Scriptures and coming to false conclusions?

Keep Jesus as the center of everything you study.

Shouldn’t that be enough?

Keeping Jesus at the center of everything we study?

I get some of the contemporary music is unhealthy, and I actually love most of the hymns but not with organ. I have been introduced to KOINE from St Marcus and it’s amazing what they can do with hymn.

In closing my goal isn’t to change the way churches currently perform worship, I am just wanting to open up new churches that are outside of the outside of the box idea. is a great ministry. I would encourage you to e-mail Pastor Ski who’s (sic) church isn’t even open yet, and no members. Ask him how much love he has experienced from his fellow brothers as they begin to launch into new un charted territories.

God Bless
Brian Arthur Lampe
CEO-ministries. com


GJ - I asked Ski to be a friend on Facebook, but he turned around and complained about me--behind my back--on Twitter. (Eighth Commandment!) Now Ski is whining to Lampe about WELS pastors trying get him on the right track. That sounds so much like his mentor Paul Kelm, who pouted and fumed when his fellow pastors begged him not to invite Leonard Sweet to the C and C conference. Kelm refused to answer and went ahead with his plans.

Joe Krohn has blogged that his Rock and Roll Church has taken away Lent. His church also takes sermon titles, texts, and graphics from false teachers.

KJV Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

NKJ Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all.

To Use a Favorite Ski Phrase, This Nazarene "Gets It"

Hybels, and Stanley, and Rick, Oh My!

Hybels, and Stanley, and Rick, Oh My!

Hybels, and Stanley, and Rick, Oh My!

Is Your Nazarene Church a Member of Willow Creek?

February 26, 2009 by exnazarene

A few years ago at lunch, a friend of mine and I, were relating our concerns for our different churches. It seemed we were both hearing the same things from the pulpits, though, her church sermons were ahead of what I was hearing by about six months.

We compared notes and found that we were both hearing the same packaged sermons, or packaged ideas of the 5 Signs of a Healthy Church….and Where Did the Church Measure Up on the five “healthy” signs.

This sermon series was clearly being presented to begin to shift the congregation and church into a ’seeker-sensitive’, market-driven mode. After my church finished with this series, the pastor, still riding the same wave, presented some canned sermons from an Andy Stanley series called The Foyer Environments. This went on for weeks as well. This was eventually followed with sermons on changing our focus to being on a journey with God and others. The term Sunday School was changed to Journey Groups. We were becoming “relevant” to the outside world. This was followed with the Nazarene Publishing House’s small group study of The Quest, by Frank Moore. (The Quest is a 40 day study patterned after Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose.) Our next emphasis was small groups.

Back to my friend: She began confronting the leadership in her church on the topics and actually found several sermons from an online source that the pastor presented as his own. Eventually, she and her family left after seeing the slide into the Warren/Hybels seeker-sensitive, market-driven phenomena.

Our family left our church as well, only after trying for over 18 months to point out to the leadership that the Rick Warren/Bill Hybels/Andy Stanley strategy for growing a church was not the Biblical way to grow a church, or bring the people of the church into a mature faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17 (Emergent influences were beginning to enter in as well and overlap with the seeker format. The Youth Group was having Rob Bell’s Nooma videos shown to them.)

It is so sad to see pastors run after the enticement of these mega-church deals at the expense of giving their congregations the solid food from God’s Word. Gone are the days of expository preaching because it is not seeker-friendly and might offend an unbeliever….and besides, it takes lots of time to study God’s Word and exegete out solid teaching and application. The early history of the Nazarene Church states that it was supposed to be a believer’s church.

If you have experienced this at your church, or are experiencing this same pattern at your church, the blame may not be with the universities, but the blame might be found with all the conferences that Saddleback, Willow Creek, and North Pointe Community offer during the year. (I know my pastor and staff were/are fans of Andy Stanley’s Catalyst and Drive Conferences presented annually at North Pointe. They would come back pumped and ready to implement the next market-driven ideas.)

I was astounded to come across a list of Nazarene churches who are listed as members of the Willow Creek Association. It costs $249 a year to be a member, and you get all the sermon outlines, power point slides, music suggestions, etc….along with many other perks. You can check the Membership Benefits at this link:

Here is a list of Nazarene churches (as of this date) that are members of Willow Creek...


GJ - This ex-Nazarene layman is smarter than a bunch of Lutherans--Missouri, WELS, ELS, CLC, and ELCA--who have stampeded like Gadarene swine off the cliff. The Barry/McCain administration of Missouri did nothing about the Willow Creek Association LCMS church near the Purple Palace. St. John in Ellisville is weirder than ever.

St. Mark in Depere, Wisconsin is WELS/Willow Creek. Tom Trapp's WELS church joined and trained the whole staff (big discounts!).

As you must know by now, Ski's training for The CORE is Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. Ski's sermon titles and texts are Groeschel's too.

KJV Mark 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Does Ski Work?

Does the books, does the lease papers, answers the emails, etc.
All on Twitter.

Goes to the gym, eats lunch with the DP, watches the game with Glende.

Craig Groeschel writes Ski's sermons for him, borrowing from Andy Stanley when necessary. That's OK, because Ski loves Brother Stanley.

Tim Is On a Roll

Tim Vents the Truth,
but spelling does not count among Church and Chicaneries.
Signs of reading comprehension are approaching zero.

In one specific blurb regarding St. Marcus pastors he clearly knows nothing of the division of labor between the pastors at St. Marcus. His accusations make him look rediculous (sic).


Recently he put out a glowing review of a WELS book written by a Pastor. Yet the same pastor wrote a paper that outlines Objective Justification ...something this quasi-Lutheran pariah decries endlessly. He did note in his review of the book that he wished that the Pastor had not put references to OJ in the book.

Not exactly. I specifically said I disagreed with Deutschlander's one sentence on UOJ. I reviewed his book, not everything Deutschlander has ever written. Tim proves once again that the UOJ Stormtroopers are also the C and C janissaries.

Tim's rant is really a hoot. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a laugh. He does not link Ichabod. He does not use my real name, but calls me Joe McCarthy while alluding to Area 51.

Like I said, the Church and Chicaneries do not discuss their perfidious doctrine. They simply employ the Sisera treatment with anyone who dares to question them.

This will help you think more clearly, you dirty rotten Church Growth critic.

Rock and Roller Pines for Lent at WELS Church and Chicanery Mission

An Apology for a Rock and Roll Lutheran Church

Since we don't follow a traditional church format at Christ the Rock, we don't follow the church year either. Hopefully one of these years we will do that. After being away from it a few years now, I miss it. I think it could be done very cleverly; quasi-traditional while remaining relevant.

For all of you contemporary worshipping churches that are following the church year and observing Lent, I will live vicariously through you and post suggestions of arrangements you can use. Many of these we have used in other message settings at CTR. More to follow as the season progresses.

Joe Krohn


GJ - I am one of two followers of the blog above. Tim Felt-needs is the other.

Hey Joe, after all the complaining, you want what we still offer. We had an Ash Wednesday service. We will have mid-week Lenten services throughout Lent. We still use the Latin names for the Lenten Sundays.

After everything is called adiaphora and tossed out, some people start to wonder if the purge was worthwhile.


JR has left a new comment on your post "Rock and Roller Pines for Lent at WELS Church and ...":

I don't get it. Is nothing done at a traditional church worth emulating at a cool, hip church-ette? Or must everything be changed simply for the sake of change?

Is Easter celebrated at CTR? Or is the idea of our Savior rising from the dead and leaving the tomb empty just too old and stuffy?

I guess as long as everyone feels good, who cares?


GJ - Church and Chicanery is the spirit of apostasy. Many think they can walk the tightrope between trendiness and unbelief. However, the energy behind C and C is materialistic, anti-confessional, and anti-Christian. They howl that they alone care for lost souls, but the worst lost souls are their leaders. Ski and his pricey executive assistant both have Mars Hill's Mark Driscoll (Mickey Mouse shirt) on their Twitter list.

Pure C and C Gold from John Lawrenz,
Says Kudu Don Patterson

John Lawrenz a Church and Change booster? Who woulda thought?

From: John C Lawrenz
To: church_and_change@ yahoogroups. com
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 4:49:08 PM
Subject: [church_and_ change] Can't we just get along???

Dear C&C,

Let me quote a visiting professor to Asia Lutheran Seminary on the underside of the China where 1/4th of humanity lives, many without Christ. Upon leaving a very successful three and a half months of teaching in a way similar, yet dissimilar, to what we do at Mequon, he said to me, "I had no idea. I had no idea."

What he referred to is that experience and exposure to the huge challenge of sharing Christ with the world is circumscribed by our three score years and ten and the places and people with whom we have had the privilege of ministry. Of course there are many ways, shapes and forms in which the Gospel is shared! Of course.

Snippets of the apostolic witness found in Acts emphasize five things. Jesus of Nazareth was really a man and this Jesus was God's son. Third and fourth, he really died and really rose again! All four in accordance with God's foreknowledge and inspired prophesy. And fifth, the impact is repentance and the forgiveness of sins. About what music (contemporary synagogue or what the kids were humming in Antioch?) we are told little. I suspect that is so that we could follow in the footsteps of the man of Tarsus who said from the bottom of his heart that he would be whatever God asked to be in order that some be saved.

A more contemporary church leader and former president of WELS, Carl Mischke, once closed a WELS convention with words that I will paraphrase from memory, "We must examine everything we say and examine everything that we do so that more are saved."

Grace and peace from Hong Kong, John C. Lawrenz


From: Pastor Patterson
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 7:54:30 PM
Subject: Re: [church_and_change] Can't we just get along???


That was pure gold - thanks.

Kudu Don Patterson and his lay leader have enough bucks
to hunt the man-eating zebra in Africa,
but their congregation needs a synodical grant
so they can have a vicar for free each year.
Kudu Don claims to have some issues with Church and Chicanery.

Yerks for Rock

From: Troy Yerks
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 7:56:45 PM
Subject: Re: [church_and_change] Worship Styles

I guess the concern I had with entertaining aspect is that the 'band' is there to 'rock out' the congregation and 'get them moving.' I used single quotes, because those were exact words from some of our contemporary band members. Not many of the people sing with the group, and they applaud. Now, make sure you understand me. I don't have a problem with clapping in church with the correct motivation. If it seems like a concert, and we're receiving applause during a worship service, I missed the boat! If there is applause at the end of the service and it is understood as giving thanks to God for the talent He has granted us, then I feel comfortable and like I'm not sinning. I feel as if I am sinning getting applause while giving praise to God. All glory should be going to him and not to myself or others that are creating music.

Church and Chicaneries Yelping in Pain

After giving the Sisera treatment to many,
C and C licks its superficial wounds.

Below are words of encouragement were e-mailed to me today by a fellow brother in Christ. I have one question for you before you get encouraged. How many more hours are men and women going to waste arguing about how to deliver the Gospel message to those who are lost and destined for hell? Traditional, contemporary, inside, outside of the box, pastoral, lay lead ministry, focus on the older members, wait and see if the youth come back to church, your (sic) unfit to be involved in ministry, stay away from our members here is a directive from our board etc.......I would love to hear just an ounce of God's thoughts on what He thinks of the WELS "the only denomination that holds to the true teachings of the Bible" and how many hours, day's (sic) and week's (sic) we spend ripping each other and our respective ministries apart as one by one the people who need to be rescued with the truth we brag about holding true to die. Safe ministry? There is no such thing. Ministry is messy, stop worrying about getting dirty and dig in for Christ! What I have learned is that apart from God man can do nothing, and that our minds are hostile towards Him. Isn't ministry supposed to be about God's Kingdom purpose?

Brian Arthur LampeCEO-Ministries .com

Words of Encouragement;
We live in a day when leaders are often driven more by public opinion than what is right. We are each called to live a life based on obedience-based decisions, not public opinion. Living a life of obedience will often go against the tide of public opinion. Jesus lived a life based on a purity of purpose and mission. The Pharisees wanted Him to conform to the rules of religious tradition. The result was He died because He lived to obey an audience of One, not public opinion.Are you challenged to live a life of conviction versus pleasing others? Be true to what God has called you to do no matter the cost.Blessings on your day.

Dennis Rardin
Home: 630-844-3818
Cell: 331-643-2431


GJ - Meanwhile, the Popcorn Cathedral in A-town falls silent as Ski finally stops bragging about all his Schwaermer pals for a few days.

Oh Oh: Tim Felt-Needs
Supports the Stealth WELS Schools

Tim has adopted my nickname for him, so don't get your bass strings in a bunch.

Tim Niedfeldt has left a new comment on your post "A School for Gunn with My Tax Dollars: When Privat...":

Your analysis is woefully inaccurate. You clearly know nothing of the voucher program. The bible AND Catechism are taught just as in any WELS LES. I'd suggest you avoid such spurious claims unless you have actually been involved with the schools named.

The only caveat to being a voucher recipient is that a voucher student is allowed to opt out of religious instruction and events (such as singing in church) if desired. With that caveat noted you should then check all the WELS voucher schools in Milwaukee and see how many students actually take advantage of that option. Of the 4 schools I am knowledgeable about representing 800 voucher students of where approximately only 17% of the students are WELS to begin with, there are exactly 0 (ZERO) students who have opted out.

As to the nature of salvation via the blessed state. Again you are wrong. As unfortunate as it is that anyone would vote for the likes of Oblahma. Probably 99.5 percent of voucher families did. This also includes their local democratic representatives in this depressingly uneducated and liberal town of Milwaukee. These very recipients of the vouchers voted AGAINST their bread and butter.

Vouchers are a Republican program. Democrats hate the voucher program. It takes money away from public schools. It has the taste of capitalism and competitiveness that goes against their socialist ways. It undermines one of the largest contributors to the WI Democratic party...WEAC...the teachers union.

I'd suggest you check the broad brush you paint with before you say that my son is not getting as good or better religious instruction and catechism in a voucher school than they did attending the nice suburban school he used to be in. That's why, although vouchers will never come my way, I'm willing to pay to send my kids to the same schools.

Personally, I believe those WELS schools lacking funding just lack the spirit and proverbial Kahonas it takes to dedicate themselves to the mission of Christian education. The money is there support or not. You just need to want it (the christian education). The problem is that those in the particular struggling WELS schools, which is an indicator of a struggling church, simply don't recognize the value of a Christian education. If that is not first and foremost then who wants to support it well. You may as well send them to the public school where at least they can do pottery and home ec in 7th grade and the computer lab is spiffy. If they don't have the commitment to the cause then they should close down and invest the savings in a good afterschool/extracurricular christian education program to address the religious education of their kids. These are not times for those who are only half-hearted for a mission.

So stop feeling sorry for those poor poor churches and schools who aren't getting their funding. It would sound that we wouldn't want anymore foundation bastard children out there anyways so why complain as to where it goes. You could say these schools are saving the rest of the synod from being dependent on the money ;-)

Just as a financial crisis for this country should jar people back to prudent committed action so will the ensuing crisis in the WELS churches. A good test of the spirit.

Tim Niedfeldt


GJ - I agree about the financial meltdown ultimately helping WELS get back to frugal spending habits and honesty in accounting. I find it odd that Jeske pretends to be successful yet needs a $250,000 grant. And Parlow needs a life-coaching grant for $50,000. I guess that proves he needs a life-coach. As far as I know, life-coaches are people who never do anything except tell people how to be successful. Something like Church and Change leaders.

I just presented some information which was new to me. I am sure that anything Gunn does will have the blessing of the ever-watchful Arizona-Californa-Las Vegas District of WELS.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A School for Gunn with My Tax Dollars: When Privat...":

BC, you are ignorant of some facts. My kids attended parochial schools in AZ. We were able to take advantage of vouchers. GJ knows this because he lives in AZ. Funny he left that out. (re: Eagle Prep)


GJ - What I know about children in Arizona's schools is quite limited, due to my age. What Mouse knows about what I know is even more limited, unless he can read my mind and judge my heart.


From a former WELS member, who knows about this stuff:

The voucher issue has been lurking around for decades. Vouchers are designed to entice what is left of private and Christian schools into the net of government education agenda, for what government funds it also regulates and rightly so, even though channeled through parents. After all, shouldn't there be accountability from government re: money spent? Eventually vouchers become addictive for the private school accepting them, for it is very easy to become accustomed to the revenue stream provided by them.

WELS has always lusted after the almighty government education dollar. Does anyone remember the controversy in the mid 1970's when several families were excommunicated from WELS congregation in suburban Milwaukee, for publicly protesting government grants to Milwaukee Lutheran High School and the media headlines it generated? The doctrinal statement in effect then said WELS does not seek government funding for her schools. OOOPS! The defense was that they didn't "seek" the grants, they were "offered" to them! There was a civil lawsuit eventually filed in Wisconsin by one of the excommunicated families re: church/ state issue.

Confessional Subscription

Herman Otten, responding in CN to my review of Luther's Theology of the Cross, said he agreed with the Brief Statement about UOJ.

I agree with Robert Preus' last book and the Book of Concord.

That was my point before. Those who say they subscribe - quia - to the Book of Concord often place the 1932 Brief Statement above the Book of Concord and the clear meaning of the Scriptures.

We need a new term for those who start and end with the first 50 years of the Synodical Conference. Perhaps that should be a Bronze Subscription to the Book of Concord: in so far as the Confessions agree with Halle Pietism, crypto-Universalism, and justification without faith.

Thrivent Will Give Your Congregation Pennies in Exchange for Your Dollars: God's Great Exchange

From my eyes has left a new comment on your post "Economize During the Second Great Depression of Ob...":

I am concerned with the affiliation between WELS and Thrivent. Growing up in a WELS church everyone seemed to work there (AAL) from church, they sponsored coffee hours, gave out gifts for our confirmation, branch mtgs regularly were announced. Honestly, I thought they were a WELS organization. In high school, I played an instrument with their choir during their Christmas party. They sang religious songs, they prayed together before the meal, not your typical business.

When I turned 18, my parents had me get a life insurance policy (AAL). A few years ago, I actually started to read some of the articles in the magazine they sent. They weren't just about finances and life insurance policies. The articles were written by ELCA pastors as well as others and more devotional than anything.

Our church started to announce that for $10 you can become an associate member if you don't have a policy, and the best news they will match your church offering.
They listed this announcement week after week until you almost felt guilty that you weren't a member.

True, we list other companies in the area that will match money as well if you happen to work for them. But do we say, if you are looking for a job check with these companies first because we need the money or do we hold job fairs for them, of course not.

True we are members (not the associate) because we are paying for a service. Just like non-WELS buy from NPH or WELS purchases materials from LCMS or Evangelicals, Baptists.

But should they invite Thrivent to speak about membership and matching donations at the end of church. Should we not at least "warn" prospects that not all materials that come free with membership are in agreement with the teachings of our church.

Should we use the money for budget purposes? Did not the WELS issue in its resolution statement about receiving funds from AAL specifically advise not to use the donations for the budget.

Do we turn a blind-eye to the fact that Thrivent matched the Salvation Army kettle donations, and they support ELCA efforts.

Is it ok because we have our own "branch" that are all members from our church. We don't approve of the LCMS having scouting troops in their church even thought they are all members of the same faith.

Doesn't Thrivent sometimes act like they are a church, encouraging fellowship between churches or their employees, without doctrinal agreement? Isn't it too easy to turn our eyes away and respond that since they do not have any official doctrine we don't have any ground to stand up and discourage membership.(Oh wait---but what about all that money they give us?)

How To Adulterate the Worship Service:
WELS, Of Course

No, not adulterating. We are blending, blending.

Worship Ideas You Can Use
Messiah - WELS in South Windsor, Connecticut -

The pastor Tom Mielke referred to at Messiah is no longer there. He has been at St Matthew (WELS) in A-town since December.

Who is this Keith Getty guy who appears in our new Hymnal Supplement?February 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm · Filed under Music, Worship Music ·Tagged Hymnal, Keith Getty

I’ve written about Keith Getty’s music in the past, particularly those new songs that have been included in our new Hymnal Supplement, most notably “In Christ Alone”. Keith and his wife Kristyn were interviewed recently. You readers just have to read this interview. Copyright laws prohibit me to reproduce it in its entirety so I am including a few excerpts to whet your appetite. You can read the entire interview here:

“If I’ve got non-Christian friends coming to church, I’d far rather give them four verses of comparatively heavy theology with some theological words which explains the gospel, than give them twenty repeated words that could be said about your pet horse or your girlfriend.” - Keith

“It seems to me that if a church splits up over music, that music has become more important than togetherness in itself. Music is merely a servant to the body of believers.” - Keith

“Every generation needs music in its own vernacular.” – Kristyn

“Also, when we write hymns, we deliberately try to tell stories, because people will sing doxological truth and theology within a story ’til they’re blue in the face. Take “In Christ Alone” for instance. A lot of people are moved by the fact that through the verses, Jesus takes on flesh as a helpless babe and ends up on the cross. They’ve sung through half of Romans by the end of the song, but because you’ve taken them through a story rather than just giving them didactic truth, it really communicates to them.” – Keith

“As we write, we’re also aware of where a song would fit in the service. That has led us write things like “The Communion Hymn” and “Speak, O Lord,” which is like the old hymns of illumination that could be used immediately before or after a sermon.” - Kristyn

“We often cite “Be Thou My Vision” as an example. The lyrics date to around the sixth century, but it’s still being sung. And you’ve heard it with a big rock band, and you’ve heard it just voices and nothing else. It’s incredible what you can do with that folk melody. That’s a great example of how a song continues to be relevant. It’s not bound by any generation or style. “ - Keith

“On paper, the pastor and musician are a great partnership, because one has a bent towards theology and message, and the other is creative and has a bent towards the arts. When the two work well together, like the Wesley brothers or Cliff Barrows and Billy Graham, it’s a one plus one equals three.” – Keith

“Our primary motivation is the need for twenty-first century hymnody that articulates the truths of the faith and builds up the young, vibrant, and increasingly persecuted church worldwide.” - Keith

How to Start a Blended Worship Service Program at Your ChurchFebruary 21, 2009 at 9:05 pm · Filed under Blended Worship, Worship, Worship Tools, contemporary christian music ·Tagged Blended Worship

How to Start a Blended Worship Service Program at Your Church

Note - You can download a copy of this file in my “file download area” (right column, grey box at the bottom)

At our church, we used to do only Traditional, Liturgical, Lutheran Worship. We used the various liturgies included in the hymnal, but we never varied from the organ-based accompaniment and the singing of hymns. And by the way, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Two or three years ago, we hired WELS Parish Assistance to evaluate our worship practices and to assess the needs of our local community. Included in their recommendations was a suggestion to consider using more contemporary music in worship. We were a bit bewildered with this idea and only knew of one contemporary artist and one or two songs; i.e. Amy Grant. Being a guitarist and a servant at heart, I volunteered to spearhead the effort. I still remember our Pastor at the time (Tom Mielke) sitting down with me and telling me that there was more to contemporary music than “Amy Grant.” Of course he was right, but neither of us knew where to turn. I started out by buying compilation CDs (WOW Worship for example) and building up a personal music library. I cannot overemphasize the importance of listening to a lot of music and paying attention to lyrics. Following is a chronological list of what we did; along with some other suggestions should you want to consider trying this yourself. The italicized paragraphs are personal reflections that I have experienced in our journey down this road.

The first thing you will need is someone who is passionate about contemporary Christian music (CCM). And this does not have to be a pre-existing character trait, as it wasn’t with us. You simply need someone who is open minded, enjoys music and is willing to really get into it. It would be helpful if this person is also a musician but it isn’t required. This person will become the driving force behind your blended service initiatives and will ultimately work closely with the Pastor. This person needs to be solid in their faith, have a heart for God and leadership qualities. Pastors, pray whole heartedly for help in finding this person. It’s critical to your success.

If possible, attend a blended service at a nearby sister congregation and talk to their leaders. Go to lectures and seminars if they are available in your area and run by our Synod.

Try a sample service. Keep it simple at first. Do a traditional service with all of the usual worship elements, including things like organ-backed psalm-of-the-day singing. The only thing different is the substitution of contemporary songs in place of hymns. Do your best to pick songs that go along with the readings and it goes without saying that your Pastor needs to review the lyrics for doctrinal accuracy. Since it’s your first service, most people will be forgiving when it comes to lyrical and thematic adherence to the readings. We actually held our first blended service on the night before Thanksgiving because evening, mid-week worship formats are often more contemporary feeling to begin with. And, Thanksgiving, by nature, is a praise-focused service so it went well. I remember one song was “Father I Adore You” because it was familiar and wasn’t in our hymnal!
For help in evaluating CCM songs, check out “Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials” by LCMS Commission on Worship (ca $5 from CPH item# S05505).

You will need at least a pianist and it helps to also have a guitarist and a few lead singers who can sing contemporary styled music. You will find that singing contemporary style is different than singing hymns. It takes a while to make this transition so be patient.

Be sure to get the music into the hands of the instrumentalists and singers at least a week in advance and plan for some group practice time before the actual worship service as well as encouraging individual practice time at home.
We actually struggled for more than a year with just a guitar, or using MIDI, or asking our organist to plow through the songs on the piano as best they could. The results were satisfactory, but I prayed like mad for more musicians. My prayers were answered; at least in part. A music teacher by trade, pianist and vocalist with a passion for contemporary music was transferred to us from another congregation, the results of a job transfer. Interestingly enough, she had not been using her talents much, because her church hadn’t tried blended worship. It was a blessing to both of us and to our congregation. To God be the glory.

Pick songs that are easy to learn and to sing. Once you find music, you will need to obtain permission from the publishers to copy the lead sheets for your bulletins or for overhead projection. Some publishers will be accommodating, especially if you explain that you are just giving this a try, while others might not. Ultimately, you will need to purchase a copyright license agreement or songbooks but we’ll touch on that later. There are a plethora of music resources on the WEB and some are free and offered legally. Look around.
I’ll never forget the opening song of our second attempt at blended worship. We now had me on guitar and six ladies (including two teenage girls) who helped out with singing. We did not yet have the luxury of a pianist. As a pre-service selection, we sang Tim Hughes’s song “Here I Am to Worship.” It was an incredible worship experience for me. There I was, the lone accompaniment, and to me, it sounded like there was a full band behind me. Right in the heat of the moment; I was genuinely “affected.” I was supposed to sing with the ladies, but I couldn’t. I was too choked up. Twenty five years of attending WELS worship services just came crashing down on me. Twenty five years of holding back my gifts to the Lord just started to gush. I was moved. I don’t think anyone else in the congregation felt the emotions that ran through me at that moment. Thank you God for allowing me to praise you through my gifts, which you gave to me and for forgiving me for waiting so long to use them to glorify your name. Thank you for filling me with your spirit on that glorious day.

Another option might be to use MIDI accompaniment if you have that capability. Again, there is a lot of free, high quality, MIDI files available on the WEB for most of the popular contemporary songs.

After the service, poll your congregation. Did they enjoy the music? Did it enhance their worship experience? Do they want to try it again? What do they want to do differently?

Assuming that you get positive feedback, you next need to decide on the frequency of your blended worship services. We started with one blended service per month and are still doing it that way. We chose the second Sunday of the month which happens to be a non-communion service for us. I think this is important because Communion has additional liturgical musical pieces which are more work to convert to contemporary accompaniment. Having a regularly scheduled format is also better for your congregation because they can plan around it. Especially if you have more than one service per week because people might want to make adjustments, either being sure to be at the blended service, or, choosing to go to the alternate traditional service on that week.

We also added a small group of volunteer singers to belt out the lyrics over the congregation. This helps to teach your congregants the new songs quicker and it helps to change the musical singing style from hymn-like singing to contemporary singing. Don’t be afraid to have your “band” sing the song first, followed by congregational join in, especially for new songs.

It is helpful to get your singers listening to the songs that you will be learning. There’s several ways to do this. For the more popular songs, each singer can search for the song on YouTube, at their leisure, and usually find a version that they can listen to for free. Some of your singers might have the funds and the means to download their own MP3s. There’s also a Christian MP3 download service called “Songtouch” that allows you to make up to 10 copies of each downloaded song for your band members. “Songtouch” is associated with CCLI and is accessed through their website but I don’t believe that you have to be a contract holder to use it.

Gradually, your blended service formats will start to change. At our church, we completely phased out the organ during contemporary services. The entire hymnal sung responses were eliminated. You need to work with your Pastor and your worship team to add in contemporary replacements. For example, for the psalm of the day, we sometimes read the psalm responsively or sometimes the pastor reads it followed by a contemporary song based on the text of the Psalm. Keep all of your current traditional worship elements, things like the prayers, benediction, creeds, confession of sins and absolution of sins. These are vitally important. You will find that you are doing more talking and reading than singing. You will also find that your people are reading more scripture as opposed to being read to. This is OK. This is part of the package.

As you pick up steam, you will need a permanent solution to your copyright needs. This actually needs to be addressed fairly early. There are a number of options. Here’s what we did:

We purchased a CCLI license agreement, identified a Lay coordinator of the contract, and assembled our own songbooks from music that was downloaded off the WEB through the CCLI songselect service.

Each month, we added four or five new songs into 3-ring binders that were used as our congregational songbooks.

The CCLI coordinator worked with the Pastor to identify good song choices, downloaded the song sheets, tracked song usage, reported copy activity to CCLI (when asked to do so) and got all the necessary copies made.
We did this for about a year, then decided to purchase song books. Again there are several choices. NPH offers a songbook called “Let All the People Praise You” and there’s another book called “the Best of the Best” from Fellowship Ministries. We actually use both, and still maintain a CCLI license and a Onelicense agreement as well. This gives us maximum flexibility but it’s not necessary. There are additional song resources on the WEB, for example “Sovereign Grace Ministries” and “Getty & Townend” offer digital sheet music downloads for reasonable prices and their lyrics are usually beautifully crafted.
We had another memorable moment when it came to songbook purchases. These can be expensive. We covered most of the cost of our books by a memorial donation from a member who had passed away; a member who enjoyed the contemporary services and even played guitar. But we fell short, and needed an additional couple hundred dollars. Two retired ladies, who both prefer traditional worship approached me and volunteered to purchase the remaining books. I don’t remember their exact words but the sentiment they voiced was that they prefer the hymnal and the traditional services but they saw the passion that the Lord has stirred in me and the excitement of several members, especially teens, over the new music and that they wanted to help out. Now that is a loving heart and a wonderful outpouring of faith.

As you grow, you can add more contemporary ideas into your blended services. Our Pastor started to use PowerPoint for his sermons for example during the blended services thinking that the people are more tolerant of “new ideas” in the more relaxed contemporary mood of the blended worship services.
We also started a children’s message during the blended service that eventually led into a weekly offering at our church.

On occasion we use worship videos for either sermon illustrations or for sing-along musical accompaniment. There are many products available from outfits like Integrity, Igniter Media and

On two occasions, we have even used art in worship. One was a sermon based on a Renaissance piece by Matthias Grunewald titled “the crucifixion” and the other was using a piece of art from one of our teenage members depicting the seraphim in the Isaiah 6 account.

Don’t forget to include occasional hymns in your blended services. Give some of the newer arrangements a try. Indelible Grace offers song sheets for free off their website that includes many of our Lutheran hymns.

We had another memorable service once when we included “Amazing Grace” but accompanied it with piano and guitar. It was another one of those worship moments when you just felt God’s fire inside of you. At some point in the song, our pianist just stopped playing. I continued strumming and the congregation continued singing. On the very next verse, the pianist joined back in but the Lord started to affect me. I got choked up again. I’ve been playing guitar for 35 years and this three chord song was all of the sudden beyond my reach. I was humbled right there before God and stopped strumming. Something inside me just said to “stop”. As the last verse rolled around, I joined back in. After the service, I asked our pianist what happened to him. He said, “I don’t know, I just couldn’t play.” Incredible!

Use pre-service music and Offertory music as a vehicle to introduce new songs to your congregation. We used to use “next month’s” new songs as pre-service for “this month’s” blended service. This requires you to do worship planning a few months in advance but it is worthwhile.

We also use a lot of Lay readings and other Lay participation during the blended services. This is exciting and should be encouraged.

Build up a library of favorite songs and after several months, try to limit new songs to only one or two per blended service. Phase into this, after two or three months, your library will be small, so try to have one familiar song per service. After six months, have two familiar songs, then finally, after a year, maybe limit yourself to one new song per service.

Be mindful, loving, respectful and considerate to those in your congregation who oppose the new music and/or instrumentation. Pastor Mielke once told me “keep your lyrics biblically based” and you can’t go wrong. It’s good advice. Make sure that you keep attending the traditional services and keep your energy and spirit levels up while singing those hymns! It’s not about favorites or our personal likes and dislikes. It’s about God and God is infinitely above style. Style doesn’t matter to Him, nor should it to you. This should not become a divisive issue. Something’s wrong if it does escalate.

If your Pastor sings, ask him to solo or duet a contemporary song with you. This “buy-in” will go a long way with people that are opposed to the musical style.
It also helps if your Pastor quotes the lyrics of a contemporary song in his sermon where appropriate – even during the traditional services.

I’ll never forget the time that Pastor Mielke quoted the lyrics of Richie Mullen’s classic song “Awesome God” in a sermon. I was smiling from ear to ear because it showed open mindedness on his part, some acceptance, and it made a good point with respect to what he was saying.

There are sound system and visual projection issues that come with contemporary media that will need to be addressed. I’m not going to do that in this posting but be forewarned that you will need a good sound person to man the soundboard or to listen in the congregation (during sound check and during the service). His or her job is to make sure that there is good volume and a good mix, so that the singers are loud enough to lead the congregation and the instruments (in the background) are loud enough to be heard (but not too loud that they distract).

If you are the lead musician and work with your Pastor, become familiar with how worship is designed around a theme. Learn to use the Lectionary Calendar, read your bible, and use your songbooks scriptural and thematic indices. After you do this for awhile, you will begin to see common threads running in all three scripture readings for each Sunday. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you select music.
Exercise your religious freedoms in these services. You are not following a rigid script as its printed in your hymnal. We have done such things as “Earth Day” creation based worship services in April, flag folding ceremonies on Veteran’s Day and Mother’s Day Litanies in May. Just keep the focus on God.

Here are some web resources mentioned in the above list and other resources that you might find helpful as you consider blended worship:

Copyright Resources:

Songbook Resources:

MIDI Resources:

Video Resources:

Song Sheet & Lead Sheet Resources:

New Hymn Arrangements:

Song & MP3 Resources:

Choosing and Evaluating Contemporary Music:

(CCM Songs.xls by John Kehl)

“Blended Worship that Works” by James Tiefel (Forward in Christ, January 2004)

“The Church and Its Ministry - Music/Worship (01) WELS available here:

“Lutheran Hymnody: Orthodoxy in Song (Lutheran Worship: Why we do what we do) by Dr. Chad Bird available here:

“Pietism: Past and Present” by John Brenner available here:

“Choosing Hymns” available here:

“It’s about Substance” by Pastor Johnold Strey available here:

“Proclaiming the Gospel in Worship” by Johnold Strey, available here:

Source: A special note of thanks goes to John Kehl (from Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Appleton, WI) for proof reading this document before publishing and for adding comments and additional helpful information.

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Learn a Song - Bless the LordFebruary 20, 2009 at 9:38 pm · Filed under Guitar, Music, Worship Music, Worship Tools, contemporary christian music ·Tagged Free MP3, Guitar, Laura Story

If you’re a guitar player (especially a beginner), videos like this one below can be very helpful:

If you are a member at “” you can grab a free lead sheet of this song and the MP3 as well. They run these give-aways often. They also include the story behind the song as well! Its a great way to build up your library! Here’s their link:

Consider joining today. They require you to register with an email address. It’s also a great place to download sheet music for very reasonable prices.

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Happy Valentine’s DayFebruary 13, 2009 at 11:21 am · Filed under Scripture ·Tagged Isaiah 43

Near as I can tell, there is only one place in the bible where God specifically says the three words together “I love you.”

This is what the LORD says—

he who created you,

he who formed you,

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,

and because I love you,

- Adapted from Isaiah 43

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society

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A few of My Favorite Contemporary Song Choices for the Church YearFebruary 12, 2009 at 10:54 pm · Filed under Blended Worship, Music, Song Ideas, Worship Music, contemporary christian music ·Tagged Song Choices

For Advent, we play “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel”

For Christmas, we play “Joy to the World”

For Palm Sunday, we play “All Glory Laud and Honor”

For Easter, we play “Christ, the Lord is Risen Today”

For Trinity, we play “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty”

For Reformation, we play “A Mighty Fortress”

For Thanksgiving, we play ”Now Thank We All Are God”

For Saint’s Triumphant, we play “For All the Saints”

These are all no-brainers; but what about some contemporary “stand-bys”? Not so easy. Here’s some help:

Advent: “El Shaddai”* by Michael Card or “Light One Candle”*(B) by Natalie Sleeth

Christmas: stick with Carols and Hymns because that’s what people like and expect to sing.

Epiphany: “One Small Child”*(L) by David Meece or “A Joy Has Dawned”* by Keith Getty or “All Hail King Jesus”*(B) by Dave Moody

Ash Wednesday: “At the Foot of the Cross (Ashes to Beauty)” (1) by Kathryn Scott

Lent: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”* by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, or “Amazing Love”*(B) by Graham Kendrick, or “Above All”*(B) by Paul Baloche and Lenny LeBlanc or “Once Again”*(B) by Matt Redman or “On My Cross” (1) by Jeremy Diebler or “the Power of the Cross”* by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty or “the Coloring Song”*(L) by David Eden

Palm Sunday: “He is Exalted”*(L) by Twila Paris or “We Bow Down”*(B) by Twila Paris

Easter: “Celebrate Jesus”*(B) by Gary Oliver or “On the Thrid Day” (1) by Matt Maher & Marc Byrd, or “Resurrection Hymn”* by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend or “Happy Day” (1) by Tim Hughes

Trinity:“Glorify Thy Name*(B)(L)” by Donna Adkins, or “Father, I Adore You”*(L) by Terry Coehlo, or “Our God Saves” (1) by Paul Baloche, or “Song of Love” (1) by Rebecca St. James

Ascension: “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” *(B) by Rick Founds

Pentecost: “Holy Spirit” * by Keith Getty or “Shine, Jesus Shine” *(B)(L) by Graham Kendrick or “Revival Fire Fall” *(B) by Paul Baloche

Reformation: don’t do it! J

Thanksgiving: “Give Thanks” *(B)(L) by Henry Smith, or “Forever” (1) by Chris Tomlin

End Times: “Days of Elijah”* by Robin Mark or “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?” *(B) by Martin Smith

Mission Festival or Friendship Evangelism: “Shout to the North”*(B) by Martin Smith or “We Speak to Nations” (1) by Israel Houghton, or “Here I Am, Lord”*(B) by Daniel Schutte, or “Pass it On”*(L) by Kurt Kaiser, or “People Need the Lord”*(L) by Phill McHugh and Greg Neslon

Baptisms: “Father Welcomes”*(B)(L) by Robin Mann

Communion: “What is This Bread”*(B) by Jean Neuhauser Baue

Stewardship Sunday: “the Heart of Worship”*(B) by Matt Redman, or “Offering” (1) by Paul Baloche, or “You Are” (1) by Mark Roach

Contemporary Arrangements of hymns: “Amazing Grace – My Chains are Gone” (1) by Chris Tomlin, or “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross – the Wonderful Cross” * by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman, or “Take My Life and Let it Be”* by Chris Tomlin

Call to Worship: “Here I Am to Worship”* by Tim Hughes

I’d also like to mention two versatile songs that can be used on a number of occasions: “In Christ Alone”* by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend and “Shine Jesus Shine”*(B)(L) by Graham Kendrick.

And finally, I am a fan of responsive songs. Two of my favorites are “Victory Chant”*(B) by Joseph Vogels and “Lord Most High”*(B) by Don Harris and Gary Sadler. I like responsive songs because the smallest children can sing along.


* = Congregational Friendly

(1) = Solo or praise band only

(B) = in the “Best of the Best” Songbook

(L) = in the LAPPY songbook

One final note, as a general rule, you can listen to most of these songs by going to and searching on the title of the song enclosed in quotes.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have some favorites!

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How the Digital TV Transition Might Affect Your Wireless MicsFebruary 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm · Filed under Equipment ·Tagged Wireless Mics


I’m not sure where the US stands on the 2/17 Digital TV transition as I’ve heard some rumors that it might be postponed. If it does happen on 2/17 as planned, those of you that use wireless microphones or in-ear monitors need to look at the operating frequency range of your devices. If they operate in the 700MHz band, you will need to replace them. This is described on the Shure website here:

As I understand the situation, if you do have 700MHz in-ear monitors, they will stop working completely and your microphones will sporadically drop-out if they also operate in the 700 MHz range. All brands of wireless microphones operating in the 700MHz band will be affected. I’m only commenting on Shure because they have addressed the situation on their website.

The good news is that Shure will offer rebates of up to $1,000 to upgrade your wireless equipment. See details at this website:

I’m told that any wireless microphones purchased before 2/1/2007 are potentially affected.

If you’re currently shopping for new wireless equipment, stay out of the 700 MHz range and look for products that operate in the 500-600 MHz band. Be sure to ask the salesperson if the new equipment is compatible with the upgrade.

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When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Isaac Watts meets Chris Tomlin)February 9, 2009 at 10:46 pm · Filed under Blended Worship, Lent, Music, Worship Music ·Tagged Chris Tomlin, Isaac Watts


Isaac Watts was born in 1674 in Southampton England. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is thought, by many, to be the greatest hymn ever written.

The eldest of nine children, he was the son of an educated deacon in a dissenting Congregational church. At the time of Isaac’s birth, his father was in prison for his non-conformist beliefs. Young Watts showed an unusual aptitude for study and learned Latin at the age of five, Greek at nine, French at eleven and Hebrew at thirteen. He began to write verses of good quality when he was very young. Watts is frequently referred to as the father of English hymnody. One of his early concerns was the deplorable state to which congregational singing had degenerated in most English-speaking churches. The singing consisted of slow, ponderous Psalms in which each line was first read by an appointed deacon and was followed by the droning of the congregation. Watts was a revolutionary producing “futuristic music” for his time. Because of this bold departure from the traditional Psalms, Isaac Watts was often considered to be a radical churchman. Watts not only rewrote the Psalms in this way, but he also wrote a number of hymns based solely on personal feelings. These hymns were known as hymns of human composure. Such hymns were very controversial during his lifetime. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is an example of this type of hymn written by Watts. It’s the first known hymn to be written in the first person, introducing a personal religious experience rather than limiting itself to doctrine.

Isaac Watts, and his hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” helped to reshape the future of church music as we know it today. Mr. Watts would have been proud to know that Chris Tomlin is continuing his tradition.

The words of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” tell a wonderful story. They tell of the paradoxical beauty of sacrifice. They tell a story of pain and suffering woven together with joy and love. Who would have ever thought that these polar opposites could come together and form a paradoxical statement that on the face of it sounds ridiculous, but when taken to heart and pondered makes so much sense that even the simplest of minds can understand it?

The lost Verse:

Watts, actually wrote 5 verses but one has been dropped through the years (including in our hymnal). Here’s is the missing verse (it’s actually meant to be the fourth verse):

“His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree:
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.”


Born and raised in East Texas, Chris Tomlin grew up on a steady diet of country music, learning his guitar style by playing along with Willie Nelson records. Not that you would ever guess it from listening to the gentle smoothness of his vocals.

“I love the simplicity of drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars,” Chris explains. “We’re not about putting on a big show. We don’t want to be rock stars. We’re about connecting with people and having a shared experience of coming before God and worshipping Him.

Credited with venerable church choruses such as “Forever,” “We Fall Down,” and “The Wonderful Cross,” Tomlin is considered one of this era’s top songwriters. With millions singing his songs weekly, Chris is recognized as a pivotal voice of today’s modern expression of Christian worship. Yet, Tomlin has masterminded several remakes of classic hymns including Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) and “Take My Life and Let it Be.”

Here is the chorus that Chris Tomlin added:

Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross

Bids me come, and die, and find

That I may truly live.

Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross

All who gather here, by grace,

Draw near and bless Your name.

CCLI Song No. 3148435 © 2000 songs\Six Steps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)\(Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) Chris Tomlin / Isaac Watts / J. D. Walt / Jesse Reeves

The scriptural reference to “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is Galatians 6:14.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - NIV

Tomlin’s chorus draws from Gal 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - NIV

You can listen to Tomlin’s version here (with a little help from Matt Redman):

Want to give this new version a try this year? Here’s a few places that sell the sheet music in digital form (can be downloaded instantly):

Here’s a free pdf of the lead sheet (no piano notation):

Here’s piano/vocal/guitar music for $3.99:

You can also download a nicely done MIDI file of this arrangement for free here:

Listen to it here:

Download the file by scrolling down to “Wonderful Cross” (right mouse, save target as) here:

Or, you can download it from my file download area (lower right hand column of this BLOG page).

Information Sources:

1. Isaac Watts Bio - and other internet sources

2. Chris Tomlin Bio - and other internet sources

3. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society

Please report song usage to CCLI if you have such a license. The song number for “the Wonderful Cross” is #3148435.

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The BeatitudesFebruary 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm · Filed under Music, Scripture, Worship Music ·Tagged Beatitudes, Matthew 5:2-12, Michael Schroeder, Music Videos

The Beatitudes are contained in Matthew 5:2-12. This video of the Beatitudes was made possible with the help of WELS musician Michael Schroeder and is presented here with his permission. Thanks Michael for sharing your song!

The video actually starts in silence for the first 40 seconds, so don’t turn up your speakers.

You can learn more about Michael Schroeder and his band here:

Or at his myspace page:

And here’s his band members:


SCOTT BREAULT: ( Guitars )

DEB KNUTSON: ( Keys & Vocals)


MICHAEL SCHROEDER (Vocals, Keys, & Guitars)

Michael is a member at St. Paul’s in Wis. Rapids, WI

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Files for DownloadFebruary 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm · Filed under Worship Tools

I have added a new feature to my BLOG. At the bottom of the right column is a box where you can download files that I have posted for general use and distribution. There are two files right now. One is the revised lectionary from our Synod that goes with the Hymnal Supplement and the other is an EXCEL database of contemporary songs that has been compiled by BLOG reader and member of Mt. Olive Lutheran in Appleton, WI – John Kehl. John has listed many CCM songs, rated them for their lyrical content, identified themes, and included publisher information. It’s a great resource and thanks go to John for sharing. By the way, John’s band is known as “Joyful Noise” check them out if you are in or near Appleton.

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Music VideosFebruary 1, 2009 at 9:42 pm · Filed under Blended Worship, How To, Music, Song Ideas, Worship Music, contemporary christian music ·Tagged Integrity Worship Music, Music Videos

Several people have asked me for a good source of music videos to use as sing-a-longs either in worship or at youth events. These are great, especially if you have limited instrumentalists in your congregation. I have found the best videos to be produced by Integrity Worship. They have several families of music videos but the “iworship at home” series seems to offer the “best bang for the buck.” For about $15, you can buy one DVD that contains a half dozen or so professionally recorded song videos with lyrics to sing along with. You can purchase these at your local Christian Bookstore and on-line at (search on “iworship at home”)

You can also see the full line up of Integrity music videos at their website:

You can view individual songs at this website:

One note of caution, please review the songs prior to usage and make sure that the lyrics are in line with your doctrinal beliefs. I have found most of these songs to be good, but I have not seen all of the DVDs.

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