The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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7 PM Central Daylight Savings Time
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

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

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Luther's Gospel Sermon for Rogate Sunday. John 16:23-30

Chartres Cathredral Rose Window


Luther's Second Sermon for ROGATE  - FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER




KJV John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.


This sermon on prayer is in part a repetition of the preceding sermon.

German text: Erlangen Edition, 12:165; Walch Edition, 11:1251; St. Louis Walch, 11:927.

CONTENTS:

THE FIVE REQUISITES OF TRUE PRAYER.
I. THE FIRST REQUISITE —THE PROMISE OF GOD TO MAN 1.

II.THE SECOND REQUISITE —FAITH IN GOD’ S PROMISE 2.

III. THE THIRD REQUISITE-FAITH THAT OUR PRAYER WILL BE HEARD

* He who doubts that he will be heard commits a double sin 3-4.

IV. THE FORTH REQUISITE — ASENSE OF OUR UNWORTHINESS 5-6.

V. THE FIFTH REQUISITE -THAT WE DO NOT LIMIT GOD IN ANY WAY

A SERMON ON PRAYER.

1. First we note that in order for a prayer to be really right and to be heard five things are required. The first is, that we have from God his promise or his permission to speak to him, and that we remember the same before we pray and remind God of it, thereby encouraging ourselves to pray in a calm and confident frame of mind. Had God not told us to pray, and pledged himself to hear us, none of his creatures could ever, with all their prayers, obtain so much as a grain of corn. From this, then, there follows that no one receives anything from God by virtue of his own merit or that of his prayer. His answer comes by virtue of the divine goodness alone, which precedes every prayer and desire, which moves us, through his gracious promise and call, to pray and to desire, in order that we may learn how much he cares for us, and how he is more ready to give than we are to receive. He would have us seek to become bold, to pray in a calm and confident spirit, since he offers all, and even more, than we are able to ask.

2. In the second place, it is necessary that we never doubt the pledge and promise of the true and faithful God. For even to this end did God pledge himself to hear, yea, commanded us to pray, in order that we may always have a sure and firm faith that we will be heard; as Jesus says in Matthew 21:22: “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Christ says in Luke 11:9-13: “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” With this and like promises and commands we must consolingly exercise ourselves and pray in true confidence.

3. In the third place, if one prays doubting that God will hear him, and only offers his prayers as a venture, whether it be granted or not granted, he is guilty of two wicked deeds. The first is, that he, himself, makes his prayer unavailing and he labors in vain. For Jesus says: “Whoever will ask of God, let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” James 1:6-7. He means that the heart of such a man does not continue stable, therefore God can give it nothing; but faith keeps the heart calm and stable and makes it receptive for the divine gifts.

4. The other wicked deed is, that he regards his most true and faithful God as a liar and an unstable and doubtful being; as one who can not or will not keep his promise; and thus through his doubt he robs God of his honor and of his name of truth and faithfulness. In this, such a grievous sin is committed that by this sin a Christian becomes a heathen, denying and losing his own God, and thus he remains in his sin, and must be condemned forever, without comfort. Moreover, if he receives that for which he prays, it will be given, not for his salvation, but for his punishment in time and eternity and it is not for the sake of the prayers, but because of his wrath that God rewards the good words which were spoken in sin, unbelief and divine dishonor.

5. In the fourth place, some say: Yes, I would gladly trust that my prayer would be heard, if I were only worthy and prayed aright. My answer is: If you do not pray until you know and experience that you are fit, then you will never need to pray. As I have said before, our prayers must not be founded nor rest upon ourselves or their own merits, but upon the unshakable truth of the divine promise. Where they are founded upon anything else, they are false, and deceive us, even though the heart break in the midst of its great devotions and we weep drops of blood. The very reason we do pray is because of our unworthiness; and just through the fact that we believe we are unworthy and confidently venture upon God’s faithfulness to his Word do we become worthy to pray and to be heard. Be you as unworthy as you may, only look to it, and with all earnestness accept it as true, that a thousandfold more depends upon this, that you know God’s truth and not change his faithful promise into a lie by your doubting. Your worthiness does not help you, but your unworthiness is no barrier. Disbelief condemns you, and trust makes you worthy and sustains you.

6. Therefore, be on your guard all through life that you may never think yourself worthy or fit to pray or to receive; unless it be that you discover yourself to be a freebold character risking all upon the faithful and sure promises of your gracious God, who thus wishes to reveal to you his mercy and goodness. Just as he, out of pure grace, has promised you, being so unworthy, an unmerited and unasked hearing, so will he also hear you, an unworthy beggar, out of pure grace, to the praise of his truth and promise. This he does in order that you may thank, not your worthiness, but his truth, by which he fulfils his promise, and that you thank his mercy that gave the promise, that the saying in Psalm 25:8-10 may stand: “Good and upright is Jehovah: Therefore will he instruct sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in justice; and the meek will he teach his way.

All the paths of Jehovah are loving kindness and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Loving-kindness or mercy in the promise; faithfulness and truth in the fulfilling or hearing of the promises.

And in another Psalm he says: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10. That is, they come together in every work and gift we receive from God through prayer.

7. In the fifth place, one should so act in this confidence of prayer as not to limit God and specify the day or place, nor designate the way or measure of the prayer’s fulfillment; but leave all to his own will, wisdom and almighty power. Then confidently and cheerfully await the answer, not even wishing to know how and where, how soon, how long, and through whom. His divine wisdom will find far better ways and measures, time and place, than we can devise, even should we perform miracles. So, in the Old Testament, the children of Israel all trusted in God to deliver them while yet there was no possible way before their eyes, nor even in their thoughts; then the Red Sea parted and offered them a way through the waters, and suddenly drowned all their enemies. Exodus 14.

8. Thus Judith, the holy woman, did when she heard that the citizens of Bethulia wished to deliver the city to their enemies within five days if God, in the meantime, did not help. She reproved them and said, Now who are ye, that have tempted God? They are not designs by which one acquires grace; but they awaken more disgrace. Do you wish to set a time for God to show you mercy, and specify a day according to your own pleasure?

Judith 8:10-12. Then the Lord helped her in a wonderful manner, in that she cut off the head of the great Holofernes and dispersed the enemies.

9. In like manner, St. Paul says that God’s ability is thus proved, in that he does exceeding abundantly above and better than we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. Therefore, we should know that we are too finite to be able to name, picture or designate the time, place, way, measure and other circumstances for that which we ask of God. Let us leave that entirely to him, and immovably and steadfastly believe that he will hear us.

UOJ Must Silence the Gospel Witness of St. Paul, Luther, the Reformation, and the Book of Concord

Jay Webber prefers Rambach to Chemnitz
and calls Pietistic dogma "Orthodox Lutheranism."

I have read, studied, and posted graphics
from Luther's Galatians Commentary,
which eviscerates Webber's careless and unresearched efforts.

Lutheran Orthodoxy last for a time after
the Book of Concord in 1580,
but Pietism crept in to take over and supplant the Gospel.

The previous post - involving the gaseous Jay Webber - shows how persistently and perniciously UOJ has to have the last word on everything.

What qualifies Jay Webber to speak ceaselessly about his favorite false doctrine? His unaccredited online STM? His books - which do not exist?

One can be a scholar without either one. Many laity are far more proficient in the Word than the self-appointed UOJ Rottweilers.

Webber is quite similar to Paul McCain, who graduated from Ft. Wayne at about the same time. McCain's plagiarism made Otten and Cascione - both UOJ fanatics - think the putative editor was a scholar.

If copying and pasting from the Net is scholarship, then Ski and Tim Glende will soon be teaching at Mequon - or Harvard.

But the intriguing thing is how hard these yahoos work at silencing the Lutheran Gospel. How much hatred much they have for the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace?

Has anyone noticed how these UOJ Stormtroopers betray their non-Lutheran perspective by their use of language? The beautiful confessional language of the Book of Concord is completely missing. They seem unable to say "justification by faith" and "the Means of Grace." They should be able to work from the Biblical doctrine of the efficacy of the Word to deal with all Christian doctrine. But they are silent about that too.

Luther is nothing more than a rabbit's foot for these UOJ experts. They mention him, as if that matters, and show no knowledge of Luther's doctrine at all.

And do not miss this - it is not Luther's doctrine  they speak about. It is not Biblical doctrine they write about. It is "our doctrine," which could mean the Imperial We or the dogma of their sect, a covert nod to their peculiar and pernicious concepts.

The Word of God is His alone. We do not have a license to play with words and use them to advance our careers by agreeing with the dumbest and most obstinate among the American Lutherans. How strange that the scholars of the world have missed the point entirely that Luther taught Pietism's UOJ before Halle Pietism existed. How far-sighted of him.



Like it or not, I was very well read in modern the Reformation theology before I joined the WELS. I never heard of UOJ until it exploded in Christian News. I had trouble believing it was the backbone of Synodical Conference dogma. But - as LCMS, WELS, and the ELS stated publicly, UOJ is the ONE THING THEY AGREE ON COMPLETELY - FILLING THEM WITH JOY!

Naturally, they have kept their degraded dogma to themselves, letting people think OJ is the atonement and SJ is justification by faith. That is not true.

Point out the UOJ raving of David Scaer and the toxic reactions immediately fill the air with vulgarity (Larry Beane) or citations of the Eighth Commandment and Matthew 18. Neither passage applies, but they are used all the time - once again tonight on Facebook.




Faithless Jay Webber Does Not Grasp the Meaning of Plain English -
And Certainly Knows Little Greek and Less Latin




David Jay Webber And while you're at it you can also read mine. wink emoticonMy essay on this subject focuses quite extensively on Luther's teaching, and dispels the myth that Luther did not teach objective justification.

Ron Pederson I have read it, some time ago though. Jay, how could anyone say that God has forgiven the sins of the world which includes all people and then say that that does not include every individual? Isn’t that the real comfort of the Gospel. If God has forgiven the world, all people, then that includes my sin too? Forgive me, but it just seems absurd to me to say that God has forgiven the sins of the world, all people, but not me as an individual.
David Jay Webber It's a matter of the most helpful way to explain it, in keeping with the pattern of sound words. And do you offer comfort to people based on their inclusion in objective justification, apart from an emphasis on the here-and-now forgiveness that God is offering and bestowing in the means of grace? Isn't that the best way to make forgiveness personal and individual - to say, "Your sins are forgiven"? The truth of objective justification gives you the basis and the confidence to announce this forgiveness to every penitent individual, in a very personal way. But that's subjective justification - as built on the foundation of objective justification. That's not making objective justification as such an individual thing.
Ron Pederson I agree that in Pastoral teaching/preaching we most certainly need to include both objective and subjective justification. But if it is the basis of subjective justification, objective justification, that we are addressing, especially in doctrinal sta...See More
David Jay Webber Where does the Bible say this? I can show you where it says that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, but not that he takes away the sin of each individual. I can show you where it says that Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, but not that that he is the propitiation for the sins of each individual. I can show you where it says that in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, but not that in Christ God was reconciling each individual to himself. On the basis of logic and syllogistic deductions, you are imposing individual terms onto Biblical descriptions of a universal event which employ universal terms. Why do this? Just teach general or universal justification in general and universal terms, and teach personal or individual justification in personal and individual terms.


Once again, Jay Webber proves his lack of English reading comprehension. His Greek ignorance is a given, but one does not have to know the Biblical languages to understand a good, precise translation in the KJV tradition.

But the discussion above is especially fun because Ron Pederson is an ELS pastor who often jumps in to defend Objective Justification. But he is not extreme enough for Jar Jar Webber, who must have the last word on everything, even if it means repeating himself endlessly without providing any evidence for his opinions.

Whether it is called Objective Justification, General Justification, or Universal Objective Justification, the dogma comes from Halle Pietism, long after the Lutheran Reformation, and is completely alien to Biblical justification.

The core dogma of UOJ is - God has declared the entire world forgiven of sin. That is embedded in the Brief Statement of 1932 from the LCMS, which marked the beginning of the end for Missouri.

To this day, as one LCMS District President admitted, Objective Justification is not taught in any Missouri catechism, but only in the hideous Kuske WELS catechism. How did they all agree to get together on the basis of UOJ?




The hymn for the Emmaus Conference was - I'd Rather Have Rambach -

to this tune -

 


  1. I’d rather have Rambach with silver and gold;
    I’d rather be Pietist with riches untold;
    I’d rather have Rambach with houses and lands;
    I’d rather be led by the Halle U. band.
    • Refrain:
      And to be the king of a vast domain
      And be held in sin’s dread sway;
      I’d rather have Rambach than anything
      The Gospel affords today.
  2. I’d rather have Spener with men’s applause;
    I’d rather be faithful to UOJ's cause;
    I’d rather have Rambach and worldwide fame;
    I’d rather be true to Halle U's name.
  3. They're fairer than roses or sauerkraut;
    They're sweeter than Thrivent grants without doubt;
    They're all that my Old Adam needs;
    I’d rather have Rambach and let him lead.

 Valleskey is a good example of promoting UOJ
and Church Growth in the same book,
which Webber considers "weird."
The Synodical Conference does this inconsistently
but persistently.

Big Nope for the Brand New Pennsylvania ELCA Seminary.
Instead, They Will Have To Merge

The brand new seminary concept, linked here,was ditched.
How about that for careful planning?

Two Lutheran seminaries will merge instead of closing, forming a new school


(RNS) Two Pennsylvania Lutheran seminaries have dropped plans to dissolve both schools and start a new one as they navigate hurdles in their quest to forge a new institution.
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg said in a joint statement Thursday (April 28) that they would be “forming one seminary” from the two existing institutions.
That marks a change in direction from January, when the two schools affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said they’d be closing to launch a new one.
Accreditation concerns caused the change of course, according to LTSG President Michael Cooper-White. Under state regulations, a new school would not be licensed to grant degrees or federal student loans for about two years, he said.
“We would not have been able to attract new students,” Cooper-White said. “To have students who would not be in an accredited school — that was just untenable.”
The consolidated institution is expected to open in July 2017. With new support from ELCA partners, all full-time residential students preparing for ELCA ministry will be able to attend tuition-free, according to LTSP President David Lose.
Back in January, both boards hoped a new school launch would provide flexibility for a radical redesign. They foresaw building a new, leaner faculty while eliminating costly tenure-track positions at the predecessor institutions.
Now they’re exploring whether both schools will endure under the umbrella of the new institution, or if one will cease to exist. Either way, at least some tenured positions should be retained, according to Hans-Joerg Tiede, an associate secretary at the American Association of University Professors.
“From our perspective, this is a kind of merger,” Tiede said, “and it does create obligations regarding the tenure of faculty from both institutions.”
(G. Jeffrey MacDonald is an RNS correspondent based in Boston)
Robin Steinke escaped Gettysburg to Luther Seminary
as the new president, just in time.

Will Concordia Seminary Ft. Wayne Close in the Future?
Ripped from the Pages of Facebook and Christian News


Closing One of Two LCMS Seminaries
For The Life of The World
(Christian News, May 2, 2016)
This writer just received his new copy of For the Life of the World magazine from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and what a magazine it is! A tremendous piece for any confessional pastor or layman. For the Life of the World, published by Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, is a magazine that speaks eloquently to the issues of the day from a confessional, Lutheran perspective and offers thoughtful insight into the complexities facing our church, our community and each individual. It is an excellent resource to keep you updated on the training of pastors, missionaries and deaconesses as they prepare to spread the good news of the Gospel to all corners of the earth, stated on the website of ctsfw.edu. 

In addition, the faculty of CTSFW is deeply committed to achieving successfully the education outcomes we have established for each of our degree programs. We continually review our curriculum and participate in the assessment process with the Higher Learning Commission and Association of Theological Schools to ensure the highest quality experience for each and every student. Yet, formation doesn’t only happen in the classroom; daily worship in Kramer Chapel, impromptu study sessions in the library, coffee with a professor to discuss a point just addressed in class, choirs, sports and Friday evening Gemutlichkeit all work together to form servants of Christ for service in challenging circumstances, declared by Dean Rast of the seminary. 

Right from the start, this issue shows that this school is dedicated towards confessional Lutheranism in the 21st century. The cover and many of the opening articles in this new issue present men, graduated students and pastors, wearing clerical shirts which is such a breath of fresh air compared to what is going on over at the seminary in St. Louis. Just seeing men wearing clericals, and in one example, a man preaching from the pulpit speaks volumes in this issue from Fort Wayne. This author remembers graduating from St. Louis and was warned sternly not to wear our clerical for the class photo. At that time, many of us were scratching our heads and saying to ourselves, “Are we supposed to wear a Hawaiian shirt with flip-flops for the class photo?” Probably what Dale Meyer would want us to wear. Even the faculty page in this new journal has instructors wearing clericals. What respect showed to the Office of the Holy Ministry and emphasizing the purpose of this seminary dedicating itself to Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

But is too late for this seminary to stay in business? It just might be. There have been discussions from the last board of directors meeting of the LCMS about the possibility consolidating or closing one of the two seminaries. With Mr. Fundraiser himself Dale Meyer singlehandedly raising over a hundred million dollars would tell us that the seminary in St. Louis is going to stay open contrary to having a record low enrollment of students and promoting false teachers when inviting speakers to speak on campus. 

This writer thinks that the money should be evenly distributed between the two seminaries, more towards Fort Wayne because they are certainly more confessional and Biblical. It’s time to recognize this seminary, which is heading in the right direction for the future, not because they have the most money, but have the right theology. It’s time to support the seminary in Fort Wayne and stop supporting the seminary in St. Louis.
Walter Troeger

***

GJ - I have been writing about the ultimate closing of many brick and mortar schools in Lutherdom. WELS closed two prep schools and merged Northwestern College into Martin Luther College. ELCA has closed colleges and merged at least three seminaries - into colleges (Southern and Berkeley) - or into each other (Gettysburg and Philadephia closing and forming a new institution).

(RNS) Two Lutheran seminaries in Pennsylvania are planning to close and launch together a new school of theology in 2017 with hopes of slashing costs and reversing years of declining enrollments."

In other news - "On Thursday (Nov. 12), Andover Newton Theological School announced plans to relocate and sell its 20-acre campus in Newton, Mass. The move will be part of 'a bold new direction' for the 208-year-old school as it struggles with big deficits."

These schools all represent the same trend - abandoning their own confessional position while chasing the fads of Apostasy.  Once the gay faction in ELCA got its way with gay ordination and marriage in 2009, the harrowing of its seminaries began in earnest. Just as opposing women's ordination doomed many careers in the past and slanted classroom discussion in one direction only, so the lavender card boosted the income and position of a tiny percentage while driving away anyone with a slight grasp of normal behavior.

The Episcopal Church USA has experienced the same collapse in enrollment. A giant endowment should preserve a school. but General in NYC has had bitter fights and harsh plans to deal with the same declines in enrollment and income. They are selling off properties in Chelsea to pay off debts and build up the endowment fund again, which once was listed as worth $60 million. With 12 faculty members, they can hardly fill a decent sized seminary campus, let alone a posh Manhattan museum of past glory. The school can brag that its alumni include some of the strangest idiots to bring ruin on the Episcopal Church.

I once asked Charles Caldwell. fellow Notre Dame student and eventual faculty member of Nashotah House, "How could the conservative Episcopalians become so radical?" He said, "They are a status quo denomination. When conservatism was the norm, they were conservative. They changed with American society." Caldwell fought against all those hip trends, so he and I were outcasts in the PhD program. His favorite topic - angels - was simply tossed back in his face by our advisor. That was after he wrote 300 pages on the topic. When I put the Charley's Angels Time magazine cover on his carrel door, some feminist ripped it away. One must have thought-police to keep the population under control - and that was back in the 1970s.

How Did This Happen to "Conservative" Lutheran Seminaries?
Lutherans are late to the fads. My advisor Stan Hauerwas said, "They are always a day late and a dollar short." I was studying the Social Gospel Movement in the Lutheran Church, a modernist fad that fermented its way into the LCA, ALC, and LCMS.

The Augustana Synod fell for the Social Gospel Movement because it blended Pietism with Lutheran Orthodoxy. The Pietistic side, which they always acknowledged, rejected dancing in any form, social drinking of any kind, and even owning a deck of cards at college in the olden days of Augustana College. 

Pietism displaces Luther and the Book of Concord slowly and effectively. An Augustana response about doctrine would get this response, "I worship Jesus, not Luther." That sounds so LCMS-WELSian, because those two suffer from the same combination of Pietism and Lutheran Orthodoxy, with Pietism triumphant in both.

The Easter epistle lesson is so appropriate, so little understood, so seldom applied. It is based on the Jewish tradition of removing every speck of leaven from the household in preparation for Passover.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The schemers have been in control of Lutherdom for a long time. They glory in their wickedness. Once bruised they wait their time and work in unison to take over the controlling boards. All they need is a majority on a board to change a seminary.
Likewise the schemers make sure they have a District President with the same low designs. If thwarted, they punish and never forgive.
The Lutheran seminaries do not even teach the Gospel today. They are so far into their rationalistic Pietism that they grasp at every fad and buzz-word. The conservatives work with ELCA and teach the same Universalism, which excuses everything. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

More Earthworm and Compost Questions



One question came in from Facebook - what about a large supply of coffee grounds, pounds and pounds from Starbucks? Aren't earthworms crazy about coffee grounds?

Earthworms love just about anything organic, but they do not actually digest the material. They graze on bacteria that digest what goes into the earthworm's tubular system. The earthworm breaks down organic matter, with a crop or grinder filled with little stones, to make it easier for bacteria to attack the food they both need.

The earthworm is a series of rings of muscles with bristles. These bristles on the muscular rings move the earthworm smoothly through soil and resist being pulled out of the soil by birds or humans.

The earthworms produce Caltrate (TM) with their calciferous glands. OK, it is calcium carbonate, but I remember Caltrate more easily. The tiny kidneys excrete nitrogen compounds into the soil, and the castings leaving the earthworm form an ideal soil.

Big-eyed bugs are beneficial insects easily overlooked.

I have mold under my cardboard. Is that bad?
The idea behind the mulch, which God builds naturally under every plant and tree, is to:

  1. Provide organic products for the needs of the plant.
  2. Conserve moisture in the soil.
  3. Reduce weed competition.
  4. Attract beneficial bugs and birds to help the plant grow.

That mold is part of the decomposing process that can be enhanced with waste products, like:

  • Cardboard, newspapers.
  • Leaves and sawdust.
  • Wood mulch.
  • Animal manure, but not cat or dog manure.
  • Kitchen waste, minus meat and grease.

Mold attracts mold-eaters that digest it. Once digested, the mold-eaters are devoured. Every creature of decomposition is food for another, even the lowly slug. I once read that only ducks eat slugs, but that is not so. Various beetles eat slugs. Otherwise, slugs would overcome the world, just as bacteria would without the protozoa to keeps its numbers down.

Fungus is the champion decomposer, using its microscopic tube system to deliver the dissolved ingredients to plant roots. In turn, the plant roots offer carbon that the fungus must have to grow. God has not only engineered a fascinating system for building soil, but also manages it without our intervention. Sometimes God manages His improvements in spite of our meddling.

My favorite rose grower in a magazine wrote, "I keep putting chemical fertilizer on my roses, but they keep getting worse and do not produce. Should I go organic like my friends? They have lots of roses and never use chemicals at all."

Neither does Queen Elizabeth II, and her private gardens are a mecca for all wildlife.

So we try to balance the earthworm feast a bit, simply because its effect mixing and improving gets better with a tiny bit of help from us. For example, if we have access to rabbit, cow, or horse manure, that means addition ingredients - and lots of bacteria - for the earthworms to process.

As I told the person who IMed me, the wonderful thing about earthworms in clay is their ability to release even more nutrition from the clay to plants. Adding a load of organic matter will make the earthworms multiply and pull down the ingredients while making soil more amenable to digging, tunneling, and soil roots.

Organic matter holds water, sponge-like, and contains a wealth of compounds for the plants. A mix of organic additions will increase the array of these compounds, but one can go far simply with leaves, paper, and cardboard.

My unscientific formula is - one pound of organics (newspaper, cardboard, wood mulch, leaves) = one pound of excellent soil, due to earthworm digging and excretion. Therefore, I am always adding rather than taking away.

God adds to the soil over time by building up plants and trees that rain down material on the soil. The bio-mass increases as plants grow, penetrate the soil with their roots, rot back into the soil, and feed the creatures that helped give them nutrition in the first place.

Dill flowers and its cousins benefit
the insects that protect our favorite flowers.


Midland Experiment
I began organic gardening in Midland, Michigan, so I decided to make one small piece of land my earthworm paradise. I put all the kitchen trash in a small patch near the kitchen entrance. I kept putting grass, kitchen trash, everything, into that soil.

Two things happened. The first - the soil seemed to be almost all earthworms as they multiplied to process all the food. The second - the birds gathered in a tree overlooking that spot whenever I went out to dig. They chortled among themselves contently, looking forward to the extra food I was disturbing for their enjoyment. It became a favorite spot for them to eat, but they always left gifts behind to feed the survivors of their snacking routine.

This was repeated when we put children's swimming pools under the rabbit cages. We put soil and earthworms in each pool. The soil became a mass of well-fed earthworms, and this Rabbit-Gro was put in the gardens and replaced with less potent soil and an initial lump of earthworms to tend it.

The worms kept the area beneath the rabbits sanitary, and the worms were promoted to compost duties and garden chores.

Birds plant pokeberry for me,
and I grow it because so many birds enjoy the fruit.

Relaxing Work at the Jackson Rose Farm

The car.

The rose - developed
by Dr. Walter Lammerts, Creation scientist.


Predictions of rain on Friday and Saturday moved me to get some gardening done. Every day I look at two weather websites and check the barometer. The last storm spared us the brutal winds  that were only 20 miles north of us. That storm followed a rapid drop in the barometer, and it has stayed that low. A needle marks the last reading.

I planted the dappled willows across the backyard, which will form a rapidly growing screen to block the view on the West and perhaps decrease the excitement of the dogs who guard their fences. Two chihuahuas are sure I am ready to vault the fence and invade their territory.

I was digging through the cardboard and leaves from last autumn's effort. The soil was soft and well worked by the earthworms, which were abundant with every move of the shovel. When I received my double shipment from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm, I scattered  some along the perimeter of the yard and the house.

I packed some seeds in my work-sweats and added some more Bee Balm to the yard. I planted more milkweed for the Monarch butterflies and Scarlet Runner beans for the hummingbirds. Some fully mature beans were still in their pods on the fence, so I crumpled them into the soil as well. Some beans left? I dug those in, around the tall elderberry plants, which are starting to bloom.

God's overwhelming abundance is everywhere in His Creation. The gardeners and farmers think of the tons of fertilizer that come down with each rainfall. I also see it in the vitality of the plants first placed last year. Blackberries planted on one side of the house have moved around to two other sides of the house, rounding the corners and taking up their new positions.

God created each form of life as an opportunist. Most of the world's population lives within 100 miles of the coasts, because a vast food supply is available, ready to be fished. Each plant has a soil, weather, and sunlight preference, so it will take over the time and place allotted for its growth.

Pokeweed's blossoms foreshadow
the form of their red berries.

Weeds fascinate me because they grow unbidden and often have hidden value. They either arrive on the wind or secondarily through the birds of the air. Pokeweed beries (toxic to us) are loved by dozens of birds, so they are planted everywhere and grow up to 8 feet tall, even in the shade. Why should I fill the bird-feeders and cut down the pokeweed in the wild garden?

One gardening article said, "If you want plants favored by birds, just build a perch across one part of your wild garden. The birds will plant their favorite foods while resting." One suggestion was stretching a wire across the area. I planted a tree stump with many branches coming from it,, between two Butterfly bushes in the backyard fence area. The perches allow places for various birds to rest and preen, or watch for prey in the target-rich environment of thick autumn leaves, cardboard, and tall grass.

One indignant reader asked why I would plant roses around a maple tree - too much shade, too many roots. To top it off, he did not want to deal with thick, heavy clay soil. I planted 20 roses around the maple tree for several reasons:

  1. My wife suggested it, and her gardening ideas are great, even when causing backbreaking labor.
  2. The area was once a hideous mass of weeds, suckers, and forgotten trash.
  3. I had no better area for rose farm expansion.

The 20 roses last year were special offers via Gurney's and Weeks roses. They cost $5 each so the gamble was a small one. Placing them around the maple tree meant the entire area would be groomed all the time - mulched, weeded, and trimmed. Shade is not an issue, since the Army Ranger trimmed the tree's branches back, as high as he could safely go.

Clay soil is the best, but difficult to work without planning. Mr. Gardener rototills and confesses, "It only makes the soil worse." Indeed.

I put hundreds of gardeners to work instead. I sprinkled red wiggler earthworms around the tree. We dumped 10 bags of mushroom compost around where the roses would go, then covered the mushroom compost with 10 bags of wood mulch.

As I feared, digging into maple roots close to the tree was tough. I bought tools to hack, pry, and cut the roots. I worked the first ten roses into this mixture last year. Our helper did the second ten this year, using twine and screw-hooks to measure the same distance from the tree.

All 20 roses had their start last year, so all 20 are now budding and blooming. Some of my first roses cut came from the maple tree rose garden. I took one gold rose called Strike It Rich, several yellow roses, and bi-colored orange roses to the chiro's office. For perfume I cut a Mr. Lincoln from the fence garden in the back. The office was all excited by the roses and the fragrance of Mr. Lincoln, truly a giant rose that grows on gigantic canes.



Rose Intensive Care
One way to increase rose production is taking care of the plants that are slow or not growing after their initial week or two. My ambulance consists of a wheelbarrow, a plastic wastebasket full of rain water, and rose shears.

The rainwater is gathered in the back, so I bring it to the front on the wheelbarrow. The wastebasket limits sloshing and makes it easy to dip a  gallon at a time, using a former ice tea maker. The shears are used to remove dead wood from new and old bushes. Cutting roses makes them grow, so this always spurs growth.

Dead wood will never revive and let growth happen at the end of the branch, so snipping it away has a triple benefit:

  • All pruning will enhance rose growth.
  • The dead wood was not going to become alive again.
  • Letting dead wood remain on a rose will sap its energy. See John 15:1-8.


Pouring water all over the rose canes gives the entire plant water and fertilizer at once. The canes need the water. The roots grow more with the water. Feeding the plant natural, mild, non-toxic nutrition will benefit the the roots, canes, and the soil creatures at the same time.

Thunder rolled and the rain began to fall
as soon as I was finished posting this.




St. Marcus Calls Erin Hollmann To Be Principal


Call Meeting Results
On Sunday, April 10th, congregational members gathered for a special Call Meeting in order to extend two calls – one for a St. Marcus School Main Campus Principal for grades 1-8 and the second for a Pastor of Outreach.

Mr. Tyson explained the reasons for extending this call for principal and then presented the list of candidates. After members shared thoughts, offered comments and asked questions, it was apparent that there was a clear consensus to call Ms. Erin Hollmann. Ms. Hollmann is a member of St. Marcus and is currently serving as the Director of Primary Grades in our school.
Background  - St. Marcus School is splitting the School Principal role into two focuses. Jon Boche, who has served as Principal for 8 years, will be assuming the role of Director of Recruitment and Staff Development. He will focus on staff recruitment and development, interface with the synod, work directly with staff, students and parents, tour groups and implementing areas of the school’s strategic plan. Jon will remain in his current position until someone accepts the call to serve as Principal. The Principal role will focus solely on culture, academics and behavior. The Principal will provide overall school vision, train, develop and support a team of directors and will lead school wide events and initiatives. The North Campus will continue to be led by Principal April Richter and the Kindergarten team will continue to be led by Mrs. Kristy Wegner.

Pastor Hein then explained how we are restructuring pastor roles and responsibilities and how a Pastor of Outreach will fit. After some clarification and questions, members considered the list of pastor candidates presented by our District Praesidium. Again, everyone shared their thoughts, offered comments and asked still more questions, eventually identifying Pastor Clark Schultz as their choice to fill this position. 
Since 2005, Pastor Schultz has been serving as a Religion Instructor at Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills, WI. Pastor Schultz is married to Kristin and they have two children.
Background -  Historically, St. Marcus has had school pastors and church pastors. Going forward, all pastors at St. Marcus will have a role in both the church and the school with clearly defined responsibilities for each. Some of the Pastor of Outreach’s responsibilities will be to: drive School evangelism, manage Catechism class and youth confirmation in November, provide additional Word of God tutoring for students, teach new member classes, provide staff one-on-one discipleship, deliver some sermons and assist with chapel.
The division of time is expected to be: 40% church / 60% school. Assisting with general member care (particularly those with school background), service projects and advising our Church Council will fill much of the church percentage.

Please include Ms. Hollmann and Pastor and Kristin Schultz in your prayers as they now prayerfully consider their calls and determine where the Lord can make the best use of their gifts and ministry experience.