The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

May 25, Ascension Day Holy Communion,
7 PM Centray Daylight 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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hauling Rainwater - In Certainty, Not in Doubt about the Results.
Can This Be the Key?


We have rain tentatively forecast for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but with more certainty Easter Sunday. After Sassy's morning walk in cool air yesterday, I began hauling rainwater from our four barrels and four large paint-buckets.

The newly protected Crepe Myrtle twigs were already leafing out, so they received more hand-delivered rain. So did the two Queen Elizabeth roses, certain other roses, and the Butterfly Bushes in the backyard. The roses along Mr. Gardener's fence got special treatment.

Later I used the sprinkler on the main rose garden, finishing with a cold shower for Big Pink, the Crepe Myrtle I have doted upon since we moved here. Once again, the pyramid of organic matter placed under the bush was flattened by the soil life that feeds the roots. They could say, "We wintered in Crepe Myrtle." Jealous microbes and earthworms would say, "I always wanted to winter in Crepe, but I worry about the Category 5 moles that frequent that location."

I am the only one in this neighborhood hauling rainwater, but then again, I am the only one sharing roses all over Northwest Arkansas. I enjoy pouring rainwater on the plants because I have no doubts about the results. The struggling plants get rainwater to give them strength and health. The ones growing abundantly get rainwater to make them even more fruitful.



The three-fold Promises of God apply first to rain and snow.

  1. Rain and snow never return to God without effect.
  2. Rain and snow always accomplish His purpose.
  3. Rain and snow always prosper His will, whatever that might be. 
Those Promises are metaphors for the efficacy of the Word, so we identify the Word of God with the unmistakable power of the snow and rain upon God's Creation. Our artist-in-residence, Norma Boeckler, wrote to us about repeated flooding of the lowlands where she lives. I asked, "Snowmelt." Yes, that was the cause - so the water-table will be raised in her area and the soil moist and especially fertile for spring planting. 

Intense snowfall and rains have remarkable effects on the normal features of the landscape. I sat next to a retired agriculture professor in one waiting room, and we discussed the plant and tree changes caused by repeated eight-inch rainfalls. In Phoenix, excessive rains make the area bloom with opportunistic plants that only set seed when the water is available. California is enjoying that rebirth this spring.


I even saved rainwater in one barrel for some long-legged beauties, famous for their perfume, who will arrive today and stay a long time. The Lincolns are expected today and will be placed in rainwater to hydrate and get ready to root themselves in the main rose garden. Even our limo is a Lincoln, so what do readers expect in the garden?

Sassy loves her Lincoln,
especially when going to Walmart and Lowe's.

The clergy who want to be known as experts love to debate trivia. Can those who use individual cups for communion be saved? Is the Missouri or WELS concept of Fuller ministry more God-pleasing? Who is our favorite Synod President to continue the road to perdition?

Professor-Pastor-District President Lenski summed up the ministry with a reference to the efficacy of the Word - "Programs come and go. Only the Word builds up the Church."

There - I just saved someone $20,000 in loans for a Fuller Seminary drive-by D.Min degree. Millions of dollars in synodical programs will be shut down at the same time. No? Of course not - they continue to rely on Dame Reason, which teaches them that money must be spent for results, for they truly rely on the efficacy of the dollar. "Spend abundantly that thou mayest reap abundantly, especially for thyself."

Inescapable Truth of Isaiah 55
The inescapable truth of Isaiah 55 completely unlocks the ministry. Once learned, it cannot be unlearned - so it is seldom taught anywhere. Nor is the efficacy of the Word in the New Testament mentioned much at all in all the academic literature of the windbags called Biblical scholars.

Here is that truth - foundational for all of Luther's writings and the Lutheran Reformation - "The Spirit never works without the Word, and the Word never works without the Spirit."



Fuller Asked - And Dame Reason Responded
Trinity ELCA Lutheran Seminary in Columbus provided me with every Church Growth book ever written up to that point. Their theme was simple - look at an airplane and ask, "How does it work? What makes it fly?" And apply that to large and growing congregations. Find out what makes them work. 

Dame Reason responded by listing the personality traits of the ministers and the programs of the parish. Apostate synodical leaders said, "Fuller and Willowcreek have done the research and have the answers for us. We only need to study at Fuller and the cloned bee-hives to unlock the secrets of growth."

Never mentioned - sow the Word of God and God will work His will. The seed even grows secretly when we are asleep or away, if Jesus is to be trusted on this.


Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

In Isaiah 55, God does not promise to accomplish our will but His will. That is why so many synodical smart-alecs wrestle the ministry from God - Who has done a good job up to now. They hand it over to the whispering seductions of Satan, the energy behind Dame Reason.



The Efficacy of God's Word - Seldom Tried, Never Taught
The poor Lutheran seminarian must find these things out for himself, because the synodical professors are synod salesmen and public relations executives for Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy, or the popes of Pasadena and Willowcreek.

And why are their students' eyes blinded? They have magnificent libraries, often in their own rooms and digitally inscribed on their computers.

WELS has a quia subscription to the Book of Concord, but teaches that this splendid one volume commentary on the Bible is "boring and irrelevant." Justification by Faith statements in their own seminary curriculum are labeled MISLEADING! - lest the future pastor fall into Luther's doctrine - and Paul's - by mistake.

The LCMS piously subscribes to that same quia subscription to the Book of Concord, which must be a powerful anaesthetic, since many of the clergy and all the leaders are asleep. Some are like zombies, sleep-walking while repeating the maxims of Universalism, insisting that CFW Stephan-Walther is the Great Prophet, dreaming that Luther's Reformation anticipated the ethereal insights of Halle University and the OJ/SJ of Calvinism.



Counter-Attack
If Dame Reason guides the apostate synods, which are no better than the ELCA they covet, then something must be done. As I recall, the hymn is "Fear Not, Little Flock" rather than "Rock On, Mega-Church."

Here is a modest program carried out by our little congregation and a blog no one reads - except for 6,000 views two days in a row.

The sermons are almost always expository, explaining the Biblical text for that day, verse by verse. They are delivered, broadcast over the Internet, and published. Links are leveraged by Google Plus and Facebook.

We post Luther's sermon for that Sunday or holy day, through the blog, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Holy Communion is celebrated, following the norms of the Book of Concord.

We do not have or advocate the meaningless quia subscription to the Book of Concord. We just teach what it teaches. Therefore, we do not agree with the "boring and irrelevant" subscription of WELS, either.

The books of Martin Chemnitz Press are supported by people who allow most titles to be given away.

Most days begin with a doctrinal post on this blog.

We use Norma Boeckler's beautiful artwork on the blog, in books, and shared on Facebook.

I visit members and give them Holy Communion as opportunity allows.

We are teaching a class on New Testament Greek for anyone who wants to attend via Ustream or by watching the videos saved on Facebook.

In our neighborhood and community, I give away Bibles when requested. That includes a Gospel of John in Spanish (twice) when someone was studying Spanish. The latest is my wife's surgeon.

Walking with Sassy allows me to talk to a wide variety of neighbors. One became a Lutheran before she died, against her cult's wishes. My wife and I visited her often and saw her in the hospital, at her request. She watched the Sunday service each week, after she asked for the Ustream link.

Giving away roses allows me to talk about Creation with everyone who admires them. Giving away the Creation Gardening book has been easy - here and other places where I send multiple copies for that purpose. A waitress and her husband loved the book. She said, "I like the way you combine gardening and faith." I do not know how the two can be separated. My favorite gardening experts (three Facebook friends) see how I move from gardening to the Christian Faith.

I still buy large amounts of seed when possible, and share the extras. Sowing in abundance may only result in chubbier squirrels and rabbits at the moment, but the approach bears fruit in time. I enjoy having wonders blooming in front of me and bearing fruit in abundance - and hearing visitors gasp at what God has done.

Likewise I have seen the Word of God bearing fruit abundantly in many places, even when crossing carefully guarded synod lines.

 John 15:1-10 is my guide for growing roses.