Thursday, December 08, 2016

Australian Lutheran World Service: Gifts of Grace

Are you tired of meaningless, throw-away gifts?
Would you like to bless others as you bless family and friends with gifts at Christmas, for birthdays, on anniversaries?
Then ALWS Gifts of Grace is for you!
Whether you provide Welcome Meals in a Kenyan refugee camp … help build a school in South Sudan … give a farmer in Cambodia a piglet … or simply offer a family a Lutheran Long Drop Loo… you will bring love to life!
There are 24 gifts to choose from, with six gifts under $10!

NEW! We’ll send you a POP-UP Grace Card for each gift you choose.

There are four joy-filled designs, and inside a photo and description of the gift you give. You also receive matching envelopes PLUS a receipt to claim your gifts as a tax deduction!
You give the Grace Card as your gift to friends, family and work-mates. Meanwhile, our ALWS partners will deliver the care your gift represents.
What a beautiful way to share your values and bring love to life!
For more information visit  http://www.alws.org.au/index.php/what-you-can-do/gifts-of-grace


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Carols and Reading Services

Carols and Readings services have become a special part of many congregations and schools Christmas worship.  
Kings College in the UK, is recognised as the community who first began such services.   Congregations and schools throughout the world have used, adapted and shared these services, which have become special to many people.  
Following are some of the Carols and Readings services that congregations and schools have used and will use, plus a few additional resources.

Carols and Readings - Powerpoint - Redeemer Lutheran Church, Narraweena, NSW Australia

A family friendly carols and readings service - script - Worshipping with Children

A festival of nine lessons and carols - service order - Kings College

Nine lessons and Carols for Christmastide - Reformed Worship

Nine lessons and Carols - service builder -  Better Gatherings

A contemporary service of worship and carols - service order - worthily, magnify

Lessons and Carols - service order - Messiah Lutheran Church

Commentary on the readings for a carols and readings service - Spiritual Journeys

Object lessons, readings and carols - Scipt -  BRF



2017 Lent Devotion - Salutary Gift

"Within the solemn halls of the Lenten season, Christians gather around God s Word in repentance of sins, preparation for recalling their Savior s sacrifice, and thanksgiving for the crucifixion s redemptive power. The theology of the Lord s Supper mirrors this Lenten pilgrimage in many ways.
In these daily devotions, readers arrive at a deeper appreciation of the Holy Meal instituted by Christ through a study of Scripture and both ancient and modern hymns. Each theme reveals a host of approaches to understanding the same gift: life-giving fruit, nourishment, healing, communion with the saints, rest, a priestly meal, the feast of victory, and more.
Every day of Lent, meditate on and embrace these beautiful, biblical images and metaphors of the Lord s Supper in addition to the chief blessing and description of this Sacrament in Scripture: the forgiveness of sins. The forgiveness of sins, won for the world on Calvary and offered in the Sacrament of the Lord s body and blood truly makes this blessed Supper a salutary gift. "

Book: Reading Romans with Luther

Most of us experience theology in a head-in-the-clouds kind of way. We see the great theologians words soaring far above us. Each word is powerful and yet untouchable. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Good theology was never meant to be out of reach! Martin Luther's work was revolutionary in part because of the invention of the printing press, giving his words more accessibility than ever before. Now five hundred years removed from Luther's lifetime, his works are as influential as ever . . . and left on a shelf by all but pastors and history buffs.
Luther's commentary on Romans is an incredible but complicated commentary. Reading Romans with Luther offers a shortened version of this monumental commentary, featuring an attractive devotional format and imagery highlighting key portions of the text. Rather than a linear exploration of the original commentary, author RJ Grunewald takes readers on a thematic journey through the teachings in Romans. It's Luther but for everyday life!

Chapters

Chapter 1: Exposed 
Chapter 2: The Human Condition 
Chapter 3: A Worship Problem 
Chapter 4: The Old Man 
Chapter 5: Law and Gospel 
Chapter 6: The Bad News 
Chapter 7: The Power and Primacy of the Gospel 
Chapter 8: Righteousness 
Chapter 9: Sinners, Saints, and the Simul 
Chapter 10: Suffering 
Chapter 11: Grace That Changes 
Chapter 12: Gifts 
Appendix: A Word for Preachers 128


Endorsements
“The Gospel is,” as Martin Luther said, “the very heart of the Bible. And the Book of Romans is the very heart of the Gospel.”  And though we love Romans itself and would like to read and understand what Luther had to say about it, many of us find it difficult to press through the antiquated language and unfamiliar phrasing that was common parlance five hundred years ago. And that’s where this wonderful book comes in. Helping the modern reader understand Luther’s thought as he processed Paul’s, this book makes deep theology simple and hopefully will open the door for new generations of believers to enjoy and cherish the truths that spawned the Reformation, particularly the shocking grace of God bestowed on shockingly sinful creatures.
ELYSE M. FITZPATRICK, AUTHOR OF BECAUSE HE LOVES ME

Martin Luther didn’t just read Romans. He was changed by it. Romans left Luther undone by God’s message of a totally free righteousness. It’s the same message that lit a fire in Luther leading to the Reformation. What I love about this book is that it helps any and all join Luther in discovering and celebrating the message of God’s extravagant mercy as it’s uniquely presented in Paul’s Letter 
to the Romans. Luther’s world-changing insights are all there and easy to grasp, made even more accessible by RJ’s personal and pastoral observations. Don’t just read Romans, read it with Luther and let its message of a totally free righteousness change you too.
MATT POPOVITS, PASTOR OF OUR SAVIOUR NEW YORK ENDORSEMENTS

The Epistle to the Romans contains some of the Bible’s richest explorations of the Gospel. Luther’s commentary on Romans shows how great a theologian—that is, an expositor of Scripture—
he is. In this book, RJ Grunewald serves up extracts from both St. Paul and Luther and then explains and applies them in an utterly fresh, contemporary, and illuminating way. With its three voices—those of St. Paul, Luther, and Rev. Grunewald—this book is a highly original, extremely readable treatment of our justification by Christ. Laypeople will read it with pleasure and give it to their non-Christian friends.
GENE E. VEITH JR., AUTHOR OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE CROSS

RJ has done it again. He has taken the deep and sometimes hardto-navigate writings of Martin Luther and has not only given us a road map to understanding but also taken our hand and gently led 
us along the path. This book is rich. This book is relatable. This book is beautiful. Buy it. You won’t regret it.
JESSICA THOMPSON, SPEAKER AND AUTHOR OF GIVE THEM GRACE

Rightly understanding the Book of Romans is critical to rightly understanding the entire Bible. RJ Grunewald’s Reading Romans with Luther is a fantastic resource that will help you better comprehend the Book of Romans and give you the biblical understanding necessary to understand the depth of our sinful condition, the magnitude of God’s grace and mercy, how to properly appropriate 
Law and Gospel, and how to correctly understand how good works flow from faith into the lives of believers without slipping back into works-righteousness. This is a wonderful little book.
CHRIS ROSEBOROUGH, PASTOR AND CAPTAIN OF PIRATECHRISTIAN.COM



Church Planting principles from LCMC

The LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ) encourage church planting with a biblical basis and focus....

Many of the congregations of the LCMC arose due to hurts

So the first step they recommend is that if this is the case for you and those who you are looking to church plant with, that you take some time to heal from a time of struggle, to spend time in prayer, participate in a worshipping community and spend time in reflection.  It is very important that anyone hurting comes to terms with their loss, and begin working toward forgiveness and healing.

But planting a church is not just being called out of a situation, it is being called to a situation!!

Jesus’ call is always for a purpose.

In their article  they explore the steps that are involved in being called to plant a church with a Jesus centred purpose:

  • Consider the Great Commission
  • Take time to reflect on, discuss and decide what is the mission, vision and purpose God has called us to.
  • Get organised
  • Gather around the Lord's Supper
  • Plan to grow
You can read their article fully by visiting http://www.lcmc.net/biblical-perspective/464