Friday, August 22, 2008

Michael Foss weekly E devotion 21 Aug

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. James
I love the Olympics! The chance to see world class athletes from around the
world in competition is simply amazing. Even with uneven judging and the
undercurrents of international politics, there is something wonderful about the
competition that is above all of that – most of the time. I watched, for example,
the Russian and Georgian athletes smile, speak to one another and then embrace.
And I thought that the rhetoric of the Olympics was more than talk… more than
an ideal. Those two athletes were doers of that word or ideal.
And I have a new hero: Shawn Johnson. What a remarkable combination of
athleticism, focus and … smile! More than that, there is a soul that has refused to
be caught up in the addiction to success that can so easily undermine the very
principles of competition that form the foundation for the Games.
I am of the old school. Athletics are not ends in themselves. They are
opportunities to develop healthy bodies and strong character. The tragedy is that
many of our best competitors reveal a shallowness of heart and a self-indulgence
that betrays the greater good. Not Shawn Johnson.
St. James affirms that what we believe is ultimately what we live. The
tragedy of those who only “hear” is that we ultimately deceive ourselves. When
what we believe is in words only, then how we live has little to do with it. The
worst of this is not what others may think about us. It is that we have a false
picture of ourselves and we miss the power and joy of living what we say we
believe. This is never a matter of perfection. It is a matter of learning from our
mistakes and growing from them. Lives that are open to learning from mistakes
are lives that are self-reflective. It is the self-reflection that opens us to discover
the distance between what we believe and how we live. And with that discovery
comes the pleasure of becoming more at ease with oneself. And that’s a goal
worth our attention.
Lord Jesus, help me live what I believe today. Amen

To receive a weekly edevotion from Michael Foss, please email Karen Gonzales requesting a copy to be sent to you each week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Apostles Creed scripture references

Like the Nicene Creed the Apostles Creed is also based on scripture.

To check out the scripture passages visit
and go to page 38

or alternatively visit for a small number of bible verses

Prayer resources

Prayer is an essential part of a Christian's life. Prayers involves talking to and listening to God.

We pray as individuals, alone or part of a group, and we pray together as a group such as in worship.

Prayer can take many forms. Some times we use formulas, other times it is off the cuff, sometimes it is responsive, other times it someone prayers on our behalf (the Holy Spirit even prays for us when we don't have the words to pray.

Below are a range of prayer resources that help you in your journey in prayer....

What Jesus says
As you read the following two texts ask yourself what does Jesus' teaching on prayer say to us about God, us, how we are to pray and the things we are to pray for?

From Luke 11
11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 11:2 So he said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, may your name be honored;
may your kingdom come.
11:3 Give us each day our daily bread,
11:4 and forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And do not lead us into temptation.”

and From Matthew 6
6:5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. 6:6 But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. 6:7 When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. 6:8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 6:9 So pray this way:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored,
6:10 may your kingdom come,
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
6:11 Give us today our daily bread,
6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.
6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
6:14 “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 6:15 But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins.

More of what Jesus says
Who to pray for:
Matthew 5:43-48
Matthew 19:13
Luke 6:27-28

What to pray for:
Matthew 9:35-10:1
Matthew 18:15-20
Matthew 24:20
Matthew 26:39-44
Mark 11:24-25
Mark 13;14-23
Mark 14:32-41
Luke 10:2-3
Luke 22:39-46
John 17

How to pray
Luke 18:1-8
Luke 18:9-14
Luke 21:34-36

Luther's biblical study of the Lord's Prayer which form part of a Lutheran understanding to prayer.
There are two places to find this....
One is in the Small Catechism (this link includes Bible references)
and the other in the Large Catechism

What does Luther's biblical study on prayer say about God, you, others, praying, what to pray and how to pray?

Luther's approach to prayer.
Many people have benefited from following an approach to praying as suggested by Martin Luther. Think of prayer as having four strands
After reading a passage of scripture, ask the following:
  1. What is the Holy Spirit teaching me as a result of reading this passage?
  2. What prayer of thanksgiving does this passage prompt?
  3. What do I need to ask forgiveness for or lament as a result of what God says in this passage?
  4. What am i being prompted to do that I will need the Holy Spirit's help with?

Then pray the above to God.


Prayer of the church: Statement from the Lutheran Church of Australia

  • Scriptural foundation for the prayer of the church
  • Nature and purpose of the prayer of the church
  • Contents of the prayer of the church
  • Forms of the prayer of the church
  • Leadership of the prayer of the church

Prayer of the Church article by Larry W Myers

Let us pray: Prayers of the Church written for each week in the lectionary. Read a review on the Let us pray resource.

Faith Practices article: Prayer from the Lutheran (Australian) Magazine

Other resources from

Lutheran Church of Australia prayer resources including

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod including

Ablaze prayer resources including Prayer topics and Prayer Vigil kit

Prayer Topics including

  • Praying with Others
  • Prayer of Jabez
  • Prayers for the Dead Common
  • Table Prayer
  • Prayer Changing God`s Mind
  • God Sends Punishment
  • Praying with Mormons
  • Praying Out Loud
  • To Whom Should We Pray
  • ''Centering Prayer''
  • Contemplative Prayer

ELCA prayer resources including:

Digging deeper in prayer
Prayer: 101
Prayer: Centering
Prayer: Councils and Committees 2006, 2005, 2004
Prayer: Fasting
Prayer: Luther's Way of Praying
Prayer: Jumpstart your Prayer Life
Prayer: Simple Ways to Pray
Prayer: Spiritual Direction
Introducing Prayer Ministry
Advancing Prayer Ministry
Transforming Congregational Life Through Prayer Ministry
Assessing Your Prayer Ministry
A Congregation’s Call to Prayer
Rally Day
Making a Prayer Banner
Lord's Prayer Series
Grounded in Prayer Series
A Month of Prayer Series
Bible Study on Prayer
Creating Congregational Prayer Networks
Intercessory Prayer Team Guide
Organizing a Prayer Chain
Igniter Ideas to Stimulate Prayer
Create a Prayer Stool
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Let Us Pray monthly column featured on the Lutheran Woman Today Web page
Links to Prayer Articles
Augsburg Fortress Resources
Classic Prayers
Prayers for Witnessing
Prayers in a Time of War
Prayers for Peacemaking
Prayers for Peace from Different Religious Traditions
Prayers, Poems and Quotes
Evangelism Strategy: Call the Church to Prayer
Synodical Bishop's Call to Prayer

WELS resources including
Article: Prayer is personal and powerful

Prayer Topics

Books and other prayer resources for sale

Power Surge Small Group Bible Study covers

  • Week 1 “Pray Daily,” Daily Prayer is both a discipline and a gift
  • Week 2 “Teach us to Pray,” the Lord’s Prayer
  • Week 3 “Search, and Keep on Searching,” Persistent Prayer
  • Week 4 “Pray Without Ceasing,” Habitual Presence of God.

Lutheran Church of Australia's Everyday with Prayer and Season Prayer resources

Lutheran Book of Prayer by CPH contains personal prayers for almost every life circumstance, including:
Prayers for morning and evening
Our life of worship
Throughout the church year
For the church
For the nation and the world
For family and neighbors
For the sick, the convalescing, and the dying
Personal prayers
And more

Prayer by O Hallesby

Is your personal prayer life giving you problems? Read this book. It will clear your mind about your need for prayer and strengthen your will to do it. Beyond all that, it will simply flood your soul with goodness and love of God! Chapters include:

  1. What Prayer Is
  2. Difficulties in Prayer
  3. Prayer As Work
  4. Wrestling in Prayer, I
  5. Wrestling in Prayer, II
  6. The Misuse of Prayer
  7. The Meaning of Prayer
  8. Forms of Prayer
  9. Problems of Prayer
  10. The School of Prayer
  11. The Spirit of Prayer
  12. Study Guide

On Earth as in heaven: praying at the crossroads K Bender Braun
Discernment is decision-making that begins and ends with God, according to Braun, and following God's will is a gift from God worked through the Holy Spirit, as is faith itself. So it makes sense that the Lord's Prayer, introduced at a time of transition in Jesus' life and that of his disciples, provides a means for Christians of every age to faithfully work through challenging and confusing times in their lives.Using the petitions of the Lord's Prayeras her framework and offering insights from her own experience of praying at life' s crossroads and being privy to the prayer lives of others, the author leads readers into deeper awareness of God's will in their lives - a will that propels Christians to service.

Everyday Anytime Prayer by Walt Kallestad

Chapters include:

  1. Prayer expectations
  2. Prayer language
  3. Prayer triggers
  4. Prayer in sighs and screams
  5. Prayer in desperation
  6. Prayer on the edge of death
  7. Prayer and family
  8. Prayer for safety
  9. Prayer for hope
  10. Prayer and my job
  11. Prayer habits
  12. Prayer in the midst of failure
  13. Prayer and sufferings
  14. Prayer when making decisions
  15. Prayer and friends
  16. Prayer and stress

Too busy not to pray by Bill Hybels, Lavonne Neff and Ashley Wiersma

Chapters include:

God calls us into his presence
God's Presence, God's Power
God Is Willing
God Is Able

God invites us to talk with him
Heart-Building Habits
Praying Like Jesus
A Pattern for Prayer
Mountain-Moving Prayer

God breaks down the barriers between us
The Hurt of Unanswered Prayer
Prayer Busters

Cooling Off on Prayer

God speaks to our hearts
Slowing Down to Pray
The Importance of Listening
How to Hear God's Leadings
What to Do with Leadings
Living in God's Presence

Questions for Reflection and Discussion A Guide for Private or Group Prayer

Lutheran Layperson's League tracts relating to prayer for adults and children can be found at this link

if you have a resource relating to prayer and you believe it is worth sharing please let me know.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Jesus Enterprise: Engaging culture to reach the unchurched

Pastor Kent Hunter, a Lutheran Missouri Synod pastor and holder of a PhD and D. Min. has a book and web site called "The Jesus Enterprise: Engaging culture to reach the unchurched."

The Jesus Enterprise is about developing ministries that engage non-Christians around you and building bridges so the Gospel can do what the Gospel does: change people’s lives.

This is a book about sharing that good news in such a way that you are a bridge, not a roadblock.
The Jesus Enterprise is all about doing ministry in Jesus’ style. In spite of the risk and criticism, Jesus’ passion to seek and save the lost drove him to engage the culture.

Churches around the country are seeking new ways to attract followers. One Church in Indiana has opened a Starbucks in the lobby of the church to create a more inviting atmosphere. Another in Houston is set to open a McDonald’s. And one in Maine has an on-site fitness center.
Enterprise ministries are God’s strategy for reaching any culture in any age.
It’s so simple, biblical and profound you’ll wonder why most Christians and churches don’t get it. But you can, and will, through The Jesus Enterprise.

Begin the Jesus Enterprise journey by visiting....

A list of MEGA Lutheran Churches

Some people believe it or not are attracted to big churches....and it appears every denomination has them.

They are not the norm, however they exist and God is using some of them to deliver the Gospel into people's lives.

Below is a list of various Mega Lutheran churches and if you take the time to look at them you will find that they are as diverse as there are people. They also offer some resources online that you may find helpful. And you may even pick up a thing or two from them to inspire you....

Calvary Lutheran Church Golden Valley MN
Christian Family Lutheran Church Omaha NE
Community Church of Joy Glendale AZ
Concordia Lutheran Church Fort Wayne IN
Faith Lutheran Church Troy MI
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Nassau Bay TX
Hales Cornes Lutheran Church Hales Corners WI
Hope Lutheran Church Fargo ND
Hosanna Lutheran Church Lakeville MN
King of Kings Lutheran Church Omaha NE
Lutheran Church of Hope West Des Moines IA
Mt Bethel Lutheran Church Mount Bethel PA
Prince of Peace Lutheran Burnsville MN
Mt Olivet Lutheran Church Minneapolis MN
North Heights Lutheran Church Roseville MN
Saint Andrews Lutheran Church Mahtomedi MN
Saint John Lutheran Church Ellisville MO
Saint Lorenz Lutheran Church Frankenmuth MI
Saint Philip The Deacon Plymouth MN
Shepherd of the Valley Apple Valley MN
Upper Arlington Lutheran Church Columbus OH
Upper Arlington Lutheran Church at Mill Run Hilliard OH

If you have any to add please feel free to email me

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lutheran leadership thoughts No. 1

Lutheran Leadership thoughts No 1....
prepared by Pastor Richard Schwedes

The Big Lutheran Leadership Question
What does it mean to be a leader in the Lutheran church?
What does it mean to be a leader anywhere who is Lutheran (and Christian)?

Whether we like it or not.
Most of us are leaders in some situation or another.
Each month I am intending to bring you some thoughts that may get you thinking and perhaps some resources that may help you in your journey as a leader. (and if you have anything to contribute you are welcome either by commenting or by emailing).

The dictionary suggests a leader is someone who guides and directs others and someone who is in front of others.

Reflect on:
Who are you guiding and directing and why?
Who should you be guiding and directing?

There are three further questions that come from this...
The first is something that we need to tackle in relation to where God has placed us, ie. the context.
If we are clear about who we are guiding, do we know to what we are guiding and directing people to? (and also do they understand where they are being guided and directed to?) This is something that constantly needs reviewing in our changing environment, changing roles and needs.
This question is very important....
It needs to be answered by ourselves and understood by those we are accountable to.
For a pastor that includes our church and parish council, senior pastor, your mentors, our church bodies, our congregations, other team members. For other leaders it maybe your bosses, your team, your mentors, your sponsors...
reflection time:
What are we guiding or directing people to?
Are others aware of this destination?

The second question is in relation to where are people now. It is important to understand where people are now. How can we direct or guide people if we have little understanding of where are we guiding people from? This includes helping people understand where they are in relation to where they are being guided to.
reflection time:
Where are people now?
What do you need to do to find out about this?

The third question is how do we go about leading people? Now this is where a Lutheran approach to life should significantly influence us. Ask yourself how does being Lutheran influence how you lead people, whether in the church or in any other role? How do the major Lutheran Christian concepts of grace, forgiveness, servanthood, guided by scripture, loving God and loving others, two kingdoms, being Christ's light, Jesus as head of the church, Jesus coming into people's lives where they are, being little Christ's, the Great Commission, priesthood of all believer and people being saint and sinner influence how we lead others?
reflection time: How does being a Christian who is Lutheran influence how we lead people either in the church or in our other roles? What are some the challenges that conflict with being Lutheran and how do we address these?

If you have any thoughts on the above why not put them in the comments section.

Please feel free to use these in council meetings, congregational settings and with people who are leaders both in the church and their community or looking to be leaders as discussion starters.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2 new Lutheran Study Bibles

Yes thats right not one...but two
and that will make the three

The new Lutheran Study Bibles are:

Lutheran Study Bible NRSVproduced by Augsburg Fortress
to be released in March 2009
This is what Augsburg Fortress says about the new Study Bible.
This exciting new Bible features the NRSV translation as well as introductions, notes, and articles written by over sixty Lutheran pastors and teaching theologians. This resource is designed to invite readers to experience the Bible and its message through solid background material, unique Lutheran insights, and opportunities for faith reflection. Reader-friendly, inviting, and engaging, this is the perfect study Bible for both youth and adults who want to encounter Scripture in a fresh and new way!
Reader-friendly: With an attractive page layout and easy-to-read study notes, Lutheran Study Bible presents the biblical text in a fresh, approachable format. Plain-language notes assume little to no prior understanding of theological terminology, making it accessible to the youth and adults alike.
Inviting: The rich study notes of the new Lutheran Study Bible invite discovery, providing helpful background information while actively encouraging the reader to directly engage the biblical text.
Engaging: The combination of biblical text and study notes enable the reader to learn about the Bible's content and to hear God's Word as it was encountered by people in the Bible as well as how in now encounters us. Study notes are grouped into four categories:

  • The World of the Bible explores the historical, cultural, and geographic background of a particular passage.
  • Biblical Concepts explain key words or themes in the context of other parts of Scripture.
  • Lutheran Perspectives highlight Lutheran theological insights and catechetical connections drawn from particular passages.
  • Faith Reflections provide commentary and questions that encourage life application.

For more information click here

The Lutheran Study Bible using the ESV translation.

Then in October 2009 Concordia Publishing House releases the Lutheran Study Bible. This is what they say about this Lutheran Study Bible;

The Lutheran Study Bible is the first study Bible in English to be developed from the ground-up with notes that are “exclusively and distinctively Lutheran.”
The Lutheran Study Bible includes more than 26,500 study notes, including over 2,000 application notes and prayers for every part of the Bible; over 80,000 center column cross-references and 900 cross-references to 120 full or half-page maps, charts, and diagrams; and more than 220 articles and introductions to biblical books and topics. The Lutheran Study Bible notes were prepared by Lutheran theologians, scholars, and pastors from 12 Lutheran church bodies. “We are excited to offer all English-speaking Christians a study Bible that offers such a comforting and powerful Christ-centered understanding of the Scriptures,” shares Rev. Paul T. McCain, Publisher and Executive Director of Editorial for CPH. “As the Lutheran Reformers put it, Christ and His Gospel is the unspeakable treasure that alone opens the door to the entire Bible.”
The Lutheran Study Bible uses the English Standard Version® translation, one of the fastest growing translations worldwide and considered to be one of the most precise English translations available. “TLSB is a truly unique offering in the study Bible ‘market’,” says Gretchen Jameson, CPH’s Corporate Communications manager, “it combines a personal, devotional, and practical application approach to Bible reading, alongside solid scholarly study notes. There is, quite simply, nothing else like it available today.”
Detailed information about the unique features of The Lutheran Study Bible will be online at in October 2008.
The Lutheran Study Bible is available for Internet pre sale in March 2009.

But you want a Lutheran Study Bible NOW!!!!

Since 1986 the Concordia Self Study Bible NIV has been available. Visit the link below for more information....

Friday, August 08, 2008

Luther the movie

The Luther Movie (2003) starring Joseph Fiennes, Alfred Molina, Jonathon Firth, Clare Cox and Sir Peter Ustinov is a great way to quickly show how the reformation came about and discuss what is important to being Lutheran.

Lutheran Church of Australia offers a list of resources for promote further discussion and study at

Lutheran Education Australia has released teacher guides and study guides available at

Hollywood Jesus offers a comprehensive review that is helpful for further discussion, especially youth groups at

Read the Lutheran Witness magazine article on the Lutheran at

Lutheran education australia has developed study guides in relation to the Luther movie that was released

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Missional Ecclesiology for the local church and Ministering to the over 20s

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren has just held its Annual convention.

They are offering their inservice training as a podcast.

Two of the sessions dealt with the topic Missional Ecclesiology for the local church, and another dealt with ministering to the over 20s

This is what they say about the Missional Ecclesiology sessions.
This seminar explores the development of the denominational model of Church (adapted from European models) that has come to represent the churches of North America, while addressing the following questions:
- What are the historical and theological origins of denominations?
- What do denominations have to say about the nature of the church?
- How should the church organize and structure its life?
The presentation then proceeds to briefly explore the present North American cultural climate and examines how the traditional denominational model of Church and the missional model of Church differ in how they attempt to meet these cultural challenges.

If you are interested feel free to visit:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Nicene Creed: scripture references

Ever been asked where in the bible the Nicene Creed is?
Or been challenged that the Nicene Creed is man made and not from the bible?

This is common.....especially with people on a journey and new to the faith, or people wanting to go deeper when they have had a surface level approach to faith for some time...

My general response has been.
The Nicene Creed (or the Apostles Creed) are a summary of what is in the bible about God and his relationship with us. I find it an excellent way to remember some of the essentials of God. I can remember the creeds but find it difficult to remember the entire bible.

Now my task is made even easier...The Urban Ministry Institute has developed a one page handout that shows biblical support/references for each line of the Nicene Creed. You can get it at