Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paper: A brief articulation of the Lutheran view of baptism

John Frasier has transferred his Christian affiliation from the Baptists to the Lutherans.

He was motivated by his belief that Lutheran distinctives were far more faithful to scripture than Baptists, see

As part of the journey he researched and wrote a paper...he says short, but at 50 pages it is detailed yet still reasonably easy to understand...that explains the Lutheran view of Baptism and why it is view it visit

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Free LSB (CPH) lectionary pocket and online diary

Concordia Publishing House (LCMS) offers a free lectionary pocket and online diary that allows you to put the lectionary readings and other church calednar events from Lutheran Service Book lectionary automatically into outlook, onto a pda or to view them only
For more information visit
Please note: If you are using another lectionary either RCL, LCA revised lectionary or another lectionary then the augsburg fortress calendar will more closely relate to your weekly readings

Monday, October 27, 2008

Free Advent Devotions

Lutheran Hour Ministries offer free Advent and Christmas devotion booklets for your congregation to customise and distrbute to members and visitors.

There is one series of devotions more suitable for Christians to reflect on their faith at Christmas and another more Christians to share their faith with each other, their family, friends and colleagues.

Visit to find out more, to add your congregation's details and download the booklet.

Free Church Calendar Year B for outlook and pda's

Augsburg Fortress offers free the Church Calendar that can be imported into your outlook or your pda


Please note if your country uses a date format day/month/year, then you will need to make some alterations as the dates are formated for month/day/year.

If you know of any other church calendars that can be imported for outlook or pda's please share them in the comments section

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prayer Roster

I have developed a prayer roster for our parish, that maybe helpful for other Lutheran Congregations, especially in Australia

It is available in a spreadsheet format .xls

And the roster allocates a week for:
each LCA congregation
each LCA aged care facility
each LCA community care agency
each LCA school
each LCA committee/group/commission
Lutheran churches throughout the world
Catechism sections
Other denominations

to help you and your congregation to pray regularly for others

Click here to obtain a copy

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bible: for reading, devotion, reflection and study

The Bible is essential for every Christian.
When it comes to the bible, Martin Luther once said the bible is the cradle in which the Christ lays.
Unfortunately though many Christians don't regularly read or study the bible, that is a little like denying yourself of fruit, vegetables, quality meat and medication.

Following are resources to help you in your bible reading and study and to encourage you to help others in this essential aspect of life. If you have suggestions for other resources, please feel free to send them to me.

Statements from various Lutheran bodies about the bible
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Bible
Lutheran Church of Australia; Scripture and inspiration, Gospel and the interpretation of scripture
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

George Barna article on the bible

Resources to encourage bible reading, devotion and study
Bible Literacy test this will help you identify what you know and don't know

Book of Faith an initiative to increas bible literacy and fluency for the sake of the world. Includes online conversations for those studying the bible and those leading bible study groups, articles on the bible and resources to help and encourage bible use

Ever wondered about Study the Bible offers a range of bible studies including the Gospel of John, exploring the bible, topical bible studies in English, Japanese, Spanish and Mandarin

ELCA discpleship resources including resources and ideas for bible study

There are at least two bible study resources based on each week of the lectionary....
You can find one by clicking here and the other by clicking here

Digging Deeper booklet from Pastor Greg Priebbenow. This booklet forms a course that covers:
Basics of the Bible, Origins of the Bible, Shape of the Bible, Theology of the bible, Benefits of Bible reading and using the bible in daily life (including versions, methods and tools)
Practice of Bible Reading article by Pastor Greg Priebbenow
Advice for personal bible reading by Pastor Greg Priebbenow
Quiet Time booklet and sheet by Pastor Greg Priebbenow
For any of the above resources please email me with 'GP Bible resources' in the subject line

Creative bible study methods for Youth Leaders

LCMS Bible listening program for schools

Lutheran Bible Study site influenced by LCMS. Includes bible studies, information on the bible, bible timeline, and bible lists

Faith Practices: Bible Reading article that appeared in the Lutheran magazine (Australia)

Crossways international has many resources for learning and sharing the bible, including a major bible survey course. Its aim is to promote bible study world wide.

Bethel Bible Study series mission is to lead members of a local church into disciplined study of Scripture in such a way that they encounter the Living Christ.

Concordia Publishing House Bible Studies

Augburgfortress Bible Studies

NorthWest Publishing House Bible Studies

Articles and papers relating to Bible, bible study methods and understanding the bible

Bible Reading Plans
Lutheran Church of Australia offers bible reading plans with a thort provoker for the Old and New Testament
Lutheran Layperson League offers a tract for each bible for each church year.
Navpress offers the following bible reading plans
5x5x5 (5minutes, 5 days and 5 ways) Bible Reading plan
Book at a time
Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
Bible Society of Australia offers free bible reading plans
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod offers an online bible reading plan that will help you get through the bible in 3 years.
One year Bible on line....helps you to develop a bible reading plan to read the bible in one year
Lutheran approaches to bible study
Opening the Book of faith: explores how Lutherans read and study the bible. It offers 4 main approaches.

Books to help you understand the bible

Book: After McDonaldlization ministry, mission and Christian Discipleship in an age of uncertainty

After McDonaldlization ministry, mission and Christian Discipleship in an age of uncertainty
by John Drane

about the book
In his earlier book The McDonaldization of the Church, John Drane critiqued church trends toward "fast food" spirituality while offering suggestions for change. In this long-awaited sequel, After McDonaldization, Drane addresses key questions for Western Christianity in a global context. He argues that increasing numbers of people are turning to "spirituality" even while church attendance has continued to decline in the US and Europe, and that the continuing impact of globalization and consumerism has been joined by a post-9/11 culture of fear and a search for truth. In light of these developments, Drane presents a case for a more practical theology, a reinvigorated style of ministry, and a restatement of classic Christian beliefs for the twenty-first century. The book offers interconnected chapters on culture, community, mission, ministry, and theology and is, writes Drane, "an invitation to think outside the box of what we now know, and to imagine what the Christian future might look and feel like if we allow ourselves to ask new questions." This accessible book will appeal to church and culture readers, pastors, and those interested in the emerging church.

From the Back Cover
A New Rendering of Classic Christian Beliefs
John Drane's acclaimed The McDonaldization of the Church identified the catastrophic trend of Western churches offering uninventive, pre-packaged worship to dwindling congregations. Since its publication, church attendance has continued to decline even though increasing numbers of people are searching for spiritual integrity and turning to "spirituality."
In After McDonaldization, Drane argues that the continuing impact of globalization and consumerism has been joined by a post-9/11 culture of fear and a search for truth. He asks what it means to be Christian in a post-Christendom context. Where are today's mission opportunities, the places where God is at work? In our fragmented society, how should Christian community be shaped? And what values might inspire the leaders of the twenty-first century?
As he addresses key questions for Western Christianity in a global context, Drane presents a case for a more practical theology, a reinvigorated style of ministry, and a restatement of classic Christian beliefs for the twenty-first century. "To continue as we are may be comfortable, but could also be institutionally suicidal," writes Drane. "Our options are simple. We either do nothing, and the decline continues, or we ask fundamental questions and take whatever steps may be necessary to re-imagine church life."
"The continuing decline in both numbers and influence of Christian churches within the broader culture is increasingly evident in North America and the United Kingdom. I am delighted that John Drane's insightful book is now available to leaders in North America to alert them to the serious nature of the challenges they face."--Eddie Gibbs, coauthor, Emerging Churches; author, ChurchNext

Church Powerpoint

CHURCH PowerPoint offers visually dynamic, professionally designed power points.
Every week, lectionary based images are offered without charge, as well as many backgrounds, titles, seasonally appropriate ppts. At present churches from a range of denominations have subscribed.
You can subscribe free, although a donation would be appreciated

To look at these quality lectionary based power points visit

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

illustration: People are both good and bad

Most things and people in our lives are not entirely good or entirely bad, they are both.
Recently when i travelled through the country I noticed a beautiful purple plant in the paddocks and enquired with those whom I was travelling with what it was.
One person called it Salvation Jane, another said it was called Patterson's curse.
One name sounded quite good, the other something you didn't want much to do with.
It's real name is Echium plantagineumm and ironically it is believed that the two nicknames given are derived from the one person Jane Patterson, who planted the 'beautiful flower' in her garden, only to infest paddocks around the place and cause havoc to the farming community.
So why the two names...
well in Australia it is generally seen as a weed that overtakes paddocks and when eaten in large quantities it can kill livestock.
However there are some people who are very thankful for the plant. Not only does it look attractive, but when used in small quantities and in a controlled environment it can be used for cattlefeed and is especially benefical during droughts.
Now this got me thinking....
every person I know, including myself are a little like Patterson's curse,
we are both good and bad, or as the church puts it saint and sinner.
We have the potential to cause havoc and be seen as only bad, yet Jesus did something about this by committing himself to His father's will, that resulted in his suffering, dieing and coming to life again.
So sinners we are by nature, and saints because of the efforts of Jesus.
So how do you view others as a sinner, a saint or both?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Book: Grace upon Grace by Dr John Kleinig

Grace upon grace: Spirituality for today
About the book...
"Christian spirituality is, quite simply, following Jesus. It is the ordinary life of faith in which we receive Baptism, attend the Divine Service, participate in the Holy Supper, read the Scriptures, pray for ourselves and others, resist temptation, and work with Jesus in our given location here on earth." – from the Introduction

The longing for spiritual fulfillment, inevitably paired with spiritual frustration, is common among Christians.
Do we read and study the Bible enough?
Do we worship often and in the right way?
Do we pray enough, in the correct way, and for the right things?
How do we become truly spiritual?
And the answers from numerous self-help spirituality books only lead to confusion and the fear of missing key steps on the road to becoming spiritual.
In response, John W. Kleinig clarifies that there is no process for becoming spiritual. Instead, God graciously gives to us every spiritual gift that we need, beginning with the very gift of faith in Christ, our Savior. Because God has joined us to Christ, He continually comes to give us life.
Available from:
Australian Church Resources
Concordia Publishing House

Ideas for celebrating baptisms in the home

Our baptism is one of the most important events to remember and celebrate, it is the day God welcomes us into his family and gives us access to the future.

The North East Iowa Synod of the ELCA has available a brochure with ideas and suggestions to help families celebrate baptism in their homes. Go to to obtain a copy of the brochure.

Discovering Hope: a resource for rural and small town congregations

Discovering Hope is a process that helps rural and small town congregations rediscover their purpose and sense of mission. This evangelism tool is based on the book Discovering Hope: Building Vitality in Rural Congregations written by David Poling-Goldenne and L Shannon Jung. This resource celebrates the best practices of 26 rural and small town congregations highlighting their effective work in the areas of prayer, worship, discipleship, evangelism, congregational care and leadership.

The premise of this book is that the real experts on congregational vitality in rural settings are the people who have experienced it first hand.

For more information visit

Discovering Hope: the book
by L. Shannon Jung and David Poling-Goldenne
The chapters include:
Stories of Hope: Finding Vitality in Rural America
Prayer: Letting Go and Letting God
Worship: Building Community and Hope
Making Disciples: Learning to Live Jesus' Way
Evangelism: A Way of Life
Caring Ministries: Serving as Jesus Served
Leadership: Who's Driving the Tractor?
Context: Discovering the Gift of Place
Mission: Possible — Discovering Hope for the Future

Going Deeper: Resources for Further Study

To buy the book visit

If you are in Australia contact Augsburg Fortress' Australian agent: Australian Church Resources
phone: 1300 36 75 75

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Academic Paper: The heart of the Reformation faith

The heart of the Reformation faith

Ted Peters has written an academic paper that explores the heart of the academic faith...

It begins...

Faith, I believe, improves the quality of our daily life. To have faith in Jesus Christ makes us less anxious, less nervous, less defensive, more kind, more considerate, more loving.
How does faith accomplish this? The main contribution of faith, I believe, is that faith removes the need for self-justification. Deep down each of us feels a need to be justified, a need to feel that we are right, a need to believe that we are good and not evil.........

In what follows we will examine three models of faith: faith as believing; faith as trusting; and faith as the real presence of Christ. All three of these models are familiar to us in the Christian tradition. Yet, when we are looking for the heart of the faith that the Reformation has bequeathed to us, we need to ask: just how does faith justify?

and concludes
All three belong to our one faith, to be sure; yet it is the third, the presence of Christ within the person of faith, that we can connect with God’s justification of us. Christ’s presence is a gift of God’s grace. So is justification. So is salvation. The first thing a person of faith wants to say is, “thank you.”

To read the entire paper visit

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lutheran Leadership thoughts No. 3

Leaders not only deal with people but rely on people, especially the people they are leading.

Part of the leaders role is to identify areas that need attention. Unfortunately at times some leaders can find themselves only ever discovering and highlighting areas that need attention. However the role of a leader is also to remind and highlight to people how valuable they are.

In 1st Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:5, 1st Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2:13 Paul makes an important comment to the churches in Corinth and Thesselonica...he says "I always thank God for you...and we ought to always thank God for you.".

Now all these people who Paul wrote to weren't people that always did everything right. In fact Paul has some strong words to the Corinthians about their behaviour, attitudes to others and each other. They weren't perfect people and yet Paul makes that comment..."I always thank God for you".

Let's have a look closer...
In 1st Corinthians 1 Paul says it is because of the grace God has given them in Jesus Christ, that has enriched them in every way.
In Ephesians it is because of their faith and love for all the saints
In Philippians it is because of their partnership in the Gospel and the work they are perservering with.
In 1st Thessalonians it is because of the works produced by faith, labour prompted by love and endurance inspired by the hope in Jesus Christ.
In 2nd Thessalonians it is because that their faith is growing and their love for each other is increasing, and because God has chosen them.

Paul's thanking of people is inspired a lot by what God has been up to in the lives of the people he is leading and communicating with, and not just what they are doing.

For thinking and discussion
Is the value of the people we are leading based on what they do, or what God has done and is doing in them?
If what God is doing is important and foundational in people's lives, how does this affect how we lead people and what we encourage them to be involved in?
What benefits are there in thanking people?
What are the dangers in thanking people?....What can we do about these?
How can we make thanking people a priority in our leadership approach?
Who are some people we/you should thank and how?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Simple Church conference 2008 recordings and free book

The Simple Church conference was held in September 2008

Sessions included
Stories in Islamic Countries
Prayerfully Wrestling with Issues
Conversations with Wolfgang: Leaders of Church Planting Movements
Stories in Asia
The Chinese Phenomenon
Why movements rise or fall
Practical Skills for building House Churches
"The Aussie Church Landscape" Philip Hughes CRA
Highlighting the Aussie Stories
Conversation with Wolfgang: Ministry in Urban Contexts
The Starfish Phenomenon
The World of Difference
So how then should we be?
From what I Hear! Australia & the World
What They Might Look Like
Their DNA
What would it take in Aussie?

For recordings visit:

For the free pdf book visit:

Monday, October 06, 2008

A web site worth visiting: North West District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

This District web site has a wealth of material to support congregations, pastors, lay workers and members of the church in their call to be disciples....

This District takes seriously some of the following:
Prayer: take a look at their many prayer resources
Equipping pastors and congregations with computer resources and information
Expanding ministries, which include bible studies, devotions, resources, outreach ideas,
Leadership Advancement Process
Healthy congregations
Educational Services
And many missionary stories

Please visit them at