Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sermons online especially helpful for lay readers

There is huge range of sermons online.

One of the gifts pastors can give to the wider church is to share their sermons either online or in a book.
Small congregations, congregations with lay readers and congregation's whose pastor becomes ill benefit from getting access to online sermons.
Following are some tips if you are a lay reader and where you can access sermons.

To find a sermon to match worship service readings.
To choose a sermon you will need to know what church year we are in and what current and previous dates relate to that church year.

Church Year Dates
Year A
Dec 2010-Nov 2011
Dec 2007-Nov 2008
Dec 2004 – Nov 2005
Year B
Dec 2008-Nov 2009
Dec 2005 – Nov 2006
Dec 2002-Nov 2003
Year C
Dec 2009 to Nov 2010
Dec 2006 – Nov 2007
Dec 2003-Nov 2004
*Note occasionally the church year begins on the last Sunday of November in some years.

You will also need to know the Sunday of the church year and the bible readings for that Sunday. The quickets find this is to visit a web site such as
http://www.textweek.com/ which has a current date for the church year or visit your denomination's web site.

In choosing a sermon consider the following:
Is it faithful to scripture's understanding to God, God’s grace and our lives as disciples of Jesus?
Do you need to alter any examples so that it suits the context you are lay reading to?

Web Sites
The following web sites provide sermons from a Lutheran context.
Victorian District including Tasmania

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Adelaide

Outer Eastern Lutheran Church

Pastor Edgar Mayer: Living Grace Lutheran Church

Pastor Heath Pukallas: Chinchilla Lutheran Church

Pastor Jim Strelan: Good News Lutheran Congregation Middle Park

Pastor Dr. John Thiel: Holy Cross Murray Bridge http://www.users.on.net/~holycross/holy_cross_lutheran_church.htm

Pastor Kevin Ruffcorn

Pastor Richard Schwedes

Pastor Stephen Pietsch: Ringwood Knox Parish

Pastor Tim Zingale

Pastor Vince Gerhardy: St Pauls Lutheran Church Caboolture

Portland Heywood Lutheran Church

Lutheran Sermons

If you regularly place your sermons on the web or know of someone who does and would like to recommend them, feel free to let me know.

With the advent of the web there are less and less sermon books available. There is a book of sermons for lay readers available from LCA National Office visit

http://www.cctoolkit.com/ is subscription based Worship resource product that includes a weekly sermon often related to the lectionary.

Also visit http://www.cph.org/ http://www.augbsurgfortress.org/ and http://www.nph.net/ they regularly list resources

Saturday, January 24, 2009

illustration: The positive affect of repenting

One of the most difficult things for most of us to do is to repent.

At times some of us may acknowledge we have done wrong, but then we spend time justifying our actions and words that were wrong.

However repentance is about saying I have done wrong...full stop, please forgive me and then putting yourself in the hands of others.

Jelena Dokic an Australian tennis player has had what many would call an erratic tennis career, by the age of 19 she was a superstar. She is now only 25 and in her life she has experienced being loved by supporters and achieving being number 4 in the world, to being detested by journalists, tennis fans, tennis officals and falling outside the rankings.

However recently at the Australian Open fans and journalists have come to embrace her again. And she has done something that very few other players even consider doing.
She apologised for her past , she said she was a pain and caused so many people problems and that she needed forgiveness. And she said that without Tennis Australia she would have no hope of playing in the Australian Open as they gave her a second chance, a wild card, despite what she had said about them in the past.

And she said this you could sense the crowd applauding and wanting to personally thank her and say we are behind you...

And this is exactly what God he is constantly helping us to have life again, and graciously welcomes our repentance.
Lets acknoweldge our sin, humbly.
Lets rely on God for help, mercy, acceptance and forgiveness

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lenten Bible Studies

Psalm 22
A free downloadable bible study ideal for Lent based on Psalm 22 My God, My God why have you foresaken me....is available from http://www.hope-aurora.org/docs/Psalm22.pdf from Hope Lutheran Church Aurora.

The Amazing Gift of Baptism
Topics include:
1. Baptism and God’s Amazing Grace
2. Baptism and the Individual before God
3. Baptism and Initiation into the Church
4. Baptism and the Encounter with Love
5. Baptism and Healing
6. Baptism and Community Life
7. Baptism and New Life
8. Baptism and Social Response
9. Baptism and Death

Luther's Seven Marks of the Church from Mt Olivet Lutheran Church

I will post more bible studies shortly

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lutheran Core: L3

About Lutheran Core: L3
Imagine Lutheran churches, one by one, recommitting themselves to the mission and ministry of the Gospel, and working together to bring the Word of Christ to a new generation.
The Lutheran Churches of the Common Confession (LC3) is an association of congregations from across the country which is lifting up such a vision. By covenanting with each other around a shared statement of faith The Common Confession our congregations seek to bring clarity to the modern Lutheran message, build trust among fellow-workers in Gospel, and move forward together within the Church with a common goal and direction. Through cooperative projects, shared resources, and mutual support, we are committed to communicating an intentional Christian witness that is founded on confessional Lutheran theology and grounded in the authority of the Word of God.
It is not the intent of LC3 to form a new denomination or church structure, but to inspire a positive and active Lutheran witness within our present context. Like the mission societies of former generations, we have come together to help each other be faithful in our common calling to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, both at home and abroad.
They also offer some bible studies and suggested youth resources

Their links and resources page list a number of very helpful resources that will help you and others discover Lutheran and Biblical answers to questions such as:
Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?
What is the Gospel of Salvation?
What is meant by the Authority of Scripture?
What is a Common Confession of Faith?
What does the Priesthood of All Believers look like?
How do we understand marriage and Family?
What is Mission and Ministry of the Congregation?
Lutheran Devotional
Small Catechism
Luther Biography
Luther's Theology
Lutheran Church
For Pastors
Quality Journals

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Daily Devotional books

Reading the bible daily is a great way to stay connected with God and see how God is interacting with the world.

Time out with God 2009 provides Christian devotions, by Australian writers, for each day of the calendar year. Each meditation is a "time-out" of about three minutes, and consists of a Bible reading, some thoughts on that passage, and a short prayer. The devotion writers' thoughts are life-related and centred on the message of God's love for people shown in Jesus Christ.
The devotions can be used for individuals, families and groups and do indeed provide you with "a word from God". Time out with God is available at http://www.acresources.com.au/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=18&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=623&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=118&vmcchk=1&Itemid=118

Be still and know that I am God...daily devotions for every day of the year. This daily devotional is based on selected reflections written over a three-year period by the author whose challenging, thoughtprovoking, and personal reflections invite the reader to pause, be still, and know the presence of God. Begun as a daily discipline of quiet time, each day includes a Scripture reading, the author's reflection, and a concluding prayer. An inspiring resource for teens and adults, the book includes special holiday devotions for Christmas, Easter, and more
Be Still and know that I am God is available at http://www.augsburgfortress.org/store/item.jsp?clsid=181760&productgroupid=0&isbn=0806652306

Everyday with the Savior This collection of 365 daily devotions, plus several devotions for special days, is written in the tradition of the well-known Portals of Prayer.
These short meditations cover a variety of themes with each one connecting a common topic with God’s presence and power as revealed in His Word. Scripture readings and prayers are included with each devotional. Everyday with the savior is available at http://www.cph.org/cphstore/product.asp?category=&part%5Fno=124152&find%5Fcategory=WEB%5FALL&find%5Fdescription=&find%5Fpart%5Fdesc=devotions

365 Little visits 7 volumes available. Each devotion has an invocation, bible reading, story and prayer. These are ideal for families and class rooms. To find out more visit http://www.cph.org/cphstore/Category.asp?find%5Fcategory=80173&find%5Fdescription=Little+Visits

Book: About the Bible: Short answers to Big Questions

Terence Fretheim has revised the book, About the Bible.

He gives answers to 23 questions relating to the bible plus some tools for bible study.

Some of the questions include:

  • Can prayers shape the future?
  • How is God relating to suffering?
  • How is God connected to violence?
  • Why are there so many different translations?
  • Do bible passages have more than one meaning?
  • How do you read the bible?
plus a lot more...

Find out more by visiting:

GloboChrist: The Great Commission Takes a Post Mordern Turn

About the author
Carl Raschke (PhD, Harvard University) is professor and chair of the department of religious studies at the University of Denver, where he has taught since 1984. In addition, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at Mars Hill Graduate School and is the author or editor of twenty books, including The Next Reformation.

About the Book
The information age has not only interconnected the world but has also shrunk it.
This global dynamic impacts Christianity, especially the Great Commission.
How do believers make disciples of all nations in this digital world of religious diversity?
Carl Raschke, author of the acclaimed The Next Reformation, answers such questions in GloboChrist.
He explores the impact of globalization, postmodernism, and information technology on missions and evangelism, as well as the role that Christianity plays in an increasingly pluralistic world.
In short, he helps Christians respond to the tectonic shifts of the twenty-first century.
This third volume in the well-received Church and Postmodern Culture series is relevant to students, pastors, and all who care about the future of the church.

From the back cover
The rise of the Internet and the proliferation of digital technologies have profoundly affected the world; it is not only smaller but also more interconnected. What role does the church play in this multimedia-dominated globe?
In GloboChrist, Carl Raschke tackles the subjects of globalization, postmodernism, and information technology and their impact on missions and evangelism. In addition, he addresses the role that Christianity plays in an increasingly pluralistic world, providing concrete strategies for confronting the challenges. In short, GloboChrist helps Christians respond to the tectonic shifts of the twenty-first century.

"GloboChrist is the unconventional title of an intriguing inquiry into postmodern patterns and ideas and the challenge to mission. The book is a confident statement for these uncertain times, a troubling of the waters that will stir complacent Christians in their assumption."--Lamin Sanneh, Yale University

"For those who have tried to follow the intricacies (and vagaries) of postmodern thought to find out what it can tell us of the night, this vigorously discerning volume offers a glimpse of the global dawn. Drawing on many resources and a focused evangelical faith, Raschke lays out a case for a Christian perspective on globalization as a dynamic development that opens reconstructive (post-deconstructive) possibilities for pursuing the Great Commission. Globalization is not essentially an economic issue. The 'GloboChrist' is sweeping the world in a post-postmodern way in spite of militant Islamism, Christian fundamentalism, modernist liberalism, and secular economism. This is the best book on globalization I have read by an overtly Christian thinker. It complements and challenges my own efforts to discern theologically what is at stake in globalization."--Max L. Stackhouse, Princeton Theological Seminary; author, Globalization and Grace

"I'd hoped to give GloboChrist a quick read, but after picking it up I simply couldn't put it down; it is elegant, clear, and provocative. Raschke not only helps us see Christ and mission afresh in our hi-tech, pluralistic, postmodern, and global context but also equips us with engagement strategies."--Dwight J. Friesen, Mars Hill Graduate School, Seattle

To discover more visit:

Bono: We are saved by Grace not by Karma

Bono the lead singer of U2 in a discussion with a journalist emphasises why grace is so important and how stuffed we would be if we relied on Karma

To read a summary of the article visit http://www.worldmag.com/articles/10892

To get a copy of the book where Bono made the statement visit:

Illustration: Our gifts are not limited to one area of life

it is great how God gives us certain gifts and talents that are not limited to one area of our life.

In the current NFL playoffs there are two Australians who are making a contribution for their teams….

Both of these men were stars at their Australian Football League clubs. Ben Graham was the captain of the Geelong Cats and Saverio Rocca was a leading goal scorer for the Collingwood Magpies and the North Melbourne Kangaroos. Because AFL is a fast paced, jumping, running non stop type of game their AFL careers were coming to an end. Fortunately, for them some people in the USA had identified that some AFL footballers had a skill that would be very handy in NFL, they could kick the ‘pigskin off the ball’. So Graham (now at Arizona Cardinals, previously with the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints) and Rocca (Philadelphia Eagles) were encouraged to try out (now there is another story of sacrifices they needed to make which I will share later). They both gained mentors and after some adjustments, time learning the rules and getting used to the weird game of NFL they are there punting for their teams in the play offs Now the gift that some thought was only good for AFL is useful in another arena, contributing to another team and entertaining a greater audience.

And in our lives God has given each one of us gifts and talents that we use to earn money, bring up a family and contribute to society.
And many of these gifts and talents can also be used by our local congregations and the wider church to contribute to growing God’s kingdom.

What we can learn from the above

  • Identify the gifts and talents we have
  • Offer yourself and your talents/gifts for use
  • Be open to guidance and mentoring
  • Understand how your gifts and talents can be used in the church and wider church. (Understand the environment, what it means to be church and what the church is on about, if Graham and Rocca had tried to use the talent in the same way they had Australia they would never have made NFL)
  • Have a go/contribute.

Resources: Creative Communications for the Parish

Creative Communications for the Parish offers a good range of products to equip people in growing closer to God and each other.

Many of their resources align to the church year, are visually appealling and well priced.

Their product range includes:
  • creative devotional resources for families, teenagers and children
  • Liturgy and worship resources
  • Church Goods
  • Children's resources
  • Books
  • School Resources
  • Lutheran teacher's planner
  • VBS resources
If you are looking for interactive resources that are visually pleasing and well priced visit

Lutheran Leadership 6: Being used to bring life to situations

As leaders one of our roles is to continue helping others see that there is life and help them to have life.

Opening questions
As either individual leaders or as a group of leaders
What ways have we helped others have life?
And what ways have taken life from others?

Completely read Ezekiel 37:1-14
and as you do ask yourself and others 'what role does Ezekiel play in helping people have life?'
Share your thoughts.

Reread verses 1-2
Often we can think that when we are rightly connected with God, He will always lead us to something good or great. But as Christians and as leaders this is not always the case. At times he may lead us to places that are dry, or have no life. But as we will discover this is only temporary.
As individual or as a group of leaders what dry lifeless places has God lead you to?
Why do you think this occured?

Reread verse 3-10
Now as you read these verses ask yourselves what did Ezekiel achieve and how?
Many leaders have achieved remarkable things in their life, from almost nothing created something good. Can you think of any?
All leaders have achieved something and some many things.
Through Ezekiel life came about.
However did you notice that God chose to use Ezekiel so that others can have life?
First there were signs of life and then there was life.

How is God using you to bring life amongst the people you lead?
What signs of life currently exist?
And where is there life?

Reread verses 11-14
Even when there are signs of life, some people will act as if everything is hopeless. The Israelites said, "Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off." And yet God doesn't give up.

Are there any people you are leading who say this?
How might verses 12-14 help you in leading them to the life God wants them to have?
What may need to happen?

Concluding thoughts
How does Ezekiel's experience in these verses help us as leaders?
What were you reminded of or see in a new way as a result of today's study.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lead like Jesus

The Lead like Jesus teams says everyone is a Leader!

Whether you are leading a corporation, a church, a group of individuals or a family, every person influences the lives of others.

Lead Like Jesus, believes there is a higher purpose for leadership, and a better way to measure success. They believe that Jesus is the greatest leadership model of all time. They believe the next great movement in Christianity must be about demonstration. Our words must match our actions. As believers in Jesus, we must behave differently.

Their Mission:
To glorify God by inspiring and equipping people to Lead Like Jesus

Their Values
Glorify God in all we do
Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time
Build relationships based on trust and respect
Biblically-sound content and teaching
Practice wise stewardship of time, talent, treasure, and influence

Their Vision
To see 6.8 billion souls served daily by the impact of people leading like Jesus

Their Promise
The leadership model that transforms you and those you influence

To accomplish this, they envision...
Jesus being adopted as the role model for all leaders
People being drawn to Jesus by the impact of people leading like Jesus

At their web site you will find:
  • Online Resources including the Lead like Jesus book with study guide, Lead like Jesus devotional (365 devotions), The most loving place in town book and Lead like Jesus seminary dvd
  • Free online devotions
  • Information and resources for business, ministry and emerging leaders
  • Free Servant Leadership IQ test
  • Group Study material
  • Other free stuff

For more details visit their web site: http://www.leadlikejesus.com/