Tuesday, July 23, 2013

30 Bible studies on the Augsburg Confession

Dr Glen E Zweck produced 30 Bible studies relating to the Augsburg Confession and the topics raised in the Augsburg Confession
For those who are interested in connecting the Augsburg Confession to scripture and also gain a clearer understanding of the context of the Augsburg Confession these are very helpful studies.
To download these studies visit here 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Church to visit: Crosspoint Community Church

Crosspoint is a Lutheran sacramental church that understands it is ministering in a Post Christian world (if you want to know what this means visit here)

They have 2 locations Houston and Katy

This is their vision
We want to make everyday followers of Jesus who transform their communities.
Somewhere there is a guy who is planning on mowing his lawn on Sunday morning, or playing golf, or sleeping in. Our hope is that somehow God would use CrossPoint to get his attention and inspire him to get up next Sunday morning and take his family to church, to start following Jesus and be the change his family desperately needing. Everything about our worship services, sports ministries, serving opportunities, teaching, and reason for existing is geared toward creating occasions to get that guy's (or gal's) attention. From the youngest to the oldest, we want to see people rescued by Jesus Christ and help believers grow as disciples. We believe that no one should live life alone, that saved people serve people, that we can't outgive God, and that found people find people.

On their web you will discover:
Information for new comers
Steps you can take in being part of the Crosspoint Community Church
Ways to Give
Online Sermon videos
Leadership training
An online community resource called The City

Visit Crosspoint at https://www.crosspt.org/

Bible Study: Baptized for this moment

Baptised for this moment is a bible study prepared by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod for their 2013 convention.   It however could be adapted for any Lutheran setting or congregation.

The main study areas are:
  1. Baptized
  2. Repent and Be Baptized
  3. Baptized for Witness
  4. Baptized for Mercy
  5. Baptized for Life Together
To download Baptised for this moment visit here

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bible Study: Resources for reflection and bible study relating to the Bible Mini series

The Bible Mini series has created further interest in God and His word and His story.  

Here are some resources that help you explore the series and connect you with the written word

Bible Study Resources:  The Bible Mini Series

A web site: Lutheran Apologetics

What Lutheran Apologetics is about?
LutheranApologetics.com is an apologetics for apologetics directed to the Lutheran reader.
It is also a research aid for the Lutheran scholarship of Christian Apologetics. This website attempts to organize bibliographical data in a manner especially helpful to the scholar that is working towards a particularly Lutheran approach to the apologetic task. However, this website will also be helpful to any person wishing to get a handle on the vast terrain of the subject today within the professional scholarly community.
Note that not all scholars listed call themselves professional apologists. Rather, scholars listed here have published and presented research that informs the field of apologetics. For example, Michael Behe is a molecular biologist, not an apologist; but his work has immense apologetic implications.
The site is maintained by Anthony Horvath after originally being designed by LGT. Anthony has studied at the International Academy of Apologetics and Human Rights under John Warwick Montgomery and Gary Habermas, has taught theology and apologetics courses, and currently runs an apologetics ministry. LGT received an M.A. from Marquette University’s philosophy program, teaches philosophy, and is studying to be a pastor. He has also studied at the International Academy of Apologetics in Strasbourg, France.

http://www.lutheranapologetics.com is an apologetics site with a strong Lutheran emphasis. Lutheran apologetics:
  • explores apologetics in the light of the Lutheran confessions, 
  • explores the apologetic thrust of Lutheran theology, 
  • provides a 24 hour intro to apologetics,
  • offers links to leading apologetic web sites

Book: Imaginative Apologetics

Imaginative  Apologetics

This timely introduction argues for a version of Christian apologetics that is theological, philosophical, and "catholic" and that embraces the whole of human reason. It emphasizes a foundation in theology that is both confident and open and makes reference to philosophy in an accessible way.


  • John Hughes on proofs and arguments for faith and reason
  • Andrew Davison on Christian reason and Christian community
  • Alison Milbank on apologetics and the imagination
  • Donna J. Lazenby on apologetics, literature, and worldview
  • Michael Ward on C. S. Lewis's view of imagination and reason in apologetics
  • Stephen Bullivant on atheism, apologetics, and ecclesiology
  • Craig Hovey on Christian ethics as Good News
  • Graham Ward on cultural hermeneutics and Christian apologetics
  • Richard Conrad, OP, on moments and themes in the history of apologetics
  • Alister E. McGrath on the natural sciences and apologetics

Amazon Reviews
Holly Ordway 
The Ruthless Monk

Friday, July 19, 2013

United by faith not form - sermon from the new bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia

Pastor John Henderson was recently installed as the bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia. At his installation he preached a sermon based on Romans 1:16-17 that makes the following points worth reflecting on: 

  • we are united by faith not form 
  • both heritage and change fit together well for the good of the church and the people we serve.
For a full manuscript of the sermon or to watch a video of the sermon visit http://www.lca.org.au/united-by-faith-not-by-form-lca-bishop.html

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Video: Cruise Ship v Battle Ship

How do you typically see the church? Are you mostly interested being part of a church that accommodates your needs and gives you a comfortable experience? Or are you looking for a church that equips you to serve and deploys your gifts?

Discussion Starter: Evangelism involves spending time in prayer and relying on God

Evangelism involves spending time in prayer and relying on God
Prayer is often referred to as the engine room of the church.  It is therefore essential that we spend time in prayer before, during and after any work we do on God’s behalf, and this also applies when it comes to evangelism.  Evangelism is about bringing the message of God and His love to them into the lives of people so that God can affect their hearts and attitudes and people love and serve Him.  Take some time everyday to pray about those people who you intend to share God’s love with, have shared God’s love with and the next 24 hours to come that you will have many opportunities to share God’s love.

Talk about why prayer is important for evangelism
Discuss what you believe our responsibilities are and what are God's responsibilities when it comes to evangelism

Books by Peter Steinke, Family Systems Theory, congregational health and mission: How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems

A Door Set Open: 
Grounding Change in Mission and Hope

We resist change less when we associate it with mission and fortify it with hope. So argues longtime congregational consultant Peter Steinke in his fourth book, A Door Set Open, as he explores the relationship between the challenges of change and our own responses to new ideas and experiences. Steinke builds on a seldom-explored principle posited by the late Rabbi Edwin Friedman: the 'hostility of the environment' is proportionate to the 'response of the organism.' The key, Steinke says, is not the number or strength of the stressors in the system--anxiety, poor conditions, deteriorating values--but the response of the individual or organization to 'what is there.' Drawing on Bowen system theory and a theology of hope, as well as his experience working with more than two hundred congregations, Steinke makes the case that the church has entered an era of great opportunity. Theologian and sociologist Ernst Troeltsch said the church had closed down the office of eschatology. Steinke reopens it and draws our attention to God's future, to a vision of hope for the people of God. The door is set open for exploration and new creation.

Part I: The Context 
1. There Once Was a World
2. Emotional Systems and the New Anxiety
3. So That You May Hope Again

Part II: The Mission  
4. The Challenge of Change
5. The Making of a Mission Culture
6. Joining God’s New Creation

Part III: The Response  
7. The People of the Way
8. Where to Touch the Elephant
9. A Different Future

Amazon Reviews

How Your Church Family Works: 
Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems 

Drawing on the work of the late Dr. Murray Bowen and Rabbi Edwin H. Friedman, and his own many years’ counseling experience, Steinke shows how to recognize and deal with the emotional roots of such issues as church conflict, leadership roles, congregational change, irresponsible behavior, and the effects of family of origin on current relationships. Discover why working relationships may be “stuck” in certain behaviors. Psychologically sound and theologically grounded, the book is practically illustrated with case studies.  Seminary professors will find a helpful treatment of the emotional systems into which their students will move.

Part I. Conceptualizing Emotional Processes
Chapter 1: The Concept of a System 
Chapter 2: Anxiety and Reactivity 
Chapter 3: Separateness and Closeness 
Chapter 4: Stability and Change 
Chapter 5: Clarity and Compassion 
Part II. The Congregation as an Emotional System
Chapter 6: Do Not Go Gently in That Glob of Glue 
Chapter 7: Being a Prophet Is Nice Work—If You Can Find a Job 
Chapter 8: What Shall It Profit a Parish If It Gets over the Hump but Falls into the Abyss? 
Chapter 9: Remembering the Future 
Chapter 10: Believing and Belonging 

Amazon Reviews
Goodreads reviews

Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: 
Being Calm and Courageous No Matter What 

Anxious times call for steady leadership. When tensions emerge in a congregation, its leaders cannot be as anxious as the people they serve. To remain effective, congregational leaders must control their own uneasiness. This takes self-awareness and confidence to manage relationships and influence behaviors. Knowing how to deal with anxiety and how to work throug complex challenges can lead a congregation to new insights, growth, and vitality. Anxious times hold not only the potential for loss but also for creation, important leanings  and changes that will strengthen the congregation. With this new book, internationally respected consultant Peter Steinke goes deeper into the requirements of effective congregational leadership. Born from the wisdom of Steinke's distinguished career, this new volume will both enlighten and embolden leaders. Steinke inspires courage in leaders to maintain the course, unearth secrets, resist sabotage, withstand fury, and overcome timidity or doubts. His insights, illustrations, and provocations will carry leaders through rough times, provide clarity during confusing times, and uplift them in joyous times.

Amazon Reviews

Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach

In this sequel to How Your Church Family Works, Peter Steinke takes readers into a deeper exploration of the congregation as an emotional system. He outlines the factors that put congregations at risk for anxiety and conflict. Learn ten principles of health, how congregations can adopt new ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, as well as how spiritually and emotionally healthy leaders influence the emotional system. Featuring a new preface and a fresh redesign, this book is a classic work by one of the most respected names in congregational consulting.


Amazon Reviews

Monday, July 01, 2013

Book: MOVE what 1000 churches reveal about Spiritual Growth

About the book
One of the church's primary responsibilities is to foster genuine spiritual growth in people's lives. Today's pastors bring tremendous effort and passion to this task, but they are often disappointed by people who sit in the pews for years, knowing about Jesus but never really knowing him. In 2004, Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago undertook a three-year study to measure spiritual growth called the REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey. Over the next six years, additional data was collected from over a quarter million people in well over a thousand churches of every size, denomination, and geographic area. Move presents verifiable, fact-based, and somewhat startling findings from the latest REVEAL research, drawing on compelling stories from actual people---congregation members of varying spiritual maturity, as well as pastors who are equally candid as they share their disappointments and their successes. It provides a new lens through which church leaders can see and measure the evidence of spiritual growth. The local church is uniquely equipped to foster spiritual growth and challenge people to pursue a life of full devotion to Christ. Move helps pastors and church leaders inspire and direct that challenge with confidence as they lead their congregations to move closer to Christ.

A summary of Move is available here

Amazon Customer Reviews

Jonah worship series.....

The story of Jonah is well known....and a closer look of Jonah will reveal much about God and ourselves

Matt Thiele from Immanuel Lutheran Church Buderim has developed and delivered a worship series on the book of Jonah for his congregation......http://www.ichurch.net.au/2013/06/jonah/
Week 1:  Jonah 1 part 1  ‘The Terrible Trap Of Becoming An Escape Artist’
Week 2:  Jonah 1 part 2  ‘Three Surprising Signs Of Avoidance’
Week 3:  Jonah 2 ‘How To Pray When It Gets Dark & Digestive’
Week 4:  Jonah 3:1-10  ‘The Hardest Thing To Do’
Week 5:  Jonah 4:1-11  ‘How To Deal With Worms & Other Unfair Things’
Week 6:  Jonah Final  ‘Jonah’s Incredible Connections To Jesus’

Along with sermon's Matt provides discussion sheets

Inspired by Matt's series Pastor Richard Schwedes of the Portland-Heywood Lutheran Church also lead his congregation through the book of Jonah...audio sermons and a daily devotion aligned to the worship series available here for the sermons and here for the bulletins containing the devotions

Discussion Starter: Evangelism involves being prepared to persevere with those who reject us

Evangelism involves being prepared to persevere with those whom may reject us
In chapter one of Jonah…Jonah is not prepared to persevere with the mission and people God has placed before him…instead he escapes from that and ends up in a mess….As you read through the writings of the New Testament that give us an insight into the early church, one common theme that strikes is perseverance.  We have passages like Galatians 6:9…And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up….and Hebrews 10:36…For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised….Perseverance is not being foolish about life and willing subjecting yourself to pain for no reason at all…it is about being focussed on God’s mission and the people He is calling you to interact with…so they have the opportunity to experience God’s love and blessings…So who do you need to persevere with when it comes to sharing God’s mission????