Friday, October 20, 2017

SOLUS CHRISTUS (In Christ Alone)


We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in CHRIST (Acts 4:12). We should, therefore, take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.

If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of HIM’ (1 Cor 1.13).

If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in HIS anointing.

If we seek strength, it lies in HIS dominion;

If purity, in HIS conception;

If gentleness, it appears in HIS birth. For by HIS birth HE was made like us in all respects (Heb 2:17) that HE might learn to feel our pain (Heb 5:2).

If we seek redemption, it lies in HIS passion;

If acquittal, in HIS condemnation;

If remission of the curse, in HIS cross (Gal 3:13);

If satisfaction, in HIS sacrifice;

If purification, in HIS blood;

If reconciliation, in HIS descent into hell;

If mortification of the flesh, in HIS tomb;

If newness of life, in HIS resurrection;

If immortality, in the same;

If inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in HIS entrance into heaven;

If protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in HIS Kingdom;

If untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to HIM to judge.

In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in HIM, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other” 

(John Calvin's Institutes 2.16.19).



(If God should ask you, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" what will be YOUR RESPONSE?  Did you see anything of your efforts, your merits, your goodness, or your works in that list?  NO, YOU DIDN’T.) 


Salvation is in CHRIST ALONE!  There is NO OTHER NAME given under heaven whereby we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:10)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Very Own Original Poem about Poetry

Poetry’s nice,

It’s quite the device
For speaking in language, sublime.

But it’s rare that I rhyme;
I don’t have the time,
To fiddle with fluff, so concise.

Why be so terse,
And blather in verse,
That flows with cadence and beat?

I’d rather have meat;
Use words more concrete,
So my thoughts are made simple, not worse. 





An original poem by Ralph M. Petersen

Oct. 19, 2017




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Of Morons and Intelligence Quotients


I expect several people may be upset by this but, any REAL men over the age of 50 will understand.

I have been in the habit of meeting with other men for coffee nearly every morning for over 40 years.  It started when I was a young contractor.   Over the years, some have died and some have moved away but we always managed to pick up new acquaintances along the way.  The group has changed but the dynamic of the meetings has not.  Now, at the age of nearly seventy years, I am the youngest of the remaining five men.  So, what holds us together? 

Just guy stuff; that’s all!  At our ages, we repeat stuff but that's okay because we forget stuff, too.  It’s the same old stories (that get more unbelievably fantastic and embellished every time they are repeated), the same stupid jokes, and THE SAME INSULTS.

That’s right, every morning is NON-STOP INSULTS.

You see, we all grew up during a time when boys were taught how to roll with the punches. 

When someone on the playground called us names, we responded with snappy little self-defense retorts like, “Sticks and Stone can break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” Or “I know you are but what am I?”  Or my favorite, “I may be fat but you’re ugly and I can diet!”
     
We didn't consider that bullying.  We didn't run to "tattle" to the teacher.  We knew what real bullies were.  And we were taught how to stand up to, and fight them, if necessary.

Today, everything that offends someone or hurts someone’s feelings is called bullying.  That’s because too many young men have been sissified by unmarried mamas who have trained them to be emotional wrecks.  They run to safe spaces and cry whenever they hear something that doesn’t agree with them.

Not so with REAL, MATURE MEN.  So, in our early morning coffee shop meetings, we have polished and perfected the manly art of sarcastic insults.  There are NO LIMITS.  We make fun of each other and we insult each other’s physical appearances, disabilities, behaviors, and even stupidity.  Nobody is immune.  And at the end of the hour we all say goodbye and then we reassemble the next morning and it starts all over again.  That’s what men do.  And that’s how men express their affection for each other (although most of us would deny that there is any “affection”).


So, when two old guys, who work together, make seemingly insulting remarks, Most of us old guys are not necessarily concerned.  When one old guy named Rex calls another old guy named Donald, a moron; and when Donald retorts that his I.Q. is higher than Rex’s, I don’t see a problem. 

Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson are on the same team and are working toward the same objectives.  I just see two good old boys acting like good old boys.


For all the rest of you easily offended snowflakes; just deal with it. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 2 - the Spirituality of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than, or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God doesn’t exist.
Ralph M. Petersen

THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD

God is Spirit in His essence or His nature.   But His spiritual nature is unlike any other in His creation.  It is true that He created man with a spiritual nature but man is not like God.  And when men die, they do not become angels but they will exist forever in an embodied state with spatial and chronological limitations.  

He has also created spirits (creatures without physical bodies) to inhabit a different dimension.  We call them angels (or demons).  But they are not like God.  They are not infinite and they are not omnipresent.  They have spiritual bodies that are also limited by space and time.  And there are several instances in Scripture, where God has enabled some to see angels or demons.

Satan is not like God.  He is not the ever-present evil counter-part to God.  He is one of those created spiritual beings who is limited by God in his power, presence, and influence. 

Only God is the uncreated Spirit.  He is not like a man.  He needs nothing; He doesn’t depend on anything or anyone for His existence or sustenance.  His being is fundamentally different from all His creatures.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24

“To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.   Amen.”   1 Tim. 1:17


God is IMMATERIAL, INVISIBLE, and INFINITE. 

God is Immaterial.

He does not have a body.  Where He describes Himself, in scripture, as having human anatomical parts (His eyes, His hands, etc.) or human qualities (walking, sitting, resting, etc), He does so for our finite understanding. 

He is not limited to physical or spatial constraints.   Therefore, He is everywhere, at all times, and we can be assured that He is always with us.  There is never anyplace we can be where God is not there.


God is Invisible.

No man has seen Him. 

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known.”  John 1:18

Some people claim that they have seen God.  They are wrong.  The only physical manifestations of God in human form is the God-man, Jesus Christ.

We can see evidence of God in His creation.  We can learn about Him in His revelation (the Word of God).  And we can know Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ.


God is Infinite.

God is not constrained by time.  He created time and He exists apart from time.  That is why He sees everything and He knows the beginning from the end.  That is why scripture says a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.  In other words, He exists in eternity apart from His creation.  When He spoke the world into existence, He is there, and, one day, when He brings it to its final consummation, He is there.

He is beyond all human understanding.

“Everywhere in the Old and in the New Testament, God is represented as a spiritual Being, without form, invisible, whom no man hath seen or can see; dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, and full of glory; as not only the creator, and preserver, but as the governor of all things; as everywhere present, and everywhere imparting life, and securing order.”  

Charles Hodge

Thursday, October 5, 2017

WHO IS YOUR GOD? (part 1 - The Aseity of God)

Who’s your GOD? 
A brief description of the Attributes of God.

We can know nothing about God, except that, and ONLY that, which He has revealed to us.  And those attributes are found in Scripture.  If the god you worship is less than, more than or different from the ONE TRUE GOD of the Bible, then your God is one you have created in your own imagination.  And that is a violation of the First and Second Commandments. 

Part 1.     THE ASEITY OF GOD - God is Self-Existant

The word aseity (uh-SAY-eh-tee) comes from Latin roots meaning “from” and “self.”  God is self-existent and all-sufficient in His being. 

GOD IS!  He has no beginning and He has no end.  He exists both in and apart from His creation.   And should He destroy the physical universe, He still exists.

He is infinite and unaffected by time.  He is no older today than He is when He created the universe.  And He is no younger than He is at the end of the Ages. 

Because we are finite and physical beings, we have no words to describe an eternal existence so we use phrases like eternity past to describe time before God created everything.  But that is wrong because it is beyond our comprehension; there was NO TIME before the beginning (Genesis 1:1) when God created time, space, and matter.  Before time, God is.

A. W. Pink wrote, “God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create.  That He chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on His part caused by nothing outside of Himself, determined by nothing but His own mere good pleasure.” 

God is complete and self-satisfied.  Some people say that He was lonely and because God is Love, He needed to create someone with whom He could share His love and companionship.  But God is not dependent on anything or anyone.  He is completely self-satisfied in His triunity.    

Romans 11:36 says “all things are FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him.”  That means that God is the Source of All Things, He is the MEANS of All Things, and He is the GOAL or the end of All Things.

Because God exists eternally apart from the physical universe, He is limitless in His Power and Majesty.

Does that sound like your God?  I hope so because This God is the TRUE and LIVING GOD.  Any other god is an idol.



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Tolerance Above All

Does anyone remember, in 2008, when Pastor Rick Warren compromised his position about homosexuality.? I don’t know why so many of his swooning, conservative Christian fans suddenly feigned outrage and irritation. It should come as no surprise. In fact it was predictable; his waffling and tap dancing was the natural result of his signature brand of man-centered, market driven church growth plans.

I've said it before and I will reiterate; there is a real danger and a compelling tendency for all ministries to lose sight of their God-centered purposes and succumb to the seduction of pragmatic marketing techniques.  Think about it. The people (members) will exert pressure to meet their “needs” which is usually nothing more than their wants or preferences. Staff will respond by providing the necessary stimuli in the forms of target-marketed programs or activities designed to retain them (and attract more like them). More programs require more staff, resources, and money and so the sustenance becomes the objective.   When one fad or gimmick fails, you have to find a new one to stay alive.

And if you don't, the people will become dissatisfied.  When the giving and attendance drops, budgets will be cut, programs will be ended, and staff will be laid off.  That is the reality of marketing.  It is Grow or Die.  Pragmatism in church leadership will always result in the downgrading of doctrine.

On the other hand, God has provided a very different growth plan. He insists that pastors faithfully preach the Word, teach sound doctrine, and pray and leave the increase up to Him.

Nobody really cared much about Rick Warren’s church membership policy regarding homosexuality until Obama asked him to deliver the inaugural prayer. Then it became a major, divisive issue with most of the heterophobic population. So what did Rick Warren do about it? He removed his policy statement from the website of his Saddleback Church.

Well, that action was understandable and consistent. That was the same Rick Warren who said about Christian fundamentalists, they have a "very narrow and legalistic view of Christianity." So, given the fact that he admittedly holds to a less-than-authoritative view of Scripture, one of his other statements should come as no surprise at all.  In an attempt to show himself tolerant he said, “You don’t have to see eye to eye in order to walk hand in hand.”

I guess Mr. Warren knows better than that narrow, archaic book we call the Bible:

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,’ saith the Lord Almighty.” II Cor. 6:14-18






12-26-08


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rescued and Restored


The beautiful, massive pulpit was created in 1980 and was the centerpiece of all the furnishings in the newly constructed auditorium for the First Baptist Church of Hemet.

The pastor, then, was Jerry Wilke and his assistant pastor was Dr. Edward Rodda who had faithfully served as senior pastor for many years.  The membership had grown to over 1400.  The seating capacity of the original auditorium was about 500 and two services each Sunday were always filled and very crowded.

The new large pulpit was custom fit to suit the pastor; Jerry Wilke was a very tall man.

About one year later, Pastor Wilke resigned and the church called a new Senior Pastor.  The pulpit was altered to fit Pastor Dick Christen.  It was lowered a few inches and the wrap-around sides were shortened.

Over the next several years, during the pastorate of Dr. Christen, several great servants of God, many of whom have passed into glory, have expounded the Word of God from this pulpit.  I remember our annual, week-long Bible conferences which were well-attended by hundreds of people.  We heard great preaching and teaching from Wendell Kempton, Spiros Zodhiates, Lehman Straus, J. Don Jennings, John MacArthur, Joseph M. Stowell, David Miller, and J. Vernon McGee.  (I’m sure there are some I have forgotten.)

About McGee, Pastor Christen shared with me this concern:  “I remember meeting Dr. McGee in the study and thinking, ‘he's pretty old. What have I done?’   I looked back at him as we headed for the platform and he was shuffling along the best he could.  But when he got behind that pulpit, he never missed a beat.  I had him lined up to come back again but he took sick at his place in the desert, canceled, and died soon after...”

The pulpit was often moved off the platform for special events (Christmas, Resurrection Sunday, and children’s musical productions.  Eventually, it was permanently moved to accommodate instruments and sound equipment for the worship team.  The pulpit was stuck in a storage closet and replaced by a smaller, easy to move lectern.
  
One day about ten years ago, I was at the back corner of the church campus to speak with one of our maintenance men.  I walked around behind the tool shed and found this pulpit lying on top of a junk pile.

When I inquired about it at the church office, I was told that they had no use for it and that I could have it.

At the time, I was the CEO and administrator of a Christian home for the elderly.  I placed the pulpit in our activity room where we held our weekly Bible studies and Sunday afternoon services.  My chaplain and I preached and taught the Word of God from that pulpit for a few years until the ministry was dissolved and I retired.

I placed the pulpit in storage for about five years until this Summer.   

In my current church, we have been doing some interior cleaning and updating (new paint and carpet and general, long overdue, aesthetic improvements).  So I retrieved the pulpit, cleaned off the dust, made a few minor changes in the finish, and crafted a three-dimensional cross for the front.

In our newly appointed auditorium, I was concerned about two things; attractions and distractions.  Before the changes, distractions were everywhere.  Platform furnishings and equipment were varied in styles and colors, and there were aesthetic distractions all around.  I wanted the attractions to be limited and purposeful.

At last, this once discarded and forgotten pulpit is one of three focal points on our platform.

In the instructions God gave for His tabernacle in the wilderness, there were two articles just inside the gate.  Before anyone could enter the holy place, he had to encounter those articles.

The first article was the altar; the place of sacrifice.  That’s where blood was shed to pay the penalty of their sins.
 
The first focal point in our auditorium is the communion table which symbolizes the altar.  It is right there under the cross on the pulpit where we remember and celebrate our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave His life and shed His blood for our sins.

The second article in the outer court of the tabernacle was the laver.  It was a wash basin made from the brass mirrors of the women.  Before entering the holy place, the priests would stop and look into the water to see their reflections.  And then they would wash themselves.
 
The laver was the only article that was not described by its dimensions.  It is immeasurable.  It was elevated off the ground and stood on a pedestal.

The second focal point in our auditorium is that pulpit. That is where God’s Word is opened, elevated, and expounded.   The Word of God is deep and immeasurable and, when we look into it, we are exposed and reminded that, even though the sacrifice has been made, once for all, we live in a world where we are stained, every day, by sin.  We need daily cleansing by the water of the Word.

So, there it stands; that once forgotten, almost destroyed, and newly revived “Sacred Desk.”  And I am happy to see that it is used by my pastor, Kevin Robinson, who is careful to rightly divide the Word of Truth, and who proclaims the Gospel with skill and boldness.  He stands humbly in the place where many great preachers have stood before him.   

There is one more focal point; this 5 ft. X 10 ft. graphic wall art on the back of the platform.


 
The text is an abbreviated version of Eph. 3:21  “To God be Glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus Forever!”

God will be glorified.  And He will be glorified in Christ, but, sadly, not every assembly glorifies Him.
   
The church is not ours.  It is not a social club.  It is the Body of Christ and its members are placed in it by God.  It is His and it exists for His manifest glory.  So, our wall art is there as a constant reminder; the purpose of our gathering together (in the church) is to Glorify our God.




Saturday, June 10, 2017

GRAMMATICAL GENDER CONFUSION DISORDER



Gender confusion is a psychological disorder, but it's more than just that.  It brings with it, other disorders including grammatical disorders.  Gender confused people and those who tolerate them just don’t know how to talk anymore.

People are either fearful of PC speech violations or they have forgotten basic third-grade grammar.  Everywhere in our vernacular street language, as well as in media and literature, is the evident disorder of Pronoun confusion.

The pronouns "they" and "them" are plurals and I find it extremely awkward to use them as PC substitutes for singular, gender-specific pronouns.  Besides, it rubs me the wrong way.

For example, if you were to say,  "If A person commits a crime, THEY should be punished,” I would think you should be punished for your grammar crime.  The proper pronoun is "he," even if he is a woman because the masculine form is generic for all humans when gender is unspecific or all inclusive.

So just know this; I refuse to submit to ANY PC speech. I don't have the time or the desire to learn and understand all 56 of the gender variations that Facebook now recognizes.  I am just content to go with the two that God ordained at creation; "Male and Female created He, them."

If you are female, I will refer to you with grammatically correct feminine gender pronouns.  If you are male, I will use masculine pronouns.  If I am referring to anyone without gender specificity, I will use the generic masculine pronouns.
 
If you are confused or are not sure what you are, read your birth certificate.  And then, if you are still confused, ask an electrician to explain the difference between the two ends of an extension cord.

It's not really that difficult, folks.  When you confuse pronouns while you are speaking, you sound really stupid.

This ends my helpful hint of the day.  You’re Welcome!



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mamas, Don't Let Your Boys Grow Up To Be Snowflakes

When I was a boy, my friends and I couldn't wait to grow up and become adults.  I remember when I was in the fourth grade and got my first job.  My mother didn’t even know I was selling newspapers until she bumped into me in the grocery store.  After the initial shock, she mellowed out and allowed me to continue because she knew it was good for me.  It wasn’t much but it was my job.  I earned my pay and I used it to pay for my stuff.

That was in 1957.  For a while, that year, my dad was working in Monterey (some distance from our home) so he stayed weekdays, in a motel room and came home on weekends.  One week, during the summer, he took me with him.  Every morning we ate breakfast and then he went off to work and left me, with a few coins in my pocket, to entertain myself until he got home in the evening.  I spent the entire week discovering the beautiful old town of Monterey.  I walked the streets, visited shops, museums, and historic places, and talked to lots of people (and I am only telling this, now, because both my parents are deceased so you can't report them to C.P.S and have them arrested).  It was a great adventure for a nine-year-old boy.
 
Even at that age, I had a bicycle (which I paid for myself) that afforded a great deal of freedom and mobility around town.  And as a Cub Scout, I was learning all kinds of skills I would need to survive and be productive; we learned how to fix things, shoot things, cook things, and make things.  Everything we did was with a view toward self-reliance, personal responsibility, and maturity. 

We learned, in the school of hard knocks, that “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  We learned how to defend ourselves from bullies.  We learned that boys don’t cry and that wounds heal without a doctor (in fact, they are battle scars that we shared as badges of honor).  We learned that life has winners and losers; we kept score when we played games.  We played dodge ball.   We learned that our self-esteem was not important; our self-respect was.  We rode our bikes without helmets and we drank water from garden hoses or streams.  We learned that boys never hit girls, that men open doors for ladies, that you don’t steal, and that you respect other people’s property.

We were boys in training to become men.  And we learned the art of manliness from our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, scoutmasters, pastors, and other men in our lives whose collective purpose was to launch us out of dependency and into maturity and productivity.  Every kid I knew had a father at home and each of them was partly responsible for my upbringing and discipline.

When I married, my wife and I were both 21. That was in 1969 and, in those days, that was a typical marrying age.  Not long ago Dennis Prager was doing a segment on his radio show about the failure of young people to mature.  He noted that the average marrying age in the U. S. was about 30 and, even at that age, women are marrying boys.   And, at that time, we even have a president who thought it necessary for kids to stay on their parents' health insurance policies until age 26.  What’s up with that?  Throughout history, in most cultures, boys were considered to be men by age 12 or 13.  But today we have a newly invented age category called adolescence which is a lame excuse for immature, ignorant, foolish, children who have not grown up.

And the problem is identifiable.  It is a lack of necessary and beneficial socialization.  One day my oldest grandson was talking to a lady who complimented him on his manners and maturity.  When she learned that he was home schooled, she raised the typical, ignorant, and inane objection to homeschooling, “What about socialization?”

Well, what about that?  Kids today ARE socialized.  But it is the wrong kind of socialization.  They spend most of their time with their peers and very little time with adults.  As a result, most don't know how to carry on an intelligent conversation with an adult.  The real question is, “Why do we think it is a good thing for our foolish, immature, delinquent children to be socialized by foolish, immature, delinquent children?”  After all these years, we still haven’t learned that IT ISN’T WORKING.  Socialization of children is the responsibility of adults. 

The good news is that there are some pockets of safe and sane socialization, in our 21st century American culture, such as Home School co-ops, Scouting, and Family Integrated Churches.  If you want your boys to grow up to be real men, you need to have real men in their lives.


"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him."  Proverbs 22:15

Saturday, April 22, 2017

L. A. Smog is NOT MY FAULT

Yeah, the LA basin is smoggy.  But it’s not our fault.

In 1542, two ships, commissioned by Spain, sailed up the California coast in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold and the Strait of Anián (believed to be the Northwest Passage).

The voyage was a failure but they hoped they might discover a coastal route to China. 
 
Nevertheless, commanded by a conquistador named Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the voyage brought them to, what is now, San Pedro Bay where they encountered a huge, low hanging haze over the area.  From that voyage, we have the first written observations of the Los Angeles area which they named Baya de Los Fumos, or Bay of the Smoke.

But the region had another name given by the Chumash tribe of Native American Indians who settled here hundreds of years ago.   Los Angeles is basically a large, low basin surrounded by mountains, which is a natural trap for air pollution.

The Chumash people noticed that the smoke from their cooking fires would just hang low throughout the whole basin.  And the characteristic smog was consistent and significant enough to earn the name, which, translated into English, means “Valley Of Smoke.”

The haze was not caused by internal combustion engines, backyard incinerators, or industrial factories.  It was only smoke emanating from the Indian villages.  The smoke would rise into the air and flatten out against an invisible, atmospheric ceiling caused by temperature inversion.

The inversion layer forms when ocean breezes draw cool marine air onshore beneath a mass of warmer air above.  Held in place by the mountains that shelter Los Angeles on the north and east, the cool air then stabilizes, unable to rise through the warm air above. 

So, there you have it, folks.  The EPA, Algore, and all your nature-loving, earth worshiping whackos have been blaming YOU!   The L. A. basin will never be smog free even if you can prevent all the cattle from farting.




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Velvet-Covered Bricks


I read where one of our states passed a law requiring students to be polite.  School-aged children would be required to use words like “please” and “thank you” and they must address their teachers as “sir” or “ma’am.”  I think it’s a great idea.  Have you noticed how rude and abrasive people are these days? 

My first week as the administrator of a Christian Home, an employee stormed into my office and proceeded to unload her frustrations on me.  I don’t recall what her grievance was but I do remember her obtrusive and obnoxious manner.  And she had an extensive vocabulary of four-letter expletives that she crafted quite eloquently.  My guess is that her mother had never introduced her to the taste of Ivory Soap.

A few years ago my own pastor had to call me into his office to address my own harshness.  He told me that I should learn to be more like a “velvet covered brick”.  He explained that it is O.K. to be firm on principles, but it is never right to be rude. 

I find that being a brick is easy but, wearing the velvet; not so much.  Sometimes my velvet gets worn a little thin and I have to keep patching it up.  I have a couple velvet-covered brick bookends in my office as a reminder to keep my speech in check.

What impressions do we make on others?  Do we speak kindly with respect and love or are we just rude and nasty?  Anyone can yell at a waitress, chew out a clerk, or let off steam at a receptionist.  It is much more difficult to be kind and gentle, to demonstrate patience and understanding, and to practice self-control.  Not only is it worth the effort but it is evidence of the indwelling Spirit of God in the life of a Christian.


 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Gal.5:22,23

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Low Budget, Little Church Christmas Service


No pushing, shoving for a seat; 
No drummer boy to keep the beat.

No snow machines, no snowball fights; 
No decibels, no blinding lights.

No jingle bells, no one-horse sleigh; 
No little baby in the hay.

We sang no frozen Disney song; 
Somehow that would seem so wrong.

No Santa Claus and no fake snow; 
No folderol, no dance, no show,

All we had was Scripture reading; 
interspersed with carol singing.


We prayed, and praised the One who came; 
To live and die and rise again.


an original poem by Ralph M. Petersen

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's not even Winter yet. Where Did All The Snowflakes Come From?

The reason all those cream-puffs, snowflakes, and panty-waist millennials can't cope with the disappointment of Hillary's defeat is because their generation has never experienced any kind of competition. They played football and baseball where no one ever kept score. They played musical chairs where the number of chairs matched the number of players. They got participation awards for every event in their lives. Their graduating class had 16 Valedictorians. (I heard of one school that gave children faked report cards with good grades and sent the real grades to the parents so their sensitive little feelings wouldn't be hurt.) They have been programmed to believe that everyone is a winner.

So this most recent election cycle may have been the first time in their lives, that they have experienced a competition where there is actually a real winner and (the L word) a LOSER.


Perhaps they would feel better if that mean old Trump could share his presidency with the loser, Hillary. They could move into the Whitehouse together and they could be Co-Presidents. Then everyone could feel special.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Church Needs Hardnosed Pastors With Big Hammers

Brethren, the time has come, once again, for the Church and her preachers to take heart and play the part of men in the face of the world’s whirling winds. We will need the steadfastness of John. Congregations need pastors who will dare to preach to them, not merely opine. Pastors
who, like John, will look their people in the eyes and tell them the truth about sin, faith, death, sex, marriage, faithfulness, virtue, and truth; who will call sin “sin,” and point sinners to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away their sins; the Lamb hidden for them to eat in the bread and the chalice. We need the ministry of John, that the Church dare to stand apart from the world for the sake of the world; to look, speak, and act differently from every other place in the world for the sake of engaging the world with a Gospel not of this world. We all need Pastor John’s preaching in our lives, to bulldoze our idols and make plain to us our priorities. To call us out into the wilderness to repent and believe our Baptism. To give us a joy for which we will gladly lose our heads.

Joshua Hayes
Gottensdienst 24.4