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Posted: November 12, 2010 in Fatherhood

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Posted: November 12, 2010 in Fatherhood
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This Sunday, most if not all Lutheran Churches in the world will be celebrating Reformation Sunday.  For those who might not know, on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the The Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  The 95 Theses argues that Catholic Church was not acting in the appropriate manner regarding baptism and absolution. One of the major problems that Luther had with the church at the time involved  indulgences (remissions of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven).  Luther wanted to be authentic to what the Gospel was saying, he wanted to follow his heart when it came to Jesus’ words.

Can we do the same thing?  What does it mean to be authentic in today’s world?

We do not have to go out there and try and change the world like Luther did.   We do not have to be different for the

sake of standing out of the crowd.  We just need to be true to what God is calling us too.   We need to sit down and discern where God is calling us in this crazy world.

Authenticity is a word that is used quite often these days.  Many people are trying to figure out what it means to be authentic, and if it is a good and necessary thing or not.
So what does it mean to be Authentic?

First of all, authentic people (or churches) are aware of their thoughts and feelings, and they behave in ways that reflect those feelings. They don’t try to be someone or something that they are not.  They don’t try to put on an act or a show to impress others.  They take advantage of their strengths and they accept their weaknesses.

When they accept themselves for both their strengths and weaknesses other people will start to accept them as well.

So, if you want to grow as a person (or as a church), take time to really know yourself. If you’re not completely happy with what you find, don’t worry too much. Work on accepting yourself for what
you are, right here, right now, and on being truly authentic.

This week’s Text

We have a wonderful group who meets every Tuesday morning to talk about the upcoming texts: If you are unable to make those meetings feel free to use this sampling as to what God is telling us this week.

The first lesson is Jeremiah 31:31-34.  Just when you think you have God figured out He changes everything!  In this text God realizes that people are not going to change.  We make promises to God “empty promises” if you will.  So God is going to approach things differently.  God says that he is going to make a new covenant, something different, something exciting!  Instead of leading people by the hand God is going to lead people through their hearts.
When have you changed the way you do things?  Did it make things easier or harder?  What do you think of a changing God?

The second lesson is Romans 3:19-28.  When I think of Reformation Sunday I think of this verse.  In this verse Paul talks about we are made righteous through Jesus Christ not by the law.  Paul says to us that if we were to take away only one thing from the Gospel is that we are justified by our faith alone….that the grace of God is a gift.
What does that mean to you?  If we are justified by faith, what does it mean if our faith is shaken?  Would you be disappointed if the only gift you got in life was the grace of God?

The Gospel is John 8:31-36.  Jesus tells the Jews and he tells us that the truth will make us free.  What does it mean to be free?  How do you know if you are free or not?  What is the truth?

In light of all these texts we will be celebrating the Reformation as well.  If you have any thoughts on these texts, or on the Reformation feel free toemail me.

What Question Do You Have for the ELCA Presiding Bishop? 10-278-MRC CHICAGO (ELCA) — If you could ask the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) a question, what would it be? The Rev. Mark S. Hanson is ready to receive questions live during the online ELCA Town Hall Forum Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. EST. The forum is an hour-long event designed to inform ELCA members about the life-changing mission and ministries of the ELCA. According to Eric Peterson, congregations should not think of the forum as “a show to be watched. Congregations should prepare and study for it, discuss what they have heard and grow in action out of that.” Peterson, a member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, Wis., participated in the March 7 and Sept. 19, 2010 forums. “It has been rewarding to hear from the presiding bishop as the church grapples with issues about the nature and future of the church,” he said. The forum offers an opportunity to interact with other church members, congregations and synods “in holy conversation.” Peterson said he would like to see more forums scheduled, along with deeper participation from congregations across this church. “I think people in this church want to have true and honest conversations about the church and discover how the gospel is calling us to be faith-in-action people.” Members of Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore, Ill., hosted a viewing party for the September forum. “We had a good conversation afterward with people sharing their reactions,” said Carla Vanatta, associate in ministry at Salem. She said the forum and subsequent conversation were important for Jim Kline, a visitor of Salem who became a member of the congregation Oct. 30. “I had been looking for a new ELCA congregation to join because my previous congregation decided to leave the ELCA,” said Kline. “What stood out for me at the (September) Town Hall Forum was Bishop Hanson’s comment about whether the ELCA is ‘defined by questions in which we have no agreement and often divide us, or by the good news of Jesus Christ that unites us.’ For me that was a very appropriate thing to say,” he said. Vanatta said the forum was a “healing experience” because it offered space for participants to address some issues. “Bishop Hanson was frank but sensitive about the pain of congregations leaving the ELCA. The forum was also a good way for the rest of us to be able to respond to what our visitor had been experiencing.” Members of Salem have made a deeper commitment to continue dialogue and to host future viewing parties. Participants can follow conversations on Facebook or tweet about the event using the hash tags #ELCA or #BishopHanson. Submit questions and watch the forum at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall on the ELCA website. Images and transcripts in English and Spanish are available on the website, as well as the opportunity to watch previous webcasts and monitor dates for future forums. The ELCA Town Hall Forum is a unique, informative and enjoyable experience. Host a viewing party for your congregation and help build community with the more than 10,000 congregations across this church. A tool kit is available at http://www.ELCA.org/townhall to help congregations host a viewing party with electronic and technical assistance, social media opportunities and more. For information contact: Melissa Ramirez Cooper (773) 380-2956 http://www.elca.org

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Posted: November 8, 2010 in Fatherhood