Monday, August 19, 2019

Traveling with the Schroeders -- Kentucky

Last week, we headed down to Kentucky for part of a week of vacation.  A comedy of errors (okay, crippling frustrations) prevented us from doing all we had hoped to do.  We did manage to do one of the main things we were gunning for which was going to Mammoth Cave National Park.  We did the Domes and Dripstones tour.  It would have been nice to do another tour and to spend more time there, but the comedy of errors resulted in us getting a later jump on the day than we had hoped for.

The next day, we lounged around our campground at Big Bone Lick State Park.  That involved sleeping in, reading at the camp site, swimming, and visiting the museum at the campground which boasts many fossils, salt / mineral springs, and a bison herd.

On the way back, since we had about 2 hours to do it, we stopped at the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio and walked through a few of the hangars.  The museum is free, and it would have been nicer to spend a few more hours there, but as the schedule demanded, we got back on the road to get home by Thursday evening.

Here are some photos from the trip.  Enjoy.

















Something from .... Luther's "The Bondage of the Will" (entry #5)


INTRODUCTORY NOTES:  During the life of Martin Luther, Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus, was urged by Roman Catholic Church leaders to challenge Luther’s teachings and to condemn him.  Although Erasmus would rather have kept the peace in the Church, Erasmus was finally goaded into attacking Luther.  Erasmus intended to defend the official Roman Catholic teaching that God’s grace was needed to do the works by which man could then merit additional grace.  Luther’s response to Erasmus is known as The Bondage of the Will (De Servo Arbitrio).  Although Luther had published a myriad of writings in his career, he did not consider them worth preserving.  Luther regarded The Bondage of the Will as a rare exception to that rule.  In it, Luther writes at length that “free will” in spiritual matters is a lie, and that, if man actually has free will, then God loses such attributes as grace, omnipotence, and even his right to be God.
            The quotations from Luther in this blog post come from The Bondage of the Will translated by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI. © 1957.
            The following are thoughts concerning Luther’s arguments, urging us to LET GOD BE GOD.  Something from Luther’s The Bondage of the Will.



LET GOD BE GOD: Let God be the Savior.


            Is it helpful to tell people not to let themselves be bothered about how much we contribute to salvation?  I suppose that anytime someone tells us not to be bothered, we regard that as a good thing.  I like not being bothered by stuff.

            But I am not free to not be bothered by tax forms, driver safety, warning labels, or severe weather.  To ignore such things for the sake of “not being bothered” means risking my life.  If that is true in earthly matters, it is all the more true in spiritual matters.

            Erasmus had claimed that “it is irreligious, idle, and superfluous to want to know whether our will effects anything in matters pertaining to eternal salvation, or whether it is wholly passive under the work of grace” (Luther referenced this on page 76).  But how disastrous if we remain ignorant of what we must do and what God does in regard to our salvation!  If we do not know how much we have to do to receive eternal life, we will never have the confidence that we will have eternal life.  To risk going to hell based on my assumption that all is more foolish than running a red light because I assume other traffic will stop when they see me.   

            Something from Luther on our need to know how much God needs to do to be our Savior:

            “But when you tell Christian people to let this folly guide them in their labours, and charge them that in their pursuit of eternal salvation they should not concern themselves to know what is in their power and what is not—why, this is plainly the sin that is really unpardonable.  For as long as they do not know the limits of their ability, they will not know what they should do; and as long as they do not know what they should do, they cannot repent when they err; and impenitence is the unpardonable sin.  This is where your moderate, sceptical (sic) theology leads us!

            … “For if I am ignorant of the nature, extent and limits of what I can and must do with reference to God, I shall be equally ignorant and uncertain of the nature, extent and limits of what God can and will do in me—though God, in fact, works all in all (cf. 1 Cor. 12.6). … We need, therefore, to have in mind a clear-cut distinction between God's power and ours, and God's work and ours, if we would live a godly life.” (pages 77-78)

            But God has made it clear.  We are powerless.  We are dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1).  We are hostile to God (Romans 8:7).  We can do nothing to enter God’s kingdom or even to prepare ourselves for his salvation.  The work is purely God’s to make us alive in Christ, to save us, and to keep us in his kingdom.  Therefore, we repent of all efforts on our part (after all, who can be sure that they are good enough?) and rely completely on our Lord to be our Savior.  And since it is all in God’s hands, our confidence for salvation is firm.  We have God’s own word on it.

Monday, August 12, 2019

MLS Football -- The 2019 season begins!

MLS Football season is beginning.  Football camp began last night, and the first game is only 2 1/2 weeks away.  This will be Philip's senior year, and the last Schroeder on the MLS football team for a few years.

Here is an article from M-Live about the MLS football team and their hype song.  It actually is as much about MLS's music emphasis as it is about their athletic program.

https://www.mlive.com/highschoolsports/2019/08/weird-michigan-lutheran-seminary-seniors-pitch-perfect-to-start-2019-football-season.html?fbclid=IwAR15FwNDOJVAqvOyuyZlz6JKkzG6r77-gbai5V6n-KAPGMVAlrAJi9M8qc0

Go Cardinals!

Something from .... Luther's "The Bondage of the Will" (entry #4)


INTRODUCTORY NOTES:  During the life of Martin Luther, Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus, was urged by Roman Catholic Church leaders to challenge Luther’s teachings and to condemn him.  Although Erasmus would rather have kept the peace in the Church, Erasmus was finally goaded into attacking Luther.  Erasmus intended to defend the official Roman Catholic teaching that God’s grace was needed to do the works by which man could then merit additional grace.  Luther’s response to Erasmus is known as The Bondage of the Will (De Servo Arbitrio).  Although Luther had published a myriad of writings in his career, he did not consider them worth preserving.  Luther regarded The Bondage of the Will as a rare exception to that rule.  In it, Luther writes at length that “free will” in spiritual matters is a lie, and that, if man actually has free will, then God loses such attributes as grace, omnipotence, and even his right to be God.
            The quotations from Luther in this blog post come from The Bondage of the Will translated by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI. © 1957.
            The following are thoughts concerning Luther’s arguments, urging us to LET GOD BE GOD.  Something from Luther’s The Bondage of the Will.


LET GOD BE GOD: Let God speak for himself.

            There are a number of teachings in the Christian faith which are mysteries—the Trinity and the two natures of Jesus are prime examples.  We will never grasp how it can be that God is one, but that God is three distinct persons who are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This is a mystery that will never be unraveled.  Jesus Christ is both God and man.  So, when we speak about Jesus, we can say that God had to be born, grow up, be tempted and tormented by the devil, and die.  We can also say that a man walked on water, fed the multitudes with minimal food, rose from the grave, and reigns over heaven and earth.  Again, it is a mystery that we ponder, but we don’t really grasp it.

            Now, while these things are mysteries, they are not secrets.  We can’t explain them, but we do confess them.  They are well-known, proclaimed, and sung about in our churches regularly.  The problem is not that the passages which teach such things are unclear (if they were, how could we confess them?), but that God has revealed things which are above our understanding. 

            Do we understand everything that the Scriptures say?  Sadly, no.  We grapple with some teachings for perhaps years before God grants us enlightenment on them.  People who have studied the Bible for decades still have “Aha!” moments.  But that is not the fault of the Bible.  It is our own sin-clouded understanding that prevents us from grasping these things.  Granted, there will always be parts of the Bible which are hard, confusing, or even troubling for us, but that is not the fault of God.  He speaks clearly for us.  We don’t need to explain God’s word until it meets our own satisfaction.  We let God speak for himself and simply add our “Amen” to it.  Even when we don’t get it, we still confess it.  We let God be God.  We take him at his word.  We let him speak for himself.

            Something from Luther on letting God speak for himself:  “I certainly grant that many passages in the Scriptures are obscure and hard to elucidate, but that is due, not to the exalted nature of their subject but to our own linguistic and grammatical ignorance; and it does not in any way prevent our knowing all the contents of Scripture.  For what solemn truth can the Scriptures still be concealing, now that the seals are broken, the stone rolled away from the door of the tomb, and that greatest of all mysteries brought to light—that Christ, God's Son, became man, that God is Three in One, that Christ suffered for us, and will reign for ever?  And are not these things known, and sung in our streets?  Take Christ from the Scriptures—and what more will you find in them?  You see, then, that the entire content of the Scriptures has now been brought to light, even though some passages which contain unknown words remain obscure.” (page 71)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sermon -- 9th Sunday after Pentecost (August 11, 2019)

LUKE 10:38-42

THE ONLY THING NECESSARY 
IS TO SIT AT JESUS' FEET.

In the name + of Jesus.

     I'm sure you've heard it before.  Chances are you said it: “I was going to do that, but then life got in the way.”  We all make plans and have dreams.  Maybe you have a bucket list of things you want to do.  Rarely do we get to do them all.  Instead, we find that responsibilities and obligations force us to adjust our plans.  They may even dash our dreams.  We lament having to adjust our plans and dreams, but we do it anyway.  We recognize that our responsibilities are more important than our bucket list.  Obligations always trump dreams.  Complaining that “Life got in the way” suggests that our responsibilities are bad.  They are not.  Granted, they demand our time and our effort, but they are not evil.
     In most cases, your obligations are summed up in the Bible this way: “For we are (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)  In other words, your responsibilities and obligations are the works that God has given you to do.  Far from evil, these are the good works God lays right in front of you.  You get to carry them out in your various vocations.  By doing them, you honor God.  Your dreams may be more fun for you, but your responsibilities are how you love and serve your neighbor.
     You are not unique.  All people have responsibilities.  Nor is it a new phenomenon.  Jesus entered a village.  And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. (Luke 10:38)  When Jesus came to visit, Martha's desire to serve kicked right in.  She was eager to be a good hostess.  So, she busied herself with meal prep.  Who could fault Martha for that?  If you were her guest, you would surely appreciate her hospitality.  Martha was busy, but not her sister.
     Mary … sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving.  And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me.” (Luke 10:39-40)  Don't you suppose Martha would have enjoyed sitting down and listening to Jesus?  Don't you suppose she would have enjoyed relaxing and conversing rather than being absorbed with the drudgery of meal prep?  Sure.  It would have been nice, but life got in the way.
     You know how the story ends.  Jesus replied to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)  Martha often gets taken to task for her tasks.  Jesus did not rebuke her for doing what is evil.  Rather, he commended Mary for what she was doing.  Jesus described what Mary was doing as both “the good portion” and “necessary.”  She did not let life get in the way of sitting down at Jesus' feet to listen to the word of God.
     Once again, it needs to be stressed that Martha was not doing anything wicked.  Love your neighbor as yourself means that you are going to serve your neighbor.  To avoid that  obligation is to disobey God's command.  However, God's commandment is not limited to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Luke 10:27)  That is the second greatest commandment.  The first is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27)  Obeying the second greatest commandment is worthless if you do not keep the first.  Your neighbor may benefit, but God's wrath remains upon you if you do not honor him above all.
     Martha was fulfilling her obligations for her guest.  Jesus, however, reminded her that there was only one thing needful, and it was not her serving him.  We do not gain God's favor by how much we do, by how well we do it, or by how much others benefit from it.  God's favor is not won by works; it is given by grace.  It is given only by Jesus.  And it is delivered only through the word which is preached and the sacraments which are administered.  Therefore, the only thing necessary is to sit at Jesus' feet and to be served.
     Jesus said, “One thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion.” (Luke 10:41-42)  Mary sat at Jesus' feet to hear him teach about the kingdom of God.  If the kingdom of God were about how much we do for Jesus, Jesus would have commended Martha for all the service she was doing and would have chastised Mary for just sitting there.  Instead, it was Mary who was commended.  The only thing necessary is to set at Jesus' feet.
     This is also why we come to worship.  The Divine Service is not about what you are doing for Jesus.  Granted, we praise the Lord, we sing hymns, and we say our prayers.  But you and I do not bring things to God's house that God needs.  Our God is not served as if he needs anything from us.  We are sinners who need what God provides.  We come into his presence in order to be served by him and to receive gifts from him.  Here, God speaks to us through his word—in the liturgy, in the lessons, in the absolution, and in the sermon.  Here, Jesus feeds his sheep to strengthen them, sustain them, and to keep them united to him for their salvation.  Here, God declares his promises and bestows his blessings upon us.  God's grace is revealed and his salvation is delivered.
      Salvation is given not because we sang pretty enough, prayed hard enough, or worshiped fervently enough.  Salvation is given because the Lord Jesus Christ did the work of carrying your sins to the cross, taking upon himself the wrath of God, dying a cursed death, and substituting his perfect, innocent life for yours.  Jesus has suffered and died for you.  At his resurrection, Jesus did not appear to his disciples to give new rules to obey—as if Jesus completed his part of your salvation and you still have to prove your commitment to him by your works.  If you could not keep his first commandments, what makes you think you could keep a new batch of commandments?  Jesus assures you that everything has been fulfilled.  When he breathed his last at the cross, he declared, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  No more works or sacrifices are necessary.  Jesus' resurrection declares that your sins are paid for and that your place in his kingdom is secure.  The only thing necessary is to sit at Jesus' feet and receive his gifts.
     Martha was so busy with her obligations that life was getting in the way of receiving these blessings from Jesus.  It is ironic.  Life was getting in the way for Martha while the source of life was sitting in her home.  Life was getting in the way while the Way, the Truth, and the Life was in her living room.  It is easy to get distracted and to be “anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.” (Luke 10:41)  The good portion is what Jesus gives.  The only thing necessary it to sit at Jesus' feet.
     As long as you are in this world, you will have obligations and responsibilities.  They may be drudgery, but they are not evil.  They are the good works God gives you to honor him and to love your neighbor.  For that matter, even your dreams and bucket list are not evil as long as they are not sins.  But no matter what vocations God gives to you, they are all temporary.  They will not go on into eternity.  Your bucket list expires when you kick the bucket.  If your temporary vocations end up being more important than Jesus' eternal gifts, you will end up losing both.  That is why it is necessary to sit at Jesus' feet.  He blesses your obligations and your dreams now, and he promises everlasting rest to come.
     By sitting at Jesus' feet, you receive comfort, strength, and encouragement to support you through the joys and struggles in this life.  By sitting at Jesus' feet, you gain the hope and confidence that you will have everlasting peace and rest from all your labors in the glory to come.  Life cannot get in the way of this, for this is your life.  Only Jesus provides you with peace, mercy, and forgiveness here; and only Jesus will raise you up from the grave to have everlasting life and glory.  Only Jesus supplies all you need.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Update from Good Shepherd (August 8, 2019)

Greetings!


SUMMER SCHEDULE
Divine Services are Sundays at 10:00 AM.

        Sunday School & Sunday's Adult Bible Class will be on hiatus throughout the summer.  They will resume on September 8.

MID-WEEK SERVICES
        In the event that you are out of town over the weekend, you can find worship services during the week in the following locations.
        Monday at 7:00 PM –  St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church(1343 Penniman Ave, Plymouth)
        Thursday at 6:30 PM – St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church(17810 Farmington Road, Livonia)

REGULAR SCHEDULE TO RESUME ON SEPTEMBER 8
        Please note the change to the schedule which is coming up quickly.

>>>>> Sunday School classes will meet at 8:45 AM.

>>>>> Adult Bible Class will meet at 8:45 AM.  We will be working our way through the books of 1 & 2 Samuel, seeing how God continued to preserve his plan of salvation.  We will give special attention to the prophet Samuel and to the kings, Saul and David.

>>>>> Our Church Picnic will take place shortly after the service.  You are welcome to come to church in rather casual dress on September 8.  Following the service, we will fire up the grills to cook burgers and hot dogs.  Meat, buns, condiments, and beverages will be provided by the church.  Members are asked to bring a dish to share.  A Sign Up Genius will soon be publicized to determine what kinds of additional dishes people are bringing (no need to have 10 dozen cookies and no side dishes) and to RSVP.  We plan on having games and activities to allow our members to enjoy each others' company and to get to know each other better.  All are welcome, including any guests who happen to be with us (whom you are encouraged to bring along).

>>>>> In addition, we will acknowledge the completion of our mortgage payments for Good Shepherd with a mortgage burning ceremony, also on September 8.

BIBLE BASICS CLASS to begin on Monday, September 9
Bible Basics Class is a class for the benefit of all from those who are curious about the Christian faith to those who want to be further grounded in Biblical teachings.  The class is designed to cover...
... the basics of Christianity for those who desire to learn more.  
... what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess about the word of God.  
... what God considers “good enough” for us to get to heaven.
... how we can know who God really is.
... what God desires for all mankind.
Whether you are a Bible scholar or barely know what a Bible is, this class is for you.  There is no cost.  All materials are provided.  Come with questions.  Come with friends.  Come and learn what God wants you to know.
Our Bible Basics Class will be on Mondays, 7:00-8:30 PM.  
        Members of Good Shepherd, you can already start thinking about whom you would bring to this class.  Talk to them about it and attend with them.  For more information or details, please speak with Pastor Schroeder.

ANNIVERSARY SERVICE
        St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church – Ann Arbor, MI. (Northfield Twp.) est. 1869 - is planning on celebrating this milestone on Sunday September 15, 2019. There will be a 10:30 a.m. Worship Service followed by a catered meal at 12 Noon and an afternoon worship service at 2:30 p.m. All those who are planning on attending the meal are asked to RSVP by sending an e-mail to: stjohnsnorthfield2015@gmail.combefore August 15, 2019. Anyone who does not have access to e-mail may call: (734)-761-1740. Please indicate how many are planning to attend the meal. To view a photo of the historic church building which was built in 1932 go to the website at: www.stjohnsannarbor.org

NOTES from Huron Valley Lutheran High School (HVL)
Registration - If you have not yet registered for the 2019-2020 school year, please go to https://mytads.com/a/huronvalley

HVL Summer Sports Camp - All students entering grades 5-8 are eligible for HVL Volleyball & Soccer Camps on Aug 12-15 (6-8pm).  Register on our website (www.hvlhs.org) or call the school office (734) 525-0160.

Upcoming Events:
Aug 12-15  Summer Sports Camps
Aug 17          HVL Work Day
Aug 21          First Day of School
Sept 7  HVL Golf Outing
Sept 19-21  HVL Rummage Sale

OFFICE HOURS
Regular office hours at Good Shepherd will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM. While there may be some flexibility to this schedule, we will try to keep it as regular as possible. 

DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,

Pastor Schroeder
==============================
DIVINE SERVICES -- Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS will resume September 8.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE
www.GoodShepherdNovi.org

PASTOR SCHROEDER’S BLOG
www.LutheranSubject.blogspot.com

Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

History of Novi -- Parks & Recreation



For the 50th anniversary of the city of Novi, a number of videos have been put together. 


Here is a neat one on the Novi Parks & Recreation history.


Enjoy!