Lutherans will necessarily remember Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, affirming the first article of the Apostle’s Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
And the subsequent question: What does this mean?
The Catechism explains: I believe that God has made me and all that exists. He has given me and still preserves my body and soul with all their powers. He provides me with food and clothing, home and family, daily work, and all I need from day to day. God also protects me in time of danger and guards me from every evil. All this he does out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I surely ought to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true. (The Small Catechism, Martin Luther, Augsburg/Fortress, 1979.)
At first glance, Luther’s explanation of this article appears to focus attention on the “work” of God the Father, that He has made me and all creatures, providing for us richly and daily with all that we need! The Father does all this, however, because of who He is—because it is His nature not only to create, but also to provide, and all this, He does, “out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, tough I do not deserve it.”
Dr. Luther was always careful to emphasize that all we have and are, indeed, our justification and eternal salvation are not because of us and our words or deeds, but solely the proper work of God, growing out of the heart and being of God. For God the Father not only creates, but also redeems and sanctifies us, through the gift of His Son and Holy Spirit.
As we move throughout this new season of The Academy, each month will focus on a different aspect of the person, nature, and being of God the Father in light of Genesis 1-3, knowing that we understand Him fully through the Lord Jesus Christ, the mirror of the Father’s heart, revealed by the Holy Spirit, because of the Father’s divine goodness and mercy! We will also be asking and connecting with very practical questions – what is life, and how do we live well? What does it mean to understand vocation, mission, and evangelism as a way of life?
During the month of September, Pastor Tony Ede hosts Dr. Gemechis Buba, Pastor Brad Hales, and Pastor Phil Gagnon. Join us September 1st at 11 am ET as Dr. Buba teaches and shares about the person, nature, and being of God the Father in the context of Psalm 85 and this blueprint for a gift revival given by God the Father. Join us on social media: Facebook Live or Youtube.
Pastor Tony Ede graduated from Waldorf College, where he earned an associate of arts in electronic communications and a bachelor of arts in multimedia communications. Graduating from Luther Seminary in 2006, Tony worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the homiletics department, helping to teach classes on using media and technology in worship and preaching. Pastor Ede has served at Bethany Lutheran Churches in the Danish Village of Kimballton, Iowa; as the teaching pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Webster City, Iowa; and currently serves as the senior pastor at First Evangelical Lutheran in Manchester, Iowa. As part of his commitment to lifelong learning, Tony earned an MBA in 2017 from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, with a concentration in organizational development. Following a long family tradition, Tony is a nationally certified firefighter and EMT and has used these skills to serve in the community, as well as in disaster response statewide. Tony was married to LeAnn at Trinity Lutheran Church, New Hampton, Iowa, on August 17th, 2002. They have three sons that keep them busy: Carver, Liam, and Burke.
Presenters and Panelists:
The Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop for Mission for the North American Lutheran Church. Ordained in 2001, Dr. Buba has served as a seminary professor, mission developer, senior pastor, vice president of the Southeastern Black Lutheran Pastors’ Conference, assistant to the bishop of Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod), director of African National Ministries, and president of the worldwide Union of Oromo Evangelical Churches. He was pastor of St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church and the African/Oromo Lutheran Church in Atlanta, GA. In addition to academic study and ordained ministry, Dr. Buba participates in multiple international ministries through speaking, leading revivals, leadership development conventions, and evangelical mission events. Dr. Buba is originally from Ethiopia and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and three children. The activities of three young children keep his family’s free time quite busy, but he especially enjoys their time with Scouts, his home congregation: Word of God Lutheran Church – Peachtree City, and swimming.
Pastor Brad Hales is the Director of Renewal Ministries for the NALC and senior pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church in Culpeper, West Virginia. Previously, Pastor Hales served as the chair of the Renewal Team, New Starts Team and Dean of the Virginia Mission District of the North American Lutheran Church. Through the power of Jesus, Pastor Hales has helped to renew several older congregations in discipleship, outreach, and mission. In 2009, his present congregation was given the “Best Practices Award in Senior Adult Ministry” by the National Council on Aging. Pastor Hales has also authored multiple Bible studies and resources, including, A Covenant of Aging, published by Sola Publishing.
Pastor Phil Gagnon serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Domestic Missions and Life-to-Life Discipleship in the North American Lutheran Church. He resides in St. Albert and was pastor of the St. Albert Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, for seventeen and a half years. His first parish was in Golden Valley Lutheran in Viking, Alberta. He is happily married to his most beautiful, patient, and mostly correct about everything wife, Patricia and has three children Elise, Elias, and Sophie, each in their twenties.
He has taught (2013) at the Onesimus Nesib Seminary on the topic of exorcism and the occult in Aira, Ethiopia, and has been involved in a number of situations concerning cults in the past and present. He also taught World Religions and New Religious Groups at Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute in Camrose, Alberta for nine years.
Pastor Phil was chair of the counter-cult group, Christian Challenge Ministries for three years while he attended The Kings College in Edmonton, Alberta. Since 1989 he has taught seminars on various new religious groups (cults) in Western Canada, California, and Seoul, South Korea. He has also written a book that was well received on evil and exorcism, from a Lutheran perspective, entitled “Deliver Us From Evil.” Pastor Phil participated in an intensive course on the subject in Rome at the Regina Apostolorum April 2015, written other works on new religious groups, including “A Family’s Guide to the Cults: Insights from the Confessions” and a novel entitled, “Where Evil Grows” based upon a true story from his experiences and conversations with a woman involved in a cult group in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Pastor Phil’s hobbies are art and reading, and once upon a time he earned two black belts in Judo and Yoshin Ryu-Jujutsu. He has always been involved in art from an early age from pencil drawings to pen and ink (pointillism) and has in the last few years especially enjoyed watercolour and acrylics. Self taught, he always seeks out opportunities and people to learn from and last year participated in a master watercolour class with Alvaro Castagnet. He paints for the enjoyment and finds rest and peace, found in creating amidst the at times frantic pace of ministry. You’ll find him when he’s able, in his art room at home listening to 80’s music, a sip of Irish whisky at hand and in the rhythm of brush strokes – his “happy place.”
Most recently in the life of the Church, he was Dean of the Canada Mission District for four years, involved in the creation of the constitution of the NALC – Canada Section, and served on the Board of Regents from its inception six years ago.