Conflict in the Congregation: Roadblocks that Lead to Redirection and Renewal

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  -Romans 15:5-6

One of the greatest challenges in congregational life and mission is that of conflict. A study of 14,000+ congregations in 2000 indicated 75% experienced some level of conflict. In 2008, another study found that 74% of congregations were in conflict over leadership, money or finances. While a stable percentage, it is troubling to consider that at any given time, three- fourths of congregations are conflicted.  Continue reading “Conflict in the Congregation: Roadblocks that Lead to Redirection and Renewal”

Bishop Addresses Sexual Immorality, Abortion at NALC Life Conference

Dear disciples of Christ Jesus,

In the midst of the growing controversy regarding late-term abortion — and what can only be termed infanticide — as a matter of self-serving convenience in a culture celebrating such decisions while refusing to consider the consequences that undermine the sanctity of life and assert our capacity and “right” to “play God,” I thought it might be helpful to share my sermon from this year’s NALC Life Conference.  Continue reading “Bishop Addresses Sexual Immorality, Abortion at NALC Life Conference”

NALC Life Conference in Virginia Precedes March for Life

The third annual NALC Life Conference was held on Thursday, Jan. 17, at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Warrenton, Va.

The event began with a free fellowship lunch followed by a talk by the Rev. Dr. Dennis Di Mauro, pastor of Trinity and chair of NALC Life Ministries, entitled “A Love for Life,” which showed how Christianity has been, and is now, a pro-life faith. The talk included quotes from great Christian thinkers including Basil, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Bonhoeffer and many others who spoke out in defense of life in the womb.  Continue reading “NALC Life Conference in Virginia Precedes March for Life”

Persistence in Prayer

“O LORD my God, I cried to you for help and you have healed me.” — Psalm 30:2 ESV

I am struck by the beauty and simplicity of Psalm 30. Is there a more complete prayer in such few words than here in verse two? This verse sums up the entirety of our stories. As David prays these words, he calls on God by name as he cries out, addressing the depth of our brokenness. And in the same breath, healing. For we have a great God who saves, who gives us the chance to live again. What a gift from God is prayer!  Continue reading “Persistence in Prayer”

A Christmas Message – Quiet Joseph Is An Example Of Faithfulness And Discipleship

Dear Disciples of Christ Jesus,

Martin Luther had much more to say about Mary, the mother of our Lord, than Joseph. Yet Luther gives thanks for this guardian of our Lord. He commends Joseph as a saint who strengthens our faith by his faithful obedience, his sacrificial love for Mary and his protective care for Jesus.  Continue reading “A Christmas Message – Quiet Joseph Is An Example Of Faithfulness And Discipleship”

Advent – A Time to Point to Jesus

Dear disciples of Jesus throughout the North American Lutheran Church:

The season of Advent is a wondrous time of preparation and anticipation. I encourage you to immerse yourself in this season, instead of enduring it as a necessary requirement in order to get to Christmas — the true focus of our energy and attention. One of the key figures in this season is John the Baptist and his message and ministry. Continue reading “Advent – A Time to Point to Jesus”