Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Spring is in the air and so are many schools' proms. What decisions will be made that will ensure a God-pleasing prom? Sure, this social event creates all types of pressure:
Who do I ask?
What will I wear?
Does this purse match his shoes?
Will I need a loan to pay for this extravaganza?

I read this recent article in The Macomb Daily that explains the legal ramifications when parents host parties where kids will be drinking. Sadly, tragically, pathetically this goes on too often. Give the article a read and see what the legal penalties are for this type of parental stupidity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

I'm sure you are all aware that April is National Poetry Month. I thought about writing haikus but 5-7-5 is not how I live my life. Frost believed there is "freedom when you're easy in your harness" but the haiku harness never seemed to be a good fit. So in order to celebrate NPM (National Poetry Month) my AP Lit classes strolled out to the LHN parking lot and crafted some concrete poems. Check the pics out below or stop by North and walk the parking lot.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Parent: The Noun that must be a Verb

Sorry about the delay. The column will appear shortly.

Let's play "Guess what this column will discuss." Using the title above, succinctly, creatively and specifically describe the focus of the upcoming column. Winners will be selected and fabulous prizes may or may not be given. I'm going to craft it over the weekend and post it on Monday.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Universal Thump: Insights from Herman Melville

"What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about--however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way--either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chapel: April 15

Here's my chapel message for Tuesday, April 15:

The text I am using for today’s chapel is taken from John 10: 1-11. It may sound familiar because it was the Gospel lesson from this past Sunday, April 13.

“I tell you the truth, the man who doesn’t come into the sheepfold through the door but climbs over somewhere else, is a thief and a robber. But the one who comes in through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens the door for him and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by their names and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own sheep, he walks ahead of them and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger but will run away from him because they don’t know the voice of strangers.”

This was the illustration Jesus used in talking to them, but they didn’t know what He meant. So Jesus spoke again: I tell you the truth, I am the Door for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.

I am the Door. If anyone comes in through Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came so that they will have life and have it overflowing in them. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep”

BLOGGER BONUS: Read Paul Kretzman's commentary on these verses. He makes it very clear about the danger of listening to false Shepherds/propehts and the need to study God's Word dilligently so we always recognize the sound of the Good Shepherd's voice. It is this voice of our Savior that grants us forgiveness, salvation and strengthe for this life while we wait for the next.

As our annual father son tradition has it, Aaron and I were camping. Just the two of us, living off the land, off the spoils of nature. Testing our selves to the limits of human endurance…or at least as long as it took for me to blaze a fire and grill up some hot dogs. And maybe we weren’t living off the land but we were sleeping on it. Kind of, I mean the air mattress I was sleeping on was touching the ground. So in a way I was sleeping on the land.

But there we were on one of our annual father son camping trips, this one probably about eight years ago.

First things first when we get to the campsite: I set up the tent, Aaron unpacks the car and loads up the tent. Then I begin preparing dinner in the outdoors, in the wild, just roughing it like men of nature do. So naturally, I begin making macaroni and cheese out of a box. After Aaron finished his task he began scouting the area for wood scraps that we could use for the night’s fire. Keeping one eye on Aaron and the other on the all natural powdered cheese I was about to sprinkle on the macaroni, it happened. I mean it was bound to happen. This wild meal in the wild woods of western Michigan required both eyes on the macaroni. Minutes later I looked for Aaron…Nothing. Now some fathers might have immediately started bellowing, but I didn’t want people around me to know that I had lost my son. I have read about and often mocked these fathers. How could you lose your ten-year-old son? Calmly I began to search around the camp site: no Aaron. Immediately I envisioned sitting in the park ranger’s office explaining, “I looked away for a minute. I mean I couldn’t burn the powdered cheese, and he was gone. I’m a good father, really.”
I snapped back to reality and realized I needed to call for my son, or risk going home without him and that was not an explanation I wanted to run by my wife. So I called.
Bubba, Bubba, Bubba.

I knew that if he was lost he would hear my voice, since it has a tendency to carry, and since Aaron has heard it so often, he would recognize it was me and begin walking toward it. I knew that he would recognize my voice and understand it was time to quit gather campfire wood and come home, or at least back to the tent.

Obviously, the story had a good ending…there he sits. The parallel to our text is similar but the message of the text is more eloquent, more powerful, more condemning and at the same time more eternally comforting.

Sheep can discern the voice of their shepherd, so they will not go to strange voices. There is no stranger voice than a thief who jumps over the fence to gain admission into the sheep pen. Once there the thief must trick the sheep into believing it is the Shepherd. These thieves aren’t stupid, they don’t jump the fence and say, hop in the sheep van to hell and hang on. No, satan the ultimate sheep stealer is more savvy, more crafty, more sly, more deceptive, and certainly more deadly than that. He’ll send in people that sound like the Shepherd, that look like the Shepherd and that seem like the Shepherd. He’ll send in robbers to imitate the Shepherd and get the sheep to follow what they think is the truth, but make no mistake, that eternal thief comes only to, as the text states, “steal and kill and destroy.” And because of satan’s tactics and man’s ignorance, many will be stolen, killed and destroyed. Even Peter warns us of such trickery in I Peter 5:8 “Keep a clear head and watch! Your enemy, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Those he can’t devour immediately he will confuse and wedge his way into the sheep pen by using doubt, fear and guilt.

Listen to all the voices we sheep hear. Look at all the sinful responses we have to those voices. The voice of the eternal thief was so effective that he succeeded in condemning us to hell two ways. The first was his ability to persuade Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden. That original sin and the penalty of death were passed on to us at birth, as clearly revealed in Psalm 51:5 “I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” The second condemnation is found in our actual sins, our hearts, “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” As God, through Matthew states in chapter 15 verse 19. Make no mistake the thief has jumped the gate, called to us and we have listened. We have listened and responded in sin with our hate, our lust, our disobedience. That sinful response has separated us from God. That sinful response has made us hostile to God. God’ makes that clear to us in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 8:21 “Every inclination of man’s heart is evil from childhood.” And make no mistake the penalty, the wages for sin is eternal death. It’s what we have earned and, on our own, cannot escape.

But because of Christ, the Good and Gracious Shepherd, it’s not what we receive. Through God’s grace in His son, the Good Shepherd we receive an overflowing of eternal life. “Jesus spoke again: I tell you the truth, I am the Door for the sheep. All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Door. If anyone comes in through Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came so that they will have life and have it overflowing in them. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep”

It is clear that we must remain diligent in our study of God’s Word so we can recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd, because it is only through Christ that we have life. Martin Luther comments on the importance of knowing the voice of the true Shepherd: “for as he has said of His office which he carries on through His Word, thus he also says of His sheep, how they behave in His kingdom, namely, when the door is opened to Him, they at once hear his voice and learn to know it well, for it is a truly comforting, cheering voice, by which they, delivered from terror and fear, come to the liberty that they may expect all mercy and comfort of God in Christ. And when they have once accepted this Shepherd they adhere to Him alone with all confidence and hear the teaching of none other.”

The voice of the Good Shepherd has cleansed all our sins. That voice of the Good Shepherd grants us hope and healing through His death and resurrection. That voice of the Good Shepherd has granted us eternal life. And through Christ we have life abundantly. While we have life here on earth, we also have the forgiveness of our sins at our baptism, in the Lord’s Supper, and in His Word. Our eternity with the Creator and Redeemer, is already freely given to us. Our salvation is assured. Our sins are forgiven. Hope in life is found in Life through Christ. As verse four of our hymn states, “Weeping be gone; Sorrow, be silent: Death put asunder and Easter is bright. Cherubim sing: “O grave, be open!” clothe us in wonder, adorn us in light. Jesus is risen and we shall arise. Give God the Glory! Alleluia.!

Lord’s blessings.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

World Peace Without Christ Crucified?

In light of the recent conversation that drifted in from BCV, I proffer three insightful sources:
God, Martin Luther and C.F.W. Walther:

"For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
II Corinthians 13:8

This is so great a good that no human heart can grasp it (therefore it necessitates such a great and hard fight). It must not be treated lightly, as the world maintains and many people who do not understand, saying we should not fight so hard about an article and trample on Christian love; rather, although we err on one small point, if we agree on everything else, we should give in and overlook the difference in order to preserve brotherly and Christian unity and fellowship. No, my dear man, do not recommend to me peace and unity when thereby God’s Word is lost, for then eternal life and everything else would be lost. In this matter there can be no yielding nor giving way, no, not for love of you or any other person, but everything must yield to the Word whether it be friend or foe. The Word was given unto us for eternal life and not to further outward peace and unity. The Word and doctrine will create Christian unity or fellowship. Where they reign all else will follow. where they are not no concord will ever abide. Therefore do not talk to me about love and friendship, if that means breaking with the Word, or the faith, for the gospel does not say love brings eternal life, God’s grace and all heavenly treasures, but the Word. -Martin Luther 1531: W.A. 34 II. 327

Many say, 'Instead of disputing over doctrine so much, we should much rather be concerned with souls and with leading them to Christ.' But all who speak in this way do not really know what they are saying or what they are doing. As foolish as it would be to scold a farmer for being concerned about sowing good seed and to demand of him simply to be concerned about a good harvest, so foolish it is to scold those who are concerned first and foremost with the doctrine, and to demand of them that they should rather seek to rescue souls. For just as the farmer who wants a good crop must first of all be concerned about good seed, so the church must above all be concerned about right doctrine if it would save souls. -- C.F. W. Walther, "Our Common Task: the Saving of Souls" 1872

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The WORST seat ever!

I've been to Tiger Stadium with all its obstructed view seats. I've been to Ford Field and peered through the net behind the goal posts. I've been to Chrysler Arena and had the hand rail almost at eye level...but I've never had a worse seat than this ticket. I thought I'd spend some quality time with my son at a basketball game. Shak has left the Miami building, seemingly along with everyone else but I still wanted to see the Pistons play even if it was the worst team in the NBA. I walked up to the usher and he instructed that we were three rows from the bottom. Actually, we were the first row, right behind the band, The Sun Messengers.
Wow! The farther down the steps we got the better our seats looked. Until, that is, we sat in them. This seat is sandwiched against the portable bleachers behind the basket. The problem is that they are lower than the bleachers and right down the sideline. So when I sat down I could see none of the court and I don't mean there were some plump Pistons fans blocking my view. Because my seat was lower than the bleachers I was smashed against, I could see no part of the court. I had to look up to see the screen. It was my only hope to snatch a glimpse of the Pistons.
Because of technical difficulties I cannot get the picture off my phone to my computer. I will, but until then trust me this seat was the worst. How did I end up with it?
Stub Hub! I scanned the internet and found a seemingly good deal. Now Stub Hub won't give you the seat number before you buy the seat due to privacy restrictions. Fine. I get that. But there needs to be some explanation like, "Buy this seat so you can hear the band." or "With this seat there will be nothing blocking your view...of the giant scoreboard hanging from the rafters."
On the way to the game, I passed by the ubiquitous scalpers in the parking lot. "No I don't need tickets."
Oh, the irony. I had tickets but I had no view.
As it turned out, not many showed up for Beach Night so we moved across the aisle and had an excellent view.
However, if you peruse Scrub Snub and see this ticket, be afraid, be very afraid.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Here is LCMS president Kieschnick's response to The Wall Street Journal article: Letter to the Editor:

As President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I express my extreme disappointment over the column “Radio Silence” published March 28 under “Houses of Worship.” Its author presents a distorted account of the reason for the discontinuation of the “Issues, Etc.” program on the Synod’s KFUO-AM Radio station. What is even more disturbing is the false and misleading picture she presents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as a deeply divided church regarding its mission and ministry.

First, let me say our church is happy to own and operate KFUO-AM, the oldest continuously operating religious radio station in the country, if not the world. We are proud of the ministry it has provided listeners for some 84 years, and we endeavor to continue this ministry. I must also note that all ministries of the church, of which KFUO-AM is but one, require financial support from their constituencies.

Here are the facts surrounding the termination of “Issues, Etc.” This program was cancelled by the Synod’s director of communications after years of attempts to keep the program financially solvent. In fiscal year 2007-08, KFUO-AM’s operating deficit was $620,000. Since 2001, the accumulated deficits of the station have been in excess of $3.5 million. While airing for only 18 percent of KFUO-AM’s programming week, “Issues, Etc.” in the last fiscal year accounted for more than 40 percent ($250,000) of the station’s total deficit. These figures are based on the audited financial statements of the LCMS. As of February 29, two thirds into the current fiscal year, KFUO-AM was on pace to suffer heavy loses again.

Listeners of “Issues, Etc.” have had nine years and countless invitations and opportunities to support the program financially, and some have, but not nearly enough to offset the show’s deep, ongoing losses.

More importantly, I wish to address the unfortunate comments in the column that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is deeply divided and that it is pushing “church marketing” over the historic confessions of the evangelical Lutheran Church.

In truth, last summer the LCMS had its most positive and unified convention in years. Our church remains faithful to the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, an integral part of our identity as a church body. As stated in a resolution adopted last summer by the national Synod convention: “From the founding of our Synod 160 years ago, we have been blessed by unity in our common confession and the articles of our shared faith, such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, original sin, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament, the inerrancy of Scripture and many others.”

In accordance with our unity in what we believe, teach, and confess, the Synod adopted the mission and vision of Ablaze!—a focused and concentrated effort to “share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who do not yet know him.” One goal of Ablaze! calls for the Synod to start 2,000 new congregations by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the year 2017. This outreach emphasis is not “marketing” as suggested by last Friday’s column; rather, it is one of many ministry endeavors developed to foster the mission of our Synod “… vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities, and the world.” (LCMS Mission Statement)

In summary, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is more committed than ever to proclaiming the one message of Jesus Christ and his love for all (1 John 4:9-11).

On behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I invite readers to visit our website at for more information on God’s grace and salvation in Christ.

The Rev. Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod