Prayers Requested

Some friends of ours are struggling with their infant daughter’s health issues. If you have a second, please say a prayer for their daughter’s health and for their encouragement. There’s no power in our prayers, but God certainly is powerful.
Here’s a website about what they’ve been going through. Thanks.


Sermon for “Literature and the Gospel”

[The following is a sermon I wrote for a class.]

“He takes and He takes and He takes”
Job 1: 20-21

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“All the glory that the Lord has made/And the complications when I see His face/In the morning in the window/All the glory when He took our place/But He took my shoulders, and He shook my face/and He takes and He takes and He takes.” That is how Sufjan Stevens ends the song “Casimir Pulaski Day,” about a girlfriend who is dying. “Goldenrod and the 4-H stone/The things I brought you when I found out you had cancer of the bone.”

Maybe you don’t want to admit it because you know it’s not how Christians should think, but have you ever found yourself caught on the horns of that particular dilemma? Have you ever felt the weight of the seeming contradiction between God’s sovereignty, that nothing happens outside of His will, and the existence in this world of what we call evil? In fact, that very paradox is at the center of what some people find the most compelling argument against the existence of the God we believe in. Even if God does exist, they say, He cannot be good and loving. Or if He is good and loving, then He cannot be all-powerful. Like Job’s wife, they mock and taunt: “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Look around you at this world we live in! A world of bone cancer and AIDS; a world of Alzheimer’s and starvation; a world where children die too soon and the suffering can’t die soon enough. Your God, He takes and He takes and He takes.
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Lingering Sentiments

From a report entitled, “The Charismatic Movement and Lutheran Theology,” of 1972:

“Dennis Bennet explains [the charismatic movement’s] phenomenal growth in these words: ‘The church is in a mess, organized Christianity a failure. Why? Because the Holy Spirit has not had a fair chance to work experientially in the church…It is time to stop relying on intellectual analyses and to start relying on spiritual experience. After all Christianity is not an intellectual matter at all. It is a purely personal and spiritual matter.'”

What does it look like to rely on a spiritual experience? What does it look like to give up intellectual analysis?