Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation. The appointed texts for the day teach marvelously the fullness of what the incarnation means. The more that a person grows in understanding this amazing mystery, the more one comes to appreciate the Athanasian Creed. This creed is commonly used on Trinity Sunday, but it is a marvelous explanation of the necessity and the wonder of the Lord’s birth.

The Athanasian Creed begins the last portion with these powerful words:

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The creed continues with an in depth explanation, very carefully bringing forth the reason for the incarnation and the importance of what the Scriptures teach. Yet the authors of the creed were also very careful not to say more than what the Scriptures declare, without speculating on those things that the Scriptures leave undeclared. It truly is a marvelous creed.

The texts for the Nativity of our Lord, Christmas Day, are wonderfully explained by this creed, and thus it is utilized as part of the sermon this year. The sermon, “In the Majesty of the Name of the Lord His God,” is available in text and audio here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are You Prepared for Christmas?

Are you prepared for Christmas? This is the theme of the texts from the Fourth Sunday in Advent. The texts and sermon are available here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why are you here?

About twenty years ago, I was on call as a chaplain in a hospital. For a 24 hour period I was in the hospital. That evening the beeper went off and I was summoned to the emergency room.

As the elevator approached the emergency room from two floors above I could hear a man shouting and cursing horribly. The cursing grew louder as the elevator drew nearer to the floor. The doors opened and a blast of cursing pierced my ears and heart.

Lined up on both sides of the hallway were rolling cots with patients lying on them. Several emergency room attendants greeted me, explaining that the patient who was shouting and cursing made it impossible for them to put any one else in the treatment area. The police brought him to the emergency room. The nurses and doctors explained that he had been wandering the street and was intoxicated with alcohol and probably other drugs as well. They had given the man as much Thorazine as could be given and it was having no effect whatsoever. They were trying to pump his stomach but he pulled out the tubes and would not allow them to be put in again. They had restraints applied but he still thrashed about.

They said that they had done all that they could do and did not know what else could be done so they called the chaplain.

When I entered the room and approached the man he demanded to know who I was. Then he wanted me to loosen his restraints. I explained that I did not have the authority to do that. Then he began demanding to know why I was there. With much cursing he demanded again and again to know why I was there.

Finally, I looked at him and replied, “I’m here to torment you.”

He stopped cursing and looked at me and began to converse with me. He began sharing what was troubling him. He learned that day that his girlfriend had AIDS. This meant a number of things to him. She had been with someone else. She had infected him. He had been betrayed.

When I responded to him saying, “I’m here to torment you.”, it flowed from my mouth as though it were exactly what I would want to say to a hurting man. I knew at the time that it was the right thing to say, but I have never really understood why. Truly this was not my own decision but was given from above, but I never really understood why it was what this man needed to hear.

Yesterday, as I was pondering other matters, I reflected upon this event again and I realized why “I’m here to torment you.” was what this man responded to when I said it.

This was exactly what he was experiencing. Everything, everyone was there to torment him. His entire life, his very existence, had become a ceaseless torment. His girlfriend, the police, the emergency room attendants, all were there to torment him.

Now a chaplain comes in. Why are you here?” The chaplain replies, “I’m here to torment you.”

Someone actually was listening. Someone actually heard his anguish. Someone finally answered him honestly and without fear.

We conversed for about 15-20 minutes. As we talked I told him about the love of God in Christ. He became calm and relaxed and finally fell asleep. The nurses were finally able to tend to the needs of his body because the needs of his spirit had been tended. The doctor came in and did his job, too, commenting, “God and Thorazine! What a combination!”

As I departed I thought, “No, Doctor, your trusted Thorazine failed you. Not God and Thorazine, but God calmed this troubled soul.”

This is why Jesus came to the world. He came to take our tortured identity for us and to give us His peace. He came to take upon Himself our deepest insecurities, all of which are rooted in sin, and to set us free from our fears. He took our betrayal. He took our weaknesses. He took our sin. He became the tortured one in our place so that in communion with Him we might have rest for our souls.

This is the ministry of the Church, to tell the world that their anguish is real and that this anguish is rooted in a real source: SIN. Yes, as the Church of God on earth, we are here to torment you. We are here to proclaim the LAW in its full force, leaving nothing hidden. We are here to rebuke your unbelief before it is too late. And when the world hears this rebuke, the only choices are either to continue cursing God and His creation or to respond to the call to repent and believe the Gospel in which is provided the relief that all tortured souls desperately need and desire.

This, however, can only occur when the Church knows what it means to be the Church. This unabashed declaration of “We are here to torment you!” can only be made when the Church and her pastors believe this so as to be moved by God to speak His loving rebuke in full force, without compromise. For the rebuke is intended to crush all self-delusion. The rebuke is necessary in order for the sweet and restoring words of the Gospel to be received by the tortured souls.

Thanks be to God that He speaks the Truth. He always comes to us through the Word of Law and Gospel. He always calls us to repentance by the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in the unadulterated administration of the Word in the preaching and in the Sacraments. He says, “I have come here to torment you so that you may openly and honestly acknowledge your total depravity and helplessness, so that you then may receive from Me my love, My grace, My mercy, and My peace. Without these, torment is all you shall ever know, not only now, but everlastingly. Hear My strong rebuke. Receive My repentance. Believe Me and trust in My Son, your Savior, and dwell in My peace in My Holy Communion.”

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Real Reason for System Crashes

What is your computer doing while you’re not watching? What is going on with all of those icons on your desktop?

Check it out at Icon’s Story.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Let Me Teach You How To Dance

From the movie “Miss Potter” there is a delightfully innocent scene that includes this little song, entitled “Let Me Teach You How To Dance”.

As I watched and heard it the first time, and every time since, my heart and mind turned to the Lord Jesus and His bride. In this vein, I imagined this little love song using the same tune. If you care to hear it, I have recorded it as Let Me Give to you New Life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Faith, The Two-Legged Dog

Pastor Jackson at Ichabod, The Glory Has Departed has this video posted from YouTube:

Faith and the family that adopted her are a very special demonstration of what love does. While a dog does not have a soul, it nevertheless responds to love. Faith does not care how she looks. Dogs don’t worry about such things. Faith does not care that she has faced many struggles and continues to press beyond what is normally expected of a dog. Faith has encountered the persistence of love from those who cared for her and rather than lying helplessly in a ball on the floor, she walks and runs, wagging her tail so strongly that she nearly unbalances herself.

In the beginning, God established that Man should be like Him, ruling the world for good, in the same way in which God Himself created and now rules over all things.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)

God created the world for Man and set Man over all things to dominate and to rule the world after the same manner that God Himself does. He created Man in His own image, full of goodness and love. Even after the rebellion of Adam, even after the choice to become sinful, God’s love still prevailed so that God reclaimed His fallen children and lifted them up with the promise of the ultimate display of love. He promised that salvation would come through the advent of the Son of Woman, who is God in the flesh, Jesus. With this promise, God restored love to Man once again.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)

The miracle that was worked by the love of the Stringfellow family for this doggy is a reflection of the love of God and the power that God’s love works in us and for us. How lovely to behold such a display. While sin veils the love of God in the world, still He shows us the power of His love in everyday things, even as in this special occurrence with Faith and the Stringfellow family. While such displays are not automatically evidence of the true faith in people’s lives, these displays do continually hold before us all what God intends for us to receive from Him.

As the season of Advent comes upon us again this coming Sunday, we again rejoice in the love of God manifested in the birth of His Son, who is come in order to give Himself as the restoration of God’s merciful love to the world. By His life, suffering, death, and resurrection, love is available to everyone through the pure Gospel and Sacraments. May this season of Advent serve us all the hope that is freely given and received through our Lord Jesus Christ, even as is given as a small reminder in the response of Faith to the love of the Stringfellow family.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Evangelism and the Eighth Commandment

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Depending on the method of numbering the Ten Words or Ten Commandments, this is counted as either the Eighth or the Ninth Commandment. Since the numbering is purely an arbitrary assignment by those who honor these declarations of the Lord, and not a numbering by the Lord Himself, the number does not really matter. The content, however, does matter. The intended meaning is a matter of life and death, everlasting life and death.

This is especially true because of the impact that it has upon the Church’s witness unto the Gospel. The Gospel, or the euangelion, is the good message that bears witness to the fullness of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is the good message that gives life to hearts that are dead in sin. The Gospel is the message that revitalizes lives that have become buried in the worries and troubles that a sin filled world piles up over all who struggle to survive in this world.

The Gospel is Good News!

The Gospel is the good news concerning the salvation that is in and through Christ Jesus.

End of story.

Sadly, this is not where we leave it. Rather than trusting in the power of the Gospel, we turn away from this power and seek to make it about what we do. Those who claim to be the most “evangelical” are usually the ones who twist the Gospel in on itself so that instead of being the good news of Jesus Christ it becomes impossible to recognize and rather resembles a heavy burden that must somehow be carried by those who should be set free from all heavy burdens.

Often, the promoters of evangelism are the worst about this horrible abuse against the saints of God. Often the promoters of evangelism are the very worst violators of the Eighth Commandment, bearing the very worst and most horrible False Witness against their neighbors, and worse, against their brethren.

Yes. Sadly, very sadly, those who promote Evangelism and Personal Witnessing are often the worst of all those who bear false witness against their neighbors.

It is common to have a preacher or another church leader or organizer lay heavy burdens upon the hearts of the saints who gather to hear the Gospel. Rather than building them up in the knowledge of the Lord and all that the Lord serves in His Holy Communion, rather than lifting burdens from those who are drowning in their sinfulness, rather than reviving those whose ears and hearts have grown weary and need to be opened again to the precious good news of forgiveness and renewal, rather than fulfilling the office of the keys they turn to the people with a message of what they must do to be good Christians and what they must do to be good witnesses.

Of course, this is not a singular fault. The people share in this, too. They forget the power of the Gospel and turn back to their own efforts, efforts that surely fail them and leave them without true hope. Then they seek programs and training to become better witnesses in their lives and in their associations. They torment themselves over what they consider to be lost opportunities and blundered sharing attempts.

This is sad, very sad, from both perspectives. For this is not what Christ instituted for His Church. This is not the life to which our dear Lord has called us.

Jesus speaks of knowing the truth which sets us free.

What is this truth? Jesus, Himself, is this truth. We need to know Jesus and what He has done and continues to do for us through the life of the Church. We need to be reminded continually that He is the True Witness, and that we are the ones who are to are to receive His witness.

How does this miracle occur? How do we receive Jesus and the full knowledge of Him in our lives? He tells us plainly: Baptism and the Holy Communion.

This is the witness to which we are called.

Notice that I did not say the witness that we are to give. For this is the reception of God. This is how we receive Jesus, and with Jesus the fullness of God, namely, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Baptism, with the Word of God, that is, Jesus, we receive the name of God and with His name we receive the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. In Baptism God Himself bears witness to us and to all the world that He is our God and that He claims us as His children as coheirs with Jesus.

When I was a child, I never needed to tell anyone that I was the son of Louis Otto Siems and Helen Ruth Siems. People knew. How? I lived with them and under their care. I received my life from them. I also wrote and spoke their name and address as my own. I lived in dependence upon them and in the protection of their care. Therefore people knew who I was in connection with them.

This is the witness that Christians are to bear, also. To bear means to carry in or on one’s person and body. Mary was the theotokos, the God-bearer, because God used her as the vessel through whom He came into the world. She did nothing to make this happen. It was worked through the Word of God that was spoken to her through the mouth of Gabriel, God’s specially appointed heavenly messenger or angel. Aside from not having an abortion, what did the blessed virgin do? When we say it like this, even from this perspective she did nothing. She did not abort the Son of God from her body. She simply acknowledged the will of God that had been spoken to her and carried the Son of Salvation until the time to be delivered came.

This is what the Church does as well. The Church carries the Son of God in her body. This is not something that she chooses to do. The Church is the blessed virgin through whom Jesus is carried in the world. Jesus lives in the Church. Like Mary, the Church simply lives as the theotokos, the God-bearer.

As the Theotokos, the Church bears The Witness, Jesus. As the saints gather to the pure administration of Jesus, that is, The Word and Sacraments of the Word, they are the Church, the presence of Jesus. This is why the assembling must not be forsaken, as is the practice of some. The Church or Ecclesia is the gathering of the communion of the saints. If there is no gathering, there is no Church.

But this Ecclesia is a special gathering. It is not a gathering of the kind that men promote. Rather, it is the gathering that is accomplished by the calling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the holy Christian Church. He calls sinners to gather unto Jesus to receive what He gives through the theotokos. Namely, He gives Himself, the Word of Life. As the assembled receive Jesus into their ears they are renewed in Him in His body, the Church. Through Baptism they receive the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Communion they eat and drink the very body of this Holy Communion and drink the very blood of their salvation and life.

This is all God’s work. This is all God’s doing. This is all God’s Witness.

As St. Paul writes, “for as often as ye eat of this bread and drink of this cup ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.”

This is the witness that we bear to the world. It is not OUR witness, except from the perspective that it is the Witness that we have received in Baptism and again and again in the Holy Communion.

This is God’s definition of Evangelism. It is pure. It is simple. It is easy. Why? Because it is His Witness, Jesus, at work reconciling the world unto Himself.

We do not need to make evangelism our work. That is why St. Paul tells Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. He did not tell the congregation under Timothy’s pastoral care to do the work of evangelists, but he told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Timothy served Christ to the congregation in preaching and in the Sacraments.

As the congregation gathers to the means of grace, this is the fulfillment of what we often label as the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. If you read what Jesus says carefully, you will find that it really is this simple and easy.

So then, what about our personal witness?

Were you listening?

This IS our witness, even Jesus Christ. As we gather unto Him, we do give witness unto Him.

When this is our understanding of Evangelism, it becomes very, VERY easy and straightforward. All that we need to do is to tell people where Jesus is to be found. As we live in the freedom of the Gospel ourselves, people notice. When people ask, we simply tell what God has done for us and continues to do for us in Christ. When they ask how they can receive this for themselves, we invite them to come with us to meet Jesus. We invite them to “come and see.” As they observe the unity of the body of Christ, confessing with one mouth the great confession of the one true faith and receiving together the life of Christ’s blood, then they too may be baptized into the Holy Communion to live the life of freedom that the Truth provides.

Sharing the Gospel is not a burden. It is a joy. It is a privilege. No one who receives healing from a terrible disease finds it difficult to share with others. Perhaps the best example is the restoration of sight that some have received through medications or other treatments. No one who has suffered reduced or impaired vision or even blindness who has subsequently had that vision restored ever has any trouble telling the good news of what was done for him.

That is really the problem with how we approach evangelism. Instead of joyously telling what has been done for us, we imagine that we must do something for others. We forget that we are nothing more than witnesses unto what has already been done and what is promised by the One who has done it. We forget that this is not our work, but His. Is it any wonder that when we imagine ourselves be under the burden that only God can carry that we find ourselves struggling and totally unequal to the task?

Rather, let’s do as our Lord has commanded. Let’s gather to the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit and eat and drink the Supper of our Lord’s body and blood for our nurturing as His body and for our forgiveness and restoration in His blood. Let’s leave salvation to the Savior, and then, joyously tell others what He has done.

What do you think? Could this actually work?

He says it does. Moreover, He commands it. We don’t even have to figure it out for ourselves. This is His way. This is what He has ordained and commanded.

But this seems to be hard for us to acknowledge. So let’s hear it straight from the mouth of our Lord Jesus. In Acts 1:8, Luke records it in crystal clear language that cannot be misunderstood, yet our stubborn hearts often choose to misinterpret what Jesus says, as do many of our translations. Nevertheless, Luke accurately records the declaration of the Lord for us.

But you-all shall receive power of overcoming of the Holy Spirit over you-all, and you-all shall be My witnesses . . .

If we pay attention, we find that the Lord says exactly the opposite of what we usually take from this. We are inclined to hear this as what we are to make of ourselves and what we are to be determined to be and to do. But this is not what the Lord says.

He says that the Holy Spirit will overpower us and make witnesses of us. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit shall overpower us so that we cease to be witnesses of our own design and to recreate us as the witnesses that Jesus has placed in various locations in the world. HIS witnesses.

This is like the signs that a real estate agent places in locations that are under his authority. He puts up signs saying here is what I am doing. Then, when the property has been sold or rented, another sign indicating that the work has been accomplished is added, a little sign saying “SOLD”.

Jesus says that by the power of the Holy Spirit we will be His “SOLD” signs. Our hearts are the property that was for sale. He purchased us with His own life and blood. In Baptism He puts His “SOLD” sign upon us and sets us up for everyone to see. This is what He says of us when He says that we shall be His witnesses. We are His little signs throughout the world by which He tells the world what He has done.

So then, let’s not change this into a false witness. Let’s not change His witness to the world into our sinful and corrupt witness. Let’s not bear false witness unto our neighbor, not when we have already been made to be His witnesses, His pure and holy witnesses, washed and regenerated and renewed to eat and drink and live in His grace, mercy and peace. Let us be content, and more than content, let us Eucharist or Give Thanks as those who have been made to be His witnesses as members of His Holy Communion. Let’s let this be the Witness that the world sees and hears. Then both we and all who ask us will know what the Lord means when He says:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Delighting in Reality

This evening I made a delightful discovery, although discovery is not truly the correct or accurate term to be used. Rather, I became very powerfully aware of the reality of my own heart and what emotions and desires dwell within. An overwhelming realization of my deep and even unfathomable delight in people surfaced from the depths of my soul so that the acknowledgment of this joy was manifested gloriously undeniably.

Yes, I truly and inexorably delight in people. I delight in the playfulness of little children and in their nearly innocent expression of trust and joy. I delight in the blessings of marriage and family. I delight in sharing in the aspirations of those who dream of happy plans and brilliant successes. I delight in the working together in peace of those who are united in common hope.

This really is not a new awareness, nor a surprise. Yet it has been often overshadowed by dark forces. The fact that my heart and eyes and mind are open to see what others often prefer to ignore many times clouds my awareness of that in which I very deeply delight.

Yet even in the darkest times my soul is filled with thoughts of what God intends for humanity. From the rise of the sun to its setting, even unto my own bodily retirement and even in my sleeping, I bask in the light of the Gospel and ponder the proclamation of God’s grace, mercy, and peace in Christ Jesus.
So how does one proclaim such things to people who choose to pretend that the pure Gospel can be mingled with other doctrines? How does one look upon the people around him without feeling the terrible schisms in the body of Christ caused by the mingling of error and falsehood with that which cannot be mingled with such things? How does a preacher of the Gospel continue in hope and peace and joy when all around the churches are preaching and practicing as though the Gospel and the Sacraments can be compromised without being changed?

What remains for the preacher of the Gospel when such things are evident all around? What remains? The Gospel remains. For the Gospel cannot be compromised. Even as the devil could not change the Lord Jesus with his feeble temptations, neither can the Gospel be changed or muted. The Gospel truly is the power of God for salvation unto those who believe. The Gospel cannot be mingled with other doctrines. The Gospel remains pure, regardless of whatever faithless preachers and people say or do. When people mix other doctrines with the Gospel, they no longer have the Gospel, but rather the words of their own faithlessness. The Word of God does not change. It cannot be altered or adulterated. The Word of God is everlasting, even as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity.

Therefore, even as Noah could work with joy in building the Ark, surrounded by unbelieving people, so also can those who hold fast to the Gospel for all their life today. The Gospel has not changed from the day it was announced to the serpent and to the woman and to Adam. The Gospel did not change for Noah, nor for Abraham, nor for Jacob, nor for Joseph, nor for Moses, nor for David, nor for Simon Peter, nor for Stephen, nor for St. Paul. No matter how many people have tried to redefine the Gospel, no matter how many times churches have failed to preach the Gospel faithfully, the Gospel never changes. Neither does the life that flows from the Gospel ever change. The Gospel and the Sacraments by which the Gospel is administered remain as they have been given. They still accomplish what God has promised to accomplish through them.

And so I do grieve to observe the abuses that are practiced in those groups claiming to be the Church. I do lament that there are many who are allowing the Gospel to be stolen away from them, and with the Gospel the true hope for life in God’s Holy Communion. Yet I do also delight in people. I delight in seeing God’s blessings in the world. Moreover, I delight in every opportunity to speak of this God of love and mercy who sent His Son to be sacrificed on behalf of all of the sinful and unbelieving world so that through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit that sinners would be declared to be saints and through the feast of the Holy Communion those regenerated children would be strengthened and preserved in the true faith unto life everlasting.

Thus, whenever I have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others, both in presenting it and in hearing it, all else loses importance for me. The time of the day and the climate and the worldly circumstances in which I live seem to fade into the distance. For in connection with the Gospel I am again free to delight in people. Such is the power of the Gospel.

This evening was truly an opportunity again for delighting in reality.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Not About Ideology

My heart is broken. Not on account of the election results. I already knew how it would go. But the coverage and statements reported truly break my heart.

On the radio this morning I heard:

It’s about people. It’s not about ideology. It’s about moving our communities forward.

This sort of mindless comment is a reflection upon our society today.

“It’s not about ideology.”

Perhaps it is time for people to give some actual thought to what this says.

From the American Heritage Dictionary, here is the definition of ideology.

1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture.
2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

If people mindlessly act without understanding that ideology is the body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations upon which action is being taken, to what exactly are our communities being moved forward?

Could it be that the troubles of the day are a direct result of this mindless approach?

Let’s see what things have developed. How about just a short list of changes.

1. Endless warmongering worldwide.
2. Endless increases in taxation.
3. Endless increases in national debt.
4. Endless increases in personal debt.
5. Endless demise of traditional family foundations and stability.
6. Endless attacks on the value of human life (especially for those who have no voice).
7. Endless demise of the rights and freedoms of individuals.
8. Endless increases in dependence upon welfare and other governmentally controlled assistance.
9. Endless demands for new moneys for public education.
10. Endless increases in health care costs.

The front page headline of today’s Wichita Eagle reads:


Never before in the history of this nation has such a thing been made to be the issue in a ‘victory’. Never before has one’s race been made to be the issue of the nation’s choice. Certainly racism has been practiced by individuals and groups. But never before has racism been something viewed as cause for national celebration.

Truly America has changed.

This election and its “progress” truly has been about change.

However, it has been about reflecting change rather than effecting change.

The election of Obama as the president will not change the direction of this nation and the world. Rather, his election is the reflection of the change that has been effected and appears to be irreversibly set into motion nationally and worldwide.

It is truly saddening to me to read headlines that indicate that the new ideology of this nation is an ideology based upon elevation of one’s race above others as the issue of importance.

I have never based my evaluation of a candidate upon the color of the candidate’s skin. For me, the only “race” that matters is the race that the candidate conducts in seeking office. That race should reflect the ideology that is manifested in the Declaration of Independence and the United States’ Constitution.

That really is what this current election has demonstrated. It truly is about ideology, regardless of whether or not people realize this. Americans have been inculcated with a new ideology. The entire world has been inculcated with a new ideology.

It is incomprehensible to me that people have become unable to connect their daily complaints about what is happening around them to the cause of the things about which they are complaining. Actually, I do not believe that the populace is unable, but rather unwilling to make the connection. After all, if they follow through on this, then they will find themselves confronted with the need to do more than just complain. Then they will no longer be able to make mindless statements that disconnect ideologies from the things that these ideologies produce. Then they will actually be compelled to stand on principles and to vote accordingly, rather than voting for one personality over another and rather than praising themselves as progressive when reality shows that they are digressive.

History shows this same pattern in every society that is nearing its ultimate demise.

Apparently it is our turn.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

America: A People of the Bible

Throughout my lifetime and especially throughout the recent election season, I have heard people challenge the Christian and Biblical moorings of this nation.

Here is a challenge to all who so say:

Whenever an oath is required of a citizen of this nation, upon what Book is that oath made?

From the oath required in the courtroom to the oath required of anyone assuming office in the United States of America, upon what Book has it been required?

Has not this singular Book been the foundation of truth and justice and the oath to be true from the very beginning of our nation until this very day?

Surely there has been and continues to exist much variance in the professions of faith that people make based upon their reading of this Book. Nevertheless, the Book has been the foundation for all that has been understood as good and true and noble in this nation.

Who can honestly deny this?

Today It Concludes

Today the election process concludes.

The polling station opened at 6:00 AM. We arrived at 6:15 AM and the parking lot was full!

We entered the building and there was a line. No surprise.

Then a kind lady asked pointed us to our line, which was very short. For some reason, not many S-Z people were in line at this time.

Then we were asked whether we would like to stand in the long line for the voting machines or to take the short line for paper ballots.


We zoomed through. We had examined the candidates and brought our little sample ballots with our selections marked and simply sat down at our individual booths and filled in the little circles.

Then the ballots were fed through a scanner. It read the ballots in about two seconds per ballot.

Why on earth, with this available, is so much money being spent to develop voting machines?

And why did so many people choose to stand in line when they could have moved through quickly, with the added benefit of the security of a paper ballot?

Don’t know.

But soon, the voting will be complete and the votes will be counted and that will be that.

Technical Support Warning

Beware of Technical Support.

Yesterday I spent a great deal of time trying to learn why some of my E-mail messages are being lost in cyberspace. Where are they going? Why are they disappearing?

I checked my computer and the connections. No problems that I could find.

I called AT&T, my service provider. The Customer Service/Technical Support staffer could not be understood. I had to ask over and over that the information be repeated. I had to repeat very easily understood information multiple times and still the person did not understand.

This happened on more than one phone call.

Once I was transferred to a “second level” support person, who likewise spoke very poor English.

Once the person asked for my Social Security number. I refused to give it, saying there was no reason to request it. After denying to give it serveral times, finally the person continued.

Later, the support person wanted me to let him log onto my computer. I refused.

Who is this person? Where is this person? What information would he download without my knowledge?

He said that he could not help me without doing this.

I asked what it would entail.

He told me that I would have to download and install Active X software, which would give him access to my computer.

Funny. He was speaking clearly and also understood me clearly at this point.

No way!

No way in the world!

How many people have had their information stolen by such support people?

I don’t know, but I am not going to find out first hand.

When I demanded to know where this support person was located, he said that he was in San Antonio, Texas. He sounded Indian to me, but then he may have been an illegal alien from almost anywhere, hired by AT&T.

But this really is not the point.

Should I give such trust to someone I don’t know? Should I give such a person absolute and unrestricted access to my computer? Should I entrust that level of control to anyone?

Should you?

Monday, November 03, 2008

VERY Helpful Voter's Guide

Kansas voters in Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey and Sumner counties can go to 2008 Voter Guide for an interactive voter's guide. After entering your address it will list the candidates for whom you will be given opportunity to vote. Included are drop down lists with the candidates' responses on the issues.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

More than Reformation Day?


Last evening, as I drove to cut my mother-in-law’s grass, I saw someone dressed as a witch or some such thing. I was puzzled at first.

My mind had been focused on things of the nation and more importantly and absorbingly, upon the Festival of the Reformation and the blessings associated with the restoration of the preaching of the pure Gospel to the Church.

Then I saw this person celebrating Halloween.

Oh. I had forgotten.

Halloween has no place in my life, except that I do hand out candy to those who come to my door on that night.

Once upon a time this bothered me. I resisted this. But I have concluded that being kind to the little hobgoblins is far better than to turn them away from my door. The only message that this would give is one of rejection without explanation.

However, even though we purchased the candy in preparation for these costumed little beggars, it was so far from my mind on the day of the Festival of the Reformation that I had completely forgotten it.

When I arrived home I turned on the light, and in a few moments, the little costumed beggars were at the door. They continued in a modest but regular flow until about 9:00 p.m.

It is notable that the light was what signaled to them that they could come to the door. We have no Halloween decorations of any kind. Yet with the light turned on, the children came to our door.
I would love for this to be the way every day, and especially on the Lord’s Day. I would love for these little ones and their parents and guardians to know that the Light of the world dwells in our home and be drawn as beggars to partake of the safety and blessings of the Light continually. We beggars need to be gathered unto the Light together. Of course no masks or costumes are needed, even though we sinners do try to mask and disguise our sin and our beggarly appearance. Nevertheless, those who gather in the name of Jesus, have their masks and disguises stripped away as the Law drives us to our knees to cry out to the Lord to fill us with His heavenly blessings in place of our many tricks.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Life - - - Liberty - - - Pursuit of Happiness

In the Declaration of Independence, Congress sets forth the justification for the dissolution of the political bands which connected them to English government and rule. Most people forget that this is not merely the declaration of Thomas Jefferson, but the Declaration of Congress.

Most people also forget that these words are the beginning of the Declaration: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.”

Congress reached a unanimous decision! This Declaration is a UNANIMOUS Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.


What united them so completely? Was it the wisdom and beliefs of Thomas Jefferson?


No. It was what they unanimously held to be true. They easily accepted with complete agreement “these truths to be self-evident.”

What truths?

. . . that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

The union was based upon belief in the single Creator embraced by all. The rights of men were believed to be endowed by this Creator of all in whom these legislators and their constituents all professed to believe. They unanimously professed in this Declaration their belief in this Creator, the same Creator that was professed by the various States. This Creator is the one proclaimed in the Bible. While they were not unanimous in the manner of worship nor in the faith given by this Creator, they were unanimous in the belief that the Creator declared in the Bible is the source of all the rights that they openly and unanimously declared in this Declaration.

In this unanimous Declaration they declare that three rights in particular exist by this endowment of the Creator: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Notice the order of what is declared. Life is first, then Liberty, then the pursuit of Happiness. Thus the first right of human beings is the Right to Life. Without this right there can be no Liberty. Without Life and without Liberty there can be no pursuit of Happiness.

This is why today the nation stands divided and is being conquered. First of all, the very source of human rights is denied in many ways. Some deny the Creator altogether. Some allow that He exists, but do not declare Him as the Creator that the Bible declares. Some are so bold as to deny that the founders even counted this Creator as the basis of the nation. With such division, how can the Rights acknowledged in the Declaration be defended? When the foremost of these Rights is denied to some, how can it be guaranteed for anyone? And when the foremost of the Rights is in jeopardy, how can the Rights that flow from it not also be jeopardized?

Some today insist that to base one’s political commitment upon the single issue of Life is foolishness. Yet if the first Congress had not done so, we would not even have the nation nor the Constitution by which this nation is supposed to be governed.

Is this not food for thought for those who criticize those Pro-Life voters whom they label as single issue voters?

In the end, is there really any other issue?

+ = + = +

Then we have the final sentence of this unanimous Declaration:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Enough Already

Enough already! That is what I keep telling myself regarding the elections.

Is anyone really still considering what to do? It seems not to be so. It seems that people have made up their minds what they will do and now are only arguing with others and with themselves about it.

I really think the real arguing is really that, arguing with selves. Most people have made up their minds to vote for someone with whom they are not pleased. At least this is what I perceive from those who desire a constitutional republic that truly seeks to promote and defend the good of all. By “All” I mean truly that, from the very tiniest and most helpless and without voices that can be heard, to the wealthiest and strongest and most admired in society. Little babies who are in the earliest stages of development and old codgers in wheelchairs with oxygen tanks ALL are people who are protected by the Constitution. Those who believe this to be true, even though the weak and the helpless are often deemed to be inconvenient and burdensome, believe that they nevertheless are created, yes, CREATED equal under the rule of their Creator. Those who believe this are arguing with themselves, trying to convince themselves that someone who does not honor this higher authority quoted in the Declaration upon which the Constitution is founded can be voted for without violation of conscience, without violation of one’s integrity.

The matter is greatly complicated for those who are aware of the third party candidates, especially of those running for the highest civil office in the land. There is one presidential candidate who truly stands apart from the rest. Chuck Baldwin really makes this matter more complicated, especially for those who want to convince themselves that Washington and Jefferson and Adams and Hale and Hamilton and Hancock and Franklin and Jones and the many others who were unwilling to settle for any less than what they counted as true to their convictions really don’t have anything to say to us today. Those who want to convince themselves that such absolutism is no longer possible have to work hard to justify their choice to resist voting for someone like George Washington.

But then maybe people like me are the ones fooling themselves. Maybe such absolutism has never really existed.

What do we observe from such men as the founders of this nation? Did they all agree on everything? Certainly not. Yet they nominated men with whom they agreed. If no such person could be found, they themselves ran for office. Yes, they worked together with whomever was elected, but they voted for what they believed.

Is that different than what most people today are doing, especially among those who profess to have strong convictions?

It certainly seems to be different from what I am seeing and hearing.

Perhaps in my statements I do overstate things, at least with regard to what is possible in the civil realm. But then I believe in the God who says that with Him all things are possible. I believe in the God who created all men equal in terms of their value in the world and in connection with His love. I believe in the God who says that He recreates us to be perfect even as He is perfect.

Because of this, I cannot accept the notion of settling for the lesser of two evils or the lesser of two undesirables. I believe in looking to that which is the very highest and best, even in the political arena. I believe in demanding absolute commitment from a candidate, commitment to protecting and defending the Constitution and to protecting and defending All of “We the People.”

In the past, I was less informed than I am after many years of study and experience. I the past I was less able to discern between candidates. In the past I knew less of the Constitution and of the history that led to its formulation and of the history that shows the many ways in which it has been ignored and abused.

Now I know at least a little more, and I cannot ignore what I have observed and learned. So I will not settle for a lesser candidate even though for all appearances that candidate may have a better chance of prevailing or winning. After all, what good will his victory do me, if he does not truly represent what I believe is right and good?

In this ongoing battle the issue of integrity arises. Perhaps a reminder of the definition would be a fitting ending for this post.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

Well, perhaps it is enough already. Perhaps it was enough even before this post. Perhaps it is simply time to vote and accept what is coming.


Catching Wild Pigs

In the block below is the content of a recent E-mail. While I do not know whether or not this specific story is true, I have heard similar stories from people who fled Viet Nam, people who grew up and saw what happened there, people who proudly and happily count the USA as their home and the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yet they also sound the same warning as you will read below.

Catching Wild Pigs

There was a Chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke.

You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs that are used to the free corn start to come through the gate to eat, and then you slam the gate on them and catch the whole

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America. The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc, etc, etc. While we continue to lose our freedoms - just a little at a time.

One should always remember: There is no such thing as a free Lunch! Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

So, if you see that all of this wonderful government 'help' is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to send this on to your friends. If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life then you will probably delete this email, but God help you when the gate slams shut!

In this 'very important' election year, listen closely to what the candidates are promising you - just maybe, you will be able to tell who is about to slam the gate on America.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.” Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Third Party Presidential Debate

In the following video, also available at Baldwin/Castle 2008 and at YouTube Third Party Presidential Debate, Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader express their positions and give a bit of counter on the areas where they are not aligned. Amazingly, however, at least from my observation, the two are in agreement on more things than they are in disagreement.

Also to my amazement, is the number of issues in which Nader makes good sense. He is clearly a well-intentioned person, devoted to what he believes, and willing to stand apart from others in order to remain faithful to the principles that he holds.

The debate, in my opinion, was more of an moderated discussion of ideals, and well-worth viewing. Here it is.

My evaluation of the views expressed by the two candidates is that if Mr. Nader held to the clearly stated basis of the Declaration of Independence, that he and Baldwin would agree on almost everything. As I perceive the difference between the two men and their expressed stands, the difference can be summed up in the matter of where human rights have their origin. Chuck Baldwin believes that human rights have their origin in the clearly stated words of the Bible, as God’s revelation of His Word and will. Ralph Nader believes that human rights have their origin in whatever can be derived from nature and from the will of the people. Interestingly, the two candidates deal with the matters of the Constitution and the founding of the nation differently according to their presumed bases for human rights. By and large, Nader is more prone to make allusions to the founding documents and the founding fathers, while Baldwin is far more prone to quotation of what the founding documents and founding fathers actually say.

This seems to me to be significant.

In contrast to the Obama/McCain campaigns and debates, they don’t even do a decent job of alluding to the founding documents and the founding fathers. This seems to me to be even more significant.

Enjoy the video and make your own evaluations, please.

Guys who got it Right on the Economy.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Guys who got it Right on the economy.
Why are they ignored?

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ! ! ! ! ! ! !

From the standpoint of seeking to get ahead on the efforts of others, I suppose I am just a big boob. I have never had any desire to do anything more than to earn a living while providing a service to others. I’ve never had any desire to “make it big” or to use other people and their money and efforts to make a pile of money for myself.

So why should people listen to me about the economy and investment plans?

But there are folk who have made piles of money through investments and such. They are well known throughout the world. They have spoken out regarding the decisions that have actually worked, AND have spoken out against the decisions that have NEVER worked.

Here are a couple of videos you may want to consider. I’ll provide them as embedded videos and also provide the URLs so that you can view other related videos. (Some parts may be a bit loud, so you may want to adjust your volume accordingly)

Guys who got it Right on the economy. Why are they ignored?

Governments want a One World Monetary System

Things can be set back to what worked. We still have a window of opportunity, if only we will elect leaders who will do what needs to be done.

This election matters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Let My People Go

Perhaps some may wonder why a preacher of the Gospel would spend so much effort in calling attention to the need for political reform. Why should a pastor, whose life is devoted to preaching the Gospel for the forgiveness of sins and regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit for the life that God gives be so concerned about what is happening in the political sphere?

In Exodus 5:1 Moses records what he as a prophet and Aaron as the chief priest were commanded to do in the name of the Lord.

And afterwards went Moses and Aaron and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says Yahweh, God of Israel, “Let go the People of Me that they may gather for a feast to Me in the wilderness.””

The word for “gather for a feast” is a word for circling around something. As slaves in Egypt, under the oppression of the Pharaoh, the people of Israel were not able to gather together in the name of the Lord. They were not free to go out from their captors to eat the sacrifices of the Lord. The blessings of the divine service were kept from them by their enslavement by the Egyptians. The control over the people was so complete that even the sons were demanded to be given. Infanticide was being forced upon the people for political reasons.

For those who are awake enough to see what is happening in America, the same kind of enslavement is being forced upon the people of this nation. The land of the free, to which people fled in order to be able to gather unto the Lord according to what they understood to be the way to which He called them, over the last hundred years or so has been turned little by little into a land where the only form of faith-life and worship that is hindered is the gathering unto the Lord. Moreover, the economic freedom that allowed for free exercise of faith and speech has been stripped away. The point of having to gather straw for bricks has not quite come upon us, but it is not far away.

The US Constitution was written to protect the people from those who would enslave them and dictate to them how they may earn their living and how they may use their incomes and how they may exercise their devotion to the Lord.

The American people need to elect leaders who truly recognize this so that their freedom to gather to eat the feast of the Lord is not taken from them.

On this, a deeper theological note is worthy of observance. After this first approach to the Pharaoh, where the worship-life of Yahweh’s people was declared, afterwards the demand was that they be let go to serve the Lord. Sadly, most who gather for worship have entirely ignored what Moses and Aaron clearly gave as the true definition of serving God.

The divine service is the gathering to feast in the presence of the Lord in the purity of the administration of the Word and the Sacraments. The service to which God calls us to be gathered is His service, where He is served to the people for their feasting. His blessings are to be feasted upon, served to us as He has ordained. The ultimate blessing that He serves us is the Holy Communion, through which we feast upon His very body and blood and receive the forgiveness and life of His blood and are renewed in the unity of His body.

When people begin to grasp the fullness of this, they begin to realize the extent of God’s grace in Christ, given and shed for God’s people in order that they may be truly free to live as His people.

For a time we have enjoyed the political freedom to acknowledge this openly. Those who acted to insure this freedom acted together, even though they were not truly united in their understanding of the faith. Nevertheless, they knew that in order for religious freedom to exist in this nation that they had to act together to insure that freedom not only for themselves, but for all. If we act together, perhaps this freedom may be extended for a while longer. However, whether the political freedom is extended or not, those who know the true freedom of God’s service will continue to gather to feast in His presence, even if it costs everything that this world has to offer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Saturday I encountered a truly frightening individual!

She came with a happy and friendly countenance. She brought information about a candidate whom she supports. She was willing to converse politely. She was willing to hear the views of another. She openly expressed her views.

So what was so frightening?

During the conversation she expressed her support for her choice in presidential candidates. As part of the discussion I asked whether she liked paying taxes.

Her answer was, "Yes!"

I asked what she thought of the idea of returning to the Constitutional form of taxation that would allow people to decide for themselves how to spend their incomes, using a form of taxation that allowed people to keep their incomes and use their incomes as they believed best. Her answer was that she did not believe that the people should be allowed to make that decision because the people do not know how to use their incomes rightly.

This is an educated woman, an attorney. She is articulate and says that she has read the Constitution and makes use of it in her vocation.

She is convinced that "We the People" should not be understood in the sense that it is used in the Preamble of our Constitution. She is convinced that "We the People" don't know how we need to be governed and that we need to turn over even the decisions regarding the right use of the fruits of our labors to those who know better, namely, bureaucrats.

I was truly shocked by her words. It made me truly afraid for our nation.

As mentioned above, the problem is not a lack of education. In fact, the education that has been forced upon us, often even against our will, other times through cleverly disguised deception, is the cause of this dilemma. We have been educated to accept the economic system that is enslaving our people and stealing away from us our freedoms. We have been educated to believe that government is our savior and deliverer and that more and more power should be granted to it. We have been educated to accept that there are times when the safeguards against government that are clearly established in our Constitution must sometimes be set aside and thus, things like the Patriot Act are now in place and even counted as necessary by many.

So the government continues to move us farther and farther from the safety provided by our Constitution. Our lives are being forced into more and more dependence upon the government, which is carrying us toward global dominionism, from which there will be no place to flee.

Until the Patriot Act is used in abuse of a person, for most people, the individual response, which becomes the collective response, is: "Well, it has not happened to me!"

The same is true of taxation. Until an individual actually experiences personally the devastation that is being wrought by the many forms of taxation, most importantly income taxation and inflation, the common individual, collectively with all other individuals looking only to self, does not allow himself to care.

But then, what do I know and why should I care? I'm only an individual who has established a small business in service to others. I'm only an individual who has tried to provide employment for others, but was forced to stop hiring because of the crushing burdens of the many forms of taxation and governmental regulations and accounting requirements. I'm merely a silly individual who seeks to provide a service to others at the highest level of quality that I know how to provide while also seeking to be as conservative and efficient as possible so as to be able to keep the costs to those whom I serve as low as I am able.

It seems that in our day this is counted as unAmerican. In fact, by some it is even called uncaring and unloving and negative.

As for me, while the government has made it impossible for me to hire people anymore, I will simply help people in whatever small ways that I am able. I will continue to give the best that I have to give for the best price that I can afford to charge. I will defend the Constitution in word and deed. I will continue to count this as the American way, AND I will only vote for those who say and do likewise.

Of course, above all, even when these things are taken from me by those who are "better and more caring" than I, I will continue to preach the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ and will continue to administer the pure Sacraments to those who desire to receive them. This I will do until I am rendered physically unable to continue.

The Final Week

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

One more week to throw a stone or an angry word at the candidate who is worse than your own! Time is running out!

What a different way from what led to the founding of this nation! What a different way from what led to the very careful and arduous writing of our Declaration of Independence and the follow-up document known as our Constitution!

Yet it seems that the general populace was not that much different than today's populace. Otherwise, why would John Quincy Adams have written what is quoted above?

Apparently, the notion that a vote for a principle that is deemed by many as unobtainable and beyond hope for winning the day is a wasted vote may not be a new notion at all. Apparently those who fought for liberty and justice for all faced the same pessimism in their day as we face today. Apparently what they accomplished was accomplished through faith in what was declared to be impossible and hopeless. Apparently their ideals were counted by many as too high to be realistic and their candidates were counted as too far on the fringe to be electable.

So how on earth did they accomplish these things and win the day?

Apparently it was not by being compromising in their actions! Apparently it was not by settling for the lesser of two evils! Apparently they were unwilling to vote for a candidate on the basis of the rationale: "At least he's not the other guy!" or "He's for hope and change!"

It seems that those who accomplished the great things of the past had rock solid principles that they were willing to fight for, even beyond sacrificing their own lives, but also their fortunes and families.

But these heroes did not choose these principles for themselves. They had a basis for these principles. They declared this basis in their Declaration of Independence and debated from this basis in the Constitutional Convention.

Could that be what is missing today? Could it be that the willingness to tolerate compromise, even the eagerness to embrace compromise, found in the churches in our age, could be the cause of the willingness to settle for so little in the sphere of politics?

But then, the way of compromise is easier. Right? Who wants to stand alone with nothing but one's principles as his footing?

There are still a few. Yes, we do still exist.

Are you one those few, too?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chuck Baldwin on Bailout Bureaucracy

The Baldwin Campaign has a YouTube site with videos available. If you are interested in understanding the issues of the economy and the bailout and would like to hear from someone who actually wants to do something about it, check out Chuck Baldwin on Bailout Bureaucracy.

A more in depth explanation can be viewed at Money as Debt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chuck Baldwin on NPR

On the October 18, 2008 National Public Radio broadcast Weekend Edition Saturday, host Scott Simon, interviewed Chuck Baldwin.

The interview is available here.

The transcript of the interview is provided as well as a link for listening to the interview.

However, there is a commentary that precedes the transcript, and in this commentary a very important misstatement is made. The commentary says:

As president, Baldwin says, he would work toward overturning the 16th Amendment, which establishes Congress' authority to levy taxes. In addition, he would like to see the IRS and the Federal Reserve disbanded.

The misstatement is in the report that the 16th Amendment establishes Congress’ authority to levy taxes. This is a false statement. The authority of Congress to levy taxes is established in section 7 of the First Article of the Constitution. The 16th Amendment establishes a tax on income. This was something never intended by the founding fathers and was added to the powers of Congress in 1913. The misstatement implies that without the 16th Amendment that Congress will be unable to levy the taxes necessary. This is a false implication and the reader should beware.

What Baldwin, like Ron Paul, wants to do, is to set the American people free from the slavery created by the taxes upon their incomes, and to set them free from the slavery of having to report every aspect of their lives to the government. Imagine how much more productive people’s lives would be if they were set free from the endless tax forms and regulations. Imagine how much more disposable income people would have if they did not have such large portions of their paychecks withheld from them against their wills. Imagine how such an increase in disposable income would benefit the economy, as people were set free to utilize their incomes as they choose, rather than having the government tell them how much they can keep for themselves, for their families, and for their posterity

If you would like to read the Constitution for yourself, it is available at the following links:

U.S. Constitution Online

The Constitution of the United States of America

House of Representatives Educational Resources

A Chronology of US Historical Documents

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Voter Information

Are you ready to vote?

Do you even know who the candidates are? Seriously. Do you?

Check out the list. You will likely be surprised.

Sedgwick County Election Office Current Candidate Listings

At the Sedgwick County Election Office Web Page you can learn more information as well.

Included is a link for the Kansas VoterView, where you can enter your personal information and learn where your polling place is and all of the information regarding districts, etc.

Check it out, especially the candidates. You will be surprised to learn how many candidates are not even mentioned by the media. Who knows. You may even find out that there is someone running who is actually someone you will WANT to support with your vote rather than just choosing a lesser of two evils, or perhaps not even knowing who you are choosing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Much Better

In a previous post, Remember, Be Careful! I shared the injury that my finger received at that time.

A number of people have asked me how my finger is doing. It has healed very nicely thus far and it is much better.

Such injuries disrupt many nerves, which continue to react for a long time. However, the bone only hurts a little, as most of the bruising to the bone has repaired. Where the skin mended there is a slight ridge and some internal adhesions. These are still tender, but the healing process has proceeded very nicely.

I do continue to marvel at the design by which God has structured our bodies! What can one really say in response but “Thank You, Lord!” I guess “Amen!” is the one additional thing to say.

Media Bias?

In today’s Wichita Eagle on the front page article entitled “Economy is main topic of final debate”, this drawing of the two candidates was illustrated:

It was formed by putting together the following two graphics drawn and illustrated months ago:

Contrasting this to a photograph of McCain by the same news & graphics source,

Does the drawing seem to be a fair and unbiased representation of McCain?

What is more, why is there NO information ever given about the other candidates, especially the ones making advances in recognition and popularity on account of their clearly articulated and demonstrated commitment to the Constitution?

Then again, perhaps this really is what the people want. Perhaps the people do not really want to become educated regarding what is happening and what the candidates really represent. Perhaps they prefer to line up and hurl insults at the other party or to vote based upon what their favorite celebrities say.


Yeah! Let’s all get out and vote!

Who’s running?

What are the issues?

Who knows?

Who cares?

Just vote.

That’s what America stands for?


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Exuberance of Catechesis

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. (Psalm 89:15)

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. (Proverbs 20:7)

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

The little ones look to their parents and especially to their fathers for their identity, for their sense of wholeness and well-being. Careful catechesis is the sure sign of parental love, and the children rejoice to receive it from their parents and especially their daddies.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (1 Corinthians 11:28)

Loving fathers, as the head of their house, make certain that all who are of his house are baptized into Christ’s Holy Communion as members of His body so that together they dwell in the house of the Lord and taste and see that the Lord is truly good as they feast upon Him in the meal of forgiveness and life.

(For those who don’t know, catechesis is instruction. The term has long been used in the Church for the lifelong teaching of the love of God in Christ, and especially in the early stages where the chief parts of the Apostolic Doctrine are taught.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grace Walk Ministries

On the radio in my truck, I tune in to AFR and listen for as long as my stomach will allow me. The theology is so bad that it literally makes my stomach hurt and I have to change the dial to something else. But I listen almost every day.

One of the frequent blurbs is Steve McVey’s 2 minute devotional. Today I heard him address the matter of a man’s concern over whether or not he had truly accepted Christ into his heart and whether or not his prayer of acceptance was genuine. The answer that Steve gave to this hurting fellow was that the only thing that he needs to do or must do is to believe in Jesus.

This message is repeated in all of Steve’s devotionals and in all of the Grace Walk Ministries materials. Over and over again people are told that the only thing that they must do is to believe in Jesus.

I am bewildered by this. People cry out under the burden of their inability to believe and they are told to take comfort in knowing that the one thing that they are completely unable to do for themselves is the only thing that they must do!

In another devotional the scenario is presented where a hurting man approaches his pastor asking for a receipt that would prove to him that he was really a believer. The pastor flippantly scribbles a receipt on a piece of scrap paper and says “Here you go.” Then he tells the man that all that he must do to be certain that he is really a believer is to trust in Jesus.

How I wish that Grace Walk was the only group with such inherent deafness! But it pervades Christendom.

As I listened to the scenario with the man asking for a receipt, I desperately wanted to shout to him over the radio that God has provided a receipt. Yes! It is declared in Acts 2:38-39, 1 Peter 3:21, Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:26-27, Titus 3:4-7, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 4:30, Colossians 2:6-15, 2 Timothy 2:11-19, and Acts 19:4-6.

In case you somehow overlooked God’s receipt, or seal, it is the Holy Spirit poured out in Baptism. Yes, God has given Baptism for the remission of sins and the seal of faith, that is, the gift of the Holy Spirit. By this means God gives us His mark and seal for our assurance that faith is His work and not ours and therefore it can be trusted as completely genuine and effective. Since as St. Paul assures us in Ephesians 2, faith is the work of God and not of ourselves, we know that the faith that we receive in connection with Baptism is not only valid but absolutely trustworthy. The pure faith that we cannot produce for ourselves is given freely by God, poured over us in connection with the pronouncement of His holy name connected to the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

This is the source of our faith. This is the receipt to which the Scriptures direct our hearts and minds and spirits. God HAS provided us with a receipt. He has commanded Baptism so that we would know beyond any doubt that our salvation is not dependent upon our work of believing, but rather, that our existence as believers is dependent upon the regeneration that the Holy Spirit works through Baptism.

Since the Scriptures are replete with references that plainly declare the efficacious nature of the gift of Baptism, how is it that so many completely ignore and in many cases even openly argue against it? How is it that when God has given us this clear sign of His grace that preachers and people turn it into yet another work of men and into a ritual of one’s own devotion and commitment?

It seems that people simply cannot believe that grace is really grace. There always arises the idolatrous question of, “Well, I must believe, mustn’t I?”

Even when a person reads that faith is not of ourselves but it is the gift of God, still people come back with the same tired old response: “Well, I must believe, mustn’t I?”

If a person Must Do anything, then salvation is by works of the Law and not by Grace.

That is why the Scriptures repeatedly declare that faith is the gift of God. The Holy Spirit made certain that it is recorded for us so that we can see it in black and white.

God does not want us to be in doubt of our salvation on account of thinking that we must do something to be a Christian. He has taken care of it all. Yes, even faith is God’s work.

So the next time that your heart begins to doubt whether or not you can be certain that you are a believer, turn to God’s receipt. Return to your Baptism and rejoice in what God has done, knowing that His work is without flaw and without deficiency. Your baptism is God’s seal of a good conscience in connection with the resurrection. The Holy Supper is the ongoing renewal of God’s Holy Communion into which He has sealed you through Baptism.

These are God’s means of grace through which He has sealed you as His beloved child and through which He continues to sustain you in His grace. Because of these, even in your weakest moments you can be sure of your place in His kingdom.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Money as Debt

The following video is posted at GCNLive, a worthy source of news in this current age.

Paul Grignon's Money As Debt
One Of The Most Important Videos You Will Ever See
(on what is happening in the nation and the world today)

After viewing this and observing the “Why” behind the secularly observed slavery of this age, then compare the current candidates being offered in the mainstream.

Then consider that we actually have candidates who are seeking to Reform the nation and to counter those things that currently rule over the populace.

Are not these men and women worthy of full consideration?

What would happen if every person who believed that it is foolish to vote for the lesser of two evils actually voted for someone who stood for something? What if we all actually voted FOR a candidate rather than voting against a candidate? What would happen if we all voted for candidates who actually tell us what they believe and do so consistently rather than checking the polls to find out what we want them to tell us that they believe?

Believe it or not, such candidates of integrity DO exist and are actually on the ballots.

(In the paragraph above, the secularly observed slavery is meant. Sin is the true cause of the slavery of mankind, and of course, the current matters are manifestations of that total slavery which can only be undone through the grace of God through faith.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Great Big Lie

On Wednesday the Wichita Eagle featured this headline & article on the front page: PUBLIC PRESSURES CONGRESS TO ACT.

This headline was based upon the following paragraph:

There was a widespread sense on Capitol Hill that Monday's vote had snapped the public to attention about the potential repercussions of Congress's failure to act. Last week, House and Senate offices were bombarded with calls from opponents who viewed the bill as a Wall Street boondoggle. That call pattern shifted sharply after Monday's vote, aides to lawmakers in both parties said. "It's completely in the other direction now," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

I called to express my great concern and to reiterate the direct violations upon the Constitution that this bill imposes. In talking with the staff person from one of the senators I asked about this report of a reversal of the expressed desire of the public. I asked how many phone calls had been received that supported and called for this action from Congress. The staff person was silent.

I asked again, “Have you received any phone calls calling for this action from Congress?”

The answer was, “No. They all have been negative.”

Is it really possible that Kansas stands alone from the rest of the citizens of this country? Or is there a great big lie being propagated?

Certainly, beyond any doubt, the Wichita Eagle deliberately ignored what is clearly being expressed in Kansas. Why?

Isn’t it time that we ask this question openly, and not only of the Wichita Eagle, but of all of the media and especially of our President and Congress?


Whom are they really representing?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hurray for Now!

The House narrowly defeated the notorious Bailout bill.

House defeats $700B financial industry bailout.

The vote was 228-205.

For now the bill is killed. But for how long?

Not all who voted to kill the bill did so because of their love for the American People and for the love the the Constitution and the freedom that it protects.

No, they state in their own words why they voted against it: because they love their jobs. See the article and read what they say.

Yes, the phone calls of outrage made a difference.

At least for now.

But read the proposed bill that was compiled over the weekend and you'll see what the real motives of this bailout package are. See the post below for a link to the PDF file where you can read it for yourself.

This is not over.

They'll try again, only in all likelihood, they will be much less open about it, just like they have not been open about the troops that are being trained to begin controlling us as early as October 1st. See below.

Bailout Package

At the following links you can examine for yourself the Bailout Package that was compiled over the weekend.

PDF version.

HTML version.

I've prepared a synopsis, but the full document is available at these URLs.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Economic Crisis

$ $ $ $ $

We are facing an economic crisis. And what is this crisis? It is not that certain banks will fail. It is not that irresponsible offers of loans have been made or that irresponsible borrowing has occurred.

What is the economic crisis?

The crisis is that our government is going to make YOU pay for it, and not only this time, but perpetually.

Did you know that included in the bill that the president is pressing upon Congress is that the Secretary of the Treasury will be authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time? What this means is that this is not a one time bailout, but the establishment of many such bailouts. What this means is that those who work hard day in and day out to support their families and nation will be forced to pay for the massive ripoffs that these big banks are pulling.

Is this your idea of freedom? Is this your understanding of truth, justice, and the American way?

Even the fictional Superman does not dream of being able to pull off such an enormous feat as to pay for such outrageous spending and irresponsible financing!

Yet this is what the President of the United States and your Congress are telling you that YOU must do.

Here is an explanation by Congressman Ron Paul:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear Friends,

Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike.

The events of the past week are no exception.

The bailout package that is about to be rammed down Congress' throat is not just economically foolish. It is downright sinister. It makes a mockery of our Constitution, which our leaders should never again bother pretending is still in effect. It promises the American people a never-ending nightmare of ever-greater debt liabilities they will have to shoulder. Two weeks ago, financial analyst Jim Rogers said the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made America more communist than China! "This is welfare for the rich," he said. "This is socialism for the rich. It's bailing out the financiers, the banks, the Wall Streeters."

That describes the current bailout package to a T. And we're being told it's unavoidable.

The claim that the market caused all this is so staggeringly foolish that only politicians and the media could pretend to believe it. But that has become the conventional wisdom, with the desired result that those responsible for the credit bubble and its predictable consequences - predictable, that is, to those who understand sound, Austrian economics - are being let off the hook. The Federal Reserve System is actually positioning itself as the savior, rather than the culprit, in this mess!

• The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time. That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

• Financial institutions are "designated as financial agents of the Government." This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

• Then there's this: "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

There goes your country.

Even some so-called free-market economists are calling all this "sadly necessary." Sad, yes. Necessary? Don't make me laugh.

Our one-party system is complicit in yet another crime against the American people. The two major party candidates for president themselves initially indicated their strong support for bailouts of this kind - another example of the big choice we're supposedly presented with this November: yes or yes. Now, with a backlash brewing, they're not quite sure what their views are. A sad display, really.

Although the present bailout package is almost certainly not the end of the political atrocities we'll witness in connection with the crisis, time is short. Congress may vote as soon as tomorrow. With a Rasmussen poll finding support for the bailout at an anemic seven percent, some members of Congress are afraid to vote for it. Call them! Let them hear from you! Tell them you will never vote for anyone who supports this atrocity.

The issue boils down to this: do we care about freedom? Do we care about responsibility and accountability? Do we care that our government and media have been bought and paid for? Do we care that average Americans are about to be looted in order to subsidize the fattest of cats on Wall Street and in government? Do we care?

When the chips are down, will we stand up and fight, even if it means standing up against every stripe of fashionable opinion in politics and the media?

Times like these have a way of telling us what kind of a people we are, and what kind of country we shall be.

In liberty,

Ron Paul

Another very helpful article from Campaign for Liberty is Crisis on Wall Street.

If you believe that this is an outrageous attack on the Constitution and on your liberty and upon the liberty of the posterity of this nation, then you need to call your legislators and make your outrage known to them.

Don’t wait, because they are not waiting to hear from you. They are acting NOW. You need to call them NOW!

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The number for the Congressional Switchboard is: 202-224-3121.

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If you prefer to call your congressman direct, you can find the contact numbers at the following two sites: House of Representatives or Senate.