Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sermon: Exaudi (Easter 7)

20 May 2007 at Salem Lutheran Church, Gretna, LA
Text: John 15:26-16:4

In the name of + Jesus. Amen.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Dear Christians, Satan’s greatest weapons are not the obvious. For we all know that murder, lies, adultery, coveting, rebelliousness, sloth, greed, idolatry, misusing the Lord’s name, drunkenness, and violent acts are the work of the prince of darkness. But what is more insidious and dangerous are Satan’s lies that masquerade as pious-sounding religion.

In a book entitled Emerging Hope, a so-called church-growth expert named Jimmy Long advises us Christians: “Instead of seeing the culture as a battlefield and Christians as warriors, those in the missional church see the world as a mission field and Christians as missionaries.” He goes on to malign tradition while waxing eloquent about the need for the church to change the world by changing itself first. There is no mention of the supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit working through humble means to bring people into communion with Jesus Christ unto salvation. No, but he has lots to say about being nice and conforming to the world in order to make people feel they belong.

These touchy-feely words are not the words of Jesus Christ. For what does our Lord say? “The time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.”

So much for conforming to the culture. So much for changing the church to make it look more like the world. So much for Christians not seeing themselves as warriors!

Listen to what Jesus says instead. The Christian life means people want to kill you. They will consider it honorable to ruthlessly do so. Jesus is giving the church a model of mission that is precisely military, martial, rooted in the ways of the warrior. For Christians are indeed footsoldiers of God, waging battle against the forces of darkness. And it is only the prince of darkness himself who wants you to forget there is a war on. It is the devil that wants to emasculate the Christian warrior and turn the age-old battle into a mere marketing strategy or some limp-wristed means to give people more self-esteem.

By the Rite of Confirmation, we are giving young soldiers their stripes today. They have completed two years of martial training to equip them for battle. They have been armed with the Word of God, and have been told they are expected to follow orders unto death. Today, they will publicly pledge to do so. Their lives are no longer their own. For as warriors, they take commands from the General. They are to slay dragons and stand defiant against diabolical temptation. They are to shout in the face of the enemy, and give him no quarter. They are to defend the defenseless, and use their strength to protect the weak.

No matter what the “experts” and useful idiots of Satan have to say, you Christians are warriors. The Christian life is no child’s play. Furthermore, what we do in this sanctuary is preparation for holy battle. We gather in this bunker to receive our orders and to bolster our courage.

Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us we will “bear witness” before the enemies of the cross. That word in Greek is “martyr.” The Christian Church is a bloody church, a long train of warriors stretching back to our Lord Himself. Soldiers prepare to die, and many fall in battle. Christians fight in many circumstances – whether being tested frightfully in the face of temptation, whether having to work up the courage to confess sins, whether struggling to make worship a priority, whether actually laying down life and limb for the Lord and the confession of His holy name.

Confirmation is a bittersweet time for pastors. We certainly celebrate the recognition of baptized Christians taking responsibility for their own spiritual welfare – most taking the very body and blood of the Lord for the first time. It is a joyous welcoming of highly-trained soldiers to the front lines of battle. But we also know that for many, this is the end of the confirmand’s involvement with the Church. Instead of shouldering a weapon alongside of us, in the train of the apostles, closing ranks with the martyrs, taking aim at the enemy with the prophets – many drop their weapons and run before a single shot is fired.

The Christian life is not for cowards, shirkers, or those who cannot submit to authority. The Christian life is an austere warrior’s life. It is a life under orders. It is a life of service. It is also a life of willingness to die for the glorious Cause.

Now, lest anyone get the wrong idea, no warrior under the command of Jesus is perfect. There are times when we all chicken out, when we all don’t carry our weight, when we all rebel under the yoke. We are not the warriors we strive to be. Our many sins, our lack of faith, and our paucity of good works is to our shame. But thanks be to God that our General Himself forgives us, and empowers us with His Spirit – raises our limp bodies from the field, binds up our wounds, brings us back into the regiment, and fights with us, and for us, against enemies visible and invisible.

For the Lord’s mission (not our mission) is destined for success not because of our courage, our strategy, our gimmicks, our clever weapons, or our ability to blend in with the enemy. Rather, our Lord promises a “Helper… whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” For we are merely footsoldiers, carrying out the orders given to us. When we are courageous, it is He who is courageous through us. When we stand firm against the devil, it is He who has crushed the serpent’s head on our behalf. When we are faithful, it is His faith that does it, lest any should be tempted to boast.

I sincerely hope our confirmands will not chicken out, will not flee the battlefield, will not bring shame upon themselves, their families, their congregation, and their pastors. I ask the congregation to pray fervently for them, that the many temptations they will face from the evil one will not penetrate the armor of the Gospel that our Lord Himself has supplied them with. The Christian life is hard. It isn’t for the faint of heart. But it is a life that is backed up by the promise of resurrection and everlasting life. It is a life made possible by baptism and forgiveness, by our Lord’s passion and death, by His resurrection, by the mercy of God, by confession and absolution, by Holy Communion. It is a warrior’s life rooted in the Gospel, focused on the cross, and carried out by the One who has defeated the foe on our behalf.

The warrior lives his life one moment at a time. He revels in every second of life, knowing that death lurks around every corner. The warrior obeys his orders one battle at a time, comes to church one Sunday at a time, confesses one sin at a time, and prays one night at a time. When the warrior stumbles, his comrades help Him up. If he is captured by the enemy, his compatriots liberate him. If he falls in battle, his fellow-warriors emulate his deeds and tell their children of his exploits.

The history of the Christian Church is full of mighty warriors – many of whom fell in fierce battle. St. Perpetua was a 22-year old mother of a nursing child. She, along with her young friend Felicity (who was herself eight months pregnant) were arrested for being Christians more than 1800 years ago. Both women were separated from their children. They, along with other Christians, were taken to the arena for the crowds to watch them being publicly tortured to death. All they had to do was deny Christ, and they could have gone back home. But these warriors held firm to their orders. After being wounded by wild animals, the women were slain with the sword. The last words of Perpetua were spoken to her brother (whose throat had been cut): “Stand fast in the faith and love one another.”

A half century before young Perpetua and Felicity were faithful unto death, an 86-year old bishop, Polycarp of Smyrna, was arrested for refusing to offer just a pinch of incense to Caesar. He too was led to the arena and tortured to death before the bloodthirsty mob. He was burned alive, and finally run through with a sword. When asked to turn his back on Christ, he said: “Eighty-six years have I been His servant, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

Throughout the church’s history, missionaries died as warriors of the faith. In the 1600s, several evangelists of the Society of Jesus were the first to bring the Gospel to various North American Indian peoples. For reasons not entirely understood, the very people to whom these men ministered rose up and killed them. These soldiers of Christ died on the battlefield also known as the mission field. One need not give up being a warrior to be a missionary. In fact, as two thousand years of church history teaches us, the two vocations are inseparable from each other. The missionary is a warrior, and the warrior is a missionary. The blood of martyrs grows the church – not catchy slogans or marketing gimmicks.

In 1999, only eight years ago, a 15-year old Indonesian boy named Roy Pontoh was attacked by a mob of Muslims who demanded that he renounce Jesus or be killed. The frightened teenager stood firm. His answer did not fit Jimmy Long’s model of the Missional Church. This witness of Jesus said: “I am a soldier of Christ.” His attackers sliced open his belly with a sword.

Christians all around the world face suffering and death for confessing Christ and the Christian faith. And their testimony remains a beacon of light and hope in a world overcome by darkness and death.

In all likelihood, none of us will face such tests, nor have such opportunities to bear witness as martyrs for the Christian faith. Some of us may even wonder if we are worthy to take the field with such soldiers of Christ. Well, Christians, you have been baptized. You are here to listen to the Word. Like it or not, you are part of a vast army of the forgiven. You are worthy because He is worthy, and His Word is truth. Though you may never be thrown to lions, you will be tempted to hide your faith when being ridiculed. Though it is unlikely that you will be burned at the stake, you will be tempted to sleep in and not go to church. Though you may never face the decision to confess Christ before a madman with a sword, you will be tempted to blow off Bible class and absent yourself from Christ’s altar.

Remember, dear soldiers, where the strength of the saints comes from. Remember, dear warriors, what emboldened and comforted Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, St. Polycarp, and the holy martyr Roy Pontoh – even in intense pain and impending death. Only the Word of God and the Holy Sacraments can do such miracles. Only God Himself can equip you for service as a soldier and a martyr. Only in this military hospital called the Church can the wounded warriors of Christ find healing and relief to face another day of raging battle with the forces of darkness that seek to consume us in hell.

We are not called to be friendly with the enemy – but rather to be faithful to Him under whose command we serve.

Hear our Lord’s words yet again: “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble…. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”

Take comfort, dear Christians, for though battles will be lost, though our blood may be spilled, and our faith at times will be shaken - the war has already been won. “This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia.”

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sometimes two wrongs do make a right

I hate to say it, but I gotta side with the Muslims against the Lutherans on this one.

The "inclusive" crowd is quite often the most intolerant group of all. Rather than politely yield to the sensitivities of the Muslims, they decided to adopt the "my way or the highway" stance. Of course, it's ironically funny because the whole thing was set up in the name of "interfaith understanding." I guess the halftime group hug and performance of Kum Ba Yah will have to wait till next year. This is the same thing this faction has done to faithful pastors and laypeople in Sweden. The "tolerant" crowd that runs the Church refuses to make allowances for anyone whose conscience doesn't approve of women clergy - (though they are in the minority, they do constitute a sizeable percentage of the Church). Similarly, in Finland, some faithful Lutheran pastors are even being threatened with jail time - unless they march in lockstep with the "sensitive" mob. "Do things our way," say the tolerazis, "and nobody gets hurt."

How tolerant. How sensitive. Nothing like a totalitiarian in fuzzy pink slippers.

Nothing will wipe that phony, plastic smile off the face of a happy-clappy left-wing extremist faster than a "refusenik" who actually believes in the Bible. The mask comes off, and the true, ugly, hateful scowl of the "inclusive" type is exposed for all to see.

If you want to see how "tolerant" and "sensitive" the "tolerant" and "sensitive" folks really are, check out their reaction to the death of Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sermon: Rogate (Easter 6)

13 May 2007 at Salem Lutheran Church, Gretna, LA
Text: John 16:23-33 (Num 21:4-9, Jas 1:22-27)

In the name of + Jesus. Amen.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Figuratively speaking, our Lord wears lots of hats. We think of Him mostly as Lord, Savior, incarnate God, Prophet, Priest, King, the Good Shepherd, the Pastor and Bishop of our Souls, the Lamb of God, the Seed of the Woman, the Son of Man, Emmanuel, the Bread of Life, Living Water, the Vine, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the One who shall come to be our Judge.

Often we gloss over the most common title by which our Lord is addressed: “Rabbi” (Teacher). For our Lord’s followers are called “disciples,” and as my junior high discipuli should know, “discipulus” is Latin for “student.”

Teaching is certainly more art than science. For we aren’t computers. We can’t just run a cable from teacher to disciple and download data. Teachers often have to be clever, persistent, gentle, harsh, shocking, or downright crazy – based on the students’ needs – to make their hearers grasp the lesson.

Jesus Christ is the greatest teacher and storyteller of all time. He teaches us about the Kingdom of God using parables. He uses vivid figures of speech and sophisticated rhetorical techniques to drive His points home. Just as adults must often use colorful illustrations and object lessons to teach young children, Jesus uses figurative language throughout His ministry to bring the Gospel to His hearers.

But as our Lord’s earthly ministry draws to a close, as His destiny on the cross and His victory over Satan looms, Jesus speaks more and more plainly. Sometimes, he is so blunt that His disciples wonder if He means what He says. In today’s Gospel, our Lord looks forward to even more direct talk: “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.”

Whereas the world was not ready to come to grips with who he was and who sent Him, our Lord patiently spoke in parables and figures. But now, with His disciples, He lays it out for them without flowery speech: “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”

As disciples, as students, they no longer need the object lesson. Their Teacher can speak bluntly with them. And this doesn’t get past the often dull and slow to learn disciples: “See, now you are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!”

The effect of the unadorned Word of God is nothing short of a miracle. The Gospel - articulated plainly, without histrionics or a “dynamic delivery,” without regard to the age or culture of the listener, without concern for self-esteem and mission statements – creates belief in the listener. The Word of God creates faith – not the skill of the preacher, nor any technique, gimmick, or appeal to emotion. Look at the confession of the disciples as a result of this plain speaking: “By this we believe that You came forth from God.”

The Word of God is what creates belief, is what nurtures faith, is what delivers life, salvation, and victory over the grave to those who hear and believe.

It is towards the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, on the night in which He was betrayed, that our Lord speaks the most plainly, without regard to any figure of speech. On Maundy Thursday, hours before His arrest, and one day before His crucifixion and death, our Lord takes bread, breaks it, and gives it to His disciples. He speaks to them without parable, using no metaphor, relying upon no figure of speech, and bluntly says: “This is my body… this cup is the new testament in my blood.” There is no short story beginning with our Lord’s version of “once upon a time,” that is to say: “The kingdom of God is like…” for He is no longer teaching His disciples that way. Jesus says what it is, and then says what it does: “given for you… shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

From the cross, our suffering Lord doesn’t weave together wonderful tales about farmers and seeds, about fishermen and nets, about managers and servants, about lost coins, lost sheep, and lost sons. That time has passed. The Crucified One prays absolution for His enemies, “Father, forgive them.” And as He dies, he says: “It is finished.” The centurion’s very real spear slices into very real flesh. Blood and water issue forth. Even in death, even without words, our Lord’s Word is powerful. For it bears witness to the blood and the water, to the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.

No more must the world pore over the prophets, looking for the key to their understanding. For the Prophet has fulfilled all prophets, and is Himself the Key to all Scripture. No more must disciples of the Psalms furrow their brows and debate over which are “messianic” – for the Messiah has come and claimed all of them for Himself. No more must teachers of the Law debate among themselves about how best to uphold its obligations – for He came into the World not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.

We no longer must peer into ghostly, dim previews of Him who is to come, as did the snake-bitten Israelites who were saved by looking to the bronze serpent raised up on a pole, for we look to Him who crushed the serpent’s head, we look to Him who was raised up for all to see, we look to Him whose blood is the antidote to the deadly bite of the serpent, who is Himself the antitype, the fulfillment, of this hazy image of the Old Testament.

And while we don’t yet know everything about the Kingdom of God, though we cannot process its glories with our feeble, sin-drenched brains, though we have not seen, heard, and tasted its magnificence in all of its glory, we do hear the blessedly plain spoken Word of God declaring us forgiven, proclaiming us heirs of eternal life, declaring us to be free from sin and from its ultimate end, death.

For like the disciples, our faith in the divinity of Jesus doesn’t come from scientific inquiry, but rather our faith flows from the reality of who Jesus is and from Whom He comes. Reason seeks proof, but faith grasps what is already known. Science operates by never-ending doubt and is never sure of anything. Even facts become subject to new theories and evidence. But faith is rooted in the plainly-articulated Word of God – the same Word that created all things, the same Word that says: “Let there be…” and there was.

Our response to the Word is likewise no figure of speech. For faith responds in equally plain fashion. For as James exhorts, we are not to deceive ourselves by only hearing the Word, but we are to be “doers of the Word,” rather than people who encounter the Word of God, and simply walk away unchanged.

There are times for illustrations, proverbs, parables, and other figurative speech. And then there are times for candor and bluntness. Today, our Lord speaks to us plainly, without figures of speech. He invites us to do the same, in word and in deed. And with those first disciples, we confess with our faltering lips the belief implanted into our otherwise-broken hearts: “Now we are sure that you know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” Amen.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"His Word must be believed for its own sake"

I highly recommend Rev. Dr. Burnell Eckardt's book of meditations for use in daily prayer called Every Day Will I Bless Thee (you can see a review here).

I use it for daily faculty devotions, and find it a blessing every year that goes by. The book just never gets old or goes out of style. I believe it is still available (I certainly hope it is) - you can get in touch with the author at his blog. Dr. Eckardt is also the editor-in-chief of "Gottesdienst" - a journal that I consider a MUST for any Lutheran interested in the historic liturgy and Evangelical Catholicism.

Having said that, here is Dr. Eckardt's meditation for today, the Monday of Cantate, which ponders John 8:12-20 (and I'm presenting it here without permission of the author, in faith that he won't be going "synodical" on me and threatening a lawsuit - besides, it is almost a Lutheran confession that it is indeed "easier to get forgiveness than permission")...

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend. I am the Light, says Jesus, and the Pharisees, who are darkness, call Him a liar, because He testifies on His own behalf. Where are His two or three witnesses, to establish what He says? Now let us learn the power of the word: it bears its own testimony, for it is the Word of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Jesus knows that it will not do to argue over these things with His enemies; therefore the Light shines in the darkness, notwithstanding its rejection by the darkness. His word is true, by itself. For it is not His word alone, but the word of the Father, since Christ is Himself the expression of the Father on earth; so also, His words are Spirit, the third heavenly witness. God's triune nature bears its own witness, which is why His word must be believed for its own sake, and not because of the cleverness of its packaging , or any other earthly gimmicks, arguments, or allurements. For it is the Lord - and ultimately no one else - who hath made known His salvation.

What a contrast to the kinds of things I have been reading from our district! We're being bombarded with dire warnings that we must "repackage" the "Gospel message" or else the "youth" will not listen (and I suspect this is hardly unique to my district). Furthermore, they posit, if only we find the right marketing formula that is acceptable to our "postmodern" culture, we can "grow" the Church. What a contrast to how our Lord engages the unbeliving culture! God's Word is mighty, and will not return void. No one is converted to the Christian faith with gimmicks, marketing, or human cleverness. Rather, faith is a mystery, a miracle, the divine action of the Triune God. What arrogance to think that anyone comes to Jesus, repents, and receives eternal life because we picked clever tunes or laid out our sanctuary like a Starbuck's. Such a belief is like the old Roman saying about the rooster who believes the sun comes up because of his crowing.

When the sower casts the seeds of God's Word, most will never come to fruition. The gate is narrow, and most people simply take the broad road. People even rejected the preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself (perhaps he didn't read the right business journals?). We cannot compel, trick, or market people to salvation. The "cross of the theologian" is so old that it is expressed in Latin: "cur alii, non alii" - "why some, not others?" Why do some people believe, while others reject, the "catholic faith" which must be held by anyone who "desires to be saved"? There is no rational, economic, scientific, or sociological answer to that question.

Praying the daily office of the Church (not simply "reading the Bible") and meditating on those sacred Words in a Christological way is a stark contrast to the never-ending stream of trendy business books and anti-sacramental George Barna polls that our district is constantly trying to jam down our throats. Either we believe in the Word of God and its efficacy, or we believe in our marketing savvy - since I remember reading somewhere the wise injunction that no-one can serve two masters.

Thanks again for your fine work, Father Eckardt! Now please don't sue me. ;-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

From the Circuit, District, and Synod

Just a little bit of this and that from all levels of the LCMS hierarchy:

From the Circuit...

Here is an e-mail I received from my circuit counselor not too long ago...

Dear Friends in Christ,

I have been asked to help with the beginning of a "Circle of Life" group
in the New Orleans are. To that end I am sending this mailing to all

The Circle of Life is a process for a small group or for small groups
that focuses on twelve areas of life, such as Spirituality & Intuition,
Nutrition & Diet, Exercise & Fitness, Stress Management, Health Care,
Social & Family Relationships, Work & Carreer, Financial Health,
Humor-Creativity & Play, Environment & Nature, Emotions & Self Esteem,
Life Purpose & Service. Well, I guess that I stated them all!

This process will include working in one area at a time to acknowledge
strengths, set goals, predict challenges, and develop realistic action
steps. Groups will meet once every two weeks for about 2 hours. This
process will use a manual, and there is a cost ($35.00), but there is
also help with the cost. There is no meeting first date or regular day
set at this time.

This process is open to all church professional workers. I hope that you
have received the publicity sheet on this earlier. If you have not,
please let me know, and I will make sure that you receive more

We hope to get this group going in April. If you are interested or if
you have any questions, please let me know. For those who attend the
Circuits 1 and 2 Pastor's conference next Thursday, we will discuss this.
I look forward to beginning this new group with you in the New Orleans

From the District

In the January/February newsletter of my local district (see SOS Jan07.pdf (application/pdf Object)
), there are some interesting quotes, including:

"The Christian Church has been in decline and we know that the decline continues to happen in the LCMS and in the ****** District.... [W]e need to readily to [sic] acknowledge the decline is happening and search for new ways to 'package' the Gospel message [sic]."

Perhaps one example of a new packaging strategy is the article about a new church "launch" taking place at a new congregation in our district with a very "hip" name: "CrossRoad Church" (it's a rather trendy practice among marketeers these days to omit spaces between words, compound them, and yet retain the capitalization as if the words were separate). This church planting model:

"seeks to gather a group of people to serve as a 'Launch Team'.... All effort is put into creating excitement, enthusiasm, and curiousity about the new church.... [S]ome people will become committed to the new ministry while others won't. Those that remain excited and committed are then taught, nurtured, and shaped into a new congregation."

Yet another new strategy is laid out as the district offers nine names of people in Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response Services. The district "has provided a list of resources to [its] readers," and we are encouraged to "make use of the following resources" and are encouraged to seek "Spiritual Care" (either as "individuals" or as "congregations,") from the following two people: "Deaconess Loraine Rathmann" and "Rev. Beverly Wallace."

From the Synod

The latest Reporter contains the following front page headline:

"250 missionaries needed - no experience necessary".

Back in February, I (along with presumably all LCMS pastors) received the following letter from a high-ranking LCMS official...

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Greetings on behalf of the global Ablaze! movement of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and its 29 partner churches around the world.

As we embark on the historic Fan into Flame campaign to provide new resources to support Ablaze! goals, I wanted to write every pastor of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to provide a little more information about both Ablaze! and Fan into Flame. E-mail in this series will be sent each month, and I hope you find this information helpful as our church body strives to communicate the saving Word to a world in need of His love and salvation.

Your 9,000 fellow pastors, most of whom are parish pastors, some who serve other ministries, and some who are Emeriti, connect with the Ablaze! movement at various points. Being involved in the pastoral ministry, we know the joy of sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and of being in the midst of people who are sharing that vital message with others.

For us clergy, this is nothing new. Most of us have been sharing the Gospel all our lives. These days we are privileged to do so as pastors. We mean for our lives, touched by the Spirit of God, to be a living witness of Christ in us. Today we call that being Ablaze! It has had other names in the past, and will have other names in years to come.

Next time we will examine what it means to be in the midst of a “movement.”

The next installment, the one promised to "examine what it means to be in the midst of a 'movement' is as follows...

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Greetings on behalf of the global Ablaze! movement of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and its 29 partner churches around the world.

In 2004 the LCMS convention delegates enthusiastically endorsed the Ablaze! vision and the leaders of our 29 global partner churches stood on the stage in support of this confessional movement. Movements, while they can be messy, pretty unpredictable, and seem to have their own life, are yet framed by the Spirit of Christ as He wills. What is central to Ablaze! is that our Lord wants the Good News shared whenever and wherever we can.

It is a privilege to participate in this global movement to bring the message of the Gospel to millions for the first time. As part of the “clergy awareness” for Ablaze!, we can learn from each other, encourage one another, and support each other as we join together in this life-shaping movement of eternal significance.

Our next e-mail will introduce you to resources prepared to support Ablaze!