Rethinking Calling from the Seminary

Greetings!

At the recent Kansas District Professional Church Worker’s Conference, I presented a paper and a proposed overture for consideration and feedback.  The overture will hopefully come before the Kansas District Convention in June, as well as other District Conventions as well.

In the paper, I argue that congregations calling sole pastors should be given preference over those congregations calling assistant or associate pastors.  I believe the Church at large is best served by filling vacancies in as many congregations as possible, as opposed to filling a vacancy in a congregation that is already being served by a called and ordained servant of the Word.  Neither the paper or the overture call for the elimination of assistant or associate pastors; merely limiting the number of candidates placed in those positions as their first call.

Here is the Paper and the overture for your consideration.  Please feel free to substitute Kansas for your appropriate District in the overture.

Rev. Michael Schmidt

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Christ Alone

First Lutheran Church   Plainville, Kansas

Peace Lutheran Church   Natoma, Kansas

October, 2017

This is part 4 of a 4 part series on the Solas of the Reformation.  Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found in the January, April and July newsletters.

Well, this is it! October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation!  All month long there will be celebrations across the Synod and around the world; some will even be streamed online so those who can’t attend in person will be able to join in from afar; others will be recorded and distributed through various mediums.  We will celebrate right here in our corner of the world on Saturday, October 21, when we will join our brothers and sisters of Circuit 15 at Phillipsburg for a celebration with Dr. Gerhard Bode of Concordia Seminary presenting.

But of course, we have been celebrating all year long: seeing the new Luther movie in Hays; a series of newsletter articles on the Solas of the Reformation; Martin Luther quotes in the bulletin every week; as well as inserts highlighting different people of the Reformation; a Reformation VBS: and special Bible studies from Lutheran Hour Ministries on Luther and the Reformation and its lasting impact.

And have no fear, some of those things will continue through December as the CPH children’s Christmas program is based off Luther’s hymn: From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.

So what will you take away from this Reformation year?

Souvenirs?  Surely some will be hitting the CPH clearance racks soon.  A better knowledge of the events of the 1500’s?  That will help if a Reformation category ever shows up on Jeopardy.  Or maybe this whole year has been a blur, and you are wondering what the fuss is all about anyway?  After all, it was not even deemed worthy of a US postage stamp.

For in fact, what has this year truly been about?  Did we prove the critics right that we worship Luther?

Perhaps some will levy that charge; but they would be wrong.  Just as you would be wrong to say this year has been all about Luther or Germany or gathering trinkets and bulletin inserts for your collection.

This year, just like last year and just like next year, is all about Jesus.  In fact that is what the Reformation was all about: getting the focus off of good works and merits and laws, and putting the focus back where it belongs, where it in fact always belongs: on Jesus.

And in that respect, the 500th anniversary should have looked a lot like the 400th and the 300th and the 200th and the 100th and the 1st anniversary of the Reformation; just as it should look a lot like the coming anniversaries that bear significance for the Lutheran church.  What it all comes down to, is Jesus alone for the salvation of all those who believe.

For what do the Solas all point to?  Grace Alone, Faith Alone and Word Alone all point to Jesus.  Jesus is the key that makes the whole thing work.

Jesus alone is what you need to be saved.  You do not need your works or your merits, or anything else attached to your name: you only need Jesus, crucified and risen for you, granting you forgiveness, life and salvation.

Happy Reformation Anniversary!  May it be joyous!  May it be filled with the Holy Spirit!  And may it be all about Jesus!

God Bless!    Pastor Schmidt

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Be ready to confess Jesus

Pentecost 17/LWML Sunday – 2 Timothy 4:1-4

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What is right

Pentecost 16 – St. Matthew 20:1-16

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What does forgiveness look like?

Pentecost 15 – Genesis 50:15-21

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Bring me some burning coals

Pentecost 13 – Romans 12:9-21

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Summer reading

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First Lutheran Church  Plainville, Kansas

Peace Lutheran Church   Natoma, Kansas

September, 2017

I just finished reading Giving It All Away and Getting It all Back Again by David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby.  In the book, he recounts his humble upbringing, largely in poverty and how it shaped him for the life he lives today as chairman of a multi-billion dollar company.

But that is hardly the thesis of the book; the central idea focuses on how Green and his wife, now in their 70’s, are planning their legacy for what happens when they are gone.  As the head of a multi-billion dollar company, you would think that legacy would focus entirely on how to divide the money between their 3 children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

But that is hardly the concern of Green, instead, his focus is entirely on how to pass his faith onto his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and all future generations.  Will they get some money?  I’m sure they will; but what good is it, when you do not have faith?

The basis of this thought process is St. Matthew 6:19-21: store up treasures in heaven, not on earth where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  Verse 21 is particularly meaningful: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Which ironically ties in with another book I just finished reading: License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at Gold & Silver by Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars fame.  In this book, Harrison reveals the secret to life in the business of buying and selling items, and inadvertently, the secret to living life on this earth: no matter what it is that is presented to you, it’s just stuff.  That’s right, it’s just stuff.  You lived your whole life up to this point without it, and the odds are pretty good that you can live the rest of your life without it just as well.

Money and riches and stuff may be fun to have on earth, but what happens when your life is over?  You can’t take it with you.  We can bury you with it, but you still won’t be able to use it.  All those collections and trophies and clothes and whatever else you have spread around your house, when you die, what good will any of it do you?

But what does matter?  Your faith; your baptism; your standing before God.

            Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

And not just your heart and your treasure, but those of others as well.  If your treasure is found in earthly possessions, and you spend your whole life chasing after them, there is nothing more important to you than that treasure; then your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have the same mindset.  They will chase after their own treasures; they will pass on the same legacy to their own children.

The funny thing about stuff, is that the further down the line it gets from you, the less value it actually holds to the owner.  You may really treasure that old trophy on the shelf, and your children may value it as well; but in two or three generations, that trophy will be viewed as a dust collector, and end up on a yard sale.  Each generation values its own things.

So where is your treasure?  Is it found in property or in possessions or in social standing?  Or is your treasure stored up in heaven?  Will your treasure remain here on earth when you die, or will you enter into that treasure in the joys of paradise with Christ for eternity?

What if the treasure that you pass down is not a dust collector, but the living and active faith that is not just some old thing great-grandma had, but is personally held and cherished by each person who comes into contact with it?

That treasure is faith, a treasure which pays its dividends many times over in Paradise.

God Bless!  Pastor Schmidt

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