• Uncategorized

    New Year Resolutions Old Year Problems | Headlines with the Pastors, E7

    The Pastors look at pulling the shade on New Years Resolutions in favor of Godly aspirations. Then, more seriously they address the Jeffery Epstein connected madam Maxwell who was recently convicted of sex trafficking while also unpacking how Christ can heal the wounds of sexual violence and violation. Finally, a look at the Christian life lived between the Sundays, from the Father’s Temple to the Baptismal enlightenment of Epiphany.

  • Uncategorized

    Build Back Better Burger-Bill Butchered, Nickin’ the Santa Claus | Headlines with the Pastors, E6

    Part two of the highly controversial Build Back Better bill kicks the can…for now, the Myth of Santa Clause and the Legend of Saint Nicholas, we laugh thru some ridiculous Christmas headlines concerning cream cheese and arson, before looking at the Christian life lived between the Sundays—it’s our Christmas show and you’re invited! 0:00 Introduction 5:52 Build Back Better Nothin’ Burger 28:13 Cheesecake No Bake and Arson, EXTRA EXTRAS 43:21 Good Ol’ Fake Nick 1:01:43 True Meaning of Christmas

  • Uncategorized

    The Rittenhouse Ripple Effect, Cyber Monday, and Advent Preparations | Headlines with the Pastors Ep. 04

    The Rittenhouse ripple effect is a manufactured reality that the Christian must take note of as media perpetuates cultural thought and people imitate what is perceived as justice. The pastors also briefly chat about Christian mindfulness in holiday shopping and what ringing in the new Church Year— in the season of Advent— is all about! 

  • Uncategorized

    HWTP Ep3: Kyle Rittenhouse Guilty or Not | SpaceX Pros and Cons

    Today the pastors talk about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and take from it important lessons for the Christian. Then, into the atmosphere to discuss how a SpaceX Astronaut proclaims the glory of docking with the International Space Station, which makes should make us wonder, what glories should the Christian praise? And finally, the Pastors look at the Christian life lived between the Sundays, and how our End Times theology encourages us to endure in Jesus with hope!

  • Uncategorized

    HWTP Ep2: Two Kingdoms, One Lord, and a Zero Credit Score

    In today’s episode, the pastors discuss recent supply chain issues from God’s view that work is one of his first beautiful gifts to us. Afterward, they take a look at the recent elections that flooded the headlines, giving a Christian guiding perspective through the Two Kingdom Theology principle. Lastly, the viewers hear about their life between the Sundays and what Word of God is in store for them as they prepare to return to the House of the Lord. All credit goes to Christ, his kingdom has come and he will come again!

  • Uncategorized

    HWTP Ep1: Should Christians Enter the Metaverse?

    Our first episode has the pastors, Jared DeBlieck and David Dunlop, unpacking what this podcast is all about, addressing Facebook’s Metaverse, or should we say Meta’s Metaverse, and ends looking at the reality of life often overshadowed by celebrity.

    • Christian Compassion or Contempt for Migrants
    • Why Should Christians Care About California's Rolling Power Outages? | Headlines with the Pastors, E22
    • We The People | Roe v Wade Deep Dive Special Episode | Headlines with the Pastors, E21
    • Has Google Created a Living Artificial Intelligence? | Headlines with the Pastors, E20
    • Why Can't Nancy Pelosi Take Communion? Closed Communion Explained | Headlines with the Pastors, E19

  • Culture,  Uncategorized

    Worship Woes: A Return from Quarantine

    When the quarantines began to shut down schools then states, then the nation at large, it’s no surprise that churches were caught up in the crushing wave of the COVID crisis. Many have taken the possible instances of First Amendment overreaches by offering the other cheek–permitting a time of online worship until the day congregants can gather once more. Or, at least with fewer restrictions. Those days seem to be drawing near, and for some states, that day is here, such as for my state of Indiana.

    The idea of not gathering, in person, for worship is something Christians should not take lightly. We are incarnational people, in the flesh kind of people, we relate best to each other as we encounter one another in person. The reason for this truth is that this is how Jesus encounters and best relates to us. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).”

    Jesus’ advent into his creation as a child who grows in the humility of the flesh through wisdom and stature (Cf. Luke 2:52) makes evident how we by the same frail flesh make sense of God and this world. But as we interact with this Living Word by live-streaming worship and social distancing it is worth wondering with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord (Cf. Psalm 13)?” How long until we can come back into the house of God’s presence in Church and rejoice in the calling of the Holy Spirit to gather together in the flesh for worship and reception of all of God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament?

    What I feared at the beginning of this quarantine is already beginning to rumble through social media and a diversity of personal exchanges: people do not want to go back to worship. This could be for a variety of reasons, none of which do I claim to know for certain, but among them is fear of the virus and satisfaction with current worship practice: online, drive-in, or nothing at all. I want to address in particular the satisfaction with current quarantine worship practices by speaking to the importance of in flesh worship and life.

    The exchange of God’s gifts and discipline have always been delivered in the flesh. When God spoke to his people it was through Moses and the Prophets, and now in these last days through Jesus, the Son of God (Cf. Hebrews 1:2). And these words are not merely transmitted by Books or Letter of the Apostles but are taught by pastors to this day. It doesn’t speak to the weakness of God’s Word that doctrine is handed down this way but to the fact that God’s Word is unchanging and true ministers of the Gospel still speak God’s Word as Moses and the Prophets and as Jesus and his Apostles.

    The blessed gifts of the Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, were not relayed from a transcendent voice from heaven but given to the Christian Church from Jesus as he came to his people. The Mediator met with his people, in the flesh, and gave to us what is necessary for salvation.

    Likewise, the necessary use of discipline is a person to a person matter. When St. Paul addressed Cephas for his sin, he “opposed him to his face… (Galatians 2:11)” and when we stand condemned for sin we confess before God and one another our sin (Confession and Absolution in the Divine Service). We confess before our pastor all the sins we are aware of (Individual Confession and Absolution), and we confess our sin as others confront us according to the discipline of Matthew 18.

    Worshiping together lends itself to the way we live together. Our way of worship has been disrupted so our way of life together has been disturbed. This time can be an opportunity for reflection upon the goodnesses of God’s presence among us but it cannot be an excuse to claim a new normal. The ordinaries of worship and life should not be forsaken because we have come to crave something outside their usual practice, worship: online, drive-in, or not at all.

    If something can be learned among Christians as we return from quarantine let it be the joy of our incarnational nature in Christ with one another, and a general caution toward novelty.

  • Culture,  Meaningless Words Series

    Recasting the Stumbling Block

    For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. –1 Corinthians 1:22-25

    It’s crude humor. Not funny. Mockery. That’s my immediate reaction watching the Australian organ donation ad campaign featuring the crucifixion of Jesus. Currently there’s a petition to take it down, you can watch it below and decide for yourself. But first, and for brevity sake, I’ll excuse the horrible historical errors made within the ad and simply address the punch line: WWJD.

  • Sermons

    As You Wish, LORD

    Listen Here: 2018-02-18; Trinity Lutheran Church—Edwardsville, IL; First Sunday in Lent; Genesis 22:1-18

    There’s an iconic scene from the movie Princess Bride when the Farm Boy, Wesley, in an attempt to woo the Maiden, Buttercup, goes about every task she puts before him. After every request he simply responds, “As you wish.” Over time she realizes that when he says, “As you wish,” it is actually a declaration of his love for her, as though he is saying, “I love you.” Classic. I suspect we are prepared to think such a clever dialogue only exists in cinema and not in Scripture. But we would be wrong.

    Three times in our OT reading Abraham is called upon, and he simply replies, “Here am I.” God places a difficult task before him, a test, and Abraham goes about it. Before he even knows the test, Abraham is a willing servant of the LORD. His “Here am I” is an obedient “As You wish,” before God. But here’s where things get more than a little dicey. “God tested Abraham and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you (vv. 1-2).’”

    We don’t need to think too deeply before we turn Abraham’s willing, “As You Wish” into an objectionable, “YOU WISH!” What kind of father is Abraham if he follows through with this execution? He’s only waited for Isaac a very long time, and had been promised by God that through Isaac shall your offspring be named (Gen. 21:12).” What is going on here? Should we always follow God’s Word or just as long as it is suitable to us?

    If we can relate, for a moment, to the season of Lent perhaps the absurdity of God’s sacrifice of Isaac can be understood. Unknown to Abraham; the sacrifice of his son, his only son, his beloved son, is that it points ahead to the Messiah. God uses this test of Abraham and Isaac to make certain our understanding of our heavenly Father and Jesus. That if God’s plan is to kill the son, and cut off the heritage, God’s plan must be for our good. As awful as it may seem, God knows best and better than we do.

    The journey to the cross begins before the foundations of the world. Lent is a season we meditate upon this truth, that the world is created good, but in the Godly foreknowledge that it will need redemption. That you will need a Redeemer. St. Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ…In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…(Eph. 1:3, 4, 5, 7).”

    To worldly eyes, the crucifixion of Jesus is no more horrific than the near-slaying of Isaac. Both are madness, a disturbing faith. Are you disturbed? A crazy Christian? The test of faith is ongoing for you. When God calls you by his Word to believe and follow him, do you say, “Here am I.” or “As You wish.” OR do you follow your heart, a more cheerful version of God?

    Let’s make sense of all of this. Often the narrative of Abraham and Isaac goes like this: Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his son. Abraham and Isaac travel a great distance to the Mountain of Moriah. Isaac calls to his father, Abraham a second time says, “Here am I, my son (v. 7).” Isaac wonders to his father why they don’t have a sacrificial lamb. Abraham at worst tells a white lie or at best tells Isaac to not worry about it. To make things go smoothly Isaac is made to carry the wood for sacrifice so that he can become tired and cannot struggle against his aged father as he’s being tied up—which would have been a complete surprise to Isaac. But how are you supposed to understand this Biblical account? What does it mean for you?

    It may be true that Isaac is given to carry the wood to tire him OR it may be that this too points ahead to Christ. A foreshadowing to all generations up to and after the Crucifixion of Jesus, of God’s good plan of salvation. That as Jesus humbled himself even to carry his own cross to Mt. Calvary so here Isaac humbles himself to this fate and carries his own beams of destruction to Mt. Moriah. After all, there is a historical precedent that as Abraham replied to Isaac, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son (v. 8a).” Isaac became aware that he was the sacrifice. Surprisingly, this scene concludes with the surreal resolve of father and son to continue onward, “so they went both of them together (v. 8b).”

    You must know something, as awful or as great as life is, God gives us our lives as a foreshadowing of what is to come. That what awaits for you in eternity is far greater than you can imagine. That as cruel as life can be, in Christ there is comfort and everlasting peace that awaits you. That as fulfilling as life can be, in Christ your cup overflows and salvation’s joy surpasses whatever pleasures, good or sinful, you may be inclined towards. So whatever your life may be to you; God’s Word calls you to a life of repentance, trusting in Christ when tested, and following wherever God’s Word may lead you.

    Abraham and Isaac trusted in God. They did not live lives without sin, but trusted by faith, that when tested God would see them through—to redeem, forgive, and restore them. They were willing to sacrifice; the father his beloved son’s life, and the son his father’s love. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac…He considered that God was able even to raise [Isaac] from the dead (to accomplish his promise to Abraham) (Heb. 11:17, 19).” But before Abraham’s hand and knife could sacrifice his son, God intervened from heaven, “‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me (vv. 11-12).’”

    The execution of the beloved and only son is stayed until the time of Jesus. Where the our heavenly Father does not prevent the sacrifice nor does Jesus turn away from Mt. Calvary. But for you becomes your substitution, having received all your sins, he goes there to bring you blessing. Jesus is the Ram in the thicket; caught up by the thorns of his brow, pierced in his love for you. His “Here am I.” sounds like “It is Finished.” but you may hear it as Christ’s unconditional and eternal declaration of, “I love you.”