Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do WE Need Daily Devotions?

Many of us who write or preach and study Scripture as a major part of our daily vocation have heard it said: “Oh, you spend so much time in God’s Word, you really don’t need a regular pattern of devotions.” I respond to that assumption as, well, kindly as I can. Certainly, any time in God’s Word profits us with the Law and the Gospel the Holy Spirit plants in our hearts and minds through it. Certainly, even researching or academic study can have a devotional quality when grounded in the Word of Life. WE make a dire assumption, though, when neglecting a regular diet of daily, devotional study in God’s Word. When set on a regular pattern or daily lectionary of readings, we don’t necessarily choose the areas of Scripture that day wil bring us. Whether from PORTALS OF PRAYER, HIGHER THINGS REFLECTIONS, or another set of readings, prayers, and hymns, God’s Law and God’s Gospel come to us whether we like it or not. We don’t choose the topics a day to day devotion puts in front of us in its progress of pericopes. Still, our Lord directs such readings, hymns, and prayers for our conviction, admonition, and peace. We who write or preach and study Holy Scripture as a large of part of daily vocations come our work of rightly handling the Word of truth with clarified, purified minds—clarified and purifried by our Lord through that very Word He gives us to daily read, mark and inwardly digest. A regular progress of devotions brings us Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for us. WE have the comfort that, no matter what emotions and interactions, our daily vocation puts before us, Jesus’ directs us in His saving forgiveness of our sins. After all, the phone will interrupt our contemplations. News of a family or church member’s death may come at the most intense point of studying a difficult word in the original languages. Kids will call for Mom or Dad at a heartbeat, and our vocation as parents will supersede that of writer or pastor or composer for a time. The Holy Spirit always works through His Word, never apart from it. So, through the readings in daily devotion from Scripture, He brings to us the same Law and Gospel to which He brought us when we first opened His Word during the day. AS the hymn says, “God’s Word is our great heritage…” and He brings us to it each day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meal Of The Month REcap

Once again, this month, we at Holy Cross held our free meal for the blindness community a couple weeks earlier than usual. What a turn-out we had, two new people from south of the river and two regulars who decided to come with us rather than paying for a higher price to attend a Progressive Council dinner. It took me till halfway through the meal before I started calling John Bliss John. I'd been mistaking his name as Dopn. Why? I don't know. His wife-to-be, vivian, was there also. WE wish Pattie well as she moves to Visalia, CA on Wednesday to get married. We also pray for for one of our new drivers to get over the flu and for several of our regulars who were also fighting colds. Once again, Shara and Mandy and Gloria hit the ball out of the park with their coooking. We had meatloaf, rice, potatoes, and beans. Pastor Stirdivant spoke on the Christiams story from LUke and played Dr. Nagel's retelling it from the KJV and from the Ausi version of the Bible. We concluded with singing a lot of requested carols and by passing out gift bags to everyone. OUr next meal will be on January 28, 2012.


What is the reason for the season? We hear that phrase bantered about in supermarkets, social parties, sing-alongs, and soup kitchens. “The reason for the season” is a phrase on our lips as much as that of “merry Christmas” or in more PC lingo “Happy holidays.” Pardon me to be a cynic for a moment, no not a grench or Srooge—a cynic. AS we hype it up today, Christmas seems to have room for everyone. The reason for the season ramps up the publicity of charities that bust their tail year-round. It brings out the plight of homeless and less fortunate who are still in dire straights year-round. The financial pinch in which Toys’R Us and other stores find themselves did not begin hours before Black Friday, 2011. WE don’t start caring for loved-ones between December 1 till Christmas. So, what’s the reason for the season? Why so much attention on this bustling blitz of commercial hype. I, myself, love it as long as I can maintain my reputation as a last-minute shopper. I simply stop counting calories during this time of year. My scale doesn’t go up that high. The reason for the season is not an amped up increase of goodwill. It is not the decorations and tasty trimmings along with playing cards and watching football—or this year the start of the shortened NBA season. It is not an amped up charge to become more giving. All these things are wonderful results. I wrap myself in them, whether by proxy since before Thanksgiving or at the last-minute when I rush through Kohls with an arm-load sacks full of clothes for others. The reason for the season is Jesus. Our heavenly Father saw that we poor, miserable sinners can’t do a thing about our rebellious, self-centered sshow-me condition. So, He sent the only one who can. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” AS the old hymn puts it, “In a little stable, Far across the seas, Was a little baby just like you and me.” Jesus was and is god’s eternal Son who came to us out of love. Being God from everlasting, He is perfect and holds the perfect standard of the Law. He calls forth obedience, charity, service all year round, not just in December. He calls forth devotion, worship, and praise all year round, not just when Fox 4 snap its camera shots into some downtown congregation on Christmas Eve. Jesus became man—our sin excepted—to take on Himself our self-centeredness, our impatience, our sadness, grief, and showiness. The reason for the season is the reason for our whole lives. We celebrate Christmas in thanks to Him who gave Himself for us. He was born of a woman, born under Law, to redeem us. (Gal. 4:4-7) AS He once was born, so we celebrate His birth once a year. Believe me, I love the Christmas trappings—I always have and always will. Charities, soup kitchens, long lines at the store, gift exchanges are outgrowths of our response. Where do we find the reason for the season and our whole lives? In God’s Word, in His house of worship, in times of devotion. Merry Christmas. God is with us.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Holy Cross Blind Outreach is holding its meal of the month earlier again for December. It's this Saturday. Pastor Stirdivant will join us and lead Bible study. We will sing Christmas carols for most of the time after that. We also welcome a new driver, Dee Stafford, who will be helping us for the first time. She'll fit right in. I always look forward to seeing everyone at our monthly meals. We're a growing community who loves to welcome anyone who is blind or visually impaired. If you are blind or visually impaired and living in the Kansas City area, you can contact me, David Rosenkoetter, for more information and to RSVP. Email me at lutheranmessenger@gmail.com and write "meal of the month" in your subject line. If you are not from Kansas City, you can contact me and I can see if an outreach center is in your town or city. Type in the subject line, "info, please" or something to that effect. For further resources related to blindness and the Christian faith, you can also visit Lutheran Blind Mission's website, www.blindmission.org or call (888) 215-2455.Holy Cross Blind OUtreach is holding its meal of the month earlier again for December. It's this Saturday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pray for a host congregation.

For over three years now, Holy Cross Lutheran Church has osed Holy Cross Blind Outreach, an outreach center affiliated with Lutheran Blind Mission. People all over the Kansas City, MO area have come for free meals of the month on the last Saturday of the month. They get to hear the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are often entertained or engaged by a speaker or musical performance. Some meals include a topic-driven discussion. For two hours on the final Saturday of the month, blind people get to see the Church extending very real human care in action.

Another group just across the boarder in Kansas City, KS longs to have an outreach center. After all, some of them came to our first few meals of the month until transportation got too difficult and inaccessible fto provide them. They, too, need the saving assurance of God's Word taught them in Bible studies and shown them in helping hands caring for their needs. There are vibrant folks who long to lead and direct such a group. What they need now is an host congregation. whose members can provide the nurture and Christian care they need.

Blind people make up 12-15 million people in the United State )d States. Only 5% of them are actively attending church on any given Sunday. Many of them do not know how to find access to reading materials, much less reading materials that convey the free message that Christ Jesus, God the Son, died to pay for their salvation.

The blindness community is a highly spiritual and yet isolated culture. While some who no longer attend church (since losing their sight) have clung to some form of historic Christianity, most have lapsed into an ecclectic and patchwork religion that one finds best described on "Oprah" or in "Embraced By The Light". Most blind people are angry and feel alienated by the Church.

We want to bring the unmitigated love of Jesus to them. We want to put Holy Scripture into their hands, too, that they may no longer fear the angry "God" of their conception and receive the free grace of the God revealed in Christ who says, "Come to me, all who are weary and are heavy-laden."

In this broken world torn apart by sin and its effects, the strong Word that cleaves our darkness remains the answer to our aimless wandering. May it be so for our blind and visually impaired friends in Kansas City, Kansas, too. May they have an outreach center and, God willing, be brought to the services of God's house to receive God's gifs of Word and Sacrament with us who worship together.

Prayer. Heavenly Father, you call us to fear, love, and trust in You alone. Yet, we turn in broken angst to fearing and cowering before so many things that would impede our hearing Your Word. Send pastors, lay leaders, and whole congregations to the blind and visually impaired to show them Your loving salvation free for trusting in You. Thwart Satan's attempts to further disband and isolate the blind and visually impaired. Give Your Church open hands and open doors to draw those lacking sight to behold You as Lord and Savior. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Meal Of The Month Speaker For April

We now know our speaker for the Holy Cross Blind Outreach meal of the month for April. He is Steve Otto from Gladstoe, MO. His father is pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Lee's Summit. Steve has told stories for home owners' associations and other local organizations in the Kansas City area.Stay tuned to see more news about April's meal.

Your outreach volunteers will be finalizing March's meal over the next few days.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's This 95% Thing?

The stats over the years say that 95% of blind&visually impaired people do not attend church services and are not active in a local congregation. That means that many blind/visually impaired do not hear the saving Gospel in the company of others. Sure, they are free to explore the plethera of expressions given to American spirituality on the TV. This means, though, their trus in God is clouded.

How counter to the stalwart clarity the purely taught Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims. (1 Cor. 2:5, Eph. 2:8-9, John 3:16) Those who, by virtue of their fears or ignorance of the transportation resources available to them, forsaking the company of fellow believers (Heb. 10:25), are not being freed through faith in Christ to rejoice in this clarity.

Put that against the bare, cold, uncompromising fact of which the apostle John writes in His first epistle, that whoever does not have the Son does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

The statistics should not do either of two things: 1. They should not reduce to mere statistics placarded on a bulletin's front cover. They tell the rea story of real people. Many who otherwise would hear the Gospel are bombarded with hours of confusion that is really no Gospel at all. (Gal. 1:8) 2. The statistic should not impel us only out of guilt to run headlong into doing mission work. Rather, the sheer desire to speak aloud the faith Christ Jesus has called us to confess puts us in places where the Word gets out to other people. God creates faith by means of His Word. He nurtures that faith through His Word read, spoken, cleansing, distributed.

Now, is the population of heaven and hell static? Yes. God knows for all time who will believe and who will not. We, in our finitude do do not know this number. Rather, our Lord has given us His blessed command and promise: "Go, there, make disciples of all nations" by means of "baptizing them and teaching everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you till the end of the age." (Matt. 28:19-20)

God, our One and Only Savior from sin, death, and the power of the devil calls us to proclaim His Gospel to those who do not know or trust it.