Joy:fully Lutheran-Part 1
October 2018

Dear friends in Christ,
This month's TLO Disciples is focused on the theme Joy:Fully Lutheran. During the four Sundays in month of October, TLO will focus on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24:
"Joy:Fully Lutheran" is an expression of God's love for sinners. In love, God sent His Son as the sacrifice for sins. Salvation is given freely to all who believe by the work of the Spirit. This Good News creates joy in the hearts and lives of forgiven sinners, who stand as saints in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Rejoice always,  17 pray without ceasing,  18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.  20 Do not despise prophecies,  21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.  22 Abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Come and Worship
Pastor Kroonblawd

Join us in worship during the month of October for our Stewardship emphasis and Reformation as we explore what it means to be Joy:Fully Lutheran.
October 7 -  Week 1 - Thess. 5:16-17
"Rejoice always. Pray continually"
Grace alone
October 14 - Week 2- 1 Thess 5:18
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will in Christ Jesus for you."
Faith alone
Lutheran Heritage Foundation Sunday
Guest Preacher: Rev. Bernie Lutz
October. 21 -  Week 3 - 1 Thess. 5:19-22
"Test everything"; "Hold fast to what is good."
Scripture alone
Guest preacher: Rev. Philip Stohlmann
October. 28 -  Week 4 - 1 Thess 5:23-24
"Now may the God of Peace sanctify you completely, and may your whole body be kept blameless 'til the coming of Christ"
Christ alone
November 1 -  Week 5 
Joy:Fully Lutheran Commitment Sunday
All Saints Day Remembrance

Joy Like a Ton of Bricks - Luther Discovers the Gospel
The realization hit Luther while he was contemplating Romans 1:16-17: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes ... 'The righteous will live by faith.'" Here's how Luther, at the end of his life, described the joyful moment he realized this:
"And I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word "righteousness of God." Thus, that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise. Later I read Augustine's The Spirit and the Letter, where contrary to hope I found that he, too, interpreted God's righteousness in a similar way, as the righteousness with which God clothes us when he justifies us. ... Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates." (LW 34:337)
Luther experienced genuine, profound joy in the Gospel. It changed everything!

It All Comes Together: Joy + Fully Lutheran
Soon everything came together for Luther. The fullness of the biblical witness made him fully biblical (which is to say he became fully Lutheran!). And that filled him with an abiding, unconquerable joy: Joy-Fully Lutheran. Luther and our Confessions help explore these joyful central facts of the Christian faith as found in Holy Scripture.
Joy:Fully Lutheran based on 1 Thess. 5:16-24

Click to read a tremendously encouraging message to the Church about the challenges we face and how to face them. 

About Joy
by Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS President
Several years ago at the advice of a dear friend I took a hard look at what might seem for me a rather unlikely topic: joy in the Christian life. "So many pastors and Christians have so little joy today," my friend observed. "These are difficult times."
At first, I scoffed at the prospect. Isn't joy a topic reserved for the slick TV preachers? Isn't it the domain of the "prosperity preachers" who get virtually every chief part of the Small Catechism wrong? Isn't joy more the mere foam on the beer rather than the tasty draught itself? But against my dour and better judgment, I determined, with a decided grimace, to open a Bible.

Joyfully Lutheran in the City and the Country
No matter where they live, all people are in need of the same thing: Jesus Christ.
Tractors or mass transit? Row houses or farmhouses? It often seems like there's a big divide between urban and rural living, yet people everywhere are all desperately in need of the same thing: Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God, He calls His people to serve Him in different ways and in different places. Click to read two stories of how God's people are being "Joy:fully Lutheran" - the theme of the upcoming 2019 LCMS convention - as they love and serve their neighbors in the unique contexts in which they've been placed.

For a fun family friendly movie, check out The Peanuts Movie . Click for movie review.

Joy in Haiti

"In Christ Alone" was the theme for the 2016 National LCMS Youth Gathering. The first day focused on true joy, the kind of joy that stays no matter what, the joy that is ours in Christ alone. On my recent trip to Haiti the joy the children in Haiti have stood out to the entire team. They have so little but yet they are full of joy. What a blessing and reminder they are to us that it is through Christ that we know real joy! It isn't how much stuff we have, what car we drive or the status that comes with our job. Our joy comes from keeping our eyes on the cross. It is wonderful supporters like you that allows the ears to open so the children in Haiti can learn what Jesus did for them and carry around that JOY every day as they share the Good News with others!

See photos from the Mid-South District's mission trip to Haiti

As adherents of the Lutheran Reformation, we, of all Christians, realize that the Church passes through periods of decline, repentance and renewal. It has and will always be so until Christ returns.  Repentance: The Ancient Path to Joy
In ancient Judah, King Hezekiah (ca. 700 BC) followed the adulterous reign of Ahaz, who "did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord" (2 Chron. 28:1). Hezekiah immediately worked to rid the temple of pagan practices. He restored temple worship. When the throngs came to Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover, they "set to work and removed the [pagan] altars that were in Jerusalem, and the altars for burning incense they took away and threw into the Kidron Valley" (2 Chron. 30:14). Then they slaughtered the great Passover lamb that pointed to Jesus. This repentant action of the faithful laity - removing all the idols - had a profound effect upon the clergy. They repented!
The priests and Levites were ashamed, so that they consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings into the house of the Lord (2 Chron. 30:15).
The repentant worshippers agreed to keep the feast for an additional seven days "with great gladness" (30:21). The text tells us that this repentance and restoration resulted in jubilation.

So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priest and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy habitation in heaven (2 Chron. 30:26-27).
Repentance! Forgiveness! Worship! Prayer! Blessing! Service! Joy! They are all of a piece.
Joy:Fully Lutheran based on 1 Thess. 5:16-24

Click to read a tremendously encouraging message to the Church about the challenges we face and how to face them. 

As we were reminded during this past anniversary year, the Lutheran Reformation was, above all, a rediscovery of the Word of the Lord, with the same results as ancient Judah. The Word of God had been "lost." The "temple" had been obscured by human opinions. "They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9).
John Tetzel was but the latest and greatest peddler of salvation for sale, preaching, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs!" You see, Albrecht of Brandenburg had become the Archbishop of Mainz, which also carried the title of "Elector" (one of only seven individuals who would elect the next Holy Roman Emperor). Albrecht was both the temporal and spiritual Lord of his whole region - a real mixing of church and state! In order to acquire this powerful position, he had to pay millions to the pope in Rome. To get the money to pay the pope, he had to borrow it from bankers. To pay back the bankers, he got permission from the pope to sell "indulgences" - that is, pieces of paper "guaranteeing" full forgiveness for all temporal punishments for sin. Christ, it was taught, had only paid for eternal guilt, but people had to spend thousands of years getting roasted in purgatory to pay back the "temporal" punishments they deserved. Indulgences were basically "get out of purgatory free" cards - for you or for your deceased loved ones

Joy:Fully Lutheran based on 1 Thess. 5:16-24

Click to read  a tremendously encouraging message to the Church about the challenges we face and how to face them. 

God knows that in this unhinged world - politically, economically, socially, racially, religiously - we need joy, just like the Thessalonians! And the Word of God delivers it in spades.
During the Month of October, join with me in meditating on the following small snippet of joy texts in the Bible.
* Joy in and over creation (Ps. 96)
* Joy in God's presence (Ps. 16:11; 1 Sam. 6:13)
* Joy in repentance (Luke 15:6; Ps. 51:8)
* Joy in forgiveness: "Restore to me the joy of thy salvation" (Ps. 51:12)
* Joy over salvation (Deut. 33:29; Luke 10:20)
* Joy of John the Baptizer in the womb (Luke 1:44)
* Joy over the coming Savior (Luke 1:13ff.)
* Joy of angels over Jesus' birth (Luke 2)
* Joy over the resurrection in the midst of trials (1 Peter 1:3-6)
* Joy over sharing in God's righteousness (Ps. 35:27)
* Joy in mercy shown to the needy (Ps. 109:16ff.)
* Joy in marriage: "At last! Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!" (Gen. 2:23)
* Joy over life's simple pleasures and gifts (Eccl. 5:18-19; 11:8)
* Joy over childbirth (John 16:21f.)
* Paul's joy over friendships in Christ (2 Tim. 1:4; 1 Cor. 16:7)
* Joy in worship (Ps. 122; Ps. 43:1) 
Joy over God's promises for the future; i.e. hope (Rom. 12:12)
* Joy in prayer (Rom. 12:12)
* Joy in generous giving (2 Cor. 8-9)
* Joy is a characteristic of spiritual priests (Ps. 132:9)
* Jesus was joyous over Zacchaeus (Luke 19:5ff.)
* Jesus rejoiced even as Lazarus died, for what He would soon show - resurrection! (John 11)
* Joy over good stewardship in Jesus' parable of the talents (Matt. 25:23)
* Jesus was anointed with the "oil of gladness" (Heb. 1:9)
* Joy in the resurrection. "Christ is risen!" (Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6)
* Joy in persecution (Acts 5:41)
* Joy in the midst of cross and suffering: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:3-5).
* Perhaps the greatest joy of all is that God rejoices in you! "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing" (Zeph. 3:17-18).
So, if the love of God has touched your heart, please inform your face!

Joy:Fully Lutheran based on 1 Thess. 5:16-24

Click to read a tremendously encouraging message to the Church about the challenges we face and how to face them. 


Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Click here to send Pastor Kroonblawd an email.

TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month.  Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at 651-454-7235 or the Church Office via email.
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Soli Deo gloria

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