August 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,

This month's TLO Disciple is on the topic Wisdom.  Two of my favorite Scripture books to read are the Psalms and Proverbs.  At the Lifefest conference in Oshkosh, WI this Summer, I was visiting with a vendor who was discussing about how uplifting Lifefest was, with all the Christian music bands, speakers, and attenders.  But when he goes home, the struggles seem to get worse rather than better.  He was asking for a prescription on how he could not have to go through this rollercoaster in his faith.  My suggestion is: Read the Psalms every night, and read the book of Proverbs.

Pastor James L Kroonblawd

Reading the Wisdom of Psalms

Reading the Psalms is a way to be strengthened and encouraged in faith.  Just like King David, we experience trouble and need wisdom and guidance in the midst of the trouble.  Psalms gives encouragement. 

The Psalms are sacred texts used in the worship life of God's people. There is a wide variety of themes and settings. Some psalms are historical, retelling the story in song to help teach future generations. Some psalms are laments, crying out to God in times of sorrow or distress. Some psalms are special kinds of poems, called acrostics, where each line of the psalm begins with a different Hebrew letter, all in alphabetical order. There is a wide variety of themes and settings, but the most familiar refrain is this: His mercy endures forever. Yahweh's mercy, his steadfast love, his covenant faithfulness, is at the heart of the Psalms. The LORD is true to his promises, and therefore we give Him praise. In fact, the most common type of song in this collection is the song of thanksgiving and praise.

When Jesus opened the minds of the disciples to understand the Old Testament Scriptures following his resurrection, He said, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. (Luke 24:44).  The Psalms are not only the words of Moses, David, Solomon and others.  They are the words of Jesus and they will open your mind to know Jesus. 

Reading the Wisdom of Proverbs
A proverb is simply a pithy saying; something short and sweet that carries a word of wisdom. But proverbs are more than catch phrases, they inform a particular way of life. As a part of the American culture, we have some pithy sayings that most people know. Some came from Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac, some from elsewhere. Can you complete the following?
A penny saved is . . .
The early bird gets . . .
God helps those who . . .

If you were raised in an American culture, chances are you could complete those sayings. But they are more than just memorable phrases, they also help shape how our culture understands appropriate ways of life. "If it feels good, do it," is a way of life. "It's a free country!" is a statement about what we find acceptable. In a world of sound bites and slogan marketing, people live by proverbs. The question remains, what proverbs will you live by?

In the Bible, a proverb is a general truth arrived at from godly observation that can direct future action when considered in the fear of the Lord. Some wise and godly people, most notably, Solomon, took a look around and said, "Hey! This is kind of how the world works!"

Proverbs, even Biblical proverbs are not meant to cover 100% of the situations in life. They just describe what usually is happening under normal circumstances. In fact, proverbs are not only wise sayings, they require wisdom to apply them to the right situation. Sometimes proverbs even seem to contradict each other. Can you fill in the blanks of these famous (and non-biblical) proverbs? "He who hesitates . . ." BUT "Look before . . ."

"Absence makes the heart . . ." BUT "Out of sight, . . ."

Obviously, these proverbs can't be universally true. In fact, proverbs are never intended to be universally true! That's why it takes wisdom to apply them to the right situation! "He who hesitates is lost," doesn't always apply. Sometimes you have to "look before you leap."
For the Biblical authors, the wisdom it takes to apply these wise sayings to real life is centered in the relationship with Yahweh. In fact, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."

Read entire article


Check out this 10 minute video on Christ, our Wisdom where Dr. David Scaer states, "Wisdom does not mean all knowledge.  Wisdom is a code word for Jesus."


To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Timothy 1:17

"Wisdom in Scripture is sacred. It is the Gospel. It teaches you to know God, the counsel of God, and the Son of God incarnate for you. Such wisdom is hidden from the world. Only faith grasps it. Afterwards one can grasp wisdom wastefully. Wolves learn from a wolf. But true wisdom is meditation as to how I shall live forever, how I shall possess and have God. This is in the Gospel alone, but that wisdom is foolishness in the world's eyes."

--Martin Luther, Lectures on Timothy 

Psalm  2
My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
    and watching over the way of his saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
    and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
    and who are devious in their ways.
16  So you will be delivered from the forbidden[a] woman,
    from the adulteress[b] with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
    and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
    and her paths to the departed;[c]
19 none who go to her come back,
    nor do they regain the paths of life.
20  So you will walk in the way of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
    and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
    and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

Thy Strong Word - KFUO Radio.
Proverbs 2 "The Value of Wisdom"

Hosted by Rev. Will Weedon, LCMS Director of Worship and International Center Chaplain.  With guest Rev. Steven Theiss of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Columbia, IL.

Summer Reading from Concordia Publishing House

In a society where conversations about gender have too often become stale and predictable, LadyLike: Living Biblically reimagines what it means to be a Christian woman in our feminized secular society.

Radically retro, freshly old-fashioned, and powerfully submissive, Rosie Adle and Rebekah Curtis, two playful and mischievous sisters, challenge us to rethink everything we thought we knew about men and women.  Like a jolt of espresso, or a polar bear plunge, their writing enlivens the senses, helping us to see the world, as it were, for the first time.

As you may know, the book of Proverbs in the Bible contains a lot of wisdom to live by.  For example:

"Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." (17:14); 

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." (19:11)

Click here for Dr. Ronald Lehenbauer's 22 proverbs apply to any marriage.

O Wisdom, Proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
 - Antiphon for December 17

Reversing the LCMS membership decline: not just by having more children
By Joe Isenhower Jr. (joe.isenhower@lcms.org)
February 28, 2017 in NEWS, REPORTER

In 1971, the LCMS had a membership of 2,772,648. By 2010, that number was about 2,270,921, a drop of about 500,000 people. Since their peak in the late 1950s, child baptisms are down 70 percent and adult converts are down 47 percent.
In that December issue, Harrison provides six bulleted points concerning Hawley's and MacPherson's reports.  They are summarized as follows:
  • "This demographic decline is not only an LCMS problem."
  • "The retention of baptized and confirmed youth is a key area on which to focus."
  • "The [Synod's] persistent, long-term decline manifests itself both in a massive decrease in child baptisms ... and a smaller but still significant decrease in adult converts."
  • "The number of child baptisms and adult converts have decreased together in a remarkably similar pattern."
  • "Thus, there is no wedge that can be driven between openness to life (family size) and sharing life (evangelism).
  • "These reports don't only share difficult data; they also point out what the Synod does well and what strengths we can build on. ... The key here is to build a strong Lutheran self-identity among the membership."
Synod's response
For the March edition, Harrison notes six "important foci that must be taken seriously and acted upon by our pastors, laity, congregations, districts and the Synod." He adds that many in those groups "are deeply involved in this kind of work already."
Those points of focus - with comments about them from Harrison - are:
  • Evangelism and outreach. "Synod's new personal witnessing program, Every One His Witness, is heating up. Our evangelism expert, the Rev. Mark Wood, is coming and going, training people all across the Synod!" Since January 2016, 18 Every One His Witness workshops have been conducted, with 10 others scheduled through mid-April. (For more information, visit lcms.org/witness-outreach.)
  • Re-invigorating congregations. "We've produced re:Vitality for congregations to have a good look at themselves and move to a better strategic position for outreach to the community." Since January 2016, 30 "Connect to Disciple" workshops - the first module in the re:Viality program - have been conducted (lcms.org/revitalization).
  • Healthy workers. "We must all concentrate on making sure our pastors and church workers are forgiven, healthy, supported and engaged in the work of their vocations."
  • Intentional outreach to immigrant populations. "The LCMS may be overwhelmingly Anglo, but that is changing. It's changing slowly, but it is changing. The nations are at our doors. It's time to help them find a way in. Our schools and universities are gems in this regard."
  • Church planting. "Synod's Mission Field: USA church-planting manual and other resources are now available for districts and congregations to use in reaching out to the diverse communities of our nation" (lcms.org/churchplanting). Printed copies of the manual are available for $14.99 from Amazon.com.
  • Resolution of internal issues that cause conflict. "We've come a long, long way. The 2016 [LCMS] convention was unbelievably calm. Resolutions on controverted issues passed overwhelmingly. We've got a long way to go. God grant us repentance, patience and fidelity."

Resources and Bible studies on Wisdom

LifeLight: Proverbs (a group class for use with a leader) 


Do you have a suggested topic for an upcoming TLO Disciple?  Send an email to Pastor Kroonblawd by clicking here.


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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