Reformation 500:
It's Still All About Jesus
(part 1)
September 2017


 
Dear Friends in Christ,

Christianity really is all about Jesus. Sound simple? That's because it is.

God's Son, Jesus Christ, is true God and true man, and the only heartbeat of our faith. He is how we know that God truly is love. He is whom the prophets speak of throughout history. He humbled himself taking on human flesh for the sake of saving us. He covers us with His victory over death. Eternal life is ours in Him.

This month's and next month's TLO Disciple are focused on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation: It's Still 
All About Jesus
.
As the church gathers for worship, it's still all about Jesus. We begin in remembrance of our Baptism in His name and into His grace. We hear the Good News of Jesus in His Word. We receive the body and blood of Jesus at His table. Lutheran worship is always and only about Jesus.

Come and worship

Pastor James L Kroonblawd
 

The most enduring symbol of the Lutheran Reformation is the seal that Luther himself designed to represent his theology. By the early 1520s, this seal begins to appear on the title page of Luther's works.
Click to read how Luther himself explained its meaning
Click for YouTube video of how Luther himself explained its meaning







2017 TLO Lutheran School Theme: It's Still All About Jesus
In keeping with the LCMS Theme of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 31, 2017, "It's 
Still 
All About Jesus
" is the theme for this year at Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran School. Lutheran schools have always been about Jesus as His story has been shared and lived in every context. This theme not only provides an opportunity to reflect on our history, it also commends us to the mission of our Lutheran School.  We commend Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran School to the Lord as we proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord.

God's fulfillment is shared in the Gospels. Jesus, born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, comes to announce and fulfill His Kingdom. Ultimately, it's about Jesus' payment for sin, His suffering and death on the cross. It's about Jesus' victory over sin, death and the devil shown to His followers and to His church through His resurrection. The Apostles' proclamation to the early church was about Jesus. We are blessed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This occasion gives opportunities to learn about the lives of reformers and the confession and history of our church. The Reformation is about Jesus. We confess and celebrate the truth of Scripture that only through Jesus is there justification. Lutheran theology in every age is all about Jesus. 

TLO opens 135th school year
September 5, 2017     |     8:30am     |     TLO Sanctuary
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran School begins its 135th school year this Fall.  Join us for chapel as we thank God for His faithfulness and ask his blessing on our school year.   Chapel throughout the year is Wednesdays at 9:15am.  Join us any time!

From Martin Luther

"The highest of all God's commands is this, that we ever hold up before our eyes the image of His dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He must daily be to our hearts the perfect mirror, in which we behold how much God loves us and how well, in His infinite goodness, as a faithful God, he has grandly cared for us in that He gave His dear Son for us. Do not let this mirror and throne of grace be torn away from before your eyes."

Martin Luther (Tappert, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, p. 116.)


The Impact of Lutheran Schools

On Sunday, Sept. 24, our new and returning faculty rededicate themselves to their teaching ministry.  We rejoice as our school welcomes our new principal, and returning and new students.  In this year of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, let us all rededicate ourselves to greater appreciation of the Gospel and greater zeal in bringing the Gospel to our students and families of the congregation, school and community.

Why does Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church support a Lutheran School?  This article explains why:

 




May 5, 2017
The LCMS currently operates 2,068 schools.  For a variety of reasons, more than 500 of our schools have been closed in the past ten years (three in SID - one elementary and two early childhood centers).  Currently, we operate 1,173 early childhood centers, 804 elementary schools, and 91 high schools.  If all of those schools closed, it would dramatically impact the lives of the students attending our schools.  About 190,000 students would be presented with the challenge of finding educational alternatives.  Many would choose public schools where the curriculum is infused with secular humanism.  Luther's prediction that "schools will provide the very gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of youth" could certainly be hastened.

 About 20,000 dedicated teachers serve Lutheran schools.  About half of those are commissioned church workers on the rosters of the LCMS.  The elimination of 20,000 contributing participants in the Concordia Health and Retirement Plan would have a significant impact for those who remain actively engaged in service to our church (both commissioned and ordained) as well as those who have retired.

In the past, Lutheran schools were often operated largely to serve the children of the local Lutheran congregation.  In some cases this is still true, but now many of our students enroll for reasons other than religious instruction that is presented throughout the day in our schools.  Many students enrolled in Lutheran schools do not have a church home and may even live outside of any relationship with Jesus Christ!  Regardless of a family's motivation for enrollment, God's Word is taught in its truth and purity every day in every classroom.  In some of our schools, students hear God's Word presented to them for the very first time.  Today, as a result, amazing evangelical opportunities abound in our schools.  Last year alone, 2,336 children were baptized as a result of the Holy Spirit working powerfully among our Lutheran teachers and their students.  A world without Lutheran schools would eliminate those potential contacts within our community.

The evangelical component of our schools represents a tremendous opportunity, but also presents a challenge to maintain our Lutheran ethos.  The need has never been greater for Lutheran teachers and administrators with the training, understanding, and ability to guide their schools through the cultural change we are facing.  At a time when we are closing schools, there is more need than ever to provide our students and families with a strong Lutheran core.  The culture of our nation is becoming more and more secular and materialistic and has moved away from even the most traditional Lutheran values presented in our schools.  Our schools identify and develop future leaders with strong core values who may influence the future of our church.  Closing our schools eliminates this dynamic opportunity for our church body and the local community.

 Without Lutheran schools, many of our congregations would grow older at a faster pace.  Our schools provide an abundant core of families with children who can potentially become engaged with their sponsoring congregation.  It is critical that a congregation be welcoming and winsome toward school families, no matter their religious affiliation or status.  At a time when many of the families using our schools are not affiliated with the LCMS, we must invest time and effort in warmly welcoming all families, whether they are church members or not.
A pastor who serves a congregation with a school has a tremendous opportunity to engage school families regardless of their religious context.  When a pastor becomes significantly engaged with a school, its students grow to know, love, and respect him - viewing him as "their" pastor.  This provides many opportunities to share Jesus' love and mercy with families in the community!

("Reprinted with permission of LCMS School Ministry", Terry Schmidt-Director of School Ministry, SID)

It's Still All About Jesus



From Martin Luther

"The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God."

Martin Luther, thesis 62



Martin Luther, the Reformation and its consequences
 
Here I Stand website contains the graphics from the Luther Exhibit that was recently displayed at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.  

Whether you missed the exhibit when it was in the Twin Cities or just want to review some of the materials, this website will re-cap for you.


"The conscience, spurred by the devil, the flesh, and the fallen world; says, 'God is your enemy. Give up in despair.'  

God, in His own Fatherly love and through His Son's grace and through His Word and through the witness of His people; says, 'I have no wrath. You are accepted in the beloved. I am not angry with you. We are reconciled!'"

Martin Luther (Luther's Works, Vol. 16, p. 214.)



"Baptism is the dew which freshens each day of our lives, the cleansing and healing rain which renews a barren landscape, the gush and flow of the irrigation canal which rescues the dying in this world's desert and gives them new life." 

Robert Kolb (Make Disciples Baptizing)

Robert A. Kolb is one of the foremost Lutheran scholars of this generation. He has taught in over 40 educational institutions throughout the world including Concordia University St. Paul. He is the author of several books on Luther and Lutheran Theology. Some of his best known works are The Genius of Luther's Theology, The Christian Faith: A Lutheran Exposition, and Martin Luther and  the Enduring Word of God.

Click for more Quotes from Robert Kolb 

It's Still All About Jesus

"We do not, as we follow Jesus, become increasingly self-sufficient. Rather, we learn, bit by bit, the art of begging from God the Father, until at our death we can do nothing but say, 'Lord Jesus, have mercy on me!'"  

John Kleinig (Grace Upon Grace)

"I have always loved music"
--Martin Luther

Martin Luther's love of music
In a tremendous article on the Reformation, Martin Luther and the Arts: Music, Poetry, and Hymns (Online Publication date: Mar 2017), Johannes Schilling writes Luther loved to sing in parts with his sons and students:

"Musicam semper amavi-I have always loved music. This is Luther's credo: music is a lifelong love. According to his own account, Luther grew up with music, perhaps with his mother's singing or local songs, but certainly with some religious hymns. Christmas carols were among them-for example, the songs "Ein Kindelein so löbelich" (A Child So Worthy) and "Sei willkommen, Herre Christ" (Be Welcome, Lord Christ). The Easter hymn "God Is Risen" was sung in his youth during the Feast of the Resurrection. When Luther took over and re-formed music from the Latin and German hymn tradition, he introduced to the evangelical church a musical tradition that persists to the present; it has remained alive in German texts and translations in other languages in church and culture.

 "'Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord all the world!  This is the beginning of the preface to the Valentin Bapst book of hymns (1545), the last to be published during Luther's lifetime. "Because God made our heart and spirit merry through his beloved Son, who was given to us to absolve us from sins, death, and the devil. Everyone who believes that earnestly cannot leave it be, he must merrily and with passion sing about it and say it thus others hear it and come along." The heart of Luther's love for music is formulated in these sentences-that the gospel, the merry news from Jesus Christ, should be spread among the people through the hymns. His songs serve that goal, and the music serves that purpose, too. It is thus that Luther explains: "the first place after theology I assign to music." 

For the full article click here:


Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation 
at Concordia St. Paul

Join  in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Oct. 28-29, 2017. The focal event for Reformation 500 is a festival worship service in the Gangelhoff Center on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4:00pm, featuring LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, drama, music, and dance. Other exciting weekend events include the Tony-award winning play Luther, a juried art show, and a display of Reformation archives.   Click for full details
 




INPUT WELCOME

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

EDITOR'S NOTE

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.
 
Calendars, volunteer information, serving groups and the like will accompany the TLO Together, on the last Wednesday of the month. Click here to subscribe to TLO Together .  This publication is also mailed upon request.
 
Soli Deo gloria



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