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Archive for August 28th, 2018

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O Lord God, the light of the minds that know You, the life of souls that love You, and the strength of the hearts that serve You, give us strength to follow the example of Your servant Augustine of Hippo, so that knowing You we may truly love You and loving You we may fully serve You–for to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

About Augustine of Hippo, Pastor and Theologian:

Augustine was one of the greatest of the Latin Church Fathers and a significant influence in the formation of Western Christianity, including Lutheranism. Born in AD 354 in North Africa, Augustine’s early life was distinguished by exceptional advancement as a teacher of rhetoric. In his book Confessions he describes his life before his conversion to Christianity, when he was drawn into the moral laxity of the day and fathered an illegitimate son. Through the devotion of his sainted mother, Monica, and the preaching of Ambrose, bishop of Milan (AD 339-97), Augustine was converted to the Christian faith. During the great Pelagian controversies of the fifth century, Augustine emphasized the unilateral grace of God in the salvation of mankind. Bishop and theologian at Hippo in North Africa from AD 395 until his death in AD 430, Augustine was a man of great intelligence, a fierce defender of the orthodox faith, and a prolific writer. In addition to Confessions, Augustine’s book City of God had a great impact upon the Church throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer,Concordia Publishing House)

Concordia Lutheran Mission, who sponsors this blog, and your scribe here, Pastor Schroeder, want to let you know that today is the 8th Anniversary of Concordia Lutheran Mission.  We became a mission in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod after 20 or so of us left a heretical congregation here in Lexington, VA. You can read about our history:  see the tab above:  Concordia Lutheran Mission’s History. In conjunction with Pr. Keith Beasley, of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and the congregation, we began the Mission with the first Divine Service on this date, August 28th.  I was not aware at the time it was  the Commemoration of St. Augustine.  I do not think Pr. Beasley was likewise aware of today’s commemoration when he came up to preside at that first Divine Service.  The Commemoration of St. Augustine is a good one to begin a Lutheran mission and congregation.  Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk.  He taught and confessed the Biblical doctrine of the “unilateral grace of God” against the Pelagians who said you have to cooperate to be saved. As it is written:

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 4)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2)

In the bio above, St. Augustine is described as a, “fierce defender of the orthodox faith”.  I had to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America because I too defend the orthodox and evangelical faith, but I know I am no Augustine.  It’s hard to so defend when so many don’t want to hear it.  Last week, I was kind of accused as being rigid  as a Christian and a Pastor, and this from a former secret service agent!  Did that agent have to follow unbending protocols and procedures to protect the President of the United States even if the agent hates the President’s political views?  I think rigidity is important in protecting the first family, or our nation, or marriage and preaching the truth of the Scriptures.

Concordia Lutheran Mission, this little ship, founded on this date,  is floundering.  We have to move out of our rental property. Finances are tight.  Membership has not greatly increased.  I am thankful we have lasted for 8 years.  The secret service agent above is my supervisor in my part time work, which pays well, and my employer might let me go.  The reason being I was overheard lamenting the pastor who followed me in the ELCA church in town and his espousal of the LGBTQ agenda.  This was reported to my  supervisor and I was accused of the heinous sin of not being ‘inclusive’ and that I was berating transgender people.  I may have to leave this employment myself.  I do not know what is next.  I pray the Lord lead us as He has.  Please pray for Concordia Lutheran Mission, myself as Pastor in the Church, my wife (the organist here!) and the Church in these dark days. 

We turn to You, the Lord our God and as best as we can give we give You thanks.  We beseech You that in Your goodness You will hear our prayers and by Your power:  drive evil from our thoughts and actions, increase our faith, guide our minds, grant us Your holy inspirations, and bring us to joy without end through Your Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

(A prayer adapted from a benediction by which St. Augustine ended at least two of his sermons)

 

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