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Topics - Dave Likeness

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This past week  Concordia Seminary, St. Louis issued Calls to 59 Pastoral Candidates.
Also Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne issued Calls to 33 Pastoral Candidates.  This makes
a total of 92 Pastoral Candidates available to parishes in the LCMS in the Spring of 2021.

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis assigned 38 seminarians for vicarage and Concordia Seminary,
Ft Wayne assigned 32 seminarians for vicarage.  This makes a total of 70 vicars available
this year to LCMS parishes.

Your Turn / Threats To The Christian Church: External & Internal
« on: April 27, 2021, 12:30:11 PM »
Since Pentecost and the birth of the Christian Church in Acts 2,  we have seen the persecution of
the church as an external threat.  The Pharisee Saul did a good job "ravaging the church & entering
house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison" (Acts 8:3) 
Of course, the Lord had other plans for Saul who became Paul the Apostle.  He went from a great
persecutor of Christians to a great preacher of the gospel.

The internal threat to the church has always been false teachers.  The pastoral letters of Paul focus
on this threat of heresy. False teachers within the church are still with us today.  The Health & Wealth
Gospel is a heresy that is popular with many TV Evangelists.  They tell their audience that if they
have enough faith they will have good health and enough wealth to enjoy life. Obviously, this is a
false teaching. It is a cruel hoax to tell someone with terminal cancer that it could have been avoided
with a stronger faith.  Or to tell someone who was laid off their job that a bigger faith would have
prevented the job loss.

Bottom Line: In the 21st century is persecution of Christians or false teaching by Christians a bigger
threat to the church?

Your Turn / Ex-Valpo Hoops Coach Led Baylor To NCAA Title
« on: April 06, 2021, 05:26:38 AM »
Scott Drew coached Valpo Men's Basketball for one year and was an assistant to his
father, Homer Drew, for several years.  In 2003, Scott left Valpo to become the head
coach at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Now 18 years later, the Baylor Bears beat
the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 to win the NCAA Championship.

At the age of 50, Scott Drew is sitting on top of the basketball world and fulfilling a
dream that he would one day take Baylor to the Final Four.  Congrats to Scott Drew
for once again proving that nice guys can finish first.

Your Turn / Quotes From Well-Known Theologians
« on: March 14, 2021, 11:02:22 AM »
It was the late, great Dr. Fred Danker who commented about the tension in our world:

"The Church......The Cosmos......They Clash"

Your Turn / Sem. Prof. Who Impacted Your Ministry?
« on: March 04, 2021, 11:32:41 AM »
Most parish pastors usually have one or two Seminary Professors who impacted
their pastoral ministry.  You might want to share the name of that professor.

For me, it was Professor George Hoyer who taught Homiletics at Concordia, St. Louis
He made a Gospel distinction between merely reciting the facts of Christ's birth, public
ministry, death and resurrection and proclaiming the power of Christ in our dally lives.
We need to do both in our preaching from the pulpit.

Yes, the Crucified Christ forgives my sins.  The Resurrected Christ shares His victory
over death with me.  Christ strengthens my faith.  Christ speaks to me on the pages
of Holy Scripture, Christ gives me His body and blood in Holy Communion.  Christ hears
my prayers.  Christ guides my life.  Christ empowers me to do His Will

Your Turn / LCMS Board of Directors Reduces Budget By $10 Million
« on: October 10, 2020, 08:17:13 PM »
At its September meeting, the LCMS Board of Directors adopted a budget
of $59 million for the fiscal year of 2021.  The budget had been $69 million
for fiscal 2020.  Obviously the pandemic of Covid 19 has played a major
role in the reduction of the LCMS budget.   Parishes in some cases are reducing
their contributions to the Missouri Synod.

Anyone know if the ELCA is having reductions in their annual budget for 2021?

Your Turn / Speckhard: FL June The Church After Covid-19
« on: June 12, 2020, 07:12:20 PM »
Pastor Speckhard wrote an interesting and thought provoking article in the June 2020 FL

He examines possible ramifications of the shutdown for the local church & the church at large.
One of the things he mentions is "Waning Big Box Envy" as he speculates about the mega-
non-denominational churches.  He says: 'The big boxes will remain, but big box envy will wane
among traditional denominational congregations, especially those with a high view of the

In my humble opinion, the mega non-denominational churches have never attracted Christians
who had a high view of the Sacraments.  The magnet for Big Box Churches is dynamic preaching.
People who are church shopping are attracted to good preaching which proclaims Jesus Christ
as the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Faithful Lutherans are convinced that we need both the Word
and the Sacrament each Sunday and they will not join a mega church.

Your Turn / The Lutheran Urge To Merge In The 1960's
« on: March 17, 2020, 03:48:14 PM »
American Lutheran Church organized on April 22, 1960

51% of membership came from American Lutheran Church of 1930 (German heritage)
46% of membership came from Evangelical Lutheran Church (Norwegian heritage)
 3%  of membership came from United Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish heritage)

First President was Dr. Fredrick Schiotz.  There were 2,260,000 members
with 5,000 parishes and 4,500 pastors.

Lutheran Church in America organized on July 1, 1962

80% of membership came from United Lutheran Church in America (German heritage)
20% of membership came from Augustana Lutheran Church (Swedish heritage)

First President was Dr. Franklin Clark Fry.  There were 3,200,000 members
with 6,000 parishes and  7,000 pastors

Bottom Line:  In retrospect, it might have been better to halt the urge to merge
with these 2 new Lutheran Church bodies.   Hindsight tells us that the formation
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America in the 1980's was doomed to fail..

Your Turn / The Oath That Changed Dr. Martin Luther
« on: March 10, 2020, 07:39:05 PM »
On Oct. 18, 1512, at the age of 28, Martin Luther got a "Doctorate in the Bible"
Today, it might be called a Doctor of Theology. That day, Luther took a public oath
on the Bible to teach only true doctrine and identify those who taught falsehood.
He began teaching as a professor at Wittenberg University in Sept. of 1513.

Later, Luther said: "I had to accept the office of Doctor  and swear fealty to my
most beloved Holy Scripture to teach it faithfully and pure."   That oath would
sustain Luther when he faced tremendous opposition and was labeled a heretic.
That oath sustained Luther when he doubted he should be teaching the message
of law and gospel as it related to Christ.

Many of us on this forum have a Master of Divinity degree.  Yet how many of us
took our ordination vows seriously to the extent that we both teach only true

Obviously, none of us have received a death sentence from the Pope, yet it amazes
me that Luther had such zeal & commitment to Jesus Christ.  He was ready  to defend
the truth of the gospel message even if it meant his death.

Your Turn / Benefits Of Sports For High School Boys & Girls
« on: February 03, 2020, 09:33:05 PM »
As parish pastors many of us have high school athletes in our congregations.
Sports can teach some life lessons that remain with them the rest of their lives.
For boys it is soccer,  football, basketball, baseball, track that they participate in.
For girls, it might be volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer, track that they enjoy.

Sports can teach physical fitness or as the Greeks called it "a sound body".  To
be in good physical shape requires conditioning and a healthy diet.  Sports also
call for mental toughness which means we never give up trying to win until the
game is over. However, there is another life lesson in team sports:  Athletes can
learn to play as a team where everyone knows their role in helping to gain a win.
Team sports discourage the idea of being a one-man show and having a self-
centered attitude.

As a pastor I enjoyed watching the high school athletes in my parish play.
When possible I went to Friday night football games and Saturday night
basketball games and would squeeze in other sports when time permitted.
 Our parish had an All-State Football player, and an All-State Girls Soccer player.
Our congregation also had many All-Conference players in the various sports.

Your Turn / Sharp Decline In LCMS Members From 2010 to 2018
« on: November 23, 2019, 03:24:54 PM »
Sharp Decline In LCMS From 2010 to 2018 In Membership is demonstrated by these figures:

2010 Baptized membership was 2,310, 235 and in 2018 it was 1,911,187
This is an 8 year loss of 399,048 members.

1970 Baptized membership was 2,788,536 and in 2010 it was 2,310,235
This is a 40 year loss of 478,301 members.

My point is that a sharp decline has been observed in the past 8 years for the LCMS.
This cannot be completely attributed to a high death rate in our parishes or the low
birth rate in our parishes.  Perhaps the high rate of parishes with no full-time pastor
and those congregations who have no intention of calling a pastor........has encouraged
some of those LCMS members to go somewhere else.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Your Turn / 5 Characteristics Of A Christian Congregation
« on: October 07, 2019, 06:43:49 PM »
According to 1 Peter 3:8, there are five elements which should characterize a Christian parish.

1. Harmony......Live in harmony with one another and share common goals
2. Sympathy.....Be responsive to the needs of others, a time to weep and a time to rejoice
3. Love............Treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ
4. Compassion..Have a tender heart which cares for others
5. Humility.......Put the interests of others  ahead of one's own interests.

Unity of heart and mind is critical for the Christian community. It comes from a common focus
on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The result is a vibrant relationship of church members
with one another.  These five elements provide the fellowship (koinonia) that is essential for a
healthy congregation. The desired outcome is not uniformity, but unanimity.

Can this become a reality in a  Christian congregation?   What are the obstacles that the Devil,
the World and our Flesh throw out to prevent a healthy parish?

Your Turn / Breakdown Of Marriage and Family in 21st Century
« on: August 30, 2019, 05:47:11 PM »
The bonds of marriage and the stability of the family are the foundations upon which
a healthy society is built. In the 21st century we have seen severe devastation to marriage
and family in America.

1. In 2000, the divorce rate was still at 50%.  The no-fault divorce law has made it easy
to break up a relationship intended to be permanent.

2. By 2012, there were 7.5 million unmarried couples (male and female) living together.
Co-habitation has become a popular way to avoid the vows of marriage.

3. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  Marriage
has become a civil right rather than a relationship instituted by God between one man and
one woman

4. In 2017, it was noted that 50% of children  were born to unwed mothers.

These facts have an impact on the Christian community as we come together and  gather
around the Word and Sacraments.  Can Christianity help to reverse these trends listed above?


Your Turn / Presidents Of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
« on: June 28, 2019, 07:14:08 PM »
Ten men have served as President of Concordia Seminary, St Louis

Dr. C.F.W. Walther 1850-1887
Dr. Franz Pieper 1887-1931
Dr. Ludwig Fuerbringer 1931-1943
Dr. Louis Sieck 1943-1952
Dr. Alfred Fuerbringer 1953-1969
Dr. John Tietjen 1969-1974
Dr. Ralph Bohlmann 1975-1981
Dr. Karl Barth 1982-1990
Dr. John Johnson 1990-2004
Dr. Dale Meyer 2005-Present

Dr. Franz Pieper was the President when Concordia Seminary relocated to the Clayton campus in 1926.
Those 72 acres became the suburban home with excellent collegiate Gothic buildings for the seminarians.
In 1992 a free standing chapel was dedicated and became the focal point of the campus

Your Turn / Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« on: May 28, 2019, 04:13:14 PM »
It is disheartening to see major church denominations approve of gay marriage.
God instituted marriage to be a union of one man and one woman.  The law of God
condemns homosexual activity such as sodomy.   Whether in the O.T. or the N.T.
sodomy is a sin.  Yet, today some denominations have even endorsed homosexual
marriage for pastors.

It is a cop-out to become antinomian and say God's grace allows homosexual marriage.
The law of God condemns all sin.  Only a repentant heart which trusts in God's grace
can be forgiven.  We as Christians still need both Law and Gospel to guide our lifestyle
and not live as though God's law is now obsolete in the 21st century.

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