So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

  • Reflections on Church Life

    July 18, 2019

    Over vacation, I almost finished a book by Dr. David Scaer, entitled “Surviving the Storms: Memoirs of David P. Scaer.”

    You have to know Dr. Scaer; he’s a New Yorker. While I did not attend the seminary in Ft. Wayne, I’ve read numerous articles and books by him, listened to many lectures at the annual symposia, and attended one summer extension class in New Mexico.

    What is he like?

    You better not be too hung up on yourself, who you are. He senses it right away and will poke you, even offend you.

    I suspect he does this in the classroom at Ft. Wayne. It’s preparation for life as a pastor. If you can’t handle a bit of poking or even a jab as a student, how will you handle life in the parish. While a pastor needs to own deep compassion—as our Lord—he needs to be non-defensive. He needs to be able to take a jab without taking offense.

    Thus, God has used Dr. Scaer for many decades to prep men for the ministry.

    The book’s title reflects a rather tumultuous life as a seminary professor. The challenges of not only being a Christian but a strong-willed professor amidst other strong-willed professors and, the life of a seminary that attempted to be strong in doctrine and life, in the middle of politics and maneuvers, some of good will and some not, that’s a challenge…a storm.

    As I read, I pondered about life in the Church, generally, as an individual pastor and a Christian. Life is a struggle of faith, where one tries to be faithful, honest and forthright, doing what one thinks is best, and going forward. Christians get mad at each other.

    Christians don’t always have the best of intentions, even though strongly convinced.

    Paul and Barnabas disagreed over John Mark, Paul not wanting to take him. A “sharp disagreement” resulted (Acts 15:39). This week, our Missouri Synod meets in convention in Florida; there are going to be disagreements.

    United in Christ’s doctrine and going by His Word alone does not mean the Church has no fractures. Think of congregational life and, your own life.

    This simply magnifies the marvelous mercy and determination of the Savior. “I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her,” (Matt. 16:18). Notice who builds and how kindly Jesus says that the Church is His, such comfort. I would have thought He’d run the opposite direction.

    To the outsider—and those inside—the Church ever looks broken and weak. But her Savior is there forgiving sinners. And, surprise, surprise, using feeble pastors, professors and laypeople to be salt and light to a dark world.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • Soul Quenching

    July 27, 2019

    How’s your soul hydration?

    We’re into the drought of summer. How different, Iowa, from this past Spring!

    One of my neighbors keeps his grass well-watered.

    Another told me, “Randy, I just let the grass turn brown. When it rains in September, it all comes back.” Right now, I’m following the no water approach.

    A water-deprived soul, though, is very dangerous.

    Psalm 32 likely is King David’s description of his time of unrepentance, when he had committed adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11); He also murdered her husband.David’s soul was dry, spiritually dry: “My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer,” (v. 4). In the prior verse, he describes his unrepentance as keeping silent, even causing his bones to waste away, (v. 3). He was not a happy camper! And, he would not confess his sins to God but covered them up.

    Outwardly, he did his kingly duties. Oh, he may have been moody or more quick-tempered, but, you know, he’s the king, perhaps were his servants’ words.

    No, this is not the case at all. His keeping silent, not confessing his sin to God, made him this way.

    In verse 8, David says this all ended when he “acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity.”

    God had sent Nathan the prophet to confront David, to accuse him of his sin and to water his soul with the mercy and forgiveness of God.

    See the words. “You are the man,” Nathan says. David says, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And, then Nathan’s speaking of God’s forgiveness, “The LORD also has put away your sin.” (see 2 Samuel 12:13 f.).

    I plan on using the no-water approach for my lawn.As for your soul, don’t go by the same plan.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran