“Higher Things” Reflection for July 20


Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 1 Samuel 3:9

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You can’t get around the fact that the Lord speaks to us through men. In the Old Testament, He spoke through the preaching of the prophets and the Scriptures written by Moses and preached by the Levites. These words pointed to the fulfillment of the promise when the Savior would come.

When the Son became man in the womb of Mary, the Lord spoke to the world through Him. Jesus, whose words are written down for us in the Gospels, told us the love of God, that by His death, our sins are forgiven, and that by His resurrection, we have conquered death.

Now the Lord still speaks to us through the witness of the prophets and the apostles in the Holy Scriptures and through the preaching and teaching of that Word by the pastors He calls.

The Lord called Samuel because He hadn’t said much to His people in a while. When the Lord is quiet, people get worried. Where did God go? What are we going to do? How can we survive on our own? Samuel was given as a prophet to Israel to comfort them with God’s Word.

Your pastor is given for the same reason. When the world troubles you, when your sins bother you, when it seems like everything declares God has left you; then your pastor is there from God Himself to tell you what is really true: Christ died for you. He rose for you. He baptized you. He forgives you. He has His body and blood for you. We need to hear those things from someone outside of ourselves. We can convince ourselves that we’re doing all right until we can’t fool ourselves any more.

But the pastors whom Jesus calls to declare His Word to us are given that by their preaching of His Word, the Holy Spirit would comfort us against all temptations to unbelief and keep us in the faith of Jesus forever. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For deep in prophets’ sacred page, And grand in poets’ winged word, Slowly in type, from age to age The nations saw their coming Lord; Till through the deep Judean night Rang out the son, “Goodwill to men!” Sung once by firstborn sons of light, It echoes now, “Goodwill!” Amen. LSB 810:2

via Higher Things : July 20, 2012 – Friday of the Sixth Week after Trinity.



Commemoration of Isaiah

Today is set aside to commemorate the Holy Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah son of Amoz is considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets and is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament prophet. His name means “Yahweh [the Lord] saves.” Isaiah prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah from about 740 B.C. to 700 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah.

Isaiah was a fierce preacher of God’s Law, condemning the sin of idolatry. He was also a comforting proclaimer of the Gospel, repeatedly emphasizing the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. For this he is sometimes called the “Evangelist of the Old Testament.” No prophet more clearly prophesied about the coming Messiah and his saving kingdom. He foretold the Messiah’s miraculous birth Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, his endless reign 2:1–5; 11:1–16, and his public ministry 61:1–3, but most notably his “Suffering Servant” role and atoning death 52:13-53:12.

The apostle John’s description of Isaiah, that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him John 12:41, is an apt summary of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry. The seraphim’s refrain of, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 6:3” during his call into the prophetic ministry Isaiah 6 is the basis of many Christian hymns and liturgical pieces.

Source: Aardvark Alley.

A collect for today from Blog of the Ninja Pastor:

Lord God heavenly Father, in the earliest days after the Fall, you immediately proclaimed to our first parents the promise one day of a savior. Through the mouth of your servant Isaiah you reaffirmed that promise and foretold His virgin birth. O Father, we thank you for sending to us your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank you that sent Him to be our own suffering servant, that all our sins and sufferings were laid upon Him. Let the words and the example of Isaiah point ever and always to Your Son Jesus Christ, that we might be given faith to receive the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation that He won for us on the wood of the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Higher Things: Four Conferences in 2012

Higher Things, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, is hosting four conferences next summer.

Registration is open for four Higher Things youth conferences next summer — June 26-29 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; July 3-6 at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo.; July 10-13 at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.; and July 17-20 at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

The theme for all four conferences is “Twelve” — calling to mind the significance of that number in scriptural references and to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Higher Things.

So what’s the significance of “Twelve”?

“The theological part of the ‘Twelve’ theme is amazingly wonderful,” said Higher Things Conference Coordinator Sandra Ostapowich. “It’s a good number from the Scripture; it’s all over the place. God likes twelves.”

Ostapowich continued that what makes next year’s conference theme “special to Higher Things is that 2012 will be our 12th year of doing Higher Things Conferences.  It’s our 12th birthday.”

“The Lord has to have twelves,” added Higher Things Conference Executive Rev. George Borghardt. “He doesn’t stop at 11. He always goes 12. Think of the tribes in the Old Testament, the apostles in the New Testament and the 144,000 in Revelation [Rev. 7:4-8, which mentions 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes]. Twelve is a huge number in the Scriptures.”

“Everything we do at Higher Things is about Christ, daring young people to be Lutheran and teaching them to receive Christ in His Word and Sacraments,” said Borghardt. “Twelve is the perfect theme for 2012 because it was the Lord’s number first.”

In case you’re wondering if a Higher Things conference is the right choice for the youth of your congregation, consider this.

“Our all-inclusive conferences are both a great value and a great opportunity,” said Higher Things President Rev. William Cwirla. “They allow the kids to spend four days together on a college campus, hang out together, make lots of friends and be immersed in great Lutheran teaching and worship. We dare the young adults of our churches to be genuinely Lutheran, and they have a great time rising to that challenge.  That has been our satisfaction over these past 12 years.”

Click here for more information on the Higher Things conferences and to register.

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