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Contents T A B L E O F

Volume 18/Number 3 • Fall 2018

Special Features 4 Faces of the Old Adam

By Rev. Aaron T. Fenker This side of heaven there will be no end to the battle with our flesh, AKA our Old Adam. Even though we are new creations through our Baptism into Christ Jesus, Rev. Fenker explains that it’s wise to get to know Old Adam’s many faces.

6 The Lord’s Good Use of You

By Rev. Brent W. Kuhlman What role do the Ten Commandments play in your life as a believer? Why, to love your Lord and serve and love your neighbor, of course—all possible, according to Rev. Kuhlman, because you are holy in Christ and He promises to bless others through you.

8 Sex, Sexuality, and Baptism

By Sandra Ostapowich We’re being bombarded with a social agenda that continues to blur the lines between male and female, resulting in grave consequences. Sandra reminds us that while the male/ female distinction is vital, our identity as the baptized must be primary.

10 Rise! Kill! Eat! Live!

By Rev. Joel Fritsche Sounds like a blueprint for life…really, it does! Check out Rev. Fritsche’s treatment of Peter’s “come to Jesus” moment on a rooftop in Joppa. It’s not just about food!

12 More Than Pizza and Lock-ins: Building a Youth Program

By Crysten Sanchez When you combine her experience in working with youth at her church and her years of service with Higher Things, you’ll greatly benefit from Crysten’s insights into establishing a new youth program or revamping your current one.

14 Sanctified 2018 Retrospective Photo Spread 20 All About Angels

By Rev. Chris Hall There are a number of movies and TV shows throughout the years that have been dedicated to the subject of angels… most of them being purely fiction. How much of what we hear in popular culture is accurate about these mysterious creatures in service to God? Rev. Hall lays out a solid introduction.

22 Reaching Out to Differently Abled Peers By Deaconess Sarah Gaffney Deaconess Sarah encourages us to reach out to those with disabilities wherever we may encounter them. And the best way to do that is to break the ice with a “hello!” and proceed, fueled by the Gospel.

HigherThings

®

Volume 18/Number 3/Fall 2018 Bible Studies for these articles can be found at: higherthings.org/ magazine/biblestudies.html Executive Editor

Katie Hill Art Director

Steve Blakey Editorial Associates

Rev. Greg Alms Rev. Paul Beisel Rev. Gaven Mize Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard Copy Editors

Kay Maiwald Dana Niemi Bible Study Authors

Rev. Jacob Ehrhard Rev. Sam Schuldheisz Joshua Ulm ___________ Board of Directors President

Rev. George F. Borghardt

Regular Features

Vice-President

28 Catechism: Liturgical Catechesis: Gloria in Excelsis

Mr. Eric Maiwald

By Rev. William M. Cwirla Christmas carols might come to mind, but the Gloria in Excelsis is a vital part of each Divine Service. Rev. Cwirla demonstrates how perfectly the Gloria shines the spotlight on this high, exalted God we worship who came down amongst us in all humility to die and rise as the Lamb of God.

30 Bible Study: Gloria in Excelsis

Be sure to check out this sample of one of our student Bible studies which links up with Rev. William M. Cwirla’s article on P. 28.

Rev. Duane Bamsch Treasurer

Secretary

Rev. Joel Fritsche Deaconess Ellie Corrow Rev. D. Carl Fickenscher Mr. Bob Myers Rev. Chris Rosebrough Mr. Kurt Winrich ___________

Executive Council Deputy Executive/ Conference and Retreats

Sandra Ostapowich Media Executive

Rev. Aaron Fenker Business Executive

Connie Brammeier Development Executive

Erica Jacoby

Marketing Executive

Patrick Sturdivant Higher Things® Magazine ISSN 1539-8455 is published quarterly by Higher Things, Inc., PO Box 156, Sheridan, WY 82801. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the executive editor of Higher Things Magazine. Copyright 2018. Higher Things® is registered trademarks of Higher Things Inc.; All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States. Postage paid at St. Louis, Missouri. For subscription information and questions, call 1-888-4826630, then press 4, or e-mail subscriptions@higherthings.org. (This phone number is only used for subscription queries.) For letters to the editor, write letters@higher things.org. Writers may submit manuscripts to: submissions@ higherthings.org. Please check higherthings.org/magazine/ writers.html for writers’ guidelines and theme lists.

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Faces of the

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Old Adam

e’s familiar. You know him all too well. And that’s a bad thing— deadly, hell-worthy, even! Sounds bad, and it is! Evil, wicked, nothing good there—that’s your flesh, your Old Adam.

We hear about him a lot. When your pastor preaches or teaches, you may hear him talk about your flesh which is at war with the Spirit, your old man who’s against your new man, your Old Adam who’s opposed to Christ Jesus. But it’s not just your pastor saying that. That’s what the Holy Spirit says through Paul: “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

But what does your Old Adam look like? He’s familiar, so you’d think you could spot him from a mile away, but that’s not always the case. In fact, there are some misconceptions about what your flesh will do and what your Old Adam actually looks like. So let’s take a look at some different Old Adam masks that he uses to present himself. The first Old Adam is the one we hear about the most, the one we’re most aware of. He’s what you could call “Frat Boy” Adam. He lives however he

By Rev. Aaron T. Fenker

wants, does whatever he wants. He’s a party animal. He sins and sins and sins some more. He doesn’t care what he does as long as he likes it and as long as it feels good. “The works of the flesh are evident: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, drunkenness, rivalries” (Galatians 5:19, 21). Sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll are this Old Adam’s favorites. He can sin, sin, sin. He could also be lazy, lazy, lazy. Again, do whatever he wants. He’ll trick you into thinking that you can do whatever you want because you’ll just be forgiven for it on Sunday. But that naturally leads us to another Old Adam. The second Old Adam is the super pious one. He’s “Pharisee” Old Adam. He


knows how to act in church. He knows how to fold his hands just right, say the perfect prayers, sing the hymns. He can even like genuflecting, organs, liturgy, and vestments, or maybe he’s not that “enlightened.” Perhaps his being against those things is what makes him even more pious. He thinks his church attendance fixes his sin problem. Think about the Pharisee’s prayer from Jesus’ parable: “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I posses.” (Luke 18:11–12). But “Pharisee” Old Adam’s prayers, praises, worship are directed at himself and how he in his own mind measures up, religiously speaking, compared to others. The next Old Adam is a close cousin of the “Pharisee” Old Adam. This one is the “Simon Cowell” Old Adam. He’s judge-y like “Pharisee” Old Adam, but it’s not just religious stuff with “Simon Cowell.” It can be anything: dressing the right way, not saying bad things, living better than others, being a better student, sister, friend, brother, parent, worker, whatever! “The works of the flesh are evident: hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissension.” (Galatians 5:20). The final Old Adam is the project master, the gym member, the gold medalist. “Olympic Athlete” Old Adam always has a project. Sure, he wants the medal, but he’s more concerned about doing better: party less, drink less, be more kind, and he’ll do it all on his own! No Jesus required. A lot of the time he’ll start with Jesus, but he’s got to close the deal. “Deeds not creeds,” after all. “I can go off on my own now. I don’t need more Jesus,” he thinks (He really comes out during Lent and Advent.) “As long as I’m a nice person, I’ll achieve the ultimate prize: eternal life.” No matter which Old Adam we encounter, the result is the same. St. Paul warns you and me that “those who

practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21). Death and hell are what Old Adam deserves. In fact, all these Old Adams have one thing in common. They’re all curved inward on themselves. Whether it’s pleasure, piety, or project, Old Adam’s chief concern is #1. He’s selfish, and he doesn’t just try to sin you into hell, he’ll also get you there by being churchy or doing good. But all these Old Adams have something else in common, and this really helps you figure out what your

Old Adam looks like. It’s you. That’s right: you. If you want to know what your Old Adam looks like, just look in the mirror or take a selfie. Your Old Adam is you. Don’t forget that. He deludes us into thinking that Old Adam is like Hitler or Darth Maul or Thanos. But he’s not. The worst part is your Old Adam isn’t just “Frat Boy” or “Pharisee” or “Simon Cowell” or “Olympic Medalist.” No, your Old Adam is a specific cocktail of all of them. Mine is, too. Your flesh acts out with a unique combination of sinning, churchiness, judge-y-ness, and doing

better. The result of it all is separation from Jesus—hell. But that’s you all on your own, and the truth is that you’re not on your own. You aren’t just Old Adam. You’re also a new creation since you’ve been baptized into Christ Jesus. “I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (New Man). But I see another law in my members (flesh/Old Adam), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:22). When you look in the mirror, you really do see your flesh/ your Old Adam. So how do you see and trust that he’s not going to take you all the way to hell? Your Baptism says that Jesus’ death and resurrection to new life are yours. Your Old Adam doesn’t define you—not in Jesus. It’s not just Baptism that says that—the Absolution does, too. Jesus’ real Body and Blood that you eat and drink say that you are redeemed, forgiven, and that your body will be raised to perfect eternal life on the Last Day. Yeah, you can clearly see your Old Adam, his works, and his ways. But “thank God— through Jesus Christ our Lord! There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 7:25, 8:1). And as baptized children of God, we can confidently proclaim:“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, Kansas. He is the media executive for Higher Things. He was featured as a plenary speaker at the Sanctified 2018 Kansas conference.

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The Lord’s By Rev. Brent W. Kuhlman

Y

ou, the baptized, are HOLY and royal (1 Peter 2:5, 9)—holied with Christ’s righteousness in that sweet swap of His taking all your sin as He atoned for and died for you on that Good Friday cross (2 Corinthians 5:21) and then buried it in the black hole of His tomb. Now the Holy Spirit rolls up His sleeves and goes to work on you and FOR YOU by delivering through the Word and Sacraments what Jesus achieved and won in His very good Good Friday dying. Martin Luther faithfully preached it this way: “the Holy Spirit effects our being holy through the following: the community of saints or Christian church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting” (The Small Catechism, Third Article). Through the Gospel word of Baptism, Absolution, preaching, the Lord’s Supper and the consolation and conversation of the brethren, Jesus bestows His holiness on you. His holiness counts FOR YOU before God. Faith, of course, which is the divine miraculous new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) trusts this to be true according to Christ’s promise.

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So now what? Glad you asked. Really I am! The Lord has good use of you, His holy people. He gives you holy work to do. You want to do that, don’t you? Of course you do! However, I give you fair warning. What God expects you to do and enables you to do via the power of the Gospel as His holy one may just blow your mind. Let’s get started. For the sake of the discussion I will focus on six of the Commandments as the beginning template for our learning. Yes, that’s right! I go to the Commandments! After all, the Ten Commandments, while they don’t save anyone, are “the most salutary doctrine of life” (Heidelberg Disputation, #1). With the Commandments there is holy work and holy living— the most salutary doctrine of life—in relationship to God (First through Third Commandments) and in connection to others (Fourth through Tenth Commandments).


Good Use of You Please note that for such activities and livelihood to be holy they must be done according to God’s Word, not yours. After all,“God’s Word is the treasure that makes everything holy… all our life and work must be based on God’s Word if they are to be God-pleasing or holy,” Luther tells us in the Small Catechism. That bears repeating. I’ll let Luther, who learned all this from Jesus (John 15:3; 17:17), nail it again:“When we seriously ponder the Word, hear it, and put it to use, such is its power that it never departs without fruit. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure and devotion and it constantly creates clean hearts and minds. For this Word is not idle or dead, but effective and living,” Magnificent! Love for God The most important holy work, of course, is faith! It is faith in the Triune God who promises to be God FOR YOU: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He created you in order to redeem you and to sanctify you. This is precisely why the First Commandment categorically declares: “You shall have no other gods.” Since you are one of God’s hangers-on, your heart looks to the Triune God for all good and clings to Him in every need. Then you, the faith-er, the trust-er, use God’s holy Name properly with your mouth for prayer, praise and thanksgiving (Second Commandment). No wonder Jesus teaches you to pray: “hallowed by Thy name.” Second Commandment work is holy work that you do as God’s holy one. Then your ears are eager to hold God’s Word sacred by gladly hearing and learning it (Third Commandment). Once again this is holy work—holy living because it is done according to God’s Word and it is done in faith! Love for Neighbor Then there is holy work and living in your relationship to others (Fourth through Tenth Commandments) that flow from the fear, love and trust in God above all things (First Commandment). Let’s not forget: faith in Jesus is the gift you are given that saves and holies you before God. Now Jesus will have good use for you, his faith-er, in this world as His hands and mouth, as you live sacrificially for the sake of the neighbor (Romans 12). Like Jesus, you will live not to be served but to serve. In the Bible this is spelled: L-O-V-E. Love, of course, doesn’t save you. However, love is also a gift that flows from faith and serves others simply because they need your sacrificial service of love. It is what you, the baptized believer, want to do and delight in doing (Psalm 119:35). The holy work and living before the parental units and other authorities is to honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them as God’s representatives (Fourth Commandment). You want to use God’s gift of authority

(parental / civil) properly so that horizontal relationships in life go well. Martin Luther says that you, the faith-er can say,“‘If I am to do good and holy works, I know of none better than to give honor and obedience to my parents, for God himself has commanded it ” (The Small Catechism, Fourth Commandment). In the Fifth Commandment, the gift of holy work is the protection of life from its beginning until its end. You live to enhance the life of others. You will not hurt or harm your neighbor in his body. Among the many positive ways of defending life is to pray for the protection of the unborn, pray for the repentance of those in authority that will not protect the unborn and to work for the repealing of Roe v. Wade. Another avenue is to provide help for a friend or classmate that has the unhealthy desire to hurt himself, abuse his body with alcohol and/or drugs, or take his own life. From the Sixth Commandment comes the holy work of your leading a sexually pure and decent life in what you say and do. That means that the gift of intimacy between a man and a woman is to be enjoyed, but only in the estate of holy marriage (Genesis 2:39). Holy marriage is to be held in honor and the marriage bed is to be kept pure (Hebrews 13:4). You are to do nothing that would adulterate marriage. After all, adultery is not adult. It is childish, selfish and self-serving. So when you live as husband or wife, you are to love and honor your spouse. You are to live sacrificially for the other. You are to serve the other (Ephesians 5:21-33). It’s All Gift To have the Triune God by faith (First Commandment) is to have every good gift from Him in the way He wants to give it and the way He wants it to be beneficially used: Name, Word, authority, life, marriage, and sex (Second through Sixth Commandments). I’ll bet you can guess the rest. Yes, that’s right, property, reputation and contentment (Seventh through Tenth). Very good! I hope I have whetted your appetite for more. You are holy in Christ. You live outside yourself through faith in Jesus. That is salvific. In the meantime, the Lord has given you work to do in this life and world as His holy one for the sake of others. It is holy work because it is done in faith according to God’s Word. You are given to live outside yourself for the sake of your neighbor. The Lord will bless it and through you He will bless others. He has good use of you! Happy working! Happy living! Rev. Brent W. Kuhlman is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Murdock, Nebraska. He was also a plenary speaker at the Higher Things Sanctified 2018 Illinois conference.

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Sex, Sexuality, By Sandra Ostapowich

ur culture today is saturated with sexuality. Sexuality has become all about who you love, or at least lust after. Whether it’s the idea that affirmative consent is the only boundary placed on sexuality, or that sexuality should be tied up completely in heterosexual marriage, which people ideally enter into soon after puberty, following traditional sex roles to form nuclear families with as many children as possible, or singles being encouraged to cultivate an often idolatrous desire for a spouse who will end all their loneliness… it’s all still an inappropriate emphasis on sexuality for faithful Christians. And instead of resisting this superficial worldview, churches often just repeat it using spiritual terms.

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As if that weren’t enough, our culture now demands that we also identify ourselves according to our sexuality. People even introduce themselves with an assortment of new terminology and combinations of genders, orientations, preferences, and pronouns. It’s overwhelming! When it comes to questions of identity, as Christians we’ve been given the gift of having that all settled for us, so our first answer is always, “I am baptized.” What does this mean, though? To paraphrase Galatians 3:28, it means that in Christ, there is no Jew, no Greek, no Italian, no Kenyan, no Japanese. In Christ, there is neither slave, free, employer, employee, rich, poor, haves, or have-nots. No “in” crowd, no “out” crowd. In Christ, there is no male or female, gay or straight, cis or trans. Either you are in Christ…or you are not. The labels based on external differences we apply to ourselves and others are

not to be our primary identities. We, who are baptized, are all in Christ. That’s not just our primary identity, it is the only identity that ultimately and eternally matters. Galatians 3:28 is often misused to say that gender differences don’t matter. Ironically, all the sexuality talk in our society makes it clear that gender differences DO matter. A lot. We just want to be the ones to define and express our sexuality, and to define our gender. But there’s no getting around the fact that God created binary sexes for humanity and set apart heterosexual marriage to be the basis for community and procreation. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. Every cell in our bodies, every action we take, every thought we think, every relationship we have in this life is tainted in one way or another by sin. We all get sick, we are all born with various defects and diseases, or we eventually develop them later

in life. We all do things we shouldn’t and don’t do things we should. And ultimately we all die. But your sins, no matter what they are, do not define you. You have a new identity. You are baptized! You have died and been raised again in Christ through Baptism. But our old nature still clings to us as long as we live on this side of Christ’s return and we will not be completely free of it until Jesus returns or we die, whichever happens first. So daily, remember your Baptism and put to death your sinful nature and the things it tempts you to do. How do we do that? Not just by not-giving-in to those temptations, but also by not-dwelling-in those sins when our weakness caves to them. Like when you are trying to eat in a more healthy manner...right up until you pass by that box of delicious and irresistible doughnuts. Don’t throw up your hands and say, “Well, I’ve blown it now, I might as well forget about my diet until next week and load up on the junk in the meantime.” Run the other direction from that kind of thinking! Confess your sin and hear once again who you are in Christ and that He gave His own life to forgive that sin… and you, the sinner. The world would have us divide ourselves according to our sexual desires, not even by our genetics or genitalia, but rather by how we subjectively feel about that. And if we feel like we don’t fit the accepted mold for our genetic gender, it must mean that we should just live as though we were the opposite gender. And if we feel romantically or sexually attracted to one type of person or another (or both, or neither), we should go wherever our


and desires take us. But that’s not life, that’s continuing in slavery to your sin. Because you are baptized, because you have been given new life, because you are free from slavery to your old sins and sinful ways, you don’t just go back and live like none of that ever happened! You are baptized. You are different now. You have been changed. In case you didn’t know, freedom in Christ means that you are NOT free to sin. You are NOT free to fornicate. You are NOT free to engage in acts of homosexuality or acts of unmarried heterosexuality. You are NOT free to despise that you were conceived male or female—or despise whatever gift God has hidden for you if you were born with more ambiguous genes or hormones. Maybe once you didn’t know that you shouldn’t do those things, but now you know. You’ve read it here if nothing else. I don’t write this to put down or shame anyone. Lord knows I’ve got my own temptations and sins (just like everyone else walking the planet). I’m addressing this so I can also tell you that, in Christ, you are FREE from all that kind of thinking and living. In Christ, you have become obedient to God’s ways, even in your heart. In Christ, because you have been set free and been given His righteousness before God, you now not only know a better way, you want to do it. Your conscience is not going to be at rest when you don’t. It’s going to bother you. Maybe it already does, in which case, you have been given a pastor who will be happy to talk to you about Individual Confession and Absolution. Don’t put on those same old clothes, don’t go out to the same old haunts.

Don’t hang out with people who just put temptation in front of you and drag you into the same old world where you used to live. Don’t give in to those desires that seem so right and fulfilling but that you know aren’t who you are in Christ. Seek out the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2). Seek out people who will tell you again (and again, and again, and again) who you are in Christ. Be where God’s Word is faithfully preached. Put yourself where you can regularly receive the medicine you need for your soul, and the strength to continue to put that Old Adam to death and live who you are as the baptized. That being said, it is difficult to live faithfully as a sexual being, whether celibate or married. We talk about celibacy as this horrible thing, the “leftover” option when you find yourself evidently not marriage material or happen to have your sexuality affected by sin in such a way that heterosexual marriage isn’t really something that even interests you. That’s not celibacy, or rather it shouldn’t be. We’ve so sexualized every relationship and every interaction with people that it’s made it seem like marriage is the only way you aren’t relegated to a lifetime of loneliness. That is also not the way God has laid it out for us in Scripture. Increasingly, the only loving relationship we can imagine with longterm obligations to another person is marriage. This is true both for the right and for the left, conservative and liberal, gay and straight. We’ve so bound love to marriage, it only makes sense that many people believe

denying a person marriage denies them access to love. That is a sad way of thinking, indeed. The Gospel quite explicitly teaches, however, that the highest love is not found only in marriage, but also in selfsacrificial friendship: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Our inability to consider this kind of friendship as the Christian’s primary relationship of love (regardless of marital status) exposes the lifelessness with which many of us understand the Gospel. We are the baptized. We want to treat each other better, we should treat each other better, and we are free to treat each other better. Our identity as the baptized makes us all equal before Christ. Our freedom as the baptized frees us from slavery to our sexual sins as well as backbiting, pointing out faults, anger, dissension, strife, rubbing things in, shunning others, etc. Our new lives allow us to put others before ourselves, showing kindness and compassion even to those we don’t think deserve it. And the love we have been shown by Christ, we can shower wastefully on others… like spending someone else’s money—not to condone anyone’s sins, but to build each other up as the fellow baptized. Sandra Ostapowich is the conference executive and deputy executive for Higher Things. She is a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Plano, Texas. This article is based on her breakout topic featured at the Sanctified 2018 conferences.

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Rise! Kill! Eat!

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Live! By Rev. Joel Fritsche


The “Great Sheet” of St Peter’s vision. St Matthias, Malvern, UK. Detail of stained glass by Burlison & Grylls, 1906. Photo: Peter Moore

If you have attended

Higher Things conferences how would you rate the food? Honestly, based on my past 12 years or so of HT conferences, I think the good meals have outnumbered the bad ones. But I’ve seen some things. And those bad meals really stick with you, in more ways than one. Some foods aren’t even identifiable. You go to bed after Compline so hungry that you wake up an hour later and it’s like Peter’s vision from Acts 10:“Rise. Kill and eat!” Watch out, roommate!!!

In Acts 10 we encounter Simon Peter in a place called Joppa, where he had raised Dorcas from the dead. Dorcas, also known as Tabitha, was a woman full of good works and acts of charity. Peter stayed in Joppa for a while and then journeyed on to Caesarea. As he neared the city, he was hungry. The veggie pizza was in the oven but not yet ready. And you know how when you’re hungry, you start dreaming about food? Maybe a juicy bacon cheeseburger! But Peter probably wasn’t thinking about bacon. He was a Jew. Some things the Lord considered clean and good for food, others not. No pork. No bacon. No ham. No ostrich burgers. No alligator on a stick. No frog legs. No candied grasshoppers. No crawfish for Louisianaborn HT President, Pastor Borghardt! Peter fell into a trance. He saw the heavens opened and a great sheet being let down, with all kinds of unclean animals—animals not fit for food, like reptiles and birds that peck on rotting flesh. “Rise! Kill! Eat!” said a voice. Yikes! But Peter reacts like a faithful Jew. “Never! I am NOT eating that stuff!” Come on, Peter. Rise! Kill! Eat! What’s the big deal? It’s true, some of the unclean foods just weren’t good for you. They were nasty critters you just wouldn’t want to put in your tummy, especially after you knew how they lived and what THEY put in their tummies. But we really get to the heart of things in Leviticus 20. Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob redeemed His people from bondage in Egypt. He brought them to Himself to be His holy people. He was leading them to the promised land where He would dwell

with them and they would represent Him before the Gentile nations. “You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Leviticus 20:26). God desires to have His own people, set apart from all others. You see, holiness isn’t some moral quality that we muster up ourselves by our good works. God gave Israel His Law, which included all of His rules and statutes that would show that they were different from the Gentiles. They didn’t live the way the Gentiles lived or do the things the Gentiles did. Consequently, they didn’t eat the things the Gentiles ate. But obeying rules and abstaining from foods isn’t what made them holy. Holiness is received from God. That was the reason for all the Old Testament sacrifices, so that Israel could be in the presence of God and live. Rise! Kill! Eat! Back to the vision. Three times Peter hears the voice telling him to eat. “What God has made clean, do not call common,” or unclean (Acts 10:15). Remember what Jesus Himself said? “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him” (Mark 7:15). God isn’t angry that you had lobster tail and baby back ribs last night. But He does know your heart, what truly defiles you: your thoughts—not of a juicy pork chop, but your sinful, adulterous, covetous, idolatrous thoughts and desires. It’s who you are, conceived and born in sin. For you it’s not “rise, kill, and eat,” that you’re thinking. It’s “rise, kill, and take. Give me what I want. Let me be me. Let me say what’s what for me.

Let me be the god!” REPENT, lest God vomit you out! God desires to have a holy people for Himself. He desires to have YOU— not to control you or boss you around, but to love and care for you. He wants to love and care for your neighbor through you. He created Adam and Eve for this very purpose. After they rebelled against Him in sin, He promised a Savior. Nothing will stop God from having His holy people for Himself. Rise! Kill! Eat! God rattled Peter’s cage. At first, he was confused, but suddenly it all became clear. God sent him to a God-fearing Gentile named Cornelius and what did Peter do? He preached Jesus. God shows no partiality. He sent JESUS, who preached and healed. He wasn’t afraid of what was unclean or what defiles. Jesus went to those oppressed by the devil to declare them clean, whole, holy. He did more than that. He went to the cross, where your Lord Jesus confronted what truly defiles you: sin, death, and the devil. He took all that is unholy and unclean upon Himself: all your sins, your idolatry, your adultery, and your covetousness. He died. He rose. And now He declares you clean, holy, righteous in Him. Peter said,“To him all the prophets bear witness that EVERYONE who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43). That means that through faith in Christ, your sins are forgiven. So…RISE! Live in your Baptism every day! KILL! Put to death the Old Adam within through daily repentance and faith in Christ. EAT! Feast on Jesus, God’s Holy Son. Eat His Body. Drink His Blood. Receive the forgiveness of your sins, eternal life, and salvation. Walk in God’s statutes and rules, not to make yourself holy or holier, but because in Christ, you are holy, set apart as His people. RISE! KILL! EAT! LIVE! Rev. Fritsche serves as an LCMS missionary in the Dominican Republic and is the board secretary for Higher Things. His article is taken from his Higher Things Sanctified 2018 sermon based on Leviticus 20:22-26 and Acts 10:9-16, 34-48.

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More Than Pizza and Lock-ins:

Building a Youth Building or sustaining a youth program.

Seems like a huge job, right? You have to consider all of the plans that go into each event and make your schedule open to actually be at all of those events, not to mention get to know and invest yourself in the lives of multiple different youth. Big job—but oh, so rewarding. And when you start to break down some of the important things to know about it all, it seems just a little more manageable.

Navigating Today’s Demographics The first thing to consider is the generation of kids that you’ll be working with. All of your youth will now fall solidly within Generation Z. The kids in this generation were born around 2000 and after. One of the biggest touchstones of this generation is their comfort with technology and all it can do. It’s commonplace

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for a 10-year-old to be walking around with an iPhone that is just a generation or two behind, knowing how to use every aspect of it confidently. And with that technology comes information. They have access to any information they could possibly want (and perhaps don’t need): the answer to any question, the ability to view all of your friends’ and frenemies’ social

media presences, and so much more. It can all be overwhelming. They are so oversaturated with information that they simply know more than any previous generation did at their age. But how do they handle it? After all, a 13-year-old now is developmentally the same as a 13-year-old from 30 years ago. How can we guide them through this? Another thing to note is that this generation does not have the same brand loyalty as generations before them. This generation, always being able to access something different and better via technology, has no qualms about moving on to something that may fit their desires a little more. How does that play out in church? How do we encourage them to realize that church isn’t just another brand, but rather the place that God has promised to deliver life and salvation, through the person and work of Jesus Christ? You can’t just move on from that.


Program So What’s the Point? Good question. Why do it? Why create programming directed towards a subset of the congregation instead of just letting them fall in line with the rest of the church? Well, the point, as always, is Jesus. The Gospel. Doing everything we can to assure them that they have rest in their Baptism. Their Baptism, which placed the Name of the Triune God on them. That Name saves them from sin, death. and the devil. So how do we do that? Managing the Logistics Something to think about when beginning to put a program in place is how you’ll be treating the youth you’re working with. I borrow the following principle from a previous Higher Things president, Rev. Klemet Preus. He used to say that Americans today worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship. So let’s put those pieces back where they belong. When it comes time to worship with your youth, do so as Lutherans. Worship with historic Christianity unashamedly. Don’t think that you need to make worship into something bigger and better, but rather allow it to be as wonderful as it can be on its own: the deliverance of life and salvation through the Sacraments in which God has promised these things. I don’t think that needs to be made any more wonderful! As for work, when it’s time to work, work hard. And here I’m specifically speaking about the Bible study for youth group. Challenge them. These kids are taking AP courses. They’re in college classes as high schoolers. They’re smart. If we approach them with watered-down theology because we don’t think they can handle the tough stuff, the only thing we’ll be doing is causing them to lose respect for us. And also,

By Crysten Sanchez

we aren’t preparing them for the battle that rages against them amongst their peers and teachers. So raise the bar. If you do, they’ll jump up to meet it. If you lower that bar, they’ll rest comfortably where you put it. And when it comes time to play, play with them and let that be sufficient. Go bowling without making it an object lesson about how the pins are sins, and the bowling ball is the Holy Spirit, and we just need to knock down our sins with that assistance. How about we just bowl and have some fun! Play spoons or laser tag. Genuinely enjoy being in their company. Because that’s another thing. They’ll be able to see through you if you don’t actually want to be there with them. Enjoy your time and let it show! As you implement an actual program, remember that consistency is important. For example, always have two youth nights and an event in a month and follow a similar schedule throughout the year. Something consistent will become part of the rhythm of the church’s life together, as well as the families’ lives. It may take a couple of years (yes, years!) for this to embed itself into the church’s life, but once it does it becomes sustainable in a delightful, fulfilling way. Another thing to consider is safety. The safety of the youth as well as protecting the adult volunteers and workers is something that must be considered in today’s culture and climate. This also protects the church. If your church doesn’t already have something in place, I highly recommend putting together a child protection and safety policy. Think about health forms, adult-to-child ratios, medication logs, procedures for incidents and accidents, etc. We know this is a huge undertaking, so please feel free to use the form and

policy examples that we have at www. higherthings.org under Resources.

Back to the Point And while we strive to build a sustainable, safe, fun program, we can’t forget Jesus. We’ve been entrusted with these youth at this crucial, impressionable time in their lives. We make the most of that opportunity when we direct them back to the Divine Service, give them a firm foundation in their knowledge of Scripture and the confessions, and ultimately, send them on their way knowing where, and in Whom, their salvation lies. This needs to be peppered into everything that we do. And pray. Pray that God will work through the sinful means of the person putting that program together to strengthen the faith of the ones entrusted to you. Crysten Sanchez is the conference assistant/ coordinator for Higher Things. She is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon, Iowa. This article features content from her breakout sessions at the Sanctified 2018 conferences.

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Sanctified Sanctified 2018 HIGHER CONFERENCES 2018 HIGHERTHINGS THINGS CONFERENCES

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July 3-6, 2018

July 24-27, 2018

Carleton College Northfield, Minnesota

The University of Kansas Lawrence, Kansas

July 10-13, 2018

July 31-Aug 3, 2018

South Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois

Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, Washington


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Concordia University Wisconsin Mequon, Wisconsin

Concordia University Chicago River Forest, Illinois

Concordia University Irvine Irvine, California

July 30-August 2, 2019

In a world where youth are tempted to compromise, Higher Things is excited to announce our 2019 conferences centered on the theme of the Church and Unity.

God speaks. We receive His Words into our ears. He gives our tongues the words to say to Him and to those around us. We repeat, together, His Words back to Him. We sing them, we confess them, all agreeing together, “with one heart and voice” our confession of Jesus!

Visit

Concordia2019.org or email conferences@higherthings.org for more details.

“Let us recall that in our midst Dwells Christ, His only Son; As members of His body joined We are in Him made one.” (LSB 845, 6)

Concordia isn’t just a feeling that we are one. It’s not only something that we strive to have. We don’t sacrifice what we believe in order to be unified. True concord is always centered around the confession of Christ and Him crucified!

Concordia. It literally means “with one heart” in Latin. The Church is unified around the confession of Jesus as our Lord and Savior like a congregation singing together in many different parts but singing the same song together in perfect harmony.

“Unite my heart to fear your name that I might walk in your truth.” (Psalm 86:11)

July 16-19, 2019

July 2-5, 2019

June 26-29, 2019 Concordia University St. Paul St. Paul, Minnesota

June 24-27, 2019 Concordia University Nebraska Seward, Nebraska

2019 2019 HIGHER HIGHER THINGS THINGS CONFERENCES CONFERENCES

Concordia

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Concordia 2019 HIGHER THINGS CONFERENCES June 24-27, 2019

June 26-29, 2019

Concordia University Nebraska Seward, Nebraska

Concordia University St. Paul St. Paul, Minnesota

July 2-5, 2019

July 16-19, 2019

July 30-August 2, 2019

Concordia University Chicago River Forest, Illinois

Concordia University Wisconsin Mequon, Wisconsin

Concordia University Irvine Irvine, California

Why Higher Things? We live in a culture of blurry religious distinctions and do-it-yourself spirituality. Youth, especially, need solid ground that will nurture lasting Christian faith. Rather than treating youth as an adolescent subculture and confusing them with religious experiences that cannot be replicated at home, Higher Things believes in challenging youth to learn the pure doctrine of the Christian faith. By teaching them the same message that they hear at home, youth grow in the fullness of the Christian faith as they come to appreciate historic liturgical practice and its unique focus on God’s gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation for us delivered in Word and Sacrament.

The Theme: Concordia

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“The Word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25) “Concordia.” It literally means “with one heart” in Latin. The Church is unified around the confession of Jesus as our Lord and Savior like a congregation singing together in many different parts but singing the same song together in perfect harmony. Concordia isn’t just a feeling that we are one. It’s not only something that we strive to have. We don’t sacrifice what we believe in order to be

unified. True Concord is always centered around the confession of Christ and Him crucified! God speaks. We receive His words into our ears. He gives our tongues the words to say to Him and to those around us. We repeat, together, His Words back to Him. We sing them, we confess them, all agreeing together, “with one heart and voice” our confession of Jesus! In a world where youth are tempted to compromise, Higher Things is excited to plan our 2019 Conferences centered on the theme of the Church and Unity.

Registration Download a Registration Packet with detailed registration information and instructions at Concordia2019.org. Registration will open on November 1, 2018 and close as each site reaches capacity. We work very diligently to keep costs as low as possible while providing the best conferences we can – every year! The per-person rates below are based on the date your group’s registration fees are paid in full. Additional fees may apply for registrations and changes made on or after May 1, 2019. Balances paid on or after May 1, 2019 will incur a $25 perperson late fee. See the Registration Policies for more information about fees and deadlines.


Concordia

Concordia University - Seward, NE (June 24-27, 2019) Concordia University - St. Paul, MN (June 26-29, 2019) Concordia University - Chicago, IL (July 2-5, 2019) 2019Concordia HIGHER THINGS UniversityCONFERENCES - Mequon, WI (July 16-19, 2019) Concordia University - Irvine, CA (July 30-August 2, 2019)

Your Registration Fee includes: • All conference programming (Catechesis, Worship, Entertainment) • Three (3) nights of campus housing (double-capacity) • Nine (9) Meals (Tuesday supper through Friday lunch) • Conference Handbook • Daily Services Book • Conference T-Shirt • Free issue of Higher Things magazine Not only can you register your group online at Concordia2019.org, you can pay deposits and your balance online. Just follow the instructions on the webpage to register your group.

Age Requirements Higher Things conferences are generally planned for high-school-aged youth, but registrants may be any youth who have been confirmed prior to the conference, including middle school and college students. We recognize that the ages of confirmed youth vary from congregation to congregation, and just ask that if a group is bringing young people who are not yet confirmed or in high school, their group leaders be prepared to provide additional supervision accordingly.

EARLY BIRD! Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019

REGULAR Feb. 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019

LATE (on or after May 1, 2019)

$375

$400

$425

Chaperones Chaperones must be at least 21 years old at the time of the Conference, and approved by the Group’s pastor to serve in that role. There must be at least one (1) male Chaperone for up to every seven (7) male youth in a registered group, and at least one (1) female Chaperone for up to every seven (7) female youth in the group. There is no restriction on the number of Chaperones that may register with a group. All Chaperones and other adults in a group must complete the Registration process. If a Group needs assistance in finding Chaperones for the number of Youth they’re bringing, Higher Things can provide a list of Group Leaders from their area who may be contacted to ask if they would be willing to help out. Please contact the Conference Registrar (registrar@ higherthings.org) for this assistance. All adults/chaperones registered to attend a Higher Things conference must also pass a national criminal and sexual predator background check by May 1 of the conference calendar year. All Higher Things staff, volunteers, and leadership complete child safety training and annual background checks. See the Registration Policies for more information about background checks.

Conference Capacities The 2019 conferences in Nebraska and Minnesota each have a capacity of 400. The conference in Illinois has a capacity of 800. The conference in Wisconsin has a capacity of 1,000. And the conference in California has a capacity of 500 registrants.

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All Abou By Rev. Christopher Hall

W

hen we hear the word “angel,” all sorts of images may come to mind. Popular depictions of angels include fat babies flying with tiny wings who smile sweetly at young couples, or pretty women with wings like a dove unfurling behind them. During the season of Advent, we might think of the angel Gabriel, a more masculine version of the person in white with large wings. But usually our artistic imaginations don’t fit well with how Scripture depicts angels. In fact, even calling these supernatural invisible beings “angels” does not stay true to the bigger picture of these distinct creatures that we receive in the Word. Scripture uses many different titles and words to describe what we put under the category “angel.” Paul references “thrones, dominions, rulers” (Colossians 1:6), “authorities” (Colossians 2:15), and in the Old Testament we hear about cherubim (Exodus 25:18-20) and seraphim (Isaiah 6:1-6). A better way of describing these beings is what we confess in the Nicene Creed, calling them “invisible” creatures.The word “angel” comes from the Greek word (transliterated as “angelos” with a hard “g”) and means messenger. Likewise, in the Old Testament the Hebrew word translated “angel” also refers to a messenger.

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Learning about these invisible creatures will not only clarify our thinking and knowledge of what God’s Word actually says, but also will help us understand how God still blesses creation and how we fit into creation through our own vocations. We’ll take a closer look at the two main angelic beings featured in the Old Testament, the cherub and seraph, and then see how that plays out in the New Testament.

Cherubim The word “cherub” may have been borrowed from the Akkadian people of ancient Mesopotamia, who believed in creatures called “kerubu.” These were mythological beings with human faces, the body of a bull, and wings. It was their job to guard the throne and temple of the false gods whom the Akkadian people worshipped. As with many false gods, they are inspired by created beings and angels are no exception to

that. Of course, God reveals the truth of this in His Word, where we see the holy cherubs (or cherubim) guarding the tree of life from Adam and Eve after the Fall (Genesis 3:24). Psalm 18:10 says, “He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.” Their close presence with God is best seen in the Ark of the Covenant, where God commanded Moses to put two images of these creatures on the mercy seat, or lid, and make them so their wings touched one another. The Bible doesn’t provide any detail about their appearance until later, when Ezekiel saw a vision of them and wrote about them in detail. He saw four creatures with feet like a calf, four wings with human hands, and four faces: a man, a lion, an ox, and eagle. (Ezekiel 1:4-16). In fact, it is from this appearance that early Christians began associating those faces with the four Gospel writers. They are called tetramorphs, which now play a special role at every Higher Things summer conference. The image is also found in Revelation, where they surround Christ on His throne (Revelation 4:7). The cherubim present an alarming appearance, and this raises an important question. Is this what these beings look like in fact, or is this only how they appear to us sinful and limited people? Many Church fathers understood this appearance to be more symbolic and poetic, but we cannot know for certain until we see them face to face after our own deaths. Either way, it is clear that they point us to Christ in His glory and not to themselves.


ut Angels Seraphim Another invisible creature that was revealed in the Old Testament is the seraph. Isaiah saw seraphim (plural for seraph) attending the throne of God in his vision in Isaiah 6. When we sing the “Sanctus” before communion during the liturgy, we are singing with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, for Isaiah said he heard them calling to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3) They had multiple wings like the cherubim, but the wings covered their faces, their bodies, and their feet. They join us around the throne and direct us toward the Giver of the gifts in the Sacrament. However, there are two other places in the Old Testament that mention a seraph. In Numbers 21:6-8, the people of Israel had sinned, and “Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.” Yet the word for “fiery serpents” in Hebrew is literally “seraphim serpents.” And in verse 8, the Lord tells Moses to make “a seraph” and put it on a pole. The picture gets a little stranger when you look at Isaiah 14:29, which says, “for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder, and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.” That phrase “flying fiery serpent” in Hebrew is simply, “flying seraph.” The Bible seems to use the word “seraph” for both these heavenly creatures at God’s throne and also snakes. St. John puts all the pieces together for us when he sees the vision of Satan, appearing like a winged serpent, or dragon. “And the

great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:9). Together, these passages paint a picture of some of God’s invisible creatures appearing to humans as winged serpents, most infamously the chief fallen angel, the Devil. Based on this passage and others, we know that some of the invisible creatures rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven. We know them as demons, or devils, and their leader is Satan. Another notable fact about angels can be found in the New Testament, in the book of Acts. First century Jews believed in guardian angels, and Jesus seems to affirm this in Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” In Acts 12, an angel appeared and broke St. Peter out of prison, and he went to the home of Mary, mother of John Mark. A servant girl answered the door, and “Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed (Acts 12:14-16). This references the belief that one’s guardian angel could take on the appearance of the one they were guarding.

Scripture doesn’t answer many of the questions we may have about angels, or the invisible creatures, yet we cannot deny their role in God’s will and salvation for His people. They are part of the heavenly court, attending and accompanying God. They surround the throne of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, glorifying Him constantly. And in many places they are described as doing God’s will, announcing His Word, giving messages (angels in the strictest sense), protecting humans, and pointing us to Christ. “Are [angels] not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) Angels fascinate us. And it’s perfectly fine to be intrigued. After all, the existence of angels reminds us that God has ordered our world in such a way that His creation takes part in His care and will. As angels serve Him in various ways, so we carry out His will and act as His instruments, too. This is such a great honor, that God would choose His creatures to participate with Him as stewards of His world. Rev. Chris Hall is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His article is based on the breakout session he taught at Sanctified 2018 in Illinois.

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Reaching Out to Diffe By Deaconess Sarah Gaffney

Yo! ‘Sup? Hello! Catch someone’s eye, the wave,

the nod, the fist bump…getting someone to look at you, acknowledge your presence. Hello.

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It’s simple yet so important. What if we don’t say hello? Why is that?? Doesn’t it send a message when we don’t say hello? We’ve all been the one who someone didn’t acknowledge—at least once—and it can be painful. While we live in a time when personal interaction is decreasing (which is ironic because there is more “communication” going on than ever via social media) there is a population that is regularly ignored more than others: people with disabilities. And it takes place in all sorts of places… school, church, etc. How often have you walked right by that person at school…you know, the one who goes to class in that special room? He might look different from you. She might communicate strangely. Maybe he doesn’t say much at all. How frequently have you put your head down or looked the other way, so as to not initiate conversation? I mean it’s uncomfortable sometimes, right? Maybe we don’t speak because we’re afraid we’ll say the wrong thing. People with disabilities are just that: people. They don’t wake up one day and decide to acquire a disability. They don’t spend a long day at the mall picking out the perfect disability. The reality is this: disability happens. And when you have one, life can be a challenge. Did you choose to have blue eyes or brown ones? Did you choose to be short or tall? Did you opt to be stocky or rail thin? Of course not. You are how God made you. You are who you are. It is the same with your differently abled peers. We aren’t the only people to avoid interaction or even have negative

feelings toward the disabled. Luke 18:35-42 reads: “As [Jesus] drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ And he cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, Lord, let me recover my sight.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.’” We see in this passage that Christ has great compassion and reaches out to needy people—people who society has cast aside. From Bible times until modern day, people with disabilities have been relegated to the lowest positions in society. It is only very recently that we see the popular tide turning for such folks, especially in the United States where there are actual laws protecting them. Such laws ultimately do not change hearts, however. So why might it be a struggle just to say hello to a differently abled person? Sometimes what makes us uncomfortable with a person is that they are different from us. It might help to look at the similarities: everyone desires friendships, everyone hopes to be successful, everyone wants that boy/girlfriend to attend the dance with them, regardless of whether they have a disability or not. If you get to know someone you might discover they have gifts and skills, too. You might even find they share some

of the same interests as you. What we ultimately have in common is that we are all made by God, in His image. Psalm 139:14 acknowledges this, “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Ephesians 2:10 reiterates this truth, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works.” Even deeper than that, your “hello” or other conversation starter might connect you with another baptized child of God or with someone who desperately needs Jesus. Your differently abled acquaintance is your neighbor—it’s as simple as that. Because you are forgiven in Christ, you are free to love your neighbor with Christ’s love. That Good News, for you and for me, is what changes hearts. I minister through Voice of Care, an organization that helps congregations reach out to this often-ignored population and include them. Visit voiceofcare.org and download the free disability awareness kit. Pass that kit on to your youth group leader. Those materials will help you learn to understand what someone with a disability may be experiencing. Voice of Care can also help you learn what it looks like to be inclusive of people with disabilities and host Bible studies that are appropriate for all, regardless of ability. As a deaconess, I care for people with disabilities since it is a part of mercy work, but you don’t have to be a church worker to reach out. It all can begin with a hello. Deaconess Sarah Gaffney is a teacher at St. Paul Lutheran School in Brookfield, Illinois. She is also a ministry facilitator with Voice of Care. She addressed this topic in a breakout session at the Sanctified 2018 conference in Kansas.


erently Abled Peers

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ND YE A R

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www.csl.edu/taste

www.csl.edu/vocatio

www.csl.edu

admissions@csl.edu


CUI

You

At Concordia University Irvine, we understand that you are many things. You may be a scholar & a seeker. An athlete & musician. An artist & scientist. A leader & a learner. We value your &s. It’s where your passions as a student intersect with your calling. As a Lutheran Christian university, we call that vocation & we know that you have more than one. At Concordia, you have the freedom & the guidance to pursue all of your &s. Whether you want to major in business or psychology, music or math, or become a teacher, we’ve got you covered. Learn about Concordia University Irvine majors, scholarships, athletics, and more at: www.cui.edu/ug 1530 Concordia West, Irvine, CA 92612 • (800) 229-1200 • admissions@cui.edu

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Gloria In Liturgical Catechesis

G

By Rev. William M. Cwirla

loria in excelsis Deo! Glory to the Most High God! Anyone who knows the familiar Christmas story from Luke will recognize this as the song of the angels, sung to shepherds on the night Jesus was born. Early Christians sang it as a morning hymn, and then in the late 5th century as the first hymn of the Divine Service. According to tradition, it was first sung at a pontifical mass at Christmas midnight. Christmas comes to the Divine Service every Sunday with the Gloria in Excelsis.

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The Gloria is a hymn of praise and confession. It begins with praise to the Most High God (“in excelsis Deo”), which in Hebrew is El Elyon (Genesis 14:18), the God who is “way out there,” above and beyond it all. But this God who is way out there has reached all the way down to us here in the Person of His Son born of the Virgin in Bethlehem. And the same God who is above the highest heavens still reaches down to us in the same earthy, creaturely way


Excelsis in the Word and the Sacrament. Truly, every Sunday is a little Christmas! Every congregation, a little Bethlehem. Traditionally, the pastor chanted the opening line, and the choir or congregation sang the Trinitarian hymn that tagged along with it. Praise becomes confession, and a hymn of praise becomes a creed. We worship, give thanks to, and praise the Most High God for His great glory. He is Yahweh God (of Genesis 2), the heavenly King, the Almighty Father—Monarch and Maker of all things.“I believe that God has made me and all creatures.” That alone is reason enough for praise, but it’s something short of good news. We can’t just stop with the Father nor with His being King. We need to push on to the Son and His stepping down from way up there to dwell with us down here.“The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Like the Creed, the bulk of the Gloria in Excelsis focuses on Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father (John 1), the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 2). From Him we pray for mercy, for He is God’s mercy in the flesh. He took away the sin of the world by His self-sacrifice as our High Priest, and for this reason, our prayers are received by Him and delivered to His Father as He sits enthroned at the Father’s right hand. He alone is holy; we are not holy apart from Him. He alone is holy, yet He is never alone, but is ever with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the glory of the undivided Unity. Poor Holy Spirit! He doesn’t get much attention in the Gloria, does He? At the Council of Nicea (325 AD), they were content to simply say, “We confess the Holy Spirit,” and leave it at that. The Council of Constantinople (381 AD) added a few phrases about His being the Lord and Giver of Life, but still, the Holy Spirit always seems to be nothing more than an afterthought to the Creed. And the odd thing is, He likes it that way! He’s always turning the spotlight on Jesus, giving glory to Him, proclaiming Him, fixing our eyes on Jesus, who tells us, “He will bring glory to Me” (John 16:14). The Gloria in Excelsis teaches us that our prayer, praise, and thanksgiving rest on the works of God: creation, redemption, and sanctification. That’s why we don’t just have “prayer and praise” services or “praise songs.” Praise and

prayer rest on the firm foundation of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—centered in what Jesus has done for us by His dying and rising as the Lamb of God. The hymnal permits omitting the Gloria in Excelsis during the seasons of Advent and Lent. While it’s perfectly fine to continue singing it, it’s also helpful to let it go quiet for a season so that it can come back with renewed joy at Christmas and Easter. It’s like a fast before a feast. In our congregation, we do the Litany in place of the Kyrie and the Gloria. You can also substitute the Te Deum for the Gloria in Excelsis as another 6th century hymn of praise that is also a confession of the Triune Name of God. In the Gloria in Excelsis, our voices are joined with those of centuries of Christians who have praised and confessed before us. And with them, the angelic hosts of heaven who once sang to shepherds who were in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father: We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father Lord God, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; Have mercy on us. You are seated at the right hand of the Father; Receive our prayer. For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ With the Holy Spirit, In the glory of God the Father. Amen. Rev. William M. Cwirla is the pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, California.

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Liturgical Catechesis:

Gloria In Excelsis A HIGHER THINGS BIBLE STUDY • Fall 2018

1

Begin by singing the Gloria in Excelsis from Divine Service Setting 3 found on page 187 in the Lutheran Service Book.

2 3

What occasions cause us to sing in our culture today? What is the purpose of this?

Luke’s Gospel opens with several songs. Read Luke 1:46-56, 67-80, 2:13-14, and 2:28-32. Give a brief description of the message of each song.

4

Read Luke 2:8-9. What were the shepherds doing before the angels showed up? What was their reaction to the presence of the angels?

H I G H E R T H I N G S __ 30

5

Draw or write a description of an angel that looks like what you would see on TV or in a movie. Read Isaiah 6:1-4. Does the description of the seraphim in this text differ from the way angels are often portrayed? How?

6 7

Read Luke 2:10. What does the angel say? Why does he need to do this?

Read Luke 2:11. What information is given to the shepherds? How would you have reacted if you were in the place of the shepherds?

8

Read Luke 2:12. Is there anything exceptional about the description of the newborn king given here?

9 10

Read Luke 2:13-14. What is peace? What is the opposite of peace?

Look over Pastor Cwirla’s article again. How do we use this song in our worship service? What effect does this have?

11

Close by singing the Gloria in Excelsis from Divine Service Setting 4 on page 204 in the Lutheran Service Book. To access the Leader’s Guide for this study, as well as Bible studies for articles in this issue and previous issues, as a part of an HTOnline subscription, point your browser to: higherthings.org/magazine/biblestudies.html. higherthings.org/magazine/biblestudies.html


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“Liturgical Catechesis: Gloria in Excelsis” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide

Leaders’ Introduction As we respond to God’s gifts in prayer and praise within our worship services, we often use biblical songs and canticles. One of these songs is the “Gloria in Excelsis” that we sing following the Kyrie. In this song we echo the words of the angels in praise of the mighty works of God. 1. Begin by singing the Gloria in Excelsis from Divine Service, Setting 3 found on page 187 in the Lutheran Service Book. 2. What occasions cause us to sing in our culture today? What is the purpose of this? Answers will vary. Possible instances of song are birthdays, holidays, and college sports games. It is interesting to note that corporate song is used to express joy in secular settings as well as sacred settings. Songs often evoke feelings of joy and comraderie. 3. Luke’s Gospel opens with several songs. Read Luke 1:46-56, 67-80, 2:13-14, and 2:28-32. Give a brief description of the message of each song. Several answers are acceptable. Try to direct the students focus to the work of God in Christ that is at the center of each of these songs. Also important is the connection between these songs and the Old Testament. These songs are akin to Old Testament canticles such as Hannah’s Song found in 1 Samuel. 4. Read Luke 2:8-9. What were the shepherds doing before the angels showed up? What was their reaction to the presence of the angels? The shepherds were watching their flocks. When shepherds had the flocks out in the fields, they had to be alert even while the rest of the world was sleeping, watching over their flocks. They react with fear when they encounter the presence of the angel. 5. Draw or write a description of an angel that looks like what you would see on TV or in a movie. Read Isaiah 6:1-4. Does the description of the Seraphim in this text differ from the way angels are often portrayed? How? Answers will vary. Angels are often depicted as chubby babies or cute, whimsical creatures. Angels in the Bible are not depicted as children and humor is never connected with angels. 6. Read Luke 2:10. What does the angel say? Why does he need to do this? The angel tells the shepherds to stop being afraid! He needs to do this because angels are frightening creatures. The typical reaction of human beings to angels in the Bible is fear! It is the message of the angels that turns their presence into good news! Without the proclamation of their message, their presence is scary to human beings!

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


7. Read Luke 2:11. What information is given to the shepherds? How would you have reacted if you were in the place of the shepherds? They are told how to find the baby and where he is. They are also told that Jesus is Christ the Lord, the Messiah of Israel! The mighty works of God that have been recorded in the Old Testament are continued in Jesus Christ. In fact, they find their fulfillment in Him! The rest of the answer will vary. 8. Read Luke 2:12. Is there anything exceptional about the description of the newborn king here? The baby lying in the manger is strange to say the least. The baby being wrapped in swaddling clothes is typical. The message of the angels causes us to reflect both on the majesty/power of God and the human way that Jesus came; from the womb of his mother, a human baby wrapped in the typical clothes you wrap a baby in. 9. Read Luke 2:13-14. What is peace? What is the opposite of peace? Peace is the cessation of conflict. Jesus provides peace between God and man by His blood and everlasting peace at His return. War/conflict is the opposite of peace. 10. Look over Pastor Cwirla’s article again. How do we use this song in our worship service? What effect does this have? We use it as a hymn of praise and confession. We join our voices to the angels as we focus on the mighty works of God in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion What a joy it is to add our voices to the angelic chorus! Next time you sing the Gloria sing it loud and proud! Your God has accomplished your salvation through the work of His Son and Messiah. Jesus has accomplished peace for us and gives it to us in His Word and Sacraments.

Closing Sing together the “Gloria in Excelsis” from Divine Service Setting 4, (LSB, p. 204)

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


“Liturgical Catechesis: Gloria in Excelsis” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY 1. Begin by singing the Gloria in Excelsis from Divine Service, Setting 3 found on page 187 in the Lutheran Service Book. 2. What occasions cause us to sing in our culture today? What is the purpose of this? 3. Luke’s Gospel opens with several songs. Read Luke 1:46-56, 67-80, 2:13-14, and 2:28-32. Give a brief description of the message of each song. 4. Read Luke 2:8-9. What were the shepherds doing before the angels showed up? What was their reaction to the presence of the angels? 5. Draw or write a description of an angel that looks like what you would see on TV or in a movie. Read Isaiah 6:1-4. Does the description of the Seraphim in this text differ from the way angels are often portrayed? How? 6. Read Luke 2:10. What does the angel say? Why does he need to do this? 7. Read Luke 2:11. What information is given to the shepherds? How would you have reacted if you were in the place of the shepherds? 8. Read Luke 2:12. Is there anything exceptional about the description of the newborn king here? 9. Read Luke 2:13-14. What is peace? What is the opposite of peace? 10. Look over Pastor Cwirla’s article again. How do we use this song in our worship service? What effect does this have?

Conclusion What a joy it is to add our voices to the angelic chorus! Next time you sing the Gloria sing it loud and proud! Your God has accomplished your salvation through the work of His Son and Messiah. Jesus has accomplished peace for us and gives it to us in His Word and Sacraments.

Closing Sing together the “Gloria in Excelsis” from Divine Service Setting 4, (LSB, p. 204) © 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


“The Lord’s Good Use of You” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide

Opening Prayer “Christ be my leader by night as by day; Safe through the darkness, for He is the way. Gladly I follow, my future His care, Darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.” (LSB 861, st. 1) 1. Read 1 Peter 2:1-12. How does St. Peter describe Christians in this part of his epistle? Peter reaches all the way back in the Old Testament to the Tabernacle and time of wilderness wandering, identifying Christians as royal priests, just as Israel was to be a nation of priests. The title priest recalls the sacrifices of the OT which pointed forward to Christ’s once and for all sacrifice on the cross as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is our Great High Priest who mediates for us. Christians reflect this mediating, interceding work by praying for and serving others in sacrificial love. We love as Christ first loved us. The title royal points to our citizenship, not in the kingdoms of this world, but in the good and gracious reign and rule of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus is King in His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The Church is His kingdom, and in holy Baptism we are made heirs of His kingdom and all His royal blessings. 2. What does it mean that Christians are royal priests? Where and how do we serve? Read also Ephesians 2:8-10. In addition to the work of sacrifices and prayers in the OT, the priests were called to hear God’s Word and speak it to the people. In the NT church, we do the same thing, hear God’s Word in Divine Service and daily devotions, and we speak this word whenever we have the opportunity to do so in our daily vocations – wherever our Lord calls us to serve others. Paul’s words in Ephesians remind us that not only are we saved by Grace through faith in Christ, but also we live our daily life of good works by God’s grace as well. 3. Read Isaiah 55:10-11. How is God’s Word different from our words? Unlike our words, which are ever tainted by sin, no matter how unselfish we think our motivation is, God’s Word always accomplishes His holy purposes. It doesn’t return void or empty. 4. Pastor Kuhlman’s article follows the two parts of the 10 Commandments, our life before God (Coram Deo), and our life before our neighbor (coram hominibus). If you were to divide the commandments into these two parts of life, how would they be arranged? Where is love directed in both of these parts of life? Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40. When we look at the 10 Commandments we can divide them into two areas of life, or two directions: the horizontal and the vertical. The first table of the Law, Commandments 1-3, order our life before God and His love for us in himself, His Name, and Word. The second table of the Law, Commandments 4-10, order our life before our neighbor. Here we see God’s gifts of authority, life, marriage and sexuality, possessions, reputation, and contentment provided for and protected. As we pray in one of the common prayers following Communion, we pray that the Lord’s Body and Blood would strengthen our faith in Christ and our fervent love for one another. God’s gifts in Word and Sacrament give us the love we need and direct that love of God and others.

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


5. Throughout the article, Pastor Kuhlman unpacks the meaning and application of the 4th, 5th, and 6th commandments. How does Jesus fulfill these commandments for us? Read Galatians 4:4-6. Jesus’ work of fulfilling the Law for us was accomplished both actively and passively. Actively, He kept the Law for us in his daily life. He perfectly honored father and mother and all authorities. See Luke 2, when Jesus was a boy in the temple and also as He submitted to the earthly authorities in His death for us. He was also perfectly obedient to the heavenly Father in all ways. Jesus keeps the Law for us, not by setting a perfect example we must then follow…or else! Rather, He keeps the Law in our place, in our stead. Where we fail to honor father and mother and all authorities, Christ did that for us. His keeping of the Law (the 4th, 5th, 6th and all Commandments) counts for us. His doing the Law is reckoned to us. Passively, Jesus fulfills the Law by becoming obedient unto death, even death on the cross. On the cross Jesus receives, bears, and endures all the punishment we deserved from our breaking of the Law. Since the wages of sin is death, Jesus became the sinner for us on the cross, took the judgment of sin and death upon himself and in exchange, gives us His perfect life and righteousness. As Pastor Kuhlman notes so well, it’s all gift.

Closing Prayer Holy and merciful God, You have taught us what You would have us do and not do. Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us so that He may bear fruit in our lives and that, remembering Your mercies, we may grow in obedience to Your will in love for You and our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


“The Lord’s Good Use of You” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Opening Prayer “Christ be my leader by night as by day; Safe through the darkness, for He is the way. Gladly I follow, my future His care, Darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.” (LSB 861, st. 1) 1. Read 1 Peter 2:1-12. How does St. Peter describe Christians in this part of his epistle?

2. What does it mean that Christians are royal priests? Where and how do we serve? Read also Ephesians 2:8-10.

3. Read Isaiah 55:10-11. How is God’s Word different from our words?

4. Pastor Kuhlman’s article follows the two parts of the 10 Commandments, our life before God (Coram Deo), and our life before our neighbor (coram hominibus). If you were to divide the commandments into these two parts of life, how would they be arranged? Where is love directed in both of these parts of life? Read Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40.

5. Throughout the article, Pastor Kuhlman unpacks the meaning and application of the 4th, 5th, and 6th commandments. How does Jesus fulfill these commandments for us? Read Galatians 4:4-6.

Closing Prayer “Holy and merciful God, You have taught us what You would have us do and not do. Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us so that He may bear fruit in our lives and that, remembering Your mercies, we may grow in obedience to Your will in love for You and our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


“Sex, Sexuality, and Baptism” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Leader’s Guide

Opening Prayer “Lord, help us walk Your servant way Wherever love may lead And, bending low, forsaking self, Each serve the other’s need.” (LSB 857, st. 1) 1.

Using the Lutheran Service Book or Luther’s Small Catechism, read the 6th Commandment and its explanation. What does God give, preserve, and protect on our behalf in this commandment? In what ways is the 6th Commandment about more than the relationship between husband and wife? In the 6th Commandment, God gives us the gift of marriage and human sexuality. Contrary to many critics of Christianity, sex and sexuality are not taboo or forbidden for Christians to enjoy, so long as it falls within the vocation where God established it to be a blessing and gift, namely, marriage between one man and one woman. Luther’s explanation of the 6th Commandment teaches us that human sexuality is not a private matter, that it affects our neighbor in many ways. As with the other commandments, we are not autonomous, left to create our own rules as we see or feel fit. God’s gift of marriage and sexuality, therefore, bigger than the relationship between husband and wife. It extends to all our relationships, whether we’re single, dating, or married. We’re called, as baptized Christians, to live differently than the world, to honor God with our bodies, honor our neighbor’s body, and to live a sexually pure and decent life in all we say and do.

2. Identity is a popular word in our day. How does the world usually define or understand someone’s identity? What is our identity as Christians? Read Galatians 3:23-29. There are countless ways identity is understood today. Take some time asking the participants how this word is used in culture in places such as politics, gender and sexual identity issues, etc. Wherever the discussion goes, it will be the task of the leader to point out how the world’s definition(s) of identity are drastically different than our identity as baptized Christians. For one, the identities the world places on people often are self-focused, or self-centered. Christians, however, are Christ-centered in their identity – by grace we are saved and by grace we live. It’s also a difference of the Law and the Gospel. In the world identity often boils down to the Law – what I do, who I am, how I feel, etc. Christianity, on the other hand, is about what Christ has done for us. Our identity is found, not in what we do, think, or feel, but in what he has done for us on the cross. As Luther so often said, do not say “I was baptized” but rather, “I am baptized.” God’s gift of Baptism, and therefore our identity in Christ, is always present tense. 3. Read Genesis 2:15-25. Look at Genesis 2 through the lens of gift giving. What gifts does God give humanity in Genesis 2, even before the fall into sin? For what reasons does he give us these gifts? Notice the context of Genesis 2. It seems simple and obvious, but it’s important. God’s gifts of marriage, sexuality, companionship, family, etc. are all gifts given to humanity before the fall into sin in Genesis 3. It’s true that the Fall has made a terrible, horrible mess of these good gifts. But God’s gifts remain all the same—by His grace. Our sin does not and cannot destroy God’s gifts. That is why God calls us, in our relationships with others, to lead a sexually pure life in all we say and do, and that husband and wife love, honor, and cherish one another. 


© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


God’s gifts of marriage, family, sexuality, and the like are given for many reasons: for companionship— it was not good that Adam was alone; for a helpmeet for one another; for the care of creation; for procreation and the gift of children; and most of all, as a picture of Christ’s perfect, sacrificial love for us, His bride, the Church. 4. What do the following Scripture passages teach us about God’s good gift of human sexuality and marriage? 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:13-20, Romans 13:14, Psalm 103:10-12. Answers will vary in each of these texts. Spend time looking at the context, unpacking the passages, and discussing what’s the Law and the Gospel in each. 5. Love is another word that is often confused, misused, and abused in today’s world. How so? Where do we find the greatest, and only true love revealed for us in the Scriptures? Read 1 John 4:7-10. Love tends to be described as a feeling or an emotion. We hear people say, “I just didn’t feel in love with that person anymore.” While love is certainly an emotion, it’s more than a feeling. Love is also an action. While we have one word for love and say things like: “I love coffee!” as quickly as we say, “I love you, Mom”, Greek has four words for love: philos, or brotherly love and affection; eros, or physical and intimate love, storge (storgay), or familial and instinctual love, such as a mother cradling her infant; and agape, or the self-giving, sacrificial love. This is the greatest of all loves as it is Christ’s love for us in His cross. Consider God’s love for us. He not only had the feeling or emotion of compassion, but revealed His love for us in action, in doing something on our behalf. He sent His only Son. He loved us in this manner (John 3:16). In this way. To see God’s love for us we need look no further than the manger and the cross, in His Word, water, Body and Blood for us. Emotions and feelings of love go up and down like a ride Disneyland. Christ’s love, however, never wavers, never fails, and never changes. Christ’s love never fails. In fact, try reading 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love chapter”) with Christ in place of the word “love”.

Closing Prayer “Holy Lord, You instituted marriage in Eden, and by Your word You uphold and protect this blessed union of man and woman in one flesh. Cause us to honor marriage and put away from us all sinful thoughts, words, and deeds that would dishonor and distort the gift of marriage. Bless all married couples with faithfulness. Bless all who are single with purity of life in thought, word, and deed. Hear the prayers of all who seek a godly spouse and give to us all purity and decency in all things, even as you clothe and cover our shame in Christ’s cleansing sacrifice for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018


“Sex, Sexuality, and Baptism” A HIGHER THINGS® BIBLE STUDY Opening Prayer “Lord, help us walk Your servant way Wherever love may lead And, bending low, forsaking self, Each serve the other’s need.” (LSB 857, st. 1) 1.

Using the Lutheran Service Book or Luther’s Small Catechism, read the 6th Commandment and its explanation. What does God give, preserve, and protect on our behalf in this commandment? In what ways is the 6th Commandment about more than the relationship between husband and wife?

2. Identity is a popular word in our day. How does the world usually define or understand someone’s identity? What is our identity as Christians? Read Galatians 3:23-29.

3. Read Genesis 2:15-25. Look at Genesis 2 through the lens of gift giving. What gifts does God give humanity in Genesis 2, even before the fall into sin? For what reasons does he give us these gifts?

4. What do the following Scripture passages teach us about God’s good gift of human sexuality and marriage? 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Corinthians 6:13-20, Romans 13:14, Psalm 103:10-12.

5. Love is another word that is often confused, misused, and abused in today’s world. How so? Where do we find the greatest, and only true love revealed for us in the Scriptures? Read 1 John 4:7-10.

Closing Prayer “Holy Lord, You instituted marriage in Eden, and by Your word You uphold and protect this blessed union of man and woman in one flesh. Cause us to honor marriage and put away from us all sinful thoughts, words, and deeds that would dishonor and distort the gift of marriage. Bless all married couples with faithfulness. Bless all who are single with purity of life in thought, word, and deed. Hear the prayers of all who seek a godly spouse and give to us all purity and decency in all things, even as you clothe and cover our shame in Christ’s cleansing sacrifice for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

© 2018 Higher Things, Inc.

Magazine Bible Studies - Fall 2018

Profile for Higher Things: Dare to be Lutheran!

2018 Fall - Higher Things Magazine (with Bible Studies)  

From the plenary sessions to the breakout sessions, from the Gospelly good sermons to the glorious times of worship, Higher Things Sanctifie...

2018 Fall - Higher Things Magazine (with Bible Studies)  

From the plenary sessions to the breakout sessions, from the Gospelly good sermons to the glorious times of worship, Higher Things Sanctifie...