Dreams of Fall in Wisconsin

Jordy Nelson plays for the Green Bay Packers, and is originally from Kansas.

The above video was produced by Travel Wisconsin; to see the “making of” this video click here: The Wizard of Ahhh’s.

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Photographic Interlude

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People walk along the shores of Lake Winnebago at sunset.

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Summer is a time to enjoy the blessings of God.

Race the Lake 2013

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Lake Winnebago

On Sunday, August 18, 2013, I participated in the sixth annual Race the Lake, a 90 mile bicycle race around Lake Winnebago.  The race starts and finishes in Fond du Lac, WI.

Last year, I forgot to bring my camera.  This year, I brought my camera, but was too tired after finishing to take any decent pictures of the event.  I discovered it is very hard to take good action shots when all one wants to do is sit and rest.  So instead I sat by the water, rested, and took some scenic photos of Lake Winnebago.

It was kind of a rough race this year because I had spent a considerable amount of time and energy cleaning up after the tornadoes that hit Northeast Wisconsin on August 7, 2013, so I was rather worn out before the race even began.  Nonetheless, I was able to beat my previous best time by finishing in four hours and fifty-six minutes.  To see pictures of me in the event from John M. Cooper Photography, click here.  (In the finish line pictures, my two fingers and thumb together were supposed to signify the Holy Trinity.  I was tired, and maybe didn’t do it very well).

God provided beautiful weather for a good race.

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Soli Deo gloria.

Wheat

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Golden light shines over a wheat field.

“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

— Genesis 8:22, NKJV.

This is God’s promise to us.  All of God’s promises can be trusted because His word of promise is as powerful as His word of creation.  Every seedtime and every harvest and every season and every day testifies to the power of His word.

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The greatest promise God ever made to us was His promise of Jesus.  Jesus is the Bread of life.

A Calm Place in the Wind

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Early on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, tornadoes and strong winds blew through Wisconsin’s Fox Valley.  The pictures in this post show damage from the tornado that destroyed buildings and trees in Freedom, WI.  No lives were lost directly from the storm itself.

Whenever disaster strikes, it is a call to repentance and faith.  God will protect His faithful in Christ, if not in this life, then in the next.  On the cross and through the tomb Christ weathered the worst storm of all: death itself.  Of all men, He alone came through, and is now our calm place in the wind.  “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”  (Matthew 8:27, KJV).  No matter how weak and small we are God can and will protect us.

The pictures in this post are from the same area where about 110 trees were snapped, splintered, and ripped out by the roots.  In the picture below there are two plants: one sturdy old evergreen that had weathered many a storm, and a potted plant.

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One tipped over, the other didn’t.

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  (Luke 12:32, KJV).

Prayers for the WELS 2013 Convention

WELS logoThe Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod 2013 convention is being held this week in New Ulm, Minnesota.  Please pray for our brothers in the faith.

One of the major issues for the convention is the need of a new Bible translation.  Earlier this year, President Schroeder shared his thoughts on the translation issue in a paper entitled: “My Thoughts on the Translation Issue.”  President Schroeder’s thoughts are well worth reading.

May the Lord bless this convention with wisdom, truth, and brotherly love.

Almighty God and Lord, grant the delegates in New Ulm Your presence.  Enlighten and guide them by Your Word that in all matters of deliberation they may always consider the best interests of Your Church.  Let Your Holy Spirit rule and direct their hearts that, in the spirit of Christian love, they may present and discuss matters truthfully and be kindly disposed toward one another, to the end that all they say and do may please You; in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

(The above indented prayer is a paraphrase of “To open a congregational meeting” from Lutheran Service Book, 307).

Summer Solstice Pictures 2013

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Green Bay in blue and green

All the pictures in this post were taken at Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin.

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Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

A light still warns the ships from the top of the lighthouse, but the house itself is now a museum.

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Eagle Bluff Lighthouse living quarters

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These are the bluffs near Eagle Tower.  Notice the cliffs rising behind the trees.

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A good place to take pictures is a little beach near the bicycle parking lot at the terminus of the Sunset Trail across the harbor from Fish Creek.  (This area used to be under water, but is now mostly dry because the water level of Lake Michigan has dropped).

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During most of the year, the sun sets behind the bluffs of the town of Fish Creek, but around the time of the Summer Solstice the sun sets over the harbor.

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Around the time of the Summer Solstice, the sun sets far in the north.  This makes for some beautiful water reflections with sailboat silhouettes.

How many words is a picture worth?

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Here is a recent picture from my former congregation.  What does this picture say?

The baptismal font in the lower left corner shows that there was a baptism.  So this was not a concert.  The pastor was wearing red.  The liturgical color of white for Easter was being displayed.  The altar and a statue of Jesus were covered up by a big screen TV.  (Normally, in this congregation, only the unused pulpit is covered by a TV screen).  What else does the picture say?

The Facebook caption for the photo is: “Sunday Worship with Koine.”  (Built on the Rock, St. Peter Lutheran, Appleton, WI).  Koine is known for playing only hymns out of the hymnal, but the lyrics displayed on the screen say: “I pulled my coat tight, against the calling crowd.”  That doesn’t sound like a hymn, but who knows.

This picture has captured some attention on the internet.  For example, LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken (the host of Issues, Etc.) used the picture as “a general illustration of how contemporary worship distracts from the focus on the Word and Sacraments.”  (The Bare Bulb, “An Act of Aggression,” comment).  Does this picture illustrate how contemporary worship distracts from the means of grace, or does it illustrate genuine Lutherans using all their God given gifts to the best of their ability?

Aquinas Quoting Augustine on Scripture Alone

“Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable.  For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors.  Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): ‘Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them.  But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning.'”

— St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia,
Part 1, Question 1, Article 8
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Emphasis added.

Happy Easter 2013 A.D.

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Happy Easter!

He is risen!