Pastors' Study

Your pastors are always learning and growing in their faith as well.  Feel free to check in on this page from time-to-time to see what's been helping to shape them as disciples of Jesus lately.

Pastor Otto

Welcome to my study!  

"O Lord, how shall I meet You?"  With these few words, you see my heart.  What I desire is to see our Lord Jesus in the life to come, and give thanks for His forgiveness, grace and mercy.  He is answering our prayers even now.  We believe in Him as the One who is risen from the dead, who intercedes for His people whom He has bought with His own blood.

I will date each entry and keep all my posts, in case you would like to spend more time in the future looking and learning.

March 6, 2021

To Live with Christ, by Bo Giertz.  This is the devotion book I have been reading each morning since around 2008.  Giertz was a Lutheran pastor and bishop in Sweden.  He wrote for ordinary people who go to church and believe in Christ as their Savior.  Each day is a brief meditation on a text from the Bible, followed by a prayer.  Why do I value this book so much?  It is written by a conservative Lutheran who believes the Bible is God's Word, and he's not swayed by false teachers who no longer read the Scriptures.  Giertz helps me learn, helps me remain steadfast, and helps me pray.   

Unveiling Mercy, by Chad Bird.  I began reading this each morning in 2021.  The author is an Old Testament scholar teaching about a single Hebrew word each day.  His devotions are very brief: a line of Scripture, two brief paragraphs, then a one-line prayer.  The language is clever, the references are modern, and he leads the reader to think upon Jesus.

Of Good Comfort: Martin Luther’s Letters to the Depressed and their Significance for Pastoral Care Today, by Stephen Pietsch.  This is among my resources to explore depression and learn the language of those experiencing it.  Reading about anxiety and depression leads me to pray for all on whom that spirit descends.  On p. 178-79 there’s a discussion of Luther’s “theology of the heart."  He says righteousness is God's gift to help a struggling person stand again.  He writes, “For depressed persons, who are so frequently locked into their own spiraling self-negativity and guilt, this shifts the focus of attention to the counterpoint of God’s promises and assurance of unconditional acceptance in Christ.”  The whole book is full of Luther's insight into the human condition, and his prayerful concern that they remember Christ is in them.

Pastor Andrews

  • Currently reading:
    • Relationships Count - Engaging and Retaining Millennials - LCMS Youth Ministry Office
    • Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – John Fox
    • Talk Them into It: The Truth about Making Christians – Rev. Jonathan Fisk
  • Recently finished reading:
    • Meant for More: In, With, and Under the Ordinary – Rev. Dr. John Nunes - I didn't get as much out of this book as I'd hoped for.
  • Great sermons I've heard recently:
    • Easter Day - April 4, 2021 - Rev. Jeremy Rhode - Easily one of the best sermons I've listened to in the past year.
    • James 5 for Lent, March 24, 2021 - Rev. Jonathan Fisk - on the subjects of prayer and how we should think of the return of Christ
  • Other digital media:
    • Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller interviewed about his book, A Martyr's Faith in a Faithless World.
  • “The major factors from childhood and early adulthood that influence retention can be boiled down to relationships.  Millennials who have been retained in the church have close relationships with parents who modeled strong faith practices in the home.  They felt personally cared for by leaders in the church, and they felt safe bringing up difficult topics.  They were encouraged by attending LCMS Youth Gatherings and other larger events where they could see other young people who believed the same things they did.  IF they went to college, they likely go involved in an LCMS campus ministry , where they were surrounded by Lutheran peers.  If they married, they likely married an LCMS Lutheran.  And they are more likely to live closer to home and thus closer to those strong foundational relationships.” – Relationships Count, pg. 222
  • Here's an article of importance, if only so that you know what the current culture thinks of the Christian Church: an editor for the USA Today calling for a men's basketball team to be banned from competition because of the school's Christians beliefs.
  • "Parents are the strongest influence of faith, whether positive or negative." - Relationships Count
  • Pray for Nigeria (an email from Voice of the Martyrs)
    "When Nigerian front-line worker Daniel Zagi was interviewed by VOM workers, he used the word pray 42 times. “If there is anything you want to do for us, pray,” he said. “We are here, and we are fighting for the cause of the gospel in the north.
    "Many Christians in northern Nigeria have lost loved ones and homes in attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic Fulani militants, who seek to drive Christians out and establish an Islamist nation. Many pastors have been forced to flee the region, and entire congregations have been displaced.
    "Nigerian believers need our prayers as they advance the gospel amid violent attacks from Islamic extremists. But how should we pray?
    "Christians in northern Nigeria maintain a bold witness for Christ despite violent attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic Fulani militants. We can help them stand firm in faith by praying for them. 
    "Here are some specific ways to pray for persecuted Christians in Nigeria:
    • Pray for the encouragement of Nigerian believers suffering repeated attacks. Pray that they will withstand persecution and persevere in faith.
    • Pray for the comfort of Nigerian Christians who have experienced great loss in these attacks.
    • Pray for the safety of Nigerian Christians as they share the gospel with Muslims.
    • Pray that those ministering to Nigerian believers will have renewed strength and access to needed resources.
    • Pray that the persecutors of Nigerian Christians will come to faith in Jesus Christ."