Devotion for Friday, October 21, 2022

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

The principle is simple, do what you do as if you are serving the Lord.  You are.  Jesus said, “when you do it for the least, you do it for Me.”  We are to adopt an attitude of being a willing servant of others.  We are to reach out of ourselves and truly love others as we would like to be loved.  If one looks at it simply, it makes a whole lot of sense.  It is what the Lord has been telling us all along.

The Lord created us to worship Him.  We do worship.  It is in our nature.  That is why we tap our toe to music.  He is the direction of our worship.  We should live into the life for which we were created.  God has provided all that we need.  Learn how to let go of yourself in order to become who the Lord will make you to be.  The journey is set before you.  Walk in the way of the Lord.

Lord Jesus, You have modeled the attitude we are to have.  You have told us how to do things.  It really is not that difficult, but I make it so by resisting the person You have made me to be.  Guide me Lord into the way of everlasting life so that I may live into this life to which You are calling me.  Guide me according to Your goodness to see more clearly and follow You in the steps You would have me take.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, October 20, 2022

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:9-10).

The call of stewardship is to serve others.  As the Lord served us, we are to serve one another.  Each according to the gifts the Lord has given them.  What then?  Only this, do not focus upon yourself, but look at what the Lord is asking you to do and then learn how to faithfully follow the Lord’s call.  We each have been given God’s grace and in that grace are called to serve one another.

Lord, this world encourages us to be selfish and think about ourselves before others.  You tell us to go outside of ourselves and do what is right according to the gifts we have been given.  Guide me Lord in the right way to live so that I may humbly do as You say.  Teach me how to be a faithful steward of the gifts You have given me in order that I may now and always walk according to Your call.

Lord Jesus, You who are God in the flesh, You have walked among us in ordinary guise.  You were humble and came to serve, even though You are worthy of all serving You.  In Your example, help me to live into the life for which You have redeemed me.  Guide me in Your grace to live faithfully as You impute Your righteousness into me.  Guide me dear Lord in the eternal way You have shown me.  Amen.

Devotion for Wednesday, October 19, 2022

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:5).

When we focus upon loving another, we begin to pay attention to who they are.  Ask others what they are thinking.  Do not assume that you know.  Who knows us but the Lord?  We do not even know ourselves truly, but the Lord knows us.  Come then and live into the life which trusts the Lord and learns humbly from Him how to love others.  God is love and He invites us into His love for all eternity.

Lord, there are many things about life that puzzle me, but I am able to understand the simplicity of loving my neighbor.  Guide me Lord in the way of love so that I would learn from You how to love more fully.  Teach me to go beyond myself and look to the other to see how I may help and serve them.  Lord, You know all that is needed for me to do these things.  Thank You for providing what is needed.

Dear Lord Jesus, You so loved us that You came down from heaven for all of those who would come through Your grace to be forever united in love with You.  Guide me dear Lord so that today I would pay attention to those around me and serve them.  Continue to teach me how to love as You love.  Guide me each step of the way to move in the upward calling of loving You and my neighbor.  Keep me in Your grace to enable me to move forward.  Amen.

Letter From The Director – October 2022


It should not surprise anyone that a movement is developing to get the ELCA to commit a massive breach of trust and to eliminate any provision for traditional views and those who hold them.

In my August letter from the director I told about some of the more significant actions that were taken by the 2022 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.  One of the most alarming was the overwhelming approval of a resolution “to authorize a possible revision of the social statement on Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” which “reconsiders the church’s current concept of the four positions of bound conscience.”  (These four positions can be found on pages 19-21 of the 2009 social statement.  They provide a way for there to be a place of respect for traditional views and those who hold them.  A link to the document can be found here.)

At least there were a few people who spoke against this resolution, and 12% voted against it, but still it should be obvious to all that the days of the ELCA’s claiming to honor bound conscience and to provide a place for those who hold traditional views are over. 

In my August letter I wrote that I am certain that the ELCA actually never intended to honor traditional views.  The language regarding bound conscience and the four positions was placed within the 2009 social statement only to obtain enough votes to get the social statement approved, and even then it was barely approved.  One needs to look no further than the ELCA’s total embrace of ReconcilingWorks and its choice of keynote speakers for the 2018 youth gathering to realize that confessional Lutherans with traditional views are not welcome.

But how will it happen?  A recent statement from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) suggests a possible path.  This organization describes its mission in this way.

“Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries organizes queer seminarians and rostered ministers, confronts barriers and systemic oppression, and activates queer ideas and movements within the Lutheran Church.”    

On September 7 this organization released a document entitled “ELM Churchwide Assembly and Bound Conscience Statement.”  A link to the full statement can be found here.

In this document they say, “The ELCA must address our sins of racism and ‘bound conscience.’”  It then says, “As Lutherans, we confess our participation in these systems, yet we continually fall short in the ways to overcome these systems of oppression.”  “Sin” and part of the “systems of oppression” – that is what Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is challenging the ELCA to join with them in calling traditional views of human sexuality. 

I am sure that no one who had been paying attention thought that bound conscience was anything more than temporary.  In some places it was ignored right from the beginning.  What is new here is explicit language with which bound conscience might be repudiated and the means by which it might be done – through a public apology by the Churchwide Assembly and the Presiding Bishop.

The statement from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries describes recent times when the ELCA has made a formal apology.

  • “In 2019, the Churchwide Assembly adopted a formal letter of repentance to commit to examine the church’s complicity in slavery, and to acknowledge ‘the ELCA’s perpetuation of racism.’”
  • Also in 2019 the ELCA made a formal apology to the African Descent community.
  • “At the 2022 Churchwide Assembly, Bishop Eaton formally apologized to the worshipping community of Iglesia Luterana Santa Maria Peregrina for both individual and institutional racist harm done to the congregation & the Latine community.”

And now Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is calling upon the ELCA to make a similar apology to the LGBTQ+ community.  Their document states, “Queer people in the ELCA deserve an apology and behavior consistent with repentance for the harm caused by ‘bound conscience’ and policies like ‘Visions and Expectations.’”  “Vision and Expectations” is a document that was approved by the ELCA Church Council in 1990 to describe what the church expected of its leaders but then removed from use by the ELCA Church Council in March 2020 because its more traditional views and expectations were “a source of great pain for many in the ELCA.”

Bound conscience and traditional views are now a sin – on the same level as racism and other forms of systemic oppression.  What should alarm every Lutheran with traditional views is the fact that Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries always gets what it wants.  They wanted the ELCA to remove the word “chastity” from its revised version of Definitions and Guidelines so that ELCA public theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber would be able to remain on the clergy roster while bragging about her sex life with her boyfriend (to whom she is not married), and they got what they wanted.  If Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries gets its way (which they always do) sooner or later – maybe in 2025, maybe in 2028 – the ELCA will officially repent and apologize for permitting pastors and congregations to teach and live according to what the Church has been teaching for two thousand years.

But while the ELCA grovels and repents as Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries tells them to, do not expect them to repent for breaking their promises to honor and provide a place for traditional views and those who hold them. 

In my August letter I also wrote about another resolution that was approved by the Churchwide Assembly which should cause great alarm for confessional, traditionally minded Lutherans.  The assembly voted to direct the Church Council “to establish a Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church” which would be “particularly attentive to our shared commitment to dismantle racism” and would “present its findings and recommendations to the 2025 Churchwide Assembly in preparation for a possible reconstituting convention.” 

The question naturally arises, Who will develop this revised version of the 2009 human sexuality social statement and possible reconsideration (rejection) of the four positions of bound conscience?  Also, who will be appointed to this “Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church”?  You can be sure that those who have been driving the process to get things to where they are today have been busy, working to make themselves the dominant factor in the process.  Many of these people have said that they do not believe that any “white male over the age of sixty” should be allowed to have anything to do with the process, and the Statement from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries urges “the committee tasked with reconsidering ‘bound conscience’ to include ‘new, young, and diverse’ voices and those that have been most harmed by ‘bound conscience.’”  The ELCA has made it very clear that high on its list of priorities for the coming years is to reach “one million new, young, and diverse people.”

The ELCA Church Council is scheduled to meet November 10-13.  We assume that among the actions taken will be the appointment of people to the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church and the task force to review and revise the human sexuality social statement.  We all know that once you know who is on the committee, you know the outcome.  We will keep you posted. 

* * * * * * *


Each month we feature two videos – the most recent addition to our video book reviews, and a recent addition to our CORE Convictions videos.  The CORE Convictions series is being designed particularly for those who wish to grow in their knowledge of Biblical teaching and Christian living as well as for those who want to know more about how Lutherans understand the Bible. We also want to provide this resource for those who do not have the opportunity or the option of attending a church where the preaching and teaching is Biblical, orthodox, and confessional.

Here is a link to our You Tube channel.  In the top row you will find recordings from both sets of videos – in the order in which they were posted, beginning with the most recent.  In the second row you will find links to the Playlists for both sets of videos.  We now have five videos in our CORE Convictions series.  Many thanks to retired AALC pastor James Hoefer for his video on “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.”  His video will be featured in December.

This month we want to feature a video book review by Pastor Chris Johnson and a CORE Convictions video by Pastor James Lehmann.    


Many thanks to Chris Johnson, LCMC pastor and secretary of the board of Lutheran CORE, for his review of this book, which is edited by Timothy Schmeling and Robert Kolb.  A link to his video can be found here.

Pastor Johnson begins by reminding us of the phrase, “If we can see farther, it is because we are standing on the shoulders of giants.”  He sees this statement as true in many areas of life, including theology, and as well illustrated in the biographies and writings of twenty-one theologians who came after Luther from the 1550’s to the late 1600’s.

Some of these men were educators, some were brilliant systematic theologians, some were preachers.  Some were known for their poetry, their hymnody, or their devotional literature.  They served in many different ways, but they were all very gifted and dedicated to the Christian faith as understood by the Lutheran Confessions.   

Some were known for their polemical style, which is quite understandable since they lived during tumultuous times.  They faced many challenges and endured great suffering, such as during the Thirty Years War and from the plague.  Many experienced deep pain and sorrow from the death of several family members. 

They fought hard battles, were attacked on many sides, and suffered great losses.  They lived during a period of Lutheran history that we often ignore.  But according to Pastor Johnson, it is a great gift to us to get to know them and what they did.  They were men of faith who were dedicated to the Lutheran Confessions.  We would do well to learn from them as to how they persevered and remained true to the faith no matter what. 


Many thanks to NALC pastor Jim Lehmann for his video, a link to which can be found here.  According to Pastor Lehmann, teaching the faith to children of all ages “may be easier than you think.  It does take discipline to make disciples.  It starts before a person can understand the language of faith and continues when language may be lost.  Join me for some ideas.”

The temperatures are cooler here in Arizona, and the Sonoran desert is lush and green from the summer rains.  No wonder the Snowbirds are returning.  We are constantly being reminded of God’s goodness.  May you also experience His blessings.

In Christ,

Dennis D. Nelson

Executive Director of Lutheran CORE  

Devotion for Tuesday, October 18, 2022

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1 Peter 4:7).

This is more true now than it was in Peter’s day.  Yes, from a worldly perspective that was long ago.  From the perspective of one who lives forever, it was not long at all.  At the end of this life, the next thing we will see is Jesus.  Let this keep you sober in your thinking and be on the alert knowing that this world is tossed about by the winds of constant and never changing unrealities.

Lord, open my eyes to see beyond the unclear ways of this world.  Guide me in Your goodness to know that in You alone is there all hope and an eternal future.  You have come so that I may have true life and have it abundantly.  In the truth, lead me so that I live life intentionally, with sobriety, and always alert.  Guard my heart and mind so that I may now and always abide humbly in You and the way You have set before me.

Guide me Lord Jesus in the way of everlasting life.  Help me to understand that in You alone is there hope and that without You, I will quickly fall back into the pattern of the old Adam.  The world screams for sensitivity and You call me into sensibility.  I cannot be all things to all people, but I can submit to You and become what You are making of me.  Lead me Lord to follow You now and always.  Amen.

Devotion for Monday, October 17, 2022

“For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6).

The law already judges us and finds us in need.  At just the right time, the Lord has come so that we may know that He paid the price we could not pay in order to live according to the law of the spirit.  Upon which will you depend?  Your ability which will end in failure, so trust in the Lord who has provided the only means to become what God has always desired?  Come then and live by the salvation you have been given in Christ.

You know where I follow myself while giving lip-service to You Lord.  Guide me away from myself and into You.  Help me understand more fully the truth of the Word You have placed in me.  Help me to live by the truth of the spirit knowing that this body of flesh is as good as dead.  Through all things, lead me in the way of everlasting life in order that I may now and always be with You.

Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of Your faithful.  Kindle in me the fire of Your love.  Send me as Your servant into the world that through my work in and by You, others may know of Your love.  Lead me to be honest, humble, and true to the call You have placed upon me.  Lead me as You know I need to be led.  Guide me as You know I need to be guided.  You are Lord and I desire to follow You where You lead.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, October 16, 2022

“But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).

Everyone will stand before the Lord.  This is not only hope for the faithful, but for those who do wrong, it should also bring fear for those who sin with no repentance.  We all shall stand before the Lord.  Take care to not accuse your brother before looking at your own sin.  There has always been too much self-righteousness and not enough humility.  Learn how to be humble and treat others as you would want to be treated.

Lord, You have given me the principles to follow, now help me to follow them.  Guide me in your goodness to put the best possible construct on things, but never to deny the truth.  Lead me to be gracious to others, but not to their detriment.  Help me look inwardly so that I may be honest with myself and others.  Lead me, O Lord, in the way of everlasting life so that I may be like You.

Lord Jesus, without You the desire of my heart would be impossible.  You have come leading the way for all who will follow You in order that we may understand godliness.  Put in me Your righteousness and bless me with humility so that I may understand and know the way You have designed me to live.  Let me not live in fear, but in hope because of all that You have promised.  Amen.   

Devotion for Saturday, October 15, 2022

“They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you” (1 Peter 4:4).

Why are you so afraid of being rejected by those who reject the Lord?  This is a question the faithful need to ask themselves because this is one of our temptations.  We want others to like us.  When we choose to live in a godly way, we shall be ridiculed.  Do not join in reckless living, but live as the Lord teaches you to live.  Learn to expect others to revile you because you do not join in their sinfulness.

Lord, help me neither to be self-righteous, nor abandoned to the way of the world.  Teach me to walk in grace and mercy and to grant the same to others.  I need Your love to flow through me so that I would hold fast to what is right while also understanding that we all need grace.  Guide me Lord in the way of life that leads to eternity with You.  Help me through every temptation that comes my way.

Holy Spirit, You know the struggles that go on inside of me.  You know where I falter with temptation.  Help me to inwardly and outwardly look to You as the One who will guide me in how to live life and the attitude that I need to have.  Help me to not join in the way of the world, but to join with You in the way of eternity.  Guide me dear Lord and help me to always follow You.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, October 14, 2022

“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry” (1 Peter 4:3).

Look at the world.  What are they doing?  They are reacting to things they are told.  Up, down, all around, it is crazy.  Yet people go on and on thinking that this is okay.  Why do you participate in these things?  Why do you act as thought this is okay?  Look to the Lord and seek what is right while it can be found.  Know that in the Lord there is goodness and mercy.  Do not do the detestable things.

Lord, You know where I am tempted and give in to that temptation.  Guide me dear Lord to move beyond these things so that I would focus upon what is right and good.  Help me, I pray, to know that in You is all hope and goodness.  The world shall fail, but You are forever.  The way of the world leads to destruction.  Guide me Lord in the way of life so that I may be uplifted with You.

Dear Jesus, You walked through this world seeing the sins and faults of those around You.  You loved us enough to go to the cross in spite of this behavior.  Help me die to these things in order that I may rise each day to do what is right and good.  Lead me Lord in the way of everlasting life.  Guide me to not condemn others, for the law already does that, but to love them as You love me.  Amen.

Seeking Senior Pastor in Irvine, CA

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church’s call committee has provided its Senior Pastor profile document, which describes their church’s beliefs and outlines the requirements for their Senior Pastor role at Good Shepherd.

Any interested pastors should email Good Shepherd’s Call Committee at