2022 September Giving Appeal Letter

Dear Friends:

One of the most enjoyable parts of my work as executive director of Lutheran CORE is the group of young adults that I meet with via zoom once a month.  One of them, Ethan Zimmerman, has just begun his seminary studies at the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS) and Trinity School of Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.  He writes –

“My first week in seminary has been exactly what I hoped for and more! The professors are all

filled with genuine faith and have a desire to rightly teach orthodox Christianity, which is in stark contrast to the time spent at my undergrad, where the religion professors approached the classes with a cold and scientific outlook, using various critical methods to teach. The other students are also genuine, orthodox Christians, with similar interests and temperaments, which has made it easy to make friends. Trinity School for Ministry is filled with amazing people who love God, and if the rest of my time here is as great as the first week, then seminary will be one of the best times of my life!”

Two others in our group also are planning on enrolling in the North American Lutheran Seminary after graduating from college.  I told them, as Ethan was sharing his experiences starting seminary, that I was reliving my own days starting seminary fifty-three years ago.  How much I would love to be able to enroll once again in seminary and learn many things I did not learn the first time.

Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support of the work of Lutheran CORE, including your gifts to our Pastoral Formation Fund, so that we are able to provide financial assistance for these outstanding young people who are preparing to be pastors.

As I am contacted by many churches who are unable to find an orthodox pastor, and as I watched the recent ELCA Churchwide Assembly and heard many people speak at the microphone that I would never want to have as my pastor, I am convinced even more of the importance of the work of Lutheran CORE.  Because of you we are able to –

  • Resume our in person Spanish language and bi-lingual ministries Encuentro, which had to be cancelled twice because of the pandemic.
  • Through our Congregations in Transitions ministry initiative provide assistance, guidance, and support for now a total of twenty-four congregations that are between pastors, will soon be losing their pastor, and/or are not able to find or afford a pastor.
  • Alert the faithful within the ELCA to actions taken by the recent Churchwide Assembly, including the motion to authorize revisions to the 2009 social statement, “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” and to explore a “reconsideration of the four stated positions of ‘bound conscience.’”  This is nothing less than a blatant, complete breach of trust and the next step in the ELCA’s rapidly and intentionally becoming a “church body” that will have no place for those who hold traditional views.  We will certainly continue to monitor the situation leading up to the ELCA’s next triennial churchwide assembly.    

A couple years ago – because of your generosity – Lutheran CORE was able to make a contribution of $15,000 towards the NEXUS program of Grand View University.  This outstanding ministry provides a week of Bible study, theological reflection, fellowship, service, and vocational discernment for high schoolers, challenging them to consider attending seminary and/or pursuing some other form of Christian service. 

Lutheran CORE would like to be able to make another gift of that same size in support of NEXUS in 2023.  Please find below a link to a flier which contains testimonies from some of the high school participants and college-aged mentors in past years, as well as a description of the way in which the leadership would like to be able to expand NEXUS through a retreat for past participants and mentors. 

Please also find below a link to a form which you can use to designate a gift either for our regular operating expenses or to help us reach our goal of financial support for NEXUS during 2023.  Any donations not designated will be given to the fund for our regular operating expenses.  Please also let us know how we can be praying for you and for your prayer concerns.

I am reminded of how the apostle Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy, “What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well” (2 Timothy 2: 2).  Thank you for helping us be a Voice for Biblical Truth and a Network for Confessing Lutherans today, and to raise up pastors and other church leaders for tomorrow.

In Christ,   

Dennis D. Nelson

Executive Director of Lutheran CORE

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Devotion for Monday, October 3, 2022

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

We fight not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and forces.  We are in a battle.  It is all around us and in us.  We need the Lord and those who turn to Him are heard.  As with all other things we hear from Scripture, this makes absolute sense.  Those who are in relationship with the Lord speak freely and are heard.  Those who are not in relationship with the Lord are outside and apart from Him.

Lord, Your word says that if I draw close to You, you will draw close to me.  Your law spells out what doing good looks like.  Help me, dear Lord, to do good and turn to You in prayer and supplication always.  Guide me in Your goodness, O Lord, that I would forever hold fast to the truth You have revealed once for all.  Teach me Your righteousness so that I may humbly walk with You.

Lord Jesus, You said that we are first to seek righteousness and then all these things would be added to us.  Guide me in the way of life that comes through Your light and help me to seek first Your righteousness.  Help me to understand that in You is there goodness and mercy.  You are the light of the world that shines in the darkness.  You have come so that as many as see Your light may walk in that light.  Help me walk in the light.  Amen.   

Devotion for Sunday, October 2, 2022

“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11).

Turn from evil and seek peace.  These are two things that will occupy our time for the rest of our time in this age.  Living lives of repentance leads to doing good.  Seeking peace is to seek the will of the Lord and no longer live in rebellion against the Lord.  These are two places where we can and should begin our journey with the Lord each day.  Live in peace and seek to do good.

Lord, You know that I am as caught up in this world as everyone else.  I live in rebellion against You and do things to stir up difficulty.  Lead me Lord to live a peaceful life and at every opportunity, to do good.  You have taught me the things I need to know, now help me to put these things into practice.  Guide me according to Your purposes to live into the life of faith You have given me.

Lord Jesus, You have given us the peace that surpasses all understanding.  You have fulfilled the law we could not fulfill in order to learn how to live into a life of faith, trusting You in and through al things.  Guide me dear Lord Jesus to live today seeking what is right and good.  Lead me according to Your purposes so that I may now and forever live willingly in the Father’s will.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, October 1, 2022

For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech” (1 Peter 3:10).

We call Scripture the word of God, but then Scripture calls Jesus the Word made flesh, or Word of God.  The word is important for by it were the heavens and the earth made.  With words the wicked deceive.  Guard the door of your mouth and the words of your lips.  Names can and do hurt.  The church has been ravaged by loose words.  Love life and look to the Lord in order that He may teach you to speak His praises.

Lord, You know where I have slipped and fallen.  You know the difficulties I have had with my own words.  Lead me in speech as well as all other things so that in all things I may live a life of praise of You who alone is worthy of all praise.  Guide me according to Your never-failing principles to live into the life to which I have been called by and through Your grace.

Lord Jesus, Word made flesh, come through my speech that by it, I may bring glory to the truth of the Gospel.  In all that I say, may I be consistent and true.  Help me now and forever to know that in You is all hope and an eternal future.  Let Your love pour out from me so that I would speak good and uplifting things to others.  Be the author and finisher of how I live life and help me to learn Your love.  Amen.