Video Ministries-July 2024

Be sure to check out the two new videos on our You Tube channel.  A link to our You Tube channel can be found here.  Both of these videos are from members of the board of Lutheran CORE.  Doug Schoelles, NALC pastor, has given us a CORE Convictions video critique of the “Created to Be” curriculum used by Lutheran Outdoor Ministries.  A link to his video can be found here.  Chris Johnson, LCMC pastor, has given us a video book review of a biography of Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers of all time.  A link to his video can be found here.


A CORE Convictions Video by Doug Schoelles

What makes it even more important that people know about this curriculum is the fact that basically the same teaching material is being used in preparation for and at the ELCA Youth Gathering this summer.  The material claims that the focus of each of the five sessions is to give youth “an opportunity to explore more deeply the authentic selves God has created us to be.”  But in actuality it is rife with social justice works righteousness and saturated with DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) ideology as it tells young people that God created them to be exactly as they are, their identity is however they define themselves, and that they are to be brave and disruptive change makers.

Under the theme “Created to Be Free,” there is no mention of being free from sin, rebellion, and death.  Under “Created to be Authentic,” there is no mention of who I am in Christ and how Christ defines me.  Instead it is completely how do I define myself.  The young people are told they are loved by God, but there is no reference to why or how.  The cross of Christ is only referenced once. 


A Video Book Review by Chris Johnson

Who is the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)? Arnold Dallimore shares with us the story of a man whose reputation spans generations and continents, a man who has been read in many languages and still is respected to this day. This biography recounts the life of Spurgeon from a faithful young lad, to becoming a “Boy Preacher,” to being the leader of, at the time, one of the largest churches in the world, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. The Lord, through this church, would educate generations of pastors, care for orphans, and serve as a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Dallimore’s biography serves as an entry point to know the life of this British preacher. Without getting bogged down into too many details, Dallimore recounts for us Spurgeon as a riveting preacher, a teacher of pastors, a public theologian, a prayer warrior, a faithful husband who loved and was loved by his loving wife (Susannah), a capable administrator of a large urban church, a pastor who had the salvation of souls as his main mission, a pastor who had a heart for the many meek, mild, and poor in London, a man who dearly loved his Lord, his Scriptures, and his calling as an under-shepherd of the Good Shepherd.

Though Spurgeon (what we might consider a Reformed/Calvinistic Baptist) and Lutheran theology don’t always see eye to eye on key points of doctrine (the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, to name two), Lutherans can still learn from this man’s passion, dedication, and seemingly indefatigable nature to help build a bit of the kingdom of God here on earth. One works as hard as possible for the sake of the kingdom and God does the rest. We sow, God provides the growth. Pastors and laity can both enjoy this accessible biography of Spurgeon and have a fire rekindled in them for the difficult, yet eternally essential mission of the Church.

Some widely circulated works of Spurgeon, in addition to his many sermons, include the following: “Lectures to My Students,” “Morning and Evening,” “Smooth Stones Taken from Ancient Brooks,” “The Treasury of David,” and decades of his monthly publication, “The Sword and the Trowel.”

Igniting Renewal Through Mission

(How ‘City Mission’ was Born, Part 2)

Editor’s Note: K. Craig Moorman is an NALC pastor of River’s Edge Ministries in Maryland and is a member of the board of Lutheran CORE. Pr. Moorman encourages you to read Part 1 of his article as background for Part 2. Click here to read Part 1 which was published in July of 2022.

Amid our first City Mission in April of 2014, the temperature dropped dramatically and unexpectedly to a bone-chilling 19°. Our base of operations was a 30’ x 50’ tent—we were not in the comfort, warmth, and familiarity of a church setting. This is how City Mission was born. It was an important moment of discovery, more of a blessed eureka moment, when we stumbled upon a basic truth: Renewal is ignited through mission. Now I am inviting you to engage in a missional experience that could reinvigorate the life of your congregation and bring you a season of refreshment and renewal.

Although I’m sharing a first-hand account of one such experience, City Mission, many of you have also been immersed into the mission field. You might recall how it revealed the heart of Jesus and His Gospel, a face-to-face encounter with the Cross. Oftentimes, there is a severe shaking from the core of our being when a reprioritization of our living takes place—new Christ-centered values emerge, a greater hope is gained, and renewal of body, heart, mind, and soul settles in.

These past two and a half years of navigating through a global pandemic and utter cultural turmoil have diminished our emotional capacity, made us more prone to discouragement and vulnerable to despair. And, if that’s not enough, let’s pile on the usual daily grind and throw in more critical personal matters, some unresolved and unattended to. All of this leads us not to “green pastures” and “still waters” but, instead, a wanting and a desperate longing for peace and a renewal by the Spirit.

Therefore, I humbly invite you to engage in Gospel-centered mission. My hope is that it will serve as an antidote for what is ailing each of us individually, our churches/communities, and even the nation. I believe making such a commitment and engaging in Christ’s Kingdom work will be the catalyst for this reprioritization that I spoke of previously. It can move us out of our lethargy, pre-occupations and distractions, misappropriations, and missteps, etc. AND gently (and graciously) push us in the opposite direction. Might this be repentance? I believe mission can significantly help us to get unstuck and experience such a metamorphosis … renewal! A calling back into the mission field will place us right at the foot of the cross, from death to resurrection. What a gift.

In my earlier article, “How ‘City Mission’ was Born, Part 1,” I wrote of how City Mission developed from another missional outreach ministry called Cross Country Mission. You may remember that CORE is an acronym for (Lutheran) Coalition for Renewal and bringing elements of ‘renewal’ to the broader Lutheran community has long been a part of our vision. Practically speaking, I pray that this article will bring you personal renewal and help reignite your passion for mission and bring it back to the center of the conversation.

Again, amidst our first City Mission in April of 2014, the temperature dropped dramatically and unexpectedly to a bone-chilling 19 degrees. Our base of operations was a 30’ x 50’ tent—we were not in the comfort, warmth, and familiarity of a church setting. This is how it all began. It was cold, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and a little chaotic. Believe me, it was neither perfectly planned nor executed! We have since unofficially adopted a guiding principle, “Expect the unexpected … and see what God does.” This has been freeing on so many levels!

Later that same day and into the evening hours, after all our 50-60 participants/leaders retired for the night, either commuting back to their homes or to their scattered tents, Brother Ray and I moved back into the quiet of the big tent and sat down on a couple of bales of hay. I’ll never forget my dear friend looking up, with tears in his eyes and saying, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” There we were, both in our late fifties, tired, worn down, cold, etc., but completely content and at peace. And yet I couldn’t help but wonder why Ray had spoken those words. I’ve been thinking about Ray’s statement for the last eight years. Something miraculous had happened and Ray knew it but at the time could not articulate it.

But what was it—what made his statement true? In a nutshell I believe we witnessed the Church operating as Jesus intended. He gave us a foretaste of the feast to come.

In the following paragraphs I talk more about City Mission and what we have learned from each event. These ‘take aways’ have morphed into lessons learned that are the building blocks for how City Mission operates and lives out its mission. I believe these lessons are transferable to others pursuing and engaged in mission in other congregational settings.

First, since our original disaster relief mission to Biloxi, Mississippi (post-Hurricane Katrina), in November of 2005, it’s been a priority of River’s Edge to help those who have been through the storm, be it a hurricane, flood, tornado, human-generated catastrophe, or just the difficulties of life. Our initial efforts came through Cross Country Mission and then through City Mission. City Mission was designed to engage the local parish in its own back yard.

Our City Mission base of operations is a 14-acre landbase situated just 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore. I would describe it not so much as ‘disaster relief’ but ‘urban relief’ because it involves cleaning up trash and litter, building out construction-related projects, landscaping, clearing of land, painting, gardening, and preparing meals. Your base of operations may be in your church building/campus or elsewhere.

One benefit of City Mission is that little traveling is needed. We intentionally identify and engage in mission on a regular and more localized basis. Too, it’s typically less costly and feels more like a camp, retreat, workshop, and worship gathering all rolled into one. Another unique characteristic of City Mission is that its ‘success’ does not depend solely on River’s Edge Ministries, nor does it look just like our church. This is most obvious during the evenings as we gather a large group for a meal, fellowship, and worship. In that gathering, a multitude of individuals are involved in food planning/prep, music, and speaking/preaching. This, then, is a gathering of the larger Church.

Second, our ‘take aways,’ now reflecting our core values, enable us to remain faithful and effective in establishing a Kingdom-oriented, repeatable, missional experience called City Mission. Establishing, implementing, and fine-tuning the following three specific components has been critical in contributing to the development and effectiveness of City Mission:

  1. Networking with Local Community Organizations and Leaders—We have been intentional in networking with community organizations and leaders who are based in the mission field we serve, thus reflecting a more authentic heart, mind and will of the community.
    • One of the unexpected blessings of this decision is that it allowed us to work more interactively with many different groups/folks, crossing racial boundaries. This foundational core value has revealed the power and efficacy of working directly with those who already have ‘boots on the ground,’ moving us beyond the familiarity of just our building and resources to work cooperatively with others who are well established and respected in the region.
    • This bridge-building has created ‘natural’ relationship development with a vast array of people from many different backgrounds intimately involved with City Mission (i.e., the Baltimore Ravens, Towson University Gospel Choir, Helping Up Mission, Baltimore City Community Organizers, etc.) gathering together, literally, under one tent. The outcome of such intentionality has been nothing less than miraculous!
  2. Building an Alliance of Multi-denominational Churches—Certainly, there is a place for Lutherans doing life/mission together; after all, this is what many of us are most acquainted with. But there is an even greater place and need to invite and gather the broader Church to do life together and share in the mission of Christ’s Church, especially in these challenging days. City Mission has been a highly effective and faithful conduit to bring the body of Christ together. This includes many different speakers, music, denominations, etc., from many different backgrounds, all bound up in ‘orthodoxy’ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s all about His work, His justice, His compassion, and His mission … with no other agenda! Let us, as the Church, carry the narrative for the day and not allow others (with a radically different agenda and cause) to fill that void!
    • After nearly a decade of building out this mission, it is a joy to share that we’ve had dozens of different churches from the various streams of the Church (Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal) participate in City Mission representing many denominational backgrounds including River’s Edge Ministries, GraceWay International Community Church, Wilkens Avenue Mennonite Church, The Transformation Center, Mt. Union Lutheran Church, East Baltimore Graffiti Church, Baltimore Rescue Mission, Redeemer Lutheran Church, St. Timothy’s Ordinariate Catholic Church, and many more.
    • As a result of such broad-base missional effort, we have become much more united and effective as a ministry. In the High Priestly Prayer found in John 17, we hear Jesus praying to the Father, specifically that we—the Church—may be united, “… that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me” (v. 23)As a ministry, we are committed to pursuing such a vision for this hour.  
  3. Creating a Base of Multi-generational Participation—Quite often it seems that youth ministry ‘programs’ are built on dynamism and the personality of a particular youth leader. The problem with this model is that everything hinges on that leader, including the availability of time and resources. Over the past decade or so, and as a lead pastor in at least three different congregational settings, I have taken a much different approach in overseeing/leading youth ministry/young adults. It has never been centered on the charisma of a youth leader. There is always a component of intentional discipleship and participation in mission. And even more importantly, parents and other older adults are almost always involved in this process. It seems that the presence of the older generation has produced a younger generation that is much better equipped and more deeply grounded. This model has been especially effective in City Mission.

Finally, on a more personal note, an unexpected (and invaluable) outcome from both the Cross Country Mission and City Mission experiences has been the immense even life-changing impact upon my children. I’ll never forget interviewing for a call with about twelve adults present, nearly all of them parents, telling me that none of their children were attending church and certainly not in any type of relationship with Christ. I remember feeling extraordinarily sad. Then they asked me about my children, church life, and God. They were shocked when I expressed to them that all five of my kids were not only involved ‘in church’ but had a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. And, almost without hesitation, I said this was due to exposing them to the mission field beginning with our time in Biloxi, MS, after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and beyond.

Over the years, City Mission has impacted many hearts and minds for the sake of the Kingdom. If you’ve ever witnessed the catastrophic devastation in the aftermath of a hurricane, flood or tornado, you’ll understand that the sights, sounds, smells and stories get in your belly—take up residence in your heart and minds—and never leave you the same. A calling to step into the mess inevitably surfaces and mission ensues. I suppose this is called compassion. Compassion seems to be that thing which drives our mission, which allows us to participate in events much larger than ourselves and our own worlds. Our lives are forever altered!

Our next City Mission is slated for May of 2023. It would be our honor to welcome you to our Missional Life Center and to host and house you for this event. It’s an opportunity for you to ‘test the waters’ surrounding City Mission. Or we’d be privileged to head in your direction to provide training at your base of operations.

The essence of this communique is to encourage you anew, as a brother or sister in Christ, to simply engage in mission … to at least do something regarding mission … and then make it a regular part of the ebb and flow of life. This is how renewal can be ignited and your life restored. May your life be renewed … for the living of these most challenging and historically significant days.

Just this past spring, I asked our young adult, post-high school group (many of whom have participated in City Mission since their middle/high school years) to describe City Mission in just a few words. Ben, one of our ‘veterans’ who is now 24 years of age said, “City Mission is a raw and unfiltered experience of what it means to be the Church.” Truly such a youthful and unspoiled understanding of the nature of the church can replenish and enable us to embrace how mission can spark renewal. 

Repenting of the Sins of Our Nation: Part I — Accepting the Call

Editor’s Note: Pr. Craig Moorman is a board member of Lutheran CORE as well as a mission developer and pastor of River’s Edge Ministries (NALC-LCMC) in Mt. Airy, Maryland. This is the first in a series of articles entitled Repenting of the Sins of Our Nation. Future articles will focus on Proclaiming the Word and Stewarding the Awakening.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ —

Over the course of the past few months, I have gained a much greater appreciation for the Book of Daniel and the message of hope that it brings to the Church for the living of these historically challenging days. But on a more personal note, on this particular day as I move into my 66th year of living, I’d like to make a b-day wish in the form of a prayerful declaration: I want to be like Daniel when I grow up! Here I am, nearly 35 years into my call, and only now am I beginning to understand the extent of what it means — and what it might mean — to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  

In Daniel 9:3-19, we hear this well-seasoned prophet pleading and imploring Almighty God to show mercy to His people, the Israelites. He begins, “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking Him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, ‘O Lord, the great and terrible God, who keepest covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments and ordinances; we have not listened to Thy servants …” (vv. 3, 4) Yes, I want to be more like Daniel with whatever time the Lord allows me in this precious gift of living. I want to turn and set my face continually to the Lord God. I want to seek Him earnestly, even ‘wearing’ sackcloth and ashes (in a non-Pharisaic sort-of-way) … and empty myself of self, in all humility at the footstool of His mercy seat. At this stage in my life, I desire to go deeper in my confession and repent, not on behalf of ‘their’ sins, but repent on behalf of our sins … my sins!

Throughout his seventy years in exile, Daniel remained a pliable vessel of God and continually sought out the Lord’s mercy and steadfast love on behalf of his people Israel. Again, only now am I more fully embracing this essential ‘detail’ of my call, truly bearing the priestly role. I guess some of us are just a bit more stubborn and slower in understanding what it really means to serve in the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

I’m also reminded of a letter written by one of the Apostolic Fathers, (Bishop) Ignatius of Antioch, who was eventually condemned and sent to Rome to be killed by ‘the beasts’ in the amphitheater @108 A.D. While journeying to this final resting place, Ignatius wrote letters to various churches in Asia Minor, including these words to the Church in Rome:

I am writing to all the Churches, and I give injunctions to all men, that I am dying willingly for God’s sake, if you do not hinder it. I beseech you, be not ‘an unseasonable kindness’ to me. Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts that they may become my tomb, and leave no trace of my body, that when I fall asleep I be not burdensome to any. Then shall I be truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not even see my body. Beseech Christ on my behalf, that I may be found a sacrifice through these instruments. (Ignatius to the Romans, IV. 1, 2)

Bp. Ignatius of Antioch

Fascinating. I first read these words 37 years ago and am still challenged to the very core of my being, and wondering if I could ever present that ‘core of my being’ to the Lord in such a way? (cf. Romans 12:1) Ignatius continues in his words about what it means to follow Jesus Christ and be obedient in that calling, “Grant me this favour. I know what is expedient for me; now I am beginning to be a disciple.” (V. 3a)

Ignatius’ words are full of so much grace. Only “beginning to be a disciple” … This profoundly humble statement encourages me to remember, first and foremost, that as one called into ministry, I am to remain teachable and malleable. So, in light of the lives of Daniel and Ignatius — and all of the saints that have gone before us — it is with great humility that I begin this three-part article, Repenting of the Sins of the Nation. In Part I — “Accepting the Call”, you’ll quickly recognize that it’s a personal grappling — an open confession — with how I am trying to navigate through the turbulent waters of these desperate times. No doubt, this is a journey we are all needing to face, and necessarily needing to face … together. In fully accepting my call, I realize that these times require me to engage both pastorally and prophetically.

Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ.

Bishop Ignatius of Antioch to the Romans, IV. 1, 2

There is something insidious permeating every nook and cranny of every segment of our present-day society. Have you felt it too? I believe it started with the mid-1960’s countercultural movement and it has evolved immensely over the past two decades. Some citizens of this country and much of the Western world have been more purposefully redefining new ways of living out truth, justice, compassion, love, etc., according to their own morality and rooted deeply in secular humanism, Marxism, utopistic pursuits, etc. Let’s, then, call this redefinition, a transformative awakening.

Herein, we quickly discover that these redefined core values for living clash painfully with more traditional systems of authority-governance, orthodox Judeo-Christian values, long-established interpretations of our history and the American Dream, etc. I believe the buildup of tension we are presently experiencing equates to a significant season of great shaking, shifting, and sifting in our nation and our churches. We reluctantly find ourselves at a most critical crossroads, a place of tension — this transformative awakening — where revolutionary choices will be made, new leadership will arise, causes will be defined, and life wholly changed. But we’ve been here before, this place of choosing (potentially) between life and death.

In Joshua 24, history records that Joshua “ … gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.” (v. 1) Then he continued speaking to the People of Israel, helping God’s People to remember who they were; and, thus, re-enter into a covenantal agreement with the Lord on that day: “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served … choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (vv. 14, 15)

Of course, this has been the story of God’s People, our story, from the beginning of time — facing many a crossroads and needing to choose between that which is life-giving or life-stealing! Darkness and Light stand juxtaposed — hoping to either take captive or captivate the souls of those most vulnerable or receptive. One entity, darkness, will coerce itself into/upon that life (*nephesh, נֶ֫פֶשׁ‎ nép̄eš = soul) and, ultimately, steal away that life (John 10:10a); and, the other, Light, will graciously extend an invitation to that life to receive the fullness of Life (John 10:10b). (*It’s interesting to note that this Hebrew word, nephesh, when combined with another Hebrew word, rûach-רוּחַ‎, meaning “spirit”, connotes a part of humanity that has no physical form, like one’s mind, will or seat of emotions, intellect, personality, etc.)

At this monumental historic crossroads, who or what will win the day and take captive or captivate the life, the corporate soul — minds, wills, intellects, and personalities — of our nation? It seems clear that this transformative awakening will, I believe, produce either death or life in our nation, depending on how it unfolds. There is much conversation these days about the woke culture, a slang term that is finding its way into the mainstream vernacular. This word, added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in September of 2017, states: “If you frequent social media, you may well have seen posts or tweets about current events that are tagged #staywoke … awake is often rendered as woke, as in, “I was sleeping, but now I’m woke … ‘Woke’ is increasingly used as a byword for social awareness … Stay woke became a watch word in parts of the black community for those who were self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm and striving for something better. But stay woke and woke became part of a wider discussion in 2014, immediately following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.”

Unfortunately, the word woke became enmeshed with the Black Lives Matter organization and other radical, leftist organizations (i.e., Antifa, etc.) and is now being exploited to bring societal change through radical and often violent means. Its agenda is not life-giving, and its understanding of resolving injustice and racial tension is polar-opposite from that of a traditional, orthodox theology/ideology, where genuine reconciliation can be found. An even greater concern is that this form of bringing about a transformative awakening has infiltrated every segment of our society, including the government on all levels.

Our nation does not need a transformative awakening that is bent on dismantling and even destroying all that has existed for 245 years; it needs, instead, one that transforms the hearts and minds of her citizens with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through another Great Awakening. In fact, we need another awakening that would dwarf our country’s first two Great Awakenings in the 18th and 19th centuries. And with any Great Awakening, there should be a deliberate and long season of listening to the heart of God through passionate, intercessory prayer on behalf of the nation.

Again, I’m hearkening back to Daniel’s approach in continually (throughout the entire twelve chapters of the Book of Daniel) resolving (1:8) to confess and repent, seek out His mercies, pray, and give praise to the Lord for His sovereign goodness. Only then will we able to faithfully and effectively call the nation to repentance and graciously challenge her citizenry, beginning with us/me, to turn back to God, specifically in Jesus Christ. But, will I be part of it? Will we, as Lutherans, be part of it?

In Part II — “Speaking the Word”, I’ll be addressing how we are witnessing the rise and intensification of darkness; but I will also lift up the eschatological reality that during this same season of dread (cf. Matthew 24), the brightness of the Light will shine brighter through the grace of the Holy Spirit. So, we must hold on to such a Hope. In the meantime, and in the midst of it all, should we not be carefully weighing the cost and calling of entering into this reality? Everything is on the line. Again, what or who will take captive or captivate the soul of this nation, at this hour? If the Church remains oblivious of such a ‘harvest’ (cf. Matthew 9:35-38), then surely the devil and his minions will expediently pounce upon these ‘little ones’ and drag them into the pit of despair and darkness. Or we could rise to the occasion and be the Church — here and now, for such a time as this — and reap a harvest of souls who could be ushered into the transformative awakening of a life claimed by Jesus Christ! Amen?

Our nation does not need a transformative awakening that is bent on dismantling and even destroying all that has existed for 245 years; it needs, instead, one that transforms the hearts and minds of her citizens with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through another Great Awakening.

This is what I’ve been intensely struggling with, especially these past few months. In a nutshell, here’s my angst and concern in the form of a question: “Will I or will I not find the courage to accept the call to step into this place of mess, that chaotic void, and engage those who are desperately seeking truth, justice, compassion, love, etc. and point back to the cross, etc.” At the same time, I find myself crying out, “Lord, show me how to lead at this hour … beginning with my own family!” A simple question and plea, but wow, so difficult and complex at the same time. As leaders in the Church, we should be thriving now; but, to the contrary, it seems that many of us have been struggling and agonizing over how we should respond to this day and age. It is time, Brothers and Sisters, to reclaim who we are as “the children of the Kingdom of Light” (cf. 1 John 1:5-2:6 and Ephesians 5:8), and to remember that we have already been given all that we need to fully accept our call … and enter into the arena. (cf. Ephesians 6:10-20)

No doubt, many of you are familiar with one of the most widely quoted speeches of Theodore Roosevelt’s career; here’s an excerpt from that speech given on April 23, 1910:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Only by God’s grace will we be able to enter the arena of our culture. But enter we can and must. Certainly, there will be Jonah moments … fleeing from the Lord … experiencing mighty tempests … being tossed out of the boat … being swallowed by a whale … anger and regrets … but, in the end, I encourage us to assume the posture of another prophet, Daniel, and remain resolved and humble before the Lord (Daniel 1:8). Until next time, stay the course …

In Christ’s love,

K. Craig Moorman

Tribute to Paull Spring

I remember well the first time I met Paull Spring.  It was in a meeting in a Gullixson Hall classroom at Luther Seminary that would lead to the beginning of CORE.  Paull walked into the room (in clerics, of course, whenever he was doing church business) with a leader of Word Alone …  that was an amazing sight and combination to be sure.  But the cause of Lutheran Orthodoxy and faithfulness brought such together.  And many more of us with them, too. 

Paull Spring represented some of the best of eastern Lutheranism, a pastor and bishop and leader from years of ministry.  He brought those gifts to the diversity of faithful Lutherans all over the country as we began to form Lutheran CORE.

Those were amazing days, as we came together around the challenge to affect the slippery slope of the ELCA’s theological and spiritual descent.  Paull Spring was articulate and theologically able.  He spoke with both authority and passion……and a deep love and concern for the Church. 

We didn’t always agree, but we had huge respect and mutual patience to get the best from each other, not just me but everyone else with Paull Spring.  It was a fruitful partnership and collaboration.  Our work brought us to Synod and Churchwide Assemblies, to gatherings all over the country.  Who could forget the hundreds who came to Fishers, Indiana after the ELCA vote of 2009?  Paull was a giant at that meeting and others to come.

Our CORE work eventually came to the reality of forming the NALC, which was launched at a yearly CORE Convocation in Columbus, Ohio.  Paull Spring was chosen as the NALC’s first bishop.  He knew how to do that already.

Since those times Paull Spring led faithfully and has been succeeded now twice.  Yet he has remained a valued leader and respected confidant to many in this new “retirement.”

Paull Spring’s wisdom lives on even as we grieve his passing.  Eternity will tell the rest of Bishop Paull Spring’s story.  We will enjoy hearing then what now only God knows and Paull sees more fully.

“Oh God, the generations rise and pass away before You.  You are the strength of the weary; You are the rest of the blessed dead.  We rejoice in the company of All Your Saints” including now Bishop Paull Spring. 

Blessed be his memory and legacy to us all.

Paul Ulring