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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Virtual small group reunion on Luther Tower

We were so blessed to have Texas visitors again! Kristy, the boys and Hope endured the heat, air mattress and close quarters to spend the weekend with us. Long ago back in Texas we started our small group with them, Greg and Sara and the Stocktons with just one child each - now there are 15!

"Be fruitful and multiply"

Who would have thought that we would be reunited at the seminary with Greg and Sara soon to live across the street from us. Praise be to GOD!

The Stocktons visited us last year and climbed the tower as well:

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Day the Seminary Stood Still

By Carlotta Tiews

The black clouds are moving fast, and the wind picks up and throws all the branches around. The lights flicker. Some people think it’s just a thunderstorm, but they don’t know what they’re in for!

On July 20, 2006, around seven in the evening, huge black clouds started rolling towards St. Louis, and within about 15 minutes, there was a terrible storm going on outside. Then everything went black, inside and out. It knocked down about four or five trees, which will later make great forts for the kids.

At around seven-fifteen p.m., about when the storm hit, an old friend of ours arrived, Mr. Bruce Miller from Tomball. We lit candles, and sat down to a nice candlelight dinner. We thought the power would come back on in a little while. Little did we know that it would take 4 days to get it back.

We had just been eating for about 5 minutes, when the tornado siren went off. So we went down to the basement, and did we ever have a party down there! In the meantime the sky had turned bright orange, but everybody was allowed to leave the basement again. We were able to watch the most exciting lightning storm. We thought this was just a bad storm; that you go down to the basement and come up an hour later, and then everything is fine. But this was definitely not the case.

We had absolutely no power until Sunday afternoon. There were 500,000 people in the St. Louis area that had no power when the storm hit. All this happened on Wednesday night. Then to top it all off, we had a really bad heat wave on Thursday, with a heat index of about 110 F. For some people, Thursday was just too much. They went away to friends’ homes and hotels. But the power company, Ameren, was working hard to restore power. Then, the work suddenly got harder for the company on Friday morning. Another thunderstorm hit and now another 160,000 were without power!

But this also teaches us a lesson. Everyone started talking with their neighbors and getting to know one another. Here at the seminary, there were lots of worried and sweating students, and take-home exams. And lots of rejoicing kids because summer school was canceled. There were lots of B-B-Q’s and cookouts, (because everyone had to use their meat) and everyone had lots of fun. Some people were even sad that the power came back on. Everybody was having that much fun. I know even I was a little bit sad when the power came back on. We, the Tiews family thought it was fun, except for Thursday, when it was so hot.

We all got some good experience to prepare for our stay in a cabin without power, coming up in August. We all had one big party here. It just goes to show that the reason people don’t go outside very often, is because they want to be comfortable with their AC and TV. Without power, people go outside more often because it’s cooler. It’s like it was not so long ago. Everyone was always outside and almost always had a great time.

Now the next heat wave is here, and people are sweating again although we have air-conditioning!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Time flies when you are studying theology

Well, we’ve been here almost a year now and what a year it’s been!

The Lord continues to make His face shine upon us. Everybody is healthy and well adjusted to our new life here. I still can’t fathom how easily everyone has transitioned from three acres and horses to three bedrooms and just stuffed animals.

Lilly is starting to roll around and has transitioned to a play pen. Me-Me has just about mastered potty training. JJ is busy catching tadpoles, which we will try to grow in our little fish tank. Carlotta is keeping track of all her summer reading so she can win two new books from a local book store (JJ, too). Lula is keeping up keeping up with all of us and is immensely enjoying reading Carlotta’s articles, J.J.’s first book about himself, Chris’ papers and sermons, and various books about Lutheran theology and “Crunchy Conservatives” (s. Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, ... plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) by Rod Dreher.)

At the time of this writing I have exactly 50 credits under my belt (117 classroom hours are required in total), with another three credits coming this month.

In the spring quarter I took Psalms and Writings, Homiletics I, History of Christianity in Africa, Lutheran Confessions II, and Late Middle Ages. I am taking three classes this summer—Paul and the Epistles, and Lutheran Reformation last month, and Isaiah and the Prophets this month.
We are still very much attracted to the “church planting” program, for which I will be applying in the next few weeks.

Here are some the theological “nuggets” I picked up from professors and others this past year and which I wanted to share with you:

“A good preacher comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”
“Parishioners don’t care what you have to say unless they know you care.”
“Every open sin is deliberate, but not every deliberate sin is open.”
“Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is active through the Word, not through us. He is not limited by our grasp of things.”
“In preaching, ‘rifle the Gospel’”, i.e., stick to one topic (a rifle, not a shotgun), with the Gospel being the main point.”
“Find out God’s agenda for you and go with that, don’t go with your own agenda.”
“Denominational differences can often be boiled down to their understanding of Original Sin, in that ‘How thoroughly were we infected with sin? Were we just “nicked” (i.e., is there still a lot of good left in us, a “divine spark”) or were we “nuked”, as in Isa 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”)?
“We lead the sanctified life not because we are motivated (synergism!) but because we were crucified with Christ (in baptism) and are now New Creations.”
“My disgrace—His grace”.
“God is not a resource, He’s a source.”
“An illustration for plucking Bible verses out of context: Imagine a glass bowl full of light purple beads. Only up close do you realize that they are actually red, blue or white. Plucking a Bible verse out of context is like picking up one of theses beads and saying, ‘The Bible is red (or blue or white)! You need to stand back and see the whole picture, view the Bible through the lense of the Gospel, not through individual statements.”

Thank you again for your prayers and support!

On top a picture of Pastor Tom Wagstaff of Peace Lutheran Church (right) with me. Posted by Picasa