Looking back and looking ahead takes time. We get to refresh ourselves with joyous memories and hopeful plans. We can take time to grieve and mourn the broken places in our lives, as well as make plans to handle the rough patches that loom ahead. It’s what we do as humans.
I am rejoicing in some of the websites that help me look ahead in faith. One is Brothers of John the Steadfast <http://steadfastlutherans.org/>. It is full-bore and hard-core confessional theology. We get to rejoice in God’s extraordinary gifts to people, delivered through the voices and hands of his pastors.
Come to think of it, my own pastor, Chris Hull, writes for them. < http://steadfastlutherans.org/author/chull/ > I get a huge kick out of him and his family. Yes, I genuinely enjoy them as people. They make me laugh. It is also delightful and interesting to watch them raise their sons. They parent with a style I’m not used to seeing. I’m learning a lot by watching them, not that I will have much opportunity to put it into practice.
In February, we will be hosting a conference with the steadfast friends. It is about Article IV of the Augsburg Confession. The topics will be about Justification. I can’t wait till it happens! <http://steadfastlutherans.org/2017conf/> They only have room for 250 people, so… Register soon!
Sometimes, I’m not able to make it to church. I always enjoy listening to the sermons from the pastors at Zion, but I don’t always have a good connection to the Internet. Besides, church is something to participate in directly! Watching or listening to a sermon will never replace being with God’s people to receive God’s gifts!
Pastor Esget has some rich explanations of God’s Word. Here is his take on the retrospectives of 2016. <http://www.esgetology.com/2016/12/31/sermo-dei-new-years-eve-2016/>
One of my favorite authors, Gene Veith, covers a wide range of topics in his blog. He enjoys real conversation online, people who comment and receive replies come from a wide range of perspectives. I never leave this place without having learned something worth knowing. Check out his review of the top 10 discoveries in biblical archaeology for 2016. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2016/12/top-10-discoveries-biblical-archaeology-2016/>
Issues, Etc. has been one of my favorite programs on the Internet for a long time. I cannot even remember when I didn’t appreciate them. The teaching here helped me through some rough times. Here’s an example of the riches they dispense: The Incarnation and Defense of the Christian Faith by Dr. John Warwick Montgomery. <http://issuesetc.org/2016/12/23/3581-the-incarnation-and-defense-of-the-christian-faith-dr-john-warwick-montgomery-122316/>
One of my other pastors who use to be at Zion, Alvin Franzmeier, dispenses a gentle and loving explanation of what God has done and continues to do in the lives of His people. For a while, he has been opening up the teachings of the biblical book of Job. Here he discusses “Who Shall Separate Us From God’s Love?” <http://al-franzmeier.blogspot.com/2016/12/who-shall-separate-us-from-gods-love.html>
There are wonderful riches of teaching available, even if it is online. Look around, tell me about your favorite treasures.