Category Archives: Composite

Forgive Me

I forgive you, do you forgive me? Those are healing words; for the giver and receiver.

In the spring of the the year 0,033 (plus or minus a year) a young, innocent, peace-loving man was brutally beaten, mocked, robbed, humiliated, whipped, insulted and ultimately murdered by a band of unbelieving, ruthless thugs, scoundrels, robbers and murders. Somehow between numerous thunderous blows to his head, he found the strength to mutter these words:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  – Jesus (Luke 23:34) … And He meant it. Deep within His hurting heart, He meant it.

That, right there, is our shining example.

M: We should not have a vengeful heart. For God says:
C: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19

M: We should never repay with evil. For God says:
C: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – Romans 12:17

M: We should want God’s blessings for those who do wrong to us. For God says:
C: Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. – Luke 6:28

M: We should not rejoice when calamities fall on those who do wrong to us. For God says:
C: Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice – Proverbs 24:17

M: We should not hate those who do wrong against us. For God says:
C: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you – Matthew 5:44

M: We should seek reconciliation. For God says:
C: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18

M: We should never treat those who have done wrong to us poorly. For God says:
C: If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. – Exodus 23:4-5

Here is forgiveness: when you feel that someone is your enemy or when you simply feel that you or someone you care about has been wronged, forgiveness means:
resisting revenge
not returning evil for evil
wishing them well
grieving at their calamities
praying for their welfare
seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you
and coming to their aid in distress.
All these point to a forgiving heart. And the heart is all important. Read Matthew 18:21-35 if you don’t believe me and ruminate on that last verse for awhile.

“To forgive, is to give up your right to be angry.” – Pastor Timothy Ehlers



M: Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)
C: Restore and sustain us O Lord

M: Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:19)
C: Restore and rekindle us O Lord

M: He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ; (Psalm 23:2-3)
C: Restore, refresh and guide us O Lord

M: Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ; (Psalm 80:3)
C: Restore and awaken us O Lord

M: And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. ;
C: To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10-11)

God Gave Us Five Senses

God Gave Us Five Senses

God gave us five incredible senses to experience Himself and His tremendous creation. We should use them all, even in worship.

M: All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. – Ecclesiastes 1:8
C: We once were blind but now we see. Teach us to look to You O Lord to see all that you are doing today.

M: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 3:22
C: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! Teach us to listen to You O Lord to hear all that You are saying through scripture to us today.

M: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. – Psalm 34:8
C: O taste and see that the Lord is good. He is our rock me our refuge.

M: She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” – Matthew 9:21
C: There is power in simply reaching out to touch just the tassels of the Lord’s garment.

M: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
C: For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. – CSLewis

Parallel Poetry

Parallel Poetry

Here’s a responsive reading that teaches your people about Hebrew poetry while worshipping at the same time.

Pastor:           In synonymous parallelism the second line of a verse expresses similar thoughts and sentiments as the first.

Pastor:           The heavens declare the glory of God;
All:                the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  (Ps 19:1)
Pastor:           Day after day they pour forth speech;
All:                Night after night they display knowledge.  (Ps 19:2)

Pastor:           In antithetic parallelism a thought expressed in one line contrasts in the next line with an opposite truth.

Pastor:           For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
All:                but the way of the wicked will perish.  (Ps 1:6)

Pastor:           My flesh and my heart may fail,
All:                but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Ps 73:26)

Pastor:           In synthetic (or climactic) parallelism subsequent verses build on that which has been stated in previous verses.

Pastor:           When I consider your heavens,
Women:        the work of your fingers,
Men:             the moon and the stars,
Pastor:           which you have set in place,
Men:             what is man that you are mindful of him,
Women:        the son of man that you care for him?  (Ps 8:3,4)

Pastor:           Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
All:                Who may stand in his holy place?
Pastor:           He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
All:                Who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
(Ps 24:3,4)

Pastor:           Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
All:                Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
Pastor:           Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
All:                yet I will rejoice in the Lord,  will be joyful in God my savior.
(Hab 3:17,18)

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

Welcome to Worship! This morning’s music will be sung…

…With stringed instruments (Ps 4, 6, 54, 55, 61, 67, 76)

…For flutes (Ps 5)

To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” (Ps 9)

To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning” (Ps 22)

A song for the dedication of the Temple (Ps 30)

To the tune of “Lilies” – A Wedding Song (Ps 45)

To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks” (Ps 56)

To the tune of “Do Not Destroy” (Ps 57)

To the tune of “Do Not Destroy” (Ps 58)

To the tune of “Do Not Destroy” (Ps 59)

To the tune of “The Lily of the Covenant” (Ps 60)

To the tune of “Lilies” (Ps 69)

To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant” (Ps 80)


Sometimes I wish that the Bible came with an inspired CD for the accompaniment of these Psalms!  What did these tunes sound like?  The words have been preserved but the music has not.  They were probably accompanied by flutes, lyres, harps and tambourines.  I think it would help us immensely when it comes to musical style.  Or, maybe God is trying to tell us something else.  Maybe the lyrics are more important than the music.  Maybe we shouldn’t get hung up on the style or the instrumentation.  Maybe the music can be in any number of formats; that change with time and culture.  Maybe the music is only meant to serve the words; to draw attention to the words; to affect us and draw us closer to God.


In fact, if you think about, these Psalms are inspired song lyrics from God.  The following therefore, is typical of a song inspired by God:


Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.  For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.  Praise the LORD.


You’ve just read Psalm 117 in its entirety.  Musically, it appears to have at least a verse and a chorus.  The chorus is “Praise the Lord.”  It starts and ends with it.  The chorus is a response to a truth expressed in the verse.  We are to praise him “for his great love toward us and because his faithfulness endures forever.”  There’s also what appears to be a bridge which describes who this is for: “all nations and all peoples.”  It’s a simple song, with at lest one important lesson for us – Keep It Simple!


Psalm Benediction

Psalm Benediction

Here’s a Benediction based entirely on the Psalms:

Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.  (Ps 4:6)

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Ps 121:7,8)

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. (Ps 29:11)

Praise be to the LORD forever!  Amen and Amen.  (Ps 89:52)

All scripture text is from the NIV Translation

From the lips of children…

Different Religions – Physical Expressiveness


I came across this list of physical expressiveness for various Christian denominations.  I suppose that its comical.  As a Lutheran, especially a WELS Lutheran, I can vouch for the fact that we are very stoic and reserved in our worship expressiveness.  But this past Sunday; something happened.  See what happened during our worship after reading the following:


   If you’re Lutheran, you don’t show anything, but you move your toes in rhythm with the music lest anyone find out that you really do have a beat.

   If you’re Reformed Church in America or Christian Reformed Church, you can do anything you want to with your hands with one unbreakable rule: No hands above the waist.

   If you’re Roman Catholic, you make the sign of the cross.

   If you’re Episcopalian, you thrust your hands nervously in your pockets and dig, scratch, or scrape.

   If you’re nondenominational, you clap.

   If you’re Wesleyan or Evangelical Free, you cry.

   If you’re Nazarene, you laugh.

   If you’re Seventh-day Adventist, you sway slightly with eyes shut.

   If you’re United Methodist, you extend your hands, palms upward, but arms are never raised above the belly-button.

   If you’re United Church of Christ, you stand erect with arms crossed and face scowled.

   If you’re Presbyterian, you place one hand under the chin, a la Rodin’s The Thinker.

   If you’re Unitarian Universalist, you go on and pretend nothing has happened.

   If you’re Southern Baptist, you hold hands with people across the aisle.

   If you’re American Baptist, you tap your feet.

   If you’re United Church of Canada, you clasp your hands behind the back.

   If you’re Salvation Army, you lift your hearts to God and your hands to whoever’s around you.

   If you’re Quaker, you get real quiet.

   If you’re Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), you raise one hand to the heavens as if you’re hailing a bus or waving a hankie.

   If you’re Pentecostal, you lift both hands high above the head and make the wave. (By the way, do you know how they vote at Pentecostal conventions? They put their hands down.)

   If you’re postmodern, you’ve done all of the above at one time or another.

Source- unknown


Well this past Sunday was a wrap –up worship service to conclude a week long Vacation Day Camp (VDC).  To our utmost joy, a few visiting families with children, who attended our VDC, showed up at worship.  During the week, these children learned several contemporary Christian songs and really got into it – hand motions, clapping, stomping, etc.  During worship, our Pastor showed a clip of the children singing “Lord I Lift Your Name on High.”  And us stoic, conservative, traditional, liturgical Lutherans watched as a young girl, perhaps 4 or 5 years old, in the front of the church, lifted her arms in praise as she was taught during VDC.  And the funny thing was that the Mother (who was also a visitor) realized that this was a bit out of place for us; so she tried to stop the little girl – but the girl was persistent!  Mom would put her hands down, and up they came again and again.  Arms up in a WELS service; who would have guessed!


“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” Psalm 134:2

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Ps. 8:2




A Responsive Reading using the Breadth of Emotions Conveyed in the Psalms

A Responsive Reading using the Breadth of Emotions Conveyed in the Psalms

Pastor’s Introduction:

Psalms are songs or poems. That’s what the word “psalm” means. They are meant to be read or sung as poetry or songs. The point is that poetry or singing is intended to stir up and carry the affections of the heart.

If you read the Psalms only for doctrine, you’re not reading them for what they are. They’re musical, and the reason human beings express truth with music and poetry is to awaken and express emotions that fit the truth.

One of the reasons the Psalms are deeply loved by so many Christians is that they give expression to an amazing array of emotions. More explicitly than all the other books in the Bible, the Psalms are designed to awaken and shape our emotions in line with the instruction they give. What happens when you read and sing the Psalms the way they are intended to be read and sung is that your emotions and your mind are shaped by these psalms. We will now read responsively (as noted) the breadth of expressions contained in the Psalms; starting with anguish and wailing and ending with gratitude and peace.

Pastor: “Anguish” as expressed in Psalm 6:3
Congregation: My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long?Pastor: “Wailing” as expressed in Psalm 30:11
Congregation: You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
Pastor: “Grief” as expressed in Psalm 6:7
Congregation: My eye wastes away because of grief
Pastor: “Anger” as expressed in Psalm 4:4
Congregation: Be angry, and do not sin
Pastor: “Groaning” as expressed in Psalm 6:6
Congregation: I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
Pastor: “Pain” as expressed in Psalm 69:29
Congregation: I am afflicted and in pain
Pastor: “Sorrow” as expressed in Psalm 31:9
Congregation: Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
Pastor: “Brokenheartedness” as expressed in Psalm 34:18
Congregation: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit
Pastor: “Loneliness” as expressed in Psalm 25:16
Congregation: I am lonely and afflicted
Pastor: “Distress” as expressed in Psalm 18:6
Congregation: In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.
Pastor: “Fear” as expressed in Psalm 2:11
Congregation: Serve the Lord with fear
Pastor: “Discouragement and turmoil” as expressed in Psalm 42:5
Congregation: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Pastor: “Shame” as expressed in Psalm 44:15
Congregation: Shame has covered my face
Pastor: “Regret” as expressed in Psalm 38:18
Congregation: I am sorry for my sin
Pastor: “Contrition” as expressed in Psalm 51:17
Congregation: A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise
Pastor: “Desire” as expressed in Psalm 10:17
Congregation: O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted
Pastor: “Hope” as expressed in Psalm 33:22
Congregation: Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you
Pastor: “Confidence” as expressed in Psalm 27:3
Congregation: Though war arise against me, yet I will be confident
Pastor: “Zeal” as expressed in Psalm 69:9
Congregation: Zeal for your house has consumed me
Pastor: “Love” as expressed in Psalm 18:1
Congregation: I love you, O Lord, my strength
Pastor: “Awe” as expressed in Psalm 33:8
Congregation: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him
Pastor: “Exultation” as expressed in Psalm 21:1
Congregation: In your salvation how greatly he exults
Pastor: “Marveling” as expressed in Psalm 118:23
Congregation: This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes
Pastor: “Delight” as expressed in Psalm 1:2
Congregation: His delight is in the law of the Lord
Pastor: “Joy” as expressed in Psalm 4:7
Congregation: You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound
Pastor: “Gladness” as expressed in Psalm 9:2
Congregation: I will be glad and exult in you
Pastor: “Gratitude” as expressed in Psalm 35:18
Congregation: I will thank you in the great congregation
Pastor: “Peace” as expressed in Psalm 4:8
Congregation: In peace I will both lie down and sleep

Note – all scripture text is from the NIV (Zondervan Publishing)