Denver Area Reformation Worship Celebration
The Denver Southwest Circuit has agreed to host at Shepherd of the Hills, Centennial the Rocky Mountain District Front Range Area Reformation Service on Sunday, October 22,, 2017, 4pm at Shepherd of the Hills. Individual congregations and schools of our Circuit will be participating in music and the service for that day, as well as having highlighted community, reformation, and church events throughout that week leading up to the Observed day of Reformation, October 29, where congregations will be celebrating individually at their own places. The guest preacher is Ref. Prof. Todd Jones from the St. Louis Seminary. Shepherd is sponsoring a Fall Reformation Festival at their congregation for families, youth and the community on Friday, Oct. 27, from 5-8pm. Hosanna, Littleton is sponsoring a Matinee viewing of the New Luther Movie ($6 with popcorn) at the Elvis Movie Theater at 10am on Thurs. Oct 26, Frid. Oct. 27, and Sat. Oct. 28. Other local congregations will be adding events to this celebration calendar as time progresses.
The Theme for the Celebration is “Here We Stand! Word, Grace, Faith” and will be in conjunction with the Synod’s yearly theme of “It is Still All About Jesus”. More information about the service and special music, etc. will be forthcoming.
2017 Reformation Celebration – Historical Reflections
This year, 2017, is a year precious to all Lutherans…the 500th birthday of the beginning of Luther’s blessed discovery of the Gospel and his rebellion related to the beliefs and celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church. A monthly series of articles will be provided covering topics and historical events leading up to October 31, 1517, the date of the posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany.
LUTHER & THE GOSPEL
Luther reportedly discovered the Gospel while reading the book of Romans in the tower of the Augustinian cloister. Luther experienced the “true discovery” of the Gospel after intently studying Romans 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… as it is written: “The righteous shall live by faith.”
His study of the scriptures brought him to the realization of the differences between the Bible and the practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church…and so, the story of the Reformation began.
What Luther Says
Luther: “For a long time I went astray [in the monastery] and didn’t know what I was about. To be sure, I knew something, but I didn’t know what it was until I came to the text in Romans 1:17, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ That text helped me. But when 1 discovered the proper distinction-namely, that the law is one thing and the gospel is another-I made myself free.”
God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. If he (we) has (have) faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this Gospel to the people at the risk of life itself. You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the Word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Doctrinal Position
What Lutherans Teach states that: “Lutherans teach (and believe) that no human being can earn or obtain forgiveness of sins or life with God by any human efforts or “good works”. We believe, and the Gospel clearly teaches, that salvation is achieved by the Grace of God through faith in Him.
The Gospel is the joyful news that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us complete forgiveness from our sins through His life, death and resurrection. The central and most important teaching in the Bible is the Gospel, the Good news of God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We believe that the two chief doctrines of Holy Scripture, Law and Gospel, must be constantly and diligently proclaimed. We believe, teach and confess that the Gospel is the heart and center of our Christian faith. The Holy Spirit works through the Word of the Gospel to create and sustain faith in our heart. The Gospel’s message is that God forgives us all our sins through Christ; accepts us for His sake as God’s children, and out of pure grace, without any merit of our own, saves us.
For May: Marriage and Family
Updates to District Reformation Activities
The more 2017 progresses, the more our Reformation-500 plans are shaping up:
- Our District’s portion of the three Concordia Choir Tours is getting started on February 19. (Please pray that their Winter-Spring journeys are safe. And, many thanks to all our Host Churches, Supporters and Attendees.)
- We are beginning to have Congregations come forward to be Hosts for our three Summer Seminar Tours. (If your Church would like to join them, please contact me soon, so that we may have plenty of time to organize schedules and transportation for the Speakers.)
- The Northeast Circuit (CO) is planning on hosting a Seminar Speaker/Presentation this Summer as part of those Tours, as well as a Free Conference on March 4 (featuring Dr. Scott Keith [of 1517. The Legacy Project, and Concordia University, Irvine], speaking on “Opiate or Truth Serum? The Challenges of Christianity in the Secular Age. Dr. Rod Rosenbladt will be a special guest as well.) There will also be a Fall Mission Festival in Wray on September 9-10 (with Cantor Phillip Magness speaking throughout Saturday on Missions in Africa, and then playing the organ for worship on Sunday, as well as leading Bible Class.) And, for Sunday afternoon, there will be the possibility of a special presentation by another speaker.
- The Trinity Family in St. George UT will be having an Open House to explain Lutheranism to the community, as well as Newspaper articles to help with the clarification of our core beliefs.
- The Utah Circuit will be discussing various activity options for Reformation-500 during their Circuit Forum in March. (Hopefully, all Circuits are planning some kind of corporate events, along with supporting the activities of their individual Congregations.)
- The Youth Group of Trinity, Alamogordo (NM), is taking a “Flat Luther” with them on their various trips throughout the year, for fun photos and witness opportunities.
- Immanuel, Colorado Springs, while soon Hosting one of our Concordia Tour Choirs (with Resurrection Lutheran), has an exciting, multi-faceted Event in-the-works for October. More details will be provided a little later.
- Besides all the above, along with other ideas already shared in earlier mailings, your Congregations are invited to consider entering Reformation-oriented Floats in your various community parades. Having Booths set up during your local fairs, with Reformation information available for distribution, would be worthwhile to think about as well.
- Also, please consider the possibility of having a Reformation Carnival this Fall. The First Attachment was presented in an old “Peaks and Valleys” article, representing the core activities carried out by one Church for several years. That annual Carnival has since moved to Trinity, La Junta (CO). (For more information, please contact Daryl Bierbaum, via email@example.com) The Second Attachment presents possible additional or alternate activity ideas for such a Carnival.
- And, certainly, all Circuits are invited to organize combined Reformation Worship Services sometime during the year!
In honor of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, hopefully all our Congregations and Circuits are planning at least a couple special activities/events each, whether they involve worship, fellowship, education or outreach, or any combination thereof. And, please share those plans with your Circuits, as well as with the District.
Click here for supplemental information and ideas for carnival activities.
Reformation 500 Seminar Tours
Dear Rocky Mountain District Sisters and Brothers,
Happy Epiphany Season! May all be continuing well in the new year for you, yours and your congregations.
I hope you all received the Reformation-500 Choir Tour Schedules several weeks ago through the District office e-mailing. If not, click here to view the schedule throughout the district. God-willing, your congregations will each be arranging a group to attend, as well as even to otherwise support, at least one of the nearby performances. The first Tour begins February 19 (with the others happening in March and May).
Besides those three Choirs, we have three Concordia Professors who have committed to touring through our District this Summer, in order to share three informative and applicable Reformation-related Seminar Presentations. Well, recently the Topics were set, as well as the Tour Dates, all of which are found in the attached sheet. Now, what is needed are congregational Hosts. Presuming the hosting requirements are met (also on the attachment), requesting churches will be chosen on a first come – first served basis. Once we have seven Hosts for each of the three Tours, we can formulate the specific Schedules (which will then be sent out via the District office). Hopefully, we can have those Schedules set no later than the end of February, in order to allow the Professors to make the best transportation arrangements.
What an incredible educational and outreach opportunity such Tours can be for our own members, as well as for our unchurched neighbors. They would be beneficial for our churched neighbors too. Case in point: During a meal at a restaurant recently, while working on my sermon (as I normally do for community contact), I met a waitress who is studying to be a youth pastor for a non-denominational church. When she learned that I am a Lutheran Pastor, she asked if Lutherans are related to the Latter-Day Saints… We have our Education and Witness Work cut out for us!
So, please discuss the possibilities of hosting one of these Professors and their Presentations, or even sharing such with another Circuit congregation-or-two. And, please contact me as soon as possible, to secure a spot on the Schedule. Click here to review the schedule and needs for hosting.
Many blessings, as January quickly gives way to February, in our Epiphanal Lord Jesus…
Pastor Rick Miller
2017 District Outreach Coordinator
Movie Resources for Reformation Celebration
- Book Study: “Luther: Biography of a Reformer” (Concordia Publishing House)
- DVD Studies
- “A Man Named Martin: Part 1 – The Man” (Lutheran Hour Ministries)
- “A Man named Martin: Part 2 – The Moment” (Lutheran Hour Ministries)
- “Here I Stand: Martin Luther” (Vision Video)
- “Luther and the Reformation” (Ligonier Ministries)
- “Reformation Overview” (Christian History Institute / Vision Video)
- “This Changed Everything: 500 Years of the Reformation” (Christian History Institute / Vision Video)
- Note: The latest DVD Study about Martin Luther by Dr. Paul Maier (filmed on location in 2016) is still in the works. Please keep Brother Paul in prayer, as he recuperates from his minor stroke last Fall.
- DVD Documentaries
- “Opening the Door to Luther” (Vision Video)
- “Luther: His Life, His Path, His Legacy” (Vision Video)
- DVD Movies
- “Martin Luther” (1953, Full-Length Black-and-White / Unicorn Video)
- “The Martin Luther Story” (Half-Hour Animation)
- “Luther” (2003, Full-Length Color)
Regarding those Movies, it is highly recommended that you consider public showings of the last two. For the Animation, you are welcome to contact Church Video License International regarding screenings in your church facility (888-771-2854 or cvli.com) and Christian History Institute / Vision Video concerning showings in a community venue (Karen Rutt – firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-468-0458, ext. 304). For small private screenings (e.g. to friends, family, Sunday School, etc.), no license is required. Regarding the full-length “Luther” film, please refer to the Attachments provided.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have dozens of Movie Showings going on throughout our District over the next several months? What an impact even that could make!
Please do consider any number of other possible Reformation-500 activities as well. Concordia Publishing House has several helpful resources available, as do, certainly, other Publishing companies too.
Click here for “Luther” Theatrical Agreement
Click here for “Luther” Non-Theatrical Agreement