One Local Event, One National Event

zion-walburg

This week I share with you reflections on two recent events, one local and one national:

Local: This past Monday night Zion Lutheran Church and School in Walburg, Texas held its 45th annual Wurstbraten, a German sausage dinner. Proceeds are used to support church and school projects. Hundreds of Zion members worked to feed over 4,000 people. Including sales of sausage by the pound, Wurstbraten workers produced and sold 13,500 pounds of pure pork sausage!

Terry and I are active members of Zion. Our church is known for more than simply a sausage supper. Yet this event brings together members of church and community who work side by side to prepare and conduct this historic dinner. In addition, it gives wide visibility to our congregation, most likely bearing fruit that won’t be known this side of eternity. To God alone be the glory!

National: Late this past Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, depending on what part of the country you’re in, the results of the national election for president of the United States of America were announced. It’s a reality that regardless of who had won the election to become our next president, roughly half our nation would not be happy with the results. Time will tell whether the choice of American voters through the electoral process proves to be wise or otherwise.

It’s important to remember that the God of the universe uses people and events, good or bad, to accomplish his purposes. Throughout history God has used some leaders to prosper his people and other leaders to punish them. While we would all prefer prosperity, punishment is sometimes necessary, not only for individuals but also for nations. America is no exception.

God told the Old Testament people of Israel: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)

That’s my prayer for America, wistfully with help from the leadership of our new president but more likely under the influence of those of us who proclaim the Name of Christ and promote the biblical values we hold so near and dear.

A Prayer for Responsible Citizenship

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One of the blessings of my nine years as president of our national church body is Lutheran Service Book, published January 1, 2005 by Concordia Publishing House. I’m thankful to the LCMS Commission on Worship for its excellent work in producing this highly valued hymnal.

A significant section of LSB is titled “Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings.” One prayer in that section seems particularly fitting for today, only five days before national Election Day:

A Prayer for Responsible Citizenship: Lord, keep this nation under your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

If you have not already done so, with that prayer on your lips and in your heart, exercise your privilege and responsibility as a citizen of our land to cast your vote on or before next Tuesday, September 8, for the next president and vice-president of the United States of America.

If you need a reminder of some important matters that may be helpful in your decision, I humbly offer my October 20, 2016 Perspectives article at https://jerrykieschnick.wordpress.com/.

God bless you and God bless America!

Election Day

voting-boothOnly 18 days remain between now and Election Day. On one hand I’ll be glad when that day has come and gone. On the other hand, I’m very concerned about hearing the news to which America will awaken on November 9. Frankly, like many Americans, neither candidate rings my chimes.

For months we’ve been hearing and seeing ads, debates, and interviews espousing the minimal virtues of each candidate and eschewing the multiple vices of both. Name calling, half-truths, and allegations have filled the airwaves. No matter who wins, we won’t have a perfect president.

That in itself is nothing new. We never have had a perfect president. Yet in this year’s process of nominations and campaigns, seemingly unprecedented negative personal attributes and questionable values have emerged regarding each candidate. What are we to believe?

Hillary Clinton has been described as a deceitful, manipulative, self-serving, mean spirited, callous, angry, forgetful, dishonest, power hungry woman with no true love of country and no genuine desire to honor and preserve the basic religious values on which America was founded.

Donald Trump has been described as a rude, crude, ambitious, arrogant, womanizing, combative, name-calling New York narcissist who spends more time defending his reputation on social media than actually stating how he would make America great again as United States president.

Our country is at a critical crossroads politically, economically, morally, socially, and spiritually. Frankly, at face value, the descriptions in the paragraph above of the two candidates vying for the highest office in the land don’t offer much hope for America’s future. Yet, barring an act of God, it appears that one of them will become the 45th president of the United States of America.

Do we, therefore, simply wring our hands in despair? Do we stay home from the polls? Do we, as some suggest, hold our nose and vote for the one we think might be the lesser of two evils?

While I have no rocket science solutions, the suggestions I humbly offer are these:

  1. Pray fervently for divine direction in this election. See Rom. 13:1-4.
  2. Consider the qualifications of the two nominees in light of how they express their hopes and dreams for America’s future, notwithstanding their personal behavior and character.
  3. Review each candidate’s stance on terrorism, national security, foreign policy, military might, national debt, health care, economy, Supreme Court appointees, sanctity of life.
  4. Examine the official positions on the issues listed above as contained in the platforms of the two political parties the candidates represent. This is a most critical exercise! We’re not just voting for a person. We’re voting for the political platform that person represents!
  5. Evaluate the vice presidential candidates on the ballot, considering the attributes of the person who would be one heartbeat away. This is also a vital consideration!
  6. Pray again and cast your ballot for the candidate and platform most nearly aligned with your values and convictions as a Christian citizen of the United States of America!

Ecclesiastical Elections

Credit: phanlop88, freedigitalphotos.net

Credit: phanlop88, freedigitalphotos.net

This week marks a new process approved by the 2010 Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod for the election of LCMS president. In previous years the president was elected by 1,200 delegates during the convention. That process will not be used this year.

This year the ballots will be cast by the pastoral and lay delegates who actually attended last year’s convention of the district in which their congregation holds its LCMS membership. The number of thusly qualified delegates is approximately 8,000. The new process provides a broader representation and brings the election much closer to individual LCMS congregations.

This year’s election will be held June 22-25. Electronic password protected ballots will be sent to all certified pastoral and lay district convention delegates, who will cast their electronic ballot within the stipulated period. If a majority vote is received by one of the three candidates nominated months ago by congregations of the Synod, the election is completed.

If no majority is achieved, a second ballot will be sent. It will contain the names of the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes on the first ballot. One of those two candidates will very likely receive a majority vote and the results will be announced a few weeks prior to the national convention in St. Louis July 20-25.

As most of us who have had the privilege of voting in any kind of election will readily testify, it’s not easy to know for sure which candidate in any election is most qualified. That’s the case with national, state and municipal elections. It’s also true of church body elections, especially at the district level and most especially at the national level.

Voters faced with casting a ballot want and need information about the candidates. Especially in this case, LCMS voters need to know if the candidates represent the perspectives, values, hopes and dreams the voters have for the future of the LCMS. Do they have the personal integrity, pastoral heart and professional experience necessary for the task? It’s not always easy to know.

Here’s my suggestion, humbly and respectfully offered. Ask your district president for his counsel. Unless the pastoral and lay delegates from your congregation did not attend last year’s triennial district convention, your congregation participated in your district president’s election. He is a trusted leader in your midst. And he knows all three nominees for LCMS president.

So, if you are one of last year’s district convention delegates who will be electing the LCMS president this week, why not seek the counsel of your district president regarding the candidates on the ballot? And if you are a delegate to the national Synod convention in July, why not seek that same counsel regarding candidates for the other officers and board members to be elected?

To assist you in that process, I’ve attached below my signature at the end of this article a list of all 35 district presidents, their office phone number and email address. I’m sure your district president would appreciate hearing from you and will be happy to respond.

If you will not be participating in either the pre-convention presidential election or the elections during the convention, feel free to forward this article to someone who will be involved in those elections. Perhaps that someone will be eternally or, at least, momentarily grateful. J

And don’t forget to pray for the blessing of our Lord on this important ecclesiastical election!

LCMS District Presidents – Spring 2013

Atlantic District 
Dr. David H. Benke
914-337-5700 x2 (O)
E-MAIL: dhbad@aol.com

California-Nevada-Hawaii District
Dr. Robert D. Newton
925-245-4000/866-264-6079 (O)
E-MAIL: prescnh@cnh-lcms.org

Central Illinois District
Rev. Mark A. Miller
217-793-1802 x1 (O)
E-MAIL: mmiller@cidlcms.org; president@cidlcms.org

Eastern District
Dr. Chris C. Wicher
716-634-5111 x12 (O)
E-MAIL: chris.wicher@lcmsed.org

English District
Dr. David P. Stechholz
248-476-0039/800-755-9335 x20 (O)
E-MAIL: DStechholz@EnglishDistrict.org

Florida-Georgia District 
Rev. Gregory S. Walton
407-857-5556/877-457-5556 x8 (O)
E-MAIL: gwalton@flga-lcms.org

Indiana District 
Rev. Daniel P. May
260-423-1511/800-837-1145 x2204 (O)
E-MAIL: dan.may@in.lcms.org

Iowa District East
Dr. Brian S. Saunders
319-373-2112 (O)
E-MAIL: bsaunders@lcmside.org

Iowa District West
Dr. Paul G. Sieveking
515-576-7666 (O)
E-MAIL: paul.sieveking@idwlcms.org

Kansas District
Rev. Keith E. Kohlmeier
785-357-4441/800-357-4421 x200 (O)
E-MAIL: kekohl@kslcms.org

Michigan District
The Reverend David P. E. Maier
734-665-4248/888-225-2111 x233 (O)
E-MAIL: david.maier@michigandistrict.org

Mid-South District
Dr. Roger C. Paavola
901-373-1343/866-373-1343 (O)
E-MAIL: rpaavola@mid-southlcms.com

Minnesota North District 
Rev. Donald J. Fondow
218-829-1781 (O)
E-MAIL: don.fondow@mnnlcms.org

Minnesota South District
Dr. Dean W. Nadasdy
952-223-2150 (O)
E-MAIL: dean.nadasdy@mnsdistrict.org

Missouri District
Dr. Ray G. Mirly
314-590-6200 (O)
E-MAIL: ray.mirly@mo.lcms.org

Montana District
Rev. Terry R. Forke
406-259-2908 (O)
E-MAIL: forke@mtdistlcms.org

Nebraska District
Rev. Russell L. Sommerfeld
402-643-2961/888-643-2961 x1004 (O)
E-MAIL: russs@ndlcms.org

New England District
Rev. Timothy Yeadon
413-783-0131 x11 (O)
E-MAIL: tyeadon@ned-lcms.org

New Jersey District
Dr. Anthony J. Steinbronn
908-233-8111 x11 (O)
E-MAIL: steinbronna@njdistrict.org

North Dakota District
Dr. James A. Baneck
701-751-3424 (O)
E-MAIL: ndlcmspres@midconetwork.com

North Wisconsin District
Rev. Dwayne M. Lueck
715-845-8241/x17 (O)
E-MAIL: Dwayne@nwdlcms.org

Northern Illinois District
Rev. Dan P. Gilbert
708-449-3020/888-708-5267 (O)
E-MAIL: dan.gilbert@ni.lcms.org

Northwest District
Rev. Paul A. Linnemann
503-288-8383/888-693-5267 x127 (O)
E-MAIL: paull@nowlcms.org

Ohio District
Rev. Terry L. Cripe
440-235-2297/800-901-2297 (O)
E-MAIL: cripet@oh.lcms.org

Oklahoma District
Rev. Barrie E. Henke
405-348-7600 (O)
E-MAIL: bhenke@htlcok.org

Pacific Southwest District
Dr. Larry A. Stoterau
949-854-3232/888-PSD-LCMS x201 (O)
E-MAIL: larry.stoterau@psd-lcms.org

Rocky Mountain District 
Rev. Allen D. Anderson
303-695-8001 x102 (O)
E-MAIL: rmdpresidentanderson@gmail.com

SELC District
Dr. Carl H. Krueger, Jr.
414-698-7208 (O)
E-MAIL: selcpres@wi.rr.com

South Dakota District
Dr. Dale L. Sattgast
605-361-1514 (O)
E-MAIL: sdpres@midco.net

South Wisconsin District
Rev. John C. Wille
414-464-8100 x14 (O)
E-MAIL:  wille@swd.lcms.org

Southeastern District
Dr. John R. Denninger
703-971-9371/800-637-5723 x202 (O)
E-MAIL:  jdenninger@se.lcms.org

Southern District
Rev. Kurtis D. Schultz
504-282-2632 (O)
E-MAIL: president@southernlcms.org

Southern Illinois District
Rev. Timothy J. Scharr
618-234-4767 (O)
E-MAIL: sidpresident@sidlcms.org

Texas District
Rev. Kenneth M. Hennings
512-926-4272/800-951-3478 x250 (O)
E-MAIL: hennings@txdistlcms.org

Wyoming District
Rev. Richard O. Boche
307-265-9000 (O)
E-MAIL: wypres@aol.com