Droege Boys Dropped (2020 Edition)!

These kids are not survival experts.  Neither is their father.  Or Uncle.  But the Droege Boys are getting dropped for a second time!  The players consist of North Georgia Droegemueller boys (shortened to Droege Boys) along with their Mississippi brother from another mother.  Ok. Yes, there are girls involved too. Really cool and tough girls. These girls are cool and tough enough that they willingly support the crazy stuff these boys want to do. And what are these boys going to be doing exactly? They are about to get dropped into the wilderness with practically nothing. But it is for a great cause.

Man, this kid looks tough. If you see him in a dark alley, run. He is presently training to make the cut next year.

Just to get this out to you up front. We are not interested in complaining about all the problems in the world or ignoring them. We are looking for ways to put our Lutheran faith into action. We believe in the pure truth of the Holy Bible. We believe the Gospel of our Savior Who died for us and conquered death. We believe in God’s miracle-working Word in Baptism. We believe Jesus forgives sins. We believe in a Savior Who shows up for His Church with His own Body and Blood in Holy Communion. And so, it is very easy for sinners like us, who have been saved by such obvious grace, to get into fields and the trenches with the hope we have in Christ. So . . . welcome to Droege Boys Dropped 2020!!!! Are you ready to be introduced to the people crazy enough to want to do this?

The Players

The players in this survival challenge are:

  1.  Isaac Droegemueller – Age 13
  2.  Luke Droegemueller – Age 15
  3.  Tim Droegemueller – Age 47
  4.  Jay Wendland – Age 56 (This guy on the right looks really professional compared to these other slackers)

The Location

The Droege Boys are getting dropped into a remote location in North Georgia that is presently only known by two people. These two people, Pat and Gail Deluca, will be leading the boys into this location blindfolded. Since this is a Thrivent sponsored event and Pat is a rockstar Thrivent agent, they are certainly the perfect people to help. Once the Droege Boys finally arrive at the chosen starting point, the challenge will begin.  Survival participants do not get to leave the allotted territory for rescue at any time.  Even if they were to run across another human being, they cannot ask for help or receive any.  If there is no water, tough!  If there is no food, tough!  There is no shelter of any kind that the Droege Boys will start with.  If they want one, they will have to make one with the raw materials they find around them.  Like wood from a tree. Or stones from the ground. They are completely and totally on their own in our good Lord’s rugged creation.

The Rules

  1.  The Droege Boys must survive for 50 hours dependant only on their own limited skills to survive.
  2. Everybody has to stay.  If one person cries, whines, and decides to quit, everyone loses.
  3. Each survival participant can bring one item.  The item cannot be food.  Or drink.  Or a tent.  Or any bedding supplies.  Or a fishing pole.  Or anything that makes instant flame.  Or water purification tablets.  Or any artificial lumination like a flashlight.  Good luck and choose wisely!
  4. The Droege Boys will receive two bonus items. One will be chosen by the Delucas. The other item will be chosen by oldest brother Jacob. It will not necessarily even be helpful, but we pray that it will be usable.  Be kind, Jacob!  If they are smart, his little brothers will be nice to him over the next couple of weeks! We are not entirely sure that is happening presently…

The Camera Crew

The camera crew will consist of 17 year old Jacob.  This lucky fellow will have access to all the creature comforts of home.  He will have a stocked cooler of ice cold beverages, delicious snacks, and a luxurious tent.  He will be recording the DROEGE BOYS DROPPED! experience with various recording equipment.  The conversations between him and his destitute relatives will prove interesting.

The Purpose

Our purpose is to raise support for All Nations Lutheran Church which reaches out to the immigrant families in Clarkston with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  All Nations is a new church start working in partnership with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Pastor and Mrs. Chang Soo Kim

Through the ministry of Pastor Chang Soo Kim who was called home to heaven earlier this year, All Nations Society of Atlanta, Grace Lutheran in Midtown, St. Mark in Tucker, and Living Faith in Cumming, many people have been reached through Bible studies, catechism training, compassionate care, and food distribution. Pastor Kim, who is shown above with his wife Hyang, has certainly been one of our North Georgia Lutheran heroes. By supporting this ministry, All Nations Lutheran can find rental space to set up the church in the middle of the community. The central missionary that will be spearheading this ministry will be Vicar Isaac Baroi. As a joyful servant of our Lord who speaks more than ten languages, he is certainly the perfect person to help the people in the Clarkston community. He cannot wait to begin preaching the Gospel and reaching out with the mercy of Christ. Vicar Baroi will be ordained through Concordia Seminary St. Louis in spring of 2021.

Vicar Isaac Baroi

How to Participate

This challenge intends to raise support for All Nations Lutheran Church and it works this way.  If you want to participate, there are 4 different pledges that we are suggesting.  If you want to do something other than these suggestions, you are free in Christ to do so!

  1. A support pledge of $10
  2. A support pledge of $100
  3. A support pledge of $1000
  4. A support pledge of $10,000

To do this, simply write a check out to Living Faith Lutheran Church with All Nations Lutheran in the memo line and send it to:

Attn: Andrew Frerking

Living Faith Lutheran Church

1171 Atlanta Hwy

Cumming, GA 30040

If you would like to make a pledge by credit card, email Jay Wendland at droegeboycreations@gmail.com.  Arrangements are already set up and can be finalized within 24 hours.  All donations are tax deductible and you can receive a statement by simply providing your email to Jay.  We completely understand if you are not able to support the mission right now, but you can each help them by getting out this message far and wide by sharing or reposting!

The DROEGE BOYS DROPPED! event will take place July 30-August 1, but the results will not be made known until August 10, 2020.  If the Droege Boys are unsuccessful, no one will be held to their pledge commitment.  People will be free to do whatever they choose.  Once the DROEGE BOYS DROPPED! video is put together, you will know the results!  The results of the challenge will be on the Kairos Network website.  To get updates and results directly, sign up to FOLLOW the Kairos Network at http://www.thekairosnetwork.org. Thanks! Glory to God and salvation to man!

Kairos Network Banner for Website 2 (VDMA banner 2)

Gospel For The Filthy

Sermon by the Rev. Steve Schave
Acts 15:6-11
The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should
ear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
You can’t deny that Jews and Gentiles were distinct. The covenant belonged to God’s people, and the lineage of the Messiah was theirs.  While those Gentiles worshipped all sorts of idols and chased after false gods. Yes, Israel had the commandments, the prophets, the purification rites, the holy temple…  and the Gentiles were unclean unholy pagans. So is it any wonder that the brothers were concerned about the Gentiles breaking rank to be numbered among God’s people?  Surely, they will never be at the same level of holiness!  And if those heathens wish to be saved they must follow the custom and Law of Moses perfectly, right?  That’ll show ‘em if they think they belong! 
But it has been a long time now, since our brother Peter was chosen by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, it has been a long time now that they have been receiving the same Holy Spirit and cleansed hearts to show, there are no distinctions by heritage – and yet the resistance and debating continues.  Those Judaizers, am I right? They will always see us and them, second class citizens in the church, putting God to the test by placing the yoke of legalism on the neck of the disciples – that even their own fathers were unable to bear.  Tempting God to weigh so heavily upon the second-class disciple that they will not have the strength to reach their level of holiness, to be of the same Spirit.
But what of us? Will we put God to the test? As Lutherans we are not bewitched by a false gospel that requires works of the Law for salvation.  We were taught that we did not have to perform great deeds in order to become inheritors of the Kingdom.  We understand that we are branches grafted into the family tree of Abraham by grace through faith alone.  Surely, we would not fall for some false understanding of second-class citizens in the Christian church, with some of us on a higher spiritual plane than others.  Certainly, we would not show some distinction like the Judaizers in the early church, or like the very pillars of the church there in the holy city who question Peter and Paul for who they associate with and how to make disciples.  But do we really desire that by Peter’s mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe?  Guys like Peter and Paul have been spending their days in those God forsaken cities… gentile capitals… the worst of the worst centers for worshipping heathen gods among pagan people. To sit at table with the lowest of the lowdown filthiest sinners? Would we put God to the test, with prejudice against certain zip codes or certain people groups? Would it make your stomach queasy at the thought of sharing the table with someone really unclean, or unfit to be a member of the household of God because they are not of the right pedigree? Would you have God put a yoke on their neck to drive them to the ground?  What if God put His yoke on you to reach His level of holiness? I think we all know that we would be crushed under the weight of His perfect Law. We would soon see that there is no distinction in our heritage: pimps and prostitutes, heroin addicts and drug dealers, human traffickers and gang members… and us… we are all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.  We all have unclean hearts filled with prejudice and disdain for our fellow man.  Not one of us can carry the weight of the Law or keep our heart clean from sin.
No, the only way we will be saved is if God will put His love to the test. Betrayal, trials, denials, scourging, lashing, piercing, suffocating… blood and sweat and tears… the love of God is put to the test. And His love alone will prevail, for us all. Christ stepped into our zip codes, reclined at table among sinners, spoke to us at the temple and at our wells, preached to us in the temple court and from our mountainsides… for all who had ears to hear.  Jesus died on the cross without distinctions, He suffered and died, and carried the yoke for the sins of Jews and Gentiles alike, unworthy sinners that we may be.  And now the Spirit has told us to go, making no distinctions – to go where the Spirit sends.  To the small towns and the big cities alike, to the rich and to the poor, making disciples of all ethnos – here at our doorsteps and to the ends of the earth.  To see in all people, fellow sinners that God desires to add to the family tree, to have a seat at His table.   Sent into every home to proclaim the message that saves, baptizing these whole households with the Holy Spirit.  As even those we would least expect are welcomed into the family of God.  To stand in awe of the grace of God as the same gift that was given to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, is given to even the least and the lost among us. That we might have the joy of bringing these gifts, even if it is to the chagrin of those who are offended by whom we associate with. As we too have been on the receiving end of mercy that we could never deserve, and yet nothing would stand in the way of Christ’s love for us.  And so, as we bring Christ in these dark and latter days to a broken and dying world, we will simply say, “Who am I to put God to the test, as to who might be saved, when His love was tested for us all upon the cross?

April 14 Arrives Soon!

Trinity Lutheran Church has its first service in Norcross, Georgia on Palm Sunday, April 14!  All is set and ready for the preaching of the unmerited grace of God in Jesus Christ, our crucified and risen Lord!  This is a new place at a new altar where people can gather and receive the eternal treasures of the Triune God!  This is a place where our Lord will snap the idolatrous chains of Satan that keep people trapped in spiritual death (Ephesian 2:1-10).   This will be a place where burden and guilt will be lifted off the shoulders of troubled souls by the forgiveness of sins in our loving Savior, Jesus (John 20:20-23).  We give God thanks for the mission heart and support from the Atlanta North Circuit for the purchase of the new hymnals and catechisms.  We also thank our Lord for our Florida-Georgia District who have given a generous gift to cover the cost of rent at Norcross Elementary School for 6 months.  It is time.  If we continue to wait until our weak sinful natures are ready enough to engage in the Great Commission, we will never move.  But our Lord Jesus Christ says “Go (Matthew 28:18-19)!” We trust the power of the Word of God to bring all the results.  We trust the Holy Spirit Who brings new life when and where He wills (John 3:3-7).    “Behold, now is the favorable time (kairos); behold now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)!”

Pastor Belton at Stepping STone Pic for Kairos Network black and white

The schedule for the day will be:

  • The Divine Service at 9 AM with Dr. Victor Belton preaching (pictured above left).
  • Bible Study for all ages at 10 AM.
  • The Divine Service in Korean at 11 AM with Rev. Min Soo Kim preaching (pictured below with his family).
  • Bible Study for all ages in Korean at Noon.
  • Food and Fellowship for all at 1 PM.

IMG_8912 (1)

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host:

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen!

~Thomas Ken

 

 

Challenging Consumerism

Essay from John J. Bombaro

For the better part of four decades, pollster and prolific author George Barna has influenced the trajectory of North American evangelicalism. His 1984 founding of the Barna Research Group (now the Barna Group), more than fifty books, and now presidency of Metaformation (a faith development organization) has made him perhaps the most quoted person in Protestantism today. His genius has been to interpret evangelical churches, parachurches, and associations in marketing categories and to think of parishioners along with unchurched persons as consumers.

Barna understands our times. Barna understands the modern person as well. Consumerism shapes, even begets, our basic identity. Here Barna approaches an insight that requires more penetrating analysis; namely the idea that consumerism drives secularism, not the other way around. If this is in fact the case, then our understanding of the context into which we preach should be that we live in a consumeristic society in which secularism is a byproduct. Consumerism would then be more basic to our belief formation and the formation of our habits and rituals than secularism or nationalism or (and here is Barna’s point) Christianity. Christianity, at least as we find it throughout the US and Canada, has been enveloped by consumerist thinking and practice.

So, if evangelical churches are going to be “successful” in our present milieu, argues Barna in many of his publications, then it needs to reorient its thinking about what is foundational to our culture and identity: consumption. It is neither the holy faith, nor the constitution that binds together “we the people”. Instead, it is consumerism. This is an important insight. However, Barna took things into a direction that steered American evangelicalism deeper into the problem, rather than challenging consumeristic ideology in ways that Alan Noble and James K. A. Smith presently are doing.[1] Stated differently, Barna encouraged embracing consumerism as a paradigm; for the church and in the church. Furthermore, reflecting on the evidence of his polling data, Barna came to understand that if the church is not necessarily defined in the confessional categories of the local assembly gathered around the pure preaching of the Gospel and the Sacraments administered according to that Gospel (such as we find in the Augsburg Confession, VII.1 http://bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php#article7), but rather reconceived as a voluntary organization that provides resources for personal enrichment, spirituality, and felt needs, then the church attains the potential to compete in the marketplace of religious experiences.

Barna’s economic reconception of the church in light of market forces helped to legitimize the shift from the institutional church to “alternative faith communities.” In 2005 he wrote, “Whether you examine the changes in broadcasting, clothing, music, investing, or automobiles, producers of such consumables realize that Americans want control over their lives. The result has been the ‘niching’ of America—creating highly refined categories that serve smaller numbers of people but can command greater loyalty (and profits).”[2] Niche churches, vying for shelf space in the religious marketplace, have been the result.

During the past four decades local churches have seen the need to embrace niche strategies and market themselves as appeal-boutiques. Barna continues:

With the advent of the church’s design for every generation, some congregations offer divergent styles of worship music or emphasize ministries of interest to specialized populations and so forth. The church landscape now offers these boutique churches alongside the “something for everybody” megachurches. In the religious marketplace, the churches that have suffered most are those who have stuck with the one size fits all approach; typically proving that one size fits nobody. Furthermore, consumers are demanding practical faith experiences over doctrine. They seek novelty and creativity rather than predictability in religious experiences, and the need for time shifting rather than inflexibility in the scheduling of religious events.[3]

In other words, traditional faith that is committed to traditionary ecclesiology and manifest through traditional liturgy to form and inform heirs of the Gospel tradition calls for far too much costly discipleship, inconvenient conformity, and unity (if not uniformity) in an age of self-expression, personal preferences, and individualism. Stated plainly, the old way of doing church will not sell. There is no market for it, so do not preach to that end, advises Barna. Western culture, through the marketing medium of pop-culture, engenders auditors (both inside and outside the church) who believe they deserve this and that, that they, “could have it [their] way.” The value is the consumer is always right and, indeed, the customer is king. Hence, Barna’s advice for contemporary Christianity:

It is… critical that we keep in mind a fundamental principle of Christian communication: the audience, not the message, is sovereign. If our advertising is going to stop people in the midst of hectic schedules and cause them to think about what we’re saying, our message has to be adapted to the needs of the audience. When we produce advertising that is based on the take-it-or-leave-it proposition, rather than on a sensitivity and response to people’s needs, people will invariably reject our message.[4]

The questions for the preacher who subscribes to Barna’s credentialed, researched, and substantiated theses then are these: What is my sovereign’s bidding? What do they want to hear and how will they like it? Or, put differently, how do I market a niche with the branding and content with which target consumers are familiar and comfortable and would keep them coming back for more?

But while George Barna was convincingly opining about the need for new methods in these new times due to new market forces, Tenth Presbyterian Church’s Senior Pastor, James Montgomery Boice (esteemed voice of the “Bible Study Hour” and master expositor), cautioned that whatever you use to get them into the church is what you have to use to keep them in it. If it was preaching as the church of “what’s-happening-now” that was your curb appeal, then the expectation will be a givenness to what is trending. The problem is, warns Boice, that is not the commissioned message or means for making and sanctifying disciples.

Boice was making an appeal to integrity: don’t bait and switch. That would be deceptive advertising and akin to bearing false testimony. Instead, Boice admonishes staying true to our pastoral mandate to proclaim the full counsel of God in His two words: Law and Gospel. Boice was concerned to say that preaching and gospel evangelism is not about techniques. It is about faithfulness and a reliance upon the Holy Spirit to convict and convert. Preach the Law of God and the Gospel of Christ. After all, the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, not the marketeer or salesman. It is, “Christ Jesus who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). We preach a message already stipulated, already defined, already packaged… in weakness. And preaching faithfully the King’s message, his two words of Law and Gospel albeit ever so weak and feeble in the ears of the world, requires courage and integrity from the outset.

Yet, there is a more basic issue at play. If the customer or, better, the consumer receives allegiance as king, then Christ Jesus does not. If the audience’s sovereignty marks the starting point for preaching, then the message, the means, and the results are all going to be aberrations. Nothing is real. It is an alternative, bastardized kingdom, and that is where Barna failed evangelicalism. He capitulated to an economic Zeitgeist rather than calling for preachers to plow up the soil of consumerism in order to plant the Word deeply. Plow, then plant. That is how the King said it would be in the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13). The two always go together: plowing the earth as you find it (consumerist) in order to plant the kind of seed that brings forth the fruit the Sower intends.

Preachers are called to proclaim Christ as King over-and-against the sovereignty of the consumer (or even the sovereign voter). And just like a naval ship in which there cannot be two captains, so too for the Christian there cannot be but one Sovereign Lord, and that Lord is Jesus. Jesus came to inaugurate His kingdom, not to sell a product. He came to save sinners and make them coheirs of His kingdom, not to satisfy consumers with happiness because they deserve it. That will take preaching that breaks up the comfortable and expectant soil of consumers. That will take some consistent and persistent explaining from the pulpit. That will take no small amount of courage and faithfulness.

——————————————————————————

[1] See Noble, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2018) and Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009).

[2] Barna, Revolution: Finding Vibrant Faith beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005), 62-63.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Barna, Marketing the Church: What They Never Taught You About Church Growth (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1988), 145.

Part 2 to Droege Boys Dropped!

In Part 2 of Droege Boys Dropped!, the boys get sick and there is no food. A decision is made about whether or not they will go on.

Thanks to everyone’s generosity in the Gospel!  The results of what the Lord did through you went way beyond our expectations.  Glory to God and Salvation to man (Ephesians 2:8-10)!