Thy Strong Word is a daily in-depth study of the books of the Bible with host Rev. AJ Espinosa and guest pastors from across the country. Thy Strong Word is graciously underwritten by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and produced by the LCMS Office of National Mission.
Rev. Curtis Deterding, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Myers, FL, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 7:25-40. God had not given St. Paul any specific commands to pass down regarding those who were unmarried, whether they should remain that way. But in view of food shortages in Corinth, the multitude of spiritual problems in the congregation, and the Apostle's belief that Christ would return soon, he gave his own judgment on the matter. Specifically, if one were not married, he or she should remain that way. However, if one desired to marry or couldn't control their sexual urges, it wasn't a sin to marry. St. Paul wasn't anti-marriage; he simply wanted the Corinthian Christians to thrive in Christ and avoid worldly anxieties. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Deterding walk through this text while asking, how does this apply today?
Rev. Keith Weise, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and chaplain of the Good Shepherd Community in Sauk Rapids, MN, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 7:17-24. The Corinthian Christians, not unlike many today, were obsessed with self-improvement and getting ahead in life. St. Paul turns the tables on that idea and tells them, “Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (v. 17) Uncircumcised or circumcised? Stay that way. Free person or bondservant? Don't worry about it. In Christ, those who are free are servants of God and those who are servants are free in Christ. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Weise explore what St. Paul means by, “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.” (v. 20)
Rev. John Shank, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Edwardsville, IL, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 7:1-16. The Corinthian Christians did not have a healthy understanding of sexuality. God calls Christians to self-control, while the world urges people to give in to every desire. It's no wonder then that at least some in Corinth thought it would be best to avoid sexual activity all together. St. Paul urges them to embrace a better understanding: reserve sexual activity for marriage, as God designed. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Shank reflect on the Apostles' teaching and how similar Corinth was to our world today.
Rev. Doug Griebenaw, Mission Advocate at KFUO joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Corinth was dotted with temples and shrines to many pagan gods and idols, but these all paled in comparison to the temple of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and sexuality. Worship practices around her cult included temple prostitutes. In fact, sexual deviancy was fairly normal for Corinthian society. It is no surprise then that in our text for today, Paul returns yet again to issues of sexual immorality. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Griebenaw work through this text and compare the situation to ours today.
Rev. David Boisclair, pastor of Faith and Bethesda Lutheran Churches in Pine Lawn, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. Are Christians permitted to bring other Christians to court? While there were many virtuous aspects to Graeco-Roman culture, there were many things that were not consistent with the Christian faith. One of these was about how to handle disputes. In particular, should the church be going to the unrighteous world to seek resolution between believers? Could they not handle this themselves and, at the same time, protect the reputation of the church? In this episode, St. Paul reveals the godly way to handle such matters and Pastors Booe and Boisclair discuss how this applies to us today.
Rev. Christopher Gillespie, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Random Lake, WI joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 5. Sexual immorality is a common sin today, but it was no less pervasive back in the first century. Corinth was known for its loose morals, and some pretty grievous behavior had crept into the Corinthian congregation. The Holy Spirit inspired St. Paul to admonish the Corinthians with a simple command: do not associate with such people and remove them from the congregation. Was Paul telling them to give up on these wayward Christians? No. Rather, he wanted it clear that such behavior is unacceptable to God. Paul hoped such people would repent. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Gillespie contemplate just how bad these sexual sins were and the role of Church discipline then and today.
Rev. George Murdaugh, pastor emeritus, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 4. The Corinthian Christians, like most, were heavily influenced by their culture. They lived in a time when wisdom, wealth, and power were highly valued—not unlike today! So how were the Apostles regarded? Probably as powerful and influential by the Corinthian Christians, holding a position to aspire to. St. Paul sets them straight. While apostles, and evangelists, and even pastors are “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (v.1), the word looks upon the church differently. The Corinthians loved prestige, but leadership in the church is about humility and service. This episode features Pastors Booe and Murdaugh reflecting on all these things and more.
Rev. John Lukomski, co-host of Wrestling with the Basics on KFUO Radio, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 3. Find Wrestling with the Basics at kfuo.org/WrestlingWithTheBasics. Cliques. Personality cults. Jealousy. Favoritism. These all add up to division, and the Corinthian church was experiencing this in spades. Some preferred the leadership of Apollos, others Paul, and still others Cephas. St. Paul addresses this childish behavior by pointing to the actual power at work in the congregation: God. Apostles and pastors are but mere servants of God. Their job is not to fashion little churches for themselves, but to build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Lukomski explore what it means when Paul writes, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (v. 6)
Rev. Larry Beane, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Gretna, LA and Chaplain in the U.S. Navy Auxiliary (CAP) joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 2. St. Paul boasts he did not influence people to become Christians through “lofty speech or wisdom” (v. 1), but spoke only of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross. The power of salvation lies not in the delivery but the content of the word. Only those who have been called through the Gospel can understand or accept the things of God. St. Paul makes it clear that people cannot be persuaded to believe or come to faith in Christ through logic or eloquent rhetoric. Instead, the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual truths which possess the power of God. Listen in as Pastors Booe and Beane consider what this means for us today as we share the Gospel message with our neighbors.
Rev. Scott Adle, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Imperial, NE joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. What a joke! That's what the world might say of God's plan to save us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If you've ever felt like society mocks the beliefs of Christians, St. Paul reveals why in this part of his Corinthian letter. The wisdom of God makes little sense to a dying world. The Corinthian congregation was mostly made up of people the world would have considered downtrodden and undesirable but God had called them to be saints. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Adle consider the status of the Corinthian saints and how society looks upon Christians today. This episode also features the first “listener mailbag,” where, every Friday, Pastor Booe reads an email or two sent in by listeners to Thy Strong Word.
Rev. Doug Griebenaw, Mission Advocate at KFUO Radio in St. Louis, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study 1 Corinthians 1:1-17. The road-weary Apostle Paul gets news that the Christians in the Corinthian congregation, which he had planted less than a decade prior, were already steeped in division. As it unfolds, St. Paul's letter will tackle issues of false prophets and wrong doctrine, sexual sins, food sacrificed to idols, abuses of the Lord's Supper, proper worship, the resurrection and much more. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Griebenaw analyze St. Paul's opening verses as he prepares to admonish the Christians in Corinth for their division.
Rev. James Hopkins, pastor of First Lutheran in Boston, MA and Chaplain in the U.S. Navy Reserves, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 16. A list of nearly unpronounceable names concludes St. Paul's letter to the saints in Rome. The people he mentions in his personal greetings may not be familiar to us, but their names here in Scripture remind us that the Apostle is writing to real people with lives and vivid and complex as our own. The details of their lives may be lost to history, but God has not forgotten them. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Hopkins reflect on St. Paul's final greetings and his admonition to the saints that they cling to true doctrine and avoid those who would try to cause division in the church.
Rev. Kevin Parviz, pastor of Congregation Chai v' Shalom in St. Louis, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 15:14-33. St. Paul finishes chapter 5 with an appeal to his God-given authority to call the Gentiles to faith and obedience in Christ. Interestingly, the Apostle notes he is careful to preach only where someone has not already proclaimed the gospel. “Lest,” he says, “I build on someone else's foundation.” (v. 20) This is why St. Paul has been reluctant to visit the Christians in Rome, even though he deeply desires to. That and his mission to raise money for the saints in Jerusalem has kept him busy. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Parviz reflect on St. Paul's authority, mission, and amazing tact.
Rev. John Shank, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Edwardsville, IL, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 15:1-13. The Apostle continues his appeal for those Christians stronger in faith to bear with and uphold those whose faith may be weaker. To illustrate this, St. Paul points to Jesus who did not consider his own needs when he gave himself up for the world. St. Paul writes, “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.” (v. 7) The Apostle also explains how Christ's work connects the Gentiles to the Jews. Today's episode has Pastors Booe and Shank reflecting on what it looks like to live in harmony with one another.
Rev. Kevin Yoakum, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Riverview, FL, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 14. St. Paul writes, “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.” (v. 2) No, he's not talking about vegetarians! The Apostle is referring to those Christians who, for a variety of reasons, believed it was sinful to eat certain things. Some held that certain days were holier than others. Others felt that food used in pagan rituals was off-limits to Christians. In response to this, many in Rome felt free regarding these things were being judgmental toward these weaker Christians. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Yoakum meditate on St. Paul's teaching that Christians must not judge one another, but “pursue what makes for peace.” (v. 19)
Rev. Warren Woerth, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Arnold, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 13. Over the past few years, Romans 13 has been at the forefront of the thoughts of many Christians. In this chapter, the Holy Spirit inspires St. Paul to command submission to the governing authorities as ministers of God. In no uncertain terms, the Apostle writes, “Whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (v. 2) Obvious questions come to mind: What about corrupt authorities and governments? What is the Christian to do when those in power demand submission to ungodly things? Today's episode has Pastors Booe and Woerth wrestling over these questions as well as how love fulfills the law.
Rev. Thomas Eckstein, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Jamestown, ND, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 12. What gifts has God given you to serve others? In chapter 12, the Holy Spirit has inspired St. Paul to urge humility among Christians. There are many gifts within a congregation of believers, some more visible and seemingly more prestigious than others. Boasting in our gifts is a worldly way of thinking. Instead, the Apostle writes, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them...” (v. 6) The true mark of the Christian is genuine love that rejects evil and seeks a peaceable life in this world. In this episode, Pastors Booe and Eckstein reflect on God's command that we treat our enemies with grace and kindness.
Rev. Dr. Daniel Olson, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Luxemburg, WI, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 11:1-24. It's very important to St. Paul that his readers don't misunderstand his admonishment of the Jews. He begins chapter 11 with another of his famous rhetorical questions: “Has God rejected his people?” The answer is, “By no means!” (v. 1) The Apostle points to his own lineage as a descendant of Abraham as proof that God has not abandoned the Jewish people. Not every Jew is saved merely because they descend from the chosen people of God, only the remnant of those who have faith in God's Messiah. This episode has Pastors Booe and Olson diving into St. Paul's illustration how the Gentiles have been grafted into the remnant—the true Israel—which has at its roots Jesus Christ.
Rev. David Boisclair, pastor of Faith and Bethesda Lutheran Churches in Pine Lawn, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 10. Can one give their heart to Jesus? Don't make what is gospel into law. Righteousness based on the law is unachievable. Only righteousness founded on faith in Christ Jesus which saves. So, how does one know they have faith? The Apostle answers, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (v. 9) Those who have not been given faith cannot confess this. Listen in on this episode as Pastors Booe and Boisclair unpack how God delivers saving, confessing faith.. Also, Pastor Booe uses an example from his childhood in an illustration which prompts a call-in to the show from his father.
Rev. Christopher Amen, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pipestone, MN, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 9. St. Paul, who has, thus far, been fairly stern with the Jewish believers, begins chapter 9 with an emotional explanation. The Apostle reveals how he feels sorrow and anguish over his Israelite brethren. He explains that while the Jews were the recipients of God's word, and they had every advantage as God's chosen people, their unfaithfulness is not a failure on the part of God or his word. So, what was the problem? They rejected the spirit of God's law which pointed to his Messiah and attempted to be righteous by works of the Law. If righteousness is by faith is a gift, why it is a stumbling block and a “rock of offense” to some? On this episode, Pastors Booe and Amen tackle that tough question.
Rev. Jacob Benson, pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lovell, WY, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 8:18-39. Life is filled with both joy and suffering. The joyful moments give us a glimpse into our future with God, but what about the tribulations? St. Paul contends that suffering with Christ is part of our walk of faith, but what we endure now is not even worth comparing the glory that is to be revealed. And it's not just people who suffer, but all of creation! Despite this, God does not leave us alone to face the challenges of this life. The Holy Spirit interprets our prayers even when we don't know what to say and the This episode ends on a beautiful Gospel note as Pastors Booe and Benson highlight God's word which assures us that nothing can separate us from the love God has for us in Christ Jesus.
Rev. John Lukomski, co-host of Wrestling with the Basics on KFUO Radio, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 8:1-17. Find Wrestling with the Basics at kfuo.org/WrestlingWithTheBasics. Chapter 8 begins with one of the most powerful statements of Gospel, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (v. 1) But more than just a declaration of good news, St. Paul describes in this part of his letter how God the Father has accomplished what no man could: he sent his Son to become one of us to fulfill the law on our behalf. The result is that those who are led by the Spirit are now children of God and heirs with Christ. This doesn't mean there will be no challenges in life—we suffer with Christ—but we will also be glorified with him. This episode has two KFUO radio shows “wrestling with God's strong word.”
Rev. Jim Daub, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Havelock, NC, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 7. Does God's law cause us to sin? No, but the Apostle Paul posits that our “sinful passions” are “aroused by the law.” (v. 5) Even when we know God's will for our lives, our fallen human nature is eager to do that which we shouldn't do. So, St. Paul asks, “What then, shall we say? That the law is sin?” (v. 7) No way! God's law is good. It's our sinful nature that misuses what is good for evil. Yet, there's no reason to despair. St. Paul brings out the gospel: God saves us from our wretchedness through Christ, even if we continue to struggle this side of his return. Pastors Booe and Daub begin this episode reminiscing about North Carolina but end thoroughly convicted by God's law!
Rev. Dr. Peter Elliot, pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 6. Out of his abundant grace, God forgives our sins for the sake of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. In the previous chapter, St. Paul asserted, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” (v. 20) What good news! Yet, the Apostle begins chapter 6 with an admonishment. He warns those who think that they can sin all the more since God is so gracious. The Apostle's overall message is those who are forgiven in Christ have died with him and, thus, have died to sin. The Christian is no longer a slave to sin, but an obedient servant of Christ. That's how we should see ourselves. There remains forgiveness for sins when we fail, but if we continue to relish sin, only death awaits. Listen as Pastors Booe and Elliot explain lawlessness and how God gives us eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Rev. Robert Moeller, Jr., pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pipestone, MN and Zion Lutheran Church in Jaspar, MN, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 5:1-21. Would you die to help someone else? What if they were a good person? St. Paul says someone might be willing to die to save a good person, but God is so amazing he sent his son Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners. God loves us even though we are not, according to our fallen nature, “good.” Because of Adam's sin, we are all born as enemies of God and burdened by the desire to sin but Jesus reconciles us to God through his great sacrifice! There is no limit to God's grace as even when sin abounds, his grace abounds all the more.
Rev. John Greene, ordained teacher and pastor serving Grace Chapel Lutheran Church and School in St. Louis, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 4:1-25. “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (v. 3) St. Paul continues to explain how God declares us righteous on account of faith, not ancestry or adherence to the Law, and that faith is a gift. In the most Gospel-drenched section of Romans yet, the Apostle builds upon his teaching that salvation is from faith alone. To prove it, he points his readers to someone he knows they will respect: the patriarch Abraham. Abraham was counted as righteous because of his faith, not his works. So, where is our faith rightly placed? Not in our own works, but in Christ Jesus “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (v. 25)
Rev. Scott MacDonald, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Meridian, CT, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 3:21-31. In this second half of chapter 3, the Apostle Paul clarifies that all people — Jew and Gentile — “have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (v. 23) What is God's answer to this predicament? The long-promised Savior, Jesus Christ! God the Father sent his only Son to be a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the entire world. Righteousness then comes from faith in Jesus. This isn't a new teaching, even the Law and the Prophets testify to it. What does this mean for the Jew or the Gentile? Can one boast because in how well they keep the Law or in what a good person they are? Paul says no! All people are “justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (v. 28)
Rev. Curtis Deterding, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Myers, FL, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 3:1-20. If God shows no partiality, and no one is saved by keeping the Law perfectly, what advantage is there for the Jew? St. Paul begins this chapter by addressing this concern. With that in mind, is there any advantage to being a Lutheran? What about people who don't believe but do good things for the world? Does that count as righteousness? The Apostle lays down the Law—literally!—as he prepares his readers with the harsh reality that everyone is sinful. Like the first half of a good Law-Gospel sermon, in Chapter 3, St. Paul uses the Psalms and Proverbs to demonstrate just how much all people need a Savior.
Rev. Steven Theiss, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New Wells, MO, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 2:12-29. “It is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” (v.13) St. Paul writes this bold statement as he begins explaining the role of the Law in the believer's life. The Apostle reveals that when non-Jews, who have never been given the Law, still do what it commands, it shows that God has written his Law on their hearts. This is why even unbelievers today still tend to agree that certain things are wrong. But in this section Paul also has strong words for the Jews of his day: Genuine faith and obedience to God comes from within, not from hypocritically boasting in God's favor while breaking his commandments.
Rev. Neil Wehmas, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ida Grove, IA, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 2:1-11. Only God has the right to judge. This doesn't mean that Christians can't, in love, call out sin in themselves, fellow Christians, or the world. But the Christian who judges others out of haughty pride condemns himself when he ignores his own sinfulness. Instead, we must cling to Christ in full knowledge that the Day of God's wrath is coming. When will that be? Only God knows, but St. Paul warns his readers, and us, against presuming that God's kindness and patience toward us means he doesn't take unrighteousness seriously. Instead, God will judge us according to the works which flow from our faith.
Rev. Jason Bredeson, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sacramento, CA, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 1:16-32. St. Paul declares he is not ashamed of the gospel, but what does that mean? Hearing the term “gospel” would have caused the Roman Christians to think of the emperor, but Paul uses the expression to redirect them to the true God-King, Jesus. Paul establishes the main thesis for this letter with a quote from Habakkuk: “The righteous shall live by faith.” But after proclaiming that salvation is for all people, his tone shifts as he turns his focus toward unrighteousness. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul points out the depravity of how sinful people have exchanged the truth of God and for their own carnal desires. He addresses homosexual behavior, but ends this section with a litany of sinful behavior everyone can identify with in some way.
Rev. John Lukomski, co-host of Wrestling with the Basics on KFUO Radio, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Romans 1:1-15. Find Wrestling with the Basics at kfuo.org/WrestlingWithTheBasics. St. Paul begins his letter with an introduction more detailed that in his other epistles. Filled with words of faith that hint at the content to come, St. Paul begins his longest letter by focusing on his call as an Apostle and his mission to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. After telling the Roman Christians of his desire to visit them, Paul ends this introduction by speaking of his obligation to preach the Gospel—a commitment he's eager to accomplish. Tune in to Pastor Booe's first episode as he's welcomed by fellow KFUO host, Pr. John Lukomski.
Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Luverne, MN joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 50. Today is the changing of the guard for Thy Strong Word. Pastor Booe will be taking the baton as our new host, and Pastor Finnern is stepping down to focus on his new vocation as Minnesota North District President. Grief and fear grew among the brothers as Jacob died. The grief for the family and Egyptians was great and a witness to us on how to allow time to grieve the loss of a loved one. In this grief, questions arose concerning all of his power and how he would treat his brothers. Yet, by faith in the Lord's promises, Joseph proclaims that the brother's goal was evil, the LORD is greater and meant for good. It is difficult to remember, but God promises that no matter the evil in our world, the LORD is still at work that will ultimately be for good now and when Christ returns. “Lord God, Heavenly Father, You work for the good of Your people and we ask that you do so among us also. Keep us close to You and Your everlasting grace. Lord have mercy. Amen”
Rev. Greg Alms, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church & School in Catonsville, MD joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 49. Jacob blesses His sons as sons of the promise of Abraham from the Lord. He assembles his family and we receive a glimpse of what the Lord has done and what He will do in the future. God is always moving us forward, even though the future, let alone the past, may not be bright from our perspective, but God's grace is always before us. Each son had a checkered story, but yet, God continued to bless His people. We pray as Jacob, “I wait for your salvation, O LORD” “Lord God, the past is covered by Your blood and the future is in Your hands. Fill us with Your promise of forgiveness, life, and salvation that we may trust in Your promises and serve with grace as You are gracious with us. Amen”
Rev. Martin Schultheis of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 48. As Jacob nears the end of his life he blesses Joseph's sons (Manasseh and Ephraim), in essence adopting them. It is not much different than the times we visit our loved ones in hospice care. Jacob/Israel remembers the days of old and how the LORD had blessed his family and the promise of future blessings. For whatever reason, Jacob chooses the younger and unexpected to receive the right hand of blessing. We are reminded that the LORD chooses the weak to show us His glory which is best revealed to us by His cross. “Lord Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, Redeemer, and Immanuel, as You walked with the Israelites and blessed them, we plead with You to walk with us, redeem, and carry us. Fill us with Your promise of salvation that we receive now and will receive when You return. In Your name, Amen”
Rev. David Boisclair of Faith and Bethesda Lutheran Church in Pine Lawn, MO joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 47. Pharaoh graciously gave the Israelites the best land of Egypt. The LORD provided for His people, through Pharaoh, with the land and gave them a home for the next 400+ years. The journey was filled with blessings of reality. We can see this account of the Israelites with pessimistic eyes—eventually they would become slaves and have to endure years of issues. Yet, we are people of hope. We see how God provided for all of their needs which led to freedom from slavery and the promise of salvation. “O Holy Spirit, fill us with hope. Hope not in ourselves, but hope that as You provided for the Israelites, You will also provide for us. Keep the hope of Christ before us so that we know that if the Son is willing to die for us, indeed You will provide for our other needs. In Your name, Amen”
Rev. Mitchell Gowen, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Lutheran Church in Aiea, HI joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 46. Israel was making his journey to Egypt filled with questions of the future. He stopped to make a sacrifice and the LORD filled him with His promise to always be with Him. In this promise we see how God blessed Israel with each member of his family. In our own families we usually make an effort to include EVERY member of your family when introducing them to others. The LORD knew everyone of Jacob's family as He also knows you! One has a hard time not tearing up when hearing of Jacob and Joseph's reunion. We are reminded of the Prodigal Son when the Father ran to his son and how the LORD reunites us back to Himself through Christ. “Lord God, thank You for remembering, protecting, and saving us in Your mercy. We pray once again for You to be with us so that we may enjoy the eternal family reunion with the Lamb of God who has taken our sins. In His name, amen”
Rev. Dennis McFadden, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 45. Joseph calls out the sin of his brothers, not for the sake of more shame, but that they may be restored with him and the LORD. He said it in a powerful way, “You sold me, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” The motivation to sell their brother was sinful, but God worked through it to send him to save His people. By God's grace the relationship of Joseph and his brothers was restored. How could we not also see the revelation of Joseph as not dead but alive connected to the resurrection of Christ? The restoration of his brothers pales in comparison to the restoration that our Lord Jesus brings to the Father by His cross. “O Holy Spirit, restore us back to the Father through Christ. By Your power, reconcile us with others and keep us grounded as heirs of the Father and the undeserved salvation. Lord have mercy. Amen”
Rev. John Shank, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Edwardsville, IL joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 44. Joseph is playing with his brothers. We could interpret his actions as generous or as a trickster. Through it all, the LORD works to unite the family back together. Their time going back and forth to Joseph would have been exhausting. The brothers remembered their past sins, they did not want to see their father go through pain again, and they had remorse over “stealing” the $. Yet, when Judah pleaded to take the place of Benjamin to please the Father…we see how God's grace was sufficient. As Judah stood in the place of his brother, our Lord stood in our place. “Lord God, as You reconciled Joseph to his family, reconcile us with those whom we are separated from. In Christ's cross our reconciliation to the Father is completed. With our identity in Christ, help us to be ministers of reconciliation to others. In His name, Amen”
Rev. Lucas Witt, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 43. The Israelites needed to return as the famine continued. The choice to leave was difficult for everyone, especially Jacob, but by the strength of God Almighty, they went. The situation was full of questions, “How will the governor respond to the money in our sacs?” “How will he react to Benjamin?” “Will we be thrown into jail?” “Will we ever be able to get home?” The reality was far different: a merry time, hospitality, a full meal, and a place at the governor's table. The words from the steward are words we need to continually hear from one another and our LORD, “Peace to you.” “Lord Jesus Christ, fill us with peace as You are the Prince of Peace. When we enter conflicted situations, provide us with words as salt that we may be people of reconciliation depending on the hope we have through Your reconciliation for us to the Father. In Your name, Amen”
Rev. Derek Waffel, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Pascagoula, MS joins Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 42. Two worlds collide again. Joseph was reunited with his brothers and understandably he treats them with contempt. The sin against Joseph was still a dark burden for the whole family, even 20 years later. Everyone was in need of healing that only God could give. This healing needed only comes through the LORD, as we hear of the Suffering Savior, “by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5).” “Lord Jesus Christ, by Your wounds, bring Your healing upon us. Heal us through Your blood-bought forgiveness. Pour Your love into our hearts that we may cast our burdens on You and that You may fill us with Your grace. Lord have mercy. Amen”
Rev. Matt Tooman, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wahpeton, ND joins host Rev. Brady Finnern to study Genesis 41. At the time, God chose dreams to reveal His work for the good of His people. He gave a prophecy for the Egyptian people to care for others and although we are not able to depend on dreams to create a savings plan, we are able to trust in Him and pray for Him to provide for our needs. We pray that He may “give us this day our daily bread” and He does provide what we need for this body and life, forgiveness of sins in Christ, and life forever. “O Lord God, provide for our needs as You did for Joseph that we not only may be sustained but that we may serve our neighbor for the sake of both bodily health and the gracious salvation in Christ. Amen”