Monthly Archives: March 2016

Seventh Translation in Small Catechism Memory Cards Series – 2004 Robert E. Smith

Previously, released Small Catechism Memory Cards in six different translations. The translations are:

  • 1979 NPH-WELS
  • 2001 ELS
  • 2010 Sola Publishing / ReClaim Resources
  • 1912 Synodical Conference
  • 1921 Triglot English
  • 1992 CLBA-Faith & Fellowship

Today, releases Small Catechism Memory Cards in a seventh translation, the 2004 Robert E. Smith translation. This is a fresh translation into English of the German text printed in Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 538-559.

Rev. Smith is Electronic Resources Librarian, Concordia Theological Seminary, (1993- ). His previous positions include Pastor, Messiah Lutheran Church, Wolcottville, IN (1989-1992), and Pastor, St. Luke Lutheran Church, Winamac, IN (1985-1989). He holds a BA in Theology and Theological Languages, Valparaiso University (1979); Master of Library Science, Indiana University (1981); Master of Divinity, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO (1985).

Many are using Rev. Smith’s translation because he has graciously donated it into the public domain.  The resource released today provides to the many users of this translation the same form of memory cards for their chosen translation of Dr. Luther’s Small Catechism as are being provided to users of other translations.

These free resources let anyone print memory cards, each containing a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism, to use as a memorization aid, for teaching children, or for meditation and prayer. Simply download the free PDF file containing the cards and an instructions file from the distribution page. Then follow the instructions to print and separate the cards.

Holy Week Illustrated in Lego and Duplo

Facebook group member Hildegunn Sofie Fjellnes Johansson kindly provides the following photographs that show how she and her children use Legos and Duplos to illustrate Holy Week.

She writes, “With Lego we can tell the whole story without all the blood (compared to many YouTube videos).”

She and Pastor KM Andreas Johansson live in Stockholm and have four children ages 6, 5, 3-1/2 years old,  and the baby 11 months.

She writes, “We built Palm Sunday in half an hour, in Lego. Last supper and Gethsemane we did in Lego Duplo, also in 30 min I think. Good Friday took a couple of hours as the baby was awake and would like to help. We played the story and changed the scenes according to the different days of Holy Week.”

This activity teaches young children basic Bible stories that prepare them to understand the Second Article of the Creed.









Video — Dad and Mom Praying the Lord’s Prayer with Children at Bedtime

Here is a video of Leif and Kim Halvorson praying the Lord’s Prayer with their three children at bedtime.

Dads, as you can see, this takes hardly any time. To be exact, 39 seconds! Yet it has a tremendous impact. It has impact because:

A. The Lord’s Prayer is God’s Word, and God’s Word does stuff. It is quick and powerful. It does not return to the Lord void, but it accomplishes the purpose for which He has sent it.

B. The influence of fathers and mothers is built into nature, and thereafter happens all by itself, simply by your act of doing.

Audio – The Most Neglected Part of the Small Catechism, Pastor Jordan McKinley

What is the most neglected part of the Small Catechism?

The Table of Duties, maybe?

Christian Questions with Their Answers?

How about Prayers for Daily Use?

Naw, it’s got to be Office of the Keys, right?

Thanks for playing. Good answers, Those are neglected more than they should be. But they are not the most neglected part. The most neglected part is the part that causes the whole Catechism to be neglected. Which part is that?

Hear Pastor Jordan McKinley’s vital answer in this audio from Steadfast Throwdown, and read his article, “The Most Neglected Part of the Small Catechism,” on Brothers of John the Steadfast.

Audio — A Sumptuous Feast: Pastor Joseph Abrahamson 14-Part Catechism Series

Here we have a sumptuous feast; a 14-part audio series with Pastor Joseph Abrahamson on the Small Catechism, on Steadfast Throwdown.

 Part 1 With this segment we begin a series with  Pr. Joe Abrahamson on the meaning and message of Martin Luther’s Small  Catechism. In Part 1, Pr. Abrahamson gives an overview of the Catechism  and throws down against some faulty views of God, original sin, and  God’s Law. Hear him respond to Rob Bell’s “definition” of God, Joel  Osteen’s denial of original sin, and David Ashcraft’s mistaken notion of  the purpose of God’s Law.
 Part 2 We continue our  Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson. In part 2, we look at using  the Catechism and how it is organized. What does Pr. Abrahamson mean  when he says Luther’s Small Catechism has a “3 x 3” structure? We also  begin discussing God’s Law and the Ten Commandments.
 Part 3 Pr. Joe Abrahamson continues discussing  Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, what it means, an how to teach it. In  Part 3 of our ongoing series, we discuss the Law of God–the natural law
and the revealed law, the two tables of the Law, and how the moral law,  the civil law, and the ceremonial law relate to one another.
 Part 4 Our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe  Abrahamson continues as we get into the Apostles’ Creed. We discuss the  background of the Creeds and where the statements come from in the  Scriptures. We discuss the First Article (God the Father, Creation) and  the Second Article (God the Son, Redemption). Hear how Richard Dawkins  says he learned the “Christian faith,” and get Pr. Abrahamson’s  response.
 Part 5 Our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe  Abrahamson continues. This time we respond to the outlandish claim by  Benny Hinn that there are actually nine persons (Yes, you read that  correctly!) in the Holy Trinity. We also discuss the Third Article, the  Holy Spirit, and what it means that He gives us life by bringing us to  faith in Jesus Christ.
 Part 6 In Part 6 of our Catechism Series with  Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed  on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, who brings us to faith in  Jesus Christ. Then we discuss the Lord’s Prayer, why it is that only  Christians can truly pray, and some fascinating connections between the  structure of the Lord’s Prayer and God’s original creation.
 Part 7 In this installment of our Catechism  Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss how God wants us to receive  His grace, mercy, and forgiveness in the Sacraments. What are  Sacraments? What do they actually give to us? Pr. Abrahamson outlines  the differences between the Lutheran view of the Sacraments on the one  hand, and the Roman Catholic and Reformed views on the other hand. The  last two might more alike that you think!
 Part 8 In this part of our Catechism Series  with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  According to the Bible, what is Baptism and what does it actually  deliver? Why do some Christians actually make Baptism a work of us  humans rather than God’s work of saving us? What is the role of faith in  the Sacrament of Holy Baptism?
 Part 9 Pr. Joe Abrahamson  joins us to resume our series on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. In  Part 9, we discuss the Fifth Chief Part (or is it the Sixth?) on the  Office of the Keys and Confession. Who can hear confessions? Who  actually forgives? And why would a Christian actually want to go to his  or her pastor to confess sins?
 Part 10 Pr. Joe Abrahamson continues his series  on Luther’s Small Catechism. This time we discuss the Sacrament of the  Altar. What is the Sacrament? What does it deliver? Who receives this  sacrament worthily? What should Christians do when they visit another  congregation in their fellowship? Should pastors ever not allow someone  to commune? If so, why and how do they handle that?
 Part 11 In this latest installment of our  Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we continue discussing the  Sacrament of the Altar. Pr. Abrahamson shows us how Jesus’ new covenant  meal fulfills the old covenant, and we smack down the false teaching  that the Lord’s Supper is only a symbol, or reminder, of God’s  salvation.
 Part 12 In part 12 of our Catechism Series with  Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the Daily Prayers part of the Catechism.  How do we live out the teaching that God gives us in the Commandments,  the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer? We pray. Daily. Join us as we discuss  how to pray according to God’s Word and in our home and family settings.
 Part 13 In part 13 of our Catechism Series with  Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we take a brief look at the “Table of Duties” in  Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. How does this section of the Catechism  instruct us in the “holy orders” to which God calls us? What are the  “two kingdoms” and the “three estates” that this compilation of Bible  passages present to us for daily living as Christians?
 Part 14  In this final part of our Catechism series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we  discuss the “Christian Questions with their Answers.” Did Luther really  compose them? Why are they not in some editions of the Catechism? How do  these questions and answers help us prepare for partaking of Christ’s  Body and Blood? Pr. Abrahamson also wraps up our series by saying the  Catechism is not just for confirmation, but for all of life.

God’s Word Belongs in the Home Where We Live — A pastoral letter of Pastor Rolf Preus

Editor’s Note:

You can download a PDF flyer version of this pastoral letter here.

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God’s Word Belongs in the Home Where We Live
A pastoral letter of Pastor Rolf Preus – March 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

As we ponder Christ’s passion during this holy season, it is good for us to consider our life of worship. God gives and we receive.  Then we give and God receives.  First God gives. Only after we have received from God the forgiveness of our sins may we give him anything at all.  First God makes us his dear children by washing us in the blood of the Lamb.  Then we can come to him as dear children come to their dear Father.

We go to church.  That’s a given.  That’s where God gives us his gospel and sacraments.  That’s where we give him our praise and thanksgiving. But is it only at the formal services with our congregation held in a church building on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings that this takes place? By no means! God’s Word belongs in the home where we live.  If the pure Word of God is what makes our congregation a Christian church, the pure Word of God will make our home a Christian home.

The Christian father is the pastor of his family. After giving Moses his Law, God said to him and through him to all Israel:  “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) The Bible says nothing about Sunday schools, Christian Day schools, vacation Bible schools, or any other kind of school established for religious instruction of the young. The Bible talks about families headed by fathers. St. Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Fathers should lead their families in daily worship. If the father is unable to do so or if there is no father, then the mother should do it.

What am I talking about? What is family worship? It is an abbreviated form of the public service of the congregation. It includes reading from the Bible, saying the liturgy, singing hymns, and praying prayers.

With older families or couples whose children are grown and gone from the home, the reading from the Bible can be directly from the Holy Scriptures. The New King James is a good translation that I recommend. For families with younger children, there are some good Bible story books for children available from Concordia Publishing House. I particularly recommend, A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories. It is very good.

We recite from memory the liturgy at church. I would guess that most of us know by heart the words of the Gloria in Excelsis, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, both the Apostle’s and the Nicene creeds, and the Lord’s Prayer. For family devotions, I recommend saying at each devotion the Ten Commandments (without their meanings), the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. These are a solid foundation for our lives as Christians.

Good, doctrinally sound, Christ-centered hymns are a wonderful feature of family devotions. I was blessed with a father who loved the good Lutheran hymns and taught them to his family around the dinner table. I grew up knowing the best hymns in the hymnal – the great hymns of such authors as Martin Luther, Paul Gerhardt, Thomas Kingo, etc. If you have a hard time deciding what hymns to sing, singing the hymn of the day from the previous Sunday service might be a good idea. I have several copies of various Lutheran hymnals in my house. If you don’t, I would recommend buying a few copies (depending on the size of your family) of the hymnal we are currently using: Lutheran Service Book. It is available from Concordia Publishing House.

We gather to pray. The greatest of prayers is the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught it to us and we pray it every time we gather for worship in his name.  here are other fine prayers in the Catechism, such as Luther’s morning and evening prayers.

There are also a number of good devotional books available. Trinity has an excellent library – the best I have seen at any congregation I have served. There are some fine books you can borrow, and decide if you would like to buy for yourselves.

Home devotions don’t last more than ten minutes, unless you get into a theological conversation at the end and keep visiting around the table. I recommend having devotions after supper. If the phone rings during devotions, you either ignore it or answer it by saying, “We’re having devotions now. Would you call back in ten minutes?” Here is a sample form for you to consider for your family worship:

  • Invocation: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
  • Recitation of the Ten Commandments
  • Recitation of the Creed
  • Reading from the Bible/Bible story book
  • Singing of hymn
  • Closing with Lord’s Prayer

My dad died twenty years ago this past November. I thank God for a faithful Christian father who led the family devotions throughout my childhood. Bring God’s Word into your homes.  Place the hearing, learning, confessing, and singing of God’s Word above every other pursuit in life. Do it! You won’t regret it. If you have any practical (or impractical!) questions about home devotions, give me a call and bend my ear.  I’ll do what I can to help.

Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Preus

Sixth Translation – CLBA Small Catechism Memory Cards

Previously, released Small Catechism Memory Cards in five different translations. The translations are:

  • 1979 NPH-WELS
  • 2001 ELS
  • 2010 Sola Publishing / ReClaim Resources
  • 1912 Synodical Conference
  • 1921 Triglot English

Today, releases Small Catechism Memory Cards in a sixth translation, the 1992 CLBA-Faith & Fellowship translation.

The roots of this translation are in the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway. The Norwegian was translated into English in the United States in 1939 and revised again in 1959. A variety of Free Church and Scandinavian synods in the United States have used Catechisms in this lineage.

The Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America, commonly referred to as the CLB or affectionately as “the LB” further revised this text when preparing An Explanation of Luther’s Small Catechism in 1992. The Explanation is based on one published in 1837 by Dr. Erick Pontoppidan, a Danish Lutheran pastor and theologian who had a profound influence on congregational life in the Scandinavian countries. My own father and his sisters were taught from H. U. Sverdrup’s revision of Dr Pontoppidan’s Explanation, translated into English by E. G. Lund, D.D., published by Augsburg Publishing House in 1900.

The text is copyrighted by Faith and Fellowship Press, the publishing house of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, by whose permission and generosity this new resource is given freely to the world.

This free resource lets anyone print standard size 3” x 5” index cards, each containing a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism to use as a memorization aid, for teaching children, or for meditation and prayer. Simply download the free PDF file containing the cards and an instructions file from the distribution page. Then follow the instructions to print and separate the cards.


God Hears Me Pray — Free Prayer Folder for Children has created a little folder of prayers that children can pray, titled “God Hears Me Pray.” This resources is a two-page PDF file. Download it. Print one page on one side of ordinary letter sized card stock, and the other page on the other side. Then fold it in the manner that a church bulletin might be folded.

The folder is illustrated in the photographs at the bottom of this post.

This folder starts on the front page as folded with three scriptures comforting children that God loves to hear them pray.

God loves to hear you pray

The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me.”
Your angels always see the face of your Father in heaven.

Then it presents the Lord’s Prayer, after telling them that Dr. Luther said, “God loves to hear it.”

On the back page as folded, it provides:

  • Morning Prayer
  • Evening Prayer
  • Before Eating
  • After Eating

On the two inside pages it provides:

  • Thanksgiving for Baptism
  • Baptized Life
  • Mercy
  • Confession and Forgiveness
  • Lamb of God
  • Glory
  • Thanksgiving for Parents
  • Duty of Children
  • Preachers and Teachers
  • Repentance
  • Thanks and Trust
  • Be Near
  • Little Sparrow

This assortment of prayers shows children how they can prayer prayers from Luther’s Small Catechism, from the liturgy, from customary prayers that have been popular in the Lutheran church, and that keep them conscious of their Baptism. It helps prepare children for their participation in and understanding of the Divine Service.

Beautiful Design by Kris Brown – Fifth Translation in Small Catechism Memory Cards Series – 1921 Triglot English

Previously, released Small Catechism Memory Cards in four different translations. The translations are:

  • 1979 NPH-WELS
  • 2001 ELS
  • 2010 Sola Publishing / ReClaim Resources
  • 1912 Synodical Conference

Today, releases Small Catechism Memory Cards in a fifth translation, the 1921 English translation in the Triglot Concordia.

These beautiful memory cards have:

  • post card size
  • graphical design enhancements
  • questions on one side, answers on the other

These have been created by graphics designer, Kris Brown of Kris Brown Designs.

The post card sized style is distributed in two versions, one with cut lines and the other without cut lines, as the user might prefer.

These free resources let anyone print memory cards, each containing a portion of Luther’s Small Catechism, to use as a memorization aid, for teaching children, or for meditation and prayer. Simply download the free PDF file containing the cards, print the cards on letter size card stock, and cut four cards from each sheet. Remember to print them in duplex, two-sided printing, to put the questions on one side, and the answers on the other side.

Memory Card - 3rd Commandment Question - 1921 Triglot - Kris Brown

A Nice Explanation of the Small Catechism

Here is a nice Explanation of the Small Catechism.

This is provided online by Pastor Joseph Abrahamson, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Clara City, Minnesota.

This is a derivative work. The 1981 Evangelical Lutheran Synod catechism committee compiled and edited this material from earlier catechism explanations. Pastor Abrahamson made some updates in language. The result is a nice explanation.