Why I Sorta-Kinda-Actually Love Martin Luther

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Apart from the apostolic age, there is no one in history that I enjoy studying and learning about more than Martin Luther.

Weird, I know!

I did a Martin Luther tour in Germany. I have the 5 Solas of the Protestant Reformation tattooed on my leg. I get more stoked about Reformation Day than 87% of the year’s other holidays.

And I thought it’d be nice to share with you some of the reasons why he has such a special place in my heart–so maybe you don’t judge me so hard when you see me wear my “Here I stand, I can do no other” socks.

[Side note–the study of Church history, and therefore diving into doctrine–is a WONDERFUL way to grow in understanding & adoration of who God is. I highly recommend it :))

10 Things I Just Love About Martin Luther:

1.) He was a man of strong convictions and of courage. There are SO many examples of the Holy Spirit giving him strength of conviction, but one I love is when he was on trial at the Diet of Worms-vehemently disagreeing with over a thousand years of church tradition, and says, “My conscience is taken captive by the Word of God…To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

2.) He had sass. One time, when they asked him to recant his accusations that indulgences (people paying their way out of purgatory) was NOT Scriptural he responded with “I was wrong, I admit it, when I said that indulgences were ‘the pious defrauding of the faithful.’ I recant and say, ‘Indulgences are the most impious frauds and imposters of the most rascally pontiffs by which they deceive the souls and destroy the goods of the faithful.” Such sass.

3.) He had a WONDERFUL marriage! Luther and his wife Katie (whom he called My Kate <3) are #goals! Their relationship was full of strength, laughter, and delightful companionship. He said,”Next to God’s Word, there is no more precious treasure than holy matrimony. God’s highest gift on earth is a pious, cheerful, God-fearing, home-keeping wife.” And he advised that “The wife should make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry he leaves.”

4.) He was passionate about prayer. “No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes.”

5.) He elevated the authority of Scripture. In a time where the only authority that mattered was the popes’ (and it was soooooo corrupt), Luther said “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or council without.” And he even said that if there was anything in any of his books that were contrary to Scripture, he would be the first to throw them into the fire!

6.) He wasn’t superman. He wasn’t perfect, and he definitely said some very stupid things in his lifetime. He also experienced very difficult periods of depression and anxiety, and even seasons of demonic oppression. And yet, by the grace of God, and for His Name’s sake–his faith and legacy flourished.

7.) He was TRANSFORMED by the gospel. During his years as a monk, he was crippled by fear. Absolutely haunted by thoughts of a vengeful, merciless Majesty-and driven near to death by the reality that he could never satisfy that Judge. When the truth of God’s GRACE THROUGH FAITH ALONE was revealed to him through studying the original Biblical texts, he unequivocally became a NEW MAN. And that is awesome to see!

8.) He was a man of great humility– “All that I am and have is due to His grace and mercy, aye, to His precious blood and bitter sweat. Therefore, God willing, all of it is to be done to His honor, joyfully and sincerely. ”

9.) He fought against the devil while cooped up alone in a castle for refuge. And during that time he translated the New Testament from the original greek into German in 11 weeks! He brilliantly translated it into a common German dialect (which was a huge deal!) that united the German people and thusly aided in the blossoming of the Reformation.

10.) He deeply loved the word of God and wanted EVERYONE to be able to read it and love it like he did! About knowing God’s word he says“First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.” And he thought EVERY person should have the Bible written “simply enough” for ever the simplest minded person to do the same.

Martin Luther was not perfect. He had sooooo many flaws (maybe I’ll write about them next Reformation Day!)-but I appreciate his life so much, not simply because it is a fascinating story, but because it stirs my heart to want to know the Word more deeply, treasure it’s authority more passionately, share it’s power more consistently, and delight in the grace it teaches more steadfastly. I want to pray more–and see it’s effect and power. I want my heart to overflow in gratitude for the cross more. I want to pray for and have a marriage that looks like Christ and the church-the way Kate and Martin’s did. His life motivates and encourages my heart. That is why I love his story. I hope what I shared did the same for you too!

 

(Many of my quotes were from the book “Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation” by Erwin Lutzer. I highly recommend it if you want to learn more! It’s an enjoyable and informative read!)

English Camp Message Transcript/Outline: Day 6

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Friday: ONE CHURCH                  

Thanks for making my birthday awesome! I felt so loved! I think this is the best birthday I’ve ever had! I’m serious! The only other one that might compare was when I turned nine and I got a “teddy bear hamster” for my birthday…but then I remembered it escaped a few months later and when we moved I found it’s skeleton in the basement…and that was traumatic…so…I’d say this is DEFINITELY the best birthday ever!! But seriously, you guys have been so loving and encouraging this week-I’m really thankful for you!

  • The whole Bible agrees, our God is the ONLY GOD and our God is an AWESOME GOD.
  • Our ONE PASSION should be the same as GOD’S and that is for his GLORY.
  • Out of his great LOVE for us, God mercifully sent JESUS CHRIST to be our ONE SAVIOR.
  • The ONE DECISION to be part of God’s FAMILY changes our entire IDENTITY.
  • To glorify God with our ONE LIFE, we must DISCIPLINE ourselves for GODLINESS.
  • To serve the ONE CHURCH-both universal and local-introduce people to Jesus and help them follow Him.

Tonight I am going to talk to you a little bit about ONE CHURCH, and then I am going to give you my final words of advice.

  1. Introduction- In scripture the word “church” used to describe 2 different things. There are times where it is talking about the “Universal Church” meaning all believers in Jesus Christ ever–or the “local church” meaning an organized group of believers at a specific time and place who meet together regularly.
  2. First let’s talk about the “local church”-you need to both attend and serving a local church
    1. If you saw an eye on the sidewalk out here…AHH! That’s gross! It belongs on a body!
    2. What if I wore an eye patch all the time? Look like I should be in the Pirates of the Caribbean! And said, I just don’t feel like using my right eye.
      1. That’s stupid!
      2. Even if it’s not the prettiest, or perfect vision…it still works-use it!
    3. God’s word says the same things about being part of a local church.
      1. If you are a believer you are part of the “body of believers” and you NOT being in a church is GROSS!
      2. AND you not serving the body with the gifts and abilities God has given you because “you’re not the best” or “you don’t feel like it” are super lame and dumb reasons!
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 14-20 “14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[b] yet one body.”
  1. God chose to create local churches for us here on earth. He wants you to be a part of one. To serve and to build relationships with them and to learn about Jesus.
    1. You should be serving in a local church-
      1. Take leadership and start a new ministry within your church!
        1. Use the gifts God gave you!
        2. Be creative!
      2. and if you’re church for some reason will not allow you—you should be serving the universal Church
    2. Both the universal church and the local church: The point of Church is Jesus
      1. The church is not a building that we retreat from the world…it is where we suit up with armor to go into a broken world to bring people to Jesus!
      2. 1 Colossians 1:15-18 “He is the image ofthe invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
        1. Jesus is the head of the church-He is to be #1 things church is about!
        2. You need to be in a church that helps you follow Jesus. You have to put forth the work!
          1. Ask your pastor if he can help you find a mentor- to help you love Jesus more
          2. Serve ANYWHERE YOU can! To be a servant LIKE Jesus was!
  • Doesn’t have to have the best music or coolest youth group-they just have to genuinely love Jesus
  1. If you find a church, but it does not preach Jesus…that is not a church. Leave and find one that does love him.
  2. The church is people introducing people to Jesus and helping them follow him
  1. We are all part of God’s universal church: and it WILL NOT fail.
    1. I know many of you get discouraged explain or convince your unbelieving friends or family of God.
    2. Don’t be! Keep praying! Keep sharing truth! Don’t give up!
  • Because we have a great and powerful God!
  1. Matthew 16:18
    1. Simon says Jesus is the son of God. Jesus responds, “And Jesus answered him,“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock2 I will build my church, and the gates of lhell3 shall not prevail against it.”
  2. You don’t have to be afraid. God’s word says the Father in Heaven opens peoples eyes to who Jesus is-and people WILL become believers!
    1. Just be faithful
      1. Share the gospel!
      2. Evangelism! Invite to church
      3. YOU are the one with the power of the Holy Spirit in you! NOT THEM! What do they have? Nothing!
    2. So in review…
      1. Use your gifts in a local church that loves Jesus. Remember that the universal church is created and sustained by our good heavenly father, and do not be discouraged in sharing your faith.
        1. To serve the ONE CHURCH-both universal and local-introduce people to Jesus and help them follow Him.
      2. Challenge: FIND A JESUS LOVING CHURCH: SERVE IN THE JESUS LOVING CHURCH, and don’t be afraid to STORM the gates of hell for the growth of the universal church (meaning all believers).

So then I was thinking about how this is my last chance to talk to you! I with this last opportunity to speak what else do I say?

This word: FIGHT.

Our enemy, the devil, would love to defeat you with these temptations and bring you down, but FIGHT my FRIENDS! Fight because you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you, and in 1 Corinthians 10:13 God’s word says that “God is faithful, he will not tempt you beyond what you can bear, but…he will provide a way out”

Life is hard. Temptations are strong, and the devil is cunning. BUT PLEASE, DO NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN. Find a local church to help you, be disciplined in your time with God and as Paul tells us in 1st and 2nd Timothy, FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT of the faith.

When you are tempted to give in to sin of pornography or sex: FIGHT FOR PURITY.

When you are tempted to wallow in self-loathing, depression, or anxiety: FIGHT FOR JOY.

When you are discouraged by unbelief, and don’t know if you can trust the Bible: FIGHT FOR FAITH.

When you are tempted to be lazy, ignore God, and turn to this world for comfort…FIGHT FOR LOVE.

I think we all have things in our life that we have to fight. Each person’s is different, but everyone has something. I have to FIGHT hard against some things. I have failed and continue to fail so much. But I FIGHT. I will never give in. I will never let the devil have the last punch. I will ALWAYS FIGHT. Because I know my relationship to God is worth fighting for.

Think about what your struggle, your sin, or your temptation will be when you go back home. Know that CHRIST has already paid for that sin. There is NO condemnation for it for those who are part of God’s family. You don’t have to drown in shame or guilt-he loves you, he’s forgiven you-but he deeply doesn’t want you to hold onto that painful sin. Christ brings freedom from those emotions. And the Holy Spirit brings STRENGTH. The Holy Spirit is who is convicting you of this struggle right now. He is the one telling you to fight, and who will continue to tell you to fight.

We have a cross here in the center of the hall. A cross that reminds us that Christ is ENOUGH for us. That his blood on the cross means we are FORGIVEN and LOVED by God. The cross tells us that our sin is paid for-not just some of it-ALL OF IT. And for that we PRAISE THE LORD. And with that praise-filled, thankful heart-we know that we don’t want to hold on to the sin that keeps us from loving God well. We want to fight it. We want to kill it. So we are going to sing worship songs and I invite each of you to go to the cross, and write down on the paper provided the sin or temptation or struggle that you are holding onto-that you want to fight and kill. And then we have hammers and nails and we want you to take that paper and, just like I savior was, nail it to the cross. Nail it to the cross to remind yourself that HE BORE the punishment for that sin, and that God has COMPLETELY forgiven you for it. And nail it to the cross to remind you that THAT is where your sin can stay-not in your life. You don’t have to carry it, the Holy Spirit can give you strength to fight it. And when it comes into your life, trying to temp you to take it back again, remember the pounding of the nail, and know that CHRIST died for that sin so that you will live in RIGHTEOUSNESS (verse).

[campers go]

Christ is enough for us.

Campers, I am so thankful to have been here this week with you. Thank you for listening so well to me, and for all of your encouragement. I will be praying for you this year! On your way out tonight you are going to receive a sticker to remind you of the truths you learned this week about ONE God, one passion, one savior, one decision, one life, and one church. And I will be praying that is a constant reminder of what you left behind here, on the cross, and the truths that you are taking with you.

Camp Update: Thankful, Prayerful, & Learning

Wow! I never would have guessed that God was going to be SO GRACIOUS in TEACHING ME so much during this week at camp. With me being the speaker, I thought God’s primary desire was for me to be the vessel for him to speak to OTHERS (the campers and the staff). Though, I know He deeply wants that, and is accomplishing that through this unlikely and very imperfect vessel, it has been encouraging to see all the refining work he is doing inside of me as well.

I am learning so much about communication, teaching, and prayerful preparation. I am learning about trusting the Holy Spirit, the importance of pleasing God primarily, and how to fight the fear of man.

Yesterdays message on the day’s theme: ONE PASSION was a difficult truth for me to explain.I walked away from the stage asking God, “Did I let you down? Did I explain your character to the campers in a way that was accurate? Were you pleased with my words? Did I confuse them? Did I make you too complex?” Etc. etc. etc.

And in the hours that followed-God was SO gracious to use various circumstances to remind me of truths that I knew, but needed to hear out loud, nonetheless! He used a conversation with my translator about fear to speak truth. He used the next morning’s devotion and a conversation that followed, to deeply encourage me to the point of tears with words like “so clear” and “orthodox”.  Words that I begged God would allow my message to be! God used His word, and his children to dispel the doubt that was creeping into my heart. Thanks be to God!

Also, God has deeply gifted and equipped my ministry partner, Christina, for the work He has planned for her here. She is developing amazing relationships with the camp staff, both Canadian and German. They turn to her for advice and wisdom, and the Lord continues to give it to her. She has had difficult conversations that left her nearly begging the other parties to trust God’s word, and to not throw it out. And she has been able to delightfully co-teach an English class for beginners with absolute excellence.

I wish you all could interact with the campers and staff here at Neues Leben! It truly is a joy! God is working in so many hearts, in so many different ways. Here are some specific ways, and how you can pray:

  • I talked to one staff who is trying to faithfully serve and seek God, but has been deeply struggling with Him for the past 3 months. We hope to talk more later this week-please pray for her faith to grow!
  • During their small group time, a camper asked, “Do you think God is racist? Since He wiped out all the Egyptian first borns, but not the Israelites?” To which another camper responded, “No! God gave them 10 days of warnings, and signs, and opportunities to repent!” Pray for these students and their Cabin Leaders to know how to respond to so many great questions and answers!
  • I met a french student who does not church, whose parents are humanitarians, who started coming to this camp 8 years ago because her art teacher in an international school was a Christian and told her about it. So she comes every year, and it is the only time she hears about God all year. This is the last year she’ll be young enough to attend this camp. Please pray for her salvation (if she isn’t yet a believer) and for her desire to grow in faith to propel her to find a good church in France to disciple her.

Thanks so much for your prayers. I really believe that God is doing some amazing things here at Camp in Germany. And Christina and I are SO THANKFUL for your support that made it possible for us to experience this and serve the Lord here.

Praise God from whom ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!

(P.S. Sorry if my English “sounds” strange! At English Camp we are immersed in semi-broken German-English all day every day, so sometimes it is hard to speak/type normally! It’ll take a few days back in the states, and it’ll all come back-but for now…Christina, Liz, and I’s English is less than perfect :))

A Little Update on My Summer Plans

A few months ago, I was approached with the opportunity to travel to Spain with a team from Lancaster Bible College for the summer. Unfortunately, we had a late start on fundraising and didn’t meet our pre-set financial goals. Because of this, the trip was canceled, and I was questioning why God chooses to shut some doors-though they would lead to really great places. I told my team that we must trust God and know that He has plans for every yes and every no.

Just 4 days after the trip’s official cancellation I received a Facebook message from the coordinator of the English Camp in Germany I’ve worked at the past 2 summers. Even though I had already told her I wouldn’t be able to come, my name “just so happened” to have just come up in a recent conversation with the Camp Director. So she asked, “Could you come for one week and teach the main session for 5 nights at the Camp?”

Me?  Return to Germany?  Speak at the night sessions?

What a gift from God! I was floored by the timing and my the opportunity! After some prayer, I joyfully concluded that I’ll be returning back to the junior high/high school students that I love to speak to them about the Gospel! The camp’s theme this year is ONE and each day has a specific theme as well: One God, One Passion, One Savior, One Decision, One Life, and One Church. I have the terrifying, wonderful privilege to speak on each subject. I’ll be preparing the lessons in the coming weeks leading up to the trip and would VERY MUCH appreciate your prayers in my preparation and in the student’s reception of truths from Scripture.

The Lord also has graciously provided a traveling companion in the form of my dear friend, and missionary-to-be, Christina McLaughlin. She will be helping at the camp in whatever ways they need her and then also blessing me by recording my lessons each night! I can put the videos up online and perhaps reach even more German/Americans if God chooses to use me in that way.

The cost is very minimal. Flights and a few travel expenses only totalled about $1,260 each. If you would like to support financially, that’d be great! I’d be happy to show you my spreadsheet! 😉 If you would like to support us through prayers-that’d be even better! You can follow my blog bettycatherine.wordpress.com and Christina’s betweentheleatherbindings.blogspot.com for updates throughout our time in Germany.

I am beyond excited for this opportunity to share God’s truths with the youth of Germany. Join with me in praying that through the power of the Holy Spirit, young lives are changed to love God’s words more deeply, cling to His promises more closely, and share His truths more boldly.

You know, there are things in our lives that are GREAT things, that God chooses to cut out for reasons only He knows of. Our job is to trust Him with that circumstance, and praise Him whether He shows us why or not. God cut the Spain trip out of my summer, and He graciously provided something else 4 days later! It doesn’t always (or even often!) work out like that-but I’m thankful it did! I trust that He has PLENTY of reasons why (though a good thing) Spain is not where I was supposed to travel this summer, and Germany definitely is. Maybe He’ll reveal more of the answers to my “why questions” and maybe He won’t. Either way-He is to be praised for orchestrating all these details of my life, and for always doing what is best for my life to bring Him glory!

As always, thanks for reading! 🙂