Hello everyone and Happy Flag Day!
Election Reflections: The voting for the Presidential Election in The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) is going to take place June 22 through June 25, 2019 online through a secure LCMS website. There will also be a run off election for Synod President June 29 though July 1, 2019. The pastors, who won the most votes for Synod President in the nomination process, were the Reverend Dr. Matthew Harrison (Incumbent), Reverend David Maier (President of the Michigan District of The LCMS), and Reverend Tim Klinkenberg (Pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Orange, California). Reverend Harrison received the highest number of votes in the nominating process with 1181 votes, Reverend Maier received the second highest number of votes with 947 votes, and Reverend Klinkenberg received the third highest number of votes with 638 votes. For more details on this please see https://www.lcms.org/convention/election-results . These votes were only the first step, because Reverend Harrison, Reverend Maier, and Reverend Klinkenberg still need to go through the June 22 through June 25, 2019 Election. Plus there is the run-off, as I mentioned earlier. I'll try to remember to provide more information about candidates in my next blog post.
Suffering Reflections: The people of St. Marys, Ohio and Celina, Ohio are near and dear to my heart. As many of you have heard, St. Marys and Celina have been devastated by the recent storms, floods, and tornadoes. St. Marys and Celina have been battling the floods since late April 2019. Over the Memorial Day weekend tornadoes destroyed many homes and businesses and other buildings in Celina, Dayton, New Knoxville, and St. Marys, Ohio. Dayton, New Knoxville, and Celina got the worse the damage from the tornadoes. I heard, that Dayton was completely destroyed during the Memorial Day weekend tornadoes.
Reverend Harrison has brought three very important Bible Verses to our attention in The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), which give great comfort to our souls and which challenge us to live out our Baptismal Lives in a meaningful way. These Bible Verses come are 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, St. Paul wrote, "16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (KJV 1611).
Now how can a person, who has lost their home, their business, or even a church building, rejoice and give thanks even for tragedy? These things are tragedies. A person, who has lost these important things, a home, a business, and/or a church building, can rejoice and give thanks for being alive and for all of the volunteers, who are ministering to them. Houses and church buildings can be rebuilt in spite of the real pain and suffering the losses of these losses. Businesses can be restarted and their buildings can be rebuilt. Many church buildings have either been destroyed or have fallen into disrepair thorough out and they were rebuilt and fixed up nicely. The Muslims destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the church built on Mount Calvary, where Jesus died to save every single person and where He objectively justified every single person, and the Crusaders rebuilt it and restored it to its former glory. St. Francis of Assisi started his ministry in Medieval Italy by rebuilding an abandoned church building, after Yahweh told him to rebuild it.
Material things be usually be replaced. Granted there are somethings, which were made by special people and/ or which are one of a kind items, you can't find anymore. When those things are destroyed, it's really hard and there is real and legitimate suffering. However, if I had a choice between that one of a kind item and the person, who made it, I would take the person over that item. Jesus didn't die for things; He died for people. Jesus doesn't live, so you can have nice stuff. He lives to give you Salvation, life, and life abundant. Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit basically own everything, since They created the world and all living creatures and They create things in and through human beings, and They give us things to be stewards of. Even good stewards can lose the things, which Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit give to them.
Yahweh loves you and He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die to save you from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and your own personal sins. In order to be saved, you must experience water Baptism, believe, that Jesus died to save you from your sins, and confess the Holy Trinity to be the one True God. These things are not a check list, rather they are, what Holy Scripture teaches about the way in which people are saved. Don't just think, "I'm baptized, so I have no obligations to the Holy Trinity and I'm going to Heaven, when I die." No, you must live out your Baptismal Life and that is the point in which St. Paul and Reverend Harrison are trying to tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Rejoice, that Jesus died to save you from your sins and that you're alive and able to read this blog. Pray for those, who have been affected by storms, floods, and tornadoes, especially the farmers, who desperately need to plant some food, so we can all eat and the animals can eat. Give thanks for all of your blessings both inside and outside of the church buildings.
Ok so you have read this far and you're thinking, "I haven't experience water Baptism, I don't believe, Jesus died to save me from my sins, and I don't confess the Holy Trinity to be the one True God; I'm going to Hell. I need to be saved." The good news is, that these things are free gifts to every single person. Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit want to give you this Grace for FREE! That's right! FREE! Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have called pastors, whose job it is to be the instruments, whom the Holy Trinity use to baptize people. Faith in Jesus' atoning sacrifice for you and Faith in the Holy Trinity are FREE gifts from the Holy Spirit, which He gives to you in water Baptism. The Holy Trinity also call pastors to preach the Gospel and teach the Faith. I can give you phone numbers, so you can arrange for your water Baptism. Once your relationship with Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit starts in water Baptism (a Holy Baptism), you will feel bad about your sins and you'll want to ask forgiveness of your sins. Holy Baptism is not a work of man, rather it is a Holy Work of Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Holy Baptism is, where you are forgiven of all of sins, because it connects to Jesus' Death, burial, and Resurrection. You're always forgiven from the moment of your water Baptism, but you're still going to sin after water Baptism, so you'll still to ask forgiveness, because your sins violate your relationship with Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Live out your Baptismal Life in Faith. Amen!
Book Signings: My next book signing is TBA. I think, I'm taking June off from having book signings. I know, I'm taking August off from having book signings, since August is always a slow time for my books, which I've written and published. However, if I have a new book come out in August, then my sales go up in August. Granted my book sales go up, whenever I have a new book come out. I'm willing to meet up at a safe location to sell my books directly to you or you can order them off of my website in the Shop section.
Stores: My books are still available at Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, Lima Hallmark Stores on Elm Street and out at Eastgate Plaza, Jen's Furniture and Collectibles on High Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) in St. Marys, and Wagner's IGA Grocery Store in Minster, Ohio.
OIL Press News: My next Christian romance novel The Rising of The Moon Book 2: Faith, Hope, and Love is coming out sometime this summer. The Rising of The Moon Book 2: Faith, Hope, and Love is the sequel to both The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 1 and The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 2 all three of these books deal with the best friendship of my fictional characters Richard McMurphy and Emily McMermaid. The Rising of The Moon Trilogy is a series of Christian romance novels about Richard and Emily. There are also a lot history and theology woven in and through the novels in this series. Yes, I'm going to keep the same basic design for all of the novels in The Rising of The Moon Trilogy to both keep the novels uniform and to save money on the cover designs. These savings I'm able to pass along to you, my readers. Towards the end of this year and next year I want to start publishing some of my history books, which are still in the works.
James W. O'Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press