By Dietrich Gruen
This month marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed “95 Theses” to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany to protest the selling of indulgences for the forgiveness of sin. “Selling indulgences” is the widespread practice of doing good works or offering money to avoid punishment for sin. For this protest, Luther was declared a heretic and outlaw by Pope and Emperor alike in 1521. By 1529, his many followers were dubbed “protestants.” I visited Wittenberg last year; now, as the 500th anniversary of that seminal event is upon us, I explore the legacy of Luther on world missions.
Continue reading Mission of the Month: Luther’s Impact on Missions
By Dietrich Gruen, with Terrell Smith, Dean Waldenmaier, and Rose Turnley
God loves the world. And the world has come to our capital city and flagship campus, even to our front door. Around 6000 students from more than 120 countries attend the UW-Madison, including 2,855 from Mainland China, more than any other foreign country. Continue reading Mission of the Month: The World at our Doorstep
Over the summer, we looked at the lives of the first kings of Israel: Saul and David. There were many differences between them. Saul was large and looked like a massive warrior. David was smaller, younger, and taught himself to fight as a shepherd in the country. Ultimately, they were both warriors and both kings. And in one way or another, they both believed in the God of Israel. But though they both believed in God, it would be wrong to say that they both put their faith in him.
In fact, the most fundamental difference between the two was a difference of the heart. This is what God explicitly says to Saul in 1 Samuel 13:14:
But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.
God made clear that David would be different in two ways. First, his heart would be for God rather than for himself, his own power, and his own survival. Second, David would obey the Lord, and if he ever failed, his repentance would be real.
Continue reading The Virtue of Humility
by Dietrich Gruen
After the race-whipped riots at Charlottesville (August 12) exposed deep divisions and ugly disrespect in this country, we all welcomed with relief and euphoria the day the moon eclipsed sun—and for that day, all other news (August 21). We now turn the eyes of our hearts and hands of hope to the disaster relief efforts underway in the Houston area. We cheer the everyday heroes surfacing during Hurricane Harvey, as it whips Houston with a one-two punch of rain and flood “not seen in 500 years.” Continue reading Mission of the Month: Disaster Relief, Ordinary Heroes and the King of Floods
Over the next few weeks, our very own Dietrich and Sue Gruen are traveling through Germany and have the opportunity to share the gospel with Muslim refugees. Here are their updates: Continue reading Germany Outreach Updates
By Dietrich Gruen
I get to preach on the meaning of Christmas to 25 Muslim refugees, mostly teen boys, in Germany. I never lack for words, but often speak past my word count (1500-2000) or time limit (15-20 minutes). My challenge is also speaking intermittently through a translator. Lots could be lost in translation, and I could lose my audience if I go over time. You readers of this blog (more my forte) are my practice audience; your feedback and prayers are welcome. Several High Point women have provided stuffed Christmas stockings for the 24 boys and 1 girl; for that we are so grateful. During our sports-drama-English immersion camp in Berlin, July 29-August 5, would you pray for this Word to come alive and dwell with us? Thanks.
Continue reading Mission of the Month: Christmas in July