The Receptive Life

"We are beggars; this is true." (Martin Luther)

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Photo Highlights: Christmas at the LIA School of Theology

Youth Choirs (Christmas Eve Practice) Christmas Day Service of the Word Christmas Afternoon with the local Masai, lunch (goat) and the planting of the first LIA Christmas tree End of the Youth Seminar and Departure Catch and Release

Photo Highlights: A Family Walk with the Giraffes

A Walk with the Giraffes Josh Arrived

Photo Highlights: Youth Adventures and Hike up the Ngong Hills

Youth Hike Up the Ngong Hills Teaching and Singing (top of the Ngong Hills) Lunch and Games on Top of the Ngong Hills Heading Down the Ngong Hills

Photo Highlights: Day 4 LIA’s Youth Seminar

Another Great Day for the Lutherans In Africa Youth Seminar Morning Devotions and Sessions   Afternoon Laundry and Chores Afternoon Adventures Afternoon Devotions and Sessions Storms Rushing Over the Ngong Hills  

Photo Highlights: Youth Service Project at the LIA

Youth Service Project at the Lutheran School of Theology In order to play football the youth needed to clear away a patch of brush. They all worked hard and enjoyed the fruit of their labor.

Photo Highlights: Youth Gathering at the LIA

A Late Night Arrival   Early Morning at the LIA   Opening Devotions with Rev. James May (Executive Director of LIA)   Making the Psalm 119 Prayer Beads

Photo Highlights: End of the Pastors’ Seminar at LIA

Departure Day for the Pastors Some of the pastors will travel a day by bus. Others will travel by various means for a week. The Lord bless you and keep you.  

LIA Seminar: Photo Highlights Week 2

Teaching the Receptive Life at LIA (with Rev. James May, Executive Director of LIA)

A Sunday Afternoon With the Giraffes

A Boy and His Dog Off to Find Giraffes   We Found the Herd

Sunday’s Service of the Word: Holy Ground in Africa

Preparing for the Service of the Word (Nothing but your best for standing on Holy Ground)

LIA Seminar: Photo Highlights Saturday

A Wonderful Visit with the May Family   An Evening Run in Masai Territory

LIA Seminar: Photo Highlights Friday

Teaching on the Ten Commandments and the Creed   Afternoon Lunch (Goat and Mangos) (Everything is fresh and tastes amazing, although the goat stomach is a bit interesting.)   Afternoon Walk About

Lutherans in Africa Seminar: Photo Highlights of Week 1

Good Morning from the Lutheran School of Theology Read more by clicking here:  Lutherans in Africa blog post Our Humble Classroom but the Holy Spirit is the Real Teacher “Speak Lord for your servant listens.”   Today’s Topic:  Scripture Memorization and Meditation     Tea Time and Pastoral Conversation   Teaching about Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio and the Invocation (read more about the topic here)   The two natures of Christ, His work, His humiliation and exaltation   Afternoon Walkabout   Life on the Shamba New Masai Friends

Good Morning from the LIA Seminar – Day 1

Lutherans In Africa and the School of Theology (Day 1) “The Lord is the great God and a great king above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.”  (Psalm 95:3-4) Good Morning!   A morning walk (I met some new long necked friends)   An Urgent Prayer Need (Could you please pray that LIA would soon receive approved building permits so that they can begin to build a library and an enclosed teaching center. For now, we meet outside and are surrounded by plastic to protect us from the wind rushing down the Ngong Range.) […]


Naftali. I first saw his name in the carbon copy of an email. Forty African pastors from all over the continent were about to come to Nairobi for a ten day seminar on The Receptive Life. Rev. James May of Lutherans in Africa had given Naftali the task of translating my material into Kiswahili. It was a daunting assignment, and as always, the demands given to a translator come with tedious and time consuming edits. The work also comes with hard deadlines hidden under the soft request of another. Translation is servant’s work. It labors on behalf of another’s material, never your own. […]

LIA Seminar – The Day Before

The View “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121)   Ready and Waiting “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18)   Participant Manuals “And the things you have heard in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be able to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:2)   Arrival “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours […]

The Receptive Life Goes to Africa

Sometimes you find a book and at other times the book finds you. Two found me. The first, “A Minister’s Prayer Book: An Order of Prayers and Readings” by John Doberstein, introduced himself to me at a retired pastor’s library book sale on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary. It was 1987, the first week of seminary. I was young and passionate, full of idealistic notions about the pastoral office. The prayer book was old and seasoned, well worn but not worn out, still full of wisdom for anyone who would take the time to listen. Most days over the […]

The Receptive Life ScreenCast

ScreenCast 1:  Introduction Here’s a collection of three ScreenCast sessions on “The Receptive Life”. Presentation slides, additional resources and links are provided beneath each ScreenCast.  Here’s some of the resources I mentioned in the ScreenCast: Session 1:  Slides (PDF) Step-By-Step Guide Map of the Territory (PDF) a good study Bible (The Lutheran Study Bible) Luther’s Small Catechism (print edition) Luther’s Small Catechism (mobile app) Luther’s Small Catechism (web version) a list of other provisions The Karate Kid ScreenCast 2: A Guided Tour Welcome to the second ScreenCast of the Receptive Life. In this episode I’ll take you on a guided tour of the spiritual territory […]

Full List of Meditations (Lent 2014 and 2016)

Easter Greetings! Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here! He has risen! Just as He said! He has risen indeed! In the crucifixion, Jesus assumed the debt of our sin. In His death, He paid the penalty. And the empty tomb is our resurrection receipt, the Father’s acceptance of His Son’s payment and redemptive proof that sin’s ledger has been wiped clean. And though sin, death and the Devil may raise their voice, we have the promise that they’ll never have the last word. The Devil’s head will forever be under the Gospel boot and, we, with the resurrected […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Sabbath of Eternal Dwelling

“I’m back home in the house of GOD for the rest of my life.” Psalm 23:6b Turning the bend and heading toward home is the joy that can only come with the journey’s end. Home for the sheep is wherever the Shepherd might be. If the Shepherd isn’t present, then the home just becomes a house, a dwelling where heads may rest but hearts don’t stay. The good news is that, one day, the Shepherd will lead his flock home to forever pastures. Until then, he keeps shepherding. As you finish these forty days with Christ, reflect on the following […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 40

He Knows My Co-Mission Scripture Reading:  Matthew 28:16-20 Meditation What Jesus starts, he always intends to finish. His three-year public ministry began with his baptism. After forty days of resisting the worldly lures of the Tempter in the wilderness, he began to proclaim good news in the region of Galilee—that, in him, the kingdom of God had arrived. “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”1 All throughout Jesus’ ministry, this Messianic Message trumpeted the way. His kingdom forcefully advanced, taking devils captive and setting the devil’s captives free. The Message was simple and yet […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 39

He Knows My Need for Restoration Scripture Reading:  John 21:1-25 Meditation Simon Peter, more than any of the other disciples, is praying for a second chance. Peter’s the one the Master called ‘Rock’ and yet he was the one who crumbled so easily in the High Priest’s courtyard. When a servant girl asked him about his relationship with Jesus, he cracked. Three times he denied knowing his Master. The Rock, now in pieces, longs to have the Savior put his life back together. As Simon sits between hope and despair, he’s not looking for redemption; he knows that Jesus took […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 38

He Knows My Doubt Scripture Reading:  John 20:19-31 Meditation The Evil One is the father of two fraternal twins:  terror and doubt. During the Savior’s Passion, Satan’s demons dropped these two hellions on the doorstep of the disciples. When the disciples answered the door, the two unruly children pushed their way into the house of faith and began to wreak torment of soul and terror of conscience. Like defiant children, they destroyed the peace. And it’s such peace, at this time, that the disciples need the most. The Jewish leaders have just struck the Good Shepherd dead and the blow […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 37

He Knows My Slowness to Believe Scripture Reading:  Luke 24:13-35 Meditation Emmaus is a small village only a brisk afternoon’s walk outside of Jerusalem. For two traveling together, the seven miles can be easily bridged by a steady gait spurred on by plenty of spirited conversation. But for a pair of Jesus’ disciples burdened by unbelief, the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus has just stretched into a long walk, journeyed with even longer faces. It’s the third day after their Master’s crucifixion and, as they walk, they carry heavy hearts. Just a week ago, they had marched with Jesus into […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 36

He Knows My Grief Scripture Reading:  Luke 23:44—24:12 Meditation The events of the past few days have struck a violent blow to the heart of the women who have followed Jesus from Galilee. Just last week, all of Jerusalem’s people had hailed their Master as a king but today they nailed him to a tree like a criminal. As Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and the other women gather around the cross, they are still in a state of shock. Their Master’s crucifixion is so violent that their emotions haven’t been able to keep pace with the […]