Saturday, June 17, 2023

Three Estates; God's innoculation for fear

 The following is a republishing of a series of articles for a newspaper in 2020, slightly modified. Pastor Makelin

Wow. The world has gone off it’s rocker lately! Have you ever felt that things are…shall I say…unsettled? You may have felt this even before the latest crazy, but now it just seems more pronounced lately, no? All this flux can make you come away with fear and can be quite unnerving.

Want to hear something great though? God still reigns. He has established three “estates” (or orders, institutions, forever constant) of which all of us Christians live - all at the same time, where He rules. God’s order for His creation has been established by Him and will not be moved! Let me say that again in a slightly different way. God has established temporal walls of defense for our lives, ruled and governed by Him, yet in different ways…different realms under His rule. The comforting thing to know about these estates, is that no matter how much the devil, the world, or even we ourselves, fight against them, they will not be overcome! As the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah in Chapter thirty-five, verse four: Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Rage as he will, the devil will not overcome! God’s reign in these estates will always exist until the end of time.

Tragically, these defensive walls are sometimes damaged in attacks, vandalized, or one or more of them temporarily breached. When this happens, society will demand the other two estates to compensate in order to pick up the slack. Thus, chaos and fear ensue. This is what we are witnessing now. Yet, each estate is necessary - and good - in its own sphere and hierarchy – not only for a healthy society, but especially as defense against your conscience. No matter the damage, these three estates shall, in the end, exist for your protection until you rest in the grave or the Lord returns.

So, what am I talking about when I say God’s three estates? They go by different names in Scripture, but I will call them, Ecclesiastical (Ministry), Familial (Domestic), and Political (Civil). Each has its own way of keeping God’s order and its own peculiar function, and even though some functions are identical, they still operate uniquely in our lives. Two of these estates were instituted by God before the Fall, (Ecclesiastical and Familial) and the least of the three estates established (Political) is described after the Fall of mankind to sin. None the less, the Political estate is also given by God for our protection.

It is my desire, that once you know about these three estates, see how they function, and see how God has established them for your care, protection, and benefit in this life, that you will not only see His order among all this chaos but so too, that you will not fear. You will recognize the enemy, the devil, for what he is and recognize that his goal is to be constantly battering these defensive walls. This is not a teaching of what you must do, but what has been done for you as revealed in God’s Word of Holy Scripture. 

Stay tuned for the Political (civil) estate

Sunday, June 4, 2023

 When someone sins against you

In the blogpost of August 20th 2021, I promised that we would investigate what to do if someone sins against you. I made this post up, but did not ever publish it. So, here you go. Only two years late, but it still applies.

We talk a lot about repenting for sins of our own, but when in a situation of abuse, or evil attacks aimed at you, or literally someone else sinning against you, the go-to verses are Ephesians 6. This does not mean you do not forgive your attacker, and neither does it mean you may not have to seek safety from them, or that you won’t struggle to forgive, but the question is; where do we find the strength of faith to stand the blows? Sure, forgiveness is given to us by in faith, by grace, through Christ, but for us mere mortals, especially when being wronged, forgiveness is hard!

Yet, before I get into the source of our strength of faith, I must mention that God allows some things to happen to us - in His discipline - to make us pick up our cross and follow him. Remember the prophet Job? He was, by God’s account, a blameless and upright man, one who turned away from evil. Though rich in family, goods, and reputation, he did not treat others poorly or unfairly, and he even went so far as to continually offer burnt sacrifices to God for his children, just in case, they sinned and cursed. But then all that came crashing down in a day. In a day, he lost his livestock (his wealth), his servants were slaughtered, and even his family that he had sacrificed ‘just in case’, died. And through all this, lamenting and sorrowful, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. He simply said; The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (see Job Chapter 1).  

But that was not all. When he was at his lowest and saddest, so low he cursed his birth and said it would have been better to never have been born than to bear this burden, three friends came to give “counsel” – and some counsel that turned out to be! They beat him about the head with the law saying, You must have done something wrong. Admit it, and perhaps the Lord will relent. Even his wife couldn’t take it anymore and she abandoned him saying; Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die. To which he replied; Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”[a] It goes on to say; In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (See Job Chapter 2)

Yeah, that guy. How did he hold onto his faith under such horrible things? Some may speak platitudes by saying God does not give you anything more than you can handle, but that is false and not in Scripture. On the other hand, it says in James; Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness… Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. The world is a dangerous place if you are a Christian, and the devil prowls around looking to devour your faith, but much to his chagrin, through his attacks, temptations, and trials, God produces in you, a steadfastness of faith by the feeding of His Word and Sacraments.

Oops, I said it. Christ’s gift of Word and Sacraments is what Paul is describing in the imagery of Ephesians 6 as this defensive armor. Paul lists the armor given to us to withstand this evil age with; the belt of Truth (His Word is Truth which girds your loins like a weightlifter’s belt), the breastplate of righteousness (protection of wounding the heart because Christ is your righteousness), the shoes of “readiness given by the gospel of peace” (as you hear and speak the peace of Christ to others – right where your feet are pointing), the shield of faith to quench the flaming darts of the evil one (for when the devil strikes your faith with his lies, they are quickly brought to nothing), the helmet of salvation (helmets protect heads, and you know with all your mind, you are saved by the blood of Christ), and the sword of the Spirit while praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

This is where Job’s strength of faith was found. This is where your strength of faith is found, in Christ’s Word and Sacraments, for you to stand the assaults of the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…and yes, against death itself. All this He feeds you through the Word and Sacraments of His Church into your ears and mouth. This is what I was getting at last week when I said to not receive the Sacrament is detrimental to your health, like going into battle naked. Your armor gets chinks and holes in it from the battle against those cosmic powers (because you will do battle). But you can come to Him for rest, for new armor, for strengthening of faith. There is no such thing as a lone Christian. To fight the battle without Christ to die eternally. Come. Hear Him. Come eat and drink Him as He bids you to do in His own testimony. For as long as you draw breath on this side of heaven, you need Him.

Pastor Makelin


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Gospel of the Sacrament of the Altar

Since we have been talking about the Sacrament of the Altar lately, I’d like to say more here. I would like to address the Gospel benefits of this blessed Sacrament, for it is truly a blessing that the devil wants you NOT to receive and will do anything to stop you.

In talking of closed communion with other denominations, and sometimes with each other, there is some confusion between being cautious about who we commune because of the harm it may cause, and therefore thinking the benefits are not given to those who are admitted to the table. This too, I think the devil has had his way with us and so I would like to clarify.

First let’s consider that all precautions have been made, and you are a disciple of Christ approaching the table. That is, that you have been Baptized, and properly catechized, before communion. This is in accordance with Matthew 28’s command to make disciples by Baptizing and teaching. This is closed communion; simply making sure the communicant is a disciple of Christ. We often use the “shortcut” of determining the catechesis given by asking the quick question; Are you a member of a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in good standing? If yes, we can be quite reasonably assured that you have been properly taught. Sometimes this is not the case, but thankfully I think it is still rare. If the answer is no to that question, then we need to determine what you have been taught and who you are in communion with (denomination) to determine the issues which may need to be discussed.

But then, with the assurance that you are in fact, a disciple of Christ (and in this case, a LCMS member in good standing), then there is the “worthiness” language. This is not closed communion, but the warnings of 1 Corinthians 11:17-33 to disciples of Christ. This is simply what a Baptized and Catechized disciple of Christ does. In the hymnal on LSB page 329 is Christian Questions and Their Answers. These are a series of self-examination questions, for you, as a disciple of Christ to determine if you are coming to receive the blessed Sacrament of the Altar in a worthy manner In a nutshell, it means; Do you believe that you are a sinner, have no hope to redeem yourself, but trust in Christ as your true Savior alone, and He truly gives Himself to you in His body and blood for your benefit? If so, then come and receive that benefit! Do not let the devil convince you otherwise!


Yet still, the devil’s assaults are numerous to convince you to NOT partake. Things like.

Pastor, I know someone that has done me harm, and I just can’t seem to forgive them for what they did. Shouldn’t I abstain? No! Come to the Sacrament and receive His forgiveness (for your lack of forgiveness to your neighbor) and for Him to give you the strength to forgive! You believe that you are a sinner, no?

But pastor, what if I am mad at the you, and I can’t forgive you! Same. Come, receive, be forgiven, and may it give you strength to come and sit down with me to discuss what the problem is.

But pastor, I have hatred in my heart towards someone. Isn’t that dangerous? Yes, having hatred in your heart can be dangerous to your faith, but that is handled with individual confession and absolution. Things like unrepentance, hatred, and a multitude of sins are covered under that seal to give forgiveness for specific issues. Take advantage of it, receive forgiveness from God Himself, then feed your faith with the Sacrament. Besides, how does NOT receiving forgiveness of sins by the body and blood of Christ, help with that hatred? Instead, confess your sin, and receive the full benefit of the blessed Sacrament.

Or the latest one; But pastor, I fear I may catch something and die. Which do you fear most? Eternal death, or temporal death? Or, as Jesus says in Matthew 10:28; And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. We take many precautions in the distribution of the Sacrament, but ultimately it is God’s will and timing when you shall be taken unto Him. And besides, Christ will raise you up again.

These are not the only reasons we have come up with to not take this blessed Gospel given to us, yet any reason we come up with for voluntarily going without the Sacrament for a long period of time, is detrimental to your faith. It is like going into battle naked because you no longer wear the armor of God to protect you against the assaults of the devil and world. Come, eat and drink, replace that battle torn armor with a new set.

            I highly recommend further reading, for this blessed Sacrament is THE greatest gift known to His Church. Please check out our Confessions. Specifically, section V of Luther’s Large Catechism. It is well worth the read.


Together in Christ,

Pastor Terry Makelin

Friday, August 20, 2021


As I noticed that my “weekly” blog has already faltered to an intermittent blog. I pray this has not offended you. I have not fully integrated blogging into my schedule, and for those who were expecting more from me, I ask your grace. Yet, in today’s understanding giving/getting/taking/having offense is the greatest sin I could ever commit! However, what is ‘offense’? And is ‘giving offense’ a sin? Armed with those two questions I began a deep dive into Scripture and want to share a few things with you.

Yet before I get into what Scripture says, I want to try to define what ‘offense’ is in today’s understanding, because the meaning of that word has changed greatly in the last few decades. The dictionary definition (off those wonderful muddy waters of the internet) defines “offense” as: The act of causing anger, resentment, displeasure, or affront. Or The state of being offended. By that definition, anything said can be offensive! With one word or slip of the tongue it can be offensive depending on how the words are received, not how the words were intended. This is scary. People have lost jobs, had their careers ruined, been cancelled, and many other things, not because they wanted to cause offense, but because their words were received as offensive.

So, what does Scripture have to say about it? A quick word search of the word 'offense' in the English Standard Version of the Bible reveals some interesting observations how the interpreters used this word to describe the usage of the word in the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). In the OT, it has primarily the meaning of “transgression”. You can cause offense (transgression) against individuals, transgression of nation, against nation, and then true sin, which is transgression against God (in general or against His Word). In the New Testament, the word “offense” has the root word, which is where the word 'scandalous' comes from. It is offensive (scandalous), to cause/ make someone to no longer believe, or they themselves give up believing. It is a transgression against God’s law when you sin against Him (or your neighbor) and it is a scandalous to cause/make/abandon faith. In summary, Scriptures define “offense” in two ways. Doing what is wrong or causing someone to do wrong or stumble (in the faith).

This is not quite the way in which today’s understanding of “offense” is! Is it? The key here is the intent of doing wrong. And of course, in the Bible, who decides what is right or wrong? God! So offense (sin) is not subjective (self-interpreting by how you feel about it), but objective (the offender had the intent of sinning against you). Therefore, in Scripture, 'true offense', IS sin because it is ultimately offensive to God. It is also truly offensive to someone else, if they intentionally sin against them. I emphasize the word intentionally, because sometimes someone can sin against someone unintentionally via the flesh, simply by impulse, misspeaking, or even stupidity. And while yes, this is sinful, the best construction should be applied and generous grace given while waiting to see what is their true intent. Is it to cause harm?

So, back to the beginning; Is giving/getting/taking/having offense a sin? Sometimes, but usually not. Maybe to the world’s definition it always is, but like many things, the world has turned things upside down from what God’s Word says. The question itself is backwards and should be; Is giving/getting/taking/having sin, offensive? Yes. Sin against each other is sin against God. When we are talking about sins against God, well, let's just say that maybe it is understandable to be a little angry, resentful, displeased, or affronted (the world’s definition of offense) about it. So,the next time you feel ‘offended’ with that internet bully, or when someone lets you down, or when someone says something that gets your ire up, ask yourself; What sin against God have they committed against me? Was it intentional? Ask them; What is the offense and what is my sin? This is what Jacob asked of Laban in Genesis 31:36 Then Jacob became angry and berated Laban. Jacob said to Laban, “What is my offense? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued me?

And if it is sin against you (and God)? Well…you know Jesus Christ and His forgiveness. When it comes to sin, always look to Jesus Christ, where true Peace is found and given through His Word and Sacraments, and we will get into what God’s Word says about what we can do when offensive sin is intentionally inflicted upon us in another blogspot. Pastor Terry Makelin 08-17-21

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Table of Duties

 In Luther’s Small Catechism it lists a Table of Duties for various vocations. There is of course, the inherent danger of listing duties of a Christian, and that is, that we only hear the Law and not the Gospel. Yet, I remind you that you are a baptized child of God.  In God’s eyes, you possess the perfect righteousness of Jesus.  In fact, before you even start to read them, you know by faith what the end goal needs to be: more Jesus, less you.  When we rely on ourselves, we will fail.  When we try to improve ourselves, we will fail.  When we make a list of all our shortcomings, we realize the impossibility of our situation.  When we look at ourselves at all, it leads to despair.  That is the work of the Law, it shows us our sin.

Yet the Law is good, because it drives us to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we can acknowledge our duties as something we often fail to do. The solution is not to work harder at them, or try to do more, or rely on anything of ourselves, but seek the forgiveness earned by Christ in His Word and Sacrament to sanctify us to do better.

Therefore, with all this talk I have been doing about when to call the pastor and what he can do for you, I thought it would be a good idea to review the Scriptural expectations, and how they are presented in the Book of Concord and various rites of the church. These are set forth for the benefit of each other. And while these duties are separated by vocation because of responsibilities, there is no separation of Christ. We are on the same team.  We want the same things.  This congregation is not your church or my church, but His church in this place. You want a pastor who will faithfully serve you the gifts God offers…and so do I.  I want parishioners (and myself) who hunger to be fed in faith and love…and so do you.  The solution is more Jesus Christ, and less of ourselves.

Again, if there are any questions you have, or one of these responsibilities you are struggling with, or you think there is something I should be doing better at doing, please contact me. In Christ, and with His mercy and His forgiveness, we are sanctified to serve each other in this way.

Together in the communion of Jesus Christ,




The Scriptural expectations of the pastor are detailed in various rites, Call documents and the Book of Concord.  The rites of confirmation, ordination, and installation are often spoken as a confession of these responsibilities, or sometimes a vow. They are:

·        Perform the duties of the pastoral office in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions

·        Conform his preaching and administration of the Sacraments to the Lutheran Confessions (contained in the Book of Concord of 1580)

·        Faithfully instruct both young and old in the chief articles of Christian doctrine

·        Forgive the sins of those who repent, and never divulge sins confessed to him

·        Minister to the sick and dying

·        Demonstrate to the Church a constant and ready ministry centered in the Gospel

·        Admonish and encourage the people to a lively confidence in Christ and in holy living

·        Be diligent in the study of Holy Scripture and the Confessions

·        Be constant in prayer for those in his pastoral care

·        Instruct, watch over, and guide the flock over which the Holy Spirit has placed him

·        Administer the Word of God in its full truth and purity

·        Administer the holy Sacraments in accordance with their divine institution

·        Guard and promote the spiritual welfare of the members

·        Guide the congregation in applying the divinely ordained discipline of the Church, according to the Word of God, and to assist and lead members in practicing the forgiven life with one another

·        Promote and guide the mission activity of the congregation, in the local community and Synod- and District-wide endeavors

·        Be a resource and guide in Christian education and train parents to teach the faith to their children

·        Preach Law and Gospel in each sermon and make it easy to understand.

·        Teach Bible class to understanding and edification.



The Scriptural expectations of the parishioner are also stated at confirmation, the Book of Concord, ordination and installation services, Call Documents and often are spoken as a vow, that with God’s help, you will accomplish them. They are:


·        Hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully

·        Live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death

·       Continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it

·       Receive the pastor as a servant of Jesus Christ, giving him the honor, love, and obedience that the Word prescribes

·       Aid the pastor by word and deed, supporting him with diligent and faithful assistance, fervent prayers, and desiring to learn from him (Bible studies, activities, etc.)

·        Aid the pastor as he cares for his family

·        Make appropriate arrangements for the pastor’s continuing education

·        Support the congregation with your resources/service. Be diligent to “put the best construction on everything”

·        Work with the pastor to equip God’s people to glorify Him and extend His kingdom by living out your Baptism in all vocations

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Servants serving Servants

 Last week, I shared “When to contact your pastor”. I failed to mention that this was provided by someone else. But OK, so maybe you don’t want the pastor to know your business. Perhaps you do not know the confidentiality He is Called by God to keep (many don’t).

We see in the movies where the Roman Catholic Priest is not allowed to divulge who the murder is, even though he knows because it was revealed “under the seal” of the Confessional booth. And while we do have differences from our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic church concerning Confession (see The Apology of the Augsburg Confession / Art. XIIb (VI): Of Confession and Satisfaction), we do hold to the confidentiality of confession “under the seal”. That is, what is said in the confidence of private confession is between you and God, not you and the pastor. He cannot divulge it to anyone, not even his wife. In our ordination and installation vows we are to forgive the sins of those who repent, and never divulge sins confessed to him. This is how the pastor serves you in the vocation of the Office of Holy Ministry.

Yet perhaps the issue is not a sin you are struggling with that is bothering you. Perhaps it is something you simply wish to talk to you pastor about as that in-person seelsorger sent by God for the care of your body, spirit, and mind. Then confidentiality is as you desire it. As an example, Prayers will not be said in church for you unless you want it to be added to the Prayer of the Church. While Scripture says that prayers of the saints are a great benefit, your confidentiality is honored and I will include them in my prayers as I pray for each member of the congregation.

But I am still afraid to go to you pastor! Please! Don’t be. I am your servant. I cannot serve you if I am in the dark about your needs. Yes, I am called to point out your sin so that you can repent of them, but that is not my full-time job! As your servant sent by God for you, I have various means of applying the salve of the Gospel. I can pray, bless, read Scripture, and perhaps most importantly, be an ear. Still, I am not clairvoyant, you have to tell me. Sometimes repeatedly (grin).

But what if my problem is with you pastor? How am I to handle that?

The answer to that is the same whether it is between you and me, your pastor, and you and another person, following the guidance of Matthew 18. Be open and upfront about it with the person you have an issue with. The goal of course is forgiveness, solving and diffusing issues without giving the devil a foothold between us, turning it into factions and disunity.

Perhaps it is helpful to establish a few courtesies of fellow sinners in service to each other

·        If you have a problem with me, come to me in person so we can discuss it and I will do the same if I have a problem with you.

·        If someone comes to you about me, please send them to me and I will do the same for you (if they come to me about you).

·        If they consistently come to you and still can’t come to me privately, offer to come with them (not as a mediator or interpreter, but as a quiet, supportive friend).

·        If they still refuse to address it face-to-face, pray to God to heal the situation and let the Holy Spirit handle it in His time and way. Just be careful to always put the best construction on both people’s characters and refrain from rumors. We have a common enemy (sin, Satan, and the world) and it is not each other!

·        Of course, confidence is still maintained. If it is supposed to be confidential, don’t tell. Yet, if not, feel free to share with me to seek on how to handle the situation. The danger here then, is manipulation. Do not manipulate and do not allow yourself to be manipulated into aiding division of the body.

·        And finally, when in doubt; Ask. We will look to Scripture for His Will in the matter.

Please remember: God has provided you and I for each other and through the forgiveness earned by Christ, given us Himself, to endure the evil of the world together, with Him, until the end.

Together in Christ,

Pastor Terry Makelin

When to Contact Your Pastor

 Sometimes people wonder when they should call or contact their pastor. Of course, preaching, teaching, and administering the mysteries of God in the Sacraments are one of your pastor’s primary duties, but he is also called to be your seelsorge, or soul-healer.  He is never “too busy to be bothered” and please do not assume he knows or has your contact information.  Here are some suggestions on when to “bother” him 

Call your pastor:


·        * When your conscience is troubling you and/or you desire private confession and absolution

·        * When death is imminent, or if grief is prolonged and does not diminish

·        *When you, or a loved one, is going into the hospital

·        *When you would like to receive a blessing, of house, home, life events, or person

·        *When you hear of a congregation member entering the hospital or nursing care (please don’t assume I know)

·        *When you have not come to church to hear his Word spoken and preached for a prolonged period, especially if you are not able to do so.

·        *When you have withheld from partaking, or have been unable to partake, of that blessed Sacrament of the Altar, for a month.

·       When You would like a prayer said for you, a loved one, or an acquaintance

·       *When you would like me to add someone, or yourself, to my personal daily prayers - or - add to the church’s weekly prayer list (e.g. issues of thanksgiving, needs, patience in suffering, or requests for healing)

·       *When you find you no longer desire the Sacrament of the Altar

·       * When you have a question, concern, or suggestion concerning the church, including something I have said, or another member from the congregation has said

·     * When you, or a loved one, struggle with alcohol, drugs, pornography, or other harmful behaviors

·       * When you or someone you know has been the victim of any kind of abuse

·       * When you have entered a serious dating relationship (as soon as it becomes serious, especially before talking of living together or setting dates for marriage)

·       * When you have an issue in your marriage that is unresolved after a month of trying to reconcile

·       *When pregnant, that we might arrange for the child’s baptism

·       * When you need an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and a friend to care for your hurts

·        *When you’re wrestling with a spiritual issue or have a question about something the Bible says.

·      * When you know someone new in your neighborhood, or someone else you know, who just wants to know more about Jesus and His Word.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list.  At all times, contacting your pastor is about delivering Christ for you.  Your pastor – as unworthy for the Holy Office as he may be - has been divinely called by God to be His under-shepherd, in this place, at this time…for you.  If you are not currently being served by any pastor, feel free to call Pastor Makelin at (605) 925-7219 or - if an emergency - his cell at (402) 336-7819. He would be happy to listen and talk with you.

Pastor Terry Makelin

St. Paul Lutheran Church

Freeman, SD


Three Estates; God's innoculation for fear

  The following is a republishing of a series of articles for a newspaper in 2020, slightly modified. Pastor Makelin Wow. The world has gone...