Author: James F. Pope

  • James F. Pope

    James Pope brings a variety of experiences to his ministry at Forward in Christ, including serving parishes in Wisconsin and Florida; teaching history, theology, and staff ministry courses at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn.; serving as the “Light for our path” columnist for FIC from 2014–2019; and answering theological questions submitted to the WELS website from 2014–2021.

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people praying before eating

Will pray for food

A man stands at the end of an interstate off-ramp holding a cardboard sign. “Will work for food,” it pleads. It is a simple offer, but many people ignore it...
Confirmation class in front of church being talked to by the pastor

Examined and confirmed

If you were confirmed as a youth, what stands out about that day? Excitement? Nervousness? Relief? What about Examination Sunday? More nervousness? Suspense? Wh...
gardening tools pruner gloves

The heavenly gardener

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo. Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg, Fla. Queen Mary’s Gardens, London, England. Villa d’Este Gardens, Tivoli, Italy....
Jesus weeping

Jesus wept

It is known as the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Actually, in many Bible translations, two other verses are just as short, contain...
woman sitting under tree thankful

Thankful saints

November can be a cruel month. For people who live in the northern climes of our country, November is the bridge from the colorful landscape of fall to the cold...
father holding baby being baptised with shell

Remembering a rite

Imagine a Lutheran pastor beginning a baptism service by blowing three times under the child’s eyes and then commanding the unclean spirit in the child to dep...
women hand on man's hand consoling him sympathy

Sympathy +

“I’m so sorry.” “I’m sorry for your loss.” “You have my sympathy.” I’m sure you recognize those statements, and you can probably picture a ver...
storm clouds

Appreciating the clouds

A cloudy day or a sunny day? What would you rather have? I think most people would choose a sunny day. If that is you, I am hoping that by the end of this colum...
jesus walking out into sun resurrection

One little word

The title of this article can get you thinking about Martin Luther’s Reformation hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (Christian Worship 863/864). The thir...
man knocking on door

“You came to visit me”

“I was sick, and you looked after me as part of your congregation’s visitation ministry. I was in prison, and you came to visit me in connection with your c...
pulpit and pews

Preachers and listeners

Serving as a vacancy pastor recently put me behind a pulpit on a weekly basis. It had been quite a while since I prepared sermons with that degree of regularity...
reading the forward in Christ

What to know before you go

If you read issues of Forward in Christ like a Hebrew Bible—from back to front—the title of this column will not make much sense. On the other hand, if you ...
bible with pages cut up and highlighted

Hands off the Bible!

The Bible is God’s Word. He doesn’t want us to pick and choose what we believe.  There are few acts in the Bible more brazen than this one by Jehoiakim, th...