Acting Out Matthew's Message
Lenten Dialogues Exploring the Gospel of Matthew
Roger E. Timm

Price: $12.95

ISBN: 0788027719
Size: 5.5x8.5
Pages: 89
The penitential season of Lent invites Christians to devote themselves to diligent biblical study, persistent prayer, honest self-reflection, sincere repentance, and faithful service. In this volume, Timm offers his readers fifteen dialogues that are organized into three distinct series. The dialogues present a variety of vignettes describing common life experiences and reflecting on those experiences in light of specific Matthean passages. Human stories are creatively interwoven with the biblical message and the tapestry that the author creates serves as a thoughtful and incisive spiritual guide for an individual Christian's or a Christian community's Lenten journey. However, the usefulness and applicability of these materials are not limited to the season of Lent. Since they do not focus specifically on the passion narrative but explore other sections of Matthew, they can serve as a welcome devotional resource throughout the church year. The author's biblical interpretations are carefully nuanced, his theological insights are intentionally relevant to faithful Christian living, and his ethical vision is both challenging and encouraging. All of the materials reflect pastoral sensitivity and integrity. While the dialogues were originally created for the liturgical setting of mid-week Lenten services, for which they are well-suited, they could also be used efficaciously in personal devotions, individual or corporate Bible study, spiritual retreats, and adult forums. This small volume is surely a welcome spiritual resource for both pastors and lay people.
Kurt K. Hendel
Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation History
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Participating in almost all of the Lenten Dialogues, either as a presenter or an observer, was one of the most meaningful parts of my Lenten discipline. Over each Lenten season, we journeyed along with Matt and his associates. Ordinary events from Matt's (and our) life brought home the gospel's message in a very accessible format -- and always left us with something more to think about.

From a performance perspective, the dialogues were easy for the presenters to learn. We had our scripts with us as we presented, so memorization was not necessary. There was room for a little bit of improvisation as desired. There was also a freshness each week as a new twosome would present the dialogue, which made it very easy for the congregation to stay engaged and absorb the lesson.

When combined with Holden Evening Prayer, the Lenten services were meditative, thoughtful, beautiful, and calming -- all within 30 minutes.

Amy Haara
Member Ascension Lutheran Church
Riverside, IL

Roger Timm has crafted an exceptional resource for the church with Acting Out Matthew's Message. My wife and I are members of Ascension Lutheran Church and found these dialogues meaningful, engaging, and entertaining. It was fun trying to anticipate what Matt, Lydia, Angela, and Eunice would be discussing in Lenten worship each week. These feel like real conversations between actual people. We presented one of the dialogues at a Lenten service and found that after just a few readings to prepare we knew we would be able to offer an experience in worship that was focused and faithful.

As an ordained minister I also want to offer praise to Dr. Timm for his insight and presentation of the gospel of Matthew. His question at the end of each conversation in the first series crystalizes the central meaning of each parable. The second series conveys the five majors themes of Matthew's gospel and the third brings the listener to the heart of Matthew's message of the balance of law and grace.
Acting Out Matthew's Message is both engaging worship and significant study of scripture. This is a resource that belongs on the bookshelf of every pastor and in every church library.
Rev. Jeff Nichols
Member of Ascension Lutheran Church

Looking for material for a midweek Lenten series that is engaging for congregation members but easy for worship leaders to produce? Here is a collection of Lenten dialogue sermons on the gospel of Matthew that is conversational in tone, engaging and accessible for people in the pew, easy to stage, theologically thoughtful, biblically insightful, focused on themes and messages found in the gospel of Matthew, and tested in the parish.

Roger Timm invites his readers into the Lenten season of study and reflection with this poignant collection of dialogues. Acting Out Matthew's Message presents a relevant discussion on the themes found throughout the first gospel narrative, inviting the reader to reflect upon the truths hidden within Matthew's parables while recognizing the careful balance between Old Testament law and the new message of Jesus. Timm's simple approach throughout his fifteen dialogues has been designed to awaken the minds and hearts of an audience, presenting simple scenarios with theological significance and offering a fresh perspective on the message of the cross.

The Rev. Dr. Roger E. Timm retired November 30, 2011, after serving eleven years as pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Riverside, Illinois. From January 1993 to November 2000 he was pastor of St. James Lutheran Church, Naperville, Illinois. Timm served as College Pastor and Associate Professor of Religion at Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, from 1989 to 1992, and as Assistant Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Religion at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania, from 1980 to 1988. He was pastor of University Lutheran Chapel, Los Angeles, offering Lutheran campus ministry for UCLA, from 1975 to 1980, and assistant professor of philosophy at Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, in 1973 and 1974. Timm's first pastorate was as pastor of St. John-Concordia Lutheran Church in the south Bronx, New York, from 1970-1973. He received his M.Div. degree from Concordia Seminary and an M.A. in philosophy from Washington University, both in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1970. Timm received a Ph.D. in religious studies from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, New York, in 1975. Married in 1967, Pastor Timm and his wife Marilyn have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.