Elder, Usher, and Acolyte Schedules for March 2016

Elder and Usher Schedule

Date
8:00
Elder
10:30
Mar 6Gerald Semelka, Ben Holland Nathan Kluender, Steve ParryNathan KluenderGreg McNeely, Mike Huth
Mar 9Ash Wednesday 7PMNathan Kluender
Mar 13Gene Fuller, Richard RossBarry HamlinMike Huth, Will Dowell,
Ryan Kleiboeker
Mar 16Midweek Lenten Service 7PMMike Field
Mar 20 / Palm SundayJeff Piper, John Hardy,
Joshua Parry, Mike Field
Curt KesslerBryan Reichert, Bud Kessler, Holden Lueck
Mar 24 / Maundy Thursday 7PMMidweek Lenten Service 7PMCurt KesslerBrian Dirks, Daryle Schempp, Paul Gerike
Mar 25
Tre Ore - Noon
Tenebrae with Communion - 7 PM
Noon - as availablePaul Gerike7PM Charles Nottingham, Craig Culp, Theron Noth
Mar 27 / Easter7AM
Ben Holland, Jeff Piper, Joshua Parry, Steve Parry
Craig CulpGreg McNeely, Marvin Huth, Ryan Kleiboeker

Acolyte Schedule

Date
8:00 AM
10:30 AM
Mar 6Garett SheleyPastor/Elder
Mar 13Pastor/ElderChristian Dowell
Mar 20Chloe HitchWilliam McNeely
Mar 24 / Maundy Thursday7PMJ.T. Piper
Mar 25 / Good Friday7PMSummer Sheley
Mar 27 / Easter Sunday7AM: Lucas PiperJessica Isaac

Stewardship Corner March 2016

Lent is a season of repentance.  Repentance is turning away from sin, while we turn toward God for the forgiveness of sins.  During Lent, we hear the Word of God and consider our lives in light of it.  We confess our failures, and receive absolution, that is, forgiveness, and then commit ourselves to do better.

What does God say about giving to the Church?  The Bible tells us: Our giving should be first fruits giving (Genesis 4:4; Proverbs 3:9).  Our giving should be regular, on the first day of week, which has the Divine Service in mind (1 Corinthians 6:1–2).  Our giving should be proportional: according to our income (1 Corinthians 16:1–2), according to what we have been given (2 Corinthians 8:12; Luke 12:48), our giving should be given with a spirit of eagerness and enthusiasm (2 Corinthians 9:2), generosity and liberality (2 Corinthians 8:20), cheerfully without compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:7).  Our giving should be directed to those who teach us (Galatians 6:6–7) because a laborer is worthy of his hire, and we all know the going rate of such laborers in our communities (Luke 10:7; 1 Timothy 5:18).

Now consider your own giving in light of the Bible’s teaching.  Are you giving of your first fruits, taking it out of your paycheck first, or does God get what’s left over?  Are you giving voluntarily and cheerfully?  Are you giving proportionally and generously?  Are you giving with eagerness and enthusiasm?  Are you giving to your local congregation, sharing all good things with the one who teaches you?  If your answer to any of these is “No,” then repent.  Turn away from your sin and toward God for forgiveness.  Confess your failure.  Receive absolution. And commit to do better.  We know that the Spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. We believe, and we pray that God, through Word and Sacrament, would help our unbelief, our lack of trust in His ability to provide.

And this is precisely what God promises.  This is what St. Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth: ““The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may about in every good work.  As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor. 9:6–15).

St. Paul tells us that the Lord of all will both supply and increase what you need to give to the church for its work in and for the world.  He tells us that this work that God is doing in us will enrich and bless us in every way and through this it will produce thanksgiving to God.  Everyone benefits.  We will be blessed in our giving, and it will produce thanksgiving to God in those who receive it.

Giving to the church is not a burden, just like all of God’s teaching (1 John 5:2–4).  They are not a burden because of He who gives it: the God who loves us and gave His only Son to die so that we may live.  He loved us in that He sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons. . . . So we are no longer slaves, but sons, and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 4:4–5, 7).  We are heirs.  We receive the full rights of sons, a status that Christ our Lord achieved for us by His death, resurrection, and ascension.

So we strive to do what He asks because we are His children.  And when we don’t, we repent.  We confess our sins.  We receive absolution.  We desire to do better, praying that God would work in us both to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Celebrating March 2016

Birthdays

3/1 Michael Anderson
3/1 John Isaac
3/2 Laura Kessler
3/3 Anita Contois
3/4 Vanessa Biddle
3/4 Steve Parry
3/16 Taylor Dirks
3/18 Ruth Alvis
3/21 Jillian Sompong
3/25 Jennifer Cloyd
3/26 Sherry Parker
3/29 Mary Anne Kirchner
3/31 Robert Bier

Baptismal Birthdays

3/1 Lucas Schempp
3/3 Jennifer Parry
3/4 Betty Bier
3/11 Linda Dirks
3/13 Mollie Hitch
3/13 Ryan Hitch
3/16 Johana Kirchner
3/18 Ruth Alvis
3/20 Luanne Huth
3/24 Carol Schroeder
3/31 Carin Henson

Pastor’s Notes March 2016

Back in June 2002, Orlando Bethel, a preacher from Loxley, Alabama was scheduled to sing at the funeral of his wife’s uncle.  Before he began singing hymns, however, Bethel wanted to say a few words about the departed – that he was a “drunkard” and a “fornicator,” and was now “burning in hell.” Bethel never sang – mourners attacked him, beat him up, and threw him out of the church. Bethel later claimed that “the Holy Ghost” instructed him to speak out, and added that the angry mourners were “whoremongers.”

When we were all little, we were instructed by parents, teachers, pastors, and coaches to “tell the truth.” Mr.  Bethel may have taken that to the extreme. Jesus’ accusers thought they were telling the truth as they brought Him before the officials and read the criminal charges against Him.  They said He was stirring up the people, claiming to be the Messiah, and inciting a rebellion against the government.

When Jesus spoke the truth, He was attacked, beat up, and thrown on a cross to pay for the lies that were being spoken against Him.  He was suffering for all the times we have lied about our past, our present, and our future.  At His burial, there would be no hymns sung, just a stone rolled before a tomb.

But thanks be to God, there was joy as “The Truth” emerged from His three-day prison.  “The Truth” won out over the lies and schemes that had put Him there.  He is Risen!  He lives!

We live with the truth of that glorious moment each day of our life.  We can speak about “The Truth” – the Lord our Savior, to a world and society that needs something solid to hang on to. “The Truth” cannot be denied.  See you in worship!

In Christ,

Pastor

Bulletin Announcements

†   Sunday, February 28, 2016   †

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Luke 13:3: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” The season of Lent is all about repentance: turning back to the Lord, away from our sins, in faith. We know that it is only in the Lord that we can find salvation. So we do well in this season of repentance to examine ourselves, asking questions like, “What is trying to keep me away from Jesus? What is a temptation I face? What is a sin I need to repent of and leave behind?” Then we turn to the Lord for the strength to leave these sins behind, and for the courage to follow Him in faith and faithful living.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck and meeting in the church basement at 9:15 a.m. is studying “Lutheran Doctrine and Practice Today”.

 TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL we study the calling of Jesus’ first disciples with “Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael.” In Jesus, access to heaven is given to all who believe. You might discuss, “How did Philip and Nathanael know that Jesus was the Christ? How do we learn that Jesus is the Christ?

THE MIDWEEK LENTEN SERVICES under the theme from the Book of Job, “Learning To Lament” will begin Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Boards of Trustees and Education will serve a spaghetti meal at 5:30 p.m. in the church basement. The meal Offering will be split between Summer Sunday School and Wittenberg Lutheran Center.

LENTEN DEVOTIONS are available on the table in the narthex. Pick up your free copy today

TO ALL THRIVENT MEMBERS: Your Choice Dollars for 2015 will expire March 31, 2016. If you haven’t already done so, please contact Thrivent either by e-mail or by phone and direct your choice dollars before the end of March.

WINTER WEATHER PLAN: If bad weather is likely, the Elders will send an email reminder to the Newsletter email list the night before services reminding you to check WJBC or email to see if church is cancelled. If you do not receive the Newsletter email and want to receive cancellation emails, subscribe to the Newsletter email at: http://www.goodshepherdblm.org/about-us/contact-us/

GOOD SHEPHERD BLOOD DRIVE: Good Shepherd has been blessed to have another Blood Drive through the Red Cross. Our Spring Drive will be on Monday, May 2nd in the afternoon. You need 56 days between donations so in order to be eligible for our Drive please give by the end of February.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS: The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell. We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee. If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled. We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

THE CID LLL will have their Annual Convention on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Faith Lutheran Church in Shumway IL. Lunch is at 12:00 p.m. The speakers are Dr. Nash Naam of Effingham, an advocate for his adopted country; and Polly Gregali from Int’l LHM. Everyone may register by Monday, March 7th, by sending your name and $10.00 per person to Lloyd Foster, 8978 E. St., Hwy 33, Shumway, IL 62461. If you have any questions please see or call Herb Renken at (309) 454-2986.

INGATHERING FOR BABIES BORN IN PRISON: Please consider bringing the following items to the LLL Convention. Due to the State Budget Crisis Macon County Social Services does not have the funds to purchase these items for women who are imprisoned at Decatur Correctional Center. These women are pregnant when they are incarcerated and their babies are allowed to stay a short time with their mothers in a special prison wing. Items in need are: disposable diapers (newborn size); crib sheets, and diaper bags. Thank you for your generosity. Cheryl Garlisch. If you have any questions please see or call Herb Renken at (309) 454-2986.

LUTHERAN MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER: Marriage is for a lifetime. Want to get out of the rut and focus on the Biblical principles of fidelity, commitment, physical enjoyment and marriage as the Bride of Christ? Lutheran Marriage Encounter is here for you. The next weekend is scheduled for April 1-3, 2016 in Peoria IL. For more information and/or to register visit: www.GodLovesMarriage.org.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR: “Reconciled Reconcilers” is the topic for next Sunday. The sermon text will be from 2 Corinthians 5:17-20. Through forgiveness, God gives us another way to deal with people who have hurt us. The speaker will be Reverend Dr. Gregory Seltz. Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tune in! You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN: If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582. The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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Sermon: 2-21-2016

February 21, 2016                                                    Text:  Philippians 3:17-4:1

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

In 304 AD, the Roman emperor gave a command that all the people in Iconium had to offer a sacrifice to the pagan gods.  A Christian woman by the name of Julitta decided to leave the city with her three-year-old son, Cyricus, in order to escape persecution.  In Tarsus, however, she was arrested and brought back to Iconium and had to stand before the governor – man by the name of Alexander.  She admitted she was a Christian and consequently she was tortured.

She endured the torments with great patience, but her little son cried loudly when he saw his mother suffering – he desperately wanted to go to her.  Even the hardhearted governor was touched by the boy’s tears and went so far as to take the child in his lap with an attempt to calm him down.  Still the boy cried and called for his mother.  Finally, the boy began to imitate the words of his mother by saying over and over again, “I am a Christian!  I am a Christian!”  With this the governor was filled with sudden rage and hurled the boy to the ground head first, killing him instantly.

Julitta was full of grief but actually thanked God with a loud voice that her little boy, Cyricus had gone on before her into heaven and would not have to witness her death.  After that, the governor increased her torture and eventually had her beheaded.  Before she died, Julitta offered up this prayer, “I thank you, O my God, that you first transferred my son into your kingdom.  Grant also that I, your servant, though unworthy, may likewise be received there.  Lead me, like the wise virgins, into your wedding chamber!”

We can have a lot of reactions to a story like that.  Sadness for the mother and son.  Anger at the governor.  And what an example for every Christian.  These Christians really lived and demonstrated what our text says.  They knew their citizenship was in heaven and they were able to stand firm in the Lord.

Who among us would do the same thing?  We might be quick to say “yes” but we are the same people who live in this luxurious society and panic at the first sign of anything that might intrude upon our comfort zone.  We grumble at God, yet build ourselves up that we could stand firm like Julitta and Cyricus.

The deeper question is this:  What was it that gave them strength to endure what God had allowed to happen in their lives?  Paul addresses that in our text as he encourages us to . . .

“STAND FIRM – HEAVENLY CITIZEN”

This epistle of Philippians is mostly upbeat and encouraging, even though Paul himself is in chains for the gospel.  The threat in our reading is walking apart from Christ.  It is easy for us to fall back on the Law and cling to the confidence of our accomplishments.  What did you give up for Lent this year?  Soda?  Potato chips?  Social media?  Alcohol?  Political debates?  It is fine to practice self-discipline but we take it too far if we hold it over the head of God or our neighbor.  You want to impress God and your co-worker.  It may seem harmless on the surface, but ultimately it rejects the cross and all that Jesus accomplished for you there.

We stand firm because we are citizens of heaven.  Citizenship in verse 20 can also be translated “homeland.”  We have “homeland security” not because of some cabinet position in Washington, but because our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, opened heaven to us by his life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  By grace, God has made us citizens of that heaven through Holy Baptism.  This is our present reality.

As heaven’s citizens, we anxiously await our Savior’s return.  We occupy our minds with heavenly thoughts through worship, devotion, bible study, and prayer.  We eat heavenly food as the true body and blood is fed to us for forgiveness and a taste of the feast to come in our eternal homeland.  We walk according to those examples of citizens of Christ’s kingdom.  We stand firm to the end, anxiously awaiting the transformation of our bodies to be like his glorious body.

So what gave Julitta and Cyricus the strength to endure what happened in their lives?  They were looking ahead to a glorious future that was far greater than anything they could have on earth.  Their hearts and minds were set on heavenly things and nothing was more important than their eternal salvation.  It is really that simple.  They died for the faith because they knew they would live.

May the Holy Spirit continue to strengthen us in this same faith.  May He lead us to stand firm even as we see the signs around us that may call us before government officials and judges.  Our homeland is in the distance, but possibly nearer than we think.   The Lord is our strength, so STAND FIRM – HEAVENLY CITIZEN.

Amen.

Feb. 24th Lenten Worship Services tentatively cancelled

The National Weather Service is forecasting several inches of snow and strong winds resulting in blizzard-like conditions tomorrow evening.  For everyone’s safety driving after dark in potential blizzard-like conditions, Pastor and the elders have decided to tentatively cancel worship services for Wednesday, February 24th.  If weather conditions change, worship services may be held, although the meal will still be cancelled.  Please check back here at the church’s website tomorrow afternoon, or listen to WJBC to determine if services will be held.

Feb 24th Meal cancelled

The National Weather Service is forecasting several inches of snow and strong winds resulting in blizzard-like conditions tomorrow evening.  So that those preparing the Lenten meal can know how to plan, Pastor and the elders have decided to cancel the meal for Feb. 24th.

Bulletin Announcements – February 21, 2016



†   Bulletin Announcements   †

February 21, 2016

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Philippians 3:19: “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” St. Paul does not want us to set our minds on earthly things, for they are passing away. This is similar to what Jesus says about storing up treasures on earth rather than storing them in heaven. Our heart tends to go where we put our treasure. This is why God commands us to live generously: not to spoil our fun, but to help train us in keeping our priorities straight and our minds off earthly things.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck and meeting in the church basement at 9:15 a.m. is studying “Lutheran Doctrine and Practice Today”.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL the children will study “The Temptation of Jesus.” Like us, Jesus was tempted by Satan to sin. Yet, for us, He overcame all temptation because we cannot. In your family discussions consider asking, “How are we tempted to rely on ourselves and trust in our powers?

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the MARCH NEWSLETTER. Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

MIDWEEK LENTEN WORSHIP SERVICE: The Lenten Journey is upon us this Wednesday with worship at 7:00 p.m. As we work our way through the Book of Job our message is: “Learning To Lament”. The Evangelism/Stewardship Board will lovingly provide the meal. The fellowship begins at 5:30 p.m. in the basement of the church and the free-will Offering will go to Lutheran World Relief.

LWML LADIES: We will not be meeting on February 23rd. Our next meeting is Tuesday, March 8th at 9:00 a.m.

LENTEN DEVOTIONS are available on the table in the narthex. Pick up your free copy today

TO ALL THRIVENT MEMBERS: Your Choice Dollars for 2015 will expire March 31, 2016. If you haven’t already done so, please contact Thrivent either by e-mail or by phone and direct your choice dollars before the end of March.

WINTER WEATHER PLAN: If bad weather is likely, the Elders will send an email reminder to the Newsletter email list the night before services reminding you to check WJBC or email to see if church is cancelled. If you do not receive the Newsletter email and want to receive cancellation emails, subscribe to the Newsletter email at: http://www.goodshepherdblm.org/about-us/contact-us/

GOOD SHEPHERD BLOOD DRIVE: Good Shepherd has been blessed to have another Blood Drive through the Red Cross. Our Spring Drive will be on Monday, May 2nd in the afternoon. You need 56 days between donations so in order to be eligible for our Drive please give by the end of February.

FELLOWSHIP HOSTS: The sign-up for help with coffee/doughnuts is posted on the wall by the north stairwell. We need an individual/family to sign-up each week to pick up the donuts and make the coffee. If no one is signed up by Friday of each week, the order will be cancelled. We thank everybody who continues to help with this part of our church fellowship.

LUTHERAN MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER: Marriage is for a lifetime. Want to get out of the rut and focus on the Biblical principles of fidelity, commitment, physical enjoyment and marriage as the Bride of Christ? Lutheran Marriage Encounter is here for you. The next weekend is scheduled for April 1-3, 2016 in Peoria IL. For more information and/or to register visit: www.GodLovesMarriage.org.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR: “Follow Him” is the topic for next Sunday. The sermon text will be from Matthew 9:9. Is your life headed in the wrong direction? The speaker will be Reverend Ken Klaus. Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720) at 6:00 a.m.; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tune in! You can also listen to The Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org.

PRAYER CHAIN: If you have a prayer request please submit them by email to Mary Anne Kirchner at makirchner@yahoo.com or you may phone a Prayer Request to Mary Anne; her home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582. The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

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