Elder, Usher, and Acolyte Schedules March 2017

Elder and Usher Schedule

Date
8:00
Elder
10:30
Mar 1
Ash Wednesday
7pmMike FieldCraig Culp, Daryle Schempp, Jeff Piper
Mar 5Ben Holland, Gene Fuller, Richard RossNathan KluenderHolden Lueck,
Theron Noth
Mar 8
Lenten Service
7pmNathan Kluender
Mar 12Joshua Parry, Steve ParryBarry HamlinBud Kessler, Curt Kessler
Mar 15
Lenten Service
7pmBarry Hamlin
Mar 19Jeff Piper, Mike Field,
Nathan Kluender, Paul Gerike
Curt KesslerBryan Reichert,
Greg McNeely
Mar 22
Lenten Service
7pmCurt Kessler
Mar 26Ben Holland, Daryle SchemppCraig CulpBrian Dirks, Holden Lueck, Mike Huth
Mar 29
Lenten Service
7pmCraig Culp

Acolyte Schedule

Date
8:00 AM
10:30 AM
Mar 1
Ash Wednesday
7pmChloe Hitch
Mar 5Summer SheleyPastor/Elder
Mar 12Pastor/ElderWilliam McNeely
Mar 19Tanner HitchPastor/Elder
Mar 26
Pastor/ElderJessica Isaac

Celebrating March 2017

Birthdays

3/1 Michael Anderson
3/1 John Isaac
3/2 Kyryth Kessler
3/3 Anita Contois
3/3 Halle Sheley
3/4 Vanessa Biddle
3/4 Steve Parry
3/6 Greg Sheley
3/18 Ruth Alvis
3/25 Jennifer Cloyd
3/29 Mary Anne Kirchner
3/31 Robert Bier

Baptismal Birthdays

3/1 Lucas Schempp
3/3 Jennifer Parry
3/4 Betty Bier
3/8 Matthew Holland
3/11 Linda Dirks
3/11 Pat Orr
3/13 Mollie Hitch
3/13 Ryan Hitch
3/16 Johana Kirchner
3/18 Ruth Alvis
3/20 Luanne Huth
3/24 Carol Schroeder
3/29 Vanessa Biddle
3/31 Carin Henson

Stewardship Corner March 2017

Lent is a season of repentant joy.  There is joy in repentance because in repentance, God, through His Word, turns us away from our sins — our failures of thought, word, and deed — to believe in the forgiveness and new life He has accomplished for us in the death and resurrection of His Son.   For our God is our Father, and fathers discipline their children.  He loves us enough to point out when and where we have erred, so that we are not weighed down by false belief, despair, and other great shame or vice.

Thus we do well to listen to God’s Word, His own teaching, about giving.  St. Paul exhorts: “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor” (Gal 6:6).  This means that the local congregation is primary.  In other words, everything else that we might give to during the year — laudable and worthy charities —are to be on top of what we give to our local congregation. For the local congregation is the place that serves us with the gifts of Christ’s death and resurrection.  The local congregation is where our spiritual needs are met when Christ’s atonement is preached, when the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed, when we were baptized into the name of the Triune God, and when we partake of the body and blood of the risen and living Lamb of God.

But how much are we to give to this local congregation?  His instructions are these: to give regularly (1 Cor 6:1–2), proportionally (1 Cor 16:1–2; 2 Cor 8:12), and generously (2 Cor 8:20) of our first fruits (Gen 4:4; Prov 3:9; Lev 27:30) with a spirit of eagerness (2 Cor 9:2), earnestness (2 Cor 8:7), cheerfulness (2 Cor 9:7), and love (2 Cor 8:23).

Thus, giving to the church is not to be an afterthought, given after everything else is spent.  In this way, it is deliberate.  We give it regularly, whenever we have income.  We set it aside beforehand, before anything else is spent.  From those first fruits, we set aside a proportionate and generous amount.  Ten percent was the standard for the Israelites.  Tithing was a command for them.  St. Paul never mentions a tithe.  Since a tithe was the bare minimum for the people of Israel in the Old Testament, perhaps St. Paul had more in mind.  That aside, however, ten percent is an easy way to figure out an amount.  You simply move your weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, or yearly income one decimal point to the left.  And that’s it.  That’s what you put in the Offering plate to support your local congregation so that you may continue to be a hearer of God’s Word by sharing all good things with those who teach it to you.

And how are we to give it?  We give it with eagerness and earnestness.  We give it cheerfully and with love, not out of compulsion.  For through the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments, God has made us His children, forgiven us all our sins, given us grace upon grace, promised us life everlasting with Him in His kingdom, and filled us with His own Spirit, the Holy Spirit.  This makes giving a joy.  For it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

In repentant joy, then, do we hear God’s Word on giving, and we let that Word dwell in us richly.  We let that word wash over our ears and seep into our hearts, to turn us away from our own selfish desires and turned toward Him in faith and love.  We love the Lord and His Word.  And we desire to do it.  And when we have failed, that Word reproves and corrects, forgives and consoles.  It calls us back to Him who is our God, our Savior, our Father.

Pastor’s Notes March 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When Manhattan criminal defense attorney John Jacobs died, his wife, Marion Seltzer buried him with his cell phone fully charged.  It has been a few years now but she still pays the monthly phone bill and she still leaves him frequent voice mails.  Marion actually went so far as to have John’s cell phone number engraved on his headstone, so that people stopping to visit the grave site can ring him up and leave a message.  He, of course, never gets the messages.  The phone’s battery – not to mention operator – stopped working years ago.  But Marion is hardly alone in this.  Being buried with one’s cell phone has become commonplace in our tech-savvy culture.  It is just one more way that society tries to cope with death.

Jesus offers a better way, a way that works.  He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).  Can we hear Jesus now?  Yes!  And forever!

In Christ,

Pastor

 

LENTEN SCHEDULE IN MARCH

 

Mar. 1, 7:00 pm – Ash Wednesday worship with Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes

 

Mar. 8, 5:30 pm – Lenten Meal

Mar. 8, 7:00 pm – Lenten Worship

 

Mar. 15, 5:30 pm – Lenten Meal

Mar. 15, 7:00 pm – Lenten Worship

 

Mar. 22, 5:30 pm – Lenten Meal

Mar. 22, 7:00 pm – Lenten Worship

 

Mar. 29, 5:30 pm – Lenten Meal

Mar. 29, 7:00 pm – Lenten Worship

 

The theme for our messages during Lent is “The Ironies of the Passion.”  See you in church during this penitential and humbling season of the church year.

Sermon for Transfiguration Sunday 2-26-2017 “Where We Are Going.”

February 26, 2017                                                                Text:  Matthew 17:1-9

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

One of the things I’ve learned in over 25 years of being a Pastor is that the church year has a certain flow to it.  There are the high feasts of Christmas and Easter.  Pentecost/Confirmation time in our church has an expectation feel.  Even the beginning of fall and a new year all have something the worshipping community can grasp on to.

Not Transfiguration Sunday.  Most years it falls somewhere in the gloomy days of February, the New Year has past and it is not quite spring.  The last two weeks being an extraordinary exception.  We also tend to have people gone, vacationing down south, family obligations, winter hangover.  Attendance figures I looked back on for Transfiguration Sunday bear this out.

Plus how important can it be when we have immigration, The President vs. the media, the state failing again to pass a budget, spring training baseball and is this the year the ISU basketball team makes the NCAA tournament?  Add on to that winter health concerns, kids activities and what outlandish thing will be said on the Oscars tonight?

Well, my friends, the Transfiguration of Jesus is big.  Dr. Louis Brighton stated it well:  “It is not by accident the church has chosen the…Transfiguration as a concluding text to the Epiphany season as a transition from the glorious light of the Epiphany to the darkness of the Passion of its Lord.  The church’s mission is the proclamation of the saving presence of the Lord Christ in the Gospel.  But this mission is carried out in the midst of suffering (the very thought we don’t want to hear).  The church proclaims the Gospel while bearing the cross; it proclaims life while facing and experiencing death . . .”

Cone along up the mountain to see . . .

“WHERE WE ARE GOING”

There was a lady who was meeting with her new Pastor.  She asked if she could have a church service when she died.  “Of course,” he said, grabbing his date book, “What day do you want?”  What you have here is a failure to understand what someone else is trying to communicate.

After six days Jesus takes these three disciples up the mountain.  The question is:  “six days after what?”  It was six days after He told them of His suffering, death, and resurrection and Peter rebuked Him.  Jesus has carefully outlined for these men what was going to happen from His crucifixion, resurrection to His Second Coming.  This trip to the Mount of Transfiguration was made so they would ultimately understand who Jesus was and that God in the flesh does exactly what He says He’s going to do and He is in control of everything.

One of the things for us to see before we get to where we are going is the importance of listening to Jesus as He reveals himself in the Word.  I am talking about maturing in our knowledge and application of Scripture if we are going to deal with the problems and concerns of life and a nation that is in the painful process of decay and collapse.  Knowledge of Christ ends a lot of confusion, and a lot of unnecessary worry.  Let me elaborate . . .

We all know where we are going, don’t’ we?  Eternal life.  We are on the road to glory…just like the glory Peter, James, and John saw on the mountain.  And it is more important than your college education, your next vacation, your early retirement!  The Road to Glory!

But we need to keep this straight.  The Road to Glory requires that we first bear a cross.  Jesus teaches this to the disciples.  Jesus’ return to Glory with the father will require Him to bear a Cross…a Cross for the sin of the world.  We also bear a cross on the path to Glory.  That is why Peter wanted to build the shelters he didn’t want to leave the glory for the cross-bearing.

American Christians don’t do well with this Biblical truth, do they?  We are success oriented.  We determine God’s blessings by our abundance and prettiness and numbers.  John Tunis said, “Losing is the great American sin.”  That mindset filters into the church.  Let’s build some shelters, gets lots of people with lots of money, grow big and successful and call ourselves “The Church Inc.!”

And Jesus reminds us, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:27)  We are going to heaven someday – glory.  The truth is that here we bear the Cross for Christ.  If we are faithful to Him and His Word…we will bear a Cross.  From the world’s perspective that may make us losers.  It’s not the American way!  It is the way of Christian disciples.  And strangely enough it is the way to ultimate victory and true success – if I might be so bold as to use that secular term.  Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)

And God the Father was pleased with the Son because the mission of Christ to salvage us was well under way – as God pleased!  A mission of terrible suffering and pain and loneliness and rejection – punishment and death – for our sin – so that we would never have to face punishment and eternal damnation.

“When they lifted their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” (v. 8)  Nothing but Jesus.  In the good times and bad times…through the smiles and tears of life…in the midst of loneliness and pain…He’s always there.  He’s in the Holy Bible.  He’s in the bread and wine.  He ‘s in the water that brings newness of life.

Are things a little clearer?  Do you see the importance of the cross and on the other side, it’s glory?  And no matter which side…there’s Jesus.  The reason we will get to where we are going.

Amen.

Bulletin Announcements

February 26, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Matthew 17:8:  “And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”  Jesus is enough.  Moses and Elijah point to Jesus and are happy to fade into the background.  With our eyes focused on Him and Him alone the rest of our lives come into focus.  He is primary, all else secondary.  When that order is right in our lives, things truly fall into place.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.  In conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are studying about that time period with “The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians”.

OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL meets at 9:15 a.m. in the Choir Room which is located on the 2nd level (the west side).

LENTEN DEVOTIONAL BOOKLETS AVAILABLE: “From The Cradle To The Empty Grave” is the title of the Lenten Devotional Booklets from Lutheran Hour Ministries is now available on the table in the narthex.  Pick up your copy today!

LENT BEGINS THIS WEEK with our Ash Wednesday Worship with Holy Communion beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Good Shepherd will do for the first time in her short history “The Imposition of Ashes”.  This is voluntary and if you have questions about this please speak with Pastor.  The theme for our Lenten messages is “Ironies of the Passion”.  This week’s sermon: “This Man Went Home Justified”.

IN OUR MARCH DOOR OFFERING for Seminarian Jacob Hercamp will be pushed back a week.  He will be here with his family on Sunday, March 19th.

 GOOD SHEPHERD’S ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN wil be Saturday, April 1st – Sunday, April 2ndPlease have all donated items to church by Sunday, March 26th an place the donated items in the hall closet area on the 2nd floor.  We will need to do the packing that week.  Acceptable items are clothing for all sizes, ages and genders; kitchen items of all kinds; some household items would be acceptable.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call Paula Hardy at (309) 829-8432.  Thank you!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  Please get these dates on your calendar: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2-9:00 p.m. and Wednesday, May 24th, 2-9:00 p.m.  This is when we will be doing our Picture Directory through Lifetouch.

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 LUTHERAN HOUR:  “A Savior Who Fights for You!” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Matthew 4:1-11.  Satan is a bully, but Jesus is the Savior who fights for you.  Reverend Dr. Gregory Seltz is the speaker.  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 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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Bulletin Announcements

February 19, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Leviticus 19:2:  “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”  By God’s grace we are His children – and we are called to be spitting images of our Father who is in heaven.  Growing in holiness is not some abstract concept – it is growing into the image of God: in love, in generosity, in kindness, in humility.  Where Jesus goes, we follow. How Jesus is, thus are we called to be.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.  In conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are studying about that time period with “The Word Endures: Lessons From the Lives of Powerful Politicians”.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL, we study the account “Jesus Walks on Water.”  Jesus was gracious to Peter when he feared drowning. Jesus is gracious to us and is ready to catch us as we sink in sin and unbelief; His hand is always strong to save us.  Consider asking, “How did Jesus rescue Peter?  How does Jesus rescue us?”

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.

LENT BEGINS:  The start of Lent will soon be upon us.  March 1st is Ash Wednesday.  We will have worship with Holy Communion that night beginning at 7:00 p.m.  The theme for Lent 2017 is “Ironies of the Passion”.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN wil be Saturday, April 1st –Sunday, April 2nd.  Please have all donated items to the church by Sunday, March 26th and  place the donated items in the hall closet area on the 2nd floor.  We will need to do the packing that week.  Acceptable items are clothing for all sizes, ages and genders; kitchen items of all kinds; some household items would be acceptable.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call Paula Hardy at (309) 829-8432.  Thank you!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  Please get these dates on your calendar: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2-9:00 p.m. and Wednesday, May 24th, 2-9:00 p.m.  This is when we will be doing our Picture Directory through Lifetouch.

LUTHERAN MARRIAGE ENCOUNTER WEEKEND:  “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.  Likewise the husband, does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does”. (1 Corinthians 7:3-4)  Come learn more about the Biblical lessons for your marriage by attending a Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekend.  The next weekend is scheduled in Peoria, IL on March 31, 2017 – April 2, 2017.  Apply now at: www.GodLovesMarriage.org or contact Norm and Deb Lopez at peorialmereg@gmail.com for more information.

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 LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Guilt’s Gone” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  A guilty conscience accuses; a forgiving Savior brings peace to troubled hearts.  Reverend Dr. Ken Klaus is the speaker.  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 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 2-19-2017 “Hard Facts About Getting Even.”

February 19, 2017                                                                Text:  Matthew 5:38-48

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

            I recently ran across an article from twenty years ago entitled “The Devil is One Radical Dude.”  Here is a portion:

            “…World Industries, a California skateboard manufacturer, includes an interesting brochure with the products it sends to customers. Titled ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ the enclosure urges buyers to sell their souls to hell, according to Religious Rights Watch. 

            “On the brochure, a smiling devil explains what happened in heaven when he was banished from God’s presence, in words that might appeal to the young, who probably are the principal users of skateboards.

            “First off,’ says the devil, ‘they set up a bunch of dumb rules, and then they imposed a really strict dress code.  I’ll wager people must be quite bored up there, but hey, that’s what they get for being good.’”

            Twenty years ago.  The mockery of Christianity has been a constant drum beat since then and the sounds just keep getting louder and louder.  The vulgarity of society just keeps growing.  Everyone wants to demonize and destroy anything that gets in the way of their pursuits.  As was discussed at my Pastor’s Conference this week, we all seem to be yelling at one another but is anything constructive coming from all the whining and hand wringing?

            I am asked by the Lord to stand up in front of you today and preach on Jesus’ words in our Gospel lesson on retaliation and loving our enemies.  Not an easy task in today’s culture.  But then God’s Word is not always easily digested.

“HARD TRUTHS ABOUT GETTING EVEN”

            So we get to the hard truths right away in this section of Matthew.  If someone slaps us we are to turn the other cheek.  If we are forced to go one mile we should go two.  We shouldn’t refuse the one who wants to borrow from us.

            Right away when you hear these words, many of you are thinking “But Pastor..”  Then come your questions.  “Do I just let others beat on me?  Do I let them destroy my family?  Should I support those who are lazy and steal?”  The commentator R.C.H. Lenski writes, “The law of love is not intended to throw open the floodgates to unrestrained cruelty and crime…Love is not to foster crime in others or to expose our loved ones to disaster and perhaps death…Christ never told me to restrain the murderer’s hand, not to check the thief and robber, not to oppose the tyrant, or by my gifts to foster dishonesty, and greed…”

            Remember, in this text we are dealing with retaliation.  This is not a demand for “non-resistance”, but pictures a disciples mastery over his heart.  This is not about defending oneself or loved ones.  This is about getting even.  We are to walk away from it because it fills the heart with hatred and anger.  Aren’t there a lot of things we should be walking away from in today’s society?

            Jesus then tells us another hard truth.  He wants us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Was that your first thought when you heard Madonna and some of the other speakers at the women’s march?  When you watched the University of California being vandalized did you begin praying for those committing the destruction?  When I ask someone to stop using God’s name in vain at a ballgame and they assault with more profanities, these are not my first thoughts brothers and sisters?  What about you?  Hard truths, don’t we know it?

            Jesus wants us to love our enemies with agape love, the kind of love that God extended to us.  Love for the unlovable.  As Paul writes, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” (Rom. 5:8, 10a)

            God took pity on us in spite of our separation from Him, and in some cases, hatred and denial of Him.  Here we are with anger at God for those times he doesn’t do what we think he should be doing.  But He loves us nonetheless.  He is always there to forgive and claim us as His own through Faith in Christ.

            That’s the kind of love we are to demonstrate to others.  Again, from Lenski:  “I can by the grace of Jesus Christ love them all, see what is wrong with them, desire and work to do them only good – to extend Christ’s love.”

            We can never accept the evil the world loves and pursues.  And we will always be looked upon as hateful by the world because we do not walk in its thinking and ways.  So be it.  But, regardless of what the world thinks and charges against us, we are to love them because “…God so loved the world…”

            There was a day when the great lawyer Daniel Webster was on his way home from the courts when he decided to stop by and see his daughter who was terminally ill.  As he entered the room, she looked up and said, “Father, why are you out on this cold day without your coat?”  Webster left the room and cried out, “Dying, yet she thinks of me!”

            That is what Jesus did on the Cross.  Dying, He was thinking of us; thinking of the whole world of humanity.  And we need to think about that.  Such are the hard truths about getting even.  God help us!

                                                                        Amen.