Pastor’s Notes April 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Do you ever get distracted?  Some of you are thinking, when don’t I Pastor!  This morning I made my hot chocolate like I always do and I went to sit down and I hadn’t prepared my bowl of cereal.  What distracted me?  I was thinking about an editorial that I want to write to The Pantagraph.  Don’t be looking for it in the near future.  I won’t be writing it for a year and half from now.  God still has some planning to do.  Yes, we get distracted.  I write myself notes.  Some of you text yourself.  In our human nature our minds can wander even in a 9-minute sermon!

 

What about Jesus?  Did He ever get distracted?  If He did, it would be hard to find it in the words of Scripture.  He was the guy awake on the boat in the storm and in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The crowds or the Pharisees or the teachers of the Law didn’t distract Him.  Pontius Pilate and Herod and Caiaphas couldn’t deter Him from His eternal mission.  We would say He had a laser focus.  Death.  Dying.  The Cross.  The Resurrection.  Forgiveness and Eternal Life.  Before that the beatings and the mocking’s and the crazy justice system.  None of this could get Him to detour from the path the Father sent Him on.

 

Why?  Because of His love for you and me – the crown of His creation.  When He was tempted to take His eyes off the cross, He saw you.  He saw me.  He loved the whole world.  Nothing, not even the power of the devil, could get Him to waver from what He needed to accomplish.  The next time you get distracted, maybe even while reading this, thank your Savior that He didn’t.

 

In Christ, Pastor

 

Lenten – Holy Week Schedule

 

April 5                          Lenten Meal – 5:30 p.m.

Lenten Worship – 7:00 p.m.

 

April 9                          Palm Sunday Worship – Holy Communion in both Worship

Services – Sunday School and Adult Bible Class at 9:15 a.m.

 

April 13                        Maundy Thursday Worship w/Holy Communion – 7:00 p.m.

 

April14                         Tre Ore (Brief Service of the Word) – Noon

Tenebrae (Service of Darkness) w/Holy Communion – 7:00pm

 

April 16                        Easter Worship w/Holy Communion – 7:00 a.m.

Easter Breakfast served after the early worship until 9:00 a.m.

Sunday School and Adult Bible Class – 9:15 a.m.

Easter Worship w/Holy Communion – 10:30 a.m.

 

Stewardship Corner April 2017

Easter is a moveable feast. Easter isn’t on the same calendar date every year in the way that Christmas is always celebrated on December 25.  The date for Easter each year always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox.  And once you find the date of Easter, everything else finds its place—Good Friday and Maundy Thursday, Ash Wednesday and the Transfiguration, the Ascension of our Lord and Pentecost.

All this is a long way of saying that Easter determines everything.  Easter defines everything. It orders not only the entire church year, but it orders our very lives.  It defines and gives meaning to our lives, as well to the things that happen in them.  And since Easter defines everything, that means it changes everything too.  It redefines who we are and where we stand with God and with one another.  Easter makes all things new.

Without Easter, Jesus would not be raised from the dead.  Without Easter death would still reign, we would still be in our trespasses and sins, and our faith and hope would be in vain.  But Jesus is raised from the dead.  Easter changes everything. It makes all things new.  Therefore, darkness is overcome with light, wrath with peace, fear with hope, angst with rest, sadness with joy, hatred with love, sin with righteousness, and death with life.  Easter changes everything, redefines everything, determines everything.  Easter makes all things new.

Thus, Easter also changes our attitude about giving.  For if God gave us His own Son into death so that we will live, how will He not give us everything else we need?  He will, and He does.  He provides for us.  He even gives us the gifts that we give back to Him for service in the church.  Easter demonstrates that we have a God who loves us, a God who provides for us, a God who presses us into His service, a God who has made us new in the death and resurrection of His Son.

For when you give to the church, you pass along those things that God alone has given to you.  You pass along the message to others that Easter changes everything and makes all things new, even as it has done this for you.  This is not a burden, but pure joy.  For God has given you a part in the administration of His kingdom.  He provides for the needy through your hands.  He ensures that the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are given out through the work of your hands and in the gifts that you give.  And He honors and blesses this work and generosity as it redounds to those around you.

So when you sit down on the first day of the week to make your offering to the place where Easter is proclaimed and where the gifts of Easter are given out, remember:  Easter changes everything. It makes all things new.  More than that: Easter has changed you and made you new.  Because Jesus who was crucified for our transgressions is raised for our justification.

Schedules April 2017

Elder, Usher Schedule

Date
8:00
Elder
10:30
Apr 2Craig Culp, Gene Fuller, Nathan Kluender, Richard RossRandy ReinhardtMarvin Huth, Theron Noth
Apr 9
Palm Sunday
Jeff Piper, Joshua Parry, Steve Parry, Mike FieldNathan KluenderBud Kessler, Curt Kessler, Greg McNeely
Apr 13
Maundy Thursday
7 PMCurt KesslerCraig Culp, Daryle Schempp, Paul Gerike
Apr 14
Good Friday
7pmMike FieldGene Fuller, Richard Ross, Nathan Kluender
Apr 16
Easter
7 AM
Ben Holland, Jeff Piper, Mike Field, Steve Parry
Paul GerikeBrian Dirks, Holden Lueck
Apr 23Joshua Parry, Nathan KluenderBarry HamlinMarvin Huth, Mike Huth, Theron Noth
Apr 30Craig Culp, Daryle Schempp, Nathan Kluender, Paul GerikeCurt KesslerBud Kessler, Greg McNeely, Holden Lueck

Acolyte Schedule

Date
8:00 AM
10:30 AM
Apr 2Tanner HitchPastor/Elder
Apr 9Clayton PiperJustin McNeely
Apr 137PMGarett Sheley
Apr 147PMJessica Isaac
Apr 16
7AM
Lucas Piper
William McNeely
Apr 23
Pastor/ElderJessica Isaac
Apr 30
Chloe HitchJT Piper

Celebrating April 2017

Birthdays

4/2 Nancy Fuller
4/3 Finley Mosier
4/4 Dorothy Herberts
4/6 Craig Culp
4/7 Sarah Lange
4/9 Carol Schroeder
4/12 Carly Benjamin
4/12 Drew Kemp
4/13 Gerald Semelka
4/14 Garett Sheley
4/14 Summer Sheley
4/16 Justin Lange
4/20 Harriet Campbell
4/21 Angelina Isaac
4/22 Marvin Huth
4/27 Daryle Schempp

Baptismal Birthdays

4/1 Fern Noth
4/3 Herbert Renken
4/6 Justin McNeely
4/9 Mary Anne Kirchner
4/11 Toni Lueck
4/13 Michael Anderson
4/16 Nancy Thomas
4/18 Garett Sheley
4/25 Audrie King
4/29 Kyryth Kessler
4/30 Bob Bier

Sermon 3-26-2017: “Karma? I’ll Take Grace!”

March 26, 2017 Text: John 9:1-41

Dear Friends in Christ,

U2 is an Irish rock band that was formed in 1976. Their lead singer is Paul Hewson, better known to the world as Bono. Bono is known for his humanitarian work throughout the world. Asked what drives him, what makes him tick, Bono answered, “It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between grace and karma.”
We are with Jesus this morning as he heals a blind man. What is the reason for the healing?
“KARMA? I’LL TAKE GRACE!”
Now, it’s no small thing to take on karma. John Lennon sang about instant karma. Radiohead warned of the karma police. But what is it? It’s the idea that what goes around comes around. Did you catch the video some time ago with a man in a pickup truck who tailgates a woman, and then passes her, while triumphantly displaying his middle finger? And just after that, his trucks spins out, and he crashes into a ditch. That is karma and people love it. He got what was coming to him.
On the other side is the pay-it-forward campaign. You know where you buy someone’s Egg Mcmuffin in the car behind you or pay for someone’s parking at a sporting event, something that actually happened to Toni and I when we were dating. It is suppose to be good karma. It sets the universe in motion in your favor.
As the prophet Bono puts it, “You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; in physical laws every action is met by an equal and opposite one.”
So it happened that Jesus was walking along, and came across a man born blind. And the disciples asked the karma question, “Who sinned? This man or his parents?” (v. 2) And we are comfortable with this question because it helps us make sense of the world. A man has cancer? Well, yeah, he smoked for over forty years. Kidney problems? Drank too much. Heart attack? Not enough diet or exercise. Car accident? Drove too fast or were texting. And I would never do that, we are pleased to say.
So, why was the man born blind? Was it because of his sin? Or perhaps the sin of his parents? I know what I would say to the karma question and it wouldn’t be the karma answer. I would say that one sin infects us all. Yes, certain sins have specific consequences, built into the way the world functions, but death is going to happen to each and every one of us, no matter how well we live, no matter how righteous and good we think we might be. We’ve all sinned and all creation suffers. The world is broken.
Give an answer like that and you can get an A in your dogmatics class at the seminary. But Jesus doesn’t just offer that simple answer, instead, he says, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (v. 3)
Talk about mind-blowing. Sin, in all its negativity, has actually set in motion a chain of events that ends, not with disaster, but with mysterious blessing. Is that possible? And do we really want to gloat? To take pleasure in someone getting his comeuppance? “If karma was finally going to be my judge,” Bono said, “then I’d be in deep doodoo.”
Paul Hewson Bono then added, “I’m holding out for grace; I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.”
It was never God’s plan that man fall into sin. It was never God’s intention that there would be illness and death, or that men would be born blind. And yet, in the mystery of his grace, in the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, our Lord took a fallen situation and not only restored it, but made it better than it ever was. By the mystery of the incarnation and the glory of the cross, we have come to see God as we never could before: face-to-face, in full and sacrificial love. A paradise better than Eden awaits us.
We have experienced a love that has been tested, a love that has been challenged, a love that goes beyond a mutually beneficial relationship. And having been forgiven much, what can we do but fall to our knees?
Yes, God loves the angels. But the angels are good. And it’s easy to love those who love you in return. Even the pagans do this. But we have received a greater love. We have been shown a more beautiful grace. He has taken us creatures and turned us into children. And no, the world still hasn’t found what it’s looking for. The world in its worldliness is blind; the world looks at the font, and they don’t think it’s worth a bucket of spit. But we, whose eyes have been opened, see a crystal fountain, a river of life flowing from the throne of God, and the Lamb who has been slain.
Bono’s right. It is a miracle that the God of the universe is seeking out the company of folks like us. But that’s what he’s done. What happened to the man born blind? We know he became an outcast and even his parents distanced themselves from him. But our Lord sought him out. Our Lord took friendship and mercy and turned it into full communion.
So, yeah, karma sounds cool. But on this one, I’m with Bono. I’d rather have grace. We’ll never be rock stars, but we can join together with him in another band and sing together the song of the Lamb, the song of love unknown.
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements

March 26, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Psalm 142:5:  I cry to You, O LORD; I say, “You are my Refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”  The Lord is our portion, our refuge, our everything.  His mercy preserves through all our days in the land of the living.  This confidence frees us from the fear that so often leads to sins of greed and coveting.  We have the Lord, we have a Father, He is in control – so we can follow His Word in confidence.

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).

MIDWEEK LENTEN WORSHIP:  Our Lenten journey under the theme: “Ironies Of the Passion” continues this week on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  The ironic message: “We Have No King But Caesar!”  The Lenten meal served at 5:30 p.m. will be co-hosted by the Board of Education (showing what they have learned in the kitchen) and the Board of Trustees (these men showing their hands can be used to prepare meals).  Come witness this cornucopia of culinary delight.  The free-will Offfering will be divided equally between our Seminarian Jacob Hercamp and Inner City Education of Children through LC-MS Mission.

GOOD SHEPHERD’S ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN is this coming Saturday, April 1st –Sunday, April 2ndPlease have all donated items to church by TODAY, 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!

EASTER LILIES:  If you would like to purchase an Easter Lily for the altar for Easter Sunday, please put your name on the sign-up sheet located on the table in the narthex.  The cost of the Lily is $9.00.  You may pick them up after the late service on Easter Sunday.  You may pay cash or write a check payable to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.  Please indicate on the memo line of your check: Easter Lily.  Contact Jackie Kwasny at 662-4995 if you have any questions.

CHURCH DIRECTORY:  It is once again time to update the Church Directory.  Please check the sheets on the table in the narthex.  Provide any new information by noting it directly on these sheets.  There are two listings –  (1) Church Directory; (2) Phone Book Listing of individual members.  The Phone Book Listing contains your cell phone, home phone, work phone, household e-mail and personal e-mail.  If any of these are missing and you want them to be included in the Directory, please provide that information. .If any are listed and you would prefer not, please note that also.  Contact Janet in the church office with any questions.

THE LENTEN MEAL on Wednesday, April 5th will be provided by students at Wittenberg Lutheran Center and Good Shepherd members.  We would like those members who are not on a Church Board to sign-up to help.  The sign-up sheet is located on the table in the narthex.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April-June 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today!

CAMP CILCA SUMMER CAMP:  It is time to register for Camp CILCA Outdoor Ministries Summer Camp.  On the table in the narthex are brochures that detail the schedule; the ages for the different camps and the fee for that camp.  There is a discount if Registration is done by this coming Friday, March 31st.  (The discount is $25.00 for a full week camp and $10.00 for a partial week.)  Some of you may want to consider sending a granddaughter or grandson to this week of fun, fellowship and worship!

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.

YOU ARE INVITED:  The internationally renowned Christus Chorus of Concordia University of St. Paul, Minnesota, will be performing at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1822 E. Lincoln, Bloomington on Saturday, April 8th at 7:00 p.m.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Freedom In the Spirit” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 8:1-11.  Jesus frees you to be the person you were created, redeemed, and called to be. 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.

†  †  †  †  †  †

Bulletin Announcements

March 19, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Exodus 17:3:  But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”  Even the Israelites who saw miracles with their own eyes fall into unbelief and fear.  From this distance we can see how foolish their worry is.  How foolish will our worries appear from the distance of eternity?  The Lord cared for them, and He will care for us.

TODAY:  We welcome to our congregation this morning Jacob, Emily, Jacob Ryan and baby Hercamp.  Jacob is a Master of Divinity graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN.  He is currently studying for his S.T.M. (which he can explain in Bible Class).  Jacob will receive his call into the pastoral ministry of the LC-MS in April.  We will have our monthly door Offering for the Hercamp’s this morning and pray the Lord’s Blessings on their future in Christ’s church.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.  Seminarian Jacob Hercamp will speak.

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

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the APRIL 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:  Lenten worship this week is on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  We will gather under the theme: “He Had Been Wanting To See Jesus”, from Luke 23:6-12.  This is part of the “Ironies Of the Passion” Lenten Services.  Your duly elected Church Council members known for their leadership and culinary skills will dazzle you with their meal preparation set to begin at 5:30 p.m. in the well lit and cheery church basement.  The free-will Offering will be sent to the Hilbert’s and their work in Botswana for Lutheran Bible Translators.

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!

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The April-June 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack located in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today!

GOOD SHEPHERD’S ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN will 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!

CAMP CILCA SUMMER CAMP:  It is time to register for Camp CILCA Outdoor Ministries Summer Camp.  On the table in the narthex are brochures that detail the schedule; the ages for the different camps and the fee for that camp.  There is a discount if Registration is done by Friday, March 31st.  (The discount is $25.00 for a full week camp and $10.00 for a partial week.)  Some of you may want to consider sending a granddaughter or grandson to this week of fun, fellowship and worship!  Volunteers are needed.  The brochure details the needs and requirements.  Camp CILCA is near Springfield IL, northwest of the city, west of Sherman, IL, about 5 to 6 miles.  Camps start Sunday, June 4th.

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.

YOU ARE INVITED:  The internationally renowned Christus Chorus of Concordia University of St. Paul, Minnesota, will be performing at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1822 E. Lincoln, Bloomington on Saturday, April 8th at 7:00 p.m.   The choir’s concert: “A More Excellent Way”, proclaims the richness of God’s love through a wide variety of musical styles, from classical to spirituals, gospel to contemporary, hymns to film scores.  This concert is a unique opportunity to enjoy a time of uplifting music.  The performance is open to the public.  Feel free to invite friends!  A freewill Offering will be gathered to support the choir’s music ministry.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “God’s Got It In For Me” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from John 9:1-41.  God can use our troubles and crosses for a higher purpose that we may not understand until we reach heaven  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.

†  †  †  †  †  †