Stewardship Corner September 2017

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”  (Eccl. 9:10).

God bids us to be faithful in the tasks He calls us to do.  He calls us to be members of a family (husbands and wives; fathers and mothers; sons and daughters).  He calls us to be members of society (those who govern and those who are governed).  And He calls us to be members of His family, the Church (those who preach and teach and those who hear and learn).  Each of these callings from God places a duty on us.

As members of a family, husbands are given the duty to die for their wives as Christ gave His life for His bride, the Church; while wives are given the duty to respect their husbands and submit themselves to them as the Church does to Christ.  Fathers and mothers are to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, teaching them the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Scriptures concerning Baptism, Confession, the Office of the Keys, and the Lord’s Supper.  Children are to honor their parents throughout their lives, and even when their parents are no longer alive, serving and obeying them, loving and cherishing them, and speaking well of them.

As members of society, God calls those who govern to bear the sword, that is, to punish those who do evil—those who live contrary to God’s will—and to reward those who do good—those whose lives are lived in conformity with God’s will.  Those who are governed are to obey their leaders as to the Lord Himself, for their leaders bear the sword of God’s temporal justice for a purpose.

As members of God’s own family, the Church, He calls those who preach and teach to do so in faithfulness to His holy Word.  To preach and teach the Law of God to convict the hearts of hearers of their sin and to encourage, admonish, and exhort them to do good works in accordance with God’s will.  They are to preach and teach the Gospel, the full forgiveness of their sins accomplished by Christ and received through faith, not by works.  They are to administer the means of grace in accordance with the Gospel and the Word of God.  They do all this for the young and old alike, for those who are near and far off. Those who hear and learn are to submit themselves to their preachers and teachers. They are to support them by their prayers and their gifts.

Each of these callings from God places a duty on us.  They make a claim on our presence, our prayers, and on our time, talents, and treasures.  So, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl 9:10).  Pray for your family, for your government, and your church.  Give of yourself by means of your time, your talents, and your treasures to your family, your government, and your Church.  That is what it means to be faithful in the tasks that God has given us.  That is what it means to do it with all your might.

Celebrating September 2017

September Birthdays

9/4 Joan Renken
9/5 Nathan Kluender
9/6 Randy Reinhardt
9/9 Pastor Lueck
9/10 David Marlow
9/16 Andrea (Reichert) Brown
9/20 Janet Evans
9/22 Jeff Piper
9/26 William Huber
9/26 Cleo Korte
9/27 Ronald Kwasny
9/28 Karah Kemp-Golden

Baptismal Birthdays

9/2 Kathleen Parry
9/3 Joann Nottingham
9/6 Jeannette Ross
9/8 Oliver Mosier
9/10 Joann Hart
9/10 Becky Love
9/12 Jessica Isaac
9/14 Emilia Schempp
9/17 Karah Kemp-Golden
9/18 Bryan Benjamin
9/18 Mary Ward
9/20 Clayton Piper
9/25 Michael Huth
9/30 Randy Reinhardt

Pastor’s Notes September 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In reviewing history, we find some amazing statements made by respected and knowledgeable people.  Charles Duvelle, Director of the US Patent Office in 1899, said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  In the days of silent movies, H.M. Warner, Chairman of Warner Brothers Pictures, said, “Who wants to hear actors talk?”  Gary Cooper said, “Gone With The Wind” is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history.  I’m just glad that it will be Clark Gable who’s falling flat on his face and not me.”

Jesus made many amazing statements, too, such as these:

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39)

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles.  And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him.  And after three days He will rise.” (Mark 10:33-34)

“Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24)

“I must preach the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

            “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:22b-23)

All these statements made by Jesus proved to be true and are still true today.  We can trust the words spoken by our Savior.

In Christ,

Pastor

Stewardship Corner August 2017

Winston Churchill reportedly said that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  According to Churchill then, our lives are defined less by what we have gotten, and more by what we give away.

Our Lord’s life is defined in this way.  He gave completely of Himself for us. He became man for us.  He taught the truth of God’s Word.  He healed those with many and various diseases.  He died the death that we deserve because of sin.  He gave of Himself in order to save us from sin, death, and hell.  And so, it is that by giving completely of Himself, He got for Himself us, making us citizens of His eternal kingdom by grace.

As it was for Jesus, so it is also for us.  We get more from giving than we do from simply getting.  For giving softens our hearts and frees us from the grip which the worries of this world and making a living has on us.  For when we are singularly focused on making a living, we are singularly focused on what we get.  That mindset begins to bleed into all areas of our lives—our relationships with friends and family, with neighbors and coworkers, and with the Lord.  It shifts our focus from asking the question—How can I be a friend, family member, neighbor, and servant to others—to asking the question—what have they done for me lately.  We become more selfish instead of selfless.

But when we give, we do not have less, we have more because when we give we join in the bond of friendship and family, the bond of service to those around us out of love for them.  And love is the fulfillment of the Law. It is the nature of God Himself, for God is Love.  Thus we are reflecting the divine nature.  As Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Celebrating August 2017

Birthdays

8/1         Georgia Boriack

8/3         Vicki Miller

8/5         Paul Gerike

8/5         Eric Schneider

8/8         Benjamin King, Jr

8/9         Jeanette Ross

8/10       Bryan Benjamin

8/11       Clayton Piper

8/11       Emilia Schempp

8/12       Brian Dirks

8/15       Jacqueline Kwasny

8/16       Kristina Warren

8/18       Becky Love

8/22       Kitti Miller

8/24       John Campbell

8/24       Michael Huth

Baptismal Birthdays

8/7         Deborah Huber

8/11       Andrew Benjamin

8/15       Phoenix Kleiboeker

8/19       Benjamin King, Jr

8/23       Stephanie Schempp

8/24       Paul Gerike

8/25       Eric Schneider

8/28       Jerzey Kleiboeker

Pastor’s Notes August 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One of the things we enjoy about summer is the chance to “get away.”  What does that mean to you?  Are you getting away from work?  Are you getting away from home and the responsibilities that come with it?  Are you getting away from the monotony that is your life?

When we “get away,” our routines change.  Recently when I “got away” with the family at a baseball tournament for Holden, every day I was up at 6:00 a.m.  Yes, you read that right, your Pastor who loves his pillow and his siesta was up early!  But that is what happens when you “get away.”  The minutes and the hours and the days change from the usual.  I don’t like to sleep in when I “get away.”  I like to be doing and going and enjoying.  Some people, maybe you, are the complete opposite.  You “get away” to sleep later, lounge around and enjoy an adult beverage on a beach somewhere.  “Getting away,” means different things to different people.

Do you ever want to “get away” from your foolish actions?  Do you want to run to a beach and hide because of words you said in haste?  Would like to sleep in and not face the transgressions you displayed the day before?  Where can we go in those instances?  The cross of Jesus.  There we “get away” from our actions, our sins, because they’ve been placed on Jesus, and He removed them as far as the east is from the west.

Furthermore, our natural inclination is to wonder what we must do to be right with God, and that’s totally frustrating and wearisome, for it has no end.  Once again, the cross is the reminder that Jesus did everything necessary to make us right with God and we have perfect rest, at no price to us.  In Christ, our rest is eternal.

One of the blessings as a Pastor in “getting away” is the chance to sit with my family in worship.  I always enjoy visiting a sister church of the LCMS.  Have a good time when you “get away” but don’t get away from your life of worship.  We need the constant of God’s Word in our lives.

In Christ,

Pastor

Celebrating July 2017

Birthdays

7/4 Joann Nottingham

7/10 Bob Love

7/14 Nick Henson

7/22 Joann Hart

7/24 Katey Parry

7/25 Andrew Benjamin

7/25 Stephanie Schempp

7/27 David McEleney

Baptismal Birthdays

7/8 Isabella Kessler

7/11 Richard Ross

7/12 Keyyon Pleasant

7/13 Kathy Hitch

7/13 Summer Sheley

7/14 Bryan Reichert

7/16 Jennifer Cloyd

7/20 Ruth Gerike

7/21 Anna Holland

7/24 Finley Mosier

7/28 Eugene Fuller

7/31 Erin Dirks

 

Stewardship Corner July 2017

“I will bless you …, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2).  The Lord blessed Abraham so that he would be a blessing.  How did He bless Abraham?  He promised that from His seed would come the Savior of the nations.  And Abraham believed that promise, trusted that the Lord would provide it just as He had promised.  Thus, everything Abraham did was colored by that promise.  He willingly gave of himself and his household in service to the Lord in view of that promise.

Our Father in heaven has richly blessed us.  Not only has He given us everything that we need to support this body and life, but He has also provided, that promised seed in His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.  He is the Savior of the nations.  He is the Redeemer of the world.  He is the one who has conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil by His death, resurrection, and ascension.

Just as we are richly blessed, we are also thereby freed to be a blessing.  Since God has endowed us with His gifts, we are set to endow others.  Thus, we give of the blessings we have received so that others may be blessed.  We do this in our homes, our communities, and our churches.  We press the blessings God has lavished upon us in service to those around us.  We use our time, our talents, and our treasures to be a blessing even as they have been a blessing to us.

The Lord blesses us.  And He enlists us to be a blessing to others.  So, whenever you put that envelope in the collection plate, when you set out to serve at the local food pantry, when you sit down to help your kids with homework, think of this: The Lord has blessed you, so that you will be a blessing.

Pastor’s Notes July 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Think of the soldier standing in the cold and snow of Valley Forge.  The men with their muskets in their bloody hands at Lexington and Concord.  They could not see then what we enjoy now, but they were fighting for it – freedom.

We have been blessed to be born into freedom.  We are blessed by those who sacrificed to give it to us.  We are not in North Korea or Cuba or any other totalitarian government where the state would be our god, and we would own nothing.  Leaving the country or even traveling within her borders is not safe.

Freedom is not free.  Freedom is responsibility.  The Apostle Paul writes, “For freedom Christ has set us free…For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal. 5:1a, 13)  When Paul wrote these words, he was living under a bloody despot, Nero, the Caesar who had become the Roman god.  Paul flew no banner but Christ.  He knew, as we know, that Christ has granted us the ultimate freedom.  Freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil.  Christ gives us strength and reminds us of His presence even as certain freedoms get taken away or limited.  We pray for those misguided souls who want to scream and yell the loudest in our country.  They need the reminder that having freedom means responsibility.  They can only do these things because they live in a place where it is allowed.

Paul gave the warning that we all need to heed in these days of being in everyone’s face and the rampant public discord.  “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” (Gal. 5:15)

In Christ,

Pastor

Stewardship Corner June 2017

One of the best known and beloved psalms is Psalm 23, the Shepherd Psalm.  There we learn that the Lord is our Shepherd.  And since He is our Shepherd, we will not want.  We will not suffer want because the Lord, our Shepherd, will lead us to green pastures and beside still waters.  In other words, the Lord, our Shepherd, will provide for all that we need in both body and soul.

Yet, we live as though this is not the case.  We live as though we actually suffer from want, that the Lord, our Shepherd, will not provide for all that we need.  And thus, we live as though the Lord is not our Shepherd.  And that means that we live as though we are not the Lord’s sheep.

How do we do this?  We do it when we put anything else before Him and His provision for us.  When we think that going to work is more important than receiving the gifts that He won for us on the cross, a violation of the First and Third Commandments.  We do it when we fail to give generously of the first fruits of what the Lord has provided for us because we think we don’t know what the future will bring, even though He has promised that He will lead us to green pastures and still waters.  We do it when we think that the Lord is only in the business of helping those who will help themselves, we do this because we have a mind set on earthly, temporal things and not on heavenly, eternal things.  We do this because we have stopped hearing the call of our Shepherd, which comes through His Word.

The Word of God is how our Shepherd calls us to himself.  Through that Word, the Holy Spirit gathers and enlightens us with His gifts.  Through that Word, we are kept holy and nourished in the one true faith, the faith that follows our Shepherd wherever He leads us.  He promises to lead you to your true home, to the land flowing with milk and honey, to a better country, not of this world, but a heavenly one.

And so, here’s the good news:  The Lord is your Shepherd still, even, and especially, for wayward sheep.  For Jesus seeks and saves those who are lost.  He finds the lost sheep and carries them back to the fold.  He is the Shepherd that lays down his life for His sheep.  The Lord is your Shepherd.  Let us live then as His sheep.