Stewardship Corner November 2017

Our Father in heaven has claimed us as His own.  By the shedding of His Son’s blood, by the His death for our sins and His resurrection for our justification, God the Father has received us back into His family.  By water combined with His Word, promise, and name, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us.  We belong to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  He is in us, and we are in Him.  And being in Him, all things are ours. In Him, we are richly and abundantly blessed.

Our true treasure and wealth is that we belong to the most holy Trinity and everything that is His belongs also to us: righteousness, peace, eternal life.  Even our temporal treasures are gifts from His fatherly divine goodness and mercy.

We receive our treasures from Him, and thus, as (good stewards of His varied grace,) (1 Peter 4:10) we manage them in such a way that they may be returned to Him.  We bring them to Him, hallowed through prayers of thanksgiving and God’s holy Word, as an offering.

Thus, all our possessions, as gifts from God, are also offerings to Him, from which we eat to nourish our bodies, share with our family, neighbors, and fellow Christians, with the poor and even our enemies, as holy things given by the holy God.  His temporal gifts are blessings to and for us, and bring blessing upon us even as they are pressed into His service for His kingdom and the souls that receive them.

Thus we place all that we have into God’s hands, and He never fails to remember us and pours out the fullness of His promises upon us.  We give thanks for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.  We give thanks by not taking for ourselves, but giving to all even as our heavenly Father has given to us.

As we prepare for the celebrations of Thanksgiving, may we all give thanks continually for all that we are and all that we have because of God’s providential care.  And may we be all the more diligent in bringing everything that we have received from God to Him, so that He may bless it and employ it for the good of all — even for us. “ For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance” (Matthew 13:12).

Celebrating November 2017

Birthdays

Karen Dale             Nov 1
Caleb Evans           Nov 2
Ryan Kleiboeker    Nov 2
Sheri Piper             Nov 4
Shirley Potter         Nov 4
Patricia Hanner      Nov 6
Jeanette McNeely  Nov 6
Phoenix Kleiboeker Nov 7
Denyce Berg           Nov 8
Holden Lueck         Nov 9
Curt Kessler            Nov 15
Ruth Gooding        Nov 17
Cannon Kleiboeker Nov 17
Theron Noth           Nov 18
Joshua Parry            Nov 23
Gordon Schroeder  Nov 24

Baptismal Birthdays

Jacquelyn Semelka Nov 1
Janet Evans             Nov 7
Bob Love                Nov 14
Cheryl Reichert       Nov 14
Ryan Kleiboeker     Nov 19
Thomas Anderson Nov 20
Penny Culp            Nov 26
Holden Lueck        Nov 28
Joshua Parry          Nov 28

Pastor’s Notes November 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Because it is so difficult in parts of the world to find clean drinking water, an organization called Water Is Life developed a wonderful resource called “The Drinkable Book.”  The paper in the book is coated in silver nanoparticles that filter out almost 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria.  Each tear-out page can be used and reused to filter up to 100 liters of water at the cost of only four pennies per page.

The Bible is also an unusually “drinkable” Book.  In John chapter 4 we have the story of the woman at the well.  She needed much more than just water to quench her spiritual thirst.  Because of the circumstances in her life she was desperate to know about “the living water” that Jesus was talking about.

Jesus said to her, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

The Lord gave us living water in our Baptism.  We need the “drinkable” Book as we face the circumstances of our life.  This “drinkable” Book points to God’s Son as the sole source of “living water.”  Those called and washed in the water through the Holy Spirit will experience “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Lord, help us discard the things that leave us empty and thirsting and exchange them for the blessings of the living water you offer.

In Christ,
Pastor

Celebrating October 2017

Birthdays

10/1 Thomas Anderson
10/2 Bud Barnett
10/10 Fern Noth
10/11 Barry Hamlin
10/11 Jessica Isaac
10/12 Payton Biddle
10/12 John Hardy
10/15 Travis Henson
10/15 Maria Kirchner
10/17 Jackie Semelka
10/19 Cindy Sheley
10/21 Shane Miller
10/23 Audrey Gronert
10/23 Chloe Hitch
10/24 Teresa Casselman
10/24 Helen Jensen
10/25 Abby Biddle
10/28 Cheryl Reichert

Baptismal Birthdays

10/2 Eli McNeely
10/2 William McNeely
10/3 Pastor Lueck
10/4 Brian Dirks
10/5 David Marlow
10/9 Bill Huber
10/20 Cleo Korte
10/27 Steve Davis
10/30 Ben Holland

Pastor’s Notes October 2017

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

After many years hearing and talking about the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we have now arrived at the month.  Lutheran churches around the world and other Christian denominations will celebrate this turning point in the history of the Lord’s Church.

This month of October 2017 is a very busy one for Good Shepherd and I would like to let you know of the many happenings at our church and within the circuit.

Sunday, Oct. 1 – LWML Sunday.  We worship together and thank God for this mission society within our LCMS.

Sunday, Oct. 22 – Mission Festival Sunday.  Rev. Charles Olander who is involved in prison ministry in our district will be here to preach and conduct Bible Class.  We will also have a meal after late service and learn more about our Central Illinois District’s Mission.

Sunday. Oct. 29 – Reformation Sunday.  Special Worship Service and our last collection for the new church sign we have planned on the south end of our property.

Sunday, Oct. 29, 3:00 p.m.  – Circuit-Wide Reformation 500 Festival Worship Service at Christ Lutheran Church, 311 N. Hershey Road.

We thank the Lord for these opportunities to gather and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We join in grace alone, faith alone, and scripture alone.  We are blessed to be part of this historic event and we look forward to your participation.

In Christ,

Pastor

Stewardship Corner October 2017

We are nearing the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, All Saints’ Eve, 1517, when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. So, let’s hear from Luther himself on the topic of giving and stewardship.

In the Small Catechism under the Table of Duties, Martin Luther gives specific Bible passages to help Christians know their duty in their various vocations as members of their family, society at large, and in God’s family, the Church. Under the heading “What Hearers Owe Their Pastors,” Luther lists five passages from the Bible, three of which have to do with giving to your local congregation. They are these:

“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14).

“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:6–7).

“The elders [presbyters, i.e., pastors] who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages’” (1 Timothy 5:17–18).

Luther comments on these passages in his 1535 Lectures on Galatians. He wrote:

When Paul says “all good things,” this is not to be taken to mean that everyone should share all his possessions with his preacher.  No, it means that he should provide for him liberally, giving him as much as is needed to support his life in comfort. . . . The apostle is so serious in advocating this topic of support for preachers that he adds a threat to his denunciation and exhortation, saying: “God is not mocked.”. . . All this pertains to the topic of support for ministers.  I do not like to interpret such passages; for they seem to commend us, as in fact they do.  In addition, it gives the appearance of greed if one emphasizes these things diligently to one’s hearers.  Nevertheless, people should be taught also about this matter, in order that they may know that they owe both respect and support to their preachers.  Christ teaches the same thing in Luke 10:7: “Eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages”; and Paul says elsewhere (1 Cor. 9:13–14): “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?  In the same way the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel.”  It is important for us who are in the ministry to know this, so that we do not have a bad conscience about accepting for our work wages . . . it happens when those who proclaim the glory of God and faithfully instruct the youth derive their livelihood from them.  It is impossible that one man should be devoted to household duties day and night for his support and at the same time pay attention to the study of Sacred Scripture, as the teaching ministry requires.  Since God has commanded and instituted this, we should know that we may with a good conscience enjoy what is provided for the comfortable support of our lives from church properties to enable us to devote ourselves to our office. (LW 27:125–126).

In other words, pastors are not to suffer from low wages just because they are servants of Christ and the Word. They are to share in the livelihoods of all to whom they preach the gospel and instruct in the faith, so that the Word can be proclaimed and the faith carried from one generation to the next.

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).