July 2, 2017
THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP: Mark 10:42 – “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” The tithes and offerings you give to the Lord’s work in His church go to supporting all manner of discipleship: they provide for a minister of the Gospel to preach, teach, and conduct the Sacraments; they provide for our missionaries and ministries of mercy here and abroad; and they make sure that the folks in your area have a place to go to worship the Lord. The Lord is pleased with this work – and He wants to bless you through supporting it.
NEED A RIDE? If you are unable to drive to church, we have an option that is available. Please speak with Pastor who has the details. Thank you.
OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL meets at 9:15 a.m. in the Choir Room which is located on the 2nd level (the west side).
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”.
FROM THE OFFICE: The Church Office will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th as we celebrate Independence Day. Careful with those fireworks!
PASTOR’S SCHEDULE: Pastor will be on vacation this coming week.
CAN YOU HELP? We have a sign-up on the table in the narthex for Summer Sunday School. The dates and lessons are listed. We would like to have someone covering and to give Sarah Lange a break for the summer. Once you sign-up, please speak with Sarah who will have the lesson for you. Thank you for helping in this way.
PORTALS OF PRAYER: The July-September 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex. Pick up your free copy today!
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.
YOU ARE INVITED: In celebration and thanksgiving to God, you are invited to attend the Ordination & Installation Service for Charles A. Bahn next Sunday, July 9th at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 801 S Madison St., Bloomington IL. A reception at the church will follow the service.
THE LUTHERAN HOUR: “Living as Christ’s Person in Repentance and Faith” is the topic for next Sunday. The sermon text will be from Romans 7:14-25. Life out of control? Turn to God in repentance and faith. Let Him act before you do. Reverend Dr. Gregory Seltz will be 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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Elder and Usher Schedule
|July 2||Craig Culp, Jeff Piper, Joshua Parry, Lucas Piper||Nathan Kluender||Brian Dirks, Karson Lueck|
|July 9||Gene Fuller, Richard Ross||Bud Kessler, Greg McNeely|
|July 16||Daryle Schempp, Gerald Semelka, Paul Gerike, Steve Parry||Mike Field||Mike Huth, Theron Noth|
|July 23||Ben Holland, Mike Field||Paul Gerike||Brian Dirks, Greg McNeely, Karson Lueck|
|July 30||Jeff Piper, Joshua Parry, Lucas Piper, Nathan Kluender||Barry Hamlin||Bud Kessler, Curt Kessler, Mike Huth|
|July 2||Chloe Hitch||William McNeely|
|July 16||JT Piper||Pastor/Elder|
|July 23||Pastor/Elder||Matt Williamson|
|July 30||Summer Sheley||Justin McNeely|
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
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
“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.
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)
Text to follow.
June 18, 2017 Text: Romans 5:6-11
Dear Friends in Christ,
I read an interview from a young couple as to why they left one Missouri Synod congregation for another. Here’s a brief portion:
Q: Why did you leave your old LCMS church? A: We got tired of the clowns in the chancel. Q: What did the clowns do? A: They danced around, led the people in singing and gave morality talks…The hymns were folk songs. Q: What was the Pastor doing while the clowns were leading worship? A: He would sit with the congregation until they finished clowning around. His sermons didn’t have Law and Gospel. They were basically feel good sermons…
Fluff and puff. And I hear the words of Jeremiah: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.” (Jer. 23:16)
We are a throw-away society, you know? We’ve compromised so much in a world of “make-me happy.” Today a refresher. Not a refresher on what you think or I think – but based on God’s Word. God Bless our understanding of . . .
“THE ISSUE IS . . .”
Sin. I don’t know if we still have dirty words the way people speak in public, on TV and in the movies but if we do then sin seems to be one. We have completely lost what sin is all about. Dr. Lowell D. Streiker notes, “Somewhere along the way, the word ‘sin’ fell out of favor…it became as unfashionable as the celluloid collar and the whale-bone bustle. We gained something with its passing – relief, release, freedom, enhanced self-image, and self-confidence. But we lost something too.” You bet we have and we live with the consequences daily, dirty words and all.
Chuck Colson wrote an article almost 25 years ago that is still relevant. It was entitled, “Can We Be Good Without God?” He states:
“If we cannot be good without God, how do we sustain public virtue in society? We cannot do it through the instrument of politics. Alasdair MacIntyre, moral philosopher at Notre Dame, says that ‘Politics has become civil war carried on by other means.’ Without moral authority to call upon, our elected leaders are reduced to saying, ‘We can’t say this is right and that’s wrong. We simply prefer that you wouldn’t murder.’”
Sin. That is the issue. It separates us from God. That’s what causes problems in life. Most of us are living with the consequences of our actions. Sometimes for many years. There is a price to pay in this life, and without intervention from God – there is a price to pay in eternity.
Now our text. The issue is God’s means of salvation. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (v. 6-8)
Aren’t those some of the most blessed thoughts? “Christ died for the ungodly – Christ died for us.” Many of you may recognize verse 8 as the theme verse on some of our church material. These are the issues that lift us up to the love of God. These are the issues we want to take with us when we face the unknowns of each day. We don’t need to keep asking, “Why is everything going wrong?” A society that is convinced that sin and God’s wrath are passé is lost in their delusion. We thank God that the love of Christ forgives our wrongs, our sin, and promises us a perfect world to come. All glory be to Jesus!
Now if we know all this and believe all this, the issue is as follows: What are we going to do? Our goal is not to fit into the world, but to prepare for the world to come and as the Holy Spirit blesses to take as many with us as possible.
A woman had become quite wealthy and had gained a certain social prominence. This went to her head and she wanted a book on her genealogy. She hired a well-known author to write and research the book. In the course of his research the author found that this lady’s grandfather was a murderer who was electrocuted in Sing Sing. When he told the woman she wanted him to say it in a way that would hide the truth.
The incident appears in the book as follows: “One of her grandfathers occupied the chair of applied electricity in one of America’s best-known institutions. He was very much attached to his position and literally died in the harness.”
Isn’t that a good illustration on deception? But how many live their lives like that every day? Always putting their hopes and dreams in this decaying and decadent society? Always sure something better is to come from this world. Always thinking that because they’ve been good enough they’re in with God!
Sure, we could be more positive, but that’s not reality. God will judge those who pervert His Word and live in unrepentant sin. The positive issue for the Christian who believes is this: The love of Christ forgives and claims us even though we are still sinful. The love of Christ that says we uniquely and eternally belong to God. Always! You see. . . that’s the issue!