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

Sermon for Sunday, October 29, 2017: “More Than A Man.”

 

 

 

October 29, 2017 – Reformation Text: Jude 3-4

Dear Friends in Christ,

What are some of the big events in the last 500 years? The founding of America and World Wars has affected millions. On a personal level what has been a big event? Marriage, birth of children, job change? I like those but I would also add the inventions of soft toilet paper, hot water heaters, and hell not freezing over when the Cubs won the World Series. How many would also add being called to faith, baptism and the gift of salvation?
Oh, yes our faith. Sometimes that gets pushed down the list, doesn’t it? Today is a reminder that this should make the top, numero uno, the big enchilada, the whole ball of wax. But as we stand two days before the actual 500-year anniversary of the Reformation we have to be a little careful. Many celebrating want to make this about an individual. His face is everywhere from coffee mugs to cake mixes. Even the German people see a marketing bonanza. But do they care, do most people care, do we care about the message of the movement? I pray that we do because this milestone is about . . .
“MORE THAN A MAN”
Jude says in our text, “Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Pure doctrine never changes; it is once and forever. We are still not saved by anything we do. We are still saved solely by what Christ has done for us. We are justified; we are forgiven our sins, today the same way as ever – because Christ died for them. And everyone today who believes those words still has eternal life.
Every doctrine grows from this one simple truth. Our doctrine is just as true today as it ever was. In our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod we confess the whole Book of Concord as the correct exposition of God’s Holy Word.
Do we have the same kind of dedication to the pure doctrine as was on display 500 years ago? Do we – when some congregations admit to the Lord’s Supper any Christian who reads a little blurb in the bulletin and thinks he agrees? Do we – when we think the mission of the Church and pure doctrine are somehow in tension, and we’re willing to trade one for the other? Do we still have the pure doctrine when even conservative Lutherans like ourselves know very well the false doctrines and practices we’re against, but aren’t regularly and faithfully studying the Bible to see what we do believe – and why? Do we have what it takes to be what we were?
Our forefathers in the LCMS had courage to come to America. They left Saxony Germany because they didn’t want to compromise with other churches. They loaded up five ships and crossed the ocean. That took guts. One of the ships didn’t make it – lost at sea with all fifty passengers.
Do we have the same courage that they did? Most of us don’t like to stand alone, do we? We don’t like to be in conflict, especially in our politically correct age where people say, “Who’s really to say who’s right?” Do we have the courage today to do the tough thing, to say out loud, “I have studied God’s Word, and this is what I believe it teaches – and what is contrary to that is wrong? I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and anyone who believes whatever those other religions teach is going to hell?” Do we have the courage to say that, when we know it is sure to get us labeled as narrow-minded and judgmental and unloving? For us, it is much easier than what our ancestors faced, but do we really have the courage that it does take? Do we have what it takes to be what we were?
We do – if we still have the same God. Do we, in our church today, still have the same God? Jude says in verse 4, “Certain people have crept in unnoticed…ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Is it possible that, without noticing, we could lose the true God?
We don’t really have the same God as the Reformers or the Synod had all these years if we compromise His doctrine. Do we have what it takes to be what we were? Do we have the same God?
Dear friends, the same God who worked the miracle some 500 years ago is here with us today in His Word. The same God who gave the fledgling LCMS the courage to stand in a compromising world, is here with us today in His Word. He is the same God, the one and only God who became a man. Jude says, “our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” The One who knows the pressures and struggles of this world. The one who understands the courage it takes – and understands why we have so little. The One who did what it took to make us what we are – children of God – by dying on a cross. That same God is with us. The God of grace who forgives our faithlessness. Who by His grace, His power, has worked such amazing things through our church – despite our unworthiness. See what this God of grace has done!
Today is about more than a man. It is about a Savior – Jesus Christ. The same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank God for that fellow redeemed!
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements

October 29, 2017

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. As we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we continue studies on that time period.  We are studying “A Man Named Martin”, a video-based study on the reformer Martin Luther.

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  John 8:36 – “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  Happy 500th Anniversary of the Reformation!  Luther is rightly remembered as a champion of the Gospel – but he also called himself “the apostle of good works.”  For only in being set free by the Gospel can we do good works.  Jesus has set us free:  His blood covers over our sins and now we stand before God as His beloved children, invited to live our lives to His glory for the good of His kingdom.

TODAY you may pick up, if you put your name on it, last year’s Commitment Envelope.  They are on the table in the narthex.  Next Sunday, November 5th, we will hand out the new envelopes and Stewardship Sunday is planned for November 12th.

TODAY is our last official collection for the new church sign planned on the south side of our property.  In conjunction with the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we want the Lord to bless this as an “Outreach” to those in our neighborhood, those who drive by, and those who walk the Constitution Trail.  Watch for further details on how you can become involved.  Our goal is $7,000.00 and as this goes to press we have $6,066.22.

REFIRMATION FESTIVAL WORSHIP SERVICE:  This afternoon at 3:00 p.m. there is a Reformation Festival Worship Service at Christ Lutheran Church in Normal.  Join your brothers and sisters from the Bloomington North and South Circuits as we stand together on the great tenets of our faith: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone.

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS:  Next Saturday evening, (November 4-5), before you drift off to the land of milk and honey, please be sure to set your clocks back one hour.  We look forward to seeing you well rested and ready to belt out “For All the Saints”.

NEXT SUNDAY, November 5th, we will remember those in our congregation who have entered eternal life in the past year.  We will have a special Order of Worship for “All Saints’ Day”.

ANNUAL VOTER’S MEETING:  Sunday, November 12th will be our Annual Voter’s Meeting and potluck meal after our 10:30 worship service.

FOOD COLLECTION:  The food box collection for Home Sweet Home is in the narthex.  We will collect until Saturday, November 18th when we will be serving a meal at the Mission.

CAN YOU HELP: John and Paula Hardy are planning their annual trip to Ft Wayne, IN.  It will be sometime after the holidays, hopefully mid-January. The Seminary needs clean usable clothes for men, women, and children. They also accept shoes, coats, and kitchen supplies.  Please bring them to church.  There is a closet located in the hall upstairs where items are collected, and packed for our trip.  If you need help finding it just contact John (309) 310-7917.  Thank you!

SHARING TREE:  We know that it is early in the process, but wanted to let you know we will have a Sharing Tree this year.  We are getting a name from the Baby Fold and will have tags on the tree with specific requests.  We also will be collecting money to purchase items not received, any additional money collected will be used to purchase gift cards.  These gift cards will be given to the Baby Fold to supplement other needs in the system.  Last year we were able to give a handful of cards because of the generosity of our church family.  The look on the faces of the staff said it all….  It was priceless.  Thank you very much for helping to share the love this coming holiday season.  Please contact Toni Lueck (309) 530-8666 or Paula Hardy (309) 829-8432 with questions.  Thank you!

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Blessed Are the Pure In Heart” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Matthew 5:8.  This weekend many churches observe All Saints Sunday, remembering those who have died in the Christian faith.  That prompts us to ask, what does it take to get to heaven?  Jesus tells us “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  What that means is this week’s message.  Dr. Dale Meyer 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

October 22, 2017

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).

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:   Matthew 22:21 – Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  So what is Jesus saying?  Doesn’t everything belong to God?  Yes – and God has a place for everything.  Some of what He gives us goes to Caesar.  Some must come back to the work of His Church.  And some goes to support the families He has given us.  All belongs to God – and he has work for us to do with what He has given us in the Home, in the Church, and in Society.

TODAY:  We welcome our Guest Preacher this day Reverend Charles Olander.  Pastor Olander has been a Pastor for 39 years and currently serves Zion Lutheran in New Holland IL.  Pastor Olander has been a Lutheran Chaplain for 35 years at Logan and Lincoln Correctional Centers.  During our Bible Class hour beginning at 9:15 a.m. in the basement, Pastor Olander will speak about his work in prison ministry.

TODAY:  Please join us after 10:30 worship today for a meal and presentation on the mission of the church and your part in it. We will hear from both Pastor Olander and Mr. Scott Radden who serves the church through the LCMS Foundation.

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER.  Janet Evans is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at goodshepherdblm@frontier.com or you may call her at (309) 662-8905.

NEXT SUNDAY, October 29th, we will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and have Holy Communion in both our worship services.  In the afternoon at 3:00 p.m. there is a circuit-wide Reformation Festival Worship Service at Christ Lutheran Church in Normal.

ANNUAL VOTER’S MEETING:  November 12th will be our Annual Voter’s Meeting and potluck meal after our 10:30 worship service.

CHURCH SIGN UPDATE:  After having our coins counted and other gifts we have $5,316.22 toward this Outreach endeavor.  The goal is $7,000.00  We have one more collection on Reformation Sunday, October 29th.

FOOD COLLECTION:  The food box collection for Home Sweet Home is in the narthex.  We will collect until Saturday, November 18th when we will be serving a meal at the Mission.

CAN YOU HELP: John and Paula Hardy are planning their annual trip to Ft Wayne IN.  It will be sometime after the holidays, hopefully mid-January. The Seminary needs clean usable clothes for men, women, and children. They also except shoes, coats, and kitchen supplies.  Please bring them to church.  There is a closet located in the hall upstairs where items are collected, and packed for our trip.  If you need help finding it just contact John (309) 310-7917.  Thank you!

SHARING TREE:  We know that it is early in the process, but wanted to let you know we will have a Sharing Tree this year.  We are getting a name from the Baby Fold and will have tags on the tree with specific requests.  We also will be collecting money to purchase items not received, any additional money collected will be used to purchase gift cards.  These gift cards will be given to the Baby Fold to supplement other needs in the system.  Last year we were able to give a handful of cards because of the generosity of our church family.  The look on the faces of the staff said it all….  It was priceless.  Thank you very much for helping to share the love this coming holiday season.  Please contact Toni Lueck (309) 530-8666 or Paula Hardy (309) 829-8432 with questions.  Thank you!

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “A Reformation Invitation – The Just Live By Faith” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 1:16-17.  500 years ago, Martin Lither rediscovered a truth that turned the world upside down; the just shall live by faith.  Can this message transform you today?  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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Sermon for Sunday, October 15, 2017: “The Wedding Feast Is Redy – Are You?”

Text to follow.

October 15, 2017                                                                  Text:  Matthew 22:1-14

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

Since we live in such a fast food age it is sometimes hard to appreciate a good meal, a real feast of fine food and drink to be enjoyed.  In the 1987 Danish movie Babette’s Feast, two women, Martina and Philippa, named after the reformers Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, are now elderly, leading simple lives, having foregone romance and adventure in their youth.  Babette is a former five-star chef from Paris who has served these women as a cook and housekeeper for fourteen years, submitting to their simple lifestyle and bland food.  Babette changes their lives forever when she uses her large prize winnings to prepare a sumptuous French feast for these sisters and their austere religious community.  What happens as a result is remarkable.  Feasting and generosity actually transform lives as Babette gives thanks for all God’s gracious gifts of creation by sacrificing all she had so that this community could rejoice at this feast of finest food and drink.

In our text for today we will see that the banquet to which God invites us – the best of meats and finest of wines – has that kind of life-changing power for us.  This is a banquet seemingly no one would want to miss.

“THE WEDDING FEAST IS READY – ARE YOU?”

Today a man and woman who are getting married send out “Save the date” notices.  In the parable the king had alerted the guests that the big event was coming.  The date is set, the wedding hall is ready, and the food is prepared.  The servants are sent out to invite the invited to the wedding feast.  All is ready.

All the work is done, but no one comes.  This is rude and we can understand the frustration of the king.  Kind of like what happens with RSVP’s today.  People either wait to the last minute or don’t send it in at all.  This frustrates the man and woman because they need a count for dinner.  I work with couples, please send in the RSVP.

In the parable, the servants go out again, but no one pays attention.  One goes off to his farm.  Another to his business.  Still others were indifferent to the point where they seized the servants and killed them.  The king gets angry and exacts revenge. Still, the wedding feast is ready, and so the invitation goes out again.  Now the hall is filled with guests, as many as the servants could find.

Are these guests ready?  Both good and bad are invited; both good and bad arrived.  The king does everything he can to see that all of them – good and bad – are ready.  In ancient Israel, special attire was commonly required at a wedding.  The host often supplied those wedding garments.  The king has provided everything his guests need to be ready.

But as he looks over the gathering, he sees that not everyone is ready.  Amid the splendor he notices one not dressed for the occasion.  He calls him “Friend” but the man has no explanation why he is refusing the clothing the king is offering.  “Cast him into the outer darkness…for many are called, but few are chosen.” (vs. 13-14)

So, then, are we ready for the wedding feast?  God is the King and He invites everyone to the marriage feast of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ death on the cross has earned a seat at the feast for every person who has ever lived.

Some will ignore the invitation.  They are too busy.  Too busy with a career to build.  Too busy with their kids activities.  Too busy with outside interests to give the Lord the time to be fed by Word and Sacrament.

Some accept the invitation but on their terms.  They clothe themselves in their good deeds and accomplishments.  They clothe themselves in their good name and pious lifestyle.  They have no excuse when asked why they didn’t clothe themselves in the righteousness offered them in Jesus Christ.

But in his grace and mercy the King extends the invitation.  In Baptism, He provided us garments of salvation that we will wear into eternity.  Garments won for us by His Son’s death and resurrection.  Clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we are ready for the wedding feast.

We live in a casual dress age.  Teachers at school.  Coaches on the court and sidelines.  People in church and at funerals.  College kids in pajamas.  Corporate casual.  But we know there are certain situations when our clothes should match the occasion.  When God the Father invites us to the wedding feast at which his Son will be the Bridegroom, he supplies us with the right thing to wear, the righteousness of Jesus given at our Baptism.  “Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to the cross I cling.  Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.”  You are ready for the wedding feast – clothed in Christ.

Amen.