Elder, Usher, and Acolyte Schedules June 2017

Elder and Usher Schedule

Date
8:00
Elder
10:30
June 4Gene Fuller, Jeff Piper, Lucas Piper, Richard RossMike FieldBrian Dirks, Theron Noth
June 11Daryle Schempp, Joshua ParryBarry HamlinGreg McNeely, Karson Lueck, Mike Huth
June 18Gerald Semelka, Mike Field, Paul Gerike, Steve ParryCurt KesslerBrian Dirks, Bud Kessler
June 25Ben Holland, Nathan KluenderCraig CulpGreg McNeely, Mike Huth, Theron Noth

Acolyte Schedule

Date
8:00 AM
10:30 AM
June 4Clayton PiperPastor/Elder
June 11Pastor/ElderJustin McNeely
June 18Garett SheleyPastor/Elder
June 25
Pastor/ElderLucas Piper

Bulletin Announcements

May 28, 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.  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”.

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  1 Peter 5:7:  “…casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”  We have a Father in heaven – and He really cares for us and loves us.  That is the basis of generosity, because such knowledge spells the end of anxiety and worry, which is where tight-fisted greed comes from.

FROM THE OFFICE:  The church office will be closed tomorrow, May 29th, in observance of Memorial Day.  Lord’s blessings on your day!

NEXT SUNDAY, JUNE 4TH, IS PENTECOST SUNDAY and we will celebrate Holy Communion in both worship services.

NEW CHURCH SIGN:  In celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and with inspiration from Martin Luther, Good Shepherd will be “posting” a new church sign on the south side near the lower parking lot.  Parts will be interchangeable and be used for Outreach to our community.  Congregation involvement will include creative ideas for the signage and gifts toward the purchase.  Today you have an opportunity to take home a jar and fill it with coinage and bills.  The end of our collection will be Reformation Sunday, October 29, 2017.  We were already blessed with a sizeable gift so we are looking for $5,000.00 to complete the project.  May God bless!

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.

“MARTIN LUTHER – THE IDEA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD”:  We now have a link on the church’s website: (www.goodshepherdblm.org) to purchase tickets for the movie, “Martin Luther – The Idea That Changed the World”.  It will be shown at the Wehrenberg Cinema on Wednesday, June 7th beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets are $9.00 and can only be purchased online.  The deadline to order is TOMORROW, Monday, May 29th.

TODAY is the Hog Roast at Camp CILCA!  Come for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  The beach will be open in the afternoon for swimming and boating.  Pulled-pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, and desserts will be served. The cost for adults is $8.00 and children ages 4-12 is $5.00.  See you there!

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Filled, to Overflow!” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from John 7:37-39.  Isolation, distraction, and pride can lead to spiritual numbness, but Jesus fills us with life that overflows to bless others.  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 May 21, 2017: “Where Is Your Unknown God Hiding?”

May 21, 2017 Text: Acts 17:16-31

Dear Friends in Christ,

In 4th and 5th century B.C. the Greek city of Athens was considered to be the greatest city in the world. When Paul arrived it wasn’t as prosperous but was still known for its culture and education. Today people still visit the city to see its ruins, which stand as a testimony to its greatness.
“While Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” (v. 16) Paul sees through the blurriness of culture and education and gets a clearer picture of what is happening in this city. They had statues, and temples and shrines and altars throughout the public places to various gods. They had heathen festivals and all their temples to the false gods had priests.
Do we see today in our society what Paul saw then? How many gods are worshipped in and around us? More importantly and to get more personal, how many gods are getting in front of the one, true God for us? Let’s take a peek into your life by asking the question . . .
“WHERE IS YOUR UNKNOWN GOD HIDING?”
The example of Paul raises some questions. How do we look at society? Is our eyesight blurred by our technology and our abundance and our wealth? These are gifts from God but they should never take away from the reality of our sin and the need for salvation. The Athenians were prosperous and they relished in the latest ideas – as long as the latest ideas conformed to their wishes. They connected these two – prosperity and the latest ideas – to their false gods.
What did Paul do? “He reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” (v. 17) He didn’t ignore the issues. He was compelled to speak of their sin and to tell them the good news of Jesus and His resurrection.
What do we do with the false gods of our day? Be passive. After all, doesn’t everyone have a right to believe what they want? We walk along with head in cloud and then notice one day, “hey, our world seems to have changed.” Really? Where have you been? To be a Christian we must confront the lie with the truth. The truth flows from our lips, strengthened through the means of grace and the Holy Spirit.
What about you and I? Where are our unknown gods hiding? The god of money. The god of fame. The god of technology. The god of sports. The god of family. The god of work. The god of confrontation. The god of passivity. The god of time. The god of good times – “ain’t we lucky we got ‘em – good times!” Maybe, just maybe our unknown gods aren’t hiding at all. When I read that list did they jump out of the closet or were they comfortably a part of your mindset?
To the Athenians they knew nothing about their unknown god – no name, power, or work. This altar was only one among hundreds and did not draw worshippers away from other gods and altars. The pagans had to build temples and altars to their gods to “live in.” The God of creation transcends earth and any structure on it.
Do the gods we struggle with just live in our mind or are they working to overtake our heart? Can faith falter when we worship at an altar of our own making? Sure, it can. Here we have a whole city struggling. Don’t you think the devil can work on you?
Paul tells the citizens of Athens and us. “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (v. 30) Like Paul in our text, God works through His Word to help us see our need to let go of our gods. All of the gods that I listed above – money, fame, technology, sports, family, work, confrontation, passivity, time and even good times have a timeframe where they must end. The God of life and the father of our Lord Jesus Christ has no time restrictions. He is Alpha and Omega. Beginning and End. He is eternal and so will we be as we put our trust in our Savior from sin. He obliterates our gods with His cross. He promises a permanent temple of glory with His resurrection. Stop hiding and believe!
John F. MacArthur Jr. rightly comments, “Note the tact with which Paul confronts them. Having noticed the altar to an unknown god, Paul used that to make the very powerful point that their religion was unable to give them certain knowledge of any god, much less the true God. He gently implied that the existence of such an altar was plain admission that they did not know the truth about god at all. He clearly regarded the inscription on the altar as their own testimony of spiritual ignorance.”
This is how we go about our business today. Gently and with tact, but with truth on our side. They may call us “babblers” like they did Paul, but don’t let the personal attacks get in the way of the argument. Scripture is powerful. A Christian with the Holy Spirit on their side can win against the philosophers of our day. You can speak in the marketplace. You know the struggle but you have overcome. Share that. Share the love and forgiveness of this known God. We have the assurance because Christ has been raised from the dead.
Hello? You are hiding no more. Thanks be to the one true God!
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements

May 2, 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.  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”.

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  John 14:15:  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  Jesus is clear: our obedience to His Word comes from our love for Him.  But where does that love come from?  Jesus tells us that as well, “She was forgiven much, so she loved much” (Luke 7:47).  Christ shows us His love and gives us the forgiveness of our sins – and this causes love to well up in us, which in turn causes us to keep the commandments of Jesus.  For after all, the summary of the Law is “Love.”

NEW CHURCH SIGN:  In celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and with inspiration from Martin Luther, Good Shepherd will be “posting” a new church sign on the south side near the lower parking lot.  Parts will be interchangeable and be used for Outreach to our community.  Congregation involvement will include creative ideas for the signage and gifts toward the purchase.  Today you have an opportunity to take home a jar and fill it with coinage and bills.  The end of our collection will be Reformation Sunday, October 29, 2017.  We were already blessed with a sizeable gift so we are looking for $5,000.00 to complete the project.  May God bless!

TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the JUNE 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.

CHURCH PICTORIAL DIRECTORY photos are this Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-9:00 p.m.  Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled time to get checked in.  Sign-up is still occurring this morning and will be open through Monday night.  If you have any questions, please speak with Pastor.

THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD:  This coming Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m. will be our Ascension Worship Service with Holy Communion.

“MARTIN LUTHER – THE IDEA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD”:  We now have a link on the church’s website: (www.goodshepherdblm.org) to purchase tickets for the movie, “Martin Luther – The Idea That Changed the World”.  It will be shown at the Wehrenberg Cinema on Wednesday, June 7th beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets are $9.00 and can only be purchased online.  The deadline to order is Monday, May 29th.

THE CAMP CILCA HOG ROAST IS NEXT WEEKEND:  Come for a whole weekend of camping, games, swimming, and campfire devotions.  Sunday, May 28th will feature Reverend Dr. David Peter preaching at the 10:30 a.m. worship service and pulled-pork lunch served from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  The cost for adults is $8.00; children (4-12) are $5.00.  Visit: cilca.org or call (217) 487-7497 for more information.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “The Best of Things in the Worst of Times” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Philippians 1:27.  As another generation comes along that knows not the Lord or what He has done, God enables His people to do the best of things in the worst of times.  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 May 14, 2017: “A Change of Heart.”

May 14, 2017                                                             Text:  Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

Richard Wurmbrand was a Lutheran Pastor in Romania when the Communists came to power.  The Romanian communist government organized a Congress of Cults.  It was a platform for religious leaders to affirm their loyalty to communism and the new government.

Pastor Wurmbrand’s wife, Sabina, said to him, “Richard, stand up and wash away this shame from the face of Christ.”  Wurmbrand warned, “If I do this, you’ll lose your husband.”  “I don’t wish to have a coward as a husband,” she replied.  In a speech broadcast to the whole country and in front of 4,000 others, Wurmbrand confessed that the Christian is to worship Christ alone.

Wurmbrand’s example reminds us that it is against Jesus as God and His authority that His enemies rail against.  We are comforted by remembering that it is our Lord whom they hate as God.

This is the story of Stephen in our text.  He gave a passionate, Bible-based plea for Christ and the faith.  We know it made a difference in at least one life that day.  Let’s see the day enfold and how it brought about . . .

“A CHANGE OF HEART”

Here is the background that Stephen has been placed in.  He is a Christian believer and a member of the Jerusalem church.  “The word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.  And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.” (v. 7-8)

Well this was causing trouble.  Stephen was doing miracles in Christ’s name, something only the called disciples had been doing up to this time.  Certainly the Spirit of the Lord was upon him.  Things were in motion for a change of heart.

Are people ever bothered that you tell them the Lord has healed you?  What about the protection you receive from the Lord’s angels?  Is that ever scoffed at?  We all know someone who could use a change of heart.  Someone questioning the faith or downright antagonistic toward it.  Someone in our inner circle or on the fringes of our personal contacts.  Oh, we want them to have what we have so badly.  Why can’t they see it?

Why the Word melts some hearts while others deliberately and permanently harden themselves against it, no man knows.  The former is due wholly to God’s grace; the latter is due wholly to man’s guilt.  You and I cannot change hearts so don’t get worked up or frustrated.  The Holy Spirit working through the means of grace is the ultimate heart-changer.

This is what Stephen understood.  When he gave his speech in Acts 7, which is not in our text, but which I encourage you to read, he was conducting a Bible Class.  What he said was all true and part of Israel’s history.  His accusers also know the validity of his pronouncement but they can’t turn toward the truth because they are “stiff-necked” and “uncircumcised in heart and ears.”  Stephen is like a surgeon cutting deep into their unbelief.  The corruption needs to come out.  The heart cannot be saved if the cancer has ravaged the other organs.

They were enraged.  Grinding of teeth is heard.  But Stephen preaches on.  He sees Jesus at the right hand of God just as the Savior had promised when He ascended into heaven.  Now he has gone too far.  Jesus is dead.  He has to be dead.  Our ears can’t take anymore, you have offended us.  He is seized, taken outside of the city where stones are readily available and the arms of those men sling hatred and death his way.  But before the onslaught takes him to eternity the Lord allows these five last words that will change hearts.  “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Stephen countered hatred for Jesus with love and truth.  Like our text and from those around us, we get most upset when we are told the truth.  That seems to set us off because we have no defense.  From childhood on we can rant and rave when our conscience and brain battle our heart.  This is the way of Satan.  Who has always yelled the loudest on planet earth?  Those who know the truth told is about them.  Today it is reaching epidemic proportions.  We need to pray for a change of heart.  We need to pray for others to have a change of heart.  Like Stephen, the gift of the Holy Spirit is ours.  He gives words.  He gives actions.  His power can work the miracle that we can’t see.

Who had a change of heart in our text?  “The witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (v. 58b)  Stephen’s prayer had a notable fulfillment.  Being a young man like Stephen, Saul soon stepped into Stephen’s vacant place, took up the martyr’s work, and carried it forward with great power.  The apostle Paul had a change of heart that could not have been imagined that day.

Don’t give up on the Saul’s in your life.  The Lord might just have a Paul waiting to happen.  Love them.  Pray for them.  Share the Word with them.  Live the faith that changed your heart.

I have now read a couple of books about Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand.  This is what they did.  Richard wrote in Tortured For Christ, “A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume.  Likewise, Christians tortured by the Communists, rewarded their torturers by love.  Many of our jailers were brought to Christ.  And we are dominated by one desire: to give Communists who have made us suffer the best we have, the salvation that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The murdered Jesus, now resurrected seeks in love to change hearts and draw the entire world unto Himself.  May it be so for His sake.

Amen.