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.

Bulletin Announcements

September 24, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Matthew 20:9 – “And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.”  Behold the generosity of God! He gives out of His grace, not what we deserve to receive. Living a godly life means living in imitation of God – and surely one of the foundations of God’s being is His generosity.

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.

TODAY we will have another collection for our new Church Sign.  The final collection will be on Reformation Sunday, October 29th.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  Please keep these important dates on your calendar.  On Sunday, October 22nd we will have Mission Festival Sunday.  Reverend Charles Olander who does prison ministry work in our district will preach and conduct Bible Class.  There will also be a meal after the late service.  On Sunday, October 29th we will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in both worship services.  That afternoon at 3:00 p.m. will be a circuit-wide Reformation 500 Festival Service at Christ Lutheran in Normal.  Then on November 12th, we will conduct our Annual Voter’s Meeting and have a meal after our 10:30 worship service.

FROM THE OFFICE:  If you had your picture taken for our new Church Directory, please pick up your copy today at the table in the narthex.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The October—December 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

FROM THE OFFICE:  The AED (Automated External Defibrillator) has now been mounted on the south wall in the narthex.  Please take an opportunity to visually locate it.  Saying prayers that we never need to use it, but if we should: 1) Call 911; 2) Have someone grab the AED; 3) Turn the equipment on and the AED will walk you through what you need to do.  A CPR class will be scheduled at a later date.  Speak with Mary Anne Kirchner if you have any questions.

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF SCHOOL KITS:  It’s that time again for the LWML’s Project Lutheran World Relief School Kits.  We need your help filling the School Kits with the following items for each School Bag:  4 Notebooks; 1 Ruler; 1 Pencil Sharpener; 1 Scissor; 5 Pencils; 5 Pens; 1 Box of Crayons; 1 Eraser; 1 Book Bag.  If you have any questions, please see or contact Joann Hart (309) 310-9205.  Thank you for your help!

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.

COME ONE, COME ALL!  You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church at 311 N. Hershey Rd., in Normal TODAY from 3-5:00 p.m. for a Reformation Walk.  The 50 minute tours start at 3:00 p.m. and are free.  Complimentary refreshments will be provided.  For more information please call the church office at (309) 452-5609.

YOU ARE INVITED:  Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Eureka has their 28th Annual Hog Roast on Saturday, October 7th from 4-7:00 p.m.  Pastor Lueck has two complimentary tickets for you and a pig loving guest, please speak with him.  (Pastor, not the pig!)

FREE TICKETS:  The church office has free tickets for the ISU Women’s Volleyball Game against Valparaiso on Saturday, October 7th at 7:00 p.m. The tickets are available on the table in the narthex.  Enjoy!

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Power to Overcome Worry and Anxiety” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Philippians 4:4-13.  Thanksgiving and anxiety are two opposing forces.  Have you ever thanked God for your problems, pains, and suffering?  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, September 17, 2017: “The Lord Can Transform Evil Into Good.”

September 17, 2017                                                              Text:  Genesis 50:15-21

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

As human beings we enjoy stories of sweet revenge.  My dad tells the story of being on the JV basketball team in a small south central Illinois town in the late 1950’s.  The team he was on was pretty good.  They would win some games by quite a lot.  My dad, his friend and a few other teammates were the bench players.  Unfortunately, even in their blowout wins, they would not get a lot of playing time.  The coach liked to keep his starters in the game.

During their last game at home that season, they had another game where they were way ahead.  With very little time on the clock, the coach started to empty his bench and send the bench players into the game.  My dad’s friend took his warm-up off, checked into the scorer’s table, and then proceeded to run not into the game, but straight into the locker room.  The coach stood there dumbfounded.  He had no idea what was going on.  This was the player’s chance to get back at the coach for never getting him into a game.  I laugh every time my dad tells this story.

If someone had the right to sweet revenge it would be the main character in our text – Joseph.  We will get into his story and see how . . .

“THE LORD CAN TRANSFORM EVIL INTO GOOD”

Our text today is actually the end of a long story about Joseph and his brothers.  Joseph was the eleventh of twelve brothers and the most beloved by his father Jacob.  Joseph did some things to his brothers they didn’t like so they conspired to kill him and throw him down a pit.  The brothers made it look like Joseph had been killed and Jacob grieved for his dead son.

Except, Joseph wasn’t dead.  He was sold and served Potiphar.  He ended up in prison but interpreted some dreams for Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, and then for Pharaoh.  Pharaoh put Joseph in a place of leadership and he controlled the flow of grain during the famine and the years of plenty.  This is what brought Joseph’s brothers to him.

With that background then, our text, “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’” (v. 15)

Do you ever have those thoughts?  You want to get back at someone who has wronged you?  A co-worker takes credit for your work and it puts you in a bad light with the boss.  Later, that same co-worker struggles hopelessly with a project due tomorrow.  What do you do?

A fellow student bullies you mercilessly.  Later, she’s accused of cheating on a test, but you know she’s innocent.  What do you do?

Your sister talks your aging mother into giving her a precious heirloom that she promised you many years ago, and then she sells it.  Now your sister needs help with groceries for her family.  What do you do?

The music director asks you to sing a solo for Christmas Eve.  After practicing for several weeks, he asks his grandson to do it.  Months later, with only a week’s notice, the music director wants you to sing several solos for Easter because his grandson backed out.  What do you do?

Joseph brothers threw him in a pit, let his father think he was dead, and now they come to him for much needed grain.  What will he do?  These brothers had lived with guilt and had never had a good talk with Joseph about what they had done to him.

Sometimes instead of talking with our families or friends, we have the idea that past hurts and sins will just go away if we don’t bring them up again.  They are not confessed and forgiven, just forgotten…for a while.  But if the topic comes up again, the scab is picked and the bleeding starts all over.  Even if we cover it up with “That’s okay,” or “don’t worry about it.”  The healing never happens.

The brothers make up a story about Jacob to Joseph and how the father wanted Joseph to forgive them.  Their contrition is not genuine but a desperate attempt to save themselves.

Do we play this game with a cake or flowers or a trip away?  That’s bribery, not repentance and forgiveness.  We need to articulate the wrong and be forgiven.  Hearing the words of absolution from the Pastor in church, as well as remembering our Baptism and receiving Christ’s body and blood “for the forgiveness of sins,” is hearing the voice of God loud and clear that God has forgiven us through the sacrifice, the cross, of our Savior Jesus.

This is the truth that Joseph knew.  He wasn’t in the place of God, but God could bring good out of evil.  From a blood-stained cloak and the bottom of a slimy pit to a leader in Egypt with his brother’s future in his hands.  He could have gone to the scorer’s table, checked into the game and then kept on running away, leaving his brothers standing there dumbfounded.  But He didn’t.  Joseph explained that the Lord had a purpose in the brother’s evil.  God meant it for good so that this family could be reconciled and many people would be kept alive.

Those who hated and killed Jesus meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, the saving of many souls.  The persecution and unjust treatment and the killing and the burial and the emerging from the tomb were all part of God’s greater plan of ultimate good for you and me.  Our sins are no more!

Jesus speaks to us today through Joseph.  Can we see the good that can come from the evil in our lives?  Do you have relationships still hanging in the balance?  Through the power of the Holy Spirit make that phone call, write that letter, let go of your anger and be reminded of the precious love the Savior has for you.  You have been reconciled to Him and He wants you to be reconciled to others.  The Lord can transform evil to good and we were blessed to see it today.

Amen.

 

Bulletin Announcements

September 17, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Romans 14:7 – “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.”  We just don’t belong to ourselves: we belong first of all to God and through Him we belong to our neighbors.  We are here to serve God in our service to one another.  God has called you to this service through your vocation: as a Christian you serve others in the church; as a neighbor you serve others in society; and as a son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother, you serve your family.

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.

NEXT SUNDAY, September 24th, we will have another collection for our new Church Sign.  The final collection will be on Reformation Sunday, October 29th.

FROM THE OFFICE:  If you had your picture taken for our new Church Directory, please pick up your copy today at the table in the narathex.

THANK YOU:  The members of Good Shepherd, Pastor Lueck and the Office Staff would like to thank Mandy Kluender for her dedicated service these past seven years serving as the Newsletter Editor.  Janet Evans will now serve as our Newsletter Editor.  Beginning this month  any Newsletter Announcements or Activities you would like published in the OCTOBER NEWSLETTER should now be sent to the church’s email at: goodshepherdblm@frontier.com or put a hard copy in Janet’s mailbox in the church office.  Thank you!  TODAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the OCTOBER NEWSLETTER.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The October—December 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

THE LADIES MORNING BIBLE STUDY will resume this Tuesday, September 19th at 9:30 a.m. in the Church Conference Room.  We will begin with some fellowship and light refreshments. The study will be on Chapter 9 “The Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30”.  Hope to see you all this Tuesday!

FROM THE OFFICE:  The AED (Automated External Defibrillator) has now been mounted on the south wall in the narthex.  Please take an opportunity to visually locate it.  Saying prayers that we never need to use it, but if we should: 1) Call 911; 2) Have someone grab the AED; 3) Turn the equipment on and the AED will walk you through what you need to do.  A CPR class will be scheduled at a later date.  Speak with Mary Anne Kirchner if you have any questions.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The October—December 2017 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex.  Pick up your free copy today.

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF SCHOOL KITS:  It’s that time again for the LWML’s Project Lutheran World Relief School Kits.  We need your help filling the School Kits with the following items for each School Bag:  4 Notebooks; 1 Ruler; 1 Pencil Sharpener; 1 Scissor; 5 Pencils; 5 Pens; 1 Box of Crayons; 1 Eraser; 1 Book Bag.  If you have any questions, please see or contact Joann Hart (309) 310-9205.  Thank you for your help!

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.

COME ONE, COME ALL!  You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church at 311 N. Hershey Rd., in Normal next Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 3-5:00 p.m. for a Reformation Walk.  The 50 minute tours start at 3:00 p.m. and are free.  Complimentary refreshments will be provided.  For more information please call the church office at (309) 452-5609.

GOD GAVE YOU EACH OTHER….WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HIS GIFT?  Make it special…say “yes” to a Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekend.  The next Weekend is scheduled in Peoria, IL on October 13-15, 2017.  Contact Norm and Deb Lopez at peorialmereg@gmail.com for more information. Preregistration is required – don’t miss out! Registration deadline is this coming Friday, September 22nd.  Registrations after that date will be on a space available basis.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “The Latest Polls” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Matthew 21:8-11 and Luke 23:23-25.  Believing the latest public opinion poll is not the same thing as believing the truth.  Reverend Dr. Ken Klaus 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

September 10, 2017

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Matthew 18:4 – “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” What does it mean to have childlike faith?  Certainly Jesus does not want us to have a faith that is childish: we are not called to ignorance or silliness.  Rather, we are called to trust the way a child trusts: with complete confidence in the Father.  We show that confidence in our lives when we follow His directives for our life: Father knows best, so we’ll take His advice!

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 HIGH SCHOOL—COLLEGE—AND ADULT BIBLE STUDY will be led by Pastor Weseloh in the basement of the church at 9:15 a.m.

THANK YOU to Reverend Mel Weseloh from Minier for conducting worship and Bible Class this morning.  Pastor Weseloh is celebrating this year 60 years in the ministry.  God’s blessings to you and your work in the Lord’s Kingdom.

TODAY:  Pastor, Toni, and Holden are at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Littlefield, Texas this morning.  This was the 1st church that Pastor served from 1991—1995.  They are celebrating 100 years as a congregation and Pastor is privileged to be serving in their anniversary worship service.  Pastor will return to the office on Monday afternoon.

THANK YOU:  The members of Good Shepherd, Pastor Lueck and the Office Staff would like to thank Mandy Kluender for her dedicated service these past seven years serving as the Newsletter Editor.  Janet Evans will now serve as our Newsletter Editor.  Beginning this month, any Newsletter Announcements or Activities you would like published in the Newsletter should now be sent to the church’s email at: goodshepherdblm@frontier.com or put a hard copy in Janet’s mailbox in the office.  Thank you!  NEXT SUNDAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the OCTOBER NEWSLETTER.

OUR DOOR OFFERING LAST SUNDAY for Hurricane Harvey Relief was $1,586.20.

OUR RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE is scheduled for this coming Friday, September 15th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  We are going to have a football tailgate theme – “Make The Right Play. Give Blood”.  The easiest way to sign-up is to go to redcrossblood.org, put in our zip code (61704) and follow the prompts.  We also have a sign-up at church and have materials to share with your workplace and friends.

THE MOVIE, “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World” which many of us enjoyed in the theater is now coming to television.  It will be shown on PBS this coming Tuesday, Sept. 12th at 7:00 p.m.

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT:  Our next movie night will be Friday, SEPTEMBER 15th!  The feature presentation will be the hilarious cowboy comedy “SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF”.  The movie is open to all members of Good Shepherd and the community.  Invite your neighbors to come and enjoy the movie, food and fellowship!  Come early and give blood at the Red Cross Blood Drive and stay for the movie.  On his way to Australia, frontier opportunist, Jason McCullough (Garner) stumbles into a small gold-rush town and decides to earn a little extra pocket money by accepting a temporary assignment as their sheriff.  Happily applying himself to his new position, McCullough manages to turn the town derelict (Elam) into his deputy, outsmart the dreaded Danby clan (led by Brennan in a hilarious comic performance), and fend off the lusty advances of the mayor’s daughter (Hackett) – all without breaking a sweat or dirtying his shiny black boots!  Take a break from the hustle and bustle, come and relax and enjoy a funny Cowboy Comedy Movie!

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF SCHOOL KITS:  It’s that time again for the LWML’s Project Lutheran World Relief School Kits.  We need your help filling the School Kits with the following items for each School Bag:  4 Notebooks; 1 Ruler; 1 Pencil Sharpener; 1 Scissor; 5 Pencils; 5 Pens; 1 Box of Crayons; 1 Eraser; 1 Book Bag.  If you have any questions, please see or contact Joann Hart (309) 310-9205.  Thank you for your help!

COME ONE, COME ALL!  You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church at 311 N. Hershey Rd., in Normal on Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 3-5:00 p.m. for a Reformation Walk.  The 50 minute tours start at 3:00 p.m. and are free.  Complimentary refreshments will be provided.  For more information please call the church office at (309) 452-5609.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Unleash the Power of Forgiveness In Your Life” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Matthew 18:21-35.  Life with God is not about keeping score; it’s about living for others in the grace Jesus earned for us.  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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