5/3 Anna Holland
5/5 Lorene Backsmeier
5/5 Cory Fortney
5/8 Lucas Piper
5/11 Lindsay Orr
5/12 Kerry Warren
5/16 Benjamin Holland
5/19 Nicki Cloyd
5/19 Terry Trost
5/21 Pat McQuown
5/24 Jack Gooding
5/25 Doris Hoffman
5/26 Joyce Schneider
5/27 Keyyon Pleasant
5/1 Catherine Cloyd
5/1 Carly Benjamin
5/1 Marvin Lester
5/3 Cooper Mosier
5/5 Marlene Hitch
5/6 Halie Sheley
5/15 Daryle Schempp
5/18 Drew Kemp
5/22 Lorene Backsmeier
5/22 Marvin Huth
5/26 Stephen Parry
5/29 Lucas Piper
“It is more blessed to give than to receive,” said St. Paul, quoting our Lord (Acts 20:35). How can this be?
Jesus and His disciples withdrew to a mountain by the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The crowds followed them, for the Lord had just showered upon them the gift of His teaching, the gift of His Word. But the day was waning; the sun was setting, and it was getting late. Looking upon the crowds, Jesus had compassion on them and asked, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat” (John 6:5)? Philip said that two hundred denarii (a day’s wages for two hundred men) could not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.
But Andrew, Peter’s brother, brought a young boy forward, who had five barley loaves and two small fish. “But,” Andrew asked, “what are they for so many” (John 6:9). Jesus replied, “Have the people sit down” (John 6:10).
Then Jesus, the Son of God, gave them a second gift, a gift from what only He could give—a gift from above. He took the bread and the fish, gave thanks, blessed them, and distributed them to the crowd. Then came the miracle. As these five loaves and two fish were given out, they multiplied. He fed the hungry crowd until they were all full. And twelve baskets full were left over.
But Jesus was not the only one who gave that day. There is one person who also gave from what he had. It was the boy with the five loaves and the two fish. All the others, including the boy, received the gift of a miraculous feast. And they would look back on it with wonder. But the boy, when he would look back on it, would look back and remember not just what he received. He would look back with wonder and delight when the Son of God made his gift into something miraculous. For it is more blessed to give than to receive.
This our Lord does for each of us. He presses our gifts, no matter how big or how small, into His service and works wonders with them. He provides through what we give: water for baptism, bread and wine for the Lord’s Supper, a man called and sent for the preaching of the Gospel and Absolution. He provides a building in which we can gather as His children, lights so that we might not gather in darkness. He provides funds for the care of the poor and struggling, for missionaries who preach and teach beyond our borders. He makes Christians, disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in our midst by bringing them to faith and nurturing them in that faith. He takes our gifts and turns them into something miraculous.
Indeed, it is more blessed to give than to receive. Thus we give. We give of what we have. And the Lord works His wonders.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We were blessed once again to have worshipped in the Lent/Easter season. To see the dichotomy between those who wanted Jesus killed and those who believed in Him as the Messiah. Think what it must have been like for the people of that time. Who could they trust? Could they share the faith with a neighbor or a friend? The disciples didn’t even know who they could trust as they denied and hid.
The news of our world has been filled with the death of Christians practicing their faith. In many parts of the world – whom do you trust? I read of a missionary on the border of China who also did mission work in North Korea. Pastor Han ended up being murdered and the crime has not been solved or probably not even looked in to.
Mrs. Han was also part of her husband’s ministry. She had visited North Korea in 1998 and had brought people rice that they had shared the Gospel with. But in a culture where people generally don’t help each other without personal incentive, her act of good will was viewed with suspicion. And in North Korea, suspicion leads to arrest. She was arrested. Held in solitary confinement for 60 days and continually interrogated. After 72 days she was finally released to Chinese authorities.
The Han’s continued their mission work with Pastor Han at the front line of their North Korean mission work. Some North Koreans that had been led to the faith were executed, arrested and never heard from again, or are still in prison.
On April 16, 2016 Pastor Han received a phone call and left around 1:30 p.m. By 7:00 p.m. that evening they had found his body. He was found in his car in a remote area near the North Korean border. He had been stabbed in the heart and an artery in his neck had been slashed – a method commonly used by North Korean assassins.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world need our prayers. Where atheistic communism exists, where the Muslim faith dominates, where apathy and selfish motives enslave, and where people turn from the Bible to their humanistic philosophies. Then let us not forget what a blessing and privilege we have to worship in freedom. Will it always be this way? Signs point to the fact that it won’t. Who will we trust? Our trust is in the Lord. The Lord who rose again so we might live. The Lord who overcame suffering and death with His suffering and death. The Lord who loves us into eternity.
As you worship never take it for granted. The Lord gives us these opportunities in freedom. What are you doing with them?
Elder and Usher Schedule
|May 7||Gene Fuller,|
Mike Field, Richard Ross
|Craig Culp||Brian Dirks, Mike Huth|
|May 14||Jeff Piper, Lucas Piper||Randy Reinhardt||Greg McNeely, Holden Lueck, Theron Noth|
|May 21||Daryle Schempp, Gerald Semelka, Joshua Parry, Steve Parry||Nathan Kluender||Brian Dirks, Karson Lueck|
|7pm||Nathan Kluender||Craig Culp, Mike Field, Paul Gerike|
|May 28||Ben Holland, Nathan Kluender||Mike Field||Bud Kessler, Greg McNeely, Mike Huth|
|May 7||Summer Sheley||Pastor/Elder|
|May 14||Pastor/Elder||Jessica Isaac|
|May 21||Tanner Hitch||Pastor/Elder|
|May 28||Pastor/Elder||Justin McNeely|
April 30, 2017 Text: Luke 24:13-35
Dear Friends in Christ,
What kind of a guest are you? If you stay a day or two or more with family or friends are you the kind of guest they want to invite back? Or are you like me who needs my space and after about 24-36 hours I just want to be home? There is an expression that says, “After three days, company is like an old, dirty shirt.” Houseguests can easily wear out their welcome. Nice to have company but also nice when they leave.
The disciples entertained an unusual guest in today’s Gospel, one whose presence may not wear out as quickly as an old, dirty shirt.
“THE ABIDING GUEST”
In the beginning of our text the disciples mistake Jesus for a guest and visitor to Jerusalem. “Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (v. 16) They even treat him as an ignorant guest. “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Even in the day of no cable news or instant messaging to not know what happened in Jerusalem would be like not knowing about 9/11 or the explosion of the space shuttle. Some news is universal and a guy rising from the dead after crucifixion would certainly cause a Fox News Alert.
Jesus is getting a little irritating to these men. He pulled their chain with, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” (v. 17) “They stood still, looking sad.” (v. 17) They had placed their whole hope in this “Jesus of Nazareth” as “the one to redeem Israel” (v. 21), but now that hope seemed dashed to pieces.
We all know about displaced aggression. We get mad about something and take it out on a person that had nothing to do with what made us angry. Jesus’ question didn’t warrant the strong reaction it received, but it had hit a sore spot, and it showed in their reaction.
Jesus was truly a guest of the disciples, but not as they perceived him. He was hardly ignorant. Although they do not know it yet, he is the very one who endured these things that have them so glum. He knew the purpose of these things. He was about to take them through a Bible study that would have their empty hearts bursting with hope. Nor is He ignorant of the promise of God standing behind these things: “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (v. 27) And the risen Christ is hardly ignorant of the things that weigh us down, the idols that have failed us, the behaviors we are ashamed of and the irritants that we can be to others.
Jesus was only briefly irritating. He hit a sore spot but it gave him opportunity to dress and heal it, as they would come to realize: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (v. 32) Our sore spots burst open with his Law but it gives the Savior opportunity to heal it with the Gospel.
Christ is the guest from heaven. “He acted as if he were going farther.” (v. 28) With his redemptive work complete, he would be returning to the right hand of the Father.
Jesus is our abiding guest. ”They urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is no far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them.” (v. 29) They yearned for him to stay and it took no arm-twisting for him to abide with them. Christ yearns for fellowship with those whom he in love has redeemed.
He abides with us, filling the Scriptures with himself. “All the promises of God find their Yes in him.” (2 Cor. 1:20) Without him, Scripture is a lifeless book of standards we can never attain. Filled with him, the Scriptures contain eternal life.
He abides with us, making himself known to us “in the breaking of the bread” (v. 35), giving us his body and blood, the forgiveness of sins, fellowship with the Father, and a foretaste of the feast to come. A host of hymns echo this theme of faith’s yearning for fellowship with our abiding guest, including our closing hymn.
Earthly house guests can quickly wear out their welcome, believe me I know, “when is that guy going to leave!” But not this abiding guest. Though heaven was his home, the risen Lord abides with us as our earthly guest through his Living Word and Holy Supper.
He fills our empty hearts with himself, and we are glad to make him our abiding guest.
April 30, 2017
THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP: 1 Peter 1:18-19: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” We have been ransomed – bought back from the slavery into which we were born. We do not belong to ourselves, or to the devil, or to the world: we belong to Jesus. Therefore, we live our lives not in accordance with our own wisdom, but in line with God’s Word.
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”.
OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL meets at 9:15 a.m. in the Choir Room which is located on the 2nd level (the west side).
PASTOR’S SCHEDULE: Pastor will be attending the District Pastor’s Conference in Champaign, tomorrow, May 1st.
NEXT SUNDAY, May 7th, Pastor and family will be worshipping at Hope Lutheran Church in Shawnee, Kansas, which is the congregation Pastor served before coming to Good Shepherd. A Godchild of Pastor and Toni is being confirmed. Reverend Joshua Theilen from Camp CILCA will be here to conduct worship and Bible Class. He will share the work of Camp CILCA in Bible Class. In conjunction with his visit, we will have a door offering after each service for the work of Camp CILCA.
CHURCH DIRECTORY: There are updated copies of the Church Directory on the table in the narthex. Please help yourself.
EASTER LILIES: If you purchased an Easter Lily you may take it home with you today.
CHURCH PICTORIAL DIRECTORY: “That rouge goes so well with your dress.” “What a spectacular tie, it really brings out your eye color.” The Church Pictorial Directory is Tuesday, May 23rd from 2-9:00 p.m. and Wednesday, May 24th, 2-9:00 p.m. You can get your appointment online at: www.goodshepherdblm.org and follow the Lifetouch Directory link. You may also sign-up here at church on Sunday mornings on the table in the narthex. Please note: the computer sign-up will be disabled on Sunday mornings so we don’t cross-pollinate and schedule your pretty faces at the same time.
SEMINARIAN JACOB HERCAMP has received his call into the ministry at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in La Grange, MO.
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.
THE LUTHERAN HOUR: “The Abundant Life of Grace” is the topic for next Sunday. The sermon text will be from John 10:1-10. Don’t leave God’s grace behind! We are still sheep who need the Good Shepherd. 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 email@example.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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April 23, 2017 Text: John 20:19-23
Dear Friends in Christ,
“Do you ever peche?” “Is peccato part of your life?” “Do you struggle with gunah?” “What did Jesus do with your dembi?” “When I dosa it really drags me down.” I have just shared with you the most despised word in every language. I did it in French, Italian, Turkish, Somali and Indonesian. Got a guess?
How about few more hints? Everybody says it: “We all make mistakes.” Everybody also says this: “Nobody’s perfect,” including a certain insurance commercial. But try to get Americans to say we constantly do this and you may have an argument. The word is – SIN! We all seem to know we are not perfect but nobody wants to admit that our imperfection – sin deserves God’s eternal punishment. Try that out at the next family dinner if you have relatives who believe that those who give it their best make it to heaven.
It’s still Sunday and it has been quite the day for our brothers and sisters who were alive on that first resurrection. We have a confrontation ready to take place between “poor miserable sinners who deserve God’s punishment” with the joy of Christ’s Resurrection. How can Easter overcome . . .
“THE MOST DESPISED WORD IN EVERY LANGUAGE?”
The boys. The gang. The merry men of misfits are together again. But what has brought them to one another? Fear. In a matter of moments they had abandoned their Savior. One denied him over and over. One hangs himself in shame. Finally, they are all hiding. Doors locked. It’s the way of the flesh, isn’t it?
Last Easter evening on TMC they had the 1953 movie, “The Robe” starring Richard Burton. He played a Roman soldier at the crucifixion that won the robe of Jesus. He eventually comes to believe in Jesus as Savior, the one whom he helped crucify. When I watched it reminded me that life didn’t just stop when this big event in history occurred. It’s like on Dec. 7, 1941 or 9-11, life still continued, people still went about their business.
The disciples were in the fraidy cat business, the boogeyman under the bed danced in their heads. Do you think they realized at that moment that they were “poor, miserable sinners?” It has a way of catching up with us, doesn’t it? We don’t like to admit our sin or the fact that we deserve nothing from God but His anger. But what it does to our heart is to make us “poor” and “miserable.”
“Intervention needed behind door #1 please!” “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’…the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” You know that feeling, don’t you? You see the headlights of your son or daughter’s car coming down the lane or into your driveway. The doctor comes in the room and declares all your tests came back clean. The job or finances come into your life right when you need them.
That’s the Lord’s doing, my friend. He is stepping into your locked door with his peace and presence. You have felt that, haven’t you?
But more than just his presence in your life, Jesus comes to where you are in your guilt and worry over sin. He removes the fear. Guilt taken away. Worry vanishes. The most despised word in every language is forgiven. The resurrected Christ stands before us. He loves and heals through giving Himself in Word and Sacrament.
What does Easter have to do with the most despised word in every language? Everything. As Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Cor. 15:14) And then this: “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:17) You are still in your sins. The very resurrection of Christ is the on-going assurance that God declares us free from sin, though we are still sinful.
What we see unfolding today must not become lost on us. Jesus doesn’t enter this locked room and begin a therapy session, “Gather round and state your name.” He doesn’t institute a new command that the church must seek a new vision for its mission.
No! Christ enters. Absolves. And directs them to be about His business. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” He was sent to pay for our sin and overcome the grave for us. We are sent to proclaim that truth to a sinful, dying world. People may very well tire of hearing about their sin but sadly they never tire of sinning. It is purely raw, human arrogance and self-righteousness that dreams of a substitute for the eternal Gospel entrusted to the church.
Sinners need a Savior. And that’s what we are given in Christ. That is the Gospel we are to proclaim. The most despised word in every language – sin – finally and thankfully directs us to the best news that can be shared: Forgiveness and eternal life through our resurrected Christ!