“Rejoice Always” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (12-24-2014, 6pm)

Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Dear Friends in Christ,
Charles Dickens’s novel A Christmas Carol is about Ebenezer Scrooge and how his heart was changed one Christmas. It’s a feel good story because they all lived happily ever after. But lines from another Dickens novel more accurately describes the way Christmas feels for most. He begins A Tale Of Two Cities with these words:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief; it was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of Light; it was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”
Christmas is a time of contrasts. Prosperity and poverty. Good will and ugly greed. Family togetherness and excruciating loneliness. Light and darkness. Spring of hope and winter of acute despair.
We all want Christmas to be the best of times. It is the reason we do all the things we do – decorate, send cards, shop, bake, attend parties. Sometimes though it can be the worst of times because of the expectation of a holly, jolly Christmas.
Some of you may have spent too much again this year. Maybe it is your health or the health of loved one on your mind tonight. Do you have old hurts that won’t heal? New wounds that won’t go away?
That is why our text from 1 Thessalonians seems so strange, so out of place, so artificial.
“REJOICE ALWAYS”
Really now Paul, what is there to rejoice about? Isn’t Christmas just a fantasy season of sugar plum fairies and old St. Nick?
And if Christmas is real, it is real for other people. I’ve got problems no one can relate to. My parents passed all there hang-ups to me. My siblings? We don’t get along. My job is a hassle. The marriage has lost its excitement. It’s too late to do anything with this mess I call my life. How dare Paul say, “Rejoice always.” How could he write this candy cane coated concoction?
I’ll tell you why. Paul knew the angelic announcement, “I bring you good news of great joy.” (Luke 2:10) Not for some people. Not for good people. Not for religious people. This is good news for everyone. Joy is the gift Christ gives to everyone. He gives it especially to you.
Please hear this. There is a difference between happiness and joy. External gifts like health and wealth and children are great blessings from God. They make us happy. But they are not essential for joy. Why? Because happiness is determined by what is going on around me. I can’t control that. Joy is determined by what is going on inside of me. And God has taken control of that. He sent Jesus.
Jesus didn’t have a lot of reasons for earthly happiness. Born in a trough to a blue-collar father and teenage mother. As an adult he had no home. Jesus was an itinerant preacher and washed feet. Not the path to making it big.
And then this, “Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:8) Death on a cross was reserved for the lowest of the low. They ripped his skin, burst his arteries and severed his nerves. It brought unimaginable pain.
In spite of it all, though, Jesus, exuded joy. Poverty and disappointment and rejection couldn’t take it away. Even death on a cross couldn’t take away the joy. Hebrews 12:2 says as much, “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame.”
What does it all mean? No matter where your life is right now, this truth makes it worthwhile: Jesus Christ was born to die for you. From his cross He gives unlimited joy. It is for you. “I bring good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Jesus once said, “No one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22) Why is that? Remember? Happiness is determined by what is going on around me. I can’t control that. Joy is determined by what is going on inside of me. And God has taken control of that by sending Jesus who is the doorway to deliverance, the pathway to peace, and the gateway to glory. His goodness is limitless. His loves never changes. His grace is sufficient. His Word is enough. No one will take this joy from you.
Joy stems the tide of gloom and despair. It brings confidence in the midst of confusion. Hope when there is uncertainty. Calm in the midst of life’s storms.
Please don’t confuse happiness and joy. They are not the same thing. There are happy Christmases and there are sad Christmases. It all depends on what is happening around us.
Joy, on the other hand, is dependent upon what is happening in us. And the birth of Jesus is God’s commitment to send the Holy Spirit who comes inside to heal our hurts, forgive our filth and redeem our wretchedness.
Whether tonight is for you the best of times or the worst of times, the birth of Jesus – announced by the angels, witnessed by the shepherds and marveled at by the magi – leaves us finally with only one response. And what would that be? Paul wrote it. They are the words of our text. 1 Thessalonians 5:16. “Rejoice always!”
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements Dec 21, 2014

WELCOME TO ALL OUR VISITORS:  We are glad you could join us for worship today.  If you are a first-time visitor, please sign our guestbook and pick up a Church Handbook.  If you desire more information about Good Shepherd, please note it on the pew sheet.  May the Lord bless you this day and in Christ’s name we invite you to return.

WE BELIEVE CHILDREN BELONG IN WORSHIP:  However, if you or your child needs a break, we have a staffed Nursery at all our services.  Please see an Usher who can direct you to it.

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  The birth of Jesus serves as the focus of the Sunday School lesson for today.  The Son of God became what we are, human, to make us what He is, a Child of the heavenly Father.  Consider discussing, “Why is it important that Jesus became a human like you and I?  Why is it important that Jesus was both God and man?”

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  2 Samuel 7:4:  “But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan. . .”  Nathan thought David’s idea was great, so he blessed it with the Lord’s name.  But later that night, the Word of the Lord set him straight.  The Word of the Lord must be the basis for what we think, say, and do in God’s Kingdom: not our own desires or whims.

WORSHIP SCHEDULE:  With this being the week of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we thought it a good idea to have worship.  Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship with Holy Communion will commence at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24th.  The day of our dear Savior’s birth, the worship service will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Holy Communion celebrated.  O Come, All Ye Faithful!

THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD:  Two weeks from today (January 4, 2015) we will celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord.  On that date we will have the Installation of Officers, those duly elected to serve in 2015, in both worship services.  Come be installed, we promise it is painless!

IN OUR PRAYERS:  Dave Orr continues his rehabilitation in Chicago.  His liver transplant has been pushed back to the end of January if he recovers and is ready.  If you would like to send a card to Dave and Pat here is the address:  Dave & Pat Orr, c/o Lindsey Orr, 940 N Damen #2F, Chicago IL 60622.  We continue our prayers for all of them.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The January – March 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex.  Please pick up your free copy today.  Large print also available.

THE LWML would like to thank everyone in the church who either purchased supplies or helped put together the quilts and health kits this year.  We sent 37 quilts and 65 health kits.  Thanks again!

FROM THE OFFICE:  Good Shepherd has received a recent correspondence from both the Suggitt Family (at the Seminary in Ft. Wayne) and the Hilbert Family (LBT Missionaries).  These have been posted on the bulletin board outside the church office.

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.

ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN:  John & Paula Hardy will be making their annual trip to Fort Wayne, IN.  Please bring to the church any slightly used adult and/or children’s clothing and any household items such as small appliances, kitchen items, etc. and place in the box located in the narthex.  The trip date has yet to be finalized but will take place in either January or February.  Please see or call (309) 310-7917 John or Paula if you have any questions.  Thank you.

THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Monsters In Our Tomorrows” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 8:37-39.  Unknown monsters lurk in the shadows of the New Year but Christ will carry us through.  The speaker will be Reverend Ken Klaus.  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.

INFORMATION REQUESTED:  Please notify the church office if someone in the congregation or any family or friends are ill or hospitalized.

FROM THE CHURCH OFFICE:  If you miss church, please be reminded that copies of the previous week’s sermon are available on the table in the narthex.  Also, the sermon will be available on our web site at www.goodshepherdblm.org.  Thank you.

 + GOOD SHEPHERD SCHEDULE AND FUTURE DATES +

 Today:       Dec. 21              8:00 a.m.      Worship with Holy Communion

9:15 a.m.      Adult Bible Study and Sunday School

10:30 a.m.      Worship, non-Communion

5:00 p.m.      Small Group Bible Study Christmas Party @ the Lueck’s

Tues:         Dec. 23               LWML – No Meeting

Wed:          Dec. 24              6:00 p.m.      Christmas Eve Worship Service w/HC  (Office Closed)

Thurs:        Dec. 25              9:00 a.m.      Christmas Day Worship Service w/HC  (Office Closed)

Sun:           Dec. 28              8:00 a.m.      Worship, non-Communion

9:15 a.m.      Adult Bible Study and Sunday School

10:30 a.m.      Worship with Holy Communion

Wed:          Dec. 31              7:00 p.m.      New Year’s Eve Worship Service w/HC

Thurs:        Jan. 1               Happy New Year!  (Office Closed)

Fri:             Jan. 2                7-8:00 p.m.      Prayer Time

Sun:           Jan. 4                8:00 a.m.      Worship with Holy Communion  Epiphany of Our Lord

9:15 a.m.      Adult Bible Study and Sunday School

10:30 a.m.      Worship, non-Communion

Installation of Officers; both worship services

Tues:         Jan. 6                 7:00 p.m.      20th Church Anniversary Committee Meeting

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

+  ASSISTING TODAY +

Preacher:……………………………………………………………..Reverend Chad D. Lueck

Elder:………………………………………………………………………………….Paul Gerike

Ushers:…………………….8:00 a.m., Steve Davis, Mike Field, John Hardy, Joshua Parry

10:30 a.m., Holden Lueck, Bryan Reichert

Organist:…………………………………………………………………….Mary Anne Kirchner

Soloist:……………………………………………………………………………….Curt Kessler

Acolytes:………………………………………8:00 a.m., J.T. Piper; 10:30 a.m., Pastor/Elder

Nursery Staff:……………………………….8:00 a.m., Toni Lueck; 10:30 a.m., Ruth Gerike

Fellowship Hosts:……………………………………………………….John & Angelina Isaac

 

THE CHURCH OFFICE HOURS

The Office Hours for Janet and Sandy are as follows:  Janet:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and others times by request/appointment.  Sandy’s hours are Mondays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

VISITORS

We are happy to have you worship with us.  Please sign the Guest Register on the table in the back of the church.  Also, please list your name and other information on the Friendship Form in the WELCOME binder, found on each row.  If you have a young child we have available “Busy Bags” on the table in the church entryway for them to use during worship.  We hope you enjoyed your visit and welcome you to return.

FOR OUR GUESTS AND VISITORS:

By way of explanation, here at Good Shepherd, our Offerings are not collected during the worship service. Instead, upon entering or leaving, we place them in the Offering boxes found hanging on the last pews in the Sanctuary.

CONVENIENCE ENVELOPES:

Did you accidentally leave your offering envelope at home?  Do you need a back up?  If so, these envelopes are for you.  Located in the pews and on the table in the narthex, these envelopes are here for the convenience of all our members.  We hope you will feel free to use them whenever a need arises. Thank you.

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 home # is (309) 661-6522; her cell phone# is (309) 532-2582.  The Prayer Request box is on the table in the narthex for any written requests.

 

Finding GOOD SHEPHERD ONLINE

Good Shepherd Home Page:…………………………………………………………….www.goodshepherdblm.org

Good Shepherd e-mail:……………………………………………………………goodshepherdblm@frontier.com

Good Shepherd Facebook Page:……………………………………………………..www.facebook.com/gslcblmil

Pastor Chad Lueck:…………………………………………………………………………..….revbci@yahoo.com

 

“You’ve Got A Ticket To Ride” — 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 (12-14-2014 )

Dec. 14, 2014 Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Dear Friends in Christ,

Have you ever been on the standby list for a flight? You wait to see if someone doesn’t show up or gets bumped because of an overbooking. You are not sure if you will make it home.
Once you are on the standby list there is no peace and no way to relax. Every airport announcement and every conversation the ticket agent has brings on another Maalox moment. Ticketed passengers, by contrast, read magazines, thumb through books, or play games on their phone. They have the peace that passes all understanding. Oh to be numbered with the confirmed. Oh to have your own seat number and departure time. Oh to know on the next flight that you’re going home.
I can’t guarantee that the next time you are on the standby list that you will get a ticket. I can guarantee that you have a seat for the final flight home. Reservations have been made. The fare has been paid. In the immortal words of John, Paul, George and Ringo . . . .
“YOU’VE GOT A TICKET TO RIDE!”
We believe as much from our text. Paul writes, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God.” (vs. 14-16a)
The Thessalonians were not only worried about their own departure; they also were concerned about loved ones who had died in the Lord. Paul assures them, and us, that Christians who die are in fact only asleep. This is what Jesus teaches (Matt. 9:24). That’s how Luke describes Stephen’s death (Acts 7:60). Paul repeats the word “sleep” three times in our text.
When you die, if you die (if Jesus doesn’t come again) are you immediately resurrected? No. Our body, the shell, stays here on earth. But our spirit goes to be with the Lord. Jesus said it to the thief; “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Paul talked about it when he wrote, “To depart from this body is to be present with the Lord.” When believers die their spirits go to be with the Lord in heaven. And they sleep. But not forever.
Christ will return with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. It’s going to be quite a day. Those who are asleep will wake up. They will be raised with transformed bodies. Meaning what? If you die in the Lord, you’ve got a ticket to ride!
“And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (v. 16b) Aristotle called death, “The end of everything.” Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher wrote, “Death removes all meaning from life.” Another Frenchman Francois Rabelais, made this his last sentence, “I am going to the great Perhaps.” Not Jesus. He exclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies.” (John 11:25) Because he lives, we too shall live.
“After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (v. 17a) If still alive we will be caught up with Jesus. The term “caught up” in the Latin version is rapiemur. From this we get the English word “rapture.” So “rapture” is a biblical idea. The problem is that some Christians distinguish the rapture of Christ’s church from the second coming of Christ in judgment for the world. This is incorrect. The rapture and the second coming occur simultaneously. They are the same event. If you believe and have been baptized then you are rapture ready. You’ve got a ticket to ride!
“And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (v. 17b) If you have ever been to a reunion you know how good it can be to see friends and family you know and love. But the heavenly reunion is even so much more. People’s bodies reunited with their spirits for eternity. Family members seeing each other for the first time in years as they rise to meet Jesus Christ. It’s part an incredible reunion.
This experience tops everything. I can look out to all of you and say with confidence that the most exciting experience of your life has not even happened yet. No matter what you have done. You may have skied the Swiss Alps. You may have landed the dream job. You may have gotten to sit in A section at the Assembly Hall/State Farm Center in Champaign. You may have made the winning free throws in a basketball game. You may have lounged on the beach in Hawaii. You may have gone skydiving. This is not skydiving – it is the opposite. We will be caught up to join this joyful and wonderful reunion.
Even as some of you live dark days here on earth, as a believer in Jesus you have something to look forward to. Nothing can take that away. By God’s grace in Christ Jesus you most certainly have a ticket to ride! How shall we respond? “Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (v. 18).
Amen.

“A Vision of God’s Love” — Isaiah 40: 1-11

December 7, 2014 Text: Isaiah 40:1-11

Dear Friends in Christ,

Jeremy Cowart is a professional photographer in Los Angeles. His portfolio includes Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and the Kardashians. One of his most beautiful and intriguing photographs, however, involves people you don’t know. It was taken when Cowart was in Kiev, Ukraine. He photographed two people standing outside St. Michael’s Church and Monastery. When you look at the photo, you can’t help but be surprised.
At the bottom of the photo, there are two people, young, preoccupied. One carries a bag over her shoulder and looks straight in your direction. The other is wearing a suit and a tie. His head is slightly tilted as he looks off into the distance. Both have the appearance of anyone you could meet on the street.
Behind them, however, is the wall of a monastery. It rises above them and is covered with angels. There are so many angels that you can’t see all of their faces. Behind these two ordinary people is a world of gold, filled with angels and wings.
If they would just turn around they would be amazed at the world that surrounds them. Their ordinary life is filled with the presence of angels. God is inviting them into an overwhelming experience of his personal love.
Unfortunately, what we see in this photograph often happens in our lives. We are so preoccupied with life that we never truly see the wonder of God’s ways. For this reason our text from Isaiah is a blessing this morning. He calls us today to stop and listen. Isaiah offers you . . .
“A VISION OF GOD’S LOVE”
Right away you have probably noticed there are no angels explicitly mentioned in our text. No picture of God seated with thousands of angels around him. In fact, Isaiah only gives us a voice, the voice of God that he hears.
Earlier though when Isaiah first received his call, he saw a glimpse of the heavenly council. He saw God “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.” (Isa. 6:1) This God called Isaiah to speak, and he gave him the words to say.
This is what he is doing in our text. Instead of speaking judgment on the people, God is bringing comfort to his people. Hear this mercy: “Comfort, comfort my people,” says God. Not once but twice. God is emphatic. He is sending an army of angels to provide this comfort. They are to speak to his people, proclaim that their exile is over, their sin is pardoned, and they have peace with their God.
This mission, once given to angels, continues in our midst today. Advent reminds us of God’s mission. John the Baptizer was out in the wilderness calling all people to repent and prepare for the Lord. They were to receive baptism for the forgiveness of sins. The one coming was greater than John. The one sent from the Father would die for our sins. He rose and ascended to his Father to be seated on the heavenly throne. Jesus rules, and as long as this world endures, his mission continues. He now sends his Spirit to equip us to join in this mission of mercy to the ends of the earth.
This is a mission of love. The angels are to speak tenderly to God’s people. The language of God, who is in love with his people. Though they have strayed, God continues to seek them out.
This text is a foretaste of a more personal love. Advent prepares us for Christmas and God’s gift of personal love. Remember the angels who filled the heavens to announce this event? God in the flesh came in the person of Jesus to suffer God’s wrath and bring us back into a right relationship with our heavenly Father. When we stray he seeks us out and brings us back. Personal love, spoken in his Word, and also spoken personally by a preacher he has sent, today, to you.
Have you noticed how talk of religion can become divisive? The ways of God are different from the ways of the world, and religious speech is often heard as an attack on others rather than as an invitation to participate in a new way of life.
God invites you into his personal mission of love. Knowing the forgiveness of sins in your life and being equipped by the Holy Spirit you join the chorus of witnesses who speak of His love. Angels surround you as you serve God in the world, and they look forward to singing a song of joy over one sinner who repents.
When you look at Jeremy Cowart’s photograph, it is interesting to see how near the angels are to our world. One angel stands there behind the man in the suit and tie. In one hand, the angel carries a lily. In the other hand, a staff and his forefinger are extended. It reaches out from the mural to point the young man in front of him, standing there, staring off in the distance.
In Renaissance art, one angel often carries a lily. Gabriel. The angel God sent to Mary to announce that she would bear God’s Son. How beautiful that this angel, so close to the incarnation, is also so close to this young man.
God sent his Son into the world for individual people, like this young man. Though they may not be attending to God in the world, God is attending to them. Sending His Son to forgive their sins and then sending his angels, sending his prophets, sending his Pastors, sending his people to join in this mission of love.
God’s overwhelming mission, so personal in Jesus, remains personal today as God sends you to be a messenger, bearing his word of good news to others.
Amen.

Dec 14, 2014 Bulletin Announcements

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

 TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  The children will study “An Angel Visits Joseph.”  Just as the angel proclaimed to Joseph that Mary would bear an infant who is the Son of God, the Savior, so God proclaimed to us in His Word that this same Jesus is our Savior from sin and death.  Parents could ask, “What important message did the angel give Joseph?  What important message do we hear in God’s Word?”

 THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   Christians express their thanks to God in many ways: in prayer, in giving to the Lord word, in acts of service to others, in faithful living in their daily callings.  Everything we do to honor God in our lives is a means of returning thanks for the Lord’s many gifts to us.

 TODAY is our 2nd Sunday door offering for Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Chris Suggitt.

 POINSETTIAS:  If you would like to contribute toward the purchase of a poinsettia for the altar at Christmas, the cost is $6.00.  There is a sign-up sheet and envelope to put your money or check in available on the table in the narthex.  We need to have your order by TODAY, December 14th.  You may pick up your poinsettia after the New Year’s Eve Worship Service.  If you have any questions, please contact Luanne Huth.

 THE MIDWEEK ADVENT WORSHIP SERVICE:  Our Choir will lead the Midweek Advent Worship this week.  This “Service of Lessons and Carols” will be Wednesday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m.  We have a meal served at 5:30 p.m. in the basement of the church.  The sign-up to prepare and bring food is in the narthex.  The free-will Offering this week will support the Hilbert Family with Lutheran Bible Translators.  They plan to return to Sierra Leone to continue their work once it is safe to do so.

FROM THE OFFICE:  Good Shepherd has received a recent correspondence from both the Suggitt Family (at the Seminary in Ft. Wayne) and the Hilbert Family (LBT Missionaries).  These have been posted on the bulletin board outside the church office.

PORTALS OF PRAYER:  The January – March 2015 Portals of Prayer are available on the book rack in the narthex.  Please pick up your free copy today.  Large print also available.

 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.

 ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN:  John & Paula Hardy will be making their annual trip to Fort Wayne, IN.  Please bring to the church any slightly used adult and/or children’s clothing and any household items such as small appliances, kitchen items, etc. and place in the box located in the narthex.  The trip date has yet to be finalized but will take place in either January or February.  Please see John or Paula if you have any questions.  Thank you.

 THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  “Surprised By Grace” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Luke 1:26-38.  God’s grace comes as a surprise and blessing to those who deserve none of it.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  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.

December 7, 2014 Bulletin Announcements

THE ADULT BIBLE CLASS, led by Pastor Lueck, is studying “Luther’s Small Catechism”.  The class meets in the basement at 9:15 a.m.

 TODAY IN SUNDAY SCHOOL:  As we observe this Second Sunday in Advent, Sunday School students will study the story “An Angel Visits Mary.”  In the womb of Mary, Jesus, the Son of God, became a man so that we sinful people might become adopted children of God and share in the inheritance of heaven.  Parents might ask, “How does God make us His children?  What do we inherit as God’s children?”

 THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  1 Corinthians 1:7:  “…so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The Lord sees to it that we do not lack any gift – He has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ as well as every earthly need as well.  He is the Provider.  And we can trust Him to always provide for us in every way.

 THE MIDWEEK ADVENT WORSHIP SERVICES continue this Wednesday, December  10th, with Worship at 7:00 p.m.  There is a meal served at 5:30 p.m. in the basement of the church.  The sign-up to bring food is located in the narthex.  The free-will Offering this week will go to Reverend Michael Kearney and family.  Also, next Sunday, December 14th, is our 2nd Sunday door Offering for both Reverend Kearney and Seminarian Chris Suggitt.

POINSETTIAS:  If you would like to contribute toward the purchase of a poinsettia for the altar at Christmas, the cost is $6.00.  There is a sign-up sheet and envelope to put your money or check in available on the table in the narthex.  We need to have your order by NEXT SUNDAY, December 14th.  You may pick up your poinsettia after the New Year’s Eve Worship Service.  If you have any questions, please contact Luanne Huth.

THANK YOU notes were sent out to everyone but in case someone got missed, “Thank you” for all the wonderful cards, kind words, and gifts for Pastor Appreciation.  As I complete my 15th year as your Shepherd, I appreciate all the love and support for my family and I.  The Lord continues to bless us through you.  In Christ’s Love, Pastor

 ADVENT DEVOTIONS:  Pick up a copy of the “Advent Devotions” located on the table in the narthex.

 THE LUTHERAN ANNUAL:  It’s time again to order copies of the “Lutheran Annual”.  The cost is $25.00.  If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please contact Janet or Sandy in the church office by phone (309) 662-8905 or email at: goodshepherdblm@frontier.com or even in person.

ANNUAL TRIP TO FORT WAYNE, IN:  John & Paula Hardy will be making their annual trip to Fort Wayne, IN.  Please bring to the church any slightly used adult and/or children’s clothing and any household items such as small appliances, kitchen items, etc. and place in the box located in the narthex.  The trip date has yet to be finalized but will take place in either January or February.  Please see John or Paula if you have any questions.  Thank you.

 FROM THE OFFICE:  We have a 2015 Large Print Scripture Text Calendar available for anyone who wants it.  See Pastor Lueck.

 THE LUTHERAN HOUR:  In Christ, Unbroken“” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11.  God’s grace restores those broken by sin and grief.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  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.