October 19, 2014 Bulletin Announcements

Today is the deadline for items to be submitted for the November 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.

Next Sunday October 26th, we will celebrate Reformation Sunday.  Holy Communion will be celebrated in both worship services.

Next Sunday:  Because of the harsh winter we had we have blown by the money budgeted for heat/gas for fiscal year 2014 and still have a few months to pay for.  The Church Council voted to include “Energy Needs” envelopes in next week’s bulletin.  If you can give above and beyond your regular offering for this expense it would be appreciated.  We thank the Lord for His many blessings as we work together for His Kingdom.  (And pray for a warmer winter!)

Today is our 2nd Sunday Offering for Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Christopher Suggitt.

Next Sunday is the deadline for items to be submitted for the November 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.

Annual Voter’s Meeting  Mark your calendars for Good Shepherd’s Annual Voter’s Meeting on Sunday, November 16th following the 10:30 worship service.  More details to follow.

Portals of Prayer  The October – December Portals of Prayer are available on the bookrack located in the narthex.  Large print also available.  Pick up your free copy today.

Food Collection  We are collecting food for the Home Sweet Home Mission.  The box is located in the narthex.  We will do this through Saturday, November 15th, when we deliver the food and serve a meal at the Mission.

Thank you  The church has received a “Thank you” note from Seminarian Chris Suggitt thanking the congregation for your continued support.  The letter is posted on the bulletin board outside of 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.

Can You Help:  Greetings to all of you, my dear Church family.  I wish to thank each and every one of you for ALL you have done for my family and me:  meals, prayers, other help.  I am overwhelmed by the love shown to me by so many people.  This has been the hardest challenge so far for us and we pray that our Lord will heal and restore me to my family.  Stave IV and secondary cancer is no joke and when I have to sleep, I am left with no choice – go in and lie down or fall down!  Which leads me to my point.  I have had to learn to ask for some help.  So here is my humble request: would any of you have some easy slow cooker recipes you would be willing to share with me?  I am collecting some recipes but would sure love to have some of yours.  If anyone has slow cooked a roast or a ham or chicken in one, please let me know for how long you’ve cooked it.  Please email any recipes or instructions to me at: dogdiva2@comcast.net.  Thank you again for everything!  Love in Christ, Laura Kessler.

The Lutheran Hour  Keep it Simple and Straightforward is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Romans 3:22-25.  The Bible’s message is simple and straightforward: the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720 AM) at 6am; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3pm.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7am and 7pm.  Tune in!  You can listen to the Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org

“The Party of The Year” — Matthew 22: 1-14


 

Oct. 12, 2014                                                              Text:  Matthew 22:1-14

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

Mealtimes are often filled with emotions.  Peter knows.  Sunday dinners with his mother, Ada, his father, Fred, and three siblings were always lively, relates Peter.  “On one occasion all of us except mother were in a silly mood, and we began requesting, in rhyme, items at the table.  ‘Please pass the meat, Pete.’  ‘May I have a potatah, Ada?’  ‘How about the salt, Walt.’  This went on for a while but then mom got fed up.  She stood up:  ‘Stop this nonsense right now.  I’d like to enjoy my dinner with some good conversation not this silly chatter.’  Then she sat down, still in a huff, turned to my father, and snapped, ‘Pass the bread, Fred.’”

You are cordially invited to . . .

“THE PARTY OF THE YEAR”

It was on Tuesday of Holy Week when Jesus spoke this, the third of his triad of parables about entrance into the Kingdom.  The king is planning his son’s royal wedding.  When the invitations went out, those invited came up with excuses based on possessions or purchases.

In our busy, consumer-oriented society it is easy to disdain invitations.  When we get invited to a party or dinner we may ask ourselves:  “Do I really need to go?  Will there be a problem if I don’t go?  Will I know people there?”  Those in the parable answered in all the wrong ways.

When we apply this parable to God’s inviting us to eternal fellowship with him, if we decline, there will be a problem.  In our times, ethics are perceived as individual and relative.  Many Americans do not accept God’s eternal values as absolute.  Yet they are.  The Lord’s patience eventually wears thin.  As a people we cannot continually turn our back on God and expect his blessing.  “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (v. 14)

Many are called, you know?  Jesus graphically portrays God as reaching out to people with his inviting grace.  God cared enough to search us out and bring us into His Kingdom with celebration and a feast.  We need to value those times we have in worship.  Our divine services are true foretastes of the eternal banquet.

All who choose to ignore our accountability to God cheapen God’s grace.  In fact grace is costly – it cost the life of God’s Son.  Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote:  “Grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it cost a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”  To be invited by God to feast at his table of divine grace is the ultimate honor for all human beings.

Welcome the invitation.  Don’t be put off because it is free.  This is not some late-night infomercial.  This comes freely to you because of Jesus covering the cost of your invitation.  Christ has risen and ascended to heaven to host the banquet of all banquets.  God values inviting anyone, even us.  That divine attitude can shape in us the same desire to invite all.

When you got up this morning, perhaps you hesitated for a moment whether you would come to worship or not.  It might be nice to sleep in, or veg out or pursue some other worldly endeavor.  But a small voice suggested you accept the invitation.  That was the Holy Spirit delivering Christ’s invitation to you.

 

Even in our more casual day and age, we know there are certain clothes required for certain situations.  When God the Father invites us to the wedding feast at which his Son will be the Bridegroom, he supplies us with the right thing to wear, the righteousness of Jesus given at our Baptism.  Clothed in Christ’s righteousness, we are ready for the Party of the Year.

Amen.

October 12, 2014 Bulletin Announcements

Today is our 2nd Sunday Offering for Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Christopher Suggitt.

Next Sunday is the deadline for items to be submitted for the November 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.

Annual Voter’s Meeting  Mark your calendars for Good Shepherd’s Annual Voter’s Meeting on Sunday, November 16th following the 10:30 worship service.  More details to follow.

Portals of Prayer  The October – December Portals of Prayer are available on the bookrack located in the narthex.  Large print also available.  Pick up your free copy today.

Food Collection  We are collecting food for the Home Sweet Home Mission.  The box is located in the narthex.  We will do this through Saturday, November 15th, when we deliver the food and serve a meal at the Mission.

Thank you  The church has received a “Thank you” note from Seminarian Chris Suggitt thanking the congregation for your continued support.  The letter is posted on the bulletin board outside of 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.

The Lutheran Hour  God’s Peacemakers for a Troubled World is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Philippians 4:4-13.  Jesus calls and enables us to be peacemakers who share his gifts with others in a broken world.  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720 AM) at 6am; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3pm.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7am and 7pm.  Tune in!  You can listen to the Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org

Sermon October 5, 2014 – Walking With Purpose (Eph 5:1-9)

October 5, 2014 – LWML Sunday                             Text:  Ephesians 5:1-9

 Dear Friends in Christ,

             Educators have done studies on how children spend their days at school – how many minutes spent reading at their desks, how many minutes spent going to the restroom or the drinking fountain, how many minutes sharpening their pencils and so on.  Down to the minute.  Down to a science.  Blocks of time devoted to all sorts of things you’d expect children to do in school.  Plus at least one activity we might not expect:  “walking with no purpose.”  That’s right:  “walking with no purpose.”  Studies have found that in a normal day, a very normal child will spend a certain number of minutes walking from here to there for no good reason.  Curious and interesting.

            We are children of God, and our lives as Christians are often described as a walk, as St. Paul does in our text today, our Epistle from Ephesians 5.  Are we walking with no purpose?  Paul exhorts us in our text to be . . .

“WALKING WITH PURPOSE”

            The fact is it’s not just schoolchildren who walk with no purpose.  People of all ages, spend their lives walking through life not really knowing what it is all about.  Paul calls this darkness in our text.  “For at one time, you were darkness.” (v. 8a)

            We live in a world of darkness.  People are entangled and enslaved by sin.  We can try to redefine it, excuse it, redecorate it, or hide it, but sin is at the bottom of what makes life and relationships difficult, hurtful, sick, and dying.  Trying to hide this darkness just brings about “deception” and “empty words.”  These things serve no purpose.  Paul lists some of them:  filthiness, crude joking, foolish talk, sexually impure, covetous.  These are all common in the world around us.  So common, but they serve no purpose.

            Sin can do that.  Because of sin, we use God’s name only to condemn others or justify ourselves.  Because of sin, we ignore or despise God’s Word and do not worship him.  Because of sin, our relationships with others – father and mother, husband and wife, parent and child, enemies and friends, co-workers and strangers – all these are disrupted and destroyed.  And none of these actions serve any meaningful purpose.  By nature, we are children of darkness with no purpose.

            Because we cannot free ourselves from this darkness, God in his mercy determined to save us.  His mercy shone like a beacon of light when he promised Adam and Eve a Savior from sin.  This light of salvation burned as hope in God’s people through the centuries until that light exploded like a supernova over Bethlehem when “the Word became flesh.” (John 1:14)  When life and death went at each other on the cross it looked like darkness was winning.  But the light of salvation could not be put out.  It was stronger than the darkness.  The reign of death was ended.

            Suddenly, we see things in a whole new way.  We see God for who he really is:  not distant or disinterested in our lives, but he is here, present, eager to have a relationship with each one of us.  That is what Jesus lets us see in his light.  God is not angry and keeping score on how well we keep his Commandments, but forgiving, not counting our sins against us, because Jesus took them upon himself on the cross.  That is what we see as children of light.  “Now you are light in the Lord.”

            As “light in the Lord” we are now able to “walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.)” (vs. 8b-9)  We now have a purpose.  We walk in repentance and faith.  We walk in forgiveness.  We walk with a purpose to invite the world to the glorious light of salvation in Jesus Christ.

            Today is Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Sunday.  Lutheran women who also walk with a purpose.  These daughters of Zion and many others in our congregation give pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars in the interest of missions.  Combine ours with the rest of Synod and some wonderful mission projects are funded.  Walking with purpose.

            When we all with faithful obedience, study the Word of God, when we dwell together in unity, when we faithfully hold the confession of the church in this perverse generation, when we speak faith, when we love one another, fragrant offerings and sacrifices rise up to the nostrils of our merciful, holy, and gracious God and Father.  Walking with purpose.

            Every work of the saints of God from quilt sewing to helping with a funeral dinner all serves a purpose for the greater good of Christianity.  Christ’s kingdom is extended in these works of mercy.

            May the Holy Spirit lead you out of darkness into His marvelous light.  Walking in the light of Christ is to walk as children of God with purpose.

                                                                                                                                    Amen.

October 5, 2014 Bulletin Announcements

Next Sunday  October 12th will be our 2nd Sunday Offering for Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Christopher Suggitt.

Portals of Prayer  The October – December Portals of Prayer are available on the bookrack located in the narthex.  Large print also available.  Pick up your free copy today.

Thank you  The church has received a “Thank you” note from Seminarian Chris Suggitt thanking the congregation for your continued support.  The letter is posted on the bulletin board outside of 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.

LWML Lutheran World Relief  The LWML ladies will be working on Health Kits again this year.  We would like to solicit your help in purchasing items for the Health Kits which will be sent to Lutheran World Relief.  The stores will soon have these items marked down for the college students that will be returning.  This is a wonderful opportunity to get great specials.  A list of items needed is on the table in the narthex.  If  you have questions, please feel free to call Joann Hart.  Thank you.

The Lutheran Hour  Today’s the Day for God’s Grace for All is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Revelations 7:9-12.  The ruins of ancient Pompeii show how life can change in an instant.  (Footsteps of St. Paul; Part 4)  The speaker will be Reverend Gregory Seltz.  Hear this Sunday’s message on the Lutheran Hour on WGN (720 AM) at 6am; WJWR (104.7 FM) and WJWR (90.3 FM) both on Sunday at 3pm.  Also, if you can receive Lincoln, IL radio station WLLM (1370 AM) the program is broadcast two times on Sunday at 7am and 7pm.  Tune in!  You can listen to the Lutheran Hour on your personal computer at RealAudio, www.lhm.org