“What Is Christ’s Function?” Mark 1: 29-39 (2-08-2015)

February 8, 2015 Text: Mark 1:29-39

Dear Friends in Christ,

Professions and vocations serve a function. Every father, mother, student, teacher, police officer, attorney, and politician has a purpose. Basketball players and musicians, plumbers and farmers, motivational speakers and financial advisors have a function. Their vocation may be to raise their children, teach, motivate, or fix a leaky faucet. Every person has a vocation or function. Most have several vocations in addition to their job activities.
What about God and his only beloved Son, Jesus Christ? Why did Jesus go from one town to another and place-to place?
“WHAT IS CHRIST’S FUNCTION?”
Where did Jesus’ preaching fit into his total ministry? Jesus has been at the synagogue in Capernaum and now He enters the house of Peter and Andrew with James and John. Peter’s mother-in-law has a fever and is ill. Jesus lifts her up, the fever leaves her; and she begins to serve all of them.
Jesus now at sundown – after the Sabbath ends. He receives the crowds who continually bring those afflicted by sickness or demons. He heals many and He casts out the demons.
Jesus – early in the morning. He leaves the disciples to pray in solitude. He needs a break like we all do – but the disciples hunt him down because the disciples say that everyone is looking for him. He then proclaims His function. They are going to go to the neighboring towns where Jesus can proclaim the Kingdom of God. That is why He came! He continues this ministry as He goes throughout the region of Galilee preaching and expelling demons by His Word.
What does Christ’s preaching of the Word mean for us? Many times, we see or hear things while something else is going on, and we miss it. It’s like trying to watch a three-ring circus. The trapeze artists get our whole attention that we may miss the clowns or the tigers. There is so much going on. When I announce football games, which I have for a number of years, I watch the game through my binoculars so I can get the number of the ball carrier and tackler correct. Parents want that kids name said right! Anyway, when I do that my field of vision is limited. I might miss something down field. To fully appreciate a circus or football game we must see the event in its entirety.
The same is true for understanding the ministry of Jesus. During those early Galilean years, he taught, he preached, he worked miracles. Everyone wanted a piece of him, but they didn’t really know why he’d come. He’d come to preach, but just what he was preaching – himself – wasn’t understood by many until the climax of that preaching was fulfilled: His death and resurrection.
Jesus’ healing in today’s text validates His preaching. He heals our minds, bodies, and souls. He heals our greatest illnesses – rejection of His will, unbelief, sin, and death. It has the same impact on our world as it did when Jesus himself spoke.
Like Peter’s mother-in-law we have been healed to serve out of faith and love. We are here right now, in this place, to fulfill our vocation for Christ and His Church. Like the disciples, we are invited by the Holy Spirit to find Jesus at Bible Studies, in Sunday School, devotions, in Holy Communion, in Confession and Absolution. Like the crowds, we may always bring others to be spiritually healed by His touch and preaching – at worship, Bible Studies, Baptism, Holy Communion.
How does that preaching continue today? What is our function? When I hear the word “function” it always takes me back to my childhood and Saturday mornings when they had these little vignettes on television. I remember this little ditty, “Conjunction, junction, what’s your function?” We might think of it this way, “Christian, Christian, what’s your function?” The Holy Spirit empowers us to be about the mission of the church. We can’t heal, but we can invite to the healing waters. We can’t preach like Jesus, but we can reach out to others to come and hear the Lord’s preaching. And we do have the ability to forgive the sins of repentant sinners because Christ first forgave us. As the Word is preached and the Sacraments are administered, Jesus continues to heal the sick of soul.
The Lord has His function and through Him we have ours. Let’s get to it!
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements – February 8, 2015

 Bulletin Announcements

February 8, 2015

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  1 Corinthians 9:25:  “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”  Self control is a fruit of the Spirit – for the desires of the flesh are at war with the desires of the Spirit.  Having received the new life in Christ by His grace, He now calls us to follow Him deliberately, with self-control, with intention.

TODAY, February 8th, is our monthly door offering for Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Chris Suggitt.

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:  “Jesus Heals a Man Who Is Paralyzed” is the lesson for Sunday School today.  The miracle of healing the paralytic confirms that Jesus, the Son of Man, has authority on earth to forgive sins and it confirms what the Son of Man chiefly came to do: deliver us and all believers from sin, death, and the power of the devil.  Consider discussing, “In addition to healing the paralyzed man, what else does Jesus tell him?  How has Jesus healed us from our sickness of sin?”

NEXT SUNDAY is the deadline for items to be submitted for the MARCH NEWSLETTER.  Mandy Kluender is our Editor for the church newsletter and any announcements you want to be published in the Newsletter should be submitted to her at mgkluender@hotmail.com or you may call her at (309) 838-9868.

“WHOM SHALL I SEND?”  Please take this opportunity and stop by the LHM display in the narthex today!  LHM is active in many areas both domestically and internationally through radio (The Lutheran Hour), Bible Correspondence Courses, Evangelism Training, Daily Devotions, Men’s Network, and printed material.  Pick up any and all the material displayed.  Check the Project Connect Brochure list on the display table and choose topics that you or someone may be able to use.  “HERE AM I, SEND ME!”

20th CHURCH ANNIVERSARY CONTAINERS:  If you have not yet picked up your 20th Church Anniversary Container, please do so following the worship services today.  They are located in the narthex.  As you know, the money is going for updates and repairs of the church organ.  The new estimate is $13,325.00.  We are collecting these funds until July, 2015.  Any questions please feel free to see or call Marvin Huth (309) 829-6897.

COLLECTION SCHEDULE FOR ORGAN REPAIR AND UPDATE:  The committee for the 20th Church Anniversary has set up a schedule for the collection of contributions.  We will be placing the container in the narthex in both services starting Sunday, March 15th and March 22nd.  But if you would like to contribute earlier, please feel free to give it to Herb Renken or Steve Davis.  If you have any questions, please contact Herb Renken at (309) 454-2986.

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:  “Searching For Love – Listen To Jesus” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from Mark 9.  Jesus is God’s love in action for you.  Listen to Him!  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.

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.

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“Lessons About Life” — Mark 1: 21-28

Feb. 1, 2015 Text: Mark 1:21-28

Dear Friends in Christ,

About 25 years ago Dr. Dennis Waitley was a sought-after speaker and productivity consultant. Listen to this quote from one of his talks.
“We want love without commitment. We want benefit packages without production requirement. Pain, sacrifice, and effort are unacceptable. ‘If it feels good right away, I’ll try it. If I can’t be certain I’ll win, then I won’t enter. I want the American dream I saw on TV, in the movies, and the one my parents said I’d get because I’m so special. And I want it now! Tomorrow is too late.’ I call this irresponsible obsession with immediate sensual gratification.”
Boy couldn’t we go on a real tirade echoing and screaming about that quote? How else can you explain that Apple sold almost 75 million I-phones during the Christmas shopping season? Or every child gets a trophy just for participating?
If only people knew the Scripture. If only. This morning is another moment with Jesus.
“LESSONS ABOUT LIFE”
The beginning of our text. “They went to Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath (Jesus) entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (vs. 21-22)
Who has the authority? Jesus does. He has the final authority and final word. These words are of utmost importance because everybody is once again wondering where everything in the world is headed. The underlying thinking of our day is that man is the final authority; that man will direct his course of action and destiny.
Here in this unknown synagogue in this mostly unknown place called Capernaum. God steps into the scene of human history and vetoes all human authority now matter how powerful or significant, and trumps all human plans and thinking. Listen to these words from Proverbs: “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way.” (Prov. 20:24)
And look at this…”And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God.’” (v. 23-24
I pray we catch this. This man possessed by an evil spirit didn’t run into the church. He was in the church. Part of the church. And with that the lesson that most of the church’s greatest struggles are not on the outside, but within.
And most pretend that the church is the place where everyone can agree to disagree and get along. Isn’t that the goal? Whatever it takes to make the pew warm and cozy? We get twisted in our thinking.
The greatest twisting there is, is that about our sin and the trouble it causes; especially with God. And that sin is right here, in this Sanctuary. Yours and mine. And Christ is right here, in this Sanctuary – right here where He promised to be in Word and Sacrament to assure us of forgiveness of all our twisted thinking, our vile and destructive sin. This moment with Jesus is simply another wonderful and comforting reminder that He comes to where we are with forgiveness and eternal life.
Well, consider the rest of what happens in our text…”But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.” (vs. 25-28)
Isn’t it interesting that they ask, “What is this?” and not “Who is this?” The world is looking for answers. This world is looking for someone who will love and comfort it. But the world can’t see Jesus. It can’t recognize the Who, but it does cry out for the What – as in What the world wants and What the world thinks. How thankful we are that we know the Who.
This moment with Jesus, once again focuses on the great love of God for us. In the history of our troubled world, there have been frequent clashes between powerful forces. During World War II, there was a monumental struggle between the Axis and the Allies. Yet wondering who would win was not really doubted in the objective mind. The Axis simply had too many men and too much material for the underpowered Axis.
Despite the strategic victory the Allies were sure to win, a long war of attrition caused many casualties along the way. If victory couldn’t be achieved, then the Axis warlords wanted to take as many Allied lives as possible.
Our ultimate victory is certain through the person and work of Jesus Christ. And yet, Satan works to take as many with him as possible. He boldly attacks God’s highest creation. But through the wonderful weapon of God’s word, we’re guaranteed not only a strategic victory in heaven, but also tactical victories along the way. Armed with the ultimate weapon of God’s Holy Word and His Sacraments, we are truly “delivered from evil.”
Good lessons from this moment with Jesus.
Amen.

Bulletin Announcements – February 1 2015

† Bulletin Announcements †

February 1, 2015

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 lesson for today focuses on the story of “Jesus and the Little Children.”  In our sin, we are like small children: helpless, dependent, and needy.  So Jesus came to bestow His love and eternal gifts upon us.  Parents could discuss, “How did Jesus show His compassion on these little children?  How does Jesus shower His compassion on us?”

THOUGHTS ON STEWARDSHIP:  Mark 1:22:  “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.”  Authority is a word we are sometimes afraid of and don’t like to hear.  But that’s just our sinful flesh talking.  Jesus’ authority is something we need. We need Him to show us what to believe and how to live – for Jesus’ authority is always connected to His love.

“WHOM SHALL I SEND?”  Please take this opportunity and stop by the LHM display in the narthex TODAY.  LHM is active in many areas both domestically and internationally through radio (The Lutheran Hour), Bible Correspondence Courses, Evangelism Training, Daily Devotions, Men’s Network, and printed material.  Pick up any and all the material displayed.  Check the Project Connect Brochure list in your worship folder and choose topics that you or someone may be able to use.  “HERE AM I, SEND ME!”

NEXT SUNDAY, February 8th, will be our monthly door offering for Reverend Michael Kearney and Seminarian Chris Suggitt.

20th CHURCH ANNIVERSARY CONTAINERS:  If you have not yet picked up your 20th Church Anniversary Container, please do so following the worship services today.  They are located in the narthex.  As you know, the money is going for updates and repairs of the church organ.  We are collecting these funds until July, 2015.  Any questions please feel free to see or call Marvin Huth (309) 829-6897.

ATTENTION; ORGAN REPAIR UPDATE:  The church has received a new estimate for this special project since the beginning of our planning for our 20th Church Anniversary of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.  The new estimate is $13,325.00  Any questions, please feel free to contact Mary Anne Kirchner at (309) 661-6522.

OFFERING ENVELOPES:  If you have not done so, please pick up your 2015 Offering Envelopes located on the table in the narthex.  Thank you.

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 Gospel’s Power For Gracious Living!” is the topic for next Sunday.  The sermon text will be from 1 Corinthians 9:18-23.  Christ empowers His followers to live lives that encourage, affirm, and serve others.  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.

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.

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Stewardship Corner February 2015

Stewardship Corner

Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful (Luke 6:36).  The word for mercy that Jesus uses here has a more concrete meaning than what we typically associate with mercy.  It means more than just being kind.  It means to be concerned about your neighbor’s state and well-being. Thus, Jesus taught that we are to care, to be concerned about our neighbor’s state and well-being even as our Father in heaven cares for and is concerned about our state and well-being.

How has our Father in heaven cared for our state?  How has He shown His concern for our well-being?  How has He showered this mercy upon us?

He gave of Himself.  He sent His only-begotten Son in human flesh, to become one of us—a man—and to suffer all that we suffer and to endure what we endure—a fallen world full of sinful people, temptation, the attacks of the devil, and death.  He took upon Himself what rightfully belongs to us—sin and death—in order that He could give to us what rightfully belongs to Him—righteousness, purity, eternal life, and victory over the temptation of Satan and this fallen world.  That is how He cared for our state.  That is how He was concerned for our well-being.  He entered into our state for the sake of our well-being, died in our place, rose for our justification; redeemed us to make all things new.  He entered our state so that by water and His Word we would be granted entrance into His state as children of our Father in heaven.  In other words, He had empathy toward us, which resulted in true sympathy.

Jesus, therefore, calls the church to empathy and sympathy for her neighbors.  “Be merciful even as your Father in heaven is merciful.”  He asks the church to give of herself, to enter into her neighbors’ state for their well-being.  And the church gives of herself the only thing in her that is worth giving.  As the Body of Christ, she gives Christ to her neighbors.  She gives out the same mercy that she has received.  She gives the mercy that the heavenly Father poured out upon her through the sending of His Son.  And she does it through the preaching of the forgiveness of sins in Word and Deed, in Word and Sacrament.  For this is how the church lives—in the forgiveness of sins received in the means of grace—and, therefore, this is what the church does.  What else can she do?

And since this is how the church lives and what the church does, this is likewise how Christians live and what Christians do.  That is why giving to the church is so important. It ensures that the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins in Word and Deed continues.  It ensures that our neighbors’ state and well-being is cared for and attended to.  It ensures that our neighbors have access to our heavenly Father’s mercy just as we have received it here in time for all eternity.

Therefore, I say, let us be merciful even as our Father in heaven is merciful.

Celebrating February 2015

Birthdays

Charles Nottingham        2/3

Betty Bier                         2/4

Emily Field                      2/4

Ryan Hitch                       2/6

Cruz Kleiboeker               2/7

Toni Lueck                      2/7

Jennifer Parry                  2/7

Marvin Lester                  2/8

Justin McNeely                2/9

Herbert Renken               2/10

Mollie Hitch                     2/12

Nicole Galante                 2/17

Cassandra Fortney          2/17

Sandy Williams               2/17

Luanne Huth                    2/23

Jamie Nord                      2/28

Lucas Schempp              2/28

Elizabeth Vize                  2/28

 

Baptismal Birthdays

Cruz Kleiboeker               2/3

Cannon Kleiboker            2/3

Brian Hitch                       2/8

Nicholas Hitch                 2/8

Gregory McNeely            2/9

Tanner Hitch                    2/9

Matthew Culp                  2/14

Beth Mosier                     2/16

Robert Hanner                 2/17

Georgia Boriack              2/18

Kaitlin Culp                      2/20

Travis Henson                 2/23

Pastor’s Notes February 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What a blessing it is that we are going to celebrate 20 years as a chartered congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.  My family and I have been here for fifteen years of those twenty, and we are thankful for the Lord leading us to Good Shepherd.

One thing you know about our church’s short history is how God’s hand has led this congregation.  He has showered us with His love, grace, mercy, hope, and faithfulness.  We are the blessed recipients of His eternal work.  In our small groups, Bible studies, chatting over coffee and doughnuts or even when we are all together most of us are aware of the Lord and what He has done to get us to this place.  It is almost an unlimited list.  The actions of our Lord help to confirm what a small group of dedicated members envisioned years ago.  The signs are there and continue to be there.  Thanks be to God!

I would like to hear from you on this front.  During the months leading up to the Anniversary, which we will celebrate in July, I would like to include in the prayers on Sunday morning certain things you are thankful for from Good Shepherd’s history.  Please contact me through my e-mail:  revbci@yahoo.com or on my cell (838-0306).  As I compile a list we will lift them to the Lord for all His gracious work.

Another request:  We would like to invite former members of the congregation to this Anniversary Celebration.  We will be working on this in the church office, but we would like your help as well.  If you know the address of a former member or members who have moved away, please let the church office know.  As they come to me, I try to write them down, but if we work together, we have a better chance of not overlooking anyone.

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is our theme for the Anniversary.  The Lord has been faithful, and the gift of Christ our Savior gives us an eternal hope.  An Anniversary ties together the past, the present, and the future.  The one constant in all three is the love of Christ for each one of us.  Let’s celebrate that.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor

Elder/Usher Schedule February 2015

Date
8:30
Elder
10:30
Feb 1Charles Nottingham, Craig Culp, Joshua Parry, Paul GerikeMike FieldRyan Kleiboeker, Travis Henson
Feb 8Gerald Semelka, John HardyNathan KluenderGreg McNeely, Holden Lueck, Theron Noth
Feb 15Matthew Holland, Mike Field, Nathan Kluender, Steve DavisJohn HardyBud Kessler, Curt Kessler
Feb 18
Ash Wednesday
7PMJohn HardyBryan Reichert, Gene Fuller, Jeff Piper, Richard Ross
Feb 22Daryle Schempp, Steve ParryBarry HamlinBrian Dirks, Karson Lueck, Mike Huth
Feb 25
Lenten Mid Week
7PMBarry HamlinNo Ushers