The Lamb’s Pen A monthly publication of Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church
“BRING them in...LIFT them up...SEND them out”
MISSION UPDATE (Ruthann Mickelson) What a blessing our Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary is! In the last few years we at Abiding Shepherd have been blessed with two outstanding vicars and now have been further blessed by adding Pastor Abrahamson as our second full-time “Shepherd”. This coming fall semester, six first-year students will be entering the seminary. These young men are all Bethany Lutheran College graduates and have a great desire to serve the Lord. They need our prayers and our financial support to help them as they begin four years of preparation for the public ministry. If you have any questions about Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, Pastor Abrahamson would be more than happy to answer them. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church 406 W. Cottage Grove Road Cottage Grove, WI 53527 (608) 839-3770 Pastor Nathan Krause Pastor Nathanael Abrahamson
“When you have THE SHEPHERD… ...you have everything you need.” The Lamb’s Pen - 2
Visit our website at www.AbidingShepherd.org
NEWS AND EVENTS
Bob, Dana and Adele Welling recently joined our Abiding Shepherd family. Please stop and introduce yourself the next time you see them at church!
Mike and Cindy (Bride) Anton were married on June 23. Congratulations and God’s blessings to the happy couple. The flower girl is Mike’s daughter, Isabella.
On Sunday, July 1 we witnessed the Ordination and Installation of Pastor Abrahamson and celebrated with a reception immediately following the special afternoon service.
The annual church picnic, held Sunday, July 15, was great fun. Several brave souls even tried the “zip” line!
3 - August 2012
FYI… (Pastor Krause) Spiritual information… Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2). A question that often comes up in spiritual conversations is… “Pastor, how do I know what God’s will is for my life?” It’s a good question. I often remind people that Scripture first answers this question in a general way (the Ten Commandments, encouragements for Christian sanctification, etc.). But specific direction for our individual lives requires a little more research, especially since each answer is different for our individual lives. So how do I (or you) find out this information from our God? Of course there are a few very obvious ways to discover God’s will for our individual lives. Since God’s will is revealed to us in His Word, when contemplating what God would have us do in this life the best place to begin is with a study of Scripture. The more we understand the purpose for which God created us, and why He so lovingly chose to save us, the better we understand how we ought to live in this present age doing what God wants, that is, doing what God wills for our lives. Another often overlooked but Godly resource for knowing His will is to ask Him. When contemplating a decision, when trying to choose a path for life, when unsure about what or how to approach certain situations, the best way to begin to find answers is to ask God. As our loving Father He has not only invited us to pray often, but He has promised to hear and answer every single one of our prayers. Often we are “lost” when it comes to God’s will because we forgot to speak to Him about it. Another helpful resource that God has provided to us is the encouragement, counsel and advice of Godly people. Even great men like Moses, David and Peter sought advice from God through conversations with The Lamb’s Pen - 4
other wise believers. Because there is a human element involved we must weigh everything we learn through others against God’s Word, but those who have much life experience guided by God can also help to guide us. There is one more avenue where we can begin to better understand what God’s specific will is for our lives - worship. Worship is seldom portrayed as a means whereby God guides us in life, especially since worship is, in most ways, a service of praise we bring to God. But in Paul’s opening remarks in Romans 12 the Holy Spirit reveals a benefit of worship that we may not yet have fully realized. When our hearts and heads (and our whole bodies) are “tuned” to God as we worship, it does something to us. Being “in God’s presence” through worship gets us more on the same page with God. Focusing more on God and less on ourselves, as we worship, we become more precise in our judgment about how the world tries to influence us and what is Godly influence in our lives. Even though worship is an act of faith we offer to God, leave it to our gracious God to give us something right back Himself, and the ability to test and approve His good and perfect will. So, if you feel as if you are floundering in your life, unsure what God would have you do, search His Word, speak to Him in prayer, but be sure to stop what you are doing and worship, wherever you may be. Be a living sacrifice for Him. What else could we be since He sacrificed everything for us. To better help us in our worship Pastor Abrahamson and I have now begun our project of answering some of the worship questions that were asked during our June Trinity series - ”Praise the Lord.” Look for answers to your questions in upcoming monthly newsletters. The first question and response can be found on page 11 of this newsletter. Some answers will also be posted on-line or via link to longer answers.
Congregational information… At the July 8 Congregation Meeting… 1. Tom Reason reviewed an updated Constitution, explaining necessary changes to address concerns presented to the Coordination Team by Attorney Thomas Heyn as well as those that reflect recent changes in our administrative structure. The finalized Constitution was approved by consensus. 2. Motion passed to allow $15,000 of Pastor Abrahamson’s total compensation package for the second half of 2012 be designated a “housing allowance” in compliance with current Federal tax law. 5 - August 2012
DIRECT MINISTRY AND MISSION SUPPORT The focus of our third quarter (July through September) Direct Ministry and Mission Support program is Friends of China (F.O.C.). This program sends American workers to China to teach English as a second language. Of greatest importance to these teachers, however, is the work they do throughout the community after the English classes are done. At great risk to themselves, they are reaching out to the Chinese people with the Gospel message of Christ. In a recent email to Abiding Shepherd, one of the teachers (Micah Ricke, above) informed us that to ensure his safety, we should always use “code words” (like Gxspl, Jxsxs, mxnxstry) in emails to him. He also asked that we not publicize our current support efforts for Friends of China on our website or the Internet for fear word might reach those powers hostile to Christianity. Please consider how you might support this program with a gift over and above your regular offerings. Gifts up to $500 per month will be matched by an anonymous donor. Please use the special envelopes located on the table in the lobby for your donations.
RUMMAGE AND BAKE SALE Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4 Final call! Bring items (please, no old TVs, bed frames, mattresses, microwaves or computer monitors.) to church after worship services Monday, July 30 through Thursday, August 2. Last year we made over $2,000, with proceeds benefitting Christian education and missions. Along with rummage sale items, we encourage members to prepare baked goods. They are a big hit with many of our visitors (and members!), who enjoy home-baked goodies. Please speak to Tammy Niedfeldt or Michelle Priebusch (co-coordinators) if you have questions. The Lamb’s Pen - 6
E.P.I.C. YOUTH MINISTRY (Pastor Abrahamson) Can you believe we’re entering the last month of summer already? Wow! As you know, E.P.I.C. started the summer seeing if meeting on Wednesday nights would work out. We discovered that Sunday is really the best night for us year round. In July we went back to Sunday nights and had an absolutely E.P.I.C. month! One change that we made in June that we stuck with in July was that instead of meeting at 6:30 pm, we are now meeting a half hour earlier at 6:00 pm. We were just having too much fun to fit it all into two hours! August will be another month of E.P.I.C. summer Sunday nights! We’ll continue with more summer fun as well as our summer faith discussion series, “Words of Wisdom,” a laidback discussion of some of our favorite verses from Proverbs. For the most part we’ll continue meeting on Sunday nights at 6:00 pm but with a couple of twists. E.P.I.C. will not meet as a group at church on Sunday, August 5 or Sunday, August 19. Youth are encouraged to take part in two great family events scheduled for those evenings. On Sunday, August 5, families get together at Warner Park at 3:30 pm to tailgate and then watch the Madison Mallards take on the Lakeshore Chinooks. On Sunday, August 19, E.P.I.C. will take part in the racing night sponsored by our Men’s Ministry at Angell Park. Meet at church at 4:00 pm for a tailgate party and then ride to the track from there. (Complete details of both events are given on page 10) We’re also finalizing plans for an end-of-the-summer bash. Watch the weekly worship folders, our Facebook page (facebook.com/epicyouthwi) and the church website for all the information as it comes out! Oh, and just a quick reminder… Youth who will be in 7th grade in the fall are eligible to attend E.P.I.C. so clear your Sunday nights and make your way to church! 7 - August 2012
GROUP COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP Tuesday, August 21, Light Supper at 5:30 pm, Worship at 6:00 pm (Eileen Karow, Small Group Coordinator) Come to a workshop for enriching your communication skills and making them more effective! The primary goal of this workshop is to help those facilitating and participating in our Small Group Bible studies here at Abiding Shepherd. In addition to that, the content of this workshop has broad application to many spheres of life and we wanted to open it up to everyone who would like to grow in their small group communication skills. Sample topics: Listening skills, reflection and feedback, creating trust and openness in discussions, how to increase understanding of the material and more! Possible applications: Engaging in meaningful discussions toward sharing Jesus Strengthening marital/family relations Business uses (interviewing skills, presentations, etc.) Learning to be "other centered" when communicating with people Watch for a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board. Contact Pastors Krause or Abrahamson, Brian Cleven or Lisa Hecht for more info.
SMALL GROUP STUDY BEGINS IN SEPTEMBER! Starting in September, our Small Group Bible Study will look at the Gospel of Mark. There will be several options for days, times and locations so members can find a group that fits their schedule. Please consider joining a small group and learn more about Jesus, the fulfillment of God the Father’s plan of salvation. We’d love to have you join! What a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with each other and grow deeper in God’s word. You are invited to sign up on the sheets that will soon be posted at church and online. The Lamb’s Pen - 8
WOMEN’S MINISTRY W.I.N.G.S (Women in God’s Service) has really taken off! In June, women got together for a Ladies’ Night Out. A morning women’s Bible study was also started in June. ALL women are invited to stop by church at 10:00 am any Wednesday morning they’re free. This casual discussion group tackles such topics as... 1. The desire to be in control 2. The “blame game” 3. Trying to cover your sin with your own fig leaves 4. Expectations and realities of marriage Look for upcoming details about an evening women’s Bible study, a prayer shawl ministry and Advent by Candlelight.
MEN’S MINISTRY Warriors for Christ (the men’s ministry) also keeps their calendar filled with a variety of activities like a recent wild game feed and an afternoon trap shooting event. In August, the men’s group will sponsor an evening of racing for the whole family at the Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie (see page 10 for complete details). Thanks guys! Men - have you stopped by the church to check out a weekly Foxhole Meeting yet? The coffee’s on every Wednesday at 7:00 am as men stop for a mid-week recharge. Current discussions revolve around Christians living in a hostile society.
9 - August 2012
UPCOMING EVENTS!! MALLARDS GAME, Sunday, August 5 Tailgate at 3:30 pm, Game at 5:05 pm( Shawna Jobke) This annual event draws a big crowd. We’ve already ordered the tickets. The church provides the food and tickets, all you have to do is come and enjoy an afternoon of fellowship and baseball.
A FREE CONCERT, Tuesday, August 14, 6:30 pm (Dave Schumacher) The Steeplechase Brass (a group that has provided music for a few Abiding Shepherd worship services) will present a free concert open to the community on Tuesday, August 14 at 6;30 pm. Weather permitting, the concert will be held outdoors on the church property. The band will play a wide variety of music (pop, classical, oldies, jazz, TV and movie themes and much more). Bring the family, friends and a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy some good fellowship and music.
RACING NIGHT, Sunday, August 19 (Ed Wren and Phil Anderson) Tailgate at 4:00 pm, Time Trials at 6:00 pm, Racing at 7:00 pm Warriors for Christ (the Men’s Group) is sponsoring a racing night at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie. This is a BIG evening for racing fans as the USAC National Midgets, POWRI Midgets, BADGER Midgets, BADGER Mini Sprints and Wisconsin Dirt Legends will all be there. Tickets are $20 with each person asked to pay $10. Tailgate supper (provided by the Photo courtesy of Roger Hamilton. church) will be served in the Abiding Shepherd parking lot and then folks can travel to Sun Prairie. Registration deadline for reduced-cost tickets is August 1! The Lamb’s Pen - 10
ROOKIES, Sunday, August 26, 3:00 - 5:00 pm (Shawna Jobke) Wiffle ball and tacos? That’s the plan for this FREE family fun event. Take the beautiful drive to Mazomanie for a pick-up game of Wiffle Ball at Rookies on their “Authentic Regulation Wiffle Ball Field”. After a game or two, we’ll enjoy a full Taco Bar supper in the restaurant.
DINNER TOUR (Shawna Jobke) In August we will take a break in our tour of local restaurants. Please enjoy these last few weeks of summer with your family. Look for a sign-up sheet in early September as plans have been made to visit the Essen Haus in Madison for some great German food on Saturday, September 15.
SUNDAY SCHOOL PICNIC, Sunday, September 9 (Shawna Jobke) To celebrate the start of Sunday School, as well as many of the other Christian education programs, a fall picnic has been planned. Chef Ed has offered to prepare a pig roast!
Worship Questions... (Krause) Pastor Abrahamson and I spilt up the worship questions raised during our June study (I got the hard ones - I’m kidding). I wanted to start on my half with an easy one… Question: “Amen” - why do some churches say it during the service/sermon and we don’t? Answer: it mostly has to do with habits and how we were trained to worship. The Lutheran liturgy is pretty formal and does not leave room for spontaneous reactions to what is heard. Rather we are trained to respond in set ways and places throughout the service. In other denominations, where worship is less formal, it is easier and more natural to shout out an “amen brother!” Since “amen” is the Hebrew word for truth, the response is simply an agreement with what was just said. We have many “amens” throughout our service, just not spontaneously spoken. One more thing… the less formal worship services often go 2 or 3 hours long so a lot of spontaneous response never becomes an issue. But for Lutherans who are trained to worship for one hour (and not a minute more), anything that lengthens the service (even a heart-felt amen) can add to the service time - most people just don’t like that. (More answers next month!) 11 - August 2012
You are invited to worship with us at Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church, 406 W Cottage Grove Road, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin Sundays at 9 or 1...