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) In the summer of 2011, Vacation Bible School (VBS) was held in eight congregations in Ukraine. Nine had requested American assistance, but one had to be denied because the 25 volunteers weren’t enough to cover all nine. VBS is one of the primary goals of outreach in Ukraine. Volunteers are being recruited from among ELS and WELS college students to help for the upcoming Summer 2012 VBS session. Older volunteers are also welcome to assist. We are all urged to support the program financially to help offset the expenses of the volunteers. Anyone interested should contact Rev. Steve Petersen at Thoughts of Faith or at email@example.com. To read more about what it is like to serve in Ukraine, check out the October 2011 issue of Thoughts of Faith, found in the lobby at church or online at TOF.org. During January please pray for those preparing to teach and preach in this Gospel-starved country.
OUR NOVEMBER FRUITS OF FAITH Date Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Totals Averages
234 243 289 244 1,010 253
232 228 308 213 981 245
176 350 175
162 326 163
$6,618 5,460 5,754 4,857 $22,689 $5,672
$6,061 6,751 8,822 5,328 $26,962 $6,741
Abiding Shepherd Lutheran Church 406 W. Cottage Grove Road Cottage Grove, WI 53527 (608) 839-3770 Pastor Nathan Krause Vicar 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
Colton James Sampson was baptized on Sunday, November 27. We celebrate with his family as Colton is adopted into Godâ€™s Christian family.
Thanks to the great folks who decorated the church on Wednesday, December 14. Everything looks wonderful! Michael Ray Zellmer was baptized on Sunday, December 18. We thank God for His gracious gift of Holy Baptism!
Bill and Kathryn Banbury were received into membership on Sunday, December 18. Please stop and introduce yourself next time you see them at church! 3 - January 2012
FYI… (Pastor Krause) Spiritual information… But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Galatians 4:4-5. If you are anything like me, then as you read this you probably have that nagging question going through the back of your mind: “where did the time go?” It seems like we just changed our calendars to 2011 and now we are in the next year. Many theories exists among modern scientists as to why our perception of time changes as we get older. Some believe our perception of time changes because of the decreased exposure our brains have to new stimuli as we grow older. Our brains interpret this as time speeding up since there are less and less new experiences in our lives as we get older. One researcher even suggests a mathematical equation to prove this theory. It is called the Logarithmic Time Perception Hypothesis. You can spend hours on the internet reading abut this phenomenon, and it is all very interesting and lots of smart people with fancy degrees argue back and forth about this strange perception of the human brain. But it all still boils down to the fact that as I get older, time seems to fly by. Where did it go? As we prepare for a new year might I suggest that to truly appreciate every moment of each day God blesses us with, it might be good to try and see this from a different perspective. Time flies to us, but not to our eternal God. If you dare, spend a little time trying to truly comprehend the concept of eternity … no beginning … no end. We have a small window into that idea since we will live forever, but each of us had a beginning … conception … birth. But God, who invented time is not controlled by or subject to time. Here is another thing we may want to think about in 2012 (the year so many people fear might be the end of time) - reread the passage above from Galatians four. Having just celebrated our Lord’s birth it is good for us to The Lamb’s Pen - 4
remember He was not born a day too early nor a moment too late. He was born at the perfect time according to God the Father’s calendar. If God took such care of “watching the clock” when it came to the plan of our salvation, can any of us really imagine He won’t be totally in control of our days and minutes in the year to come?
Congregational information… At the December Coordination Team Meeting* your Team Leads…
Arranged to have informational packets ready by Sunday, January 15 for members to review as they prepare for the Annual Congregational Meeting on Sunday, January 22. Prepared a 2012 Budget, which includes a second called pastor. Included money in the 2012 Budget for printing an updated church directory, which will reflect the changes of our growing congregation. Finalized the Direction Mission Support Policy. The Coordination Team will solicit suggestions from the congregation and be ready to present up to four possibilities to support at the Annual Meeting for approval. Completed a Team re-structuring to enhance our present administrative structure (especially in light of the recommendation that will be offered at the annual meeting to add the second pastor). It will be presented at the Annual Meeting for approval. Finished a Building/Facility Use Policy to present at the Annual Meeting. Applauded Vicar’s plans to make use of enhanced media formats and other information sharing strategies. Made a commitment to update our constitution, handbook and publish our church policies in 2012. A goal was set to present each family of our congregation with a binder containing all of these items.
While we have no overwhelming challenges to face in this coming year, we do have plenty of opportunities to become involved in the activities of our congregation. As you receive more information about these opportunities, you may wonder where to find the time to be involved or help out. Remember who our God is, our eternal God. Like all that He gives us, He intends time to be a gift, not a burden. Pray to God we all make the best use of this gift in the year to come. *A copy of the complete minutes is available upon your request to Holly Freund, Administrative Assistant.
5 - January 2012
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT NEW YEAR’S ANYWAY? (Vicar Abrahamson) Have you ever wondered why people get so excited about celebrating the New Year? From December 31st to January 1st, it’s just another day. So what’s so special? Well, I wonder if it’s because celebrating the New Year causes us to do something that we rarely take time to do, stop and look around. At the end of the year we tend to look back over where we’ve been. We do things like read family Christmas letters and listen to “best of” countdowns on the radio. But we also look ahead. We make resolutions about what we’d like to accomplish during the next year and we look with excitement at what’s ahead. At this time of the year we tend to take some time to think about what God has brought us through and what He might have planned for us ahead. So in the spirit of New Year’s, I’ve decided to stop and take a look around as well and share a bit with you about what I see. 2011 was a monumental year for me. I became engaged in April. In May, I finished seminary classes. Then in July, I made the big move east to Wisconsin. With every day I’ve been here I’ve found more and more things that I love. From worship, to the fellowship activities, to small group, to FEN, to E.P.I.C., and most recently to Christmas for Kids and Christmas worship, I absolutely love it! By the way, even though there are still a few months left in my vicarage, I’m pretty sure giving devotions and helping with the singing at Christmas for Kids will go down as one of the highlights of the year. It’s just so fun to see all those kids learning about the true meaning of Christmas! When I stop and look around at this last year, it really has been amazing! As I look ahead to what the next year has in store, I can’t help but be excited. With every sermon I give, confirmation class I teach, or small group I facilitate, I see myself getting more and more comfortable and I expect that to continue. E.P.I.C. is off to such an exciting start and has so much potential to grow! And of course, I’m thrilled to be getting married in May! After looking back over this last year and thinking ahead to the next, I guess I definitely can see what is so special about New Year’s after all! Happy New Year! The Lamb’s Pen - 6
E.P.I.C. YOUTH MINISTRY (Vicar Abrahamson) “Man, what are we gonna do on Sunday nights?” One of the youth asked this question at the last E.P.I.C. before our three week Christmas break. I assured him that he shouldn't have too much trouble finding something to do considering one of those Sundays is Christmas and the other is New Year’s Day. He didn’t seem too convinced. As I laughed about the question afterwards, I realized what a great testament that is to how far E.P.I.C. Youth Ministry has come. In just over three months E.P.I.C. has become a Sunday night staple for many of the youth in our church. Each week they’re developing stronger relationships with God and each other and are having an absolute blast doing it! If you know of any 7th - 12th grade youth who haven’t had a chance to check out E.P.I.C. yet, let them know that they’re always welcome. If you know of any youth who can’t wait for E.P.I.C. to start back up, let them know we’ll be back on January 8! With a couple great months of E.P.I.C. under our belts and with Christmas around the corner, we figured that we needed to celebrate. So on December 11, we celebrated the season in style with an Ugly Sweater Christmas party! The party was held at the Hinstorff house and included a short faith discussion, white elephant gift exchange, various games, Christmas goodies and a prize for the ugliest sweater. Thank you Floccas for letting us use your van and thank you Hinstorffs for your hospitality and bravery in having fourteen teenagers over to your house! If you look at the January calendar, you’ll notice that there is no E.P.I.C. scheduled for the 25. That is because we are hoping that all the E.P.I.C. Youth will be able to join us for the annual ski trip! Looking ahead, the date and location for the youth retreat are now set: March 16 - 18 at Camp Phillip near Wautoma! The retreat will be for E.P.I.C. youth, their friends, and youth from several other churches as well! It’ll be a great opportunity to get to know other E.P.I.C. youth better, meet some youth from other churches, and get over the cabin fever I’m sure we’ll all be feeling. So mark your calendars and watch your worship folders, e-newsletters and facebook.com/epicyouthwi for more information coming soon! 7 - January 2012
GIVING FROM THE HEART (Holly Freund) This summer an appeal was made to the congregation to help a local family in need. Your response was phenomenal! After helping that family with their housing needs, the Coordination Team chose to put the remaining money (almost $800) into a newly designated “Benevolence Fund”. In November, we again had the opportunity to show Christ’s love when another urgent family situation was brought to our attention through the school system. This December, $336 was sent to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod to support two orphans in India - for an entire year! Thank you for your incredible generosity. If you would care to contribute to this fund at any time, please indicate on the envelope or the notation line of your check that your gift is for the “Benevolence Fund”.
This fall our congregation was challenged with a request to support the outreach program “Faith Comes by Hearing”. For $25 this organization will send an MP3 disc and player "BibleStick" to military personnel serving overseas. Your generosity, while not surprising, is still remarkable. A $1,855.00 check was sent to this worthy ministry. Praise God! And finally, we were asked to express our faith by volunteering to help “Kids Around the World”. Almost 20 people from Abiding Shepherd joined in the effort to assemble, package and box 100,000 nutritious meals to be sent overseas. These folks gave of their time to benefit others - even in the midst of preparing for their family’s Christmas! The Lamb’s Pen - 8
DIRECT MISSION SUPPORT POLICY In 2012, the recently approved Direct Mission Support Policy will be implemented. The purpose of the Direct Mission Support, as outlined in the policy, is: “to direct ASLC’s efforts in providing ministry and mission support to those in need outside the walls of Abiding Shepherd.” The Outreach Team is currently seeking input from members as to mission choices our congregation might directly support. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please give them to Holly Freund by Monday, January 9, 2012. The Coordination Team will then present as many as four thoroughly vetted possibilities for the congregation’s approval during the Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 22.
SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDY (Eileen Karow) Small Group Bible Study isn’t that ‘small in number’ this year. We are blessed to have five different groups with almost seventy people studying the book of Daniel. Each group meets once a month to study more deeply the place, time and people in history, the type of leader Daniel was in a foreign land and the purpose for God’s inerrant word given to Daniel to be recorded. We are very blessed to have Pastor Krause search the word of God and refer to the original languages in which it was written, as he writes the Bible lessons for our study of Daniel. Our facilitators and group meeting times are as follows: Vicar Abrahamson 6:30 pm second Tuesday of the month at church Pastor Krause 6:30 pm second Tuesday of the month at church Pastor Krause 6:30 pm various Thursdays of the month in Lake Mills - with meal Hecht/Cleven 5:30 pm fourth Sunday of the month at church - with meal and childcare Siegmann/Rude 8:00 am fourth Tuesday of the month at church Come and enjoy the fellowship - learn and grow with others. It’s not too late to join one of the groups to learn more about God’s servant, the prophet Daniel. Printed lessons are available on the table in the lobby. 9 - January 2012
SKI/SNOWBOARDING OUTING (Shawna Jobke)
Tyrol Basin, Sunday, January 29, 3:30 - 9:00 pm Lift ticket and food are provided by Abiding Shepherd. Ski and/or snowboard rentals are paid for by individuals ($8.00). Free lessons are available for those that need/ want them (just specify if you want a lesson and whether for skiing or snowboarding). Please sign up on the bulletin board so enough food can be prepared and enough lift tickets can be purchased. Rental Forms for skis and snowboards are on the bulletin board in the church lobby. NOTE: Everyone must fill out a Rental Form as the Release of Liability Waiver MUST BE SIGNED BY A PARENT of all those under 18 years of age. Please complete and hand in your Rental Forms to Holly Freund no later than 10:00 am on Sunday, January 29.
EUCHRE NIGHT AT ABIDING SHEPHERD (Sue O’Kroley) Friday, January 20, 6:30 pm You do NOT need to be an experienced player! You do NOT need a partner to come - many singles play. You do NOT need to commit to a full season of cards -
come when you can. You DO need to be willing to have some fun!
Most folks bring a snack to share. If you would like to join or find out more, please contact Sue at 332-3622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NEW AND EXCITING THINGS FOR 2012 (Shawna Jobke) Taste of Madison Dinner Tour Each month we will be picking a new restaurant and making group reservations. Everyone is invited and encouraged to join in on the fun. We will be dining at 4:00 pm on the second Saturday of every month with the exception of January and July. In January and July we will be participating in the “Madison Restaurant Week” and eating at a more elaborate restaurant at minimal cost. Some of the restaurants we will be visiting are: January 27 (Madison Restaurant Week) Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse http://www.ruthschris.com/ Meet at the restaurant at 6:00 pm February 11 – The Bayou March 10 – BonFyre American Grille April 14 – Eldorado Grille May 12 – The Weary Traveler June 9 – Jolly Bobs July (Madison Restaurant Week) – Samba
Slow Cooker Sensations & Something Sweet Club Tuesday, January 24, 6:00 pm On the third Tuesday of every month we will be having a recipe exchange/tasting party. Each participant will be asked to bring a dish of their choice along with enough recipes to pass out to the group. We will be kicking off this event at Shawna Jobke’s home on Tuesday, January 24 and then at Leslie Wren’s on Tuesday, February 21. We are looking for volunteers to host (host/hostess is asked to provide beverages and does not have to cook) for other months.
Abiding Shepherd Kickball League A sign-up sheet will be posted to determine if there is enough interest at Abiding Shepherd to form a team to join an Adult Kickball League in Madison beginning this Summer. 11 - January 2012
BLESSED... (Claire Doelger) That is the word to describe Christmas for Kids 2011. Church was literally jumping with Christmas joy on Saturday mornings in December. Every inch of our facility was in full use as the kids from church and the community BLESSED our halls this year. Lakeside and Luther Prep, E.P.I.C. and our many adults BLESSED us with enough help to keep everyone safe and sound. Thank you! Special thanks to those who coordinated the crafts, costumes, scheduling and the finale play. We are BLESSED to have such willing hands to help run our well-oiled chaos. Over the past ten years, we continue to find ways to make things better and run more smoothly. Next year will be our best year yet with new ideas and organization! Once again, as I took registration calls from our attendees, I saw what a BLESSING we are to many families during the CHRISTmas season. It is with thankful hearts that families send their two through eleven year olds to Abiding Shepherd to learn the real meaning of Christmas. More than ever, families were inviting their friends to come with them. Families shared how they were invited while at sports events, etc. So, thank you Abiding Shepherd for the treats, behind-the-scenes help and being here with willing hearts. Many hands make insanity fun! Thank you to our youth - you are a BLESSING to our church. As E.P.I.C. helped in so many ways, you send a message about the importance of youth in our congregation. From what I heard, you had fun! I also want to thank our youth who participated in Christmas for Kids. You are
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very important to our outreach program as you invite your friends and have fun side-by-side with others from our community. Your neighbors, friends and classmates may become fellow children of God because they celebrated Christmas with you at Christmas for Kids. We are BLESSED that God sent His Son as a child to redeem us all. Our Sunday Finale Program was BLESSED with 70 kids and 190 attending. Our guests were treated to familiar Christmas for Kids songs like HoHoHo Hosanna and a new song with Vicar, B-I-B-L-E, sung to an upbeat B-I-N-G-O tune. Even the Chicken Dance Christmas was repeated this year. Any song can be made into a Jesus Christmas song ď Š. So as the Christmas ceramics, videos, books, crafts and songs are packed into the C4K closet, I pray we have once again imprinted the message of Christâ€™s birth into new hearts all year long.
13 - January 2012
FINANCIAL REPORT (Bob Mickelson) Restricted Fund Balances – The Debt Service Fund balance at the end of November was $106,611. This fund increased during the month from contributions of $175 and interest income of $365. The Christian Education Fund balance at the end of November was $8,455. This fund increased during the month from contributions of $100. The Benevolence Fund balance at the end of November was $214. This fund increased during the month from contributions of $1,855. Disbursements from this fund during the month included: $1,855 to provide Bible Sticks for U.S. military personnel; $150 for an individual in need; and $336 to sponsor two orphans for one year in our Synod’s mission in India. Monthly Report on Financial Condition – The intent of the following condensed financial comparison report is to simply let you know how we as a congregation are doing with our offerings compared to the previous year and how we are doing meeting the “bottom line” planned (budgeted) income and expenses for the year. This financial comparison is not intended to motivate the giving level of our members. For the Eleventh-Month Period Ended November 30, 2011 2011 2010 Increase (Decrease) % Increase (Decrease) Actual Offerings $260,683 $256,612 $4,070 1.6% Budget Income in Excess of Expenses $37,680
OFFERING ENVELOPES Offering envelopes for 2012 were recently placed in your church mailboxes. We ask that you toss any 2011 envelopes you may have left and only use the new ones. Any remaining Building Fund envelopes (in the front of the box with the red stripe on the top) can be saved and used year after year. Thank you! The Lamb’s Pen - 14
HOSPITALITY HAPPENINGS (Holly Freund) Do you enjoy the treats and friendly smiles that greet you each Sunday morning? Look forward to a hot cup of coffee before or after the worship service? We thank the following members who faithfully prepare the tempting, tasty treats for Sunday mornings and Monday nights: Matt Banbury, Kristi Benson, Kristen Blotz, Sue Chamberlain, Mary Finger, Mary Jo Flocca, Mary Lou Herbst, Shawna Jobke, Karen Juve, Eileen Karow, Carol Krentz, Renee Kycek, Kristin Maier, Jane Marty, Ruthann Mickelson, Tammy Niedfeldt, Carol Osmer, Kathy Pohlman, Michelle Reamer, Linda Reason, Cathy Riley, Roger Rude, Kelly Sampson, Alyssa Scharrer, Vicki Schumacher, Rachel Scott, Lynne Speidel, Ed and Leslie Wren and Stacy Zank. As Abiding Shepherd continues to grow, we are faced with a wonderful problem - the need for more and more treats! To avoid over-tasking the teams, the staff developed a “Hospitality Policy” to offer structure and support to the servers. The hope is that these changes will provide each team some needed relief as well as a means to manage our budget wisely. The most notable changes include: 1. Each week the following will be provide: Beverages (servers may be asked to prepare juice from concentrate). Sliced cheese and sausage (servers may be asked to arrange on platters). Crackers. Frozen treats to supplement items brought by team members. 2. All Sunday treats charged on behalf of the church (at Piggly Wiggly or as a reimbursement to individuals) will only be made by someone appointed by the church. If anyone (male or female) feels led to care for others through this hospitality ministry, you are encouraged to: Join a serving team (if you would like to be added to one of the serving teams). Bake for the freezer (if you enjoy baking but your schedule or other limitations make committing to a team impractical). Be a kitchen assistant (if you would like to lend a hand Sunday mornings but baking isn’t your thing). Please contact Holly Freund if you would like to help.
15 - January 2012
MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY IN 2012 Please send, email or drop off updated photos of your family. We can scan any picture and return the original to you. An updated Membership Directory will be reprinted in early 2012 and we hope to have current pictures of you all! Please take a moment to review your family’s information in the “proof” of the upcoming directory located on the music stand in the church lobby.
ANNUAL MEETING AND POTLUCK LUNCHEON Sunday, January 22, Noon Please plan to attend the Annual Congregational Meeting as we look to the future of Abiding Shepherd. A potluck luncheon will be served after the second service, followed by the meeting. The NFC Championship Game is that day, but it is usually scheduled later in the afternoon. Please sign up on the bulletin board at church if you will be attending. An agenda, proposed 2012 budget and other materials will be available for your review on Sunday, January 15.
REMEMBERING OUR COLLEGE STUDENTS This is one of several thank you notes we received this week… Thank you so much for the care package! That was a very nice surprise and I really appreciate it! Thank you for thinking of me. Happy Holidays! Nicole Hildebrandt Each year Abiding Shepherd sends out "care packages" to all of our college students. This year we reached out to: John & Catherine Cleven, Emily Erdmann, Tony & Chelsea Finger, Alex Hein, Nicole Hildebrandt, Kyle & Brooke Hinstorff, Ellen Karow, Levi & Isaiah Krause, James O'Kroley, Monica Sletten and Sam Siegmann. Thanks to Ruthann Mickelson for purchasing, packing and mailing the goodies! The Lamb’s Pen - 16