GOODNEWSletter Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church 264 Evergreen Rd., North Fort Myers, FL 33903 239-995-0988 FEBRUARY 2009 A name is important. Think about all the ways your name lends credibility and authority to something. When you sign a check with your name, that little piece of paper all of a sudden becomes a voucher for a financial transaction. When you sign loan papers or a mortgage, your name binds you to a long‐term contract. When you sign your name to a letter, you’re putting your own stamp of personal approval on the words of that message. I suppose the world of email and telephone has reduced the importance of seeing one’s name on something. But then again, maybe we realize it more than ever. Now it seems easier than ever for someone to take our name and misuse it. We call it identity theft when someone uses our good name to do all sorts of dishonest things. In the second commandment God says, “Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” Of course, the prohibition here is, “Don’t use God’s name in a way that dishonors him.” Don’t use God’s name to curse something to hell. Don’t use God’s name to swear to a lie. Don’t use God’s name as nothing more than an interjection in your conversation. These are some of the things we learn about using God’s name from the second commandment. But, like with so many of the commandments, we gain some positive encouragement too. There’s a flip side to the coin. If we’re not going to misuse God’s name, then we surely can use it properly. But how? Perhaps the best way we can use God’s name to his glory is by doing what Martin Luther encouraged in the catechism. “Call upon God in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” So, when do you pray? Often we use prayer kind of like a car jack. You usually put it to use in emergencies only, when you’re stranded on the side of the road. Sure, praying to God in times of trouble is a wonderful use of prayer. But there’s much more to it than just that. Prayer is a tool Christians can use at all times. About to start a difficult task? Ask God to bless your efforts. About to bring up the topic of religion with a coworker? Ask God to open your friend’s heart. About to fall victim to the devil’s temptation? Stop and say the Lord’s Prayer and you can bet the devil’s temptation will fade. Amazed at the wonderful things happening in your life? Thank and praise God in prayer. Feeling ashamed because of your sins? Ask God to forgive you. In the end, the second commandment is more than a prohibition against sin, it’s an encouragement to use God’s name in prayer. Call upon his name. Ask him to bless you in Jesus’ name. Hold God to his promises for Jesus’ sake. When you do this, you’ll find God’s name will be a blessing in your life.
Many Blessings, Pastor Daniel Burgess
The Liturgical Year Throughout the next 10 months we will be highlighting the Church Year (also called the liturgical year). During this series you may discover something you had not known before about what we do as a church and why we do it that way. The Season of Epiphany This season extends from January 6 through Transfiguration Sunday, the climactic conclusion of this part of the church year. Some might argue that the Sundays after Epiphany are not really a church season at all, but just sort of a "buffer" between Christmas and Lent. Some even refer to these weeks, with their green paraments, as "ordinary time" as though they are nothing special. But that's not what the church word "ordinary" means. It comes from one of the Latin words for number, to indicate that instead of having names, these Sundays are simply assigned numbers ("the third Sunday after the Epiphany"). The same is done with the "green Sundays" in the long Pentecost season. It seems to me that names ought to be given to these Sundays (more useful than mere numbers), probably names derived from the Gospel reading for each Sunday. If Christmastide presented the Son of God as a human infant, and then as a growing child, the readings for Epiphany seem to ask the question, "But who is this really?" The very first Sunday after Epiphany presents God's own answer. At the Baptism of Jesus, the voice of God from heaven declares Jesus to be "my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." With the authority of God, Jesus begins to call disciples, and to teach them and train them. His role as prophet shows up frequently in the Epiphany Gospel readings. Miracles, when they occur, reveal Jesus as one who cares about people's problemsâ€” whether those problems be something like running out of wine at a wedding or serious, even crippling or life-threatening illnessâ€”and is able to do something to deal with those problems. The final Sunday in the Epiphany season celebrates the Transfiguration of our Lord, when Jesus leads his three closest disciples up a
mountain, where they see him shining with brilliant light. As the Epiphany season had begun with the voice of God from heaven at Jesus' baptism, proclaiming Jesus to be God's beloved Son, so the season ends with that voice again, with the very same message. If the Christmas season ended by making us wonder, "Who is the baby really? And what is he going to become?" the time of Epiphany offers a shining response: "This is the Son of God, who speaks God's good Word and does God's wonderful deeds." The wise men had it right: This is the One who deserves to be worshiped! Transfiguration The last Sunday after the Epiphany celebrates Jesus' last epiphany in this season and calls for our last "alleluias" until the resurrection of our Lord on Easter. Ash Wednesday The name is taken from the custom of putting ashes on the forehead on this first day of Lent (This year it is February 25th), as a reminder of our need for repentance. The date of Ash Wednesday depends on the date of Easter, because it always falls forty-six days before Easter. There are forty days in Lent, while the six Sundays are not counted as part of the Lenten season. The ashes used are the powdered ashes of the burnt palms of the previous year's Palm Sunday. Remember man That dust thou art And unto dust shalt thou return Ashes may signify man's overthrow by time. Our own swift passage, ours and not someone else's, ours, mine. When at the beginning of Lent the priest takes the burnt residue of the green branches of the last Palm Sunday and inscribes with it on my forehead the sign of the cross, it is to remind me of my death. Everything turns to ashes, everything whatever. (Romano Guardini)
30 Days in the Psalms Day
Blessing Psalms 67, 72, 84, 128 Calling to God Psalms 4, 5, 22 Confidence Psalms 27, 36, 71, 125 Deeds of God Psalms 9, 18, 118 Doubt Psalms 42, 73, 77 Faithfulness of God Psalms 105, 119: 137-144, 146 7 Fear Psalms 37, 49, 91 8 Glory of God Psalms 19, 24, 29 9 God Is a Helper Psalms 54, 115, 119:169-176 10 Identity Psalms 8, 139 11 Justice of God Psalms 7, 26, 82 12 Meditation Psalms 119:9-16, 41-48 13 Mercy Psalms 13, 28, 86 14 Music Psalms 6, 149, 150 15 Nature Psalms 50, 104, 147, 148 16 Peace Psalms 23, 133, 119:161-168 17 Power of God Psalms 68, 93, 135 18 Praise Psalms, 65, 98, 138 19 Prayer Psalms 17, 20, 102 20 Protection Psalms 59, 62, 124 21 Safety in God Psalms 11, 16, 142, 46 22 Rejoicing Psalms 30, 47, 97 23 Righteousness Psalms 1, 15, 112 24 Salvation Psalms 3, 14, 121 25 Sin and Repentance Psalms 25, 32, 38, 51 26 Thanksgiving Psalms 75, 106, 136 27 Trust Psalms 31, 40, 56 28 Victory Psalms 21, 76, 144 29 Wisdom Psalms 90, 107, 111 30 Worship Psalms 33, 34, 145
Craig and Susan Halverson
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Birthdays and Anniversaries Feb. 3
Happy Birthday: Fran Kelbert Tom Visaggio Jim Francis Janice Sanlor Jeanette Swanguarin Ron Bradley Georgia Edwards Eileen Scheid Katie Visaggio Dorothy Fackler James Reilly Anna Myer Dave Schield Gloria Bublitz Laya Glover Jessica Opper Jessica Reynaga Shannon Stratton Richard Dettmann Jean Johnson
Feb. 1 Feb. 1 Feb. 2 Feb. 3 Feb. 3 Feb. 4 Feb. 4 Feb. 4 Feb. 4 Feb. 6 Feb. 10 Feb. 10 Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Feb. 21 Feb. 22 Feb. 22 Feb. 24 Feb. 27
LWMS Spring Rally March 14 (Saturday) will be the next Lutheran Women's Missionary Society Rally. It will be held here at Bethany. We are having an informational/planning meeting on Wednesday, February 4th at 10 am. All are invited to attend and participate: men and women!
February Bonfire and Movie Night Friday, February 27 will feature our next movie night. Come and enjoy great fellowship around a roaring bonfire and treat the family to a free night of entertainment with a free, family-friendly movie shown on the back of the church building. Marshmallows to roast will be available along with hot chocolate and apple cider. The bonfires will be lit at 6:30 PM and the movie will start at 7:00 PM. If you have an interest in helping to set-up and run the Movie Night, please speak with pastor. Since the January Movie Nite was cancelled due to weather, we will be watching the movie that was scheduled for last month: Ratatouille.
Genesis Bible Study Every second and fourth Monday of the month we will continue our study of the entire Bible. We are currently in the Book of Genesis. This month we will meet on Mondays, January 12 and 26. The classes are available at 2 different times: 1:30 PM and 7:00 PM. Even if you have not attended before, you can jump in anytime! Join us for some quality discussion and an overview of the Book of Genesis! We take a chapter each class.
Wednesday Worship Our regular Wednesday worship services continue every Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM. These are easy-to-follow services which precede the Sunday serviceâ€”same readings and theme. Come and check it out!
Guest Preacher We will welcome Pastor Dave Liggett from Christian Giving Ministries on February 8th. He will be here to give the WELS Annual Report Presentation during Bible Study and will be presenting on the Year of Jubilee during the worship service.
Free Lunch and Bible Study One day a week we will offer a free lunch to anyone who walks in. The lunch will be offered only one day a week for one hour. Those who come to the lunch are expected to stay for a Bible study led by Pastor. This is geared to help the homeless and the hard-up people in our immediate community. We will need several volunteers throughout the week to make this work.
Access Florida This is an opportunity for us to assist people who need help finding government assistance (for example, signing up for welfare, disability, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.). We will provide at least one computer and offer hours in which we will be "open" to the public. Those who use our facilities for this program will then be invited to join Pastor for a one-on-one mini-Bible study.
Angel Food Network We have the opportunity to provide food on a monthly basis at a very low cost. This is a once-amonth program for about 2 hours a day. People in our community can sign up for low cost, good food, and then pick them up at our facility. This will get people in the community into our buildings, visiting with our people. We would need 3-4 volunteers for 3-4 hours one day a month. Anyone can sign up for this program. If you spend $200 a month on groceries, this program should save you about $50-75 a month. If you spend $300 a month, this program should save you about $100 a month on groceries. Again, anyone can sign up for this program. There are no qualifications or limitations. We plan to begin to distribute food in March. Sample menus are available on the Angel Food Network Website: www.angelfoodministries.com/
From the LWMS Dear LWMS Sun Coast Circuit Members, The Sun Coast LWMS Circuit (of which we are a member) has just finished a 2 year cycle of supporting mission fields: Hmong Outreach in Sacramento, CA; Outreach in Billings, MT; Shepherd of the Bay, Lusby, MD, development stage; and Pastor Wagenknecht of the Latin America Traveling Team of Educators in Dominican Republic. Our circuit has now been assigned 3 different missions fields to support with our prayers, letters of encouragement, cards and small gifts. These are: Pastor Steve and Sue Dorn at Abiding Savior, Kileen, TX; Pastor Matthew and Jessica Frey at Living Word, Montrose, CO; and Pastor Hartmann in Zambia, Africa. Your church reporter will be giving you more information on these mission stations and hopefully, your congregations will add their support to your reporters, in whatever way you can. Following are examples of thankfulness from several pastors whom LWMS has supported. Carol Campbell, Sun Coast Circuit VP and BAM chairwoman From Befriend A Mission, National Chairwoman, Michelle Markgraf: The Befriend A Mission (BAM) program encourages women of LWMS to remember the missions of WELS as well as the missionaries who serve them. Every two years, LWMS circuits are assigned specific world and home missions. The women of the circuit pray for those missions, write letters of encouragement, and sometimes send small gifts or care packages. WELS missionaries have responded enthusiastically to this program. Excerpts from their letters include: One of the Lord’s means of protecting and supporting us is the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society. We are especially grateful for the prayers offered, the cards received, and the gifts sent. Every family on this mission field firmly believes that our safety is solidly in the Lord’s hands, and has been propped up by the constant petitioning of LWMS prayer groups and individuals. Knowing there are large numbers of Christians praying for our safety gives us a great deal of comfort. We thank the
Lord, and we thank you for this valuable loving support. In Christ's Service, Missionary Bill Meier Your prayer support is equally important to all of us and to the work we are carrying out in His name. Name withheld for security reasons Dear Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society, Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Praise be to the Lord for the service and prayers and ministry with which you serve your fellow brothers and sisters in the faith! Your love and devotion to helping seeing the Lord’s work done is not only something that brings glory to God, but also something that encourages and inspires us in the mission field! Please keep our ministry in your prayers! Thanks again for your love and generosity! God bless! Pastor Joel Schulz, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
LWMS Befriend a Mission for 2009: Pastor Steve and Sue Dorn, one of our assigned Home Missions Church: Abiding Savior, Killeen, TX. Church address: 458 Turkey Trot, Killeen, TX, 76542 Church is 50 mi from Waco. Home address: 212 Briarcroft Ln., Killeen, TX 76542 Steve birthday: 6/20/67 Sue birthday: 5/20/69 Anniversary: 7/13 Phone: 254-200-0300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Children’s names and birthdates: (I don’t have the years and will try to get) Jessica – April 27, Liana – Oct 30, Natalie – June 17, Josiah – Aug 8 Prayers for family: That our family can adjust to homeschooling without the support system we have had in the past. Please pray that we can adjust to
the high turnover of membership in a military town. We don’t like to say good-bye to our friends. Sue did not give me a wish list of things to send. CHURCH INFO Killeen is a military town with many families with young children. Right now we offer SS and a Wed night Kid’s Power Hour, during the men’s and women’s Bible Study times. We would like to develop other programs, and will soon have these plans in place. Some of these plans are a story time, an afternoon “power hour”, soccer camps, and holiday festivals. We have a unique property with 2 acres. We would like to put in a playground and areas to play various sports. We will need basketball hoops, soccer goals, etc. We would like to invest in Christlight and Nest Entertainment materials to be used in the programs we develop for the children. Special Prayers: Pray for our deployed soldiers: Michael Hefti, Joseph Konichek, Dawn Orts, and George Spies. Pray that our diverse membership can become a united body of believers to give soldiers a feeling of family (while they are away from family) and to help us be a better support system for the spouses of our deployed soldiers. Hopes for completion of specific projects: This year we need to complete phase 2 of our building project: finishing the fellowship hall, 2 classrooms and the kitchen. We are hoping to host an open house in the spring or summer to invite the neighbors and community in to meet us and see the completed project. We would like to host open houses 2 times a year, offering free food and a day of rest and relaxation to the hard working soldiers and civilians of Killeen. Church is a member of LWMS Heart of Texas Circuit and South Central Synod District Pastor Matthew and Jessica Frey, one of our assigned Home Missions Church: Living Word Lutheran Church, 33 N Uncompahgre Ave., Montrose, CO 81401 Congregation has about 51 Communicants or so and striving to grow under God’s grace. Montrose, CO is a town of about 15,000 people and steadily growing from transplants of TX, CA, and the Denver area. We sit in a valley about 5800 Ft. above sea level. Moderate temperatures and a very dry climate in western CO. Living Word is worshiping in a store front right now, and has been since 2001. We have a piece of property but it is
virtually unbuildable because of the city’s land improvement requirements at the time being. We are currently looking for a different piece of property to purchase (as well as sell our current land) and we look forward to building a new worship facility and starting a preschool as soon as the Lord allows. If you would like more information on us, you can check out our website at www.livingwordmontrose.com – and that site should be new and improved by the beginning of February, 09. Special Prayers needed: For our building project for new facility and preschool Family information Matthew birthday: 9/23/79 Jessica birthday: 7/21/81 Wedding Anniversary: 6/18/04 Children: Emma – 9/30/05 Elijah – 5/1/07 Home mailing address: 1644 Sneffles St., Montrose, CO 81401 Ph: 970-964-4534 email: firstname.lastname@example.org No personal prayers or needs were given. Church is member of LWMS Rocky Mountain Circuit and Colorado Synod District Pastor John C and Sharon Hartmann – World Mission, Zambia, Africa Address: PO Box 630413, Choma, Zambia, Africa International Phone and fax: 011-260-3-21-3344333 (This needs to be confirmed) cell: 097890235 John birthday: 07/27 Sharon birthday: 12/17 Wedding Anniversary: 01/03/87 Children: Aaron – 1/5/93
The LWMS Mission Boxes are due on March 1st. Please take a box, fill it with spare change, and bring it back to church on or before March 1st. If you would like to make a cash or check donation, you can get it to pastor or Lois Zastrow or Susan Halverson. Please make checks out to "LWMS Suncoast Circuit" memo BAM.