Good News of Peace L E T T E R December 2013 A.D.
From the Pastor’s Desk Tornadoes, Typhoons, Thrivent, Tithing, and Tots Dear Friends in Christ, Tornadoes Many of you have asked, after the severe weather that struck Central Illinois on Sunday, November 17, how close the damage was to our family and former home. Pretty close. Washington is the community that apparently took the brunt of the damage, as you’ve probably seen and/or heard in the news. Washington is a suburb of Peoria, where I grew up and my mom still lives, and is located just 10-15 minutes south and east. As far as I can tell, Peoria itself didn’t sustain any damage. The storm was close enough, however, that at the church in which I grew up and to which my mom still belongs, they did have to resort to conducting their late Sunday morning service in the church basement as a safety precaution. My mom is safe, though, as well as other extended family living in the Peoria area. The community of Delavan, where we lived most recently, is located 25-30 minutes south and west of Washington. Thankfully, it was not in the path of the severe weather, and our house is safe and sound – although still not sold. The community where our children attended school through the 2011-2012 school year, Morton, is located right next door to Washington
A Caring FamilyZ Reaching OutZ Sharing Christ’s LoveZ Teaching God’s Word !
and did sustain some damage. Washington, however, sustained the majority of the damage. Many homes and neighborhoods were destroyed, including those of a number of members of Our Savior Lutheran Church, a sister LCMS congregation. Pastor Tom Heren, an acquaintance of mine, shared in an interview that they had just begun their late Sunday morning service before they had to hurry to their church basement to ride out the storm. During the storm, they were able to peek out of a basement window, where they saw their church garage blow past, along with other debris. Following the storm, they discovered that the church parsonage had lost part of its roof and many members’ vehicles had been tossed from the parking lot. Please keep their congregation and members in your prayers. If you are interested in assisting them (and other congregations and communities affected by the storms) in some way, please consider giving a gift in support of LCMS Disaster Response, which will be providing relief in the Washington community and elsewhere in the coming days and weeks. You may do so on-line at the LCMS web site: www.lcms.org. At this site, you will also find news articles and storm photos. You may also give to LCMS Disaster Response by phone at (888) 930-4438, or by mail. Checks should be payable
to “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod” (with a memo line or note designating “LCMS Disaster Relief” or “Tornado Relief”) and should be mailed to The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861. To the many who have asked, Julie and I thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness and for being concerned about our family and our house! Typhoons LCMS Disaster Response has also been responding following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Please consider giving a gift, of any size, in support of their ongoing ministry. The financial support of LCMS congregations and members enables LCMS Disaster Relief to continue to respond appropriately, on behalf of our entire church body, whenever and wherever there is a need, both in the U.S. and around the world. You may give a gift, at any time, using the same methods indicated above. Thrivent Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation have also earmarked funds for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation will match $1 for every $2 of personal donations to any of three response agencies, up to $500,000 or until December 31, whichever comes first. For the
LCMS, this applies to gifts to the general disaster response fund. If fully realized, the donations plus the match will have a $1.5 million impact! In addition, Thrivent will double Choice Dollars directed to the same three relief agencies, including LCMS Disaster Response, through January 31, 2014, or until $500,000 has been awarded. To learn more, please visit www.lcms.org/ThriventChoice or direct your Choice Dollars accordingly in the usual manner. Tithing – An Unexpected Joy On behalf of the Board of Stewardship, I would like to thank the members of the congregation for your prayerful attention during our stewardship emphasis in November. Even though our three-week series has concluded, if you haven’t already, please consider taking home a copy of the green booklet from the narthex, which includes 12 reasons to consider tithing, and please prayerfully consider the blessing tithing may be in your life. Whether or not you feel tithing is for you at this time in your life, however, please remember that giving (of our time, talent and treasure!) that is intentional, heartfelt, and faith-filled honors God as the Giver of all that we have and especially as our Savior. It also helps to further our congregation’s ministry in the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tots No, not taters. Children. As in, our congregation’s children. Just a final note: please go out of your way to make our children and their families feel welcome here at Peace. We want them to know that this is their church home, too. It might be tempting at times to correct our children for being
… well, children. As my own children will tell you, I’m sure, I am always correcting them, it seems! However, let’s please let our congregation’s children know that they are loved and wanted here. A smile, a warm greeting, an offer to help them, or maybe a kind invitation to help you with a job you are doing, all go a long way! Please remember that the way we treat our children right now will more than likely influence how they view the church for the rest of their lives, and the way we treat children here also has the potential to send a powerful message to our community. Let’s work together to make Peace a place where children and families are welcome and an important part of everything we do! The Lord’s abundant blessings to each of you during the busy weeks of the Advent and Christmas seasons ahead – especially in Christ, our coming King! In His Service,
Pastor Derek Riddle
Advent-Christmas Services Please plan to attend these upcoming services and events and consider inviting someone to come along with you! Advent Midweek Services – Wednesdays, December 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. Pre-Service Suppers at 5:30 p.m. “Songs of Peace” Christmas Concert – Sunday, December 8 at 3:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Family Service & Children’s Program – 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Holy Communion – 9:00 p.m.
Christmas Day Service with Holy Communion – 9:30 a.m. New Year’s Day with Holy Communion – 9:30 a.m.
A Few Words from Our Family Life Minister In a psychology study called the “Stanford Marshmallow Experiment,” young children are asked to do something extraordinary: wait. The experiment itself is simple. The researcher gives the child a marshmallow and tells her that she can either eat this marshmallow now, or she can wait fifteen minutes and get two marshmallows. The researcher then leaves the child alone, and the waiting begins. Some children eat the marshmallow in the first ten seconds. But others are determined to wait and receive the bigger reward. Videos capture the children’s impatience. Some children touch the marshmallow, smell it, even lick it. I imagine that those fifteen minutes seem like fifteen years. We live in a very impatient culture. We stand in front of the microwave and say, “Hurry up!” We are so excited for December 25th that we may decorate our homes and start buying gifts long before Thanksgiving. Some stores have been in Christmastime mode since October. But for us in the church, Christmas is still weeks off. We are in waiting mode. We are preparing, watching, anticipating—and for more than holiday parties—we are waiting for Christ. We think of the people of the Old Testament who had to wait thousands of years for the promised Messiah. We think of our own preparations for Christ’s second return. And we prepare our hearts for those quiet, unhurried moments before the nativity. There are so many teaching opportunities during the Advent season as we wait together as a family. This month’s Family Resource Center features some resources and ideas on celebrating Advent in your home.
Also, dads (and other father figures), don’t forget to register your family for the Build-a-Manger Workshop on Saturday, December 14, from 12:00–2:00 p.m. Use the Advent season for some special family time. Build memories while building a lifesize manger together. Register online at manger.eventbrite.com, or on paper forms available in the church narthex. Blessings on your family’s time of waiting, watching, and preparing! Abi Schmit Family Life Minister
Board of Stewardship The Stewardship committee is active in the study of a five-part Stewardship program entitled ‘Energizing Your Stewardship Committee’. The two-fold mission of the Board of Stewardship is (1) to help the members of our church family to better understand stewardship as a matter of individually giving our time, talent, and treasure with gratitude to God, as He has first given to us, both in the service of our congregation’s mission (as a caring family, to reach out to all, share Christ’s love, and teach God’s Word) and in love to our neighbor, and (2) to encourage our members to practice such stewardship faithfully, cheerfully and generously. Stewardship is the giving of our time, talent and treasure. All that we have belongs to the Lord, and we are the stewards of what He has given us. During these last three Sundays in November, our congregation has been involved in an exciting stewardship program (Empowered by Grace to Tithe). Stewardship programs nurture us spiritually and are helpful in reminding us that God has created and redeemed us so we can be about His work. God entrusts us with blessings and resources to use for our own need– to care for others and to extend His Kingdom, as we examine our hearts to determine the response that God wants each of us to make.
“God has called me to be His steward and I believe it really started with my parents and then moved forward with Christian day school. My pastors and teachers all had a hand in helping me grow in my faith. Pastor Jones was a mentor to me, as is Pastor Riddle. When I became chairman of the Elders here at Peace it really took me out of my comfort zone and made me a more mature steward with everything God has given me.” - David Grulke This Stewardship program (Empowered by Grace to Tithe ) can help us with our giving as we give thanks to God for all our blessings, especially what God has done for us through His Son Jesus. Through God’s grace you are encouraged to stay in His Word, attend church regularly, attend Bible Classes, and have daily devotions so you may grow in your faith and be good stewards with all that God blesses you with. It would be a wonderful blessing for you to prayerfully consider tithing. If tithing is impossible, begin with a percent with a goal to increase that amount. God bless your walk with Him when you give generously from your heart.
Music Ministry "I hear music"......."beautiful music". Christmas is coming fast....we hear the beautiful Christmas music wherever we go now. We sing joyful hymns: announcing the birth of our Savior, the shepherds being told of our Savior's birth by the Angels, and then the majestic birth of our Savior and visits from the Wise Men. Music touches us in may ways, bringing memories of our childhood and the beautiful story of Jesus. Come and join us as we "Worship the King" with the song service here at Peace on December 8th at
3 pm and hear the 'story of Jesus Our Savior' told through song. There will be a 'fellowship reception' following. Watch for the January calendar for our meeting date for Music Ministry and come and join us so that we can outreach to others with music. Bring your thoughts and ideas. "Joy to the World, the Lord is come...let earth receive her King!"
Stewardship Corner We're all familiar with Jesus' parable about the man who tore down his barns to build bigger ones in Luke 12:13-21. The key to His teaching resides in verse 20. Most translations read: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou has prepared?" But that's not exactly what our Lord says in Greek. The subject of what God says to the fool is not "thy soul" but "they" implied by the form of the verb "to require." And the verb is not in the future, but the present tense. And so what our Lord actually said was: "They are requiring your very soul from you." And the question is: Who is "they?" In the context, the answer is, of course, the things-all the stuff the rich man had been so concerned about that he built bigger barns to hold it all. A better translation might be this: "Fool! This night they are requiring your very soul from you. Now who owns whom?" The moral of our Lord's parable then is not "you can't take it with you." For the rich man in our Lord's parable doesn't die. He lives. The worst part about putting all your stock in stuff is not that you might die before you can enjoy it. But that you might actually live and be enslaved to it. For all the stuff the rich man thought he owned actually owns him. It dominates his life. He's launched a demolition and construction program to support it all. He has to lie awake at night terrified
that someone might slip in and steal it from him. He doesn't own his stuff. The stuff owns him. But a man's life doesn't consist in his possessions. A man's life consists in being possessed and being possessed by the right things. We delude ourselves into thinking that we are in control. We think we control the things in our life, when in fact they call out to us night and day, day and night. Our flesh is easy prey for the devil and the world. Our hunger for the things of creation is insatiable. And we seek to consume it all. But it is vanity, a chasing after the wind. For in the midst of our consumption we find that we are the ones being consumed. It consumes us. It kills us. It possesses us. Fool, this night they are requiring your very life, your very soul from you. The Holy Trinity does not share. You can have only one master. We belong to that which we love, and we are a slave to anything from which we will not walk away. Better to be a slave keeping the door in the house of the Lord than deluded in the tents of wickedness. Better to enter eternal life without an eye or a hand than to enter into the hell of fire fully intact. It is only when we give things up, when we are content with nothing, that we can fully enjoy creation. Because when everything in this world is a gift, when nothing really belongs to us, then gratitude flourishes and joy grows free. Where mercy rules, joy abounds and love grows spontaneously. And the most significant thing that does not belong to us is we ourselves. We must give up ourselves because we are not our own. We were bought with a price. We are possessed by the Lord. Remember the Catechism: "who redeemed me . . . purchased and won me . . . that I may be His own . . . ." He has taken us as His own by Water and Word. Redeemed in Christ, the poor in spirit are now rich toward God. We are
free of this sad world and its uncertainties, free of trying to make our own way, of being perfect or even of being happy. You brought nothing into this world. You will take nothing out of it. Yet all of this world, in Christ, who gave up all things for us, is ours, because we are His. The irony is that in giving up all things we gain all things.
And this is what it means to be rich toward God. To be rich toward God is to empty ourselves of all things, to cast ourselves at his feet and like beggars, cry out for mercy and grace, for his undeserved love and kindness. To empty ourselves so that he can fill us up. Being rich toward God is simply to receive, to sit at the receiving end of his gifts. It is to recognize that He is the giver and we those who receive. It is to receive daily bread, house and home, spouse and children, land and work and all that we have as gifts from His gracious and giving hands. It is to recognize that all that we have, all that we are, and all that we shall have and shall be are His. And in receiving Him, we have received all that we need and more.
And so with that in mind, let us turn our faces toward Bethlehem. For the Lord, our Possessor, has given up heaven and His Divine rights and power and has taken up our Flesh. He gives up His possessions so that they may be ours. He has given up his life so that death would be for us true life. The Lord has emptied Himself of righteousness to be filled with our guilt and sin. He empties us of what is yours in order to fill you with Himself. We belong to Him, the Lord born in Bethlehem, murdered in Jerusalem, visible in Emmaus, and ascended into Heaven. For a man's life consists in being possessed by the God who gives us all that we need for this life and the next. How can we not give back to Him? Taken from www.lcms.org
James & Carol Fleury Tom & Jan Dullack Art & Irene Radtke Bob & Lee Bingle Richard & Marie McDonald Dale & Joan Sorgenfrei
Jan Dullack William Claus Amanda Jumper JoAnne Muller Jacqueline Supina Jennifer Sandveit Opal Wright Scott Grulke Matthew Boughner David Kaski Hunter Jumper Larry Grulke Rose Buck Eugene DeBeust Mark Fuhrman Austin Jones Rae LaLonde Cody Elowsky Norman Elowski Kacie Bruning Nicole Hoeft Carol Fleury Jacob Longoria Thomas Bruning Alexander Rhode Chelsea Myers Mark Rhode Frankie Jumper II Janet Schalk Sandra Ruttan Ava Grulke
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Good News of Peace Peace Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
1401 M-68 Highway Rogers City, Michigan 49779-9792 (989) 734-7621 www.peacelcms.org Peggy Schaudt Parish Letter Editor email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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