Faith Lutheran News

From the Pastor’s Desk…

From the Pastor’s Desk…

Greetings children of God.

Matthew 5:2-12 “And Jesus began to speak and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy, blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God, blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God, blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The Beatitudes are difficult to grasp because they are the opposite of what the world has conditioned us to think of as blessed. Blessed is rich, not poor; blessed is strong, not meek; blessed is having plenty, not being in want; blessed is being held in high regard, not persecuted; blessed is cherished, not reviled. One of the Apostle Paul’s greatest lines that he wrote in his letter to the Philippians is often overlooked because of the sentence that follows. Everyone knows Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But we need the verse that comes before it to really grasp its meaning; Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Paul’s secret was his faith in Jesus Christ. Paul experienced abundant wealth and its benefits but he also experienced being poor, meek, hungry, mournful, persecuted, and reviled. Yet he never lost his faith in Jesus Christ. His joy was grounded in his relationship with Jesus Christ and even though he wrote the letter to the Philippians from prison, joy is the dominant theme of the letter. Paul knew that material things and wealth were nice but he also knew the most important thing was the joy he had in Jesus Christ. That’s what the Beatitudes are about; for your reward is great in heaven.” Our past, current, or future circumstances weren’t, aren’t or won’t always be great, but we are able to be happy, to rejoice, to realize we are blessed because of our relationship with Jesus Christ.

On Thursday evening January 26 at 6pm, Kari Arnold with Herman Funeral Homes will be here to discuss the importance of end-of-life planning and why funerals are important. If you would like to attend, there’s a sign-up sheet in the coatroom. There will be light refreshments available.

Our annual congregational meeting will be on January 29 in between services. We will look to begin about 9:15am.

On Sunday February 5, Richard Ponton, a seminary student at Trinity will be our guest preacher.

Giving statements are on the table in the narthex. Don’t forget to pick up yours.

We have made a change to our snow emergency policy, moving forward if we are under a Level 3 Snow Emergency, the church will be closed and all activities, including worship will be cancelled. If we are under a Level 1 or 2 Snow Emergency, the church will be open and any activities, including worship, will continue as planned. If we are under a Level 1 or 2 Snow Emergency and you are coming to the church for any reason, please use extreme caution. If you are scheduled to serve during worship and do not feel comfortable traveling to the church during a Level 1 or 2 Snow Emergency, please stay home. We will find someone to fill in.

Blessings on your day.

Pastor Tim

2023 – The Year of Story

2023 – The Year of Story

Dear Friends in Christ,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)

Welcome to 2023: The Year of Story. We recently had our grandchildren visit with us, and in the evening as they prepared for bed, the request came every night.  “Read us a story. Tell us a story”.

I love stories and I love storytellers: Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Norman Maclean, but also Louise Penny, Colson Whitehead, and Louise Erdrich. Who would you add to the list of great storytellers?

In addition to those listed above, I would add Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The writers of the four Gospels. And lest we forget… Jesus. Jesus could spin a yarn. Jesus could tell a tale. Jesus could narrate a great story. And Jesus also knows how to star in a great story.

Our focus in 2023: The Year of Story will be on learning and telling the Story of Jesus. A story that many of us have been learning and telling our entire lives. The Gospel Story of Jesus matters. As St. Paul reminds us in Romans 1:16, the Gospel “…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith…”.

The stories of Jesus that I learned in Sunday School, heard proclaimed from the pulpit, read in my illustrated Children’s Bible, loomed huge in my imagination when I was a kid. And that’s what great stories do. They loom. They challenge. And they inspire. Great stories have a way of enlightening our minds, moving our hearts, healing our relationships, and transforming whole communities.

During 2023: The Year of Story, I want to encourage you and your parish to learn and tell the transforming Story of Jesus.

Let us pray, “Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord”. Amen.                         

 (Evangelical Lutheran Worship pg. 72)

As we begin 2023: The Year of Story, I invite you to start with two simple practices related to the Story of Jesus.

  1. Memorize Scripture: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. Acts 1:8 is the Year of Story Memory Verse.
  2. Read Scripture: Join a host of others across the Northwestern Ohio Synod as we focus on the Story of Jesus! In 2023, we will read through the writing of the Four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This week we are working our way through the Birth Narratives of Jesus.
This just in…

This just in…

Greetings children of God,

This year, the NWOS is inviting everyone to join them in 2022, as we read the Poets and Prophets. You can click on the link below to get the daily reading guide. Spending time reading God’s Word daily is something we should all do, however, many times it feels daunting or more like a task, something we have to do instead of something we want to do, because we’re not sure how long we should read for or how much we should read. The daily reading guide for the Poets and Prophets resolves these issues as the readings are the equivalent of about a chapter a day, sometimes less, sometimes a little more. Reading a chapter a day takes about 3-5 minutes and after reading, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what you’ve read. You may just be surprised as to what you think, feel or experience. I look forward to this journey with you.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Tim