Backpack Project Update – Lutheran World Relief
Grace WELCA members prepared 120 backpacks for Lutheran World Relief this year. All the fabric materials were donated. The school supplies were either donated or purchased. WELCA members thank all of you who so generously packed our bin with supplies.
Thanks to a Trivent grant and your donations we are well on our way. We need approximately $ 800 in additional donations to complete the project and ship the backpacks to their final destination.
CAN YOU HELP?
Several people have asked if they can purchase a backpack, the answer is yes!. You can purchase a filled backpack for a donation of only $20. Contact Lin Gunnet or Helen Hauser to make a donation.
November Meeting – Tuesday November 13 – 7 pm
We have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 13 at 7pm in the church conference room. Hope to see you all there. Barb Rodberg is scheduled to present the Bible Study from our October, 2018, Gather magazine. We will do November’s study at our holiday party in December. We are seeking a volunteer to lead the December bible study.
Christmas Celebration – Dinner and Fruit Basket Preparation – December 14
WELCA will hold their annual Christmas Dinner and fruit basket preparations on Friday, December 14 at 5:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. All women of Grace are invited to attend. Make your reservations by signing up on the WELCA bulletin board outside the church office or contacting Lin Gunnet. The cost for dinner is $10 per person.
There will not be a scheduled backpack sewing day or The Ladies Monday Lunch Bunch in November and December. These activities will resume in January 2019.
November Walk – Greenway Walkers and Bikers
Saturday November 3, 2018
Everyone had a great time walking on such a beautiful fall day!
Join the next walk on Saturday December 1st.
We will meet Saturday, November 3rd at 9:00am at Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve Park (#93 on map). Take 401N (Louisburg Rd), go left on Mitchell Mill Rd. at traffic light, then left on Horseshoe Farm Park Road until the parking lot. When assembled we will decide which direction we want to walk.
*There are restrooms at this park.
Remember all ages are welcome to join us for this walk outing, and you can walk at your own pace.
WELCA (Women of the ELCA members) stuffed 106 backpacks for Lutheran World Relief on Monday October 29th.
There is still time to help!
You can contribute a monetary donation to help pay for the school supplies to fill them and to cover the costs to ship the bags ($2.50/bag).
Many years ago, Sharon baptized her niece Kennedy, she was six years old at the time.
One day we went to visit her brother and his family and Kennedy’s mom asked her to tell us what she had said about God.
She was a little embarrassed at first, but then after some prodding she said with a great sense of confidence and authority… “ONLY GOD CAN GIVE YOU REAL FREEDOM!”
And with that, a six year old summed up the Gospel!
ONLY GOD CAN GIVE YOU REAL FREEDOM
Jesus was talking to the Jews who believed in him …and told them
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus reminds us that real freedom is spiritual freedom. Real freedom is the freedom from sin and death and that freedom can only be given by God.
Weekly Reminder – Confession of Sins
Each week, we begin our worship with the corporate confession that reminds us of this truth.
The pastor says: If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just with forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And then we pray together: we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.
There it is, without God’s help we are not free. We cannot earn, or buy, or conquer our freedom because we are enslaved to sin. It is part of our human nature.
Martin Luther Described This True Freedom
“Our wills are bent or curved towards ourselves so that without God’s help, everything we do ends up being about us.”
You see we are not in bondage to our sins, those things we do wrong that come and go. We are in bondage to our own human nature which always puts ourselves before God.
And that’s exactly why Jesus came into the world. To free us from our bondage and save us from ourselves. Jesus went to the cross and went head to head with our sin so that he could pay the price required to set us free.
So I encourage you to live out your freedom. Let your life be an reflection of the Glory of God, and an example of the amazing things that living in true Freedom, TRUE FREEDOM… can produce.
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16
Don’t Pick Me, Please Don’t Pick Me
Remember when you were in class as a student and you knew that the teacher was going to call on you to answer a question that you KNEW you did not know the answer too? You would do everything that you could think of to become invisible. (avoiding eye contact, looking down at the floor, pretending to be asleep…or actually being asleep) You were not confident in your abilities, your skill or your intelligence. And somehow it seems as if the teacher knew these facts, and they would go out of their way to call on you.
Let me tell you how different this is in God’s kingdom. God knows that we are, sometimes, clueless so God sent us Jesus to make a way for us where there seemed to be no way before. We call that GRACE (G.R.A.C.E. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.) Christ came and lived and died so that we could have life and have it more abundantly.
Be Bold – God has the Answers
Knowing about God’s gift, we can have the courage… the strength… the ability to approach the throne of Grace with BOLDNESS. To approach the throne with the boldness to know that we do not have to have the answers, because God has already answered all of the questions. We don’t have to hide or try to become invisible, because we have a God who loves us and wants us to be at that banquet table with heads lifted high, celebrating our freedom in Christ.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen.
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. – Mark 1:14-20
Bringing Hidden Talents into View
There was an animated show several year ago called “The Iron Giant,” In one scene the Giant robot and his human friend are running through the town trying to flee from those who are chasing them and they fall over a cliff, as they are heading to the ground below, the robot turns on jets and begins to fly. The shocked little boy says with wonder and amazement “You can fly? YOU CAN FLY!!!” Apparently, even though they had spent a lot of time together, he did not know that his robot friend had this ability.
Strengths and Gifts
We also spend a lot of time with one another and are not aware of some of the strengths and gifts that we each have. Did you know that Grace has a Walking Club, a supper club, 3 adult Bible study options, a quilting group, a weekly youth ministry meeting? Did you know that Grace supports the Crop walk, prayer shawl ministry, Joy of Discovery? There is so much potential here at Grace, and in some cases our strengths and gifts are our best kept secrets.
Jesus called the twelve from their nets and boats and said “I will make you fish for people.” As evangelist Christine Kane asked “Are we fishers of men, or are we keepers of the Aquarium?” Come out on REFORMATION SUNDAY, October 28, and learn about all of the mission and ministry opportunities that we have here at Grace. Find something that excites you, and you just might learn that we can fly.
Those of you who know me even marginally well, know that I love my boys. Luc is a 14 year old Bichon Frise, and Oscar is a 15 year old Maltese. For Christmas one year I received a new T-shirt from an animal rescue site called “Advice from a DOG”.
This advice includes the following:
Delight in the simple joys of a long walk
Unleash your talents
Hide your favorite snack
Make new friends
Learn new tricks, no matter your age
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them
Now, I might suggest that we “share our favorite snack” instead, but the others are pretty good advice! We can learn a lot from our four-legged friends as this poem by Amy Dean reminds us:
Each day comes to your dog new and fresh and full of promise; your dog is not bounded by days of the week, business meetings, deadlines, and commitments that prevent you from looking forward to the day.
Perhaps it’s time to start today to adopt more of your canine’s outlook on life. Each morning can be a new beginning – a time for joy and play, a time for fresh air and sunshine, a time for bounding around, a time of canine delight!
Advice from Martin Luther – Remember Your Baptism
As we start this new ministry together, may our animals inspire us to start each day anew. Martin Luther emphasized that it is important to begin each day by remembering our baptism. When we awaken, we are to make the sign of the cross and remember that God has claimed and sealed us in baptism. Each day we are given a new start, a new beginning. The old is washed away. We are made new each day in Christ.
Advice From God
With a little adaptation, our T-shirt advice could easily shift from “Advice from a DOG” to “Advice from GOD”.
In other words:
Trust in me with all your heart and soul and mind.
Delight in My creation while strengthening your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Use the gifts and talents I have given you to benefit the common good.
Share your favorite snack and your cloak and your tunic.
Make room for everyone.
Welcome others as you have welcomed me.
Be creative for the sake of the Gospel because you all have the capacity for spiritual growth regardless of your chronological age.
Like the Father who ran to meet his prodigal son, run to greet those returning home.
Receive others with the grace with which I have received you.
So let’s together feel God’s unfailing presence, embrace the gift of each moment with joy and anticipation.
Peace and Joy,
Pastor Tim, Sharon, Luc, and Oscar
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” – Mark 8:31-33
Bumper Stickers – Good and Not So Good
I have seen bumper stickers on some cars that make me laugh, some that make me sad, some that just confuse me, and some that are just plain wrong.
- “My dog ate your stick family”
- “My kid beat up your honor student”
- “The man who dies with the most toys, wins”
- And my all-time favorite: “Jesus is my co-pilot”
Are You Sitting in the Right Seat?
Folks when Jesus was speaking with his disciples and asking him if people knew who he was they came up with many answers. And let me assure you that Co-Pilot was not one of them. Siblings in Christ, if Jesus is your co-pilot then you can be sure that you are sitting in the wrong seat. Jesus is NOT the one who we are training or the one who will take over from us down the road. Jesus is, or at least he should be, leading our thoughts, words and deeds.
So get up, and move over and let Jesus take the wheel.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. – James 2:14-17
I Have Faith
James is reminding the people that it is not enough to just say “I have faith.” Even thought Martin Luther, originally, thought that this book should not be a part of the bible, he later came to understand the power of this statement from James. As Lutherans we understand that we are Justified by Grace through Faith, and that our salvation… our Hope… our Redemption is NOT about the things that we do, but they are about what God has already done though Jesus.
Called to Step UP and Step Out
What James reminds us is that as those who know what Jesus did for us, it is not enough for us to simply be okay with that. Once we understand the tremendous power and sacrifice of the cross, then we should have no choice but to love one another as GOD loves us. That means that we are also called to step up, and step out in that faith and offer help and hope and a hand up to all who we meet.
September 9th was our “God’s Work, our Hands” day. We packaged more than 10,000 meals for those who are in need. That is putting a good work to our faith!
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – James 1:19-20 (NRSV)
Have you ever had that moment when someone or some thing made you so angry that you just wanted to strike out? Pastor Kelly Fryer in her book, “No Experience Necessary,” Shares this story:
At all of their family gatherings, Pastor Fryer’s mother tells this story about when Kelly was younger..
“I remember when she was about two and a half years old, She was outside on the sidewalk between our house and the neighbor’s with her new red tricycle. Suddenly, I heard a terrible noise. I ran to the back door and there she was. Her tricycle was all tangled up and, apparently, she was having trouble getting it to work right. So, instead of coming in and asking for help.. instead of patiently working at it until the problem was solved.. ..she was just KICKING THE DARN THING DOWN THE SIDEWALK!”
Mom Know Best
I remember that my mother used to teach us that we were to count to ten before we spoke back in anger. She said that this would give us a moment to think about what we were getting ready to say and decide whether we needed to say it or not. We live in a society where we have forgotten how to listen to one another, and even small differences of opinions turn into friendship ending or family dividing arguments.
Sometimes our anger and our tongue get the best of us, and we act or speak in ways that we later regret or wish that we could take back.
That is why this text from James is so important for us to read. Let us be mindful every day of the fact that God desires for us to learn to live in community, to learn to love one another as God loves us. So before you snap back at someone, or fire off that email or tweet. Pause and reread this passage from James, and let’s be DOERS of the Word, and not just hearers.