Love in Action
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
1300 Belt Line Road Collinsville Illinois 62234
618-344-3151 (Church) 618-344-3153
(School) 618-344-3378 (Fax)
Pastors M. Walther & P. Hoft Vol. 29 No. 2 February 2006
I am very happy to report that the biggest movie over the past holiday season was "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". Based on the book by Christian author C.S. Lewis, this movie deals with many biblical themes such as sin, repentance, compassion, betrayal, and so on, but the biggest emphasis in the movie and book is redemption. More specifically, how the main character in the movie (the lion Aslan) willingly gives up his life to pay for the sins of one young boy (Edmund).
The book and movie both show the tremendous effect that this has on Edmund. He realizes that because he betrayed his family and the creatures in the land of Narnia, an innocent creature had to die for his mistake. As a result of this, he is a changed person, not just for the rest of this book but throughout the rest of the series in which his character appears.
We have just finished celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Hopefully we are all aware that one of the most important reasons for His birth was so he could die for our sins. Itís a concept we should be familiar with as Christians. But too often we talk in terms of Christ dying for "mankind", or "the sins of humanity" or just "sinners" in general. We should never get into the habit of this kind of language. Not that it isnít true, it is; but the problem with general terms like that is that they are TOO general. And that is what I love so much about "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Lewis purposely makes the point that Aslan doesnít die for a group or a whole bunch of people, or an entire country, but for just one person. And a very unlikable person at that! But that is the way you and I need to look at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Letís say the rest of the world was perfect, and yet you or I were the only ones who had ever fallen into sin. Jesus STILL would have come to earth and gone through what He did for you (and me!). And THOSE are the terms that you and I should always talk in. Specific terms. Personal terms. Terms of assurance! What a wonderful message to share with the world we live in! When talking to unbelievers or those asking questions about the faith we donít have to use general terms that donít have any personal connection. We can look them right in the eye and tell them "Christ died for YOUR sins". My prayer is that all of us can be like Edmund in our appreciation of our salvation and that we always remember when talking of our Lord and Savior to say, "He died for me. Specifically." Vicar Hemenway
Journey of Faith / Adult Confirmation
A new series of Adult Confirmation classes continues on Thursdays. This is the first of our Adult Bible Classes designed to give an overview of all the main teachings of the Bible. This class is required for those who would like to become members of Good Shepherd. We have babysitting available each night. The class is taught by Pastor Walther and Pastor Hoft and meets in the Conference Room.\
Blood Pressure Screening
Blood pressure screening will be available on Saturday and Sunday, February 4th & 5th, in the connecting hallway, after church services & between services on Sunday.
Super Bowl Party
All 5th -12th graders and their families are invited to watch the Super Bowl at Good Shepherd on February 5th. The game will be set up on a screen in the concession area of the gym. The gym will be available for open play. We do need adult volunteers to take turns monitoring the gym. Chili, hot dogs, nachos, and sodas will be provided. We ask for a $2 per child or $5 per family donation to help pay for the food. Please do not leave younger siblings (under 5th grade) unless a parent is staying.
Blood Drive Ė February 4th
Good Shepherd is sponsoring a Blood Drive for the Central Illinois Community Blood Center on Saturday, February 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Those planning to give blood should park on the lower level (behind the school) and access the Fellowship Hall from the glass doors. Blood given to this organization is used for the benefit of local residents.
Vacation Bible School
Youíre invited to the "Treasure Cove" to" Discover the Riches of Christ". Mark your calendars for Vacation Bible School the week of July 10-14. The planning has begun. Please leave your name in the church office (344-3151) if you can assist in any way. We are especially looking for someone to help with publicity. This could be a person who is not available during the day to teach but could help us with fliers, posters, and announcements. Start praying now about the children you can invite to attend.
Mark your calendars now for Friday, March 3, 2006. The Concordia University, River Forest Wind Symphony will perform their Spring Tour Concert at Good Shepherd. Anyone who would be able to house a student or students, please call the church office at 344-3151. Watch the Sunday bulletins for more details.
Lenten Soup Suppers
Soup Suppers between Lenten worship services will be sponsored by the following groups and proceeds will go to various mission projects:
March 1 - Honduras Mission Team
March 8 - LWML
March 15 - Board of Outreach
March 22 - Senior High Youth Group
March 29 - Board of Congregational Life
April 5 - Senior Choir
NEEDEDÖ..Blind Ministry Workers!
We are in real need of volunteers to help assemble Braille books for the blind. This is only once a month Ė the second Thursday of each month, for approximately 3 hours. Workers meet in the church parking lot at 12:30 p.m., car pool to the location in Granite City, and return to the parking lot by 3:30 p.m. If you are interested, but cannot commit to every month, please consider helping on the Thursdays you are available. If you can help, please call the church office at 344-3151.
Lutheran Women in Mission
All women are invited!
Thursday, February 2nd --- Our monthly meeting, beginning with refreshments at 6:45 pm in the Fellowship Hall, will include a Bible Study led by Pastor Hoft. Babysitting will be available.
Service Project-- We will be writing notes of encouragement and including tracts in valentines for the college students. Bring your valentine with a stamped envelope.
February 25 Womenís Day of Renewal
February 25, and 26 The Mission Box will be in the narthex for your mites.
March 2 Monthly meeting
March 8 serve Lenten supper
FebruaryÖ..Honduras Mission Month
During the month of February, the Honduras Mission Team will be asking for your help in gathering many of the needed supplies for their mission trip in April. These supplies include vitamins, aspirin, antacids, shampoo, combs, etc.
A cross-shaped poster will be on display in the Narthex through the month of February. Post-it notes attached to the cross will have a needed item listed on it. Just take one of the post-its, along with an instruction sheet describing the item, and return the item(s) by February 26th. As the post-its are removed, a message will be revealed on the cross.
For those who would rather make a monetary gift, envelopes will be available for that purpose. You may take an envelope from the display table marked "Honduras", put your contribution inside and place it in the offering plate during one of the worship services. These contributions will be used for purchasing reading glasses and additional medical supplies. (For instance, $5.00 will buy 6 pairs of glasses.)
God has truly blessed us with this opportunity to bring the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to those who have not yet heard the "Good News!" Your help in showing Godís love for all His children is truly appreciated.
Baptisms (Children): McKenna Corinne Nuttmann, Alex Scott Boyer
Received Through Transfer: Caroline Kober from The Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens, Webster Groves, MO; Rachel Hischke from The Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens, Webster Groves, MO; Robert Stock from Pilgrim Lutheran, Green Bay, WI
Profession of Faith: Jeannine Tiemann
Souls: 1,671 Comm.: 1,319
Ask the Pastor Ė Is There Something Missing Here?
Recently in our Saturday morning Menís Bible Study we ran into a little glitch that you often find today in popular Bible studies and sermons. We have been studying "Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon McDonald. This is an excellent book for the most part. It helps Christians think about whatís really most important Ė Godís relationship with them. It shows them how they can approach life with God at the top of their list of priorities. We donít need to be driven by all the things on the outside. We can find an order to our life by beginning with our own hearts.
In a very interesting section of the book McDonald analyzes some of the problems we all have with time management. He points out the problems that occur when our time is unmanaged. We end up suffering from the tyranny of the urgent. We fall behind. He reminds us that Jesus was never in a rush. We rarely have time for our family and especially for God. He reminds us that Jesus always had the right priorities in mind. He then urges us to make changes and to set goals: Prioritize your time according to your values, plan far in advance, etc. This is great advice. Go do it.
Is there something missing here?
There definitely is, and this is the great weakness of some much Bible teaching today. It is not cross-focused. So many sermons and Bible studies follow this outline:
1. Analyze the problem according to Scripture.
2. Set goals in line with Godís wisdom.
3. Pray for Godís help.
It sounds good. It looks Biblical. But is it really? Is this the way Jesus would have taught us to bring about change in our lives? No.
Reading the Bible as a whole, we notice that everything points to the cross, to the forgiveness of sins and salvation. A full one third of the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are devoted to one week in Jesusí life Ė Holy Week. In Paulís letters he devotes at least half of his words to explanations of what Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection. Then he moves on to the important changes that God wants to see in our lives. Everything in the Bible is cross-focused. The discussion of the cross, repentance, and forgiveness are not tucked away in one chapter. These themes dominate everything and are woven into the entire fabric of all the other Biblical teachings.
What would a Biblical outline look like? Pick any kind of change that you would like to see in peopleís lives: Improved relationships, better stewardship, bolder evangelism, etc. A good Biblical outline should run like this:
1. Analyze and evaluate the problem against the mirror of the Law. Where are we falling short?
2. Repent of our sins. See how Jesus kept the Law for us and then died for us. Believe the Gospel.
3. Pray to God for renewal and for help.
Notice the difference? Repentance and forgiveness through the cross of Christ is the key. We should not only think of this as the beginning of our faith Ė it is the stream that flows through every part of our faith.
I hope you will keep this in mind as you strive to make improvements in your life. Itís not enough to analyze and prioritize. We are always called to repentance Ė every day. That is why Jesus taught us to pray: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. The cross is in focus no matter what we are looking at. Godís blessings as you pursue a godly life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Pastor Walther