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 Vol. 29 No. 9 September 2006
Can College Student’s Loose their Faith?
As a former campus pastor I have a special place in my heart for the joys and the sorrows of modern college education. On the one hand I still am thrilled with the prospects of students advancing in all areas of learning: arts, sciences, business, etc. But I also have to say that I’ve seen more than a few students throw away much of their life – if not their eternal salvation – in college. I have often heard people talk about their Christian life in this way: "I went to church with my family and was active in many things… But then I went to college…" Why do so many people fall apart spiritually during their college years? To be sure it is partly the choice of the students. As youngsters their families supported them in their Christian faith. But as young adults away from home they have the opportunity to live differently. But there’s more to it than that… A lot more.
The word "university" comes from the Latin word "universitas." It means "the whole, the total." In this original sense the university was meant to be a place where students could learn in a "universal" way. Here they would be exposed to all sides of great debates in religion, literature, science, economics, history, etc. They would be forced to wrestle with these questions and to be part of our culture that cherishes the importance of free thought. The idea of the university is distinctly Christian. Christian scholars are free to introduce all sorts of ideas because they have the confidence that in the end the truth of God will prevail. This stubborn fact is seen in many of the original mottos of the great universities: Princeton – "Under God’s Power She Flourishes" Harvard – "Truth for Christ and the Church" Yale – "Light and Truth" (the coat of arms actually includes the Hebrew words "Urim & Thumin" from the Bible).
The modern secular university (and even many "Christian" universities) are anything but "universities." The "free thought" they advocate is free except for one glaring exception: The Christian point of view. A classic example can be found in almost any "New Testament as Literature" class. One of the popular textbooks for a class like this is by Bart Ehrman. In his book, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, students will be told that the New Testament was written many years after the actual events and that most of the sayings and events were fabricated. The bottom line of this point of view is that we can’t really be sure what Jesus or Paul said. Forget what you learned in Sunday School: You can’t trust the Bible. It would then come as no surprise that Ehrman is an agnostic. His point of view is important. College students should be forced to wrestle with it. But is there another point of view? Are there any scholars who would defend what I learned in Sunday School? There certainly are – but they won’t be introduced in this class. Their books are probably not even in the library. Students would have to go out on their own for this.
Is there any hope? There certainly is! First there are many Christian professors that do try to present all sides, even the conservative Christian side of issues. We need to pray for more and more of these. Secondly, I find that a lot of students can see through the "snow-job" of their atheist and agnostic professors. They may not be able to speak up in class for fear of receiving a lower grade, but they’re not taken in by such a one-sided approach. Thirdly, there are more and more Christian ministries directed to college students. One such ministry is called "Higher Things" (www.higherthings.org). Many campuses have Christian student organizations such as Lutheran Student Fellowship (www.lutheranstudentfellowship.org). Fourthly, through the wonders of e-mail and the internet students and pastors can stay in touch. We can answer questions and show the Christian point of view in regard to many different questions and issues. The spiritual playing field may not be very balanced on a lot of our university campuses, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. Talk to your college bound children. Encourage them to explore all angles of learning today – and especially to go "off campus" if necessary in the learning process. Last of all, send us the address of your college student(s) so that we can send them the church newsletter and other care packages. You may also want to send them sermon CDs. Stay in touch and encourage them to remain faithful to Jesus even in an environment that doesn’t always welcome Him. Pray for them and ask that God would preserve them in their faith. Pray that God would use them to be a Gospel light to their friends. Pastor Walther
Adult Choir Needs Voices!
Wanted: People who love to sing. The Adult Choir needs you! The first rehearsal for the 2006-2007 season will be Wednesday, September 6, from 7:00 to 8:15 in the church balcony. High School students, College students, Single Adults, Senior Adults, and all adults in between are invited to join. For more information, please call Melissa Francis at 345-4589.
New Bible Studies
Beginning Sunday, September 10th, you’ll have the opportunity to attend two Sunday Morning Bible Studies:
Growing in Christ will be taught by Vicar Bobby in the Lower Level. This is a very good class that takes a good look at the Sunday School topic for each Sunday. Parents with small children will especially find it helpful to have some help encouraging their children in their Christian faith.
Dying to Live will be taught by Pastor Walther in the School Cafeteria. In this class we will explore the challenges that all Christians face as they try to live the Christian life in a non-Christian world.
Lutheran Women in Mission
Thursday, September 7th –Ladies, plan ahead to join us for our regular monthly meeting beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We’ll be doing hands on mission work for a variety of our ongoing projects.
Items needed for our projects-
It’s time to start gathering your unwanted sweaters for Lutheran World Relief. Please keep this in mind when you start your fall cleaning.
Honduras Mission Trip
The Good Shepherd Honduras Mission Team’s 2007 trip is scheduled for March 24 – 31. World Gospel Outreach (WGO) is the sponsoring organization for our trip. The vision of WGO is to help bring the country of Honduras to Christ by 1) Evangelizing the lost through effective and impactful medical/evangelism brigades; and, 2) Winning the future generations through raising abandoned children in a Christ-centered family ranch environment at Rancho Ebenezer.
During the last 21 years over 250,000 Hondurans have been ministered to by medical teams like ours. Other teams have worked in construction, building homes and a school for the children at Rancho Ebenezer.
We will share the week in March with Our Shepherd Lutheran Church from the Detroit area. Lee Hoffmeier’s sister and brother-in-law are members of this church. Last year they led both a medical and a construction team to Honduras. Our goal is to gather a total team of 40 people; 14 of the team members would go to Ranch for construction, the others would staff the medical brigade in Tegucigalpa during the same week. We hope to have 24 team members from Good Shepherd’s members, friends, and relatives. (We had 20 people last year.)
Have you been thinking about how a short term mission trip might work for you? Here’s an opportunity to try one. Our first meeting for organizing the 2007 team will be in the fellowship hall at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 28. Come and find out more about the trip.
Those who have previously gone on these trips have said it is a life-changing experience. One woman wrote in WGO’s July newsletter, "We went to teach, but we were taught ourselves. We went to witness but were witnessed to instead. We went to serve but were served more than we ever could have served them. Christ was at the core of all we did and just radiated out through us and the Honduran people."
Those who go have the opportunity to witness their faith and tell the love of Jesus to both children and adults who struggle through life with meager resources and a belief system of works righteousness. This may be an opportunity for bonding that will be forever memorable for parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, husband/wife, brother/sister, etc. The minimum age is sixteen. Only reasonably-good health determines the maximum age. Are you willing to step "outside the box" for, as one man described, "a vacation unlike any other I’ve ever taken."?
Don’t feel you need to make a commitment at this September meeting. If you would like to help in any way with preparation or other support, please come. Do you know anyone who you think would like to go with us, tell them about the meeting or call Lee or Pat Hoffmeier at 288-3684 for further information.
Blood Pressure Screening – 9/02 & 9/03.
Braille Workers –9/14 from 1 to 3.
Directory Update: Are you new to Good Shepherd since the last directory pictures were taken? If so, you have an opportunity to become part of the current directory and receive a free 8" x 10" photograph at the same time. Please watch for the sign up sheets in the narthex beginning mid-September. The photographs will be taken October 18th and 19th. You will sign up for an exact time on the sign ups sheets. If you would like to have your picture taken/updated even if you are not new to GSLC, just sign up for a time. Updates will be available to all who have the current directory and to those in the update.
Book Cover Thank-you
A special thank you to all the ladies who sewed book covers for our Good Shepherd School children. The following gave of their time and talents: Kathy Bohnet, Barbara Burstadt, Jean Etter, Kay Jones, Marilyn Preston, Ruth Rankin, Karen Rust, Brenda Schoenbeck, Radeen Werner, Delores Wesemann and Doris Wolf.
On registration day the children purchased nearly $975.00 worth of covers. We will have them available again the 1st three days of school. All monies will be used to purchase security cameras for the school. Shirley Wentzel
Mission Guild will meet at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Collinsville, at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, September 18. The program will be on the Honduras Mission trip made by Good Shepherd members in April. All ladies are invited to attend.
Good Shepherd Golf Tournament
October 7th, Good Shepherd golf tournament golfers and hole sponsors needed. Contact school office - 344-5153, Mike Schneider – 702-0011, or Mike Kober – 343-0825. Thank you.
Fundraiser for school – Entertainment 2007 books are now on sale for $25.00. They can be purchased on Sunday mornings in the connecting hallway or see Keith Rincker. Great savings for families and back by popular demand is $25.00 in free groceries at Shop N’ Save. Flyer is posted on Bulletin Board.
Lunch Bunch – On September 19 we will meet on the church parking lot at 11:15 a.m. and go to Eckert’s in Belleville. Please call Mary Preuss (667-6513) or Wilma Mitchell (345-7123) before September 17 to make reservations.
Ask the Vicar
Why would anyone want to be a pastor?
In 1 Timothy 3:1, Paul affirms the goodness of the pastoral office by commenting, "The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer [pastor], he desires a noble task." Now granted, to many the idea of being a pastor probably does not rank in the top ten of the most desirable jobs. It’s not as flashy as being a stuntman or as appetizing as being a chocolate taster. By its very nature, the Office of the Public Ministry is a unique position full of equally unique challenges and responsibilities, and these duties sometimes make the job of a pastor seem overwhelming or even fruitless. But, for those who seek the pastoral office, these challenges and responsibilities provide a special opportunity for one to serve the Lord and his Church.
Among other things, ministers of the church are responsible for the public preaching and teaching of God’s Word, the administration of the Sacraments, as well as the exercising of the Office of the Keys. These duties require a period of formation, preparation, and education (usually done at a seminary) that equips the aspiring pastor with the skills he will need to properly draw on the entire counsel of God in the shepherding of God’s flock. These skills do include teaching and preaching, but one must also work well with people. Often a young man will demonstrate a gift in one of these areas and wish to put it to work. And, while wondering how best to use these gifts, he might be directed to the Office of the Ministry by a trusted pastor or elder.
I was fortunate enough, back in South Dakota, to have a college professor and pastor who worked together to make the Office of the Holy Ministry a viable and attractive endeavor to young men who demonstrated both the necessary gifts and a desire to serve others. I remember thinking to myself, "I get to study God’s Word, help people, and learn Greek and Hebrew? This is too good to be true!" Undoubtedly not everyone has the same circumstance surrounding their decision to pursue the Office of the Holy Ministry, but one factor always seems to be present: a desire to serve the Lord and his people. As it is written in 2 Cor. 10:17-18, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends." Vicar Bobby
Thank You from the Hofts
Thank you very much for the many cards, gifts, words of encouragement and prayers. We were deeply touched by your presence at the farewell dinner. We especially want to thank you for the love offering we received. Your generosity was great, leaving us with no better words than that of the psalmist, "My cup runneth over."
In my farewell sermon I had difficulty speaking what I had planned to say to you. I’d like to close with those words here. "I am but one of many sowers of the seed in this place and I’m grateful to have been here at Good Shepherd. And not only as one who sows, but I am one who has been cultivated, pruned, fertilized and nourished by you in so many ways. I thank you for that. By supporting me and caring for my family you have truly shown us God’s love in Christ. It has truly been a joy to serve our Lord as your pastor. The Lord bless and keep you in His grace. Amen."
Pastor and Bethany Hoft
205 Blackhawk Drive, Eldridge, IA 52748
(563) 285-7001 firstname.lastname@example.org