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Words of Faith, Feb. 1, 2013

posted Feb 1, 2013, 8:22 PM by Faith Lutheran

 

The Pastor’s Message

By Rev. Nick Henseler

 

Joel 2:13; “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

 

As we begin our Lenten season here in a few weeks with our Ash Wednesday service on February 13th, we once again come to that time of year when we reflect on the sacrifice our Lord Jesus accomplished on the Cross for our sins.

 

Many people sacrifice something during the Lenten season which helps them relate to the suffering Jesus experienced. However, the prophet Joel brings up a good point as to what God wants of us in our prayer and worship that is part of our relationship with Him; “rend your hearts and not your garments.”

 

To “give up” something for Lent is a great thing if it is something that will cause us to become stronger in our prayer and faith lives and draw us closer to God. Yet, what God really wants from us is to “rend” our hearts rather than any personal sacrifices. This word “rend” comes from the Hebrew word “qara” which not only means “to tear or rend,” but also has a context of enlarging the area as an opening. God wants us to rend and open our hearts wide to Him and all that He has to offer to us. That’s why the words immediately following this imploring from God for spiritual surgery to our hearts are “return to the Lord your God.” God is telling us, “Rend your heart of the things of this world and return to me, for I am the only thing that can fill the spiritual hole that is there.”

 

So if we give up anything this Lenten season, let’s make sure that includes giving up everything that we are holding dear to our hearts that is not of God.                                                 Pr. Nick

 

 

Lenten Focus is “Words from the Cross”

“Words from the Cross” is the title of a sermon series that will be delivered during special mid-week Lenten Services at Faith Lutheran Mission Church that will begin on at 7 p.m. on Ash Wednesday, February 13.

 

The series, presented by Pastor Nick Henseler, will focus on the proclamations Jesus made in the final hours of his life while dying on the cross, what Jesus was saying to us with those words, and how those words apply to our lives today. 

 

The six-week series will continue each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. through March 20 in the sanctuary.  The Lenten services will be conducted using the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy. 

 

All six Lenten Services will be preceded by a time of food and fellowship between 5 and 6:30 p.m.  Because of the Lenten dinners, there will be no 6 p.m. Bible study from Ash Wednesday through the month of March – they will resume April 3.

 

New President and Council Members Elected at Annual Meeting

Faith Lutheran Mission Church began its fourth year as a congregation with its Annual Congregational Meeting Sunday, January 20th after morning worship.

 

The meeting, held in the fellowship hall, featured a good turnout of members.  Congregation President Chuck Olson called the meeting to order, after which Pastor Henseler prayed for God’s guidance for the gathering.  After the minutes from the 2012 annual meeting and the March 25, 2012 special meeting were approved, reports were offered, and several items were acted upon.  Some highlights included:

 

·         Treasurer’s Report:  Congregation Treasurer Dale Johnson shared the 2012 income and expenditure summary.  In all, the congregation took in $130,868.79 (not including an insurance settlement used to fix damage caused to the ceiling during roof repair in 2011), while expending $159,479.08.  Most of the overage was from the congregation’s decision to take $20,000 from fund balance to put toward the capital project approved in March to renovate the church with new siding, windows, flooring and interior paint, which was accomplished over the summer.  The congregation’s support to missions in 2012 totaled $24,215.46.  Despite those expenses, the banking account retains a healthy positive balance.  The Audit Committee of LaMoine Parkhurst, Bob Moore and Kim Olson approved and signed the audit of the congregation’s books for 2012.

·         Election of Council:  Jack Daniel, Laban Miller and Elaine Moore were all elected to a second term on the church council, while Vern Doenier, Orvin Bystol and Julie Martin were all elected to a first term.  They will join ongoing council members Sarah Seanor, Dean Kallenbach, Katie Evans and Chris Flaten.  Chuck Olson, Gene Fischer and Roger Flaten will leave the council after the expiration of their terms.  The congregation was also informed that Dale Johnson had announced his resignation from the council, and Mary Ann Christopherson was appointed to serve out his term, which expires in 2014.

·         Election of Executive Committee:  The congregation elected Chris Flaten as its new President.  Vice-President will be Jack Daniel.  Katie Evans will continue as Secretary and Mary Ann Christoperson will serve as Treasurer.

·         Mission Support Increased:  A proposal from the Mission Committee to increase the percentage of offerings that go toward mission support form 20% to 21% was approved by the congregation.  11% of offerings will go toward local mission fields, while the remaining 10% will be allocated to non-local needs.

·         2013 Budget Approved:  The congregation approved a ministry budget for 2013 of $125,693 in expenditures.

·         By-Law Eliminated:  The church council proposed to the annual meeting to eliminate by-law 4.03:  “Officers of the Executive Committee shall not serve on this committee and serve as a program chair at the same time.  Officers may serve as a committee member but shall not serve on more than one committee at any given time.”  The reasoning was that our congregation is not yet large enough to place such restrictions on willing leaders.  Elimination of the by-lay was approved by the congregation.

·         Fund Request Form Introduced:  Newly-elected President Chris Flaten introduced a Special Fund Request Form that had been approved by the council.  The form is part of a procedure designed to manage the establishment of special funds within the budget.  Anyone wishing to request the establishment of the fund may use the form to explain the purpose of the fund, the expected costs, and how the fund will further the mission of Faith Lutheran Mission Church.  Once submitted, the form will be considered by the congregation council, which can then choose to establish the fund or not, or to seek more information. 

·         Constitutional Committees Appointed:  The congregation voted to appointed Vern Doenier, Dean Kallenbach and Chuck Olson to the Nominating Committee for 2013.  The Audit Committee was also elected, and will consiste of Katie DeVries, Betty Doenier and LaMoine Parkhurst.

 

New Members Welcomed January 27

Three new members were welcomed into Faith Lutheran Mission Church during a ceremony at the regular 9 a.m. service on Sunday, January 27.

 

Don and Molly Christianson and Lee Ann Beck all came to the front of the church at the beginning of the service and were welcomed to the congregation by Pastor Henseler.  They were honored with a cake during the fellowship time after church.  Welcome Lee Ann, Molly and Don!

 

Hannah’s Hands New Study Continues February 11

Max Lucado’s “Facing Your Giants” is the focus of the Hannah’s Hands women’s Bible study which resumes Monday, February 11 at 7 p.m.  The first edition of the study drew a great group, and more are welcome. 

 

Lutheran Malaria Initiative and Grace Lutheran TV Ministry February’s Misisons

The television ministry of Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire and the Lutheran Malaria Initiative of Lutheran World Relief will be recipients of February’s mission offerings.

 

Eleven percent of our congregation’s regular offerings for the month will go to support Grace Lutheran Church’s broadcast of its Sunday services each week at 10:30 on WQOW-TV, Channel 18 in Eau Claire.  Grace is our sister congregation in Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), and the broadcast services have proven to be a lifeline for viewers seeking a Biblically-sound message and worship experience.

 

The rest of the mission giving, amounting to 10% of offerings, will go toward the Lutheran Malaria Initiative of Lutheran World Relief.  Malaria kills a child every 45 seconds in the world, and LMI is seeking to eradicate the disease by supplying mosquito nets as well as education to teach people about malaria and its prevention. 

 

Beacon House Homeless Ministry Brings Opportunity for Service

On Sunday, January 13, members of Faith Lutheran Mission Church provided and served the evening meal at Beacon House, the homeless shelter of Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network.  Another opportunity to help is coming up toward the end of March.  If you’d like to help, contact Karla Petersen.

 

Potter’s Village Land Fund Continues to Seek Donations

The new special fund dedicated to collecting money for a down payment and eventual purchase of land for the Potter’s Village Orphanage in Dodowa, Ghana, Africa continues to be open for donations.  The orphanage has come to be connected with Faith Lutheran Mission Church through Jayne Kallenbach, the daughter of Dean and Sandy, who has served three stints as a volunteer at the orphanage and hopes to return for a fourth tour later this year.

 

As a special dedicated fund, the Ghana Land fund is set aside from the regular budget so that individuals can contribute above and beyond their normal offering if they so desire.  The fund will also serve as a holding place for other congregations or non-members to make a contribution.  The tentative plan is to disburse the funds when they get up to $6,000 to allow for the down-payment, and then again when the full amount of $12,000 is reached.

 

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the special fund may designate “Ghana Land Fund” on the memo section of their check, or by placing it in a special offering envelope marked “Ghana Land Fund.”  Donations may also be sent to the Faith Lutheran Mission Church at 1704 Hogeboom Ave, Eau Claire, 54701.

 

By the way, Jayne recently updated her online blog, including a number of photographs from her time in Ghana.  You can find it at www.gettingtoghana.blogspot.com.

 

BUCK ON BOOKS

A Update from our Church Librarian Dick Buck

Three brand new books are in the Religion Section. 

·         “Power of Simple Prayer” by Joyce Meyer

·         “My Daily Devotion” compiled by Aid Association for Lutherans

·         “Hugs for Friends” by G.A. Meyers

“Hugs for Friends” is a book about friendship and contains short stories about friends. The book will teach you how to make friends, the need for friends and how friends benefits your life. Each story can be read in 3 to 5 minutes. I suggest you use the book like daily devotions, read only 1 or 2 stories each day. You will feel better and maybe you will also shed a tear or two.

 

This month, Lori Henseler offers a guest review of “When I Lay my Isaac Down: Unshakable Faith in Unthinkable Circumstances” by Carol Kent

 

A few years ago while attending a Women of Faith conference; I was blessed to hear first-hand this heart wrenching “story” from Carol Kent.

 

Carol & Gene Kent have lived every parent's nightmare. After their only son was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, their life took a permanent detour.

 

Their story begins with that horrible night when their twenty-five year old son, a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy with an impeccable military record, shot and killed his wife’s ex-husband. Carol knows what it means to live with an unthinkable circumstance that will never change-and to still make hope-filled choices. 

 

Carol refers to this as their “Isaac” experience.

 

“I had always thought that I had a robust and vibrant faith. Now, I wondered, did I really? Would my love for God and my desire to worship Him prevail in the midst of the most devastating circumstances I’d ever faced?”

 

This book is about the worst pain that parents could ever experience and the grace of God that sustains us then that pain never goes away.

 

“My mind flashed to the invisible world, and I could envision Satan laughing with a cadre of demons. They were having fun, and in between cackles several of them looked in my directions as the leader pointed to at me and said ‘Let’s wipe her out spiritually and emotionally. Let’s put a guilt trip on that mother that will make her give up on God. We’ll put such a financial and personal stress in the lives of the Kent’s that they’ll give up on their faith.’ I could hear the creatures jeering in the background. And I sobbed.”

 

This story is filled with the promises of God. Promises that he will never abandon us, that he always hears our prayers, that when we have fallen to the lowest possible pit in our life, he is right there with us; lovingly lifting us onto his shoulders to raise up back to fullness in Him.

 

“Our lives won’t ever be the same. And on my good days, that’s okay. We are privileged to carry His banner and demonstrate to the world that they can make it too. So much more is ahead. We are waiting, with hope.”

 

Be sure to add this book to your reading list. The principles the Kents learned in the process of surviving such unspeakable circumstances will bolster your faith, renew your hope, and challenge you to new levels of personal and spiritual commitment.

 

Carol also has a written a second book entitled “A New Kind of Normal” as well as a book she wrote with her son entitled “Between a Rock and a Grace Place”. I hope to soon add these to my “recently read” books.

 

My hope is that this book will inspire and deepen your faith in our God…our God of healing and our God of the impossible.

 

God’s blessings- Lori Henseler

 

News and Notes

·         Men of Faith Lutheran Mission Church are invited to an organizational meeting of “Men of Faith” Monday, February 11 at 8:30 a.m. at Maple Manor Motel and Café at 2507 S. Hastings Way in Eau Claire.  The Bible study group will decide and topics and meeting times at this session.  All men are welcome.

 

·         The Lutheran Church of St. Matthew at 1915 Hogeboom Ave will host a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser and Silent Auction on Thursday, February 14 between 6 and 8 p.m.  The free-will donation and other proceeds from the event will benefit St. Matthew Lutheran Church Children, Youth and Families Program.

 

·         Church cleaning volunteers for February are Karla Petersen and Luke Lundquist (February 8) and Roy and Mary Ann Christopherson (February 22).  The full list of volunteers and duty specifics are posted through June in the Fellowship Hall.

 

·         Volunteers are needed to sign up for reading during worship services and for snow shoveling.  Sign-up sheets for either task are available in the Fellowship Hall.

 

·         If you have prayer request you would like to have made known to the prayer chain, please contact Sylvia Miller at 715-874-5080 or Katie Evans at 715-831-8797.

 

·         All are welcome to join a brief prayer time that is held five to ten minutes prior to each Sunday morning worship service in the front of the church.

 

·         Don’t forget—if you miss a service, you now have two choices to catch it.  Video versions of past services are now available at www.faithlutheranmc.org – and are also cablecast each Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on channels 96 or 993.

 

General Weekly Calendar

(Schedule may vary due to member visitations, evening meetings and special services)

Sundays

9:00     Worship

10:00   Fellowship & Sunday School

Monday-Tuesday

9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Office Hours

Wednesday

10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.     Office Hours

6 p.m. Bible Study, 7 p.m. Worship

Thursday

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Office Hours

 

Feel free to check before you stop in by calling Pastor Nick at the Church (715-514-2021) or on his cell (563-676-1853).  You can also email pastornickhenseler@gmail.com.

 

The Last Word

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”                                                                     Martin Luther



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