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Words of Faith, May 2, 2013

posted May 3, 2013, 12:22 PM by Faith Lutheran

The Pastor’s Message

By Rev. Nick Henseler

 

Psalm 51:10; “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 

What a great Easter we had and I’m excited for what God has planned for FLMC in the months to come! But in order for that to happen we need to stay focused on “keeping the main thing the main thing” and that is steadfast dedication to the Word of God and letting the Holy Spirit infuse everything we do here at FLMC. We need to pray for God to constantly and continually keep our hearts cleansed so that our hearts are open to what His Spirit wants to do within us. My mentor from seminary, Rev. Mike Bradley, had a great saying that I still keep close to my heart; “Lord, do what You need to do in me, so that You can do what You need to do through me.” Great words indeed!

 

So we pray to God; “Create in me a pure heart.” This word “pure” comes from the Hebrew word “tahor” which means “to become physically, ethically, and ceremoniously clean.” That kind of clean is much more than to “wash behind the ears” as our mothers used to tell us! As a matter of fact, no amount of soap and water would ever do the trick. The only way we can become “tahor” clean is by God’s cleansing through the power of the Holy Spirit who came to dwell within us because of the atoning death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we celebrated at Easter. Hallelujah!!

 

But wait! There’s more! Once we are made “tahor” God is able to use us so much more powerfully in building His kingdom. And so, we also pray to God to “renew a steadfast spirit” within us to give us that strength to accomplish those tasks He has for each of us. The word “steadfast” comes from the Hebrew word “kun” which means “to be firmly established.” The context of the word refers to building a foundation; the right area that the foundation is set in; the right materials for the foundation, and the right amount of time for that foundation to “set” and become ready for the building to be built upon it.

 

So also, we pray for God to keep FLMC a good solid rock-hard area for foundations to built upon. We also pray for the right mixture of Word and Worship, and allow the Holy Spirit to “set” those foundational materials within each one of us so that we can be the foundations God wants each one of us to be to this community, the county, the country, and the continents. Have a blessed May everyone!!                                                                                                Pr. Nick

Faith Offers Facilities, Comfort to Displaced Grace Members

In the fall of 2009, Grace Lutheran Church was the only ELCA congregation in Eau Claire that was seriously discussing the problems brought on by the social statement passed by the Churchwide Assembly that summer.  In that statement, the ELCA declared that individual conscience was of equal and sometimes greater importance than scripture in determining right from wrong.

 

Thus, many members of those other Eau Claire congregations were appreciative of the opportunity presented by Grace when it hosted two Sunday night meetings that fall.  Those meetings allowed more orthodox Lutherans to come together for worship and to voice their concerns.  The gatherings eventually led to the development of a steering committee that would, in January of 2010, lead to the creation of Faith Lutheran Mission Church.

 

In one of the first meetings of the steering committee, Pastor Bryan Anderson of Clear Lake (son of Jean Anderson of FLMC) told the group that our new congregation would have an opportunity to move beyond the shackles of social statements to do real ministry in our communities.  But he also stressed that Faith Lutheran Mission Church would continue to serve as a “landing spot” for disenfranchised ELCA members for years to come.

 

Never has Pastor Anderson’s forecast been more evident than in the past two weeks.  On Tuesday, April 23, a judge upheld the decision by the ELCA’s Synod Council to turn Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire over to a group of 70 individuals (calling themselves Amazing Grace) who broke away from the church in 2011.  The judge also upheld the Synod Council’s decision to remove the voting rights and the rights to hold church office for the other 700 active members of the congregation.   

 

On the evening of April 23, more than a dozen members of Faith rallied in the parlors of Grace Lutheran to comfort and encourage those who were now being told they would soon not be welcome in their own church.  Several others of our members joined the next morning at Grace to help pull together a newsletter mailing, and were there when the keys were turned over to a representative of Amazing Grace’s law firm.  That afternoon, the employees of the church were told to pack up their belongings and leave, and the church has been closed ever since.

 

On the night of April 24, Faith Lutheran Mission Church hosted 230 people from Grace who came to talk about what they had been through, and to start trying to figure out what to do next.  Pastor David Irgens and Anne Carter presided over the hastily-arranged session, during which hurt, sad and angry individuals got a chance to ask their questions, share their comments and express their concerns to and support for one another and their congregation in absentia. 

 

Members of Faith provided hospitality, greeting people at the door, providing closed-circuit coverage of the event to the overflow crowd in the basement, offering our Sunday School area for the youth to gather, and providing food and coffee to those in attendance.  Many remarked on the irony that our congregation – which was formed from the hospitality of Grace Lutheran Church to a bunch of orphaned Lutherans in 2009 – now had the blessed opportunity to provide hospitality and comfort to those very people who hosted us.

 

And indeed, that meeting on the night of April 24 birthed a new congregation.  The disenfranchised Grace Members decided that night to gather for worship and an organizational meeting the following Sunday at the Stokes, Prock and Mundt Funeral Chapel in Altoona.  After 386 attended the worship, the group met to form a new congregation called Saving Grace Lutheran Church.  They called Rolf Nestingen and David Irgens as their pastors, declared membership in Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) and began developing plans to continue the important work they had done as members of Grace.

 

Tuesday night, August 30, the new council of Saving Grace met at Faith Lutheran Mission Church.  Among their decisions was to continue meeting on Sundays at the funeral chapel, while conducting Wednesday night worship and activities at the Masonic Lodge.  Saturday afternoon services will be held at 5 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Mission Church.

 

Certainly, Faith Lutheran Mission Church will have other opportunities to support our old friends and their new church in the days ahead.  It’s an opportunity to demonstrate those Holy Spirit-given qualities of leadership and encouragement at a very important moment for the Christian church.  Let’s embrace the opportunity, and watch God’s blessings at work!

 

Pew Cushions Ordered After Fund Reaches Goal

The congregation council decided at its meeting April 15 to order cushions for the pews in the sanctuary.  Based on vendor estimates, the cushions should arrive and be installed by early this summer.

 

The decision came after the special Pew Cushion Fund took in enough contributions to fully fund the purchase.  The fund required no money for general offerings, as individuals contributed directly to the fund through targeted gifts and memorials.

 

Ghana Land Fund to Be Featured

Another special fund receiving collections is the Ghana Land Fund.  The congregation is trying to raise at least $6,000 to make the down payment on land for a new orphanage at The Potter’s Village in Ghana.

 

The congregation held a Skype visit with the orphanage last fall while Jayne Kallenbach, daughter of Sandy and Dean Kallenbach, was volunteering there.  The charity is operated by Dr. Jane Irina Adu, a Methodist minister and author, and its mission is to empower vulnerable children and women to greatness through quality institutional care, educational and personal development to ensure harmonious living in homes and communities in Ghana.

 

“There are growing numbers of displaced children and abused women in Ghana who…have no choice but to repeat the cycle of poverty and despair,” said Dr. Adu.  “This project will have substantial impact in the people who participate in the program, as well as the surrounding communities and the country as a whole.”

 

The orphanage currently houses more than 100 children on one-quarter acre of rented land with an unreliable open well.  The Potters Village project plan seeks to raise nearly $16,000 (US) as start-up capital to purchase 10 acres of land, with another three acres being donated by the sellers if the initial ten are purchased.  Once the land is purchased, the plan is to build a campus that includes sleeping rooms as well as toilet, kitchen, dining and living facilities. 

 

The plan also includes the development of a library, classrooms and a church which doubles as an assembly hall.  Eventually, the proposal includes development of a working farm with chickens, goats and crops as wells as a bakery.  Both business ventures  would  help the center sustain itself through direct food production for its residents and through sales to the community.

 

The fund is currently at $1,250 toward an initial goal of $6,000, which would provide a down payment on the land. Watch soon for a display in the fellowship hall with more details.  A detailed description of the proposal is attached to this newsletter, and is available at the church.   

 

Sola Publishing, Salvation Army CareLink are May Missions

Salvation Army CareLink is the local mission for the month of May, while the non-local mission focus for the month is Sola Publishing.

 

CareLink provides short-term relief for individuals in the Eau Claire area who come upon emergency financial needs.  Rather than each congregation having a “Good Samaritan” fund, CareLink pools those resources, which are administered by the Salvation Army, to provide vouchers for food, lodging and transportation to those in need.  Eleven percent of Faith Lutheran Mission Church’s weekly offerings in May will go to CareLink.

 

Ten percent of the congregation’s May offerings will be dedicated to Sola Publishing.  Sola Publishing is an educational ministry serving congregations of the LCMC and other orthodox Christians looking for teaching resources that are trustworthy and useful at a reasonable price.  More information about Sola is available at www.solapublishing.org.

 

Faith Lutheran Mission Church dedicates 21 percent of its weekly offerings to missions outside the congregation, with another two percent going to support the worldwide ministries of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

 

Cleanup Day set for May 11 for Highway and Church Grounds

Yes – we may have eight inches of snow on the ground, but plans are still in place to do our annual spring highway cleanup and church yard spruce-up on Saturday May 11.  The forecast shows a nice warming trend coming next week, so come ready to help out.

 

Faith Lutheran Mission Church has adopted a two-mile stretch of Eau Claire County Trunk Highway II (Double-I) west of Wisconsin Highway 93.  Arrive at the Corner Store at the junction of 93 and II just before 10 a.m.  Jack Daniel will have bright vests for us to wear for safety’s sake.  We’ll then split up to pick garbage and recyclables out of the ditch and roadway. 

 

After we’ve finished picking up the highway, we’ll gather at the church grounds to spruce up the lawn and exterior of our property.  Bring a rake, shovel or hoe.  There’s rumor of sharing of snacks as well.  The more who come, the faster the work!

 

Watch the bulletin for more details.  Come for one or both cleanup opportunities!

 

Church Calendar Moves toward Pentecost, Summer

As we move through May, we move toward some changes in the Faith Lutheran Mission Church schedule.

 

Our Wednesday 6 p.m. text study will continue through Wednesday, May 17, then will take the summer off, resuming after Labor Day.  The 7 p.m. midweek worship service on Wednesday will continue throughout the summer.

 

Sunday School will conclude for the season on May 19, which is Pentecost Sunday.  It’s a great opportunity to celebrate our children and their teachers.

 

By the way, Pastor Henseler encourages the entire congregation to wear red for Pentecost Sunday May 19, to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Hannah’s Hands and Men of Faith Meet May 13

Hannah’s Hands women’s group will continue its current study based on Max Lucado’s book “Facing Your Giants.”  The group meets again at the church on Monday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

 

Vern Doenier will lead a discussion on “Suffering” at the gathering of Men of Faith at the Maple Manor Restaurant in Eau Claire.  We’ll gather (and order) at 8:30.  All men are welcome.  Just come to Maple Manor, 2507 South Hastings Way, and look for our group in the back room.

 

By the way, if you are a man who would be interested in taking part in an evening “Men of Faith” group, contact Pastor Nick or Vern.

 

Interfaith Hospitality Network Opportunities Set for May

Help is needed from members and friends of Faith Lutheran Mission Church in making or serving meals to homeless families sheltered at the Beacon House of Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network for three dates in May and one in June.

 

There is a sign-up sheet in the fellowship hall near the bulletin board for anyone wishing to help on May 25, 26 or 31 or June 1.  Please consider volunteering.  Ask Karla Petersen if you have questions or want to sign up!

 

Fellowship Committee Seeks Volunteers

The fellowship committee is looking for a pool of back-up volunteers for serving food on Sunday morning after church, as well as funerals, weddings and other special events.  Back-ups would be on a list to be called in the event a regular fellowship team member was sick or out-of-town.  If you’d like to be a sub, contact Katie Evans.

 

Wanted – Book Reviewers!

Dick Buck, our church librarian, is taking this issue off from his regular book review column “Buck on Books,” but he encourages anyone interested in reviewing a book that is housed in the Faith Lutheran Mission Church library to draft a few paragraphs explaining what the book is about and why you found it helpful.  If you want to write a review, contact Dick or Pastor Henseler for more details.

 

News and Notes

·         Next church council meeting is set for May 20 at 7 p.m.

 

·         Church cleaning volunteers for April are Katie Evans and Bob and Elaine Moore (May 10) and Karla Peterson and Luke Lundquist (May 24).  The full list of volunteers and duty specifics are posted through June 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.

 

·         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

All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.                                                Martin Luther

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