UNSPOKEN LESSON

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

 

Looking back at the tragic deaths last week inBostonand West I wonder what lessons people take away from them.  Again, we are reminded of the fragility and uncertainty of life. We are reminded to assist our fellow citizens in time of need. We are also that we can’t fathom God’s transcendent and mysterious will, but we can learn to lean on him for comfort in crisis.

Then there are the lessons connected to what could have been done to prevent the deaths. Could authorities have been more vigilant in their oversight of the bombers?  Could the fertilizer plant owner been more attentive to safety measures in light of past warnings?

Perhaps, to all of that. But the evangelist Luke records an even greater and universal lesson from Jesus.  Two events, similar toBostonand West, are the setting for the lesson. In the first, lives are purposely and senselessly taken by an evil man, Pilate. In the second a tower falls, killing 18 people–no one’s fault—an accident.  And what does Jesus make of that?

In both cases he says the same thing. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise parish.” It didn’t matter what the cause of death was, Jesus was concerned not with physical death but eternal death– perishing. While physical death is tragic and a great loss, the greatest tragedy is to be eternally separated from God. Jesus wants us to learn from death, whether from bombers, explosions, or disease, that we must repent before we die. That lesson applies to all people always.

Jesus, of course, calls us to repentance for a reason. We are all sinners, no more or no less deserving of death than those who are killed by headline grabbing events.  Yet, God in his mercy offers forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The real tragedy is to refuse that gift. The real lesson is to repent and believe in Him.  No news pundits will offer that lesson, but Jesus does.  So that makes it the most important lesson of all.

PastorTom Konz

How Much is Enough?

It’s often been said that if you’re bored in Stephenville it’s your own fault.  The more I learn about this community the more I realize how true that is.  There is so much to do for a town this size. Athletics, movies, concerts, plays, rodeos, contests, locally and in all levels of education, abound and beckon us to be part of their audience.

But it’s not just for entertainment or sports that opportunities abound. There are so many ways that we can be involved giving back to our community in terms of time and money. Charity events and volunteer avenues seem to never end.

This is not a complaint, but just the opposite. It’s a sign of a caring community that we don’t leave it all to government or any one institution to care for our most needy and vulnerable, but on the goodness of our citizens. That speaks well of all of the vibrant force of volunteers that live here.

The question I raise here, however, is, “How does a Christian balance out the time that is needed for personal rest and refreshment and the need of his or her community, church, or school?”  Well-meaning people often want to do more than they are capable of, because their hearts are larger than their wallet or schedule. Though there are so many worthy causes, we can’t do it all.  How do we strike the balance?

Jesus gives an example:  he worked tirelessly among needy people, yet he took time to pray and rest. Even when he died on the cross to save us from our sins, he didn’t go beyond making the sacrifice, the mission he was assigned by His Father.  After his resurrection and ascension, He sent His Spirit to fill His Church with the power and authority to carry on His work.

Paul and others tell us to serve as we have opportunity, but placed high priority on providing for ourselves and our families first. We are told to do good to all, especially to the household of faith, yet the Good Samaritan reminds us that our neighbor in need could also be a stranger or even an enemy.

Scripture counsels us to hold in balance our obligations to others and to ourselves, as well as our obligations to friends and strangers. Balance is not an excuse to do less than what we can, or to do more than we should. Paul would advise us to give of time and money that which we can give cheerfully. A reluctant volunteer or giver is not necessarily a blessing to self or others. None of us indispensable, so there is no reason to feel guilty about saying “no” when you reach your healthy limit.  Our Creator has given diverse gifts with abundance so that no one is strained.  When we responsibly say “no” we leave room for someone else to joyfully say “yes”. Likewise, when we “over-function” we allow others to “under-function”. Do what you can do joyfully, but then leave a vacuum for others to fill. They will.

Serving joyfully inErathCounty, and still looking for that balance myself.

PastorTom Konz

“No Soft Christianity”

 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:

just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34

 

Yesterday, I read again the Old Testament requirements for offering sacrifices. I was impressed by how demanding they were. Everyday spotless lambs were to be offered up morning and evening, which were increased on the Sabbath Day.  Then once a month additional sacrifices of bulls and rams were added, and again more on annual feast days.  What is impressive is that these sacrifices were both costly and regular. A lame, sick, or blemished lamb would not do. Skipping a day was not allowed.

Thankfully, these sacrifices are no longer required. Their purpose has been fulfilled.  The sacrifice to which they were pointing has come: Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God that has once and for all erased from God’s record the sin of the whole world. Those who accept Him by faith need no other sacrifice or payment for sin.

Yet Jesus did not leave us without a law to fulfill. He gave us a new one: love one another as he has loved us.  Paul refers to love as the debt that is never paid, for we are always to be doing it. But we have softened that commandment so that it fits our preferences and our level of comfort and commitment.  Unlike the sacrificial animals, love for us is too often not a daily sacrifice offered even when it is inconvenient.  Nor is it a sacrifice of our best. We love half-heartedly, reluctantly, conditionally, and on our terms.

Jesus said, “As I have loved you…”. His love required the ultimate sacrifice–his life. As He said, there is no greater love than that sacrifice.  He still loves us, guiding us, preserving us, teaching us, holding us accountable, comforting us, and praying for us.

Can we love each other like that?   Not on our own, but with His Holy Spirit we can. And because of His Spirit we do even better than what was required of the Old Testament Israelites.  Having been forgiven by the love of God in Christ Jesus, we are empowered and released to love sacrificially and consistently.  As demanding as the sacrifices of animals were, love is an even greater demand.  It requires the giving of our selves. But for the sake of Him who gave Himself for us, we are called to do no less.

PastorTom Konz

 

LET US WORSHIP!

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!   Psalm 95:6

 

There is something about Easter Sunday that reminds us of important things we easily forget.

First, when a great number of worshipers gather in one place for one hour we remember why God calls us to assemble in the first place: The encouragement of numbers lifts the spirit.  That’s why the writer of Hebrews bids us not to forsake gathering together—because the fellowship is an important boost to our faith.  Yes, we should be willing to worship God even if we are the only ones to do so, but how much easier it is to do so with others. It’s no mystery. Joy loves company. It is doubled when shared, as sorrow is halved when shared.

The other thing Easter worship helps us to remember is why we worship in the first place. Jesus has risen from the dead as he said he would  This is so important because it means that His word is reliable, that the punishment for sin is finished,  that He is the Son of God with power over life and death, and that by believing in Him we too will rise from the dead. And all this is by faith, not by our own accomplishment or effort.  How wonderful it is in a world that measures us by our own personal success to have assurance of forgiveness apart from our merit! How hopeful in a world of violence, death, and disease, that Our Lord is the lord of peace, life, and health who overcomes the world.

While this central message is at the core of all Sunday worship, on Easter we hear it most clearly. Because it is the source of our hope, it propels us to live out our faith with love and courage every day. It is the Church’s ministry to build up worshipers in the Easter hope and to reveal from God’s Word how our risen Lord wants us to live out that hope. That’s why we worship not only on Easter, but every Sunday.

So, come let us worship. Encourage one another. Remember and praise Him who has conquered sin and death for us. Grow in His grace and knowledge.

Blessed Easter, all year around!   PastorTom Konz

 

April 2013 Newsletter

Pastor’s Page

“Who We Are”

“I believe in the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints…”  We confess that regularly, but what does it mean?  The disciples after Easter probably wondered the same thing.  What now?  Who are we and what are we supposed to be doing?

About a year and half ago a committee of about a dozen Faith members gathered monthly for over a  year to talk about what Faith Lutheran Church is all about as a congregation, equipped with resources and placed in a community of needs and opportunities. This led us to the one year goal of focusing even more on the mission field we call Faith School.

We also wanted to develop a shorthand visual way of describing our reason to exist.  The mission description is, “drawing everyday people to faithfully follow God’s Word.”  Each word is important, for it leads us to minister to people from every walk of life and every level of ability; to love them without compromising God’s Word, so that they too may be faithful disciples.

But now you may ask, “How do we do that?”  The best way to tell you is in a banner—the one hanging in the narthex. It will hang in the sanctuary during the Sundays of Easter.  The following themes are taken from that banner, and the content will be drawn from the lectionary of the season. Come learn and grow in grace and knowledge.  Come discover from God’s Word who we are.

Pastor Tom Konz

 

Sunday Worship Themes in April & part of May

April 7th                                                              “Life of Worship”                                                            Introit, John 20:28

April 14th                                                       “Sharing Our Faith Story”                                               Introit, John 20:

April 21st                                                            “Accountable Living”                                                    Acts 20:28

April 28th                                                          “Serving Community”                                                   John 13:34-35

May 5                                                                    “A Church of Prayer”                                                   John 16:23-24

May 12                                                             “The Church in the World”                                                 Revelation 22:1-6, 12-20

 

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Recycling

In the month of February we collected $15 for FLY from recycled aluminum cans.  Keep bringing your aluminum cans to the kitchen by the sanctuary so that we can redeem them for $CASH$ for the youth.

Meals on Wheels

                                                                                                        April 5th       Simpson

                                                                                                        April 12th      Walter

April 19th     Carrasco

April 26th     Simpson

Serving in the Month of April

          8:15 a.m. Service

Usher:                 Bob Small & Leonard Kelly

Greeter:               Edna Tate

Altar:                   Rosanne Keilers

Acolyte:              7th Jamee,  14th Alex,  21st Luke,  28th Karsyn

          10:45 a.m. Service

Usher:                 Doug Hanna &James Myers

Greeter:             Inge Easterling

Altar:                   Rosanne Keilers

Acolyte:             7thEric,    14th Ethan,   21st Landry,    28th Rett

Due to uncertain schedules, if you are at a service and the scheduled server is not present, please step up to volunteer.

Brunch Schedule

                   Snack             Snack             Snack          Drink Serve/Cleanup

7                 Small               Nelson           Strohmeyer           Sparkman

14               Tate               Nehring           Vandenberg            Weber

21               Bills                Cameron             Carlson                  Hatton

28               Franz           Fredrickson         Keilers                 Gallagher

If you are unable to serve on a Sunday, please find a replacement and let the office know.

****Please remember if you are on the schedule to “Serve” this include: setting up & making coffee and after, put things away, wash dishes, wipe off tables, sweep and mop if necessary.

SMALL GROUP MINISTRIES

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

SPRING CLEANING- IT’S GARAGE SALE TIME!

The annual Faith Garage Sale is coming on Friday & Saturday, April 5th & 6th. Each family with youth attending camp needs to sign up for one of the two-hour shifts below.

Friday-5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday-11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Please email Kim Mitchell at faitheducation@embarqmail.com with the time you will serve. Thank you!

CAMP SHILOH REGISTRATION IS COMPLETE. We have 13 youth scheduled to attend June 16th-21st. Each of you should have received an email from me detailing the amount you still owe toward camp. One-half of your remaining balance is due by Wed. May 1st. Once that is paid I will send you the link to register your child online. You will have 3 more fundraising opportunities to help earn the reminder of your camp fees.

They are: the garage sale, a special Mother’s day luncheon & delivery of Yellow books.

***BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND***

National Youth Gathering & Camp Shiloh participants will team up to honor our Mothers and serve up a delicious family meal on Sunday, May 12th.

The menu includes: Mom’s Mouthwatering Chicken, baked potatoes, tossed salad & your choice of pie for dessert! The cost is $12 for adults and $6 for children through age 10. You may reserve a table for 8 at a discount-$80. Child care for children under 3 will be available. You may see Kim Mitchell for reservations.

FAITH LUTHERAN YOUTH ARE FLYING HIGH!

  • Jamee Nelson & Cooper Vandenberg won spots on Gilbert Intermediate’s difficult Music Memory team.
  • Eric Carrasco completed the Running on Faith 5K in 28:11. He is continuing his training for more races down the road.Brent Stroebel look out!
  • Karsyn Kimbrough’s soccer team was the undefeated league champions. In basketball, district champs, undefeated again. On the track, Karsyn placed at the district level and will continue on to regionals in both the Sprint & Mile relays.
  • Gabriella Carrasco competed in the Region Music Ensemble festival & will continue on to the State competition in May.
  • Megan Franz threw a personal best in the discus 70 ft. 11 in. This year she is adding shot put to her events & has been on the A/B honor roll all year.
  • Kerstin Fredrickson placed in the top 10% in a Field of 2100 participants in Horse Judging at the recent TSU competition. This was Kerstin’s first judging event.
  • Isabella Manlapaz placed 1st in District 7 UIL Spelling & Vocabulary. She & her team are headed to regionals.
  • Billy Cogburn placed 1st in Lincoln-Douglas district debate. He will represent SHS at the Regional tournament in Lubbock in April.
  • Tyler Mitchell won back-to-back 1st place awards, with the High Individual Score, at the TSU & Central Texas Wildlife Competitions.
  • Bamma Strohmeyer & SHS Honeybee Soccer are in the playoffs! Bamma will also serve as Varsity Mascot & President of the Student Body in 2013-14.
  • Billy Cogburn, Jacob Lewis & Bamma Strohmeyer were recently inducted into the National Honor Society.
  • Many of our talented youth currently have art on display in the SISD Bond Auditorium. The exhibit is open through April 2nd. We are very proud of you!

LWML—Lutheran Women’s Missionary League-

As always, a LOT is happening with the women.  Here you go:

  • Enjoyed a day of the Irish on March 17th with Shirley’s presentation of herIreland trip and enjoyed lots of Irish food for lunch.  20 women attended.
  • Had a productive business meeting in Room 6 planning and laughing on May 10th
  • Provided meals for Viola Truss (surgery),Susan Myers(broken leg), and the Quade’s (deaths of Jeanette’s sister and aunt).
  • Planning baby showers for first baby mothers (Sarah McNeal, a boy, May 19th, Heather Soltau Paup, a boy, June 22) and baby gift baskets for mom’s having 2nd or more babies (Sarah Osterloh, June, a boy)
  • Gathering and sending MITES to help with the many LWML mission projects in Texas and around the world.
  • Planning ahead for May 19th confirmation and  May 26th graduation recognitions

Here’s what’s coming up for April:

  • Friday, April 5th Set Up for Church Garage Sale so bring your items after 5:30pm and put your items on tables, priced.  Thanks!
  • Saturday, April 6th 8:00-2:00 pm—sign up to help for a few hours to clerk the check-out table or come back at 2:00 to help clean up.
  • Wednesday, April 10th all are welcome to the business meeting at 7pm in Room 6
  • Sunday, April 14th Spring LWML Workshop at St. Marks in Mineral Wells @ 2:30-5:30pm—carpool!
  • Saturday, April 27th all women are invited to a gathering of Lutheran women from all the surrounding churches on both sides of us.  We could use help with providing the lunch for the day.  Check with Lynann Simpson or Marlene White for more information.
  • As the need arises, we provide meals.  Cindy Franz is the coordinator for this Hospitality Committee.  Please call her if you want to help with meals and/or if you know of someone who needs a few meals to help during a rough time.

We love our special fellowship times with the women of our congregation.  It is a built-in need that women have.  We grow spiritually and emotionally through our connection together.  Please consider joining us as often as you can.  We welcome any and all ideas and help, but mostly, YOU being with us!

                                                       

LWML listening to Shirley Febinger, about her trip to Ireland.

S.A.I.L. NEWS OF INTEREST

          On March 7, 2013, ten members and Pastor Tom met at 10:00am in Room 9 for our monthly Bible study.  Jeanette and Lyder Quade provided chocolate cake with ice cream left from the Lenten meal.  A birthday card for Viola Truss and get-well card for Inge Easterling were sent.

          Pastor Tom opened and closed our group participation prayer.  Members joined in a unique Bible study titled “Jesus Appears to Women.”  We discussed the few verses in the four gospels that explain Jesus’ burial and the first people (all women) to whom our Risen Lord appeared.  Pastor Tom challenged us to offer an edifying insight for each group of verses.

          For our March 21st S.A.I.L. meeting members brought bath towels that were used with the items for the Personal Care Kits those students in Faith School have gathered. 10 members of S.A.I.L. assembled 63 kits for Lutheran World Relief, for distribution to people in need throughout the world. Mildred Coker provided delicious strawberry shortcake for dessert and Inge Easterling’s birthday celebration. Pastor offered prayers of Thanksgiving and concerns. S.A.I.L has volunteered to prepare the Confirmation banquet.

          In April our Bible study with Pastor Tom will be on the 4th, as well as provide interview information for a social worker. Members will work on new bibs for Faith School in our April 18th S.A.I.L. meeting.  Darleene Hufstutler and Cheryl Konz are continuing to research and develop plans for a walking trail around Faith’s property.

A great BIG “THANK YOU” to the Faith School children who brought items for the kits.

                                                                                     

 

                             S.A.I.L assembling the kits for                              Faith School kids were able to help

                            the Lutheran World Relief.                                          collect items for the kits for the

                                                                                                                                         Luther World Relief.

BOARD OF EVANGELISM

The Project Connect display tracts have been refilled. We are happy that you are finding them to be a good resource.  A new one was ordered – “Self-Control in an Addictive World”.

We anticipate the Prayer Retreat Garden being utilized again with the completion of the Faith School addition and as the days are warmer!  “God calls us to vigilant prayer to combat the hosts of hell. When we remain watchful and alert, we guard ourselves against drowsiness, mind-wandering, and preoccupation. In today’s culture, we find those three obstacles very prevalent – especially technological preoccupation. Text messaging, emails and social networking provide huge distractions from a meaningful prayer life. Prayer requires spiritual alertness, keenness, concentration, and perseverance. Effective prayer keeps asking, seeking and knocking (Luke 11:9).”  Your Strong Suit Bible Study, Donna Pyle

God bless you as we “witness” – speak from personal experience and simply introduce others to Jesus!

CTPCC: Thank you so much for continuing to return the Change for Life baby bottles! Each bottle costs $1 so please return them even if they are empty. We are in GREAT NEED of individuals to help with phones at the Center. These volunteers will answer the phones and call to confirm appointments for the next day. If you can offer an hour, an afternoon or a day, we would be very appreciative! Please note our hours are only 9 am -3 pm Monday through Friday, and Thursday 4 pm-6 pm. If you are available to help, please contact Laurin or Athena at 965-6031.

 

BUILDING USAGE

As you know, we have a wonderful facility here at Faith Lutheran Churchfor our congregation and community to use for various purposes throughout the year. The demand for our Faith Family Center and room 9 has increased significantly and because of this our church council has approved procedures and some restrictions on use.  Our Administrative Assistant, Nichole Monroe, will give tours, maintain the schedule, go through the contract process with lessees and bill all building usage and events. If you need a room or the gym you must contact the church office prior to the events. Church activities and paid events will take precedence over personal use. If you are interested in being a building attendant, which pays $25 per hour during a non-church member rental, please contact the church office. If you are sponsoring a non-profit event you must be PRESENT THE ENTIRE TIME and handle the contract for the organization.

 

FAITH SCHOOL

Being Great, Not Perfect

“GREAT” moms and dads are not perfect parents.  Most of the time they are parents who are ordinary, who trust God, Who is extraordinary.  During the Lent Season we are reminded of the great sacrifice God made for us and how blessed we are to have unconditional mercy and forgiveness.

Great parents don’t try to hide their mistakes or pass the blame to keep up appearances.  They don’t expect their children to be perfect so that their behavior will reflect well on their own parenting skills.  They still answer the door to unexpected company, even when the house isn’t spotless.

Great parents are parents who risk greatness by risking failure and who are honest with themselves and to others about both their victories and their defeats.  They are parents just like you and me, committed to being exactly who God created them to be.  We are not perfect and never will be.

The next time your children make a mistake, share openly about a time when your humanness was as obvious as theirs is now.  Remind them that only God is perfect.

Serving Him,

Magan Carrasco

Children have more need of models than of critics. –Joseph Joubert

 

CHURCH ANNOUNCEMENTS

VOTER’S MEETING: There will be a voter’s meeting between services on Sunday, May 5th at 9:30 a.m. Please put this in your calendar. If you have any questions please contact Javier Garza.

CONFIRMATION SUNDAY, May 19th: We look to God for his blessings as Alex Cameron, Eric Carrasco, Ret Douglas, Tara Garza, and Ethan Nehring will proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ and vow their allegiance to His Church after careful instruction over the past year.  Remember them in your prayers as they prepare for that special day in their lives. Our thanks to their parents for their faithful assistance. We would also like to thank S.A.I.L for serving the confirmation banquet.

FLOWERS FOR CHURCH SERVICES: We are looking for someone that is interested in taking over the flowers for the church services. Missy Weber will be able to continue getting them through May, but we need someone to take over for her starting in June. If you are interested in doing this, please contact Missy Weber at 254-396-9059.

LOVE AND LOGIC PARENTING CLASSES: The STARRY counseling program will be hosting Love and Logic Parenting Classes during the month of April. The classes are free and are open to anyone who would like to attend. Please

see their website for more information. http://www.childrenatheartministries.org/STARRY-Counseling-Stephenville

Please contact Sarah Ansley at the agency at 254-434-5232 if you have any questions or would like more information.

A NEW ADVANTAGE FOR MINISTRY:

Thanks to John Young and other church members for finding and purchasing a van for the church.  If you are interested in using the van, please contact Nichole in the office and she get you signed up for the training.  Our congregation has been blessed in many ways this year and this is just another example of such!

 

WHAT MARTIN LUTHER SAYS ABOUT

THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST:

In his life, Christ is an example, showing us how to live; in his death, he is a sacrifice, satisfying for our sins; in his resurrection, a conqueror; in his ascension, a king; in his intercession, a high priest.   Martin Luther

 

You have been PING’ed!

Join your sisters in Christ on April 27, from 10 am – 2 pm at Faith Lutheran Church, 3000 NW Loop, Stephenville. The workshop is a free event and lunch will be hosted by the women of the Faith Lutheran LWML. Child care will also be available. Please RSVP to: Marlene White at (254) 967-3379 or wjmmwhite@embarqmail.com

 

Prepare

How is God pursuing you?

How can your society prepare for God’s work?

Inspire

What has God invested in you?

How can your society inspire its members?

Nourish

How has God nurtured you?

How will your society nourish the women God brings?

Go

Be prepared & inspired to GO!

Together we will explore the resources God has provided through the LWML and explore ways to reach out to those around you. Whether your organization just needs a boost or an overhaul or you’re just not sure what you need, this session will help prepare members for the task at hand. Zone presidents will be given Resource Guides to take home and share. Door prizes from the LWML shop will also be given away.

If you have any questions please contact Lynann Simpson at (254)592-6255 or Marlene White at (254)965-2049.

 

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

 

Love and Logic Parenting Classes    

FREE

NO CHARGE FOR CLASSES

Materials provided for use during class sessions

LOVE AND LOGIC PARENTING CLASSES

TUESDAY EVENINGS

Begins April 9, 2013 and runs through April 30, 2013

6:00 PM– 8:00 PM

Call 254-434-5232 if you have any questions

Parents have you:

▪ Ever wanted less stress and more confidence in yourself?

▪ Wanted to know the words to get your kids to do what you have asked them to do?

▪ Second guessed yourself on when to give in or when to stand firm?

▪ Dreamed of having respectful and responsible kids. 

 

Classes will be held in Stephenville at:

STARRY Counseling

2301 NW Loop Suite 101

Stephenville,TX

(Behind Rangler’s Convenience Store)

“Love and Logic” is a parenting curriculum that goes by the philosophy that parents

should not work harder than their children and that the best parents use their heads

and their hearts. It utilizes easy-to-use techniques and skills to help make parenting

more fun and less stressful. It can be used with all ages and all different types of parents.