Self-Justification

(Luke 10:29)  But he, desiring to justify himself, said, “Jesus, … 

“I’ve been pretty proud of myself lately. I get up every morning and like what I see in the mirror.  Most people seem pretty pleased with me.  Mind you, they don’t know me all that well, but that doesn’t matter.  I don’t do anything to hurt anyone. And it’s a good thing they can’t read my mind. Not all my thoughts are charitable or pure. But I keep them to myself, so no harm done. I am as nice a person as you will ever find.  I even chip in a few bucks to help others, if I have anything left over at the end of the month, and if they deserve it–no sense in helping those that won’t appreciate my kindness, right?

“What’s that you say, ‘Am I perfect?’?  Well, of course not. No one is.  What’s your point?   God doesn’t expect us to be perfect.  He just wants us to try our best. That’s what I do.  Live and let live.   MY God doesn’t condemn anyone anyway.  Everyone gets to heaven, if they just try.

“Do I worship you and receive your gifts? Once in a while, but mostly, I’m getting along pretty well without it.  God and I are good to go. That’s just not something I need. And besides, I have to catch up on my sleep sometime.

“What? Are you asking me where in the Bible I get my ideas about my salvation?  The Bible teaches that ‘God helps those who help themselves?’  Oh, it doesn’t?  Well what about the Ten Commandments? I am not breaking any that I can think of.  I even rest on Sunday, unless I have work to catch up on!  What? The Bible says that ‘by the Law no one is justified?’ God said, “Be holy as I am holy?”  I have to be perfect? Close isn’t good enough?  I have to keep the Commandments even in my thoughts?  I have to love God with all my heart and even my enemy as much as I love myself?  Man, no one can do that.

“OK, to be perfectly honest here, I know I’m not measuring up to God.  That’s why I don’t read the Bible all that much anymore.  It keeps telling me I am come up short.  So, I just figure I would do my best and God would do the rest.  But your prophet Isaiah said that my best is like what kind of “rag” in God’s sight? He has to do it all or it’s no deal?  I would like to think I get credit for something, but maybe you’re right. Perfect means perfect and I know I’m not there.

So where do I go for some assurance that God won’t kick me to the curb for failing Him? To You, Jesus?  You’re telling me that through you I can personally receive God’s forgiveness even for being a self-righteous sinner?  You say I can be forgiven even for neglecting Him so long and can be set free from besetting sins?  Where can I get this? Oh, in the words of absolution and Holy Communion, you say–every Sunday in Church.

Well, you may be right. I don’t suppose the television preacher can give me that through the tube, can he?  And last time I “worshiped” in “nature” I must admit it didn’t do much to challenge my pride or assure me of God’s love. That shade tree didn’t give me one ounce of forgiveness. Last time I did step inside a church, they were talking about your cross, Jesus, where you won my forgiveness and your resurrection that gives me life. They passed out your “body and blood”. I do recall now that it felt really good to know your undeserved love was even for me.

“Oh, and one more thing, Jesus.  I suppose I better just go ahead and admit this too.  I do remember   years ago making a promise at my confirmation that I would cherish your baptism of me by faithfully hearing your Word, receiving your Body and Blood, and serving you in his Church. Not just for something to do, but because I really need it! I haven’t been doing so well with that lately.  I guess I started believing the devil’s lies. I got lazy and distracted by everything else going on around me.  Well, if it was important then, then there must still be something to it.  I’ll see you in Church this Sunday, that is, if it’s still OK for me to come back after all this time. Trying to justify myself in God’s eyes without you really hasn’t been working for me, to be quite honest about it.  I’ll take your justification instead, if it’s not too late.”

It isn’t.  Jesus said, “I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

Getting the Message

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:23

 

“Are you listening?” “Do you know what I just said?” I don’t suppose I am the only husband who has heard that question by a wife who isn’t sure her husband has ears at all. (That may be why the two men who wrote, “I Only Have Eyes for You” didn’t write about ears.)

Listening is not just a problem in marriages and families, but between God and those whom He created and redeemed. Jesus often said, If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear”.  He knew our propensity to “not get it” when he was speaking to us about spiritual matters of sin and grace, law and love.

In the wake of all the troubles in the world now, the political battles, the earthquakes, accidents, fires, and especially tornados, I sometimes wonder if we are getting God’s message.  We want to hear that God has not left us, but remain nearby to comfort, protect, and heal. Luther called that His proper work, that which is in His nature to do.

Yet he also identified God’s alien work that which He does or allows in order to test our faith, shake loose our spiritual apathy, or convict us of our sin.  We need to hear Him then, also. The same disaster may speak differently to each of us, depending on what we need to hear.  What do you need to hear? “Repent of your sinful habits. Be alert. Watch, for you do not know when the end will come.  Do not be consumed with the cares of this life. Do not love the world or the things in it, for they will perish.  Make peace with others while there is time. Do not hold a grudge.  Forgive your neighbor.”

While disasters may not be specific punishments for specific persons, they teach what Job expressed well when God tested his faith: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (2:10). Jeremiah advises the one who receives evil from God that it is best to sit in silence and learn by prayer and meditation what God is saying. (Lamentations 3:27-28). Even those who only observe the losses of others may yet contemplate the fragility of life and possessions and thus live more humbly and gratefully.

But tragedy is never God’s final word for those who call out to Him.  The last word is one of God’s grace, which we know as those redeemed by the blood of Christ:  For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:31–33   Let the one who has ears, hear that, too! 

PastorTom Konz

 

Awakened by the Spirit

14The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him,

and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

 

Years ago a friend gave me a list titled, “Signs of a Spiritual Awakening”.  On the list were such things as an increased tendency to let things happen, rather than make them happen, frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciationa loss of ability to worry, the ability to love without expecting anything in return  and a loss of interest in judging others.  Each sign on the list is an attitude or action that God desires in us. Each is also something that doesn’t come naturally.  In fact our first impulse is to do the opposite.

That’s why we need the Spirit of God to work these attitudes in us. Jesus knew that when He left this earth, His followers would not be able to carry on by themselves.  He promised to send the Holy Spirit to strengthen, renew, and awaken them.  He also promised that the Spirit would stir the conscience in regard to sin, and then enable the convicted sinner to trust in His Son for grace and forgiveness. This Sunday His Church celebrates the day Christ kept that promise by pouring out His Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost.

He continues to give His Spirit to all who call upon Him.  He gives repentance and saving faith: justification. Then he gives more repentance and more faith: sanctification. That is His gift that enables us to live more like the holy people He has declared us to be in Christ. Being justified by grace through faith doesn’t end our struggles against the temptations that assault us. We are always in need of daily awakening, daily repentance and renewal.  The Spirit of Christ walks with us each day to show us where we need to grow, and then to help us grow.

So often our growth is more difficult because we try to live out our salvation on our own, as if once God did his part to save us the rest is up to us.  Imagine that you just bought a new car with a full tank of gas. Eventually you ran out of gas, but instead of refilling the tank with fuel, you started pushing the car everywhere.  As foolish as that sounds we can be just as foolish and frustrated trying to live for Christ without refueling our spirit with His Spirit. We do this by praying to God through Jesus, who said, If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11) Just ask, and be awakened.   Pastor Tom Konz

 

Powerfully Present

May 9, 2013   Ascension Day

“(He) ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.” Ephesians 4:10

 

“You can’t win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” The Jedi knight Obi Wan Kenobi knew that, even after Darth Vader killed his body, his power would be present in future knights. What is fiction in Star Wars is wonderful truth in Christ our Lord. As Son of God, He cannot die. Though they killed His body, the Spirit of God raised Him on the third day—not just alive, but glorified.  He would never again give up the fullness of His divine powers, as He had voluntarily done to reconcile us to God through His blood on the cross.  He is now more powerful than Satan can possibly imagine.

But that power is not just contained in Himself. His power is present in His Church. Ten days after His ascension, on the Feast of Pentecost, He gave his disciples the promised Holy Spirit. Since then His Spirit in the Church has turned the world upside down and will continue to do so until He returns. Through His Church He is more powerful than anyone can imagine.

This week I heard the following parable by Kierkegaard that challenges us to remember that: “One Sunday morning, all the ducks headed to church with their children waddling behind them. When the duck preacher got up to proclaim the message, he opened his duck Bible and screamed, “Ducks, you can fly! You have wings and you can fly like eagles.” The ducks all chanted, “We can fly, we can fly!” He asked, “Do you believe you can fly?” Again, they shouted back, “We can fly, we can fly.” He screamed again, “We can soar through the skies!” They all shouted, “Amen.” With that the pastor closed his duck Bible and dismissed his congregation of ducks. Then they all waddled back home.”

Friends, we have the Spirit of Him who rose from the grave and soared through the skies.  Let us not waddle, but live as those filled with the Spirit. Christ is not absent, but present, in us.                 Pastor Tom Konz

May 2013 Newsletter

Pastor’s Page

 

Faith in Transition

May brings transitions. School gives way to summer break, careers and college. The weather warms up, hopefully.

This May brings transitions also in our Church. As we tie up the “banner” series on our mission map we move to celebrate that which empowers us to Accountable Living, Serving Community, a Life of Worship, and to Share our Faith Story : Prayer and the Word of God.

Then we joyfully acknowledge how God works through His Word and our prayers by His Holy Spirit in the festival of Pentecost.  The Lord who transitioned (May 9) from earth to Heaven gave His Spirit to the Church to carry out the ministry of reconciliation through our witness and ministry.

Transitions also happen for catechumens to be confirmed/baptized and for those who will be transferring to Faith from other churches. They commit themselves in faith to follow our Lord and support His Church.  This is a solemn, yet joyful transition. Remember them in your prayers.

And what better way to wrap up the month than Trinity Sunday, a powerful and joyful celebration that our Lord Jesus is indeed one of a kind, with the Father and the Spirit.  In the words of a wonderful hymn by St. Patrick, it is to the “strong name” of the Holy Trinity that we “bind ourselves.” (LSB 604)

He is the changeless Lord through all our transitions.

May God Bless May,   PastorTom Konz

 

Sunday Worship Themes in May

 

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

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

          May 19                 “Confirmation:  to be continued…”         John 14:23

Pentecost Sunday

          May 26                       “Jesus: One of a Kind”                           John 8:48–59

Holy Trinity Sunday

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 on May 17th.

 

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

 

National Day of Prayer: Thursday, May 2, 2013

We will begin with an hour of prayer around the courthouse. Then, 11 churches from around the community will host a prayer gathering at their church, at times listed below.  The community is welcome to participate at all locations.
7:00   Courthouse– First Baptist- Rev. Ben Macklin
8:00    First Christian- Rev. Shannon Grubbs

9:00    Rocky Point Baptist– Rev. Edward Heinze
10:00 Timber Ridge– Rev. Nic Burleson

11:00 Cornerstone Assembly of God-Rev. Ed Dittfurth
12:00 Cowboy Church- Rev. Werth Mayes
1:00    St. Luke’s Episcopal– Rev. Curt Norman
2:00    Christian Reformed– Rev. Merwin Rylaarsdam
3:00    Faith Lutheran- Rev. Tom Konz
4:00    Oakdale Methodist– Rev. Steve Holston
5:00    Cross Timbers Church of Christ– Rev. Don Middleton
6:00    First United Methodist– Rev. Howard Martin

Pregnancy Care Center Baby Bottles:  We received a letter of thanks from the Cross Timbers Pregnancy Care center for our support in the baby bottles. Our congregation alone gave $618.81 in change for the baby bottles. The Pregnancy Care Center raised over $28,100 overall this year. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this amazing event to serve an organization, who shares the love of Christ.

Aluminum Can Recycling:
In April we have received $20 for our youth group by recycling aluminum cans.  Thank you for your assistance.  Keep bringing your aluminum cans to the kitchen by the sanctuary so that we can help our youth AND our environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meals on Wheels

May 3rd                Pack

May 10th             Walter

May 17th          Quade

May 24th          FaithSchool

May 31st          West

SERVING FAITH IN MAY

 

Worship

8:15 a.m. Service

Usher:       Duane Sparkman & Troy Kimbrough

Greeter:     Mark Gallagher

Altar:          Cindy Franz

Acolyte:     5th Tara, 12th Cooper, 19th Jamee, 26th

 

10:45 a.m. Service

Usher:       Lee Barlow & Lyder Quade

Greeter:     Rueben Walter

Altar:          Cindy Franz

Acolyte:     5th Landry, 12th Ethan, 19th Karlee, 26th Kylie

 

If  you are at a service and the scheduled server is not present, please step up to volunteer.

Choirs and Young Musicians: We have 14 adults and 9 youngsters who have participated in our “choirs” this school year.  They come on Wednesday evenings for practice and then are here on Sunday mornings to share their music with you.  It is their prayer that their offerings add to your worship.  Especially in the case of the young people, you need to encourage them and their parents to continue to share their musical gifts in worship.  Eric Curtoys on baritone has shared his music with us in several services.  Gabriella Carrasco on clarinet and Eric Carrasco on drum also have supported the choir’s song.  We thank these young people for wanting to be a part of the worship.  Make a joyful noise!

 

Brunch Schedule

                   Snack                  Snack                Snack                    Drive Serve/Cleanup

5                 Angerhofer         Cameron           Bills                        Carlson

12                Garza                   Febinger            Franz                      Gallagher

19                Konz                     Keilers              Kimbrough            Hatton

26               Schulze                Lee                    Lewis                      Espinoza

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

Serving includes set up, clean up, and drinks.

Gardening:
For those who might be interested in helping with the flowerbeds around the church and the Faith Family Center, we are currently meeting on Tuesday mornings about 8:30-9:00 and then working until about 11:30.  You are invited to join us.  If this time does not fit your schedule, ask Mary Walter to give you an area that you can be your responsibility and you can work on your own schedule.    Any help will be appreciated.  Contact Mary Walter – 968-6922 or email- mwalter@our-town.com

 

SMALL GROUP MINISTRIES

SUNDAY SCHOOL

May 5th – 11th is Teacher Appreciation Week please remember the following Christian Educators in your prayers and with a word of Encouragement & Gratitude! Sarah Osterloh, John, Cindy & Megan Franz, Amy Curtoys, Liz Cameron, Pastor & Cheryl Konz,Mark & Missy Weber, Ola Faye Howard, Kim Mitchell & Marlene White..

Summer is coming and so is Summer Sunday school. Please prayerfully consider volunteering your teaching gifts for ONE Sunday this summer.  All lesson materials and supplies will be ready for you. That way everyone can enjoy a little vacation. See Kim Mitchell for more information.

 

FAITH LUTHERAN YOUTH

May Calendar for FLY

May 1st – Water Works w/ Alex and Zelda @ 530 pm

May 8th & 15th – FLY @ 530 pm

May 22nd– EAT, FISH & SWIM at the Mitchell’s home. End of year FLY party for your whole family. We will have hamburgers & hot dogs.  YOU bring a dish to share. Also bring chairs, fishing gear & swimming supplies.

PLEASE NOTE!!! 1/2 of your camp balance is due May 1st. Please place these in the Christian Education box in the church office. Thank you!

Mother’s Day Family Lunch – Sunday, May 12th Reserve your table now! This is a fundraiser forCampShiloh and the National Youth Gathering. You will receive more information on what to bring for this event.

LWML—Our Lutheran Women

Hurray!  Spring is here with wonderful refreshing rains and beautiful temperatures and lots of color.  God’s creation is amazing.  Our LWML ladies show that, and are busy “Serving the Lord with Gladness” in thankfulness to our wonderful God.

April started with our annual Church Garage sale on the 6thWe are thankful for all the help from the youth and many church members for set up, donations, and working.  We earned $1600 plus some funds from Thrivent and gave $700 to the youth for camp and National Youth Gathering.  Then, we purchased a flat screen TV with a bracket and a DVD player for Room 6 to be used for Bible Studies, social gatherings, etc.  Computers and projectors can be plugged in so it can be used in a variety of ways for teaching or presenting special features.  The rest of the money raised will be used to support many LWML sponsored activities throughout the year.

On April 14 we attended the Spring LWML workshop in Mineral Wells. We had a zone meeting and then trimmed stamps for missions and made greeting cards to be sent to missionaries and others for encouragement and thanks.

April 21st our large Mite Box in both services was blessed by your donations to help many missions all over the world sponsored by LWML.  Bless you!

Finally on April 27th, we hosted P.I.N.G. (Pursue—Invest—Nourish—Go).  This brought women from churches within about a 75 mile radius for inspiration and information on how to improve their ministry. Whitney Lee, Young Woman representative for our zone was the guest speaker Thanks to all who came and who helped us provide the lunch and to decorate and clean-up!  It was an inspiring time!

And that’s not all from April…we also provided meals for several recovering members, a diaper shower for Cassie Cubbage for a baby due in April, and delivered 63 personal health care kits for Lutheran World Relief (with help of Faith School, SAIL, and Cindy and Russell Stafford).

And now comes May

  • May 8th @ 7:00pm.  Business Meeting in Room 6—all are welcome & light refreshments served.
  • May 17th—will help SAIL with the Confirmation banquet.
  • May 19th—provide cake and punch for honoring the confirmands during brunch
  • May 19th—host a baby shower for Sarah, Ty and future son from 2:30-4:00pm
  • May 26th—provide the cake and punch for honoring the graduates during brunch

Plan ahead for June

  • June 9th—Annual church picnic/swim party at Bill/Marlene White’s home, 4:00
  • June 22nd—Baby Shower for Heather (Soltau) Paup @ 2:00.  Expecting a boy!

We love working and laughing with all the women ofFaithLutheranChurch.  You would, too!  Join us anytime.  For more information, contact any LWML officer:  Lynann Simpson, Marlene White, Shirley Febinger,Rachel Moravec,Whitney Lee, Cheryl Konz, Cindy Franz, and Rosanne Keilers

 

A Walking/Jogging Trail for Faith Lutheran Church?  If approved…yes!

We have a beautiful setting here at FaithLutheranChurch.  Cheryl Konz and Darleene Hufstutler have been doing some preliminary groundwork to plan a possible walking/jogging trail. This may happen if approved by the voters on May 5th.

A ½ mile route has been tentatively mapped out by Darleene and Cheryl.  Just follow the little flags. J  It begins at the back corner of the parking lot by the left field corner of Faith Field.  It winds through the trees by the McCoy’s side, winds around behind Faith Field, behind Faith School, loops around the prayer garden, moves along Frey St. side and around the front of the church, crosses back to Faith Field side and ends where it began at the back corner of the parking lot by the left field corner of Faith Field.  They are looking into funding through grants for non-profits but will also be seeking donations which are needed to qualify for grants, too.  Costs of asphalt and concrete are being gathered.  Just the basic trail costs would be about $11,000 without any extras. This cost would hopefully be covered by receiving a grant as well as some church and community donations.

  • It would provide a safe place for ALL OF OUR MEMBERS/FRIENDS to walk or jog and be able to enjoy the beautiful landscaping of our property.  While waiting on your kids or before or after church meetings, services, or social gatherings it would be an opportunity for exercise and time for meditation.  About four or five benches are planned to provide resting spots.
  • Walking with others is a good way to discuss things, too, including God.
  • The Evangelism committee wants to help by putting meditation stations along the trail by the benches plus the concrete bench in the prayer garden.
  • A large bulletin board would be at the beginning with posted information about the trail, church happenings, whatever!
  • And…FaithSchoollikes the idea of being able to take the children on walks around the property on a safe walking trail, too.

At this time, other ideas have come up and we welcome anyone’s help as we go forward if approved by the voters on May 5th.

 

S.A.I.L

Pastor Konz led the opening prayer for the thanksgivings and concerns of the members present.  We helped Inge Easterling celebrate her birthday, and everyone signed her birthday card as well as Easter cards for Bernice Reese and Viola Truss.  For our March 21st S.A.I.L. meeting members brought bath towels that were used to wrap the items for the Personal Care Kits those students in Faith School had gathered.  A BIG “THANK YOU” to the Faith School children who brought items for the kits.  Ten S.A.I.L. members assembled 63 kits for Lutheran World Relief. 

Our Bible study on April 4th with Pastor Tom covered only two questions, but those questions were the most important topics for an after Easter discussion:  1) What does the bodily resurrection of Christ indicate? 2) Why is the doctrine of justification by grace through faith for Jesus’ sake so important?  Pastor Tom included several Bible passages for the 11 of us to discuss as we determined what we “must DO.”  We must believe and be saved as we give all glory to God.  

Jerry Brewer, a Social Worker student at Tarleton, also attended our Bible study in order to complete an assignment for a class.  He interviewed us as we discussed the challenges we face after the age of 60.  Members present also signed a birthday card for Pat Weber.

Our members will work on new bibs for Faith School in our April 25th S.A.I.L. meeting.  Everyone is welcome.  Our project of recycling computer printer cartridges gains $40 each month for church supplies.  Darleene Hufstutler and Cheryl Konz are continuing to research and develop plans for a walking trail around Faith’s property.  S.A.I.L. will also host the Confirmation Banquet on May 17th.

We will have Bible study on May 2nd from 9am to 3 pm with Bernice Reese at her assisted living and eat lunch in Granbury.  Either Lyder Quade or Cheryl Konz will be driver for the church van.   S.A.I.L. meets next on May 19th in Room 6 at 10am.

 

BOARD OF EVANGELISM

Due to construction that is ongoing atFaithSchoolthe Prayer Retreat in Room 10 is temporarily bring relocated into Room 9. We encourage you to continue using this area for your prayer needs.

We are currently working on updating the church website with current pictures of Evangelism. If you have an idea or picture that you feel would improve the website please contact Nicole in the church office. The church website is: faithlutheranstephenville.com.

The committee has decided to do a short witness outreach at the end of service to reach out to everyone, current members and visitors. This will serve as a way to share God’s word and what we as a church have to offer spiritually. Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into the World and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

 

FAITH SCHOOL

Moving onward and upward….

FaithSchoolcurrently employs 46 teachers and caregivers, many of whom are Tarleton students and graduates. Some are studying to be teachers, child-life specialists and some will be kinesiology graduates. With the close of every school semester we must say goodbye to a number of teachers. This semester is no different.

Christian Hanna, Taylor Edwards and K’Leigh Watts will be student teaching, in the job market, looking for what we call “big girl jobs” or moving on to a different campus to continue their education. I pray that we have helped mold these young people by offering a structured, rewarding work environment for them during their college years. We try to teach them to be professional and set high goals and expectations for themselves moving forward.

Please over the next few weeks give these ladies a pat on the back and words of encouragement.  The job market and “real world” await them. May God bless each of them and work in their lives.

Serving Him,   Magan Carrasco

CHURCH MEMBER NEWS

Nehring Technologies, under CEO Justin Nehring was designated MSP Mentor 501, which is a Nationally Recognized Award. Talk to him for more information.

The annual Impact Award was given this year to Karl Easterling in “Recognition of a staff member who displays outstanding problem solving, resourcefulness, and innovation toward reducing University costs and improving safety.” .

Tyler Mitchell recently placed first – 5 times in a row – in the FFA Wildlife & Recreation Management competition. In his final competition he was the Top Individual Score in the State ofTexas from a field of 200 plus competitors. The SHS team placed 3rd in the state.

Billy Cogburn represented the SHS debate team at the Regional UIL tournament at Texas Tech, placing 4th and qualifying for State UIL tournament in May as 1st Alternate; and April 20 in Extemporaneous Informative Speech at Regionals.

Other youth still to compete on the state level are; Andy Heflin & Isabella Manlapaz in Spelling, and Kerstin Fredrickson in Horsemanship. 

May Birthdays

Bob Small                     5/4                                          James Soltau                 5/19

Karlee Easterling                   5/7                                         Tim Childress               5/21

Jocelyn Lewis                5/8                                          Seth Curtoys                 5/23

Carl Spitz                      5/10                                        Luke Weber                  5/23

Karl Fredrickson          5/11                                        Jake Morris                             5/23

Kerstin Fredrickson     5/11                                        Daniel Carrasco            5/26

Isabella Manlapaz         5/13                                       Josie Ellis                      5/26

Rachel Moravec            5/13                                        Hannah Lee                  5/26

Jay Morris                     5/15                                        Tracy Rudel                  5/26

Bethany Espinoza        5/19                                        Jeanette Quade             5/27

                                                                                      Linda Fulton                 5/31

Come to a Baby Shower for baby boy

Connor Jaxon Weaver

Parents:   Sarah and Ty 

When:        Sunday, May 19th, Time:     2:30-4:00pm

Where:      FaithLutheranChurch in the Narthex fellowship area

Given by:  Faith Lutheran LWML ladies, Registered at:     Amazon.com & Target

Call or Text:  254-592-5593 (for more information

PRAY

“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Like most spiritual disciplines, praying is easier to talk about than to do. Prayer is a very intimate conversation with God. That’s what can make it intimidating for some. When we pray we are vulnerable. We say to God that we are open to change, and that can be scary. What might God change in us? What secret idol or source of comfort will he remove and replace? What he will give in return will be superior to what we give up, but sinful human nature resists what is holy. Our pride would rather cling to our spiritual sickness than to be made whole through a prayerful relationship with the Lord. Excuses not to pray mask the spiritual resistance and warfare that goes on in our soul. We fool ourselves and God when we say we don’t have time to pray. It’s a problem of the spirit, not the schedule. Take it from one who has made many such excuses.
When the apostle Paul exhorted the Christians to pray without ceasing, he meant that while it is a discipline well practiced at schedule times, prayer is also an everyday habit of yielding to God. It’s living every moment with an awareness of God’s presence and it gets expressed in simple petitions: “Lord, what would you have me do this second? What should I say to this person now? Help me to walk away from this temptation that is tugging at me this very moment. I sinned just now, Lord, forgive me.” We can pray all day long as we encounter questions and problems that draw us to God.
What might motivate us to be in prayer more is to consider how God thinks of us. Jesus instructed us to address him as “Our Father”. Luther explains that invitation this way: “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.” Paul writes in Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Jesus invites us also with these words in Luke 11-13: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
What a privilege to come to God in prayer. We come to Him who has already demonstrated his love toward us in sending Jesus to forgive the sins we try to hide from him. Pray, for there is nothing to fear, nothing to hide, and nothing to lose. Pray always. For God always hears.
Pastor Tom Konz