February 2014 Newsletter

Pastor’s Page

“Seriously…”

If the Scriptures assigned for the next four weeks of Epiphany have any one message, I think it would say, “Be a serious Christian”.  We life-long believers can be tempted to become blasé about our faith. The wonderful news of free salvation by grace through faith, forgiveness of sins and other undeserved blessings loses some of its luster.  Along with that, our religious identity can start to focus on the trappings of religious expression, what church we identify with, how we worship, how well our church is perceived in the community, and our own reputation.

But living the faith demands something substantially more.  It means that we have a pure heart, worship in sincere faith, and love with selfless charity toward others. It means that we take the law seriously, not watering it down because we have grace—cheap grace.  Until we take the law seriously, we will not regain the amazement of the Gospel.

God looks at the heart, the intentions and will of our spirit.  That is good and bad news. It means, on  one hand, that God understands our struggles, when we, like Paul, must admit that we don’t do what we want to do, but go contrary to what we know is right.  We are weak, and God forgives, for He knows our true longings to be obedient.  On the other hand, we cannot fool Him. We may live very pious lives, but for selfish motives. We may appear righteous, but inwardly harbor impure thoughts, willingly.  He knows that too and has low regard for a dishonest heart before Him.

So how do we deal with this?  I encourage you to be especially tuned in this month to hear God’s Word, so that you can grow in your faith– seriously.

Peace be with you, Pastor Tom Konz

Sunday Worship Themes in February

February 2nd                           “The Three- Fold Good”                              Micah 6:8

February 9th                                   “Respect for the Law”                       Matthew 5:17-20

February 16th                                 “Habits of the Heart”           Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

February 23rd                      “You Are God’s Temple”               1 Corinthians 3:10-23

 

SERVING FAITH IN FEBRUARY

Worship

8:15 a.m. Service:

Usher: Jimmy Pack & Larry Angerhofer

Greeter:  Lynann Simpson

Altar: Sheila Small & Sue Angerhofer

Acolyte: 2: Jamee, 9: Tara, 16: Cooper, 23: Kason

 

10:45 a.m. Service:

Usher: Doug Hanna & Mark Gallagher

Greeter: Lee Barlow

Altar: Sheila Small & Sue Angerhofer

Acolyte: 2: Rett, 9: Ethan, 16: Noah, 23: Landry

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

Brunch Schedule

                   Snack                  Snack            Snack              Drink/Server

      2                 Simpson              Small               Nelson                       Pack

     9                 Strohmeyer                   Sparkman       Nehring           Tate

       16                VanWright           Weber             Fredrickson            Hanna

         23               Cubbage              Angerhofer               Carlson           Cameron

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.

SMALL GROUP MINISTRIES

Sunday School

Come try out what fits your age and interest:

Sunday School:  New Testament Lessons about Jesus life and examples for us ages

Preschool to 6th grade

Adult Bible Classes:  John Franz has a video and covering the Book of John in February in Room 6.  Pastor Konz has a class on the Sunday Bible readings in Room 9

FLY Sunday Studio:  Led by Diana Synatzske and Javier Garza on topics of interest for 7th-12th in the FLY Youth room

Young Adults:  Led by Brent Stroebel for all post high school young adults) in Pastor’s Study

Faith Lutheran Youth

During the month of February we will be living out our National Youth Gathering theme from 2013: Live Loved.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21

February 5th: We will prepare Love Notes for the 150 meals delivered by Erath County Meals on Wheels.

February 12th: We will hand decorate sweet scripture cookies for your Valentine. The cost is $1 per cookie, $5 for 1/2 dozen or $10 for a dozen cookies. Make someone’s day a little sweeter and support our youth at the same time. Order forms are in the bulletin and February newsletter.

February 19th: We will learn how Erath County cares for Abandoned, Abused & Lost animals. I apologize, ahead of time, if this leads to a desire for a new pet in your home.

February 26th: We will care for the brick, mortar & natural blessings God has bestowed upon our congregation by cleaning up inside and outside our Faith campus.

February 26th: is also the deadline for your Summer camp deposit. The non-refundable amount is $50. Camp dates are June 15-20, 2014. Youth aged 8-18 are eligible to attend.  If you have questions about camp please attend church on Sunday, February 23rd for a brief presentation at the end of both services.

Our youth are off and FLYing in 2014. Working alongside them is a blessing. Thank you for supporting us!

LWML

          As always, “Serving the Lord with Gladness” is our motto and is also that of all the members of Faith Lutheran Church.

We had two WONDERFUL times in January:

  1. At the potluck dinner on Sunday, Jan. 26th.  What an assortment of food plus about 40 men, women, and children attended.   Lois Teinert, the LWML State District President, shared the joys of the Poland mission trip she took last summer.
  2. The fun baby shower for Mallory (daughter of Keith and Martha Fredickson) on January 11th.

In February:

  • February 2nd is a Diaper Shower for Brit An (Nordstrom) and Justin Prescott’s baby boy Jeriah Dillon Prescott who was born Dec. 1st, 2013.  Bring diapers and enjoy reception between services on Sunday, Feb. 2nd.
  • February 10th:  Deadline to register for Café Chocolat at lower price of $35 for overnight or $15 for Saturday only.
  • February 21st-22nd:  Sign up to go to “Café Chocolat” retreat at Glen Lake Camp in Glen Rose.  See registration form and flyer in this newsletter.
  • Church Garage Sale March 22nd.  Start saving your good stuff.

We hope to see YOU joining in as we all “Serve the Lord with Gladness” in February!

            Trinity Zone LWML all Women Invited!

Friday, Feb. 21 @ 5:30pm to Saturday Feb. 22nd @ 4:00pm

           Glen Lake Camp in Glen Rose

                   $35 per person for overnight ($40 after Feb. 10)

                             $15 for Saturday only ($20 after Feb. 10)

                   Registration forms on LWML table

PLEASE JOIN US!

S.A.I.L

S.A.I.L. started 2014 in a great way with 15 members in attendance on January 9th at Bible study when Pastor Tom led us in an interesting discussion on forgiveness: received and given.  We learned that the rhythm of the Church is all about forgiveness received in baptism, communion and the Holy Spirit. Then forgiveness is given when we breathe out what we received.

Our special birthday celebration for Darleene Hufstutler and Pastor Tom included cards and refreshments provided by Cheryl and Lynann.  Our members voted to donate money on Jan. 16 for FLY to use for a meal this semester.  We also decided to plan to see the movie Son of God on Mar. 2 and to post a sign-up sheet for the congregation.  In order to purchase tickets ahead of time, the deadline to sign up will be Feb. 23.

On Jan. 16 Cheryl Konz provided a delicious cake at the beginning of our S.A.I.L. meeting.  Pastor Tom started the prayer and each of the 14 present added petitions of thanksgiving and concerns. Brent Stroebel kept our complete attention as he described the two very different trips he made to New York City.  When the 2012 NYC Marathon was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, Brent learned help was needed in the cleanup process on Staten Island.  The pictures and stories he shared of the devastation there and interesting people he met brought that event right into our midst.  This past November Brent did complete the marathon in NYC in the top quarter of the 50,000 runners.  It was so interesting to hear about his experiences and learn about his plans for his next marathon.  We collected $74 for use by FLY for meals this semester.  We continue to collect computer printer cartridges to gain money through Staple’s recycle program in order to provide $40 each month for use in the church office.

Next month’s Bible study will be on Feb. 6th, and S.A.I.L. will meet on the 20th when a presentation is planned regarding organizations that need volunteers.  Please join us for Christian education, fellowship and refreshments.

Guest Speaker comes to SAIL February 20.

Larry Ohls, director of the Lutheran Foundation of Texas (LFOT), will present the various opportunities that members can give to the Christian ministry of their choice through estate planning.  SAIL members and others considering these options are especially invited to attend this meeting at the regular time of 10:00 in Room 9.

LFOT’s mission is to build God’s kingdom by educating people about the joy of planned giving and facilitating gifts that support Christian ministries. It was founded in 1960 in response to a donor whose desire was to give a tract of real estate to the Texas District of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). Since then, it has grown into a full-service planned giving foundation managing over $42 million of assets held in over 400 accounts. LFOT operates as a charitable, non-profit, tax-exempt ministry. In 2012, LFOT had total distributions of $1,998,068.

For more information visit www.lfot.org

Evangelism

          We are excited that we have permission from land owners and will be installing the first Faith Lutheran sign on Highway 377 coming from Dublin into Stephenville. We have 3 other locations; we are in contact with the land owners and working on the specifics of TXDOT rules. We ask for your prayers as our goal is to have all signs installed by Easter.

Thank you for the input we have received about the Pew Bibles. The “reader” each Sunday will be conscious of giving us more time to find the scripture references. We will be ordering another case! Remember, you have the option to bring your own Bible, bookmark the scriptures used or use your phone with a Bible APP

Thank you also, for all who helped hand out the “Change for Life” baby bottles!

A BIG thank you to Bethany Espinoza for serving on our Board!  Jim Myers will be stepping into her position and we are blessed to have him also!

We appreciate Sarah Osterloh enhancing the Faith Family Center entrance by placing scripture above the doorway. THANK YOU!

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Meals on Wheels: Feb. 7: Walter, Feb. 14: Pack, Feb. 21: Quade,

Feb. 28: SIMPSON

Recycling: In January we received $15 for our youth from your aluminum can recycling.  Please continue to bring your aluminum cans to the kitchen by the sanctuary and we will see that they are recycled.  This is good for the environment and for our youth.

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS

Charles Fulton 2/3                                                       Valarie Hamaker           2/14

Kaleb Bills 2/4                                                             Gray Vandenberg         2/14

Dorwin Schulze 2/5                                                     Ryan Mitchell               2/15

Ryleeanne Thackerson 2/5                                         Ed Knoll                       2/17

Cooper Javarone 2/6                                                   Paula Hymer                 2/19

Alicia Schermerhorn 2/6                                             Viki Hymer                   2/19

Willow Osterloh 2/7                                                    Irene Spitz                     2/20

Lloyd Swiggum 2/8                                                      Grayson Javarone         2/22

Gabriella Carrasco 2/10                                               Bill White                      2/24

Landry Stroebel 2/12                                                   Logan Hanna                2/25

Stay Focused

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13–14

 

At this year’s Texas Rangers Fan Fest I listened to Tom Grieve interview future Hall-of-Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez. In the follow-up Q & A the last questioner from the audience wondered if Pudge ever heard what the fans were yelling at him during a game. Grieve volunteered that he often heard what people were saying when he played, and then turned to Pudge for his answer.  Regarded by many as one of the best catchers ever to play the game, Pudge told the audience that his pre-game routine included coming out a half hour before other players and sitting in a spot where he could focus for a while, before loosening up.  He added that the game and the pitches moved “too fast” for him not to be completely focused on what he was doing. So tuned into the task at hand was he that he heard nothing from the stands, not even if his wife and children were in the front row.  Grieve then said something like, “Well, that’s why Pudge is a future Hall of Famer and I was just a mediocre player.”

In Luke 9:51 it is said that Jesus “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”  That means that He did not waver or lose focus in His determination to go to his death to redeem the world from the due punishment for its sins.  Neither the cheers nor the jeers from the crowds around Him swayed Him from His destination.  So focused was He that He did not hear them.

Living the Christian life with the goal of fulfilling the upward call of God in Christ Jesus requires nothing less of us than our full attention.  Life is too fast, too distracting, too full of temptations to go through it half-heartedly and expect to come out unscathed. Such a focus is required of us, for many voices will entice us not to go the narrow way that leads to salvation. The cares of life can shake an unfocused faith.

It most likely isn’t your calling in life to catch pitches in professional baseball, nor hit them with a bat, but like Pudge you want to do the best you can to succeed.  Such determined effort honors the Lord who has called you to your vocation here on earth.  As to successfully reaching our heavenly destination, Jesus said, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life”.  (Rev. 3:10). How do we do that?  Stay focused.  Regular attention to your Bible and regular attendance in church are God’s ways to help you do that.

See you in the word and around the altar.

Pastor Tom Konz

 

He Listens

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. 1 Peter 3:12 

It must be hard to be the God that hears my prayers.

Yesterday I walked into our church’s gym during our pre-school’s play time. As it often happens, the children rode their three-wheeler’s or walked up to me and one after another, pronounced some bit of precious news. Each had his/her own proclamation, unrelated to any others’, and not in response to any question I had asked. I marvel at the faith of children who believe that I needed and wanted to hear this information and consider their news as monumentally important as they did.

Of course I cherish the interaction, but it demonstrated again that what is urgent to a child or a teenager is not so much to an adult. It’s not that adults don’t care about the concerns of children, but they receive the information as part of a larger life perspective. Experience teaches us that not all news is earth-shaking.

God hears our petitions in a similar way. We come to Him with what must seem to Him like some pretty small worries and problems.  I‘m sure He doesn’t sweat them as much as we do.  Even the sins and guilt we confess to Him He has already wrapped up in loving forgiveness. He hasn’t forgotten the cross of Christ through which His grace has them covered.

Yet He cherishes the interaction with us because it strengthens our relationship with Him. He doesn’t mind listening to our stories, our joys, and cares.  However, I can imagine that at times He does want us to grow up in our faith and focus on bigger issues, putting behind our childish worries and selfish wants. (“Oh, you of little faith, why did you doubt?” he challenged his disciples.)

Like I said, it must be hard to be the God that hears my prayers. He must wonder why I worry as I do and is perhaps amused by what I consider important. Yet, whether your need is big or little, or your news is sad or joyful, bring it to Him in prayer.  He listens.

Pastor Tom Konz

 

Clothes Call

“;So,whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”;. 1Cor. 10:31 

    Add to the verse above, “or dress.”; How we dress doesn’t seem to matter asmuch as it used to years ago. Ever since the ‘60’s the rule seemsto be “do your own thing”.  So, are there any rules that applyto God’s people? What does the Bible advise on this subject ofclothes?   

    James touches on one aspect of the topic: “Forif a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes,and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay specialattention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sithere in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand overthere, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions amongvyourselves, and become judges with evil motives?  James 2:2-4  

This obviously speaksagainst judging someone by outward appearance, i.e., their quality ofclothing.  When that appearance suggests wealth or poverty, it comes against favoring the wealthy over the poor. 

       In our society today, however, I think some people like to broaden that beyond James’ intended point.  They will use it as an excuse to dresshowever inappropriately they want, without regard to their effect on others,and then protest, “How dare you judge me about the way Idress.”  Yet, not only are we not to offend others by judging their dress, we also should not deliberately offend others by the way we dress.

       Paul advises women about dress in a way that has application to all people.  “I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, …” 1 Tim. 2:9-10  Instead of dressing to be noticed, or to make a point, this advises just theopposite. Dress to blend in.  “It’s not about you”,would be the point made by Benjamin Franklin, who said, “;Eat to please thyself. Dress to please others.”

        Your body, which is covered by yourdress, is not your personal mannequin to adorn in any way you want. Perhaps the best word on thissubject does not mention dress at all, but whose we are.  Again, Paul: “;Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Soglorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20.  Yes, weare bought, not with gold or silver, but the holy, innocent, precious blood ofChrist.  So how are you going to dress that most prized possession ofGod—for your glory, or for His?

      Pastor Tom Konz .

 

Football Faith

 Did you see the college bowl games or the first round of the NFL playoffs? If you did then you can perhaps appreciate even more the Scripture that says, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14.

Several of the games were won by teams coming from behind, sometimes winning in the last minute and even with time expiring. These teams did not dwell on past errors or accomplishments. The players did not rest on their laurels or blame teammates for mistakes.  They did not get discouraged at how many points they were behind. Playing as a team they won as a team.  Those who erred had opportunities to make up for them with better efforts.

This applies to the Christian’s life individually and corporately.  Each of us fails to execute our assignments given by God. His grace does not take us out of the game for that.  He leaves us in our calling to live out the plan He has laid out for us. His forgiveness flows continually from the cross—encouraging us to press on.

Secondly, the church is a team with the greatest goal ever: to cross the goal line with faith intact, together, and having brought along with us as many others as possible.  To accomplish that, we don’t have time or reason to criticize or blame our teammates. We may have setbacks, but we know in the end we will meet our out goal if we don’t quit. Together we are stronger than we are separately.

As analogies eventually do, this football/faith comparison fails on a crucial point.  Ultimately, our victory is already assured, because it does not depend on the quality of our performance after all. Christ declared that the race is “finished”.  He crossed the goal with His perfect life, died for us to make His perfection ours, and rose to show us the ultimate victory ahead.  All this is a gift to those who stay in the race to the end.  Keep the faith and He will keep you and carry you across the goal line, forever.

Pastor Tom Konz