March 2014 Newsletter

Faith Lutheran Newsletter                   March 2014

3000 NW Loop, Stephenville, Texas 76401

(254)968-2710   faithlutheranchurch @embarqmail.com

faithlutheranstephenville.com

Drawing everyday people to faithfully follow God’s Word

Pastor’s Page

The Moving Spirit                  

Don’t gather from the heading of this little article that I am getting in the mood to move. The moving Spirit is that God Himself seems to me to be up to something.  I know, I know, He always is, but I mean that He seems to be doing something in our church–not something that will be announced with blaring trumpets or massive conversions, but something quietly effective in our hearts and in our ministries.

You know I don’t normally express things like this, but I can’t deny what appears to be in play here.  I am not going to tell you that God is telling me something specifically or that I know exactly what He is up to.  I just want you to know that from a pastoral perspective, I believe he is working a little differently these days, not only in me, but also in our congregation.  Call it a new sensitivity to people and things, an arrangement of people moving into our lives as God is preparing us for changes, a generous spirit among our people. Call it what you want, but praise God for whatever it is.

Sorry for not being more specific than that, but I am not sure myself what’s going on. I just feel blessed by it.  Pastor Tom 

Sunday Worship Themes in March

March 2nd              “The Power of our Lord” 2 Peter 1:16–21     Transfiguration

March 9th                                       “Eyes Wide Open”                        Genesis 3:1–21

March 16th                                       “Why Jesus”                           John 3:16-17

Stewardship Celebration: “Because Jesus”

March 23rd                   Guest Speaker and Worship Leader: Rev. David Horn

March 30th                             “Eyes Wide Shut”                                 John 9:1-41

5th Sunday Brunch in FFC with program from Evangelism Board

Lenten Midweek Series:  The Lord’s Prayer   All services at 6:45. 

March 5th: Ash Wednesday: “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven,”    Matt. 6:1–6, 16–21      

Observed with imposition of ashes and Holy Communion

March 12th        “Hallowed Be Thy Name on Earth as It Is in Heaven,”    Matt. 4:1–11

March 19th         “Thy Kingdom Come . . . on Earth as It Is in Heaven,”   John 3:1–17

March 26th    “Thy Will Be Done, on Earth as It Is in Heaven,”    John 4:5–30, 39–42

April 2nd                 “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread,”   John 9:1–7, 13–17, 34–39

April 9th                      “Forgive Us Our Trespasses . . . ,”                         John 11:1–45

April 17th: Maundy Thursday:     “Lead Us Not into Temptation,”      Luke 22:39–46

April 18th: Good Friday:                 “Deliver Us from Evil,”                        Luke 23:46

SERVING FAITH IN MARCH
Worship

8:15 a.m. Service:

Usher: Chet Cameron & Terry West

Greeter: Sue Angerhofer

Altar: Marilyn Pack

Acolyte: 2: Aidan Espinoza, 9: Jamee Nelson, 16: Kason Seider, 23: Tara Garza,

                                30: Cooper Vandenberg

10:45 a.m. Service:

Usher: Lyder Quade & Rueben Walter

Greeter: Magan Carrasco

Altar: Marilyn Pack

Acolyte: 2: Rett Douglas, 9: Eric Carrasco, 16: Kylie Curtoys, 23: Ethan Nehring,

                                      30: Noah Ashley

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              Febinger                  Garza                   Gallagher             Franz

9                Keilers                   Hatton                 Konz                             Kimbrough

16                                            LWML Muffins for Mites

23               Bills                      Seider                   Lee                       Espinoza   
30                                                     5th Sunday Brunch

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

Lots of great Bible learning going on around here…

On Sunday, Feb. 16th the SS kids and FLY Studio kids enjoyed pink milk and VERY specially decorated cookies that FLY made for Valentine’s Day.  Our spring curriculum begins on Sunday, March 2nd.   Make plans to come!

BIG EVENT:  Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper March 4th @ 6:00:  March 4th Shrove (Fat) Tuesday Annual Pancake Supper provided by our Faith Sunday school and FLY.  Your donations are welcome to support Faith Education @ 6:00pm.  The evening begins with the ceremony of the burning of the palm leaves from LAST year to make the ashes that will be used on Ash Wednesday, Mar. 5th.  Then we feast on the sweets and fats before beginning a time of reflection and penitence starting the next day.  This is done BIG TIME with Mardi Gras…we only overdue it on pancakes, sausage, and bacon.  J

Our classes need to supply the following and come to the Family Center kitchen to cook pancakes by 5:30 Tuesday:

Preschool to Kinder class:  Milk

1st-3rd class:  2 Boxes Pancake Mix for each student

4th-6th class:  Already cooked bacon and/or sausage—as much as you can—we can get it cooked if you are not able to…

7th-12th class:   Apple Juice and either a box of pancake mix or one package of bacon.

Kim Mitchell:  Syrup and Butter

All Teachers:  Bring food and help supervise the cooking!

Thanks parents and teachers for your help making this happen!

Faith Lutheran Youth

March will be a busy month for youth at Faith. Please note the changes in schedule below.

Tue. March 4th-FLY & Sunday school students are needed to help cook & serve during our Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper.

Please plan on being in the new church kitchen by 5 PM to help out.

Wed. March 5th is Ash Wednesday. Confirmation classes will meet from 4:30-5:30 PM. Dinner for youth will be at 5:45 PM with Ash Wednesday service following at 6:45 PM.

Wed. March 12th is Spring Break. There will be no confirmation classes or FLY activities.

Wed. March 19th – Confirmation Classes 4:30 PM, Open Gym 5:30-6 PM Fellowship Meal 6 PM, Lenten Worship 6:45 PM.

Fri. & Sat. March 21st and 22nd-Garage Sale Weekend All youth going to camp must work a two hour shift on either Friday or Saturday.

Wed. March 26th – Confirmation Classes 4:30 PM, Open Gym 5:30-6 PM Fellowship Meal 6 PM, Lenten Worship 6:45 PM

Spring brings cleansing, renewal and joyful spirits just as the Psalmist says, Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 May it be so for you and yours this season and all year long.

These are some pics of the valentine cookies that FLY kiddos made for their camp fundraiser in February. Thank you to all who purchased our tasty treats.

          

LWML

Here are pictures of all the smiling and inspired ladies that attended Café Chocolat Feb. 21-22.  Below are those who came from Faith. We had beautiful weather, great food & fellowship, and insightful Bible study.

                                                            

Next on our women’s agenda:

  • Trinity Zone Prayer Service in Roanoke Mar. 1 @ 10:00am. Please contact Lynann or Marlene if you would like to carpool.
  • World Day of Prayer at Oakdale United Methodist Mar. 7th @ 6:00pm Tuesday, Mar. 11th Planning meeting in Room 6 @ 5:30pm
  • Sunday Brunch on March 16:  “Muffins for Missions” We provide ALL the food and YOU are invited to donate $$ to the Mites Mission Projects.  A double blessing!
  • Friday, March 21st @ 5:30-?  Set up for Garage Sale…bring your priced items and please stay to unpack and place them.
  • Saturday, March 22nd:  Church Garage Sale 8:00am-2:00pm Volunteers needed to “woman the check-out table”. Proceeds to the FLY and LWML programs.

Please join us and share in our motto:  “Serve the Lord with Gladness”. Questions?  See any of these women:  Lynann Simpson, Marlene White, Cheryl Konz, Whitney Lee, Shirley Febinger, Rosanne Keilers, Rachel Moravec, and Cindy Franz

S.A.I.L

Due to bad weather conditions, the Feb. 6thBible study did not happen.  Pastor Tom and Leonard Kelly, who braved the weather, had a good visit.

S.A.I.L. met on February 20th in Room 9 at 10:00am when Darlene Hufstutler served a delicious birthday cake in honor of Irene Spitz, who was ill.  We added a little cheer to her day when we sang to her by a phone call. Nine members were present to hear Larry Ohl share information about Lutheran Foundation of Texas that can help church growth even after death with a percentage estate gift.  Mr. Ohl had great examples as well as contact information.  Lyder Quade led us in a closing prayer of thanksgivings and petitions.

In March, our Bible Study will be on the 6th, and the program will be presented on the 20th.  We always have a good time with fellowship while hearing about God’s plans and enjoying refreshments.  Please join us!

Each month our continuing project of recycling printer cartridges gains $20.00 for church office supplies, so continue to drop those used cartridges in the collection box on the desk in the Narthex.  Thanks to Jeanette Quade’s consistent help with the children’s bags in church, we keep seven activity pouches current with coloring sheets, books and activities related to the church year.

For the March 2nd movie, we had over 36 people attend Son of God.  It is encouraging to see our theatre add movies of this type to their venue.  We now have the sign-up sheet posted for the movie Noah at 2:30 on March 30.  Once again the price is $3.25.  Please sign up by March 16.

Evangelism

The Prayer Retreat will soon be finished! A lamp and plant have been added. Sarah will be installing the vinyl in for the wall script “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”! Come spend some time!

Brent will be sketching a plan for the Prayer Garden which will include a future walkway, placement of large rocks, trellis and/or fence for our next phase.

A new case of Pew Bibles have arrived and will be placed in the pews.

Jim will continue to work on getting approval for the remaining three sign locations. He will be meeting with the State Highway contact person to determine the right of way dimensions.

We desire to find good ways to respond and meet the needs of first time visitors so that they desire to attend our services again. We will be watching a DVD at our next meeting and brainstorm other ideas.

Your Evangelism Board welcomes your comments and/or suggestions!

Jim Myers, Sarah Osterloh, Brent Stroebel and Sherre West

Stewardship

“We would like to thank everyone for the enthusiastic response with the Faith Cards, the giving intention you have provided brightens the path of our ministry.  We appreciate the MANY ways our congregation gives their time and talents to serve the church and God’s kingdom … together we can light the way!

Choir

Chime Choir: We will have chime choir March 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 4:00 pm

Adult Choir: We will have adult choir March 5, 12, 19, and 26 immediately following the worship service (about 7:30pm).

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Meals on Wheels: March 7th: Pack, March 14th: Walter, March 21st: Stafford,

March 28th: Quade

Recycling: We have received $15 for FLY from recycling aluminum cans in February.  Thanks!  Continue to bring your cans to the kitchen by the sanctuary so that we can use them to help the youth go to camp.

CHURCH ANNOUNCEMENTS

ASH WENDESDAY: The beginning of Lent is on March 5th starting at 6:45p.m.

LENTEN SERVICES: Lenten services from March 12th – April 9th will begin with a dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m. and then the service will begin at 6:45 p.m.

MARCH BIRTHDAYS

Moises Espinoza          3/2                                          Ashley Lopez                3/14
Viola Truss                 3/3                                          Eric Curtoys                  3/15
Rosanne Keilers           3/5                                         Ernest Boening             3/19
Lucy Espinoza              3/6                                         Inge Easterling              3/20
Doug Hanna                 3/7                                         Whitney Lee                 3/21
Karl Easterling             3/9                                          Elizabeth Cameron      3/23
Chet Cameron              3/10                                       Eli Symm                      3/23
Mason Hatton              3/10                                        Rueben Walter              3/23
Kathryn Cameron        3/11                                        Chad Evans                  3/24
Jacob Lopez                  3/11                                      Sarah Osterloh              3/25
Troy Kimbrough          3/12                                        Shane Hatfield              3/31
Justin Nehring              3/12                                       Kerrie Keilers               3/31

Another One Bites the Dust

All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Ecclesiastes 3:20

 

  The expression, “another one bites the dust”, has come to mean dying, giving up, being buried, or perhaps even just finishing a project.  It seems to have come from an Old West term for being buried in a grave, and thus “biting the dust”.  Ultimately, it isn’t just one that bites the dust.  Surely, this is the end result for all of us, as the Preacher of Ecclesiastes reminds us.

We will, in another week, hear similar words as we receive the ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday. We will all bite the dust, symbolically, as Lent begins.  This ritual is a vivid and direct reminder of what we are to do every day—die.  Die to our self-serving ways, die to our self-deceiving self-righteousness, die to hypocrisy and judgmental attitudes, and die to faint faith. If we die to that, then we will live by the Spirit of God that works in us selfless service, humble faith in Christ’s sacrifice, truthfulness, compassion, and boldness. This is accomplished through none other than daily repentance and faith in Christ’s free and full forgiveness.

In the end we all bite the dust, physically. How do we prepare for that day? We can live for ourselves now and die eternally, or we can die to ourselves now and live eternally. It depends on what we do before we die. A Lutheran church plant network ministers under the motto, “Eternity Matters”.  Yes it does. After you die, eternity matters, because where you spend it is set. The Holy Word warns, Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:12-13.   One day, “today” will be no more, for sooner or later, everyone bites the dust.

Unto that day, remain faithful to Christ, by whose death you have life.      Pastor Tom Konz

 

The Pinnacle of Pride

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”   Proverbs 53:1

An atheist believes that there is no intelligence higher than that of humans. So, by not comparing his intelligence to anything greater, he imagines himself wiser than he really is.  Therefore, he thinks his arguments against the existence of God are irrefutable. Based on several articles by atheists I’ve read recently, however, it’s apparent that their intelligence, even compared to other humans, is mistakenly self-inflated.

For example, their line of reasoning to disprove God is not only unfair, but illogical. One author is fond of denying God’s existence on the basis of flaws he sees in Christians. While he accurately points them out (hypocrisy, prejudice, hatefulness), he assumes that every adherent to a religion is going to be a faithful example of that religion in action. Some are better examples of faith than others. All Christians fall short of Christian ideals. We readily admit that. That is not a reason to dismiss God.

Should we then judge atheism by the lives of all atheists, especially picking out the worst examples, as some atheists do when they highlight the worst Christian failings? Many atheists are moral, kind, and charitable individuals whose good deeds put to shame those of many Christians.  Would it be fair to judge their “faith” based on the life of atheists like Stalin, who have murdered millions, and the many others whose selfish neglect has done nothing to improve this world?

Ultimately, atheism is not to be judged by its morality or lack of it, but by its pride. Atheist writers have no problem condemning believers who hold to a religion that cannot be fully understood, but at least has historical witness and transformed lives as evidence of its truth.  It seems to me to be the height of arrogance to say with utmost certainty that because you cannot see something, it doesn’t exist. Doesn’t the very existence of the vast universe that is beyond our comprehension suggest that there is a power and intelligence greater than, other than, our own?

Another example of arrogance is the author who simply dismissed the writings of the four Gospel writers and Paul as a fabrication of a Jesus that didn’t exist or was not whom Christians claim He was. Then, based only on common knowledge of ancient Jewish history, he wrote his own version of Jesus’ beliefs about himself and his goals. Why should his description of Jesus be more credible than that of those who knew him or spoke directly to others who did?

More importantly, why does the writer even bother to so vigorously oppose even a merely historical Jesus, to say nothing of a divine Jesus?   Pride. If Jesus was a real person, then you have to actually consider his words. He said that he is the Savior, that all who believe in Him, and only Him, will have eternal life. To refuse to see one’s own need for a savior is the pinnacle pride. To refuse that Savior is simply foolish.

Pastor Tom Konz

 

Won’t You Be Your Valentine?

3Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.4Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3–4

8If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”

you are doing well. James 2:8

“Won’t you be my valentine?”  Such a message on valentine cards says,  “I want you to care about me”. How about, “I’ll be your valentine?”–I’ll care about you, or even, “You be your valentine: care about you.”

That last one doesn’t look right, does it? But it’s the one message many do need to hear. They don’t think they have the right to care about and for themselves. I know many reading this don’t have that problem, but some have grown up with the message that they are not worthy of self-care, or that since they are no more deserving than others, they must be less deserving. They think love means being the world’s doormat, losing self-respect, and being a servant at the cost of one’s own welfare.

Now the problem is not that we serve others, for we are called to do so, but why we serve. Jesus was as a willing servant. He served motivated by love. He washed the disciples’ feet fully aware of his role as Son of God, knowing who he was, not as a forced slave. It is because we are made worthy by God through the blood of Jesus’ atoning death in our place that we serve.  It is because we know who we are in Christ and have his love in us that we serve—not because we feel unworthy of everyone and must therefore submit to them for their acceptance.

The Scriptures above remind us that looking out for others and loving our neighbor does not mean that we don’t also take care of our own needs. Giving may require that we delay getting—but only temporarily. If we never receive what we need we won’t have anything left to give.

Part of celebrating God’s love is accepting it yourself. Accept his daily provision with gratitude. Accept his forgiveness with humility.  Accept his love as one He deems lovable. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you do others, nor less of yourself than you do others.  And don’t think less of yourself than God thinks of you, remembering that He showed that love in self-sacrifice on the cross.

So won’t you be your valentine?  You’re God’s.

Pastor Tom

 

“No Excuses”

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. …

the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, Romans 1:19 & 2:15

 If you are a player on the Denver Broncos, you know that your team’s poor performance and lop-sided loss in the Super Bowl was without excuse. That is true because you knew what was expected of you.  You knew the abilities and tendencies of your opponent. They had no home field advantage. You just didn’t perform up to the standard that a victory required.

If you are a Christian, you know that your poor performance in doing the will of God is without excuse. You know what is expected. You know the law’s demands. If you read your Bible, you are aware of the Enemy’s playbook—his schemes and tactics. To counter that, you don’t even have to rely on your own wisdom and strength to gain the upper hand.  You just need to trust God.  So you really are without excuse.

St. Paul would say that you are without excuse even if you’re not a Christian and don’t read the Bible or trust in God. For God has put his law in your heart. Your conscience bears witness as to what is right and wrong. So, if an unbeliever is not let off the hook, how much more should we Christians not be excused.

The truth of the matter, it is not how the law is revealed to us that matters. Whether written on paper or on the heart, the law does not have within itself the power to enable us to obey it. Our continual failure to keep it is a constant reminder of that and of our sinful human nature.

Now some folks would say that the universal scope of human corruption is our excuse. No one is perfect, so why should I be—how can I be?  Why would God condemn us for what we are unable to do?  Well, for one, He is God. Secondly, He is Holy. Instead, ask and marvel at the answer to this question: “Why would He save anyone?” Well, for one, He is a loving Creator.  Secondly, He has already laid down the full payment for our redemption—the atoning blood of his Sacrifice for sin, His Son Jesus Christ.

Yes, sin is universal.  We can’t can’t sin, and we have no excuse. But thanks be to God– through Christ His grace is universal.  He offers it to all who will believe. You don’t have to earn salvation, for indeed, you cannot earn it—it is free.  Therefore, since you only have to accept it, you have no excuse not to be saved.

And if you do believe and are saved by that faith, why would you not glorify God for his grace by asking Him to help you keep his holy laws?  Since we not only have the law of God, but also His grace, we are doubly without excuse if we don’t seek to live to His glory.

Pastor Tom Konz