June 2014 Newsletter

Pastor’s Page                                            

Back to School!

Back to school?  Absolutely!   What better time to dig deeper into God’s Word than in the summer time? Your children will not be studying at school all week and won’t feel mentally drained by the weekend. In fact, they might get bored. So by Sunday morning their minds will be refreshed and eager to learn. Since it is not a good idea to let a mind lay dormant for too long, what better way to exercise it than to focus on God’s Word?

Summer time is a time of change in routine. If the Sunday school hour each week has not been on your schedule, it’s a good time to change that routine as well. Why stay in a rut? Why believe that just because your usual practice has been to skip Sunday school in the past that you have to keep doing so?

There’s a term, “leaving money on the table”, that refers to various ways of walking away from a good deal, not taking advantage of something that is readily available to you.  Throughout college, grad school, and seminary I never “left knowledge on the table”.  I never skipped class, because I didn’t want to miss learning whatever I could.  I encourage you to do the same. You never know what gem of truth you did not learn because you were not there to hear it. If you are concerned that the “topic” may not interest you, then I would ask, “What part of God’s Word is not important?”   God teaches us truths from every page that can grow our faith. It’s all good.   So, yes, back to School!

June Sunday Worship Themes

June   1                                  “Called to Vigilance”           1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11

June   8       Pentecost Sunday   “Perfectly Clear”                            Acts 2:1-21

June 15 Holy Trinity Sunday     “The Great Co-Mission”           Matthew 28:16-20

June 22                                    “Nothing to Fear”                   Matthew 10:5, 21-33

June 29  Peter & Paul Sunday  “Who Do You Say That I Am” Matthew 16:13-19

                     

Pastor Tom Konz

P. S.  See p. 3 for the exciting news about Summer Sunday School!

 

Meet Nick Rittgers

  

Our Director of Christian Education (DCE) Intern, Nick Rittgers, is the eldest son (age 21) of Patty and George Rittgers. Nick grew up in Euless Texas, attended and graduated Concordia University Texas in Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Religious Education. Nick has a passion to work with youth of all ages but specifically middle school ages (5th – 8th grade). He is very excited to be working with Faith Lutheran Church and School, and this city boy is ready for anything that our little western town can throw at him.

 

Nick’s new email here at the church is faithdceintern@embarqmail.com

A Word on Internship:

Nick’s internship requires fulfilling certain goals and responsibilities that will be evaluated by his assigned mentor, Pastor Tom, and by Concordia University. If you have any questions, please speak to Pastor directly, or with Magan Carrasco, if Pastor is not available. While he has earned his degree to work in Christian Education, and is to be recognized as a colleague in ministry, he is also an intern. So his year with us is as much a learning experience as it is a paid service to Faith. We can look forward to a year in which he and we will learn much from each other. Keep Nick and our youth in your daily prayers.

THANK YOU AGAIN, Kim

Our youth are grateful to the years of faithful service that Kim Mitchell has provided as FLY director in both a volunteer and staff member.  Last year Kim handed the reins of Sunday school to Cheryl Konz, and VBS to Cheryl and Magan Carrasco. This year she will hand over the direction of Youth ministry to Nick, while helping him with valuable guidance, encouragement, and assistance during his internship.  Thank-you again Kim, for your servant heart.

Meet Our 2014-2015   Church Council beginning June 1.  

Council Officers: President Javier Garza, Vice President: John Franz, Secretary: Trudy Carlson, Treasurer: Duane Sparkman, Financial Secretaries: Rueben Walther and Rachel Moravec, Members-at-Large: Terry West and Kris Nehring

Board MembersElders –Brent Stroebel, Dorwin Schulze, Troy Kimbrough, Jeff Stroebel, Lloyd Swiggum, Everett Seider   Education: Donna Strohmeyer, Cheryl Konz, Kim Leaverton, Kim Fimbel  Stewardship: Whitney Lee, Magan Carrasco, Melissa Weber, Jan Swiggum  Evangelism: Sarah Osterloh, James Myers, Sherre West, Doug Hanna   Trustees: Lyder Quade, Chet Cameron, Brandon Lee, Leonard Kelly, Elizabeth Cameron

In gratitude to God for those stepping down from elected service:

Bob Small as trustee, Sheila Small as financial secretary, Amy Curtoys as secretary, Lynann Simpson as Member-at-Large, Moises Espinoza as elder, and Brent Stroebel on Evangelism board.

Well done, good and faithful servant.”     Matthew 25:21

SERVING FAITH IN JUNE
Worship

8:15 a.m. Service:

Usher: David Beyer/Charles Fulton Greeter: Trudy Carlson Altar: Cindy Franz

Acolyte: 1: Jamee Nelson, 8: Cooper Vandenberg, 15: Aidan Espinoza,

22: Kason Seider, 29: Eric Carrasco

 

10:45 a.m. Service:

Usher: Bill White & Jeff Stroebel    Greeter: Cindy Franz     Altar: Cindy Franz

Acolyte: 1: Landry Stroebel, 8: Noah Ashley, 15: Kason Seider,

22: Kylie Curtoys, 29: Tristan Hanna

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

1                  Carrasco              Mitchell               Pack                    Hanna

8                 Lovin                   Quade                  Simpson             Small

15                Nelson                 Seider                   Strohmeyer         Sparkman

22               Nehring               Tate                     VanWright          Weber

29                                                      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

Summer Sunday school starts June 1st “H2Oh!”Come see what it is all about!  Hint:  WATER is H2O, but what about the “OH”?9:45:  Special Group Opening for all ages Pre-k through 12th grade in Room 9 of the Family Center 10:00-10:30: Group A, Group B, and 7th-12 split with their own teachers.  Groups A goes to preschool room. Group B stays in Room 9.  They have a craft, snack, and lesson activity.  7th-12th meet with Nick Rittgers in the Youth Room.Don’t Miss It!!   (Pastor’s classes will follow the stories that the children are learning.)

Adult help needed for Sunday school!! Lots of ways to help:

1.  Sign up to help on any Sundays you can.  Especially 2 are needed to sign up June 15 and 22 and July 20 and 27 as Cheryl will be gone those Sundays.

2.  Volunteer to provide the snack for the Pre-k through 6th grade classes.  The snacks go with the lessons. A list will be posted on the Narthex Board June 1st.

3.  Help us get the supplies for the crafts.  A list will be posted on the Narthex Board starting June 1st. Thank you!  Contact Cheryl Konz for more information.

 

Faith Lutheran Youth

In June, Twenty-two Faith Lutheran Youth will attend Camp Shiloh on Lake Bob Sandlin in Pittsburgh Texas, June 15-20. The mailing address is below. Getting mail at camp is exciting and a little embarrassing, but always a LOT of fun. Please prayer for these youth: Daniel, Eric & Gaby Carrasco; Addy & Noah Ashley; Alex, Kathryn & Tori Cameron; Hannah Lee, Aidan Espinoza, Tristan Hanna, Kylie Curtoys, Jamee Nelson, Cooper, Coby & Gray Vandenberg; Landry Stroebel, Haylea Keith, Megan Franz, Karl & Kerstin Fredrickson and Hannah Bruce. Our new DCE intern, Nicholas Rittgers, will be their chaperone.

Write them at:    Shiloh Lutheran Camp    3335 FM 21    Pittsburgh, TX 75686

LUTHERAN WOMEN’S MISSIONARY LEAGUE (LWML)

May 4th Marlene, the zone president, Lynann Simpson, our own society president, Rachel Moravec, and Pastor Konz, the zone pastoral counselor, all attended the Zone Spring Workshop held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fort Worth.  Business was conducted but lots of service projects were accomplished.  The group made “shrugs” to give to elderly individual in need of extra warmth and love.  Also, the group went to the Braille Center of the church and helped make copies of scripture for the sight impaired people.  Many stamps were trimmed to be sold to dealers and raise money for Mites mission projects.  Finally, the group personally met Phoebe the Comfort Dog and heard about this ministry of using specially trained dogs to bring comfort in tragic situations.

May 18th our LWML provided the “all you can eat” spaghetti lunch to raise funds for the Alaska Mission Trip that three of our members and one member’s granddaughter are going to in August:  Whitney Lee, Kris Nehring, and Marlene White.  Raffle tickets were sold for the three baskets.  A total of $1133 was raised thanks to the generous donations of our loving congregation.

May 25th we provided the graduation cake for our five seniors’ graduation May 31.  It was a great celebration!

June 1st we provided the cookies and punch for Faith School kindergarten graduation held at 2:00pm in the Family Center.

June 8th we promote the Annual Church Picnic held at the home of Bill and Marlene White from 4:30-??  Everyone brings a dish to share plus chairs and games, and the Whites provide the meat, drinks, and swimming pool.

June 19-22nd is the Texas District LWML Convention in Frisco, Texas.  Marlene White, Whitney Lee, Lynann Simpson, Rosanne Keilers, Sarah Weaver and Pastor Konz will attend all three days or one day of the convention.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the picnic and then taking a break until we plan again for special programs and activities starting in September.  Plan to join us! “Serving the Lord with Gladness”

SENIORS ALIVE IN THE LORD (S.A.I.L)

The SAIL meeting on April 24 at 10:00 highlighted the Lutheran Disaster Relief Program. Pastor Tom began with a short film showing the disaster response ministry in international and national situations by providing Christian care with On-site assessment; Emergency, relief and development grants; Pastoral care for LWMS workers and members; Congregational Preparedness and Response training; and Resources, such as volunteer co-ordinations, donation and equipment.  Pastor also gave us the scheduled times of various Disaster Response Training Workshops in the area in May.

On May 1st fourteen SAIL members and a visitor traveled in the church van to Clark Gardens for a wonderful spring outing with a beautiful garden setting.  After a two hour tour, we enjoyed lunch at Garner Café in Cool, TX.  We also signed get-well cards for Irene Spitz and Don Howard.

May 15 was SAIL Bible study with Pastor Tom. Eleven members and Pastor discussed Four Moods of history and the decline of religion in America.  In the Age of the Gods, when there was no question of the existence of a deity–even pagan people feared God as explained in Exodus 20:3 and Jonah 3:4-9.  Next was the Age of the Ideal, epitomized by Plato, where people through study thought they could find and live in TRUTH.

Thirdly, the Age of Ego Subjectivity, or modernity, ushered in the Reformation and the Renaissance where people realized their ability to use their own thinking skills.  Enlightenment was the answer. Finally, the Age of Transvalued Values, also called the post-modern age, assumes there is NO absolute truth. It can be a sin in all of us—see Isaiah 53:6a ad Proverbs 14:12.  Paul warns that this will increase in 2 Timothy 4:3-4; 3:1-5  We must continue to uphold our strong beliefs in God and know how He want us to live as the Church in this age.

A get-well card was sent to Viola Truss, and we celebrated Jeanette Quade’s birthday with refreshments provided by Mildred Coker and Lynann Simpson.  Members were encouraged to make cookies for the Faith School celebration on June 1st.  In the summer, S.A.I.L. will meet only the first Thursday of each month for Bible study.  Other activities might be planned.

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.

EVANGELISM

Additional rocks have been added to the Prayer Garden. We all have more choices now when reflecting, praying or listening to God!

We have installed two of the Highway signs. We are very thankful that the property owners on Hwy. 281 coming in from Hico and Hwy. 377 coming in from Dublin have allowed us to install these signs on their property!

“YOU ARE HERE” maps are being prepared and will be placed in each of the entrance hallways. We want visitors to be comfortable and have an easy access to any of the places they want to find. We will be working on a clearly identified “Welcome Center”, which will be set up in the Narthex.

Our desire is to intentionally focus again on the Church Unique goals. One way to start will be to implement Faith in Touch (FIT). We are asking for four to six volunteers to take turns for a month by sending birthday cards to the Faith students, as well as expressions of love for special occasions. If you are interested in helping, please contact any of our board members: Doug Hanna, Jim Myers, Sarah Osterloh or Sherre West.

CHOIR

Musical Notes: The chime choir and the adult choir have met for their final time for the season.  We always take the summer off because everyone is on the move.  Please take the opportunity to thank the chime choir – Tori Cameron, Kathryn Cameron, Logan Hanna, and Mason Hatton – for their service.  Also thank their parents for making the effort to bring their children to practice and to the services.

I have decided to retire as choir director.  The chime choir began 9 years ago when Tyler, Bamma, and Billy were in third grade.  These young people are three of our graduating seniors this spring.  The time has flown.

I do not remember when I first began to lead the adult choir, but I know it was after Bob and Phyllis Rudduck left.  At first we did not meet on a regular basis, but rather met to prepare for Christmas or Easter or other special services.   Our choir has come a long way since then and has added much to Sunday services.   They too need to be recognized for offering their time to come to practice and to sing on Sunday mornings.

Our congregation has begun a search for a trained musician – one who would play the organ or piano, direct choirs, and help Pastor Konz to plan a new format for the second service.  Pray for success in finding a talented and faithful musician to fill this position.

Thank you for many years of serving the Lord in song together – Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord!       Mary Walter

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School July 13-17 @ 5:45PM-8:00PM “Gangway to Galilee”

We hope you have arranged camps and vacations around this VBS date if at all possible so that your children and your children’s friends can attend as students or helpers!

Christian Education is a MUST for children in the community.  For some, VBS is the ONLY way they are going to hear about Jesus and learn what is in the Bible. Our own kids need this spiritual FOOD just as much, to stay strong and healthy in their faith!

In JUNE we will start working on decorations and props, etc.  Watch for dates.

NEEDS: Fish nets, pallets to look like docks, a small rowboat, anything related to fishing and being by the sea, bulletin board things that have to do with fishing.  Let Cheryl Konz know if you have anything.

To help with crafts: contact Sarah Osterloh.

To help with food: contact Rosanne Keilers.

To help with games: contact Brent Stroebel or Bart McDougal

To help with finances: Put some cash or check in an envelope, mark it for VBS, and put it in the collection plate or leave in the office with Nichole.

Thanks all…and we hope to see YOUR kiddos July 13-17th!

In His love and service,

Cheryl Konz and Magan Carrasco

CHURCH ANNOUNCEMENTS

RECYCLING: In May we received $15 from aluminum can recycling to help our youth group in their summer activities.  Continue to bring your cans to the kitchen by the sanctuary so we can redeem them for our youth.  Thanks!

GARDENING: If anyone is interested in helping with the garden, please let Mary Walter know.  I am certain you’ve seen weeds rearing their ugly heads and trees and shrubs that need a little controlling.  As the hot, dry summer arrives, we will need to be vigilant about seeing that the plants get water.  We can talk about when you might like to work and what you would be interested in helping with.  Any help would be appreciated.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

Meals on Wheels: 6/6: Walter, 6/13: OPEN NEED A VOLUNTEER, 6/20: West, 6/27: Simpson

JUNE BIRTHDAYS

Mildred Coker              6/2                                       Judy Schermerhorn                6/18

Billy Cogburn                6/4                                      Zane Osterloh                        6/19

Cathy Knoll                  6/5                                       Robert Fimbel                        6/20

Kristin Dupre               6/6                                       Kylie Curtoys                         6/21

Barbra Van Matre         6/10                                    Ty Weaver                              6/24

Franklin Wood             6/10                                      John Linne                             6/25

Coby Vandenberg        6/11                                     Vickie Sparkman                    6/25

Jacob Lewis                  6/15                                    Connor Weaver                      6/26

Sam Lopez                    6/15                                   Jody Henneke                        6/28

Suzanne Stratmann                6/20

 

 

Sanctified Determination

Sanctified Determination

Therefore, my dear friends, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. … 

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 2:12-13 & 4:13

 

Resolve. If anything is lacking among us Christians today it is sanctified determination to do the Christian life without excuses or easy exit ramps.  The diminutive philosopher Yoda, of Star Wars fame, sensed that same lack of resolve in his young student Luke when he said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

 “I’ll try” is a soft commitment that affords us the luxury of an easy, guilt-free failure. “Well, I tried” is our dismissive alibi for not getting the job done.  “I tried to get to church.” “I tried to keep my promises.” “I tried to resist temptation to ______”. Such a casual attitude of just “trying” reveals an unserious approach to living out God’s free gift of salvation with fear and trembling. It also shows a lack of faith in the power and will of God to change our life and help us in times of temptation or slothfulness. After awhile, our failures at “trying” in our own strength discourage us from even trying anymore.

Yet even our failures are not a reason to give up.  Yes, Jesus did say that there is “no try” when He said we must be “perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  The Gospel never waters down the law. However, by accentuating God’s demands to be perfect, the law makes the Gospel an even more precious gift. Our failures lead us to Christ, who did the perfect life in our place. More than that, he paid the perfect price for our every sin of thought, word, and deed.  In exchange for our sin, which God credited to Christ on the cross, God gave us Christ’s perfect righteousness.  Therefore our doings done in faith are acceptable to him, not because they are perfect, but because we are acceptable through Christ. 

This is a gift not only of saving grace, but also of sanctifying grace. By His Spirit, in those who receive this gift by faith, God “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth.” The Spirit enables us to work out our salvation with respect for God’s law, faith in his ongoing forgiveness, and with commitment to do all His commands.  Let us therefore resolve to submit our will to do His will, opening ourselves to the working of God’s Spirit within us.  Through Christ, who has already done the perfection of God’s law for us, there is no try. Now, do your faith.    Pastor Tom

 

“What Are You Thinking?”

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

 

This week a dear brother in the Lord and in the ministry shared the idea that a little thing can make a big change. Specifically, he was referring to the “little” thing that we call our thoughts. We so often overlook and underestimate the power of our thoughts to bring into our life good or evil.  Proverbs teaches, however, that as we think, so we are.  You might also consider that as the power of faith, for faith, in a sense, is really about how we think.

Thoughts can direct how we act.  The power of wrong thinking can lead to sin, as Satan knew when he led Eve into certain thoughts about the fruit she was not to eat.  It is said that extra-marital affairs begin in the mind long before any physical contact takes place.  (Likewise, healthy intimacy in marital relations also begins in the mind.)  Prisons and addiction self-help groups are populated by people who were first misguided in their thoughts before they acted on them. Many more are miserable, not because they have acted on their thoughts, but because their thoughts have imprisoned them into beliefs that limit their joy and their success.

Because the mind is so powerful, being a creation of our God’s wisdom, Paul says to think on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. It only makes sense that you will attract to yourself the things that are in your mind.  As my pastor friend put it, “you will find what you are looking for.” Who wouldn’t want these things in their life?

This is not only good theology, it is also good psychology. That makes sense, since God created our psyche and knows best what it takes to be healthy.  When we have burned ourselves with the habit of wrong thinking, which may or may not have been acted on, we need some more good theology: the Word of Grace.  Our Creator is also our Savior, who came to rescue us from the self-condemning or prideful thoughts that we act out to the hurt of ourselves and our neighbors. His love is poured out on us from the cross to redeem us. His Spirit is poured into us so that we may dwell on the grace and goodness of God.

What are you thinking?  The answer makes a big difference.

Pastor Tom

 

My Food Family

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,

to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  Acts 2:42 

For the last several years I have been privileged to deliver meals to homebound residents in an apartment complex.  Meals-on-Wheels employees have done a great job of making these deliveries easier by giving clear instructions and keeping up with new clients. I rotate Mondays on this route with one other driver, and on Tuesdays through Fridays others bring those meals.  This means only twenty-six visits are made for the whole year, and each visit runs from two-three minutes on average, often much shorter.

Though limited, those contacts have resulted over the years in a caring attitude for my “food family”.  Without looking at the guide, I know what drink they get, whether they are diabetic, and if they can’t come to the door, where to place the meal. It’s a familiarity that has grown over the years. After one summer in which students took my route, I was glad to see them all again. I had missed them. They are family.

Imagine what kind of ties can be cultivated with a faith family with an hour a week, instead of a couple of minutes every two weeks.  When we come together to connect with fellow believers in Christ, even if just one hour a month, we foster and maintain relationships that are very much like family. We begin to care for one another, know each other, and after longer absences miss one another.  Multiply that connectedness when that contact is one hour per week. The reality is that some Christians are lonelier than they need to be because they avoid this opportunity for fellowship with others. On the other hands, many enjoy very strong family relationships because they have, over the years, consistently made the effort to come together weekly or more often. The sense of “family” doesn’t just happen. It takes effort over time.

I believe that’s why Jesus called us together through His Spirit to times of fellowship, and why the Lord commanded this gift of sacred assemblies.  He didn’t just do that so we could become better friends with each other, but to strengthen our friendship with Him.  He builds our faith with his Word and with His Sacramental fellowship of bread and wine. He brought us into His family in baptism, where he blessed us with the gifts of His cross, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He continues to call us to gather so that we may strengthen our ties to Him and each other.  We are His Faith and Food Family.

Pastor Tom Konz

She Was the Mother of…

….All Mothers.  Eve was so named because she was the mother of all the living, which of course, includes all the mothers who came after her. God chose not to keep creating from the dust of the earth and the rib of a man, but from the flesh and blood of those first two human beings that He personally formed.

… All Sinners.  Yes, Eve has the dubious distinction of being the first sinner.  Adam soon followed, and is no less innocent because he was second.  They ate that which was forbidden and made forever after all offspring to be born with a sinful nature.

….The Savior of all.  God promised that out of her offspring would come the One who would crush the power of Satan. Through Him was to come salvation from the curse of sin to all who believe in Him. Repeated throughout the ages, this promise was kept in Jesus Christ.

…All Saints. She believed the promise, and her sins were not counted against her because of that faith. She is the mother of all who believe, and by that belief are reckoned as saints, holy ones, in the eyes of God.

Mothers, today, you follow in the footsteps of your first mother. Your bodies are the pathways to the birth of all saints and sinners. While only one woman, Mary, was privileged to actually give birth to the Savior of all, you assist in giving that salvation to your children.  You do this when you pass on to them the love and the knowledge of Christ, when you forgive your children as He forgave you, and when you pray for them as He still prays for you.  In the spirit of such notable mothers as Eve and Mary, may you be the mother God ordained you to be.

With deep gratitude to the faithful mothers of the past and with prayer for the faithful today,

Blessed Mother’s Day

Pastor Tom Konz