How to Give Thanks

Midweek Meditation

November 26, 2014

How to Give Thanks

What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Corinthians 4:7


We live in a country that honors the self-made man, the rugged individual who fought through hardships to rise to the top. The unique opportunity that freedom offers in this land and the personal drive it takes to make use of it is indeed praiseworthy. Yet the reality is that no one succeeds entirely on his or her own. That is self-evident to any observer of society’s intricate web of interdependence. Much of what we have we have received from others.

The first step in giving thanks is to humbly acknowledge that. Giving thanks for good always points to the fact that we are receiving from others and from God.  We are not self-made people.

Secondly, giving thanks means that we live our whole lives with the words of Jesus in our heart: “Freely you received, freely give” Matthew 10:8.  There is no better way to show God how much we appreciate what we have freely received than to share the blessing with others.

This is especially true with the most valuable gift we have freely received: the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remember that you did not earn it. Think of what your life would be if you didn’t have it and what life is like for those who don’t. Can we truly be thankful for this precious gift and not long to share it?

Give thanks by giving what you are thankful for–freely.    Pastor Tom Konz

Thinking the Best

Midweek Meditation

November 19, 2014

Thinking the Best

Finally, brothers, … whatever is commendable, ….if there is anything worthy of praise,

 think about these things.    Philippians 4:8


Once again, the Hallmark channel uses a fantasy Christmas comedy to drive home an incisive point. In the movie “Naughty or Nice”, “Santa” entrusts Krissy Kringle with a book titled “Naughty” on one cover and “Nice” on the other. She soon discovers that by saying the name of a person against whom she wants revenge the book reveals “naughty” deeds that the person has done in secret. She uses it to embarrass and blackmail her enemies. This continues until she discovers that revenge is not so sweet after all. People were really hurt beyond what their deeds deserved. She then realizes that people have another side to them. By using the other side of the book titled “Nice”, she learns the good side of those same people. She decides to focus on that instead.

We have a choice about how we will think of one another. It is easy to find fault and reveal those faults to others. It might make us feel good for awhile, but it is never worth it in the end. We only make ourselves look small and dampen our own spirit. Instead, we can choose to find the good qualities in others and tell others about them.  We do not pretend that the negatives don’t exist, but rather address them only when it is our business to do so, in a helpful way, and directly with that person.

Jesus dealt with our faults, not by revealing them or criticizing us, but by forgiving them on the cross. Because we are righteous by faith in his death and resurrection, our God does not count us as “naughty” before Him, and not even as just “nice”, but rather as holy, blameless, and sinless.  What an amazing assessment He has of us, purely by grace.  Certainly, with His Spirit in us, and by remembering that we are all forgiven sinner/saints, we can choose to think of others as He does.

Pastor Tom


Time for Weeping?

Midweek Meditation

November 5, 2014

Time for Weeping?


By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept,

when we remembered Zion. Psalm 137:1

Around 40 Nigerian students were killed by a bomb planted in a backpack of another student during a school assembly. Hearing that, I wept for the students, parents, school teachers. I wept for the abused boy used by terrorists in a wretched war that knows no bounds of decency.

And I wept for our society, which remains fixated on the trivial entertainments and distractions of life while so much to weep over runs roughshod through what’s left of our civilization. Of course, we need the diversions from time to time, lest the sorrows and terrors of sin drive us to despair. Yet I weep that so little weeping is happening. The trivial has become the main event, not the diversion.

This Psalm of lament reflects the sorrow of a penitent Jew exiled in Babylon.  He remembers the glory of Jerusalem and how through persistent sin it was forfeited. The wrath of God was imposing a divine 70 year time out. Their captors wanted them to sing songs of Zion, but how could they when its memories brought tears. The Babylonian spirit today bids us sing to bury the woes in our heart and make light of sin’s destruction.  But how can we when it is time to weep, reflect, repent, and grow in grace and faith.

Sorrow has become an enemy to run from, drown, drug, push down, hide, and otherwise avoid at all costs.  But when we do, we miss the opportunity it affords to draw near to God in need, reflect on what needs to change, and grow in empathy for those who suffer among us. The “Preacher” of Ecclesiastes wisely wrote, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: …a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. (3:1, 4)

Yet, through tears, cross-focused believers can hope.  The death of Christ preaches that the time of sorrow will yield to the joy of forgiveness.  His resurrection proclaims that all wrongs will be set right. Justice and mercy will prevail. Those who never weep over their own sin or that of the world will not look there. They will miss the meaning of the promise:  Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.  Psalm 30:5

Rejoice in God’s mercy and might.                                                                             Pastor Tom Konz


What Did You Vote For?

Midweek Meditation

November 5, 2014


What Did You Vote For?

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?

Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

James 4:1 & 3


Writing this purposefully before the election results are in, I want to reflect not on for whom you voted, but for what you voted.  Our elections are a way to govern ourselves and live at peace with one another. According to James, we don’t live at peace with each other because we want what we want. Too often what we want is at odds with what others want. It is also often different from what God wants for us. Peace comes when everyone wants what God wants.

Or put another way, peace happens among moral people, and such morality is informed by faith in God. Alexis de Tocqueville, French observer of the first half century of America, wrote, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” We are free when all are free to pursue prosperity and peace. However, immoral people will often want what necessitates depriving others of what they want.

De Tocqueville perceived that those we elect can turn that innate selfishness against us and for themselves: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”  We don’t always vote selflessly, nor do those we elect lead selflessly. Thus we have quarrels and fights among us.

While we may be tempted to despair over the state of our electorate and the elected, we can rejoice that the one leader we did not choose chose us. “You did not choose me”, Jesus said, “but I chose you…to bear fruit.” (John 15:16) His election of us took him to the cross. There he won our forgiveness and offered us a new life and new spirit. He empowers us to live selflessly, voting not only for what we want, but also for what is best for all.

Now, whether those you voted for won or not, you can still elect to serve your neighbor as yourself. It’s not the politicians that determine how we will live, but it is we ourselves, filled with God’s Spirit and love.

Pastor Tom Konz

November 2014 Newsletter

Pastor’s Page

“The Consequences of Ingratitude”

Paul says to present our request to God “with thanksgiving.”  The Psalmist instructs us to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.” Why do we need to give thanks?

The history of ancient Israel shows us why.  They received so much from God. The land of Canaan twice, deliverance from famine in Egypt, deliverance from slavery, miraculous provision for 40 years in the desert despite their rebellion, conquest of a new land, victory after victory, prosperity, etc. And yet they forgot the goodness of the Lord too many times to count.  In forgetting where their blessings originated, they forgot to give thanks for them.  They started worshiping other gods, who were no gods at all. Insulting the true God by choosing a fictitious god over Him is the height of arrogance, and ingratitude. And they paid a steep price for it, losing their land and their temple.

What will we lose for our ingratitude?  Do we forget to thank God from whom all blessings flow?  Or have we grown so accustomed to them that we feel entitled to them?  Do we need to lose our prosperity, freedom, and way of life in order to appreciate them?

Let us not be arrogant and ungrateful so as to not recognize that it is by God’s grace that we have what we have.  He has given us a rich land, freedom, good health, security and wealth to have what we have. May we be ever so grateful, and in gratitude, be generous.

And let us not fail to appreciate that the greatest gift, His love, is given not because we are lovable, but because of just the opposite.  We are not easy to love, but we need that love. On Christ’s cross, God poured it out in great abundance.  Let us always thank Him for that.

Pastor Tom Konz


2nd                     “Out of the Great Tribulation”            Revelation 7:2-17

16th                             “The Fruit of Faithfulness”               Matthew 25:14–30

23rd                                      “Food for the Poor”               Matthew 25:31–46

Guest Preacher Rev. Paul Short





8:15 a.m. Service:

Usher:  Bob Small & David Beyer

Greeter:  Mark Gallagher Altar: Cindy Franz

Acolyte: 2: Kallan Kimbrough 9: Tara Garza 16: Jamee Nelson 23: Aiden Espinoza 30: TBA


10:45 a.m. Service:

Usher: Bill White & Rueben Walter

Greeter: Inge Easterling      Altar: Cindy Franz

Acolyte: 2: Kason Seider 9: Hannah Lee 16: Kason Seider 23: TBA  30: Noah Lee


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

Brunch Schedule

Snack                Snack                Snack                Drink/Server

2       Angerhofer       Cameron             Konz                          Carlson

9       Garza               Febinger              Franz                          Gallagher

16     Bills                  Keilers                         Kimbrough        Hatton

23     Schulze             Lee                      Lewis                          Espinoza

30     Carrasco    Mitchell     Pack                   Hanna


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.




Sunday School

by Cheryl Konz

Great Bible Lessons AND Christmas Program Excitement!

Look at the lessons below.  I have read these stories/events in the Bible multiple times in my lifetime and ALWAYS learn something new that applies to my life right now.  Ask you kids if they know who these people are?  Do YOU know who they are?  Why did God inspire these events to be written about in the Bible?

Come to Pastor’s Adult class in the narthex if you want to learn what our children are learning.  John Franz also has an adult class in Room 9.  Come, sit, soak it in…with other adults of our wonderful church family!

Diana has GREAT ideas also using video for 7th and 8th grade.

Nick has GREAT ideas to make the lessons real for 9th-12th grades.


Lessons for November:

Nov. 2:  Genesis 18:1-15    Abraham’s Visitors from Heaven

Nov. 9:  Genesis  21:1-7; 22:1-19   Abraham and Isaac

Nov. 16:  Genesis 24      Isaac and Rebekah

Nov. 23:  Genesis  25:19-34;27:1-40    Jacob and Esau

Nov. 30:  Genesis  27:41-28:22     Jacob’s Dream



We are doing “One Look at the Savior”, a play that requires REAL acting PLUS some very special music.  We will begin talking about it Nov. 2nd.  We will be distributing music to learn very soon.

There will be some practice time during Sunday School, but this type of play requires some Saturday practice and possibly some attention on Wednesday nights.  More details later…

Children and Youth are going to be involved of all ages.

Please contact Cheryl Konz with any questions.    254-592-5593



Special Joy

by Cathy Knoll

 1 Special Joy Ernestine

On October 12, 2014, many of our Special Joy and Faith friends gathered to remember our sister, Ernestine Mauer with some of her favorite songs, with hope-full scripture, and encouraging words from Pastor Konz. We will all cherish her friendship, knowledge of God’s Word, and love of music she shared with all of us for over fifteen years.





Faith Lutheran Youth

by Nick Rittgers

Hey FLY families! There’s a lot going on in the month of November, and Wednesday nights are going to be hectic for all ages as well as weekends. Here’s what you need to know about November:

  • The following families will be providing meals on these nights:
    • 11/5- Hanna
    • 11/12- Lee/Ashley
  • Faithfest- we need servers and bussers for Faithfest. Our high school students will be at their performance of “The Little Mermaid” at Stephenville high school, so the responsibility is going to fall primarily on our 6th-8th Their duties will be similar to those that they had at the Simpson Anniversary celebration. There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex. You can also contact Edna Tate, Cheryl Hatton, or Nick Rittgers for more information.
  • On Wednesday November 19, FLY has been asked to host and serve the Third Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Thanksgiving meal here at the Family Center at 6:30 pm. FLY families will be providing sides for this event, LWML will be providing deserts, and Hard Eight BBQ will be providing meat. There will be a sign up sheet on the bulletin board for families to provide a side dish of their choice as well as email communication. (Note, side dishes will need to be large enough to feed 25 people. We are planning for 75 which allows for a more even spreading of labor for this event).
  • Confirmation will be meeting at their regular time all month in Room 6. We hope to be finished with the Ten Commandments on November 19.
  • Early Communion class will meet at 5:30 pm on November 19 this month.
  • FLY Brunch- this month, FLY’s fundraiser is providing the between service brunch on Sunday, November 16 with a free will offering. We are going to do breakfast tacos and will need to prepare those on Saturday November 15th so that Sunday morning they can be properly and quickly heated up for our brunch. Here is how we will make this possible:
    • There will be 3 different types of tacos: Potato, Sausage, and Bacon
    • We will be using fajita sized tortillas to ensure that we yield more product ensuring that everyone has a chance to get some breakfast
    • One pound of meat requires one dozen eggs which will yield between 15 and 20 tacos.
    • Different students will be asked to supply certain ingredients for this.
    • We will also be learning how to make homemade salsa from Mrs. Patty Rittgers this day that will be available for the congregation to add to their taco.
  • LSF- LSF will be finishing up Explore God November 6th and will be moving to a bible exploration series. After talking with several of the students, we decided to follow the Jake Youmans approach; decide on a book of the bible to explore and talk about very different things in these verses and see where conversation takes us. If you know of any college students looking for a rather informal bible study to build relationships and explore the bible, then LSF on Thursday night’s at 8:30 pm is the place for them to come at FLC!
  • High School Bible Study- High school will also be finishing up explore god and beginning a new series “What I was too afraid to ask in Sunday school”. Our students will submit questions anonymously of any topic of their choosing which we will then use Wednesday nights to discuss. Because of the nature of this bible study, I cannot give any details at this time over the subject matter that we will be discussing.
  • Christmas Program- after talking with our youth, Diana Synatske and Cheryl Konz we have decided that the annual Christmas program will be a more contemporary program versus our usual traditional. Several plays are currently being reviewed and an official decision will be made and announced within the coming weeks.

I know, there’s just not a lot going on in November, but I hope that we can all find a way to keep busy.


Lutheran’s Women Missionary League (LWML)

by Lynann Simpson & Cheryl Konz


In September, Faith ladies had a WONDERFUL time being led in painting their own picture by Diana Synatzske, a member with a Master’s in Art.  All were hard at work under her direction and were amazed at what they created.  Diana also shared her adventures working at a summer camp in New Mexico in a very remote area and how God helped her grow through her experiences.

Our ladies continue to provide meals for members in need.  We serve and help wherever needed.



Our upcoming events are:

  • Stephenville Arts and Crafts fair—Nov. 7-8—We have a table!
  • FaithFest—Nov. 8th –we continue our sale of crafts and baked goodies
  • Advent Lights—Nov. 23rd 5:30-7:00  Come at 5:00 to view all the beautifully decorated tables.  Still time to sign up.  See Narthex board.
  • Angel Tree—we set up the tree at Thanksgiving
  • Wedding shower—Dec. 7th for Brent Stroebel & Adrian Robison
  • Christmas caroling—Saturday, Dec. 13th at 2:30pm

We also will provide the goodies for the Sunday School children’s Christmas program goodie bags.  We will end December with Christmas caroling to shut-ins.

On the third Sunday of each month, we place our Large Mite Box at the entrance of the sanctuary and invite members to contribute to this ministry of missions!   See charts below to know where the MITES are going for Texas District and International LWML!!

  • No Executive committee meeting in Oct.
  • On Oct. 5th we celebrated LWML Sunday in both church services by participating through ushering, delivering the Children’s message, and reading the Lessons.
  • Diana Synatzske hand painted a beautiful banner that displayed the Sweet Fragrance theme for LWML Sunday
  • Following a sandwich lunch, our Christian Growth Chairman, Marlene White, led our MITE devotion and Bible study.
  • report and correspondence and Treasurer final balance of $749.37
  • On Oct. 12 we will attend the Trinity Zone Fall Rally
  • In Oct. and Nov. we will have a 4-part Bible study (Oct.13 & 27) and (Nov10 & 24)
  • Each Wed. night in Oct. at 7:00pm, there will be work on arts&crafts at 7:00PM in preparation for the Arts/Crafts Fair on Nov. 7&8
  • Beginning now, ladies are asked to sign up to be table hostesses for Advent By Candlelight on Nov. 23 at 5:30PM
  • Couples Wedding shower for Brent and Adrian will be Dec. 7


Seniors Alive In The Lord (S.A.I.L.)

by Lynann Simpson

On October 2, Bible study with Pastor Tom concentrated on King David in 2 Sam 24 for the nine members present.  David priority of possessions, involving a census, was against God’s will, and too many times we act like David in our stewardship of God’s blessings.  Because Christ became the temple that laid down His life for us, we now are the temples who share our greatest possession of salvation with others in the world.

Members also took up a donation for FLY to use for a meal sometime this semester.  We will enter a “Christmas” theme basket in the Silent Auction for Faith Fest.  Members can provide their Christmas items at our Oct. 16 program or by our Nov. 6th Bible study.

Marlene White will present a program on Oct 16th on the Alaskan Mission Trip this past summer.  Please join us!




by Sherre West

  • We will soon have an updated Faith Lutheran Church brochure! They will be in the Narthex at the Information area.
  • The 5th Sunday Brunch/Witness Word will be scheduled for November 23 (the last Sunday of the Church Year) and Food for the Poor will tell us about their ministry. Cathy Knoll and Pastor will be scheduling a Sunday for her to speak about how the Special Joy ministry has impacted the participants    and their families.
  • Faith members have asked about purchasing the children’s Bibles. They can be purchased ($7) and will be available at Faith Fest and the FLY (Faith Lutheran Youth) Carnival. Donations for these continue to be needed and appreciated, as we give these to Faith School Students.
  • “New Community” Blackboard – Doug Hanna and Brady Witcher attended the required TSU Risk Management training for all who sponsor an organization.
  • Mercy in Action – (Disaster Response) Doug Hanna has been in contact with LERT (Lutheran Emergency Response Team) and will keep us updated about his and our possible involvement.
  • Prayer Garden –  shrubs removed from the sign have been replanted behind the Garden. Thank you to the person who donated money to the garden! We were able to replace ALL the dead plants! Thank you Jim Myers and Sarah Osterloh for taking care of this!
  • Faith Fest tickets have been sent to the people who have allowed us install our signs on their property.
  • Stephen Ministry – Javier Garza, Everett Seider, Kris Nehring and Pastor attended the informational workshop. Other members have expressed interest and some new members are Stephen Ministers and/or trainers.
  • ROTC/military – (Marlene Prettyman has asked how we can minister to them). We discussed the possibility of purchasing Bible sticks. The Bible sticks are only for active military but the white Bible stick can be purchased for $22.






November’s Church Council Meeting will be held on November 17th at 6 PM. All Church Council meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of every month at 6 PM.


November 8th 4:00-7:00pm

FaithFest Final Thoughts    

  • Thanks to Cheryl Hatton and Edna Tate for heading up this event this year! Great job!
  • Thanks to all the members who signed up to help. We needed EVERY ONE of YOU!
  • Thanks to all members who headed up committees and did their jobs!
  • Thanks to all the wonderful cooks and donations of food from our men and women!
  • Thanks to Inga Easterling for her German cooking!
  • Thanks to our men who cooked all the meat!
  • Thanks to FLY for helping bus tables, etc.
  • Thanks to EVERYONE who bought and sold tickets!
  • Thanks to all who donated Silent Auction items!
  • Thanks to our Mary Walter for organizing our Norwegian Dancers and Oom-Pah Band!

So, we wrap up another year.  As this is written, FaithFest has not actually taken place, so you still have time to sign up to help serve, sell tickets,  bring food, invite friends, etc.

See pictures from last year on next page!  Well done, all!  Wunderbar!

20144 Faith Fest 2014faith fest 2014 ff2014 ff20144



God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.  Romans 12:6

Faith School has recently added two church members to our staff.  Please help us welcome Cassandra Cubbage and Lisa Stroebel to the ministry work we carry out here daily at Faith.  Both ladies are serving in ways that use the gifts and talents the Lord has blessed them with and have been great assets to our team.  The school keeps between 50 and 60 employees at all times in order to meet the needs of the families we serve.   They work diligently to exceed expectations of parents and spread the Gospel with the children daily.

Cassandra (Cassie) has joined the team as a full-time custodian and will serve Faith School as a germ defender and protector of all things contagious!  That is the goal anywayJ  Cassie is very meticulous with her work and pays great attention to detail.  We have been pleased with her performance and grateful for the gift and talent she is blessed with that makes her the right person for the job. Please be reminded that Cassie is the school custodian and cannot take care of maintenance needs.  Maintenance request/job orders can be place with Breezy in the church office to be filtered through the church trustees.  Cassie’s focus is the cleanliness of the FFC, classrooms and restroom the children have access to.  If you see an area that needs attention or have suggestions on products or cleaning practices, please give me a call or send me an email.  I would love to discuss and find solutions. It is always better when working together to serve our ministry with grace.

Lisa Stroebel is currently serving as our Nursery Hallway Floater.  She has made such a difference in the flow of work, urgent response to needs, uplifting fellow co-workers and brining smiles to the infants’ faces.  Lisa has a very rich background in finance, purchasing, receiving and childcare.  We anticipate tapping into those gifts and talents with projects in the future.  Lisa was very instrumental in the development of Faith School over ten years ago and suggested our name.  She has come on staff at a time that only the Lord knows the reason and we are just here to follow His plan.  Pray with us, and for us, that we have discernment to follow guidance and recognize His will.

Please keep in mind that these ladies, and I, serve our ministry as our vocation, and our vocation is our service.  We come on Sunday morning to worship with a posture of reverence for what is delivered to us from the pulpit. We cherish the time on Sunday mornings to pray with our fellow Christians. Most importantly, though, on Sunday mornings we participate in the Holy Sacrament and receive His body and blood that was shed for true forgiveness. The forgiveness of our sins during absolution prepares us for the next six days to serve the over 130 families that our church has entrusted us with.  Please respect our time on Sunday mornings with our family; our immediate and you our church family.  This is our day of rest as it is yours. Matters regarding the school can be taken care of during school time.

Serving Him, Magan Carrasco




MEXICAN SUPPER: St. Luke’s Espiscopal Church is hosting their 59th annual Mexican Supper on Tuesday, November 4th from 11:30 AM until 9:00 PM. There will be a taco lunch buffet and the traditional enchilada supper. They will also be offering lunch delivery and take out. Fliers with more information are located in the Narthex.


“Food for the Poor” Sunday November 23 with Rev. Paul Short: You will see Food For The Poor posters. They represent the Gospel of St. Matthew: “As often as you did it to one of the least of My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me.” Matt. 25: 40. Food For The Poor was founded on the basis of this Gospel. We seek out the poorest of the poor in 16 different countries, aiding some of the most destitute. In each face we see the living Christ, who is hungry, thirsty, a stranger and naked. Our ministry focuses on the greatest needs of the destitute. Just as our Lord served those society ignored, we are there; feeding the hungry, building water wells fore thirsty villages, building houses for the homeless, aiding the impoverished elderly, raising orphans in a loving atmosphere of Christian discipline, healing the sick or overcoming illiteracy by supporting schools. Come and hear this special message about being a partner in this ministry.




Rebecca McDougal     11/2                           Jane Sweeny               11/18

Donna Strohmeyer     11/4                  Jared Stroebel             11/18

Molly Hatton              11/6                           Javier Garza                11/18

Neal Lovin                          11/8                  Kim Fimbel                11/22

Emery Nehring          11/10                Lois Spaugh               11/22

Paul Mitchell               11/14                Katy Bills                   11/24

Aidan Espinoza          11/14                Greg Wertz                11/25

Bobby Small                11/15                 Mark Weber               11/25

Lisa Stroebel                       11/16                G. Peterson                11/26

Carter McNeal             11/16               Tara Garza                 11/26

Ann Soltau                 11/17                Ben Kirklen               11/27

Shane Hamaker           11/17                Ryan Hatton              11/28

John Calahan             11/30