Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
It is a humbling and amazing thing to be sent by God to do His will! A job opportunity can be a real honor. A promotion can be humbling and a blessing and being selected to work in a new office can be a joy! However, being "sent by God" is a whole different thing! Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." John 20:21 As these first assignments are announced we plan and prepare to go with joy - OK a little fear too, but we go where we are sent trusting that God is the great SENDER and we by grace are the SENT!
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
How many of you remember watching “Lassie” on television in the 1960s? It was one of my favorite shows as a little boy. Lassie always showed up at the right time to rescue someone who was in trouble. Just as the dog Lassie was instrumental in saving people needing help, we can use the acronym LASSIE as a witnessing tool to help rescue people who are in spiritual trouble. Developed by the Rev. Mark Wood, director of LCMS Witness & Outreach Ministry, and his team, LASSIE can help you become a person who shows up at just the right time in someone’s life. In fact, that job is even more important than Lassie’s role. Here’s why. If people don’t believe in Christ Jesus, they are in real trouble. They are spiritually dead and an enemy of the true God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If they die in this spiritual state, they will be in even worse trouble because they will spend an eternity in Hell. The Good News is that God doesn’t want this outcome for any person. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to live perfectly under His Law in order to fulfill it for all people. The Law demands that people who sin shall die for their sins. All of us deserve to die eternally because we have all sinned. But God, in His grace, has provided us a way to live eternally in bliss and happiness with Him. That way is through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ took the sins of all mankind upon Himself and paid the price for those sins once and for all on the Cross of Calvary. All people have been justified by Jesus’ redemptive work. But unless you know this truth and trust in it for yourself, it will do you no good. The way that you trust in Christ is by being called into faith in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit. And that’s where believers come in, because the Holy Spirit calls people through the Gospel message of Christ. If people never hear it, they will never know the truth. LASSIE can help you share this message. Remember that God is a relational God and we are relational people. The common Christian symbol of the sacrifice that God has made for us, namely the cross, shows us this truth. A cross has a vertical line. This signifies that God comes down to us. We are individually in relationship with Him. He blesses us through that relationship. A cross also has a horizontal line. This helps us to see that we are in relationship with people. It also helps us to understand that the Good News that God has given to us should be shared by us with others in our relationships. By taking the time to develop relationships in which we can share God’s Word, we are a blessing to others, even more than Lassie on TV! Listen to the person with whom you are visiting. Ask questions that will encourage discussion. Seek a point of connection. Share what can change people’s hearts: God’s Word. Invite the person to keep the conversation going. Encourage the person to keep thinking about the Gospel message by following up and following through.
Mr. Ron Bleke
This page features the latest updates from Concordia Plan benefit consultant, Maureen Schneider. It is intended to be a resource for all churches and schools who are using the Concordia Health Plan. If you have any questions, please contact the appropriate Concordia Plan benefit consultant, as indicated below. Concordia Plan Contact Information General questions can be answered by the Concordia Plan Customer Care Call Center at 888-927-7526. Main Contact for Employers with 1-14 workers Micaela Montalvo 888-927-7526, ext. 6837 Micaela.Montalvo@ConcordiaPlans.org. Main Contact for Employers with 15+ workers (plus the District Office) Maureen Schneider 888-927-7526, ext. 6721 Maureen.Schneider@ConcordiaPlans.org. Concordia Plan Resources Concordia Plan Services Home Page CPS Plan Administration - Everything a business manager needs to know about administrating the plans. CPS News & Information - Regular blog updates from Concordia Plan Services. Health Care Reform - Updates about taxes, webinars, what is coming, the contraceptive mandate, etc. Wellness Tools for Ministries - Regular updates on many of the resources for health and wellness. Updates for Concordia Plan Administrators & Members
Dr. Jon Mielke
“I thank Christ Jesus or Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service” (I Timothy 1:12). Sometimes it is just difficult to make up one’s mind. I really like ice cream. I probably could eat ice cream every night but I don’t. So it is difficult for me to decide on a particular flavor, certain toppings, whether I want my ice cream in a cone or dish. Or, what about the driver in front of you who just can’t decide on what lane to drive in? And what about the person who has the technology to have several sports games or programs on their television set at the same time – a bit frustrating too? The Israelites had difficulty choosing at times as well. They wondered from their faith. On certain days they loved, feared and respected God. On other days though, they worshipped false gods, not fully being able to reject their idolatrous ways. One moment they found joy through their faithfulness. At other times, they found pleasure through their indulgence and sinful ways. Their ambivalence certainly brought upon misery and unhappiness. That unhappiness and misery lasted for more than one generation. What about you and me? Do we fear, love and respect God one day only to be the world’s person the next? When we walk outside the faith, we bring destruction upon ourselves. When we honor God and His Commandments, we receive the joy in ministry and the blessings that come about from our faithfulness. God gave us His commandments out of love. But, do we respond back with thankful hearts? As much as we try to love, honor and respect our Heavenly Father, we will sin. Our hearts may be willing but our flesh is weak. When we stumble and sin, we must confess our sin, and turn to the Cross of Jesus Christ for heal and forgiveness. We just finished mourning the death of Jesus and celebrating His Resurrection. We can live with the assurance that our Father sees us as His own redeemed and restored Children because of Jesus. Live the Resurrection we celebrate in Easter every day! Teach your students to do the same.
Rev. Phillip Krupski
He is a simple man. All his life he has grown in faith and served the Lord with passion. Life has been full of challenges and blessings. As he approaches his retirement years, gift planning made sense. At first he thought his children could take care of his estate after he was gone, relieving him of the burden. But as he dove into the process and saw the opportunity to plan well, not only could he take care of his children better but he could also leave a six figure gift to ministry. Almost in tears he looked at me and said, “Who would have ever thought that I would be able to do all of this?” That is the stewardship journey I, as a gift planning counselor, have the privilege of sharing with God’s faithful people. Together we can discover God’s plan for your life as His grace shines through! Rev. Philip Krupski, Gift Planning Counselor
Mr. Steve Strauch
Attention Pastors! Are you paying more than 3.125% on an unsecured educational loan? The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) has developed an educational loan repayment program to help LCMS ordained ministers successfully reduce their existing school debt. With loans directly to the pastor or to his congregation, LCEF can help meet this sometimes burdensome obligation. Two loan programs are available: Direct Pastoral Education Loan Repayment Program: This loan program is provided directly to the active LCMS pastor, normally in the first five years after seminary graduation. Loans up to $50,000. Terms are up to 10 Years. Congregation Pastoral Education Loan Repayment Program: This loan program is provided to the congregation who acts as the eligible borrower to provide support for an active ordained LCMS pastor, normally in the first 10 years after seminary graduation. Loans up to the amount of indebtedness, not to exceed $100,000. Funds may be drawn on for a maximum of two years, with interest billed monthly during the period. Both loan programs have the following features: Interest rates are based on LCEF’s Cost of Funds, plus 1%, adjusted annually. The interest rate is NOT based on credit score. Ability to consolidate outstanding unsecured loans for education purposes incurred during seminary tenure, such as: privately held student loans, loans from family, credit cards, etc. Loan funds are disbursed to creditors. LCEF has friendly, knowledgeable loan officers and service staff. Internet and automated telephone access to loan information. For more information about these loan programs, please contact Steve Strauch, LCEF District VP, at 765-464-4579 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also go online to www.lcef.org. Applications Secured Loan Application Rostered Church Workers RCW Direct Housing RCW Consolidation RCW Home Equity