Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity." Joel 2:12-13 In an attempt to get people to focus on the serious and eternal aspects of the Christian life, Lent was seen by many as a time of self-denial, no frivolity and dietary restrictions. While these self-disciplines are not without merit, they can end up being a piety that people hope will bring God’s favor. We know, of course, that God’s favor is the result of God’s grace in Jesus Christ! Joel reminds us that the Lord invites our return to Him with “all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." In medieval times, the custom was for penitents to come to the church on Ash Wednesday dressed in sackcloth, with naked feet and throwing ashes over their heads when they finished their prayers. We still use the ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday to mark our foreheads as repentant and forgiven sinners in Christ Jesus. With Joel we see that God is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” It is His grace that sustains us and His Holy Word that forms us and defines the sanctified life! It is His compassion that has redeemed us! May your Lenten journey be a time of true “Heart Rending” for you, your family and your congregation! In Christ, Daniel
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
One of the very shortest hymns in our Lutheran Service Book is found on page 582. The hymn, titled “God’s Word is Our Great Heritage,” consists of one verse. “God’s Word is our great heritage And shall be ours forever; To spread its light from age to age Shall be our chief endeavor. Through life it guides our way. In death it is our stay. Lord grant, while worlds endure, We keep its teachings pure Throughout all generations.” Knowing Christ and Living for Him through the WordEverything in this hymn—and in life—centers on the Word of God. The Living Word, Christ, is our Savior. He is the one who has lived and died on our behalf. We know of Christ through the written Word, which God has given for our instruction and edification. In addition, the Holy Spirit works through the Word of the Law to convict us of our sins, and the Holy Spirit works through the Word of the Gospel to show us our Savior and call us into true faith in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit also works through the Word of God to guide us in our living, and the Holy Spirit uses that same Word of God to assure us and comfort us in the hour of our death. Aren’t we thankful that this Word is ours forever? Truly, we shall live with the Living Word Christ in the eternal and beautiful mansions of heaven. Sharing the Word with OthersCertainly, the pure Word of God is a precious thing, but we should never keep it to ourselves. Not only is it what we need to hear; it is what we are privileged to share with all people. Indeed, we have been called to share the Word with all who don’t know it. And as the hymn states, “It is our chief endeavor.” Protecting the Word from CorruptionA wise Christian has stated that the price of the pure Word of God is eternal vigilance. Why? Eternal vigilance is called for because Satan and the world would love to corrupt the pure teachings of God. In the process, the people of God would also become confused, corrupted and complacent. Dear Lord, keep us from such complacency. Dear Lord, grant each of us zeal for the pure Word of God, and gracious Lord, grant us the ability to keep its teachings pure for the sake of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren—yes, and through all generations!
Mr. Ron Bleke
A recent devotional message directed me to the following message from the book of Genesis. "Genesis 1: 26-31 tells us about God, the very first worker, who labors joyfully to build the world from nothing. And on the sixth day of creation comes the pinnacle of God’s creative work as he designs human beings. Men and women stand apart in creation as the only creatures fashioned in God’s image. We reflect God, patterning him in our ability to reason, to feel, to love—and, yes, to work. To work is to reflect the image of God by continuing the work he began!"(Today Devotional by Rob Toornstra, February 2, 2016) Our District mission is to encourage and assist you in your calling and there is no higher calling than to use your gifts to glorify God. In Christ, Ron Bleke
Dr. Jon Mielke
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105 I am sure you have heard or read this saying somewhere or sometime, “Knowledge is power.” Yes, knowledge is important. Knowledge is needed to master different areas of content and move from one grade level to the next. An accumulation of knowledge is needed as one pursues their vocation of choice. But knowledge alone is really quite insignificant if not meshed with Scripture. For this reason, you teach in a Lutheran school. For this reason, parents choose to enroll their child or children in a Lutheran school. We affirm parents who have chosen to send their child or children to a Lutheran school. And, we value the importance and necessity of giving young adults and children a daily dose of God’s Word. Why? We know that teaching students God’s Word gives the Holy Spirit opportunity to call, gather, enlighten and keep our students in the one, true faith. We know that teaching students God’s Word strengthens their faith and continues to build a relationship with the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We know that meshing Scripture with book knowledge imparts wisdom that surpasses the accumulated insight of human knowledge and reasoning. To ignore Scripture is foolishness in the heart of the believer. I pray God will continue to instill passion in your heart to teach the Christian faith as you teach your students! In Christ, Dr. Jon Mielke
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 email@example.com. You may also go online to www.lcef.org. Applications Secured Loan Application Rostered Church Workers RCW Direct Housing RCW Consolidation RCW Home Equity