Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
Our family really enjoys Thanksgiving Day! On this national holiday we like being together for worship, a great meal and lots of fun. Our farm heritage means we see this as a time of giving thanks for the harvest (although none of us farm presently) and for the gifts that we have received from God’s bounty. We sing loudly the hymns of thanksgiving at church and at home! Now we even have instrumentalists for our living room singing. My beloved Judy is a master at making a meal that fills and satisfies all 22+ of us! It is a bit old fashioned but is a blessing we all appreciate and anticipate. As we gather this thanksgiving we will also be giving thanks for each of you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps 106:1 & THEN! CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY IS THIS SUNDAY! The last Sunday of the Church year is sometimes referred to as Christ the King Sunday, the Last Sunday of the Church year or Fulfillment Sunday. It’s a good wrap-up Sunday to remember who really is King of King and Lord of Lords! All authority is His and He reigns forever! 2017 will be remembered for many things, but our greatest remembrance is that Jesus reigned in good times and in tough times with His grace and mercy! As you conclude the Church year I pray that you will find great comfort and joy in knowing that the Lord of the Church is your Lord too! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps 106:1
Outreach & Evangelism
Rev. Geoff Robinson
The Holy Spirit sanctifies us so that we are renewed in our spirit, will, attitude and desires. The Holy Spirit enables us to rise above our natural inclinations. The natural inclinations that we all have are inclinations of selfishness and self-centeredness. Godly stewardship is the opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness. The desire to serve God and our neighbor above ourselves is enabled in Christians as the Holy Spirit through the Word continues to bring about the desire to put others and their needs above oneself. The motivation for godly stewardship is a grateful response spurred on by the knowledge and understanding of what God has done for you. Jesus Christ our Savior gave His all in serving all sinners. Yes, He gave His all in serving you and me. Jesus was born under the Law, lived under the Law of God perfectly and died in obedience to that Law of God so that He might completely pay the price of your sins and give to you forgiveness of your sins and life everlasting. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to you to create faith in your hearts through the Gospel and to change you so that you are released from being a slave to self-centeredness. So how do we best serve God and our neighbors above ourselves? Well, certainly we serve those whom we know in our local congregation, in our neighborhoods and in our families. But could there sometimes be a bit of selfishness in what we do? More and more LCMS congregations are serving only locally or supporting only those missions that they determine are valuable to them. Serving others through financially supporting districts and synod is falling by the wayside. Could this be due to a lack of properly motivated stewardship? This is perhaps the result of thinking that LCMS leadership has not always handled mission dollars judiciously or it might be due to the LCMS leadership supporting some effort that you disagree with. Nevertheless, the leadership of the LCMS has been placed in their positions of oversight by God’s direction. Realize that God is blessing us at this time with an economic boon in our country. Praise God that unemployment is low and job opportunities are good. Praise God that by God’s grace there are many areas of opportunity to serve God and our neighbor above ourselves. For example there are at least twenty foreign countries who have asked the LCMS to send them theological educators. But the educators haven’t been sent due to lack of resources. Remember that we Christians live in community. Our vision isn’t simply focused on the local or only far away but on the whole “Una Sancta” that is the whole Christian Church. God grant us the determination that since we are all through faith in Christ part of the catholic (universal) Christian Church our stewardship of talent and treasure be offered up to God and all of our neighbors. Not just a select few. Rev. Geoffrey L. Robinson
Mr. Ron Bleke
Theft or embezzlement at worship centers happens at facilities of all sizes, within all denominations and at locations across the country. The sad truth is many religious organizations are often viewed as easy targets for three main reasons — Too much financial control is often given to one person, There is little oversight as the person is trusted within your organization, Large amounts of cash are handled and kept on-site. There are steps you can take to avoid temptation and prevent embezzlement from occurring within your church Use the following link to view Church Mutual’s article Preventing Theft in Your Organization to learn how to implement policies and procedures or contact Risk Control Central at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jon Mielke
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. If you are one that has watched some, most, or all of the past few Super Bowls, you must admit that the commercials, as much as the game itself, have provided some entertainment too. In fact, there may be as much hype and anticipation for the type of commercials as there is for the game itself. And one can attest that there is that one commercial that is a bit funnier and more memorable than the others. We can certainly recall (if you have watched games all the way back to the late 80s), the commercial that introduced the Budweiser-Clydesdales tromp through the snow with the following choral music in the background – “when you say Budweiser you’ve said it all.” A decade later, another Super Bowl commercial pictured two teams of Clydesdales playing football on a snow covered mountain. One can probably attest that Super Bowl commercials are a part of Super Bowl history. The Reformation is a part of the rich history of LCMS Lutheran churches and schools. The Protestant Reformation is listed as one of the top fifteen events that have shaped and influenced the world. How great it is to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a most appropriate theme – “It is still all about Jesus.” Jesus is the cornerstone of our churches and schools. Brick and mortal will change. God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God’s churches and His schools exist to share God’s Word. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6: 6-7). As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we do so knowing that we have been commanded to teach God’s Word diligently to children and young adults. We do so knowing that we are privileged to freely share God’s Word in church and in classrooms. We do so knowing that we have been blessed and given God’s grace, mercy, and love. We do so knowing that we have been given the gift of faith in our Baptism. We do so knowing the Holy Spirit keeps us in the one, true faith. We do so knowing that we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer for each of you that God will continue to bless your instruction – your respective ministry.
Rev. Phillip Krupski
We pray to the Lord, asking Him to bless our lives with the outflow of His grace. It all centers in what He has given us in His Son Jesus. From that flows all the other things that enrich our daily experience. So we have prayed for our economy. If you have invested in the stock market, you may very well have had huge gains during the past years. You talk with your tax advisor who advises that if you sell that stock, you will have a big tax bill to pay on the capital gains. It has now become a sizable asset that you will never be “able” to use. What do you do? You could consider a Charitable Gift Annuity with the LCMS Foundation. You “gift” the asset to an LCMS ministry of your choice, such as the Indiana District, your congregation, a seminary, Worship for Shut-Ins, etc. The ministry will pay no tax on the gift. You will receive a charitable deduction for a portion of the gift. And the gift will produce a guaranteed annual income payout to you for life. When the Lord calls you home, the ministry will benefit. As we think about outreach and mission, we can contemplate the gifts of the Lord and put them to use in support of ministry, that generations after us will come to know Jesus for their salvation. If I can help you joyfully manage the Lord’s gifts, contact me at email@example.com or 317-840-3202.
Mr. Steve Strauch
Indiana District LCMS-Board of Directors Dear Board of Directors, Many of you are aware that LCEF has been going through many changes in the last year. These changes will continue for the next couple years. The primary changes are developing three regions, West, Central and East. These regions will oversee the LCEF programs in their respective areas. The primary goal is to bring more relevant assistance to the ministries within the regions. One size does not fit all, and the need to have a better resource model for all ministries to pull from is critical. LCEF has identified and selected me to lead the West Regional. I have accepted the position and have been making the transition to California for the past month. My office is in Orange County California. Alex and Morgan are enrolled in St. John’s Lutheran School in Orange California. We have purchased a house in Anaheim Hills California and our current home in Lafayette Indiana is scheduled to close on September 29. Lots of changes in a relatively short timeframe. Please keep us in your prayers. What happens to the LCEF Indiana District Program? Currently, I have been traveling back and forth between Indiana and California. I have connected with many congregations that are in the process of loans or future loans to let them know the change. I have brought over individuals from LCEF National, so there is no disconnect. Also, I have introduced Vanda Toner to a few ministries in Indiana. Vanda is the LCEF District Vice President for Northern Illinois District. During this transition, the Indiana District will post the position. I have had many qualified individuals inquire about the position. With Gods help, the LCEF program in Indiana will be in competent hands. The timeline appears to be 60 days. In the meantime, I will filter calls and quarterback the program to the right people. I am very grateful for the time I have spent in the Indiana District. It always amazes me when I look back and see the path God has put me on. Seven years have passed very quickly. I was very happy in the Indiana District. I was not seeking to leave. President May knows this as does the Executives in the District. After many months and lots of prayers, it became clear that God was calling me to this new position. For many of you, our paths will cross many times again. Blessings, Steve Strauch Regional Vice President – West Region Lutheran Church Extension Fund 26522 La Alameda, Ste 280 Mission Viejo, CA 26522