Leadership Thoughts From...
Rev. Daniel May
"How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?" Rom_10:14 Why is it so hard to talk about Jesus? Why do we hesitate sharing what we believe, teach and confess? It can be hard and we do hesitate. Why? We don’t want to say the wrong thing? That’s really the job of the pastor! We are embarrassed because it is so personal. We don’t want to offend anyone. Sometimes we neglect caring about the faith, life and eternity of our neighbor. Reasons you might add Sharing the Gospel and speaking about Jesus is not something we HAVE to do but something we can learn to do. If a young lady is newly engaged she seems to do everything with her left hand because she is excited and anxious to tell about her engagement! When our team wins the BIG one it takes no coaxing to get us to talk about it. New baby – same thing! When something really big happens we may bubble over with the news. Burning within our hearts is the news of the Gospel which is far bigger than anything else we have to share or say! While kids say exactly what they think and while some people have a lot of filters on their conversation, we can by God’s grace share in wonderful ways the news that changes people’s lives and their eternal destiny! Its BIG really BIG and we get to share it! We may give our political views and other opinions and observations but the Apostle Paul said, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." 1Co_2:2
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
We have received inquiries from employers about the need to report the cost of the CHP on Form W-2 and sending Form 1095-B: Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage for the 2017 year. Our legal department confirmed that the exemption from reporting the cost of health coverage for plans like the CHP remains in effect. This relief continues to apply until further notice and the IRS indicated that any change in the relief will apply prospectively only and will not apply to any calendar year beginning within six months of the date of the notice of change. As a result, employers in self-funded plans not subject to COBRA (e.g. the CHP) are not required to report the cost of coverage on their W-2s. Regarding Form 1095-B: Proof of Minimum Essential Coverage, as long as nothing changes between today and the end of January, CPS will once again mail these forms to CHP members. Current rules state they need to be distributed by January 31, 2018 and CPS will comply and distribute in accordance with these rules. Note: Large employers with 50 or more full time equivalents (FTE’s) subject to the ACA Large Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate will be required to complete and mail the 1095-C (proof of coverage offer and affordability). CPS will continue to provide guidance to these large employers, but the large employer must complete these reports.
Dr. Jon Mielke
Lutheran schools are the second-greatest investment that we have for passing on the Christian faith to our children and young adults. LCMS churches are our first investment for helping us accomplish this task for children, young adults and adults. The teaching of the Christian faith—Christian pedagogy— separates our Christian classrooms from other private and public classrooms. Christian teachers in our Lutheran schools not only invest considerable time in lesson preparation, but also intentionally look for moments throughout the day when they can share their faith and direct their students back to the cross of Jesus. I have often written that Lutheran schools are the congregation’s porch to their community. Christian teachers in our Lutheran schools seek opportunities for students to participate in a variety of service projects and activities that engage congregation members and communities at large. The theme for NLSW 2018 (January 21-27) is “It’s Still All About Jesus,” taken from Hebrews 13:8. Lutheran schools throughout the Indiana District involve their students in a number of activities before, during and long after National Lutheran Schools Week. Following are some examples of what our schools have done or are doing. Ascension, Fort Wayne - Students had a “penny war” for hurricane relief. Students raised $900 for volunteers to purchase and distribute supplies for those in need in small towns around Corpus Christi, Texas. St. Peter-Immanuel, Decatur - Students participated in Operation Christmas Child and put together boxes of goods for children. The school also collected items for Hurricane Harvey relief. Trinity, Crown Point - The church will send a team of congregation members to Guatemala this month. Students are gathering items for the trip. An eighth-grade student is participating in the trip. Indianapolis Lutheran High School / Concordia Lutheran High School, Fort Wayne / Trinity Lutheran High School, Seymour - Students in all three schools are helping families affected by Hurricane Harvey by purchasing gift cards or collecting needed items. In addition, students at Indianapolis Lutheran High School participated in “Changing Footprints,” a service project that involved students donating shoes for families in need. Students at Concordia participated in the Allen County Christmas Bureau’s Adopt-A-Family program. Students purchased and wrapped gifts and provided Christmas meals. Students at Trinity have designated their chapel offerings and collected items for families in Puerto Rico. Three students from Puerto Rico currently attend Trinity. Holy Cross, Indianapolis - Students are collecting and sending their chapel offerings to Lutheran South Academy in Houston, which was impacted by Hurricane Harvey. White Creek, Columbus - Kindergarten and second-grade teachers and students facilitated and hosted a luncheon for parents, grandparents and other family members. Junior high students performed a reenactment of the Reformation, wearing costumes representing key figures. Student narrators explained the significance of the Reformation. Ascension Lutheran Christian School, Gary - Faculty members are reaching out to the community by facilitating and hosting events for parents. Lutheran South Unity School, Fort Wayne - Faculty and students hosted Rep. Bob Behning. Student ambassadors led him on a tour of the school. Behning spoke with students and parents, and he was greeted in each classroom by room hosts. Wyneken Memorial, Decatur - Faculty and students have taken part in several activities, including writing and delivering Honor Flight letters, presenting a school musical on the Reformation and life of Martin Luther, titled “Echoes of the Hammer,” collecting chapel offerings for Pack Away Hunger, and hosting a “Bible Truths” night during which students creatively presented the truths of Scripture. St. Peter’s, Columbus - Faculty and students continue to support Redeemer of the World Lutheran School in Santiago Zamora, Guatemala. St. Peter’s recently sent 11 youth to Guatemala on a mission trip. Suburban Bethlehem, Fort Wayne - Faculty and students have been involved with Hurricane Harvey relief, supporting Lutheran South Academy in Houston through their chapel offerings. Students have also donated food items and stocked shelves at the community food shelf at St. Matthew’s on Getz Road. Calvary Lutheran, Indianapolis - Kindergarten through fourth graders partnered with senior congregation members, packing boxes for their service project, Operation Christmas Child Faculty and students are also involved with the Hurricane Harvey Relief Project. St. John’s Kendallville - Kindergarten through third-grade students participated in Operation Christmas Child and packed shoeboxes with items for families in need. Our Savior, Louisville, Ky. - Faculty and students continue to gather items and pack boxes for Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. In addition, as part of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Project, $650 was collected and sent to the Lutheran Education Association in Houston, and $250 in gift cards was sent to a former staff member whose school was damaged. Our Shepherd, Avon - Faculty and students raised $405 for Lutheran South Academy as part of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Project, and filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. St. Peter’s Lutheran, Fort Wayne - This is the fourth year that students have collected socks for the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. Each year the number of donated socks has increased. Students hope to collect 5,000 pairs of socks. St. John’s, Indianapolis - Faculty and students partnered with congregation members for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Project, setting a goal of raising $1,065. That amount was selected because Houston’s Lutheran South Academy is 1,065 miles from Indianapolis. They raised $3,862 to support the Houston school, far exceeding their goal. St. Paul’s, Fort Wayne - Faculty and students partnered with Lutheran Social Services for the Adopt-A-Family Christmas program. Students donated items and chapel collections to families in need. The gifts were wrapped by students and taken to Concordia Lutheran High School for distribution. Central, New Haven - Faculty and students participated in two service projects: Operation Christmas Child and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Project. Students at Our Shepherd, Avon, packing shoeboxes. Lutheran schools throughout the Indiana District keep Jesus Christ as their cornerstone. Lutheran schools continue to offer students a rigorous curriculum that is integrated with various service projects to share the love of Jesus with many. A parent whose children attended Peace Preschool, Fort Wayne, summed it up perfectly: “I’m waiting on Max to get out of preschool. I’m standing here and it is really hitting me that in just a few weeks this preschool won’t be a part of our everyday lives anymore because Max is starting kindergarten. I feel so thankful and blessed that each of our children was able to experience the love these amazing teachers and staff have for them! How do you properly express such a grateful feeling?” We give thanks to God for Lutheran schools and Lutheran congregations. We give thanks that Lutheran schools continue to teach that “It’s Still All About Jesus.” Originally published in January 2018 edition of the Lutheran Witness.
Rev. Phillip Krupski
“Thy Will Be Done.” We pray these words regularly in our use of the Lord’s Prayer. Our souls earnestly desire to live in God’s will, living by faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ and living to respond in faith with works of service. Yet if we be honest, we often segment our lives and the gifts we find in them. We easily ask God’s will for certain gifts. Other gifts we reserve from that domain, often claiming that things like “time” or “finances” belong to our own lordship. In reality, we have much praying to do, asking the Lord in His mercy to bend our wills so that we may walk in the plans He created for us before time began. In my work as Planned Giving Counselor for the LCMS Foundation here in Indiana, my privilege is to serve God’s stewards in helping them discern God’s will for the faithful stewardship of His gifts in their estates to care for family and provide for ministries close to their hearts. At the LCMS Foundation, we follow the “5 P’s” of Gift Planning. They are: Prayer, People, Property, Plans and Planners. Notice that the process begins with PRAYER. If you have been sitting on the sideline for a while, procrastinating about writing your plans down on paper, I would be privileged to work with you. Together we can PRAY and talk and struggle to discern the plan of God’s design. At completion of your plan, you will have the peace and joy of following Jesus as He bids us carry His cross to the world. Give me a call or email me and we can begin working together. I do not charge a fee, as the LCMS Foundation and Indiana District partner together to make my service to the saints possible. Let’s keep on praying, knowing that the Lord will continue to make His grace in Jesus evident to our souls. In Christ, Rev. Philip Krupski firstname.lastname@example.org|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