St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church Newsletter
1530 S. Main Street
Lake Mills, Wisconsin 53551
Pastor Bruce A. McKenney 920-988-9500
Pastor James E. Rath 648-8033
Principal Steven J. Gartner 479-200-6626
Principal James Grasby LLHS 648-2321
John 19:30: When he had received the drink, Jesus said “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
“When is it going to be finished?” That seems to be the collective sigh of many people as Old Man Winter doesn’t seem to want to release the Midwest states from the grip of his icy fingers. Without the end of winter one almost begins to doubt whether we will ever be able to get out into our gardens and fields to start planting or whether we will ever be able to get out the summer clothes or even start other springtime activities!
Thank goodness that is not the way it is with our salvation! If Jesus hadn’t fulfilled God’s law for us and if Jesus’ death hadn’t washed away our sin, how could we ever know that work was done! If salvation’s work were ever in doubt, we’d had to suffer something far worse than a winter that doesn’t seem to want to end.
The good news is that we know that salvation’s work is done! When Jesus was hanging on the cross he cried out, “It is finished!” With those words he proclaimed that he had accomplished what we could not. God’s law has been fulfilled. Sins have been paid for. Death is no longer our future, but the gateway to heaven!
It surely will be nice when we can finally say, “Winter is done!” How much more joyous it is to hear Jesus say about his work of winning our salvation, “It is finished!”
That’s the joyous message that we will be able to celebrate again this month. With the arrival of April will come warmer temperatures. But this month something else will warm our hearts. This month our hearts will be warmed again as we celebrate Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then Easter Sunday. In addition to that, April is also the month in which we celebrate the confirmation of our 8th grade students. It all will be more exciting than “March Madness.” It will all be part of our Easter Gladness!
A Blessed Easter to All,
In Behalf of the Pastors,
Pastor Bruce McKenney
SUNDAY SERMON SERIES FOR LENT
Someone once said that Christian stewardship is all about giving. Is that true? Is stewardship all about giving? The answer to that is “Yes.” But it’s not about our giving to God, but his giving to us!
No season of the church year proclaims that stewardship truth better than the season of Lent. Lent culminates on Good Friday when Jesus gave up his life for us. And what shall be our response? That’s the question we hope, with God’s blessings, to consider during our weekend services this Lenten season. Using the verses of the day as the sermon texts, we want to learn again the truth of that Lenten hymn, “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a tribute far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Fourth Sunday in Lent: March 29-31, 2014
Preacher: Pastor Rath
Text: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Theme: Christian stewardship is all about giving
Fifth Sunday in Lent: April 5-7, 2014
Preacher: Pastor Don Schultz
Text: The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
Theme: Christian stewardship calls for service
Midweek Lenten Services began with Ash Wednesday on March 5, 2014. This year we are using the Lenten sermon series entitled “From Garden to Glory.” Services are held at 3:30 and 6:30 pm with a Lenten Supper served from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm. May each of us heed the Savior’s Word in the Garden when he told his first disciples, “Stay here and watch with me.”
March 5: The Garden of Promise
March 12: The Garden of Proclamation
March 19: The Garden of Repentance
March 26: The Garden of Passion
April 2: The Garden of Peace
April 9: The Garden of Paradise
Maundy Thursday: The Garden of Good Works
Good Friday: The Garden of Golgatha
Easter Sunday: The Garden of Glory
HOLY WEEK & EASTER SERVICES
Maundy Thursday April 17 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Good Friday April 18 10:00 a.m., 1:30&6:30 p.m.
Easter Vigil April 19 6:30 p.m.
Easter Sunrise April 20 6:30 a.m.
Easter Festival April 20 9:00 & 10:30 a.m.
The Holy Week services will include the Lord’s Supper. Sunday School and Bible classes do not meet on Easter. There is no Monday service on Easter weekend.
Join us for Easter breakfast in the gymnasium on Sunday, April 20, 7:30-8:45 a.m. The menu includes egg dishes, Easter eggs, baked goods, fruit cocktail and beverages. Donations of egg bakes, colored eggs, bakery items like sweet rolls, breads and muffins are welcome. Baking dishes and recipes are available at church for the first 30 volunteers for the egg bakes. They are to be brought on Sunday already baked. Colored eggs and bakery items may be brought to church on Saturday or Sunday.
Volunteers to help with set up, serving and clean up are needed. Sign up at church.
A freewill offering is received to cover meal expenses and to assist our youth program, especially for those attending the International Youth Rally this summer.
EXAMINATION & CONFIRMATION
A class of 21 students is preparing for confirmation this year. Public examination of the class will occur on Wednesday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. Confirmation takes place in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday, April 27. Remember our young people in your prayers as they take this important step in their spiritual lives.
Sunday School and Bible class do not meet on April 27.
What a special month awaits us! The last weeks of Lent, Holy Week and Easter offer us the opportunity to present the heart of our Christian faith. Yes, there are many services, but it is a privilege to walk together on that path From Garden to Glory as our sermon series proclaims. May we together grow in our faith in the Savior! Follow that up immediately with confirmation and see the joy of our eighth graders as they confess their faith publicly and receive the Lord’s Supper for the first time. Your pastors give thanks that we are permitted to share the Good News with you.
LADIES OF ST. PAUL
The Ladies of St. Paul hold their next meeting on Tuesday, April 1 at 9:30 a.m. at the apartment of Marie Burrow, 123 S. Oak Street. All ladies are welcome to share in Bible study and fellowship.
The April meeting of St Paul Mission Society will be held on Monday April 7 at 7 p.m. Following dessert and fellowship, the program for the evening will be Bible Trivia. All ladies are invited.
Please note that the next Senior Citizens meeting is moved one week earlier to Tuesday, April 8, at 12 noon. If you or your spouse is age 50 and older, we welcome you to come for a meal that day and a brief topic afterwards. Cost is $3. Please call the office in advance if you plan to come.
See last month’s newsletter for details on the WELS-CLO (Church Librarian’s Organization) meeting which we are hosting on Saturday, April 12. If you wish to register, please call Alana Enger (920-397-7159) by April 5. The Northwestern Publishing House display will be available also the next day.
The Rock River area chapter of the Organization of WELS Lutheran Seniors will meet at St. Paul on Tuesday, April 15 at 1:30 p.m. Naomi Plocher will present the topic on the WELS Historical Institute. Dessert follows the meeting. The meeting is open to anyone who is interested. The group consists of area WELS members age 50 and older. They meet monthly in various congregations.
The Central Conference softball league is gearing up for the new season. The league plays on Wednesday evenings May 28-July 30, with a season ending tournament on Sunday, August 3. Teams are co-ed. Participation is open to active communicant members. If you are interested in playing, please sign up by May 1. St. Paul fielded a team for many years. Last year we had a joint team with St. John, Newville. If we have a team we also need a captain.
WITH THE LORD
BETTY STEINMANN departed this life on February 26 at the age of 84. Her funeral was March 3. May the Lord comfort her family through his Word.
Congratulations and God’s continued blessings to Rick and Cindy Schroeder, who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary on April 6.
WELCOME, NEW MEMBERS
It is our privilege this month to introduce Katie Huss and Rosemarie Lenz. Welcome to St. Paul!
KATIE HUSS is a Beaver Dam native. She studied nursing at MATC in Watertown and now works as a nurse in labor and delivery at Aurora Hospital near Oconomowoc. Katie enjoys reading and traveling.
ROSEMARIE LENZ has spent all her years in Jefferson County. She is retired after many years of working in a Jefferson drug store. She has two grown children, five grandsons and four great-grandchildren. Reading is a favorite activity.
The Capitol Circuit of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society will hold its Spring Rally on Saturday, April 26 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Marshall. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Speakers at the meeting will be Jacob Beilke and Bert Bieber, telling of the Truth in Love ministry to Mormons. Mission box offerings will be received at church prior to Easter. LWMS activities are open to all ladies of the congregation. LWMS supports home and world mission projects of the WELS.
In this season of Lent when we focus on the suffering and death of our Savior we are reminded of his great love for us, which prompts our love for him. One expression of our faith is support for the work of Christ’s kingdom. Printed below are offerings of recent weeks for our operating budget. Average weekly needs are $20,277 in the current fiscal year.
March 2 $ 19,283
March 9 $ 18,505
March 16 $ 18,792
March 23 $ 16,825
Also received during those weeks were gifts of $378 for the Improvement Fund, $8,946 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings) and $5 for Wisconsin Lutheran Institutional Ministries.
We acknowledge with gratitude the following memorial gifts received recently for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings):
In memory of DONNA KEINER (mother of Terri Freson), $ 20
In memory of JOHN TRIELOFF, $ 50.
ALCOHOL & DRUG RECOVERY RETREAT
The 30th anniversary Alcohol and Drug Recovery Retreat of Christian Family Solutions will be held on Saturday, April 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Fond du Lac. Registration must be completed by April 11. Cost is $45. Contact Elsa Manthey at 800-282-0561 or email@example.com.
RELAY FOR LIFE TEAM & GARAGE SALE OPPORTUNITY
Each year as an activity of the Outreach Board we sponsor a team in the Lake Mills/Waterloo Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The Relay will be June 20-21. Team members raise funds from family and friends and take turns walking around Commons Park during the event. Youth and adult participants are welcome. Registration can be completed online or on paper forms, and must be done by April 28 in order to receive a t-shirt. Contact Pastor Rath for information.
As a means of supporting our Relay team, members are invited to use our gym for a group garage sale on Saturday, May 3, on the community wide garage sale weekend. Sellers are encouraged to make a donation to Relay for Life for use of the space. Contact Melanie Wurz if you are interested in doing so.
The Blackhawk Chorale, an area WELS adult chorale, will present a concert on Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m. at Peace Ev. Lutheran Church, 1550 S. Osborne Avenue in Janesville.
LAKESIDE LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL EASTER CONCERT is Wednesday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
Thanks to Meals on Wheels drivers: Roger & Judy Mundt, Marie Mertz, Connie Wilson, Marianne Hafenstein, Vi Topel, Rose Pfeifer and Bonnie Mosher. If you would like to volunteer for this service, contact Darlene Meyers, 648-5436.
TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD
In this month’s newsletter and subsequent issues, the Stewardship Board wanted to share excerpts of a paper they are studying. It was written by Professor Emeritus John Jeske. Its purpose is to remind God’s people that Christian stewardship is all about taking God at his Word. We hope you enjoy the 21st installment.
An Impossible Demand?
God is not as satisfied as church leaders often are when congregational giving levels are adequate to fund the congregation’s adopted budget. But Christian stewardship involves so much more than enabling a congregation to make ends meet. It involves a Christian’s total surrender of all he is and has to Jesus, “who has brought life and immortality to light” (2 Ti 1:10) for his purposes. That’s why it’s important for us to preface a study of the stewardship of dollars with a study of the Christian and the First Commandment. The Lord doesn’t ask for a share of your life, implying that you can do what you want with what’s left. He asks you to dedicate to him all of your life, all that there is to you.
When we realize how much it is really that the Lord is asking of us, something inside us tends to plead inability, doesn’t it? The Old Adam sizes the situation up quickly and clearly. He says, “Oh, I couldn’t keep a promise like that! Hey, there’s only so much money to go around. Why, I’ve got enough difficulty staying honest while filling out Form 1040. My car(s) could use some new tires, you know. And the kids! There’s so much sickness going around. Not to mention they’ll have to go to college someday. All sorts of things could happen. The Lord surely couldn’t expect me to make a commitment I can’t keep!”
The sluggard says “There is a lion outside!” or “I will be murdered in the streets!” (Pr 22:13).
To enable us to make that massive commitment, to surrender ourselves totally to the Lamb who was slain (Re 5:12) and to his holy cause, the Spirit has given us great and precious promises. The image of God, lost to unbelief in the Garden of Eden, is returned by Jesus Christ to his disciples. God is absolutely committed to help you know God’s will, agree with God’s will, and do God’s will. The Holy Spirit works sincerely and energetically. But he does not work where grace is not the operative principle, where the vicarious substitution of Christ is not believed, where the Scriptures are not in use.
It is to what Peter calls “great and precious promises” (2 Pe 1) and not just to the congregation’s budgetary needs, that our stewardship education program must direct the Christian. Ethel Waters, a singing star who made no secret of her love for Jesus Christ, used to say: “Jesus don’t sponsor no flops.” Criticize her grammar if you must, but not her theology. Jesus don’t sponsor no flops. God has told you that he’s absolutely committed to making it possible for you to live the life of consecration and commitment to which he has called you.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God….
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it….
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise….
Then there will be righteous sacrifices….
Then bulls will be offered on your altar” (Psalm 51:10,16,17,19).
Christian stewardship takes God at his word. It can never start until after we believe the message of God’s law. But it begins and grows when we believe God’s word of promise.