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
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Dear Friends in our Savior,
Numerous people have commented negatively on the lingering winter weather. “I’m tired of the snow and cold. When will it ever get over?” Yes, it has been long lasting (a condition enjoyed by some who are into winter sports), but we know that eventually the snow will melt and the grass will turn green again.
The above verse calls to mind something that is even longer lasting, and that is God’s love. It is more durable than the mountains that tower into the sky in some areas of the world. In fact, it will never go away. That’s because God’s love has taken action in Jesus. He came to our earth and laid down his life as the sacrifice for our sins. That act stands as a completed fact of history. God cannot go back on his love.
Soon we will travel with our Savior on his path to the cross in the Lenten season. We will see that love in action. As you do so, cling to God’s overflowing and amazing love. Know that through Jesus your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life awaiting. And rejoice in those truths, even when the weather doesn’t match your wishes.
Serving you with that love,
Pastor James Rath
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.”
First Sunday in Lent: March 8-10, 2014
Preacher: Pastor Rath
Text: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. (Matthew 410b)
Theme: Christian stewardship gives glory to God.
Second Sunday in Lent: March 15-17, 2014
Preacher: Pastor Don Schultz
Text: Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:8b)
Theme: Christian stewardship begins at the cross.
Third Sunday in Lent: March 22-24, 2014
Preacher: Pastor McKenney
Text: Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14,15)
Theme: Christian stewardship flows from faith.
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 begin with Ash Wednesday on March 5, 2014. This year we will use the Lenten sermon series entitled “From Garden to Glory.” Services will be 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, Genesis 3:15.
March 12: The Garden of Proclamation, Mark 4:26-29
March 19: The Garden of Repentance, Luke 13:1-9
March 26: The Garden of Passion, Luke 22:39-44
April 2: The Garden of Peace, John 19:38-42
April 9: The Garden of Paradise, Revelation 22:1-6
Maundy Thursday: The Garden of Good Works, John 15:1-5
Good Friday: The Garden of Golgatha, Matthew 27:33
Easter Sunday: The Garden of Glory, Matthew 28:1-10.
Your pastors are using this year’s extended Epiphany season to prepare for the upcoming Lenten services and a special stewardship series during the weekends of Lent. Our Lakeside circuit met for study and Pastor McKenney attended a continuing education event, a seminar conducted by Prof. Daniel Deutschlander, studying the parables of Jesus.
SPECIAL VOTERS’ MEETING
A special voters’ meeting on February 16 voted to extend permanent calls to Kimberly Gartner and Andrew Dias, both of whom had received temporary calls last summer. We await their decisions and ask God to guide them.
Members of St. Paul received a mailing recently that announced a schedule of open forums to hear and react to recommendations of the Task Force that has been studying our church staffing needs. Two more are scheduled for early in March: March 2 during the Bible class hour (9:15 a.m.) and March 5 following the evening Ash Wednesday service (7:30 p.m.).
TURN CLOCKS AHEAD
Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 9. Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour.
LADIES OF ST. PAUL
The Ladies of St. Paul will resume meeting on Tuesday, March 4 at the apartment of Marie Burrow, 203 South Oak Street. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. Come for Bible study and fellowship.
St. Paul Mission Society will meet on Monday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m. Following fellowship and dessert there will be a Bible study. All ladies are invited.
Please note the calendar change because of spring break: Senior Citizens will meet on Tuesday, March 11 at 12 noon. Anyone age 50 and over and their spouse is welcome to come for lunch with the school students, followed by a brief topic. Please reserve in advance with the school office. Cost is $ 3.
Congratulations to these couples who are celebrating special (multiples of 5 years) anniversaries this month: Rich and Bev Rupnow, 45 years on March 8; Don and Laurie Selje, 35 years on March 31. May God’s blessings continue to be with you!
Our Elders Board requests assistance in locating members with whom we have lost contact. If you know the address, phone number or e-mail for any of the following, please contact the church office:
Joseph Brandt, Derek Chappell, Dustin Chappell, Sonja Dieter, Kevin Dorsey, Aaron Francisco, Craig Hanson, Stacy Junker, Nathaniel Kellie, Brad Matz, Elrod Robinson, Adam Schaller, Kimberly Schroedl, Bradley Tesch, Cari Zickert.
The Church Library will be hosting this Spring’s WELS-CLO (Church Librarian’s Organization) Conference. The Church Librarian’s Organization was formed to connect church librarians and to assist them in their work. The group meets twice a year at varying congregations, and on Saturday, April 12, the group will be meeting on our campus. We have invited Karen Hasley, a WELS author, to speak about her books, as well as Kathie Wendland, a speaker for the WELS Women's Ministry Organization, to encourage us in our ministries. Anyone is welcome to come for part or all of the day; if you would like to stay for lunch there is a $10 fee. Please contact Alana Enger by April 5 at (920)397-7159 if you’d like to register.
Northwestern Publishing House will also send a representative and a large portion of the items they offer to the conference. Our congregation members may come anytime on Saturday to browse the selection, or they will be able to shop the following Sunday morning, Apr. 13, outside of service times. Our library has compiled a list of items we’d like to include in our collection; you may choose to purchase items off our wish list that weekend if you’d like. We are asking for a list of food donations for the 50-100 librarians who will come to attend the conference that day. If you would like to help with this, there is a sign-up sheet in the church library. Thank you!
As God’s people receive his love and goodness we respond with gifts for his work. We give thanks for the offerings received by our congregation during the recent weeks. The following amounts were offered for the operating budget. Weekly needs are $ 20,277.
February 2 $ 14,901
February 9 $ 18,101
February 16 $ 38,154
February 23 $ 13,537
Also received during those weeks were gifts of $6,430 for the Building fund (Bountiful Blessings—monthly mortgage payment is $13,694), $587 for the Improvement Fund, $338 for WELS Walking Together, $993 for the Lakeside mortgage and $286 for Wisconsin Lutheran Institutional Ministries.
MEMORIALS & SPECIAL GIFTS RECEIVED
We acknowledge with gratitude several special gifts and memorials received recently:
In memory of JAMES TOPEL, $50 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings)
In memory of TROY WRASSE, $525 for the Building Fund and $25 for the Trust Fund
In honor of the 90th birthday of ROBERT STRAKELJAHN, $315 for the Building Fund and $25 for the Trust Fund
WELS INTERNATIONAL YOUTH RALLY
WELS International Youth Rally June 25-28, 2014 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (www.wels.net/events) Psalm 27-No Fear :
- Teens from across the country who share your faith!
- Opening and closing worship in an arena with 2,000 of your closest peers
- Two large-group sessions focusing on Psalm 27 and our theme: “No Fear”
- Spiritual and educational workshops on timely topics for youth and youth leaders
- Encouraging devotions every morning and night
- Worship music led by Koiné (www.koinemusic.com)
- Recreational workshops run by University of Tennessee rec staff: ultimate Frisbee, kickball, kayaking, and more
- Professional entertainment each night on a large stage
- Olympic-sized swimming pool with three diving boards
- Football, soccer, tennis, and sand volleyball, including ball rentals
- Cafeteria with lots of great menu options
- Tennessee excursion opportunities (for an extra fee): white-water rafting, zip-lining, Dollywood theme park
- Small stage music and comedy and recreation each night at The HUB
All St. Paul teens who are confirmed thru High School Seniors are invited! Sign up by March 31st for Early Bird Registration ($350). Transportation is being arranged. Fundraising will be done throughout the Spring and early Summer to help defray costs. If financial assistance is needed, please contact a Pastor.
Sign up on the St. Paul website ("click" here for on-line registration form) Please also sign up in the lobby so transportation can be arranged.
Questions? Contact Pastor Rath or Pastor McKenney
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 20th installment.
An interesting story illustrating this is told about a guest worshiper at a Sunday service. The congregation’s custom was to receive the offering just before the sermon instead of just after it. During the singing of the Hymn of the Day the guest was surprised to see the offering basket coming down the row toward him. He quickly reached in his wallet and drew out a bill for his offering. Immediately after doing that he remembered that he’d had two bills in his wallet – a $100 bill and a fiver. He slid a sideways glance into his wallet – and there was the five.
Well, to make a long story short, the man couldn’t concentrate on the rest of the service. Immediately after being ushered out he went to the ushers’ room, explained what had happened and asked if the usher could return the $100 bill he had not intended to place into the offering, in exchange for the $5 bill, which he had intended to contribute. To his dismay, the usher replied: “Sir, you’re asking me to put my hand into an offering that was placed on the Lord’s altar and to remove something. I can’t do that with a good conscience.”
The visitor, obviously upset, fired back: “Back off! I made an honest mistake, and all I’m asking is that you help me correct it.” The usher answered: “Sir, I didn’t say you can’t put your hand into the Lord’s offering and take something out. I simply told you that I cannot and will not.” To which the visitor replied: “Well, beats me. I don’t agree with what you’re saying, but I suppose I can understand it. I guess the Lord will just have to credit me today with a $100 offering.” And the usher replied, “I’ve got to disagree with you again. I think the Lord will give you credit for a $5 offering.” And of course the usher was right, wasn’t he? Offerings that truly please the Lord are the ones that are tokens of the big gift: a total surrender of the heart and hand to the One who designed us as well as traded places with us.