Pastor’s Message: Holy Instruction by the power of the Holy Spirit…
“I am a Christian!” Do you believe these words about yourself? If I were to ask you, “What makes you a Christian?” what answer would you give me? Most of us would start our answer with the word “I”, such as, “I believe in God” or even more specifically, “I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” It is natural for us to look to ourselves as we seek to define our Christianity, but we must be cautious about focusing on “self” to define our faith as Christians. When we do such we often are drawn to put together a report card of our holy lives that show that we are Christian. And often in the contemplation of how well we are doing we fail to recognize our failures as well as the fact that our holy lives do not give us unity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For a Christian is one saved by grace through faith; and neither of these holy gifts are found within us by birth or nature. God’s grace is offered and given from outside of our lives. Faith is a gift given by God that certainly can be nurtured, but too often is daily neglected by those He to whom He gives this gift.
As we consider our identity as Christians we should look outside ourselves and focus rather on the mercy of our almighty Triune God if we are to answer the question given above about the “what” that makes one a Christian. We are drawn again to the simple but grand explanation that our dear doctor Martin Luther writes in his Small Catechism: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” As we make this declaration we give God the glory, the thanksgiving, and the praise for our identity as Christians. I am a Christian because of the grace and by the daily inner working of the grace of God in my life. Though we find that Luther uses the past tense in his meaning of the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed, it may suit us better if we use the present (daily) tense of these verbs as we consider the living, daily new nature that our Lord has bestowed on us as Christians.
The Holy Spirit daily “calls” us by the gift and the realization by faith of this gift of the Gospel. This is a term that we must understand by faith. Surely the Gospel is defined by our Lord and Savior’s act in history. It can be understood by us with merely the belief that Jesus was born into our world (Christmas/Epiphany), that He lived and ministered in His short life (33 years), teaching about the Kingdom of God, teaching, preaching, doing miracles, being arrested, put on trial, found guilty, suffering and being crucified on the cross (Lent), rising from the dead on the third day (Easter), ascending into heaven (Ascension Day), and then what? Even though much of His life spent here on earth goes against human reason we may “believe” in these historical facts as real and true. Is this the totality of the Gospel of the faith you hold to your way of thinking? If so, then the Gospel is not yet the living, daily reality of God’s freely given salvation to you. The Gospel is a living gift of God to you and me that not only believes in the historical reality of Jesus’ life and work but works in us a faith that realizes the daily presence of a living Savior in our own personal lives. The Gospel is always a daily living gift, given by God through the means He uses to bring it to bear in our daily lives.
Every day the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel. Are you listening to Him? That call comes through the Holy Word of the Scriptures. When you read God’s Word the Holy Spirit will work through it to remind you what the Gospel is. It is the free and abundant gift of forgiveness, life, and salvation that our Lord brings to bear in our lives that have to deal with sin from within and from the world around us. The Holy Spirit reminds us of His washing of us “through water and the Word.” Yes, in your Baptism and the Holy Spirit’s reminder to you of its gifts, you have that new life given to you through Jesus’ work that you may live in this living Gospel. Do we always see this gift? No. Do we always want to live in it? No. Our own sinful flesh and its desires, the world around us and all the sinful temptations it dangles before us, and the devil and his army of demons works tirelessly in our lives against this very Gospel of life. Such is why the Holy Spirit calls us not just once, but daily to remember that we were buried with Christ in our Baptism all the way to death, and raised anew through the same unto a new life washed and restored. So through the power and promises of God through your Baptism and through the reading and study of God’s Holy Word the Spirit works the life of the Gospel in your life.
Next month I will continue to explore how the Holy Spirit enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps you and me and all Christians in a living and abiding faith. Check out the opportunities that are opening for you at church to let the Spirit work His Gospel work in you. There are some continuing and new opportunities for you to be able to clearly explain to another what a Christian is.
Opportunities for young and old to let the Spirit work the spirit of life in Jesus in you beginning this September:
Sunday school Rally Day will be on Sunday, September 12
This is a wonderful opportunity to not let pass by for your children and for your own growth in faith. Bible lessons and study will be available for Pre-K through Adult on Sunday mornings. Following our morning worship, a vital element for all Christians in their nourishment and growth in faith, there will be some in-depth studies for adults, that means you, parents, that will delve into answering the many confused voices that are speaking to our culture today. Things like Critical Race Theory (we began to study this in part earlier), The Woke trends, gender confusion, even political persuasions like socialism that is being promoted by the liberal agenda in our land and how we can speak to these issues through the wisdom of God’s Word and the human reason He has given to us (most of us, that is). On this Rally Day we will be served BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, and the fixin’s, and of course, pie and ice cream. There will be some fun activities for the children, even as the adults meet to be prepared for the opportunities to learn in the coming year.
Confirmation Classes will resume on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. We will begin with studying the Ten Commandments this year. Students in 6th through 8th grade are invited to join us as we begin a new year of growth in the teachings of our Lord that keep us in the promise of eternal life.
Weekly Adult Bible growth opportunities will begin the week of Sunday, September 19…
Tuesday Morning Adult Bible study will continue with the study of the Book of Proverbs from Scripture. What great contrasts we see between God’s Holy Word and the ever-changing words and wisdom of our society. Join us on Tuesday mornings each week from 9:00-10:00 to be filled with the grand wisdom of God. We will meet again for the first time on Tuesday, September 21.
Thursday Evening Bible Study will resume on Thursday, September 23 with a Topical Study based on Rev. Matthew Richard’s book, “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up: 12 False Christs.” Our men from our Saturday morning Men’s Bible study have just finished reading through and studying this informative guide to how many different ways people see, understand, and believe in the Savior of sinners. Many do not even center their faith in Jesus in this way. Please let us know in the Church office if you plan on joining us in this book study so that we can have enough copies to go around. Being prepared to give an answer to the hope within us in Jesus, we prepare ourselves to give answer to the Real Jesus to others.
Men’s Bible Study continues each Saturday morning from 8-9:00 a.m. We will be starting a new study soon chosen by you men. Remember the Second Saturday of each month is Breakfast Saturday. All men in the church are invited to come and grow in the wisdom of the Lord!
Here are a few good words about Parental Choice in Education from our Minnesota South District communicator Rev. Fred Hinz and forwarded by him from Rev. Greg Seltz:
Recently, Rev. Greg Seltz, the Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., wrote what I think is a helpful commentary on this topic. In it, he contends that when it comes to education, parents need to know what is being taught to their children. Since all education is conducted within a moral, philosophical worldview, it is important that parents have the right to know what worldview it is that guides the teaching in any given school and that they have the freedom, economic and otherwise, to choose a school that operates from a worldview which reflects their own beliefs. He goes on to say,
“Parental Choice” assures parents of all economic circumstances, of all ethnicities, that they will have the resources to give their children a quality education of THEIR CHOOSING. [It assures parents that] if schools boards won’t listen, if unions wish to do whatever they please, even when against the majority of parents’ wishes, parents will have the choice [of taking] their educational dollars [and going] elsewhere. Then, and only then, will issues of sex education, dress codes, pronoun usage, who uses what bathroom, and what locker room is available to whom, [cease to] be a political football. …. A virtue-based, moral-based education is what our children need now more than ever. We, especially as Christian parents, need to reclaim that authority and exercise that mandate for our children and grandchildren. Educational freedom is a … need whose time has come.”
2022 Budget Planning…
It’s that time again for budget planning for 2022. This includes: Missions, Trustees, Sonshine School, Office, Sunday School, VBS, Youth, Music, Elders, Stewardship, Pastor’s General and Salaries.
Please have these figures in by September 22nd so that they may be compiled and presented at the October Council Meeting and the October Congregation meeting for approval.
Sonshine Preschool… Is accepting registrations for the 2021-22 school year. Our first day of class will be September 8.
We welcome God’s precious preschoolers ages 3-4 two half days per week and ages 4-5 three half days per week.
For registration materials and /or information stop by the church office at 1157 Third Avenue, Windom or call 507-831-3522
Rally Day will be Sunday, September 12th
Worship at 9:00 am
Sunday School at 10:30 am
Bible Study 10:30 am
Teacher installation during the worship service. Special events during the Sunday School hour.
Join the fun as we resume our Sunday School schedule.
Our annual BBQ-Pie & Ice Cream Social will be held on Sunday, September 12th in conjunction with the Sunday School Rally Day.
Faith in Action Committee
Thanks to all for the generous donations for our Fall Drive for the Sharing Center. We were able to purchase the following items to donate: dried kidney beans, baby lotion, baby rice cereal, baby bibs, dish soap, a variety of baby foods, band aids, toilet paper, men’s and women’s deodorant, baby wipes, kleenex, toothpaste, hand soaps, deodorant soaps, and antiseptic creams.
It is very much appreciated by the Sharing Center! You may continue contributing throughout the year!
Thank you all again,
the Faith in Action Committee.
Do you need help with transportation, yard work or any other needs? Please call: Larry Salzwedel #831-0008 or Jim Vellema #822-1226
Cottonwood County Sharing Center Food Shelf at this time, has several specific needs:
1) A need for volunteers! Volunteering as little as once a month would be appreciated! Volunteers wear masks, social distance, and hand sanitizers are available.
2) Personal care items, etc. At this time, no regular housewares are able to be accepted. The personal care items include: toothpaste, body wash (smaller sizes), razors or disposable razors for men or women, deodorant, small laundry items (detergent), dryer sheets, kleenex, Fall/winter clothing, blankets, towels, and sheets / pillowcases.
3) As most food is mostly donated by Second Harvest to the food shelf, the only food needed right now is refried beans and pinto beans (canned).
4) And monetary donations are always welcome!
Thanks so much everyone for your contributions! If you have questions about a donation not listed, you may call #507-822-7210.
The cart in the lower narthex entrance will now also be used for donations to the Sharing Center. Items may be placed in the cart or dropped off at the Sharing Center during normal business hours ONLY, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm., 1156 4th Avenue, Windom.
Monetary donation checks make payable to Faith in Action and given to Ruby Wilson, our Committee Treasurer. Also, if you need help around your home, call Larry or Jim.
Thank you for your continued support!
Faith in Action Committee
We will be collecting the Hy-Vee receipts from now on instead of the labels. We would like to have the member highlight the Hy-Vee products on the receipt and tally up the number of items on the receipt and write that number on the bottom of the receipt. The label container that was located by the Sonshine room will be relocated to the lower narthex.
¨ Line your baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cutting.
When you are supplying bars for an event, line your pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil first before adding the ingredients. This way when you or the kitchen help cut your bars you/they can take the bars out of the pan and cut them on a cutting board.
¨ This will also save cut marks in your baking pan.
¨ Be sure the parchment paper or foil goes over the side of the pan so you/they have some paper to grab on too.
If you have a helpful hint, email it to Diane at email@example.com and we will add it to the next newsletter
* Wipe off counters
* Wipe off tables
* Push chair up to table
* Take extra food home
* If you put something in the refrigerator or freezer put your name on it and date it
* Take dirty towels home and bring them back clean
* Remember this is God’s House
SAVE the Box Tops for Education…
The Immanuel Lutheran School uses them. Please give them to either Kayla Peters or Cheryl Peters.