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January 2017 Newsletter

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A New Year of Hope   We have a New Year coming. There are only sixteen more days in 2016 now that I started on this article. It seems that we are always hoping for better days. And in December we continue to look to the future. We start to think about all the things that we did and assess them, especially between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. This is especially true for those of us who write down our New Year’s resolutions. We want to see if we accomplished our goals for the year. It’s appropriate to look back and see if a goal was accomplished when the rime set for it is coming to an end.   I pray you did well with your resolutions if you made them. I also pray that 2017 will be a blessed year for you. And as a new year approaches our hope seems to get stronger. It is always this way. We hope for a good year for our favorite sports teams. And we hope for a good year for our investments. We also hope for a good year for our families. And you could keep going on and on.   The writer of Hebrews writes about hope.   Hebrews 6:16-20 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.   “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” God has anchored us in the hope of eternal life in his kingdom. This means that as we hope we...

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October Newsletter – Learn + Lead + Love + Cross

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This month I give you an article from the Rural and Small Town Mission Newsletter from August 2016 written by Bruce Sutherland on overcoming outreach distraction. There is an old story about a peasant who was caught stealing from his king. The peasant lived in a small village that was a journey of several days from the king’s castle. After being caught, the guilty man was promptly locked up in the village prison to await a public hanging the following week. In the meantime, the king heard of this peasant’s great remorse and with compassion the king decided to send a messenger to the far-off village with an undeserved pardon for the thief. The king gave clear instruction to his messenger to proceed directly to the peasant’s village. Along the way, however, the messenger made frequent stops to attend to other matters and took alternate paths. By the time he reached the peasant’s village he was shocked to discover the sentence was carried out two days earlier. And so it is with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the pardon for humanity He has generously offered. He has called us as His ambassadors to deliver a lifesaving message to our fellow criminals. The fact is we aren’t much different than the messenger. When it comes to sharing the story of Christ crucified, we hesitate; we procrastinate; and sometimes we flat out wander from the task at hand. As God’s ambassadors we realize the Lord doesn’t need us to save anyone, but He does give us the great privilege of carrying His pardon for humanity. As a perpetual procrastinator, I often wonder how I can stay better focused. Let’s look to Christ and His example. In John 4:7–26 we see Jesus on a mission to deliver a pardon to the Samaritan woman. One way to look at this passage is to see L.L.L.C. (Learn, Lead, Love and Cross). LEARN (verse 7): Jesus is on a mission and He starts a conversation in order to LEARN more about this woman. One of the easiest things we can do is to learn about and serve our neighbors. LEAD (verse 10): Jesus is...

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September Newsletter – Fellowship

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Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Luke tells us this after he reports that three-thousand were added to their number, the church, on that day. And after being baptized they devoted themselves to all of the things that are mentioned above. Fellowship. It is a word used in churches meaning time spent together. And it brings into mind everything the church does, teaching, breaking bread, and prayer etc. And so as September begins let’s look at the things starting again that we can do together. Luke says, they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching. River Ministries is starting back up on the 6th and will be teaching young children the apostles’ teaching. As we continue to reach out to our own children as well as many other children in the Kouts neighborhood and teach them. (By the way, we are in need of a teacher for the 3 to 5-year-old children. If you are interested in teaching these children, please call Suellen Boomer.) They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching. We are restarting the Bible Study on Wednesday afternoon. This will start on September 14. This is because I will be out of town on the fourth Wednesday. It will move to the fourth Wednesday in October. We will be studying the “Fruit of the Spirit, Love, Joy, Peace.” To start out. If it goes well and we have the time we can add the second Wednesday as well. Another chance for fellowship is on September 18 when we will have our annual picnic at Drazier Park here in Kouts. For those of you who don’t know where Drazier Park is, it is on the west side of SR 49 in Kouts on Daumer Road. It is on the south end of town. We will kick off our picnic with a service at 11:00a in the park. There will not be a 9:00a service in the church. Please note the time change on your calendar. Come and fellowship with us! They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching. On September 25 confirmation classes will begin at 10:45a in...

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August Newsletter- Community

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Community Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Let me first say that if you are reading this and you are one of the people who has given up meeting together in any church, shame on you. Now if that convicts you of your guilt, please also remember that you have been forgiven through the work of Jesus’ atonement for you on the cross. Now you should really get back to church for your own sake as well as others for you are a part of a community much larger than where you reside. We come to worship as a community to encourage one another. We want to do this so that we can continue the work that God has set before us to do. Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. And there is plenty to do. We need to bring Christ to our community, here at Saint Paul and at home where we live. We need to tell the story of Jesus. We need to bring his forgiveness and love to all. And we are always asking how. We have talked about this before, but I really believe that we need to have it repeated every once in a while. Why? Because it’s hard to know when is the right time to talk about Jesus to people who do not go to church and do not desire to go. And so let us go back to some training that a few people from our church had when the Lutheran Hour Ministries “Equipping to Share” came here. They said that the best way to spread the word is to get to know the people who live around you. Sit outside your home in the cool of the evening on your front porch and wave to all who walk by. Or go for a walk and wave at the people...

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July Newsletter- Independence Day

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INDEPENDENCE DAY This month the United States of America will be celebrating 240 years of independence declared on July 4, 1776. The forefathers of our nation declared themselves to be an independent nation from England. It is also our day of freedom, and we celebrate it all across our nation. Most cities, towns, villages, etc. will set off fireworks at the end of their celebrations. There might even be a festival in some of these communities. We will celebrate. But there is an earlier “Independence Day” that is far more important to celebrate. It happened in the spring of the year on the day we call “Good Friday.” Hear the words of Saint Paul who tells you the importance of that day, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). It was on the cross that your freedom was won, and Jesus set you free. It was freedom from the yoke of slavery, a slavery to sin, to death. You could not break the bonds of it. You and I were doomed and enslaved. Then we look at that glorious Independence Day and what God gives us in Christ, and we see that all sins are forgiven. We aren’t bonded to slavery, sin, and death. We are set free. So what do we do with that freedom? Well, like the United States shares the story of its independence on July 4 every year, we share the story of what it means to be independent of the slavery to sin. We share the story of Jesus and Good Friday (a Christian’s Independence Day). We live under that freedom won for us, and we are inspired to share the story. For the truth is, we want all to know this freedom from sin. We want others to be brought into Jesus’ family and out of slavery. I therefore encourage you, this month, and especially on July 4, the U.S. Independence Day, to remember your Christian Independence Day. The day Jesus set you free.   God bless,   Pastor Bob...

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June Newsletter – Where Are You Going?

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Where are you going? This is a question that we ask many of our friends when they say they are going on a vacation. As parents we might say we are going to an amusement park which also has water slides. Or perhaps camping at a national park. As a married couple with no kids we might say that we are going to the Smithsonian Institution. Or some would say I am going to North Carolina to go golfing. Some will stay home and the only places they will go is to the doctor’s office, Valparaiso, some might go as far as Chesterton, Indiana Dunes State Park, and others may go to Michigan City, or even Bass Lake. There are so many things to do and see in this country alone that we could spend a lifetime going to the many amusement parks, or campgrounds, as well as national parks, museums, and even golf courses. And even around here in Northwest Indiana there is much to do, from Hammond to South Bend and from Chesterton to Lafayette. But let’s repeat the question, “Where are you going?” When you respond in faith you say, I’m on a journey through this “valley of the shadow of death” Psalm 23:4a to be brought home by my saving God, Jesus Christ. And some of you will ask how do I get there? It’s not on a map, or even in my GPS, (Global Positioning System). Some may even say it’s the BIBLE (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). And yet, the BIBLE does not give you instructions in every situation. Yet, Jesus does tell us how to get there. He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6a. You can’t do anything to get there on your own. You won’t make it without going through Jesus and his forgiveness won for you. He is your GPS or map. He guides you through the forgiveness of the cross, which leads to eternal life in heaven. This is what we can tell others who ask us why we go to church. We can respond with, “We’re on a journey to heaven,...

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