Welcome to Mt. Olive's Online Newsletter! This site serves to herald the activities and day-to-day happenings at Mt. Olive, as well as provide resources for continued learning and community awareness. Links on the right point to various groups that operate at Mt. Olive as well as points of interest and additional resources. The space below contains articles and information from the newsletter. A up-to-date church calendar is always at the bottom of the page. Thanks for visiting and please let us know what you think!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mt Olive Council November 2009


PRESENT: Matt McCauley, John Musser, Rex Pagani, Steve Peterson, Janet Frisch, Pastor, Helen Gillingham, Marilyn Caruso, Tom Rodenbach and Marilyn Huber.

1) Matt reported the Baked Potato event was well attended with approximately 80 people. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the gathering. The Chili Cook-off will be held on 1/23/10 @ 5PM. The Wine & Cheese party will be on 4/17/10 @ 7PM. A Sundae Social will be held on 6/6/10 and due to the success of the 1st one another Baked Potato event will be held in the fall of 2010.

2) Marilyn attended to discuss the progress of the Stewardship program. Even in these hard economic times, we need to continue to give to our church. Even an extra 1% at a time is beneficial.

3) Janet reports the Kitchen Committee she has organized can always use help. She does not want the kitchen to return to what it was. Counsel agreed her hard work and the help of others has been a great advantage and will be looking for members to continue their cleaning.

4) Tom will be Santa Clause for the Breakfast with Santa to be held on 12/12/09 in the hall. This is an event to raise money for the Youth Group. Also, selling chocolate covered pretzels and a few Spaghetti dinners during week days will be used as fund raisers.

5) Helen discussed pens and magnets being used to help promote the growth of our church. She is looking for donations of appx. $150.00 to get started on the cost of these products.

6) Steve informed Counsel the church is currently $90,000.00 in the red. We are down $56,000 from 2 years ago. We have been able to save $30,000 without having a Vicar. At the Counsel meeting in Dec. 09, he is to present the new Budget to Counsel.

7) John announced we have purchased a salt spreader and the salt is on order. He will put a note on the dash board of the snow removal vehicle to turn off the fuel pump when not in use so as to not drain the battery. Rex & John want to hold a fund raising dinner for Pastor in early Jan. 2010 to help Pastor with his trip to India later in the month. Pastor announced how successful the Blessing of the Animals was, there were many in attendance with their pets. Also, the old Vicar’s house has been rented to a mother and her 2 children. The rent was reduced to $550.00 a month including water and sewage. Our church secretary did a wonderful job of screening prospective renters.

Monday, November 16, 2009



PRESENT: Matt McCauley, James St. John, John Musser, Rich Winkle Jr., Patty Dauer,
Jen Vecre, Rex Pagani, Pastor Pingel, Kathy Brown, Ann Emge, Deb
Levato, and Marilyn Huber.

1) Matt informed counsel there will be a baked potato social hour after 2nd
Service on 11/3/09. There will be a variety of toppings to choose from.

2) Ann is organizing a trip to Woodwards Apple Orchard on 10/24/09 for Sunday
School children and their families. A co-teacher is still needed for 6th & 7th grade class on Sundays.

3) A general discussion was held concerning snow removal this coming winter.
There are 2 men already slated for the AM and PM hours. Volunteers will be accepted, some of the men in attendance were offering to help as well. The key will be to have better communications so there is no confusion on who and when the work gets done. Counsel approved the purchase of salt and a spreader. There is a gas cap key for the Bronco. The key to the cap will be kept in the shed, along with some gas cans.

4) Rich had questions about the Vicar’s house for rent. He suggested a “For
Sign” in the front yard may be of benefit. There was also a question about
profits from the rental and taxes. Pastor will check into that money becoming
tax exempt.

5) Deb announced the pre-school program is helping Sue Pierson collect items
for soldiers to be mailed overseas. Activities the pre-school has had so far are
the Fire Dept. coming in to talk to the children about fire safety, Vision Care
came to speak of eye care and they went Trick or Treatin at Cambridge Village. To aid in the spread of illness they clean the toys and tables with Cloroax and are using had wipes.

6) Kathy announced MOPS will hold a Christmas Boutique on 11/8/09, also that
same day there will be a bake and soup sale to raise funds for MOPS.

7) Parstor announced that Arnie Brock and the Geneva student will both run the
Jr. Youth Group. Pastor would like to see the youth in the church get involved with the bells again. Kathy volunteered to get it going again. He also would like the children’s choir to be a part of service. We discussed Swine Flu and precautions to take in church. Recommendations were to not shake hands during greeting and getting hand sanitizers in the Sanctuary. Pastor would also like to have volunteers to be “Prophets” during the Advent Services.
8) Rex is going to get the Finance Committee together to review the Budget.
There has been a large savings with the absence of the Vicar.

A quote from Pastor:


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sinners Anonymous: Matthew 9: 9-13
An organization called “Alcoholics Anonymous” has been of great service to many people afflicted with alcoholism. Associated in its work are people who are THEMSELVES alcoholics and have helped each other overcome the problem. One of the first steps in the process is to ADMIT to themselves—and to others—that they are, indeed, alcoholics—completely unable to handle intoxicating liquor, and therefore committed to the necessity of never again touching the stuff!
TO BE HELPED, others have to make the same admission and to recognize the same necessity. They are then encouraged to “seek POWER from on high” in order to achieve what is humanly impossible! This is where there is some shortfall in the program, but at least it begins to point people in the right direction.
As part of my training in seminary I chose to take classes in chemical dependency, and part of that training was to attend a number of AA meetings. Several things characterized these meeting.
1 Cigarette smoke. I‘ve never been to an AA meeting where the room wasn’t filled with smoke. There’s a reason for that but I won’t get into it.
2 The more important thing was a gut wrenching HONESTY which characterized the meetings. Which I have seen nowhere else since—at least with that level of intensity.
3 The third thing was FELLOWSHIP created by this common problem, and their commitment to being of assistance to one another. There was no condemnation,
no condescension, no looking down on others, just a desire to help! And a willingness to stand by those in need.

NOW, it’s not my purpose to comment today on Alcoholics Anonymous, except to say for any shortcomings in the program, it has still helped a lot of people and still has probably the best overall record for helping people overcome this affliction. No other organization, including the church, has been able to do as much as AA. That’s became they know what they are about, and they accept people into their ranks in the light of common goals and concerns.
BUT this raises a question. Does the CHURCH know what it’s about? Is the CHURCH aware of what it really is? AND is its fellowship meaningful in the sense that it really works? WHAT IS THE CHURCH ANYWAY?
Some people have the impression that the church is a collection of high class snobs, who come together for the purpose of criticizing everyone except themselves! Where would they get that impression?
One thing is for sure: This picture of the church as an assembly of RIGHTEOUS people, smugly sure of themselves and bitterly critical of everyone else, CERTAINLY doesn’t come from JESUS CHRIST, the founder of the CHURCH! In fact, as our text

states, Jesus felt quite at home with sinners! In fact, he he openly ASSOCIATED with so called “SINNERS” –a practice which brought criticism and censure from others, PARTICULARLY the “religious” people of his day!
AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, the people he received and even sought out were REALLY sinners! They were tax collectors, political grafters, who cheated people blind; they were women with lurid reputations, women of the streets; No one else would even talk with them, Jesus ate and drank with them! According to the custom of the time, sitting at table with another was a sign of ACCEPTANCE—still true in that region of the world today!
He was not above eating and drinking and talking with these people, considered OUTCASTS, the SCUM of lst century society!
In fact, when Christians look at our Lord Jesus Christ, we see in him PERSONIFICATION of a divine invitation issued centuries before through the prophet Isaiah:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Don’t get me wrong; Jesus didn’t CONDONE sin. He didn’t take sin lightly, simply wink at it and pretend it didn’t exist. Jesus describes sin throughout the Gospels in all its ugliness and in terms of its devastating eternal consequences. Left unchecked, it will separate us from God now and eternally. God’s wrath rests upon sin. In the sight of God, sin is scarlet, blood red. And yet, it says, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST visited with sinners, even ate with them! Extending to sinners of every description a divine invitation to a brand new relationship with God based upon grace and forgiveness.
So here’s the first point I’d make. Wherever the church exists, it is first and foremost an ASSEMBLY of people who are THEMSELVES sinners, and know it. They don’t just THINK about sinners, they don’t just TALK about sinners, they ARE sinners…and they know it. They’re not the kind of people who sit around saying: “Well, I’m not so bad after all. At least I’m not like so and so, ‘cause I go to church and my record is good.’ When the Church is doing its job, it consists of people who could very well call themselves SINNERS ANONYMOUS.
In fact, Christians should come across as refreshingly honest people. Who admit to themselves and to others, what they are. Every week when they come together, they say these or similar words; “I a poor miserable sinner confess my sins and iniquities which I have ever offended thee, and justly deserved thy temporal and eternal punishment.” They think of their own sins as nothing short of scandalous; and they see themselves as needing a SAVIOR just as much as anyone else. And they know that they are RIGHTEOUS in the sight of God. Not because they are such GOOD people, but because CHRIST has clothed them with HIS righteousness, and they see themselves as constantly in need of God’s forgivness.
THE CHURCH, “SINNERS ANONYMOUS”—is a fellowship of people who have the same problem, sin, and they have come to Jesus Christ, and his cross, as the answer to that problem.

II Obviously, and unfortunate, many people don’t have this picture of the church. Many people OUTSIDE the church think of the Church as the LAST place to go with this problem of sin. They think: “I’m not good enough to be part of that organization! I’d never feel at home; I’d never be accepted.
Where do people get this impression? Very often the idea comes from the people of the church. When the church doesn’t have a correct understanding of itself, the church can become a breeding ground for PHARISEES and PHARISAICAL THINKING. The church becomes a country club which specializes in criticizing and condemning those on the outside, rather than an organization dedicated to extending God’s invitation to “come” to the Lord for forgiveness and healing. The church says, in effect: Clean up your act, and THEN come and see us. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll judge you good enough to let you in.
Too often the church forgets what it is. It is NOT a social club. It is a fellowship of people who are united by a common problem. In AA, that problem is alcoholism. In the church, that problem is SIN. And all of us are sinners. So, none of us can afford to boast. Alcoholism is characterized by powerlessness, a lack of control. Listen to PAUL as he speaks of his sin: “For I am the chief of sinners.” “The very thing I should not do, that I do; and that which I ought to do, I do not. O wretched man that I am! Who shall save me from this body of death?” But thanks to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
The fellowship of the Church is not based on being perfect. It’s based on a common need, and what we all have been fortunate to receive, through the merits of Jesus Christ; Grace and forgiveness. We’ve all been recipients, says Paul, of grace upon grace. We’re a fellowship of sinners, forgiven sinners, gathered around the cross of our dear Lord.
In AA the basically philosophy is that the one who knows they have A PROBLEM and has wrestled with the problem is in the best position to be of help. Who can best reach a world of sinners for Christ? People who with humility know what they themselves are: Sinners. Ordinary people who recognize their own sin and shortcomings, and yet who have found a solution to sin in the grace of God who forgives sins freely through is Son. When we sound high and mighty and SELF-RIGHTEOUS, that drives people away. When we raise things of minor importance to levels of absolute necessity…we do a disservice to those on the outside. When we become more concerned about buildings and places and programs than PEOPLE and their need for God…we project to outsiders something less than an inviting image.
Our text says that Jesus “ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners.” This is significant, because it tells us that God finds sinners where they are. He doesn’t say: “straighten out, then come.” He says: “Come, let us reason together.”
The Church is no place for proud Pharisees…no person who takes the cross seriously can be proud of himself or herself. He or she can never TAKE a righteous, condemning, judgmental attitude toward others. Why? We’re all members of SINNERS ANONYMOUS. We’re all in the same boat.

One of the great and ancient symbols of the church is the ship or boat. This is appropriate. We’re all in the same boat. The same boat with tax collectors and sinners, with drug users and corrupt businessmen, with sinners of all times and places. Our fellowship is not based on self righteousness, but on our need for Jesus.
Maybe you’re here visiting this morning. Welcome. Welcome to Sinners Anonymous. We can relate to you. We’re just like you. We are lost in sin. But let me tell you, brother and sister, there is mercy for you too, at the cross. Mercy like we’ve received. No one, no matter what they’ve done, is ever beyond the reach of God in Jesus Christ. We invite you to join with us, fellow sinners, redeemed by the Son of God, and Savior of the world. We hear the gracious invitation as we gather around the Lord’s table this morning: “Come, says the Lord, though your sins be scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they are like crimson, they shall be like wool.” The invitation is engraved with the name of Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us. “Come now” says the Lord. Amen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mt Olive Council Mtg May 2009

In attendance: Rex Pagani, Kathy Brown, Debra McCauley, Janet Frisch, Vicar Zach, John Musser, Helen Gillingham, Megan Why, Pastor Pingel and Marilyn Huber.

1) Kathy discussed Darlington Days activities. MOPS will have iced tea, snacks and a changing table. They will be taking registrations for MOPS. A rummage sale will be held September 5, 2009 and a Yard sale will take place on September 12, 2009 to help raise funds.
2.) Deb spoke of this year's success with the Wine and Cheese party. The Ice Cream Social will be June 7 after second service. Consideration is being given to Brewsters coming with their ice cream cart, including toppings. There will also be hot dogs, chips and pretzels.
3.)Megan from the Board of Education spoke on Teacher Appreciation Fruit Baskets begin given out. There will only be Summer School in June. Vacation Bible School already has its teachers, but volunteers for other activities are always welcomed.
4.)Helen addressed the need to get the business cards for hall rentals out to the public. The holders for the cards have been delivered to the church and need to be taken to the businesses contacted. Pastor pointed out that hall rental is greatly helping to keep the church afloat.
5.)John informed that the props from the drama events are now in storage in the shed on the church's property. Steve peterson from Morrow Motors loaned a van to help move these items.
6.)Vicar Zach reported he has completed his meetings with the Geneva students since school is out for the summer. A couple of these students still continue to attend services on Sundays.
7.)Janet announced that Telecare calling will be discontinued, at least for the summer. Discussion was held on the possibility of emailing people with computers and calling the others when this ministry continues.
8.)Pastor relayed that Debbie Levato has been interviewing for a preschool teacher. Nine of the 12 positions are filled. Also, Pastor has been talking with Josh Roach from Geneva about taking over the Youth Ministry since Vicar Zach will be returning to the seminary. In another matter, Pastor urged the completion of the showers since they will be needed for the upcoming Youth event in July. The rug scrubber needs upgraded to a new one because the cost to repair the old one is too great.
Pastor has an urgent plea...for parishioners to take a more active role in the upkeep of the church. Everyone's help is needed in one way or another.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mt. Olive Counsel Meeting April 19

In Attendance: Rex Pagani, Matt McCauley, Vicar Zach, Pastor Pingel, Helen Gillingham, Janet Frisch, Ann Emge and Marilyn Huber

1. Rex thanked Pastor for the wonderful services and events of Easter week.
2. Pastor discussed the work ahead for installing 3 showers in the area of an old closet downstairs. The showers will be used when the servant event is held here this summer. The trustees have approved this decision. A plumber is needed to help complete the work. Four new outdoor table and chairs have been purchased to be used for events held at the hall. Hall rentals are beginning to pick up. Pastor also stated that Confirmation Sunday is May 31, 2009. Pastor also reported the Bronco with a plow have been purchased for snow removal beginning next winter.
3. Helen spoke on behalf of the Publicity Committee. New business cards including photos and information on hall rental have been completed and will begin to be distributed to various businesses. The committee has a list of caterers, florists, funeral homes, chair rentals, linen services, etc. for those renting that need assistance in completing their event.
4. Vicar spoke for the Evangelism Board on how well the blood pressure screenings went at the Maple Syrup Festival. The Junior Youth group will be holding monthly fundraisers to defray the cost of their upcoming trip. The Vicar also noted that he has been meeting with students from Geneva a couple times a week and several students are attending services on Sundays.
5. Ann reported the Easter Egg Hunt went very well. Also, the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) will be serving as Readers, Ushers and Greeters at the services on Mothers Day.
6. Matt reminded all that the Sundae Social will be held in the hall on June 7, after second service.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Lesson 13

For the most part, we have been looking at how we can trust in the Word of God whenever we struggle as individuals. Now, we will study the problems the entire church is facing in difficult times. How can the body of Christ trust in the Word of God when entire congregations are failing? How can it trust the Word when anti-Christian groups are having great success? There are so many challenges facing the church as a whole that at times our faith will be tested.  

We will look at news articles that represent these challenges, and we will search for law and Gospel in these situations. You will see how God is at work defending, and nurturing his church even in times of decline. 

Read the news article below: 

Congregations across the US are shrinking, and being forced out of buildings. It can have a devastating effect on the life of the believer. How can Christians keep themselves from becoming too attached to their buildings? If you belong to a church, what does the building mean to you?

A church is wherever the Word of God is proclaimed in purity, and the sacraments (baptism and Lord's Supper) are administered faithfully. We may have many memories of a particular place, but our faith can be strengthened anywhere God is at work. 

In this article the pastor said that the Church will continue to live on. How can he be so sure? 

Read Matthew 16:13-18. Remember that the rock is not Peter in particular, but faith. Faith in Christ is the rock. Christ will defend his church against all forces that threaten it. 

Do you see the law at work in this article? Do you see any gospel? 

The law is that all man-made structures are temporary. Everything in this world is decaying, because sin has damaged creation. Nothing lasts forever, not even a church building. 

The Gospel is that Christ has given this congregation the Word, and faith. They will continue on under his care, albeit at a new location. Also, buildings may rot and fall apart, but God's promises do no such thing. 

Read Ephesians 5:25-27, 29 and 1 Timothy 3:14-15 to see how God cares for his church. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Lesson 12

I hope you had a joyful Easter! Christ has risen! 

 We are continuing our Bible Study on Trusting in the Word of God in Challenging Times. This week, we are moving on with our our study of law and gospel. In this lesson we will look at how law and gospel can be applied to our lives, especially in times of suffering.  


1) Luther referred to the law as God's "alien work." This means that he does not enjoy punishing us for our sin. It is not what he wants to do. Yet, he does it so that he can do his proper work. His "proper work" is the gospel- forgiving, healing, restoring all of creation.  

 We need to use both law and gospel when we speak to others. While the gospel should always eclipse the law, both are necessary. 

 Is it ever necessary to tell someone about their sin, and how God threatens to punish all sinners? 

Should we just use the Gospel, and only tell others about forgiveness and love? 

 The person who does not repent of their sin, and feels that they have not disobeyed God needs to hear the law. The law should always be carefully and gently applied to others. If a person is suffering we should never say that God is punishing them, because we rarely know why bad things happen. However, if a person is suffering from a direct result of sin then we can use the law to show them a better way. (For example, if someone blows all of their money at a casino we can tell that person that "God wants us to be good stewards of money and other possesions. We shouldn't waste it on frivolous pursuits.") 

 We should always be quick to apply the Gospel. Afterall, it is exciting news that is hard to hold back. Jesus Christ has died for your sins! You now have peace with God, and you are apart of his new creation! It should always follow the law, because the law cannot improve our lives or save us- only the gospel can.  


2) Below are some statements that a Christian might say in an attempt to comfort another who is suffering. Can you tell which statements are law statements and which are gospel?  

1)  “You are suffering because God is no longer smiling on you. Do not worry, because God wants to smile on you. Just do his will and everything will be ok!”  

      2)  God has not abandoned you. We know that his Son, Jesus, has promised to never forsake us.  

      3) God is in control of everything! Just give him control of your life.  

     Statements 1 and 3 were law statements. They tell a person what they must do, and imply that the person is suffering because they have done something wrong. The second statement focuses on what God does for us, and the promise we have in his Word.  


     3) Read Galatians 2:19-21. What is the purpose of the law? How does Paul live? 

     Paul lives by faith. That is how we live, in good times and bad. We live on the promises of God. We move past sin, and move on with our lives trusting in the forgiveness and goodness of God. So we can suffer knowing that Christ has come to heal our broken hearts, and his Spirit is at work repairing our faults. 

      Spiritual exercise- Pray that God would give you the ability to understand and distinguish the difference between law and gospel.  




Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 12

I hope you had a joyful Easter! Christ has risen! 

We are continuing our Bible Study on Trusting in the Word of God in Challenging Times. This week, we are continuing our study of law and gospel. In this lesson we will look at how law and gospel can be applied to our lives, especially in times of suffering.  

1) Luther referred to the law as God's "alien work." This means that he does not enjoy punishing us for our sin. It is not what he wants to do. Yet, he does it so that he can do his proper work. His "proper work" which is the gospel- forgiving, healing, restoring all of creation.  

We need to use both law and gospel when we speak to others. While the gospel should always eclipse the law, both are necessary. 

Is it ever necessary to tell someone about their sin, and how God threatens to punish all sinners? 

Should we just use the Gospel, and only tell others about forgiveness and love? 

The person who does not repent of their sin, and feels that they have not disobeyed God needs to hear the law. The law should always be carefully and gently applied to others. If a person is suffering we should never say that God is punishing them, because we rarely know why bad things happen. However, if a person is suffering from a direct result of sin than we can use the law to show them a better way. (For example, if someone blows all of their money at a casino we can tell that person that "God wants us to be good stewards of money and other possesions. We shouldn't waste it on frivolous pursuits.") 

We should always be quick to apply the Gospel. Afterall, it is exciting news that is hard to hold back. Jesus Christ has died for your sins! You now have peace with God, and you are apart of his new creation! It should always follow the law, because the law cannot improve our lives or save us- only the gospel can.  

2) Below are some statements that a Christian might say in an attempt to comfort another who is suffering. Can you tell which statements are law statements and which are gospel? 

1)     “You are suffering because God is no longer smiling on you. Do not worry, because God wants to smile on you. Just do his will and everything will be ok!”  

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Bible Study

We will pick up our study of “Leaning on the Word in Challenging Times” next week. As Easter is a day that cannot be ignored, we will study the resurrection account found in Luke 24.

Christ is risen! This study is based on: Arthur A. Just, Luke 9:51-24:53, Concordia Commentary Series, Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis, 1997.


Read Luke 24:1-12



1) What are the women expecting to find when they go to the tomb? (Verses 1-3)


What does the angel ask the women?


The angels ask the women a stunning question: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James believed in the resurrection of the dead, just like we do.  Like us, they knew it would happen on the Day of the Lord, the day when Christ returns, but the women did not expect to see the resurrection now! The Resurrection has an immediate meaning for us. Certainly, Christ rose first so that we know that we will rise one day, but that Christ remains alive even now means that death has been completely defeated. So that when our physical bodies are laid in the ground to wait for the resurrection, our souls will never die. One day soul and body will be reunited to live forever under Christ.  


Think about what the resurrection means for you today.


2) Read verses 6-7. What did the angels say to the women?


What tone of voice do you think the angels used?


Has Jesus ever said anything like this about himself?


 Jesus made many passion predictions about himself in Luke. He even uses the same words as the angels by calling himself the Son of Man in Luke 9:22, 44 and 18:31.He also says the will be “crucified”, that he will rise on the third day. After reading these predictions and being reminded by the angels one more time, we know that these things had to happen.  God had planned to give his only Son into the hands of men to die, and rise again.


How does it feel to know that God planned these things to save you?


3) What did the women do after the angels reminded them of Christ’s words to them? (verses 9-11)


The disciples responded to the women with unbelief. How would you respond to them?


It does seem like nonsense that someone could raise from the dead. The disciples might have thought the women had gone insane. Yet, God uses the things that seem foolish to demonstrate his power. These women are the first evangelists! What a prestigious place to have in history! Many of us hear these words: “Christ is risen!” with unbelief. We search for the hard evidence, but find only rags. The Holy Spirit creates faith apart from “hard” evidence, faith is worked through the Word of God. Remember, that Christ said it is necessary for the Son of man to die and rise again and believe.


Please post any questions or comments below.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Lesson 11

We have looked at a few examples of biblical figures who have trusted in the Word of God in the midst of suffering. Now we will take a turn, and look at the doctrines of law and gospel. Law and gospel has an important place in the life of every believer, and it certainly has an application to the difficult times we endure. 

For now, we will introduce the topic of law and gosepl and later we will apply to how we view suffering. (Once again, much of this bible study will be taken from John T. Pless's book Word:God Still Speaks to Us, a part of the Lutheran Spirituality Series. [Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis, 2006.]) 
1) Luther writes that there are two things that God has to say to us in scripture- a word of the law, and a word of the Gospel. The law is what God commands us to do. It is best summarized by the 10 commandments. God expects us to obey the law, because if we break it we would do the one thing he cannot tolerate: sin. The law threatens us with punishment and condemnation. 

The Gospel is quite different. The Gospel speaks peace and salvation to us. It is best found in the death and resurrection of Christ. The Gospel tells us of God's promises to redeem us and bring us into his new creation. 

2) Read at 2 Corinthians 3:7-11 

What is the ministry that brought us death? (Pless, 13)

The law brings death. It cannot be fulfilled without Christ. Consider Psalm 14:1-3. No one can obey the law; therefore if it weren't for Christ we would be condmened.  

What is the ministry of the Spirit? 

The ministry of the Spirit is the Gospel. The Spirit creates faith in us, so that we are rescued from the law and death. The Spirit continues to  minister to us to preserve and protect our faith, so that we can continue to grasp the grace and salvation offered in the gospel. 

3) Read Romans 3:19-31 (Pless, 13)

We hear the words justification and justice in these passages. What does Paul mean? 

Paul is using a court room analogy. We are guilty and deserve to be sentenced to death. God's justice demands that we die for our sins. However, we are declared innocent, because God has given us his Son's righteousness. Our sins are forgiven by God, because God sent his Son, Jesus, to die in our place! Justification means that we have been declared righteous and forgiven by God. 

Look again at verse 31. Why do we uphold the law if we are justified only by Christ's life, death and resurrection? 

Once we are justified the law takes on a new pupose. It helps us answer a new question. Before we had to ask "what must I do to be saved?". God has shown us that salvation comes by faith in Christ. Now that we have the answer; we ask how should I live? We live upholding the law, because the Holy Spirit works to turn us away from our sin. We also obey the law out of gratitude and sheer love for God. We can serve God freely. Yet, we know that obedience will not save us, only the grace that get through faith saves us. 

4) What do you think of the difference between law and gospel? 

How do both law and gospel affect your life as a believer? 

What does the law have to say to you in your sufferings? 

Spiritual Exercise: 
As we enter Holy Week, look for messages of Law and Gospel. If you do not usually go to church attend some of the Easter Services, and see if you can pick out what is law and what is gospel. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank You Letter from CA.S.T. to our Church

Dear Participating Church, 

As we begin the year of 2009, I want to thank you on behalf of the board for your faithful support of C.A.S.T. with financial contributions, food cellctions and participation in the outreach programs. In the sixteen and a half years of existence, because of your support, we have been able to help so many individuals & families in so many ways. In 2008 alone we gave out bags of food, help people with shut off notices for utilities , kept families from being evicted, outfitted 367 children for back to school, helped individuals grow vegetables for their own consumption and gave over 62 families 476 Christmas gifts and food. This was only accomplished becuase of your loving outreach through C.A.S.T. Thank you seems so small and inadequate for your enthusiastic support. Since becoming a participating church you have embraced the work of C.A.S.T. in many different ways. First, you have made your congregation aware of us resulting in your financial support and collection of non-perishable food items. Second, you have supported our various program needs, (back to school, S.E.L.F. [Seeds, Earth, Labor, Food] Easter, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas giving.) This ministry has grown and is growing in so many ways because of your generosity. 

I know that with all the needs in the world we are constantly being asked for help and I also know that you will not forget the needs of the people in Beaver County. I can say with full confidence that God will truly bless the members of your church for helping Churches Are Serving Together, Inc. to put God's and your love into action. 

Gratefully yours in Christ, 

Mary Jane Verbe 
President/ Director 

P.S. I am asking that all food items collected be checked for expiration dates and discarded by you. Also, it would help us if you could call to see what items we are most in need of in the pantry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 10

Usually, when we suffer our faith is tested at the same time.  We suffer, and we ask God "why?". We may feel like he isn't listening, or that he doesn't care. I hope our past studies have helped you if you struggle, and are losing your grip on the Word and salvation.  

Suffering can refine our faith and cause us to cry out: "I know that my redeemer lives!" (Job 19) May the Holy Spirit align your sufferings with the sufferings of Christ, so that you may become more like him.  

God has not forgotten and he has promised to end your sufferings, and bring you into the joy of heaven.  For now we can be like Paul in 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, and boast in our troubles! 

1) Read 2 Corinthians 21b-29 

Why is Paul listing all of his sufferings? If you made a list, how would it compare? 

Paul does not want to show off how tough he is, but to show that if a Christian has to boast it should not be in their strengths and accomplishments. A Christian should boast in suffering to show that in our sufferings God has identified with us. Then others will know that there is no kind of suffering that God will not understand, or there is no trouble so low that we cannot find God.  

Look at John 19:3; 19:23; and 19:28 and compare these verses with Paul's list of hardships. Do you see any similarities? 

2) Read 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 

Paul recieved a thorn in his flesh (how nice!). What was this thorn? Do you have any thorns? 
The thorn might have been a physical disability or a speech impediment or some other handicap. A thorn in the flesh might mean some kind of physical suffering, or a weak area where Paul was constantly tempted.  Most of us have a thorn(s) like this. 

Where is the gospel in this passage? 

We find it when we read that God's grace is sufficient for Paul. It is sufficient for you too! God shows his strength in our weakness. He gives his grace and strength to the pain racked- decaying body. He gives it to the handicapped, and the despised people of the world. The death and resurrection of his humble Son is more than enough to sustain us for now, and in the end it will restore and heal us on the Last Day. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trusting in the Word of god in Challenging Times- Lesson 9

This week we are going to look at Isaiah 42:1-9- the first Servant Song. The four Servant Songs in Isaiah refer to Israel and Christ. (The other servant Songs are  49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12) As we read them think of Israel first, then Christ, then us.  For our purposes we will see how the servant clings to the Word of God in humility depite his struggles. 

1) Read Isaiah 42:1-4. How do you picture this servant? 

God chose the servant to do great things. Scripture shows us how God chose Israel. God chose to send his Son. Has he chosen you? 

Yes! God has chosen you. God calls you with his Holy Spirit through your faith to serve him. He can use you no matter what your status or abilities. Look at how humble the servant was in Isaiah 42. 

2) Look at verse 3 again then jump down to verse 6. The servant goes from a smoldering wick to a light to the nations! How does this happen? 

The Lord is glorified by our weakness. He can use the weak, and the fragile to shine before all men. Through our weakness we can glorify God. We can show others a genuine, and tested faith that has been preserved by the Holy Spirit.  

Read Luke 2:32. Do you see any similarities between between this verse and Isaiah 42:6? 

Christ is the light of the world. He removes the darkness of our sin and he gives us access to the bright and beautiful glory of God. He shines in us, so that we shine before others with our actions. 

3) Read Isaiah 42:8-9 

What new things will God declare? 

Read Luke 22:19-20 and Hebrews 9:15- The new things are God's new covenant. We are no longer under the law. Christ has fulfilled the old covenant for us, so that we can have grace and live by faith under Christ. In this new covenant we can have access to eternal life, salvation, and forgiveness of sins through the Word, Lord's Supper, and baptism. 

Spiritual exercise- The last servant song is Isaiah 52:13-53:12. It carries many reminders of Christ's crucifixion. Read through this song and think of Christ as the suffering servant. Consider his agony, and thank God for his tremendous love and devotion to his people.  

Council Meeting Feb. 22


IN ATTENDANCE: Matt & Debra McCauley, Pastor Pingel, Vicar Zach, Debbie
Levato, Helen Gillingham, Janet Frisch, John Musser, Rex
Pagani, Doreen Hietsch, Steve Petterson, and Marilyn Huber

1) Debbie Levato spoke more on the Pre-K STEP 2 program. The maxium # will be 12 students & there are already 6 enrolled for the upcoming fall. The cost is $85.00 a month and $25.00 for registration. They will need to hire a teacher to assist.
2) Dorren Hietsch is asking for someone new to run the 2 of a Kind program for next year. She would like to train another class for the Steven Ministry program. It would be an asset to have some men join the class. Classes run for 20 weeks.
3) Steve Peterson shared at the last Elders meeting, discussion was on all of the new initiatives the church is involved in. Also, the servant event that will be held at our church this summer. 75 will be the maxium # of people to attend.
4) Matt & Debra McCauley had a wonderful attendance on between 90 and 100 people for the Chili cookoff, with 16 different kinds of Chili. The Wine Tasting party will be on 4/25.
5) Helen Gillingham discussed how the Publicity committee is working on business cards and glossy photos of the hall with information for rental. A printer in Eastvale will produce the products for a nominal cost.
6) Vicar Zach is thinking of starting a devotional group with the attendance of more Geneva students. The Jr. Youth Group will be traveling to York, PA from 7/26-7/31 to perform community services. He is considering an evangelism service of offering free blood pressure screening and possible glucose testing at the upcoming Maple Syrup Festival at Brady’s Run Park.
7) Pastor discussed the Trustees did a good job of fixing Vicar’s sewer line. The Trustees are also considering putting showers in the old laundry room, especially with the servant event coming this summer. The elevator has been inspected by the state and all is well. There is consideration for putting in an exercise room for the youth, parents and perhaps having a seniors exercise program 2 days a week. He asked for counsel to consider stopping Telecare, at least for awhile. Also, the expense for snow removal so far this winter is exceeding $7,000.00, he asked for consideration of the church purchasing a used truck with a plow so we can do it ourselves. It could pay for itself in a year or possibly 2.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 9

We have talked about the doctrine on the Word of God. (The Word of God comes to us as the Incarnate Word, Written Word, Spoken Word). We have also learned about The Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Now we are continuing to apply this doctrine in a meaningful way to the life of the Christian. 

When we suffer we need to trust that we can find the Word of God in its three forms, and know that the Holy Spirit is always working. In this we can find comfort in the forgiveness of sins, salvation, and the resurrection. 

Have you ever been tempted to turn away from the Word of God? 

Have you ever felt that your trust in God was broken?  

If you feel this way please continue to look at the Bible study below, but also talk to a pastor or a counselor. 

1) Consider the case of Job: 

Read Job 1:1- How does the book describe Job? 

Job is a man who lost everything. He family, his wealth, his health, and even his friends turned against him. However, he was not a man who was hiding some secret sin. God has not set up a reward and punishment system where if we behave we will prosper, and if we sin we will suffer. Suffering is NOT a sign that God is punishing you.     

2) Instead, our suffering can be part of our sanctification. (The process in which we are made holy.) 

If God is allowing us to go through a crisis of some type it can cause us to despair of everything else, except God. We see our place in the world as weak and vulnerable.  In our position, we cannot overcome the world without Christ.  ( This is only a product that suffering might produce. We cannot pretend to know God's exact puposes for us or his will.Yet, we do know that God is working for our good, and the he loves us more than we could know.)

Look at what Job said about his agony. Job 23:10-11  Our troubles can certainly refine us as it did for Job. 

Also see Romans 5:3-5. 

3) Job's sufferings point us to Christ. Job, a man who had everything stripped away, cried out to his God for hope. (Job 19:25-27) Christ is that hope. 

How is Job like Christ? 

Read Matthew 27:38-44- Christ had lost everything as well. Yet he endured more and went further than anyone else could go. He died. He died, so that Job might live. He gives you life as well. 

In our sufferings, we can look to our redeemer and know that we have onewho can lead us from crisis to crisis to eternal life, security, and a fulfilled hope.

Remember, that in the end God has promised something even greater than an end of human suffering. He promised to save us through his son Jesus Christ. That is a trust that cannot be broken, and that is his will for all who believe. 

Again, if your current struggles are causing a crisis of faith talk to a pastor or Christian counselor, and as always feel free to comment below. 

Spiritual exercise

Memorize Job 19:25-26  Pray for a faith like Job's. Ask God to let your stuggles produce in you a greater hope in Christ's return. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- part 8

This week we will continue our discussion of confession and Psalm 32. 

1) How do we keep confession from becoming empty and meaningless? 

It is easy to let our confessions become mechanical. We repeat the same words, or confess the same sins, and then we hear that we are forgiven. Sometimes we can get lost in the pattern and forget the meaning by reciting the words without thinking. 

Yet, our confession retains its value when we do it in view of the cross. There our savior gave up his life! He bore the particular sins that you have committed. Confession is not meaningless, but in it, we can die to our sins and rise as Christ did. (1 John 1:9) 

2) Read Psalm 32:8 

David is using himself as an example. Look at the healing and forgiveness he has recieved. His example, as well as the example of Israel when they returned from their sins is a testimony to us about the faithfulness of God. 

How can being honest with God about your failures improve your relationship with him? 

3) Read Psalm 32:11 

God is good! He fills us with his grace and love. He heals the broken hearted. The Lord does not make us upright after we make a complete and perfect confession. He makes us upright through the faith that he gives us. Through this faith God gives forgiveness. Confession is a way of living out our faith and trust in God. 

Spiritual exercise- Pray these Penitential Psalms throughout Lent: Psalm 6, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 7

It feels good to be back on schedule! In this post we will look at Psalm 32. This is referred to as a penitential psalm.  This will guide us into the topic of confession, and trust in God's words of forgiveness.  

Read Psalm 32 

1) Look at verses 1-5  Have you ever suffered like David? 

David is wrestling with guilt, and even though he is silent towards God; he suffers because he knows that his sin has to be dealt with. His refusal to confess his sin is causing him to suffer. 

What happens in verse 5? 

Have you ever had this experience? When we confess our sins to God, God shows us his mercy. He ends our suffering.  You do not have to fear God, Jesus has suffered every pain in our place. Now that we have been relieved by the cross, we can turn towards God and speak the rest of this psalm to God in joy. 

2) Look at verses 6-10 

Notice the difference? How does God make us secure and confident like David? 

When we recieve God's grace we can have happiness and peace. Under God's grace we do not have to suffer under guilt, and fear of judgement. Being placed by God into a new and right relationship with him is the key to this kind of confidence. 

3) Does forgiveness of sins depend upon our confession? 

No, God has forgiven us, and you were saved by him at your baptism. You are not saved by how much you cry over your sins, or how articulate you are. The victory for sin has already been won for you. However, this does not mean that our sins are meaningless or trite.  Sin is a grave offense to God, and his Son gave his life to save us. So, when we give God our heartbroken confession, God will heal us and restore us. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Trusting in the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 6

Sorry that this post is late! Things were pretty busy last week, but I will have the next post up on Thursday at the normal time. 

We are continuing our study of the Psalms. We will stay in the Psalms through next week, then we will move on to another topic of our study. 

1) Read Psalm 46 again. 

Look at verses 4 and 5.  The first part of the psalm is chaos. Then we read about a peaceful river that feeds the City of God. This city is Zion- the holy city. Where is this Holy City? 

The Holy City is the church! God dwells with believers, wherever they are, and makes them into a Holy City. While there is no guarantee that we will not suffer loss and trials; we know that the church on earth will never see total destruction. 

Where else is the City of God? 

Another way to to understand the City of God is to see it as the new heavens and the new earth that will restore creation after Christ's return. 

We understand that through faith, and the means of grace we can live in Zion- the City of God now, but we will dwell there in its full form in eternity. 

2) Look at verses 9-11 

God will bring an end to war. What do you think it will be like to live in a peaceful world? 

Through Christ, we can at least have peace with God. Conflict between our family and friends might continue. Wars will still be fought between nations, for now. Yet we have peace with God, and we can rest securely in his hands until Christ returns to bring an end to violence and strife. 

Spiritual exercise- pray Psalm 16 at least once over the next few days, and think of ways that God gives us all good things. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trusting in the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 5

Romans 15 is a good example of how a Christian can always have joy, despite his or her struggles. Afterall, God is a god of hope! 

We will turn next to the Psalms. Where we find that we can cry out to God through his word.  Psalms are the inspired Word of God like any other book of the Bible, but these inspired words contain some very "human expressions"- anger, fear, grief, security,  and trust. The Psalms are a way of speaking to God when you you have problems that are so deep that you cannot find the words on your own. 

Psalm 46 

1) Read Psalm 46:1-3  

The word "trouble" from verse 1 can also mean distress or calamity. What does it mean to hear that God is ever-present in every problem? 

Why is it difficult to see God in our struggles? 

The sinful nature and Satan wish to rob us of the truth that God is "ever-present". Our problems often distract us, and pull us away from trusting in God. However, whether we can see, feel, or sense God's presence doesn't change a thing! God is always working for the good of those who love him.  

2) Look again at verses 2 and 3. 

The psalmist is describing the earth giving away, and mountains falling into the sea! It sounds like the end of the world. Why do we have nothing to fear, even if the world were to end? 

3) Read Psalm 46:4-7 

In contrast to all of the chaos, there is one place where there is peace. The City of God is presented as one place that is indestructible. Where is this city? 

This city is where the Word of God has called together the church. Wherever believers are gathered in Christ's name there will be the City of God. Believers will be defended by his might, and protected from destruction.  

This City is also where we will dwell forever, free from sin and death, after Christ's return. (Revelations 21) 

He really is a God of hope! (Romans 15:13) 

** Earlier I stated that i would post a spiritual exercise every week, if you are following this blog you might have noticed that I have not been doing that.

 I repent! Here is the spiritual exercise to help you build your devotional life for this week: 

Psalm 46 Inspired Luther's famous hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". (LSB 656, 657 LW 297, 298) Look up the words to this hymn and thank God for the shelter and protection he provides for us.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Leaning on The Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 4

We have studied how the Word of God and the Spirit work together to create faith, strengthen, cleanse, and save us. For the most part, we have been learning doctrine, but in the weeks to come we will see why this doctrine matters. The Word of God is a lifeline that pulls us in to Christ. (The Holy Spirit ties that lifeline around us, so that we do not wander off!) That lifeline cannot be severed no matter how difficult life gets. 

We begin the next phase of our study with a look at Romans 15. 

1) Read Romans 15:4-5

Paul uses two "e" words in verse 4 and they are repeated in verse 5 what are they? (Pless, 2006) 

The Word of God has endured since the beginning of time, and we have a record of his unbroken promises.  We can see that the Word of God endures through every kind of trial. If God has not broken a promise to his people in the past; than what does that mean for his promises to us? 

2) Read Romans 15:6. 

Paul speaks about unity in verses 5 and 6. How can the Word of God unite us? 

It is not just a group of people with shared beliefs, but it is the Holy Spirit calling the church together through the Word. 

3) Read Romans 15:14-16. 

Paul seems pretty confident that the church is growing and making progress against the sinful nature. Why is he so confident? 

He had written them letters and preached the Gospel. He had given them the Word, and so he knew the Word and the Spirit were working.  

(Once again, much of this Bible Study was developed from John T. Pless, Word God Speaks to Us, Lutheran Spirituality Series, Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis (2006).)

Please post any questions or comments below.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times - Part 3

This will be the second and final part of our study on the Word of God and the Spirit. We talked about the relationship of the Spirit and God's Word in general last week. Now we will get a little more specific and talk about how the Spirit relates to the Word in its three forms. 

1) Written Word of God 

How does the Bible help you to grow in your faith? Can you think of a time when you were troubled and opened up the Bible, and found something that spoke to you? 

This kind of thing happens in the written word all of the time, whether it helps us emotionally or not. The Holy Spirit is always working through the Words that come to us from the written page. 

If he is always working than what is his goal? Read John 20:30-31 to find out. 

2) Jesus also had the Holy Spirit, and it helped him in significant ways. 

Read Acts 10:37-38 What was Jesus annointed with? How did this help him in his ministry? 

Read John 6:63 The Spirit was not only present in his actions, but also in his ________ 
(Answer: Words!) 

We don't typically think of the Holy Spirit and Christ. We don't see the Holy Spirit working through Christ as much as we ought to. (There is much more to say about this subject, but for now 

What if you had the same Spirit? 

3) You do have the same Spirit! Christ sends out his Holy Spirit to all believers. Therefore, we have the power to speak Spirit-filled words. 

Through faith we are given the Holy Spirit, anf the ability to speak the Words of God. This comes in the form of proclaiming the Gospel to others, and assuring our brothers and sisters in Christ of their forgiveness and salvation. God speaks through you! Cool! 

Read 1 Peter 5:9  

Please Post any questions or comments below! 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 2

The Written Word (Bible), the Incarnate Word (Jesus), and the Spoken Word (Preaching) all receive their power from the Holy Spirit. For the next couple of weeks we will focus on the Spirit's work through the Word. This week's lesson focuses on the Holy Spirit's connection to the Word. We will look at how Satan will subtly try to twist God's Word until he can break us off from the Spirit's power. This will show us that without the Holy Spirit the Word will not be able to do its work. How comforting it is to know that God puts himself into his words, so that we know his promises are true! (This lesson like many others will draw heavily upon John T. Pless's book Word: God Speaks to Us in the Lutheran Spirituality Series [Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis, 2006].)


1) Read Hebrews 4:12-16


What does God's Word do? (Pless, 2006) Who makes the Word living and active?


    Hebrews 4 gives us a powerful reminder that it is God's Word that judges us. We do not judge God's Word. We live in light of the Word, because God has given it to us and we are to revere it by keeping it in its pure form. In that form, the Holy Spirit makes it living and active. The Holy Spirit gives it life so that it can call us back to God, forgive our sins, strengthen our faith, and give us eternal life.

2) Read Genesis 3:1 (Pless, 2006)

Notice how Satan is trying to twist God's Words. Adam and Eve rejected the Holy Spirit when they wanted be like God. Have you ever been tempted like this? Have you ever wondered if God really meant what he said? This is Satan and our sinful nature trying to cut us off from the Spirit in God's Word. In these times we have a Savior who has been tempted in every way, just as we are tempted. When you start to question cry out to God for help! Thank God that Christ has conquered Satan and the sinful nature so that we can be forgiven for the times when we pull ourselves away.

3) Read Matthew 4:1-17 (Pless, 2006)

    Satan is using the same strategy that he used against Adam and Eve. How does Jesus defend himself against these temptations?

    What does this tell you about God's Word?

    God has given his children a powerful weapon. The Holy Spirit brings us under God's Word. This Word becomes a shelter against Satan's attacks. The Spirit uses these words to repel even the strongest pitfalls. Satan and the sinful nature aren't strong enough to separate God's Word from the Holy Spirit.


4) Is it possible to have the Word without the Spirit? (Pless, 2006)

    No, if you lose one you lose them both. You cannot obey God on your own, and you cannot sanctify yourself. God has graciously given us both his Word and his Spirit in the fullest measure to redeem us, and sanctify his church.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 1

Welcome back! Now that we are finished with Thessalonians it is time for something new! This Bible Study will focus on the value of the Word of God in the life of a Christian. We will look for ways to develop a consistent approach to personal devotions. Also, we will search God's Word for the comfort of the Gospel. This will lead us to look at how we need to apply both Law and Gospel, we will look at biblical examples of the faithful in difficult times, and how the Spirit builds up our faith through the Word. These are just a few of the topics we will study! We will rely heavily upon a Bible study from the Lutheran Spirituality Series called Word: God Speaks to Us by John T. Pless. (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis: 2006) 

First we will look at how God is speaking to us. Then we will examine the importance of God's Word to believers.

  1. There are times when the church seems to have its own language. For example, we use the phrase "The Word of God" or the "Word", but what is it? What is the Word of God? How would you describe it to someone who did not know?


    The Word of God is simply what God says to us in order that we would be saved. Typically, the Word of God is broken up into three categories: the written word (the Bible), the Word Incarnate (Jesus), and the spoken Word (preaching).


    Read 2 Timothy 3:15-16- What are some uses for the Written Word of God? How has the written Word affected your own life?


    Jesus is the Word Incarnate, because he fulfilled everything that was prophesied about him in the flesh. Also, he came to earth full of grace and truth proclaiming the gospel, and did nothing but his Father's will. Read Luke 24: 25-27- On the "Road to Emmaus" Jesus, the Word Incarnate, told the disciples about how he was the fulfillment of prophecy. Many Christians are envious of the disciples, but where do we encounter the Word of God in the flesh? We encounter it at the Lord's Supper, and when we hear preaching that proclaims Christ as the fulfillment of prophesy, and salvation.


    Consider the Spoken Word. Usually, we think of Pastors in the pulpit giving their sermons. Jesus has commissioned Pastors to faithfully preach the Word of God. However, he has also given responsibility to every believer to tell the world about the forgiveness of sins, the law, and the work that he has done. Read John 17:13-19- How have you used your authority to speak the Word of God to others?

 2. God is still speaking through the Written Word, the Word Incarnate, and the Spoken Word. What things get in your way of hearing God's Word? (Pless 2006, 7) What can you do to avoid those things? 

  3. Think about how you have grown in your faith since you were baptized. Can you name at least one way that each category of the Word of God has helped you? (i.e. How has the Written Word helped you grow?, How has the Word Incarnate…) Look back to 2 Timothy 3:15-16 if you need a little direction.  


Every week I will post a spiritual exercise that might help you in your devotional life. This one comes from Word: God Speaks to Us by John T. Pless. Pray Psalm 119:33-40. By praying this psalm you will be asking God to instruct you in his Word, and to confirm his promises.


Please post any comments or questions below!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Council Meeting December 8


IN ATTENDANCE: Matt McCauley, Debra McCauley, Rex Pagani, Vicar Zach,
Janet Frisch, John Musser, Steve Peterson, Pastor Pingel, Bob
Trimble, Patty Dauer, Kathy Brown, Scott Rodenbeck, Ann
Emge, and Marilyn Huber

1) Matt and Debra McCauley reviewed social events for ’09. 1/24/09 @ 5PM will be the Chili cook-off. 3/25/09 is the wine tasting event. 5/31/09 is the 2nd annual Ice Cream Social event. Sometime in 09/09, they want to plan a tail gate party in the church parking lot for a Steelers game. They are looking for help to plan the Octoberfest this year.
2) Bob Trimble continues working of the Stewardship program. He believes they are more than ½ ways done.
3) Patty Dauer reported the Evangelism committee visited 3 Nursing Homes in Beaver County. They went the Friendship Ridge, Franciscan Manor and Elmcrest and felt they were very well received. They entertained the residents with singing and visiting.
4) Steve Peterson reports the last Elder’s meeting was 12/10/08 and discussion surrounded the dismissal of the Vicar program for a couple of years and how helpful the program has been to us. The LCDF fund will provide $7,000.00 to help pay off the past 3 months of bills. He past out copies of the 08-09 Budget to the Committee that was already approved by the Elders. Pastor turned down a raise. Instead, the church will match his retirement fund. The ’09 budget reflects a $12,000.00 savings from this year.
5) Ann Emge announced the teachers received their gifts today.
6) Scott Rodenbeck confirmed the Stewardship program is ongoing.
7) Kathy Brown discussed MOPS events. They will have the Ladies Tea party the 1st Sat. in May. There is a Craft & Hostess fair later in 1/09. They continue fund raising for their yearly convention. They are planning to start a Night time MOPS program in ’09.
8) Vicar Zach is looking into developing a Calendar of Events for the whole year to post so non-members attending church will know when events are upcoming.
9) Janet Frisch discussed work with the Publicity committee and ways to increase the hall rental and using photos to promote the hall. Posters will be put into store front businesses.
10) Pastor Pingle mentioned that Deb Leveto continues to work on the Transitional Kindergarten program. Also, plans are in the works for the Youth Group to hold a servant event at our church in July.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2 Thessalonians Week 15

We will pick up where we left off a few weeks ago in 2 Thessalonians. Our discussion will be based on the third and final chapter, after this week we will begin a new Bible Study.  Chapter 3 is about Christian Discipline. This can be a very difficult topic as we ask how can we love our brothers, but still apply discipline. Yet, Paul offers us some guidance on this topic. 

1) Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 

Why did Paul work so hard to provide for himself when he was with the Thessalonians? 

How can your quality of work and attitude be a witness toward others? 

Paul tells warns us to avoid the brothers who ingore his teaching. Why should we avoid those in the church who ingore the Word of God? 

2) Read 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 

Giving glory to God does not always come in the form of formal worship with preaching, and hymns on Sunday mornings. (While formal worship where the means of grace are given is necessary for every believer.)   We can glorify our God by providing for our families, and waking up every morning and going to work.  So while you have been grinding out day after day, you have served others and have not wasted your time being idle. Did you know that you were glorifying God all along?  

3) Read 2 Thessalonians chapter 3:14-15 

Consider this scenario: What if a member of this church had a drinking problem, but they attended church faithfully?  This person has been confronted by some members of the church, and he has confessed his sins. He seemed sincere in trying to stop drinking, but he continues to go out. He is struggling with a severe addiction. He is in a position of responsibility, and his family has attended for generations.  

How would you apply church discipline in this  situation? 

How would you treat this person as a brother in Christ? The truth is church discipline is hardly ever a cut and dry issue. We need to approach our brothers and sisters in Christ knowing that we are all vulnerable to sin.  However, we need to remind them that Christ would not have us continue in our old ways. We should repent and recieve his abundant forgiveness, but seek help and put all other responsibilities in the church on hold. The sin of one person can do great damage to the rest of the church. That brother should adress his problems, and then return giving glory to God for his healing and forgiveness. 

4) Read 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 

After dealing with many disturbing issues: persecution, the Anti-Christ, and church discipline; Paul blesses the congregation with peace. What disturbs you? What has you unnerved? It is in those areas that Christ has come to give you peace. 

We have come to the end! 

Thank you for following this blog on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. 

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16