Sounds strange, doesn't it! As you know, the New Year for a Christian begins with Advent. This year Advent begins November 27. So Christians are out of step with the world. In addition we, Christians, are out of step with the world when it comes to Advent. Homes are already decorated for Christmas, the shopping malls have been playing Christmas carols for weeks and Advent slaps us aside our head calling us to "REPENT!" The world wants parties and Christians are called to repentance-how out of step is that?
The world's celebration of Christmas is for things, the Christian celebration of Christmas is a call back to God. Jesus had to be born on that first Christmas because our lives demanded it. Through Christ's birth, our sins are forgiven-the divorced, alcoholics, depressed, sinners of all kinds who can find no peace in this world receive the peace of God forever because Jesus came to save us from our sins. No longer do we carry the weight of our sin-Jesus came to bear it for us; to take it to the cross; to defeat our sin through His death and resurrection and to give us the gift of everlasting life!
So Advent is our time of waiting to see that Jesus actually did come in history about 2012 years ago. Our Advent waiting includes the fact that Jesus gives us himself through His Word and Sacraments personally and individually. And our Advent waiting includes the fact that Jesus will come again to take us to our home with Him in heaven. During our waiting, we are called to, "Repent!" What a gift God has given us to be able to turn from our old, evil selves to the new life we receive from God through faith in Jesus.
This year our mid-week Wednesday services will be looking at Jesus' roots. "The Genealogy of Jesus: God Keeps His Promises:"
Wednesday, Nov 30 - Joseph: Of David's Lineage (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23) Wednesday, Dec 7 - Rahab: God Makes Heroes Out of Zeros (Joshua 2:1-21; 6:25; Matthew 1:5-6) Wednesday, Dec 14 - Joash: A Child with a Destiny (2 Chronicles 22; 2 Kings 8-12)
Wednesday, Dec 21 - Calvary Lutheran School Program
Sermon themes for Sundays in Advent are:
Sunday, Nov 27 - Are You Sure This Leads to HOPE? (Mark 11:1-10)
Sunday, Dec 4 - Make a U-Turn (Mark 1:1-8)
Sunday, Dec 11 - The Man Who Witnessed (John
1:6-8, 19-28) Sunday, Dec 18 - Have Yourself a Mary Christmas (Luke 1:26-38) Sunday, Christmas, Dec 25 - What If Christmas Never Happened? (John 1:1-14)
Please remember our special Christmas Eve Services at 5 PM and 10 PM 5:00 PM Lessons & Carols Worship - "The Mystery in the Manger" (Luke 2:19) 10:00 PM Candle Light Worship - "Christmas Joy" (Luke 2:21)
New Year's Eve 7:00 PM - "Marked with His Name" (Luke 2:21)
This news of Great Joy is for ALL People - please join us.
I look forward to seeing each of you at these mid-week and Sunday services.
Have a blessed New Year in Christ,
If Jesus Sent A Church Newsletter
I got this idea from William G. Menter and followed his outline although our conclusions moved away from each other.
If Jesus published a newsletter it would be funny. His stories were filled with puns and humor. Read the Gospel according to John. He made people laughed at themselves. And his stories were memorable so that the Holy Spirit could use them to change lives long after he told them.
Second, Jesus would discuss politics. He didn't avoid difficult issues the way we do today. He understood that religion and politics were the two most important subjects in the world. We need to talk about taxes, war, cost of freedom, the bottom line when it comes to public education, curriculum that excludes God, etc. These are the fabric of our life.
His newsletter would include pictures because he talked in pictures (parables). Probably his would be the most poi ant of political and church cartoons.
He would follow the K.I.S.S. principle - "Keep It Simple Saint." He would write so people could understand - not write so as to impress. Remember how He described the Kingdom of God and the free gift of everlasting life in understandable terms?
Jesus would eliminate the weather reports in his church newsletter. He would not begin his column: "Well, it's May now and warm weather is going to follow." "In October, we experience the first swirling winds of winter." We have much more important information to discuss in the areas of Faith than to recall what we all can see.
He would not report offerings or church budgets as we often do. Instead he would enable all of us to see how we can use our gifts as opportunities for worship. Recall how he described the widow's mite?
Since we have no record of the behind the scenes time he had with his disciples, one would doubt that Jesus' newsletter would include a copy of the parish planning council minutes. As far as we know, Judas never gave a treasurer's report. Rather his newsletter would be filled with evangelism ideas-how he and his disciples were feeding the hungry and heal the sick as they displayed the love of God in daily life.
Without a doubt, Jesus would keep the newsletter articles short. He would describe real situations among real people. Instead of waiting for people to come to him, he went to them. This is something we need to remember as we go about our daily lives.
Jesus would talk human growth rather than church program. The church calendar would include ways to help us in our daily lives and opportunities for us to gather to grow in faith and life. Jesus showed us his heart so that we could show it to others.
Actually, do you think that in 2011, Jesus would even publish a newsletter? Or would he just go about ministering to the needs of people and let others publish newsletters about the great things God has done?
As we begin a New Year, what can we do with these thoughts? Can we be led by Jesus to venture out into the lives of people who need the Lord?
May the grace of God go with you this year. Have a blessed New Year.
BOG Minutes (The Board of Governance will meet on the 2nd & 4th Thurs. 0f each month at 10am)
BOARD OF GOVERNANCE
October 26, 2011
Present: Barbara Adams, Jeff Jensen, Lee Strom, Darlene Goldhammer.
Barbara Adams opened with a devotion based on John 17:18. "As you sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world." This was Jesus prayer for us. We have much to do as a church, and may all that we do be to His glory. This was followed by prayer by all.
The purpose of this special meeting was to discuss the need to establish committees to accomplish the many things we hope to do at Calvary. We talked about the qualities we would like committee members to possess; however, we agreed that individual committees would write their own set of guidelines. BOG decided that our most pressing needs are for a Youth Guidance Committee and a Hospitality/Entertainment Committee. Principal Fred Brauer has been delegated to set up a School Committee. The Property Committee has continued to function as we've made the governing switch to a Board of Governance. Members of all committees need to be regular attendees at Church and involved in some type of Bible study. Meetings will be held only when there is a purpose
It will be the chairman's job to select and maintain contact with his/her committee members.
The YOUTH GUIDANCE COMMITTEE must make certain that two adults are present at all times there is any type of activity in the Youth Room, including "open house." Regularly scheduled times for "open house" will be posted. It will be the committee's responsibility to put guidelines in writing and to establish a statement of Acceptable Behavior to pass out to all attendees. The committee should have 4-6 members.
The (Fellowship) HOSPITALITY/ENTERTAINMENT COMMITTEE will continue to be a great place for new members and previously uninvolved members to get involved. The committee should have a chairman and an assistant, 1-2 regular members and volunteers as needed to help with various events. The goal would be to have each of the regular members take charge of one event rather than the chairman carrying all the responsibility.
BOG then discussed future possibilities for committees on a long or short-term basis as needed. These included: Worship, Strategic Spiritual Committee, Marketing School and Church and a Care Committee. BOG members were asked to come to the next meeting with ideas on what the two committees to be established should do.
Jeff announced that the parsonage was now available for rent and the ad would be first in our Sunday bulletin. Jeff closed in prayer.
Present: Barbara Adams, Jeff Jensen, Lee Strom, Darlene Goldhammer Pastor Mohr
Pastor opened with prayer and devotion based on Revelations 19. The church is to be the "light of the world," so it is only natural that we will experience some stress. The churches are called to be lampstands. They hold the light and we are to pass that light on to others. God told the church at Ephesus that they were hanging on. They had committed workers, orthodox doctrine, endured hardship. They hated the Nicolatians who followed worldly practices but claimed to be Christians. He also told them that they had lost their first love and needed to turn around, go the other way and repent. If they did not do that, He would remove their lampstand.
Pastor Gary's question to us was: What can Calvary do to renew our first love?
Minutes from the October 13 meeting were approved with the following addition:
On Sunday nights we have around 30 senior high youths; on Friday nights when the junior highers, meet we have another 20 plus, giving us the possibility of reaching out to 50 youth, mostly from outside our church.
Pastor Gary and Principal Fred Brauer will conduct a one-day teacher workshop on November 21, since the teachers will not be attending the teachers' conference. Pastor will also confirm with Dave Schultz whether he will be our delegate to the CNH District Conference.
We finalized our list of contributions for Direct Missions as follows:
Stephen Oliver - Lutheran Ministry in Taiwan$1,200.00
Spanish ministry at Good Shepherd 1,000.00
Pregnancy Choices 1,000.00
VBS Calvary 3,000.00
American Bible Society 1,000.00
Pastor's Benevolent Fund 1,300.00
Youth Training 500.00
Lee Strom reported that work at the parsonage was finishing up. Originally, the Property Committee believed that a large work party would be necessary, but volunteers kept "dropping by" and the work was completed. The announcement will go in our Sunday bulletin in case members know of anyone interested in renting, and then it will be made available to others.
The request for $2029 funding for the visiting WASC team was returned to the school, since it was an unbudgeted item.
We continued our previous discussion of the need for committees to be established. At present we will work to set up a Youth Guidance Committee and a Hostess/Entertainment Committee. For the Hostess/Entertainment Committee, we talked about having a leader and 3-4 members who would take turns being in charge of specific events. Once team leaders are selected, they will be asked to recruit their members and groups will be asked to write their own guidelines for their teams.
We discussed memorial plaques and how to handle those requests when someone gives the church a memorial gift. We talked about the pros and cons of having plaques and not having them.
Jeff closed with prayer. Our next scheduled meeting is November 10 at 10am.
Present: Barbara Adams, Lee Strom, Jeff Jensen, Darlene Goldhammer
Barbara Adams opened with a devotion from II Thess. 1:3. Weeds grow rampantly without any special help. Imagine a child raised with no love or supervision and you can easily picture the results. This is true of our spiritual lives as well; without prayer and regular Bible study we will wither away or turn into an ugly weed, useful only as stubble for a fire. It is imperative that we grow as spiritually healthy people to glorify God.
Prayer by all present followed.
Minutes from October 27 were confirmed by email.
Pastor Gary Mohr's emailed report challenged BOG to review our plans to move ahead at Calvary. We discussed steps to bring more school families to our Soup Suppers/Advent services and various Christmas services. Barbara Adams will check with Principal Brauer on what plans the school has made for publicity. We determined that a schedule of services needed to be printed with an invitation and distributed to all, including school families. These schedules can also be passed out at the school Christmas Program. Jeff Jensen will arrange for the invitation/schedules. Prayer for God's blessing on these efforts will be included in the regular Sunday prayers by Pastor.
Pastor's report encouraged us to "dream" about what we are offering and how to get the word out to people. This would include a more extensive ministry to Wittenberg, including more pastoral time spent in that ministry.
BOG will contact two additional potential BOG candidates. Dave Schultz will be unable to attend the CNH District Conference in Burlingame, CA, on April 27-29 so another delegate will need to be asked.
Maren Giannini has agreed to chair the Hostess/Entertainment Committee with a six month-commitment. She will recruit additional members and they will construct their own guidelines. Jeff Jensen is working with her as she begins.
The Youth Guidance Committee, which is the second committee we agreed to establish, will be set up in the near future.
LINC--Lutherans Intercity (or Interchurch) Network Coalition is a group designed to reach the hundreds of language groups in our area. Pastor Gary attended an earlier meeting, and recommended that BOG attend the next meeting on January 14 at Prince of Peace in Fremont. We will all plan to be there.
Though Pastor Gary was not present, he had previously asked us what our goals for him were during his time at Calvary. What is our vision for our church and school, remembering that our budget is our mission plan? With those thoughts in mind, we discussed the need for parenting classes and other topics of interest to a wide range of people. We fully agree with Pastor's assessment that we need a long range-planning calendar. The need for greeters to encourage visitors to sign our Guest Register in the narthex was again stressed along with the necessity of follow-up contact with visitors.
Lee Strom reported that the inside work on the parsonage was complete with a final clean up on November 26. The outside is 90% done and trash has been removed. Many volunteers made the work possible. Watkins Realty will handle the property rental. Darlene Goldhammer closed in prayer.
Odds & Ends
Men's Bible Breakfast
Thursdays @ Calvary 6-7am in the Parish Hall
Special Services 2011
December 21 CLS Christmas Program
(All are preceded by 5:45pm soup supper)
Christmas Eve 5pm Family Service
Christmas Eve 10pm Candlelight/Communion Service
Christmas Day Service 10am
New Year's Eve Communion Service 7pm
New Year's Day Service 10am
Junior High Youth Group (OWL) 6-8pm Grades 6, 7, 8
December 2 Youth Night 16 Youth Night
Senior High Youth "The Experience" Sundays 6-8pm
Buy SCRIP We now have $10 Papa Murphy's Pizza Cards / Taco Bell
Available weekdays in office or Sundays after church ~ Scrip orders are placed twice a month (on the 1st & 3rd Mondays)
For the past twenty-five yearsSteve Ellis, Conrad & Sue Skjong, and Harv & Barbara Goldhammer have been making and serving coffee after first service. It is now time to share this opportunity to serve the Lord and our congregation. Beginning in 2012 we will have a calendar in the narthex for individuals to sign up to serve coffee on the Sunday of your choice. There is no cost to you, the church provides the coffee, sugar and creamer. All you need to do is make the coffee, serve it and wash the pot afterwards. This is a great way to meet people. Please contact me if you have questions. Thank you for your willingness to serve. Barbara Goldhammer
Volunteers needed to help serve coffee on Friday mornings at Wittenberg Manor. For the past two years Gisela & Linda Dutton have been alternating and really could use help. Please call the office for more details.
If you are active at Calvary and are not currently receiving offering envelopes and would like them for 2012 please contact the church office ASAP.
2012 Altar Flower Chart is now up in Narthex
WITTENBERG CHRISTMAS TEA
December 3, 2011
Wittenberg Christmas Cookie Sign-up
Please sign up for cookies in the narthex on the green sheet. On the Christmas tree there is a reminder of where to drop off cookies, please take one.
They will need to be brought to the Church no later than 3pm Friday, 2 Dec. or delivered to Wittenberg before 10:00am on Sat., 3 Dec. 2011.
Thank you for your help in this wonderful ministry to the residents at Wittenberg Manor.
Also, if anyone would like to help serve and/or clean-up on the 3 Dec., please let me know that also. This applies to men and women and Senior High youth. I will have a column for you to check and to leave me your telephone number so that I can give you the specifics on this.
Love in Jesus, Lutheran Women's Missionary League, Barbara Adams, Facilitator