[Welsne_teach] Friday before Lent 5

Phil Hirsch manhattanhope at msn.com
Fri Apr 5 15:20:12 CDT 2019

The Scripture experts and chief priests of the Temple knew he had spoken about them in the story.  They knew Jesus spoke against them.  They also knew Jesus was something special; but was either of the devil, or a prophet of God or someone else. The possibility that scared them the most was the last one.  To come up against the Living God--even if He masks His complete power and authority--buckles the knees.

They knew what Jesus was claiming when He told them the story of a man who rented his vineyard to some farmers who then turned around and beat the owner's authorized representatives.  In the story, when the Son of the owner arrived, they rejected the Owner by rejecting the Son.  Only holy judgment awaits such insolence.

It's not enough to respect Jesus.  Or to honor him.  Or to treat him like a representative of the deity.  He is deity in the flesh.  Immanuel--God with us.  The awesome creating and providing God.  The Cornerstone, not merely a stone, a star, a hero, an example.

To find such truth is to find it all.  Anything and everything is rubbish (my respect for decorum demands that I write that word, but make your pastor tell you what Paul truly was calling to mind in Philippians 3:8) in comparison with this.

Everything is rubbish?  But I thought we believe, teach and confess that God is the Giver of all good gifts, all good counsels and all just works?  He is.  He's also the One Who gave me my eyes and ears, etc., my spouse and my children and all of the rest that is in my orb.  In the Christ, I have come to know my Creator and Redeemer by the Spirit.  I have found God; better, God has found me, in Christ, by the Spirit's work in a promise that is only in Word and in Sacrament.  I am as close to the throne room of God as humans get in the face of the proclaimed Christ.  All else--anything and everything--pales in comparison to this Truth.  But all else that comes to me from my Creator and Provider is then seen in its proper light; as gifts from the Ultimate Authority, from God Himself.  All such gifts should be treated as such--as gifts from Him; gifts that not a one of us has earned or deserved, but gifts to be used for the glory of God and the good of His kingdom.

I tell you this by the authority of our Savior and our LORD, Jesus Christ.  I tell you, in the name of Jesus, that the spouse you have is a totally undeserved gift to you from God and this you see and know in the face of Christ, Who gave Himself up for you, in spite of the way you treat your spouse and family and in spite of the things you should do, but don't do for them.  I tell you, by the authority of the Christ, that the cherished "hopes" and "dreams" you have for your family, your finances, your future, your congregation even, your synod are all "rubbish," compared to the all-surpassing greatness of Christ, our Lord.  And I also tell you, by the authority of the Christ, that your hopes and dreams and plans for your family, your finances, your congregation and your church body are all good and god-pleasing in your faith in the Christ and submitting your will to the One Who willed your salvation in Jesus, the Christ.

They rejected the Stone, Who is the Chief Cornerstone, upon which anything and everything else depends.  God loves you, dear sinner, in Christ.  The Authoritative Voice, the Word, God-Made-Flesh, Jesus, crucified and risen, is for you.  Reject Him, they do.  Stumble over Him, they do.  Ultimately damned by Him, they will be.  But holy are you.  Righteous.  Saved.  His.  Full of His life and Certain of His purpose and plans for you--in this Jesus, mocked by so many.

Jesus is your rock in all circumstances, both now and in eternity.


Jeff Halldorson will be installed at Shepherd of the Hills, Greeley, CO on Sunday, June 2.  Details will follow.

Decision Announced

Gerhardt Juergens of Tappan, ND declined to Grace, Burke, SD.

Scott Brown of St. Paul's, Norfolk, NE chose to continue at St. Paul's, declining to serve in Saginaw, MI.

David Schultz of Faith in Rising City, NE chose to continue to serve there, declining to serve at Zion in Mission and St. John, Witten, SD.

Barb Noon of Clarksville, TN declined to serve at Good Shepherd, Cheyenne, WY.

Pastors Deliberating

Chris Esmay of Beautiful Savior, Topeka, KS to Waterloo, WI

Mark Reichert of St. Paul, Norfolk, NE to Phoenix, AZ

Aaron Schumann of Faith, Pittsburg, KS to Harrisburg, PA

Dan Johnston of Living Savior, Blair, NE to Yorba Linda, CA

Steve Helwig of Gethsemane, Omaha (& VP of our district) to Greenville, WI

Lutheran Teachers Deliberating

Kerri Esmay of Beautiful Savior, Topeka, KS to Waterloo, WI

Rebekah Fincham of Gethsemane, Omaha to Salem, OR

Congregations/Calling Bodies Calling a Pastor

-Zion, Bonesteel, SD & St. Paul, Naper, NE to David Reichel of Mitchell and Huron, SD.  Paul Hirsch of St. Paul, Norfolk and Beautiful Savior, O'Neill is serving the vacancy at St. Paul, Naper.

-Grace, Burke, SD will Call again soon.  Will Harley of Trinity, Winner, SD is serving this vacancy and Zion, Bonesteel, SD.

-The Nebraska District Mission Board to Joel Schwartz of Trinity, FL for the mission start in Joplin, MO.

-Zion, Mission & St. John, Witten, SD--Retired pastors Rich Schliewe and Tom Zeller serve as Vacancy Pastors.

-Christ, Beatrice is being served by Fred Berger from St. Paul's, Plymouth.

-Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE will Call again April 25.  Tom Schneider from Christ in Grand Island, NE is serving the vacancy.

-The Latin American World Mission Board, with Tim Westendorf as its chair, will Call April 25.

Congregations/Boards Calling a Lutheran Teacher

-Mt. Olive, Overland Park, KS will Call March 31 for preschool director.

-Rocky Mountain Lutheran High School to Stephen Lauber of Lakeside LHS as Vice Principal and will Call again for an International Program Director.

-Nebraska Evangelical Lutheran High School to Santiago Botero of North Hollywood, CA for Science.

-NELHS is deliberating re the Math and Athletic Director position.

-St. Peter, Ft. Collins, CO to Maria Gines of Munroe, MI for preschool director

-Zion, Valentine, NE to Cliss Loescher of Cambridge, MN for a preschool director

-Good Shepherd, Cheyenne, WY will call again April 14 for preschool director.

-To request a Call list for a Lutheran teacher, send me an email at least three weeks before a Call meeting, please.  The Calling window for Lutheran teachers opens November 1 and closes the first Sunday in June, 11:59 p.m.

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