[Welsne_teach] Friday after Easter

Phil Hirsch MANHATTANHOPE at msn.com
Fri Apr 26 16:30:10 CDT 2019

The angry ones are still angry.  The confused are still confused.  The sinners are still sinners.  And fewer of them will be in the assembly this weekend.

The Scriptures for the first Sunday after Easter recognize that the real world is the one in which we all live, and move and have our being.  It's a struggle, even for the best of us.  It's a struggle, especially for the child of God.  Our flesh continually and repeatedly fights against God and His revelation of Himself, against God and His ways.  The Accuser attempts to cause the human to doubt the goodness and gracious actions of God in His Son, Jesus.  Those around us in our time and place can't be counted on to point the right way forward.

Ah, it's good for the Lord, Jesus, to be here!  And He is where His name is faithfully called on and proclaimed.  And He's enough to diffuse the tension between all of those who are fighting.  He's enough to be the Light in the murky darkness of all the theories and stories of god invented by the humans, day by day.  He's enough for any sinner--especially me and especially you and especially those you get to serve.

John fell at His feet while on Patmos.  "Stop being afraid!" the Lord of Life says to the faithful and trembling servant of the testimony of Jesus.  John had been in the locked room with all his other terrified companions the first time the Living Jesus broke in and gave the common Hebrew greeting, "Shalom to you!"  The Lord knows what the fearful human needs to hear.  He speaks it into John's heart on both occasions.  This One is the First and the Last, the Living One, Who was dead and now is Living.  He rules.  The first thing He spoke to His disciples on that first entrance was to settle their shaky hearts and their dismayed spirits.  And then He tells them to speak peace into the troubled hearts of any and all sinners--"If you forgive them, they are forgiven."  No, he didn't give them 4 principles for a better financial portfolio in uncertain times; he didn't mandate a healthier diet or tell them how to deliver economic justice for all--as helpful as all of those might be, penultimately.  He told them to address the deepest human need of all--forgiveness from and before a God who actually is serious about justice and righteousness and love among the humans.  And He told them to just do it!  Forgive them and they're forgiven!

I have said it many times--one of the greatest blessings of serving in this way you asked me to serve is to now be in the assembly now and then.  It is such a wonderful thing to have a servant of the Word of God come down from the mountain and announce to me something that I need.  And I really know I need it.  So do so many of the rest of us who drag our tired carcasses into the assembly.  We need it!  And you Called servants of the Word get to deliver what I need the most.  So deliver the goods!  Don't tell me how to earn forgiveness or imply that I can.  Don't tell me what great things to do so that I continue to stay on the high plateau that I've reached.  Just let the forgiveness of sins in my Savior fly out of your mouth as freely as that forgiveness came to you from the One Who is The First and The Last, the Living One, The One Who was dead and Who now is living, The One Who rules each and every single thing for the good of His body, the Church.

In your teaching and preaching, tell me to stop being afraid, in the name of Jesus, of the supposedly bad guys--as if they ever caused The First and The Last any fear.  Tell me to stop being afraid, in the name of Jesus, that it's all lost because I feel like it's all lost or because it looks to my badly limited eyesight that it's lost.  Tell me to stop being afraid, in the name of Jesus, that there are too many sinners out there and the the Word of God doesn't actually do anything.  Tell me to stop being afraid, in the name of Jesus, that the Church of Jesus is somehow irrelevant when She proclaims the forgiveness of sin for the sinners who need it so badly.  Tell me to stop being afraid, in the name of Jesus, that truly depending on Jesus as the Living Lord of the Church, The One Who holds the keys of death and hell, isn't enough.  Tell me to stop being afraid, in the name of Jesus, of completely and totally and freely taking the risk of doing the work of the faithful Church--to forgive the sins of the sinners!


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

Decision Announced

Aaron Schumann of Faith, Pittsburg, KS chose to continue to serve there, declining to serve in Pennsylvania.
Dan Johnston of Living Savior, Blair, NE declined to serve Yorba Linda, CA
Rebekah Fincham of Gethsemane, Omaha chose to continue there, declining to serve in Salem, OR.
Santiago Botero declined to serve RMLHS.

Pastors Deliberating

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

Dan Johnston of Living Savior, Blair, NE to Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE

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

Paul Biedenbender of Christ, Denver (and RMLHS Chair) to Kewaunee, WI

Tim Westendorf of Abiding Word, Highlands Ranch, CO to Living Shepherd, Laramie, WY

Brett Krause of Zion, Denver to St. Luke, Watertown as Associate Pastor

Lutheran Teachers Deliberating

Tyler Dorn of NELHS to Neenah, WI

Becky Briney of St. Paul, Plymouth, NE to Crystal Lake, IL

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 April 27.  Will Harley of Trinity, Winner, SD is serving this vacancy and Zion, Bonesteel, SD.

-The Nebraska District Mission Board to Jason Strong of Alaska for the mission start in Joplin, MO.

-Zion, Mission, SD is pondering the way forward.  St. John, Witten, SD will close.

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

-Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE to Dan Johnston of Blair, NE.  Tom Schneider from Christ in Grand Island, NE is serving the vacancy.

-The Latin American World Mission Board, with Tim Westendorf as its chair, to Abram Degner as missionary.

-Living Shepherd, Laramie, WY (and CO DMB) to Tim Westendorf of Highlands Ranch.

Congregations/Boards Calling a Lutheran Teacher

-Rocky Mountain Lutheran High School will Call again Sunday, April 28 for International Program Director.

-Rocky Mountain Lutheran High School to Jesse Nofftz for Vice Principal.

-NELHS will go to the WELS Assignment Committee for Math and Athletic Director position.

-St. Peter, Ft. Collins, CO to Laura Shilling of Jacksonville, FL for preschool director.

-Zion, Valentine, NE to Christine Leathers of Kiel, WI for preschool director

-Good Shepherd, Cheyenne, WY is pondering the options for a preschool director.

-Beautiful Savior, Topeka, KS is considering options for their preschool director.

-St. John, Stanton, NE to Stephanie Petersen for ECM teacher

-Information re requesting a servant from our Lord through the WELS Assignment Committee is forthcoming.  If you want info earlier, call me at 785-313-0393.

-Pastor's Institute - See you in Lincoln, NE, at Mt. Olive at 8:30 AM on Tuesday morning for Worship with Holy Communion. We're blessed to have Pastor Tyler Piel preaching God's Word during worship and Pastor Eric Hartzell and President Paul Wendland sharing some worthwhile insight on some of the minor prophets and their historical context. Not that anyone would need to, but excuses need to be passed on to your circuit pastor.

Help: Pastor Hartzell is looking to avoid renting a car from the Omaha airport to Lincoln, Monday early evening. If anyone is able to give him a ride, please contact Phil Sievert, pdsievert at aol.com or 720-364-1002.

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