[Welsne_teach] Friday before Pentecost 9

Phil Hirsch MANHATTANHOPE at msn.com
Fri Aug 9 10:48:46 CDT 2019

Fear has so many different manifestations--fidgeting hands, nervous eyes, false bravado, a goofy smile, extra-boisterous voice, hyper-busy-ness, in addition to simply shutting down in a corner.  We have many, many neighbors who are afraid. Very afraid.  Some in the churches are also very afraid.  Of him.  Of them. Of what might happen.  Of what might not happen.  Of nothing happening--is it all just a mirage?

It is our sure hope and sincere prayer that the faithful gather this weekend.  It is also our sure hope and sincere prayer that some of the fearful around us gather with us.  It is our sure hope and sincere prayer that children gather in many of our Lutheran schools soon--many, this week.

In the name of the LORD, we gather in a sure and certain hope.  An old, dried up man and an old, dried up woman had been carrying on with no real success, not even since a promise had been given years earlier and that promise was sealed with a obvious and permanent sign (circumcision) that had to be a daily reminder to Abraham.  No doubt, there were times when that sign of the covenant the LORD had made with Abraham felt like God mocking Abraham--it could have felt like God laughing at Abraham for actually trusting the LORD's promise that he-even he and his old dried-up bride--would bring forth life again.  And trusting the LORD to the extent that he would actually be circumcised as an adult?  Ha!  The LORD's patience in keeping His promise to and regarding Abraham was a long time in coming to fruition.  And then some visitors announce--clearly--that Sarah would bear a son within a year.

She laughs.  And then denied she laughed.

Because she was afraid.  Sarah was afraid that the word of the LORD was too good to be true.  She was afraid of the specific grace of God as the LORD promised it to her.

So perverse she is, we think.  Why not just simply hear the word of the LORD, take it to heart, and rejoice?

 Indeed, why not? The voices, thoughts, and ideas around us are part of God's good creation, fearfully and wonderfully made, but now woefully fallen, listening to the voice of the Liar.  "You'll become like gods!  You won't die!  The God Who spoke it all into existence, fearfully and wonderfully, is lying to you!"  Our first parents ran from the presence of their Loving Creator.  Humans, male and female, have been on the run ever since.  Hither and yon, to and fro, huffing and puffing, trying to find joy and peace and hope.  Fearful, all of them.

This weekend we'll gather around a promise--the promise of the same LORD Who promised Abraham a son through whom all the nations would be blessed.  A son born only of a promise out of old, dried up, worthless-for-making-new-life humans.  The ultimate μυστήριον (mystery; in New Testament usage, it always refers to something kept hidden, but that is now revealed) is Christ, bloodied and crucified, truly human, yet God-with-us.  That, namely, He is the One we'll proclaim (Co 1:28) "so that we present each human perfect (τέλειον) in Christ."  The human is everything the human is to be--not in self-actualization, not in stating and then living one's truth, not in riches, not in pleasure--in one place/Person--Jesus Christ!  We'll hear our pastor tell us that this weekend.  We'll proclaim Him to the children who gather in our early learning centers and in our Lutheran schools.  We'll tell them what was once hidden, but is now disclosed--in Jesus Christ crucified and risen for all of the fearful humans.

Martha, agitated and troubled and afraid, kept being pulled into much service.  Her intentions were sincere, normal and oh!-so-common.  The One Who equated Himself with the LORD Who promised blessing for all the nations through Abraham, assures any who will hear it that the one, the singular need of the humans is met in the One Who commends the one who hears His promise and takes it to heart.  Like Mary and all the others who have ears to hear.

God bless the congregations that, with St. Paul, struggle with all Christ's energy (Co 1:29) to proclaim Christ to all the fearful around us.  God give them ears to hear.

Last Tuesday night, the 6th, at about 10 p.m., a tornado touched down in and 100 mph winds hit Burke, SD.  Thankfully, injuries are few.  Newly installed Pastor Phil Henning, who happened to be caring for his father in New Ulm, MN, who had recently experienced multiple strokes and now needs 24-hour care, reports that a member lost a home, but that the town folk and the congregation are rallying nicely.  Please remember Grace in Burke in your prayers and especially remember that the entire area, especially south of there, was hit hard by flooding early this Spring; bridges and dams in the area are still out.  The hardy folks around there are bucking up and doing what they do, without a whole lot of public whining.  But Pastor Henning was reminded of WELS Christian Aid and Relief and their offers to be helpful, both in congregation and in community, simply to meet needs of the neighbors.  Pastor Henning also reported that Grace had already offered the use of their facilities for use by the middle and/or high schools, both of which sustained significant damage.  "The waves and winds still know His voice Who ruled them while He lived below."

-Dan Johnston & Jesse Nofftz were installed as RMLHS servants at Lord of Life in Thornton last Sunday.
-Kaylee Swanson will be installed at Lord of Life this Sunday.

-Nathan Guhl (Science), Rylee Weisensel (AD, Tutor), Chris Beagle (Tutor), and Bryan Walkley (Tutor) will be installed at the NELHS Opening Service, 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 11.

-Principal Mike Schaefer and Vicar Matthew Swanson will be installed at Zion, Denver on Sunday, August 18.

-Amy Biedenbender and Cheryl Michell will be installed at Prince of Peace, Salt Lake City this Sunday.

-Hannah Carter will be installed at Zion, Valentine, NE on Sunday, August 25.

Decision Announced

-Thad Flitter of Zion, Valentine, NE chose to continue to serve among us, declining to serve in Vermont.  He is also serving Zion in Mission, SD, but not on a permanent basis.  Zion in Mission prays for possibly a semi-retired pastor to serve them and their neighbors.

-Mark Rieke declined to serve Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE.


-The appointment for Western Conference' Southern Circuit Pastor is pending.

-Phil Kieselhorst, of Shepherd of the Valley in Westminster, CO has accepted the appointment to serve as our district's 2nd Vice President.  N.B. his new email address: svlwestyminister at gmail.com.  Your district's praesidium is now Pastor Tyler Peil of Salt Lake City, serving as secretary of the district.  Pastor Phil Kieselhorst of Westminster serves as 2nd Vice President (and he'll be running point especially on ministry certification of our Lutheran early learning center servants and teachers).  Pastor Steve Helwig of Omaha serves as 1st Vice President (and as treasurer of the District Fund, and primary coordinator of the district's conventions).   Keep these men and their gospel ministry, done in the name of the Lord of the Church, in your prayers.  Thank the Lord that their congregations and wives are willing to share them for this additional service in Jesus' name.

New Chairman of Nebraska District Mission Board

-The NE DMB, in its meeting last week, asked Pastor Fred Berger of St. Paul's in Plymouth, NE to serve as their chairman.  Remember that when Shane Krause accepted a Call to Onalaska, WI, it created a vacancy on the NE DMB.  Pastor Aaron Schumann of Pittsburg, KS accepted the appointment to serve on the DMB.  The DMB, then, in turn, organized themselves in this way.  We pray for their vigorous and faithful work of planting new congregations in the world's 3rd largest mission field--the USA, and specifically, in our part of the world.

Servants Deliberating

-Kendall Cook of Shepherd of Peace, Norfolk to Trinity, Crete, IL

Congregations/Calling Bodies Calling a Pastor

-Christ, Beatrice is presently being served by Fred Berger from St. Paul's, Plymouth.  The saints at Christ in Beatrice have asked St. Paul's, Plymouth for some kind of working relationship for the good of the kingdom. Meetings in Jesus' name continue.

-Good Shepherd, Kearney, NE will set another meeting to Call their next full-time pastor soon.  Tom Schneider from Christ in Grand Island, NE is serving the vacancy.

-Beautiful Savior, Topeka, KS to David Kapler of Mountain Home, Arkansas as their next pastor.  Matt Scharf of Hope in Manhattan, KS is serving the vacancy.

-Mt. Olive, Overland Park is pursuing an emergency Call teacher for K-1.

-The first Call meeting at Lord of Life, Thornton, CO will be Thursday, August 22, 7:00 p.m.

-Pre-Call meeting at Living Savior, Littleton, CO will be Saturday, August 17, 10:00 a.m.

-Pre-Call meeting at Mt. Olive, Overland Park, KS will be Sunday, August 18, after the second service, 11:45 a.m..

-January 21-23, 2020--National Leadership Conference in Chicago (in place of annual Missionaries' Conference this year).  More info will follow from NE DMB.
-​Promise to Protect (recognizing and responding to child abuse and neglect) seminar at Eternal Rock in Castle Rock, from 9 am til 3 pm on August 24.  Cf. Tim Spiegelberg for more information.
-Western Pastors' Conference-September 24-25, with meeting of Circuit Pastors the night before on September 23
-NE District Teachers' Conference (with Dak-Mont Teachers' Conference).  October 13-15 in Denver.  The district's praesidium will also meet during this conference to plan for 2020's District Convention.
-Eastern Pastors' Conference-October 22-23 at Zion in Valentine, NE with meeting of Circuit Pastors the night before on October 21
-June 1-3, 2020 the Nebraska District Convention at Estes Park Center in Colorado

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