Senior Pastor: Rev. Martin T. Schnare
Associate Pastor: Rev. Richard C. Mueller
Head Teacher: Mrs. Jill Mueller
School E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Ellen Christensen
Church E-mail: email@example.com
Discipleship, Part 2
In my February newsletter article, I referred to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book, Discipleship. In that volume he made the case that being a disciple of Jesus meant self-denial. The quotation to which I referred was,
"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
However, discipleship isn't only about self-denial. It is also about a new direction in life. In speaking of this aspect of discipleship, Bonhoeffer writes:
"Self-denial means knowing only Christ, no longer knowing oneself. It means no longer seeing oneself, only him who is going ahead, no longer seeing the way which is too difficult for us. Self-denial says only: he is going ahead; hold fast to him."
Not only is the disciple one who turns away from himself and from all that the world tells him is important and of true value, he turns also to that which is truly important and of inestimable value; he turns to Christ and holds fast to him. His life is no longer guided by what he desires or what the world counts as essential. The disciple sees only Christ, follows only Christ, and counts as worthwhile only that to which Christ directs him. In other words, Christ is his life.
This is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote to the Colossians about the significance of Christ's resurrection:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4, ESV
The resurrection of Jesus Christ isn't simply a rite of Spring. It isn't just another time for family to gather and celebrate, or a welcome break from the chill of winter with the promise of summer to come. The resurrection of Christ is about a whole new reality breaking into this world for us as the people of Christ, as his disciples,.
In Baptism we were connected to Christ and his death on the cross. As Paul reminds us in Romans 6, we were "baptized into his [Christ's] death." (v. 3). We have died to sin. Our old nature which clings to this world and its value system was drowned. We no longer belong to this world, though we still live in it. We belong to Christ and the kingdom of his glory.
We were also raised with Christ in Baptism. That means, as Paul also states, "we might walk in newness of life." (v. 4). We are now "alive to God in Christ Jesus." (v. 11). Being alive to God means that our lives are now devoted to what God desires, what God wills, what God created us to be and to do.
How do we know what that means? He reveals that to us in his Word. Listen to what the psalmists write:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2, ESV
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word. Psalm 119:9, ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105, ESV
Again and again we are directed to the Word as the resource for our lives as disciples of Christ.
This is why attendance at the Divine Service is important. Here God comes to us in his Word and Sacraments to bestow his gifts of grace upon us. Here the Holy Spirit works through the Word and Sacraments to direct our lives into new paths pleasing to God and in keeping with our gracious connection to Christ. This is why Christians spend time reading, meditating upon, and studying the Scriptures, both individually and with other Christians. Through this Word the Holy Spirit not only works faith in our hearts but also leads us into that newness of life which discipleship entails.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is not only the promise of a new life to come in eternity; it is the promise of a new life that begins the moment one is brought to faith in Christ. In that moment the Holy Spirit begins his work in us, leading us to live out the new life we have been given through faith in Christ. Paul described it this way:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV
The resurrection of Christ which we will celebrate in a few days, is the event which guarantees a new life for all who place their faith in him. In him we are delivered from our self-centered lives and turned to him in a new life centered upon him, his work, and his will. When he comes again, this transformation will reach its conclusion in us, and together with him we will enter into the glory he has won for us.
Easter is a moveable feast. Easter isn't on the same calendar date every year in the way that Christmas is always celebrated on December 25. The date for Easter each year always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. And once you find the date of Easter, everything else finds its place--Good Friday and Maundy Thursday, Ash Wednesday and the Transfiguration, the Ascension of our Lord and Pentecost.
All this is a long way of saying that Easter determines everything. Easter defines everything. It orders not only the entire church year, but it orders our very lives. It defines and gives meaning to our lives, as well to the things that happen in them. And since Easter defines everything, that means it changes everything too. It redefines who we are and where we stand with God and with one another. Easter makes all things new.
Without Easter, Jesus would not be raised from the dead. Without Easter death would still reign, we would still be in our trespasses and sins, and our faith and hope would be in vain. But Jesus is raised from the dead. Easter changes everything. It makes all things new. Therefore, darkness is overcome with light, wrath with peace, fear with hope, angst with rest, sadness with joy, hatred with love, sin with righteousness, and death with life. Easter changes everything, redefines everything, determines everything. Easter makes all things new.
Thus, Easter also changes our attitude about giving. For if God gave us His own Son into death so that we will live, how will He not give us everything else we need? He will, and He does. He provides for us. He even gives us the gifts that we give back to Him for service in the church. Easter demonstrates that we have a God who loves us, a God who provides for us, a God who presses us into His service, a God who has made us new in the death and resurrection of His Son.
For when you give to the church, you pass along those things that God alone has given to you. You pass along the message to others that Easter changes everything and makes all things new, even as it has done this for you. This is not a burden, but pure joy. For God has given you a part in the administration of His kingdom. He provides for the needy through your hands. He ensures that the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are given out through the work of your hands and in the gifts that you give. And He honors and blesses this work and generosity as it redounds to those around you.
So when you sit down on the first day of the week to make your offering to the place where Easter is proclaimed and where the gifts of Easter are given out, remember: Easter changes everything. It makes all things new. More than that: Easter has changed you and made you new. Because Jesus who was crucified for our transgressions is raised for our justification.
April Coffee 2 - Jill Mueller, JoElla Fritzler
9 - Deb Moore, Virginia Dennison
16 - Easter
23 - Jocelyn Gerth, Alexa Minich
30 - Kari Narjes, Teresa Thies
BIBLE STUDY OPPORTUNITIES. . .
Sunday Adult Bible Study - 9:15 am Fellowship Hall.
Quilters- 2nd and 4th Monday of the month
Martha Circle - 2nd Monday, 7 pm
Rhoda Circle - 1st Tuesday, 7 pm
Hemingford Bible Study - Monday, 2 pm Hemingford Care Center
Highland Park Bible Study - 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Tuesday, 9:30 am
Lydia Circle - 2nd Wednesday, 1:30 pm
Bible Break - Thursdays, 9:30 am, Conference Room
Men's Bible Study - Fridays, 6:30 am, Fizzy's
Tabitha Circle - 4th Monday's, 6:30 pm, Fellowship hall
RHODA CIRCLE will meet Tuesday April 4th at Ida Mae Drabbels' home.
LYDIA CIRCLE will meet Wednesday April 12, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Janice Brixius will be the hostess and Lois Meier will give the devotion. Pastor Schnare will lead the 2017 Prayer Service.
MARTHA CIRCLE will meet Monday April 10th 2017 at 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Berlyn Clear will give the devotion and Pastor Mueller will lead in Bible study. This is the last regular meeting of the Martha Circle until fall.
NEW TABITHA LWML (Acts 9:36) will meet Monday April 24 at 6:30 in the fellowship hall. Pastor Mueller will lead the Bible Study and Jen Foster will have the devotion. Eight members comprise the group and look forward to more gals joining them. Jen Foster is the contact person at 760-9793.
ALTAR GUILD will be meeting on April 6 at 6 pm. Starla Endsley will give the devotion and Pastor Schnare will lead us in studying the book "The Altar Guild Manual" part 18.
ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS: We collect good used clothing and shoes. Used bedding is needed by the quilters. Canceled postage stamps are needed for mission projects. Old eye glasses and outdated hearing aids are useful to others. Clothing and bedding may be left in the quilting room. Other items can be left in the cupboard under the guest book.
GREETING CARDS: If you plan to send greeting cards for any occasion please consider cards from our LWML. We have birthday, get well, sympathy, anniversary and others. These are nice and all have Scripture text. They are located in the lower level of the narthex of the church.
RETURN TO SENDER: A reminder to notify the church office of any address changes. We are required to pay a fee for undeliverable mail.
RAISING DISCIPLES total receipts to date as of March 19, 2017 is $473,187.62.
IMMANUEL EV. LUTHERAN SCHOOL 2016-2017 ALUMINUM CAN DRIVE is an ongoing year-round fund raiser. This helps fund the operational costs of our school. Please ask everyone to collect and save all aluminum cans and bring them to the east side of the school and place in the bins that are labeled "Aluminum cans." We appreciate your help in this ongoing effort!
CHAPEL SERVICES are held at Immanuel Ev. Lutheran School each Monday morning at 8:30 am and each Thursday afternoon at 2:20 pm. Everyone is invited to attend and hear how our children treasure the Word of God.
OUR SINCERE CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY to the family of Dorothy Eskam. Be comforted by these words, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5.
THANK YOU The family of Dorothy Eskam would like to thank everyone for the thoughts prayers, food, cards, memorials and the comforting words since her passing...she was a very special friend, mom, grandmother and great-grandmother and will be sorely missed! Thank you Pastors, the service was so special and Connie your music wonderful, and the ladies in the kitchen a wonderful job as always! Words can't express how much you all mean to us!! Thanks to all and Gods Blessing!
LWML WYOMING DISTRICT scholarships for the 2017-2018 school year are being offered once again. A full list of eligibility requirements are available in the church office. The deadline to apply for these scholarships is June 30, 2017.
EASTER LILIES There is a sign-up sheet in the narthex for anyone wanting to bring Easter lilies for Easter morning services that will be placed on the wooden cross.
BOARD OF STEWARDSHIP CLEAN-UP DAY is scheduled for Saturday, April 29. The focus of this clean-up is the lawn and outdoor grounds of residences. We will begin with the church grounds and head out to work on the grounds of other members of the congregation. If you would like to have help getting your grounds ready for the growing season, sign up in the narthex or give a call to the church office (762.7745). If you would be willing to help with this clean-up, be here at church on Saturday morning, April 29, at 9:00 am. We'll have a light breakfast and opening devotion. The more help we can get, the more we can accomplish and the more we will enjoy the labor!
Greetings! I pray all are well, as we make this Lenten journey to the cross on Calvary. We have continued to keep busy at the school with the final quarter of the school year speeding by all of us. We were so thankful that the Rotary Club was able to meet at the school to learn more about our program. A huge thank you to all who helped to make our cheese fund raiser so awesome. We sold around 1100 POUNDS of cheese. This was a huge success! Right now we are in the middle of our greenhouse sale. We can order roses or hanging baskets and will have LOTS of other vegetables and flowers available to be picked out on delivery day.
The Board of Christian Day School will be providing an Easter breakfast on Easter morning after early service. If you would like to help in any way with the breakfast, please let me know. The school children will once again be making stepping stones and art selections that will be auctioned off. We will also have the following themed baskets available for purchase:
Nebraska-Preschool (YES, there will be Husker tickets in there!)
Family fun night-2nd grades
Snuggle up-5th/6th grades
Reformation-Pastor Schnare/ Pastor Mueller
The registration process has begun for all grades. (preschool included) Those students currently attending and members of our congregation have first pick of spots available. After April 1st any open spots will be opened up to the community. Please call the school office to reserve your spot as soon as possible.
We ask that you continue to pray for our school and its staff as we work towards the end of our third school year. We also ask for prayers as we continue our search for 2 new teachers for our school. We are so thankful for all of your prayers, scrip purchases, and support for our school. We were able to witness an example of the importance of the mission when 2 more preschoolers were baptized last week during chapel. It was an awesome day! -Miss Jill
The March kindergarten theme has been "Jesus Saves." After finishing units on the miracles of Jesus and the teachings of Jesus, the students began to hear about Lent and our need for a Savior. They have been reading the stories from their Bibles and learning how to find books, chapters, and verses.
Exciting happenings in kindergarten: finishing kindergarten math and beginning first grade math; reading longer books; beginning Latin instruction; learning about animal habitats; an introduction to reading music notes and rhythms; and reciting the Presidents in order up to William McKinley.
A blessed Lenten and Easter season to all our readers. -Mrs. Gerth
Wow! Hard to believe how fast this year has flown by. In Religion, we read about The Good Samaritan, The Widow's Mite and we will soon be discussing the true meaning of Easter. In Reading, the first graders have begun to read paragraphs on their own and answer the questions about them. They are doing a fabulous job on them. Their reading comprehension levels have improved drastically. I am very proud of their hard work. They have also been reading the chapter book, Pinocchio. When we are finished reading the book, we will watch and compare it to the movie. They are pretty excited! They also started 2nd grade Math about 3 weeks ago. They were pretty excited to begin this new adventure. In Grammar, we have begun writing paragraphs using our complete sentences. They also know how to label sentences with Article Adjectives, Subject Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, and Object of the Prepositions. I absolutely love this grammar program at IELS! This week, they learned about Synonyms and Antonyms. I am truly blessed to have another awesome class this year that I am not ready to let go of it on May 18th! They are all just amazing! -Mrs. Messersmith
As you can see from the beautiful art work on the doors leading into the church, the 2nd grade class has some serious talent! The class has had more than one opportunity to share their work this month. The Gathering of the Talents, an annual talent show at Concordia in Seward, takes place on April 1st. Every student in our class has submitted a piece of art work to the show. In addition, two students, Kaci and Ayla, sent in short stories to enter into the Creative Writing category. Avenell, a fourth grader in Mrs. Schnare's class, has also submitted art work and a creative writing sample for the program. Christian and Kalli, both in Ms. Jinks' 5th and 6th grade class, will be traveling all the way to Seward to perform in a duet drama skit. Christian will also perform a monologue and has submitted a poem. Each category will be judged by the students and staff at Concordia. They offer feedback and praises and help the students to grow as artists. It will be an exciting time getting feedback and watching all of the Lutheran students from around the state perform. In addition to writing, art and drama, students can perform musical instruments, sing, and dance. This will be the third year our school has participated in the event.
In addition to all of the excitement in Seward, our class has been studying the water cycle in Science. They will soon have their homemade water cycle charts complete. They can then tell anyone who is interested just what happens to our water. A huge celebration took place this month, as the 2nd grade completed their math curriculum! They are now using the 3rd grade math books! They have worked very hard, and should be acknowledged for their diligence.
A huge thank you to all who took part in, and performed for our school during Nebraska's 150th celebration. We had such a wonderful time learning from you, and having fun with you!
Finally, Religion has proven again to bring about some wonderful and insightful questions. It is interesting how these students are using the information they possess, and are coming to conclusions based on the Truth they read in the Word. This month we have talked a lot about Jesus' forgiveness. It is not always easy to forgive, but when we remember how Jesus forgives us-even when we don't deserve it- it can remind us to put away our hurt feelings and give the gift of grace. -Mrs. Soriano
THIRD AND FOURTH GRADE
We have had a very busy month! Nebraska's 150th birthday celebration was a highlight. We danced, ate a special lunch, had guest speakers, and dressed up in costumes that would have been worn 150 years ago. In our classroom, we continued the celebration by reading Sarah, Plain and Tall.
In the language arts classes, we have seen great improvement in spelling scores and our next book in literature class will be Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. It is an adventuresome book and the students will love it! During grammar, we continue to reinforce the parts of speech and classifying sentences. Currently, we are working on a composition that includes themes from God's Word and the Catechism.
During math class, we are studying the classification of quadrilaterals, estimation, fractions and decimals. These lessons will help to prepare students for the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills which will be held in mid-April.
The students have been busy making a watercolor project that will be sold at the Easter auction. We are also compiling a basket of chocolate that will be auctioned at the Easter breakfast. Our famous garden stepping stones are being made and will also be up for sale.
Our religion classes have focused on King David, King Solomon,the building of the temple and the dividing of the 12 tribes. It always surprises the students to learn of the idolatry that was prevalent among the children of Israel. They have seen time and again that we all need God to continually forgive our sinfulness. We rejoiced at the baptism of 2 more students during our chapel time where the children are singing the faith in Matins and Vespers. They are also learning to chant the Psalms. Praise God for imprinting His image on our hearts through baptism and for feeding the faith of our students through His Word. -Mrs. Schnare
FIFTH AND SIXTH GRADE
"I could use self-control when it comes to gaming. I'm always in the basement gaming. I feel like a bat. Most times I should not be gaming but going outside. That is the reason I need self-control. It's an issue; I know." - Josh
"I have learned this week to be truthful with my parents. If I do not finish my work, I should take it home and not lie about it being finished. If I would not have lied, I would not be sitting here doing homework! Therefore, sigh, honesty is the best policy." - Josh
"Ambitious people work hard, sometimes hoping for someone to notice. Most Christians work hard to serve others humbly which is the way all of us should be. Work to show the talents that God gave you! Do your best for the glory of God! So instead of being ambitious about singing or acting for money or for fame, we should do it for God." - Christian
"We should always be proficient. Especially when we are good at something like playing a musical instrument, then we should play for church. If we are good at quilting, we should make blankets for the elderly or the homeless. We should always share our gifts with the world and in a way that God would like." AJ
"To do the best with what God gives us is easy, but sometimes we do it in the wrong way. We may be strong and good at sports, but it would be evil to use those abilities to help destroy property for a gang. Rather, we should use them for a charity run or even for a fund-raiser if our talent is with knitting or another lap project. You could also just use your singing talent by singing in church. That is how to proficiently do you best with what God gave you." CPS
"I am not very proficient when it comes to cleaning my room. I am sometimes proficient in band. If you don't practice and you are still good, then you are gifted. That was talent that you were born with. I am proficient when it comes to math and so are Kalli and Christian. I am proficient at some things but not at everything." Dezy
"Gentleness is not being harsh or stern or rough. Always be prepared to tell the reason for the hope that is in us and to do it with gentleness and respect. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It grows in us by our faith." Ian