PASTOR'S PAGE...........................JUNE 2018
The Lutheran school teacher asked her student, “Why are you saved?” John answered, “Because I believe.” That did not satisfy the teacher. So she asked another student. Paula then raised her hand and said, “I’m saved because I believe in Jesus.” But the teacher didn’t accept that answer either.
She then had the students read from Paul’s letter to Titus. There they read:
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. [Titus 3:4-6].
Did you notice the complete lack of an “I” in that verse? That’s because I am not saved because of anything “I” did. I am saved through the love of God the Father who sent His Son, God the Son who gave Himself for me, and God the Holy Spirit who has regenerated and renewed me. In that verse, Paul was telling Titus how God saves us through the Word and water of Holy Baptism.
The Apostle Peter tells us: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Again, note the lack of any “I” in the verse. That’s because there is no “I” in the Gospel–but you will find a “me.”
Now why is that? That’s because “me” is the object, in this case of God’s redemptive love. An “I” is not the object but the cause. So then, if you are going to use the word “I” when talking about your salvation, you need to point away from yourself to the One who saves you: Jesus Christ. When I say, “I am saved because Jesus has died for me, and through His resurrection, He has brought me to share in His divine life,” I am giving credit where credit is due.
By grace I am saved! But it’s not because of me. Isn’t that what, perhaps, the most well-known verse in Lutheranism says? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But doesn’t someone have to believe in Jesus Christ? Of course! But I am not saved because “I” believe. I believe because I am saved! How real is something if it only becomes real after you believe it? You can only believe in something that is already true before you believe it. That’s why you believe it. You see, your salvation doesn’t become a reality because you believe it; you believe it because it is a reality made true by Jesus Christ.
Think about it. If God didn’t send His Son, and if the Son didn’t die and rise, and if the Holy Spirit didn’t work regeneration within you, working faith in your heart, you wouldn’t be saved. The statement, “I believe because I am saved,” confesses and testifies to the faith that the Holy Spirit has already worked in your heart.
But the whole matter would be purely academic if Christ didn’t rise from the dead. “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…. you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14-17). But Christ is risen! And that makes all the difference.
We believe, teach, and confess that Jesus Christ, our Lord, rose from the dead. His body is not decaying in the grave! To suggest anything else, or even to allow that possibility, means that whatever Gospel is being preached is a different Gospel than that which has come down from heaven.
So, how can you answer the question about being saved? Ah, that’s when it’s good to remember your Small Catechism. Luther wrote such a beautiful answer there for us to recall. I am saved because Jesus Christ, God’s Son:
has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.
There is no “I” in the Gospel, but there is a “me.” You are not the cause but the receiver of God’s grace. And although there isn’t an “I” in the Gospel, there is an “I” in Christ, because He is the One who saves you. As Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).
Have a Blessed Summer, Pastor Wagner
First Trinity Lutheran Church Council Meeting Minutes - May 8, 2018
Meeting was called to order by church Head Elder Brent Niemeier. Pastor Wagner gave an opening devotion with a reading from John chapter 16. Minutes of the April Council meeting were approved as read.
Ron Malchow presented the Treasurer’s report and Russell Behrends presented the Financial Secretary reports. Income for April was $11,150.05, expenses $18,285.88, with an ending balance of $21,764.48. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Allen Pfingsten. Seconded by Dean Damme. Motion carried. (see reports) Russell mentioned that we are about $10,000 behind where we were at this time last year. Ron noted that all of the yearly budgeted amounts to synod/district, building fund, and emergency fund have been paid.
Elders’ Report – Brent Niemeier
Next month’s meeting will be June 12th with Elders meeting at 7:30 pm and Council at 8:30 pm.
Pastor’s Report – Pastor Timothy Wagner
The District Convention will be June 15th and 16th.
Anna Pohlmann was confirmed into the congregation last Sunday.
Zion Tobias has been assigned a pastoral graduate from the seminary.
Trustee’s Report - Jim Wenzbauer
Jim has received a quote from Paul Davis Restoration to straighten the cross for $7,020. They quoted three options for correcting the curls. The first for $985 to turn the curls around and reinstall them. Paul Davis has concern on the structure of the curls so they may have to do some epoxy repair. The second option would be to fabricate a new cross out of aluminum for $2,258.80. The ball and spire cap would be re-used. The third option would be to fabricate a new cross of wood and copper like the original for $3,180. The ball and spire cap would be re-used.
Stewardship / Board of Education –
Cemetery Sexton – Walter Neumann
Walt is moving a CD from First National Bank of Omaha to Dewitt State Bank because he can get a better interest rate of 2.44%.
Further discussion was held on the cross repair. It was mentioned that Paul Davis cut off some of the cross that was inside the steeple used to affix the cross to the steeple. This was done because the fasteners used by Steeple Jacks of America were turning and they could not get them out. There was concern by council members as to the original length the cross was inside the steeple and the “new” now shortened length. Russ mentioned that we still need to know what the cost of fabricating a new ball would be due to the lawsuit. Jim is going to go back to Paul Davis with questions brought up by council members which would include the cross length, cost for a new ball, material compatibility, and color.
Motion was made by Ron Malchow to adjourn, seconded by Russell Behrends. Motion carried. Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer.
Submitted by Secretary Dean Damme.
Church Offering Income for the Month of April: $11,150.05
THOSE CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS - IN THE MONTH OF JUNE
Ethan McAllister 3 Michael Hinz 24
Samuel Hahn 7 Gracin Hahn 25
Laura Bock 11 Curtis Reynolds 30
Andie Koch 16
THOSE CELEBRATING BAPTISMAL BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF JUNE
Renee Kettelhut 3 Michael Sothan 13
Abby Hahn 6 Laura Bock 17
Angela Belding 8 Walter Neumann 17
Judy Pohlmann 8 Samuel Hahn 20
Augustus Wollenburg 9 Ethan McAllister 21
William Spilker 11 Arlene Smith 24
Amanda Johnsen 12
THOSE CELEBRATING ANNIVERSARIES IN THE MONTH OF JUNE
Dan/Carolyn Bennett 1
John/Lydia Niemeier 4
Kyle/Betsy Spilker 11
Lee/Sara Nickel 12
Matthew/Carolyn Brott 14
Rev. Cullen/Jacqueline Duke 20
Pastor Tim/Cynthia Wagner 21
Wayne/Carol Ossowski 26
*If your birthday, baptismal birthday, or anniversary date is missing from our lists, please contact the church office so we can
include it next year.
Registered Visitors at First Trinity for April/May 2018 - (Visitors who filled out cards.)
Apr 29 Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE; Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Jacob Gramlich – DeWitt, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Mark/Becky Himmelspach – Clearwater, MN; Alex, Emma & Drew Shaeffer – Lincoln, NE; Ben/Grace Ramey & Child – brother of Anna Pohlmann; Anissa & DaVenee Cordrey – Beatrice, NE
May 6 Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE; Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Lyle Osborn – Lenexa, KS; Steve/Nicole & Keeding Arena – Beatrice, NE
May 13 Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE; Paul/Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Andrew Zimmerman – Beatrice, NE; Mike/Kim Zellers – Omaha, NE; Steve/Nicole Zimmerman & Children – Beatrice, NE; Jayme Sederberg – Beatrice, NE; Delores Kugel – Fairbury, NE; May 20 Steve/Nicole & Keeding Arena – Beatrice, NE; Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE; Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Jenny, Abigail, Joshua, Micah & Chloe Brinkmeyer - Seward, NE