PASTOR'S PAGE..................................….OCTOBER 2019

ÔĽŅÔĽŅ Ancient peoples dreaded the deep. The darkened abyss gurgled with predatory beasts, fanged creatures to swallow you whole, hungering for more. Today, those shrieking, mythical creatures still fill us with wonder, if not terror. In the Bible, the book of Job mentions the leviathan and other monstrous movers of the sea.

Do you believe in monsters? Every child, at one time or another, cried out in panic against them. Hidden creatures bumped in the night, reptiles slithered under the bed, and danger crept behind every shadow. Human history is full of such stories.

Consider Goliath, not a ‚Äúmonster‚ÄĚ as we think but a giant, nevertheless, and a skilled, capable combatant. No one yet defeated him in battle. Though not an actual monster, he might as well be one, a terrifying man who filled every soldier‚Äôs heart with fear.

Well, except for one‚ÄĒa boy! After hearing about this horrifying behemoth, named Goliath, David understood one thing. Arrogant and puffed up, Goliath beat his chest and mocked God. Despite not being old enough to be in the army, David answered the challenge to fight him. A mission to bring food for his older brothers broadened into something far more daring and dangerous.

Now, David realized, a hellish force like Goliath can only be beaten by God and who He is, not swords or armament. So, David went to the brook and scooped out five, water-worn pebbles. The number five is significant, representing God’s Word. The foundational books in the Old Testament are the first five, starting at Genesis and ending with Deuteronomy. So with Scripture; so also the stones.

Against this monster, David steps forth, bearing no sword or shield. Here, comes this still-unmuscled teen, without a weapon of war or protective armor. The titan mocks this boy, still smooth of face, ‚ÄúI will kill you, you worthless child.‚ÄĚ

Notice how David replies. With no boast in himself, he declares, ‚ÄúI come in the name of the Almighty God.‚ÄĚ The Lord and His Word is what we need to contest against the armies of evil. ‚ÄúOne little word can fell him,‚ÄĚ as Luther wrote.

A solitary stone and a single sling. The colossal Philistine collapses. Down, down, the once-mighty warrior falls, his knees collapsing beneath him. The giant is dead, his tongue hangs from his mouth, lifeless and unmoving, silent.

What monsters do you face? Not a literal Goliath, for sure, but we all confront the same incarnation of iniquity, brought to us from the dawning of time‚ÄĒdeath. Like an unwanted ogre, death can frighten us because we‚Äôre never sure when this unwelcome visitor may come calling.

Long ago, Jesus fought that monster for us. Into battle, He went, also without a spear or lance. Like David before, Christ went into combat with nothing but God’s name.

At first, the Goliath-like mockery appeared to win the day. ‚ÄúLet him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in him,‚ÄĚ strut a grouping of Pharisees nearby. In their misuse of Scripture, they amuse themselves, ‚ÄúHe trusts in God. Let God rescue him now‚ÄĒif he takes pleasure in him! For he did say, ‚ÄėI am the Son of God.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

The fight left Jesus dead. Not for long because Jesus took our weakness and turned it into strength, for when He died, He buried death inside His tomb. Only by dying, did our Savior trample down death, destroying its dominion over us.

Every monster now shrivels into a defanged dog, stripped of every tooth. Oh, its bark sounds terrorizing and tries us, but its bite is now harmless. Ponder anew what Jesus did for you. Remember how He killed the foulest of monsters, conquering our mortality, defeating all the demonic hordes, and shearing hell asunder.

The monster is dead, Jesus forgives your sins, casting away the darkness of death’s enshrouding night. What is left to fear? Shorn now is the Devil of all his might. For your Lord rose from death and grave, which means you will you too.

Have a blessed Autumntide,

Pastor Wagner

Registered Visitors at First Trinity for August/September 2019

(Visitors who filled out cards.)

Aug 25 Rosie Hill ‚Äď Fairbury, NE;¬†Diane & Adam Bannister ‚Äď Omaha, NE;¬†Steve Schumacher ‚Äď Harbor Beach, MI

Sept 1 Kristal Auty ‚Äď Dallas, TX;¬†Delores Kugel ‚Äď Fairbury, NE;¬†Helen Jordening ‚Äď Plymouth, NE;¬†Norbert Meyer ‚Äď Beatrice, NE;¬†Andrew Zimmerman ‚Äď Beatrice, NE;¬†Lyle Osborn ‚Äď Lenexa, KS

Sept 9 Dan/Virginia & Bennett Griebenaw ‚ÄstDenver, CO;¬†Katie, Lauren & Carter Johnsen ‚ÄstGrand Island, NE;¬†Norbert Meyer ‚Äď Beatrice, NE

Sept 15 Rosie Hill ‚Äď Fairbury, NE;¬†Steve/Marcia Ramey ‚Äď Kansas City, MO;¬†Norbert Meyer ‚Äď Beatrice, NE

Sept 22 Denise Topp ‚Äď Chattanooga, TN;¬†Dianna Bannister ‚Äď Omaha, NE;¬†Lorraine Flaming ‚Äď Inman, KS;¬†Wayne/Vivian Zimmerman ‚Äď Beatrice, NE;¬†Norbert Meyer ‚Äď Beatrice, NE;¬†Rosie Hill ‚Äď Fairbury, NE


Church Offering Income for the Month of August: $7,849.89



Sarah Genrich                   1                Jane Bartlett             18

Lucille Winterstein           2                Joyce Belding          18

Chad Niemeier                 4                 Brent Niemeier       22

Joann Niemeier                4                 Jesse Wagner          22

Oliver Nickel                   5                 Julie Schleufer        23

Leonard Burger               10              Shirly Brown            25

Kelli Niemeier                10              Trevor Johnson         26

Carl Wollenburg             15


Ronald Malchow           3                 Carol Ossowski        17

Jamie Brandt                  6                 Lucille Winterstein  19

Todd Niemeier               6                 Kelli Niemeier          23

Dean Damme                8                 Sharon Adam             27

Chad Niemeier             15                Leonard Burger         29

Dwight Holtmeier        16                Carl Wollenburg        31

Mark McAllister          17



Fred/Virginia Swartz                11

Eric*/Kellie Eyer                     12

Dean/Stacy Damme                 14

Lee/Anissa* Beethe                19

Dana/Julie Schleufer              19


*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.


September 3, 2019

Dear First Trinity Lutheran Church,


Orphan Grain Train, Central NE Branch wants to extend our appreciation for sponsoring a Wisconsin Style Fish Feed fund raiser on September 1, 2019 in the Fellowship Hall.

The Orphan Grain Train donation was $1,482.77 ‚Äď Shipping and general operating expense and $250.00 credit card from Thrivent for a total of $1,732.77. Orphan Grain Train served 95 people at the Fish Feed.

A successful Fish Feed. I checked back on last year donations and it was $15.61 a plate from the donations; however, when I added the $250.00 from Thrivent it made $18.42 per plate. This made it higher than last year so we are very well satisfied even though the attendance was down from last year.

Wisconsin Style Fish Feed Fund Raisers help us with shipping and general operating expenses of the Grand Island Central Nebraska Branch of Orphan Grain Train.

We will schedule your fish feed for Sunday, September 6, 2020 ‚Äď 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. If you wish to change the date please let us know next year. If you should decide on Brats you need to let me know.

Please thank all the ladies and men that helped us on Sunday, September 1, 2019.

May God Bless you and your congregation!

Bob and Beth Stark

Roger and Jenny Sittner

Fish Feed Preparer

Beth Stark, Fish Feed Coordinator

First Trinity Lutheran Church Council Meeting Minutes

September 10, 2019

The meeting was called to order by Elder Dan Bennett at 8:30 pm. Pastor Wagner gave an opening devotion with a reading from Mark chapter 7. The minutes of the council meeting were approved as corrected for spelling. Russell Behrends presented the Financial Secretary's report. The Treasurer's report was presented by Ron Malchow. Income received from Financial Secretary for August was $7,849.89, expenses $9,531.45, with an ending balance of $36,078.79. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Allen Pfingsten. Seconded by Dan Bennett. Motion carried. (see reports)

Elders‚Äô Report ‚Äď

· Next month’s meeting will be October 8 with the Elders meeting at 7:30 pm and Council at 8:30 pm.

· Congregational Christmas Dinner will be December 8th.

Pastor‚Äôs Report ‚Äď Pastor Timothy Wagner

· Lola Moeller’s funeral was August 6 and Marlene Malchow’s funeral was September 3.

· Pastors conference will be October 7th and 8th in Grand Island.

· Affirmation of Lee & Anissa Beethe’s marriage will be October 19. Service will be conducted by Reverend Dr. Mark Rockenbach.

Trustee‚Äôs Report ‚Äď Not present.

Report provided by Trustee James L. Nelson

· Sump pump replaced in church basement earlier this summer (pump donated).

· Some of the cracks in concrete on west steps, south side of church and salt damage to concrete at south entrance to church filled earlier this summer.

· Dead tree on east side of school building removed and disposed of at Beatrice landfill.

· Ladies have been given permission to repaint fellowship hall.

Stewardship / Board of Education ‚Äď Not present. No report.

Sunday School Superintendent ‚Äď Not present.

· Sunday School began September 8.

Cemetery Sexton ‚Äď Walter Neumann

· Leveled one grave, replaced rods on gates with heavier ones, working on gate latches.

· Discussion on upkeep of gravestones.

· Walter was commended on all the good work he does at the cemetery.

Old Business

· Cross installation scheduled for September 18th.

· Nominating committee has been seeking candidates for upcoming elections.

· Orphan Grain Train Fish feed attendance was 95 served. $1732.70 was raised including the $250 card from Thrivent.

New Business

· Discussion on buying a TV to mount on wall in Fellowship Hall. Kyle Spilker will get some prices before next council meeting.

Motion to adjourn by Allen Pfingsten. Seconded by Dan Bennett. Motion carried. Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer at 9:30 pm.

Members present include: Pastor Wagner, Senator Tom Brandt, Kyle Spilker, Ron Malchow, Walter Neumann, Russ Behrends, Allen Pfingsten and Dan Bennett.

Submitted by Secretary Kyle Spilker


Learn About the Landmark Court Case Freeman v. Scheve at Homestead National Monument of America

The Honorable Judge Paul Korslund will give a program at Homestead National Monument of America’s Education Center on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. on the landmark court case Daniel Freeman v. John Scheve, et. al. The case covered the separation of church and state in public education and originated at the Freeman School, today a part of Homestead National Monument of America. The case made its way to the Nebraska Supreme Court.


Beginning in 1899, Daniel Freeman, one of the United States' first homesteaders, objected to the use of the Bible in public school instruction at the Freeman school near Beatrice. He requested that the teacher in question, Edith Beecher, cease using the Bible as a textbook during her classes. Beecher refused, stating that she had been granted permission by the school board to read passages from the Bible, offer prayers, and sing hymns from a gospel hymn book. Daniel Freeman took his case to the school board.


The school board defended Beecher, noting that the ten-minute exercises she conducted were "in the best interests of the students." The state superintendent of schools, William R. Jackson, suggested that the Bible should not be considered as a sectarian book, but as a classic from which moral lessons could be learned.

Freeman pursued the case, first to the Gage County District Court. When that body did not find to his liking, he then appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The case was decided on October 9, 1902. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in favor of Daniel Freeman, stating that the actions of Edith Beecher and the school board did indeed violate the Nebraska Constitution's provisions regarding the separation of church and state. The State of Nebraska brought to conclusion this issue many years before the United States Supreme Court ever addressed it.