PASTOR'S PAGE...........................DECEMBER 2017
The call of Advent is a call to slow down. It is not Christmas–at least not yet. Advent bids us patience, to slow down our urgent pace, even to trust in the Lord when dark is our road and confusing our path. Advent is a call, not to push the Lord along, but to wait on Him and await His revelation at the right time, at the ripened moment, when the time is fruitful.
But who wants to wait? That almost sounds un-American. Life is short. The world moves fast. Amid all the hassles of life, is God going to give one more burden? Is He telling us to wait on His timing, to trust in Him when everything around us says nothing is happening? Why this waiting?
We wait, because on our own, we are strangers who need to be shown the way. We wait for Christ because He knows the way. Only He can lead us where we need to go. He is the author, the pioneer, the Firstborn of those who will follow Him. And so we wait for the One who knows the way.
We wait on the Lord, no matter what the circumstances of our lives. On the mount of Transfiguration, Peter was so full of himself when he wanted to camp out there and not leave. We don’t get to climb our own mount of Transfiguration to wait for the Lord to finish His new creation. We wait right where we are: In our marriage, within our families, as workers in a job, and as citizens of our communities. We wait where we are, doing what we do as a vocation from the Lord. We wait for the Lord to come and finish His new creation.
If this is true, and it is, then what does all this mean? It means that we can’t always avoid suffering and trial. It means that as long as we wear the frailties of our fallen human flesh, we will bear the marks of life’s struggles. We will wear the scars of the past and the bleeding wounds of our fallen mortality. We will weep over life’s weariness that we cannot understand. We will weep over what has made us so appallingly alone in a world filled with people.
Yet, we wait. Lack of faith says, “Show me; I’m from Missouri.” Faith says, “What God has told me is enough.” And so faith waits for the fullness of God’s grace and mercy to unfold when He says “Yes,” even when our hearts and eyes tell us, “No.”
Every year, Advent trains us to wait for the manger. Every year, Lent trains us to wait for the empty tomb. And we have looked into the empty tomb. We have seen God’s works in the past! Because of that, we can wait for the greater mercy and grace to be revealed when He comes again to finish what those began. We have met Him in the baptismal water. We have met Him in the absolution. We have met Him in the bread that is His body and the cup that is His blood.
God is training us to wait for an eternity beyond the Last Day. Then, in both body and soul, we will spend an endless day with God. God is training us to wait for His Son’s return on the Last Day. Because we have received the grace given to us in the Word and Sacraments, we wait for Christ to finish His new creation, to fulfill our hopes, and to unveil in its finality our own future in Him.
That is why we need the training ground of Advent and Lent. They are not just seasons we have to endure. They have a godly purpose. For they are more than seasons of penitence, when we remember our need to repent. They are also seasons to train our hearts and minds to live by God’s time clock, not our own.
Advent and Lent train us, not to presume, but to live by faith. We can’t work everything out ourselves. If we could do that, then we could save ourselves. But we can’t. So we, instead, place our confidence in the grace of God, revealed through Christ our Savior, made known to us in the Holy Spirit.
You have God’s grace to guide you through each day. You have His presence and peace as your constant companions. You have the record of God’s words kept, of His works revealed in the past. So be patient. Trust Him. God has all the rest covered.
When you realize that, Advent is no longer a hindrance, but a season in its own right, even a blessing in its own way. For God is at work, even when He bids us wait to celebrate later.
Have a blessed Adventide, Pastor Wagner
First Trinity Lutheran Church Council Meeting Minutes - November 14, 2017
Meeting was called to order by church President Tom Brandt. Minutes of the October Council meeting were approved as read.
Ron Malchow presented the Treasurer’s report and Russell Behrends presented the Financial Secretary reports. Income for October was $24,065.05, expenses $10,177.80, with an ending balance of $30,255.02. We received a second check from the insurance company for the steeple repair. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Brent Niemeier. Seconded by Walt Neumann. Motion carried. (see reports)
Elders’ Report – Brent Niemeier
Next month’s meeting will be December 12th with Elders meeting at 6:30 pm and Council at 7:30 pm.
Upcoming church services: Thanksgiving Eve – 7:30 pm, Christmas Eve – 6 pm (Sunday), Christmas Day – 9:15 am (Monday), New Year’s Eve – 7 pm (Sunday).
We have started making our own communion cards.
Will be looking for a voting delegate to the District Convention June 15th and 16th. If anyone is interested please see Pastor or an Elder.
Our congregational Christmas potluck dinner will be December 3rd.
Pastor’s Report –
Trustee’s Report - Darin Pohlmann
A new sink for the women’s bathroom has been ordered.
Still waiting on the painting to be done on the repairs in the back of the church. We are on the list but Brandee is behind. Have contacted Donna Jung about painting the church doors. They will need to be sanded first.
A tree has been planted northeast of the school and an oak has been transplanted in front of the parsonage.
Darin contacted Paul Davis last week about coming out and looking to see if he will give us a bid to finish the cross and steeple on the church.
Attorney Jim Nelson has sent Nick at Steeple Jacks of America a letter letting them know they have 45 days to correct the cross and steeple on the church or we will have it done by someone else.
The council has asked Darin to contact the insurance company again to make sure the claim has not been closed since we received a second check. The church was wanting to keep this open in case the cost to correct the cross on the steeple comes in higher than what was quoted and approved earlier.
Stewardship / Board of Education –
Cemetery Sexton – Walt Neumann
He has sold two more plots.
There are some holes in the cemetery that will need to be filled.
Motion by Brent Niemeier to release Ron and Patti Collins from membership as they requested. Seconded by Ron Malchow. Motion carried.
Motion by Brent Niemeier to transfer the membership of Carrie Niemeier to Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln. Seconded by Dean Damme. Motion carried.
Motion was made by Ron Malchow to adjourn, second by Russell Behrends. Motion carried.
Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer. Members present include: Tom Brandt, Darin Pohlmann, Ron Malchow, Russ Behrends, Walter Neumann, Brent Niemeier, Jim Wenzbauer, and Dean Damme.
Submitted by Secretary Dean Damme.
Ryker Pfingsten has recently been diagnosed with a very rare and serious disease called Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis! His parents are Ross and Amy Pfingsten of Lincoln and his grandparents are Allen and Karen Pfingsten of DeWitt! If you would like to help defray medical expenses you can make a contribution at First State Bank in DeWitt! The account is under Ryker Pfingsten!
Registered Visitors at First Trinity for Oct/Nov 2017 - (Visitors who filled out cards.)
Oct 29 Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; DaVanee Cordrey – Beatrice, NE
Nov 5 Wayne/Vivian Zimmerman – Beatrice, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE
Nov 12 Leon/Marie Zimmerman – Beatrice, NE; Sophia Linneman – Beatrice, NE; Paul/Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Eldean/Sharon Adam – Jansen, NE
Nov 19 Eli Bluege – Belvidere, IL; Gary/Kathy Adams – Bakersfield, CA; Ron/Sue & Beth Sothan – Kearney, NE; Diana, Bailey & Adam Bannister – Omaha, NE; Josh/Jessie, Juniper & Josiah Hsu – Austin, TX; Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE; Kay Brown – Beatrice, NE; Eldean/Sharon Adam – Beatrice, NE
THOSE CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
Tom Brandt 1 Katie Schleufer 15
Dana Schleufer 1 Braelyn Johnson 15
Gerald Pohlmann 2 Kellie Eyer 19
Lee Beethe 3 Joshua Malchow 19
Jeffrey Kettelhut 3 Russell Behrends 23
Heather Warnken 10 Kyle Spilker 27
Arthur Morris 11 Daniel Bennett 27
Eric* Eyer 11 Brooke Koch 28
Crystal Jordening 12
THOSE CELEBRATING BAPTISMAL BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
LaVern Niemeier 4 Ana Kettelhut 20
David Niemeier 5 Braelyn Johnson 21
Arthur Morris 11 Gerald Pohlmann 22
Jackson Spilker 14 Myron Belding 23
Katie Genrich 18 John Niemeier 25
Tom Brandt 20 Lee Beethe 28
THOSE CELEBRATING ANNIVERSARIES IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
James/Kim Franzen 4
Jeffrey/Renee Kettelhut 5
Brent/Jane Niemeier 11
Harlan*/Tami Schmidt 21
Kevin*/Tessie* Smith 21
Frank*/Toni Lisec 27
*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.
SPECIAL WORSHIP SERVICES
Theme: “Patriarchs Point to Jesus Christ”
Midweek Advent I Worship
“The God of Abraham will be your Protection, Your Great Reward”
Wednesday - December 6, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.
Midweek Advent II Worship
“Find Your Rest in God”
Wednesday - December 13, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.
Midweek Advent III Worship
“Jacob's God and You”
Wednesday - December 20, 2017 @ 7:30 p.m.
Children's Christmas Eve Service
“Sing With Us The Christmas Story”
Sunday - December 24, 2017 @ 6:00 p.m.
*Our Christmas Eve Offering will go to:
“Lutheran Family Services”
Christmas Day Worship w/Holy Communion
Monday – December 25, 2017 @ 9:15 a.m.
New Year's Eve Worship
Sunday – December 31, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m.
Church Offering Income for the Month of October: $24,065.05