PASTOR'S PAGE........................................JANUARY 2021
Have you ever had the ‘delightful’ experience of listening to someone tell you a long story, and as you listen you find yourself saying to yourself, ‘self, I have no idea where this is going’? But you patiently listen to the story, because patience is a virtue, and you desire to be a virtuous person. And every once in a while your patience is rewarded - “Eureka! Now I see where this very long story was headed.”
Sometimes it’s like that with God. The Bible is a very long story. And who hasn’t attempted to read it, and along the way, wondered, “where is this going?” The thing with the Bible that makes it different than a lot of ‘those stories,’ is that we absolutely know that it’s going somewhere.
Take for example that pretty long story about two guys named Balak and Balaam. Balak is the king of the Moabites who is in a tussle over the fact that the Israelites that have come out of Egypt seem to be settling in Moab. (It’s an immigration issue. Not that we would know anything about that.)
Balaam seems to be one of those ‘spiritual but not religious’ guys who claim to have some sort of special connection with God. He’s what you’d call ‘a wise man.’
Balak needs a ‘wise man’ to get in touch with some divine intervention. He googles “wise men” and gets “Balaam, son of Beor.” Balak wants Balaam to get God to curse the Israelites and make them go away. As hard as he tries, Balaam just can’t come up with the right incantation to make it happen. Instead, God puts words into Balaam’s mouth that pronounce blessing upon blessing upon Israel. One in particular goes like this, “a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.” (Numbers 24:17)
Now, here’s the interesting part that caught my attention. For some reason, God seems to think it’s important that we know where Balaam is from. “Balak sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw.” (Numbers 22:5). After some online study and some good old books I found that “the River” is the Euphrates River and Pethor is in Babylonia. Eventually, Babylon will be a place which becomes known for having lots of ‘wise men.’ Some of you may remember this when we studied the book of Daniel in Bible Study a few years back.
By this time, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “self, where’s he going with this?” Hold on, here it comes. Centuries later, ‘wise men’ from the east, see a star in the sky and say to themselves, ‘let’s chase it.’ And when their wise men friends asked them, “why would you do a crazy thing like that,” they said, “because this is the star that our old wise man friend Balaam was talking about. It points to the one who is born to be king of kings.” (Or something like that.) And off they went with gifts fit for a king: gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And this is what we celebrate on Epiphany. This story started way back in the book of Numbers.
You just knew this was going somewhere didn’t you? Our God always knows where His story is going. And patience is always a virtue.
Registered Visitors at First Trinity for Nov/December 2020
(Visitors who filled out cards.)
Nov 29 Dale/Rosie Hill – Fairbury, NE; Lyle Osborn – Lenexa, KS; Dianna Bannister – Omaha, NE
Dec 6 Pastor Arthur/Barbara Schauer – Seward, NE
Dec 9 Pastor Arthur/Barbara Schauer – Seward, NE
Dec 13 Pastor Arthur/Barbara Schauer – Seward, NE
Dec 16 No Visitors
Dec 20 No Visitors
Church Offering Income for the Month of November: $7,982.75.
THOSE CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF JANUARY
Katie Dieman 3 Megan McAllister 21
Randy Bartlett 3 Cynthia Wagner 22
Carolyn Nelson 3 Rebecca Behrends 23
Amy Brott 4 Carolyn Nelson 25
Terry Collins 10 Nicole Arnold* 26
Pastor Wagner 11 Elizabeth Behrends* 27
Anissa Beethe* 14 Robin Hahn 27
Michael Kendall 17 Randi Niemeier 29
Melissa Larmeu 18 Lyle Osborn* 29
THOSE CELEBRATING BAPTISMAL BIRTHDAYS IN THE MONTH OF JANAURY
Sandra Brandt 1 Brooke Koch 11
Crystal Jordening 1 Kyle Spilker 14
Shirley Neumann 1 Kent Cunningham 22
Jeffrey Kettelhut 6 Aaron Zimmerman 26
Joshua Malchow 6 Katie Dieman 27
Amy Brott 10 Michael Kendall 27
THOSE CELEBRATING ANNIVERSARIES IN THE MONTH OF JANUARY - Darin/Anna Pohlmann 20
*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.
First Trinity Lutheran Church Council Meeting Minutes - December 8, 2020
The meeting was called to order by President James Hahn at 7:32 pm. Pastor Wagner gave an opening devotion with a reading from Matthew Chapter 25. The minutes of the council meeting were approved as presented. Russell Behrends presented the Financial Secretary's report. The Treasurer's report was presented by Ron Malchow. Income received from Financial Secretary for November was $7,982.75, expenses $9,535.96, with an ending balance of $55,604.02. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Dean Damme. Seconded by Brent Niemeier. Motion carried. (see reports)
Elders’ Report –
· Next month’s meeting will be January 12, with the Elders meeting at 6:30 pm. and council at 7:30 pm. We will be preparing the 2021 budget at the January council meeting.
· Next voters meeting will be January 17.
Pastor’s Report – Pastor Timothy Wagner
· Pastor reported on his recent surgery.
· The Lucille Winterstein memorial bench for the church plaza has arrived.
· The 2022 synodical convention may be delayed due to COVID-19 delays in district conventions.
Trustee’s Report – Not Present, no report supplied.
· Pastor reported dishwasher problems in the parsonage is being addressed by trustees.
Stewardship / Board of Education - Not Present, no report supplied.
Sunday School Superintendent - Not Present, no report supplied.
Cemetery Sexton – Walt Neumann
· The church received $16.13 in interest from cemetery CD’s.
· Walter will be ending his service as Cemetery Sexton at the end of this year.
· The placement of the lectern and the Baptismal font in church was discussed.
New Business · None
Motion to adjourn by Russ Behrends. Seconded by Brent Niemeier. Motion carried. Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer at 8:35 pm.
Members present include: Pastor Wagner, Allen Pfingsten, Dean Damme, Ron Malchow, John Niemeier, Russ Behrends, Walter Neumann, Brent Niemeier, James Hahn and Kyle Spilker.
Submitted by Secretary Kyle Spilker.