PASTOR'S PAGE..................DECEMBER 2020

The Church’s season of Advent is a time to prepare. But the question that we wrestle with during this season is always, ‘prepare for what?’ ‘What are we to be prepared for?’

Retailers have an answer for that question. ‘Prepare to buy everything that money can buy.’ But the Church has a much different answer to that question. Jesus Christ is coming into the world - not born of a virgin named Mary or hidden away in a manger in a stable in a little town called Bethlehem. It’s hard to prepare for something that already happened 2000 years ago.

He is coming again. And when He does, it will NOT be to die for your sins and be raised for your justification. Once is enough for that. “Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous.” When He comes again, it will be to judge the living and the dead. See if that doesn’t give your Christmas season a new perspective. This is what the Church’s season of Advent wants to prepare us for.

Peter says that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” Paul says, “For you are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” (1 Thess. 5:2). Where would Peter and Paul get the idea to compare Jesus to a thief? From Jesus actually! Jesus warned His disciples, “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.” (Matthew 24:42-43)

So what are we to think of this? We burglar proof our homes against thieves from breaking in and stealing from us. Are we to burglar proof our lives so Jesus cannot break in and get at us and steal from us what is rightfully ours? CERTAINLY NOT! For what is rightfully ours is sin and death. Like a thief, this heavenly burglar comes to steal what belongs to us. He comes to take away all of our sins. He intends to clean us out, rob us blind and leave us with nothing left to call your own. And when He’s through with His divine thievery, the only thing you’ll be left with is what He leaves behind and what is His. And what is His is righteous and holy. And He leaves the Holy Spirit.

Sad to say, we don’t want Jesus to take what is ours. We hold tightly onto what is ours and guard it with our life, sometimes, even to the point of death. We’ll do anything to prevent this cosmic break in from taking place.

And we’re not just talking about a spiritual break in but a material break in as well. Everything that money can buy will be taken away from us. Everything that we have horded for our future suddenly gone, the whole thing, dissolved in His coming to separate us from what separates us from complete trust in Him. And so the season of Advent is all about preparing for Christ’s coming by repenting.

“The day of the Lord will come like a thief.” Tis the season for preparing. We worship, listen to His Word, we repent, we receive His Supper and we pray, until we’re read to cry out, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” 

Advent Blessings,

Pastor Wagner


Registered Visitors at First Trinity for Oct/November 2020 

(Visitors who filled out cards.) 

Oct 25 Nicole Tschetter – Columbus, NE

Nov 1 Norbert Meyer – Beatrice, NE

Jayme Hahn – DeWitt, NE

Nov 8 No Visitors

Nov 15 No Visitors

Nov 22 Rosie Hill – Fairbury, NE


Church Offering Income for the Month of October: $16,247.75 



Tom Brandt            1                       Braelyn Johnson   15

Dana Schleufer     1                       Kellie Eyer               19

Gerald Pohlmann 2                      Joshua Malchow   19

Lee Beethe               3                      Russell Behrends  23

Jeffrey Kettelhut   3                      Kyle Spilker             27

Eric Eyer*                  11                   Daniel Bennett      27

Arthur Morris         11                   Brooke Koch           28

Crystal Jordening 12                   Aaron Zimmerman 30

Katie Schleufer       15



LaVern Niemeier         4          Braelyn Johnson           21

David Niemeier            5          Gerald Pohlmann          22

Jack Spilker                     14        Myron Belding              23

Katie Genrich                 18       John Niemeier               25

Tom Brandt                      20        Lee Beethe                      28

Ana Kettelhut                 20


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.


Advent I Worship - December 2, 2020: No Midweek Advent Service

Advent II Worship - December 9, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.    Pastor Art Schauer - “Mary's Song: Amazing Love”

Advent III Worship - December 16, 2020 – 7:30 p.m.   “Jesus, Our True King”

Christmas Eve Worship - December 24, 2020 – 6:00 p.m.  “A Service of Lessons and Carols”

Christmas Day Worship w/Holy Communion - December 25, 2020 – 9:15 a.m.

New Year's Eve Worship w/Holy Communion - December 31, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.  “Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus”

First Trinity Lutheran Church Voters Meeting Minutes - October 25, 2020 

The meeting was called to order by Elder Allen Pfingsten at 10:45 am. Pastor Wagner gave an opening devotion with a reading from Matthew chapter 22. The minutes of the July 2020 voters meeting was approved as presented. Russell Behrends provided the Financial Secretary's report. The Treasurer'sreport was provided by Ron Malchow. Income for the 3rd quarter was $ 28,349.16, expenses $32,349.48, with an ending balance of $52,764.52. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Brent Niemeier. Seconded by Dean Damme. Motion carried. (see reports)

Elders’ Report – Dean Damme

• Trying a different placement of lectern in church for communion. 

Pastor’s Report – Pastor Timothy Wagner

• Carl Wollenburg was buried on September 16.

• Lucille Winterstein died September 20 and her funeral was September 24.

• Attendance figures for the 3rd quarter are as follows: Members 49, Visitors 3, Communion 46, Bible Class 12, and Sunday School 7.

• Pastor installations on Sunday, October 11 were Pastor Emery at Grace, Fairbury and Pastor Bahn at St. Paul, Beatrice.

• Fall Pastors’ Conference was held virtually by circuit. Our Circuit cancelled their location meeting.

• Nebraska District LCMS convention will be June 18-19, 2021, at the Younes Center in Kearney.

• Elect circuit forum representative. Circuit Forum will be here November 8th .

• Nomination for circuit visitor – need signatures. • Need to elect lay delegate and alternate for Nebraska District LCMS convention by January 31.

• We can nominate pastors for District President and Region B Vice-President.

• We can nominate Commissioned Minister for District Board of Directors.

• We can nominate 2 lay members for District Board of Directors. • Fall cookout for today has been cancelled due to weather. 

Trustee’s Report – Jim Nelson

• Bedient Pipe Organ maintenance contract has been signed. It is a 2-year contract @ $300 per year.

• A downspout blew off the church building and has been repaired. • Dwight brought up that carpets need cleaning in school and some cracks need repairing in church.

Stewardship / Board of Education – Not present, no report. 

Sunday School Superintendent – Not present

• Sunday school is going.

Cemetery Sexton – Not present, no report.

Old Business

• Michael Sothan reported on pictural directory for church. Has inquired with Moments Made Photography of Beatrice. We are looking at the spring/summertime frame next year. There are two options: One is for families to do a ½ hour session with the photographer for $125, you would get a CD with all the photos. The second option would be to have the photographer to come out here and schedule families to come here with no obligation to buy. A combination of these two could also be done, but the photographer needs to make some money for their time involved. The directory could be printed locally for $500 - $1000.

• The landscape edging by the church plaza has been completed.

• Elders are working on a pros and cons list of forming a dual parish with Immanuel Daykin.

• Report on expanded cemetery parking by Kyle Spilker. Gage County Roads Department provided a 30’ extension culvert and another 20’ of culvert to replace the rusted out old one for the north drive. Installation and dirt hauling were donated by church members. Rohr Excavating donated 5 loads of dirt/fill material. No expenses have been incurred yet. The decision now is: do we finish with crushed rock or finish it with concrete. The family of Tim Beethe requested that his memorial money be used for expanding our cemetery parking

New Business

• Pastor Wagner moved to nominate Pastor Greg Stuckwisch as Circuit Visitor. Seconded by Brent Niemeier. Motion carried.

• Pastor Wagner moved to have Allen Pfingsten serve as circuit forum representative. Seconded by Jim Nelson. Motion carried.

• Kyle Spilker moved to accept the ballot for elections. Seconded by Brent Niemeier. Motion carried.

• Election results: Allen Pfingsten – Elder, Ron Malchow – Treasurer, Matt Brott – Trustee, Lee Beethe – Board of Education/Stewardship, Kyle Spilker – Secretary.

• The Elders recommended a 2% increase in Pastor Wagner’s base salary for 2021. The healthcare cost will decline slightly but Pastor’s copay will increase for 2021. This proposed increase would bring his base salary up to $44,184 from $43,140. Motion to approve by Jim Nelson. Seconded by Brent Niemeier. Motion carried.

Motion to adjourn by Brent Niemeier. Seconded by Dean Damme. Motion carried. Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer at 11:50am.

There were 15 voting members and 1 visitor present.

Submitted by Secretary Kyle Spilker.


First Trinity Lutheran Church Council Meeting Minutes - November 10, 2020

The meeting was called to order by Elder Allen Pfingsten at 7:32 pm. Pastor Wagner gave an opening devotion with a reading from Matthew chapter 24. The minutes of the council meeting were approved as corrected for September income and Bedient Pipe Organ contract term. Russell Behrends presented the Financial Secretary's report. The Treasurer's report was presented by Ron Malchow. Income received from Financial Secretary for October was $16,247.75, expenses $11,875.93, with an ending balance of $57,138.66. Motion was made to accept financial reports by Dean Damme. Seconded by Pastor Wagner. Motion carried. (see reports)

Elders’ Report –

· Next month’s meeting will be December 8th, with the Elders meeting at 6:30 pm. and Council at 7:30 pm.

· The congregational Christmas Dinner will be December 6th. Full meal will be provided, no potluck. Eat in or carry out available.

Pastor’s Report – Pastor Timothy Wagner

· Still need a volunteer for Lay Delegate.

Trustee’s Report – Not present.

· Jim Nelson has completed the 2021 snow removal committee schedule

Stewardship / Board of Education – Not present. No report.

Sunday School Superintendent - Not present. No report.

Cemetery Sexton – Not present. No report.

Old Business

· Discussion on cemetery parking.

· Elders have pledged $3000 of memorial money toward a concrete parking area at the cemetery.

New Business - None.

Motion to adjourn by Pastor Wagner. Seconded by Dean Damme. Motion carried. Meeting was closed with the Lord’s Prayer at 7:55 pm.

Members present include: Pastor Wagner, Dean Damme, Ron Malchow, Russ Behrends, Allen Pfingsten and Kyle Spilker.

Submitted by Secretary Kyle Spilker.