It is important that we take time to look back so that we can move forward. The road we travel today may be different, but God, Jesus, and Spirit are the same. The Season of Lent is a time of Discipleship, to be renewed, refreshed, and recommit to picking up our cross and follow Jesus. That has been happening here for 101 years…
This poem written for St. Luke’s 50th Anniversary is found on pages 137-138, in “The Fields Were Ripe.” A History of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, to celebrate the 75th Anniversary. As you read it, what can we learn to move forward today?
The People of St. Luke’s
by Mary Koch
Five people met one Sunday morn in Brown’s new Oxboro store,
And then Judd Thomas’s “Front Porch” was church for some weeks more.
A committee formed to build a church in nineteen twenty-four
And God provided them the way, St. Luke’s great name it bore.
By prayer and hope and faith and love and labors of their hands.
They built the church through sacrifice near where our church now stands.
When times grew hard and money short, they struggled bravely on
For Christ and for His Kingdom here and souls that must be won.
The 40’s brought us some relief but war struck home here too.
And robbed us of two of our sons who fought for me and you.
A parsonage was built for us, an organ we did buy
It served us more than twenty years, my how the time does fly.
The population boom was on, the schools soon overflowed
The basement of our church, we loaned to help to ease the load.
A parish education wing became a vital need
We realized that dream quite soon for God does surely lead.
A nave so new and different then was planned as we did grow
For the old church burst at the seams three hours in a row.
A fellowship and meeting hall was built as we had planned.
Two full-time pastors served so well this ever-growing band.
Burden bearers and strugglers groups add depth to Christian life.
Whole families can participate – children and man and wife.
Our God is surely present here, we know He leads the way
For people live the faith they claim. Praise Jesus Christ today!
The poem tells the history of the church, but more importantly, it tells about the people of St. Luke’s “…by prayer and hope and faith and love and labors of their hands, they build the church… It is the people who make up any church, the people whose faith, love, and labor build the church and carry on the work of God’s kingdom on earth.”
These people had a common bond of membership in St. Luke’s. Under the guidance and leadership of ordained clergy, the people of St. Luke’s have become ministers of the word of God equipped to do His work in His Kingdom. We know that…
“…there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. – 1st. Corinthians 12:4-7
What jumped out to me is that this all started by 5 people. There were good times, bad times, struggles and celebrations, but through it all the people knew that “Our God is surely present here, we know He leads the way, for people live the faith they claim.
We live in a society that does not join or commit, but as people of faith we know a God who joined us, walking the earth as Jesus. We have a God who commits to us be with us always through the Holy Spirit.
We are doing three things currently to be church in this time and place.
First, we are inviting members to opt in for the new directory. Contact the office if you would like to be included. Thank you to those who have already opted in or let us know that you would not like to be in it. This will be a protected document available to those who participate. We will print copies for those who like one. This is an invitation to participate. You have the option of whether or not to be in it. You have the option to have your picture in it or not. It will be online once we have made 100% contact with all our members.
Second, thank you to all who support St. Luke’s in time, talent, and treasure. First, those who pledge and give. Second, those who give, but do not pledge. Third, those who do not give a recorded gift. To make a budget it is helpful to know what money is planned to be given. If you have made a pledge, please confirm the amount. If you have not made a pledge, prayerfully consider doing so. We will adjust the budget accordingly. If you do not make a recorded gift.
Third, we are living out the mission…
St. Luke’s is a welcoming and growing community of faith, busy making Christ known to the world.
We will have more than a dozen people attending our “Get to Know St. Luke’s” lunch this coming Sunday. There is still room for you. Please gather in Fellowship Hall following the 10 AM worship.
Looking back to look move forward, let us follow the lead of those who came before us as written on page 138 of the 75th Anniversary book, “…the people of St. Luke’s have become ministers of the word of God equipped to do His work in His Kingdom.”
Praise Jesus Christ Today!
St. Luke's is one of the runner up award winners of the national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2024 Cool Congregations Challenge. The contest is sponsored by Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit organization inspiring and mobilizing people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.
The Cool Congregations Challenge, is an annual national contest recognizing “Cool Congregations” that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. This contest accepts applications from religious congregations around the United States who are doing work to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint. There were 125 applicants for six entry categories.
St Luke's won an Energy Saver award for cutting energy use 56% switching to LED lighting, upgrading to efficient gas stacking boilers & building automation and installing solar. We have been awarded a $500 runners-up award.
The following Energy Update describes the many energy initiatives we have undertaken at St Luke’s.
Since 2020 St Lukes has undertaken significant energy saving initiatives including installation of solar panels, a new 96% efficient boiler system, a new building automation system and additional conversion to LED lighting. These changes have resulted in significant energy cost reductions as well as significant reduction of greenhouse gas production. Outside temperature variations and changing building use patterns over the years also affect energy use.
The new boiler system consists of 4 interacting heating modules. As temperatures drop outside, additional modules are only engaged when more heat is needed thereby making the system very efficient. The new building automation system provides both electric and gas savings due to more efficient electric motors and better temperature control.
During 2018, before the updates, our electric usage was 147,139 kWh and natural gas usage for heating was 14,509 therms. During 2023, the electric use was 68,240 kWh and gas was 8,017 therms, a 54% reduction in electric use and 45% reduction in gas use. Our energy use reduction resulted in a carbon emission reduction of over 129,000 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The solar panels generated approximately 75,000 kWh of electricity during the past year resulting in over a $5,000 reduction in energy charges. In addition, the PV credit from the solar panels was over $2,400 and the Saver Switch credit from the air conditioners was $1,530, further reducing our electric bill. Also, the Demand Charge on the electric bill is approximately $200 less due to St Luke's using less electricity during the year.
The total cost savings of these initiatives was approximately $12,000 for electricity costs and $4,000 for natural gas costs. For comparison, the electric bill for 2018 was $17,775 and the bill for 2023 was $5,834, a savings of almost $12,000.
Other energy efficient upgrades in 2023 included the installation of the new roofing in the the education wing which allowed for the installation of R30 installation to that roof section. The conversion to LED lighting in the education wing and the sanctuary will also provide future energy savings.
Much thanks to all who helped make this happen including Larry Nelson, Marc Dunham, Mark Hagelin, Jean Lingen, Kevin Schulz, David Carpenter, and others. If you are interested in helping on the Energy Committee, please contact Larry Nelson.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This truth is also found in the Book of Ecclesiastes…
“All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
One of my seminary professors James Limburg shared the following on enterthebible.org
“Ecclesiastes offers honest reflections on the human quest for meaning, on the realities of life on this earth and under God.
This understanding comes after the author is unable to find meaning in life.
We may attempt to find meaning by living only for one’s work (workaholism), or to accumulate more and more knowledge (intellectualism), or to find more and more exotic, pleasure-producing thrills (hedonism), or purchase more and more psessions (materialism), however none of these or other trivial pursuits will ultimately not be satisfying.
The book is also in touch with reality, recognizing that earthly existence is marked by problems of injustice, evildoing, and chance accidents. There are many questions that we have about God, about what God is doing, and about death. We will have to learn to live with these questions. In the meantime, the book counsels us to enjoy one another’s company and to enjoy the day-by-day good gifts that God gives us.”
This is how I understand Lent. It is a season of discipleship, a period to be renewed in faith, living in God's creation while waiting on God's salvation. Lent is the forty-day season (excluding Sundays) of penitence and preparation for the Three Days of Holy Week and Easter.
Although it was originally only a two-day period of preparation, Lent became a three-week preparatory period in the middle of the fourth century. It became six-weeks by the end of the fifth century.
This excludes Sundays, which are considered little Easters. Thus, Lent begins not on Sunday, but on Ash Wednesday. This is where we get forty days.
The practice of forty days of Lent recall Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness after his Baptism (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:1-2) as well as Moses’ forty-day fast on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:28).
St. Luke’s like many congregations will have mid-week worship, a wonderful act of discipleship.
Join us on Ash Wednesday at 11 AM or 7 PM, February 14. On this Valentine’s Day remember that you are loved and are called to love all people in Jesus’ name.
You can grow in that love through Acts of Discipleship, Obedience and Dedication.
Obedience: Giving something up.
Dedication: Taking something on.
The practice of fasting (or “giving something up”) during Lent is not required for Lutherans because it is not commanded in Holy Scripture. Rather, as a matter of Christian freedom, starving oneself of a pleasure of the flesh is a way to remember daily the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to pay for the world’s sin. Some give up chocolate, coffee, soda, withholding any simple daily pleasure in rememberance of the Lord' sacrifice.
The practice of taking something on also is not required, but it is in following Jesus’ command to love God, neighbor, self and all creation. Some will start or continue the daily Gospel of Mark readings (click here for the link), gather 40 items to donate, write notes of appreciation, start or continue an exercise routine, any daily activity dedicated to the Lord.
Remember it is for the 40 days. You can enjoy your pleasure or rest from your dedication on Sundays.
Join us for the Lent Wednesdays, February 21, 28, March 6, 12, and 19.
11 AM Worship followed by lunch.
7 PM Worship with Holden Evening Prayer. Prior to this, dinner at 5:30 and educational opportunities from 6-6:55 PM.
May this season be a blessing to you as you again experience the depth of Jesus’ obedience and the great love of God, to redeem a world so desperately in need of salvation. For our bodies one day will return to the dust, but our life in Christ is for all eternity.
In the comments, please share your Lent Discipline, what you are giving up or taking on?
I will be doing the Forty Item Collection for Forty Days. Each day of Lent I will remove one item from my home that I no longer wear or need. At the end of the forty days I will donate them to ARC Value Village.
Prayers and Blessings during this season of Lent and always, Rob
St. Luke’s RaiseRight – 2023 Annual Report
Most people have the desire to be generous to make the world a better place. Many find it difficult to set aside funds to do so. There is a simple and effective way to give, simply by shopping.
RaiseRight is easy—and it works. By using gift cards (Actual Cards or download the App for Online Cards) to pay for everyday and not-so-everyday, expenses, each participant can earn over $1,000 each year. No selling. No extra time. No extra money. Participating companies give a percentage of the gift card you purchase to the organization you choose. It is the top fundraiser for St. Luke’s and all of it goes to missions. Here’s the list of the recipients and the amount each received.
2023 St. Luke’s Distribution of RaiseRight funds:
$1000 – Feed My Starving Children
$1000 – VEAP
$500 – Lift Garage
$200 – Bundles of Love quilts
$100 – Tied quilts
$200 – Card Ministry (used Michael’s gift cards from stock for purchases)
In addition, it was used for supplies with “God’s work. Our Hands.” – Specifically the Oasis for Youth Blessing Bags. Each Gallon Bag indicates gender and size and contains:
$ 22.07 Target
$ 40.00 Michael’s
$440.01 Total, plus some additional funds for other supplies
St. Luke’s spent $173.50 in administration costs for the program in 2023 (software fee, shipping expense for bulk orders. Bev tried not to place an order to be shipped to her unless the rebates generated by the order would cover the cost of shipping which was $10.50 per shipment in 2023. As of 2024 January, shipping costs went up to $11.)
We currently have a total of $1935 in gift cards in stock:
You can even pay online to St. Luke’s: RaiseRight
5 – Amazon, ranging from $25-100
6 – Cub Foods, $25-100
4 – Chipotle, $10-25
3 – Happy Moments, $25
5 – Holiday, $25-100
5 – Home Depot, $25
1 – McDonald’s, $10
2 – Menard’s, $100
4 – Michael’s, $25
2 – Panera, $10
1 – Shake Shack, $25
1 – Starbucks, $10
2 – Subway, $10
1 – Taco Bell, $10
3 – Target, $25
2 – TJ Maxx, $25
2- Total Wine, $25
2 – Walgreens, $25
5 – Walmart, $10-25
6 – Visa, $25-50
* Happy Moments are good at Red Lobster, Ulta, Macy’s, Cracker Barrel and Buffalo Wild Wings
Thank you to all who support the Ministries of St. Luke’s. One unique way is to participate in the RaiseRight Mission Support Fundraiser. Much thanks to Bev Brosam who champions this cause and for the members who participate in the program.
“Whoever offers blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25
To learn more and participate contact Bev Brosam, she is always willing and ready to help. She can also provide you with St. Luke’s RaiseRight code and help get you set up with the RaiseRight app.
St. Luke’s 2024 Readers’ Choice Award Winners
Voted as the best Church in Bloomington for:
These awards show how much our members and neighbors love St. Luke’s – and what’s not to love!?
One community with two styles of worship:
8:30 Traditional with hymns and 10 AM Praise Music
One community with four music groups:
St. Luke’s Choir, Jubilee Praise Team, Bells of Praise, and Children's Choir.
One community welcoming many children to VBS: There are St. Luke’s church members, St. Luke’s Preschool Students, Learning Tree Development Children, children from our neighborhood, with many of them inviting their friends. All of them are loved and cared for by amazing Student Leaders and Adults. It is not only “The Best Week of the Summer!” but the best in Bloomington!! – 2024 VBS “Camp Firelight” is June 24-27, 2024
We are living out our mission:
We are a welcoming and growing community of Faith,
busy making Christ known to the world
St. Luke’s 2023 Annual Meeting
2024 Congregational President Leah DeSchepper enjoyed looking back last year as St. Luke’s celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The focus for the year ahead is looking forward into the next century. Please keep the Council in your prayers.
Leah DeSchepper, President
Mark Bergherr, Past President
Kelsy Newby, President Elect
Paul Sundet, Treasurer
Rani Hayden, Secretary
Britt Halaas, Missions
Becky Olson, Worship and Music
Jane Nechville, Community Life
Tim Krieg, Stewardship
Kerry Kollodge, Faith Formation
Greg Hornicke, Member at Large
Nominations were accepted for Property. We will announce the representative when appointed by the Council.
In the weeks and months ahead the Council Members will introduce themselves during worship, and be available between to meet you.
St. Luke’s Foundation – Members all returning
Pat Lair, President
Diane Gilmer, Treasurer
Helen Schatzlein, Secretary
Paul Kopnick, member
Jodi Murphy, member
2024 Minneapolis Synod Assembly – St. Luke’s will be represented by:
Brenda DeSchepper and Kevin Schulz with Julie Schroeder, alternative if needed.
“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.” Romans 12:4-6a
St. Luke’s Staff – Along with our elected leadership, please hold the staff in your prayers.
Greg Anderson, Director of Jubilee Praise Team
Candi Brand, Preschool Teacher
Susana Castillo, Custodian
Tracy Engdahl, Preschool Teaching Assistant
Nancee Erickson, Wedding Host
Angela Hanson, Director of Children and Youth Choir
Emily Hendricks, Director of Children and Family Ministry and Vacation Bible School
Heather Kambeitz, Minister of Finance
Pat Lair, St. Luke’s Choir Director
Lori Murray, Organist and Accompanist
Rob Norris-Weber, Pastor
Alanna Teragawa, Director of Bells of Praise
Cheryl Thiele, Office Support
Barb Watson, Preschool Director
and let us welcome…Tommy Denesen, St. Luke’s Part-Time Office Support
Tommy works for the family business, "Most Wanted Comics". His responsibilities include social media accounts, customer service, editing the website, answering emails, merchandise products within the store, and planning inventory purchases. Over the next few years, he plans to work his way through college as he studies marketing and business.
One of the joys of a congregation is to raise up leaders. Tommy started attending St. Luke’s as a child. He was confirmed at St. Luke’s. He is active on the Stewardship Team, one of the Video Techs for worship and participates with his family hosting Pizza Night for Wednesday Night Live Dinners.
Tommy graduated from Jefferson High School in 2023. Some notes from his biography on the 2023 St. Luke’s High School Graduate Board: He enjoys writing, reading, a playing the saxophone in his spare time.
His Bible Verse is John 11: 25-26: I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Word of Encouragement for younger students: The faith you build in childhood can help to guide you through difficult times during the rest of your life. Also know that you are always loved by somebody, because Jesus always loves you.
Sunday, January 28, 2024 – 11:15 AM
“Let’s trust the promises that keep us going. God always keeps his word. Let’ see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, worship together, spurring each other on, especially as we see the promises fulfilled as we faithfully follow Jesus.” – Hebrews 10:23-25 MSG paraphrased.
What a year it has been! What a year it will be!!
I cannot help but feel grateful about the past year and excited for the year ahead with all that St. Luke’s was, is, and will be as we faithfully follow Jesus.
As a member of the congregation I ask you to do Five Things:
1. Read the Annual Report. If you have not done so, please take the time prior to the Annual Meeting. Use this LINK or get a hard copy at church.
2. Attend the Annual Meeting. Be a part of the decision-making process. We invite you to come in person or join online (stlukesbloomington.org).
The meeting will begin when we have a quorum.
Agenda includes (Not in this order):
President’s and Pastor’s Reports
Treasurer’s Report which includes:
The 2023 Financial Statement
The 2024 Budget Proposal. (This requires a congregational vote.)
St. Luke’s finances strong, but precarious.
Personnel Committee Update. We are fully staffed. Come welcome Tommy Denesen, Office Support.
St. Luke’s Foundation Meeting
Elections: Ballots will be available at the Annual Meeting and online.
This includes (These require a congregational vote):
3. Opt-In to the New Church Directory. Thank you to all who have submitted a picture and updated their contact information. This is an in-house/online production. You do not have to include a picture. You also do not have to be in the directory. This is an invitation. As the saying goes, “Know that you are known, as you make yourself known.” If you would like to participate simply email firstname.lastname@example.org Include your names, contact information you would like to share, and a photo if you so choose.
4. Complete your 2024 Ministry Handbook. This is an annual opportunity to live out the core values of St. Luke’s. We invite you to consider an opportunity in each area: Service, Worship, Evangelism, Community, Stewardship, and Discipleship. Like the directory, you can use this LINK or pick one up at the church.
5. Pray. This is the greatest resource. Pray for St. Luke’s. Pray for those who accept the responsibility of leadership. Pray for our members. Pray for our community. Pray for all of God’s creation. By attending the meeting you gain valuable insights into the direction of our church and the goals we hope to achieve. By attending the meeting you will strengthen a sense of unity and shared purpose with St. Luke’s.
Last, but not least, annual meetings are more than numbers and budgets; they are a time to celebrate the achievements and milestones of St. Luke’s. It is a chance to reflect on the past year and recognize the ways in which God has been at work within and through our community.
What are you looking forward to or have questions about the Annual Meeting.
Ongoing prayers and blessings,
CAMP VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL HS MISSION–VBS in NYC HS SAILING
Winter is here, but Summer is coming…
Today Camp Wapo 2024 Registration Opened. There are opportunities for all ages. St. Luke’s chooses a specific time for Children and Youth, but know that the camp has a number of opportunities throughout the year for all ages. There are 3 different sites:
Camp Wapo is on Lake Wapogasset Lake and Bear Lake in Amery, WI. It is a special place to encounter God's word, make friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime. If you went to camp, share one of your fond memories in a comment below.
St. Luke's has space reserved, but you can go anytime. This is the residential camp that St. Luke’s promotes for 1st – 12th Grade Students, with a specific weeks for specific ages. Ages listed is the grade the student just finished. I encourage you to explore their website: https://lakewapo.org/
St. Luke’s Registration Link is: http://lwlbci.com/stlukes-blmt
2024 Summer Camp Weeks:
Youth (4th-8th) July 7-12 = $650
Ox Lake (7th-12th) July 7-12 = $650
Seed Camp (1st-3rd) July 12-24 = $260
St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School
Camp Firelight - June 24-27
Surrounded by water, trees, and rolling hills, Camp Firelight is the perfect location for every Camper’s favorite summer activities!
During each assembly session, Campers join first-time camp counselor Sam and Lu (short for Lumen), the lightning bug puppet, and learn to face their fears while trusting in God. Each day, Campers see Counselor Sam face new challenges, from as simple as leading Campers on a hike to as intimidating as meeting a new and wise nature expert. With the help of Lu the Lightning Bug and the Camp Counselor Guidebook, Counselor Sam and our Campers explore timeless Bible stories that show how Old and New Testament Campers trusted God in the face of their own fears and went on to do great things in God's name.
Through these stories, this program will teach us about people in the Bible who experienced the gift of a trusting relationship with God. In addition, it will teach us to trust that God will go with us, lead the way, share wisdom, to give us peace, and spark joy as we celebrate the good news of Jesus in our own lives and in the lives of others. We will also learn ways we can connect with and put our trust in God whenever we are afraid, challenged, or called to do God's work in the world and share the Good News of God's love through Jesus Christ.
2024 - New York City VBS
Taking Vacation Bible School on the Road. We will partner with a church in New York City to lead VBS – the same one we will do at St. Luke’s. This is an amazing time of growth and maturity. Most students when reflect back say, “It was my favorite trip.”
Information Session and Sign Up is on Sunday, February 4 at 11:15 AM in Fellowship Hall
Dates will be determined by those who are able to go. Cost will be the same as camp = $650.
High School Sailing Trip for the Classes of 2024 and 2025.
Cost = $425
Students will be leaving their harbors and sailing onto the next adventure in their lives. A wonderful time of reflection and preparing for their futures. The trip includes living together on a sailboat, making meals, learning how to sail, having morning devotions and the students lead evening devotions. Each claims a Bible Verse for the year ahead.
“Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people…” -Acts 2:47a
Last Sunday we celebrated Baptism of our Lord. Everyone who attended received the 2024 St. Luke’s Ministry Handbook. The picture above is from the front cover. The theme this year is, “Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people the Lord added to their numbers.”
Last week the St. Luke’s 2024 New Year’s Resolution was reading the Gospel of Mark. Fun to see so many people participating. There are still a few Serendipity Bibles available in the Hallway Library on the shelf right of the Great Room entrance. One member shared with me that the questions connected with each of the readings have helped her get a lot more out of the reading. Also, if you’re interested in a small group experience, and the 6-7 PM Wednesday night Bible Study doesn’t work for you, contact me and we will find a time that works best for you and others.
New Year’s Resolution 2.0 is the Ministry Handbook
St. Luke’s members are encouraged to live out our mission by choosing one opportunity of each Core Value. Remember when you sign up, it’s not a life sentence, that’s why we have an annual Ministry Handbook and invite people to sign up each year. Your interests or commitments change year to year, so too can your area of participation. Handbooks are available at the Welcome Desk or online HERE.
Looking at the handbook can be overwhelming, so let me encourage just a few of which there is need.
Altar Guild prepares the church for worship including setting up for communion, baptisms, candle usage, and changes the seasonal paraments. Didn’t they do a fabulous job helping us celebrate the Advent and Christmas Seasons! Prayerfully consider joining and give thanks: Bette Gamboni, Diane Arellono, Kathy Dunham, Jane Nechville, Marilyn Nelson, Nancy Schulz, Phyllis Kilmer, Vi Rozek, Betty Bender and Maddie Boyle. A couple others have recently attended, but there is room for more.
Sound, Video, and Camera Techs – (Page 3 in the handbook) It would be wonderful if we had enough people participating so it would be a monthly commitment: we are close, prayerfully consider. You will receive training. Here is our current roster, feel free to connect with anyone of them to learn more about each opportunity, and at the very least take a moment to thank them as you enter or depart worship from the Narthex. Note a couple people are listed in more than one opportunity.
Sound: Dan Cinnamon, Nancee Erickson, Kim Fokken, Tony Kambeitz, Jayson Ness, Jon Sasseville. Could use four more.
Video: Tommy Denesen, Kim Fokken, David Johnson, Howard Johnson, Diane LaFontaine. Could use three more.
Cameras: Kim Fokken, David Johnson, Eli Norris-Weber, Ethan Norris-Weber, Mark Roberts, Richard Wright. Could use three more.
Church is not a place, or an event, it is the people who gather as the Body of Christ working together as Jesus voice, hands, and feet. Thank you St. Luke’s!
“We are a welcoming and growing community of faith,
busy making Christ known to the world.”
Living out our Core Values - Simply What Every Christian/Congregation Should Do.
Simply What Every Congregation Should Do
Service + Worship + Evangelism + Community + Stewardship + Discipleship
Ongoing prayers and blessings, Rob
952-881-5801 ext. 103
Every year the Church celebrates the Baptism of Our Lord Sunday. Jesus’ baptism is found in all four of the Gospels: Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23; and John 1:29-24. Each shares the story a little differently. The one thing all four have in common is the description of the Holy Spirit descending from heaven like a dove.
During baptism we pray, “Pour your Holy Spirit upon [Name of the person being baptized], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence. Amen.”
This is followed by the Cross of Christ stating, “[Name of the person being baptized], child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. Amen.”
On this Sunday, you are invited to remember your baptism. We will celebrate both sacraments, baptism and communion. As you come to the table for communion you will have the opportunity to stop at the font and remember your baptism.
Martin Luther pointed out that you should do so daily saying, “When you wash your face remember your baptism.”
In preparation, I thought it appropriate to share Luther’s explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism from his small catechism. He has the style of asking a question and then sharing the answer. Many of us had to memorize the Small Catechism. A challenge for you to answer it in Luther’s Word, but more importantly for you to be able to explain it in your own words.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Martin Luther*
What is Baptism?
Answer: Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God's command and connected with God's Word.
Which is that word of God?
Answer: Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
What benefits does God give in Baptism?
Answer: In Baptism, God forgives sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe what he has promised.
What is God’s Promise?
Answer: In Mark 16 our Lord Jesus It is not water that does these things, but God’s Word with the water and our trust in this Word. Water by itself is only water, but with the Word of God it is a life-giving water which by grace gives the new birth through the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul writes in Titus 3: “He saved us…in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. The saying is sure.”
What does Baptism mean for daily living?
Answer: It means that our sinful self, with all its evil deeds and desires, should be drowned through daily repentance, and that day after day a new self should arise to live with God in righteousness and purity forever.
St. Paul writes in Romans 6: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
*Source: The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther. Augsburg Fortress. 1979
Baptism is not a one and done life insurance policy, but a gift that is to be shared with others as Jesus shared, “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
We do that by living out the baptism call:
Read the Bible.
Know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments.
Trust God and proclaim Christ through word and deed.
Care of God’s creation, including all people.
Note that these responses are not a prerequisite to be baptized, instead they are a response to having been welcomed, washed, and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. May we forever remember to walk wet. Amen.
Read the Gospel of Mark – Perfect New Year’s Resolution
On the Mark! Three ways to read the Gospel of Mark
Weekly Readers: Attend Worship between January 7 – April 7 and you will hear a majority of the Gospel. This includes Special Lent and Holy Week Worships.
Daily Readers: Read all 678 verses of Mark. This is done Monday through Friday. Click here for the reading plan.
Bible Study Options:
To Sign up or if you have questions Contact:
email@example.com / 952-881-5801 ext. 103
What will be your New Year’s Resolution? One of these or another? Share your comment of what you plan to do…