Greetings Fellow Redeemed,
We have recently crossed the threshold into Summer, and the summertime activities of our communities and families are in full swing. Vacations have begun to take place, as well as weekend trips to family owned cabins. This is the time of the year when getting away for respite, and a change of scenery, generally happens. What a blessing it is when we are able to enjoy family time away from our jobs and the normal routine of our daily lives.
This is also the season of the church year when we discontinue Sunday school and reduce the number of Bible classes we offer in our congregation. As far as I know this seems to be the trend that has been carried out at Emmanuel for quite some time. Even though, we have reduced the opportunities for Christian education during the summer months, there is still the chance to meet together for Christian fellowship, Bible study, and worship on a weekly basis. Please prayerfully consider your summer schedule and make it a priority to gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ on Sunday mornings. What a wonderful way for you to start off the new week. I hope that as you commit to being with us each Sunday, you will experience a heightened level of spiritual growth and a more intimate relationship with your Lord and Savior Jesus. As King David so beautifully declared in Psalm 122:1; “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Over the next few weeks, we will be doing a survey in worship service and on line, to get feedback from our Emmanuel members, concerning our congregation and its ministry. There is a trend that has developed throughout Christendom, which has created a sense of disconnect between a growing number of Christians and their church families. This is not just something happening at Emmanuel, but all around our Synod and in other denominations. How people worshiped and lived out their faith in the past is much different in today’s world. The leadership of our congregation has a strong desire to know how we can do a better job of ministering to our members, and those we are reaching out to in the surrounding area. We would ask each of you to please take this survey seriously and do what you can to give us constructive feedback. It is our intention to serve God and His people in the best way we can, and to glorify our Lord in all we say and do. We need your help!
On July 4th our country will once again be celebrating Independence Day. For many of us it will be a holiday where we receive a day off of work. And even though it is on a Wednesday, our celebrations may very well include cook-outs, swimming, camping, and fireworks. Sometimes, we can get so involved in the celebrations, we forget to say a prayer of thanksgiving for all the blessings we have as free Americans. Many individuals sacrificed over the last 242 years, so you and I could celebrate our freedom. We should not forget them. And let us never forget to thank our Almighty God for this wonderful gift you and I are able to enjoy as citizens of these United States. It is only by His grace and mercy we exist in this free land. Let us with boldness declare as Americans and Christians, “In God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) We Trust.” May each of you enjoy a blessed 4th of July celebration!
And finally, I wish to share with each of you something that has been on my heart lately. June and I came to Emmanuel four years ago, so I could serve as your Vicar. This was a placement that may have been made initially by Concordia Seminary, but one I am sure was directed by God himself. After one year, you called me to be your Pastor, spiritual leader, and fellow brother in ministry. I can tell you with certainty, June and I have taken this calling very seriously, and we have placed our full trust in the Lord and His guidance, as we carry out our work in this congregation. We were sent, by the Lord, to do His work among and with you, and we are planning on being here until He decides otherwise. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away blessed be the name of the Lord. So, as for now my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, you are stuck with me. I hope and pray this is exactly what you were hoping for because I believe God has much more for us to accomplish in His name and by His power!