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Wednesday Words - February 18, 2015

Thought for the Day: Your paths, O LORD, are steadfast love and faithfulness. (Ps. 25:10)

Life’s paths are often fraught with peril. We have clearly seen this recently in France, Denmark, and for 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt. 

We have seen the pathways of some affected by natural and human-made disasters. We have seen the pathways cluttered for others through Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.

Family crises have blocked our paths to spiritual wellness because of family strife, financial difficulties, and strained relationships.

We clearly need our pathways cleared of the clutter and a way out of many dead ends.

In this Lenten season we are invited to journey with Jesus down the pathway that leads to love and faithfulness.

Jesus’ love for us takes him through a journey that leads him to the cross. His faithfulness and obedience to his Father’s will leads him through death to resurrection.

Jesus journeys with us in our perils, through cluttered and blocked pathways, breaking open our hearts to witness to his love and faithfulness. 

You are welcome in this Lenten season to again travel down the paths of steadfast love and faithfulness as we hear stories from our fellow members regarding how God has been with them in the changes of life and helps us Make Change so that we might reflect Christ in message and actions.

Pr. Len

Wednesday Words – February 11, 2015

Pastor Len Hoffmann

Thought for the Day

Out of Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth in glory (Ps. 50:2)

How great it is to see the sun on these dark, dreary days of winter. How wonderful it is to feel the sun’s warmth when we are otherwise chilled to the bone. How beautiful the reflection of the sun off of the crisp fallen snow bringing extra brightness to the day.

Next Wednesday we begin our Lenten journey, but on this final Sunday in Epiphany we see the radiant splendor of God’s glory shining into our darkness. The true light has come into the world showing the glory of God and the fulfillment of God’s promises through the Son.

The one who was born in Bethlehem, baptized by John in the Jordan, tempted in the desert, and now made known and revealed as God’s beloved to his disciples will head down the mountain and begin the journey to Jerusalem to suffer, die and be raised in glory.

This Epiphany (God revealed) sheds light into our dark and dreary world. Christ warms us with the very love of God and breaks the chilling bonds of sin. God’s love is reflected on our lives to brighten our path and lead us onward wherever that journey may lead us.

We are now empowered to Reflect Christ in Message and Actions.

Pr. Len

Wednesday Words - February 4, 2015

Thought for the Day:

The LORD heals the brokenhearted. (Ps. 147:3)

Broken hearts can be a physical thing: a heart attack, a heart valve problem, clogged arteries, an enlarged heart, or congestive heart failure.

Broken hearts can be emotional: loss of a job, loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a home, loss of physical or mental abilities, or loss of a dream.

Broken hearts can also be spiritual: a sense of abandonment by God, a sense of God not answering our prayers in a timely fashion, estrangement from the community of the church, absence from worship and the sacrament for a length of time, disappointment with a pastoral leader, or a congregational decision.

Our Psalmist reminds us that God heals the brokenhearted.  God uses doctors, surgeons, and cardiologists to heal the physically brokenhearted.

God uses family, friends, colleagues, therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists to heal the emotionally brokenhearted.

God uses God’s word and sacrament, worship, prayer, music, Bible study, communities of faith, pastoral leaders, and individual believers to heal the spiritually brokenhearted.

God sends our Lord, Jesus Christ to heal our broken hearts again and again, and gives us new life, hope, forgiveness and love!

Pr. Len

 

What we are called to do….

To work with older adults experiencing difficulties with health and the spiritual impact of those difficulties.

Somewhere in my youth, I remember being taught in Sunday School to use the talents God has given you. I try to do this and help wherever I see a need.

Family – education

My call story – helping those whoa re lonely and grieving.  Just listing or whatever and anywhere else I see a need.

I was fishing with my husband. It was early in the morning. I was conflicted about whether we should try for a third child.  I had already caught 4 fish and prayed – Lord, if I’m supposed to have another child, let me catch another fish.  We fished for 4 more hours and I never caught another fish.  But I wasn’t satisfied with that as an answer so I prayed for another, more specific sign. The next day, I went into a gas station with my 2 kids.  A man I did not know came over to me, told me I had beautiful children and that 2 was the perfect number. He even told a story about being in church watching a woman with 3 kids and how she needed another hand. Then, I realized that 2 is the perfect number of kids.  Jen Beier

Called for music, children, Mom & Gram

Called to continue to fight for the “underdog,” the disenfranchised, the outcasts, whether here or around the world.

Called to study biblical prophesy – have done for 30+ years.

Where God has called me:  Father, husband, architect

God gave me the intelligence and ability to serve others as a Certified Public Accountant.

I am living my call by sharing my time and talents in the ministries at Bethany and the wider church.

Called to listen and encourage.

To show my Christian faith at work.

I was blessed to be one of two parents who raised a set of adopted twins.

To make blankets or afghans for Project Linus.  My love to knit and quilting lets me share what I make with others.  I have been given boxes of yarn from I don’t know by who.  By using it I can help others.

I was called to teach but after 34 years, I hung up the phone 12 years ago.  Now I am waiting by the phone for the next call.

God is calling me to be an advocate for those with autism.  I feel this need to make sure people understand what autism is so that this group of people can feel a part of society.

Called to offer true friendship to lonely.

To be good parents and supportive grandparents.

God has called me to offer support to a friend in need, due to a family loss.

Have faith and know that it will all work out.  Be kind and supportive even if it is difficult.

PADS – I serve to help the homeless.

God calls me to take my son to church.

I am called to do my very best even when I feel like I have no energy left to give because if I can do it, why settle for less.

My calling is to raise my children to be strong in spirit and faith. Toe be kind and compassionate in a difficult world where it is easy to choose a different path.

I love horses.  They make me feel like I have something to care for.  God calls me to serve those in need.

I have been called to be a lay servant in this church!

I try to work for social justice – love thy neighbor stuff.

Where is God calling?  To raise our family.

Taking a friend to a doctor appointment and coordinating the blood drive.

My calling is the Bethany Garden.

What God calls you to do?  Being supportive to others by listening and in action.

God is calling me to continue to reach out to an elder in our church that is recovering from a fall.

My calling:  helping people and animals in need, caring for my elderly parents, providing a positive experience and presence.

My calling:  financial background, help with financial aspect of Bethany Lutheran Church and my musical ability to sing in the choir.

Confirmation ministry, Good Samaritan, Food Pantry and Stephen Ministry.

In being on my sport teams and becoming a better person and athlete.

I feel most called when I help with Mission Save A Smile in Panama.

I’ve been called to work with and assist individuals (adults with mental illness) to work on building and developing skills to deal with serious mental illness.  We work to develop independent living skills including vocation and employment.

Called to be a helpful grandma and to be there when they need me.

Called to help others in my daily life however I can – church, my children’s school and anywhere else.

Called to teach kindness to others and to ourselves.

Playing bells and making quilts.

Called to help with the finances of the church and to volunteer time.

Service, Organizing, Sewing.

Called to help raise my kids to be loving and kind individuals who believe in God.

Teaching and coaching teenagers and making them better people and students.

In my family, I am called to help my brother as a bone marrow donor to help cure his leukemia.  I am called as a teacher and to love my kids and husband.

Called to be a mom!

Called to be my husband’s wife and daughter’s mom.

Called by music, bell choir and crocheting/knitting.  Called by the prayer chain and volunteering to bake food for activities.

Serving the food pantry and altar helper.

Leader of the men’s group.

Called to teach and learn languages, PADS helper and work with abused/neglected children.

Property

Help others, nursing.

Being kind to others.

Called to work with children.

Music.

Teaching, helping others, Habitat for Humanity.

To serve.

Caring for my 49 year old handicapped son.

To help students see they have so much to offer to the world.

Altar care and provide cookies for Sheltered Village.

Called to teach and be a welcoming friend.

I feel called to show the beauty of the earth through art.

Assist in the maintenance of Gods house.

Cooking for PADS.

To be a helpful brother.

I feel called to help and serve with mercy in any way possible.

I feel called to say nice things to strangers and comfort people who are hurting.

I am called to Children’s Ministry – to share the love of Jesus to children and to share the faith.

To be:  a dad, a husband and a grandpa.

I am called to financial controls.  I am called to reach out and help people see the blessings God has placed in their lives.

Caring for and supporting others.

Mother, friend, caretaker.

I was called to be a math teacher and cross country and track coach.  Now and always I am called to be a husband, father and grandfather.

?  Still waiting.

Called to serve our country in the military.

Called to volunteer:  PADS, soup suppers, chemo hats, quilts, chain drum ministry, mug delivery, welcome visitors, counter ministry and faithful stewards. 

Called to help at PADs, Fountains church, work in the kitchen baking and other ways.

To always be there to help and support someone who is struggling emotionally or physically.

My call:  My family and to help my community including co-workers, neighbors and fellow church members.

Call:  Being a parent and having 2 little girls.

I am called at work. I help protect people when they work in a high risk occupation

 

Wednesday Words - January 28, 2015

Thought for the Day:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Psalm 111:10

This Sunday’s Psalm points us on a path to wisdom, by fearing the Lord. There are three words in that sentence that often are misunderstood in today’s world. Those words are fear, wisdom, and Lord.

The word “fear” automatically triggers the idea in our minds that we are to be afraid. The Hebrew word here could mean this; it is, however, most commonly not understood of God in this way. It is not the idea of being afraid (like in punishment), but rather the idea of awe, wonderment, respect, adoration, praise. God is deserving of all of our praise and we hold God in highest esteem.

The second word is “wisdom.” Wisdom is not being smart or having head knowledge but it carries the connotation of insight, understanding, following, and being aware of our true direction in life. When we fear we hold God in awe and this sets us on the pathway to right living. Martin Luther reminds us in his explanation to the First Commandment that we are to “fear, love and trust in God above everything else.” When we do this we are on the path that God sets before us; a pathway that leads to insightful relationships with God and others.

The third word is Lord. Notice that the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version of the Bible) uses this L-O-R-D in all small caps to represent the Hebrew YHWH. This name is so sacred and special that it was not to be spoken.

It is in Christ that the full nature of God’s fear, love and trust is possible, because in Christ we discover a God who comes to us up close and personal (in the flesh). We have a God we respect and hold in awe, but we also see a God who is loving and compassionate, as God has always been, but made most clear in the person and work of Jesus.

As we celebrate Global Mission Sunday, we again are reminded of how we are to accompany our neighbors both far and near so that all might hold God in respect and awe for the loving acts of kindness that he bestows and that we are to share. 

We walk with others so that all might come to believe that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; walking with Jesus, God’s son who lights our way and gives us a true direction for or lives.

Pr. Len

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