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Build Us Up Suggestions

Two Sundays ago, Pastor Paul asked the congregation to write down ways that we can build up our community.  You came up with some wonderful ideas. 

  • Work to get low cost housing in our community.
  • Preparing food for those who have recently given birth or had surgery.
  • Ask more people about themselves; learn their stories.
  • Something as small as smiling and wishing a stranger a nice day at the grocery store or when out.
  • Pass on a 10-20 gift card to a homeless person in our community with a note saying “Love”, “from God”
  • Each church in town take 1 month to fill Diaper Bank needs for Crystal Lake Food Pantry.
  • Look at current ministries.  See if we could add one that is more directly given to helping various parts of the community.
  • Being open and responsive to the needs of the marginalized in Crystal Lake.
  • More visitation of seniors who are home bound.
  • Grief share & divorce care, etc.
  • Take time to talk and listen to others, especially the children.
  • Say “hello, how are you?” to strangers.
  • Build up mom with visits and cards.
  • Send notes of Christ’s love and encouragement.
  • Read with a child.  Knit a hat for someone who is homeless or having chemo treatments or just somebody who is cold.
  • Midweek dinner for anybody.
  • Invite more people to join!
  • Youth Group & Vision Dancers go to retirement homes to entertain.
  • Invite a neighbor that I don’t know to come for coffee at my house.
  • Pray more!
  • Serve communion to Lutheran members in local hospitals regularly once a week.  Build them up.
  • Become a shooting star!!!
  • Use my time and skills to build up our girls and boys in scouting so they grow in confidence and courage. 
  • Donate to Good Samaritan Ministry
  • To help our homeless populations for a short time is to offer them a special meal with donation from our parishioners and volunteers.   
  • Revitalize Stephen Ministry!
  • Talk with kids about school; find out their hobbies; call or drop off a card to a shut-in. 


Wednesday Words - September 23, 2015

 “Build us up, Lord… help us to share your love with the world” ELW #670 

When we come together to worship, we remember our common story and this story brings us together as one people. When much of our society focuses on individual values and concerns, the church makes the claim that we are a community in Christ. Coming together to worship brings our community together over time through trust, support, and encouragement. Christ’s message of love, hope, and forgiveness builds us up. It is a message everyone deserves to hear and needs to hear, especially, in this hurting world.

This Sunday we will be signing the hymn “Build Us Up, Lord” (see text below). As we bring our voices together we bring all of who we are, the best and the worst and everything of ourselves, and stand and call out to Christ knowing that we are made one through him. Christ is making us new and building us up to be more than we ever thought we could be. May we be inspired to give of ourselves in a world that deserves to know the Good News of Christ. The world may tear us down, but may we always remember that Christ builds us up. Amen.

In Christ, 

Pastor Cathy


Build Us Up, Lord

1    Build us up, Lord, build us up;

set in us a strong foundation.

Lead us to do your holy will;

form and shape your new creation.

Build us up, Lord, build us up;

as we guide and teach each other,

help us to share your love with the world:

ev'ry sister, ev'ry brother.



Growing in Christ, we plant seeds for the kingdom;

we follow in faith what's begun!

Lord, set in our hearts the pow'r of your word

to spread the news of your Son!


2    Build us up, Lord, build us up;

let our lives reflect your glory.

Cast away all our doubts and fears;

help us tell the world your story.

Build us up, Lord, build us up;

help us bear good fruit for you,

Lord, give us vision and keep us sure.

Grant us faith that's steadfast and true.   Refrain


Wednesday Words - September 9, 2015

Thought of the Day:

But who do you say that I am? ~ Mark 8:29
I am enjoying meeting and greeting many of you. I am learning about where you live, about your jobs, your family, your hobbies, and more. This is a time of making connections and a time of getting a sense of who you are as I learn about your context. When we learn about each other there are insights to be gained, but there are limits to how much we can know about another person. We can never perfectly know another because we have not walked in their shoes and have not experienced the same moments another has experienced. Even two people who have lived together a long time and have a great relationship will find there are surprises in the other and still new insights to be gained. I think the best part of living in community is the ongoing surprises and insights that we can discover about each other.
In this week’s scripture lesson from Mark we hear about Jesus and the disciples’ continuing to development their relationship with each other. Jesus is curious about what people are saying about him. Jesus also asks the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”
This is a questions for all of us. What would you say to some who asked you, “Who is Jesus Christ?” and “Why do you follow him?”  As with relationships in our lives, our understanding of Jesus changes as we experience life in different ways. Our faith is strengthened and grows when we are engaged in community and we are in conversation learning and sharing our faith.
Fall is a great time to get back to participating in our wonderful Bethany community. I would like to encourage you to come and join us this Sunday for Rally Day and bring a friend. All are welcome! The theme is “We are a Colorful Bunch.” You are encouraged to wear your favorite primary color.
Sunday will also be Ruth Ann Poppen, our new Director of Worship’s first day. We will officially install her on Sunday, September 20.
Peace and blessings to you,
Pastor Cathy

Wednesday Words - September 2, 2015

Thought For the Day: 

They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. ~Mark 7:32

From this Sunday's Gospel reading we hear about two people that are healed, the daughter of a Syrophoenician woman and the deaf man who has a speech impediment. The two people that are healed are not the ones who ask for help from Jesus alone but are supported by their family and friends. The demon is released from the daughter after her mother asks Jesus for help on her daughter's behalf. The deaf man is brought to Jesus by his friends who beg for his help and healing. In these two stories it is not the faith of those who need help that brings about their healing but the active faith of their friends and family. This is a reminder for us to help, care, and pray for those who are struggling. 

We need each other! It has always bothered me when some people decide not to come to church when things are not going well in their lives and later come when things are better. My hope is that church is the first place people go when life is not going well. My prayer for you, those yet to come, and those we serve is that church is a place where we can let our hair down, a place where we think about going when life is bumpy, and a place where we know that we will be held up in time of need. Our faith community is important and it has the ability to hold others up so they do not fall. It has the ability to believe in Jesus when others cannot. It has the ability to speak on behalf of others who cannot speak for themselves. 

My family and I have felt your hands holding us up in the midst of much transition. We are more than grateful for your care and support. I thank God for this faithful community and encourage you to keep sharing that support, hospitality, and welcome to everyone that comes through the doors of Bethany Lutheran Church. 

In Christ's Peace,
Pastor Cathy


Wednesday Words - August 26, 2015

Thought For the Day

Being the father of a four month old baby has given me a new perspective on the importance of washing one’s hands.  Isaac, like most little babies, likes to chew on things, and one of his favorite things to chew on is fingers. It’s not just his own fingers that he finds irresistible, he is constantly reaching for the hands of whoever might be holding him at the moment - hoping to find a knuckle or two to chomp on. 

These days, I find myself scrubbing my digits a lot more often than I did in my pre-father stage of life. I’m finding there are a lot of unwritten rules that require a higher level of diligence when it comes to keeping things clean and sanitized for the sake of a baby.
But of course, rules of cleanliness and hygiene aren’t new the 21st century. They have been around for a long while.  

In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and other teachers of Jewish law had strict practices about specifically how to wash one’s hands before eating.  For them, cleanliness was a sign of holiness.  It was an outward way to show how perfect one was in the ways of the law.    

And so when the Pharisees caught Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands properly beforehand, they thought they had caught him in a moment of un-holiness.  So they ask Jesus “Why do your disciples eat with defiled hands?”  Jesus responded, “There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” He tells us that what makes a person unholy are the evil intentions that come from within – what makes a person unholy is sin.

The good news, is that through baptism, Christ dwells within us.   Our sinful selves have been put to death!  So my prayer for you this week, is that what pours out of you, and this congregation is the Word of God, and the Word of Life.  Thanks be to God.  


Pr. Paul


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