Do you understand why this is happening? To what am I referring? It could be many things, I suppose. But for now, let’s consider suffering.
There are so many ways in which people suffer, and not just during this global pandemic. Is it loneliness? Is it job loss or downward adjustment? Is it illness? Is it monetary misery? Is it family discord? Is it… Think back to the Old Testament account of Joseph and his brothers. What suffering Joseph endured! There was family mistreatment, a slavery sale, a forced move to a strange land, separation from his father, a false accusation, extended undeserved jail time! I have to believe that Joseph knew about suffering. But you know the ending! If not, take the time to read the last chapters of Genesis, beginning at chapter 37.
There were many years that Joseph did not understand why he suffered so. Ultimately, God made it clear. Joseph himself acknowledged that when he said, “You (his brothers) intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Will you some day clearly see why you suffered? Maybe. But, like Joseph, trust that God in still in control. Jesus, as your Good Shepherd, will keep you safe in his loving arms until you finally arrive in his saving arms in heaven.
Our classrooms may be empty, but students and teachers are trying their best to continue learning. Their teachers are providing Pre-K through second grade students learning activities, and parents assist by communicating with teachers. Phones and video conversations work well for networking.
Our 3-8 grade students took their Chromebooks and textbooks home on March 13. Other than the week of spring break, teachers have been using technology to provide “virtual” learning. Though it presents challenges when students and teachers can’t meet in person, the Google Classroom and other available technology assist us as we work hard to carry out our purpose.
Dear members of Our Savior Lutheran Church,
We want to express our sincere appreciation for your Christian kindness and support to help our family offset some of our medical expenses. While we recognize this is a long road, right now appointments are on hold until doctors can start scheduling regular appointments once again. We continue to appreciate all your prayers and encouragement for our family as we wait patiently for the Lord’s direction for our health.
Joel and Amy Grulke and family
“Lord, your mercy reaches to the heavens. Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is as high as the mountains of God. Your justice is as deep as the ocean. You save both man and animal, O Lord. How precious is your mercy, O God! So all people find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
For good reason, many people are offering advice about how to deal with the challenges of the day. We could, I’m sure, create a long list of struggles due to COVID-19, such as illness, loneliness, suspicion, job uncertainty, and on and on. Please consider the following challenge: focus on thanking God! Review and reflect upon the past few hours, or days, and create a new list, a list of reasons for which to thank God! Think big, think small, think generally, think details. And then as you think of reasons to thank God, such as music, a sunrise, a favorite snack, an encouraging word, kindness, technology to share and hear God’s Word, prayer, the Bible…then pause and pray. Even during COVID-19, let us give him thanks for his love, mercy, care, compassion, forgiveness… Consider the last words of Psalm 30, “O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever.”
From the eyes of the church secretary: Howdy! Things sure have been different the last few weeks, haven’t they? While our office routine no longer includes producing News & Notes and bulletins each week, we are blessed to be able to communicate to all our members by sending weekly letters through 303 emails and 72 home mailings. I have also been busy getting caught up on some long-term office projects and continuing to prep and plan for our summer and fall calendar activities.
I miss the hustle and bustle of people visiting our campus and office and look forward to when we can all be together for worship in God’s house. Until then, I will keep meditating on one of my favorite Bible verses, Matthew 6:25-34. Blessings to all of you and your families during this “Safer at Home” order.
“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:7-9
We live in uncertain times; this year continues to be like no other. While we don’t know when we can return to onsite worship, we do know how the story ends. We have eternal life because Jesus died and rose again. No virus can take that from us.
While expenses continue to be under budget, General Fund income also continues to be less than projected. We pray God continues to provide for our congregation’s needs. We look forward to sharing more comprehensive information next month as we discuss our new Ministry Plan (budget).
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say this, those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness, in the wasteland. They did not find the way to a city where they could live. They were hungry and also thirsty, so their lives were draining away. Then they cried out to the Lord in their distress. He delivered them from their troubles. He led them by a straight way to come to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy and his wonderful deeds for all people, because he satisfies the desire of the thirsty, and he fills the desire of the hungry with good things.”
What if Christ never rose from the dead? Isn’t it great to know we will never have that as a concern? He is risen! What if God forgets about me? Again, it’s so reassuring to know that God will never forget about us. God is trustworthy. Our gracious Lord is fully aware of any “what if’s” you may have in your life. Find peace in the right place, that is, in the powerful promises of God. Take your “what if’s” to him in prayer and regularly turn your attention to his wonderful Word. Check out Matthew 6:25-34.
Thursday evening devotion at 7 pm and Sunday morning worship at 9:30 am.
The Church’s business is essential business!
Our leaders continue to meet utilizing various formats. Some updates
We can all join together in gratitude to our entire staff and volunteers who, during these different and difficult times, have adapted, used creativity and worked diligently to maintain our ministry here at Our Savior and in ways enhance it. Praise Jesus!
From the eyes of the school secretary: The school office is quiet. School is quiet. The classrooms themselves are “stuck in time” from Friday afternoon, March 13, 2020. Still, there is certainly much activity, in fact the time it takes to prepare and actually teach a lesson and learn from that lesson has drastically increased. Parents and students receive communication in a variety of ways directly from teachers. Families and teachers have creatively set up “work from home stations.” Fortunately, we are blessed with Chromebooks at Our Savior Lutheran School and they were quickly programed and sent home with students in gr. 3-8 on March 13.
Encouragement is our school year theme, and the encouragement one receives from seeing a picture of a student, an email from a parent checking in, a quick wave through a window shows the love of Jesus everywhere. We miss each other. Each decision, idea, or suggestion presents a new set of challenges, however, there are so many reminders of God’s hand in all of this. Students, teachers, and parents are all learning lots. Acting Principal Jon Hahm emails letters to the parents and the Warrior Weekly continues to be published, archiving this most unique time in history.
Over the past five weeks (since we’ve gone to online worship services), 116 giving units contributed $53,400 to the OSLC General Fund. Over these five weeks, the number of giving units utilizing online giving has increased from 11 to 36. However, for the same five calendar weeks in 2019, 219 giving units contributed $67,500. I thank the Lord for more members giving online during this time when offerings cannot be physically brought to church. I also encourage you to consider the church’s ongoing expenses when planning your gifts. It’s also not too late to donate to assist the Grulkes with medical expenses. Checks should be made out to OSLC.
We are grateful as you financially support the ministry of Our Savior. You may mail your offering envelopes or drop them off in person at the church office (they will be placed in the safe). Other options include using direct checks from your bank that are mailed to our church, or engaging Vanco, an online giving service, through our church website. See Dale Meyer’s reference above.
Please let us (Pastor Wagner, Mr. Hering or Sarah in the church office) know of any personal prayer requests.
Please send us new or updated email addresses and cell phone numbers. Thank you!
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing…) will be given to you as well.”