Showing posts from January, 2012

WELS Connection: Haiti

WELS Connection Close-up

Life hasn't been easy for Judeline Mady, an orphan in Haiti. At age 10, she lost both of her parents, and surviving family members were unable to care for her and her four-year-old twin sisters, Kesley and Keslande. But God had plans for her. He provided another family—one that would take care of her physical and spiritual needs.

In 2009, Judeline and her sisters arrived at an orphanage in the Leogane area run by Gesner Cledo NOZIL and his wife, Marie (whom the children affectionately call Mommy Dudu). “I think of Gesner and Mommy Dudu as parents for us,” she says.

WELS became involved with this orphanage and 18 others in the area in 2010 after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January of that year. WELS Christian Aid and Relief is providing humanitarian aid for the physical needs of the children. WELS Missionary Terry Schultz is serving their spiritual needs by teaching Gesner and workers from seven other orphanages about the Bible, so they, in turn, …

We preach Christ crucified

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

This past week, my 8-year-old daughter, Lydia, was helping me put up a Training Camp poster on the bulletin board in the school stairway. A pushpin fell on the floor. Lydia said, “Let me get that for you, Dad.” Now, before you think she is as sweet and innocent as she looks, she really said, “Let me get that for you, Dad … because you’re old.” Well, if I’m too old at 41 to bend over to pick up a pushpin off the floor, then, certainly, Epiphany must be too old to do anything of any importa…

Are You a Tipper or Tither or Both?

A couple invited some friends out to dinner. The food was very good, and the waiter was courteous and prompt. When they were finished, the host couple wrote out the tip on the credit card slip. To show their gratitude for their service, they gave 20 percent, which is becoming more and more common. As they left, the waiter smiled, happily acknowledging the satisfactory tip.

Interestingly, as the hosts filled out their offering envelope, it dawned on them that they paid a waiter, who they did not even know, more that what they were giving God in their weekly envelope. They gave the waiter beyond a tithe, but to God they gave leftovers.
Is this situation that uncommon among us? Do we take God’s goodness, love, and mercy for granted? For who God is and what he has done for us through his Son, he deserves our first and best. The next time you eat at a restaurant, ask yourself as you leave your tip whether or not God is receiving his appropriate response from you.

Gaining Life

North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, the Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan. Can you tell me what these nations have in common?

According to Open Doors USA, these are, in order, the top ten countries where Christians are persecuted. You've heard the expression, "It's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there?" Well, our brothers and sisters are not just trying to live in these countries, they actually do live there. They live there and, fearing persecution, they practice an underground form of Christianity.

In most of these countries that means no church buildings on every corner; it means no Bible studies at the local coffee shop, no wearing a cross or crucifix, no Sunday school or parochial school. It means no Christian TV or radio (although radio can beam in from other countries.) You get the idea?

All of this means the church in these places is dying. Right?

Actually, the answer is wrong. Rev. Carl Moeller, pre…

Celebration of the 85th Anniversary this Sunday

All of our WLS children will be singing in the 8:00 am worship service. The Epiphany Festival Choir will also be leading us in the Kyrie and the Gloria. There will be other fantastic musical accompaniment for our hymns of thanks and praise.

All of you are invited to bring a breakfast dish to share for our Breakfast Potluck beginning at 9:15 am in the Church basement.
At 10:00 am, we will have a dedication ceremony for the unique works of art created specifically for EpiphanyLutheranChurch. The paintings portray the two main events of the Epiphany season: The Magi following the star to Bethlehem and Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan.
We have invited Pastor Pope, who created the arches and the framework for the paintings, and his daughter, Melanie Schuette, the artist who painted these unique masterpieces of artwork for Epiphany, to attend our anniversary service. They will speak and answer questions after the dedication ceremony.
We have also invited former Epiphany pastors, Pas…

The State of the Church at Epiphany - 2011

2011 was the 84th year of God’s grace, Word and Sacraments celebrated and administered to God’s saints at EpiphanyLutheranChurch. In January we completed the first phase of our church renovation project. The walls were repaired and repainted a brighter shade of white that brightened the room and made the arch stand out even more so. Wallpaper was added around the sides of the sanctuary that will be durable for years to come. Great care was taken to preserve the integrity of our worship facility. Though we were making everything new, Doug Evans, who headed up our beautification committee, took great care to not make anything look modern (modern in a few decades only looks dated). For example, instead of using regular chair rail like you might use in your home, Don Kirby placed a single strip of oak around the interior, separating the wallpaper from the paint. We took down the two hymn boards which were rather plain and installed a single original, ornate hymn board that was found in th…

God Calls the Ordinary to Do the Extraordinary

1 Kings 19:19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you." "Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?" 21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.
Farmers, tentmakers, fishermen. What the Lord did then, He still does today. He uses the ordinary things to accomplish the extraordinary. He takes everday people, calls them to serve in His eternal Kingdom.
It shouldn’t surprise us that God wants to use the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary. Look at what He did with…

Follow your calling

John 1:43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46 "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." 48 "How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." 49 Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." 50 Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51 He then…

Baptism is the beginning and ending

Mark 1:4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." 9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

Did you know that the Bible begins and ends baptismally? I know…