Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

July Newsletter 2021

“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8

The verse quoted above is but a mere sample of what is in those 6 chapters.  Out of Paul’s letters it is my favorite, and arguably, perhaps my favorite book in the entire Bible.  The jury is still out on that one because it is hard to settle for just one.  

But Ephesians makes a great contender for the best.  It was written by Paul in prison to one of his closest congregations in Ephesus.  Paul spent more time with them than any other congregation.  Paul’s letter to them is filled with many wonders and highlights truths that are central to the Christian Faith.  Here are just a few of the major themes and highlights:

  • The Trinity
  • God’s Eternal Will
  • The Doctrine of Election
  • The Economy of God (How God is working out the plan of salvation)
  • Christ’s Ascension (Reason and Purpose)
  • Salvation by Faith
  • Baptism
  • Equal Access to God for all in Christ
  • Mystery and Revelation of God
  • One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism
  • Office of the Ministry
  • Christological Meaning of Marriage & Vocations
  • The Church
  • Spiritual Warfare and The Armor of God

I will stop there.  But there is more.  Fortunately, from July 11th through August 28th, we will hear from Paul in Ephesians both during worship and from the pulpit.  Our lectionary focuses on Paul’s letter through the summer months and the topics are timely and pointed.
So join us (and continue to join us!) as we dig into how Christ is making a new creation through his physical body the church!

The rest of our letter will dig into what you need to know as we get through July and as we start looking into Fall.

July 25th, 2021 Voters’ Meeting
Mark your calendars for July 25th!  After we first get God’s gifts and good through Jesus Christ our Lord in service, we will have our next voters’ meeting.   There will be a few things we need to discuss and prepare for regarding the future, so please, for the sake of our Lord, make every intention to be there.  This meeting will be important to stay in the loop.

Here are some of the things we will need to discuss: Financials, Property, Vice President.  I envision that there will be more to discuss and review from the previous meeting.  

But if there is something that we need to put on the agenda that we are not aware of, please contact us at the church or reach out to leadership to pass it on so that we can prepare.  We will look forward to giving updates and having fruitful discussions concerning our life and ministry together as a congregation.

August 2nd through August 6th, Vacation Bible School!
Vacation Bible School is coming up.  If you have kids or grandkids, make sure you get them signed up!  The time ranges from 9:00am-11:30am.  Masks are optional for those in attendance.

Forms can be picked up in the office at church or filled in online on our website.  The theme this year is Treasure!

If are interested in helping or volunteering, contact the office or reach out to our DCE, Tammy.
We will have a few work nights in July to help set up and prepare.  The remaining nights are July 21st and 28th from 6-8pm.

August 8th, 2021 Outdoor Service & Picnic Potluck
Our June outdoors services were a lot of fun…for the two weeks we were able to have them! Wisconsin weather I tell you…  But we had several people ask if we were going to do more of them.

Well, you are in luck!  On August 8th, we will have the Church Service outside (weather permitting).  Then after we are fed the Word of God and Christ’s good gifts, we will enjoy a picnic outside as well.  Some of the elders and men are grilling and members are asked to bring something to share!  We will have outdoor games and food to boot.

Here is the tricky thing though: 9:00am service and a 10:15am potluck lunch is early to be eating.  And it does not make sense to have people go home and come back later.  So, to make it work that week, on Sunday August 8th, Service will be at 10:00am.  The potluck will commence following around 11:15am-11:30am.  

August 22nd, 2021 Ephesians 5 Service
Since we will be doing our Ephesians study in worship over the next two months, an important, but sadly misunderstood text concerning marriage is coming up: Ephesians 5:22-33.  Our service will be geared at talking through, understanding, and honoring God’s gift of marriage according to God’s institution with all its facets.

With that we will focus on several aspects of marriage: Being singled, married, divorced, and widowed.  We will look at marriage through the lens Scripture focuses on it: Jesus Christ and His love for His bride, the Church.

So, join us as we will have the married couples of our congregation renew their wedding vows, as we mourn and give thanks to God for spouses who have gone on to the Lord, as we turn broken hearts over to Christ for forgiveness and reconciliation, and to commend those who honor and serve marriage by respecting God’s institution and who can live their lives in hoping for what God gives and being able to wholly serve Him.

This is important to talk about and discuss.  Our world does it constantly and the Church needs to respond and be proactive with our lives and show the world how it is done.  No doubt many of our problems are a result of the pulpit and churches being silent and unhelpful.  Hopefully, you know that I am not afraid to say what needs to be said in the pulpit.  We Christians need to be on it and to cheer and encourage one another with God’s Word on these subjects.    

We live an era that trashes God’s gift of marriage with adultery, unchastity, lust, pornography, sex trafficking, living together before marriage, homosexuality, divorce, prostitution, and all the like.  And our sinful flesh aids in this all.  So let guilt and sorrow over sin lead us to turn to God and find healing from Christ who is willing and able to heal all our sin.  That will be the goal of our service that day.

Ministry Fair/Rally Day September 12th
More details will be coming soon on this, but it is good to get this on the radar.  Ministry will be back in full swing after Labor Day and the following Sunday, September 12th will be our Rally Day and our Ministry Fair.  We will have a lot of work to prepare and get ready for this, but we are excited to be getting back in the swing of things this Fall.  Continue to offer prayers to God for His continued work in our midst.

Confirmation
I will discuss this more at the July 25th voters’ meeting, but it is worth bringing up now.  Confirmation will be edited as I seek to try to meet the needs of forming and teaching our children the Christian faith.

First the name: It will no longer be 7th & 8th grade confirmation.  Starting this year, it will be called 1st and 2nd year confirmation.  We always have a couple 9th graders here and there and sometimes new members come who already have their child in confirmation in their previous church.  (My home congregation did 3 years of confirmation from 5-7th grade for example).
Another reason for this is that at times I see a kid who is ready a year or two early and would benefit from having confirmation earlier.  Plus, education is not like making a car model based on the year.  Some kids are ready earlier in life, others later.

I have a lot of other changes that I would love to relate, such as class workload, expectations, entrance interviews, and parent involvement but I do not have the space here to do it.  But I am now sending letters out to 4th-7th grade students and families to let them know of the changes and expectations.  If you are at all curious, I would be happy to explain further!
Sunday School

Like VBS, Sunday School registration is open, and we are excited to be having the kids back in person.  We are working on teachers and volunteers right now and if you are interested, give us a call.

Sunday School will begin on Rally Day, September 12th.

Financials
Our financials are still looking good. We are ahead around $10,000 which is great to see. In June we were able to send $1864 to the Lutheran Bible Translators for the tithe, plus the usual $2500 to the North Wisconsin District. That brings the total so far this year to $28,231 for outside ministries! In July the money will be split between two Lutheran radio programs that proclaim Christ over the airwaves: KFUO and Issues, etc. you can listen to both of them both online and on your podcast app.

Final Thoughts
Next month, as we approach fall and a new year, I will have more to say about things coming down the pipe, especially after we get through our voters meeting.  So, look for that information coming soon.

I also promised at the beginning of the year that I would be doing a theological essay for the congregation.  I am slowly working through it.  It is taking much longer than expected but I have had a blast getting into it when I have the extra time.  I was hoping to have it ready for our July 25th voters meeting, but it might be something I have prepared by the end of the year.
That is all for now.  God’s continued peace and love to you all in Jesus Christ.  I give thanks that we have such a wonderful and gracious Lord who has placed us together to serve in such a time as this.

In Christ,

Pastor Andrew Belt
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