Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

February 2022 Newsletter Article

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”  Jude 3

“We indeed have wished, in this work of concord, in no way to devise what is new, or to depart from the truth of the heavenly doctrine which our ancestors, renowned for their piety, as well as we ourselves have acknowledged and professed.”  -Preface to the Book of Concord paragraph 51.
This year we are digging into our Lutheran Confessions during our Sunday morning Bible Classes.  Found in the Book of Concord, we will go through documents such as the Large Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, and The Power and Primacy of the Pope just to name a few.  We will hit into a lot of topics about the Sacraments, worship, the Antichrist, the Power of the State and Church, the Office of the Ministry, just to name a slim few.

The goal will be to recapture the hope that our faith is founded upon, give clarity to who we are as Lutherans, and why Pastor is sometimes so adamant when it comes to this or that.  Ultimately these Confessions are a source of joy, something that we cannot lose as a church body but something that our laity are on the verge of losing.  These Confessions give and confess Jesus Christ in such a way that will grab your attention and make you see things in a whole new light.
Our Lutheran Confessions gave me solid footing during my early college years.  They gave me the joy and love of Jesus Christ and put my head on straight and drove my heart true into the Scriptures.  This is something I want to pass onto all of you.  

I made a vow to teach nothing beyond this Confession and will give an answer to Jesus on the last day for them.  And so, to fulfill that vow, it is time that we look at all of these together.  I will use these Newsletter articles this year to give you summary statements and points on each of the documents listed.  My hope is that they will pique your curiosity and desire you to hear more.
This month’s shocking and grabbing thought fall back on the two quotes listed above.  One from Scripture and one from our Confession’s Preface written in 1580.  So here is this month’s food for thought on why we are studying these Confessions: The claim of the Lutheran Church is that we are the Catholic Church purged of errors and confessing the faith that was delivered once to all the saints.  We are not an off shoot, we are not an imitation, we are especially not some heretical branch of Christianity.  Our claim is that our teaching and our doctrine and our life are in full conformity to the faith that has always been taught in the Church.

The Lutheran Church is not merely 500 years old.  It goes back to Pentecost almost 2000 years ago.  We just have to remember to stand upon that confession and be bold and confident in that Confession.
So come on out at 10:15am on Sunday’s as we dig into the Confessions of our Church and of the faith once for all given to the Saints.  Next month, I will make a comment on the next part of the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: The Three Ecumenical Creeds. 
The Lord be with you and grant you the certainty of the things which have been entrusted to us by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  Amen.

After Action Report
Another January Voters Meeting has come and gone.  I am doing a few follow ups and preparing for a new turnover for council but here are just a few things if you missed it. 
Comments were made about calling a second pastor and where are we at along the path.  This is something that the congregation will have to discuss and talk about more and if you have thoughts feel free to come to me to discuss more.

On the outside of our building the arch that faces the intersection looks rather bare.  The shrubs and bushes out front were dying and had to be removed which was the work of our awesome Men’s Maintenance Team.  But now that wall looks bare.  Several members proposed adding a cross to the arch outside that looks like what we have on the inside of the wall.  So if you know what our looming cross looks like inside between the stained glass, it will be mirrored on the outside.  Bids have already been made, most of the money has come in, and the congregation voted to approve moving ahead with it.
With a new year also means new Building Projects.  This year we wanted to make it more visible of what our goals are and how much money we have in the accounts.  In the back of the narthex on the bulletin board on the Pulpit side, you can find all that information on a graph cut out in the shape of a church.  Check in as the year goes on to see how our projects are coming along.  With our excess funds and donations already this year we do have plenty of money to cover our goals.  We might have to push up our boilers sooner rather than later as they are beginning to show struggles and wear but we do have enough to cover should an emergency arise.

Also, a few of our members are figuring out how to take a trip to the Ark Encounter museum along the Kentucky/Ohio Border.  They are opening it up to the church and it will take place on June 16th-18th.  If you would like to have your socks knocked off by seeing a real life replica of Noah’s Ark and see how massive it is on the inside and learn more on how Genesis is real history, then this trip is something I highly recommend.  More details will be made known on that shortly, but if you are interested in going on the trip with the Church, let us know.

One of my goals this year is to get more people with resources on how to teach the faith and practice what happens on Sunday in the home.  Part of that is Bible classes, some of that is prepping families for confirmation and other parts is that it is just good pastoral contact and outreach on my end of things.  I would like to see conversations during these meetings to focus on those topics more to tell you the truth.  Buildings, financials, etc. these are all well good and play an important function to our primary task.  But I would rather see annual meetings talk theology which has lasting and eternal value rather than go on about things which rusts eats away at and moths devour.    

If you have comments or thoughts on annual meetings, how we can improve on following Jesus Christ, or to have a simple theological chat, send me a message.  I have loved the few conversations from those who have taken me up on it.
Lent is now right around the corner!  I have been having fun finalizing the services and having many of the sermons written in the last couple of weeks.  Again this year I will be working with Rev. Ryan Anderson from Vesper and Sigel as we talk about prayer and work our way through the Lord’s Prayer.  The Lord’s Prayer teaches us all that God would have us ask from him to give and all that he has promised to give to us.  My goal through these is to recapture the joy that the Lord’s Prayer gives us as children of God and making us bold to talk to God as well.

Ash Wednesday begins on March 2nd.  Services will be at 9:00am in the morning and 6:30pm at night.  For all the weeks following leading up to Holy week, we will have our Lenten midweeks at 9am on Wednesday and during our 6:30pm Thursday service.  I am excited and looking forward to it.  I will have the Holy Week Schedule out next month for this Newsletter Article so be on the look out for that then.
One change for this year is that the Soup Suppers will not happen.  I would still love to have a few opportunities to share in food and fellowship, so we are going to make something work for Ash Wednesday and for Easter Breakfast.

While the beginning of the year is often slow in terms of giving, this year we started out strong. Thank you for your continued support of the ministry here at Christ Lutheran. We were also able to transfer $25,000 from the General Fund to the Building Fund from last year’s surplus (a decision made at the Congregational Meeting). This puts our Building Fund in really good shape, which will allow us to get going on many of our planned maintenance projects (such as doing repairs on our front arch and the boiler system for the education wing).

I think that about wraps things up for this Newsletter.  As we continue to plow through another year, know that I once again find myself thankful to Jesus Christ for his work in our midst that he is calling you and me to Himself where we will find peace, joy, and security in Him.
My love for you in the Lord is constant and I pray this Newsletter finds you well in Christ.

Pastor Andrew Belt
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