Respondents in a poll conducted by the Marist Institute have voted "whatever" as being the most annoying word of 2013. "Whatever" has held this title for five years running, beating out other strong contenders as "like", "you know", "just sayin" and "obviously." I didn't vote, but I have to agree that "whatever" is a terrible word. What it amounts to in a conversation is "I don't know what you're saying, and I don't care to find out because I'm pretty sure it's worthless." Still it's not the word that's so terrible, it's the attitude, and we all have it to some extent. We're sinners after all, and tend to be impatient with things that don't interest us. How much, then, does this attitude actually impacts our religious beliefs?
In 2005 an excellent book was published called Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. Researchers interviewed American teens about what they believe about religion, then compiled a list of their most commonly articulated beliefs. When these teenagers were asked specifically Christian questions about things like repentance from sin, keeping the Sabbath, living as a servant, praying regularly and the salvation given in Jesus Christ alone...most began to shrug and say that horrible word "whatever." Evidently they just weren't interested.
When these teens tried to put their beliefs into words, it turns out that what they really believed was only loosely connected to the actual historical Christian tradition. So the researchers gave these beliefs a new name: "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" (MTD). It's a big words that simply means, "There is a god out there and if I be good he'll make sure I'm happy." Anything that goes beyond or against this simple phrase is either ignored as useless or outright rejected. MTD is the religion of a world that sees value in religion only insofar as it helps form morally responsible and happy people/(consumers), and our children have learned it well and so have churches. After all, it is maintained in much of mainline Christianity that the reason to go to church is to help you feel good about yourself...as if church is a form of therapy.
I can relate to these findings, but in a different way. When I was a teenager, I left my parents home to go to university, and before I had completed my first semester I had renounced Christianity. Little did I know at the time, I wasn't rejecting true Christianity, I was rejecting MTD. I was not rejecting God's Word; I was rejecting mindless moralism. I was not rejecting true theology; I was rejecting ego therapy. I was not rejecting a God in-the-flesh who has spoken to men; I was rejecting a distant, invisible God who enforces the rules of men. And so I began to criticize all of Christianity for the sins of churches that teach MTD.
There were people in the bible who were looking for an MTD messiah. In the Gospel of John (Chapter 6), after Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish into more than enough to feed 5000 people, he became popular and some of the people whose bellies he fed followed him. They must've thought he was a pretty nice guy...compassionate and helping others. Then he began to teach hard things, saying "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53). Many of those who had followed him said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" Then they shrugged, said "whatever" and left him to look for more therapy. Then Jesus said to the twelve who stayed, "Do you want to go away as well?" And in explaining why they didn't leave with the others Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."
The point is this: while there's certainly nothing wrong with teaching good morals and wanting to be happy...that's not why God became man. While we ought to raise our kids to be morally responsible and happy adults, not all morally responsible and happy adults will be saved. Parents, teach your children theology and teach it well, for only those who hear Jesus hard teachings hear the words of eternal life. "Be good" is not a hard teaching. "Be happy" is not a hard teaching. "God loves you" is not a hard teaching. "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me, Jesus Christ", that's what Jesus taught and all it entails. May our kids, hear it fully, believe it completely, and in Holy Communion take up their cross whereupon hung their sins in the flesh and blood of their saviour Jesus Christ, which we eat and drink and have life.
Pastor Nathan Fuehrer
SUNDAY SCHOOL Matthew 5: 16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
For your information, our Sunday School enrolment policy states that if your child turns 3 years old they are able to begin attending Sunday School. So, even if your child has recently had her/his third birthday, your child is welcome to begin attending Sunday School, if you feel that they are ready to do so. Please talk to Kathy Withage; the Sunday School Coordinator, or to a Pre-School teacher about registering your child in Sunday School.
The church provides offering envelopes for all Sunday School children. We believe that this will promote good stewardship habits among our children—habits which hopefully will be with them for their lifetime. The envelopes are numbered and individual offerings are recorded and added to their parent’s financial contribution statement. The Sunday School offerings go into the church’s general budget. The exception to this may be to collect special offerings for missions. Information about a special offering will be communicated to parents prior to a special offering being taken.
If you would like to know more about Sunday School; have questions about what is happening in the Sunday School; or would like to help with Sunday School, please talk to the Sunday School Coordinator, Kathy Withage.
Matthew 7: 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
LITTLE LAMBS CHRISTIAN PRESCHOOL
We are currently accepting registrations for the Fall of 2014 from returning families and Immanuel Lutheran Church congregation members. The registration form is available in the church office, as well as on our website www.littlelambspreschool.ca. Completed registration forms can be returned to the church office or the preschool staff. We will be having an Open House on Wednesday February 5th, from 6:30 - 7:30, at which time we will begin accepting registrations from the public. If you have any questions, please call Tanya at 403-892-6627.
GREETINGS FROM PENASCO!
This month, I'd like to share with you some examples of how our ministry in Penasco continues on a daily basis. Although most of our supplies are now distributed, I like to keep a few things in my vehicle to be able to give to a needy soul that I may come across. Such are the following:
Young gal (name unknown): While we socialized at a local restaurant, I could see through the window a young pregnant girl (my guess is 14 or 15 years old) walking back and forth near the door, attempting to make a few pesos selling chicklets to the patrons. Before we exited, I noticed one of the diners had ordered some food "to go" and given it to her as they made their way to their car. I really didn't need any chicklets but knew I could do something more substantial. I returned the next evening to give her a "baby kit" from our mission supplies. Willie Schmidt, a member of Pastor Rich's congregation in B.C. had brought a few of these kits when she participated in our mission project last November. The soon-to-be mom seemed quite touched to receive this gift.
Carlos: On any given day, Carlos is "parked" with his ice-cream cart at the entrance to our resort. He has walked, with family in tow, at least 2 or 3 km from 'who knows where' to try to sell a few bars to those driving by. His family consisted of his pregnant wife and 2 small kids. They hang out at the traffic circle until near sunset and then proceed to make the trek home, sometimes with the kids riding on top of the cart after a long day. Now that the weather has turned cooler, ice cream sales have dwindled. Instead, Carlos now sells metal flowers as garden/yard decor. I assume someone gives him a ride with these wares as the family doesn't accompany him on these days. I noticed he was wearing flip-flops on a cold day so I stopped to have a chat with him. He told me that his family was at his house and his wife had the baby a couple of months ago. I opened the hatch of my Armada to offer him some shoes. I pulled out some runners from my stash and measured them to his feet. Although I thought they were a bit large (Jordan, I think they were your runners, lol), he insisted they were just right. I also gave him some t-shirts and a pair of sandals for his wife and some candy and a N.T. book for the kids and a baby kit for the newborn. He waves to us every time we pass by; I'm sure we will see the family again when the temperatures are slightly higher.
Old Mexican Woman: Having just returned from grocery shopping, I spotted an elderly woman crossing the street in front of me. She had her groceries balanced on her head. She had difficulty walking because her sandals were in such poor shape that they barely stayed on her feet. I also noticed that her ankle was bandaged. So, I flipped a U-turn (not a good habit to get into, I know) and called her over to my vehicle. I offered her a pair of sandals and then she asked me for some clothes. I had a colorful blouse in my stash and some t-shirts which she gladly took. Lastly, she asked me for money but when I declined, she thanked me and moved along down the street.
These are the types of folks we see regularly as we go about our business in Penasco. We try to help the ones we can as opportunities arise.
Our mission families are doing well. We try to go out to the barrio to visit every week or so. On January 15th, we spent a morning helping Amador move from his apartment into his new home. He had a lot of "junk" - and I mean junk. We looked like the Mexican version of the Beverly Hillbillies, traveling down the road with items piled high on the truck. I couldn't ride on top, like granny did, because I followed behind with my vehicle loaded as well. Well-intentioned folks had donated their old patio sets and Amador didn't have the heart to decline. So, after a few trips, I counted 3 large tables, 3 smaller tables, and at least 16 chairs. Of course he doesn't need this stuff and his house won't accommodate it either. At the moment it all sits chained together outside his house but he promises me he will give some away to his neighbors. What he does need, though, is to stop sleeping on a sheet of plywood, just inches off the concrete floor (he is 69 years old). I'll be looking for a decent bed in the next few days. He was eager to show us his new refrigerator and that he had installed "instant hot water" to his shower. After 69 years, he now has his first home, with power and water.
Lastly, I will report that I dropped off 50 New Testament books to a Christian centre in the San Rafael district. The Pastor said they had between 30 and 40 children attend so we hope they will enjoy reading the Bible stories in their own language.
Stay warm Immanuel! Please keep our ministry in your prayers and thank you for your continued support for the people of Puerto Penasco.
In His Service, Shirley Masnyk
Did You Know? Moms & Tots Group Is up and running the second & fourth Thursday morning of each month Feb.13 & 27 -- 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. For Feb. & March we will be learning about the many roles we as women have. If frazzled has ever been used to describe you, come join us at Moms & Tots, together reclaim beauty in our roles of believer, wife, mother , professional, daughter & friend and so on. Through healthy boundaries, diligence and freedom, we’ll discover together that we, “can do everything through him who gives us strength.” Philippians 4:13 We really can. God’s not a liar! We have an average attendance of about 7-9 moms most Thursdays. More moms are always welcomed and encouraged to attend. This past December & January we have learned some positive ways to communicate and positive discipline strategies to stop and start behaviors in our children. Please call Katherine Canfield at 403-756-2149.
The Mom & Tots recently had a family potluck social. Thank you to all who came out. It was a wonderful opportunity for the families to meet, make and build connections.
Rides Needed There are some members of our congregation who would like to attend church on Sunday but require transportation to and from church. If you are able to assist by providing an occasional ride please contact Katherine Canfield at 403-756-2149 /403-327-4336 or sign up on the bulletin board in the Narthex. The pins on the map indicate areas of the city where people live who require rides.
Praying Mothers Group Invites You to Join Our Group. We are a group of Ladies that meet together to talk, listen, and share concerns, provide support and pray together. Please consider joining us. Speak to Katherine Canfield 403-756-2149 or Sandra Zasadny 403-327-8342. Our meeting time is flexible. Give us a call. Pray provides comfort and security, and also fulfills the mission the Lord has for us to pray for each other and bear one another’s burdens. I cannot think of any better way to truly love your children/grandchildren, families & friends than by lifting them up in prayer on a consistent basis.
A Big Bear Hug and Thank You to our faithful consistent Childcare providers Norm & Yvonne Clark and Larry Canfield who have diligently assisted us with childcare this past year. Also a big thank you and grateful hug goes out to Dillon Theroux, Michelle & Tyler Rodgers who have graciously filled in for us in a pinch and helped out. You are ALL loved and appreciated by the kids and the moms from Moms & Tots!
HELP PLEASE! Consider volunteering as Childcare provider for our Moms & Tots Group. Due to work and school class itinerary changes etc. we have lost some of our childcare providers. If two or three more volunteers could step forward to help out with childcare that would be of great help to us. With only 2 or 3 more volunteers you may only need to provide care one Thursday morning for 1.5 – 2 hours maybe every other month. The childcare providers are an intricate part of the success of our Moms & Tots. Please call Katherine today and volunteer 403-756-2149.
Time is Running out! Sign up today for the Board of Outreach Family Bowling Night Feb. 8th 6:00 p.m. Holiday Bowl. There is lots of space left and we would love to have all the lanes full. Please place your name on the signup sheet on the bulletin board. Bring a Friend! $5.00 per game 2 games each /no charge for shoes. Contact Sandra for more information at 403-327-8342
Ed, Dawson, Karissa & I want to deeply thank everyone for all of the meals we have received from the food train to help with my disability. Words will never be able to express how grateful we are for the love extended to us from our church family. Our evenings are fairly busy with activities for the kids and it is such a blessing to have a meal ready when Ed gets home from work. That gives him some extra time to visit with the kids. - “God's blessings to you all”. Tammy Baedke
Immanuel Lutheran Church Financial Statement December 31, 2013
MISSION OFFERINGS A-BC District Mission Donations for Month $71.00 A-BC District Mission Donations to Date 1,257.50 CLWR Mission Donations for Month 465.00 CLWR Mission Donations to Date 7,479.20
BANK ACCOUNTS Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acct. Balance $9,192.95 Dedicated Accounts Balance 18,936.38 Church Extension Savings 39,448.75
CURRENT MONTH Budgeted Income 31,803.50 Actual Income 46,293.05 Budgeted Disbursements 31,803.50 Actual Disbursements 41,975.48
YEAR TO DATE Budgeted Income 381,642.00 Actual Income 376,430.74 Budgeted Disbursements 381,642.00 Actual Disbursements 420,718.53
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the e-mail. Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a Baptist minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.
The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read: To: My Loving Wife Subject: I've Arrived Date: March 21, 2012 I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was. P. S. Sure is hot down here!!!
20 Rocky Mountain Blvd West Lethbridge AB T1K 8E1 (403) 327-4336 email@example.com
Office hours and worship schedule
Office hours: 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Monday - Friday
Sunday Worship schedule:
2 services, 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
Sunday School - Starts at 11:15 following the object lesson
Holy Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month