Crazy, isn’t it? Here we are! Another year has gone by and it’s January again--2012 this time. Are you where you thought you’d be? Have you kept your resolutions and goals you’ve set a year ago? Doesn’t it seem like life is a game of “Whac-a-Mole”—that arcade game where moles randomly pop out of holes on the gameboard and it’s your job to whack-em back down with a mallet. Doesn’t it seems sometimes that life is a game of “Whac-A-Goal”?...whacking one commitment after another thinking you’re making progress, but only to find out that the moles always just pop back up?
Jesus once said that life in this world is like a game of “Whac-A-Mole,” or “Whac-A-Goal.” Well, he didn’t really say that...but close. Once someone complained that Jesus allowed a woman to anoint him with expensive perfume when it could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. And what Jesus said was this: "Leave her alone, so that she may keep the perfume for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me" (John 12:1-8).
The Bible counsels charity, helping the weak and the poor. But in John chapter 12, Jesus reminds us that, “The poor will always be with you.” That’s tough news, because we always work towards a goal. We always take comfort that the final completion will justify the preceding work. We think that the boulder we’re pushing up the hill will eventually reach the top, because of our pushing. Jesus says it won’t. And so when someone scolds a Christian woman for neglecting the poor and honoring Christ’s sacrifice, Christ says that His work is more important than a soup kitchen.
Isn’t that something? Often enough, people understand the church to be a sanctified soup kitchen; that the central mission of the church is to improve the world. The sense you get from Jesus is that this world will never substantially improve. Evidently then, there is something more important for the church to do than improve the material situation of the world. Jesus is saying that the things that honor what He does for the life of the world trump anything that You can do for the life of the world.
All of life’s challenges, from feeding the poor to filing your taxes are an opportunity to honor Christ’s work. And if we think these challenges will amount to more than that, we are deluding ourselves. The poor will always be with us; the government will always need more money, and list of resolutions for the New Year will never go away. And that is a sign of defeat to those whose hope is in this world. But it is a sign of victory for those whose hope is in the already crucified and risen Christ. Because the only things that can be conquered once and for all are sin, death and the devil, and the Son of God has already whacked these moles once and for all…game over. Jesus wins.
Blessed New Year! Pastor Nathan
LITTLE LAMBS CHRISTIAN PRESCHOOL
This past year Teacher Kindra has been helping the children in the preschool connect their weekly bible stories with real life, practical ways to show Christ's love. The children brought in "Cartons for Kids", where they brought in spare change and milk cartons to raise money to buy milk for children in India. They raised almost $500! That worked out to 67,500 cups of milk! In November, teacher Kindra and her husband Steve travelled to India on a mission, and were able to see firsthand how far the children's generosity reached. In October and November the preschool did a food drive and donated the food to the Interfaith Food Bank. In January the children will be collecting mittens and scarves etc. and will be decorating their own 'Mitten Tree'. The mittens will be donated to Streets Alive. The preschool had their Christmas concert on Tuesday December 13th. It was very well attended by preschool families and congregation. Registration for the 2012-2013 school year will begin on January 16th for returning families and members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church congregation. On Monday February 6th there will be an open house and registrations will be open to the public. For more information, call 403-892-6627 or visit our website www.littlelambspreschool.ca.
Youth Group (Grade 7 - 12) have been invited to Rush Youth Conference in Kelowna, Feb. 17-19. This is a Christian youth event with youth from all over Alberta and British Columbia. There are lots of activity options during the day to choose from for skiers and non-skiers, with concerts in the evening. First Lutheran Church in Kelowna has offered accommodations. Please contact Tyler Rodgers at 320-6783 for more details and to sign up before Jan 16th.
There are many new faces at the Sunday School this year. We have two new coordinators, Kathy Withage and Tammy Baedke. We have new teachers and new students. If you would like to be involved with the Sunday School, please let Pastor Nathan know and he will make sure the coordinators know to get in touch with you. We promise to have an exciting adventure of lessons, craft activities, drama and songs, that are sure to make this year a great one for everyone involved. Sunday School begins Sunday, September 11th during the 11 a.m. service. Please register your children prior to September 11th, if you can, so we can have all the time on the 11th for our icebreaker activities. Welcome to all new members of Immanuel and all the new children to our Sunday School program.
NICARAGUA BOOKLET MISSION PROJECT
In 2010 Immanuel supported a specific mission project to buy building materials and supplies to construct a freestanding one-room schoolhouse. Iglesia Villa Salvadorita one of the 22 fledgling Lutheran congregations in Nicaragua benefitted from your generosity. Eleven willing Immanuel volunteers worked side by side with the people and built the structure in six days. To all of us who traveled to Central America it provided an eye-opening experience and first hand contact with the life of the poor. We started something wonderful and we now wish to continue with a different mission project for Nicaragua. After looking for something lasting and educational, I was guided to find stories from the New Testament, in the style of a comic booklet. This booklet is called: “Quien es el hombre Jesus? El vivió Entre Nosostros “ translated means, “Who is this man Jesus? He lived among us.” It is my desire, to buy this booklet in large quantities and then make it available to the Lutheran Church of Nicaragua to hand it out free to any member who can read. The booklet is the seed and we are part of the planters. We are the servants who are given the talents as stated in Matthew 25 and it behooves us to make the very best of it. We are here to spread and plant the seeds, the Holy Spirit will see to its growth. Its just like farming; man sows and God grows. I am asking you as a fellow member in the body of Christ to support this project with your generous donation. I will be speaking to our congregation on Sunday, January 8, 2012, giving more details and showing you the booklet. I am excited! Thank you! Walter Egli
On December 7th our group was paid a visit from Julie Kissick of Streets Alive. She talked to us about the work they are doing with the less fortunate people in our Community. She was thrilled to receive 3 single size quilts, 4 crib quilts, 1 bassinette quilt and one receiving blanket that have been completed by our group since our start-up in September. We also gave her 6 afghans donated by a member of the congregation and 4 used comforters. Streets Alive will be using these items to help new immigrants who are arriving in Lethbridge. Our group meets each Wednesday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join us to knit squares for Blankets for Canada or make quilts to be donated to groups in our City who are helping people in need. Thank you again to everyone who has donated money and materials towards this outreach project.
20 Rocky Mountain Blvd West Lethbridge AB T1K 8E1 (403) 327-4336 firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours and worship schedule
Office hours: 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Monday - Friday
Sunday Worship: 9:00 AM - Traditional Service 11:00 AM - Contemporary Service 11:15 AM - Sunday School (following the Object Lesson)