Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. --Matthew 11:28-30
A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that fastens over the neck of two animals hitched to a cart or wagon. Jesus speaks wonderful words of comfort to a people who had been “yoked” to the Law, the demands of perfect holiness and obedience to God that, if kept, could theoretically secure one safe passage into heaven. But there’s a problem. Jesus says, that the yoke of the Law is too heavy, burdensome, even impossible for sinful human beings to bear. If they try, it will crush them. Instead, he offers his yoke, the yoke of faith, the yoke that says “Believe in Christ, abide in him, and he will give you rest.” This yoke is easy and light, because it is Christ who bears the load of the Law, not us.
God’s Law is so perfect that no one who truly understands it would have any delusions that they could keep it. God’s Law kills out ego, slays our self-righteousness. It kills our ability to hate our enemies because it shows that we are enemies of God. If you ever have jealousy, lust, covetousness, murder, lies in your heart, then you have declared war upon the Almighty God and set the detonator to His Wrath. God’s Law is pure anxiety to a miserable sinner. So Christ says, “Miserable sinners, take my yoke of faith upon you and I will give you rest.”
But it’s always the case that there are those who don’t want to be called miserable sinners, and so they harden their heart, puff up their pride and say, “If the yoke of faith is for sinners; I’ll take the yoke of the Law. I don’t want to be numbered with sinners, so I’ll carry the heavier yoke.” But inevitably that yoke is too heavy, and it ends up crushing everything but their pride. And so their haughtiness turns to hypocrisy, and with their pride they assume a privileged position of diplomatic immunity before God. They elevate themselves by laying the load of the law on others while ignoring their own transgressions. How can they delude themselves? Because Satan, the father of lies, is always looking for a willing audience.
Jesus saw this happening in the religious sect of the Pharisees around the time of his crucifixion. Our Lord accused the Pharisees of using the Law to burden others and elevate themselves. Jesus said,“They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” And even after Jesus died and was raised, there were some Pharisees trying to bring back the curse of the Law, the burden of earning our righteousness before God. And St. Peter the Apostle said to them, “Now [that we have been cleansed by faith in Christ], why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?”
The New Year is a time to remember new beginnings. It’s a time to remember that Jesus Christ has brought the dawn of a new day. It’s a time to remember that sin, and the Law that increases it, amounts to a burden that you cannot bear; a burden that Christ carried on the cross. Sin still persists, and we still fight against it in our bodies; but in our conscience we know that Christ has won the fight for our souls.
In that way the New Year is a time of repentance, a time where we turn away from our contests to impress God by expecting perfection from ourselves and others. We turn instead to rest upon His promise: that He sent His only begotten Son who redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. By his Law, God laid heavy burdens upon us, but unlike the Pharisees he was willing to move those heavy burdens himself. Unlike the Pharisees, He not only carried our legal burden, but was willing to be numbered with miserable sinners. Like Sampson, Jesus’ outstretched arms brought down the house of the Law upon himself in order to crush Satan’s kingdom. The yoke he bore was heavy, but he bore it in love to lighten our burden and to give us rest and a new dawn.
The New Year is a time to take a new yoke, the yoke of Christ.
Happy New Year!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Thanks to all the young children and youth who participated in this year’s Sunday School Christmas concert! It was wonderful!!
From all the teachers at Immanuel Lutheran Church we wish you all a Blessed Christmas and New Year!!
We will see you all again for Sunday School on January 6th, 2013.
The lesson schedule will be as follows:
Jan. 6 - “The Visit of the Wisemen.”
Jan. 13 - “The Baptism of Jesus.”
Jan. 20 “Jesus Changes Water Into Wine.”
Jan. 27: “Jesus Rejected atNazareth."
John 4: 42 “Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Saturday January 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Holiday Bowl will be a Friends and Family Bowling night put on by the Board of Outreach. The cost is $5.00 per person per game including shoe rental!!! Please sign up on the bulletin board outside the fellowship hall. Please pay Janet Ainscough or Candice Miller. So Gather your Friends and Family and come out for a great time!!!
COUPLES GAMES NIGHT
Happy New Year everyone!! Sorry we haven’t been able to schedule anything for the last few months, however, on Friday January 25th at 7:00 p.m., join us in the fellowship hall for a great night of games, munchies and laughter. Please bring your favorite game and a few munchies to share. This is a great way to meet fellow members of our congregation. REMEMBER, you are not too young or to old for this. We would like every couple to join us in some fun. For any questions or if you are interested in coming, please contact Candice Miller at 403-317-0258 or 403-894-4882. See you there.
“PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER- WHERE DO YOU FIT IN”
It has been three months since I shared the “Putting the Pieces Together Where Do You Fit In” booklet. A great big Thank You to the thirty some people who have completed and submitted their skills inventory, I greatly appreciated you taking the time to complete these.
Christianity is not a spectator sport. It was never intended to be a spectator sport. God gave to the church, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers and a variety of other skilled and talented people (helpers, mechanics, electricians, cooks, etc.) to equip the saints/us for ministry and sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s important to note, Brothers and Sisters many of Jesus’ disciplines where ordinary every day people, like you and me. In fact, many of the people God used throughout the Bible where ordinary everyday people. David was a shepherd boy and a sinful person yet God called him a man after his own heart.
Friends, I know the members here at Immanuel want to reflect the heart of Christ. Just imagine for a moment if you will, how our church would be transformed if I and each one of you served according to our strengths and passions, as opposed to serving because I think I should or according to just what needs to be done.
I am concerned that I may not have communicated effectively my purpose for “Skills Inventory” at the back of the Putting the Pieces Together booklet therefore some have not completed it or are frighten to return it. (“Because I am already doing lots and cannot take on more.”) Friends, I understand and I do not want people to take on more. However, I may not be aware of what you are currently doing and therefore have no idea where your talents and interests lie or how to support you. My desire and my intent had been for each individual to be a little more methodical and deliberate about figuring out where and how we can serve from our areas of strength and passion. I believe if each one of us is serving where we have passion and skill we can make a bigger kingdom difference.
I look forward to working with the members of Immanuel. This church family has been blessed with a wide range of gifted, talented & nurturing people which make up the body of Christ. I need your help. Your skills and talent however are YOUR gift to discern how to use and share.
If you would please take the time to complete a skills inventory it would help me know what you may already be doing or what things you would be comfortable doing. You could then be approach for assistance as needed in an area where your talents and interests lie. You are welcome to say no when approached, life is busy and we all only have 24 hours in a day.
Inter-Lutheran Fellowship Fun Curling Bonspiel, Sunday Jan. 27, 2013 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the Coaldale Granite Club/ Coaldale recreation centre. Cost is $6.00 per person. Signup Sheet is post on the bulletin board by the fellowship hall. Spectators are welcomed and encouraged to attend as well.
Moms & Tots Group. A Moms & Tots group is a group of mothers of preschoolers [a mother of a child from conception through kindergarten]. This group is an opportunity to build community by providing an open, caring and accepting atmosphere where women can come together to share this important season of life. A place for mentoring where mature women listen, encourage and offer information and perspectives gained through experience. A place for practical instruction, teaching focuses on areas of common interest, offering inspiration and information that is relevant to the life of a mother. Interested? A Moms & Tots group would meet once a week for a couple hours. Please place your name & phone number on the signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the fellowship hall. We need approximate numbers to budget and for child care. Ideally we hope to have a group up & running in January 2013. If you need more information please call Katherine Canfield Parish Coordinator 403-327-4336 or 403-756-2149.
Praying Mothers Group: A small group of women are meeting Tuesday afternoon usually from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. You are welcome to join us. If this time is not convenient for you but you would like to participate in this type of group please speak to Katherine Canfield 403-756-2149/403-327-4336. Prayer 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.
Creation’s Ballet for Jesus The heavens are more than decoration – God said they were “for signs and seasons [or ‘appointments’]”; they are to “declare God’s Glory”. This presentation takes a trip back to the skies over Bethlehem and Jerusalem for Jesus’ birth and death. Discover how the Creator-set heavenly events precisely align with the God Commanded Old Testament festival year, telling the HIS-Story in the sky what is happening on the earth. This is a powerful reminder that our God is indeed great and that our faith is well-founded. Discover the Gospel in the sky, discover who the Magi really were and their links to the Jews, and follow the footprints of our God within His creation. A three session presentation of about 1 ½ hours each is being offered by Pastor Jim Lindeman. For more information see the signup sheet on the fellowship hall bulletin board. Date and time in January will be coordinated with participants.
Cottage Bible Studies: We are planning to start up the Bible cottage studies again this year. A tentative general start will be in February with exact dates and times to be coordinated with the leaders and hosts. Ideally we would like everyone in the congregation to have the opportunity to participate in one of the cottage studies. Therefore we are asking for volunteers to provide a home for Hosting the study for about 6 – 8 people. Volunteers for Leaders for the Bible study are also needed. Please contact Katherine Canfield 756-2149 if you would be willing to host or lead a cottage bible study or sign up in the foyer.
We want to acknowledge and affirm all of those who took part in our special services this Christmas season. We are grateful to Walter Egli and the Board of Outreach and a small committee consisting of Erwin and Ruth Pohl, and Delores Mueller who planned and organized the annual service of Lessons and Carols in the German Language. We were also blessed by the talents of our musicians and soloists Kerri Masnyk and Janet Ainscough (7:00 p.m.) on Christmas Eve as well: as Gary Pohl, Joseph Eufemia, Kerri Masnyk and Delores Mueller who accompanied the carols. We are thankful to God for these gifted people who are so willing to use these gifts in enhancing our worship and assisting us in our adoration of the one who is Christ the Lord. And of course thanks also to all who ushered, manned the sound system, handed out candles, did power point, and decorated our sanctuary so beautifully.
Please be sure to pick up your 2013 offering envelopes from the table in the foyer. Please ensure that you take the set with your name on it. Please also be sure to recycle all unused 2012 and older envelopes and use the new ones beginning with the first Sunday in January. If for some reason you cannot find your set of envelopes or don’t have one and would like a set, please contact Walter Egli, our financial secretary. An alternative to using offering envelopes is to be set up with Automatic Withdrawal. More and more of our members are finding this to be a convenient way of making regular financial contributions to the ministry of Immanuel. For more information about this method of giving, you may speak with Walter Egli, or contact the church office.
Immanuel Lutheran Church
November 30, 2012
A-BC District Mission Donations for Month.................................................................................................... $270.00
A-BC District Mission Donations to Date ....................................................................................................... 2858.00
CLWR Mission Donations for Month ................................................................................................................. 95.00
CLWR Mission Donations to Date ................................................................................................................. 3086.00
Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acc.t Balance................................................................................................. $25,647.83
Actual Disbursements................................................................................................................................. 337,619.61
THE PIG AND THE COW
A rich man once said to a friend, "Why is it everbody is always criticizing me for being miserly, when everyone knows I have made provisions to leave everthing I possess to charity when I die?
"Well," said the friend, "let me tell you about the pig and the cow. The pig was lamenting to the cow about how unpopular he was. "People are always talking about your gentleness and your kind eyes," said the pig. "Sure you give milk and cream, but I give even more. I give bacon and ham - give bristles, and they even pickle my feet! Still nobody likes me. Why is this?
The cow thought a minute, and then said, "Well, maybe its because I give while I'm still Living."
WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPYAND BLESSED NEW YEAR
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)