Friday Followings: Taking Care of the Soul

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
The Bible teaches that we as human beings are created in the very image of God. We are more than just living bodies with blood running through our veins. Each of us has a living soul.
 
Most of us try hard to take care of our bodies. We go for walks. We may go to a gym for exercise. Some of us prefer to walk while playing golf. We are mindful of what we should eat and what we shouldn’t eat to keep our bodies healthy.
 
Yet let me remind you today that we need to take care of our souls too. At its heart, the human soul longs for peace, contentment, purpose, and happiness in life. The human soul longs for fellowship, for sharing with others, and most of all, to be reconciled and in a loving relationship with the God who created us.
 
Dare I say that most of humanity strives to meet the care and appetites of the body much more than the soul? Consequently we become out of balance. We become overdone with the striving for pleasure and material goods to please the physical self, yet we are lacking in meeting the needs of the soul.
 
Part of taking care of the soul is pausing, being quite, and simply giving thanks. Gratitude is one of God’s greatest graces. Gratitude leads to being content with what we have, while striving to do great things for God. Gratitude takes our focus off of ourselves and lifts our soul to God. Gratitude opens our lives up to our neighbors’ needs. Gratitude, in short, is food for the soul and it leads to joy.
 
As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, enjoy the blessings bestowed upon you. Laugh together, pray together, talk with one another, and above all, give thanks to God together. The bottom line is this; nothing but God ever really satisfies the soul. Give thanks to God often and always and see the joy in your life soar.
 
Be reminded that this weekend in worship, in thankfulness to God, we make financial pledges to God’s work through this Christian congregation, Gloria Dei, for the year 2018. As we move from two funds (Capital and General) to one fund, I ask you to be generous in your giving. Give with joy and thanksgiving. Just as God’s love feeds your soul and mine, so too the work of Christ’s church spreads God’s love within our church family, around the Sioux Falls community, and to the ends of the earth.
 
See you in worship! Don’t starve your soul!
 
Pastor Tim

 



Friday Followings: G.R.A.C.E.

Hello Gloria Dei,

As I met over these past weeks with some of our Confirmation Students, one of the topics we’d discuss is Grace. When I asked them to define grace, many of them used the acronym G.R.A.C.E. which stands for “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”.

That’s a pretty good way to remember what grace is all about. Grace is a word and concept to describe all the undeserved gifts that are ours because of Christ’s love for us.

Even though we don’t deserve to be forgiven, over and over and over again, God’s love in Jesus greets us with the proclamation of “I love you and I forgive you.”

Even though our sin separates us from God and we don’t deserve eternal life with Christ, God’s love in Jesus greets us with the proclamation, “Because of Christ, I have prepared a place for you and you will live forever in my loving presence”.

I invite you today keep your eyes open for the gifts God brings your way, day after day after day. Maybe you experience God’s riches when you see a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Maybe it’s when the first snow blankets the landscape. Maybe it’s when a child or grandchild says “I love you Mom; I love you Dad; I love you Grandma; I love you Grandpa”. The gifts are all around us. God’s grace abounds.

This weekend in worship we’ll focus on grace. It was a rallying cry for Martin Luther and the Reformation. It continues to be our rallying cry today. Come to God with your confession of sin; come to God with your brokenness; come to God with everything. In Jesus Christ, you will know the everlasting grace of a God who promises to love you beyond compare.

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. GRACE — I love that word.

See you in worship,
Pastor Tim

 

 

 

 



Friday Followings: Yes, We Are All Saints

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
This weekend in worship we celebrate All Saints. It’s not a bad idea to regularly think of the saints in your life who have made an impact on you. Give thanks for them.
 
I’m looking forward someday to having an eternity to catch up with the saints not only who


Friday Followings: Confirmation

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
For those of you who went through confirmation, what do you remember about it? For me, I went through confirmation in my 7th and 8th grade years. I remember the two pastors who taught it (one of them was my father). I remember the classrooms we met in at the church. I remember some of the other students. Like at Gloria Dei, we had rather large classes, so some were very good friends, others were acquaintances.
 
I remember we had monthly tests given by the pastor over biblical and catechetical materials. And I remember that in the eighth grade year, we had homework. We were to read one chapter of the New Testament every day – seven chapters per week – and we were required to turn in summaries of each chapter. So in the eighth grade, I and my fellow students, read and summarized every chapter in the New Testament. Tests and homework was all graded. Lorrie, my wife, was one year younger than me, so she did the same thing one year later. She got better grades from my father than I did.
 
I also remember my confirmation Bible verse: Proverbs 3:5-6. It says this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”  I can honestly say that I have relied on that verse in every major decision (and many not so major decisions) I’ve made throughout my lifetime.
 
Confirmation, while it may seem laborious and even boring for students at times (I admit it did for me sometimes), makes an incredible impact. It did for me. Growing up in the church and having a solid foundation of faith blesses a person literally forever.
 
Over these next two weekends one hundred 9th and 10th graders will confirm their faith and affirm their baptismal promises. It is a celebration for them. Knowing that God says “Yes” to them, they respond with a vibrant “Yes” to trusting in Christ for their life and their salvation. They say “Yes” to living out their faith given to them by God himself.
 
Yet confirmation is also a celebration for you and this entire congregation. All of us, in one way or another, have made an impact on these young people. Through the giving of your time, talent, and treasure, you are having an eternal impact on countless numbers of lives, for the sake of Jesus. That’s worth celebrating.
 
So come to worship this weekend and next, and join in the celebration of our young people confirming their faith in God our Creator, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our guide and counselor.
 
Two reminders:
  1. The city wide Reformation Worship Service at the Sioux Falls Arena is this coming Wednesday, November 1st, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:00. Please call the church office and get on the list. For your information, the offering received at this worship service will be given away to assist in recovery efforts from the recent hurricanes and flooding. We will not have worship at Gloria Dei on November 1st. We encourage everyone to worship at the Arena as we celebrate 500 years of Reformation.

 

  1. Callaway’s Event for Gloria Dei. An adult only congregation wide fellowship event with a focus on the ministry, stewardship, and the vision for Gloria Dei will be held at Callaway’s on Sunday evening, November 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Food will be provided. We need to know how many will be attending, so please sign up at the Welcome Center or call the church to RSVP:  371-3737.
 

See you in worship!

 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Just a Few Ministry Reminders

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Just a few reminders for you on this October Friday.
 
  1. Stewardship informational forums will be held following each worship service the next two weekends. Please plan to attend one of these gatherings. Each will last approximately 20 minutes. We’ll meet in the Office Commons area.
  2. An adult only congregation wide fellowship event with a focus on Stewardship will be held at Callaway’s on Sunday evening, November 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. We need to know how many will be attending, so please sign up at the Welcome Center or call the church to RSVP: 371-3737
  3. We are still in need of adults to serve within our Confirmation Mentor program. Mentors meet with their students once per month on assigned Wednesday evenings for 30 to 40 minutes. It’s not a huge time commitment but it makes a huge difference. Please contact Pastor Sarah at the church office if you can help. Thanks.
  4. Elections for Church Council and other elected positions will be held at worship on Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5.

This weekend we continue our journey through Martin Luther’s teachings in the Small Catechism. Our focus will be on the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

See you in worship!

Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Baptism, The Power Lies in the Promise

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
This weekend, as we continue in our walk through Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, we’re focusing on the tremendous gift of Baptism. Through Baptism we are brought into God’s family. So today I’ll give you a little “Baptism Humor”.
 
A Lutheran minister and a Baptist minister were discussing the topic of Baptism. The Baptist said, “The Bible says that when Jesus was baptized he came up out of the water, that’s why when we baptize a person we dunk them under all the way and raise them up out of the water.”
 
The Lutheran minister said, “How about if a person was up to their knees in the water?  Is that enough water?”  “Not enough”, said the Baptist minister.  –“Okay, how about if the person was up to their waist?”  -“Not enough!”
 
“What if the person was up to their neck in water?”  “Not enough” – “What if they were up to here and just the very top of their head was showing?”  — “Not enough.”
 
“You mean to tell me”, asked the Lutheran minister, “that it is that tiny bit of water right on top of the head that does the job?”  “Well, if you put it that way, I suppose it is”, said the Baptist.  “Well good, because that’s where we Lutherans put it, right on top of the head.”
 
I do love the image of someone going all the way under the water in baptism, drowning with Christ and then being raised up out of the water, out of death to new life.  That’s what baptism is: A dying and rising with Jesus. Yet it’s neither the water, nor the amount of water, that has the power to change us. Rather, it is the promise of God that is connected to the water that changes us.
 
For this weekend’s worship, and in your daily life, ask yourself and ask within your family: “What does it mean to be part of God’s family? What privileges or gifts does that give? What are the benefits of having God as my loving Father?” But then ask yourself also, “What responsibilities do I have as a member of God’s large, world-wide family? What is God calling me to do within this big family? How am I to live knowing that I have the promise of grace, forgiveness, new life, and eternal salvation?”
 
The power of baptism lies in the promise of God. And that promise brings both privileges and responsibilities; both gifts and callings. God has gifted you with an unimaginable gift. You are God’s. Receive it with joy and live it out in service to the world.
 
See you in worship!
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Get Into This Habit

“Pray Without Ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

“Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened for you” – Luke 11:9

Hello Gloria Dei,

This weekend in worship we are continuing our walk through Luther’s Small Catechism, focusing and reviewing some of the fundamental aspects of our Christian faith. Over the last two weeks we’ve covered the Ten Commandments and the Apostles’ Creed. This weekend we continue with The Lord’s Prayer.

In preparation I ask that you do two things. Number One: please read Luke 11:1-13. It’s brief, but it includes not only Jesus’ prayer, but also some great teachings on prayer. Number Two: please find 5 or 10 minutes today and tomorrow to spend in quiet time with God. Pray, talk, listen to God – find a quiet space. Let’s see if we can’t all get into this habit on a regular basis. It’s good for us….and God loves it too!

See you in worship!
Pastor Tim
 
P.S.  One reminder:  City Wide Reformation Worship Celebration: Wednesday, November 1 at the Sioux Falls Arena. Worship at 7 pm (Doors open at 6)
Most Gloria Dei events on Wednesday, November 1st will be canceled so that all of us can attend the Reformation Worship at the Arena.
We will have tickets available at Gloria Dei again this weekend. Tickets are free, but please sign your name(s) and take only as many as you will use, as the arena may fill up.


Friday Followings: Celebration Reformation Worship

Celebration Reformation Worship
November 1st, 7 p.m.
Sioux Falls Arena

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
This fall, Christian churches around the world are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31st, 1517 (All Saints Eve) Martin Luther posted 95 sentences, called The Ninety-Five Theses, for discussion and debate among the church’s priests and professors.
 
Thus began the greatest movement the Christian Church has seen since the setting loose of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The Bible was put back into the hands of the common people. God was rediscovered as a God whose primary characteristic was love, not anger and wrath. The theme of Justification by Faith because of God’s grace was rediscovered as the Bible’s central theme. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century had religious, social, political, and economic repercussions which are still very much felt today.
 
Mark your calendars for a city-wide celebration worship service marking the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
 
Reformation Worship: Wednesday, November 1 at the Sioux Falls Arena. Worship at 7 pm (Doors open at 6 pm)
 
Most Gloria Dei events on Wednesday, November 1st will be cancelled so that all of us can attend the Reformation Worship at the Arena.
 
We will have tickets available at Gloria Dei beginning this weekend. Tickets are free, but please sign your name(s) and take only as many as you will use, as the arena may fill up.
 
For worship this weekend we continue in our “Roots, Relevancy, and Renewal” series, focusing in on the biblical message summarized so well in the Apostles’ Creed. If you have the Small Catechism at home, please read the Creed and Luther’s teachings on each of the three articles.
 
See you in worship!
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: The Ten Commandments Power for Living

Hello Gloria Dei,

As part of our “Roots, Relevancy, and Renewal” preaching series, this weekend we’re taking a look at the Ten Commandments. God says that there is a time coming in which “I will put my teaching within them and will write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people”. –Jeremiah 31:33
 
That time has come. With the Holy Spirit filling us, and through Jesus’ righteousness being given to us, we are more able to naturally follow God’s ways of Loving God and Loving others. That’s what the Ten Commandments are about: Loving God and Loving others.
 
Martin Luther put it this way. By virtue of Christ, and by faith in him, we are made into good trees. And good trees naturally produce good fruit.
 
Billy Graham tells the story about a little boy. “Daddy, how can I believe in the Holy Spirit when I have never seen Him?” asked the boy.
 
“I’ll show you how,” said his father, who was an electrician. The father took his son to a power plant and showed him the generators. “This is where the power comes from to heat our stove and to give us light. We can’t see the power, but it’s in that machine and in the power lines,” said his father.
 
“Now son, let me ask you a question: Do you believe in electricity?” “Yes”, said the boy.
 
“Of course you do,” said the father, “but you don’t believe in it because you see it. You believe in it because you see what it can do. Likewise, you can believe in the Holy Spirit not because you see Him, but see what He does in people’s lives when they are surrendered to Christ and possess His power.”
 
People of Gloria Dei, you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Jesus said “They will know you are my disciples by your love.” Take some time this weekend to review the Ten Commandments. Many of you picked up a copy of Luther’s Small Catechism, which includes them. You can also find them in Exodus 20:1-17.
 
I want you to see the Ten Commandments not as a set of rules that God demands, but rather as life-giving teachings that flow from us by virtue of Christ’s Spirit living within us. Because Christ has first loved us, we are empowered to love God and love others.
 
See you in worship as we have some fun learning and reviewing the Ten Commandments. As Jeremiah says, “God is writing his teachings on our hearts.”
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Spirit Alive

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I’m excited for this weekend as we kick-off the fall schedule with our “Spirit Alive” emphasis. Come, worship, and be renewed for your life today, even as we look back to our Christian and Reformation roots. We’ll be using John 3:16-17 as our biblical basis.
 
This weekend will also include a Ministry Fair. Booths and tables will be set up as we see a good sampling of what is available for us during the coming year at Gloria Dei.
 
Be reminded that Church School begins on Sunday, with two options in conjunction with our two worship services.
 
The new schedule for Church School looks like this:
  • Wednesday 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (begins this Wednesday, September 13)
  • Sunday 9:20 to 10:05 a.m.
  • Sunday 10:50 to 11:35 a.m.
 

Wednesday worship begins this coming week, September 13 from 6:00 – 6:30 p.m.

 
One more thing: we are looking for a few more volunteers for the Food to You mobile food shelf. We’re serving this coming Thursday, September 14, from 5:10 to 8:00 p.m. at Messiah/New Hope Lutheran Church in NE Sioux Falls.  Sign up using the Dei Worker insert this weekend or just email Pastor Chris at chris.zuraff@gloriadei-sd.org to let him know you’ll be there to serve.
 
Thanks for your partnership in the gospel of Christ and I’ll see you in worship!

Pastor Tim