Friday Followings: Quiet Your Mind

Hello Gloria Dei –

Yesterday I was listening to a song by Zac Brown Band called, “Quiet Your Mind”. Not a popular song but it came across my playlist. I had never heard it before but the words are what I needed to hear. The words that struck me the most go like this:
 
Quiet your mind
Soak it all in
It’s a game you can’t win
Enjoy the ride
 
I feel the change
Goin’ all around me
It’s strange
How I’m taken and guided
Where I end up right I’m needed to be

It was this reminder to enjoy what God has given me. That I’m not the one ultimately in charge but that God is. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow but I get to quiet my mind, soak it all in, and enjoy the ride. Through prayer and God’s guidance, not worry, I end up right where God has called me to be. God has gifted me with much so much and I need to take time to just soak it all in.  

I love how God speaks to us in every day ways. Yesterday I heard him through this song. Sometimes I hear his voice through my spouse, friends, or through my children. The next 6 weeks we will be starting a sermon series called “Summer Blockbusters”. We will be looking at different movies and ways God is always speaking to us. We can see God’s promises through movies and the world around us. 

Come and join us this weekend as we talk about the movie Harry Potter and hear about God’s love and sacrifice for us. We have a God who loves us so much that He sent His only Son, so that we can have eternal life. So that we can quiet our minds and enjoy the ride. So that we can be free to love and serve others. 

See you this weekend in worship!

Pastor Sarah 


Friday Followings: The Spirit Creates Faith

Hey Gloria Dei!

I hope this email finds you well and excited for the weekend ahead. Happy Father’s Day to all of you who are fathers or love and care for someone in a fatherly way! May God bless your calling each and every day! (I’ll let you in on a little secret: some of the fathers on staff and on our worship team have a little Father’s Day surprise for you in worship. Don’t miss it!)

If you’re around this weekend, we’d love to see you in worship with us. God loves us and desires for us to be in relationship with Him through the gathering of His church. God is always glad when you can be in worship!

God’s Third Commandment is to “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” It is a day to rest in the Word, just as God rested after speaking Creation into existence. God’s command to observe a Sabbath day is not only about rest, but also resistance. When we observe God’s Sabbath commandment we resist our natural human impulses to be busy, to accomplish everything, and to get everything done for ourselves. When we make the time to be in worship and gladly hear God’s Word, we resist the temptation to believe that we are in charge of our own destiny by what we do. In fact, God is in control. God’s creative Spirit is alive and active in the world and we can resist our human need to make everything happen by our own will and effort.

This weekend, God’s Word comes to us from the book of Acts 8:26-40. Take some time to read this strange and powerful story. This is the story of the Holy Spirit’s work in the apostle Philip. The Spirit opens up the Word of God to a powerful Ethiopian man, in charge of his queen’s fortunes. As the Spirit moves through Philip, the Spirit creates faith in the Ethiopian man and sends him on his way rejoicing. The Spirit’s primary work is to create faith! This weekend, I’d like you to focus on the questions in the story. Notice the Spirit’s work as the questions are exchanged between the Ethiopian man and his teacher and preacher, Philip. We’ll dig a little deeper in worship on Sunday.

Please pray this weekend as our youth continue their mission trip to Philadelphia. God’s Spirit is no doubt alive and active in them and in all of the people they meet along the way. Also in your prayers, please give thanks for a wonderful week of confirmation camp for our 6th graders. As all of our youth return and adjust to life back home may their faith, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, have a profound impact on us. I hope and pray that they will return rejoicing just as much as the Ethiopian man in our story!

See you in worship!

Pastor Chris Zuraff



Friday Followings: From the “Pastoral Bench”

Greetings from the Pastoral Bench!
 
I’ve not taken the time to publicly express my gratitude to Gloria Dei for my part-time call to serve in the capacity of congregational care, adult education and of course Word and Sacrament. I am now just past my one year anniversary of ordination (May 28th, 2016) and want all of you good people to know what happens in my work that is largely “behind the scenes.”
 
My use of the term “Pastoral Bench” is a little tongue-in-cheek. But frankly, I wasn’t called for my preaching skills or to be a primary public face of Gloria Dei. Tim, Sarah, Chris and Dwight all eclipse me by quite a margin in that department and they all need to be in the pulpit more regularly than I. I’m perfectly okay with that. It’s what I signed up for. My work partnership with Judi Schwerin takes me to hospitals, homes and nursing facilities. When you are in the harness with Judi, you stay busy. Additionally I work with the Stephen Ministry, do some adult education (the Men’s Bible Study at 6:30 Wednesday morning ROCKS!), preside at Liturgy and as you will see this weekend, preach occasionally.
 
Peter “comes off the bench” in our Acts reading this weekend (3:1-10) as he restores a man’s ability to walk. All this man really asked for was a few shekels to get through another day. What he actually gets, in the name of Jesus Christ, is a new life and entry in to the worship life of the community – far more than what he asked for. This is another example of God’s loving kindness, generosity and inclusion. Expect more when you pray.
 
As Pastor Tim continues to tear through his sabbatical (it will be over before he knows it), I am being called on to “fill the gaps” so my part-time is changing a little (is 8:00 am to 8:00 pm still considered half-days?). Just kidding. Gloria Dei is blessed with a talented bullpen of spirit-filled Pastors that are all willing to step in whenever they are called on. Chris, Sarah and Dwight can all throw fast balls, sliders, curves and even a knuckle ball every now and then. I’m thrilled to be part of the team. See you all on Sunday.
 
May God continue to be your joy, strength and shelter in all things.
Pastor Bob


Friday Followings: The One Constant, the Presence of the Holy Spirit

Happy Friday,

This weekend is another special weekend for two reasons. 

  1. We celebrate Pentecost, the gift of Holy Spirit.
  2. We celebrate those who are graduating. 

Graduating from High School or College is all about new beginnings and new adventures. The excitement of what lies ahead and all the possibilities! 

Early this week on my Facebook news feed a picture of my graduation from Seminary popped up. 8 years ago Eric and I had no idea what was ahead of us but we were full of dreams and excitement. 3 moves, 2 more children, and a lot of living has happened in those 8 years. Some of those moments have been amazing, beyond amazing, and some have been challenging. The one constant in the midst of all of that has been the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

We are gifted with this amazing gift from God, the Holy Spirit. That no matter what, through the good, the bad, and the ugly, we know that they Holy Spirit is always with us. The Holy Spirit is there in the midst of all life’s new adventures, joy, and sorrows. 

This weekend as we celebrate another milestone in the lives of our youth, we will also hear again the promise that we are God’s now and forever. 

Come join us for worship and remember to wear your red for the Pentecost celebration!

See you in church!
Pastor Sarah


Friday Followings: What a Gift Memory Is

Dear Gloria Dei Friends,

 A very happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone!  I have been thinking about the words, memory and remembrance, as we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.  And I have been thinking that God blesses us with gift after gift in life and one of God’s gifts that I appreciate is the gift of memory.  James Barrie said,“God has given us memories that we might have roses in December.” The gift of memory allows us to enjoy someone or something when they are no longer with us, or absent from us. What a gift memory is! 

Henrik Ibsen, a great Norwegian author, wrote about how he would often look at the portraits of his godly ancestors that hung on the wall of his home.  And as he looked at them, he said, each one seemed to speak a word of tenderness and goodness, each seemed to speak a world of saving and guarding power, which guides us in our future. Sometimes when I wonder what to do in life, I will ask myself, what would my dad had done in this situation?  As I remember him, his values, his principles, his will and way, often I decide to do as I believe he would have done.  Even though my dad is no longer with me, he tenderly guides me in making a decision.  What a gift of God memory is! 

This weekend we remember the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces.  We ask God’s blessing on all our past and present service men and women and their families.  We give thanks for the gift of freedom we enjoy in this country and vow not to forget, but remember the sacrifice that so many have paid to preserve our freedom. 

This weekend we continue our Sermon Series on the Book of Acts.  The sermon title this week is:  Barnabas.. ‘The Advocate’ and the sermon text is Acts 9.19-28.  The sermon will center on Barnabas, who was an advocate for the Apostle Paul.  If it hadn’t been for Barnabas, we may have never heard the good news of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

A little about Barnabas.  Acts 4.36-37 says:  “There was a Levite, a native off Cyrpus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’).  He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  Acts 11.24 says: “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith!”  Acts 9.27 says:  “But Barnabas took Paul, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him”.  There is a saying that goes:  “______ is my Barnabas!  Meaning this person has been my advocate in life.

  1. In your life, do you have an advocate? 
  2. Are you someone’s advocate? 
  3. In John’s gospel, Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit, as our advocate. How has the Holy Spirit (God, Jesus) been your advocate?

Once again, happy Memorial Day weekend to all!  We give thanks for the memories of loved ones who have passed and for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.  May God bless!

See you in church!
Pastor Dwight Stensgaard   


Friday Followings: Come and Let the Spirit Create that New Faith in You!

 

Hey, hey Gloria Dei!

I hope your weekend plans are shaping up to be fantastic! While you’re finalizing those plans, make a plan to be in worship with us this weekend. You’ll be glad you did!

This is the final weekend of our Silent Auction and the bidding closes on Sunday morning at 10:30am Appetizers, fellowship, and winnings will all be shared between 10:30-11am. No need to be present to win, but who wouldn’t want to spend some quality time in fellowship?! The Silent Auction raises money for our many youth mission trip participants this summer. Please have fun and bid until bidding closes!

At our 9am and 10:30am services this Sunday we will be commissioning our newest Stephen Ministers, Dave Krull and Sara Maloney. Stephen Ministry is a vital part of taking care of one another as a church and the program is invaluable. Training for the program involves many hours’ worth of study and workshops. Stephen Ministers are trained in confidential Christian caregiving to serve those who are in need of Jesus’ special care. Thank you to Dave and Sara for your commitment!

Also, in worship this weekend we enter into a new sermon series, “It’s a Spirit Thing!” centering on the book of Acts. “The Acts of the Apostles” focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit in creating faith in those early believers. The characters found in the book of Acts are some of the most vibrant, Spirit-filled people in all of Scripture and their stories are inspiring and faithful. Join us each Saturday and Sunday throughout the series to hear about the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through these people of faith. As the Spirit moves through these people, “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth,” we know that the Spirit of God also moves through each and every one of us. Our stories are full of all kinds of interesting plot twists and characters, just like those of the early apostles. Our stories are also full of God’s life-giving, faith-creating Spirit. Come and worship with us; come and let the Spirit create that new faith in you!

Finally, a CALL TO ACTION for all Gloria Dei members: Have you been looking for an easy, low-commitment way to help out at church, but haven’t found just the right thing? How about planning to help out at the SD Synod Assembly June 1-3? The SD Synod Assembly is an annual meeting of all 200+ ELCA churches in South Dakota. Gloria Dei has the honor and privilege of being chosen as the hosts of this year’s assembly. And we want to be good and gracious hosts for our brothers and sisters in Christ! We have LOTS of spots open, anywhere from helping to serve lunches/dinners to parking lot attendants to ushers for worship services. We could really use YOUR help showing Christian hospitality to guests from all over the state. Sign up at the Welcome Table this weekend or email cheryl.mcguire@gloriadei-sd.org.

Let’s GO Gloria Dei!

Pastor Chris


Friday Followings: Just Do Your Best and Let God Do the Rest

Dear Gloria Dei members and friends,
 
This weekend at worship we will be celebrating three baptisms, one at each service, the Children’s Choirs will sing at the late service on Sunday and we will conclude our Micah Sermon Series and reflect on ‘walking humbly with our God’. 

This is also Mother’s Day Weekend, and so we will be thinking about and giving thanks for our moms. 

Over these days leading up to Mother’s Day, I been thinking about my mom more than usual for some reason. I am sure it is because I miss her! In these days we have our moms on our minds, whether our moms are with us – or whether they have beat us home to heaven. The beauty of Mother’s Day is that it allows us special time to think about our moms and what they have done for us and mean to us and it’s an important time to ‘give thanks’ for and to them. I don’t think we can say ‘thanks’ enough to our moms. For me, I am thankful to my mom for how she passed the faith to me and taught me about the indescribable gifts of God like faith, hope, and love. My mom also assured me of the message of Easter, the promise of the resurrection, that because Christ rose, so shall we, and because Christ rose, he is with us now and will be forever, we are never alone. And my mom taught me little lessons that has helped me along life’s way, like when challenging times come, she would say to me; JUST DO YOUR BEST AND LET GOD DO THE REST. GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH! And another gift that my mom taught me was to keep a sense of humor in life, because life can get very serious, very quickly. So celebrate how life is precious and squeeze the joy out of life every day.

In our scripture this week from Micah, God speaks to us and instructs us to ‘walk humbly with our God’. What does ‘walking humbly with our God’ mean? Scripture teaches that humility is becoming a child before God, it is seeking first the kingdom of God in everything, it is being servant and slave of all, it is being other centered, setting aside our selfish ego that edges God out of life. To be humble is to empty ourselves of everything that prevents God from filling us with his grace.  

When we humble ourselves, God promises that we will be exalted! Humility is the window to exaltation and blessing in our lives. James 4:10 says:  “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you”. In Luke 14:11, Jesus says, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 

When we humble ourselves before the Lord we will be blessed, exalted, we will experience the fullness of God’s joy and delight.
 
See you in church!
Pastor Dwight Stensgaard
 
P.S. We extend sympathy, God’s peace and our prayers to the family of long-time Gloria Dei member, Inez Orthmeyer. Inez Marie (Wyum) Orthmeyer, age 88, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 8th. Funeral services will be 11:00 AM Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls. Visitation begins at 4:00 PM Tuesday May 16th at Heritage Funeral Home in Sioux Falls, where the family will greet friends from 4-7:00 PM with a prayer service at 6:30 PM.


Friday Followings: Love Kindness

Happy Friday, Gloria Dei!
 
As many of you know by now, Pastor Tim is on sabbatical. This is a great gift you as a congregation give to your pastors. Sabbatical comes from the word, “Sabbath.” The Sabbath day is the day God commanded the whole world to rest and give thanks for the gift of daily work and daily bread. It is also a day to focus on God’s Word. As Luther said in his small catechism, we gather on the Sabbath day“…to gladly hear God’s Word and learn from it.” Pastor Tim has been given that great opportunity to connect with God through this extended Sabbath time. Please pray that he might be able to rest, connect with God, and connect with his family during this time.

But just because Pastor Tim is away on sabbatical doesn’t mean that Gloria Dei is going to shut down! We’ve got some great stuff planned for you this weekend. At our 5pm Saturday service, we have a service of healing and anointing. If you are hurting, physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually, come and be part of this special service.

On Sunday, the blessings continue. After worship, we’re hosting Food Truck Sunday! You may have even seen the billboards around SuFu. Join us for some great food after the services. Significant portions of your purchases are given, by the trucks, to our youth, as a fundraiser for their mission trips this summer.

In worship, we gather for our own Sabbath day to gladly hear the words of the prophet Micah. Micah preached at the time of the Assyrian empire. Micah warned the people of the southern kingdom of Judah that their corrupt government, corrupt religious officials, and their whole nation full of corrupt people would be overthrown by the Assyrians if they did not turn from their idol-worshiping ways and return to God. Their corruption centered on the preachers preaching only what the people wanted to hear and not the Word of God. Micah also warned them God’s Word required them to care for the poor and vulnerable in their country. If they did not follow God’s Word, God would turn the Assyrians loose on them. Micah said, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?” Justice, kindness, and humility: these are the ways of God; the God whom we love and who sent Jesus to live, die, and be raised so that you might know the way.

Let’s GO Gloria Dei!

Pastor Chris


Friday Followings: Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly with God

Hello Gloria Dei,

As I’m wrapping a few things up in the office today before being gone on sabbatical, I’m excited over these next twelve weeks to have the opportunity to worship with my wife at different churches around the area. As a pastor, it isn’t often I’m able to worship at other settings.

Some of the churches we’ll go to are Lutheran. Some are other denominations. All will be Christian. And while all Christian churches have much in common, there will be some stylistic and theological differences. We are looking forward to God speaking to us in other places and amidst other congregations.

At Gloria Dei, the two main pillars of our life together are Worship and Discipleship. In worship, we hear and experience God’s love for us through Word, Sacrament, Music, Liturgy, and Fellowship. Out in the world, our discipleship comes into play.

For the next three weekends, worship at Gloria Dei will center on the Old Testament book of Micah. Micah was a prophet who spoke God’s word of warning and grace to God’s people. Among other words, the calling God gave to the people through Micah was to “Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8). We have the same calling. This weekend the focus will be on the theme “Do Justice”.

God truly does empower us to be agents of grace as we follow Jesus. Part of our call is to live as Micah describes.  As I take leave of you for a short period of time, and as you embark soon on summer activities and trips, may each of us be filled with God’s love, worshiping regularly wherever we are, and then living out our callings to “Do Justice, to Love Kindness, and to Walk Humbly with God.” In other words, we live out our callings to be light, salt, and leaven so the love of God shines and works through us to others.

Micah is only seven chapters long. See if you can read it a few times during these next three weeks. Blessings and I’ll see you near the end of July!

Partnering with you in the gospel of Jesus,

Pastor Tim

                                                   



Friday Followings: Good Friday

Hello Gloria Dei,

I just returned from the annual Sioux Falls Prayer Breakfast, held each year on Good Friday. The speaker this morning was a man named Jim Wallace, a detective who is often featured on Dateline, 20/20, and other television shows. Jim was an atheist for much of his life. However, when presented with the biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection, Jim set out to prove that it didn’t happen.

What he discovered instead was amazing to him. All the evidence, well beyond a reasonable doubt, pointed him to the astonishing reality that Jesus really did rise from the grave. His findings are stimulating and interesting. I encourage you to look him up on the website: coldcasechristianity.com. You and I are called to make a defense for the belief that is in us. The more details and facts surrounding Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the better testimony we can share.

However, no matter how we might try to prove the resurrection, it still comes down to faith and trust. The God who made you and this whole creation is the God who came down at Christmas, lived and taught among us, and died on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our waywardness. In Jesus we have the forgiveness of sins, the overarching purpose for our lives, and the promise of life eternal. Faith comes through hearing, so thank you for your ongoing commitment to worship each week and to sharing the good news with your family and friends.

As you celebrate Easter, whether you’re traveling and will worship elsewhere, or here in Sioux Falls at Gloria Dei, may the risen Christ meet you once again and enter your heart and your life. In Jesus we have and know the Way, the Truth, and the Life, now and forever.

Together with the entire staff, I wish you a very blessed Easter. Christ is Risen…. He is Risen indeed! Keep in mind that our Saturday service is a full Easter celebration service, so if that works best in your schedule, please be reminded of that option.

Worship times for the remainder of the week:

Good Friday  7:00 p.m.

Resurrection of Our Lord Easter Worship

Saturday     5:00 p.m.

Sunday     7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 a.m.

In Christ,
Pastor Tim