Friday Followings with Pastor Tim

Friday Followings: An Unlikely Marriage

Hello Gloria Dei,

God’s chosen people, Israel, had been unfaithful to God. Despite all that God had done for them, setting them free from slavery in Egypt and leading them to their own Promised Land, they worshiped other gods and other things. God had become an afterthought.

This weekend in worship we’ll focus on one of the prophets, chosen by God to call the people back to faithfulness, and to deliver a powerful message of God’s unfailing love.

That prophet is Hosea. In a striking metaphor for how God’s people had been unfaithful, God calls Hosea to marry a beautiful woman, Gomer, who God knows will be unfaithful to Hosea. Gomer is indeed unfaithful. She sells herself to many men. Hosea is hurt. He begins to know and experience the hurt God feels.

And in an amazing story of unfailing love, Hosea continues to love Gomer and to finally rescue her from her life of prostitution.

God’s unfailing love belongs to you and me as well. Even knowing we’ve received so much from God’s hand, we often let the things of this world blind us to devotion to God. Look around…in many parts of our culture, God has become an afterthought. “Who needs God?” we say. “We’ve got it all under control.”

Even as God grieves, God stays faithful and never, ever abandons us. Like the union of Hosea with Gomer, an unlikely marriage and story of love, God’s love is ever present for us and our world. So much so that God has given his only Son to win us back.

If you can, in preparation for worship, read the Old Testament book of Hosea. It has fourteen chapters. If you have a study bible, it would be good to read the introduction and notes as you go. It is quite a love story.

The prophets of old, like Hosea, and prophetic voices today, are given by God as messengers to lead us into true and meaningful life, worshiping God with all we’ve got, and loving others even as we love ourselves.

If you’ve been struggling with feelings of guilt or unworthiness, remember the vows of love God has given to you. If you’ve been running from God, remember that “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ.” God is always, always, always ready to welcome us home.

See you in worship!

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: This and That

Hello Gloria Dei,

As we’ve recently turned the calendar to August, a reminder that our full fall programming will begin next month. Spirit Alive Sunday at Gloria Dei is September 9.

I want to let you know, too, that Gloria Dei will be hosting our newly elected mayor, Paul TenHaken, for a continental breakfast meeting and conversation. He will be here Wednesday morning, September 12, at 6:45 a.m.  We’ll have a chance to listen to our mayor and then ask any questions you may have, particularly around how Gloria Dei might partner to help meet ministry needs within the city. All are welcome.

We’ve had a great week with both VBS and Day Camp going on. It’s so great to see a couple hundred kids having fun while learning about Jesus and his love. We’ve had a great crew of adult and youth helpers all week long. Thank you for your support of Gloria Dei and for your prayers; all of this is made possible by you.

Within worship we continue to focus in on our Extraordinary God working through Ordinary people – this week we encounter Daniel. Please read Daniel 2:19-23 and Daniel 6:16-23.

See you in worship!

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: Seeking After God

“You are My God. Earnestly I seek You.” Psalm 63:1

Hello Gloria Dei,

This weekend in worship we’ll be focusing in on the Old Testament character, David. David’s life, like ours, has many twists, turns, and facets. Therefore, it’s impossible to cover every aspect of David’s life. However, as I read through some of David’s triumphs and failures it’s interesting to note that David’s life went best when he was passionately seeking after God.

During his early years, David was extremely devoted to God. Then, when the nation of Israel, and its King, David himself, experienced immense prosperity and comfort, David slacked off of his commitment to God. He thought he had it all under control. Maybe God wasn’t needed as much. That’s when things started to go bad again.

We too, if we’re not careful, can let the comforts and riches of life get us off track. Jesus picks up this theme in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and then all these things shall be added unto you.”

I give David credit. He learned his lesson. We see the rise, the fall, and the rise again of David in the pages of Scripture (Recorded most fully in 1 & 2 Samuel). Ultimately, David worshiped God and put his faith and trust in God. Because of this David is called “A Man after God’s Own Heart.” Many of the Psalms are written by David, including the beloved Psalm 23, which has brought comfort to countless numbers of people through the centuries.

This weekend in worship we’ll be reading Psalm 51 – a psalm of remorse, confession, renewal and restoration. It is a Psalm, written by David, which helped him get his life back on track, fully relying once again upon God and God’s grace, love, and forgiveness.

That same grace, love, and forgiveness is offered and given to each of us through one of David’s descendants, Jesus, the Messiah.

See you in worship!

Just a reminder that we will be thanking Cheryl McGuire within both worship services on Sunday for her faithfulness to Christ, and to this congregation. Cheryl will be officially retiring on July 31. We will have a cake and reception in between services this Sunday to give all of you an opportunity to say thank you to Cheryl.

Blessings!

Pastor Tim

 



Friday Followings: Loyalty and Faithfulness

Hello Gloria Dei,

As we continue our summer preaching series moving through the major characters of the Old Testament, we focus this weekend on Ruth. The short yet powerful book of Ruth is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature in the entire Bible.

One of the major themes of this book is loyalty. Another word we could use is faithfulness. The book of Ruth tells the story of a particular family and their family relationships. The main characters of this short story are Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. I encourage you to read this short book once, twice, or maybe even three times today and tomorrow, in preparation for this weekend. Pay attention to the ways in which the three characters I’ve named embody faithfulness and loyalty. They are inspirations to all of us as we live out our calling to be faithful and loyal to family, friends, faith and God. At the end of the story of Ruth we are reminded that through this lineage comes King David, and ultimately, Jesus the Messiah. It is the loyalty and faithfulness of Jesus to us which, ultimately, gives us true and meaningful life.
 
Speaking of loyalty and faithfulness, I want to let you know that we will be thanking Cheryl McGuire within both worship services on Sunday, July 29, for her faithfulness to Christ, and to this congregation. Cheryl has served incredibly well, wearing many hats through her 24 years of service to Gloria Dei, primarily overseeing the business/financials and facility. She exudes a servant’s heart, a high trust level, and tremendous faithfulness. Cheryl will be officially retiring on July 31. We will have a cake and reception in between services on July 29th to give all of you an opportunity to say thank you to Cheryl.
 
For this weekend, read the book of Ruth.
 
See you in worship!

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: Glimpses Into the Future

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I’m back in the office today after two weeks of vacation. Lorrie and I spent part of that time in Arizona. While we were there we saw old friends, and we drove around the “old neighborhood” where we raised our kids. As I ponder those days, I recall riding bikes with my daughter up and down the street when she was just learning to ride. I recall shooting baskets in our driveway with my son when he was just learning to shoot.
 
Yesterday evening I played golf with my son. He beat me last night for the first time of which will undoubtedly be many more to come in the future. As I saw him out-driving me, at times by over 100 yards; and as I saw me missing birdie putts and him making them, I smiled to myself. At first I was getting glimpses into the past – not only of riding bikes and shooting baskets with my kids when they were young – but also of me playing golf with my Dad. I remember beating him for the first time when I was about my son’s age.
 
But then I thought, “I’m also getting glimpses into the future.” Knowing how hard I tried to help my Dad fix his slice back in the day, my son will soon be giving me advice on how to fix my swing. And as I remembered me and my Dad as I played golf with my son, I thought of my Dad and my Mom, together in heaven with Jesus. And again I smiled. I was reminded in powerful fashion both how precious life is, and yet how relatively short as well. And I smiled when I thought too, that one day I’ll be there in heaven with my parents, my friends, and all of God’s people. And most of all, with Jesus, who calls and redeems each of us with his death and resurrection, and who will one day usher us into his glorious and everlasting kingdom.
 
Glimpses into the future, into eternity.  –Those moments when the future floods the present with its stunning reality. It’s good they don’t come along all the time, for we couldn’t stand more than a glimpse at a time, yet they are there, and they have a profound way of shaping us in the present.
 
People of Gloria Dei, live each day knowing that it is a gift from God. Love your family. Love your friends. Love strangers. Love God. Jesus has set you free to do no less. And most of all, know that God loves you and has destined you for eternity. None of us knows exactly what the future holds. But we do know that God goes with us and is there in the future. The great promise of Scripture is that there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love – not now and not ever.
 
In the loving embrace of our Savior, you and I have the promise of a great future.
 
See you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: A God Who Makes Choices

Hello Gloria Dei,

Did you know that God is a God who makes choices? Think about it: God chose to create the world. God chose to create humanity is God’s own image. And when Adam & Eve chose to disobey God, resulting in a separation and brokenness between us and God, God chose to do something about it.

God chose Abraham and Sarah to be the patriarch and matriarch of the nation of Israel. God chose to use the people of Israel to bless the world, from which the Messiah would come. We could go on and on. God chose Moses to lead the people out of slavery. God chose the prophets to speak God’s word to his people. And into the New Testament, God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. Jesus, God’s Son, chose the twelve disciples. God chose Saul / Paul to be the great evangelist to the Gentile world. God chose to send the Holy Spirit to enliven and accompany us through life.

The Good News for you and me is that God has also chosen us. This weekend in worship we are focusing on “Covenants & Commands”. Last week Pastor Chris introduced us to Moses. As we move through the Old Testament characters, we are still on Moses, as he receives from God both covenant and commandments. I invite you to read Exodus chapters 19 and 20.

Just as God made a covenant with the people of old, so too God makes a covenant with us. In the waters of baptism God chooses us. As we grow in faith, hope, and love, God uses us. As we gather each week around Word and Sacrament, God meets us, empowers us, and reminds us that because of what Jesus has done for us, we belong to God. And as chosen people of God we are privileged to go out into the world, living our lives differently than so many in this post-Christian society, letting our light shine for Jesus.

Never forget your true identity as a person of God. God has chosen you, and chooses you today, to live your life, now and forever, loving God and loving neighbor.

One reminder: Many of you know singer and songwriter James Hersch. He will be providing special music during our Saturday worship service, and then will be putting on a concert at 6:30 p.m. here at Gloria Dei. Come and enjoy! All are welcome!

See you in worship,

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: A Few Reminders, June 2018

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Just a few reminders today.
 
Please keep in your prayers the “going into 7th grade” campers who are returning today from Confirmation Camp at NeSoDak with Pastor Sarah. I’ve heard good reports from their time together.  Also pray for the High School Seniors who are on a Mission Trip in Tampa with Sandy Berven this week. I’ve also heard good reports about their service, fellowship, and fun. They will return Sunday.
 
You are all invited to the Gloria Dei Family Game Night tomorrow evening (Saturday), at 6:30 p.m.  One idea is to come to worship at 5 pm and stay for game night. Game Night will take place in the Youth Room and it will be a blast. Light snacks will be served.
 
Calling all O.W.L.S. (Older and Wiser Lutherans). It’s potluck day for the OWLS this Sunday at 11:45 a.m. The OWLS group is now open for anyone 55 and older. Bring a dish to share and come enjoy great fellowship and food following the 10:30 worship service.
 
The new couples’ Bible Study is off to a great start. Come with your spouse or significant other. The study meets at Gloria Dei on the 2nd and 4th Monday evening of every month for about an hour, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The focus is usually on the Scripture reading and sermon from the previous weekend. You are invited and encouraged to attend.
 
The Vacation Bible School registration deadline to receive a T-Shirt and CD is July 2 (registrations after July 2 are welcome, just not in time for the T and CD). VBS week is July 30 through August 3.
 
There is lots more happening through these summer months, so please check the website at www.gloriadei-sd.org

This week in worship we take a look at one of the great characters of the Old Testament: Moses. God used Moses in incredible ways to bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The Moses story is a great reminder of the way in which God sets you and me free from slavery to sin, death, and the power of evil, by way of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If you’re up for a good read, take a crack at reading the first 14 chapters of Exodus. Fascinating, inspiring, and faith-filled Scripture.

See you in worship!

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: The Great Story of Joseph

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
This weekend in worship we’re taking a look at one of my all-time favorite biblical characters, Joseph. This is not the Joseph of the New Testament, the earthly father of Jesus (although I like him too!) No, this is the Old Testament Joseph, the great grandson of Abraham and Sarah, and one of the 12 sons of Jacob.
 
The Joseph story is an important one, and can’t be told fully in my brief writing today. But I once heard the author Max Lucado tell the Joseph story using alliteration with the letter P. It went something like this:
 
Thrown into a Pit, Promoted by Potiphor to a Position of Power, Put into Prison, Promoted to the Position of Pharaoh’s Prime Minister, the story of Joseph is Picture of God’s Promise and Providence.
 
That’s not a bad telling of the story. The Joseph story contains all the drama of a reality TV show. His life is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, yet through it all, Joseph remains faithful to God and keeps his integrity and character intact. And through it all, God’s promise and God’s providence are evident. As we say in worship, “God is good… all the time.”
 
This weekend in preaching I want to explore the reality that God is present and active in our lives, just as God was present with Joseph, even amidst the ups and downs and roller coaster rides of life.
 
Please take fifteen to twenty minutes to read and ponder the full story of Joseph. It is found in chapters 37 to 50 of the book of Genesis. One of the key verses is found near the end of the story, Genesis 50:20, which has Joseph telling his brothers who abandoned him years earlier: “Even though you intended to do me harm, God intended it for good, in order to preserve life for numerous people.”
 
God is in the business of Life with a capital L. Jesus once said, “I have come that you would have Life and have it abundantly”. And again, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. And again, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  And even though this story of Joseph happens thousands of years before Jesus shows up, we see in its details God’s goodness, God’s grace, and God’s promise and passion that we will have life in his name.
 
See you in worship!
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: First They Did Something Else

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
In Acts chapter one, immediately following the risen Jesus’ ascension into heaven, you might think the disciples got right to the preaching and spreading of the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. But no! First they did something else.
 
Instead of getting to the exciting work of evangelism and outreach (that came soon in Acts 2 after the coming of the Holy Spirit) the disciples gathered for a church business meeting. You can read about it in Acts 1:12-26. You see, while the proclamation of the forgiveness of sin and the freedom which comes in Christ is the all-important task of the church, it is important to have a good plan to accomplish the work of the church in the best possible manner.
 
Over these next two days, the South Dakota Synod will be in Assembly. At the Synod Assembly, delegates from all the ELCA congregations in South Dakota will come together here in Sioux Falls to do the business of the larger church. Gloria Dei will send ten delegates, including our four pastors, to attend and participate in the hearing of reports, voting on resolutions, and adopting a financial mission plan for the coming year. Please keep Bishop Zellmer, as he leads the Assembly, and all who attend in your prayers. This is important work. We will provide a report to the congregation in the upcoming weeks of the Assembly highlights.
 
On another note, I know we’ve been promoting travel opportunities. For those interested in the Oberammergau Passion Play trip to Germany and Central Europe in the fall of 2020, please know there will be a meeting this Tuesday, June 5, at 6:30 p.m. here at Gloria Dei to review the trip details and to answer any questions you may have. Please call Judi Schwerin or Pastor Dwight in the office if you are interested, but cannot attend the meeting.
 
And finally, as we continue our preaching series on the Old Testament characters, please read Genesis 27:1-40 as we’ll encounter Jacob and Esau, the twin brothers born to Isaac & Rebekah. It’s a great story. God uses ordinary people (like you and me) to accomplish his extraordinary work.
 
May God bless you and I’ll see you in worship!

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: Thankful for Service

Hello Gloria Dei,

As our nation celebrates Memorial Day this weekend, let’s be sure to truly give thanks to God for those who have given their lives for this fine country and the freedoms that don’t always come easily. Find someone you know who has, or is, serving in any branch of the military and say thanks for serving in this way. We are grateful to God for them.

We are grateful, too, for those who have spent their lives in sharing the good news of Christ with us. Think of parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, relatives, friends, authors, who have made an impact on you and your faith. Give God thanks for them, too. And be sure to pray that God will continue to use you for the sake of good, for the sake of freedom, for the sake of sharing and living out the gospel in whatever ways you can. As we live together as a community of faith, we are thankful for each other and for the God who continues to bring us together.

I mentioned in my Friday Followings last week about the travel opportunities to the Holy Land in 2019 and to Central Europe and the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, in 2020. If you are interested please call the office for more information and get your deposits in, as the trips are filling up quickly.

This week I want to highlight another trip – this one a Mission and Service Trip. Pastor Chris will be leading a group to the Appalachians, with ministry projects ranging from working with children and/or the elderly, to work and building projects. This mission journey will take place November 9 to November 17, 2018. There will be an informational meeting at 11:45 a.m. in the office conference room on Sunday, June 10. Please come to the meeting on the 10th, or email Pastor Chris if you are interested: chris.zuraff@gloriadei-sd.org

All of us are servants of God, whether it be through the military, or within our families, or at work, or with friends, or going on a mission trip, or taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We give thanks to God, the one who has created us and continues to minister to us through Christ and his Holy Spirit, and the one who empowers us to serve in his name.

For worship this weekend we’ll focus on Abraham and his son Isaac. Please read Genesis 22:1-14.

May God bless you this Holiday Weekend, and may God bless your service. See you in worship!

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: Travel Opportunities

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I hope and pray you all are enjoying the nice days we’ve been having and that as we move toward the end of another school year, you are experiencing God’s grace-filled presence in your lives.
 
Today I want to simply remind you of two travel opportunities coming available to Gloria Dei members and friends. We are having an informational meeting this Sunday morning, May 20, at 11:45, in the sanctuary regarding the following two trips:
 
  1. The Holy Land – Pastor Tim & Lorrie Selbo and Judi Schwerin are hosting this trip to the land of the Bible. We’ll walk where Jesus walked, including Nazareth, Galilee, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Leaving out of Minneapolis, the trip dates are March 23 to April 2, 2019. Cost is $3999 per person (double occupancy) plus optional trip insurance of $224. Single occupancy is available at a higher cost. Brochures with full itinerary are available in the office, and will be handed out at the informational meeting on Sunday.

    2. Oberammergau Passion Play / Central Europe – Pastor Dwight & Kathy Stensgaard and Judi Schwerin are hosting this trip to Germany and Central Europe. Every ten years the German town of Oberammergau puts on a play of Jesus’ last days on earth, including his suffering, death, and resurrection. Begun in 1634, this is the world’s most famous and largest Passion Play. Along with Oberammergau, many other sites and cities in Central Europe will enhance this journey, including stops in Munich, Prague, and Salzburg. This trip will take place in late August or early September, 2020.

For more information on these trips, come to the meeting on Sunday. If you cannot come and want more information, please contact Pastor Tim, Judi Schwerin, or Melissa McKinney in the church office. These trips will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

In worship this weekend we continue our focus on the Characters of the Old Testament. Please read Genesis chapters 15 and 17:1-22 as we take a look at the way in which God used Abraham and Sarah.

See you in worship,

Pastor Tim



Friday Followings: Ordinary People, Extraordinary God

Hello Gloria Dei,

I hope you enjoyed working our way through the gospel of John of these past four months. I know I have. But more than enjoying it, I pray that the Holy Spirit has worked to strengthen your faith in Jesus, the one who gives us life.

This weekend in worship we will begin a new preaching series that will take us through the summer. We will be working our way through many of the major characters of the Old Testament and learn of God’s plan of salvation culminating in the coming of Jesus. We’re calling the new series:  Ordinary People, Extraordinary God.

We’ll be meeting people such as Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac, Jacob & Esau, Joseph, Moses, along with a few of the judges and prophets. We’ll meet Esther, Daniel, Joshua, Ruth, David, Elijah, and more. Through this series we’ll not only become more familiar with the overarching story told in the Old Testament, we’ll also explore together how God uses ordinary people like you and me to do the work he has for us and to accomplish his Kingdom purposes.

I look forward to seeing you in worship this weekend as we kick off this series right at the beginning with Adam and Eve. In preparation for worship, please read Genesis chapters 1, 2, and 3.

God’s blessings on your week,

Pastor Tim