Friday Followings with Pastor Tim

Enjoy thoughts, questions, stories, devotions, and more from our Senior Pastor.

Friday Followings: Rejoice in the Lord Always

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Jesus tells many parables about landowners who, upon leaving on a long trip, leave their land in the hands of others to take care of. Of course, Jesus is making the point that God has done the same with us. Certainly God is always with us. However, God does give us the task of being stewards of all the gifts that he has given us to manage.
 
Every week we confess our faith in God, often reciting the Apostles’ Creed, which begins “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”
 
The biblical worldview means that God is not just the creator of heaven and earth, but also the owner of heaven and earth. Distinguished bible scholar Dr. Harry Wendt suggests that when we say the first article of the Creed, we ought to add the word “owner”. “I believe in God…. The creator and owner of heaven and earth.”
 
What implications does it have for your life, as a believer and follower of Jesus, if God owns everything, including your very life? What if you and I are simply caretakers, or stewards, of the gifts that God bestows upon us? What if the talents we possess, the resources and money that we say belong to us, even our family, in reality, all belong to God?
 
For me, that truth helps to set me free. This is God’s world. He’s got it. My life belongs to God. He’s got it. My possessions…they aren’t really mine at all. It all belongs to God. And God’s got it. When I truly let that reality sink in and when I live in such a manner, I really do feel free to live with a joy in my heart. God’s got this. And I can live as God calls me to, keeping a love for God and a concern for others in my heart.
 
Our Stewardship theme for this year is Rejoice in the Lord Always. God, the creator and owner of all, has given us life, placed us into this time and space, loves us with an everlasting love, and calls us to use our life for his purposes. Taking care of what God has entrusted to us, how can we not rejoice always?
 
I want to say thank you to all of you. The way in which you use the time, talent, and money that God has entrusted you is evident at Gloria Dei. You are generous in your giving. God calls us to no less.
 
This past Sunday night a good crowd from Gloria Dei gathered at Willow Run. We heard from youth and adults of how Christ is impacting lives for the sake of the gospel. There is no other organization on earth with the mandate to proclaim God’s saving work in Jesus Christ. Your support is needed.
 
This weekend within worship, we will bring our financial pledges for 2020 to the altar as an act of worship. Our offerings support all of the ministry being done, as well as keeping up on our building and mortgage costs. I encourage you to pray about your level of giving to God’s work, and to increase it if possible, as God continues to impact thousands of people for Jesus Christ through this ministry. I encourage all of us to give generously, as the Good News of God’s love for us is indeed the one true and lasting hope for all the world. Again, our giving and support is needed. It is part of our calling as Christians. God has placed us in this time and place to be faithful stewards for God. Rejoice!
 
See You in Worship,
 
Pastor Tim

 

 



Friday Followings: Participating in God’s Vision

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Someone once asked Helen Keller, “What would be worse than being born blind?” She replied, “To have sight with no vision.”
 
Without vision we are lost. Thankfully, God has a vision for us and for this world. God’s vision is that the very Kingdom of God would reign among us, beginning now and going on forever. And to make that happen God comes down and lives among us. Jesus ushers in the very Kingdom and presence of God. Jesus is God’s way of getting us back from the clutches of sin, death, and the devil.
 
It’s like the little boy who built a toy sailboat. He crafted it, sanded it, varnished it, and took great care in creating it. He loved it. But one day down at the river, the current became strong and the boat got away. The boy was sad that his boat had become lost.
 
About two weeks later he was walking downtown and saw in a toy store window the very boat he had created. It had a for sale sign on it. The boy went in and said to the store owner, “Hey, that’s my boat. I made it.” The owner replied, “Well, that very well may be, but if you want it back it will cost you $20.”
 
For the next two weeks the boy did chores, worked hard and saved his money, all out of love for that boat. When he had $20 he went and bought his boat back. Holding his boat in his hands he looked at it and said, “I created you, I love you, you got lost, but now I have bought you back.”
 
That’s what God says to us. That’s God’s vision for all people. The Bible is the story of God’s relentless pursuit to have us back.
 
And the remarkable reality is that God has chosen to use us within his vision. He equips us with his love and gives us all that we have in order that we would make use of his gifts for the furthering of his vision in the world. God desires all people to have life in Christ’s name.
 
Later this month, during worship on November 20, 23, and 24, we will have opportunity to make our financial pledges to the work God is doing in and through Gloria Dei for the year 2020. As we do, we participate in the furthering of God’s reign in the world. As you give of your time, your talents, and your money, God uses it in powerful ways. At Gloria Dei we are not ashamed of the Gospel, but rather we proclaim it and live it out.
 
Thank you for partnering in this great vision God has for us and for the world. You and I are blessed. And God calls and uses us to be a blessing to the world.
 
See You in Worship!
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: A New (Used) Bus

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
During this month of Stewardship Emphasis and Thanksgiving, as we highlight different ministries going on in and through Gloria Dei, I want to let you know that we are in need and will be purchasing a new (used) bus.
 
Did you know that for years Gloria Dei has picked up children from school on Wednesdays and they are brought to Church School and other Wednesday afternoon activities at church? This year we have over 100 kids, grades K – 8, who are making use of our bus ministry. It’s awesome.
 
Our current bus is quite old and it’s time for a newer one. Beginning in January you will have opportunity to help Gloria Dei pay for the bus. We’ll have some fun “buying a seat or a row of seats or a tank of gas”. Contributions large and small will all add up to the purchase of the bus which will serve us well long into the future. Even the money from the regular Kids Night Out will be used for a few months to help in buying the bus. We’ll have some fun with this special fundraiser. Thank you in advance.
 
Over these next three weeks in weekend worship we are using the theme “Rejoice in the Lord Always! God making and impact through Gloria Dei.” I’ll be preaching this weekend on the intentionality of Gloria Dei keeping the gospel message front and center in our proclamation and life together as a congregation.
 
Later this month, during worship on November 20, 23, and 24, we will have opportunity to make our financial pledges to the work God is doing in and through Gloria Dei for the year 2020. Giving of our time, talents and treasures is a way of saying thank you to God for the gifts he has given us to manage. And furthermore, giving of ourselves and our money to Christ’s work allows us to be part of something much bigger than just ourselves.
 
And don’t forget to RSVP for the adult only night of fellowship, food, and sharing as we gather at the Willow Run Golf Clubhouse on Sunday evening, November 17, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Go onto the website, or the new GD App, or sign up at church. It will be a fun evening together.
 
See You in Worship!
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: All Saints: Gifted, Called, Grateful

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Happy All Saints Day! This weekend in worship we celebrate All Saints. It’s good for the soul 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 who not only have been in my life, but the saints from all time. Biblical characters, historical figures, and countless more. What fun we’ll have in heaven!
 
Yet for now, God has gifted us with a promise and a calling. He promises that we belong to him, through Christ, now and forever. And he calls us to be sharers, or evangelists, of the Good News. One of the saints in my life used to say “We as evangelists have two tools: our words and our life.” I like that. By what we say and do, the Lord Jesus is presented to the world. The Holy Spirit then takes those words and deeds, given in love, and creates a living faith in those around us.
 
Later this month, during worship on November 20, 23, and 24, we will have opportunity to make our financial pledges to the work God is doing in and through Gloria Dei. Giving of our time, talents and treasurers is a way of saying thank you to God for the gifts he has given us to manage. And furthermore, giving of ourselves and our money to Christ’s work allows us to be part of something much bigger than just ourselves.
 
During worship in this month of November you’ll be hearing about many of the ministries that go on at Gloria Dei. You’ll see how lives are being impacted for Christ. And as always, through Word and Sacrament, you will be met by Jesus himself, giving you a purpose-filled and gospel centered life.
 
And don’t forget to RSVP for the adult only night of fellowship, food, and sharing as we gather at the Willow Run Golf Clubhouse on Sunday evening, November 17, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Go onto the website, or the new GD App, or sign up at church. It will be a fun evening together.
 
One more reminder. This weekend we will hold elections by written ballot for open positions on Council and other Committees.
 
See You in Worship!
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Reformation / Confirmation

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
We are so excited and blessed this weekend to have a large group of 9th graders making public profession of their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives. We call this confirmation… a profound confirming of God’s promises made to them at their baptisms.
 
The church’s mission, above and beyond anything else, is to be bold about proclaiming the great news of God’s love for this world. And in that proclamation to have people come to faith. The Holy Spirit is at work in powerful ways in all of our lives, but it’s so great to give witness to these young adults proclaiming their faith in God.
 
And what better weekend to do this but Reformation weekend, when we celebrate the church’s rediscovery of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith. Don’t hesitate to wear the color red to church this weekend if you’re so moved. Red, the color of the Holy Spirit, is the color for Reformation worship.
 
A few other items for your information:
 
Be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday November 17. Two important events this day.
 
The first is a presentation by the Gloria Dei Holy Land Travelers. We’re calling this “Holy Land Reflections”. Last March a group of 42 traveled and toured the Holy Land. We want to share our experience with you. We’ll be gathering in the Fellowship Hall following the 2nd worship service. We’ll show pictures and tell stories and share reflections about our journey.  Please come. We’ll meet at 11:45 a.m. and go for about an hour.
 
Secondly, on that same day, the congregation is invited to an adult only fellowship event at the Willow Run Golf Course Clubhouse. We’ll enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, great conversation, and we’ll hear from members and pastors about the ongoing vision and ministry at Gloria Dei. This fellowship event will begin at 5:00 p.m. and go until 7:00. We would like to get RSVP’s for this, so click here, call the church office, or sign up at the Welcome Center.
 
And finally, just a notice to all that our elections for open council and committee positions will take place via written ballot during worship on the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd, and on Wednesday November 6th.
 
Thank you for your partnership in the good news of Jesus Christ,
 
See you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Two Important (and fun) Events

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I hope it’s the same for you, but I sure do enjoy being together in community at Gloria Dei. Our mission and vision statement says “Freed by Christ, We Gather, Grow, Give, and Go, all to the Glory of God”. And I might add, we have fun doing it.
 
This week I simply want to tell you of two events, both enjoyable, that are happening on the same day. Be sure to mark your calendars for Sunday November 17.
 
The first is a presentation by the Gloria Dei Holy Land Travelers. We’re calling this “Holy Land Reflections”. Last March a group of 42 traveled and toured the Holy Land. We want to share our experience with you. We’ll be gathering in the Fellowship Hall following the 2nd worship service. We’ll show pictures and tell stories and share reflections about our journey.  Please come. We’ll meet at 11:45 a.m. and go for about an hour.
 
Secondly, on that same day, the congregation is invited to an adult only fellowship event at the Willow Run Golf Course Clubhouse. We’ll enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, great conversation, and we’ll hear from members and pastors about the ongoing vision and ministry at Gloria Dei. This fellowship event will begin at 5:00 p.m. and go until 7:00. We would like to get RSVP’s for this, so call the church office, sign up online HERE, or stop by the Welcome Center at church.
 
Thank you for your partnership in the good news of Jesus Christ,
 
See you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Reminder: Please Opt In to the Gloria Dei Directory

I’m looking forward to seeing you all in worship this weekend. We’ll continue one more week on our theme of God and Baseball. The Major League Baseball playoffs continue, and even though the beloved Minnesota Twins are out, we’ll learn some great lessons from Baseball and the Bible.
 
One other item to mention. A few weeks ago you first heard about our new Gloria Dei online member directory. I want to give a plug for that again this week. To be included in this directory, you need to opt-in. I encourage all of you to opt in, so that this directory can be as helpful as possible to all of us.  Here are some details.
 
With an online directory, you control when your information gets updated!
 
In order to make the online directory useful, we’re encouraging everyone to fill out this Online Directory Form. Again, our online directory is ‘Opt-In’ meaning that your information will not be available to other Gloria Dei members unless you ‘Opt-In.’ In a big church like Gloria Dei, it can be hard to get to know everyone, so we are really encouraging everyone to take the time to fill out the form and update your picture. Our office team is happy to help you complete the form if you need, so don’t hesitate to call or stop in and ask. We will give everyone the option in worship to simply check “Opt In” in the Dei Worker sheet, and the office team will make sure you’re in. The more who opt in, the better our directory becomes.
 
In the online process, you’ll be asked to complete the form for each of your family members in your household. If your children are older and have moved out, please ask them to complete the form for themselves. Updating your information with a home, cell, and work phone number (include area code), your preferred email address, and your physical address will also help to make sure you’re getting emails and mailings from Gloria Dei. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll be invited to create a login and password to access the directory. There you can control what information is shown (For example, you may not want to include your work phone, or you may want to make your email address private). You can control what is accessible to others in your Gloria Dei family of faith. It will take some time for your information to show up to other Gloria Dei members who’ve logged in, so please be patient and check back again in a couple of days.
 
And maybe even more exciting, you get to upload your own pictures! No more church photography companies pressuring you to buy their products. Upload a headshot from work, a selfie, or a cropped photo from that last family photoshoot. You can even upload a picture of your whole family.
 
Finally, your information is completely secure, and we will not share your information with anyone other than Gloria Dei members. If you have questions about data security, or anything else, you can talk with Cicely Schock in the office or Pastor Chris.
 
Click Here to fill out the form and ‘Opt-In’ to our online directory.
 
Click here to view the Online Directory, or find our Online Directory in our new app, Gloria Dei – Sioux Falls.
 
Thanks, and I’ll see you in worship!
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings | It’s Playoff Time: God and Baseball

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I’m pumped. It’s baseball playoff time and the Minnesota Twins are in the playoffs. If you’re a Twins fan you know that doesn’t always happen. Praise the Lord!
 
In honor of playoff time, over the next couple of weekends I’ll be preaching a short, two week series on God, the Bible, and Baseball. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, you’ll enjoy and be enriched by the message of baseball and the Bible.
 
Growing up I played on lots of baseball teams. And the best coaches were the ones who had a plan for every practice and for every game. Imagine arriving to a baseball practice and the coach having no direction for the players. Or imagine coming to a baseball game where the coach had no idea who was pitching or what the batting order might be.
 
The successful coaches I had in baseball were the ones who showed up with a goal in mind.
 
The same is true for our Christian life. If someone were to ask you what the goal of the Christian life is, how would you answer? Maybe you’d say “The goal is to do good stuff.” Or maybe “to go to church.” Or maybe “learning to be a better person.” All of those are important.
 
Yet listen to what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 3:10. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, so that I may attain the resurrection.” And again in verse 14. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
 
Paul teaches us that our goal is to know Christ. Not just in our heads, but in our hearts. Let the love of Jesus pervade your very being. Get to know him by Scripture reading, prayer, worshiping with fellow Christians, and by knowing of his great sacrifice for you. Even in our sufferings, we can rejoice, as God has redeemed us and is with us always.
 
I’m glad my baseball coaches always had a goal and plan in mind. Make knowing Jesus more and more your goal throughout life. And come this weekend as we take a look at God and baseball. Go Twins!
 
See you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Open Arms Addiction Ministry

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
For my Friday Followings this week I simply want to include a letter from Pastor Chris. It highlights an important ministry going on here at Gloria Dei, and a survey that we invite you to fill out anonymously this weekend. Blessings and I’ll see you in worship.
———
Dear Gloria Dei faith family,
 
I’m writing today with something that God has been nudging me about for some time. Addiction has touched many of our lives and I believe that the church is called to respond with “Open Arms” in support, both for those who are or have faced addiction, as well as their families and friends.
 
Every addiction story is unique, but not one addiction story is exempt from God’s redemptive love. Like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke, every single person suffering from addiction is forgiven and welcomed with “Open Arms” into God’s redeeming love. At Gloria Dei, we want you to know that you can trust God and trust your church family with your story. No matter how broken, no matter how painful, you can trust God and your church family.
 
It’s important for you to know that our Recovery Advocates are here and waiting to help. And we want to be as helpful as possible. So this weekend in worship we’re asking Gloria Dei members to fill out a confidential survey to help us better understand the need in our church. We don’t want your name or contact information with this survey. We simply want your honesty. It will better help us do the ministry God is calling us to.
 
Please, take a few minutes to fill out this form when you are in the pews and place it in the Open Arms box at the Welcome Center. We’d be forever grateful to know the ways in which we can better serve God and our congregation.
 
Thank you and God bless,
 
Pastor Chris Zuraff


Friday Followings: Biblical Fashion Show

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
This past weekend we took a look at Biblical Fashion. In other words, now that the Good News of Jesus as Savior and Lord of lives is a reality for us, what kind of “clothing” is God calling and equipping us to wear? And by clothing, the Bible isn’t talking about what we wear on the outside, but those qualities and attributes that begin on the inside and then shine out to the world.
 
We began last week with Forgiveness. Forgiveness is often times hard to “put on”. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we love to receive it, but it can be hard to give.
 
This week we continue with our theme of Biblical Fashion. And we continue in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Read once again Colossians 3:12-17. Which of these attributes listed are easy for you to put on? Which ones are harder? Which ones come naturally? With whom do you share them? In worship we’ll continue to explore the clothing that reflects the very Kingdom of God.
 
Wednesday worship is up and running too. Our theme for the next two months on Wednesdays is to share one of Jesus’ many parables each week. Worship begins at 6 pm and goes for about 35 minutes. Of course, all are welcome.
 
One more thing. Pay attention to your email this coming Monday. We have a Big Announcement you don’t want to miss. (Don’t worry, we are not relocating our campus again. And no, no one is leaving). But this announcement involves all of us. So be ready!
 
See you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: What Are You Wearing?

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I’m fortunate to have a wife and daughter who attempt to keep my fashion and clothing style up to date. They have a tough job, because there’s not much to work with, but they do their best. Someone once said, “Clothes make the man” or “Clothes make the woman.”
 
This weekend in worship we are starting a three week preaching series called “Biblical Fashion Show.”  We’ll be focusing in on chapter three of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, particularly verses 12 to 17.
 
The Bible tells us that more important than what we’re wearing on the outside, is what we, as Christians, wear on the inside. Attributes such as kindness, compassion, peace, love and forgiveness are a few that Paul lists. Having been set free by Christ, we take off things like unholy anger and hurtful gossip, and instead we lift one another up with kindness and love.
 
With Rally Weekend and full Wednesday worship and programming kicking off last week, we are off and running at Gloria Dei. We keep that going this week and all through the year. God is good… all the time. As Christ-followers, the old clothing is put to death, and Christ gives us new clothing of kindness and compassion. This weekend we’ll take a look at the garment of forgiveness and its importance for abundant and healthy lives.
 
Thanks for your partnership in the gospel, and I’ll see you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim


Friday Followings: Spirit Alive 2019

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Alright, if you had to choose one chapter in the whole Bible that would be your favorite, which would it be? That’s a tough question. And maybe at different times of life, the answer would be different. Thank the Lord we don’t just have one chapter, but we have the full 66 books of the Bible that speak to us in joyful times, in challenging times, in times of laughter and of grief. Yet for me, Luke chapter 15 will always be up near the top of the list. Luke 15 tells us of a God who never stops pursuing us with his words and embrace of grace. Luke 15 shares with us the immensely loving God who welcomes us home, despite our misgivings and mistakes.
 
This weekend is Spirit Alive / Rally Weekend. Our theme is WELCOME HOME. Read Luke 15 over these next few days, as it will be our focus in worship.
 
We also have a special guest at all three services. Paul Oman will be painting a portrait of our theme during each hour of worship. He will be front and center, and you will be blessed as you watch his pictures come to life right before your eyes.
 
Be reminded that Church School begins on Sunday, with two options in conjunction with our two Sunday worship services.
 
Wednesday worship begins this coming week, September 11, from 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. along with all the regular Wednesday programming, including Church School.
 
Thanks for your partnership in the gospel of Christ and I’ll see you in worship!
 
Pastor Tim