Friday Followings with Pastor Tim

Friday Followings: Merry Christmas

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
God becomes flesh in the baby Jesus. Read what Martin Luther says in one of his Christmas sermons:
 
Let us, then, meditate upon the Nativity just as we see it happening in our own babies. I would not have you contemplated the deity of Christ, the majesty of Christ, but rather his flesh. Look upon the Baby Jesus. Divinity may terrify humankind. In expressible majesty may crush us. That is why Christ took on our humanity, save for sin, that he should not terrify us but rather that with love and favor he should console and confirm. Behold Christ lying in the lap of his young mother… What can be sweeter than the Babe, what more lovely than the mother… Look at the Child knowing nothing. Yet all that is belongs to him… that your conscience should not fear but take comfort in him.
 
The Christmas miracle of Incarnation shows us that we need not be afraid of God. Rather, God desires to be with us… Emmanuel means “God with Us.”
 
I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You to all of you at Gloria Dei. Inspired by Christ and filled with faith, you are the living Body of Christ on earth today. Through and because of you, God’s word of love is cast and proclaimed. The forgiveness of sins is received by you and delivered through you. The love and grace of God is working its way through people in this community and around the world because you, the Body of Christ on earth, continue to take your baptismal mandate seriously: “Let your Light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.”
 
So, thank you Gloria Dei. You are in my prayers that you will know of God’s love come down for you this Christmas and on into the future.
 
The Christmas Worship Schedule is as follows:
 
Saturday December 23
5:00 p.m.
Pastor Chris preaching on the theme “Love Came Down”
Candlelight and Holy Communion
Carols led by our Praise Band
 
Sunday December 24
10:30 a.m. (Note there will be NO 9:00 a.m. service)
Pastor Chris preaching on the theme “Love Came Down”
Candles, Carols, and Special Music
 
2:30 p.m.
Children and Family Worship Emphasis
Pastor Sarah telling the Christmas story with the children
She will preach on the theme “A Different kind of Gift”
 
4:00 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candles, Carols, Choir, Special Music
 
5:30 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candles, Carols, Bell Choir, Special Music
 
9:00 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candlelight, Carols, and Holy Communion
Grace Liturgical Dancers, Special Music
 
 
Merry Christmas!
Pastor Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 



Friday Followings: The Power of God for Salvation

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 1:16. It says “For I am not ashamed of the good news; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith.”
 
Another favorite is Acts 1:8. Jesus says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”
 
What these two verses have in common is the word “power”. What comes to mind when you think of power? Strength or Might? Big armies with nuclear capabilities? Control or influence hoarded over others? 
 
The Bible shows us power in a different way. Jesus wasn’t born to royalty. He wasn’t the son of an influential general. He didn’t grow up in a prestigious home or castle. Yet God shows his power most fully in Jesus, this humble one born in a stable in Bethlehem.
 
Do you see? The power of God shows up in love. The power of God shows up in service. The gospel of John says that Jesus was in his most full state of glory when he was dying on the cross, literally pouring himself out for others – for you and for me and for the world.
 
This Christmas, see and experience true power, found in God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. And let the message of God’s love transform you into being a “powerful” force of love and service to others.
 
“The good news of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation for all who have faith.” “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” Receive the power of Jesus Christ and live it out for the glory of God.
 
A reminder again of our Christmas Eve Schedule. As Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, we want to offer a variety of worship opportunities for you and your family. The weekend worship services on Saturday December 23 and Sunday December 24 will all center on the celebration of the birth of Christ, the Word made flesh. The services will be unique in their own way.
 
Saturday December 23
5:00 p.m.
Pastor Chris preaching on the theme “Love Came Down”
Candlelight and Holy Communion
Carols led by our Praise Band

 

Sunday December 24
10:30 a.m. (Note there will be NO 9:00 a.m. service)
Pastor Chris preaching on the theme “Love Came Down”
Candles, Carols, and Special Music
 
2:30 p.m.
Children and Family Worship Emphasis
Pastor Sarah telling the Christmas story with the children
She will preach on the theme “A Different kind of Gift”
 
4:00 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candles, Carols, Choir, Special Music
 
5:30 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candles, Carols, Bell Choir, Special Music
 
9:00 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candlelight, Carols, and Holy Communion
Grace Liturgical Dancers, Special Music
 
I know that God will bless you as you worship with friends, family, and church family. We have the promise and assurance that God shows up in our lives each and every day. May the good news of Christmas fill and inspire you.
 
Pastor Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 



Friday Followings: Worshiping God with Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
A few reminders as we continue our Advent and Christmas season, worshiping God with our whole lives, preparing for and celebrating the great news of God coming to us as Savior and Lord.
 
This Saturday at 5 p.m. – Service of Hope and Remembrance. This is a prayerful and heartfelt worship with Holy Communion, centered on the Light & Hope Jesus brings amidst grief and loss.
 
This Sunday at both 9:00 & 10:30 a.m. – Advent Cantata. This beautiful worship is led by our choirs and musicians. Music interspersed with Advent readings help prepare us for the arrival of the Christ child.
 
This Wednesday, December 13, 6:00 p.m. – Children’s Christmas Program. Presented by Gloria Dei 1st through 3rd graders, this is always a highlight of the season.
 
Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. As such, we want to offer a variety of worship opportunities for you and your family. The weekend worship services on Saturday December 23 and Sunday December 24 will all center on the celebration of the birth of Christ, the Word made flesh. Yet the services will be unique in their own way. Here is the rundown of Gloria Dei’s Christmas Eve celebration services.
 
Saturday December 23
5:00 p.m.
Pastor Chris preaching on the theme “Love Came Down”
Candlelight and Holy Communion
Carols led by our Praise Band
 
Sunday December 24
10:30 a.m. (Note there will be NO 9:00 a.m. service)
Pastor Chris preaching on the theme “Love Came Down”
Candles, Carols, and Special Music
 
2:30 p.m.
Children and Family Worship Emphasis
Pastor Sarah telling the Christmas story with the children
She will preach on the theme “A Different kind of Gift”
 
4:00 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candles, Carols, Choir, Special Music
 
5:30 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candles, Carols, Bell Choir, Special Music
 
9:00 p.m.
Pastor Tim preaching on the theme “Born to Bring Us Love”
Candlelight, Carols, and Holy Communion
Grace Liturgical Dancers, Special Music
 
I know that God will bless you as you worship with friends, family, and church family. We have the promise and assurance that God shows up in our lives each and every day. May the good news of Christmas fill and inspire you.
 
Pastor Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 



Friday Followings: The Light Shines in the Darkness and the Darkness Does Not Overcome It

The Light Shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness does not overcome it. –John 1:5

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
I love this time of year. Celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, moving into the season of Advent, with Christmas joy just around the corner; indeed it is a blessed time of year.
 
However, there is one aspect of December of which I’m not particularly fond, and that is the shortened days and diminished sunlight. I admit, I don’t like it when the days get short. I have a SAD light in my office to help soak in as much light as possible during this time of year. Light is important for all of us.
 
As I teach through the gospel of John this year (1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month – You’re always invited) I’m struck by how often the gospel writer uses the theme of light for the good news of Jesus. This world can be a dark place in many ways. I watch the morning and evening news on most days. Wars and rumors of war; harassment of various forms running rampant; people across the globe fleeing from one country to the next in search of safety; yes, darkness is not hard to find. Within ourselves, too, we long for peace in our hearts; we long to be rid of the selfish tendencies that infect each one of us; we long to be rid of the effects of sin that run deep.
 
The good news is that there is One who has entered this world as Light in the midst of darkness. During the season of Advent we prepare for his arrival. The Bible is honest of the reality of darkness, hurt, sin and pain in our lives and in our world. Yet we have a God who does not and will not let darkness win the day. Jesus, the Christ, God’s very own Son, the Word made flesh, the Light of the World, is coming soon at Christmas. This light enters our world, one person at a time, one heart at a time, to put an end to selfishness and hurtful pride. Wars will cease when people are changed. And people are changed by the humble power of God’s love. The longing of our souls for the peace that passes all understanding is given to us as we receive the Light of the World into our hearts.
 
No matter how dark the world gets…and no matter how dark our paths may seem, Jesus is still our life and our light. “The Light Shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness does not overcome it.”
 
I want to remind everyone that on Saturday December 9th at 5:00 p.m. we will worship God within our Service of Hope & Remembrance. This service is focused around the losses we experience in life, particularly the loss of loved ones. And while the grief and pain of loss is very real, Christ meets us right where we’re at with his light, his love, his grace, and his peace. And then on Sunday December 10th we worship God with music, as our musicians and choirs present this year’s Advent Cantata.
 
As we begin the season of Advent this coming weekend, please read Luke chapter one in preparation for worship, as we focus on Jesus coming to bring us joy.
 
May the light of Christ fill you now and always!
 
See you in worship!
 
Pastor Tim

 



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

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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