St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church Lutheran Lights
January & February 2020
From our Pastor
A New Year’s Resolution That Will Not Fail You
What makes the beginning of the New Year special for you? In some families New Year’s Day is a time of lively celebration while for others it’s a time of contemplative prayer. Some prefer spending the day relaxing on the couch watching the Rose Bowl parade and football, while others might spend the day eating, drinking and contemplating their failed New Year’s Resolution. Some people will choose to exchange gifts on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas Day, while others might take advantage of the long holiday break to travel. Having never welcomed the New Year in another country, Mary and I travelled to Cuba two years ago to bring in the New Year. Watching the fireworks on New Year’s Eve has always been a highlight for us. Although Cuba was very festive on December 31st, because of a fireworks’ accident earlier that week, there were no heavenward decorations anywhere in Cuba to usher in the year 2018.
There are many different New Year’s Day traditions depending on where you live or the culture in which you were raised. Here are a few examples from around the world. In Canada and a few other northern countries, it has become customary to start the new year outdoors jumping into ice-cold water called the ‘Polar Bear Plunge’. Germans will welcome the new year by eating a donut filled with jam (or liquor) called a ‘pfannkuchens’. But, if you eat one filled with mustard it is considered bad luck. In Norway a desert called ‘kransekage’ is eaten to celebrate the new year. It is a multilayered marzipan cake decorated with flags along with a bottle of wine in the center. Danes begin the new year by smashing plates on their neighbour’s doorstep (the more broken crockery the better your luck). Whereas the French kiss under the mistletoe, Italians wear red underwear in the hope of finding love in the new year. South Africans party hard and throw appliances out of their windows representing the old adage ‘out with the old and in with the new.
Buddhist temples across the island of Japan herald the new year by ringing their bells 108 times – one for each of the human sins in Buddhist belief. Many Japanese people believe that the act cleanses them of the previous year’s sins. When I was young, it was a family tradition to begin the new year by first visiting your father, kneeling before him and asking for forgiveness for the previous year’s sins and his blessing for the coming new year which was always offered in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As with many traditions, this practice has slowly disappeared into obscurity in our family.
When you review the many and various ways that people all around the world bring in the new year you find a common thread of joy and celebration. Many look forward with a wishful hope of a better year. For some, the new year is a time of loneliness, depression and continued hopelessness. There might not be enough money in their bank account to pay their accumulated debt. Others might be living in the cold harshness of another winter’s day. Some are struggling with the loss of work, the loss of health, the loss of a loved one. One crisis after another drives some to look to the church for comfort only to find judgement driving them further away from a merciful and loving God. Such was the case of a grumpy old grandfather.
He was alone and angry with God. When his granddaughter came to visit, he would say that he didn’t believe in God and he would even poke fun at God. The little girl had learned in Sunday School that God is present with us all the time. One day, the grandfather walked into the room where his granddaughter was just sitting and thinking. The grandfather asked; “hey there, what are you doing here?” She replied, “I’m thinking bout God and how nice it is to have him here right beside me”. The grandfather angrily grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote in big bold letters on her chalkboard “GOD IS NOWHERE”. She puzzled over what he had written. Not sure how to read the big last word her grandfather had printed she sounded it out saying ‘GOD IS NOW HERE’. She was so pleased with her grandfather that she gave him a great big hug. “I’m so glad you believe that” said the little girl. The grandfather was puzzled as he returned to his room thinking about what he had written. Finally, he repented of his sins and his anger towards God - believing along with his granddaughter that Jesus was his Saviour and that God is everywhere and watching over us.
God is truly faithful. No matter what you are facing as you begin the new year, you can trust God with all things because He knows all things. God’s Law reminds us of where we fall short and because of the Cross, He forgives us and sets us back on the right path. “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). Jesus has promised to never leave us or forsake us. “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Out of deep unfathomable love for us God Almighty provides more than what we need to meet each New Year with joy in a confident hope of a holy and certain future with Him forever “when God’s dwelling place is now among the people and He will dwell with them” (Revelation 21:3).
As you begin the New Year, take time to begin with your Father as we humbly bow before him, confess our sins, receive His forgiveness and rejoice in the great blessings that He wants to give to you – to each of his beloved children. “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m that lovely little library that sits quietly in the corner of your church kitchen. I invite you visit me, browse my shelves, and if it adds to the intrigue, sneak a book without recording its exit (I promise I won’t tell).
My librarian, Elenore, has categorized my titles to assist your search: Evangelism, Prayers, Church Growth and Apologetics are just a few.
BUT perhaps I could detour your attention to the Children’s section. Have you considered borrowing one of my big colourful books to read to your grandbabies when they come to visit? when you go and visit them? OR maybe I could captivate your interest with two titles from my Bible Study/Devotional section: “God’s Armor Bearer - 40 Day Study’ and Max Lucado’s ‘3:16 the Numbers of Hope’. I do love John 3:16, I wonder what Max has to say.Come one. Come all. Enjoy the fiction and the real. Delve into the wisdom of the ages. Its all here, and its here for YOU!
Your lovely little ’Writ with Wisdom’ Library
Church Council Minutes
NOTED: All minutes placed in Lutheran Lights will be clarified as not approved as of the printing date.
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church – Council Minutes
November 19, 2019 5:00pm
Present: Dennis Kujat, Leona French, Pat Stalker, Walter Behnke, Gary Westphal, Rick Senum, Richard Kliewer
Regrets: David Borth, Dale Metzner, Erika Funk, Pastor Marc Lapointe
Council opened with prayer and Devotions: Ecclesiastes 9:2-5
Tonight, the discussion was on this scripture which states that all men face the same fate evil or good in death. In the book “Tattoos of the Heart” the subject of death concerns itself with young people being killed in endless drug wars. The author after having buried many of the victims came to the conclusion that through the cross of Christ death has no more power, and that the gospel is so very important to be heard not only when life is good, but in time of death.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA:Carried by council
Motion by Gary to accept the report, seconded by Walter, carried by council
Regular duties reported.
1./ Washroom conversions. Dennis is committed to getting these done estimates are still needed. Hopefully this can be done soon with winter at hand. Ongoing
2./ Church council reference booklet remaining chapters completed
3./ Flat roof repair – first estimate in at $10,800.00. Ongoing
4./ Chairs: New chairs for $18.00 a chair discussed from Costco. Ongoing
5./ Acoustic paneling: Council discussed sound panels to improve sound quality in the building. It is presently being sent out for cost estimates. Ongoing
6./ Emergency evacuation plans: Accepted as is by council. A ramp is needed for the back door of the sanctuary, Rick to investigate this.
1./ Annual meeting date has been reset for February 23rd, with January 14th set for the budget meeting
2./ PayPal: This came up for discussion for the first time as a method of accepting contributions from the internet. Walter will be contacting Leon Miles at ILT learning for further information as council does look favorably on this matter. The questions will be about tax receipts if needed and other administrative needs that may come up.
3./ Christmas dinner has been set for December 29th service
4./ Christmas Eve concert: Motion by Richard to give $100.00 to our guest pianist, seconded by Leona, accepted by council. We have a special guest coming as a pianist for this service.
5./ Christmas Candles: After some discussion candles will be present at the service with conditions. Motion made by Rick to allow candles with a caution message in the bulletin, and a further safety reminder from the Pastor just before the lighting. Seconded by Richard, accepted by council.
6./ Neighbourhood program: This is a new effort in the community to provide a neighbourhood watch for illegal activities as a first line of defense. The church has been approached to join this group, but it doesn’t appear to have any outreach opportunities, so it was rejected.
7./ Email accounts: tabled for now after some discussion again on changing it. This came up as part of the PayPal discussion.
Next meeting: December 17th, 2019
Adjourned at 6:41pm with prayer led by Rick
Submitted by council member – Walter Behnke
Just for Fun
TEN FUN FACTS
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22
St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Kamloops
Our Church Council 20 years ago:
Howard Howells, Dave Muir, Tim Huebner, Pastor Terry Sauder, Vern Biberdorf, Gary Westphal and Bob Becker. Absent: Judy Crawford and Joe Schlicter