1/27/2020 10:45:59 AM
First Things January 23, 2020
I trust that we all realize that none of us are perfect. In every aspect of our life, a battle wages – a battle between what the Bible calls our “sinful nature” or “flesh” (see Romans 7:18) and our “new self” (see Ephesians 4:24). Nowhere is this more true than in how we use the material possessions which God graciously gives us.
Our sinful nature will always lead us to waste what the Lord gives us, to misuse it, and to use it selfishly. And our new self will fight what our sinful nature says. Our new self will lead us to use what God gives us wisely, unselfishly, to please him.
The Lord also provide us, his children, with weapons to fight this battle between our sinful nature and our new self. God’s law and the threats that it makes help us to shut out what our sinful nature tells us. And the gospel with its promises encourage us to do what God wants us to do.
We see both the law and gospel at work in the book written by the Old Testament prophet Malachi. The People of Israel were not bringing the kind of offerings that God wanted because their sinful natures told them that they were too poor. But with the full force of the law God told them, “you are stealing from me” (Malachi 3:8). But the Lord also provided them with a wonderful promise in our text:
“Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
With that promise, the Lord was telling his people, “Give to me first, give to me generously, and I will take care of all your other needs…richly and abundantly.”
Beginning this Sunday, every member of First Lutheran will receive a copy of our congregations 2020 budget. It shows the needs that we have. As we look at that budget, our sinful natures will lead us to ignore what it says and to think it’s someone else’s responsibility. But at the same time, our new self’s will remind us of everything that the Lord has done for us and what he has given us.
Let’s shut out what our sinful natures tell us. Let’s listen to our new self’s. Let’s look at how the Lord has blessed us – both spiritually and materially – plan our offerings, and give to him…trusting that he will take care of all our other needs.
2020 Budget & Explanation Letter
A copy of the approved 2020 budget and a letter explaining different things in the budget has been prepared for every household. It will be available – in an envelope with your name on it – in the church entryway for several weeks. Please pick up your envelope. Envelopes which have not been picked up will be sent to members via snail mail.
Coffee And Donuts
Coffee and donuts (or some other treats) will now be available in the church basement after worship. Please come down, enjoy the treats, and get to know others better.
Monday Worship Services
Weekday worship services are now held on Monday evenings at 6:30 PM.
The liturgy is a little shorter and the sermon is what was preached on the previous Sunday.
We will call for a director for our Early Learning Center on Sunday, February 2 after the worship service.
Lent Is Coming
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26. Lenten services will be held at 6:30 PM.
Pastor Rieke will preach here at First Lutheran for the first two Wednesdays. After that, other area pastors will preach here while Pastor Rieke preaches at their congregations.
The theme of the Sermons for both Lent and Holy Week will be The Son Of God Goes Forth To War.
Lenten Fellowship Meals
The Altar Guild will be hosting the Ash Wednesday fellowship meal on February 26. We would like to have meals offered each Wednesday by different groups, and ask that you sign up by February 16, so people can make plans to attend. If you would like more information, please contact the church office.
In The Narthex:
· Chapter-A-Day Bible Reading Guides on yellow sheets
· WELS Together Bi-Weekly Newsletters on orange sheets
· Forward In Christ magazine