Newsletter
REDEEMER’S VOICE
“O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
January 2022
 
A Devotion from the Pastor's Devotions

I was able to read through the book of Luke for my devotion this month. It was a joy reading about our Savior’s birth in December. But of course, Luke has much more about Jesus than just his birth. Luke is the only one that tells us anything about Jesus before he was an adult. Luke recorded Jesus’ miracles and teachings. Luke brings his reader to the cross of Jesus where we may lay our sins and be forgiven. Lastly, Luke assures us of our forgiveness by sharing with us Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension into heaven.

But Christmas time has come and gone. The year 2021 has come and gone. We have begun a new year. What does this year have in store for you? A church addition? A home addition? A family addition? A promotion at work? A different job all together? Retirement? Moving to different home and maybe state? There are so many things that could happen this year!

Does it scare you? Do all these unknown, mystery changes have you worried? What can you do to prepare for what lies ahead?

I take us back to the Gospel writer of Luke to the very end of his book. It says, Jesus led them out as far as the vicinity of Bethany. He lifted up his hands and blessed his disciples. And while he was blessing them, he parted from them and was taken up into heaven.  Now, what should the disciples do. Talk about not knowing what lies ahead. The disciples had spent three years with Jesus learning from him, and now, he left to go to heaven. How could the disciples be ready for what lies ahead? How could they prepare to do what God wants them to do in the future? Luke tells us as he continues writing, So they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with Great joy. They were continually in the temple courts, praising and blessing God. Amen. They prepared themselves by trusting in God, worshipping God, praising God and by relying on God.

How can you be prepared for the year 2022? Prepare yourself by trusting in God, worshipping God, praising God and by relying on God. Amen.
 
PA Word from your Church president
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Another year has passed and to me it seems a though that is not possible. It has been a very active year, and it seems our world is spinning faster. We have been blessed with the expansion of our church building. We are blessed with faithful and steady membership. We have a Pastor who is a blessing to us and dedicated to the service of our Lord. As I write this the building is in progress, and we will hopefully be using it soon after the first of the year, once the interior work is completed as a church family project. Please don’t forget, although the building is going up, the project is not finished. We still have the interior to complete, and the loan to pay back. The quicker we do both the better it will be. Our church budget, approved by the voters in October reflected that with about a 15 % jump over 2020.

As we end this year, do you reflect how your year went? Maybe a business might do an inventory, or reconcile their books. Redeemer sends out, for your review and reflection, a year end letter which tells us about our attendance at worship, it usually comes with a record of our offerings. I know when I see my attendance record, I always think… I should and can do better, but sometimes, something gets in the way, I make a choice, and not always the right one. It makes me think of Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have the habit of doing. Rather let us encourage each other, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Clearly the Day, is approaching when Jesus will return. What is your habit about meeting together? In our ever faster moving world, we can always count on God’s Word to be everlasting, unchanging and eternal. Unfortunately, we also let it be neglected or ignored instead of letting it feed us.  See Hebrews 13:8&9, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. For it is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which are of no help to those who make them a way of life.” The word of God truly is the same, but how about the world? One doesn’t have to look very far to learn where the sinful world is trying to lead us. It also is not hard to find “food” that is not good for us, that sadly, many people do make a way of life.   

Attending church and worshiping with fellow Christians is strengthening and uplifting. I know I am among brothers and sisters and that my world is a better place because of this. We don’t have to worry about the message or that our souls are being fed the right food. I would encourage everyone to attend worship on a regular basis and spend time with your brothers and sisters at Redeemer, hearing the Word of God.  Also let’s not forget to look for opportunities to share God’s Word with others who may not have a church home and family. See Matthew 28: 19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”

Church President,
Richard Nickerson
 
A Word from your Church Vice-President
Happy New Year,

It’s December 31, 2021 and I am tasked with reflecting on the achievements of our church’s Outreach and Fellowship of the past year.  First, I would like to thank everyone on the Committee for all the meetings, texts, and hard work that was put in 2021.  I would also like to thank everyone who donated time, materials, food, and/or money in 2021.  And I hope everyone was able to attend an event and enjoyed your time.

There are two events I would like to highlight, the two big Outreach opportunities, 4th of July and Octoberfest.  After a year off we returned to the 4th of July Parade in Fort Pierre with a great float and volunteers armed with candy and flyers advertising the Octoberfest to hand out to the community.  It was a great time for all to let the community know who and where we are to invite them to Octoberfest.  Then the first week in October we had our first Octoberfest, with an Outreach Carnival on Saturday afternoon and an Outdoor Service and Church Picnic on Sunday.  Both events had great weather and a great opportunity for Outreach. 

Over the past week I keep thinking to myself could we have done more last year.  Sure, it has been difficult the last two years.  And we did take a more cautious approach with starting up activities at the Church in 2021.  We tried to think of a Fellowship activity to hold at least once a month, but could those Fellowship activities also be an Outreach opportunity?  Sure, it is easy to have Fellowship with our fellow members and enjoy the great news of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.  But what about a neighbor, coworker, classmate or a lost family member.  I know I can do better.

This is the Christmas season and just think of all the joy you have experienced on Christmas with the great news that in a little town of David the Savior was born in a lowly manger for you and me.  Wouldn’t you like to spread that great news like the angels to the shepherds in the fields.

Again this year we will be looking to have Fellowship events but let’s also make them an Outreach event.  One great opportunity with Bible Information Classes, will begin Tuesday, January 4th @ 7pm and continue on Tuesday nights @ 7pm till middle of March.  Also, in February we will be looking to have our chili cookoff.  So, look for an announcement down the road.  Come for the Fellowship and invite someone to join you.

Also if you are interested in helping out more with Outreach and Fellowship, our first meeting will be Sunday, January 23rd.     

Thanks,
Joshua D. Preboski
Vice President        
 
A Word from your Head Elder
Happy new year brothers and sisters in Christ.

We had an exciting year last year. We went from COVID restrictions being spaced out and now back to pretty much being normal again; from two of us in ministering the Lord supper back to normal with pastor administering it himself. We were blessed with four new confirmands. We had many new visitors.
The elders are working hard on contacting fellow members to join us in church. The elders have looked hard at the new hymnals but due to cost and other circumstances we will continue with the hymnals we have at this time.

God has blessed us with the ability to add on to our church. I am looking forward to seeing the end results.

The Shepherd Plan with the four flocks seems to be working great.

I'm looking forward to being Head Elder this coming year in 2022.

Any questions or concerns please contact me or pastor.

Head Elder,
Richard Michtell
 
What it means to be Truly Lutheran
How much do you know about Martin Luther and what makes us, members of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) truly Lutheran? Joel Otto, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, wrote 14 articles that answer that very question of “What it Means to be Truly Lutheran. This month is the third article from the series.

What it means to be truly Lutheran: Grace Alone                                                                    
By: Joel D. Otto


Grace is one of those big, beautiful Bible words. As with all big, beautiful Bible words, while it is an immensely comforting concept, it has also been misunderstood and misapplied throughout history. Roman Catholicism has traditionally taught that grace is a quality that God injects into people so that they can obey his will and earn his blessings. Others try to limit the power of grace, teaching that grace can only get a person so far; we have to apply ourselves to doing acts of love or making the right decision for Jesus to finish the job.

Grace, however, is a quality in God. In fact, it defines who the true God is and what he does. Throughout the Old Testament, when God’s characteristics are listed, grace is usually near the top of the list. For example, when God revealed himself to Moses on Mount Sinai, he declared, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). The standard catechism definition of grace is “God’s undeserved love.” Yet grace is deeper than that. It is the love that moves God to act for those who cannot act for themselves and need his loving action. God acts in grace simply because God wants to act in grace. That is who God is and what God does. Martin Luther defined grace this way: “Grace means the favor by which God accepts us, forgiving sins and justifying freely through Christ” (Luther’s Works Vol. 12, p. 376).

True Lutherans confess that it is by grace alone that we have been rescued from the curse and condemnation of sin (Romans 3:23,24). It is by grace alone that we have been given new life as one of God’s children (Ephesians 2:4,5). It is by grace alone that we have been given the gift of eternal life (John 3:16). The Formula of Concord states this clearly and precisely. “We unanimously believe, teach, and confess the following about the righteousness of faith before God. . . . A poor sinful person is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and is adopted into sonship and inheritance of eternal life, without any merit or worth of his own. This happens without any preceding, present, or subsequent works, out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone” (III:9).

This is what makes grace such a big, beautiful, comforting Bible word. Our forgiveness, our right standing before God, and our eternal home in heaven are certain and secure entirely “out of pure grace.” That pure grace is centered in Jesus’ completed work for us. Grace alone means that our salvation, from beginning to end, is accomplished. True Lutherans understand this, proclaim it, confess it, and find comfort and confidence in grace alone.
  
Questions to consider (answer at the end)
1. Read Roman 11:6 and Galatians 2:19-21. How do these passages help us understand the true definition of grace?
 
2. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. Using these verses, describe the need for God’s grace and how God’s grace is the cause of our salvation.
 
3. List at least five ways God’s grace is evident in your life.
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
BIC: For Tuesday Bible Study we will be going through Basic Information Class (BIC) about the Bible. Members and non-members are welcome to join us to learn more about what the Bible teaches.

Voters Meeting: Our next voters meeting is scheduled for after worship on January 30th. All members are invited to attend. Voting members are encouraged to attend.

GPLHS Sunday: On January 30th President Maertz from Great Plains Lutheran High School (GPLHS) will be leading our Bible Study to inform us of the Christian education at GPLHS and will be our guest preacher. On that day, we will have a door offering to help support the ministry of GPLHS.
 
Answers to “What it means to be truly Lutheran: Grace Alone”.
1. Read Roman 11:6 and Galatians 2:19-21. How do these passages help us understand the true definition of grace?
In Romans 11:6, Paul sets grace and works as opposites. If something can be gained by works, then grace is no longer in the picture. Paul makes a similar point in Galatians 2:19-21. Here he brings in the activity of God’s grace in Christ. Christ’s death is everything. Even the Christian life is only possible by faith in Christ who gave his life for us. If people think that good works get them somewhere with God, then Christ isn’t needed and even pointless. Grace is set aside.
Both passages show that grace is something that comes from God; it is not a quality in us. It is an action love: In love, God acts by sacrificing his Son for us.

2. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. Using these verses, describe the need for God’s grace and how God’s grace is the cause of our salvation.
By nature, we are dead in our sins. We are spiritually lifeless. This means we cannot, in any way, approach God or obey his commands. We demonstrate this deadness by living lives of disobedience, giving in to the devil’s temptations, and adopting the mindset of the sinful world. We live to gratify our sinful desires. Therefore, we deserve God’s wrath and judgment. We need God to act for us because we are powerless to have “true fear of God and true faith in God” (Augsburg Confession, Article II).
God took pity on us. Because God is love, he acted in love to save us. His grace moved him to act; nothing good in us moved him to save us. Even when we were still spiritually dead in our sins, God acted to make us spiritually alive. He gave us the gift of faith in Jesus. By faith, we receive the incomparable riches of his grace. This is entirely a gift from God to us; it is not earned by us in any way. He has even made us people who can do good works. From beginning to end, God’s grace is the active agent.

3. List at least five ways God’s grace is evident in your life.
Among others, one might consider the following:
  • God created the world in which we live, a world perfectly suited for human life to exist.
  • God gave me life.
  • God provides what I need for daily living.
  • God protects me from harm and/or works trouble for my good.
  • God blessed me with a wife and family.
  • God sent his Son in human flesh to be my Savior.
  • Jesus lived a perfect life in my place.
  • Jesus suffered the punishment for my sins on the cross.
  • Through Baptism, God made me his child and gave me the gift of faith in Christ.
  • I was born into a Christian family who had me baptized and taught me about Jesus.
  • God continues to preserve and strengthen me in my faith through the Word and sacraments.
  • God has prepared a place for me in heaven.
 
Congregational Mission Statement:  The mission of Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church is to reach out with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to call those who are lost, comfort those who mourn, rejoice with those who come to know and believe that Christ’s victory is their victory and to grow together in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ until the final victory is ours.