“O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
February 2021
I recently had a devotion based off the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be”. The hymn consists of twelve couplets giving examples of Paul’s command to the congregation in Corinth, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) What does that include? Let’s go through the examples that Frances Havergal gave in the hymn she wrote.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee.

We begin with a big one. May our whole lives be set aside for the use of the Lord. Afterall it is the Lord who has given us this life in the first place. Until he decides to our lives away, it should be used for his purposes.

Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

When someone gives us a gift, we ought to thank him. The Lord has given us our lives. So, we rightfully ought to thank and praise him for creating and redeeming our lives. Let us praise him for every day that he gives us. Let us praise him for every moment we have. Thank you Lord; thank you Lord; thank you Lord…

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of thy love.

Now we get to how our physical bodies can be used for God’s glory. First is our hands. We do not want our hands to be used to harm or for hatred to those we love or to our enemies. We want our hands to be an extension of the Lord’s hands in showing love to our neighbor.

Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for thee.

Who wouldn’t want to have quick and beautiful feet? But I think Frances had another Bible verse in mind, How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of a herald, who proclaims peace and preaches good news, who proclaims salvation. (Isaiah 52:7) We want the Lord to guide us to the places he wants us to go in order to share his peace, his good news, his salvation for the whole world.

Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only for my King.

I know not all of us are singers, but God loves to hear you sing praises to him regardless. It’s like a parent listening to their toddler sing (or yelling while changing pitch). Parent love to hear their children sing. Our Father in heaven loves to hear us sing. If you are still uncomfortable singing, continue on to the next couplet.

Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from thee.

Even if you can’t sing like angels, you can still share the love of Jesus. We live in an awful, sinful world that is filled with bad and depressing events. Everyone needs to be reminded what the Lord has to say, that he is in control; he hasn’t left you; he has forgiven you; etc.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.

We may not have silver and gold handy to give, but God has given us our wealth. Let us use God’s money that he has given to us in God pleasing ways. Let us take care of our family and our communities but let us also not neglect giving some of it right back to the Lord at church in order to further the ministry work being done.

Take my intellect and use
Ev’ry pow’r as thou shalt choose.

There is more to a person than just their physical members. A person’s abilities are wonderful gifts given to them by the Lord as well. Whether those abilities are balancing a check book, lawn care, caring for a hurt soul, or whatever else we are able to do, we want to use those abilities for the Lord.
Take my will and make it thine;
It shall be no longer mine.

The will of your sinful nature is to sin. Your own will may be to advance in your profession to a certain level, or to acquire a certain amount of wealth to buy something, or something else. Being a Christian means we reject the sinful nature’s will. Being a Christian even means placing our will under God’s will. As a Christian, we want what God wants. Sometimes that’s clear like don’t sin. Other times it is not clear to us like where to live and work. Still, we want to be doing what the Lord wills.

Take my heart-it is thine own;
It shall be thy royal throne

What or who is most important in your life? That person or thing has your heart. Has that person or thing created you, love you, forgave you, has given you eternal life? God has. God deserves all of your heart and to sit on a throne on top of your heart.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At thy feet its treasure store.

What are we able to give to the Lord? All that we are and have was given to us by the Lord in the first place. So, we give our love to the Lord.

Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for thee.

Let us not hold anything back. We give ourselves, our bodies, minds, souls, time, everything to the Lord; always for the Lord; and only to the Lord.
A Word from your Vice President

Happy New Year everyone! I bet after last year everyone is glad it is now 2021. With that said when we look back at 2020 for the Fellowship/Outreach Committee it was a year of high hopes with good results overall. And we would like to build on the efforts we put forth in 2020 into 2021, a year of new hope.

I know the start of the year might not have been what you may have liked, with no Chili Cook Off in January. But don’t worry we haven’t forgotten this great Fellowship Event, we have just decided to move the event this year to the fall during football season.

Now on to February, Ash Wednesday and Midweek Lenten Services. Don’t worry, again this year we will be having Midweek Snacks/Appetizers similar to last year but with a slight twist. Also for Ash Wednesday we have decided to skip the Simple Supper this year but instead the Fellowship/Outreach Committee will be hosting Snacks/Appetizers for both before and after service. The Snacks/Appetizers provided by the Committee will be individual warp to help to ease concerns with Covid. Also this will be an example for those who would like to sign up for Snacks/Appetizers for the Midweek Lenten Services, signup is located on the How we can Help Bulletin Board. We are hoping this will help build to more events down the road, like the Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday.

Also discussed in the Fellowship/Outreach Committee are more group activities during the year. One idea was having an event for the youth. So any students out there Pastor is will be looking for ideas of any events you would like that the Fellowship/Outreach Committee can get behind and help plan. Another idea was an Adult night out to get to know each other more. Hopefully we will have more to come on these group events in the next several months.

Lastly, with the Voters Meeting at the end of January, the Shepherding Ministry Plan was voted on and passed. Pastor and I have split the congregation into four flocks with each flock having a Flock Shepherd. So please keep an eye out for what flock you are assigned to and what months you will be asked to assist in the Shepherding Ministry. We would like to get this started in the next few weeks in February. I would like to thank the men who have stepped up to accept this role to help this plan get off the ground. Please prayer for them and if you are part of their flock please assist as much as you can.

Joshua D. Preboski
Vice President
Bible Class/Study: Our current Bible Class/Study topic is the life Jesus chapter by chapter from the book of Matthew.

Building Project Pledges: We are still looking forward to building the fellowship addition in the near future (summer 2021). To help with the planning and getting approved for a loan, it would help for members to fill out and return a “building project pledge”. Please keep the building project in your prayers and give thoughtful consideration of how you can help with our building project.

Midweek Lenten Services: Ash Wednesday, February 17th, marks the beginning of Lent and our first midweek Lenten service. Midweek Lenten services will be at 6:30pm. We would like to offer snacks before and after the service. Those who would like to bring a snack can sign up on the “How You Can Help” board.

The overall theme for the 2021 Lenten sermons is  “The Hands of the Passion.” When we consider Jesus and the people around him in his Passion, we can’t help but think of their hands—the hands that beat their breast, accepted money for betrayal, petulantly swung swords, pointed in accusation, beat and disavowed, praised, washed, were pierced, and offered eternal life. In short, we can’t help but think about how we sinners have had the same sinful hands of those who surrounded Jesus in his Passion, and how Jesus our Savior has touched us with his hands of grace.
The schedule is given below.
Date Theme Pastor
17-Feb         Ash Wed Hands of Repentance Pr. Schwartz
24-Feb Hands of Hypocrisy Pr. Laude
3-Mar Hands of Misguided Zeal Pr. Schlomer
10-Mar Hands of Self-Preservation Pr. Laude
17-Mar Hands of Betrayal Pr. Schwartz
24-Mar Hands of Brutality Pr. Schlomer
3-Mar        Palm Sunday Hands of    Praise Pr. Schwartz
1-Apr  Maundy Thur Hands of Humility Pr. Schwartz
2-Apr        Good Friday Nail-Pierced Hands Pr. Schwartz
4-Apr       Easter Life Giving Hands Pr. Schwartz
Imposition of Ashes: Please read the following to learn about why we practice this Christians custom.
Lent is the Christian's forty-day journey with the Lord to the cross and tomb, preparing for the joyous celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. The forty days are reminiscent of several biblical events: Moses' stay on Mt. Sinai at the giving of the law, Elijah's fast on his way to the mountain of God, and Jesus' forty-day fast at the beginning of His ministry, among others. The forty days are counted backward from Easter Sunday. Since all regular Sunday worship services are an observance of Christ’s resurrection, and thus occasions for reverent joy, the Sundays during this period are not counted in the forty days of a more somber remembrance of Christ's Passion. This also explains why this season begins on a Wednesday.
Tertullian - AD 160-215 was one of the earliest church fathers to introduce and write about the use of ashes on the first day of Lent. By then Lent was intended to be a 40 day journey of quiet contemplation of the Passion History of our Lord. This concept of a 40 day Lent began in Western Europe in the first and second century of Christianity. Worship leaders in Rome received it from others, introduced the shaping of the cross, and passed it on to many generations.
When the Reformation went into full swing, Martin Luther held to a main measuring stick for what to “keep” and what to “throw away.” That measuring stick was the doctrine of Justification by Faith in Christ Jesus. If the practices of his mother church in Rome reflected false teachings they were dismissed. If they were supportive of teaching Christ and Grace they were ultimately held as heritages of the Church’s past. Church historians are not clear how the practice fell from Lutheran practices. It simply faded out of Liturgy Texts and was buried much deeper under the age of Lutheran Pietism in America.
For  more than nineteen centuries the Christian believer’s Lenten journey has begun with a reminder of our mortality and a call to repentance through the placing of ashes on one’s head (Genesis 18:27, Job 42:6, Jeremiah 6:26, Matthew 11:21). Ashes are a sign of spiritual cleansing, as in the Rite of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19:17), in which the ashes of the calf, when mixed with water, had the ceremonial effect of purifying the sinner. (Hebrews 9:13). Thus, the first New Testament believers adopted the use of ashes as a symbol of sorrow and repentance over sin. This has been the normal practice of the Christian Church from the 1st century onward.
It is this ancient practice of placing ashes on the heads of the faithful that gives Ash Wednesday its name. The ashes are a strong reminder of the need for God’s mercy, forgiveness, and the redeeming grace of Christ. Indeed, we remember well the words from the Christian burial service: “…earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust…;” words that will someday be spoken over us all. The imposition of ashes has never been an exclusively Roman Catholic practice and today is observed widely by Christians of many traditions.

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.