With the shutdowns, illness, unrest, protests, fear, anxiety, and all other disruptions you faced, this COVID-19 year has been challenging for all of us. With more time on hand, this health crisis has made us slow down to re-think and look at things more clearly, then focus on what really matters. Has your faith in God grown stronger? With God you see the light of hope, the light of love, the light of wisdom and the light you see through darkness. Please take time for reflection of what you have been through and you will see the light from God. The consensus is to plan for ending the year in a positive fashion. Immanuel means: God with us. God is with you.
This season of Advent gives us time to reflect on the coming of Jesus into the world.
“In You, 0 Lord, I put my trust, let me never be ashamed; deliver me in your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” Psalm 31: 1-3 KJV
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6 NKJV
The Christmas story brings smiles to all ages. Jesus was born to bring the light from God that darkness can never overcome. God sent His Angels to calm the fears of those they appeared to. “Then the angel said to her, do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.” Luke 1: 30-31 KJV
To the shepherds: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2: 10-14 NKJV
Celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and trust Him as Savior today.
To all members of St. James Lutheran Church, thank you for your stewardship, your contributions have given throughout the year. As you exercise faithful stewardship you demonstrate you love for God.
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 NKJV
Please continue to pray for St. James Lutheran Church, all members, our community, the United States of America, and all in need. May God Bless You.
The mail address for St. James Lutheran Church is: 1401 Ford St., Llano, Tx 78643
.. Jerry Land
Around the world the season of Lent has been disrupted by the COVID-19, as Christians our faith is not disrupted. Our faith remains strong and grows stronger. Faith is your strength to rise above any problem. Together, with God we will get through this and be stronger. “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Daniel 6:3 NKJV Daniel’s surpassing ability was known for doing his jobs well and with integrity, his enemies. could not find anything against him. Daniel’s conviction was to stand firm with uncompromising faith in God. Daniel never lost his core value that God would protect him. Daniel would rather spend a night in a den of lions rather than shrink from his core value – Faith. Daniel was exhibiting the characteristic of being a steward as noted by Paul: Faithfulness, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” 1Corinthians 4:2 NKJV
Every Christian is a steward of the gifts and grace of God. As such, our chief responsibility is to be found faithful. Wherever you are home, job, in your personal life, church — Faithfulness is what God seeks In every situation.
Bible verses for reflection during this time:
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, a Lord; in the morning willI direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. Psalm 5:3 NKJV
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” Romans 5: 1-4 KJV
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31: 8 KJV
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7 KJV
“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 KJV
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41: 10 KJV
St. James Lutheran Church, Pastor Ralph is always with you. God Bless You.
Jaunary 2020 Newsletter
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase; So, your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3: 5-10 NKJV
As we live our life as a Christian we trust in the Lord, as our trust grows our faith in the Lord grows. The command to acknowledge Him means to observe Him and get to know Him in the process of living our life. The first-fruits of all your increase means that out of the blessings we receive we should readily give. This is one of the aspects of stewardship this verse points to what is the proper response of God’s gifts to us. God owns everything including all that we have. What impact should this have on us. How we use our time, talent and treasure?
“Thine, 0 Lord is the greatness and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, 0 Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you and you reign over all. In your hand is power and might; and in Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” 1 Chronicles 29: 11-14 NKJV
“The steward needs an open hand to receive from God and then an active hand to give to God and to others.” Murray J Harris
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So, let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. Now may He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 9: 6-10 NKVJ
Thank You for your contributions which you give to St. James Lutheran Church. Please continue to pray for our Church, all members and our world. Spread the word of God. Invite a friend to church. May God Bless You.
December 2019 Newsletter
The meaning of stewardship is not only being good stewards of our time, talents and treasure but also the word testimony which means the transforming of living with God in our lives. During the Christmas season so much time is spent with preparing for the holiday it is easy to sometimes lose the true meaning of the most wonderful time of the year and one of the most Holy days in the history of our world. Testimony is that we renew and celebrate the miracle of the birth of Jesus as Christians the Christmas story never grows old.
“And so it was that, while they were-there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2: 6-7 NKJV
Be ready when God sends forth someone going through a troubled time, in despair looking for someone to talk with. Take time for testimony, share the story of Christmas using faith and with the Spirit in your heart. Not only the celebration and miracle of the birth of Jesus but also of God the father.
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His will. That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, you were sealed with that holy spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1: 11-13 NKJV) Paul told the Ephesians that God sealed them with the Holy Spirit when they believed.
God wants us to share the good news to everyone who will listen so share your testimony, you may change their life with new faith in God. Open the door with an invitation to visit a church service and with reading the Bible to grow in faith with God.
“According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3: 11-12 NKJV
Let us together sing songs of the Christmas season with bold faith, joy and adoration of the birth of Jesus enjoying this wonderful season of Christmas and time in our life.
Thank You for all the contributions which you give to St. James Lutheran Church. Your contributions make your church stay strong financially. Thank You for all your help with the Thanksgiving community dinner a success. Please continue to pray for all members of St. James Lutheran Church, our community, those in need and our world.
May God bless you, your family and friends throughout the Christmas season.
The North American Lutheran Church (NALC) Executive Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, to call the Rev. Dr. Eric Riesen to serve as the next president of the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS). The NALS is housed at Trinity School for Ministry, an Anglican seminary headquartered in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where Riesen formerly served on the Board of Visitors.
Riesen will follow the Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, STS, who led the seminary as its first president. “I am so thankful for having been called to serve as the president of the NALS during these six years. When the NALC began, we did not have a seminary. Now not only do we have a seminary that is orthodox, confessional, and evangelical, we are flourishing in an ecumenical environment, and we have relationships with a variety of undergraduate s hools that will create a ‘pipeline’ of students who will one day serve our NALC churches and mission outposts,” said Schifrin. “All of us at the NALS are excited about the upcoming arrival of our new president, Eric Riesen. I’ve known Pastor Riesen as a respected colleague and friend, and I believe he will be able to lead the NALS into a new season of growth.”
NALS President-Elect Riesen will assume office effective February 1, 2020.
From the Pastor:
We are in the season of the Church year when we explicitly celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus and therein his triumph over sin, death and the devil. What we say in our celebration of the resurrection, along with St John’s gospel is that Jesus Christ is true; in fact, He is the way, the truth, and the life. Though we have repeated the story and the fact of the resurrection over and over again (so much so that it has become familiar and ordinary), as Christians it remains of great importance to us. If Jesus isn’t the way, the truth, and the life, the only thing which we have to cling to, then we are indeed to be pitied, for we have nothing. If one does not believe this, then what wisdom is there in gathering for worship every weekend? Where is the comfort and hope of the gospel that Luther and others standing amongst the cloud of witnesses so desperately sought? Where is the hope that we, in our own lives today, so desperately seek? What have we to proclaim if not Christ crucified and resurrected? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. This simple creedal statement is the foundation of much of what we as Christians believe. But, of course it doesn’t end there. A number of years ago the late Verna Dozier, an Episcopal lay woman and theologian, wrote that the important question to ask is not: “What do you believe?” but, “What difference does it make in your life that you believe?”1 If it is true that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, how is that truth affecting your life? How does it change the way you perceive and experience the world? How does it change the way you relate to other people — and even your view of your self? Our faith is not something that we “get”. It is never a once and done thing. Rather it is lifetime operation; an ongoing process of discovery, becoming and implementing that runs through every day. Our life in faith, for it to deepen and grow, requires regular prayer, study, reflection and meditation. In other words, it requires time and energy. The payoff, however, is a life walking with the Lord that knows his love and providence; and that is an amazing thing.