Monday, March 2

Change in Habit

Dear Friends,

As we continue our Midweek Lenten series on "Changes in Daily Living," this Wednesday evening we will be looking at "Change in Habit."  As the world changes around us, sometimes we need to change as well.  However, often habits can't change until identity changes.  For example, if someone likes to think of himself as the life of the party but also would like to cut back on how much alcohol he consumes, that is going to be harder to do.  Often identity is incompatible with a change in habits.  So to break or adopt a habit, sometimes we have to change the story we tell ourselves about ourselves.  The disciplines of Lent, fasting, bible study, devotional reading and prayer (including online resources), servant projects, and additional worship opportunities, can be great ways to remind ourselves of what God already sees in us and the only identity that really matters and lasts, that is beloved child of God blessed to be a blessing to others.
We hope that many of you will be able to join us on Wednesday evening as we are shaped by God's grace and empowered to see Christ's presence and promises in our daily lives.
Also, we hope that many of you, along with family and friends, will be able to join us to hear the story of how Daniel and his three friends kept their identity and faith strong, through very challenging times, through our presentation of "The Fiery Furnace."  This musical, composed by John Rea and performed by a very talented cast of St. Andrew's members, will be performed here at St. Andrew's this Friday and Saturday night at 7 PM and Sunday at 1:30 PM.  (There is no charge for tickets but a free will offering will be taken).  Remember that there will be no Saturday Worship at 5 PM.  Also remember that daylight savings time begins this weekend, so before you go to bed on Saturday night, spring forward (turn your clocks ahead by one hour).  See you in church!

Peace,

Pastor Mueller

Monday, February 23

For Everything There is a Season

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." - Ecclesiastes 3:1

There's light and dark, cold and hot, plant and harvest.  The earth's rhythms are self evident.  But the writer of Ecclesiastes talks about seasonality, that is life's seasons. Love and hate, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, living and dying.  Over the next five Wednesdays in worship, we will be reflecting on the nature of change in our lives and the seasons of the heart that accompany change.  
By the way, seasons of the heart seem to be no respecter of age.  I meet teenagers who are dour and withdrawn and ninety year olds who are spontaneous and playful. Also, there's little to predict or prevent the change of seasons in our lives.Often there are seasons of unpredictable or unavoidable events that take us to a new place and chapter in our lives.  However, in the midst of such challenges and changes, Christ remains with his presence and promises reminding us that we have what we need for today and the days yet to come.  We hope that you can join us for worship on Wednesday nights during this Lenten season (Worship at 7:30, Dinner in St. Andrew's Hall at 6:30) as we grow in our awareness of God's constant powerful presence in our lives.  See you in church!

Peace,

Pastor Mueller



Monday, February 16

Lent Begins

Dear Friends,
        At the heart of the Christian faith is the death and resurrection of Christ.  On one side of this event and it's remembrance are the 40 days of Lent (not including Sundays), a time of preparation for the celebration of our Lord's passage from death to life.  On the other side are the 50 days of Easter, a time of proclaiming and rejoicing in our redemption.  Right in the middle of it all is Holy Week including Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, days in which our attention is riveted on Christ's death and resurrection.  The entire 90 days is best seen as a whole viewed from two sides, from the cross and the empty tomb, each incomplete without the other.  Listed below is a schedule of Lenten observances in the weeks ahead: 

Ash Wednesday Worship – This Wednesday February 18

Noon Time Devotion –
A brief service of scripture, reflection, confession, and imposition of ashes.  This is an opportunity for spiritual preparation and reflection in the middle of a work day.  This is also a good worship opportunity for seniors who do not venture out at night and pre-school parents and grandparents transporting children.

7:30 PM –
Worship with Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion – including music from our choir and liturgy to prepare us for the 40 days ahead. 

Midweek Lenten Series 2015 (Wednesdays at 7:30 PM)

"CHANGES IN DAILY LIVING"

Some changes mark gradual transitions in our lives while others happen in the blink of an eye, separating the way we look at our lives as "before" and "after."  Some changes we choose while others are forced upon us.  In this Lenten season, we will look for God's hand in the challenges and changes of our lives. 



February 25           "Change of Season"                            Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 & Luke 13:18-21   

March 4                 "Change of Habit"                               Luke 6:46-49

March 11               "Change of Circumstances"               1 Thessalonians 5:12-24,Luke 12:22-34

March 18               "Change of Heart"                               Ezekiel 36:22-38

March 25               "Change of Plans"                               Isaiah 52:13-15, Mark 10:32-34

"Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."  See you in church.

Peace,

Pastor Mueller
                  







Tuesday, February 10

Mountaintops and Valleys

Dear Friends,
 This upcoming Sunday, churches throughout the world who follow the assigned readings and festivals of the Church Year will be celebrating Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday before the Lenten season begins.  On this day, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up  to a mountaintop to pray.   There they will experience an awesome vision they will never forget.  We need mountaintop experiences of our own, places to pray, and sources of strength for the valleys ahead.  We will also be following Jesus through the valleys during the season of Lent.  Our daily journey with Jesus will take us to:
    - quiet places of prayer
    - opportunities to feed the hungry
    - nights in lonely gardens and angry storms
    - the joy and peace of more mountaintop moments
    - instructions to care for ourselves and those around us
    - reminders that we are never alone but always in the power of the Spirit
    - assurance that Jesus meets us exactly where we are but never leaves us that way.
This weekend in worship, we celebrate with Christ and his followers on the mountaintop as we gather around Word and Sacrament as well as special music from our brass and several choirs.  Join us in praise and prayer and be astounded at the ways that Jesus transfigures and transforms lives.  See you in church!
Peace,

Pastor Mueller 





Wednesday, January 7

Opportunities to Grow in Faith in 2015

This Sunday at 9:30 AM, we will also be starting  new offerings in adult education.  Downstairs in Jerusalem Room (classroom at bottom of stairs near church office) we will be gathering for "We Believe: Exploring the Nicene Creed."
Formed at a critical time in the church's history and designed to foster church unity, the Nicene Creed is the most widely used and accepted statement of the Christian faith.  Come explore the history and meaning behind this Creed.

Also at 9:30 this Sunday, we begin a series, "Introduction to the Gospel of Mark" that meets in Daniel's Den (on right side of office wing hallway). The book of Mark is the shortest Gospel of the four to be included in our scriptures, was the first to be written, and presents the most human depiction of our Lord.  Our time together will help us to better understand the author' s style, audience, and context as we study select chapters of this foundational Gospel.
This experience will help you better grasp the Gospels read in worship, largely from Mark in 2015, and will help you with your personal reading of this Gospel as well.  Also, this study of Mark should deepen our understanding of Christ's struggle with human flesh, his mission, and what it means for us today.  Questions posed in this class will inspire and guide group discussion and there will be plenty of time for your own questions as well. 

Finally, if you would like to learn more about Bear Creek Camp, our Lutheran camp and retreat center in the Poconos, Dan Scharnhorst, Director of Bear Creek, will be leading a gathering downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall this Sunday at 9:30 AM.
Our gatherings are designed so that you can drop in any week and not feel like you are "in the middle of the movie."  So grab a cup of coffee and join us as together we are enriched in faith.