Thursday, February 7

Keep On Fishing!

Luke 5:1-11  (This Sunday's Gospel  which I will not be preaching on - keep reading!)
1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5 Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
There are some Sundays when we gather for worship and find some real treasures in our assigned readings (some Sundays not so much!)  This week I will be focusing much of my attention on the first reading but there are some lessons to be found in the assigned Gospel reading written above.
First of all, they had been fishing all night and came up empty.  I can only imagine the look on the face of Peter (a fisherman)  when Jesus (a carpenter) makes the "brilliant" suggestion of dropping the nets on the other side of the boat.  Have you ever had someone who knows absolutely nothing about your job try to tell you how  to do your job?  Don't you love that?  As silly (and unlikely)  as this all seems, I think that there is a point here.  Sometimes the tried and true, what we do over and over again doesn't work and we need to try something different.  This can be true of family life, work, the way we take care of body, mind, and spirit, our relationships, and the church.
Secondly, they are being asked to put out into deep water which is risky.  Sometimes playing it safe doesn't bring the changes we need in life.  Sometimes we do need to take risks and trust that God and people who love us will be there if we fail.
Next, there are those days when we just need to keep fishing.  We need to keep at it even in those seasons when it doesn't seem to be making a difference.  In good times and bad, we know our gifts and we know our calling and we remain faithful.
Finally, even though Peter  is fearful and sees himself as unworthy of the Lord's encounter and call, Jesus does not seem to be phased at all.  He tells Peter, "Do not be afraid" and then calls him to the new thing that God is doing in his life.  God knows our deepest needs better than we know them ourselves, God sees qualities and gifts in us that we don't always readily recognize.  God knows that there is so much more to our lives than anything we can see now.
How might God be calling you to love?  To forgive?  To strengthen? To trust?  To serve?  We gather as God's people to discern God's calling in our lives and to be reminded that we will have what we need to follow.  I am so grateful for the tremendous responsibility and wonderful privilege of being a servant leader among you and I look forward to what God is calling us to do and to be in the year ahead   See you in church!
Grace and peace,
Pastor Mueller

This Saturday - Calling all knitters, quilters, and crocheters!

Make A Blanket Day 

This Saturday, Feb. 9 downstairs in St. Andrew's Hall from 10 AM to 2 PM including hands on demonstrations of tied fleece blankets, knitted or crocheted Afghans, and quilted or tied comforters.  Also, learn ways that you can contribute your handiwork to the Project Linus mission, creating blankets for children in hospitals, shelters, and other social service agencies.  This is open to the community so invite interested family and friends to join you.  Drop in for as long as your schedule allows or pack a lunch and stay the whole time!  You can contact Kristi Simkins -  krisscots@comcast. net with any questions.

Saturday, December 29

A Blessed New Year

Dear Friends,

As we get ready to turn the calendar page and look forward to the promises of 2019, I want to thank so many of you for being such a blessing to our congregation and communities in 2018.

This year concluded in wondrous ways for our faith community.  Over three services on Christmas Eve, we had well over  500 people praising our newborn king (This is in addition to 200 the day before at our Christmas Pageant)    I have received many positive comments about the energy in the room at worship and especially the power, grace, and beauty  expressed in the music. A big thanks to Nicole Kruvczuk and our children and youth,  Marcella Curtiss and our choirs, Lynette Becattini , Charles Armstrong, and Wendy Leinhauser for all of their work behind the scenes, and  all of you who volunteered so much of your time during the Advent and Christmas season.  Also, a huge word of thanks is extended for your financial support throughout the year and especially on Christmas Eve where we experienced tremendous generosity  The way you have opened your hands, your hearts,and  your voices has brought more blessings to people in this community and abroad than you will ever know. 
    
Tomorrow  we will have one Worship Service at 10 AM (No Saturday worship tonight)
Next  Sunday, January 6, we will celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord as we return to our regular worship schedule with worship at 5 PM on Saturday, Sunday Worship at 8:15 & 11 AM, and Christian Education on Sunday at 9:30 AM.  

Also on  Sunday, January 6 we begin two new exciting adult education gatherings at 9:30 AM:

Music Since the Reformation (meeting upstairs in Choir Room)
This series, led by Dr. Don Joye, will cover music development from the Reformation and touch on contributions by the masters (including Bach, Handel, Beethoven, and Haydn) as well as other modern examples.

Sin of Certainty (meeting upstairs in Daniel's Den)
Difficult passages of and questions about the Bible and how we often mistake "correct belief" for faith when what is really needed is trust.

Finally, I make a sad face as I inform you that Christmas decorations will start coming down on Monday January 7 at 6:30 PM.  Time marches on and while admittedly it is not as much fun as putting the decorations up, the company is just as good.  If you would be willing to help, it would be greatly appreciated.

The month of December was quite a ride for us.  Now it's time to follow Jesus through the joys and challenges of 2019.  A blessed New Year to all.  See you in church!
Peace,
Pastor Mueller
standrewslutheran.com
pray-as-you-go.org

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Tuesday, December 18

A Blessed Christmas

Lord, Jesus Christ
Thank you for coming one holy night so many years ago.  Thank you for meeting us in a manger in love and humbleness.  Thank you for reaching out your hand to fill us with mercy and forgiveness.  Thank you for sending us angels to announce your birth so that there would be no doubt as to your majesty and goodness.   Shine a light in our darkness.  Be born in our hearts today and everyday.  Come Lord Jesus.



 4:00  PM - Family Worship
A more informal worship experience with familiar Christmas carols and St. Andrew's children participating in the leadership of worship.  This experience is great for families with younger children (including a glow stick "candlelighting"), those of you who need to get home to prepare dinner, parties, and family gatherings, and those of you who are young at heart who will have your hearts stirred as we bring the innocent and wise together to praise the new born king.

7:00 and 10:00 PM - Candlelight Communion
Traditional Christmas Eve worship with familiar carols, special music from our choirs, soloists, and instrumentalists, the proclamation of the birth of our Lord, the celebration of Communion, and gathering with lit candles for the singing of Silent Night.  This is a night of reunion for many St. Andrew's families and an opportunity to bring welcome and blessing to many guests, some who are coming through our doors for the very first time.  Be sure to invite family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors to join you for worship.  Come join us as we give thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, the life of his Son among us.
 Please keep in mind that there will be Christmas music  prior to  each of these services.  Come a little early to secure the seating of your choice, especially @ 7 PM.

Sunday December 30 - Christmas Lessons & Carols - 10 AM
Celebrate Christ's birth in a simpler celebration around familiar readings and carols.  If we missed one of your favorites on Christmas Eve, there is a good chance that we will sing it on this day.

Our regular weekend schedule resumes on Saturday January 5 @ 5 PM and Sunday January 6  (Epiphany of  Our Lord) with worship at 8:15 and 11 AM, Christian Education at 9:30 AM.  
On behalf of our staff and Church Council, I wish all of you a truly blessed Christmas and a hope filled New Year.

Peace,


Pastor Mueller












Thursday, December 6

Christmas Cantata Coming Up

A word of thanks to everyone who worked behind the scenes on this year's Advent Family Night.  What an incredible evening for God's children of all ages.Thank you to everyone who shared in crafts, food, laughter, and love.  Thank you to everyone who pitched in cleaning up at the end of our night together.  And a very special thank you to our Director of Christian Education, Mrs. Nicole Kruvczuk and members of our Christian Education Committee for coordinating this wonderful event.  If you missed it, bummer!  There's always next year!

We hope to see many of you here, along with family and friends on Saturday December 15 at 5 PM  for our Annual Christmas Cantata.  Join us for a joy filled hour together featuring special music from the choirs of St. Andrew's (adults, children, bells, chimes, and brass), the Christmas story retold, and beloved hymns sung together.  This is a great way to get into the spirit of the season and an opportunity for those of you who will be traveling or have other commitments on Christmas Eve this year to celebrate with your faith community.  Bring family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for this special night together.

Blessings in this Advent season and in all of your Christmas preparations.
Peace,

Pastor Mueller