Monday, March 4

Lent Begins Wednesday

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 - March 6 - Come join us as we begin this season of renewal  seeking strength for our daily lives.

-  Noontime 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 (as well as those of you who work nearby and can take an extended lunch.

- 7:30 PM – Worship with Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion (with music from Members of our Sanctuary Choir)

Lenten Dinners are held here at St. Andrew's at 6:30 PM. preceding our Lenten Services. We invite you to join us for fellowship and a hot meal before the service. There will be sign-up sheets on the bulletin board in the narthex each week with the menu posted. Please sign up so we know how many to plan for each Wednesday.

Midweek Lenten Series 2019 (Wednesdays at 7:30 PM)
  Parables of Grace
 Join us as we go deeper into the teachings of Jesus, parables with many possible meanings and parables that point us to love, forgiveness, generosity, gratitude, joy, and peace.

March 13        The Good Samaritan                             Luke 10:25-37 
  
 March 20         The Lost Sheep                                    Luke 15:1-7

March 27         The Pharisee and the Tax Collector       Luke 18:9-14

April 3              Sower and the Seeds                            Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

April 10            The Mustard Seed                                Mark 4:26-34



"You awaken us to delight in your praise; for you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you" – St. Augustine





Wednesday, February 27

Transformed by 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.
Join us this weekend as we gather around Word and Sacrament as our eyes are opened to the ways that Jesus transfigures and transforms lives.  See you in church!
Grace and peace,

Pastor Mueller 








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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