Tuesday, September 19

Important Caregiving Ministry (Please look @ link)

Stephen Ministry: The After People (meeting downstairs in Jerusalem Room this Sunday @ 9:30 AM (as well as October 1)

As part of our long range plan as a faith community, we are seeking to establish a Stephen Ministry here at St. Andrew's in 2017-2018. In the months ahead, you will be hearing much about this intentional one to one confidential caregiving ministry that will care for folks who find themselves at the crossroads of life while strengthening the overall mission of the church. Informational sessions about this important ministry will be held in Jerusalem Room (lower level)

These sessions are not just for people interested in training but also so that members can identify and recommend potential care receivers who find themselves in crisis or at a crossroads in life.  The more people who understand this life giving ministry, the more effective we can be together.

Please look at this link and pass it along to others

Keep this ministry and our leaders in your prayers.

Monday, September 11

Adult Education Begins Sunday

(9:30a.m. ~ beginning September 17)

Half Truths (meeting in Daniel's Den in
Office Hallway)

This book / video / discussion series looks at popular sayings used in faith communities that can be unhelpful at best and hurtful at worst, along with new ways to reframe our thinking and our words when confronting the challenges of life. Sayings include: "Everything Happens for a Reason", "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves", "God Won't Give You More than You Can Handle", "God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It" and "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin". Come join us for conversation, laughter and wisdom.

Stephen Ministry: The After People (meeting downstairs in Jerusalem Room)

As part of our long range plan as a faith community, we are seeking to establish a Stephen Ministry here at St. Andrew's in 2017-2018. In the months ahead, you will be hearing much about this intentional one to one confidential caregiving ministry that will care for folks who find themselves at the crossroads of life while strengthening the overall mission of the church. Informational sessions about this important ministry will be held in Jerusalem Room (lower level)

Wednesday, August 30

Grounded In Faith, Growing In Service

At our May Congregational Meeting, we were given approval to proceed with our plan for renovations and expansions to our building or, as I sometimes call it, our mission center. I realize that this is not typically how people refer to "church" but this term makes it clear that this isn't just a place where we come for worship or a class or a meeting but it is a center for communities to gather, for hearts to be touched, for people to be strengthened to go out to pursue their mission in the world, to use their gifts to be a blessing to others, and to see Christ in their everyday lives.

For more information, go to standrewscampaign.org

Please pray for the people and mission of St. Andrew's as we journey into this exciting time together.

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Monday, August 28

Lutheran Disaster Response - Southeast Texas

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast of the United States on Aug. 25, 2017, threatening millions of people with multiple days of heavy rain, winds and rising tides. While many have evacuated, significant damage is still expected, and thousands of people may be housed in shelters for an extended period of time.

Lutheran Disaster Response's affiliate is actively present, collaborating with community leaders and officials to initiate the proper responses, particularly the long-term recovery efforts. Together, we have a strong history of working with disasters in the Gulf Coast area. The road to recovery will be long, and Lutheran Disaster Response will be there to accompany those affected through every phase of this disaster.
We invite you to stand by our neighbors on the Gulf Coast during this time. Your gifts ensure that our church will be able to provide help and hope for those left homeless or otherwise affected by this disaster for years to come.
Gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response, designated for "Hurricane Response – United States" will be used entirely (100 percent) for this disaster until the response is complete. Together, we can help provide immediate and long-lasting support. Give today to support the needs in this response and others like it.

For a link to donate much needed funds for recovery, go to https://community.elca.org/USHurricaneRelief

Please keep the people of Southeast Texas and those who will be serving in this region in the months to come in your continued prayers.

Wednesday, August 2

Missing the Point

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I feel like when we read sensational stories in the Bible, the sensational details result in us missing the point entirely.  We focus on "How did he fit all the animals on the ark?" (And how did he clean up all the poop?") as opposed to "Isn't it amazing that in a world where everyone assumed the gods were always angry, this ancient story is about a God who promises to never destroy the earth again (and never has)?  We focus on "Why would God command Abraham to sacrifice his child?"  as opposed to, "In a barbaric world, where people felt like they needed to sacrifice a child to appease the gods, (Notice in the story that Abraham doesn't seem to need instructions as to how to do it!) what does it mean that God tells Abraham and his people to knock it off?  We focus on "How did Jonah survive in a whale?"  or "Was Jonah really in a whale?""  as opposed to "What would it have meant for Israel who had been occupied or exiled by their enemies for much of their history to hear a story about a prophet who wishes curses upon his enemies and they actually repent ?"(Replace Ninevites with Russia or Iran  or  Republicans or Democrats depending upon your audience if you wanted to retell this shocking story.)

Here's another story from the Old Testament (book of Numbers) about Balaam, which usually leads us to ask, "How did God get the donkey to talk?"  or "Why don't donkeys talk today?"  (Some of you would argue that they do!)  However, again this would be an example of missing the point.  A good Jewish understanding of this story goes something like this:

The Israelites move along the eastern edge of the land of Israel.  They approach the territory of Moab, and Balak, king of the Moabites fears that the Israelites will outnumber and overwhelm his people.  So he sends a request to a well known sorcerer, Balaam, to place a destructive curse on the Israeliites, presumably to destroy the Jewish people.  

The king brings Balaam to a spot overlooking the Israelite encampment, but instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam ends up blessing them.  They move to yet another overlook and the same thing happens, yet another blessing!  The third attempt leads Balaam to say these words: "How good are your tents, O Jacob, and your dwelling places, O Israel."  Through this story, we are reminded that sometimes what once was detrimental or destructive can be transformed and redefined as hopeful  and constructive, that repentance, waking up, and seeing things in a new way is possible, and that blessing sometimes comes from the most unlikely of people and situations.

Let us not miss the point by rushing to judgment, refusing to forgive, or writing off people too quickly.  Let us remember that God knows the human heart and can often see things that we can't.  And let us trust that God is leading us to new directions and possibilities in our lives, with blessing.

See you in church!

Grace and peace,

Pastor Mueller


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