Serving Our Beautiful Savior
I NEED MORE JOY
After hastily opening the wrapped package and making the obligatory thank yous, it certainly didn't take long to turn away from the thoughtful gift as something ho hum.
Just then three-year-old Eleanor came along and stopping by the discarded item exclaimed, "Oh, my, what a beautiful gift!
Is that yours? You must be so happy?" As she walked away I thought to myself, "Why don't I have the joy of that little girl?"
At times we have those feelings which cause us to cry out, "I need more joy in my life!" That is so often true at this time of year when for one reason or another we find ourselves lacking joy. There are indications everywhere that joy should fill our lives. Decorations are going up inside and outside. Christmas music surrounds us, and cards are arriving daily.
Some days the festive joy fills our hearts as we excitedly go about our holiday shopping and schedule planning. Yet deep down we know that this joy will not last. Planning becomes overwhelming, schedules start falling apart, and decorating gets tiresome. Above all, we know from experience, there will be no joy when we find we don't have enough money to purchase the perfect gift or when credit card payments come due. All of this leads us to shout out, "I need more joy! I need joy that will last!"
Here’s some great news. Christmas brings us joy that does last—the true joy found in Jesus.
With a love that we cannot comprehend, our heavenly Father gave his only Son, born to be our Savior. With perfect obedience Jesus lived the life all of us are unable to live. Each and every evil thought, evil word, and evil deed we have done has been picked from us by our heavenly Father and placed on Jesus. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus bowed his head in death declaring, “It is finished.” These words of Jesus bring us true joy. They mean that all is done and Easter’s announcement "He Is Risen!" guarantees that God our Father has accepted Jesus' life and death as payment in full for all our sins. True joy is the forgiveness of sins that is ours through faith in Jesus.
While we are in the midst of the season when it seems hard to keep joy in our lives, focus on the true Joy Giver. Ponder again the words of the angels to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born. He is Christ the Lord.” Come and worship the Babe born in Bethlehem and may God the Holy Spirit fill you with a joy that never ends.
Sunday Worship (Communion on 1st & 3rd Sunday), 9:30 AM
Sunday School/Youth Study (Kids Connection / Music @ 10:45), 11:00 AM
Advent Services: By Candlelight Dec. 4, 7:00PM
Following Advent Services Dec 11, 18, 7:00 PM
Children’s Christmas Service, Dec. 22, 7:00 PM
Christmas Eve Services, Dec. 24, 7:00 PM
Christmas Service, Dec. 25, 7:00 PM
New Year’s Eve Service, Dec 31, 7:00 PM
Preschool Christmas Program Dec. 13, 6:30 PM
Sunday Adult Bible Class, A Study of the Book of Acts, 1:00 AM
Minong Study: Dec. 4 at Home of Waggoners (N13190 Frog Creek Rd, Phone 715-466-4830), 10:00 AM
Dec. 18 at Home of McKays (W7425 White Oaks Trail, Phone 715-466-2526), 10:00AM
Thursday Study, Book of Romans: December 5, 12, 19, 10:00 AM
Wednesday & Ladies Bible Studies Resume in January
Voyager Village: December 11 at Home of Alan & Jan Niedfeldt (28402 Kilcare Road, phone: 715-520-7526), 1:00 PM
FROM THE PASTOR
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We have hit that time of year when the great debate arises as to when is too soon to start playing Christmas music or put up your decorations. Some argue that you must at least wait until after Halloween. Others say you must wait until after Thanksgiving. There have even been items posted on social media that say the reason it snows in October is because people are already putting up their Christmas decorations. What camp do you fall into?
I would line up with those that say wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate, especially when it comes to the commercial music. There are only so many of those songs that if you start playing them in October, I am sick of hearing them by the time Christmas comes around. As for the decorating part, like so many other things, it just becomes “white noise” that is displayed around me. My biggest reason for waiting until after Thanksgiving is there are wonderful days that just get skipped over. These are days like Reformation and Thanksgiving and the end of the Church year.
There is, however, one aspect of the decorations that I don’t mind seeing too early. I don’t mind too much seeing the lights of Christmas. The reason is because of what Isaiah records for us in chapter 9 of his book. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:2,6)
How much daylight is there right now for us up in the North. Sunrise is after 7 AM and Sunset is before 5 PM. That is less than 10 hours of sunlight a day. That means we have over 14 hours of darkness. When it is cloudy, the great light in the sky is missed even more. We must rely on artificial light for much of what we do at this time of year. Then we get the lights of Christmas going up. How dramatic they can be and how much of an impact they can have on our lives. They usually are very pretty and lovely to look at.
Think about the impact this message of Isaiah had on a sin-darkened world at his time and at Jesus’ time. Think about the impact this message has today. The people of Isaiah’ day and when Christ came into the world are described as people walking in darkness. There was the darkness of unbelief, despair and sin. There was the darkness of doubt. Did God forget to fulfill his promises of a Savior? Was he ever going to make good on his Word? All at once, the light dawned. The world got to see the Gospel personified in Jesus Christ.
He came as a baby and was given to the world. The government of the day tried to oppress and suppress his message and what he was doing. Yet he spoke as “one having authority” and gave perfect words of advice. He demonstrated through mighty acts that God had come to earth in the many miracles he performed. He showed the world the love of the Everlasting Father and brought peace that the world longed to know.
When we consider the way this world thinks and operates, when we consider how our own hearts are naturally, the Lights of Christmas that we decorate with are an important reminder of what happened. The Light of the World, Christ, shined brightly when he came so that all may know about Him. Our sins have been exposed. They are brought out into the light for all to see. At the same time, the light of our Savior’s words and deeds shine even brighter. They have delivered on God’s promises that he would save the world when it couldn’t do so. He has given us to opportunities to celebrate this wonderful gift not only at Christmas, but at every time of the year.
As we head into the Christmas season, may we always remember its real meaning and importance for our daily and eternal lives. Have a Merry Christmas and may your light always shine before men so they may know the true Light – Jesus.
ADVENT: The “coming” of the LIGHT
Christians celebrate Advent as a time to prepare and reflect on Christ’s coming to earth at Christmas.
The Advent wreath, in the form of a circle, symbolize God’s unending love. The candles in the wreath represent the hope of eternal life.
The violet or blue Prophecy (Hope) Candle stands for the Old Testament prophecies about the “coming” of Christ.
The Bethlehem (Peace) Candle is violet or blue and symbolizes Jesus’ birth to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem.
The Shepherds’ (Joy) Candle is rose-colored and represents the coming of the Savior into the hearts and lives of believers.
The Angels’ (Good News) Candle is violet or blue and stands for the coming of our Savior with the angels on the Last Day.
The Christ Candle, the white candle, symbolizes the day of Jesus’ birth, the coming of Jesus our Light, the Light of the world.
Plan to use the Advent services as opportunities to prepare your hearts to receive the gift of the Christ Child.
LOOKING FORWARD: As we look forward to the upcoming Advent Season and the greatest gift of all, it is timely to reflect on the past year at Beautiful Savior. We have been blessed in numerous ways. The Free Rummage Event was once again a great success and many in the community were able to make use of the generosity and great efforts of our congregation, it continues to be one of the ways we can expand our outreach efforts on a large scale. Several Bible Study opportunities are well attended, and our growth in God's word continues. Our Preschool now has six children and Sunday School nurtures young ones in God's word, confirmation class prepares our young people for communicant membership. The Choir and organists beautify and enhance our worship services. We have welcomed a number of new members and church attendance is growing. And the list goes on.
The Church Council is completing work on goals established for 2019, will review their progress and compile new ones for 2020. Among them are: Online/Direct deposit giving, revamping Church Council election process, enhanced Church security, and improving communication among members/committees. A heartfelt thank you to outgoing Council members Larry Damman and Dale Gregory. Their service has been exemplary and very much appreciated. Also, a warm welcome to George McKay a newly elected member.
Most of all, we thank our Gracious Lord who continues to bless as we continue on our mission of spreading His word in Spooner and the greater surrounding area.
To all in our Family of Faith, a most blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
Respectfully submitted, Mike Bingen
Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Author Joseph Mohr
BEAUTIFUL SAVIOR NEWS
LADIES HIGH CHRISTMAS TEA is Saturday, December 14, at 1:00 PM at church. Bring 2 dozen cookies to share (the rest will be served on Sunday mornings). Bring a box of your favorite tea bags to share too (other beverages available as well). Tea sandwiches will be provided. Bring a favorite apron and special memory of a Christmas past to tell if you like. Join us for much mirth and merriment! Sign-up sheet on counter at church.
THANK YOU to the ladies who made the quilts for the kindergartens in Milwaukee!
Ladies Coffee & Study and the Wednesday Bible study will not meet in December. We will resume our studies in January.
Don’t forget to set aside your Christmas and holiday decorations that you would like to donate for next year’s Free Rummage.
Check the Bulletin Board for postings. The flower calendar and church calendar; information from the Treasurer, Council, WELS Ministries; New Beginnings Home for Mothers, CLR abortion and euthanasia issues; and more. The postings change often, so when you are lined up for treats & coffee or when you have a couple of minutes, why not stop by and to check it out.
AED: Our congregation has a defibrillator unit for availably in a health emergency. In case of emergency, look for it in the pastor’s office.
Pill Bottles: We are continuing to collect prescription pill bottles to send to mission fields. If you have questions, see Sharon Baker.
Deadline for the Calendar and Newsletter is the third Friday each month. Submit articles and calendar information by email to email@example.com or add “NEWSLETTER” to the subject and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping Hands--Coordinator Needed
As the Helping Hands program has become a successful tool for people to reach out to other people within the congregation, the Stewardship Team would like to expand the program incorporating an online presence. With that being said, we are looking for a Helping Hands coordinator. The position would mean that people within the Beautiful Savior congregation could email the coordinator with their needs and the coordinator would put the request out to the congregation via email. Realizing that everyone does not utilize email, the Stewardship Team would continue to have the Helping Hands board up in the back of the church as well. It is an exciting prospect and just gives us another outlet to meet the needs of our congregation. If you are interested and this sounds like an exciting opportunity for you, contact anyone on the Stewardship Team – Andy Olsen, Elaine Bullens, Gary Dunsmoor or Pastor Warskow.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Break out in joyful song! Make music!
Make music to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn
shout for joy before the King, the Lord.
GRACE OF GIVING
2 Corinthians 8:6-7: So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
“The church is always talking about money!” Have you ever heard that complaint? It’s not true. In fact, we probably do not talk about money often enough. That’s because what we really like to talk about is Jesus!
We shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about money in the church. Jesus often did. About one in seven statements Jesus made is about money or material possessions. Jesus knew that money and material possessions are something that our sinful nature likes to think about a lot. He does us a tremendous favor by putting our money in the right context. We don’t worship money. We use money—for our good and for God’s glory.
One of the reasons Paul wrote this letter was to remind the Corinthians to bring this offering for the saints to completion. They needed a little encouragement, so Titus was sent to encourage them and Paul wrote the letter. He wanted them to “excel in this grace of giving.” Our sinful nature and our new man need these words of encouragement!
EQUIPPING CHRISTIAN WITNESSES, the new campaign from Martin Luther College, focuses on recruitment, financial aid, and facilities. By enrolling more future ministry workers, helping them fund their Christian education, and enhancing their learning environments across the campus, WELS strengthens the foundation for its future. Learn more at mlc-wels.edu/mlc-campaign.
WORLD MISSIONS FALL UPDATE - “GRACE—HMONG OUTREACH IN VIETNAM”
Progress continues toward the development of a theological education center for pastors and leaders of the Hmong Fellowship Church (HFC) in Vietnam. Land has been purchased and cleared, and God willing, construction will begin in fall. WELS leaders traveled to Hanoi in June to work through building details as well as to continue the education of 60 Hmong leaders.
WELS members have given offerings toward the $2 million needed for the building projects and operational costs for the first two years. Learn more at www.net/vietnamhmongoutreach.
FORWARD IN CHRIST--INFORMATION. INSPIRATION: Read Forward in Christ, the official magazine of WELS, and you will receive the latest news from the synod, gain a Lutheran perspective on current events, hear uplifting stories of faith from across the world, and more every month. Current issues are handed out at church each month. If you would like to look for archived articles, they can be found online. Learn more at wels.net/fic.
WELS App available - Nearly 20,000 people have downloaded the WELS app to their phone or tablet to access daily devotions, WELS Missions Blogs, synod news, and more wherever they go, every day. Get the app for free by going to wels.app in your devices web browser and "add to home screen" using your devices method
African outreach – Lord Jesus Christ, you send messengers to the ends of the earth. We praise you for the spread of the gospel in the nations of Africa, for the training of national church leaders in these mission fields, and for the maturing of church bodies that have become our sister synods. Help us support these ministries you put before, to connect with and strengthen Christian groups across the continent. Amen.
Martin Luther College campaign – Lord of the church, we praise you for raising up men and women to serve you and your church in the preaching and teaching ministry and pray that you would continue to provide students for the ministry of your gospel. Bless the efforts of Martin Luther College as they equip Christian witnesses. Help us to see our opportunities to participate in the “Equipping Christian Witnesses” campaign with our recruitment of students with the gifts to serve you in full-time ministry and with our offerings toward financial aid for students and facilities for their education. Let all we do be to your glory to build up your kingdom. Amen.
Christmas evangelism – Our Savior Jesus Christ, we cannot go shopping at this time of the year without being reminded that Christmas is coming. We know that this holiday is the celebration of your birth, our God who became fully human to take away the sins of the world. Sadly, we realize that not everyone knows this good news even though it is for all people. Bless our congregation and our synod as we strive to bring this gospel about the Savior to the people living around us. Empower each of us to invite someone to worship Christ, the newborn King, along with us. By your grace, bring many more to hear the true message of Jesus Christ, which alone can bring true joy to the people of this world. We pray in the name of Christ, who became our brother to save us all. Amen.
WELS Christian Aid and Relief – Almighty God, you have richly provided us with all that we need for our body and life. At this time of year, we give thanks to you as we count your many blessings to us. We also thank you for opportunities to share a portion of these blessings locally and through WELS Christian Aid and Relief. Through their work, thanksgiving has overflowed to you from the many people they have helped in the time of great need. Use the efforts of Christian Aid and Relief to provide opportunities for more and more people to hear about Jesus, who provides what every person needs, the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. We pray in his name, who has given us every good thing. Amen.
Reported By Wels Christian Aid And Relief: Each day we consider our blessings and thank God for them. Out of gratitude for our greatest gift, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has saved us from our sins, we in turn reach out to those who are in need—spiritually, physically, and emotionally. One way we, as WELS brothers and sisters in Christ, carry out this ministry of compassion is through Christian Aid and Relief. Together we provide relief to people suffering from natural disasters, assist those dealing with extreme medical and financial challenges, and show Christian love to people through our WELS missions by supporting humanitarian aid projects. Your special gifts provide critical assistance to people in need and create wonderful opportunities to share the saving message of the gospel. Thank You! Christian Aid and Relief grant totals for this year $1,042,181.
Christian Aid and Relief thanks God for the generous support from WELS people. This support helps those suffering from natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. We also assist people dealing with extreme financial or medical challenges. In addition, we partner with our world and home missionaries in support of humanitarian aid projects that help build bridges to proclaim the gospel.
THE GIFT OF GOD MADE FLESH
Much of what keeps you busy this month is not really Christmas but Santamas. A lot of that is harmless fun—green and red decorations, office parties, white elephant gifts, and lit reindeer on your front lawn.
But when you actually pay attention to the Bible’s account of the real Christmas, you are confronted with a game-changing story: a virgin conceives through the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit and then gives birth in a barnyard birthing room. But that’s not even the biggest part of this big deal. The real miracle is that on Christmas Eve it was revealed to mankind that the Son of God had permanently taken on human flesh.
It was the most significant day since creation. Jesus came in person to relive our lives for us. To do that he needed to be not merely like us; he needed to be us. Every Christmas gift you’ve ever given, even the biggest one, pales in comparison with the gift the Father gave you—his Son, wrapped in strips of cloth and lying, of all places, in a manger.
His birth makes your immortality possible: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). That’s how valuable God thinks you are; that’s how much he loves you. Thank you, God!
Written by Pastor Mark Jeske
Copyright © 2018 Time of Grace Ministry, All rights reserved. Posted 12/24/2018. Devotion used by permission of Time of Grace®.
Time of Grace blog posts are a great way to receive encouragement and guidance for living a Christian life in the world today. As the writers cover timely topics and issues, you’ll find foundational promises from God’s Word as they relate to the joys and challenges you face in your life. If you’d like to receive daily Grace Moments devotions by e-mail, go to timeofgrace.org/moments to subscribe; or visit timeofgrace.org to view other devotional options that are available at Time of Grace.
SUNDAY SCHOOL/YOUTH NEWS
The children’s Christmas program will be presented on Sunday, December 22 in the 9:30 a.m. service. Carol Lyons has selected, prepared and distributed the program to Sunday School and Youth Group students that will be participating in the program. Practices have begun and will continue each Sundays at 10:45 a.m. before the start of Sunday School and Youth classes. Practices will also be held on Sunday, December 8 and 15 after Sunday School, and possibly Saturday, December 21 if needed. Watch for updates regarding these practices.
The Sunday School children have selected Costa Maya Ministries to receive their Sunday School offerings this school year. Costa Maya Ministries is located in Mahahual, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula. Until recently there was no Lutheran gospel presence in this area. The mission was started and has been kept going by prayers, volunteers and financial gifts due to WELS mission funds being too short to also support this ministry. This mission is quickly expanding in the area and CMM hopes to expand aid and relief and possibly even start an elementary school.
This ministry again shows how opportunities for mission work are showing up in so many places our WELS synod mission dollars and workers cannot keep up. Pray we stay informed of mission opportunities and give generously in time, talents and gifts to support these missions.
Please continue to keep our Sunday School and youth group in your prayers.
Here is a recap of November as I seem to have dropped the ball on that one…
During November we learned about Moses and god’s plan for him. Our Bible stories were: Baby Moses, God calls Moses, and the Red Sea Crossing. We continued the alphabet with the letters I, J, and K, and the numbers 6, 7, and 8.
School will not be in session the week of the 25th due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The children and I prepared a mini Thanksgiving meal and the families came and enjoyed it with us! After we ate, we had some fun crafts and just enjoyed getting to know each other better. There were three of the families here with four grandparents as well. A good time was had by all, and it just might become a tradition!!
During December, we will be focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior JESUS!!!
When class resumes after Thanksgiving we will begin with the story of the angel coming to Mary, and then spend the rest of the month on the Christmas story and preparing for our program which is tentatively set for Friday, December 13 at 6:30. We hope that you can join us!! This will be a first attempt at getting up in front of people, so we might just be enjoying cookies and cider.. time will tell!
May you all have a truly blessed and wonderful Christmas, and may the peace continue to be with you always that fills our hearts knowing the true meaning of the holiday!!
God’s richest blessings to all, Mrs. McQuade