Thoughts and Ponderings from Pastor:
Driving home from Indiana, I asked Donna what she would like to listen to from my play-list, she said, something from a musical, so I chose the soundtrack to Guys and Dolls, which we haven’t heard in a very long time.
One of my favorite songs comes near the end, actually, 2 of my favorite songs, the other being Sit Down, Sit Down…
…anyway, my other favorite song is Luck Be a Lady Tonight.
A few years back, I was visiting a woman from our Church, and as the nurse left the hospital room she said, good luck tomorrow! My member said to me, in a half-whisper, Pastor, we Lutherans don’t say good luck do we!
And that’s generally true. Lutherans have trouble believing in both luck and God’s will.
Oddly enough, there’s a scene in the 2006 Luther film where Martin Luther meets a young apprentice carpenter and calls out to him, luck to you!
In the very next scene, the apprentice is found hanging by a rope, so Luther’s cry of luck didn’t work out well. The scene is fictional, the filmmakers included it as a way of bringing Luther’s rather charitable sentiments on suicide into the movie. I doubt if Luther would have actually wished anyone good luck, but would rather have said, God bless you.
A blessing is a gift from a loving, fatherly God....luck, on the other hand, is a nameless, faceless, impersonal force. Therefore, Christians talk about blessing rather than luck.
Luck is determined, in the human imagination, by all kinds of random things, such as, a rabbit’s foot, breaking a mirror, a four-leaf clover, a horseshoe, walking under a ladder.
Our lives are not shaped by rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers, they are shaped by the will, plan, and blessings
of a loving God.
There was a popular book that you have often heard me refer to, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner. He wrote the book out of genuine pain…his son had a disease that accelerated the aging process, so that he died at the age of 14 in a 90-year-old body.
This caused the Rabbi to struggle with God’s will and God’s goodness. His conclusion? God is not all powerful. God is not Almighty. God is limited. There are things beyond His control.
However, the Rabbi concluded, He is present with us to help us through the bad things He cannot control.
Why do bad things happen, then?
I was rather shocked when the Rabbi answered that question with, bad luck. As much as I respect the Rabbi’s pain and grief, I think it’s terrible to replace God’s will with bad luck.
If my problems and burdens are simply bad luck, then they really don’t have a lot of meaning. They aren’t God’s will, they might as well come from a four-leaf clover.
To me, it’s really heartbreaking to think that my burdens have nothing to do with God, at least if they come from God, there is a hidden purpose.
If I believe that God’s will and plan, and not luck, rule the world, then I can say, this burden, this challenge, brings a blessing with it because it comes from God.
If my burdens and problems are simply bad luck, then there is no blessing there.
A lot of bad things happened to Job in the Bible. Loss of property, wealth, family, and health. Job had a lot of ‘bad luck’. But it was not bad luck at all. God permitted Job to be afflicted. It was a terrible trial of Job’s faith to endure such hardships. But in the end God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind, and his relationship with God was deepened. The calamities Job experienced ultimately brought blessing.
So, even the negative things in life bring a blessing with them. And certainly, the positive things, the joyful things, come to us from a loving God.
Everything comes to us from God. Luck, good or bad,
has nothing to do with it.
One of the most beloved passages from the Bible tells us, God works everything for good to those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 3:28). That passage does not leave any room for luck.
The cross, as always, sheds a lot of light on this issue.
On one level, we might look at the crucified Lord and say, wow, there’s a guy whose luck ran out. But we know that it was not bad luck that put Jesus on the cross. It was God’s plan to save us.
And realizing that Jesus died to take away our sins, to bring us forgiveness, we might be tempted to say, lucky us!
But again, luck has nothing to do with it. We are blessed because God loves us and sent His Son for us! The cross reminds us that God understands our pain and knows what it feels like.
That, too, is a blessing, knowing that when I hurt, physically or emotionally, the crucified Christ is with me as someone who has walked a mile in my shoes.
Whatever joys or burdens, whatever happiness or challenges might be in our lives, we who walk in God’s love will always call ourselves…not lucky, but blessed. And we will sing, not Luck, Be a Lady Tonight but God, You will bless me tonight!
September Bible Readings:
6: Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22
13: Genesis 50:15-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
20: Ezekiel 2:8-3:11; Ephesians 4:7-16; Matthew 9:9-13
27: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 2:1-4, 14-18;
Sunday Morning Bible Study: The Sermon Text of the day.
Bibles and Coffee: On hold. Resuming in late September/early October.
Hope Women's Center: World of Today, World of Yesterday.
We resumed our Movie Night on Friday, September 4th as we watched the movie, Overcomer.
Join us for our next movie night on Friday, October 2nd at 5:30pm as we watch another wonderful movie (TBD!) and hopefully bring back the bar-be-que!
Special Days in September:
According to our records, this month Carole Schwarz (5th), Emily Henderson (5th), Leroy Hamann (20th), Royal Herbold (26th), and Grace Villwok (29th) celebrate their birthday, and, Rolland and Nancy Maki (12th) and Roger and Alyce Newkirk (17th) celebrate their wedding anniversary. God bless your special day!
Church Sanitizing and Cleaning:
Back in early August the Church was cleaned and sanitized by Novoa Services.
During their work, the following was learned: the pews were extremely dirty, it took 3 cleaning sessions to get them clean, and the carpet and tile needed to be cleaned. They said that this process should be accomplished every year. They also mentioned that the carpet is good shape.
Soon after, the Church has been, and will be, cleaned weekly by The Cleaning People from Casa Grande. The cost of this cleaning comes in ‘under’ the approved amount in the 2020 budget.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped cleaned the Church in the past, and we look forward to our partnership with The Cleaning People.
Meet Our Council:
This month we meet, Dorothy Roloff, Chair of the Board of Fellowship:
1. Where do you live? Heartland Ranch, Coolidge, Arizona.
2. Who makes up your family? My husband Paul, daughter Angela, son-in-law, George, and Son, Tim.
3. Before moving to Arizona where did you live? We moved here from the St. Louis area.
4. What did you do? My first career was a nurse in Wisconsin, Texas, California, and St. Louis. I retired from nursing and cleaned private airplanes for businesses and people like Ted Turner, Arnold Palmer and Michael Jordan, to name a few! I was also a cashier at Walmart and Lowes.
5. What is your favorite Bible Passage? Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
6. What is your favorite food or meal? Spaghetti.
7. What is the last book you read? Lizard Skin. It’s about a Montana State Trooper with a lot of Indian history, suspense and conspiracy all mixed together.
8. What is something interesting that we may not know about you? I am a people-pleaser and where my heart on my sleeve!
Many thanks to Linda and Stan Lehti for gifting us with a piano!
We are blessed to offer Online Worship via our Facebook page and website.
Every Sunday morning at 9:00am our service is on Facebook Live at CLC COOLIDGE, and, it is uploaded later on Sunday to our website at christlutherancoolidge.com.
One way in which you can ‘share the Word’ with family, friends, neighbors, and your ‘Facebook friends’ is to share the Live Feed. Simply hit the ‘share’ button! For our website, all you would need to do is tell people to go to christlutherancoolidge.com and they will find the service, the Newsletter, photos, and other information!
WOW (Women of Worth—LWML):
W.O.W. (LWML) has been gathering monthly Noisy Offerings. To help assist mission projects of the PSW (Pacific Southwest) LWML.
The mission project for September will be: Operation School Bell, Assistance League of Yuma…and October: Van Go Home Grocery Delivery for Shut-ins (Community Health Foundation) in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
Operation School Bell: In accordance with their mission to transform the lives of children, the Assistance League of Yuma requested a grant from LWML for the purchase of clothing and shoes for 76 K-8 students from impoverished homes in Yuma County…and we are happy to help support this mission!
Van Go Home Grocery Delivery: Mobile food banks are “love in action”, bringing food to those who are house bound.
W.O.W. will meet on Wednesday, September 16th at 1:30 pm in the Fellowship area.
Every woman who is a Communicant member of LCMS is eligible for membership. Just mention your desire to join to Marilyn Glick, Secretary.
We will have devotions, Mite box prayer and donations, a business meeting, refreshments, and our program.
Please join us, we're looking forward to seeing you. Yes, we will still practice distancing, but we will be able to fellowship safely also.
Blessings to each of you, Alene Roth (temporary President).
Hope Women’s Center:
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has helped these wonderful women and their children with your gifts.
We are still collecting items for the Center here in Coolidge and will be sharing monthly ‘needs’ for the Center.
This month they are seeking socks for women and size 6 toddler diapers. If you could bless them with these, or other gifts, please place your items in the baskets in the Fellowship area. Thank you for your support!
News From Our Synod:
In an effort to begin to examine the pandemic’s impact on the Synod, LCMS Rosters, Statistics and Research Services sent a survey to every congregation with a valid email address, 4,787 in total. More than 1,200 congregations responded, providing a representative sampling of what’s going on in congregations of every size, District, and community type (urban, suburban, rural).
While many of the survey results are in line with what one might expect, there were a few surprises and bright spots regarding congregational finances and the Synod’s ability to walk together during difficult times.
Congregations in every LCMS District faced restrictions in some form or another. Approximately 67% of respondents were located in communities that restricted churches from gathering for in-person worship. Only 5% of congregations reported being able to meet as usual, and less than 15% met in person for Easter.
Instead, most churches moved online. About 80% of congregations used the internet to livestream or post recordings of services or sermons, up from 45% prior to the pandemic.
Going forward, 70% plan to continue posting online, and nearly half of all respondents will continue livestreaming services or sermons.
Among this group, Facebook was by far the most popular platform used, although many churches also used YouTube and/or their own website.
Even though members were still able to attend worship through online platforms, the survey revealed that other areas of congregational life suffered as a result of restrictions. Roughly half of congregations canceled or postponed meetings, confirmations, and Vacation Bible school. Instead, they focused on providing midweek Bible studies or devotionals online (67%), offering the Lord’s Supper on an individual or family basis (59%), and making an intentional effort to contact every member household at least every two weeks (56%).
This sudden shift wasn’t without consequences for the Synod’s workers, however. Approximately 80% of Pastors in the survey report that they have been busier than normal, and 65% who took the survey say that they are personally worn down by the added stress of the pandemic.
Based on the survey results, nearly 65,000 LCMS households have lost income.
Most congregations have not had giving decrease due to the pandemic. Less than 12% say that it is down significantly, while more than 25% report that giving is actually up from the previous year.
Nearly 90% of respondents believe that they will get through this time with only minor budget cuts, and the same percentage do not expect to make any reductions to payroll budgets.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, the survey results highlighted several reasons to be optimistic about the future:
75% of congregations say their members more clearly see the importance of their Lutheran identity.
92% of congregations had returned to in-person worship (approximately half of those at reduced capacity) by July 5.
40% of congregations say they have no major needs at this time.
30% say they only have a few needs.
Most of the needs brought by congregations are relational, such as how to minister amid social distancing, rather than programmatic or logistical.
“I was encouraged by the overall resilience of our congregations and their determination to continue to proclaim Christ come what may,” LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said of the results. “And despite the challenges, the evidence of collegiality and trust in circuit, district and Synod is a blessing in our life together.”
In the Footsteps of Y’shua:
Rev. Bob & Kristi Roegner will host this journey through Israel from November 3-14, 2021.
With almost 40 years of experience in missions, the Roegners have
traveled extensively around the world.
This trip will include stops in Jerusalem, Galilee, the Dead Sea, Immanuel Church Lutheran in Jaffa for a worship service (many stained-glass windows and the organ with 1,200 pipes and 18 stops, built by Paul Ott, from Gottingen, Germany), as well as traveling along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the ancient seaport of Caesarea, where the St. Paul was imprisoned, and much more!
For more information please pick up a flyer at Church!