MONTHLY NEWSLETTER 15 2/ THE TRUMPETEER Our Redeemer Lutheran Church - Dallas, Texas February 2015 . Inside.. A S H W E D N E S D A Y 2/18/15 Page 3 Lenten Midweek Series Page 4 The Associate’s Desk I’VE BEEN TO HEAVEN OR WAS IT CINCINNATI? n 2004, a six-year-old Ohio boy named Alex Malarkey was paralyzed in a car wreck. After spending two months in a coma, he regained consciousness and went on to write a book about how during that two-month period he went to heaven, interacted with angels, and heard the voice of God. The book has been a best-seller since its publication in 2010. I Page 5‐7 Our Redeemer Lutheran School Page 11‐12 Vaca on Bible School 2015 Well, if you’ve used The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven to convince your unbelieving friends that heaven is for real, you’ve been left with a popular breakfast item on your Other important informaƟon throughout... face and it ain’t bacon or hash browns. Just this past month, Alex himself, now 16, admitted publicly that what he said in the book was not true. "I did not die. I did not go to heaven… I said I went to heaven, because I thought it would get me attention." The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is one of many books that belong to a new genre the publishing industry calls "Heaven Tourism." If you're not familiar with The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, perhaps you are with Heaven Is for Real, both a book and a movie, about a four-year-old Methodist pastor's son who dies during emergency surgery but returns to life to tell incredible stories about his visit to heaven. Or Ninety Minutes in Heaven, about a Baptist pastor, pronounced dead at the scene of a head-on collision, who comes back to life after being in heaven for an hour and a half. Or Nine Days in Heaven. Or To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again. Or My Journey to Heaven: What I Saw and How It Changed My Life. Or Flight to Heaven: A Plane Crash…A Lone Survivor…A Journey to Heaven–and Back. For those curious about an alternate eternal destination, there is even 23 Minutes in Hell: One Man's Story about What He Saw, Heard, and Felt in that Place of Torment. What are we Christians to think about such “true-life” books? Are these books to be believed? Ought we share them with unbelieving loved ones, as a way of at least getting them to open their mind to Christianity and the seriousness of Christ's claims? Do these books help strengthen our own faith? The so-called “Heaven Tourism” books do not bolster belief or persuade skeptics. Instead, the very contradictory descriptions of heaven they give lead to doubt and confusion. For instance, does Jesus ride on a rainbow-colored horse and have a pink diamond in his crown? Colton Burpo (Heaven Is for Real) says so – he got to pet Jesus’ little pony, in fact. Other visitors to heaven saw no such things. But even if these disparate accounts could somehow be reconciled, there is a bigger problem with these books and it’s not so much with the idea that someone may have actually died and come back to life. There are several resuscitation accounts in Page 2 Scripture - the widow's son whom Elijah raises (1 Kings 17:17-24), the Shunammite's son whom Elisha raises (2 Kings 4:18-37), the widow's son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus's daughter (Matthew 9:18-26), Lazarus (John 11:1-46), and the dead saints whose tombs were opened on Good Friday (Matthew 27:523). What’s interesting, though, is we’re given no testimony from any of these people as to what they experienced between the moment they died and the moment they were revived. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 12, St. Paul reveals that he himself went to heaven and back – “whether in the body or out of the body I do not know” (v. 2). But he goes on to say that he heard things “that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” Paul was “caught up into paradise,” but what he heard and saw was impossible to put into words. And God in His infinite wisdom decided no one else needed to be told about it. And that’s the ultimate problem with all these kinds of books. Even if all of these authors did go to heaven, what was so necessary about their writing about it? The Apostle Paul was not given divine permission to write about his experience in the “third heaven.” And yet we are to believe four-year-old Colton Burpo was? In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man, suffering in hell, begs that Lazarus be sent down from heaven to warn his brothers on earth. Christ concludes the parable by saying, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Apparently, our Lord isn’t very optimistic about the evangelistic appeal of life-afterdeath accounts. What then does God give us to strengthen our faith, to bolster our hope for heaven, and to convert unbelievers? He gives us the Word of Him who did not have to die in order to go up to heaven but who came down from heaven in order to die. There is no more reliable witness to the reality of heaven than that of Jesus Christ. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18). And there are no surer promises that we will go there someday than the ones He makes to us in Holy Scripture: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Is God’s own Word not good enough? If the Reformation principle of “Scripture alone” doesn’t mean that the Bible is all we need for us to know that there is a heaven and how we get there, what does it mean? It’s easy to see the appeal of the so-called “Heaven Tourism” books. The Bible doesn’t tell us as much about heaven as we would like it to. There are so many details we want desperately to have filled in. But what the Bible does tell us is enough. God has given us just what we need not only to know how to lead a godly life but what to believe in order to be saved. “…that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). As Alex Malarkey said in the statement repudiating his own book, “The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible…I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient.” Those are words that need never be retracted. Pastor Brent McGuire LENTEN MIDWEEK SERIES athered by the waters of Babylon, Judean exiles wistfully wondered: Is God for real? If so, does He really care about us? What does our future hold? Will this ever change? God’s people had watched their world shatter into a million pieces. They were demoralized and disillusioned. Their disaster looked terminal. G Do you feel this way? Does it look as though your current problems are more than you can bear? Do you find yourself asking: Why did this happen? Why did God allow it? Is there any order in the world? Will God really deliver on what He said? Isaiah answers these questions in chapters 40–55 of his book. He announces that just when Israel’s history seemed closed and controlled by hopeless Babylonian imperial policy, to the shock and surprise of everyone the Lord will stir up a king named Cyrus and a new exodus will explode in the desert! A Servant will be wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. And barren Zion will be given so many children that, like the old woman in the shoe, she won’t know what to do! Standing behind these marvelous promises is God’s almighty Word. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8). The exiles are going home! That’s why, this Lent, we are “Singing with the Exiles” as they are restored to their home. Plan now to sing with the exiles as we learn from Isaiah to walk the Lenten way to the cross and to the empty tomb. God promises to turn our weeping into joy and our present pain into an endless Alleluia! Wednesdays, starting Ash WednesdayFebruary 18, at noon and 7pm at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Page 3 THE ASSOCIATE’S DESK hen’s the last time you celebrated your baptismal birthday? Do you even know when your baptismal birthday is? I’ve found that many people don’t. They have no idea. Year after year, the day goes by without a thought, much less a celebration. W Why is it that we look forward to our physical birthday so much more than our baptismal one, our “re-birthday”? Maybe it just doesn’t seem that exciting. After all, has anyone ever made you a cake for your baptismal birthday? Given you any gifts? Sung you a song? It’s a good bet no one else knows what month it’s in, let alone the day. It’s a shame that so many baptismal birthdays go uncelebrated, even unremembered. No, no one may throw you a surprise party for it, but the day that you were baptized is a day worth celebrating. In Holy Baptism, you received a great gift: the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). God saved you! Through the washing of water and the Word, you were united with Jesus in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4). Your sins were forgiven, your Old Adam drowned, and the promise of salvation made to you. You, ______________. Fill in the blank. On that day, you, ______________, were rescued from death and the devil, redeemed by Jesus from your old life of sin. Are you really not going to celebrate that? I’ll be celebrating my baptismal birthday in a few weeks, on February 23rd. That day will mark 29 years of my being baptized into Christ. I’m not sure what I’ll do, yet, but it will probably involve water, the Word, and my family. If you don’t know your baptismal birthday, now’s the time to find out. If you don’t know where to look, we can help. Once you find out when it is, celebrate it! Light a candle, sing a song, read some Scripture, and say a prayer. Here’s one you can use: Gracious Lord, I give You thanks for Baptism. I ask your continual blessing on me and all baptized children with Your Word and Spirit. On this anniversary of my Baptism, grant that I may faithfully take to heart the grace You have given me, boldly confess my Savior, and share in the heavenly joy of all Your saints; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen. But whatever you do, don’t let another one go by without taking a moment to remember what Christ has done for you. Child of God, gladly say it: “I am baptized into Christ!” Pastor Adam Douthwaite ATTENDANCE AND OFFERING SUNDAYS’ ATTENDANCE AVERAGES (December 21, 28, January 4, 11, 18, 25) Average 8:00 A.M. 104 Total of Visitors 108 Average 10:45 A.M. 182 Total Communed 473 Sunday School Average 98 OFFERING: This year: $105,787.96 Last year: $124,399.33 Attendance at Special Services : December 24, 5 PM: 199 December 25: 68, C– 45 December 24, 8 PM: 190 December 31: 44, C– 28 Page 4 January 6: 53, C– 42 OUR REDEEMER LUTHERAN SCHOOL ebruary is always the month that fills the school hallways with lots of red and pink hearts and pictures of former Presidents and First Ladies. If you need a little “pick me up” be sure to take a walk through the halls and take a look at all of the great things. F This month our 2nd graders are preparing their reports and presentations on the presidents and first ladies. This has become quite a tradition with the 2nd grade class and all of us look forward to seeing their great work. The Kindergarteners and First Graders will be celebrating the 100th day of school on February 2. It’s hard to believe we have been working at our desks for 100 days! Our basketball teams will be playing in the playoffs at the end of the month – Go Wildcats! as well as providing an opportunity for you to purchase books to donate to the different classrooms. All of the classrooms are preparing a variety of projects for the school auction this month. Our auction will take place at the Kaycee Hall on February 21. Passport to Polynesia will be a great event for both school and church members and I sincerely hope that many of you will be joining us. Lois Frischmann Principal January was our month of re-enrollment and enrollment is now open to any student who would like to begin the enrollment process at Our Redeemer. If you have a friend or family member who has a child age 2 thru 6th grade that might be interested, please have them call the school office and make an appointment for a personal tour. Classes are filling up, so don’t wait too long. To enroll, go to the front page of the school website and click on the TADS link under “Enrollment 2015-2016”. We are very excited to be doing all enrollment, tuition and financial aid online now. The students and teachers will be collecting 3rd quarter Chapel offerings for Fostering in Texas which was formerly The Nelson Center. If you are interested in more information about them, go to www.fosterintexas.com. On February 2 the annual Scholastic Book Fair will open. The book fair is open at school every day from February 2-February 8. Mrs. Frieling has the fair open both before and after school and it will also be open during the Sunday School hour on Feb. 8 for church members who may want to shop. There is always a great variety of children’s books, books for grown-ups, Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 ORLCS INFORMATION Thank You The faculty and staff of Our Redeemer Lutheran School would like to thank you for the generous Christmas gift . We appreciate your support. Thank You from John of Beverly Dear Our Redeemer friends, We would like to thank you for gift cards you gave us at Christmas. You are always so caring. In Christian Love, Members of John of Beverly Wildcat Book Fair The Book Fair will be open Sunday, February 8th, from 9:00am – 10:45am in the school music room (school hallway). Proceeds from the Book Fair are used to buy books for our school library. The ORLC Book Club The book club will meet February 4 at 11:30 a.m. in the Parlor. All are welcome to come and discuss the book “Counting by 7’s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan. STEWARDSHIP AT OUR REDEEMER THANKS be to God…! A few weeks ago during his sermon, Pastor McGuire made a brief statement, almost in passing, that for me was one of those ‘aha moments.’ I immediately paused and reflected on the stark truth of what he said: ‘Do you only pray to God when you want something?’ Within a few seconds, I had reflected upon my own recent prayers and found that -- well, I’m embarrassed -- how did he know that when I didn’t even realize it myself….? At that moment I decided that, beginning right then and there, I would offer up more frequent prayers of thanks to God for answering my prayers and continuously providing an outpouring of His blessings. What a great new year’s resolution! One of the things for which I am very thankful is Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School and, since you are reading The Trumpeteer right now, I know that you care about and are thankful for ORLCS as well. Please join me in offering up a prayer of thanks to God for the incredible blessings the Pastors, staff, faculty and volunteers of Our Redeemer are to all of us. Just think about how many of our ‘wants’ in life are taken care of by these incredible servants of the Page 8 Word. We want inspiring worship services, Sunday school and bible studies; we want a caring and nurturing school; we want successful missions; we want incredible music; we want a perfect wedding; we want a beautiful funeral. We want someone to visit us when we’re seriously ill; we want someone to address our concern; we want someone to counsel us when we’re unsure; and we want someone to pray for us when we have needs. Instead of asking for yet another ‘want’, I’m taking a minute to pray, “Thank you Lord God, for the countless blessings you have bestowed upon us through the work of your faithful servants at Our Redeemer. We do not tell you often enough how profoundly our lives are enriched through the impassioned work of your servants here. We are deeply grateful for the specific individuals you have selected to guide our way at Our Redeemer and thank you for entrusting them to us for this period of time along their journey. I offer this simple but sincere prayer of thanks to You today, in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.” Sally Backstrom Financial Secretary NOTES FROM THE ORGAN BENCH reetings in Christ, G I hope that your near year is off to a great start. January has come to a close, and in February we begin the penitential season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday the pastors put ashes on our foreheads in the shape of the cross and remind us that “dust you are and to dust you shall return.” I would like to take this somber reminder of our mortality as an opportunity to speak about a Christian funeral service. To discuss planning a funeral, we must first know what a funeral is and what purpose it serves. A funeral service is a Christian worship service which serves a dual purpose; care for the body and proclamation of the resurrection to the bereaved. Regarding the body, we believe that our bodies, the very bodies that we bury in the ground, will be resurrected when Christ returns on the last day. This is why we pray as part of the funeral service, “May God the Father, who created this body; may God the Son, who by His blood redeemed this body; may God the Holy Spirit, who by Holy Baptism sanctified this body to be His temple, keep these remains to the day of the resurrection of all flesh.” Regarding the bereaved, the funeral proclaims the Gospel, that those who die in the Lord have been redeemed and forgiven, not because of the great lives they led, but because Christ has clothed them with his own righteousness through the waters of holy baptism. With the funeral’s dual purpose in mind, we can look at what kind of service and what sort of music would be appropriate for a funeral. Our Lutheran funeral service (found in Lutheran Service Book [LSB] on pages 278 ff.) proclaims the Gospel through remembrance of baptism, reading of scripture, preaching, prayers, and music. Most of the service planning, then, is already done for you. But what about the music? Appropriate music choices for Christian funerals are ones that proclaim the message given above. Again, our hymnal is a wonderful resource and is full of appropriate funeral hymns. There are too many great choices for me to mention them all here. One hymn esteemed among Lutherans as an ideal funeral choice is #708, “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart.” I’ve included stanza 3 here. As you read it, think about what it has to say about the resurrection of the body. Lord, let at last Thine angels come, To Abr’ham’s bosom bear me home, That I may die unfearing; And in its narrow chamber keep My body safe in peaceful sleep Until Thy reappearing. And then from death awaken me, That these mine eyes with joy may see, O Son of God, Thy glorious face, My Savior and my fount of grace. Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend, And I will praise Thee without end. I recommend sitting down with the hymnal and one of our pastors and making a record of which hymns should sung at your funeral. This allows for a faithful proclamation of the Christian faith to your family members upon your death. For further reading, see Final Victory: Contemplating the Death and Funeral of a Christian by Bryan Wolfmeuller. In Christ, Tim Shewmaker Director of Parish Music Page 9 TIME IN PRAYER e are entering the month of February and this February we enter the season of Lent, forty days of preparation and of self-examination culminating in the celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death on Easter. During this time, the church on earth honors our Lord’s life, death and resurrection, and His return to His home in heaven. We offer thanks and praise for the love and grace of God in Jesus ministry on earth. These days of Lent we focus on prayer and thanks for the greatest of all gifts given by God to all people who know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. W Lord, we come before You in prayer, by word of mouth spoken or song, as well as in thought, meditation, and desires of our heart. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm19:14). We know that it is through Jesus we are able to approach You Lord God in prayer. have revealed Your blessings and Your promises. The lives we live guided by Your Holy Spirit reflect our response to the question posed by Jesus to His disciples. “Who do you say I am?” The disciple Simon Peter spoke for many when He responded in faith, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16). Lord help each of us know, and ever confess as we pray, and all times, our own words of faith in Jesus words, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to Father except through me. If you really knew me you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:5-7). Lord God almighty as we come to You in prayer lead us and protect us from all evil, harm, danger, doubt of faith, and any false thoughts that we can be forgiven of our sins without Jesus Christ. Lord in Your mercy; know our prayers for You only are our God. You are able to do more than we are able to ask or think. We pray to You only all praise, glory, and honor in the name of Jesus. Amen. O Lord our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, during each day of our lives we are aware of Your love and mercy. We offer our thanks, for by Your Word You LUTHERAN BIBLE TRANSLATORS Members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church are invited to Lutheran Bible Translators’ 50 Years Anniversary Celebration at Crown of Life Lutheran Church, 6605 Pleasant Run Road, Colleyville, TX 76034 February 22 - Social Hour at 5pm - Dinner 6pm Speakers: Missionary Rob Hilbert and Dr. Mike Rodewald Please RSVP by February 16 to 800-532-4253 ext. 21 or [email protected] A free will offering will be received You are encouraged to invite additional guests Page 10 We need your help. Please prayerfully consider helping with Vacation Bible School. Page 11 We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 FEBRUARY “For as many of you as were bap zed into Christ Jesus have put on Christ” (GalaƟans 3:27). Gulley, Keith Hartley, Paul Worrall, Amelie Bartos, Mary Meghan Harman, Haley DelCid, Elizabeth DelCid, Nikolas Prillwitz, Elesa Melde, Jenna Jackson, Matt Laesch, Marvin Reineck, Madison 1-Feb 1-Feb 1-Feb 5-Feb 7-Feb 7-Feb 7-Feb 7-Feb 8-Feb 10-Feb 10-Feb 13-Feb Johnson, Max Speer, Taylor Case, Thomas Pitch, Julia Worrall, Dana Lieb, Jimmy Johnson, Melissa Radant, Robbie Mueller, Drew Cleland, Julie Ruser, Luke Ruser, Elizabeth Fuller, Elizabeth 14-Feb 14-Feb 14-Feb 15-Feb 15-Feb 16-Feb 17-Feb 17-Feb 17-Feb 18-Feb 18-Feb 18-Feb 18-Feb Backstrom, Holly 19-Feb Sanchez, Braxton 19-Feb Sylvester, Melissa 20-Feb Rushton, Charles 20-Feb Meiller, Mark 20-Feb Schemmer, Kyle 22-Feb Echols, Melanie 23-Feb Douthwaite, Pastor Adam 23-Feb DeWitte, Lauren 24-Feb Friedrich, Dana 25-Feb Delzer, Dennis 27-Feb Beikmann, Bernita 27-Feb CEF INVESTMENT RATES January 2015 Investment Type Rate Annual Percentage Yield Flex Savings 0.500% 0.50% Fixed-Rate Term Note - 1 yr 0.750% 0.75% Fixed-Rate Term Note - 3 yrs 1.250% 1.26% Fixed-Rate Term Note - 5 yrs 1.750% 1.76% Floating-Rate Term Note - 1 yr 0.250% 0.25% Floating-Rate Term Note - 3 yrs 1.250% 1.26% Floating-Rate Term Note - 5 yrs 2.000% 2.02% For the latest rates and more information on TCEF you may visit www.TexasCEF.org on the Web, call 1-800-951-3478 or email [email protected] Page 15 FEBRUARY CALENDAR SEE “CALENDAR” ON OUR REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH WEBSITE! Page 16 O ur R edeemer L utheran C hurch and S chool NON PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID RICHARDSON, TX PERMIT NO. 1217 R eaching O ut and S haring C hrist’s L ove 7611 Park Lane, Dallas, Texas 75225-2028 Address Service Requested We’re on the web! www.orlcs.com The Trumpeteer is the monthly publication of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church located at 7611 Park Lane, Dallas, TX 75225. Phone: 214-368-1371 Fax: 214-368-1473 www.orlcs.com Join us for Worship at: 8:00 a.m. or 10:45 a.m. We commune at the early service on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month and the late service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. Bible Study/Sunday School 9:30 a.m. Newsletter articles are due the 3rd Monday of the month. Please email them to [email protected] The Mission of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School is to SHARE CHRIST’S LOVE by RENEWING our commitment to God’s Word, worship, and prayer; by RELATING to each other as people REDEEMED by Christ’s Blood; and by REACHING OUT to all people with the message of Christ’s saving Cross!
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