God's Word for the 6th Sunday of Easter is John chapter 16 verses 23 to 30. (ESV)
23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
God's Word for the funeral of Vera Johnson is Matthew chapter 28 verses 1 to 10. (ESV)
28 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Almost 2 and a half years ago, Vera had a snowman in her room at Good Samaritan. She didn't remember from where it came, or what its story was. She said it was "a wonderful thought", her words. What wonderful thought? "Believe." That was written on the snowman. "In what do you believe Vera?" "Jesus Christ".
At the January meeting of the congregation, the elected representatives explained the general focus of Salem's ministry at this point. (It is available at http://salemlutheran.org/ministryplan if you would like to see it.) A plan to finance that ministry was developed, presented to the voter's of the congregation on Wednesday, April 20th, and approved on Tuesday April 26th. If you have not yet been able to obtain a copy of the packet of information that was prepared, you are invited to pick up a copy of from the information center or contact the church office at 651-439-7831 for a copy. Here is a brief summary.
The primary work of Salem is to preach and teach God's Word. Over the last year, the elders and pastors have addressed the congregation's teaching regarding marriage. It is not an easy time to speak in line with God's Word about marriage, but in order to do so, the elder's proposed a Doctrine and Policy Regarding Marriage. That was approved. In order to further support good teaching on marriage, the pastors have published articles (available at http://salemlutheran.org/marriage) and will be leading a Bible study on marriage in May (please join us at 9:15 a.m. Sunday mornings). Thanks to the elders for their work in this matter.
Salem has many opportunities to serve as the Lord's instruments for making disciples. Even at Salem, many have been deluded in their thinking about the Christian life, whether that is attendance at the weekend service, regular study of the Bible, prayer, giving, or telling others of Jesus. The congregation reiterated its strong support for Christian education and funded it to the tune of almost $600,000 for the coming year. Most of that is spent on the school where Salem maintains a low student to teacher ratio That includes increased spending for general congregational education of about $1,000.
Evangelism requested and received an increase of $4,000. Most will support an expansion of our focus area so that Salem can share the good news and get its name out into more of the Stillwater community.
Staff salaries and related employment policies remain a difficult situation. A large church needs good clear policies to guide hiring and employment. Human resources is addressing that situation. The congregation has made a commitment to pay synod code. That is a wonderful blessing as many pastors and teachers in ministerial settings do not receive a fair or livable wage.
The best announcement at the meeting was that an anonymous donor had generously given a large donation to pay off all of the mortgage. By July, Salem will officially have no debt and will no longer make any mortgage payments. That announcement brought gasps and shouts of joy. The meeting closed by singing "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" in thanks for this great act of kindness. This has placed Salem in an even better position so that the capital campaign planned goes even further.
Stillwater has heard a lot of conversation about boldness lately due to the "BOLD" initiative. It is good to be bold and courageous. Now is a time for Christians to boldly profess the saving and substantive teaching of Jesus. Salem works to boldly proclaim these good ideas. Enjoy the teaching of God's gift of marriage and our clear proclamation of what marriage is in the Doctrine and Policy Regarding Marriage. But it is also a good time for Christians to display compassion. Stillwater needs compassion and mercy. Thank you for your compassion in the generous gifts to pay off the mortgage. Thank you for your mercy and kindness in caring for all the young sheep and the little flock at Salem. The Lord is both bold and compassionate. May Salem be the same.
The congregation approved a ministry finance plan with a $5,200 deficit. Giving is expected to increase by a little less than 3%. Thank you for participating in the work of Salem Lutheran Church and School.
Thank you to Mr Zolldan for this great quotation on Christian education.