From the Pastor

Pastor Bob Albing

2020 Vision

How is your vision? If you are like me your vision needs a little help. I would love to have 20/20 vision, but I don’t. So, I wear glasses. They help me see more clearly. I can see just fine without glasses, up to 6 inches away from my face. After that things get blurry.

How is our vision, as a church? Can you see exactly where we need to go? If you are like me, your vision needs some help. I am seeking help for a Lutheran Church of the Master vision in 3 ways:

1) Faithful Innovations. The church council has approved the synod’s request that I be trained to be a convener of congregations in our synod. I, along with another trained pastor, will lead small groups of congregations in a process of experimentation called Faithful Innovations. The congregations will learn to listen, to pay attention and to figure out what God is doing in their neighborhoods. My hope is that LCM will be one of those congregations.

2) Coaching. The church council has encouraged me to receive coaching from Phil Streufert, Consultation to Clergy. He will help me discern where God is leading me so that I can better lead my congregation. He will help me set goals and keep me accountable.

3) The Holy Spirit. Prayer, fasting, reading, meditation, alms giving, worship, journaling, are all spiritual practices that I will continue in the new year as I seek the movement of the Holy Spirit among you all and in my life.

What are your hopes and dreams for your church in the coming year and in the years to come? I would encourage you to be zealous in your spiritual practices. Pray for the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. If you feel called to join a group that is seeking a vision for LCM in 2020 please don’t hesitate to get involved. My prayer is that God will continue to bless us so that we can be a blessing to our neighborhood, our whole community, and the world, making a difference in the name of the Risen Christ.

First some “Thank Yous”:

  • Thanks to all the women and men who worked hard for months and those who put in a few hours to make our annual bazaar another success. This congregation is full of very creative people!!

  • To Dan Harris and Mike Cheeley, for their work on a very successful Stewardship focus.

  • Thanks to Susan Almeida and the property committee and their work to get Schmidt Hall painted.

  • For Kristine Wold, Jody Harris and Susan Almeida and their work with the School District and LAM to get the Portable (annex building) purchased.

  • Thanks to the Outreach Committee for the Advent Calendar of Giving project that will bring in much needed food for our local food pantry.

  • To Beckie Jenicek and her work with the youth every week, and especially the new young families coming on Sundays.

Advent is the season of expectation in our church calendar. The liturgical color is blue, representing hope. It is the season before Christmas. It is the season we read Bible verses about God’s promises to come to God’s people, and verses about the end of time when God will bring all of creation to fulfillment and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. It is a short 4-week season in which we hold the tension of waiting for what is to come and remembering what has happened long ago. I think hope is about trusting that no matter what the future holds, God holds the future. We are cared for by God and God has our best interest in mind (sometimes, despite how the present circumstances look). I pray that this Advent brings you hope and joy in trusting God in Christ to work in your life as you wade through the busy-ness and celebrations of the season. I pray that you be surprised by grace when you least expect it and that it causes your heart to praise Emmanuel, God with us.

God’s Peace to you,

Pr. Bob Albing

“I never liked saying good-bye; I’ve had to say enough ‘good-byes’ in my life.” That is what my grandmother told me when I asked her why she always just hung up the phone without ever saying “so long” or “bye” or “see you later.” I was a teenager and did not really understand how many good-byes one can say in a lifetime.

Saying good-bye can be easy. If you are ready for someone or something to go; to bid them farewell takes little effort. But when someone or something you have loved and cherished, or simply needed or got used to goes, especially suddenly, it can be gut wrenching to bid them farewell. That is one of the reasons that grief groups are so important. They help us process the loss and help us to eventually accept what seems totally unacceptable.

Looking Back, Moving Forward, Growing Deeper was our Stewardship Theme this year. It seems to encompass how we live our lives as well. We look back and remember, we make decisions that move us in a direction we want to go, and then when we pay attention to it all, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, others and God. We grow deeper as we let go. We let go of our preconceived notions, our prejudices, our “shoulds and oughts.” Spiritual maturity is not about gaining but about letting go. It is not so much about addition as it is subtraction. Spiritual practices, for instance, have to do with letting go: fasting – letting go of food; alms giving – letting go of money; meditation – letting go of thoughts, etc. To grow deeper as an individual and as a congregation means letting go. It can be scary. It can make us sad. Saying good-bye to the predictable and the familiar can be both. It causes us to grieve.

God is calling us into the future. And the only sure thing is that God is there already. Everything else is uncertain. But we are not saved by certainty. We are saved by faith.

Eph. 1:16 “I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.”

God’s peace

Pr. Bob Albing