God Chose You
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Why did God choose you?
God’s Word says that he did. Even before he created the world, God chose you to be his own.
This is the time of year when we are bombarded by news and ads about why people say we ought to choose them. Often the message touts what they’ve done in the past or what they plan to do in the future. They argue why they are the best choice. On the other hand, far too often the focus is on how bad the other people are, about why it would be a mistake to choose them. Our human way of choosing is to pick based on who is better for something than others.
Many people let that way of choosing carry over into how they think of God. Perhaps God chooses us because of what we’ve done. But that doesn’t work because God chose us before the world existed, before we had done a single thing. Then perhaps God chose us because of what he knew we would do … that we would believe or that we would serve him better than others.
But that’s not the way God’s choosing works. Unlike our way of choosing, God doesn’t chose us based on who we are or what we do. Two little words at the end of verse 4 give the reason God chose us: “In love.” In love he chose us to be his own. He chose to take sinful people and make us holy and blameless in the blood of Jesus. He chose to adopt us as his dear sons and daughters, all to the praise of his glorious grace.
God’s grace—his undeserved love—frees us. You see, there’s an incredible amount of pressure on people who have to prove themselves worthy of being chosen. My sense is that everyone campaigning for election is on the edge of burnout at the beginning of November. Spiritually, some people burn themselves out, too, trying to prove to themselves and to God that they are good enough. You are free from that—free from wondering if you are good enough, free to give yourself fully to serving God and others not in order to be chosen, but because you already have been chosen.
Why did God choose you? Because he loves you.
Serving you in Christ,
Pastor Timothy Nass
QUARTERLY MEETING UPDATE
Our quarterly voters’ meeting was held on Sunday, October 21.
Our average worship attendance for July through September was 531, up from 515 last year.
The school will be utilizing the security grant and making upgrades in the next couple of months. The main areas of improvement are additional cameras. Enrollment numbers for next year are being studied to make staffing decisions. The challenge facing us currently is the potential of 30 students in the Kindergarten. This will be an issue that we likely will have to take actions by the board, council and potentially the voters in the next few months. We are thankful for the addition of a power hour coordinator. The early childhood programs continue to be a blessing and offer opportunities to serve both members and outreach prospects.
The congregation received a stewardship recognition award for its participation in this past spring’s park cleanup organized by the Rock Lake Improvement Association group. Fall festival involvement had to be cancelled due to weather, but Christmas outreach opportunities are ramping up. Thank you to our ushers who are helping gather information on visitors and assist the pastoral staff in making contacts with visitors within one week of their attendance.
Information was shared with the voters on the current budget and offerings. We are currently struggling with a shortage of regular gifts to keep up with cash flow. We have a shortfall of just over $35,000 after the first few months of the Fiscal Year and a balance of just over $1,000 in our working cashflow accounts. Offerings for this year are about the same or up slightly over last year, but expansion of ministries and staffing increased our budget over last year.
A big and formal thank you was extended to the congregation for hosting the LWMS rally on 10/20. Connect groups have started. Share any feedback you might have. Another round is tentatively planned for after Christmas. Sunday school has expanded its offerings for the grade levels. The stewardship board is working to share more actively the results of our ministry. Sharing that information is designed to help our members see the blessings that our gifts given from hearts of faith.
The building committee continues to work diligently behind the scenes. Congregational input and suggestions have been used to drive the overall design, size and scope of the building. Other subcommittees are being formed. Many volunteers will be needed. Two items were brought to St. Paul voters for approval. A building project mission statement was presented and approved (read more below). Second, a resolution to sign an intent to lend agreement with the Bank of Lake Mills was approved. Mike Shiels (Building Committee Chairman) explained that this is essentially like being pre-qualified for a loan, but does not lock us in to actually taking out the loan at this time. What it does is lock the interest rate for us. Rates are currently rising.
MISSION STATEMENT FOR THE BUILDING PROGRAM
This church building is to be a declaration of faith by the members of St. Paul Lutheran Church. This building is an affirmation in wood and stone, steel and glass, of our steadfast resolve to believe, teach, and confess the saving truth of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Therefore we as a body of believers resolve:
To offer our very best to God by designing a distinctively Lutheran sanctuary in appearance and architecture which will aid us in sharing with all people the Biblical truths on which our Christian faith, life, and hope are founded.
This resolution is to guide us in the entire planning and construction process so that we build a beautiful and deliberately Lutheran Church. May our merciful God bless the house we build, to his glory, so that long after we are gone, our children’s children may here encounter the Lord who graciously comes to his people in word and sacrament.
BUDGET UPDATE FROM OUR CHURCH COUNCIL
Dear Fellow Members and Partners in the Gospel Ministry at St. Paul,
With this note we want to begin a regular update on our ministry work at St. Paul and the privilege we have in supporting it.
As reported at the last quarterly congregational voter’s meeting this past Sunday, the Lord has graciously poured out great blessings on our gospel work with a growing congregation and school! Our worship attendance has steadily grown and our early childhood ministry and Lutheran Elementary School have continued to expand in numbers! More and more souls are being reached and served by what we do here at St. Paul.
As we began the fiscal year, we knew that with a growing ministry also comes the privilege of supporting that growing ministry with growing gifts of love. Below is an update on fiscal year offerings and what we need each month to meet the approved budget.
Weekly Offerings Needed: 27,900
needed: 139,500 (5 Sundays)
needed: 111,600 (4 Sundays)
needed: 139,500 (5 Sundays)
shortfall year to date: 35,300
In addition to the offerings in July - Sept, we received $110,600 in the phase 2 building fund and $60,150 in Bountiful Blessings (which is $19,100 above and beyond what is needed to make our monthly mortgage payment of 13,695).
Because of the shortfall in regular offerings and several unplanned HVAC repair and health insurance expenses, we had just under $1,000 in the general checking account at the end of September. This does not leave us with much cushion as we look ahead to the coming months and we on the Church Council appeal to you to make every effort to prayerfully and generously support the work of our congregation so we can continue our ministry to its fullest capacity.
Thank you for your gifts in the past and we look forward to your growing gifts of love to support our growing gospel ministry at St. Paul. Please feel free to contact any Church Council member if you have questions or comments.
In our Savior’s name and in His service,
The Church Council
NEW BIBLE CLASSES BEGIN NOVEMBER 18TH
Three new adult Bible classes begin during our Sunday Bible hour on November 18th. Come grow in God's Word with us!
Grace Abounds, Part 1 - taught by Pastor McKenney
Christian Parenting - taught by Steve and Kim Gartner
The Joy of Giving - taught by Jeff Davis
Central Standard Time returns on November 4. Remember to set your clocks back one hour and enjoy the extra hour of sleep.
APACHE MISSION TRIP
Three members of St. Paul traveled to Arizona from October 24-29 to assist Native American Missions with the celebration of the 125th anniversary of our work in Apacheland. Come hear about their experience at a presentation during our Bible study hour on Sunday, November 11th.
We praise God for his blessings both physical and spiritual with special services in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21 and at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 22. Come, sing to the Lord!
A door offering will be received at our Thanksgiving services. This fund provides limited assistance to individuals in need throughout the year. We welcome generous gifts as we remember God’s blessings on us.
TRUST FUND PROJECTS
Annually St. Paul Trust Fund makes distributions for special projects. The time to make requests for these funds is now through Thanksgiving. Contact Mrs. Happel in the office for forms. If the project relates to the work of one of our boards, please contact its chairman to ensure the request is appropriate.
Join us for our mission society meeting on November 5th. Come for fellowship and refreshments at 7 PM. Our Program at 7:30 will feature forensics presentations by St. Paul students. The business meeting will follow the program. All ladies are invited and encouraged to attend to learn how we serve our congregation and our synod.
ADVENT by CANDLELIGHT
Make plans to attend Advent by Candlelight, "An Evening with Isaiah." It will be held on Sunday, December 2nd, beginning at 6 PM. Advent by Candlelight is a fellowship event for women to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. All ladies 6th grade and older are invited to attend.
Sign up for attending and/or hosting will begin the weekend of November 4th. Information about hosting a table will be available on the sign up board. You can even co-host with a friend. For more information or any questions, text Becca Lauber at 648-2676 or email at email@example.com
WORSHIP PROJECTION SURVEY
On Sunday 10/28 we completed our trial period of using projection with our Sunday services. As we decide what to do heading forward, we'd like your feedback. The Thursday email post will include a link to an online survey. If you're unable to access the survey online, paper copies are available in the St. Paul gathering area. Please return your survey by 11/12.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Welcome to the Ziesemers Joshua and Hannah Ziesemer are building a home in Johnson Creek and transferring to us from Christ the Lord in Brookfield. Hannah (Shiels) grew up here in Lake Mills and is excited to be back. Josh and Hannah met at Wisconsin Lutheran College and settled in the Waukesha area after they got married. Josh is a graphic designer (especially for sports logo and gym floor art, etc.) and Hannah is a 1st grade teacher. Both of them love the outdoors and are avid sports fans. We are excited to welcome them into the family here at St. Paul.
We join the following couples in thanking the Lord for blessings received as they celebrate special wedding anniversaries (multiples of five years) this month. May God’s blessings continue on you and on all of our families!
Earl & Becky Schroeder November 23 55 years
WITH THE LORD
RUTH WOLLENBURG departed this life on September 27, at the age of 93. Her funeral was held on October 5. Blessed are those who die in the Lord!
FLORENCE TOPEL departed this life on October 15, at the age of 90. Her funeral was held on October 18. May the Lord comfort his loved ones through his Word.
Our review of Christ’s love and goodness during the recent weeks provides motivation for our giving for the work of his kingdom. His daily blessings supply the means to do so. May our response always be grateful and generous! Offerings of recent weeks for the general operating budget are listed below. Average weekly needs are currently $ 27,900.
October 7 $ 21,674
October 14 $ 21,349
October 21 $ 15,750
October 28 $ 16,478
Also received during those weeks were gifts of $8,712 for the Building Fund (Bountiful Blessings), $308 for the Improvement Fund, $16,496 for Phase 2 Building, and $5 for Scholarship Fund.
We express sincere gratitude for these recent memorial gifts presented to the Phase II Building Fund and Bountiful Blessings:
In memory of VIC GENNERMAN, $1965 and $530 to the Trust Fund
In memory of RUTH WOLLENBURG, $90
In memory of GERALD MAAHS, $10
In memory of MARIAN GARTHWAIT, $895
In memory of FLORENCE TOPEL, $35 and $20 for tuition assistance
ADVENT SUPPER INVITATION
The season of Advent is right around the corner. You and your family are invited to suppers being provided by groups within the congregation and Lakeside. On December 5th, 12th and 19th supper will be served between services (roughly 4-6 PM). Come and enjoy a good meal provided. This is also a great time to sit next to someone new and get to know your bothers and sisters here in your St. Paul family.
ROCK RIVER AREA OWLS
Our OWLS chapter will have its November gathering at Bethany Lutheran Church in Hustisford on November 20 at 1:30 PM. Rev. Dr. Paul Luther will give an update on "Gospel Outreach to Southeast Asia." This is a dangerous area where Christians are being persecuted and killed. Refreshments available thanks to the women of the congregation. Bethany is served by Pastor Jonathan Loescher and operates a Lutheran elementary school ages pre-K3 through 8th grade. Come and find out more about the Organization of WELS Seniors (OWLS), which provides meaningful activity and ministry for people retired and/or 50 years and older. Here is a wonderful opportunity for us older folks to grow spiritually and enjoy the fellowship of neighboring WELS and ELS members. Bethany is located at the east end of Main Street in Hustisford near the shore of beautiful Lake Sinnisippi, our northernmost congregation in our Rock River Area Owls group. Please bring a friend with you. All are welcome.
TWICE IS NICE
Happy 25th Anniversary to Twice is Nice! In celebration of its first store opening in 1993, there’s a one-day 25% discount throughout the store on Thursday, November 15, 2018, from 9 AM-5 PM. See you there!
Shop: Christmas is out at Twice is Nice! We are stocked and ready to help you with decorating and gift-giving opportunities this year. New items are stocked every day we’re open: Mondays-Saturdays from 9-5 PM: just a minute or so east on the Hwy 18 exit off the 26 bypass at 907 W. Racine St., next to the Jefferson Piggly Wiggly.
Volunteer: What a nice variety of churches represented! See your church here? Ask any of these new vols how easy it is to help out! Patricia Burdick and Christina Christen (St. James, Cambridge), Kris Jaeger (Bethany, Fort Atkinson), Victor Munro (St. Paul, Fort Atkinson), Floyd Pfeifer (St. Paul, Fort Atkinson), Mary Schallert (St. James, Cambridge), Lisa Schoenfeld (St. John, Newville).
Donate: Don’t forget about us this time of year. Our business is booming, but it depends on you to continue to keep our racks full and shelves stocked. We accept drop offs each day we’re open until 4:30 PM. Drive around to the back side of the store and look for the signs. Ring the bell and there’s someone to help you unload!