December Newsletter – 2017
Math was my least favorite subject in school. I did fairly well until the second half of Algebra II when the equations started to contain more letters than numbers. By taking a college class that covered the mathematics people use on a daily basis, I avoided any math class higher than basic Geometry. It was a decision that came back to haunt me when I took Astronomy and had to measure the distance between stars (equations that required a solid grasp of Trigonometry). I thankfully don’t have to delve into the world of mathematics too often as a pastor, but there is some math that falls into this occupational domain that I absolutely love: it’s the fact that God is infinite and limitless.
We often perceive God in the wrong way, where His attention is divided up equally amongst His people. To better picture this, imagine a pie that gets divided up amongst however many people you have over for Christmas or Thanksgiving. The more people that you have, the smaller your piece of pie is going to be. Now bring this example into the spiritual realm and you can see what kind of a problem we have. God is bigger than we can imagine, but there are a lot of people that you have to share Him with – not exactly what you want to hear.
Fortunately, that’s not how it is with our Heavenly Father. He’s infinite! Infiniti divided by one is still infinity. Infinity divided by 3.5 million is still infinity! So yes, everyone gets the same portion of God; but that portion is all of Him. His whole self. His undivided attention. His limitless affection and adoration. That’s math I can get behind!
Consider this in light of the season of the year we’re entering. With all the expectations, stresses, programs, traditions, gatherings, decorations, shopping, parties, and so forth, we ought to take some time and recall to mind that God came down to earth for us! He didn’t want us to live eternally separated from Him so He gave us the ultimate gift: Himself. In the flesh. Taking our burdens upon Himself and bearing them to the cross, He made a way for us to be with Him forever.
Consider also the words Paul wrote to the Galatians: “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:4-7). This Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God held nothing back, giving us His whole self so that we might be called His children – children with an eternal inheritance and the right to call out to God as our Heavenly Father. Praise the Lord, for He is good and continues to provide us with everything we need!
Pastor Dan Hurner
Scripture Texts - December
December 3 – First Sunday in Advent
9:00 Tordenskjold (Pr. Mark) - Nehemiah 5:1-13 10:30 Kvam (Pr. Dan) - Nehemiah 4:16-32 10:30 Zion-Sarpsborg (Pr. Mark) - Nehemiah 5:1-13
December 10 – Second Sunday in Advent
9:00 Tordenskjold (Pr. Dan) – Nehemiah 4:16-32 10:30 Kvam (Pr. Mark) – Nehemiah 5:1-13
10:30 Zion-Sarpsborg (Pr. Dan) –Nehemiah 4:16-32
December 17 – Third Sunday in Advent
9:00 Tordenskjold (Pr. Mark) - John 1:19-29 10:30 Kvam (Pr. Dan) John 1:19-29
10:30 Zion-Sarpsborg (Pr. Mark) – John 1:19-29
Dec. 24 – Fourth Sunday in Advent/ Christmas Eve
9:00 Tordenskjold (Pr. Dan) 10:30 Kvam (Pr. Mark)
10:30 Zion-Sarpsborg (Pr. Dan)
Zion-Sarpsborg – December 3
Tordenskjold – December 10
Kvam – December 17
Indi Marie Rohloff
Daughter of Alyssa & John Rohloff
Zion-Sarpsborg – Nov. 19, 20170
Grant Edward Finkelson, age 22
Zion-Sarpsborg – Nov. 29, 2017
Zion-Sarpsborg – Saturday, December 9. Deacons at 7:30 a.m.; Council at 8:30 a.m.
Tordenskjold – Tuesday, December 11. Deacons at 6:00 p.m., Council at 7:00
Kvam – Wednesday, Dec. 13 following the Parish Christmas party at Zion-Sarpsborg
Advent and Christmas Schedule
“The Word Became Flesh”
Wednesday, December 6 Advent Service @ Tordenskjold 7:30 p.m. – John 1:1-18
Wednesday, Dec. 13 Parish Christmas Party (6:00 p.m. Fellowship, 6:30 meal/program)
Wednesday, Dec. 20 – I John 1:1-10 Advent service at Kvam, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve
4:30 pm –Candlelight service @ Zion-Sarps.
10:00 pm – Candlelight service at Tord.
Dec. 25 - Christmas Day
10:00 am – Christmas worship @ Kvam.
Tordenskjold Sunday School will be going caroling Sunday, December 10. There will be a snack after Sunday School before going caroling.
Kvam – Dec.10 @ 10:30 a.m.
Zion-Sarps. – Dec. 10 @ 4:30 p.m.
Tord. – Dec. 17 @ 4:30 p.m.
Remember those in our parish who are in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or shut-in
Broen Home -Mavis Henderson, Deloris Jacobson, LeRoy Nelson (short-term)
Pioneer Home -Margaret Bratvold, Norma Kittleson, Kathy Akerman , Lorella Hartman (short-term)
Heartland – Marilyn Thompson
Ashby Living Center- Ellyn Anderson
Mary’s House - (Clitherall) Suzanne Schwarck
Evansville – Bob Spangler
Advent Scripture Readings
Week One -- Prophecy Candle
Sun. Dec. 3 - Galatians 4:4-7 – Jesus came at just the right time!
Dec. 4th – Genesis 3:15 – The very first prophecy of the coming Savior who would defeat Satan.
5th - Isaiah 7:14; 6 – The promise of Jesus, “Immanuel” which means “God with us”
6th – Isaiah 9:16 “Unto us a child is born..” Names of Jesus
7th – Isaiah 11:1-5 – Prophecy about Jesus
8th - Isaiah 40:1-8 – Prophecy about John the Baptist who would prepare the way for Jesus.
9th – Micah 4:1-5 – Prophecy about eternal peace (yet to come) with Jesus.
Week Two -- Bethlehem Candle
Dec. 10th – Ruth 1:19-22 – Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David, moves to Bethlehem.
11th – I Samuel 16:1-13 – David of Bethlehem is anointed King of Israel.
12th Micah 5:2 – Bethlehem, the city of David would be the birthplace of the Messiah.
13th – Matthew 2:1-6 – Prophecy of the King of the Jews being born in Bethlehem.
14th – Luke 2:1-7 – Jesus is born in Bethlehem
15th – Luke 2:15 – The Shepherds go to Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:7-12 – The Magi go to Bethlehem (up to 2yrs. later).
16th – John 7:40-42 – The people did not realize that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem!
Week Three – Angel Candle
Dec. 17th – Hebrews 1:1-9 – Jesus is greater than angels! Further descriptions of Jesus.
18th – Luke 1:5-17 -- Angel gives the message to Zechariah about John the Baptist.
19th – Luke 1:18-25 – Angel giving the message to Zechariah.
20th – Luke 1:26-35 -- Angel gives message to Mary.
21st – Matthew 1:18-25 -- Angel give message to Joseph about Mary and the baby.
22nd – Matthew 2:13-15 – Angel gives warning to Joseph to save Jesus from king Herod.
23rd – Luke 2:8-14 – Angels tell the Good News to the shepherd.
Week Four – Shepherd Candle.
24th – Christmas Eve – Luke 2:15-20 – The shepherds go to see the Christ-child.
25th – Christmas Day -- I Peter 5:4 – “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” -- This promise will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ!
Dear Dalton Free Lutheran Parish church family,
Recently, our churches met for our annual parish board meeting. We collectively discussed and supported a sabbatical, or leave, for Pastor Mark that will last a total of 2 months. According to Focus on the Family and statistics from Barna Research, about 1500 pastors leave their ministry positions each month due to burnout. 80% of pastors feel discouraged in their roles, and only 1 in 10 pastors actually retire as a pastor. As a congregation, we want to be proactive to keep our pastors healthy and give them a break from the demands of ministry from time to time to safeguard their continued personal, spiritual, and emotional health to ensure they feel equipped to continue to serve our parish for years to come.
Pastor Mark Johnson will be planning to take a sabbatical this winter. The sabbatical will include a 2 month break from his duties as pastor, both routine and emergent, which will take place from January 1 to February 28. Pastor Dan should be your primary contact person for any questions or pastoral duties during this time, second your individual church deacons.
The objective of a sabbatical is to provide some time for independent study, reflection, and furthering/equipping of knowledge. Pastor Mark plans to use the time in the following way:
- Time for rest and refreshing and spiritual growth given the demands of full-time ministry.
- Time to pray, study, evaluate, plan and work on future visionary planning for our parish that will serve us well into the future.
What can you do?
Pray that these 8 weeks will be spiritually rejuvenating and pray for fresh insight and vision for the future of our church and pastors.
Pray that this time Pastor Mark has will build him up to be an even better leader in all aspects of life and ministry.
Mark Vukonich, Parish Council Chairman