From the Pastor
As we come to the end of November and transition into December, our scripture focuses on the coming of Christ – not just remembering that event 2000 years ago when he arrived as a baby in a manger – but anticipating Christ’s Second coming. It’s a focus that can leave us either feeling excited and looking forward, or one that leaves us with a bit of fear or anxiety as we wonder how this will all play out.
There is the passage from Mathew 25 where Jesus lays out how the Son of Man will separate the sheep from the goats. It turns out that the sheep are those who gave help to folks who were down and out; the goats are those who didn’t even notice the down and out. It doesn’t go well for the goats in Jesus’ story.
So it leaves us wondering, “What the heck?!” “What do we need to do?” It reminds me of a favorite Calvin and Hobbes comic in which Calvin is agonizing over such matters. He worries, “If the only reason I’m being good is so that Santa will bring me presents, does that count as being good, or will I be disqualified?”
Throughout his ministry, Jesus carefully pointed out that it is not our goodness or badness that counts toward salvation, but instead, it is God’s goodness that counts. God’s desire is to dish out love far more than we deserve it. The fact is, Matthew 25 is not the last word in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew doesn’t end at chapter 25 with this story about sheep and goats. Matthew’s Gospel continues with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
And when it comes time for each of us to be welcomed into heaven, it’s not going to be quite like it is in the story of the sheep and the goats. It won’t do us any good to try to say, “Look at all the good things I did for others.” Or even, “Yeah, look at how many times I screwed up, please have mercy on me.”
Instead what we will each do is call on Jesus Christ himself – who has known us and worked for us since before our baptism. Jesus will answer for us, because Jesus took all of our sins onto himself on the cross.
We won’t really get into heaven as sheep, because the truth of the matter is, all of us humans are goats. But the promise of the cross is that it is Jesus who will clothe each of us in sheep’s wool when it is our turn to enter the gates of heaven.
Not because we are good and deserve it, but because God is good and loved us so much that he sent Jesus. The account of our whole life – regardless of how many good deeds we have done – or how many good deeds we have failed to do – the account of our whole life will say, “Paid in Full by Jesus Christ.” And into heaven we will go, thanking Jesus the whole way.
Pastor Janet’s Joke of the Month
A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking in her purse, she commented, "Hmmm.... That's funny. When I lost my bag, there was a $20 bill in it. Now there are twenty $1 bills." The boy quickly replied, "That's right, lady. The last time I found a lady's purse, she didn't have any change for a reward."
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It was Christmas Eve in a supermarket and a woman was anxiously picking over the last few remaining turkeys in the hope of finding a large one. In desperation she called over a shop assistant and said "Excuse me. Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
"No" he replied, "They're all dead”
From the Bethany Staff
Pastor Janet, Pastor Gerald, Kari Files,
Shelley Duchscherer, Jackie Hebor, Patti Abrahamson, Nadine Holmly, Deidre Wall, Tim Lindsey, Donna Randash, Jacob Thrailkill.
Poinsettias for Christmas Worship
You can help make the sanctuary festive by loaning a poinsettia for Advent and Christmas worship. Bring your plant to the office anytime during Advent, mark it with your name, and pick it up again after worship on Christmas Day. If you would like your memorial recognized in the Christmas bulletin (December 25), please have your flower at the church by December 20.
Christmas Cantata Sunday
The Christmas Cantata will be performed at the 8:30 & 10:30 am services on December 17th. Come hear this special Christmas concert that includes choirs, keyboards, handbells and instruments.
‘Voices of Note’
join us for an evening of
carols & refreshments
Concert is free and open to the public
Tuesday, December 19th at 7:00pm
Vincent United Methodist Church
(no offering – gift to all!)
Lutheran Social Services
Luther Hall is a specialized residential psychiatric treatment facility that serves youth ages 10 to 18 who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and need 24-hour care and treatment. Qualified mental health professionals provide each resident with an individualized plan to meet their specific needs, carried out through individual, group and family therapies integrated into the daily living program.
No quilting on Wednesday December 20
As the fall months are upon us, so are the final months of meeting the 2017 budgeted general offering funds. If you are behind on your pledge and are able to increase your giving to meet your 2017 pledge, please consider doing so. If you are meeting your pledge and are able to increase your giving, please consider doing so. Your consideration is appreciated.” Pledge cards and offering envelopes for 2018 are available from an usher or in the church office.
How can we prepare for the birth of the Christ child in a more meaningful way? Make Advent worship a part of your weekly preparation. The first three Wednesdays during Advent at 6:45pm (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13) we’ll gather in the Sanctuary for a service that includes singing of hymns, listening to the music of our choirs, and lighting the Advent candles.
Christmas Advent Drama
The Advent Drama is being held instead of the Advent Brunch. This will be hosted by the BLCW and they will serve coffee and treats. This will be held on Dec 10th at
9:30am. See you there!
Morning Circle will meet the FIRST Sunday of Dec. (Dec 3rd) because of the Advent Event! Sue Taft
Sunday, December 17
During Fellowship Hour
Everyone is invited!
The Ministry of Care will be taking an offering for the Giving Tree on Sunday, December 10th. Your gift will help with local concerns.
Thrivent Simply Giving $0.
Thrivent Choice $5610.
November Ministerial Acts
Funerals: Ray Westmeyer, Geraldine Aslakson
Wedding: Shane Christiansen & Emma Thoreson
Revelation Bible Study
We will be gathering on Tuesday evenings in the month of January to continue our study of Revelation Ministries. We will meet January 9,16, and 23.
SUNDAY SCHOOL CARNIVAL
Donations for the Silent Auction will be appreciated. Contact Larry Schafer 720-3961 or bring to the church office.
Nights of Christmas
December 27-29 at 7pm
Entertainment will be provided throughout the nights. Already scheduled is Tigirlily, The Rinat Mouzafarov Classical Ballet Company and Tara Troxel. Check out our website:
DECEMBER CAUSE OF THE MONTH
ELCA Good Gifts
Special Rehearsals Scheduled
Saturday Rehearsals for Sanctuary Choir:
December 9 10:00am
December 16 10:00am
Saturday Rehearsal for Sunday School Christmas Program:
December 16 11:45am 1:30pm
(Grades 3-5 Pizza Party)
Saturday, December 16th
(note date and time)
(3 yr olds-5th Grade)
Bethany Lutheran Church invites you to
A Blue Christmas Worship Service
of prayer, music, and God’s Word
shining light in the darkness.
Wednesday, December 20th 7pm
Sometimes the constant joyous refrains of Christmas season remind us of the losses in life…
…the anguish of broken relationships
…the loss of a child, spouse of other loved one
…the fear and depression of unemployment
…the worry of ill health
Each can leave us “blue” in the midst of the holiday celebrations. We invite you to make space and take time to acknowledge the sadness.
Sunday – December 24
Worship at 5:00pm
Candlelight Service at 11:00pm
Monday – December 25
Wednesday – December 27 no Worship
Memorials & Gifts
October & November 2017
In memory of Darlene Bergen
Undesignated – First Western Bank
In memory of Elizabeth Kontola
Campership – Terry & Karn Stevick
In memory of Diane Stevenson
Sound- Yvonne Peterson
In memory of Robert Smith
Undesignated-Boyd & Phyllis Hanson, Rolland & Jane Trihub, Clarisse Anderson, Shirley Smith
In memory of Ray Westmeyer
Undesignated-Pat & Peg Schmitt, Paula Selland, Melvin & Margaret Schmidt
Ministry of Care-Betty Lindsey
In memory of Rodney Getzlaff
Undesignated-Rolland & Jane Trihub
In memory of Willie Olson
Choir-Terry & Karn Stevick
BETHANY LUTHERAN FUNDRAISING TOTALS!
Our fund raising this fall has given us totals of:
Hurricane Relief $585.00
Bus Pass Project $824.00
Service Dog Fund $878.15
Global Mission - Krista Mathistad- Madagascar $470.00
If you would like to have your newsletter emailed to you instead of being mailed please let the church office know.
Change of date for BLCW Coordinating Council will be Thursday Dec 7, 2017 at 7:00pm at ND Guaranty & Title Co. (1835 16th St SW)
‘Tis the Season for Giving
In many ways, we honor the birth of the Christ child – God’s gift to us – by sharing our own blessings in gifts to others. If you are looking for some meaningful ways to give, here are some possibilities:
*The Bethany Lutheran Foundation 215 3rd Ave SE, Minot ND 58701
*Luther Seminary – 2481 Como Ave, St. Paul MN 55108
*Ann Carlsen Center for Children – 301 7th Ave NW, Jamestown ND 58501
*Metigoshe Ministries – www.metigosheministries.com
*Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota – www.lssnd.org
*Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service – www.lirs.org 700 Light St, Baltimore MD 21230
*Global Health Ministries – www.ghm.org 7831 Hickory St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55432-2500, a Lutheran service that helps get unusable medicine and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in third world countries
*ELCA Good Gifts – www.elca.org/goodgifts Buy a sheep or goat or ten chicks to help a family start a small business.
Or there are many local Minot organizations who would welcome your support – YWCA, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Minot Homeless Coalition, Salvation Army, the Lord’s Table Food Pantry, Backpack Buddies.
A challenge is to choose either to cut back on the extravagance of Christmas giving and use that savings to help someone else, or to choose to spend an equal amount in charity that you plan to spend on Christmas gifts.
Thank you to everyone who helped make our Turkey Dinner a success! Your generosity will help students travel to the National ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX this summer to take part in worship, service, and fellowship! Our tithe from the dinner will go towards gifts for the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Join us Sunday, December 17th between services for an ooey-gooey caramel roll!
Our Stinky Barnyard Challenge revealed:
First Lutheran Church and Bethany Lutheran Church are teaming up this holiday season with ELCA Good Gifts to help end world hunger. You can help us make a difference by purchasing an animal (the more, the stinkier!), anonymously giving it to someone else in hopes that they too will pay it forward by also buying an animal. You will find a variety of animals for sale in the back of the church for the next 3 Sunday's. We hope you have fun with this challenge, we hope you will pray for the people who will be receiving your gift, and we hope that if you find an animal on your doorstep or in your mailbox, you will pay it forward! Thank you for helping us fill our barn... no cinnamon sticks and potpourri this Christmas, it's all about the manure!
BLCW Coordinating Council New Brief:
The Bakeless Bake Sale was held in Sept. Thank you to everyone who contributed. The total amount raised was $762.00!! The proceeds will be added to the general fund for distribution to several charities in and around Minot. BLCW participated in the downtown Halloween Walk on Oct 31st. 450 small bags were filled with a small note book, sticker, candy and Bethany’s Business Card. 315 bags were distributed, the remaining 135 bags were given to the Church School Children. Thank you to everyone who assisted with this project. It was fun to see all the interesting costumes, even though it was a chilly morning. This is one way for our congregation to become more a visible part of downtown Minot. A program committee has been appointed and they are working at providing new and different programs for the ladies to be involved in this year. Instead of the Advent Brunch, the committee suggested an Advent Drama that would be similar to the Lenten Dramas. This will take place on Dec 10th, with coffee and goodies hosted by BLCW at 9:30am. If anyone has an idea or suggestion for a new innovative program please contact Judy Anderson at 420-0957.
Bethany Women are asking you to remember the women at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center and to include them in your Christmas giving. Their needs include sweat suits and panties (size large & extra large), personal care items-something to let them know they are loved and valued. If you wish to wait until after Christmas to take advantage of sales, that is fine, too. There will be containers by the front door and the elevator door. Thank you for your generosity. Sue Taft
The Ministry of Care Team will be helping serve soup at MSU on December 12th. This is a part of our outreach in collaboration with Lutheran Campus Ministry. Alma Lee has been very diligent about sending cards to our Bethany members who may be experiencing difficult times in their lives. If there are people in the congregation who may benefit from this, please let Alma know either by contacting her directly or through the church office. The Volunteer Companion Program sponsored by LSS is looking for others who may want to be a part of this program. If interested contact Mary Carlson or the church office. Becky Hill (Sundre Sand and Gravel) is a sponsor for Horn of Plenty. If there are families you know of that are in need this holiday season please forward their names to Becky.
The bus pass program has collected $600.00 so far to help students get to and from school. As this is an ongoing need for students the busses will be passed for donations again after the first of the year. Our next meeting will be January 18th at 5:30 in the library. New members are welcome!
The church has recently received some very generous donations that are being used for the following projects:
--Updating the sound system and construction of a sound booth in the back of the church
--Purchase of new chairs for the Chapel
--Purchase of new tables for the Fellowship Hall
--Makeover of the Sacristy
Many thanks to those who made all this possible!
Thanks to Larry Walter (and everyone else who helped) for another successful year at Hostfest!
Several Bethany members attended the Stewardship Workshop that was held at Zion on October 14th. All who attended were very excited by the information that they received at the workshop. The council is in the process of updating the Church Constitution and Bylaws. The goal is to have this completed by the time of the next annual meeting in January.