Things are Happening!
Things are always happening, but this ministry year is shaping up to be exciting and transformative. I promised I would not let my excitement get the better of me so I have been holding off talking about this Fall until August, almost.
This Fall we are challenging ourselves to live out His Story with Our Story! The story of God’s people is divinely directed and brings hope and healing. Our faith is gifted by God’s word and is Living and Active. As August begins, will you all begin to make plans to engage with God and the faith He has gifted you? We are praying for 400 adult commitments or recommitments to live out your faith in Christian community and for His glory. We believe this will bring forth pure joy to all who are a part of this. Just like Paul said “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2.
August 13th is affectionately being called the “Fall Rollout”. This Fall Rollout weekend will include our Blessing of the Backpack celebration at all our services. In addition, we will highlight the opportunities to get connected into Christian Community this Fall–Community that will encourage and inspire us all to allow our faith to be Living N’ Active! Our official Fall Ministry Kickoff will be the week of September 10th. This kickoff weekend includes the start-up of all children and youth ministries as well as the Living N’ Active sermon series. We would like all of the adult community groups to launch as well to get right into the sermon based materials and prepare for the Cross Congregation (Re) Commitment on October 29th, the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
This ministry season promises to be one of powerful focus and transformation for all who participate. Are you ready to experience peace and joy from God? Have you been thinking about living out your faith but didn’t know how or what it looked like? Would you benefit from strengthened relationships with Christ centered people? Have you been wondering how to answer some of the many questions out there about Christian beliefs? Be sure to set aside some time now for this Fall (before it gets filled up!) so that you can be filled up in Christ!
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” Acts:42-44
Keep the Son in Your Summer!
The Summer schedule for my family is more chaotic than during the school year. Everyone is coming and going. Alicia and I are trying to figure out who goes when and where and how, but this is a nearly impossible task. This weekend my niece stopped by for a visit and we ended up putting her to work; taking the kids shopping for last minute mission trip supplies. Because the schedule is so unpredictable, I still don’t get to the things I want to get to. Can you relate to any of this?
With all the commotion it is easy to lose focus on the important things; our Community Group struggles to find dates that we can meet, the kids stay up later so Alicia and I have to work harder to find time for us, and vacations, sleepovers and the like make worship on the weekends tricky. Below are some ways to keep your sanity and still allow your faith to grow over the Summer time.
- Bring the party to Cross – Whether it is family in town or a child’s sleepover, we always make sure we still get to worship. Sometimes, we come Saturday before dinner or late on Sunday (so we can sleep in); either way there are several options. We often “return” friends to their parents between services.
- Explore new places – If you are on vacation or a family reunion check out the local churches. It can be fun to see how other churches do things the same way or completely different. My favorite was discovering that in some vacation spots the people worship dressed ready for the beach! Bring back any ideas you get and see what it feels like to be a visitor in a new place!
- Listen while you travel – Did you know you can subscribe to the “hiscross” podcasts and catch up on a sermon you might have missed? The podcast is available in the iTunes store or at www.podomatic.com/hiscross . Sermons are also available on the http://www.hiscross.org website and the hiscross App!
- Get the group back together – You know your Community Group can get together to have fun—right? It doesn’t have to be a Bible study or a 6 week series. It can be a barbeque or an outing (even last minute!). Try to stay in touch over the Summer; you’ll be surprised what a big difference it will make in the Fall.
- Touch base for a moment – While you might not have a consistent schedule, you will have quiet times. Maybe when you grab some coffee, or while on vacation in the woods or on the beach, maybe waiting in the car for you children to get out of an activity, or while doing yardwork, etc. Keep a Bible in the car or get an Audio Bible for your car or find a good app or website and read for a few minutes to listen to God’s voice. Pray to Him and ask for guidance or thank Him for the chaos. A moment with God is more energizing and encouraging than anything else you will do that day.
These are simple ideas but the results are astounding. God works the most profoundly through consistent communication and showing up in all of life’s little ways. When we are open to seeing Him in the small everyday ways, it is easier to see Him in the big profound ways!
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.” Psalm 17:6
As we gear up for year 136 here at Cross, I’d like to take a few moments and introduce the newest members of the team!
As the size and needs of our day school ministry continue to grow, we are blessed to add a new teaching position. Amy Kowalczyk has accepted the position and will be serving as a second grade teacher along with Mrs. Ulrich. In addition to serving as teacher, Amy brings a gift and passion in the area of education technology having earned her Master’s Degree at Concordia University Wisconsin.
Amy is married to her husband, Derek, and the two of them enjoy many things together. They share a love for technology and challenging themselves at outdoor events like cycling and obstacle based runs. Amy and Derek are also very active in LERT ministries and serving others in Jesus’ name.
Karin Kabat is also joining our team as one of our secretaries. This summer Susan Thanepohn resigned after serving for nine months to pursue her interest in writing. (You might read Susan’s articles in our local papers!) Karin comes to us after serving a full career in various administrative roles. She started her career as a part-time assistant and ultimately worked her way up to supervisory roles. We are truly blessed to have found someone with her drive and skill set.
In addition, Karin has a strong faith in Christ and has driven by Cross for many years. Over the last several months, she tells us she has driven by “knowing” she was supposed to be serving here! So thankful to God for leading her here and thankful to Karin for heeding His call! Karin will be serving mostly on Mondays and Tuesdays.
While I’m writing it can’t hurt to celebrate that Nathan and Jessi Fisher have prayerfully considered the position of Worship Director at Cornerstone Lutheran in Indiana and have decided to remain at Cross. This was an excellent opportunity and required much prayer. We are truly thankful that they believe God has them here at Cross as much as we believe that God has them here for a purpose!
As you can see it has been an exciting summer already! We are looking forward to growing our team together in love toward God and service toward others. Please keep the staff at Cross and their families in your prayers as we continue to pray for each of you.
He Wants YOU!
This summer/fall is gearing up to be a spiritually powerful season for Cross. Having spent the last year studying His Story, we are poised to allow the Word of God to lead and guide us into this next season! Below are some pivotal and meaningful ways to contribute to the ministry here at Cross and grow in your own faith and life!
Focus Groups – Starting this weekend and continuing throughout July, focus groups are being held to gather feedback and cast direction for where we believe God is leading us. The primary topic will be addressing the facility needs that will allow us to carry out the vision God has placed before us. These groups are hosted and led by volunteer leaders in the congregation, and your participation is critical to their success. Below is a schedule of dates and times. Please attend one focus group in the chapel this July. All meetings will be less than one hour long.
- Every Saturday beginning July 8 at 4 PM
- Every Sunday beginning July 9 at 9 AM and 10: 30 AM; also Sundays, July 16 & 30 at 12 PM
- Every Wednesday beginning July 12 at 6:30 PM
- Wednesdays, July 19 and 26 at 10 AM
- A special focus group for junior and senior high youth and their parents will be held on a date and time to be announced.
Discipleship Re/Commitment – Believe it or not, staff and volunteer leaders are already working to make this one of the most spiritually impactful fall seasons at Cross. To help cast vision we have set the goal of 400 commitments or recommitments to discipleship by the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Will you begin now to prayerfully consider how you and/or your family might be a part of this? We will be sharing more information as the summer progresses, but it is never too early to begin praying about how God is leading you to live out your Christian faith.
Every Day – God has called His children to live out His name every day. This is seldom monumental and dramatic, but often it is through faithful obedience. Through prayer, through the reading of Scripture and through small decisions made in small moments God is glorified. May God live in you and through you this summer and each day!
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8