March Pastor Message

Opportunity is about to knock. Will you consider responding to the knock? Specifically to the opportunity to invite people to Easter Sunday because it is seen as a “special Sunday.” A Sunday that people find is easier to come to even though the resurrection of Christ is celebrated on all the other Sundays during the year. Who do you know that does not participate in the ministry of another congregation? If you do not know, this is an opportunity to give an invitation and find out if they indicate they participate in a congregation. As part of the invitation offer to give them a ride or to meet them outside the church building at a certain time. Invitations can be extended to neighbors, relatives, coworkers, and people who belong to another group that you both participate in such as a scout group. Do consider in the coming weeks who you will invite to Easter Sunday worship, March 27th.

Pastor Dave

February Note From Pastor Dave

The congregation’s 2016 Annual meeting was held on January 10th with reports being received and ballots cast and counted. A whole year of ministry by a congregation cannot be represented by written reports as those pages reflect the organizational structure of the congregation.

Congregations are actually people. People with lives that at times are difficult and at other times joyous, sometimes boring and sometimes exciting, and most times normal, with everyday tasks being accomplished. Yet in those ordinary days we live as Christians by God’s Grace and witness through our daily living that being a Christian is more than going to “Church” on Sunday.
Here is an adaptation of a posting on the Facebook page of “imsoblesseddaily” that is offered as food for your thoughts:

  • A congregation is not a building, though a building can be used by a congregation.
  • A congregation is not about Sunday, but a congregation should not forsake meeting together.
  • A congregation is not about one person or personality though every congregation should be pastored.
  • A congregation is not about size or growth, but every congregation is called to make disciples.
  • So do not think of a congregation as an address or location, rather think of a congregation as mobile and on the move.
  • Do not think of a congregation as something planted or built, but rather think of a congregation as something deployed.
  • Do not think of this congregation as where you spend one hour a week but what you do every day of the week.
  • A congregation is the hands and feet of Jesus the Christ. Feet go and hands do. You are Zion Lutheran congregation.
  • Now go and be the church where you live and work.

Zion Lutheran has a mission statement that concentrates those many words into a single sentence, “We gather to worship, grow in faith, and go to share the good news of God’s Grace.” Zion Lutheran is about serving through our ordinary lives.

Pastor Dave Home: 912-232-6215 Cell: 912-596-55466

Interim Pastor Dave Rasmussen’s Comments

Pastor Dave Rasmussen
Pastor Dave Rasmussen

The words “Pastor Dave” may sound like you have heard them before and that is possible        because for 30+ years I served as Pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Garden City and recently served as an interim  pastor at Jerusalem Lutheran at Ebenezer. There is also the possibility that “Pastor Dave” sounds familiar because Pastor Dave Hendrix served in     Effingham County at the Clyo Parish and has retired and lives in  Effingham County.

During the coming months, I hope to learn your names as we work together to carry on the ministry of Zion Lutheran and to do the difficult work of seeking what ministries God would have this congregation aim to accomplish. Let us all seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit through intentional prayer, respectful conversations, and thoughtful consideration of this congregation’s potential ministries that can utilize the abilities and resources of disciples within the congregation.

An interim pastor is like a called pastor in that an interim pastor   functions as a preacher, pastoral care giver, and organizational leader etc.,  but within a temporary time line. What is also different is that my wife, Frances and I have a home in Chatham County and I have a study in our home in Chatham County and that is where I will be spending  time preparing for Sunday worship and other tasks.  I am usually available through phone calls to the home number 232.6215 or (cell) 596.5466.

I look forward to working with you to accomplish Our Lord’s ministry as we begin this New Year of 2016.

 

Pastor Dave

 

(There will be a reception to welcome Pastor Dave following the January 3rd worship service. Please plan to attend and thank him for serving as Zion’s interim pastor.)

 

A Farewell Blessing from Pastor Barb…

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The dawn of a New Year is always a time of endings and beginnings, as one year ends, and we look forward to the new.  It is a time of introspection and anticipation, all mixed up    together.   That is what this New Year has been like for Bob and me – a time of introspection and anticipation, all mixed up together.

The decision to leave Zion was not made lightly.  Although there were financial concerns, that was not the only factor in my decision.  Pastors are always evaluating their ministry, always asking the Lord       for guidance as to whether they are in the place that God would have them be. Congregations, too, in order to be good stewards of the ministry they have been given, need to be about the work of self-evaluation.

Discernment is an ongoing process that both pastors and congregations must always be about, if we are to follow the Spirit’s leading and God’s will for our lives and work.  So, while I would have liked to have stayed at Zion until I retired, obviously, God had other plans, or it wouldn’t all have worked out as it did!  So, while Bob and I look forward to the new call that God has placed on our hearts, we are sad at the same time, as we will miss all of you.

Bishop Gordy has asked Pastor Dave Rasmussen to be the Interim Pastor at Zion, and I am glad to know he has accepted that call.  As he says in his comments to you, he has a long history of ministry in this area, and he is well prepared to lead you through the process of finding a new pastor. I am glad to leave Zion in such good hands.

In order that Zion may focus on its future with a new pastor, I will not be available for any pastoral care or ministries, such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, hospital/home visitations, or pastoral counseling. I will refer all such requests to the care of Zion’s Interim, Pastor Dave, and the next pastor called to serve, with thanks for thinking of me.

Saint Paul writes in his letter to the church at Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3–6  That is my hope and prayer for you, too.

It has been an honor and a joy to serve God along side the people of Zion Lutheran Church.  Many fond memories go with me, and I pray only the best for you all.  May God bless you in the New Year!

Your Sister in Christ,   Pastor Barb <><

 

Out of the Mouths of Babes…

The Christmas decorations went up in the stores the day after Halloween, which always sets my teeth on edge. We hadn’t even gotten to Thanksgiving yet, let alone the Advent season! Yet, here I was, in line at Walmart, praying that the young woman who was wrapping her work station in shiny foil gift wrap wouldn’t fall off her ten foot ladder and spend the holidays in the hospital! “Christmas has become so commercialized!” I muttered to myself, which is nothing new. People have been muttering about the loss of meaning of the season for so many years their protest has almost lost it’s meaning! But, every year, it seems to get worse. I worry about the message we are sending our children – that they will never learn what really matters in this life, and it isn’t your “stuff”. “I know!” I said to myself. “I’ll make that my Children’s Sermon next week!” So, when Sunday rolled around, and I had twelve little faces looking up at me, I began. “What is the most important thing in your life – something you think you could never live without?” I asked. Then, I waited for their responses, expecting things like, “My bike! My toys! My video games!” To my surprise, I heard, “My Mom!” “My Brother!” “My Dad! He’s deployed, and I miss him a lot!” Every last one of those children told me the most important thing in their lives was a person! It wasn’t till after a little prodding from me that they came up with any of that other stuff – “Candy! Computers! Books!” It was a teaching moment, for sure. But not for them. For me! Here I was, prepared to teach them something that they already knew – that the most important things in life aren’t things at all – it’s people! How did they learn that? It couldn’t be from the culture around them, pushing them to “Buy, buy, buy!!!” It had to be what they were being taught in church and at home! So, kudos to all of you teachers and parents who are teaching our children what really matters. You have given them a gift that will last a life time! And, I thank them for teaching me that I don’t have to worry so much about their future. God has them in very good hands indeed!

Happy Advent, and a Blessed Christmas!

Pastor Barb <><

…and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

The Advent season begins Sunday, Nov.29, 2015

The Advent season begins Sunday, Nov.29, 2015
The symbol of Advent is the evergreen wreath – a circle that has no ending and no beginning. This represents for us eternal life. On the wreath are four candles, which reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world. Each week, one of our families will light a new candle on the wreath and explain the meaning of their candle, and lead us in prayer. One candle is lit the first week (11/29), two candles the second (12/6), three candles the third (12/13), and all four candles the fourth week (12/20). On Christmas Eve, the end of Advent, we will light all four candles plus the Christ Candle in the middle. Each week, the light grows a little brighter, reminding us that the light that is Christ grows stronger every year as we await his return on the Last Day! We invite you and your family and friends to come and experience the joy of Advent as we wait in anticipation of that glorious day!

Moon Gazing

I opened the front door and stepped outside. It was a beautiful, fall morning. Everything was wet with dew, and the air was cool. I took a deep breath, and my eyes were drawn upwards, to where the moon, still bright with reflected light, was heading off to the west to shine on someone else’s world for a while. It was huge! A Super Moon, as it has been called. I thought about our narrow escape the night before. As we drove back from Tybee Island, it was grey and rainy, but we could see the tide, inching up to the shoulder of the road, moving in like a cool, white ghost to hover over the marsh. By morning, the road was covered with water, impassible, and people on the island had to call in to work and cancel appointments and plans for the day. There is nothing in the world that makes you feel as small as when Mother Nature yawns, and stretches and rolls over in bed, and the earth shakes, the waters rage and foam, and there is nothing a mere human can do about it but ride it out.

I stood under that enormous moon and the words of Psalm 8:3 came to me. “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established, what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? “ And I felt very small indeed. And, yet, the real wonder of it all is that God does care for us! God knit us together, knew us before we were even born, and knows each of us so well that he even knows the number of hairs on our heads! God has made us just a little lower than the angels, and has put us in charge of this vast creation called Earth. And, as I thought of the awesome responsibility and the trust God has placed in you and in me, suddenly, I didn’t feel small, at all!

Maybe it was the gravitational pull of that moon, but suddenly, my ordinary day seemed full of possibilities, and I felt energized in a way I hadn’t in weeks! I grabbed my briefcase, and headed out for the day, ready to see what God and I would accomplish by the time that Super Moon came up again on the other side of my world. And, I thanked God for blessing me with a snapshot of the bigger picture of his mission for the world, and my place in it. May God bless your ministry as well!

Pastor Barb <><