From the Senior Pastor
A Vision for the New Year

And so a new year begins. Time marches on, and change is inevitable.

But when I stop long enough to think and reflect, I notice scripture rattling around in my head. Today it’s reminding me of treasures to which I cling when all else seems beyond my control:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:1–2, 7

“[Jesus]…rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.” Mark 4:39

As we march along with all of creation into the new year while so much around us seems beyond our control, it’s good for us to begin with a reminder of God’s presence and God’s faithfulness. Regardless of what the year will bring, we have God’s promise to be with us always and to work for good in all things. We will no doubt experience peaks and valleys, joys and sorrows, and who knows how many days clad in routine and, dare I say, monotony. Yet God will be in the midst of those days, every one of them, shaping us into a people on a mission of love and mercy for the sake of the world.

As we marked the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at OSL this past October, we were invited to do as Martin Luther did five centuries ago: share our hopes and dreams for the church. He did it, of course, by nailing a piece of paper to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg; we did it by writing our vision for the church on sticky notes and posting them on a set of church doors we had erected for the
occasion in The Gathering Place. Here’s a sample of what was shared:
• To not feel like a number/stranger when you enter here;
• That the church may be one—in witness and in mission;
• Remember and reach out to the elderly;
• Keep inviting everyone;
• Unconditional love;
• Speak out on political issues;
• Practice, practice, practice to love your neighbor as you love yourself;
• Continue to take care of the most vulnerable in society;
• That we would be careful stewards of our resources;
• I pray for the day when the church, when our congregation reflects the diversity of our city and of the body of Christ.

Clearly God is forming within us a passion to serve the mission God has given us—to proclaim Christ and nurture faith that connects with everyday life. Of course, that can be interpreted in many ways, but the common theme expressed in these Reformation posts is love for neighbor and ministry for the sake of the world. And while each of the posts expresses this theme beautifully in its own right, one outshines all the others in summarizing the vision for ministry God has given us. Though I don’t know for sure, I’m guessing it was posted by one of our younger members, a simple drawing that says it all:

As we begin a new year together striving to serve God in all that we say and do, may the cross of Christ continue to shape us into a people whose deepest passion is to give ourselves away for the sake of the world.

A blessed New Year to you all,

Pr. Randy Gehring

Baptisms
November 19, 2017
Alex Thomas Wolfe, the son of Jesse and Melissa Wolfe.

November 26, 2017
Cooper Orville Graham, the son of Jared and Jacquelyn Graham.

December 3, 2017
Logan Kay Voelker, the daughter of Cody and Amanda Voelker.

December 17, 2017
Ayva Marie Doohen, the daughter of Greg and Daisy Doohen.

Flowers
December 17, 2017
Flowers given in memory of Michael Pearson in honor of his 65th birthday, December 20, by his family.

December 24, 2017
Flowers given in loving memory of Ronald and Dorothy Anderson by their grandson, Brad Green. The Andersons would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on December 27.

Telecasts
December 24, 2017
Telecasts sponsored by Bryan Peters and Safe-N-Secure Security Equipment in memory of Marilyn Peters.

Memorials and Honoraria
November 2017

In Memory of Joan Bakke
Susan Hauff
Shirly Hillgren
Joyce Kaatz
Dean Mann and Renae Hays
Craig and Annette Miller
Debra McIntyre
Mildred Moser
Betty Pfeifle
Doris Reiners
Ginger Smith
Don and Coryill Weeg

In Memory of Frank Cortez (the father of Alice Rud and Family)
Paul and Judith Rud

In Memory of Don Dummermuth
Richard and Janice Boe
Ruby McCormick

In Memory of Jerry Kaufman
Arlen Viste

In Memory of Lyle McKichan
Mark and Marcia Sterling

In Memory of LeRena Ostrem (the mother of Lynda Olson)
Arlen Viste
Glenn and Cynthia Wika

In Memory of Irene Peterson
Glenn and Cynthia Wika
Don and Coryill Weeg

In Honor of Marilee Petersen’s 80th Birthday
Don and Coryill Weeg

Your Offering Makes a Difference
Your generosity is making a real difference in people’s lives through the mission and ministry of OSL. Thank you for your faithfulness in giving and your passionate commitment to God’s work through this congregation. Your continued generosity helps us reach our congregational goal of fully funding our ministry of connecting faith to everyday life.

Ministry Support through October 31, 2017

Annual Giving
Pledged $2,008,616
Received YTD $1,460,398
Remaining $548,218
Projected YTD $1,513,598
Ahead/(Behind) ($53,200)

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