Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
773-725-8903
   

November 2013

"Being a Wise Harvester of Souls"

The month of November marks the end of the Harvest Season, as crops are gathered prior to winter.

While I didn't grow up in a rural setting, I had the privilege of serving a rural church during my first two years of seminary (St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Ohio City, Ohio). During that time, I grew to appreciate how dependent the famers were upon good weather for their crops, and above all their dependence upon God, who of course is in charge of the weather.

Jesus often used illustrations that dealt with the planting and harvesting of crops. In Matthew 9:37-38 we find Jesus saying to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send our workers into his harvest field".

Even, though Messiah isn't a rural church, these verses are quite fitting to our current context and the mission field we have before us, especially as we consider the many unchurched families and souls that do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives.

While, we give thanks for our Lutheran schools, our dedicated teachers, additional staff, and school board members, realistically we can no longer depend on our Lutheran School(s) to be the primary way that we do outreach if we are to grow and flourish as a congregation. Instead, the Holy Spirit would have us look for additional ways to share the Gospel with our neighbors.

What a great opportunity this is for us to grow as individuals and as a congregation in learning how to share the Gospel message with our neighbors in meaningful and effective ways! So, that our neighbors might have the same hope, joy, and peace of knowing Jesus as Savior that we have!

In conjunction with this Harvest Month, our congregation is hosting two special Sundays, with the intention that we might be more effective witnesses of the Gospel message that we have received:

On November 17th, Rev. Steven Cohen, from Apple of the Eye, a ministry of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod that focusses on sharing the Gospel with those of Jewish backgrounds, will be sharing his powerful testimony of how he became a Christian. In addition, he will also help us appreciate further the Divine Worship Service, as he explains its Jewish roots. Plan on joining us for that Sunday, as well as after worship, as Rev. Cohen leads us in Bible Study that day, as well! And invite a neighbor, to hear this dynamic speaker!

The following Sunday, November 24th, Gary Moore from the "72" team will be speaking on how to share your faith with your neighbor in a way that is fitting to your own unique personality type.

Afterward, we will break up into small groups in how we might implement Gary's message in our witness to others. Again, please plan on joining us for that Sunday, as well as after worship! And again, invite a neighbor! (Something, I strongly urge our members to make a habit of doing for all our Worship Services and Bible Studies that are held at Messiah!).

In addition, there are two special mission conferences taking place this month. One is being held at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mount Prospect, and is called "Mission U – 101 Everyday Evangelism – Equipping to Share" (see article below for more details)). The other conference is entitled "A Multi-Cultural Mission Experience" and being hosted by our District and Synod (see article below for more details).

Please, take advantage of these opportunities to sharpen your skills in the Harvest of Souls!

God bless our congregation with an abundant Harvest of Souls!

Pastor Wendt

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30)

Multi-Cultural Mission Experience

The Northern Illinois District with the LCMS Urban and Inner City mission will be hosting a Multi-Cultural Mission Experience November 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Holiday Inn Countryside Conference Center, 6201 Joliet Road, South Wolf road, Hillside, IL 60162. Section Presentations will take place on Thursday, and Tour Ministry Sites will take place on Friday and Saturday. Questions? Phone Ann at 888-708-LCMS (5267) ext. 3114, or email office@nil.lcms.org.

Missions Conference at St. Paul-Mount Prospect

Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Mount Prospect is hosting a Lutheran Hour Ministries' "Mission U – 101 Everyday Evangelism – Equipping to Share" seminar on Saturday, November 9th, 2013 from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. Registration is only $5 in advance ($10 at the door) which covers the cost of participant materials and the refreshments. There is more information in the Sept/Oct edition of the Northern Light.

Thanksgiving Evening Worship

Messiah will hold its annual Thanksgiving Worship Service, the evening before Thanksgiving Day, on Wednesday, November 28th, 7:00 p.m. with Holy Communion. As forgiven children of God through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, we ought to be the most thankful people of all, because we know the Source from whom all our blessings come from! We don't give thanks, just for giving thanks sake! Instead, we give thanks to our Heavenly Father, who is the Giver of all good gifts!

As Luther writes in his explanation of the First Article of the Apostles' Creed:

"I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that he has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.

He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.

He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.

This is most certainly true!

Join us for this special service of thanks, and be sure to invite your friends, neighbors, and visiting relatives!

Generosity Stewardship Study Group

Six of our members, in addition to a member from St. Philip, have been going through a special study on Stewardship on Generosity. Generosity and giving are not the same – generosity is a fruit of the Spirit that grows as an individuals' discipleship journey deepens. On the other hand, giving is an action that transfers assets from one person to another without an expectation of equivalent assets in return. Giving may have other tangible returns, while generosity's only reward is spiritual. It is hoped that all of our members will eventually go through this vital study for their spiritual growth and Christian discipleship! And, you're always welcome to join us in our current study!

Sunday Morning Bible Study on Revelation

The Fellowship of the Believers, as described in the book of Acts didn't consist of merely eating and chatting and going home. Instead, we read in Acts 2 that "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (vs. 42). While, it is certainly fitting that our time of fellowship after worship includes eating and chatting, many of our members are missing out on the added benefits of Bible Study and prayer. If we are to grow and mature as a congregation at Messiah, our fellowship after Worship should also include Bible Study and prayer. Let's make it a regular practice at Messiah to have all of our members in regular Sunday Worship attendance and Bible Study! Join us as we continue our fascinating study of Revelation. You are guaranteed to be blessed in doing so! "Blessed are you who read and you who hear this prophecy as you keep what is written here – because the time is near" (Revelation 1:3, AAT)

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