Friday, April 25, 2014

Victory News - Stonework Starting

Something I delight in doing as a leader is to share what I call “victory” stories. In a narrow sense that’s what I get to do every single Sunday when as a pastor I preach about the victory Jesus won over sin and death. That’s the ultimate “Victory story”! It’s why I get so pumped to preach each week—especially on a day like Easter this past Sunday when the house was full!

In a wider sense though I consider a “victory story” anything where God’s blessings are evident in someone’s life as a result of you carrying out our mission as a church. Remember our mission? It’s what we want to do as God’s people. We want to share Christ’s victory with today’s people, loving people enough to meet them where there are. So a lot of times for me these “victory” stories are where I see the impact my preaching and teaching has on you as God gives you opportunities to love others—opportunities that are uniquely yours.


For example, Sunday we packed the house at Showtime Cinema. It was incredible, God be praised! As a result of it being packed though, there were three people who came and sat in the front row, literally right in front of me. By this time those were about the only available seats. Hardly anyone ever sits there (Come on down, friends!) but because of the crowd that’s where these folks ended up. I think they were a little nervous to be up front like that. But I’m so happy they were there because then I got to personally greet them and we talked for a quite a bit. I asked them their names and some simple questions, “How’d you find out about our church? What brings you here today?”

The answer blew me away. A young man, visibly moved, said, “I was in the library yesterday working on a job resume. I haven’t had work for a long time. This amazing woman saw I was really struggling and getting frustrated so she took the time to come over and help me with it. She bought me a flash drive and showed me how to use it to save my resume. Then she gave me some money to help me on my job search and handed me an invitation to come here. I was so overcome with her kindness and love—I’ve just never had anyone go out of their way to do anything like that for me before. My life will never be the same. I’m not even sure what it is, but I think I need whatever she has—whatever this church has.”

Friends, that story right there…that alone made my Easter! As I was preaching I could see the impact the gospel was having on those people in the front row and I marveled with joy at just how God used you to bring them there. That’s why I love being a pastor at our church. And that’s just one victory story from a Sunday on which I know there were quite a few.

Do you have a victory story to share? Feel free to comment on my blog or email it to me. This is how I’m encouraged as a pastor. What do you see God doing in people’s lives through our church?  

Stonework Starting – I sure enjoyed the last couple weeks using the move clips from Son of God. I hope you did too…but now we’re moving on. Coming up this Sunday we’ll be starting a series we’ve put together called Stonework. This Sunday we’ll be looking at how Jesus helps us handle doubts when it feels like our faith is being put through the Grindstone.


Soccer Camp Registration – June 17-20 for kids ages 4-11. Jesus, soccer, friends, and fun! To cover expenses there is a $40 / person registration fee. We provide a soccer camp T-Shirt, water bottle, and daily snacks. Space is limited, so register soon! Here’s a direct link to register. If you have any questions, please contact Cassy—our Children’s Ministry Director.

Live Streaming Switcheroo Heads Up –On May 4 we will be switching our live streaming provider from Ustream to Livestream. We’ll be sure and update the URL destination on our website but if you are used to going the directly here’s the new link to our Livestream channel. In the meantime you can still access our Ustream channel here.

Leadership Team Meeting – Monday night the Leadership Team will be having its monthly meeting at the parsonage from 6:30-8:30pm. Contact anyone serving currently on the Leadership Team with questions or concerns regarding our mission and ministry. This includes Tim Johnson, Jeff Guenther, Jon Brown-Schmidt, Mark Goodger, Wes Andersen, Jim Vogel, and Daniel Tomczyk.

Life-a-thon –Don’t miss out on a fun opportunity to get some exercise and help a great cause. May 10th is the annual Life-a-Thon 5K Run/Walk to support the life giving ministry of WELS Lutherans for Life Metro-Milwaukee. Visit www.Life-a-Thon.org for more info and registration or call 414-727-8176414-727-8176. Rain or shine, my family and I will be participating at McCarty Park here on the south side. We’d love to see you there.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben


Friday, April 18, 2014

Victory News - Easter Sunday!


Last night, like I do almost every Thursday evening, I was hustling out the door after supper to go lead a Bible study group at Harris Bank on 76th and Rawson. I jumped in the van, started backing out of the garage, but then stopped. For some reason I thought, “Ben, you really need to bring an Easter postcard with you.” I can’t explain it. Somehow I just knew there was going to be somebody I could invite to our Easter service on Sunday. So I ran inside, grabbed a postcard, and drove to the bank.

The second I walked in the front door, the elevator door inside the lobby opened. I recognized the person coming out of the elevator. Her name is Janet. We’ve crossed paths there a couple times before. She’s the lady who cleans the bank after hours. She runs the vacuum down the hall past the room where we meet for Bible study.

When I saw Janet, I couldn’t help but smile at how God works. He orchestrated this meeting. I just asked Janet if she had a church home where she would be going on Easter. She said No. I handed her a postcard. I invited her to our church. I told her we’d love to have her come. And you know what? She was thankful. Happy actually. She smiled and said she wanted to come.


After class I happened to run across Janet again on my way out. We ended up talking for some time. She thanked me for inviting her. I learned her story. God then gave me the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus with her and to pray out loud for her. It was easy. It was natural. It was fun. Sometimes it’s just that simple to share your faith and invite someone to church.
God willing you’ll get the opportunity to greet Janet on Sunday…and hopefully a handful of more people just like her!


Is God arranging things in your life today that you might have the opportunity to simply invite someone to join us on Easter?


Good Friday Worship -- "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Today we celebrate the day Jesus died. We celebrate and call it “good” not because we are good, but because he is and by his wounds we are healed.


If you don’t already have plans to attend a Good Friday worship service in the area I would highly recommend joining live in person (or watching live online) the special Tenebrae service at St Marcus led by the band Koine. To join the live stream, visit this link as the services start at either 5:00 PM or 7:30 PM.


Website Down – It seems like it was very poor timing (from my lower story perspective!), but our church website went down this week right as postcards have been landing in mailboxes all over our community promoting both our soccer camp and our Easter service. We knew it was only a matter of time before this would happen. We were just hoping we could get by a little longer. Basically when our friend Tim unexpectedly went home to heaven a couple months ago, he took access to his server and other pertinent website data with him.


So what does this mean? A couple things. We are not going to be able to get a version of our old site up and running again. We will want to accelerate our process now of getting a new website created. In the meantime however Mark Goodger has created a website with basic functionality that will still allow people to visit our familiar URL (www.victoryofthelamb.com) and get information about our church, watch the live stream, register for soccer camp, access CCB, give online, etc. I want to specially thank Mark for all the time he spent this week figuring things out. It should take about 24 hours for the internet to find its way to our interim site but hopefully it will be available by tomorrow.


Soccer Camp Registration – Even though our main website is down, the online community is not so you can still register for soccer camp using this direct link to the form. If you have any questions, please contact Cassy—our Children’s Ministry Director.


Operation Jesus Cares Spring Project – So far we have raised $2,400 towards our goal of $2,600 for the My Team Triumph running stroller. We’re very close to our goal! If you want to help us reach our goal you can use your OJC envelopes to make donations during Sunday’s offering. Otherwise you can also still donate online by designating to the OJC fund. Our giving site is unaffected by our main website being down. You just have to access it directly.


Things Moving and Shaking – Last Saturday our music team met with our building design task force to discuss our vision for worship. Wednesday afternoon our building design task force met with the architects from Korb-Tredo and folks from Catalyst Construction. We received preliminary cost estimates on the site plan and schematic drawings that we have so far. This information will help us to shape the size and scope of our project. Over the next couple weeks the building design task force will be meeting with our leadership team to hone in on our future vision for various areas of ministry.


Sharing Christ’s Victory,


Pastor Ben

Friday, April 11, 2014

Victory News - Palm Sunday's Coming

“Ready or not, here I come.” My kids love playing hide and seek—especially after church in the Showtime Cinema lobby. It’s quite the place to play!

“Ready or not, here I come.” These words could also apply to what happened on Palm Sunday. Jesus came to Jerusalem. Some were ready to receive him as their king. Others were not. His true glory was hidden from them. So on a day when everyone should’ve been happy, knowing this made Jesus sad.

Still, Jesus continued on into Jerusalem anyway. He had a mission to carry out. The cross was his destination. And because of what he accomplished there Jesus is still coming to us today through his word and sacraments. He is building his kingdom in our hearts. How will you receive him?

Come this Sunday as we take a look at another clip from the Son of God movie. We’ll apply to our lives the truth that Jesus is The Coming King.

He comes to bring you peace!

Soccer Camp Registration – Be sure and register your kids for our 7th annual Soccer Camp. This year, camp is June 17th-20th at the Polonia Soccer Club from 1pm-4:30pm each day. It’s for kids ages 4-11. Soccer camp features learning soccer skills, practicing drills, daily scrimmages, and tons of soccer fun. In addition, we have a great daily break for a snack, some music with the band Fide, and learning all about Moses and God’s grace. Register here today! If you have any questions, please contact Cassy—our Children’s Ministry Director.

Operation Jesus Cares Spring Project – So far we have raised $2,150 towards our goal of $2,600.00 for the My Team Triumph running stroller! We are getting very close to our goal, and hopefully we can reach it within these next couple weeks. Thank you! Please consider donating towards this project so we can continue to make a difference to those with special needs in our community. You can use your OJC envelopes to make donations during the weekly offering. You can also donate easily online by designating to the OJC fund. Or else you can just put a check or cash in any envelope and write Operation Jesus Cares on it.

LWMS Blessings! – This past Saturday I had the opportunity to be at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Fon du Lac to give a presentation on church planting. I talked about Victory of the Lamb and how we try to love people enough to meet them where we’re at. Two things blew me away this week in terms of generosity and kindness.

First, I received a check in the mail for $531 to Victory of the Lamb from the Winnebago Circuit of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) along with a thoughtful card that says, “We pray for your continued success in gathering the unchurched and for the strengthening of your church family.”


Gotta love the fist pumps from the back row!

Second, I also received in the mail a special letter from one individual in particular who was built up and uplifted by my presentation. She enclosed a $1,000 check for Victory of the Lamb in support of our ministry along with the words:

“I especially took to heart your practice of loving people where they are at. It really made me think how important that is and I am now using that practice in my life. I’ve only done it for two days now but it has made a big impact on me with my interaction with people… I will keep you, your family, and your congregation in my prayers. May God continue to richly bless you all!”

Things Moving and Shaking – Our building design task force met again this week in preparation for another meeting next week with the architects. We’re getting close to having a site plan and schematic layout ready for presenting to the congregation. Our building finance task force also met over breakfast this week.

Looking For Help – As I mentioned earlier this week in an email, there is a woman from our community who needs a ride on April 21st to a dental appointment at Marquette Dental School from 3:00-6:00 pm. She gets around in a wheel chair and needs someone who is physically able to put it into a vehicle. Since my last email I’ve also learned that she requires someone who drives a car, not a van or an SUV because she is only able to get into a car. Unfortunately that information means a couple of you weren’t able to help. You know who are you and thanks for volunteering! So I’m now repeating my request. If there are any of you who are able to help potentially give Cheryl a ride, please contact me and I’ll get you her phone number. I’m hoping we as a church are able to help transport her not only to her dental appointment but possibly also to church in the near future.

Easter Flowers—Help us beautify the area up front for our Easter service next Sunday. Easter lilies are $7.50 each. Yellow daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths are available for $7.00 each. Just write your name on an envelope with your name, product, and total. Please make checks out to Sharon Kiesow.

Sermon audio podcast of Vicar Ben’s sermon last Sunday

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, April 4, 2014

Victory News - Man of Sorrows

Man of Steel. It’s a phrase used to describe Superman.

Man of Sorrows. It’s a phrase used to describe our Savior.

While it might seem like “Man of Steel” would be more fitting, it’s actually far more comforting that Jesus is a “Man of Sorrows.”

Come to Victory of the Lamb this Sunday and learn how because Jesus suffered with us, as us, and for us...you never have to doubt whether God loves you.


"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" - Isaiah 53:3.

Soccer Camp News – Be sure and register your kids for our 7th annual Soccer Camp. This year, camp is June 17th-20th at the Polonia Soccer Club from 1pm-4:30pm each day. It’s for kids ages 4-11. Soccer camp features learning soccer skills, practicing drills, daily scrimmages, and tons of soccer fun. In addition, we have a great daily break for a snack, some music with the band Fide, and learning all about Moses and God’s grace. You can register here today! If you have any questions, please contact Cassy.

Operation Jesus Cares Spring Project – So far we have raised $1,900.00 towards our goal of $2,600.00 for the My Team Triumph running stroller! We are close to our goal, and hopefully we can reach it within these next couple weeks. Thank you! Please consider donating towards this project so we can continue to make a difference to those with special needs in our community. You can use your OJC envelopes to make donations during the weekly offering. You can also donate easily online by designating to the OJC fund.

LWMS Rally Presentation – Tomorrow morning, I have the opportunity to be in Fon du Lac to give a presentation called “Starting From Scratch: Planting a Church to Reach Unchurched People.” I’ll be giving this talk to members of the Winnebago Circuit of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS). The LWMS is a really great organization of mission minded women who support ministries like ours at home and around the world.

This week I had the opportunity to meet with a couple volunteers who responded to opportunities for helping me with data input, visitor welcome, follow up, and a few other things. Thank you! And thank you to all our volunteers who help out each week.

This week I got to meet again with Kayla’s Krew to continue talking about how our two building projects can be aligned to benefit the community.

This week we had a Leadership Team meeting here at the parsonage. Be sure and check out Sunday’s bulletin for various updates regarding our mission and ministry.

This week I began a new Bible 201 class. I have one other Bible 201 class ongoing. I hope to start a new Bible 101 group after Easter. And speaking of Easter, be sure and circle April 20 on your calendar as a great day for inviting someone to come to church with you to find hope in Jesus.

Sheep Squads
H eart for Jesus?
O pen to Friendship?
S pace to Gather?
T ime to Serve!

Willing to HOST a Sheep Squad? Whether or not you've participated in a small group before, think about how you can show love and foster friendships in Christ. Contact Daniel Tomczyk at dan.mel.tomczyk@gmail.com or 414-367-8009 to learn more.

Sermon audio podcast of my sermon last Sunday

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben