Friday, May 30, 2014

Modern Family Starting Sunday

People say, “You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family.” You’ve heard that before, right? As a result, family relationships can often be the most challenging relationships. They can also be the most rewarding.

This Sunday we’ll be starting a new series called Modern Family. So we’re going to be talking about family dynamics in our world today. We’re going to get God's perspective and guidance as we learn how to navigate through some of the complexities of family life today. And no matter what your family looks like for real, God can get it on a path towards ideal.

Everyone has a family. What does yours look like? What do you want it to look like? Whether you’re single, married, widowed, or divorced…whether you have kids or you don’t…no matter what your family situation, I promise there will be something that impacts everyone in this series. We are after all a church family too.

So join us this Sunday as we start what I believe is going to be a life changing series as we learn from God, the architect of the family.

Here’s the breakdown of things we’ll be talking about the next couple weeks…

June 1:  Picture Perfect
God is the architect of the family. What is his ideal and how do we get there?

June 8:  Family Feud
Every family struggles with conflict. What is the root of conflict and how do we utilize conflict for good?

June 15:  Off Center
Children are a blessing and an important responsibility. Yet, what happens when children become the center of the home?

June 22:  Daily Grind
Busyness is just a fact of life today making the quest for balance in life ever more challenging. How do we keep God a part of our family’s routine?

Bible Study – Remember that every Sunday morning you have an awesome opportunity to dig deeper into God’s Word before church. We meet in theater #6 right across from our worship space. Just show up and find a seat at 8:09 or whenever you get there! We’re just marching through the Gospel of John verse by verse so it’s easy to join us at any time on the journey and you’ll get out in plenty of time to refill your cup of coffee before church.

Bible 301 – I just finished Bible 201 with a group of people and we’ll be starting Bible 301 then this coming Thursday. Meeting at Harris Bank on 76th and Rawson at 6:30.

New Bible 101 – I’m very excited that I have quite a few of you who have asked me to keep you up to date on when my next Bible 101 class is going to get started. My thought right now is I’m going to try and get a couple different options during the week since everyone’s schedule is so different. So I’m looking to have a “mix and match” format where people could decide each week whether to come to my weeknight evening session or my Saturday morning session or something like that which would give people some flexibility. I’ll hopefully have details soon about that as to when and where. And I’m hoping then that maybe with more options week by week that more of you might be able to consider joining the group and perhaps even bringing a friend. Stay tuned!

Last week’s service and sermon are archived here on our new church website. You can watch the service or download and read a pdf of the sermon. AND you can also download Sheep Squads materials that go along with the sermon which you could use for a family devotion or a Bible study with a neighbor in connection with watching or listening to the sermon.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Victory News - Cornerstone

What an awesome day last Sunday was! Ben Reichel helped us understand what it means that we are “living stones” and how God’s spiritual house is being built from all kinds of living stones like us—each with our cracks and fissures and unique features. Each of our confirmation students received a stone with their name and confirmation verse on it. I pray that they will treasure that as a reminder of God’s love and the role God’s word plays in their lives.

Thank you also for all the positive comments about the confirmation video that we created especially for last Sunday. I was really happy with how it turned out overall and kind of amazed too that it came together like that. I think the kids did a great job in answering the questions, don’t you? One of our goals with our junior high confirmation class is that we want to help equip students to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

This coming Sunday I’ll be wrapping up our Stonework sermon series with what is really going to be the grand finale. We’ll be celebrating Jesus’ ascension into heaven after he completed his work of saving us through his death and resurrection. And in the context of Jesus’ ascension into heaven we’ll be talking about what it means for our lives that Jesus is the Colossal Cornerstone! Come on…doesn’t that make you at least kind of curious to find out more?

Soccer Camp Registration Deadline Coming Up Friday May 23rd – Soccer Bible camp is June 17-20 for kids ages 4-11. Jesus, soccer, friends, and fun! Here’s a direct link to register. If you have any questions, please contact Cassy—our Children’s Ministry Director.

Seminary Call Service –  Ben Reichel, our student assistant, will be receiving his first full time call to serve in public ministry tomorrow morning! I want to say how much I’ve greatly appreciated having a Ben around to help me shoulder the preaching load over these past nine months. I’m super excited for him tomorrow to find out where the Good Lord intends for him to serve full-time as a pastor!

If you’ve never been to “Call Day” at the Seminary, we are close enough that you can actually go if you wanted to. The service is at 10 am at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. There’s nothing like worshiping with close to 1,000 people. But if you can’t make it, you could also do the next best thing...you could watch it streamed live here. Basically it’s a worship service followed by the reading of the Call assignments. - I can’t believe my Call Day at the Seminary was 8 years ago already, but it’s a day I’ll definitely never forget. “Benjamin Kuerth, The Franklin Mission – Franklin, WI, Southeastern WI District.”

Invitation to a Special Ascension Day Service  – Our brothers and sisters from Centennial Lutheran Church just down the road are hosting a special Ascension day service that they have cordially invited us to attend. Ascension – which took place 40 days after Jesus rose from falls on a Thursday. So they are celebrating with a special service on Thursday May 29th at 6:30 pm. Here’s the scoop…

When: May 29th, 2014 6:30 PM – Worship – Refreshments to follow service
Where: Centennial Lutheran Church – 3558 S 24th St. Milwaukee, WI
Preacher: Pastor Allen Sorum (Seminary Professor)
Special Guest Worship Band: Koine (www.koinemusic.com)

On a personal note – This Friday is my Grandpa’s funeral and committal service. That along with Seminary Call Day on Thursday are the reasons I’m getting this update out earlier than usual this week.

Last week’s service and sermon are archived here on our new church website. You can watch the service or download and read a pdf of the sermon.

God bless,

Pastor Ben

Friday, May 16, 2014

Victory News - Confirmation Sunday!

This Sunday we mark an important milestone in the lives of 5 of our students. It is confirmation Sunday!

What is confirmation? Most importantly it is a strengthening of faith in Jesus Christ through the process of an in-depth study of the Bible. In this way confirmation instruction is also important preparation for receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Over the past three years Tyler, Jordyn, Morgan, Dawson, and Rachel have been instructed in God’s Word. The Rite of Confirmation provides them with an opportunity, relying on God's promise given them in Holy Baptism, to make a public confession of their faith and a lifelong promise of faithfulness to Christ.

So what does this mean for our service on Sunday? Mostly you can expect it to be the same as usual. However, after the sermon we will be showing you a very special video on the big screen. It’s a video montage that we put together of the confirmation students themselves telling us what they have learned over the past three years and what confirmation means to them. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I can’t wait for you all to see it! Then we’ll have the confirmation rite itself followed by a special celebration of the Lord’s Supper for the first time for our confirmation students together.

I hope you can join us Sunday. We’ll get to hear God’s Word together. We’ll get to celebrate the blessings God has poured out upon our confirmation students over the past couple years. We’ll get to keep on encouraging each other along our faith journey to heaven!

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. Here’s a direct link to register. If you have any questions, please contact Cassy—our Children’s Ministry Director.

Live Streaming – Should be up and running smoothly again this Sunday. While we didn’t have it this past Sunday, I did take the time this week to record my sermon live from the parsonage living room. So if you missed church on Sunday you can check it out on our Livestream channel.

Things Moving and Shaking – Over the last couple weeks, God has opened the door for me to have some amazing conversations with generous people both inside and outside our congregation who have committed financial support in order to help us build sooner than later. I’m talking about people who love their Savior, who see our opportunities, who are inspired by our vision, who are excited about our plans, and who have pledged extraordinary gifts to help us get it done. They wish to remain anonymous because they want all the glory to go to God but have committed substantial gifts to help us to close the gap on what we need in order to make our dreams a reality and begin construction hopefully as early as next year at this time.

I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting this is for me and how amazed I am at God who prompts such cheerful and generous giving. At the same time we are also in the process of writing a number of grant requests to various foundations that we have been in contact with. I have high hopes that our ministry vision and plans will prompt them to respond with generous grants as well.

One last thing I’d like to say about this is simply THANK YOU to all of you who have been giving so generously over the last couple months! Our weekly offerings have increased in a healthy way since the beginning of 2014. One reason this is such good news is that our potential to receive a low interest construction loan from the WELS Church Extension Fund is directly connected to our regular weekly offerings. Your generous giving each Sunday in response to the Gospel over the next couple months will have an impact on the size and scope of our building project over the next year.

Expect to hear much more about all this over the next couple weeks as our building task forces continue to work and we prayerfully consider what we think can accomplish with God’s blessing. Real soon we’ll have some more of these details worked out and we’ll be able to present our plans to you so that you have multiple opportunities to give your feedback as we move forward.

On a personal note – Thanks for all your words of encouragement regarding my Grandparents who are now together in heaven. My Grandpa Nottling’s funeral is going to be this coming week. There will be one down in El Paso where they lived and another one up here in Milwaukee that I will be attending next Friday. Thanks again for your encouragement and comfort shared in Christ! It means a lot to me and my family. If you’ve ever wondered why I write “God bless” at the end of a lot of my emails or texts, it’s because that’s what my Grandpa always said instead of Good-bye. Every time I type it out I remember him saying it to me too.

God bless,

Pastor Ben

Friday, May 9, 2014

Victory News - Touchstone

Do you know how to spot a scam? Sometimes they’re obvious. Sometimes they’re subtle. One thing’s for sure. Scammers are always adapting.

This Sunday Jesus wants to help each of us learn how to avoid getting spiritually scammed in a world where there are lots of different voices competing for our attention.

We’re going to see how Jesus is our touchstone.

The idea of a touchstone comes from ancient Greece where a touchstone was used to verify if gold coins were legitimate. You would take the gold and scrape it on the touchstone. Because of the properties of this stone the line would be a certain color. The touchstone would tell you if the gold was real, pure and true. And that’s what Jesus is going to help us do to this Sunday.

Because he loves us, Jesus wants to help us avoid spiritual scams by staying close to him—our Good Shepherd.

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. Here’s a direct link to register. If you have any questions, please contact Cassy—our Children’s Ministry Director.

Life-a-thon – Tomorrow morning my family and I will be participating in the 2014 Life-a-Thon at McCarty Park here on the south side. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful morning! You can still come and register in person tomorrow morning to participate. Otherwise if you can’t come but you’d still like to support this ministry my family and I would welcome your support. We’re just $65 from our goal of raising $300. You can visit this website to donate if you’d like.  Otherwise you can visit www.Life-a-Thon.org for more info as well.

LPS Chapel – Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to lead chapel at Luther Preparatory School in my hometown of Watertown. LPS is where I went to high school. I grew up just a couple blocks from the campus. It’s one of two Synod prep schools designed to help encourage young people towards full time ministry in the church. It’s a great school and if any of you would ever like to know more about it just let me know. I’d be more than happy to talk with you.

Live Streaming – Last Sunday we switched our streaming service from Ustream to Livestream. Our new church website reflects this change but here’s the new link to our Livestream channel. One more note about live streaming… because this Sunday our regular a/v tech people are going to be out of town we may or may not have live streaming set up and working. Just letting you know. Our top priority this Sunday will be to make sure we have live sound in the theater at Showtime Cinema! Live streaming would be like a little cherry on top.

On a personal note – We celebrated the resurrection hope we have as believers in Jesus this Tuesday at my Grandma Nottling’s funeral. I got to spend time with family I don’t get to see very often. Special thanks to those of you who sent us cards and well wishes.

Likewise just a couple hours ago I learned that my dear Grandpa Nottling has now also gone home to heaven where Jesus has prepared a place for them.

Grandpa and Grandma spent 61 years together happily married and only two weeks recently apart. Now they are both with Jesus in heaven. It’s going to take a little time for all this to sink in I think.

I’m not yet sure when funeral arrangements for my Grandpa will be but thanks again for your support of me and my family.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, May 2, 2014

Victory News - Milestones

Tomorrow morning, God willing, I will be running in my first half-marathon. 13.1 miles. But I’ve never run more than 10 miles in my life. So the bad news is I’ve only trained up to six miles over the last couple weeks because of this cold, wet spring (Are you buying my excuses?).

Yet the good news is that I won’t be alone. I’ve got a teammate, Riley, who’s going to run alongside me as we take turns pushing Josh in the special My Team Triumph jogging stroller along the way. And this, for me, I know is going to make all the difference. Though Riley I’m sure could take off and run far ahead of me, yet for my benefit he’s going to run alongside me and help me make it to the finish line. And together we’re going to get Josh there too. We’re a team.

Life itself is a lot like this I think. It’s a journey. And in many ways I think so is faith. Not faith itself. But going through life with faith in God. It’s a journey. We’re better together. Coming alongside each other. Encouraging each other. Sometimes helping push each other to the goal of heaven. And in doing so we’re really just reflecting the love of Jesus who meets us where we’re at so that he can help us get to where he wants us to be.

That’s what we’ll be talking about this Sunday as we continue our Stonework series with the theme Milestones. If you like, go ahead and read the story I’ll be talking about from Luke 24:13-35.

“Future Home of” Sign – If you keep heading south on Loomis Rd past Showtime Cinema you’ll now be able to see our new “future home of Victory of the Lamb” banners on our land. I’ve already had a couple people contact me who have seen the sign asking about our church. With the banners we hope also to be able to switch out one of them on occasion to promote upcoming events. Thank you to Chuck, Nate, and their friend Ken Jr. for helping to install those banners this week…during the cold rain even!


Life-a-Thon –Don’t miss out on a fun opportunity to get some exercise and help a great cause. Next Saturday 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.

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 Sunday, 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.

Things Moving and Shaking – This Wednesday evening the Leadership Team met with the Building Design Task Force to review the latest schematic drawings from the architect and give input regarding our vision for various areas of ministry. We are really getting close to honing in on what I think is a home run kind of facility for our mission and ministry. I’m very excited about it! I think what excites me the most in this whole process is the vision focus that we all have in creating a ministry center that is a tool for us to even better carry out our mission of sharing Christ’s victory with today’s people, loving them enough to meet them where they are. Before presenting to the congregation for feedback though our next steps are to further study the financial impact of a couple different scenarios and then prayerfully coming to a Leadership Team consensus on which of those options we want to present.

Pastors’ Conference – Monday I spent the day at Christ the Lord Lutheran Church in Brookfield attending conference. We had a communion worship service in the morning to get things started off followed by three sessions led by Pastor Panitzke from St. Paul’s Muskego who presented on the topic “Pastor as Change Leader.” Lots of helpful content to chew on. I will have some work to do over the next year as the chairman of our Western Lakes Conference program committee in planning next year’s two conferences.

Preaching Webinar – Tuesday afternoon I watched a webinar with a couple other pastors on becoming a better preacher / communicator. Always trying to learn, always trying to grow.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben