Saturday, August 30, 2014

Oratio - Prayer Ideas and Helps


Last Sunday we began our Saturate series talking about a spiritual discipline called Oratio. Now don’t let the Latin word scare you off. Basically Oratio means prayer. It’s just talking to God...at any time, for anyone, at any place, with any words. Not just big fancy church words. Simple words. Heartfelt words. Your words! Prayer can really be that simple, just weaving short requests of God throughout the day in your own words.

Of course, from my own experience, prayer doesn’t always end up being that easy. It takes intentionality and effort sometimes too. So here are a couple practical ideas that were shared with me this past week as well as a few of my own. See if there are any that you find helpful or share your own ideas with me because I could use the help and encouragement to pray more too.

Family Prayer Pail:  Find yourself one of those little metal pails that you can get from the dollar section at a store like Target. Write the names of your loved ones (friends and family) on craft sticks (like popsicle sticks, but wider, more like tongue depressors) and put them in the pail. Each evening before you say your mealtime prayer before eating supper, have one of your kids pick a stick from the prayer pail. Then, depending on the age of your kids, either have the parents or your kids themselves pray for that person/family first. Then continue with your regular dinner prayer. If you google "prayer pail" you'll find a plethora of images! Thank you, Louise, for this great idea!

Teaching Kids to Pray: Have you seen this poster before? Looks like a neat resource to use, probably more for school-age kids.

Prayers For Your Children: This would be a useful resource to print out and use as a bookmark if you have kids. This was adapted from this resource here.

This is another similar resource but it's simpler than the one above.  It’s neat because you can insert your child's name.

This is from the same source as above, but to help you pray for your teens. Some really good stuff here.

And here’s one more. It doesn’t spell out exactly what to say, but it’s helpful with some general ideas that you might not otherwise think about.

One caveat, all of those resources listed above become a bit wordy at times, or use language that is a little "churchy" and not always understood by those newer to Jesus.

Finally, here’s a Facebook page with short, Scriptural, daily petitions for your kids. For me I know this will helpful.

Praying For Your Spouse: I’m still looking for something that can be a resource for me as a husband to pray more thoughtfully and regularly for my wife. I’ve got a bookmark I keep in my Bible with some daily prayers for me as a husband and father that I received a couple summers ago from Emanuel Lutheran in New London. I’m thinking we should probably develop something like that here at VotL. 

After reading a review online I just ordered this book. I’m hopeful about it. I just told Sarah that I ordered a book to help me pray for her better. I wish I’d have taken a picture of the look on her face!

Don’t know much about it, but this looks to be a popular book for wives to pray for their husbands. I’d be interested if any of you have it or use it and what you think about it. 

Prayer Books: Just like I can’t always think of what I want to pray about for my wife and my kids, I don’t always know what to pray about for myself or others! I’d like to find a few more prayer books that I know can help with that. Here are two on the website of NPH that I’d like to pick up for myself…Stark’s Prayer Book and The Lutheran Prayer Book. I’ve got an older version of the Lutheran Prayer Book that I received for my confirmation in 1994 but the binding is shot and I wouldn’t mind something a little more updated anyway.

A theologically rich book of prayers that I have enjoyed while at the Seminary is this prayer book by a Lutheran Theologian of the 1600’s named Johann Gerhard. There’s some deep stuff in this book, but the way that the author weaves Scripture together with his prayers is amazing. It’s actually I think a great example of Oratio leading to Meditatio, and if you learn what the author went through in his life, also an amazing example of how God used Tentatio to strengthen his faith as he found his way back to Oratio and Meditatio

But now I’m getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow I’m preaching on Meditatio and this was just going to be about prayer!
 
God bless your prayer life richly,
Pastor Ben


Friday, August 29, 2014

Be Still with God

The world's just spinning
A little too fast
If things don't slow down soon we might not last.
So just for the moment, let's be still.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way! These are lyrics from a song I enjoy hearing on the radio called Let’s Be Still by the group The Head and the Heart.


Actually this is very relevant to what we’ll be learning this coming Sunday at church. Last week we started our Saturate series talking about how that which fills our hearts leads our lives. So this Sunday we’re going to talk about how in our fast paced world, we all need to learn to how to be “Be still” once in a while. Especially we need to learn how to “Be still” with bits of God’s Word to let it saturate our heads and our heats.

So my message on Sunday is hopefully going to be one of the most practical sermons I’ve ever preached. I’m going to help all of you learn how to make Meditatio or meditation a part of your every-day-walking-around life. Don’t miss this helpful message that I pray will make meditating a doable and helpful part of your daily life!

Groups aka Sheep Squads will fire up again this Fall starting the week of September 14th. There are going to be a couple new, fun groups on the menu of opportunities including a group where I’m inviting dads to bring your kids and play some relaxed flag football with me at Whitnall Park. Be sure and check out the Groups page in our worship folder this Sunday. After Sunday we will also have all the Groups info on our website as well.

6th-8th Grade / Junior High Confirmation Class - Starting Sunday, September 21st - After Bible Quest, we encourage all children 6-8th grade to participate in our Confirmation Class. This class is designed to help kids learn the foundational truths of the Bible in a way that applies to their lives especially heading into high school. It’s also preparation for them to partake of the sacrament of Holy Communion and a life of continued spiritual growth. At the end of Confirmation Class, students are invited but not obligated to be confirmed in the faith at Victory of the Lamb.

Classes take place roughly twice a month during the Sunday morning worship time and run from Fall-Spring.

Parents, you will be receiving additional information soon including a schedule. We’ve got a list of names and contact info but we also don’t want to miss anyone. So to register your kids for this year’s class starting on Sunday, September 21st, please contact me, our student assistant Nathan Loersch, or the other class teacher Jon Brown-Schmidt so we can include you on the info we’ll be sending out soon.

Teen Bible 101 Class – This class is for high school age students who didn’t go through our jr high confirmation class. Will meet about twice a month from September-May. The class will cover the same material as the adult Bible 101-301 curriculum except that it’s designed to engage teens at their level and life experience. Teens who complete this class from Fall-Spring can expect to be confirmed in the faith at our church in May if they so desire. Please let me know if you have people amongst your family or friends who'd benefit from participating in this group. Days and times TBA so please give us your input!

Bible 101 – Continues Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at CESI. Mix and Match.

Sunday Morning Bible Study – Every Sunday at 8:09 in theater #6. Bibles provided. Just show up!

Ministry Center Plans – Check out our design plans. Give us your feedback. Ask questions. Simply visit the page on our church’s website for our Ministry Center. Conversations are ongoing with the City of Franklin, Kayla’s Krew, the DOT, and community partners as we look to submitting our site plans in September for approval.

VotL Brewers Game Outing on Sunday, Sept. 14th - 1:10 pm. Join us for a Brewers game as the Crew takes on the Cincinnati Reds. It is a Robin Yount bobblehead all-fan giveaway day and a Blue Bunny ice cream day (first 2,000 fans under 12), so you don't want to miss it! Because it is a Sunday afternoon game, you are encouraged to carpool and/or tailgate with other members who are attending the game.

Tickets are in left field Loge Bleachers and are $15 each (over 2 years old). You can email Sammi Goodger or talk to her at church to reserve your tickets. Checks should be made out to Victory of the Lamb. We hope you can join us for some fun, fellowship and baseball!

My Oratio sermon, part one of our Saturate series from last Sunday can be found here on our website. If you missed last week’s practical message, be sure and check it out!

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, August 22, 2014

Saturate Starts This Sunday

“What fills your heart leads your life.” It’s the “you are what you eat” of the mind. If I fill my heart and mind with negative emotions and thoughts about other people, with the pursuit of money or prestige, with images of violence or pornography, it’s going to poison my soul and impact my life in a decisively negative way.

On the other hand if I can find a way to saturate my heart and mind with the thoughts that come from God—soaking my soul with words that are true, that are noble, that are helpful, that are lovely, that are good…it’s going to spill over into blessings for my life. My soul is going to thrive.


That’s why this Sunday we’re starting a new series called Saturate. Join us the next three weeks as we learn three important spiritual disciplines that God uses to saturate us with his goodness and keep us growing in our faith.

6th-8th Grade / Junior High Confirmation Class - Starting Sunday, September 14th - After Bible Quest, we encourage all children 6-8th grade to participate in our Confirmation Class. This class is designed to help kids learn the foundational truths of the Bible in a way that applies to their lives especially heading into high school. It’s also preparation for them to partake of the sacrament of Holy Communion and a life of continued spiritual growth. At the end of Confirmation Class, students are invited but not obligated to be confirmed in the faith at Victory of the Lamb.

Classes take place roughly twice a month during the Sunday morning worship time and run from Fall-Spring.

Parents, we’ll be sending out more information soon including a schedule. We’ve got a list of names and contact info but we also don’t want to miss anyone. So to register your kids for this year’s class starting on Sunday, September 14th, please contact me, our student assistant Nathan Loersch, or the other class teacher Jon Brown-Schmidt so we can include you on the info we’ll be sending out soon.

Teen Bible 101 Class – As a church we want to love people enough to meet them where they’re at. So we recognize that our 6th-8th grade confirmation class isn’t always the best fit for students already in high school and the adult Bible 101 class isn’t necessarily the best fit either. Actually this year we already have 6 high school age students who we’re hoping to bring together for a special Teen Bible 101 Class that will meet from September-May. The class will cover the same material as the adult Bible 101-301 curriculum except that it’s designed to engage teens at their level and life experience. Teens who complete this class from Fall-Spring can expect to be confirmed in the faith at our church in May if they so desire. Please let me know if you have people amongst your family or friends who'd benefit from participating in this group.

Bible 101 Class – Continues Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at CESI. The mix and match format has been working great!

Ministry Center Plans – You still have an opportunity to comment on the design plans so far. Simply visit the page on our church’s website for our Ministry Center. The page includes our site plan and renderings as well as a form at the bottom of the page for you to submit your feedback or questions. Contact Becky Grund with any questions. Right now lots of planning meetings are ongoing as we look to the next steps of working with the City of Franklin to move our plans forward.

Call Decision – Last Sunday I announced my decision to decline the Call to Toronto and remain as the pastor of Victory of the Lamb. Thanks again for all your prayers and the love you’ve shown to me and my family. We are so blessed and I thank God for you. And as I mentioned in church this past Sunday, I am as determined as ever to keep shaping our church to be outwardly focused and mission minded so that we can make the most of our opportunities to share Christ’s victory with today’s people both locally and globally.

VotL Brewers Game Outing on Sunday, Sept. 14th - 1:10 pm. Join us for a Brewers game as the Crew takes on the Cincinnati Reds. It is a Robin Yount bobblehead all-fan giveaway day and a Blue Bunny ice cream day (first 2,000 fans under 12), so you don't want to miss it! Because it is a Sunday afternoon game, you are encouraged to carpool and/or tailgate with other members who are attending the game.

Tickets are in left field Loge Bleachers and are $15 each (over 2 years old). You can email Sammi Goodger or talk to her at church to reserve your tickets. Checks should be made out to Victory of the Lamb. We hope you can join us for some fun, fellowship and baseball!

Groups aka Sheep Squads will fire up again this Fall starting the week of September 14th. There are going to be a couple new, fun groups on the menu of opportunities. Stay tuned for more info next week!

Sermon Resources from last Sunday can be found here on our website.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, August 15, 2014

Victory News and Updates

This Sunday we’re wrapping up our current summer series with a very timely question, “Why is there so much evil in the world?” Or maybe to make it a little more personal, “If God is in control and if he loves us so much, why do we face so much pain and trouble in our lives?” Join me this Sunday as I humbly and honestly try and walk with you down a path to see how God has been good to us, even in a world gone bad.



Bible 101 Awesomeness – Tuesday night I began a new Bible 101 group and there were 17 people in attendance! We packed full the conference room at CESI. This Saturday morning is the other option for class this week and I expect another 5-6 people to show up. So…in case you forgot to register for this “mix and match” Bible 101 group, there’s still time to do so if you can make tomorrow’s class. The idea is people can pick Tuesday evening or Saturday morning each week depending on what works best for their schedule. Just let me know if you’d like to hop in with the group tomorrow morning from 10-11:30 am at CESI which is located at 9850 S 54th St in the Franklin Business District. I’d love to you have join us!

This Sunday we will be welcoming our new Student Assistant from the Seminary for the year, Nathan Loersch, along with his bride Becky. We will officially install Nate during the worship service. Nate will be involved in preaching, teaching catechism and Bible 101 class, small groups, and other ministries as time allows.

Building Design – Check out our plans and give us your feedback. Simply visit the page on our church’s website for our Ministry Center. The page includes our site plan and renderings as well as a form at the bottom of the page for you to submit your feedback or questions. Our design task force has been gathering everyone’s input for review as we go forward. The design task force has also been busy scheduling meetings to start getting input for the interior of the building from the various ministry groups in our church such as the worship team, the Bible Quest, the cafĂ© team, etc. Contact Becky Grund with any questions.

Call to Hope – Today actually marks one month since I received the call to Hope in Toronto. I will be announcing my decision at church on Sunday. A big thank you to all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement the last couple weeks.

Last weekend I had the privilege of marrying Phil and Marissa Lambe. For the wedding service we borrowed the beautiful church across town at St Paul’s here in Franklin. God’s blessings to Phil and Marissa in their life together in Christ! I wonder who the first couple will be to get married in our new church???

This week I also had the privilege of sharing the comfort of the Gospel of Jesus at the funeral and committal service for a 2 month old little baby girl named Paige whom we’ve been praying for the last couple weeks. This was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do as a pastor but I’m so thankful that I was able to help usher Paige into the kingdom of God through the gift of holy baptism and to be able to assure her many family members and friends of the promises we have in Christ. These are not idle words… Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

VotL Brewers Game Outing on Sunday, Sept. 14th - 1:10 pm. Join us for a Brewers game as the Crew takes on the Cincinnati Reds. It is a Robin Yount bobblehead all-fan giveaway day and a Blue Bunny ice cream day (first 2,000 fans under 12), so you don't want to miss it! Because it is a Sunday afternoon game, you are encouraged to carpool and/or tailgate with other members who are attending the game.

Tickets are in left field Loge Bleachers and are $15 each (over 2 years old). You can email Sammi Goodger or talk to her at church to reserve your tickets. Checks should be made out to Victory of the Lamb. We hope you can join us for some fun, fellowship and baseball!

Suicide has been a huge topic of discussion this past week of course due to the recent sad news about comedian Robin Williams. Many perspectives have been shared online—some good, most not so good. Here’s a link to a blog post written by a pastor friend of mine that I think is one of the good ones that provides a thoughtful and biblical voice to this tough real world issue. I don’t want it to go without saying either that if any of you are struggling with thoughts of life and death, I welcome you to contact me about that and I know any of your Christian family members in our church would welcome the same. You are not alone in your struggle.

Sermon Resources from last Sunday can be found here on our website. Share the message and help someone you know see what Jesus so wonderfully unique!

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Friday, August 8, 2014

Victory News - Updates Galore

Visit our Ministry Center page for additional renderings
This summer we’ve been looking at some common questions people ask about God. Some of them are more, “I’m just sort of curious” kind of questions. Some of them are maybe more, “Hey, I’m really bothered by this” kind of questions.

This Sunday’s question might be one that’s more of the latter kind as we explore a good question a lot of people have today: “Don’t all paths lead to God?”

So whether this is just a curious question for you or a real sensitive one, I’m going to do my best to give you as honest an answer as I can from the Bible this week. Ultimately I hope to help you see how Jesus wants you to see him as the most uniquely all-inclusive Savior we could ever have, whose promises to us are more comforting than we could ever imagine!

So I welcome you to join me this Sunday at Showtime Cinema at just the right time…you got it, 9:09.

New “Mix and March” Bible 101 Starting This Week! Register Now! — on Tuesday evenings (from 6:30-8:00 pm) and/or Saturday mornings (from 10-11:30 am) starting Tuesday August 12th and Saturday August 16th. For more info contact me or register online using this brief form.  If you intend to participate in this upcoming class please take a moment to register online. So basically the same material will be covered on the Tuesday and then the following Saturday of each week. The idea is you can pick from week to week which day/time works best for you.

Our Building Design Task Force Presentation was held last Sunday before and after church. By all accounts the feedback we’ve received so far has been extremely positive. And for that, God be praised! I have to say too how neat it was for me to basically just sit back and listen to our architects present because I think you’d all agree that they have pretty well heard, understood, and digested our church’s mission and vision. Much of the credit for that goes to our building task forces who have worked hard to distill our church’s vision and values to our architects. Over all I thought our architects articulated who we are and what we want to do as well as anyone. And I think our plans clearly show how we intend to be a church that continues to be outwardly focused on reaching unchurched people in our community with the love and message of Jesus.

In case you missed the presentation last Sunday, have no fear! You are still able to view our current design plans and give us your feedback. Simply visit the page on our church’s website for our Ministry Center. The page includes our site plan and renderings as well as a form at the bottom of the page for you to submit your feedback or questions. Our design task force has been gathering everyone’s input for review as we go forward.

Call to Hope – By now you may be figuring that I should be pretty close to announcing a decision on my Call to Hope Lutheran Church in Toronto. And I am. There are still a few more conversations though I want to have with folks before I announce a decision—which at this time I’m planning to do on Sunday, August 17th. I had my first real good chance to talk about it at our VotL Leadership Team meeting this past week. Basically this Call to Toronto is just unique in that #1 it’s to another country and #2 it’s more like a world missions call than a home missions call in terms of it being a multicultural, immigrant, urban setting. What that means is that it all adds up for me that I want to take my time to honor everyone both from Victory and from Hope in this process as I deliberate. As usual my daily Bible reading from the One Year Bible this week seemed to provide timely wisdom and encouragement such as the closing verse of Psalm 27 where it says: “Wait for the LORD. Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Always good advice, particularly when a pastor is holding another Call!

VotL Brewers Game Outing on Sunday, Sept. 14th - 1:10 pm. Join us for a Brewers game as the Crew takes on the Cincinnati Reds. It is a Robin Yount bobblehead all-fan giveaway day and a Blue Bunny ice cream day (first 2,000 fans under 12), so you don't want to miss it!

Because it is a Sunday afternoon game, you are encouraged to carpool and/or tailgate with other members who are attending the game.

Tickets are in left field Loge Bleachers and are $15 each (over 2 years old). You can email Sammi Goodger or talk to her at church to reserve your tickets. Checks should be made out to Victory of the Lamb.

We hope you can join us for some fun, fellowship and baseball!

Next Sunday we will be welcoming our new Senior Assistant from the Seminary for the year, Nathan Loersch, along with his bride Becky. We will officially install Nate during the worship service next week. Nate will be involved in preaching, teaching catechism and Bible 101 class, small groups, and other ministries as time allows.

Sermon Resources from last Sunday can be found here on our website. Think of someone you know who could use a little help with their daily struggle and share the message.

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben