Friday, November 14, 2014

Victory News - Priority: Eternity

Gospel legacy: pass it on!
Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.

Someone once told me that this should be a pastor’s motto. After further reflection, I tend to agree.

But I’ve thought about that little motto quite a bit over the years because who doesn’t want to be remembered? Isn’t that why we’re spending a couple weeks talking about how to leave a legacy?

Not exactly. Recall that as Jesus was dying on the cross, there were two criminals crucified alongside him. One of them said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Remember me, Jesus. Why? Because that man wanted at least one person on earth to remember him after he was dead? No. Rather that man believed that the legacy Jesus was going to leave would be an eternal one. Jesus’ saving legacy would clean up the mess of his sins and cause him to outlive death. That criminal believed that because of Jesus he would get to live in God’s eternal kingdom when he died!

Well when you put it that way, all of sudden this legacy series takes on both a sense of urgency and hope, doesn’t it? Eternity—I mean that’s kind of a big deal. Eternity—that’s an amazing hope! Imagine what a difference it would make if we lived our lives confident that we will outlive death! Imagine what it would look like if our top priority here on earth was to leave a legacy for others that lasts for an eternity in heaven.

So come this Sunday as we continue our Legacy series and learn more about what’s most important in life and in death. You will hear a message of HOPE as we study one of my favorite passages in the Bible from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Missions – Last Sunday about 30 of you attended our pre-church conversation about supporting specific Home and World Missions as part of our upcoming ministry campaign. We also heard from a couple of you via email or otherwise who weren’t able to attend.

I’m super excited to announce that as our home mission we’ve decided to support Grace Lutheran Church in Minot, ND. And for our world missions we’ve decided to support Trinity Lutheran Church in Castries, St. Lucia as well as the incredible mission work being done in Nepal. We decided to spread out our support to these three (one home mission and two world missions) instead of just two because your support for these three was higher than all the other options. Especially for St. Lucia and Nepal, your support was equally strong. Much more on these opportunities to come!

With thanks to God I am mindful of this Bible verse: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14).

Things Moving and Shaking – Last Sunday during our conversation about missions I announced that last week VotL received an anonymous $200,000 donation that had been previously committed which will go directly towards our ministry center project. I’m mentioning it again here just to highlight a couple things.

First, God is so good, isn’t he!? He promises that if we put him first in our lives and seek his kingdom that he will always provide just what we need. And that’s what we’re doing with our ministry center building project. We’re seeking to not just build a building for ourselves so that we’re comfortable in it but a ministry center that will serve the people of our community and allow us to reach out with the Gospel to the unreached in our community and even around the world!

Second, I mention it to highlight just how excited a lot of people are about the unique and unprecedented opportunity we have to partner with a community group like Kayla’s Krew and to be a church that is part of the fabric of this community making a difference for generations to come. Certainly someone who gives a gift of $200,000 wants to leave a legacy. But this individual also wants to keep it anonymous to encourage all of us that ultimately our ministry center project isn’t about us. We’re just so blessed to get to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves—sharing the love and victory of Jesus!
Thanksgiving Fellowship Meal – Next Sunday evening, November 23rd. Join us for fun, music, and good food as we celebrate God’s blessings over the past year and look forward to his blessings in the next. Entertainment begins around 4 pm, and dinner will be served at 5:30. Suggested donation is $10 per adult and $6 per child (8 and under). RSVPs must be received by Monday, November 17th. To RSVP please contact Sammi Goodger / 414-731-3741.

Operation Jesus Cares – Remember that Tuesday morning, December 16th will be our annual Christmas project with Christ-St Peter’s school. We’re raising $2,000 for putting together Christmas care packages for one of the lowest income neighborhoods on the Southside of Milwaukee. We work with the elementary school kids from Christ-St Peter’s school to put these packages together and then deliver them door to door in their neighborhood. So we get to show people that we care about them, and more importantly, that Jesus cares about them, as many of them struggle through another holiday season.  So please mark the date on your calendar, and consider volunteering for this event! If you have young kids, they are welcome to come as well.  To donate to the project, simply use your OJC envelope or make an online donation through the church website.

Create Your Own Personal/Family Crest Challenge – Don’t forget that during this Legacy series, you all are invited to create your own personal/family crest, or coat-of-arms, picturing the things that are most important to you and that you want to pass on. Details about the challenge as well as the coat-of-arms template can be found here. Please feel free to email me your family crest whenever you complete it! And...everyone who submits an entry will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a restaurant gift card handed out after church on Sunday, November 23rd!

My sermon on integrity last Sunday can be found here on our website. Leave a Gospel legacy…pass it on!

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben


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