Friday, December 30, 2016

Victory News - Another Year of God's Grace

One family's VotL Christmas Eve even while out of town

Dear Friends,

(In case you missed them – Watch our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services online. Enjoy a fresh perspective on what a difference Christmas makes every single day!)

It’s a little hard to believe but our next opportunity to worship together will be in 2017! Join me this Sunday on New Year’s Day as we begin another new year of God’s grace. I can’t imagine any better way to start a new year than being with my church family gathering to hear God’s Word—to be reassured of God’s forgiveness and a fresh start, to seek God’s guidance for how to be a better version of myself, to help carry each other’s burdens, and to pray for God’s blessings for the road ahead.

In the News – Check out a great article from local reporter Tiffany Stoiber about our Operation Jesus Cares Christmas Project with Christ-St Peter’s school. Thanks again to all who donated, prayed, or volunteered for this event!

New Bible 101 Class – Saturdays @10:30am. Start the new year out right. New class is starting January 14th. Meets for 4 weeks ending Feb. 4. // 10:30-Noon at the ministry center. All materials provided. For anyone interested in learning more about God and the Bible. The first step also for anyone wanting to learn more about our church or wanting to take Holy Communion. Contact me to register.

“Deep Love” building healthy relationships – starts Feb 1. A new relationships group to meet 4 consecutive Wednesday evenings Feb 1- Feb 22 6:30-8:00 pm. Childcare provided. It’s for couples who want to move from broken to better as well as those moving from good to great. Also open to couples who are engaged or dating. Contact Pastor Bill if interested.

New Bible 301 Class – Tuesdays @6:30pm. Class meets on 8 consecutive Tuesday nights Jan 17-Mar 7. This is the next step for those who have completed Bible 101 and 201 // 6:30-8:00 pm at the ministry center. Contact Pastor Bill if interested.

Home with His Savior – Tuesday morning this week our Savior Jesus called home Ray Milosch, the father of Liz Scheel, our Victory Kids Director. His health had been declining for a while and was in home hospice care. While we grieve with Liz and her family, with also rejoice with them that Ray is now perfectly at peace with his Savior and ours--enjoying the eternal victory won for us by Jesus and stored up for us in heaven! Here’s a link to Ray’s obituary with today’s service details at the Heritage Funeral Home on 27th St in Oak Creek.

Matching Gift Opportunity - Sanctuary Art and Furnishings. Generous donors have volunteered to match dollar for dollar any special gifts given between now and the end of the year! So far we’ve raised about 40K of the 50K required to fully fund the project. That means we have just 10K to go—5K in gifts received by the end of the year would be fully matched to bring us to finish line! Details of the project can be found online here as well as ways to donate.

More Than Bricks Update
MTB kicked off in December 2014 as a major funding campaign for our new Ministry Center, with a goal of $500,000.  80% of the money received ($400,000) is being used to reduce our mortgage debt and related expenses, and 20% ($100,000) is being used to support mission work in North Dakota, St. Lucia and Nepal.  We are 2 years into the 3 year campaign, and you’ve seen monthly status updates in the Friday blog from Pastor Ben and Pastor Bill.

Commitments                                                $416,000    (83.2% of Goal)
Donations Received in December                $5,986    (Need $7,225/mo to reach commitment goal)
Total Received through December               $329,302   (79.2% of Commitments, 66% of goal)
Total Received in 2015:  $206,052                        Total Received in 2016:  $123,250

God has blessed us richly in this campaign, and our prayer is that we strive to reach the $500,000 in commitments during the next 12 months.  As a reminder, your box of donation envelopes includes a monthly MTB envelope, and you can also donate either on line or via text.  If you are a new member or would like an informational packet about MTB, please ask an usher at church.

A Year of Blessings – Our total worship attendance (adults and kids) in 2016 was 18,295 vs. 12,319 in 2015. This is 49% growth overall. God be praised! Attendance in Victory Kids was 3,381 (including helpers) vs 2,154 in 2015 (including helpers). This is 54% growth in Victory Kids overall when including the number of helpers serving per Sunday. The growth of kids in the program is about 35%. God be praised!

New Leadership Team Members – Steve Abramowski and Jason Seiberlich will be installed this Sunday during the 9 am service.

In Jesus’ peace,

Pastor Ben

Friday, December 23, 2016

Victory News - Christmas Weekend Is Here!

Operation Jesus Cares - The Christmas Project

Hey there, are you reading this? Anybody listening? I guess I just have to trust your Pastor Ben that somehow the internet (whatever that is!) will deliver this message to you. It’s a little hard to comprehend how incredible your forms of communication are today. Amazing!

Because I’m just a shepherd—think sort of like a baby-sitter except that I watch over sheep. A sheep-sitter! But this Christmas Eve I’ve also got a powerful story to share with you. I’ve come a long way to share it, but it’s definitely going to be worth it. I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of me being with you Saturday. You see I’ve found the secret to having peace. I’m telling you folks, this is for real! And I just can’t keep it to myself.

So would you please join me this Christmas Eve? I have a message to share more relevant to your lives than you would ever think possible in your technology filled world. But hey, enough about me. Join me and your other shepherds (aka your pastors) at either 4:30 or 6:30 pm this Christmas Eve. And bring a friend! Please…help them find peace. Help them find Jesus. There is still room around the manger.

(ICYMI – This past Sunday was our Victory Kids Christmas program followed by a special message where we learned that God is bigger than all our problems and struggles. Watch it here!)
Operation Jesus Cares – Wednesday was a great opportunity to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. About 30 volunteers shared Christ's love in a Milwaukee neighborhood for the 5th year in a row along with the school kids from Christ-St. Peter Lutheran school. Thank you to everyone who volunteered or donated for this special event. For the 5th year in a row we collected $2,500 to accomplish this! Well done, everyone! Check out some pictures on our church Facebook page.

Christmas Worship Opportunities at Victory of the Lamb – on Christmas Eve we will have two services: 4:30 and 6:30 pm. Each service is the same. The music will have a special bluegrassy feel. On Christmas Day we will have just one service at 9 am with Holy Communion. This is a completely different service from Christmas Eve. There is no Victory Kids on Christmas Day. Our New Year’s Day schedule will be our regular Sunday morning schedule with two services and Victory Kids at both.

YEAR END MATCHING GIFT OPPORTUNITY - Sanctuary Art and Furnishings. Generous donors who are excited about seeing this project successfully completed have volunteered to match dollar for dollar any special gifts given between now and the end of the year! So far we’ve raised about 40K of the 50K required to fully fund the project. That means we have just 10K to go—5K in gifts received by the end of the year would be fully matched to bring us to finish line! Again, this is completely a free will giving opportunity. If God has blessed you this past year and you’re excited to help furnish our worship space with a beautiful wall piece, an altar, a baptismal font, and a preaching podium by this coming Easter…this would be a great time to give to get your gift matched. Details of the project can be found online here as well as ways to donate.

New Leadership Team Members – Steve Abramowski and Jason Seiberlich were chosen to serve on the Leadership Team at our meeting Monday evening. They will be installed in worship on January 1st and begin their terms of office at the next Leadership Team meeting on January 16th. Thank you to everyone who was nominated and willing to serve! It speaks well to the health of our congregation that there were so many individuals able and willing to serve. What a blessing to have you all part of our church family to help carry out our mission of sharing Christ’s victory with today’s people, loving them enough to meet them where they’re at.

In Jesus’ peace,

Pastor Ben



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Victory News - Weekend Weather

Andrew says if you bundle up it's not so bad!

Dear Friends,

I don’t think there’s any doubt we’ll be having a white Christmas this year. It looks like God is reminding us that we still live in Wisconsin! Another round of snow is headed our way on Friday and Saturday followed by a deep freeze on Sunday.

I just wanted to let you all know that we’re aware of the weather and we’ve been talking about it as a team. At this time, the Saturday rehearsal for the Victory Kids Christmas program to take place on Sunday during the 10:45 service is going forward as planned. If we need to change anything we’ll communicate through email, Facebook, and a special Victory Kids weather update page on the church website.

So consider this your invitation to bundle up or perhaps “gird thyselves” (like the old King James Version used to say!) and join us this Sunday in person or online for a special Sunday of worship. The message as we continue our series “The Way It Was” will be the same both services except that the Victory Kids service will take place during the 10:45 service. 9 am will be a regular service. A reminder there is no Victory Kids during the 9 am service.

Postcard Sorting Volunteers Needed This Monday from 12:30-3:30 pm we will be having a postcard sorting party at the ministry center. We have 17,500 Christmas Eve postcards we need to sort into mailing bins so they can be taken to the post office on Tuesday. Ideally we would have 6-10 people show up to help make this happen. Can you help? The more the merrier. Please email me to let me know you’re coming or else just show up around 12:30 on Monday. Thank you!

Invitation Encouragement – Did you know…Christmas Eve is the single most likely day of the year people are willing to visit a church? Please use this opportunity to invite someone you know who doesn’t have a church home to join you at one of our services. Use social media, hand deliver a postcard with a personal note, shovel snow for your neighbors, drop off some freshly baked cookies…show them kindness in whatever way is most natural to you. Let them know we’re a place where everyone is welcome and no one is pressured. Let them know we’re a place where you’ve found peace through a message of hope in Jesus!

Operation Jesus Cares – Wednesday, December 21st, 8am-noon. Once again we’re partnering with Christ St. Peter’s School in Milwaukee for assembly and delivery of care packages with the students. This is our opportunity to have a positive impact on a struggling community. Still time to help as a volunteer. Sign-up in the Welcome Area or contact Ryan Solie. Visit our event page to read more and see pictures from last year’s project.

Toy Drive Thanks – Friends of Jesus thanks us for donating over 60 gifts that will given to students from Christ-St Peter school. Thank you all for so generously stepping up to show Christ’s love in this way!

Christian Art Available One More Sunday. This Sunday, December 18, our graphic designer, Naomi Scheel, will be selling prints of her Scripture based artwork in the lobby. This is your opportunity to purchase and enjoy some beautiful Christian artwork just in time for Christmas! $5 from each item sold will be donated to the Poulos family.

MATCHING GIFT OPPORTUNITY - Sanctuary Art and Furnishings. Generous donors who are excited about seeing this project successfully completed have volunteered to match dollar for dollar any special gifts given between now and the end of the year! So far we’ve raised about 40K of the 50K required to fully fund the project. That means we have just 10K to go—5K in gifts received by the end of the year would be fully matched to bring us to finish line! Again, this is completely a free will giving opportunity. If God has blessed you this past year and you’re excited to help furnish our worship space with a beautiful wall piece, an altar, a baptismal font, and a preaching podium by this coming Easter…this would be a great time to give to get your gift matched. Details of the project can be found online here as well as ways to donate.

Next Leadership Team Meeting – Monday, December 19th. Contact the Leadership Team with any questions or concerns about our mission or ministry or to give feedback on any of the individuals nominated to fill the vacant Leadership Team positions

Christmas at Victory of the Lamb – on Christmas Eve we will have two services: 4:30 and 6:30 pm. On Christmas Day we will have just one service at 9 am. Our New Year’s Day schedule will be our regular Sunday morning schedule with two services and Victory Kids at both.

(ICYMI – Watch Pastor Bill’s excellent sermon from last Sunday to help you be prepared for Christmas. “When we confess our sins, God doesn't throw us away...he patiently forgives us, puts us back on our feet, and calls us to loving service over and over again.”)
Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Victory News - 2nd Week of December

Toy drive ongoing through Sunday

Dear Friends,

Are you ready for Christmas?

Amidst all the busyness of this season, don’t forget to prepare your heart! Long ago that’s why God sent someone named John. “To prepare the way for the Lord” was his mission.

Join me this Sunday as we hear from him again. His words are as relevant as ever as we continue our series “The Way It Was.”

(ICYMI – Watch my sermon from last Sunday. “God has not forgotten about you (even when sometimes it feels like it)!”

Friends of Jesus - Christmas Toy Drive – Last call to bring new, wrapped toys for the toy drive for needy kids. Gifts will be picked up during the second service on Sunday. You can go to the Toy Needs List online to choose the age child you would like to purchase a gift for. You can also go to the Welcome area at the Ministry Center to pick up a gold information sheet with specific details. Contact Nancy Thompson with questions.

Christian Art Available This Sunday, December 11, our graphic designer, Naomi Scheel, will be selling prints of her Scripture based artwork in the lobby. This is your opportunity to purchase and enjoy some beautiful Christian artwork just in time for Christmas! $5 from each item sold will be donated to the Poulos family, as well as all online orders placed at Naomi’s online store by December 11.

Victory Kids Christmas Service – Next Sunday, Dec. 18, 10:45am. Join us for a presentation of the Christmas message - Victory Kids style! Children in the program should arrive by 10am. Important Note: There will be NO regular Victory Kids at the 9:00 am service.

Sanctuary Art and Furnishings – Special Giving Opportunity. Help us reach our goal by the end of the year of raising the final $12,300 to complete funding for a special project to furnish our worship space with a wall piece, an altar, a baptismal font, and a preaching podium. Details can be found online here.

Christmas at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Join the Seminary Chorus on December 11 at 3 pm or 7 pm., for Christmas at the Seminary. The men’s choir will share the story of Jesus’ birth in songs, carols, and hymns. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary is located in Mequon at 11831 N. Seminary Dr. The concert is held in the campus auditorium, and seating is available on a first come, first seated basis. The 3 pm concert will be lived streamed at: http://livestream.com/WLSLive.

Operation Jesus Cares – Wednesday, December 21st. Once again we will partner with Christ St. Peter’s School in Milwaukee for assembly and delivery of care packages. This is our opportunity to have a positive impact on a struggling community. You can donate through an OJC envelope (available at the Welcome Area), or make an online donation through the church website. To volunteer, sign-up in the Welcome Area or contact Ryan Solie at. Visit our event page to read more, see pictures from last year’s project.

Leadership Team Nominations – The following individuals have been nominated as potential candidates to fill the two vacant Leadership Team positions: Steve Abramowski, Jay Bulanek, Dave Buege, Jon Dable, Jim Donahue, Karl Freund, Andy Glende, Chuck Grund, Jacob Guenther, Jim Kehoe, Scott Matuszak, Jim Prusinski, Kevin Rasmussen, Jason Seiberlich, and Tim Reichert. Current members of the Leadership Team are in the process of following up with those who have been nominated to see if they are willing to serve.

If any of you have any special concerns about any of the individuals who have been nominated you are invited to privately give feedback to Pastor Ben or anyone currently serving on the Leadership Team.

Next Leadership Team Meeting – Monday, December 19th. Contact the Leadership Team with any questions or concerns about our mission or ministry.

No Victory Moms Group Next Thursday, December 15th. Will meet again after Christmas.
Christmas at Victory of the Lamb – on Christmas Eve we will have two services: 4:30 and 6:30 pm. On Christmas Day we will have just one service at 9 am. Our New Year’s Day schedule will be our regular Sunday morning schedule with two services and Victory Kids at both.

Meditations – Are daily devotional booklets that we purchase and make available for you as a way to help you stay connected to Jesus. There are still a number of them available on the info tables. Please feel free to take one or anything else on the info tables as a resource!

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sanctuary Art and Furnishings

Latest Rendering by Paul Mattek of Design Fugitives

Dear Church Family,

Stuffed. To me, it’s a Thanksgiving word.

This year has certainly been stuffed full of God’s blessings. It was wonderful to actually get to sit with my family during our first Thanksgiving Eve service and listen with them (as much as possible with a toddler sitting next to you!) to Pastor Bill’s sermon. A year ago we were worshiping at the cinema. Now we have our own ministry center. A year ago I was a lone-ranger pastor. This year I have an associate. I am thankful.

Pastor Bill encouraged us to remember the Lord’s faithfulness to us over our lifetimes as well as over the timeline of our church. I was reminded again this morning when I saw our attendance report for November. Adults + kids we averaged over 350 people a Sunday in worship. Wow! To God be the glory. I am thankful.

In view of God’s blessings this past Thanksgiving week, month, year…I wish to present both a simple update and a special giving opportunity for this December.

We’re at the point where I believe we’re able to move forward with completing our sanctuary art and furnishings project. This project involves a special wall art piece, altar, baptismal font, preaching podium and a stage extension which will create more visual space on the stage to feature the sacramental furnishings and allow for different musician configurations like we’ve been experimenting with the last couple weeks.

There are still a few details to be worked out regarding such things as the exact kind of LED lighting for the wall art, the dimensions of the stage extension, and any audio/video/lighting enhancements that such an extension might require. There is time to work out these details as we head towards an Easter completion goal.

$50,000 is the target amount not to exceed for completing the project. This amount gives us some flexibility to make final decisions regarding lighting details and those other technical decisions. I expect the final cost of the project to be between $45-50K.

$37,700 is the amount already received! This amount has already been given without me even asking for anything simply because people are excited to see this project come to fruition.

Therefore, $12,300 is the amount we hope to yet receive or have committed by the end of the year.

So what am I asking for? Simply this…
  1. Many of you have already asked me when I would present a giving opportunity for this project because you’ve expressed a desire to be involved. Thank you for both your excitement and your patience with me! So if that’s you now…or you feel that God has stuffed you with blessings this past year and this is a project you’re excited about now seeing completed, please consider a special one-time year-end gift over and above your regular offerings. You can give online at this link by designating the fund “Sanctuary Art & Furnishings.” You can also give by writing a check or putting cash in an envelope marked “Sanctuary Art & Furnishings” which you can mail or put into the offering basket.
  2. I’m not asking this to place a burden on any of you. This is totally a free will project that I hope to complete out of gospel joy. I believe that God has already generously provided us with means enough to move forward on this project trusting that those who are excited about it and in a position to give towards its completion will do so. At the end of the day, when it’s completed, we’ll all get to enjoy it and be reminded visually every week of how Jesus has won an eternal victory for us and how he freely invites us to share in it every week through word and sacrament.
  3. As gifts are given or committed over the next month, I will keep you updated as best I can as to when we reach our goal. Any gifts over and above the final needed amount will be allocated to More Than Bricks.
  4. My family and I intend to joyfully give this month towards this project in loving memory of our loved ones whom we look forward to sharing Christ’s victory with one day in heaven. With hope this project makes us remember our Savior's words: "Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19b).
In Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben