Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ of Calvary Lutheran Church,
This Sunday, October 4, we will be celebrating the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML). This fine organization supports the work of the Church of proclaiming the Gospel and showing Christ’s love in our community. It is eminently worthy of our appreciation and support. I encourage all women of our congregation to consider joining the sisters of our chapter.
This month we will also celebrate the 498th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of the Church of All Saints in Wittenberg, Germany, challenging the sale of indulgences to free souls from purgatory. This was the beginning of the rediscovery of the Gospel for millions in Luther’s time and in succeeding centuries–the Gospel truth that we are saved not by our own works in any part, but entirely by the grace of God, for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ, who lived, died and was resurrected for us. The Holy Spirit revealed this truth to Luther, and reveals it to us, too, through the reading and hearing of the Word of Holy Scripture. On the 25th of October, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wichita, area Lutheran churches will participate in a beautiful Reformation Festival, beginning with Divine Service at 4:00 pm, and continuing with a dinner at 5:30 pm, and a lecture by Rev. Dean Wenthe of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. I will be participating in the liturgy of the service and also playing background piano during the dinner.
Last year, as part of our preparation for the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation, we studied Luther’s Large Catechism in adult Bible class. Starting this Sunday we will continue our Reformation studies by watching the “Luther” movie, a fine film that came out in 2003, with Joseph Fiennes as Luther, and Peter Ustinov as Prince Frederick. We will watch a half hour each week in the sanctuary to begin class, and then move to the Parish Hall to discuss and answer questions. This movie is powerful. You can see and feel the passion for the Gospel that led men and women to be willing to die for the true teaching of Scripture–for true doctrine, and true worship. The classes are from 9:15-10:15. Even if you are well versed in Reformation history, I know you will find the movie entertaining and inspiring.
It is appropriate that this month’s stewardship letter, from Stewardship Under the Cross by Pastor Heath Curtis, should be Luther’s words on tithing. When Luther talks about St. Jacob’s vow below, he is referring to the vow that Isaac’s son Jacob made to God at Bethel, when he was fleeing his brother Esau. Jacob vowed to give a tenth of what he made to God when he returned from exile. (Genesis 28: 18-22) The paragraphs below are from Luther’s Commentary on Genesis and other works.
On Vowing to Support the Church with Tithes
Thus it is said (Prov. 3:9): “Honor the Lord with your substance.” This must be understood not only of words and of the worship of the mouth or genuflection but of the deed itself….Galatians 6:6: “Let him who is taught in the Word share all good things with him who teaches.” Therefore when God wants to be honored, then He wants sacrifices to be offered, not only sacrifices of the mouth but also the reverence of the heart, yes, the deed itself. He wants us to help the ministry, and He wants everyone to contribute for the purpose of supporting the studies of the pupils and of propagating the doctrine. Then God is truly praised and glorified there. Make a vow there, and say: “I promise that I am willing to contribute something for the assistance of the churches.” That is St. Jacob’s vow. Therefore this example should be diligently inculcated, namely, that Jacob vows tithes, not in order that God Himself may eat or be enriched; but he give them to the poor ministers and to those who are always the least of the brethren or disciples of Christ on earth. For all other arts are gainful and have their profits. This profession alone is in need of bountiful giving. We must live from the altar, as Paul says (1 Cor. 9:13). Accordingly, he who is godly and loves the Word of God contributes something. He who hates the doctrine along with those who teach and learn it robs and despoils.
Otherwise God has so ordained that we should live from the vows, sacrifices, and alms that are owed to us by divine right. When the godly see the poverty and need of the ministers of the church and the school, they make vows and obligate themselves to give tithes, as Jacob gave them. (Luther’s Works, v. 5)
On Tithing to Support God’s Work in the Church
Therefore this text shows that Jacob did not make such a foolish and godless vow, but that it was a vow of thanksgiving. For he says: “if I come again, etc.” it is as though he were saying: “I shall now obligate myself to pay a debt, and I shall make satisfactory reparation when I return. What? I shall build a school and a church here, and I shall give a tithe of bulls and goats and fruits for its establishment and upkeep, likewise a tenth part of the milk and the butter.” Of course, God does not need these things. For He does not eat bread or drink wine, as He says in Psalm 50:13: “Do I eat the flesh of bulls?” What, then, are you doing? I answer that Jacob is already righteous. Accordingly, he does not make a vow to placate God by making it: but he wants to do this to give thanks, to glorify God, in order that He may conduct him and bring him back according to the promise. Who will receive these tithes? Not the angels, not the sun, not the moon. But he will perform that extraordinary and glorious work for the purpose of preserving the ministry and founding churches and schools….This is how Moses should be understood when he says (Deut. 23:21): “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not be slack to pay it.” What does it mean to make a vow to God, or whom is Moses addressing when he says: “The Lord your God”? It means to give tithes to the disciples, sons, and wives of the prophets, to the poor and needy. These are the ones who are to be supported by the tithes offered to God, and through these tithes God is supported. For God says: “Whatever you give to the children of the priests and prophets through whom the doctrine is propagated you must regard as given to Me, not that I may justify you through this work, but it should be a thanksgiving and a sacrifice of praise because I have justified you and have also blessed you in temporal matters. In addition, I shall bless you even more if you give ear to, support, and cherish the poor sons of the prophets.” (Luther’s Works, vol. 5)
On Abraham’s Stewardship
This was not the first time that Abraham gave tithes of these to the priest Melchizedek; he did so every year. Even before that victory Abraham conducted himself humbly, acknowledged Shem as a priest of the Most High, and gave him tithes, as did Lot and the other fathers who lived at that time. (Luther’s Works, vol. 2)… To be sure, Abraham had property; but he did not love it, since he showed that he was a manager and knew that by God’s will he had been appointed a steward of his goods. (Luther’s Works, vol. 30).
God bless and keep you safe and bring you to His house at Calvary Lutheran Church this month, to join with the faithful in singing and speaking His praises, and receiving His gifts of forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life through the hearing of His Word and receiving His body and blood in the Sacrament.
Blessings in Christ,
Our Calvary Lutheran LWML chapter is back in action, after taking the summer off from meetings! We will generally meet the first Wednesday of every month at 7pm in the Parish Hall. The ladies take turns hosting with a delicious dessert and Pastor leads an enriching Bible Study for us. When we met on September 2nd, we held elections for the 2015/2016 year. Our new president is Vickie Wingfield and our new vice president is Joan Loughmiller. Sharon Zoglmann will continue as treasurer and Paula Oldridge will continue as secretary. We had a wonderful turnout at this meeting with seven ladies present! Our main topic this meeting was the celebration of LWML Sunday on October 4th. We want to share our joy in serving the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ through the activities of this wonderful organization. Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 7th, at 7pm in the Parish Hall. We will decide then which service project we want to work on, and discuss future social events. All the ladies of our congregation are invited and encouraged to attend our meetings and events at any time. We would love to have you! A great resource that you can check out is http://www.lwml.org/home and http://www.kansaslwml.org. There is so much great information on these pages. Thank you for your support of our LWML!
The LWML Pledge
In fervent gratitude for the Savior’s dying love and His blood-bought gift of redemption we dedicate ourselves to Him with all that we are and have; and in obedience to His call for workers in the harvest fields, we pledge Him our willing service wherever and whenever He has need of us. We consecrate to our Savior our hands to work for Him, our feet to go on His errands, our voice to sing His praises, our lips to proclaim His redeeming love, our silver and our gold to extend His Kingdom, our will to do His will, and every power of our life to the great task of bringing the lost and the erring into eternal fellowship with Him. Amen.
The ladies of the LWML invite you to help us celebrate LWML Sunday on October 4th by wearing purple to church! Our next regular meeting is Wednesday, October 7th at 7pm in the parish hall. It is never too late to join us in this time of bible study, fellowship, and service!
Wichita Zone LWML
Saturday, October 10th at 8:45-2:00 p.m. Trinity Lutheran Church, 611 S. Erie, Wichita, KS. You are invited to attend a day filled with worship, fellowship, and mission information. All women are invited to attend. Nursery available and registration is $8.00. For more information, please check the flyer on the bulletin board in the parish hall.
Portals of Prayer
If you would like to receive Portals of Prayer for 2016, please sign up on the sheet in the Parish Hall. The price for the small size is $4.60 for the yearly subscription, $13.00 a year for the digest size and $14.00 a year for the large print. For those that have signed up, your portals of prayer are in your mailbox.
If you would like to learn how to approach others with your faith, please contact Pastor Wingfield. He is going to start a “Pass It On” group this fall. Participants will learn how to express their faith to others by practicing first with each other, using a script as a guide. They will be provided with materials and guidance to help them go out and speak about the Lord to our neighbors in Wellington. After training, the participants will meet once a week. They will spend a half hour going over the material, and then they will go out and speak to people in their homes. After an hour they will return to the church to discuss their experiences. The program was highly recommended to Pastor Wingfield by Prof Joel Biermann at Concordia Seminary. Prof. Biermann has participated in such a group for years and believes that it has great value, both as outreach and in training Christians how to express their faith.
There are 3 vacuum cleansers in the classrooms that we don’t use. If they belong to someone or if you would like one, please feel free to take one home.
Trinity Lutheran Church 611 S. Erie Wichita, KS
Divine Service at 4pm followed by a dinner and lecture. Rev. Dr. Dean Wenthe President of the Concordia University System will be the guest preacher/lecturer. Purchase tickets at the door. Adults $15, couples $25, and children 10 & under free. Offerings to go toward Lutheran Student Center and the Joint Seminary Fund. Childcare will be provided during the lecture.
Beginning this week, the Luther movie will be played during adult bible class.