Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

July 2022 Newsletter

“The reason why the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

On Friday, June 24th, which was fitting to be the date that we in the church celebrate the birth of John the Baptist who leapt in the womb at the presence of Christ our Lord in Mary’s Womb, the announcement came out from the Supreme Court that shook the cultural landscape of our country.

After nearly half a century, Roe v Wade was overturned, and the issue of abortion on the social level is now thrust back onto individual states and elected bodies.

First and foremost.  Thanks be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ on this decision!  This is an important milestone that has been reached.  The evils of abortion cannot be overstated and sadly we cannot dig into them fully in this post.  You can find a “Biblical Response to Abortion” in our Narthex if you want more reading.

But, as Christians, we are not here to celebrate political and worldly victories.  These come and go, but we must cultivate our Christian understanding of the topic at hand and recognize what the Dobbs Decision is and is not.

For us as Christians the devil has been breathing lies into all of this and is still at work in the reactions.  This is no surprise.  Satan hates our human bodies and loves when women are brought to the point of mutilating and destroying their own children which the Lord has made, and he loves to have men and women wallow in the guilt and shame after abortion especially when Christ comes with healing and forgiveness.

We should take note as Christians that for each child in the womb, the devil scowls because he remembers that it was the seed of women in Genesis 3:15 that was promised to crush him and so he is hard at work to crush unborn children today.  The devil sees Jesus in each ultrasound, and it infuriates him.  We see in the Scriptures for that very reason that the demonic are always hard at work perverting the image of God in mankind.  Taking a look at the exorcisms that the Lord Jesus performs can see how the demonic reacts to our bodies.  That perversion and hatred of our flesh, which is made in God’s image, is apparent in abortion and in the cultural ethic that fosters it.

But thanks be to God that Jesus Christ has conquered death, and the devil, and our sins.  We can be sure of the value of every human being who is conceived as a reminder of the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ took on flesh himself.

We know that Jesus, by his very body, has broken down the wall of hostility between mankind and has made one new humanity through his cross.  That body is the same body that was once miraculously conceived and was an embryo himself in the Virgin Mary!  If you want to know what Jesus thinks of being in the womb, then look no further than the fact that Jesus was in the womb at every stage of pregnancy himself.

This is why the Christian Church has always for her 2,000 year life have always sacrificed to foster life.  Christians are not merely against abortion.  We are for each life that God gives at all the stages and must be willing to suffer life just as our Lord suffered for ours.  That is why Christians are the ones who have started and supported every measure for life at all ages from adoption to hospitals.  

At the end of the day, abortion is an attack on Jesus Christ and His Work.   What we are fighting for is nothing short than the reality that God himself has made.  And though that fight will never be perfect or full in this life, we must struggle regardless.  Abortion is fighting God’s design, God’s will, and making my will first and foremost.  As Christians who pray to God, “Thy will be done” we must nurture and cultivate among ourselves and project unto others that we will support, care, and provide for women with children, create men and fathers to do the very task the name suggests, help people learn to suffer through age and disease so that they can arrive in triumph before Christ, and the list goes on and on.

So, the Dobbs decision is one that we should give thanks to God for because it is a good thing to have laws that reflect and acknowledge God’s created will and order.  It is the point of government to enforce and encourage God’s order because all authority originates from Him.  The sinful flesh does not like that idea because we all want to do our own thing.  But the government does exist to mandate God’s will and Christians should call the government out when they do not follow God’s will and encourage and support them when they do.

But as should be apparent already, the work is far from over.  While the law can give us a curb to check gross sin, it cannot produce the righteousness of faith that is in Christ nor can the law change any hearts.  Abortion activists will breathe the lies and spread the misinformation that women are now at risk during ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and stillborn.  The gnashing at teeth at core Christian teachings and mocking of what Christ has given to us will still occur.  While we should have laws that reflect God’s will and check sinners, we should also note that the law cannot fix what only Jesus Christ can grant.

So as Christians we must continue to take further steps.  The overturning of Roe v Wade is not the culmination but the start of the work.  Thankfully we have 2,000 years of history of mercy work, human care, and life benefitting care that is still the case today.  No one else has put the mercy work in with hospitals, adoptions, and pregnancy resource centers that Christians have.  All of them are results of Christian work.  May that legacy continue with us.

And at Christ Lutheran, we will always support and care for men, women, and children to do the task of raising families.  In response to the Dobbs Decision, we are sending $500 dollars from our social ministries fund to go to the Hannah Center, a place in town that supports and equips women.  We are looking forward to more of that to come and ask for you to join us in that effort and to reach out if you would like to add to that gift.

More steps are needed.  Fathers need to step up and do the job that God has given men to do.  Laws should also be made that require men to fulfill that task and punish them for not raising a child they father.  May women and children find resources and care that they need.  Marriage and ideas of sex, identity, and cultural nihilism are in such a mess that those also need to be fought if any ground is to be made and sustained for unborn children.  The battle is all around us and while we cannot engage everything at once, we need to see where we can change today.  And as we engage, we can cry out, Come Lord Jesus, Come!

And finally, may those who are affected by the trauma of abortion find repentance, mercy, and love from the Lord Jesus Christ who was indeed born to grant freedom and grace to all the world.  His blood covers you and makes you new.  There is not a sin that Jesus has not answered for.  Find refuge in Christ, for there you will find the healing you so desperately want to find.

That is the witness and fight that Christians must make until the Day of Jesus Christ comes.  Knowing on that day that this world will be unmade and then remade through the One whose voice both formed the universe and cried out on the day of his birth and on the cross for you.

VBS
VBS will be taking place on August 1st through August 5th from 9:00am to 10:30am!  This year’s theme is Monumental and we will see how God walks with us through the joys and sorrows of life and gives us security in Christ!   Kids will sing, make crafts, hear Scripture and grow in Christ! Sign your child or grandchild up today.  Give us a call at the church office to sign up, or go to our website or app to register online.

We still need some resources and help as we get VBS together.  A few more crew leaders to guide the kids are needed, and some resources such as colored tissue paper, fluorescent spray paint, and 8x10 white art canvases are just a few of the resources needed.
 
Ahead of VBS, we will be having some work nights.  Wednesday July 13th, 20th, 27th from 6-8pm are VBS work nights where the decorations will be made and set up.  Please join in helping set this up and also see the joy of it all coming together and bonding in Christ!

Tammy’s Return
A big thanks be to God for the fact that Tammy has been able to return to work back on June 27th.  She has been doing much better and we will continue to pray for her well being and for her work to continue to be a blessing around us.  Thank you to all of you who also kept her in prayers and helped support her through this past year.

Financials
We lost a little bit of ground on the financials in June, but still have a decent amount in the checking account. Thank you to everyone who supports our mission and ministry here at Christ Lutheran through your offering. As in all things, we trust in our Lord to provide all that we need.

Voters’ Meeting
On Sunday, July 24th, at 10:30am, we will have our Summer Voters’ Meeting.  We will be discussing a few things, such as Ushers, Fall Ministry, Church Workers, Church Advertising, and a few other matters.  If you have any items for the agenda, please bring them forward to me or to our president at least a week before the meeting so we can include them in discussion and on the agenda.  So, feel free to come and discuss a few items.

Call
Everyone was aware of the first call that I had received back in May which I had declined, but I have a feeling that not everyone was aware of the second call that I had received back on the evening of the 19th of June.  I was able to announce it during service on the 23rd and 26th of June but the timing made it hard to make it more aware like the first call was able to be.  I get that feeling because just a few days before writing this, someone expressed their thankfulness that I had chosen to remain from the first call and seemed unaware of the second call.

This call was to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School in Fairmont, MN.  I visited the congregation and have taken the last several weeks to decide, again, on where God is leading.
I have come to a decision on this call too and can happily state that I have once again chosen to retain my call here to Christ Lutheran Church and to decline this call from St. Paul’s as well.

Having received two calls in such quick succession was both surprising and also not, if that makes sense.  Surprised because it is such a whirlwind of emotions to go through.  Not surprising because several hundred churches are looking for pastors and I am in the prime age and time to be called.  I have asked my DP to put a notice on my profile held by Synod that I am not interested in taking a call, but that only goes so far since churches can add pastors that they know to their lists and as a Seminary Prof once put it, “The Holy Spirit knows your address.”

I would like to say that this is the last call that I will receive, but know that the pastor shortage will only increase in the years to come (current stats have the average age of LCMS pastors at 55 years old, with about a third to a half of our 6,000 pastor ministerium retiring in the 15 years.) and because of that shortage, I would expect calls to come from time to time though I do hope they stop for now.  But this is simply out of my control.  But know that I do not look for churches or advertise that I want a call, it would be improper protocol to do so.  But when a church does extend a divine call I am required to take time to deliberate and make a decision.
 
Know though that I love you all, that I see valuable ministry happening here and a place for me and my family to continue to grow in the love of the Lord with you all.  I pray that I get that for decades to come here in Marshfield.  Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labors out! 
 
 
Church Picnic: Sunday, August 14th at 10:00am

It is also time for our yearly Church picnic!  This year it is on Sunday, August 14th at 10:00am.  Following the Divine Service we will have a picnic with our elders in charge of the grilling!  While we have the main dishes covered with the elders grilling the meat, we ask that everyone who comes bring a side such as fruit or veggies, chips, cheese, or something cold.  We would ask that you do not bring a hot dish since where we set up will not have plugs to plug things in.

Also, to note that the service is pushed an hour back to 10:00am.  That way it will be closer to lunch when picnic begins.  And if the weather is good, we will have the 10:00am service outside!
 
Now since that week is a bit odd with a 10:00am service on Sunday to accommodate the picnic and because I know that the outdoor services are hard for some, we will have a 9:00am opportunity which we will gather and follow the order of Matins, an ancient morning service that Christians have followed for millennia.  It is my favorite order of worship besides the Divine Service and if you would like to join us for that at 9:00am please join us.  Please note that Matins does not have Communion, but it does have a lot of singing.  We do still invite you to come to the picnic following the 10:00am service as well!  If you want to come to both Matins and the outdoor picnic Divine Service, then even better.

Extras
Of course, there is so much more that can be put into these updates and newsletters.  We had a Youth event back on the 22nd of June that was decently attended, and I am hoping that it lays the ground work for some more events to come.

The men continue to work on and improve the grounds around the church.  Fresh mulch has been laid and weeding is being done as well.  Other projects are in the works as well.

This past weekend (the 3rd of July) we concluded our final outdoor service for the summer.  We had 4 beautiful weeks outside.  Next year we will tweak a few things and continue to improve on the setting.  It is always a nice change of pace during the summer months and also good practice on singing as well!  I notice improvements as the month goes on.

Confirmation and Fall plans are in the works.  I have reached out to next years’ first year class by phone or email.  The first class for confirmation will be on September 7th.  The time will be from 6:30pm-7:30pm with Potter’s House Café being at 5:30pm-6:30pm.  More details on that to come!    

With that, this newsletter comes to a close.  It is long enough already by my estimation, but I honestly think there is more that needs to be said.  Thanks be to God that he continues to preserve and keep his church through all trial and tribulation and will bring us to the day of his Coming again!
 
Peace to you all in Christ! 
Pastor Andrew Belt  
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