Ways to Learn in December
               Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Adult Bible Study on Tuesday Mornings - join us Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Generations: Together
- Being the church is about being connected, listening to one another and accepting each other like sisters and brothers. Let us be the church…together. Who are you? A Builder (born 1928-1945), a Baby Boomer (born 1845-1964), a Gen X (born 1965-1980), a Millennial (born 1981-1996), or a Generation Z (born after 1997). How can Christians build community with others…especially with people from other generations?  It is no secret that younger generations are leaving the church and have been for years. The secret to attracting or retaining younger church members? There ISN’T one! But a sense of belonging and meaningful relationships with other church members are certainly important to many people who stay. Generations: Together is a video series produced by the Nebraska Synod of our ELCA consisting of 10 interviewees representing five generations from three congregations, each sharing their perspectives on the church, faith and community. 

 Here's what's next:

Faith Practice in daily life - And may [the Lord] so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”  (1 Thessalonians 3:13 NRSV) - It is a privilege to live among God’s faithful people, but is not always easy to do so. Unity does not mean we always agree with those who worship at our church.  Conflicts occur, adding tensions to a faith community.  Thus, Paul’s prayer to increase our love for one another and for all is particularly meaningful.  It could easily become our Advent prayer as we light candles in our Advent wreath or have our daily devotions.

  1. Who in your life needs to know that you are praying for them?

  2. How might you encourage someone this week?

  3. How might you include Paul’s prayer in your Advent activities?

  Prayer: Gracious God, increase and abound our love for one another, for all, and for you.  Strengthen our hearts in holiness that we may be blameless before you at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints.  Amen

The Word of God - Pass It On Initiative - What better place to find the Word of God than in the House of God! If you look in the pew rack in front of you, you may notice a Bible. The Bibles currently in the pew rack are a gift given by Pastor Stephen Blenkush in memory of his father Rev. Dallas Blenkush. It is also part of a new initiative to both encourage worshipers to make use of the Bible during worship but also to provide Bibles to those who are in need of God's Word. So, if you are in need of a Bible, take it home. If you know someone in need of a Bible, pass it along. If you would like to participate in this ongoing initiative, contact either Pastor Blenkush or the church office.

Online Reflections - Interested in keeping up with all the great opportunities and ministries going on within our Northeastern Minnesota Synod? Go to www.nemnsynod.org and click the Online Reflections tab and click to sign up to receive weekly updates. Now you too can stay on top of what’s going on in our synod and church!

    Read the Bible daily - one of the marks of discipleship is reading scripture every day. Make it easy - get a Daily Scripture reading in your email from Zion Online. Sign up and chose to receive every day in your email a Scripture passage, a Psalm, or a Psalm you can sing to a familiar hymn melody.

Adages— " God must have needed another angel"

I don’t understand. Are these words of comfort? Really? So what you’re saying is that God couldn’t handle being God so God had to recruit a little help? And my son was just the right person for the job so God took him from me? Sorry, but I’ve got some big problems with that.
“God must have needed another angel” would be on my top 10 list of things not to say to a grieving parent. When my son, Max, died more than two years ago, my family experienced all kinds of responses. The majority of them have been beautiful and have carried us through the darkest times. But occasionally someone will throw us a zinger. This statement is one of them. Yes, the Bible speaks of angels, but not in the way this statement infers. Angels were and are messengers of God, extensions of the Spirit if you will, rather than repurposed people.
I’m in the deepest pain that a parent could ever experience. There really isn’t anything you can say that will make that pain go away. I know you love me and want my pain gone. But don’t try. No, really, don’t try to take my pain away — live in it with me. You don’t need to say anything. Just be with me in my grief instead of trying to use words to cheer me up. Being is better than words.
However, do I believe Max had angelic qualities? Absolutely. Does God’s Spirit remind me regularly that Max is always with me? You bet. Is Max resurrected with Christ? A resounding yes.
Tom Schwolert

Pick up a current copy ofLiving Lutheran magazine, the new flagship publication of the ELCA, and the daily devotional Christ in Our Home are available in the kiosk in the Narthex. Christ in Our Home is a quarterly devotional resource that encourage to live out their faith daily. Each reflective reading is accompanied by a daily scripture reference and prayer for the day. It is also available is large print.

Lutheran Marriage Encounter helps married husbands and wives celebrate their special relationship - and provides them with unique innsights and tools to improve their communication for the long haul. The experience is a whole weekend for a couple to escape chores, jobs, and kids in order to refresh and re-energize their love, learn a delightful new method of communication, and reap joyful long-term rewards for their relationship, their family, and their faith journey. Oct, 12–14 at Centerstone Plaza Hotel in Rochester. Apply now at GodLovesMarriage.org! Questions? Contact Pete & Phyllis McMahon mcmahonp@comcast.net or 763-561-1575. Pre-registration is required.

For Better...Forever - Couple's Retreat: Marriage and Pre-Marriage - "For Better...Forever" is an enjoyable couple's seminar. With wit, humor, and spirit, couples learn from the latest research what works for couples in happy and lasting marriages.
    *Gender and Personality Differences: How to keep them working for you rather than against you.
    *Communication: Everyone can learn to communicate better, the sooner the better
    *Spirituality/The Divine Love: Secrets to feeling your love is "heaven sent."
The day goes from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Cost: $125 per couple (includes refreshments, lunch, and the cost of all materials.
For more information or to register, go to Couples Retreat or Lakeside Center or call 218-829-3330. "For Better...Forever" is led by Ron Hunt, a licensed psychologist in Minnesota as well as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California. he is also an ordained pastor and Spiritual Director. For more information, talk to Pastor