Weekly e-News Friday, January 20, 2017

Looking Ahead

            Worship and Youth Sunday School at 10:00 a.m. and Fellowship at 11:00; 1:00 p.m. Worship in Nepali.

            Bible Studies: Tuesday (will not meet this week) at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.

Session will meet on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

 

            Annual Congregational Meeting and potluck is the last Sunday in January, the 29th. A potluck meal will follow with this suggested guideline: A-H, Salad; I-Q, Dessert; R-Z, Main Dish.

We will need to elect a Deacon for a two year term so please pray and think about who you might nominate.

It is time to start thinking about 2017 Per Capita for church membership. The annual amount is a combined request from Presbytery, Synod, and the General Assembly based on their respective budgets.

Per capita is an opportunity for all communicant members of the Presbyterian Church to participate equally in sharing the cost administrating mission and the functions of the PCUSA.

Did you know that Jesus paid per capita? He paid the half shekel at the Temple just like else (Mat. 7:24-27) since Moses directed the people to do so at the Tabernacle. I like to think that paying per capita is like pitching in with other passengers to pay for gasoline for a road trip, each paying a share.

Our Per Capita this year is $28.80. When you put your check for your portion of what Wild Flower sends in for our total membership, you are covering your share. Don’t make someone else have to pay for your privilege. Write out your check now, before you forget.

 

The Sermon Sunday will be “Into the Light” from Isaiah 9:1-4- There is joy in being brought out of darkness and into the light; and Matthew 4:12-23- Jesus begins His ministry and calls the first Disciples

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah 9:2.

 

Around Church this Week:

            All of the calendars have been sold with the profits going to support our youth ministries.

We recorded the worship for the second time and it can be viewed under the “Sermons” tab on this blog at http://www.pastor-dave.com/index.php/category/sermons/

The week has been very busy in the offices preparing the Annual Reports for distribution on Sunday. Thank you to Jim and Rose Thuringer and Byron and Mary Lambert who came in Friday to collate and staple them for distribution on Sunday.

            Thank you to Lanny Auringer for bringing 3 computers on Monday to replace one of those which had hard drive failures. I hope to be able to make 2 functioning computers for us.

            The Congregation and Pastoral Care Ministry (CPCM) of presbytery met on Monday and the Moderator, Rev. Joseph Holt sent the following note:

CPCM voted unanimously last night to dissolve the pastoral relationship between The Rev. Dr. David Ullom and Wild Flower Presbyterian Church, Sioux Falls, effective February 5, 2017; the Session is authorized to add this action to the agenda of the Annual Meeting of the congregation, January 29, 2017, for its vote to dissolve the relationship and to approve the severance package of $5,631,00 per month for six months beginning February 6, 2017. Ken Newell will be Moderator for the Annual Meeting. Any questions or concerns can be addressed to Ken. The members of CPCM offer their prayers to the Session, to the congregation, and to David and Judy, during this difficult time of transition.

Peace, Joseph

Chuckle:  “The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing. . . .” (Psalms 2:4)

Last week I had some family members over when a lively debate broke out over, of all things, Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.”

What was it? Mom passionately argued for the bad-eyes theory. “He repeatedly talks about his poor vision in Scripture,” she said.

My brother pushed back. “I think it was a temptation that plagued him.”

In the midst of the confusion, I swept in with the answer. “What if we’re overthinking this?” I said. “What if it was a literal thorn in the flesh? Just a really bad sliver.”

Silence.

“There were no tweezers in the ancient world,” I observed. “Imagine how frustrating that would be.”

Birthdays this Week:

20 Peggy Jensen
24 Michelle Kapaun
25 Toni Healy
25 Jessie Hoiland
26 Taylor Auringer
26 Channing Oien

Prayer Thought:   “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon.

“I feel like prayer is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do.” ~ Mark Batterson

Please keep in prayer: Lois Ullom, Jayden Ausland, Jeanne Marsh, Jeff Lewis, Rose Thuringer, Esther Bakker; Ardella Kjergaard.

I watched a very interesting commercial this week about spreading God’s love that was sponsored by Interstate Batteries. It is only 30 seconds long, and you can find it at http://corporate.interstatebatteries.com/godslove/

 

I wrote the following article for the From the Pulpit column in last Saturday’s Argus Leader:

Keep Your Faith Strong and You, Too, Can Walk on Water

Do you ever feel like you are going under? Like it is hard to “keep your head above water?”

Peter had that kind of an experience in the Bible in Matthew 14:22-33. After feeding the 5,000 the Disciples headed out in a boat while Jesus went to pray. When they saw Jesus walking on the water in the middle of the night, Peter bravely said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus.

Wow! You might think if he could walk on water, he could do just about anything. The only problem was that he took his eyes off of Jesus and instead focused on the problems around him. As a fisherman he knew how dangerous the waves could be. He had probably seen others die in similar situations. The wind and the waves were blustering around him and the seeming impossibility of his faith overcoming those problems suddenly caused him to go under.

In those seconds did Peter think, “I’m going to die!” “How could I have been so stupid?” Or, as we do in our most difficult situations turn to God in prayer, “Lord save me!?”

That prayer was soon answered. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). The words of Jesus speak to our hearts just as well today: “Take heart… Do not be afraid” (14:27).

If you feel as though you’re sinking today, it may be because you are looking at the waves of failing health, finances, or relationships. Or maybe you’ve been listening to the howling wind of the culture. But you don’t have to go under. Like Peter, when you call out, Jesus will reach out His hand to you, as He did for Peter.

Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a refuge and strength in time of trouble. We might not always understand God’s ways, but we can trust that He is in charge.

As you keep your eyes on the One who can keep your faith strong, you’ll find yourself on the surface and walking by faith, even when the storms rage around you.

Rev. Dr. Dave Ullom

Wild Flower Presbyterian Church

 

Pew Research Finds: Congress Looks a Lot Like It Did in 1961– Many Christians

Bob Eschliman (Jan 6, 2017)

[Charisma News] In 1961, John F. Kennedy had just been sworn in as the 35th president of the United States, the Cold War was becoming increasingly warm, the civil rights movement was launched, and the Space Race between the U.S. and Soviet Union was about to aim for the moon and beyond. Many things have changed in the nearly six decades that have followed, but one aspect of America really hasn’t.   According to a new report from Pew Research, the percentage of members of the 115th Congress is nearly the same as it was at the start of the 87th.

The report’s narrative states:

The share of U.S. adults who describe themselves as Christians has been declining for decades, but the U.S. Congress is about as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center. Indeed, among members of the new, 115th Congress, 91 percent describe themselves as Christians. This is nearly the same percentage as in the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962, the earliest years for which comparable data are available), when 95 percent of members were Christian.

Among the 293 Republicans elected to serve in the new, 115th Congress, all but two identify as Christians; there are two Jewish Republicans—Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee—who both serve in the House. Democrats in Congress also are overwhelmingly Christian (80 percent), but there is more religious diversity on this side of the aisle. The 242 Democrats in Congress include 28 Jews, three Buddhists, three Hindus, two Muslims and one Unitarian Universalist—as well as the only member of Congress to describe herself as religiously unaffiliated, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ. In addition, all 10 members of Congress who decline to state their religious affiliation are Democrats.

Here’s the actual breakdown of religious affiliations of all 536 members of Congress:

485 Total Christian

Mainline Protestant Christian—150

Evangelical Protestant Christian—149

Roman Catholic—168

Orthodox Christian—5

Mormon—13

Jewish—30

Buddhist—3

Hindu—3

Muslim—2

Unitarian-Universalist—1

No Religious Affiliation—1

Refused to Answer—10

While there is a difference in terms of the Christianity and religious diversity of the two major parties, both are overwhelmingly dominated by professing Christians. Nearly all Republicans (99.3 percent) claim to be Christian, while more than three-fourths of Democrats (80.2 percent) make the same profession of faith.

Pew’s analysis of the report seems to lament the lack of representation of “religious nones”—atheists and agnostics—in Congress:

The analysis finds that some religious groups, including Protestants, Catholics and Jews, have greater representation in Congress than in the general population. Jews, for example, make up 2 percent of the U.S. adult population but account for 6 percent of Congress. Other groups—including Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims and Orthodox Christians—are represented in Congress in roughly equal proportion to their share of the U.S. public

The group that is most notably under-represented is the religiously unaffiliated. This group—also known as religious “nones”—now accounts for 23 percent of the general public but just 0.2 percent of Congress. As noted above, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is the only member who describes herself as religiously unaffiliated.

Particularly with everything that is going on in the world today, it’s not difficult to see that God certainly has His hand on what is happening on Capitol Hill. But the dominance of professing Christians in Congress certainly begs a question for the church itself to ponder:

With so many Christians in the House and Senate, why doesn’t our government and our culture reflect a more Biblical society?

Eternally Blessed,    

Pastor Dave Ullom <*}}}<  

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