This Week's Ministry Blog
The Harding Thing
  
Matthew 5:21-37

Put yourself in the place of the disciples for a moment.
 
Imagine being called out of your day job and immediately swept up into the whirlwind of following Jesus--of travel and teaching and healing and casting out demons. Imagine the spreading fame and the adoring crowds that grow by the hour, by the minute. Imagine the pride of being able to say, "I am with him."
 
Now imagine taking a break to sit down and catch your breath -and hearing this:
 
You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire.
 
Imagine that moment of confusion, all of you shifting uncomfortably, looking around at the others as if to ask, "is he talking to us?"
 
Imagine that sinking feeling, "Is he talking to me?"
 
Go ahead-put yourself in the place of the disciples for a moment, because this is the word Jesus is speaking to his followers today. Yes, this is the word he is speaking to you. This word is for all of us.
 
Before going any further, Jesus wants to make it clear that this calling, this ministry is to be an exercise in facing the hard things. Jesus will lead his followers repeatedly into encounter with the hardest things out there in the world-sickness, poverty, oppression, loss, fear, death. But this ministry will also bring the followers face to face with the hardest thing of all-themselves.
 
In order to follow Jesus, disciples have to face the worst that is within. And Jesus makes it clear, there is ugliness in each and every one of us. Those very sins we might excuse and explain away, those are the sins Jesus places an even heavier emphasis upon. Jesus upends the scale. He scatters the rankings we've devised. No one is blameless. According to these standards, everyone is liable to the hell of fire.
 
Put yourself in the place in the disciples and try to suppress that resistance you are feeling. Just like them, try to tamp down all the arguments you want to shout out in your defense. Hold on to find out what is coming next. There is good news to be found in the hardest things. Even in this. Especially in this.
 
And here it is: Jesus' forgiveness is for those who need it.
 
And who better to share this good news with the world,
than those who have received it?
 
And who better to share God's grace with others,
than those who know they are in no position to judge?
 
For you. For me. For us. For them. That sounds like really good news. 
 
Pastor Sarah  

Children's Musical Performance This Weekend 
 
When the kids gather at the park near the church for a Saturday of baseball, they are in for a surprising glimpse at the Bible's "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11. They'll meet Moses ("he got his start in the bush leagues"), Noah ("that guy can really swing the lumber!"), Abraham ("with his son Isaac at the plate, it looks like the Manager is calling for a sacrifice..."), and many more. With shades of the iconic "Casey at the Bat," it all leads to the climactic finish of "Jesus at the Cross," and the Good News of the Gospel is driven home with power! Join us for the performances on Saturday, February 11, at 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, February 12, at 10:30 a.m. Please note that the musical will be in place of the Saturday worship service and the Sunday 10:30 worship service.


Adult Sunday School
 
During the month of February we will be focusing on learning more about our neighbor's religions. Please join us as we appreciate our differences and celebrate what we have in common. On February 12, JJ Kapur and Gurwinder Kapur from the West Des Moines Sikh Temple will be here. On February 19, Imam and members of Islamic Center of Des Moines will be here.
 

Donation Items Requested for the 15th Annual Silent Auction and Spaghetti Lunch Fundraiser
 
Members of Faith Lutheran Church can help support our young people through prayer, and participating in the annual Silent Auction & Spaghetti Lunch on March 5. Consider donating items to be auctioned. Woodwork, art, skilled labor and gift certificates are just a few ideas for donation. Forms are available on the youth bulletin board in the entryway and can be dropped off in the church office. All donations are due by Wednesday, February 22. Contact Jake Bouma with any questions (jakebouma@faithlc.org). Thank you for your continued support.


New Member Class

A new member class will be held on Sundays, February 5, 12, and 19, at 9:30 a.m. The class will be held in Faith Lights Room and serves as preparation for those who are interested in membership at Faith. There will be an opportunity to review the basics of the Christian faith from a Lutheran perspective, to meet ministry team leaders and staff, and to develop new friendships. New members will be officially received at the worship service at 10:30 a.m. on February 19. If you would like to register for the class, please email Miranda Kurtt at mirandakurtt@faithlc.org or call 225-8334.
 

Cancer Support Group

Cancer Support Group will meet at the church Sunday, February 12, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in Faith Lights Room. Jan Stegeman, R.N. and Barbara Cavallin, Ph.D. are the facilitators. Anyone who is dealing with cancer, has a friend or relative who is, or is dealing with the loss of a loved one from cancer, is encouraged to come for this inspirational, compassionate, uplifting time of devotion, information, sharing, caring and prayer. If you have any materials that you would like to share with the group, please bring them.
 

Mother and Son Dance

Want to have some fun and raise money for summer camp scholarships? Buy your tickets now for the 4th Annual Mother & Son Dance taking place on Friday, February 17, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This event is open to the public and all mother and son couples are invited. Couples can be grandmas and grandsons, special neighbors, aunts and nephews...you name it! Enjoy the glamour of a red carpet Hollywood party complete with DJ, games, photo booth and dessert bar. The cost is $25 per couple, $5 for each additional child. (The cost will go up to $30 on Wednesday, February 15). Tickets are available online, in the church office, and before each of the musical performances on February 11 and 12. Want to help with this event? Contact Andrea or Erika at cfm@faithlc.org .
 
 
 
Did you miss last week's Faith E-news? You can find archived E-news on Faith's website under Archived E-news button on the homepage.
  
Do you have questions or comments regarding this publication?  Please contact Miranda at mirandakurtt@faithlc.org or 225-8334.  We welcome your feedback.