May Issue | 2022
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
Monthly News & Events
Our Mission: "To worship God as a loving community that grows in faith and shares the Gospel of Christ."
Let's Go to Bethlehem!

Pastor's Letter

"Because God Loves Us..."


In 1818, Caspar David Friedrich painted a man standing high above the fog, touching the clouds, overlooking a rocky horizon. He is wearing a dark green overcoat and boots as he gazes over the mist, steadying himself with his cane. He is the Wanderer.


He is on the verge of a new adventure.


This awe-striking work of art attempts to summarize the grandeur of exploration in acrylic. And, at its midpoint is the man’s chest. Upon this realization Harvard University Art Historian, Joseph Koerner, exclaims, “The heart is the center of the universe!”


I have felt like this wanderer many times in my life… always ready to go and take on the next adventure: whether it was going from Iowa to College in Wisconsin, Graduate school in St. Louis, working at Glacier, Lake Powell, or Death Valley… moving to Michigan and Pennsylvania, Colorado and now here… with many hikes and summits and viewpoints in between.


I have climbed mountaintops and gazed over the world.

So, let me tell you, the more often you do this, the less fun it is to do it alone.

Without purpose and without fellowship, the excitement in your heart fades even upon the most extraordinary feats.

Plato theosophized a god who was perfect and made the world, setting it into motion, and then went on to contemplate solely perfect things—namely himself.

Our God does not do that. He has made marvels and wonders and He gazes over the majesty of this world. It is a poor and dim reflection of the majesty He has. But, He refuses to turn away.

He looks down from above and the Creator of Adventure, the Trailmaker and Revealer, our Savior sees His heart.

He sees you.

And, He loves you.

Because He loves you… He enters this cruel, dark world as a wanderer, searching for you. At the cost of His life, He saves you so that you may have purpose and fellowship with Him—a mountaintop experience in the Kingdom that has no end.

Now, as we gather together in worship and fellowship this Lent—exploring the ramifications of God’s “Messy” love we will get a glimpse of Him until we see Him face-to-face.

--Pastor Josh Schmidt


February Upcoming Events

February 26th, Discipleship Sunday 9:00 am, Pink Ribbon Fundraiser 12:30 pm

February 28th, Men's I-Help at 5:00 pm.

March 1st, Soup Supper 5pm & Service 6pm

March 8th, CCAMB Presentations During Soup Supper 5pm & Service 6pm

March 13th, Milkshakes with CCAMB

March 15th, Missionary Jason Steffenson & Family will be with us for Soup Supper 5pm & Service 6pm

March 22nd, Soup Supper 5pm & Service 6pm

March 29th, Soup Supper 5pm & Service 6pm

March Birthdays

March 7th, Sally McCully

March 11th, Craig Christensen

March 17th, Hunter Kaufman

March 19th, Steve Koppany

March 19th, Shawn Lasko

March 20th, Jenn Kozdon

March 21st, Susan Johnson

March 23rd, Tamara Davies

March 25th, Inge Sims

March 26th, Rick Bitter

March 28th, Alan Laden

March 31st, Chase Kaufman

March 31st, April Zobel


Board of Directors News

The Board of Directors is now meeting every other month on Saturday mornings from 8:am to 10:00am starting on February 25, 2023. From time to time, we will need to insert a meeting to stay current.

Lots of work is happening as we are meeting and working toward our Goals, We are looking

at security systems and studying California employment law as it relates to our church and growing school, as well as assessing how we use the gifts and talents of our congregation in meeting all our objectives. We have established an Oktoberfest event team and other fellowship activity. We have a maintenance team led by Alan and Ed, who would have me remind all of us to limit the use of the heaters as our gas bill has been up. Of course CCAMB, Evangelism committee, Worship Committee, and Youth Group are all busy working on their goals.

On the financial side I can report we remain strong. Below is the Year-to-Date Income and Expense Report for July – December of this Fiscal Year, 7/1/22-6/31/23. As you can see, our actual expenditures were $3,745.00 less than budgeted:

Click Here for the Financial Report

In His Service

Ken Goebel, President Bethlehem Lutheran Church,

For your Board of Directors, Ray Brockett, Ken Goebel, Alan Laden, Marilyn Maxner, Ed Nipper


Evangelism Committee

The Evangelism Committee is thankful to God for providing many opportunities to our congregation to serve our Adopted Families. We feel the Lord's guidance in prioritizing this program that blesses those in need, and in doing so, also blesses our congregation. We are thankful for Pastor's work in ministering to these families. 

We appreciate your participation in our new Discipleship Sundays. It is encouraging and inspiring to hear how our members share God's word and their faith in their daily lives, and provides examples for all of us to take and also use with those outside our church. Each of your contributions and ideas is a blessing; thank you for being willing share them.  

Pastor provided the good idea of having a BLC member attend the NA, AA, and Al-Anon meetings that take place in our fellowship hall to provide a welcoming connection to our church. If you would be willing to serve the Lord in this good work please reach out to Brynn or Pastor.  

In the next year we hope to add a little free library outside of the church, likely near the office patio on Cass Street. We look forward to the opportunity to stock it with devotionals, audio scripture, and other faith materials that will benefit the community and homeless.  

We continue to need meal providers for both Men's and Women's I-HELP for the rest of 2023. You can sign up for the Men's at and the Women's at BLC Executive Assistant Erica will be calling congregation members to help fill empty slots.  

Thank you for all of your individual efforts to share Jesus' love and the Word with those outside of our church. You magnify the impact of our church's evangelism far beyond that possible by our committee efforts alone..

If you have any questions on any Evangelism Committee activities, please contact chair Brynn Kaufman at or (209) 609-6271.

Bethlehem Family,

We had a great time this past month, we started learning about our body. We all are unique. We had a great time visiting Pizza My Heart and made our own pizzas! At Merrill Gardens we shared chats and valentines with the residents. We are collectively learning about over 60 events in U.S. History for our History Boards.

We are showing our presentations during the Soup Supper on March 8th and we would love for you to come by and ask us questions. We are also singing during the service!

Then, on March 13th, we will be having milkshakes and sharing our presentations over at Merrill Gardens. We would love to have you over!!!

Thank you for your love, prayer and care! At CCAMB we are Learning, Growing, and Serving in Jesus!


The Classical Christian Academy of Monterey Bay

Hello from Concordia Seminary!

Before I continue, I want you to know how truly thankful my family and I are for your

continued financial assistance. It allows me to focus my energy on my studies at the seminary and becoming a better pastor rather than working to pay tuition costs.

I hope your Christmas and New Year were blessed and enjoyable. In addition to being

reunited with our oldest son who was on Christmas break from college, my wife and I enjoyed

visiting extended family on both sides. We truly enjoyed just being present with our children and

extended family members. After the visit, we took my oldest son back to Purdue and continued to

St. Louis. My youngest son resumed high school classes shortly after the New Year and I also had

an intensive Seminary class on the history of the Lutheran Orthodox Theologians with my favorite

professor, Dr. Bode.

After finishing my papers for the class, I made an unplanned drive to San Antonio, Texas.

My aunt called to tell me that my 90-year-old uncle was in the hospital, and I could tell by her

voice that she was concerned. For background knowledge, my aunt does not have children and, in

addition to the role of a devoted nephew, I often fill the role of a son. Unfortunately, after a few

tests we found out that my uncle was simultaneously battling a scepsis infection and kidney

failure. Loving care and antibiotics helped him recover from the infection, but the kidney failure is

not treatable, especially since he has refused dialysis. I rejoice in the long, fruitful, and blessed life

my uncle has lived. I pray that God will allow him to die with as little pain and discomfort as

possible. I also pray that God will strengthen and comfort my aunt during this time.

This spring semester is now well underway. Although I will still have one year of a

vicarage, this will be my last semester of classroom work at the Seminary. I thank God that he has

blessed our Synod with such a wonderful institution for the training and equipping of new

pastors! I am also looking forward to Call Day and Commencement. Call Day is 26 April and

Commencement is 18 May. Both events will be recorded on the Seminary’s YouTube page, if you

want to watch them.

In other family news, we recently found out that my youngest son, Augusts, received a 4-

year Army ROTC scholarship and will attend Purdue in the Fall. We are very proud of him!

Augusts wants to serve in the active Army as an Infantry or Artillery Officer. My oldest son, Janis,

continues to serve in the Air National Guard and is finishing his freshman year at Purdue. He is

also active in the LCMS congregation that is located on the campus and the local Campus Crusade

(CRU) group.


If you want to send me a note, I would love to hear from you. My contact information is below:


Address: 848 Charlesgate Drive

Olivette, MO


In His Service,

Janis Mikits



Jean Goebel, Marilyn Maxner, Melody Nelson, Lindamarie Rosier, Pastor Josh Schmidt

Having quiet and a chance to meditate and pray quietly before the service starts on Sunday morning is important. However, our sanctuary, with the narthex blending right into it, does not make that easy. We have found what we hope is an effective solution, and we will start it on February 26, the first Sunday in Lent.

At 10:00, instead of the prelude, the organist will start the Zimblestern (the bells) and the communion assistants will light the candles. Pastor will then welcome visitors, and we will share the peace. Then the service will begin with the prelude, and we all prepare for worship in our own way.

We will try this during Sundays in Lent. Your comments will be appreciated. Wednesday nights will still be:

Because God Loves Us…

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” is known as “the Gospel in a nutshell.”


That’s it.


That’s all you really need to know to believe and be saved.


But, God’s love doesn’t end there. As we study the Gospel of John together, let’s find out what happens next!

Because God Loves Us He Celebrates With Us

February 26th | Lent

Genesis 3:1-21

Romans 5:12-19

John 2:1-12

LSB 425 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

LSB 859 Lord, When You Came as Welcome Guest

LSB 438 A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth

WOV 699: Blessed Assurance


“Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples.” John 2:2.


He Celebrated With Us

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul commends women to love and respect their husbands and men to be willing to die for their wives.

As we begin Lent with a marriage, we are reminded of Christ’s great sacrifice for us.

Because God Loves Us He Comes to Us

March 5th | Lent

Genesis 12:1-9

Romans 4:1-8, 13-17

John 3:1-17

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.


He Came to Us

Jesus does not stay on His throne in heaven, instead He comes to us—not to condemn us, but to save us through His sacrificial love.


Because God Loves Us He Cares for Us

March 12th | Lent

Exodus 17:1-7

Romans 5:1-8

John 4:4-26

“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” John 4:14.


He Cares for Us

Jesus sees us while we are dying of thirst and He gives us eternal life.

Because God Loves Us He Helps us See

March 19th | Lent

Isaiah 42:14-21

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

“This is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.” John 9:30.


He Helps us See

While we were lost and alone in the world, Jesus shows us the way.

Because God Loves Us He Gives us Life

March 26th | Lent

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Romans 8:1-11

John 11:1-45

“The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth.” John 11:44.


He Gives us Life

While we were dead in our trespasses and sin, Jesus gives us life!