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BLC Family News & Events

Pastor's Letter

Scooting Closer to Jesus

            “Lent is about Jesus Christ…


            ‘Though you have not seen him, you love him’ (1 Peter 1:8-12). Is that true? Do you love Him? I don’t mean do you know about Him in your head. Of course you do. I’m not asking if you know things about His life. Sure you do. No, the question is this: Do you love Him?

            Years ago, I heard a story about a married couple going someplace in the car. The husband was driving. The wife was lamenting that the romance of their youth had gone out of their marriage. I wonder how the husband took that! Anyway, the wife recalled that when they were first married, they used to sit close together in the front seat of the car. The husband smiled and said, ‘I haven’t moved away.’


            Do you love Jesus? I can’t answer for you, but can only answer for myself. Yes, I love Him, but I certainly don’t love Him the way I ought. Sometimes I move away from Him. You will probably admit that you do, too. I need—we all need—this penitential season of Lent.


            Lent gives you and me the opportunity to reflect on our journey – not just our journey from this Ash Wednesday to Easter, but our bigger journey through life to our eternal home with God… it’s Lent to Easter, it’s ashes to glory, and it’s dust to glorified bodies in our heavenly home.”

– President Dale Meyer’s Ash Wednesday Sermon,

Concordia Seminary St. Louis, 2015.


            On February 14th –my birthday!—we will begin this journey of new life together. During this season of penitence and reflection we will contemplate what it means to have “honest repentance.” Although we try our hardest, it is always difficult to admit when we are wrong… when we have moved a little too far away from Jesus—the One Who loves us the most.

Let’s scoot a little closer to Him together this season!


In His love,

Pastor Josh Schmidt

P.S. Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer will be with us for our Summer Conference this year (June 6th-8th). Contact the office to register!!!

Upcoming Events

February 11, 5pm - Women's I-HELP

February 13, Noon - "The Chosen" Screening

February 14, 5:30pm - Ash Wednesday with Soup Supper

February 21, 5:30pm - Lenten Service with Soup Supper

February 25, 3pm - FLC Book Club, Pastor Harbaugh's House

February 25, 7pm - Concordia University Irvine Choir Performance

February 27 and 28, 5pm - Men's I-HELP

February 28, 5:30pm - Lenten Service with Soup Supper

February Birthdays

Jo Nipper - February 3

Josh Schmidt - February 14

Candace Rall - February 28

President’s Report

Dear Family and Friends of Bethlehem Lutheran Church

I'm excited to be part of this growing church family and am honored to have been asked and selected to serve as its President. I know I have big shoes to fill! Ken continues to be extremely helpful during this transition, and while he still serves on the Board, I want to publicly thank him for his many years of tireless effort and dedication in leading our church. His commitment is an inspiration to us all. 

I'm a native Midwesterner, having grown up in the Lutheran Church in Indiana. I've spent several decades working in the Technology industry, which is what brought me to California about 30 years ago. I met my wife Cameron, who is a native of Monterey, on a golf trip to this area and we've been together ever since. We currently split our time between homes in Texas and here in California.

A few more Thank You's are in order: recently a team comprising several volunteers took on the onerous task of cleaning and organizing the Church Office and Sacristy. To Sally, Bob, Sonja, Ken, Alan, and anyone else whom I might have missed: your efforts are sincerely appreciated (and I'm sure Pastor agrees!). Also, effective March 1, Ewald Hueffmeier has decided to step down as BLC Treasurer. We thank him for his years of dedicated service. We'll be organizing and announcing a replacement plan by the time the next BoD meeting occurs in February.

I've enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with many folks over the last few months, but I certainly have not yet met everyone. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time with comments, concerns, or suggestions. I welcome any insights you can share!

God's blessings,


Youth Ministry

Easter's Coming Early This Year!

Easter is going to be here before we know it and that means Easter lilies!!! As a fundraiser for our youth group, you may order your Easter Lillies through the office at $50 each (get them for yourself or for church on Easter Sunday). Orders need to be in by the first week of March.

Bible Study!

Join us online Wednesday, January 31 at 6pm

"What happens next?"

Join us for our Online Only Bible Study Wednesday at 6pm.

We are discussing the resurrection and the things to come

according to Scripture.

Text: (William Lane Craig's Time & Eternity) Revelation 6:9-17

FLC Book Club

Faith Lutheran Church in Seaside has invited us to be part of their book club! Our first great read will be “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson. Sunday, February 25, at 3pm, we will get together at Pastor Harbaugh’s home to discuss what we have learned and how the book’s wisdom may be applied to a Lutheran worldview.

Concordia University Irvine's

Woman's Choir Concert!

Concordia University Irvine's Select Woman's Choir will be joining us this month!!! The performance will be at Bethlehem, 

Sunday, February 25th at 7pm! 

And, we hope to see you there.

We are also in need for housing for the 30 girls that same night. Thank you to those of you who have already offered up your homes, please contact Pastor Josh Schmidt (314) 261-3180 if you are available to host. This is a great way for our LCMS parishioners through-out the area to come together for one night of camaraderie, worship, and support.

More about the ensemble:

Known for its seamless, expressive tone and engaging programming, Concordia University’s select women’s choir inspires audiences at their annual Fall Choral Concert, Christmas Concerts, Valentine’s Concert, and Spring Choral Concert. The choir has touched audiences in recent annual tours to Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, and Austria. Dr. Clarissa Shan serves as the ensemble director. 

Evangelism Committee Report

Our bible study sessions focused on Melanie Shankle's Church of the Small Things in December and January were a blessing to our congregation. Shankle invited us to reflect on how we often think we should be serving God in big, visible ways (missions, impactful programs, addressing community crises), but we fail to recognize that God provides us countless opportunities to serve him in our current, ordinary lives. Luther reminded us that all of our daily roles are part of our callings - worker, citizen, spouse, parent, church member, etc. - and that we can faithfully serve God in all of these. Our bible study sessions helped us meditate on and discuss the importance of these callings, and how we can see God in all parts of our lives and serve Him meaningfully when we keep our eyes on Him.  

In upcoming months the Evangelism Committee will focus on ensuring the I-HELP program is sufficiently supported, installing a lending library in our patio on Cass Street, moving forward with the BLC Volunteer Corps, and continuing to support our Adopted Families. As always, we welcome those who are interested to join our committee.  

Brynn Kaufman 

Dear Friends,

The peace of the Lord be with you! Here is our January/February Newsletter:

Jan-Feb 2024 Newsletter

For more information: https://www.lcms.org/steffenson

Please note that my current email distributing website (TinyLetter) is shutting down. I am researching a new email distribution website, so if you get an email from me in this next month requesting for you to sign up for our newsletter, please sign up to continue receiving our newsletters.

In Christ,

Rev. Jason Steffenson

Help Wanted!

Church Historian

We are hoping to find one or more persons who are interested in organizing and scanning existing historical church documents, decide how to best keep and share them, and then keep up with it as new records are available. This would be a fun job for anyone interested in the history of the church, someone artistic and organized. If you might be interested, would be willing to work with others on the history of our church or have more questions about this project, please let Pastor Josh know! And thank you!

Spiritual Care Team

Let’s get a team together! Pastor would like help as he visits our sick and homebound members. If you like talking; being there for others; and love Jesus, this might be a role for you! Let him know.

Worship Committee Report

What do Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday have in common? They share a day this year: February 14. We begin observance of Lent with a soup supper at 5:30, followed by a communion service and the laying on of ashes at 6:00. We will hold more informal Lenten services the following five Wednesday (2/21, 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20) at 6:00, preceded by a soup supper at 5:30. As we plan soup suppers for Lent, please let one of us know if you are able to provide soup or accompaniments to supper.

Why do we have ashes put on the foreheads of those who wish it on Ash Wednesday? Ashes symbolize our dust-to-dustness, remind us that we are sinners and need God’s cleaning. Pastor will take the ashes on the end of his thumb and make the sign of the cross on the forehead, saying, “Remember: you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” As you return for communion, you will have the opportunity to wash the ashes off, if you wish, using water in the Baptismal font, a reminder of your Baptism.

Jean Goebel, Marilyn Maxner, Melody Nelson,

Lindamarie Rosier, Pastor Josh Schmidt

honest repentance

Repentance starts with being honest before God and ourselves about who we are. When it comes to sin, everyone has a natural impulse to hide, but repentance means finding the courage to be honest. It also means having faith in the promise of forgiveness.


But being honest about faith means recognizing that faith is contested on many sides not only by society, but by our own experiences, and sometimes even by the actions of God himself.


Finally, repentance means becoming more human, not less. Because of our thoughts, desires, and actions are so linked with sin, it is easy to view repentance as fighting against our humanity as if holiness meant trying to stifle as many of our natural human impulses as possible. But honest repentance results in our natural impulses functioning more as God designed them…


Rev. Dr. David Maxwell presents a study on the recommended readings for the Easter Vigil in light of our Lutheran Doctrine to be shared in our sermon series this year.


February 14th | Ash Wednesday

Genesis 1:1-10



February 21st | Lent Midweek Service

Genesis 7:6-8:1



February 28th | Lent Midweek Service

Genesis 22:1-18



March 6th | Lent Midweek Service

Jonah 3:1-10



March 13th | Lent Midweek Service

Daniel 3:13-30



March 20th | Lent Midweek Service

Exodus 14:10-15:1

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