The Problem with Dead Things

The problem with dead things is that it's hard to tell if they're dead.
There are many who are very skilled at this, of course. Doctors come to mind, though even they have been known to make mistakes from time to time.
Hence the reality of the "Wake" that precedes a funeral.  It was called a "wake" because you would sit with the body all night (usually playing cards and drinking heavily, at least in my family's Celtic heritage) to make sure that the body didn't literally "wake."  Join the party. Ask to be dealt back into life.
In the olden days the Wake was not a time for you to come and pay respects, quietly walking around some room at the funeral home browsing old photographs and signing a little book.  It was the party where you loudly and proudly celebrated life, making sure that the person in question didn't want to join in!
And so when Jesus talks this week about abiding in him as the true vine, and that all dead vines will be thrown out into the fire, my first thought is, "how do you know if it's dead?"
Oh, the verse for this week is  John 15:1-8.  Go ahead and read it or else the rest might not make much sense.
Got it?  Ok. Onward.
Literally, I want to know how you know.  How do you know when something is dead?

Sunday's Readings
Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

Health & Healing in Nicaragua begins this Sunday , 9:30-10:30 am in Fellowship Hall -  In this three-week SME class, Pastor Tim will share his experience working with a cohort from Wake Forest School of Divinity, their trip to Nicaragua in January 2018, and how Good Shepherd might take action. All are welcome!

Have you seen the Envelope Wall in the Narthex? In less than two months, Good Shepherd is sending 22 youth and 6 adults to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX.  We have been fundraising for three years, and it's time for the final push!  Grab an envelope on the wall to share financial support and prayers with the participants. Get a glimpse of the wall here
While it may be hard to believe, our summer sermon series starts in a month.  Check out this year's topics and resources.

GSLC Coffeehouse - Friday, April 27, 7:00-8:30 pm, Fellowship Hall -New volunteers are needed at this evening of live music, dinner and fellowship for adults of all abilities since many of our regular helpers are out of town. No experience required. To sign up, email .

Baptismal Seminar -  Monday, April 30, 6:00-7:00 pm, Library -  If you are considering baptism at Good Shepherd, make plans to attend this seminar. For more information, contact Pr. Tim.  

Volleyball in Fellowship Hall - Wednesday, May 2, 6:00-8:00 pm -Youth and adults are invited to join in these pickup games; all skill levels are welcome. Bring a friend. Volleyball is great for your body and for your soul!

Mark Your Calendars: Charitable Giving & the New Tax Law - Sunday, May 6, 12:00-12:45 pm, Underwood West - 
Join Kristen Hoyle, CPA for an overview of the impact of the new tax law on charitable donations. Kristen will share helpful tips and will be available to answer your questions. Sponsored by the Stewardship Team; refreshments will be provided.

Acolyte Training & Refresher - Sunday, May 6, 12:00-1:00 pm, Sanctuary -  Get ready to be trained or refreshed on the responsibilities, movements, and all things acolyte! Anyone 6 years and older is welcome, including parents who are interested in serving with their youth. Pizza will be provided, so let the church office know that you are coming.

Penny Wars continue! Bring your pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, bills and checks to the Narthex to support the orphans of Mnene Parish.

Andrew Buck's parable was featured on the GSLC blog this week, and shares his views on Cross-Generational Ministry at Good Shepherd. Read it here.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements .

Health and Healing  for Doris Shexnayder, sister of Betty Pailthorpe; Hilda Stutler, mother of Anne Stutler; and Wayne Etzel, brother of Elaine Sardi.

Thanksgiving for this Sunday's baptism of Zane William Gonyier, son of Dwaine and Christina Gonyier. 

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Prince Mpofu and Princess Mpofu.

Prince and Princess are 24 year old twins who were in the Good Shepherd support program until their homestead burned down in 2009.  This tragedy forced them to find shelter far from Mnene. They returned to our program in 2012. Prince is enrolled at Zvishavane Vocational Tech were he is doing well, taking courses in Metal Fabrication.  Princess is taking classes in Hotel Catering.  Her daughter is staying with an aunt while she takes classes, and Princess is a "house girl" for her aunt.  After discussions with Mnene staff, land was donated and plans are being formulated to build a kitchen hut and block house so that Prince and Princess would again have a homestead.  Prince's Mail For Mnene partner is the Agather family.  Princess's Mail For Mnene partner is the Greengrove-Pfefferle family.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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