Beloved,

This Sunday, we will see Jesus' dive into public life. He stands up in his hometown synagogue, and for his first sermon, Jesus chooses this passage, from the fiery truth-teller, Isaiah:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me
To bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To let the oppressed go free,
To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

And then, in the mic drop of all mic drops, Jesus SITS, taking on the posture of a rabbi, and he says, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

In these few short words, Jesus publicly declares his mission statement, but he also says, "Mission Accomplished."

For centuries, Israel had dreamed about the Jubilee, or "the year of the Lord's favor." The Jubilee was to happen every 50 years (7 weeks of years), and in that year, everyone would return to their ancestral land, no matter who had owned it in the intervening years. Prisoners and slaves would be released, no questions asked. The oppressed finally knew freedom. Debts were forgiven. People were restored.

But the Jubilee never actually happened. It was a beautiful vision, a Biblical dream, but in the real world, it was something left to the dreamers.

But finally Jesus comes along and says, the time is now. All is restored. The Jubilee is TODAY.

Mission Accomplished.

On Sunday, we'll explore the mission that Jesus accomplished, and we will also reflect on our own mission as Good Shepherd Lutheran Church: Christ's body right here in North Raleigh. At our Congregational Annual Meeting, we'll celebrate the last year and declare that God has indeed been at work. In 2018, God, through our community, brought good news to those who are poor, helped people to see things more clearly, shined a light on oppression and worked toward freedom for all. We have cared for one another and the world God made. We have worked for peace and justice. The Spirit has been working here. The scripture has been fulfilled.

And still, there's more to do! We look at the state of our world, and we know that is true. All is not yet restored. Jesus' Jubilee is here, but its completion is still fodder for our dreams.

And so, we celebrate, and we keep dreaming. We'll approve a new budget together - another kind of mission statement. We'll take a good look at the fine work of all those who have prepared this document, and we'll imagine all that God will do with our dollars in 2019.

We are a part of something beautiful, Beloved. We are a part of God's Jubilee. That restoration is for us. And through us, with God's doing, may it reach out and take hold in the world around us.

Peace be with you.
PM

This Sunday's Readings
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

Annual Congregational Meeting at 12:00-1:00 pm in the Sanctuary- All confirmed members of Good Shepherd are encouraged to attend this annual congregational meeting to help celebrate God's work at GSLC in 2018 and hear more about the plans crafted by our council, staff, and ministry teams for 2019. Light refreshments will be served. A review of 2018 and the 2019 spending plan are available in the 2018 Annual Report.

Generations Forum begins this Sunday, 9:30-10:30 am, Underwood North - Join all the generations for this four-week Generations Forum. A new generation will be represented each week by a panel. Each panel will be asked and answer the same questions and will teach a generation-specific skill to the audience.

Gospel Gathering begins a six-week study entitled The Twenty -four Hours That Changed the World this Sunday, 9:30-10:30 am, Underwood West - Through interactive power point presentations, we will examine Mark's account of the last hours of Jesus' life and what those final moments mean to us in the twenty-first century.  Join us for a pre-Lenten Biblical study that will include discussions, art and music and that will set the tone for a deeper understanding of the Passion story.

Spend an Evening with GSLC Coffeehouse -  Friday, January 25, 7:00-8:30 pm, Fellowship Hall - This Ministry offers live music, refreshments, and fellowship to adults of all abilities. It's a great volunteer activity for families, too!  

Basketball Clinic -  Saturdays, January 26 - February 23, 9:00-11:00 am in Fellowship Hall - Children in grades K through 5, spend your Saturday mornings on the court at Good Shepherd learning the fundamentals of basketball, and most of all, having FUN!! $20 fee includes t-shirt. Sign up  here .

Baptismal Seminar - Monday, January 28, 6:00-7:00 pm, Underwood North -  If you are considering baptism at Good Shepherd, make plans to attend this baptismal seminar. We will discuss the baptismal rite, the responsibilities, and the marks of baptism that make up this ancient sacrament. For more information, contact Pr. Marsha.

Let's Do Lunch! - All-Church Potluck sponsored by Way of the Shepherd - Sunday, February 10, 12:00-1:30 pm in Fellowship Hall -   We will be welcoming guests and prospective Good Shepherd members in church, then we will welcome them to our community with a meal. Come share this time with friends old and new; bring a dish to share. All ages are welcome.

Registration for Agape Day Camp at Good Shepherd (July 8-12) is now open. Register online.

Preschool registration for the 2019-2020 school year is now open. Learn more and register online

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

Health and Healing  for Doyle Peterson, father of Brenda Chaplinsky.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including Tatenda Nyoni Shiri and Effort Gumbo.

Tatenda is 20 years old.  He took his "A" level exams and is awaiting the results.  If he passes these tests he will qualify for post-secondary education.  Mnene staff will then discuss his education path for this year.  He visited with our mission team in 2017 at Vic Falls.  His Mail For Mnene partners are the Vitek family and Gerhard Livingston.
 
Effort is a calm, quiet, poised 21 year old young man.  He requested to take driving lessons at Zvishavane Voc. School last fall and he successfully completed the course receiving his Class II drivers license.  In spite of the very depressed economy in Zimbabwe he is finding some work as a driver.  He visited with our 2017 mission team.  His Mail For Mnene partner is the Cash 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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