Newsletter
May 2019
Coffee & Donuts 8:30am
 
Adult Bible Study 8:45am
 
Worship w/Holy Communion 10:00am

College Lunch 11:15 

From Pastor John
Batman Will Never Be Good Enough, But We Are!

For me Batman was  Adam West of the 1960's television series.  It was corny, campy, and never too scary. The caped crusaders spouted pious platitudes which sounded like public service announcements.  As a boy, I just knew that Batman was good and noble. His tragic childhood, in which his parents were murdered, was minimized.  

You can imagine my shock when the superhero was rebooted in 1989 as a much darker character.  Starting with Tim Burton and every director following, Bruce Wayne has been flawed, brooding, conflicted, troubled, and a reluctant crime fighter.  This actually was the way he has been from the beginning.

I did not know that until I attended the Mockingbird Conference in New York City.  There was a breakout session on superheroes and theology.  The speaker said that Batman has been a dark figure, except for a brief hiatus in the 1950's and 1960's.  He has only gotten darker through the various comic book reboots.  

The reason for the darkness surprised me.  It is because of a vow that has stayed consistent throughout his nearly eighty-year history.  When his parents were murdered, Bruce Wayne vowed that he would protect people in his city so that they would never suffer the way he himself suffered.  

Batman is struck in a cycle of never being good enough.  He can never get the suffering down to zero.  So, he broods and at times loses his sanity. The speaker went on to say, this is what happens when one is under the Law.   Batman is all Law and No Gospel.  

The Law always accuses.  It says that we are not good enough, perfect enough, pure enough, achieving enough.  We burden ourselves with "coulda," "shoulda," and "woulda."  On top of that, we feel at times the accusations that we are in bondage to sin, and cannot free ourselves.  There are things done and left undone in God's Law.  

The Lenten season, just finished, and the Easter season which we are celebrating now says that all of the accusations, the feelings of never being good enough, have been dealt with decisively on the cross.  Jesus  suffered in every way we suffered, and overcame death itself.  He suffered the big "D" of death, so that we might pass through suffering into eternal life.  

Therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8).  There is no one who can accuse us, not even ourselves.  It is enough.  Christ's grace frees us to be people of God who "get to" gladly serve without worrying it is not good enough.  

Happy May and congrats to our graduates this month!

 
From Pastor Ken
My sincere gratitude goes to the entire FLC community for your generosity to me in these last few weeks. Not only was the breakfast a special treat and opportunity for good laughs and fun reflection, but your very generous gifts and financial support have humbled me greatly. Paula and I will always hold FLC in high regard. Know that I leave with fond memories, great friendships, and a desire to see you all again in the not-so-distant future! 

Until then, peace. 
- Pastor Ken
 
Prayer Thoughts 
Let all who passionately seek you erupt  With excitement and joy over what you've done;  Let all your lovers rejoice continually in the Savior,  Saying, "How great and glorious is our God!"
Psalm 40:16 TPT
He is Risen
 
Resurrection Day was the first Sunday after Passover, when Christ arose from the grave.  This was the first day of the Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22) or its other name Feast of Harvest (Ex.  23:16) and the closing festival of the Passover season. This feast is referred to as Latter Firstfruits:  the Hebrew name is Shavuot and we know it by its Greek name Pentecost.  Pentecost is only found in the New Testament, Acts 2:1. Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) is observed for only two days.  It marks the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. Pentecost means fiftieth.
    
The people were instructed to count seven weeks plus one after the first Sunday after Passover.  
"And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf (omer) of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD." Leviticus 23:15 These fifty days are called counting omer.  

This is a celebration to reawaken and strengthen our personal relationship with God the Father who loved us unconditionally, with no strings attached, giving us the invitation to accept His Son, Jesus, so that we could have everlasting life through His Son (Jesus' death and resurrection). (John 3:16-21)  How magnificent is our God the Father who planned many years before  to have this celebration in place for us to celebrate Pentecost, the Holy Spirit's coming. "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come (fifty days), they were all with one accord were in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire and one sat upon each of them.  And they were filled with the Holy Spirit...." Acts 2:1-4  

Comparisons between:
 
During this time of counting the omer, let us spend our time with the LORD in praise and thanksgiving for what He has done for us.  In your journals you can write blessings for your family; listen carefully to what the LORD has to say, writing it down; pray for our country to be unified under one GOD; write scriptures that are meaningful to you;  also during this time spent waiting (counting the omer) for the the celebration of the Holy Spirit, we can ask the LORD for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Him,  and our eyes of our understanding be enlightened. Eph 1:17-18

National Day of Prayer
This year's celebration is on Thursday May 2. If you did not receive the prayer guide at church on April 28, you can participate at the national level by logging on to " nationaldayofprayer.org" where a program will be streamed live from 7:30 - 9:30 EDT in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol Building. The goal is to find unity among Christians and a spiritual awakening among all people. The theme this year is "Love on another" and is based on John 13:34 which reads, "A new command I give you: As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

Miriam Circle
Miriam Circle will meet at 10:00 on Tuesday morning, May 14th, in the church library.  We begin with coffee, or water if you prefer, and some fellowship before we delve into our study, which will be "Running the Race" on page 20 of the Spring issue of the "Lutheran Woman's Quarterly."  It's about Paul and how God made him ready to serve the Lord, set him on the right path of faith, and blessed his efforts.  No actual running involved.  It's the last study in this issue of the Quarterly and will be our last Miriam Circle meeting until September.  We will be finished well before noon.  Come and join us. 

OWL's
OWLS next meeting is May 14 at 12 noon. Our theme this month is Italian with lasagna being served. Bring salad, garlic bread, or dessert if able. Come join our lively group for fun and games.
GOD WINK
God Wink's project this month is books for summer reading for the students at Lake Forest. Books for all grades appreciated. Check out area garage sales and library book sales coming up.

lcef
LCEF
Do LCEF Investments Matter?
What are the possibilities? Consider these loans through our church's Extension Fund:
  • Renovations of buildings at Saint Paul Lutheran High School in Concordia, MO.
  • Build a worship space at Vine and Branches     Lutheran Church in Aldie, VA.
  • Build a new sanctuary at St. John's Lutheran     Church in Lexington, KY.

Join me this summer to reimagine Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in Michigan!

What do you think of when you think of "Islam?" Whom do you picture when you think of Muslims? How might we envision ways to love our Muslim neighbor despite what we see in the news? How do we deal with the stunning diversity of the world and its presence in our lives via the rapid and constant movement of ideas, people, technologies, and religious practices?

This summer (June 22-29, 2019), I will be leading a one-week "dean and lecture" program posing, exploring, and unpacking these questions and more with participants at Camp Arcadia in Michigan.

Beyond considering the ways Christians have imagined Islam past and present, these sessions will aim to challenge what we think we know about Muslims, and invite us to reimagine our relationship with Islam and Muslims alike. In addition, we will use the "case" of Muslim-Christian relations to re-imagine how we think about, live alongside, and engage with "others" in general.

I will be joined in the "dean and lecture" program by Heather Choate Davis, who will be presenting "God's Visionaries: Seeing the Big Picture." Heather is a writer, speaker, theologian, liturgist, and servant based in Los Angeles. In 2013, she received her MA in Theology from Concordia University Irvine, and is now completing a two-year intensive training in Christian Formation and Spiritual Direction.

I encourage you to consider attending and registering for Family Week 1 to join Heather and me at Camp Arcadia.

Camp Arcadia, located in Northwest Michigan, is a non-profit, Lutheran, family resort and retreat center on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. Arcadia exists to provide a setting for families and individuals to enjoy a vacation together and be renewed in spirit, mind and body - enjoying the beauty of the lake surroundings and the community of fellow campers.

During a family week you might square dance, play basketball, shuffleboard, softball, tennis or soccer, create a craft, participate in a talent show, compete in family games or shoot archery. Every member of the family will be engaged spiritually through the daily morning study, presentations, and worship.

Each of the family weeks at Camp Arcadia is unique in that different speakers bring their knowledge and style to the program. While adults are in their program, children (age three through college) are engaged in their own study and activities led by our program staff. A nursery for those under three is also available. Daily programming also features activities (athletic, craft and nature) for children and adults to do on their own or in family groups.

You will find places at Arcadia to be by yourself, have intimate conversations with others, and be with small and large groups of people. At Arcadia, you will find the time to experience each of these types of community.

Plus, maybe we can grab a meal or two together in the canteen. I hope to see you there.



Open Arms Spotlight
There were lots of exciting tis happening with Open Arms during the month of April! This past month we had our very first Easter egg Hunt after hours with Open Arms students and their families. Everyone had a wonderful time and really enjoyed themselves! 

Our Older Wiser Lutheran Seniors (OWLS) invited the two VPK classes to join them for lunch during their April Meeting.  Everyone had so much fun talking and interacting with each other!



NightLife
All 7th-12th Grade students are invited to attend NightLife, our weekly Youth Group.  At NightLife we eat food, have fellowship, play games, and spend time in the Bible. NightLife is back to our normal schedule! During the month of May we will be studying Prayer and our Unchanging God. 




National Youth Gathering Meetings
The next National Youth Gathering Meeting will be on May 26, 2019, following Sunday Worship. We will be doing a Bible Study, some Group Building, and talking about food and housing at the National Youth Gathering. A Parent Volunteer is needed to help prepare a meal for youth and parents before the meeting begins. 

May 26 - Youth NYG Meeting (Parent Volunteer Needed to Cook Lunch)
June 16 - Youth & Parent NYG Final Details Meeting (6:00pm)
July 7 - NYG Sending in Worship Service



Open Arms Graduation
Open Arms VPK Students will be graduating on May 31st at 10:00 am and you are invited! Please come and support these amazing students who are moving on to the wonderful grade of Kindergarten! 
CPH Reads
CPH Reads is a summer reading program that encourages people to read Christ-centered books all year long.

From May 25 to August 4, read any book, log your points for each book read, and then be entered to win one of our awesome prizes!

All ages can participate in this summer reading program. Click the link below to sign-up!

CPH Reads Link: http://read.cph.org  

Summer Devotions
Summer Family Devotions are coming! At the end of May family vacation devotions titled "On the Road Again" will be available for your family as you travel this summer. Be sure to grab one for everyone in your family because the back pages include some fun games and activities for all ages!


Join us for VBS this year! VBS is taking place on July 29 - August 2.  Our completed Kindergarten Classes - 5th Grade will run 5:30 - 8:30 pm. Our 3 year olds - VPK Graduates will meet from 5:30 - 7:20 pm. Dinner will be provided each evening for the whole family. Registration is now OPEN! We hope to see you at VBS and can't wait to learn about our good God with you! Please feel free to share with your friends and neighbors!

VBS Registration Link: https://vbspro.events/p/flcgainesville  
B.A.S.I.C Nicaragua Update
 These students are supported by our church or members of our church. 



Zair's sister graduated and he is in 1st year HS. He is averaging about 60-70% but did get 90% in Math. His hardest subject is Social Studies at 60%. This family continues to struggle with Maria's medical care. Her diabetes is going to be an ongoing issue, but Dr. Alexis is seeing her. He said she often does not keep her appointments.       



Franklin had an interrupted school year. He was sent to Costa Rica along  with Meyling Romero and her children as Ana and her husband feared for the
children's safety. They were gone 4 months. 
He was able to catch up as was  Anderson Romero. He didn't have a report card handy but his favorite
subject was Math and History and has difficulty in Geography.




The family seems to be managing. 
Mom is cleaning at a child care centre so
at least she has some work. 
Isaura is doing pretty good. Her favorite
subject is Literature and she is getting 80% and like most kids, she has problems with Math 70%.

In This Issue
2019 Women's Book Club Books
Calendar

Prayer Circle - First Sunday of each month at 9:15am
Card Ministry - First Monday of the month at 1:00pm
Women's Book Club - Second Saturday of each month at 10:45am
Miriam Circle - Second Tuesday of each month at 10:00am
Phoebe Circle - Third Tuesday  of each month at 7:30pm
OWL's- Second Tuesday of each month at 12:00pm

Celebrations

Click  here to see the May Birthday celebrations!
Click  here to see the May Anniversaries!