Confessing Christ for the next Generation

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
           When I write one of these articles, oftentimes I go back and look over the sermons that I preached while in the parish. Today is Ash Wednesday; so I went back to an Ash Wednesday sermon which I preached more than a decade ago. The text was Psalm 2. The sermon series "Snapshots of the Passion from the Psalms." In the final verse of that psalm the Psalmist calls upon us to "Kiss the Son"  
            That Son, of course, is our Lord Jesus. Though He is "very God of very God, begotten not made", he is "of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made". But He wasn't always the Son of God. He became the Son of God because of God's intense desire to save us. And that's what is so wondrous about this Psalm. In this Psalm, we see our God planning our salvation before the creation of the world. Eons before God created the trees or the light, long before God formed man from the dust of the ground or breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, before Adam and Eve sinned, God had laid out his plan of salvation. Jesus who speaks through the psalmist describes what happens: "He said to me, You are my Son; today I have become your Father."
            The purpose for that is simple. It's about us. The Father says to the Son, "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." The nations are people. We are the nations; us, our families, and our children, before us and after us, those around us, the stranger and the foreigner. It's a plan whereby God sets out to buy back what sin and the evil one had stolen away and corrupted. Where there was rebellion, God sets out to bring peace through His Son. Where there is sin, God brings forgiveness through the sacrifice of His Son. Where there is death, God brings life through the death and resurrection of His Son. Where there had been alienation, there is now the adoption that is His gift to us through the waters of Holy Baptism.
To accomplish that our Lord Jesus not only became the Son, He also became the sacrifice for our sin. That took him into the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane where He struggled so, and that also took Him to the agonies of death on the cross, the thorns and the nails. Suffering in the Garden our Lord Jesus takes our sin upon himself. See how He suffers there? Suffering on the cross our Lord Jesus is abandoned by the Father as we should have been abandoned to the terrors of eternal damnation. Suffering there on the cross the care and the concern which our Lord Jesus has for sinners is obvious to all as He reaches out to the thief who dies next to him.
Ash Wednesday is more than merely about our sin, it is about our Lord's wondrous love for sinners. In our Lord Jesus, as King David says in Psalm 85, "Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other." There as our Lord Jesus is on the cross paying the penalty of our sinfulness, we are blessed with God's love and faithfulness, and we filled with our Lord's righteousness and peace. St. Paul describes it this way as he writes to the Ephesian believers, "Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ," and "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household."
            As we celebrate Ash Wednesday and enter yet another Lenten season, it is more than merely about ashes on the forehead. It is about the gift of knowing and believing in the Son. St. Peter writes, " He [The Christ] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness." Lent is a time of repentance. A brother pastor, Rev. Nabil Nour, recently posted on Facebook: "Christ has given You His all--His life on the cruel cross. Live by faith and give thanks to what the Savior has given up for you to make YOU His forever."

May our Lord bless your Lent!
Rev. Dr. John C. Wille
Swd Preside nt
The Search for our new SWD Executive Assistant to the President for Missions:
Mr. Byron Buss who heads the call committee for the new SWD Mission Executive reported to the February Board of Directors that the search is well underway. Interviews of four individuals, ordained LCMS pastors, began Friday, September 17 and ended on Monday, February 27. The four candidates are, in no order of importance: Rev. Nathan Meador, Rev, Dr Carl Rockrohr, Rev. Jason Zirbel, and Rev. Peter Burfeind. The Board's call committee will now will meet in the near future to determine next steps. We are looking for the best candidate to serve SWD. Please keep the process in your prayers!!

Seminary Candidate Placement:
This is always an exciting time of the year as we begin to discuss placement of seminary candidates. The good news is that while there are approximately 100 candidates, there are well over 150 congregations who have applied for a candidate, including at least two from SWD. The not so good news is that the number of potential candidates keeps slipping from year to year. It is time for us to encourage our youth to consider church work; either that of being a pastor or a teacher. Take a look at your family; take a look at the church, who might be someone to be encouraged to consider church work??

SWD Mission Intentions:
As we ended our fiscal year January 31, 2017 it is important to note that we missed our congregational intentions by $119,000.00; which means LCMS did not receive our full intention of 25% of every unrestricted dollar. In spite of that, the unaudited numbers show that SWD ended the year in the "black". We are grateful for God's blessings! As we enter the new fiscal year, we are still receiving mission intentions from congregations. Many are in; but we are still waiting for some. As in the past, some of the numbers are down wh ile others are up. That said it appears that our mission intentions will be lower than the previous year. Slipping numbers means fewer resources for missions, sadly. If your congregation can see its way to increase your intention, in some way, that will be greatly appreciated by the missions and ministries which together we support. If your congregation hasn't submitted a mission intention yet, please do so as soon as possible. That way we have a better handle on what to expect, and don't have to "guess" or project what that number might be.

SWD Board of Directors action December 2016:
As the SWD Board adopted a new budget for 2017-2018, they also graciously moved that SWD write a check for an additional $50,000.00 to; above and beyond the 25% of every unrestricted gift which is received from congregat ions. President Harrison and his staff are very grateful for SWD's generosity. It is still my hope and prayer that someday soon, SWD will be able to up our yearly commitment to at least 30%. We will make that journey together.
International Student Ministry (ISM), Milwaukee
Nine International were brought to the waters of baptism last year.
Bessie Fick, International Student Ministry Coordinator at Luther Memorial Chapel, Milwaukee, describes ISM as a ministry of friendship and hospitality that through whichthey may have the opportunity of confessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those God is sending from other lands.  This work is accomplished with the assistance of many.

This past semester they celebrated many special event and activities.  Click here for a brief look in pictures of the work carried out last semester by many in the congregation to welcome our international friends to Milwaukee, into our home, and into God's family where they will have the light of life, Jesus Christ.  

Special request from Rev. Ted Krey........
P lease consider prayerfully supporting the Naumanns who have been called to deploy to the Dominican Republic. Rev. Dr. Jonathan Naumann has been called to be a chaplain to our missionaries as well as a professor in our seminary. Deaconess Cheryl Naumann has been called to serve our women in our regional deaconess program with the purpose of establishing workshops and vocationally preparing our women in their respective areas of service in 5 different countries. Currently, they have a matching grant of $20,000 that for every dollar received, an additional will be given towards their support. Please check out their giving page 


Summer Service Opportunity: 
We are currently seeking out people who love Jesus and can help teach an English Bible Camp (similar to a VBS) in Poland this summer.  Does that sound like you?

There are ten congregations ready to reach out to the children of their neighborhoods with the Gospel.  Most of these children do not know the Good News of Jesus, and through these camps, they learn about Jesus and in turn tell their parents.  Then the local congregation can follow up with these families after the camp is done.  These camps make a lasting difference in these communities!

We are looking for teams of 5 to serve July 18-31 or August 1-14, 2017.  Teams can come from one congregation or school, or individuals can apply and be place on a team.  Team members raise support to cover the cost of the trip, which is about $1100 and includes all costs while in Poland.

You can learn more or apply here:
Read more about this opportunity from those who have served here:

This opportunity is not limited to those who have formal teaching experience.

Anne Gonzalez, DCE
Manager, Short-term Mission Training & Engagement
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
SWD logo
Mission Statement:
For Christ and for His world SWD magnifies partnerships, multiplies ministries, and maximizes resources .

Rev. Peter Kelm as he continues cancer treatments
Rev. H.P. Hilgendorf and his family as he enters into hospice care
Mrs. Petrea McMahon, teacher at Christ Lutheran School, West Bloomfield, who is recovering from surgery

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LCMS Wisconsin Youth Gathering 
November 3-5, 2017
Stand firm, and you will win life. 
Luke 21:19 

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Upcoming Events Around the D istrict


  • March 24-25, 2017:  Pastors Wives Retreat - Comfort Inn & Suites, Johnson Creek, WI
  • March 27, 2017:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Disputed Doctrine:  Justification from Luther Out - Dr. Jonathan Mumme - 11:30 Lakeshore Room
  • April 14, 2017:  Good Friday - District Office Closed
  • April 16, 2017:  Easter
  • April 24, 2017:  CUW Pastors Conference:  Not of the World: Strengthening the Faith of Lutheran Youth - Dr. Ronald Mudge - 11:30 Lakeshore Room
  • May 8-10, 2017:  Spring Pastors Conference:  Chula Vista, Wisconsin Dells
Pastor Calls and Vacancies
Calling Congregations
  • St. John - Berlin
  • Immanuel - Brookfield
  • Risen Savior - Franklin
  • Mt. Calvary - Janesville
  • Grace - Menomonee Falls
  • Mt. Olive - Milwaukee
  • St. Peter -Immanuel - Milwaukee
  • Luther Memorial - Sheboygan
  • St. Paul - Sheboygan
  • St. Paul - Sheboygan Falls
  • Hope - Twin Lakes
  • St. Andrew - West Bend

Pastors Accepting a Call

Contact Information

President John C. Wille
Karen Rayner