Staying Connected
If you were able to tune into worship yesterday you were able to hear me give a message about the Boundary Waters Trip from the week of July 27th. I wanted to go a little deeper here about what we talked about during the week and the way we were able to feel, hear, taste, smell and see God.

The theme for the week was "Sensing God" I came up with that idea pretty early on and figured I could probably put together a five day bible study on it. I came up with the idea of it while doing some reading of Sigurd F. Olson. I've enjoyed his readings as they're light and easy to read. In one of his books he talks about his "Listening Point" He describes it as a place that doesn't have to be up north or somewhere in the wilderness. It simply has to be someplace quiet where the universe can be contemplated with awe. What's that place look like for you? For me I do find it out in nature. It's pretty amazing to me to be in the Boundary Waters as the sun is rising leaving a warm glow across the water as pictured above. For some it could be a quiet corner of their house or maybe even a stretch of road between your home and office.

On Monday we talked how we can touch or feel God. We talked about how the next day we'd be paddling into the boundary waters. The weather forecast was looking good and I told them to close their eyes and just look up towards the sun. To feel the warmth of the sun on their face. To me that's feeling the touch of God. The sun the wind anything from nature that you can feel is from God. Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at you right hand are pleasures forevermore" God's presence is with us and we can feel it. With God's presence it can fill us with joy.

Tuesday we talked about hearing God. I think it's very uncommon to hear the voice of God but when you listen you can sense the still. In Revelations it says, "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you." In the BWCA it's easy to just sit in silence. You'll still hear noise. The sounds of the wind going through the trees. The water as it gets blown against the shore. The sound of loons across the open waters and other wild life scurrying through the woods. To be quiet with one thoughts... to contemplate with awe. Listen for what God is trying to say to you and you may just hear it.

Wednesday. Try it.... you'll like it. I've said those exact words to my kids. Sometimes they look at what is put in front of them for supper and wonder what we're trying to feed them. Sometimes they just have to trust that it is good. They weren't sure once what to order at a restaurant so I just did for them. They tried it they liked it. Isn't that the way it is with God sometimes. You doubt you don't fully trust. You just have to try it. Try what you are meant to do and it'll be good. Try the peanut butter and jelly in a tortilla and maybe it'll just be the most tasty thing you eat all week.

Thursday we smelled God. In Genesis it talks about how Noah offered a burnt offering up to God after the flood and God found it good and made a promise never to flood the earth again. I thought about the smells I've smelt though life the good smells and the bad smells. I asked the kids about the bad smells. By this time in the week we'd been deep in the woods for a few days now. There was a ripe smell of teenage body order and bug spray.... it was lovely. But we talked about the good smells. We talked about the campfire and how that is very distinctive. How a campfire can take you back to the times when you're with others and how there have been good times around it. God is present through those good times as we're having fellowship with others.

The last day of the trip we talked about seeing God. I purposely choose the sense of sight to be talked about the last day because I was hoping I'd be able to ask the question, "Where did you see God during this trip" and the hope was every kid was able to list of countless ways they saw God. After some prying though (after all they're all teenagers) I got how they were able to see God through the otters some saw and the beauty of the BWCA. To see God's presence in our lives is so important. To see the way God works though what's going on in the world and in relationships is a big part of understanding your faith and life. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God" God is in everything. It doesn't take looking very hard and there God will be.

I really enjoyed writing the bible study for the kids on this trip and I hope some of them were able to get something out of it and take a piece of it home with them.

I'd love to discuss this study farther with people if anybody wants too. I'm sure I've only scratched the surface of what we can understand through "Sensing God"

Peace

-Ben
Grace Lutheran Virtual VBS
We have started our week of virtual VBS. Everyday this week emails will be going out with information about the daily themes. If you would like the to receive those emails you can register by clicking HERE. You can also watch Facebook as each days lessons and activities will be posted there. This will hopefully be a fun week of learning and activities that the whole family can enjoy together whether you have kids in the house or not.

Most of the craft supplies can be picked up at Grace any time of day inside the west entrance near the back alley near Main St.

Day One's theme for VBS can be accessed by clicking the button below.
Worship Opportunity!!!
Thank you all who took time to fill out the in-person worship survey. The council met this week to discuss the possibility of in-person worship opportunities. Considering the results of the survey we sent out, the council believes that the majority of people in our congregation feel that doing our part to keep everyone safe and healthy is an important starting point for us. It is also important that we not diminish the quality of worship we are providing to a large number of people in order to offer an in person option at this time for the smaller number of people who are ready to return, and yet we understand how important some aspects of in-person worship are. Taking all of this into consideration, the council has asked that we begin the process of hosting in-person worship for small groups. Our goal is to have people sign up to host a driveway worship service, where a group of 10 people or so can worship and celebrate communion together. We are working on planning a service format that uses best practices for health and safety, while also being meaningful. You can invite a few neighbors, some church members, and we will make it available for others to sign up to attend each service while keeping the numbers at each one small enough to maintain social distancing. More information will be available over the next week as we put together a plan on how to move forward. If you would like to host, you can contact the church office or click the link below and fill out a google form and let us know to help us as we make this happen. Our hope is that we will be able to continue to provide a great worship experience online, while also offering an opportunity to worship together and celebrate communion in a way that is accessible to all.
Fundraising Opportunity Youth BWCA Trip
Very big Thank You yo all who donated money towards the Youth Boundary Waters Trip this year. And thank you to all the prayers and support from everyone.
Connecting with you at Home
Zoom Bible Study
***Bible Study is back***
If you haven't joined us yet for bible study I invite you to check it out this week.
Join us Thursday August 13th 8:00pm
As a community of Christ we share in each others joys and pains as we share using the Rose Analogy.

  • We look for the Rose in our lives - A highlight, success, small win or something positive that's happening.

  • We look for a Thorn in our lives - A challenge you are experiencing or something you can use more support with.

  • And we look for the Bud in our lives - A new Idea that has bloomed or something you are looking forward to knowing more about or experiencing

We then jump into the bible where we get to study the word together.

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This Thursday we continue to move forward in Acts.
We'll be looking at  Acts 15

Conflict in the Church

One question to be thinking about coming into the bible study is:
What are you like when you are in a strong disagreement with others?

You can also reflect on on:
Think about those with whom you are in conflict. Talk about it and let his peace and compassion was over you as he teaches you


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Thursday Bible Study

Zoom Meeting ID 857 5766 8823

Time 8:00 pm Thursday
Every week will have the same meeting ID
Good Earth Village
Virtual Village Camp at home
While we will be having our own Virtual VBS this month through Grace there is still an opportunity for youth to get involved in summer camp in a neat way. Good Earth Village will be releasing a series of videos weekly that will help kids get engaged with not only with God but with the outdoors. Good Earth Village made the tough decision to not do summer programming this year. Instead they are doing Virtual Village. We here at Grace will be doing a similar program. In fact one of the summer staff that helped create these videos for GEV has helped us out at Grace. If you want more information about Virtual Village you can check it out on their website or click the link below.

Below you can access the weekly Good Earth Village's Virtual Village.

Week 1 Virtual Village http://goodearthvillage.org/faith

Week 2 Virtual Village http://goodearthvillage.org/peace

Week 3 Virtual Village http://goodearthvillage.org/openness


Week 5 Virtual Village http://goodearthvillage.org/community

Week 6 Virtual Village http://goodearthvillage.org/service
Connect with us
Zoom can seem like it might be tricky to use but it's really not that bad. If you have a Smart Phone or Tablet you can download the Zoom app for free. If you have a laptop with a camera you can easily join in too by going to the Zoom website. On the website there is a spot towards the top where you can click "join a meeting." That takes you to a spot where you can enter a meeting ID number. If you are using the App there is a there is a spot where you can Join too and then asked for the Meeting ID number.

To access the conversation by phone only call 1-312-626-6799 and enter the Meeting ID followed by # you will then need to hit # again to enter the meeting.

If you have any questions about getting connected with Zoom you can contact Ben at 507-524-3254.
Worshiping Together
I hope all have been able to continue to worship with us at Grace. It has been great to see people join into the Facebook Watch Parties Sunday mornings at 9:55am. Our goal is to ways make worship enjoyable and accessibly to everyone in their homes whether it be though Facebook, YouTube, Radio or KTV. There are many ways you can join in and we hope that you're able to find the way that best fits for you right now until we all can once again meet together for worship at Grace. If you are having troubles getting connected to any of that please reach out and we'd love to help you out getting connected.

Every Sunday we will be hosting a Facebook Watch Party Sunday mornings starting at 9:55am so we can all participate in worship together at the same time if you have Facebook

If you don't have Facebook the worships will still be available on KTOE Sunday mornings at 10:00 and the rebroadcast on KTV. We will also continue to share the link to where they can be found on YouTube. Our goal is that everyone will still have an opportunity to worship with Grace.
August 2nd, 2020 Worship
Zoom Coffee Hour
Every Sunday after the worship is done on Facebook (approx 10:50) we will be having a Zoom Coffee Hour. It's been fantastic to be able to see some familiar faces from Grace and chat a bit. Even if you weren't able to be with everyone while worship was streamed on Facebook you are more than welcomed to join for the coffee hour.

SUNDAY COFFEE HOUR
MEETING ID 886 4204 9605
Communion Available
You can now bring communion home with you. Pre-consecrated elements are available at the church. You can stop in to pick it up and bring home to have during service on Sunday morning. If you can't make it in let us know and we can bring it to you and drop off during the week.

If you'd like also you can make your own communion bread at home. Check out the link below for a great recipe.


There is a new and easy way to continue to give to Grace. You can now text the amount you want to give to 507-607-7337. After a few very easy steps you can submit giving right from your phone. We thank you for your support to the mission and ministry of Grace Lutheran Church.
Christ in our Home
Devotional
Many of you may be unable to get a copy of Christ In Our Home from the church as you normally would.

During this time we are making it available to you digitally, paper copies are still available at Grace and can be picked up. If you stop to pick one up please do wear a mask while in the church building.
Pray Together
Lord God,

We thank you for your presence in our lives. How you show up in many different ways. How we can see you in a the beauty of nature and feel you with the warmth of the sun beating down on us. How you can be heard the call of nature of the sound of a love ones voice. Taste you in a meal after a long hard day and even smell you as we gather around a campfire with friends and family as the aroma takes us back to other times when the world was simpler and felt more comforting. God you do amazing things in our lives and we ask that we are able to open up and see those things.
Amen
Check out this Video!
Colton Dixon was a contestant on American Idol. I've really enjoyed his music. His music is a bit on the heavier side of Christian music. I found it good to listen too while out on a run. When I would go out for a run.... now a brisk walk is more my speed. This song is fantastic how it talks about wanting to put more into God rather than ourselves. I thought this one fit well this week as in the bible study I did with the kids in the boundary waters was about Sensing God. We want to see more of what God is doing in our lives and how he's with us rather than what we can just do for ourselves.
More of You by Colton Dixon