"Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." (Luke 1:45)
Elizabeth's greeting to Mary was a spontaneous expression of bursting joy and gratitude, for in her young cousin she saw the handiwork of God, and on her face she saw the unmistakable signs of trusting faith. Mary was God's favored one, a chosen instrument for His work of salvation. But Mary was also hardly more than a girl; one of countless Jewish girls whose simple lives were lived in the homes and villages of Palestine. Nothing unique. Nothing profound. Really quite ordinary. Just the sort of "earthen vessel" through which God often works out His most astonishing miracles.
Among the other wonders of Christmas, we remember that God does not bypass even the weakness of human frailty in order to work out His purposes. In fact, the message of the Incarnation is that it is often precisely through finite and fragile human nature that God reveals the splendor of His eternal being. Christmas is a day to rejoice, for no person is despised by God, no person is useless in His hands; no person is too sinful and flawed to be the "blessed of God."
Only one thing was required of Mary in order that she might bear the Son of God. Faith - the gift of faith in the love and power of God. No Super-human strength was necessary and no extraordinary level of belief. The angel Gabriel was sent to one who, in answer to God's call, would believe and utter a simple "Fiat" ("Let it be"). This Christmas let us greet with our own burst of joy and gratitude the God who came directly into our midst to save us, and may our hearts be lifted by the remembrance that He used one just like us in order to do so. How "blessed of God" we are.
Why lies He in such mean estate Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear; for sinners here The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, The cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word made flesh, The babe, the son of Mary!
** IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER! **
Registration Closed --
October 8, 2017
All Memorials were due --
October 8, 2017
All Nominations were due --
November 1, 2017
Hotel Block Rate Ends --
January 27, 2018
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2015 2016 2017
$900,000 $900,000 $900,000
Budgeted Income $825,000 $825,000
Actual Income $807,979 $741,045 $689,728
NEWLY ELECTED CONGREGATIONAL LEADERS
Congregations who have elected new congregational officers/leaders, please update the Southern District office with their information.
to submit your information online.
If you would like a paper form, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the January/February issue of SOS are due by Feb. 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email (email@example.com). Please send photos as JPEG files, attached to the email. Congregational news that is received but exceeds space in the printed SOS will be published on the "Around the District" blog of our website. Thank you for sharing your news!
(click on image for the current issue)
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN UPDATE
All Congregations! Please remember to update your
Spirit of Southern lists. As indicated in the letter each congregation received, you will need to cross off any household that does NOT want a paper copy. Any households left on the list will cost $5.00 each. Thank you for your attention to this!!
|Marigny Pops Concert
||St. John Lutheran Church
New Orleans, LA
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Holy Cross - Mobile, AL Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)
Immanuel - Bossier City, LA
Grace - Pensacola, FL
If your congregation has extended a call, had a call accepted, or had a call returned, please remember to notify the Southern District office.
~ CALLED TO SERVE ~
Rev. Ron Millard,Jr, Immanuel-St. Charles, MO to Immanuel-Bossier City, LA ~ Pending
Rev. Louis Boldt, St. Paul-Hammond, LA to Emmanuel-Aurora, IL ~ Pending
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
95th Anniversary Service -- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Prattville, AL
Rev. Jeff Hesterman, Pastor
~ December ~
Anniversary of Ordination
SOUTHERN DISTRICT EDUCATORS OF THE YEAR
Left to right:
Groth, Atonement Lutheran School - Early Childhood Educator of the Year
Molin, Atonement Lutheran School - Administrator of the Year
Ms. Emily Barlow, Atonement Lutheran School - Educator of the Year
Mr. Glenn Gerber: Southern District Education Executive
On Friday, October 27th the following 25 Lutheran High School students volunteered at St. John Lutheran's Annual Trick or Trunk event in Mid City. More than 550 people attended the event for free! Children were treated to a hot dog meal, a photo booth photo, and had the opportunity to play games to win prizes! There were also more than 15 automobiles (including the LHS van) where they could "treat" for candy. Lutheran High School sponsored many of the games and offered face painting and Halloween tattoos!
Rachel Baril, a senior at
Lutheran High School
, scored a perfect 36 on her SATs! Congratulations, Rachel!
Monday, November 6, students and faculty welcomed special visitors, State Superintendent of Education, John White; 1st District BESE Representative, James Garvey, Jr.; and Louisiana Scholarship Program Administrator, Olin Parker, for a school visit. The VIP guests were greeted at the door and enjoyed a student led tour of the campus, followed by classroom visits and conversations with our students about their many positive experiences at Lutheran High School. LHS was chosen for this visit due to Lutheran High School's exceptional performance state-wide as a participating school in the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
SOUTHERN DISTRICT 500TH ANNIVERSARY of the REFORMATION CELEBRATIONS
Congregations throughout the Southern District have plans for celebrations and activities to recognize the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The SD website contains a list of these celebrations with additional information.
STEWARDSHIP OF OUR CONGREGATIONS
THE REAL CURRENCY OF STEWARDSHIP - MID-OCTOBER 2017
Here are some timely excerpts from Synod's October StewardCAST newsletter. So, what is your answer to the age-old question, "How can we best communicate that stewardship is more than just the church begging for more money?" After all, there is really no solid "quick fix" answer to this million-dollar stewardship question. Far too much effort is expended in easy answers in the area of stewardship.
Easy answers often create more issues than they solve.
Simple solutions that deceive.
- The first "easy answer" often attempted is to go the programmatic route. There are those who hold that all you need is the right program, the right consultant, the shiniest print piece and catchiest communication handles, and everything will fall into place. But these items alone will not turn the stewardship skeptic into a committed steward.
- Another "easy answer" that is attempted is one that appeals to guilt. These impassioned pleas have come from pastors and congregational leaders. Only succeed in reinforcing the false narrative that the congregation is really oriented toward manipulative stewardship.
- Yet another logical attempt at an easy answer to the stewardship objection is to try and make the scope of stewardship too small. Reducing stewardship to categories like "time, talent and treasure" can often be logical and well meaning. The skeptical steward may say, "I have given my time. I have given my talent. Two out of three isn't bad. I will keep my treasure." This easy answer actually weakens the very stewardship it attempts to encourage.
Called, gathered and enlightened: A matter of identity. While there are no "easy answers" to the objections the original question posed, there are answers. There is no greater answer than to point the objector to Holy Scripture. The initial focus needs to be on the identity of the steward. Passages that highlight that stewards are stewards because they were made for this purpose (GENESIS 1 AND 2) and that they have been redeemed for this purpose (ROMANS 12:1-2) are good places to start. The wayward steward is restored to faithful stewardship by the Spirit calling, gathering, enlightening, sanctifying and keeping them by the power of the Gospel. This appeal to the identity of the steward will also broaden the horizon of the skeptical steward.
Modeling a vocation of joyful service. There is one tremendous answer that is often overlooked: modeling. This means the congregation needs to be highlighting and telling the stories of those who have been moved by the Holy Spirit to use all their life and life's resources for God's purposes. When skeptical stewards can see faithfulness in action in light of who God has called them to be, it gives a visible pattern for them. When people who are just like they (skeptical steward) are - young or old,
wealthy or poor, bored or busy, those on fixed incomes or those with growing assets - are seen being who the Lord has made and redeemed them to be, it can be a powerful teaching tool. Done well, this can be the best currency to buy a second look at faithful stewardship in the lives of the skeptical steward.
Leaders, as faithful stewards, know that stewardship is more than money. They know it is a call to be "all in" for the Gospel. Devoid of easy answers, it takes the regular application of God's Word and the visible investment of faithful stewards to serve as an example for those who would be the stewards God has made them to be!
Submitted by Gary Grubb, Chairman
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;..."
John 11:25 (NIV)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with cancer:
Rev. Jerry Conley (Emeritus - Marianna, FL)
Mrs. Gloria Moritz, widow of Rev. Victor Moritz (Emeritus - Metairie, LA)
Rev. Sidney Ponseti (Emeritus - Baton Rouge, LA)
Mrs. Doris Taglauer, wife of Rev. Jim Taglauer (Emeritus - Folsom, LA)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
- Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Rev. Michael Shannon (Faith - Shreveport, LA)
- Rev. Rory Hermann (Emeritus - St. Augustine, FL)
- Rev. Dr. James P. Brown (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
- Rev. Perry McCulllam (Unity - Birmingham, AL)
- Rev. David Robatzen (Luth Church of the Resurrection - Pensacola, FL)
- Rev. Bernard Ansorge (Ascension - Huntsville, AL)
- Rev. Anthony Robinson (Christ - Tuscaloosa, AL and Epiphany - Arlington, AL)
- Mrs. Nancy Kaul (SD Board of Directors Member) Hattiesburg, MS
- Mrs. Grace Yunker, wife of Rev. Arthur Yunker (Emeritus - Mobile, AL)
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed. Thessalonians 2: 16-17
THE GIFT OF GENEROSITY-Electronic Giving
A definition of generous includes this phrase:
Freely sharing valuable things.
. . .no strings attached. . .no tit for tat. . .nothing expected in return.
Valuable things: your child. What is more valuable than a life of someone you love beyond measure? As we reflect on this message, remember
Those Who Don't Yet Know Jesus. Your continued support for the mission and ministry of the Southern District is requested.
If you need a convenient way to make regular offerings, we encourage you to look into our electronic online giving options.
or contact Ronnie Giaise
at the Southern District office for more information --- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.