Do not be afraid, for see---I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
The little word "you" should make us joyful. for to whom does the angel speak? To
wood or stones? No. He speaks to human beings; and not just to one or two, but to all people. How then shall we understand these words? Shall we continue to doubt the grace of God and say, "St. Peter and St. Paul may well rejoice that their Savior is come, but I may not---I am a wretched sinner; the dear and precious treasure is not for me"? My friend, if you would say, "He is not mine," then I shall say, "Whose is he then? Has he come to save geese and ducks and cows? If he had come to save another creature, he would certainly have assumed the likeness of that creature. But now he has been made the Son of Man."
Who are you, and who am I? Are we not likewise human beings? Who, then, but we humans should receive this child? The angels do not need him. The devils do not want him. But we need him, and for our sake he became human. Thus we should receive him joyfully, as here the angels say: "To you is born a Savior." Is it not a great and marvelous thing that an angel should come from heaven with such good news? Is it not a wonder that afterwards so many thousands of angels are filled with overflowing joy, which makes them desire that we should also be glad, and should receive such grace with thankful hearts? And therefore we should write this little (with flaming letters) in our hearts; "To you!" and should joyfully welcome the birth of this Savior.
Sermon for Christmas Day, 1544
We rejoice, O God, in the little words "To you!"
We thank you for the glorious joy of this night. Amen
Taken from Martin Luther-Day by Day We Magnify You
Marshall D. Johnson, Editor
2019 LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD CONVENTION
The Synod is issuing the call for nominations for the 2019 convention. Nominations for several positions are due October 20. For information regarding this process, please go to
to go directly to the website.
Here is a link to the postcards that have been mailed to congregations:
https://www.lcms.org/convention/postcard-mailings. These postcards are vital in helping congregations prepare for the 2019 Synod Convention.
Pastors and Church offices - continue following the action items on the very important postcards you are receiving from the Synod, regarding the 2019 Convention. The most recent postcard is #11 - "It's Time to Submit 2019 LCMS President / Vice-President Nominating Ballots."
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2016 2017 2018
$900,000 $900,000 $820,000
Budgeted Income $825,000 $825,000
Actual Income $741,045 $689,728 $692,396
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 Jan. 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)
January 2, 2018
||District Office will be closed
HURRICANE FLORENCE DONATIONS
Congregations desiring to help those affected by Florence may send monetary donations to the Southeastern District (http://se.lcms.org/). You may visit their website for online donations or a physical mailing address for sending donations by check. Monetary donations are most needed because of the flexibility in who and how they can help. If we become aware of some other need, we will notify you.
Southern District LCMS Disaster Response is now ready to begin accepting volunteer teams into Panama City!
Trinity Lutheran Church in Panama City, Florida, has offered their facilities to house our Volunteer Center for the Hurricane Michael response effort. President Johnson and our Southern District Relief Coordinator, Rev. Ed Brashier, are currently working with Trinity to establish our volunteer headquarters.
While we are now ready to start bringing in volunteer teams, be aware that at this time NO power or water has been restored to Trinity; therefore we are unable to house volunteers in the facilities just yet.
HOWEVER, if your team is able to "rough it" we are ready to facilitate your team in helping serve our disaster relief efforts. Roughing it means your team provides your own housing (an RV with generator works great), or camping equipment to set up on site, and bring your own food, a way to prepare it, and your own shower capability. There is plenty of work to be done for the intrepid volunteers ready, willing, and able to rough it on scene.
- OR - If you can't rough it, you may be able to commute into Trinity from an outside area each day. If so, be aware that you will need to find those accommodations on your own at this time.
The utility companies are working overtime and we hope that these conditions improve soon so that the Volunteer Center can be fully operational.
The primary focus of the Volunteer Effort at this time is to serve the communities of our congregations with disaster relief supplies in the short term, and to do Tree and Debris Removal, Tarp and Patch Roofs and salvage valuables now and in the long term.
If you have expertise in any of the above-mentioned skill areas, and are able to volunteer now, please contact the Southern District Disaster Response Coordinator, Pastor Ed Brashier, for more details and to reserve a timeframe to serve in Panama City.
Pastor Ed Brashier
Call or text: 205-296-3714
- Also - Be aware that the traffic currently going into Panama City is horrendous. It takes about an hour to travel the last 10 miles to Trinity. So ... if you come, bring lots of patience along too!
Conditions change daily so stay tuned for updates. We are hopeful that water and electricity will be restored quickly and we will be able to house volunteers inside at Trinity. When power and water are restored we will then be ready and able to house volunteers.
"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." (Philippians 3:8-9)
Southern District - LCMS, 100 Mission Dr., Slidell, LA 7046
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATION
Grace - Pensacola, FL
Redeemer - Mandeville, LA
Trinity - Meridian, MS
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. Paul Ernewein ~ The Village, LaCombe, LA to Christ, Orland Park, IL ~ Pending
Rev. John Drosendahl, Peace, Godlsboro, NC and Our Redeemer, Wilson, NC
to Redeemer, Mandeville ~ Pending
Rev. Ken DeSoto ~ Rio Rancho, NM to St. Stephen, New Orleans, LA ~ Accepted
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
~ December ~
Anniversary of Ordination
5th ~ Rev. Jackson D. Onnka,
38TH BIENNIAL LWML CONVENTION
The 38th Biennial Convention of the LWML will be in Mobile, AL next summer! Mark your calendar for
June 20-23, 2019
, and plan to attend. Visit the official convention web page
for all convention details as they become available. Click here to read more
Also, many volunteers are still needed for the convention! Volunteers receive a discount on the registration fee and are asked to work only two four-hour shifts out of the entire convention. Please prayerfully consider volunteering! Here is a link to the sign-up form: https://form.jotform.com/81033220984148
And ... don't forget about the CRUISE!
Share the News---
Post-Convention Cruise Out of Mobile
After the 2019 LWML Convention in Mobile, Alabama, the LWML is pleased to offer a cruise on the
Carnival Fantasy for FUN from June 24 - 29, 2019. This will be a time for well-deserved rest and
relaxation as well as fun and fellowship with your friends. The great fact is that you will cruise out of
Mobile, the site of the LWML Convention.
Would you like to take part in this fun getaway?
McGehee Cruise & Vacation Inc. will assist with all reservations for the cruise.
Registration is now open:
Please follow this secure link for further information and questions.
As with any cruise, it is best to book as early as possible so you can get the cabin you prefer.
Introducing New Hymns in Small Churches
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission
One of the huge challenges facing any smaller congregation (whether rural or urban or small town) is how to expand the base hymnody and liturgy of the group, enabling the worshipers to encounter, become familiar with and maybe even just learn to love and appreciate a growing repertoire of fresh and new (or at least new to them!) music.
We'll be exploring this topic in a webinar on Nov. 15 with the Rev. William Weedon, the Director of LCMS
Worship Ministry and the chaplain at The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod'sInternational Center. Weedon plans to cover a variety of simple ways to help pastorsand musicians move the bar. Carl Schalk, arguably one of the greatest Lutheran musicians of our time, perceptively observed that people may not know what they like, but they all like what they know. One big key to introducing new music is to have it played early
and often in the congregation's ears before ever asking them to sing it. Say the desire was to introduce 941 to the congregation: Steven Starke's now famous paraphrase of the great Te Deum Laudamus. The organist or pianist could begin a month or two out, using that melody as her or his prelude one week, a postlude the next week, the piece during the offering or a musical offering during distribution on yet the following week. Putting the piece into the ears of the congregation well in advance and repeating the tune often is an effective (and sneaky!) way to having the congregation "know" the music even without having
been taught it. Your radio works like that! You hear a song for the first time, and then again, and again and again. Finally, it has become one of those privileged songs known as "that's an old favorite!" Another effective technique is to have the piece partially sung by a solo or small ensemble. And if that ensemble is made up of kids, all the better! Once the kids know it, the nonsense about "no one could ever sing that!" is silenced for good. Weedon actually did this with the song just mentioned. A teacher in his parish school confidently told him that the kids couldn't learn to sing it. Ha! Just the challenge he needed. He sang it in the school several times a week and it became one of the hymns the kids themselves would ask for in the congregational hymn sings that preceded the midweek Advent or Lenten liturgies. And there's another technique: use hymn sings! Weedon will explore those and a bunch more options in the webinar. Join us for a lively discussion of expanding the musical life of smaller congregations without risking life or limb.
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small-town congregations in
engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament.
Learn more about RSTM at lcms.org/rstm or by calling Amy at 888-463-5127.
"Like" us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/lcmsrstm.
A TRIP TO THE HOLY LAND IS LIFE-CHANGING.
Consider for a moment how walking in the footsteps of Jesus would bring the biblical accounts to life. Imagine kneeling where the shepherds stood at Bethlehem's manger, seeing the places where Jesus grew up and worked, standing in the Jordan River where He was baptized, praying in Gethsemane, weeping at Golgotha, or singing hymns of praise at the empty tomb. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus and seeing the land where He lived will change your life forever.
Are there people in your church who might be interested in going with you on a trip like this? We would love to have you as cohosts. Join us, Pastor Keith and Diana Ringers (St. Mark's - Elberta, AL) to experience for yourself the sights, the sounds, and the smells of this historic and beautiful land. This customized itinerary includes places where the standard tours don't go. We invite you to join us from March 25 - April 3, 2019. For more information, click on the link for a brochure or contact Keith Ringers at firstname.lastname@example.org
or go to
for the online brochure or contact us for more information.
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCE
My name is Micah Versemann. I am a member of College Hill Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, IA. Earlier this year myself and my father, Rev. Matthew Versemann, currently serving at Trinity Lutheran in Decatur, IL, released a new Bible Study resource for churches to use. The resource is comprised of a 25 minute short film and a 4-part Bible Study that is looking at the importance of being rooted in the Word of God. The resource is aimed at High school and college age youth but is applicable to adults as well.
The resource has been well received having won numerous awards at film festivals and has gotten reviews from many people including Rev. Max Mons Campus pastor at Iowa University, Rev. Marcus Zill and Dr. Rev. John Kleinig.
Below is a link if you wish to see more about the resource.
What & How
This is a third article in a series of related articles on Stewardship. The first article entitled, "Why?", appeared in the July 15, 2018 edition of TMTWS and the second article entitled, "The Strength and Blessing of a Threefold Cord", appeared in the July-August 2018 edition of the SOS.
I don't know about you, but it amazes me to witness and experience all the strength and blessings that Christ provides to a husband and wife, to Christians and their church, and a congregation and her district so that they can be a blessing to one another and to others. And since we have already tackled the "Why?" of stewardship in a previous article, I thought it might be a good idea to take on the "What" and the "How"
I know what you're thinking, I already know the "What", so why do we need to talk about it. Well, I'm not so sure that we actually know the "What", at least not completely or holistically. Sure we all know the "mantra", "Talent, Time, Treasure, & Testimony", but how do we understand them?
Do we see them as individual, isolated "things"? They're not! They are all gifts from God that he gives to each and every person to use for the purpose of loving one's neighbor and glorifying God.
Do we see them as a "sum game"? You know, as long as I come up with 100%, it doesn't really matter how I get there. That's not how it works! You see, God's desire for us is that we act like Him. As He has cheerfully and sacrificially provided for us, He would have us do the same for others. Just as our individual members make up our entire body, so it is with our talent, time, treasure & testimony. These are not separate pots that one pulls from as one desires; they are fundamental aspects of one's being. So when I give, I give cheerfully and sacrificially of all of them - talent, time, treasure & testimony. This is the holistic view of stewardship that flows from that fact that God has made me a whole person in Christ Jesus.
So, that leaves us with "How". My hope is that this part of the picture is starting to become clearer through these articles, so I will only touch on a couple.
It starts by examining one's own life. How am I using all the gifts that God has given me - my talent, my time, my treasure, & my testimony - to love my neighbor and to glorify God? Am I doing it holistically, cheerfully, & sacrificially? What does this look like within my congregation and my district?
And then it expands to one's congregation. What is my congregation's view of stewardship? Is it gift based, Christ-centered, and holistic? How does my congregation use her talent, time, treasure, & testimony in her community & her district?
And then it expands to one's district. How does my district view stewardship? Well, I think I am speaking for the entire Stewardship Committee, we are seeking to create a culture within our district, at every level, that looks at everything that we have as a gift from God, which He has given to us love our neighbor and glorify Him. A culture that is motivated by the love of God in Christ Jesus to be a blessing to one another and those around us in our walk together.
In the end, there is not a single, specific way to do this. There is not a specific formula to follow that will meet every context and situation, but there are things that we can all do to start to change the culture at every level of the District. And as it turns out, the Synod has a wealth of resources on the Stewardship Ministry page of the Synod's website (https://www.lcms.org/how-we-serve/national/stewardship-ministry). There are resources for individuals, congregations, and yes, even for districts. I hope that you will take the time to check them out and put them to use in your life, the life of your congregation, and within your district. And I invite you to use the Stewardship Committee of the Southern District as another resource to help you on your journey toward holistic, Christ-centered, sacrificial giving of the gifts that God has given you.
Rev. Louis Boldt, St. Paul Lutheran Church (Hammond, LA) on behalf of the Stewardship Committee
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
The family of Rev. John Cantele who was called to glory on Nov. 26, 2018. Rev. Cantele served for 12 years in the Southern District as an Emeritus pastor.
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)
Rev. Robert Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
- Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Rev. Rory Hermann (Emeritus - St. Augustine, FL)
- Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
- Rev. Perry McCulllam (Unity - Birmingham, AL)
- Rev. Anthony Robinson (Christ - Tuscaloosa, AL and Epiphany - Arlington, AL)
- Mrs. Nancy Kaul (SD Board of Directors Member) Hattiesburg, MS
- Rev. Sanford Stanton (Eternal Trinity - Cantonment, FL)
- Rev. Charles Schaum (Christ the King - Muscle Shoals, AL) and family
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 --- email@example.com.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.