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Light for What Ails Us
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light
." Is. 9:2a
There are intensities of darkness. A number of years ago Becky and I visited Ruby Falls, which is deep under ground in a cave. We were led through a series of caves illumined by hidden spotlights. I'll never forget the last one we entered. It was the deepest in the whole series, the "farthest from the light," as our guide phrased it. After he had grouped us all together, he turned off every light in the cavern - and we were in the dark. Perhaps it was no darker than other places in the world, but I could not see my hand in front of my face-and I still remember the sensation of being in that total obscurity far beneath the surface of the earth!
In a different way, I have been in various levels of non-physical darkness at times in my life-my hopes destroyed, the future I had designed destroyed, little guidance for the next move. Has not each of us, however, similarly, experienced the darkness of life's twists and turns?
Isaiah reminds us that "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light". When Matthew echoes the words of the prophet he tells us that the light is Jesus, who by simply being with us has brought us our dawn.
At the time of my darkest gloom faced with fear and the isolation that deep darkness brings, God has recalled His word of promise to me that Jesus is with me giving me His light of life. I cherish those times of darkness where the presence of Jesus was my only light. They have persuaded me that anywhere I go, no matter how deep the darkness becomes, Jesus is with me. Nothing can persuade me to the contrary. Light, by its very nature, dispels the gloom. Jesus, by His very nature disperses the confusion and death we encounter in darkness.
The Son of God comes with His presence in word and sacrament -- guiding, correcting, admonishing, forgiving, and loving. He uses every means to lead us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Come, Bright and Morning Star; illumine our darkness and lead us from night to never-ending day. Amen
CANDIDATES & VICARS FOR PLACEMENT
This spring St. Louis and Fort Wayne Seminaries will have the following number of candidates and vicars available for placement. Candidate call documents and vicar applications are due to the Southern District by Wednesday, March 15.
St. Louis - 56 St. Louis - 46
Fort Wayne - 48 Fort Wayne - 39
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2015 2016 2017
$900,000 $900,000 $900,000
Budgeted Income $75,000 $75,000
Actual Income $45,078 $42,812 $74,434
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the March/April issue of SOS are due by April 15. The preferred means for receiving submissions is by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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)
DATES FOR 2017
|January 30-February 4
|Southern District Pastors' Conference Cruise
|July 7-10, 2017
||SAVE THE DATE!!
Sr. Youth Retreat
|Blue Horizon Camp
Panama City Beach, FL
CONGREGATION STATISTICS DUE!!!
Each congregation in the Southern District should have received information from Synod regarding your Congregational Statistics Form and Lay Leader From. Instructions for completion are included. These forms are due in Synod's Office of Rosters and Statistics by
GERMANY AND THE REFORMATION
500TH ANNIVERSARY TRIP
Have you always wanted to visit Germany and see the places where the Reformation began? This year, in the 500th anniversary of the Reformation's beginning, join us as we travel to sites like Wittenberg, where Luther taught as professor and posted the 95 Theses; the Wartburg Castle, where he translated the New Testament into German for all to read; Eisleben, where Luther was born; and many more! Led by LCMS pastors Robert Roegner of St. Louis and Derek Waffel of Pascagoula, MS, the trip is from
July 8 to July 15, 2017
. For more information see the attached brochure, or contact Pastor Waffel at
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Christ the King - Natchitoches, LA Grace - Huntsville, AL
St. James - Gonzales, LA
Trinity - Monroe, LA
St. Paul's - Cullman, AL
St. Paul - Shreveport, LA
~ CALLED TO SERVE ~
Rev. Aaron Kretzschmar, St. John's, LaPorte, IN to St. Paul's, Decatur, AL ~ Accepted
Rev. Bruce Hanson, Our Savior, Mobile, AL to First, Blytheville, AR ~ Accepted
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
Anniversary of Ordination
Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in Germany
Join Pastor Keith and Diana Ringers on an Enchanting Rhine and Reformation Tour Nov. 11-20, 2017.
Fly to Amsterdam and board a luxurious river cruise ship for five days down the Rhine and Rhine Gorge, stopping at Cologne, Koblenz, Mainz, Worms, Speyer, and Heidelberg. Then spend four days on the land tour visiting Wartburg Castle, Erfurt, Eisleben, and Wittenberg. The guest speaker on this EO faith based trip is Lutheran pastor, Rev. Keith Loesch,
founder and past director of the Wittenberg English Ministry in Germany. For more information, click here for a brochure or contact Keith Ringers
This is the Ringers' third trip with EO (Educational Opportunities), the Holy Land in 2016 and the Footsteps of St. Paul cruise in 2013 and they recommend this travel company highly.
| "The Greatest of These Is Love"
The Louisiana-Mississippi LWML District is sponsoring a weekend retreat on
April 28-30 at Rosaryville Spirit Life Center in Ponchatoula, LA. The theme for
the retreat is "The Greatest of These is Love". Pastoral Counselors Pastor Bill
Vogt and Pastor David Hartung will lead participants through the many aspects
of love as found in Scripture and show how we can reflect them in our lives.
There will be opportunities for fun and relaxation as well.
Cost of the retreat is $64.00-$190.00. Full details, including a registration form are available on the retreat page of our LA-MS website. You may also contact your
LWML Society President for the
registration form and where to send it. All registrations should be in by March
31, 2017. Please click here for a printable flier.
37th Biennial Convention of the LWML
"Jesus Christ Above All"
June 22-25, 2017
Join us as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the LWML!
for a PDF of the convention registration form.
DINNER AND A MOVIE
Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church
in Lillian, AL
hosted a free meal and movie open to all members of the community on Sunday, January 15th.The movie was titled, "Luther" and was chosen to honor the church's celebration of 500 years since the Reformation.
Members and guests were treated to an authentic Italian meal consisting of spaghetti with homemade sauce, Italian bread and butter, salad with Italian dressing, dessert and drinks. The dinner was sponsored by Thrivent Financial, who provided the monetary assistance to pay for the food items for the meal.The crowd enjoyed the movie, meal, and fellowship time. The church is planning to host other activities in 2017 to honor the Reformation. We will be sure to notify the public when those special events are going to take place.
Thanks to all who attended and all those who helped make this a success.
REMOVING BARRIERS TO FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP
Our personal and family of faith stewardship plans for this new calendar year are certain to meet both challenges and opportunities. As stewards of God's gifts of time, talent, treasure, and testimony, we will have to deal with the deep-rooted barriers that hinder our faithful service. See the
December 2016 StewardCAST
for full article details.
"You and I are stewards. Each one of us was created for this task. The Lord formed us in order to be His hands and feet caring for the entire creation that He had spoken into existence. Humanity has been tasked by the Creator to work and keep the creation (Gen. 2:15) in such a way that it reflects the image of God. Being a steward is our identity. Stewardship is what we do. We all recognize that God is the only rightful owner of all things. Problem is that sinful human beings in the Garden of Eden and after reached out for what was not theirs in order to play the part of owner."
"This owner/stewardship relationship is really the single greatest barrier to faithful stewardship that continues to exist. When the steward claims ownership, he is appropriating title to that which belongs to another. If someone steals the car belonging to another, we don't call it poor stewardship. We call it theft. Yet this is exactly what we do when we assert our desires over God's when it comes to the use of His gifts. It is the Lord's desire to share the Gospel of Jesus. How might free flowing resources of God's people enable more sharing of the Gospel if they weren't held up by the barrier of the congregational desires to only meet their own needs? Another barrier to faithful stewardship is one of perception. Are the gifts God gives to the individual and the congregation being used in a proactive way that minimizes slavery to issues that will get in the way of opportunities for the Gospel?"
"Preaching and teaching are irreplaceable weapons in the arsenal of stewardship barrier removal. It is important for stewards and steward leaders to recall that they are simply stewards of the only thing that obliterates these barriers: the Gospel."
The new stewardship web pages include a section on
How We can Help
. Here you will find a link to
in the Awareness Helps section that you can add to your available resources tool box.
is a monthly e-newsletter with stewardship resources for individuals and congregations.
Subscribe online by choosing the "Stewardship" category and selecting StewardCAST.
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)
Rev. Jack Betz (Emeritus - Miramar Beach, FL)
Mrs. Gloria Moritz, widow of Rev. Victor Moritz (Emeritus - Metairie, LA)
Rev. Sidney Ponseti (Emeritus - Baton Rouge, LA)
Rev. Ed Rogers (Emeritus - Ozark, AL)
Mrs. Doris Taglauer, wife of Rev. Jim Taglauer (Emeritus - Folsom, LA)
Rev. Dr. James Holowach (Christ - Jackson, MS)
Rev. David Robatzen (Lutheran Church of the Resurrection - Pensacola, FL)
These brothers and sisters in Christ coping with various health issues:
- Mrs. Melodie Rupp, wife of Rev. Bob Rupp (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Mrs. June Ring, mother of Rev. Marcus Ring (St. Paul - Shreveport, LA)
- Rev. Michael Shannon (Faith - Shreveport, LA)
- Rev. Rory Hermann (Good Shepherd - Gulf Breeze, FL)
- Rev. Brandon Simoneaux (Christ Our Savior - Harvey, LA)
- Rev. Dr. James P. Brown (Emeritus - Pensacola, FL)
- Dr. J. B. Marshall (Concordia College Alabama Board of Regents member)
- Rev. Dr. Edgar Homrighausen (Emeritus - Lacombe, LA)
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.