God's Love: A Gentle and Compelling Spirit
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. Mark 1:12
Of the four Gospel writers, Mark gives us his narrative of Jesus' life in the most brief and concise strokes of the pen. He hustles the reader from one incident to the next with forceful transition words like "immediately," showing the Lord to be a man of action.
"Immediately", is the word that links two crucial activities in the life of Jesus.
Following his Baptism by John in the Jordan River, the Heavens opened and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended and alighted on Him. One of the gentlest of God's creatures, the dove is universally accepted as the symbol of peace. Only in the calm and secure environment does it feel safe. And so the Holy Spirit settled on Jesus.
But Mark relates next the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. Remaining there 40 days and nights, He was surrounded by wild beasts and finally attended by ministering angels. Is this the same Spirit that moments before had gently rested on him? "Drove" means "coerce," "compelled," or "forced"; it is a strong action word, the same one used of Jesus' action when He cast out demons. Indeed, these are two aspects of the same Spirit.
John describes the Spirit as wind which blows where it will..
Christians down through the centuries -you and I - have known this WIND as a gentle, nudging breeze and also as a coercing and seemingly irritable tempest. These are two expressions of the love of God, although they appear and feel contradictory and different. The late Henri Nouwen writes, "The inexhaustible love between the Father and the Son ''' goes far beyond the many limited and limiting human experiences of love we know." It can be gentle, supportive and caring, as well as strong, demanding, and severe. The former is illuminated by the star of Bethlehem shining on the manger; the latter is starkly revealed on a dark Friday afternoon on a hill outside Jerusalem.
As the Father loves the Son, so also He loves us. We can trust His love, expressed in either what He gives us or allows into our lives. If He forcefully moved His Son in whom He was pleased, let us not mistake His decisive moves in our lives as being any less loving than His more gentle ones.
Heavenly Father, grant us grace to respond to the gentlest whispers of your Spirit, as well as to be carried in the fury of your gale; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
** IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER! **
Hotel Block Rate Ends --
January 27, 2018
** CONVENTION WORKBOOK **
The convention workbook is now available on the
convention page of the Southern District website.
2019 LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD CONVENTION
The Synod is issuing the first call for nominations for the 2019 convention. For information regarding this process, please go to
to go directly to the website.
THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!
CONGREGATIONAL STATISTICS FORM
Congregations will soon be receiving their
Congregational Statistics Report Online Letter,
Congregational Lay Leaders Form, and
Statistical Reports Memo from Synod. We encourage you to complete and return these forms as they provide an accurate picture of the Southern District congregations.
If you need login information to input statistics online, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call the LCMS Church Information Center at
888-843-5267. At times they are overloaded with emails and calls, so be patient; they will return your email/call!
The deadline for submitting your 20
17 statistics is
February 28, 2018.
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2016 2017 2018
$900,000 $900,000 $820,000
Budgeted Income $75,000 $75,010
Actual Income $42,812 $74,434 $55,896
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 email@example.com.
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 (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)
|March 8-9, 2018
||Southern District Convention
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Holy Cross - Mobile, AL Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)
Grace - Pensacola, FL
Redeemer - Mandeville, LA
Resurrection - 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. George Borghardt, Zion-McHenry, IL to Immanuel, Bossier City, LA ~ Accepted
Rev. Matthew Barry, St. Luke-Cabot, PA to Holy Cross-Mobile, AL ~ Declined
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
~ February ~
Anniversary of Ordination
VICARS AND CANDIDATES
Any congregations who would like to apply for a vicar or call a candidate should contact Daisy Olmstead
(email@example.com) to request access to the paperwork. Vicar applications and candidate call documents are due to the Southern District Office
no later than March 1. This is to allow a "cushion" of time in case any revisions need to be made and re-submitted to the District before the District sends the paperwork to St. Louis.
To date, the following number of candidates and vicars are available:
Candidates Spring 2018
St. Louis ~ 54 M.Div.
Fort Wayne ~ 37 M.Div.
Vicars Spring 2018
St. Louis ~ 57
Fort Wayne ~ 44
BLACK HISTORY CELEBRATION
BETHEL ~ NEW ORLEANS, LA
Lutheran High School's 41st Gryphon Gala:
"A Magical Evening at Hogwarts"
March 24, 2018
The Gryphon Gala includes a silent auction and hospitality hour beginning at 5pm, followed by dinner at 6pm, and the verbal auction at 7:30pm. The attire is dressy casual. Tickets to the Gala are $60/person (tables of 10 are available for $600). Proceeds will benefit Lutheran High School. Some items in the auction include dinner parties, original artwork, and restaurant and hotel gift certificates!!!
For ticket information and reservations, contact Gigi Saak at 504-606-9669. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to re-unite with friends!! Hope to see you there!!!
You are invited to a Celebration of Ministry
Held at the Hilton Perimeter Park
8 Perimeter Park South in Birmingham, Alabama.
Registration information at lwmlgulfstates.org
Operation Barnabas Training Event
What is Operation Barnabas?
Operation Barnabas is a network of care to our nation's military members and their families.
We reach out to all components, with a special emphasis on our Reserve members and their families You may ask: "Why is it called Operation Barnabas?" Barnabas was Paul's companion, who helped him in his missionary journey. Barnabas means "son of encouragement." We hope to encourage our military and their families!
Operation Barnabas Chapters have been created to serve our military at the congregation level. One congregation, or a number of congregations, can join together to create an Operation Barnabas Chapter. Chapters serve a a means for members to grow in their faith and also serve as a means of outreach to the local military community.
For more information:
www.lcms.org/armedforces or Facebook: OperationBarnabasLCMS.
February 24, 2018 from 10 am to 2 pm.
Good Shepherd LCMS
2456 Decatur Hwy.
Gardendale, AL 35071
$5 must be received at Good Shepherd by Friday, Feb. 16.
Chaplain Gary Danielsen: Retired Major in the U.S. Army.
MOUNT ZION - NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Chairlady: Carlene Augustine Barthe'
Co-Chairs: Rev. Limakatso Nare, Pastor and Yolonda Wornner Prevost, Congregation President
SHEPHERD OF THE BAY - LILLIAN, AL
SPECIAL THANKS TO THRIVENT FINANCIAL
A special thank you to Thrivent Financial for providing funds for the Perdido Bay Library in Lillian, Al.
On Tuesday, January 10th, Ronna and John Young, members of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Lillian, Al., presented Thrivent Action cards to Nancy Thompson, volunteer at the library, for the purchase of new shelving and a rolling book cart.
Nancy will complete the order for these new items, and volunteers from Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church will assist in assembling and placing the needed pieces in the library.
The library in Lillian provides all types of reading, listening and viewing items to area residents and visitors.
They have an extensive library of items for all ages including an area for children.
All those working in the library are volunteers and generously give of their time to provide all types of materials to the public.
You are invited to visit the library and take a look at the improvements the new items will make and thank all the volunteers for donating their time to keep the library open for all.
Ronna and John Young and Nancy Thompson
Southern District Senior Youth Mission Trip
Ages: 14 and up
Cost $299 / person
Lodging and all meals are provided
We are working with YouthWorks, an organization that has been developing youth mission trips since 1994. Each summer YouthWorks provides life-changing Christ-centered mission trips for over 30,000 students and adult leaders in over 70 communities across North America.. YouthWorks seeks to listen to local ministry partners and returns to the same communities year after year. It is their desire to walk side-by-side with friends in service, helping support the work God is already doing through them. We will serve in the city of Nashville, places to be determined, but include: working with kids club, community garden, elderly care centers, soup kitchens, and more!
A typical day begins with Breakfast and preparing lunches. Morning devotions follow, and ministry/service time is from 9 am - 3 pm every day. Dinner is served at 5:30, with evening activities beginning at 6:30 pm each night. At 9:00 pm we have Large group gathering, followed by a time to process the day,
Evening activities include a downtown scavenger hunt, community cookout, Centennial Park.
Our Chaplain: Pastor Steve Richardson will lead us in worship and devotions.
You are responsible for your transportation and adult leaders.
To register go to
Questions? Contact DCE Cindy Namanny, 601-924-9999 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE FOR THE ASKING!
If you are in need of vestments, please contact Pastor Kevin Wendt, Grace-Destin, at
A Layman's View of Stewardship
Gary Grubb, our 9-year Stewardship Committee member and recent Chairman, resigned as of the first of the year to move on to other challenges and ministries. I will be filling in until the Convention. During this relatively short time, we hope to maintain a focus on the small church initiative Connect to Grow and continued stewardship awareness. Accordingly, I am beginning by sharing my layman's understanding of Christian stewardship. Which is basically the self-created record of our lifetime use of all God's gifts, including where we live and our freedom to worship as we please. I see this record of our Christian life delineated by four milestones we encounter alone. First, our mothers were certainly present when we were born, and while we may have had a sibling along for some of the experience, as well as attending personnel and maybe an expectant, hopefully joyous family, we enter this life only by ourselves. The next milestone marking our record of Christian stewardship is coming to understand that God's purpose for providing gifts is to equip us to respond to the faith making work of the Holy Spirit. Gifts are to be used to fulfil His tasking to care for the members of His church here on earth, be they those we see on Sunday or those who have not yet received the work of the Holy Spirit through His word. Though we may come to the realization as a participating member of a group, we come to it by ourselves. Along the way we also come to understand that while we are saved by faith alone, God pleasing work stems from that faith and becomes our record of stewardship. The next major milestone in life is death, again something experienced alone, even if others die at the same time and at the same place. Hopefully at this milestone we will again be surrounded by a loving family and friends who will remember us as having exhibited a well lived steward's life. It is the cumulative effort of our daily life at its end that becomes our record as a steward of God's gifts, not the yearend financial receipt or a recitation of the number of committees served on. The final milestone of a steward's life is the receipt of Christ's judgement, again something encountered alone. Requirements for this accounting are well and completely identified in the parable of the faithful steward-those who receive much are expected to return much, those who receive less are expected to return a more modest amount, but woe to those who bury His gifts to only return them unused. They will truly experience God's wrath. As in all our LCMS theology, the requirement for stewardship comes straight from the Bible, with no need for scholarly or "official" interpretation to complicate, or trivialize, the subject.
Don Panzenhagen, Interim Chairperson of the Stewardship Committee
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)
Rev. and Mrs. Tim Schutt (Atonement-Metairie, LA) at the birth of son Zeke Jackson. He joins siblings Eden and Ethan. Congratulations to all!!
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. 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 --- email@example.com.
Illustration by Patti Miller, Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fairhope, Alabama.