For freedom Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1
This month we celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedom for which it stands. Every Sunday, we celebrate the freedom over the power of sin and death which was given to us by grace through Jesus Christ our Lord! Although the freedoms spoken about in both celebrations have the same foundations, they have come to stand for different things.
Freedoms, as the world sees them have come to mean license to do anything that one desires, at any time. It has come to mean that there should be no restrictions or controls on the individual, and that each individual should have unlimited choice to pursue his or her desires about anything. This type of freedom has become what St. Paul refers to in Galatians when he says "do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh." This freedom, in fact, replaces an absolute God with the frightening specter of anarchy, with each individual having "rights" to make his or her own different decisions. The reality is that this freedom is the very thing the Scripture says will cause us to be re-submitted unto slavery.
The freedom about which St. Paul speaks in Galatians 5:1 -- "For freedom Christ has set us free." --- is much more limited. It presupposes one basic choice: the choice for God or against God in any given situation. The starting point is not the will of the individual, but the will of God, and it has as its basic assumption that the will of the flesh and the will of the Spirit are opposed. Being in the will of God brings blessing, and being in the will of the self or individual brings cursing.
Prior to Christ's death and resurrection, humankind depended on its own power to change the human heart, so that one could choose between the flesh and the spirit. Granted, there was the law, which was a schoolmaster or a police officer that instilled fear of the consequences of not obeying. But it was not powerful enough. Let us not minimize the power of our flesh to demand, desire, and to manipulate to get its own way. We may want to make the right choices; however, there are always BUTS----the buts of circumstances and the well entrenched sin patterns which pull us to the side of the flesh. Our most precious freedom is the power through the Spirit to make God choices stick.
Lord, help me always to know that You are God, that Your ways are not our ways, and that Your Spirit empowers me to choose Your way. I thank You that You have set me free to choose the Life You have given me! Amen
100 VOICES NEEDED!!
Join the National Youth Gathering mass choir! Approximately 100 voices are needed to sing two songs on the opening night of the Gathering - Saturday, July 16.
The choir has already had one rehearsal, and will have one more on Thursday, July 14, at 6:00 p.m. The rehearsal will last approximately one hour and be held at Bethel Lutheran Church (4127 Franklin Avenue - NOLA). The two songs are
"Trading My Sorrows"
"In Christ Alone."
If you have any questions, please contact Pam Bornes at
FIRST RESPONDERS FOR NYG
At one of the National Youth Gathering activity stations, participants will make cards for first responders. We hope to have several first responders present at the station throughout the Gathering, who can speak with participants about their own experiences and how their faith has gotten them through difficult situations. It will be a casual setting of sharing stories while participants work on the cards. If you are interested in being part of this neat opportunity, please contact Kathy Wendling: firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 442-5876.
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2014 2015 2016
$1,100,000 $900,000 $900,000
Budgeted Income $550,000 $450,000
Actual Income $480,576 $415,909 $398,483.59
To all congregations: Please update your list of officers as soon as you have congregational elections. We need the name, office, phone number and email address. There is a form available if needed. Please email the information to email@example.com. Thank you for your cooperation!
SPIRIT OF SOUTHERN SUBMISSIONS
Remember that submissions for the July/August issue of SOS are due by July 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 2016
Mission Center Closed
66th Synod Convention
Upon This Rock: Repent, Confess, Rejoice
Rev. Logan Landes
Grace Lutheran Church
Installation of DCE Rose Schutt
Atonement Lutheran Church
||Installation of Rev. Jeffery Hesterman
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
||Southern District Newcomers' Orientation
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATIONS
Christ the King - Natchitoches, LA St. Paul's - Decatur, AL
St. Stephen - New Orleans, LA Redeemer - DeRidder, LA
Trinity - Panama City, FL Grace - Huntsville, AL
Immanuel - Bossier City, LA Ascension - Daphne, AL
STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE UPDATE
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow! (Doxology) The first day of summer is rapidly approaching as spring growth begins to produce summer harvests of fresh produce at roadside stands and community farmers markets. We are truly blessed with God's gifts of freedom and abundance.
The District Stewardship Committee is truly grateful for all the congregations that generously partner in this ministry that we share. We are also thankful for all that the Lord allows your congregation to give this summer and the rest of the calendar year. As we enter the summer season, our mission support continues to lag previous years (57 percent of congregations giving) and our percentage of partnership commitments (29 percent) remains relatively static.
Our challenge is to advocate stewardship participation, enhance stewardship awareness, and grow to be stewards of our congregations.
We welcome Pastor James Garnett as stewardship advocate for circuit 14. Additionally, we are blessed to have Pastors Randal Ehrichs and James Holowach serving as Synod trained resource pastors to the committee. A special welcome to Pastor McNair (Tony) Ramsey as he helps guide our stewardship of small congregations initiative.
Watch for a separate stewardship awareness page on the district website in the near future. The stewardship and finance committees are partnering to provide you with easy to understand information on topics like: What the District Does, Where Gifts Come From, How Gifts Are Used, Who We (Stewardship) Are, and How We (Stewardship) Can Help. In addition to graphics and tables, links to an expanded list of synod publications and products (e.g., StewardCAST, bulletin inserts) will supplement what is currently being forwarded to congregations and individuals.
Floor Committees at the Synod Convention in July will address our Overture on Stewardship of Small Congregations. Specific issues include: partnering small and large churches, encouraging the continuation of current alternate routes of theological education, and networking multiple congregations to share resources (e.g., programs and personnel). The biggest issue is establishing asense of partnership, i.e., a culture of participation, in congregations that comes from joining in with the rest of the District and Synod to do God's work. The Stewardship Committee believes that an understanding of these concerns is essential for our members who will be on various Floor Committees, as well as our elected delegates, all of whom may have opportunities, formal and informal, to address these issues to others.
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
Anniversaries of Ordination - July
75th ~ Rev. Edwin Coyner - Emeritus, Clinton, MS
60th ~ Rev. Richard Ziehr - Emeritus, Austen, TX
55th ~ Rev. Marvin Mueller - Emeritus, Grace, Mobile, AL
45th ~ Rev. Thomas R. Noon - Zion, Bessemer, AL
35th ~ Rev. Rodney Pasch - Bethany, Slidell, LA
35th ~ Rev. Deral E. Rollings - St. Jude's by the Sea, Gulf Shores, AL
30th ~ Rev. Jerry Conley - Emeritus, Marianna, FL
25th ~ Rev. Dr. Paul N. Anderson - Good Shepherd, Baton Rouge, LA
15th ~ Rev. Dr. Julius Jenkins - St. Paul, Oak Hill, AL
15th ~ Rev. Dr. McNair "Tony" Ramsey - United, Montgomery, AL
5th ~ Rev. Joshua Leigeber - Trinity, Leesville, LA
5th ~ Rev. Marcus Ring - St. Paul, Shreveport, LA
for the Junior Youth Gatherings of the Southern District. This year there will be only ONE gathering in a central location.
November 11-13 @ Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center
Registration will open September 5th.
Presenter will be the Rev. Tim Schutt.
Mark your calendars and begin to prepare for registration. Information will be continually updated on the Southern District website and through publications.
2017 LCMS National Campus Ministry Conference
"Liberty," the 2017 National LCMS Campus Ministry Conference, is planned for Jan. 4-6, 2017, at the University of Maryland in the Metro DC area.
The conference will provide a forum for college students and campus-ministry workers to address fundamental issues related to religious liberty, the First Amendment and cultivating Christian citizenship on campus.
To learn more, visit lcms.org/lcmsu.
~ CALLED TO SERVE ~
Rev. Craig Boelke to Lamb of God, Slidell, LA - Accepted
Rev. Charles Long to St. Paul's, Decatur, AL - Pending
Rev. Blair Clark (Grace-Huntsville, AL) to Trinity, Summerfield, FL - Accepted
Rev. Stewart Marshall (Redeemer-DeRidder, LA) to Trinity, Pine Bluff, AR - Accepted
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)
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. 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
Dear Colleagues in Christ,
Don't let time get away from you! Register now for the Zion XVI Triennial Conference, which will be held Sept. 15-18 in Belleville, IL at Our Lady of the Snows Retreat Center.
Registration for "Lutheran Accents in Specialized Pastoral Ministry" is $100 for double occupancy, $125 for single occupancy, or $75 for the commuter day rate.
Visit lcms.org/events/zionconf2016 to register or download the schedule, speaker biographies and other important information.
the awards -- two each from the ELCA and the LCMS -- will be given to the honorees at the Zion XVI banquet.
Rev. Joel Hempel
Interim director, LCMS Specialized Pastoral Ministry
Have you held your cabin n the next Southern District Cruise ~ Jan. 30, 2017?? If not, it's time to deposit. $300 plus insurance holds your spot.
Please register ASAP at this secure link mcgcruise.com/SDLCMS5night.
Remember that the ship is controlled by capacity, so register now to assure a cabin. Also, remember that a single person can share a cabin with another.
For those registered, NOLA Port Authority has initiated Staggered Check In.
Please be sure to log into your cruise planner to pick your preferred time frame to board the ship. You will not be allowed if you arrive earlier than the time chosen. If you do not choose a time, they will assign you a time.
To check-in online, please go to www.carnival.com/Onlinecheckin, enter your booking number, last name, date of birth, ship and sail date to access Online Check-in.
Click on MY CHECK IN TIME - Set up Embarkation time
Ginger Kramp is happy to assist with any and all questions. Contact Ginger at email@example.com or 601-991-1109.
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.