IN SUFFERING PRESERVE YOUR LOVE FOR HIM
Those who love me will keep my words.
The church on earth must exist and fight in weakness, poverty, and affliction, fear, death, shame, and blame. Calamity will force you to step out of yourself and not to rely on the counsel, help, and strength of others, but you must have Christ in your heart, so that you hold his name, Word, and kingdom higher, dearer, and more precious than all things on earth. To him who does not do this but loves his own honor and power, the world's praise, lust, joy, and friendship more, this word is preached in vain. As Christ himself soon after says, "Whoever does not love me does not keep my words" (John 14:24).
But he does not say to love with words alone. There must be living works and the evidence of love, as the words "Keep my words" mean. That refers to a love that fights and overcomes. For it is the nature of true love to do all things for the sake of the beloved, and there is nothing too hard for her to suffer and to bear that she would not do with joy.
If his unspeakable goodness were to go right to our hearts, nothing would be too vexing or too hard for us to suffer or to bear for his sake, that we only remain in his love. This means, then, not only hearing the Word with joy, but hold on to it firmly and winning the victory.
Sermon on John:23-31
In times of suffering, Lord God, let me find comfort in the love of others and in your steadfast love for me. Amen.
Martin Luther: Day by Day We Magnify You
Marshall D. Johnson, Editor
Three convention videos are posted on the Southern District Website: Live Stream Video (All day Friday), "It's All About Jesus" Video, and Opening Worship Video. To view any or all of these, click
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.
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF HIS RESOURCES
District Mission Support Trends
2016 2017 2018
$900,000 $900,000 $820,000
Budgeted Income $300,000 $300,000
Actual Income $264,759 $253,733 $260,381
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 May/June issue of SOS are due by June 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)
|June 24-30, 2018
||Sr. Youth Mission Trip
See notice in this issue for more info!
|June 30, 2018
|Installation of Southern District President and Board of Directors
||Good Shepherd Lutheran
|October 1-3, 2018
noon - noon
|Pastors and Professional Church Workers Conference
100 Mission Dr., Slidell, LA
IN TRANSITION: CALLING CONGREGATION
Hope - Santa Rosa Beach, FL (Associate)
Grace - Pensacola, FL
Redeemer - Mandeville, LA
Resurrection - Pensacola, FL 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 ~
Kari Johnson Waterman
to King of Kings, Omaha, NE as DCE (Small Group & Serving Coordinator) - Accepted
Rev. Calvin (C.J.) Luttinen,
First English, Metairie, LA to Holy Cross, Mobile, AL ~ Accepted
Rev. Corey J. Grunklee,
Christ, Lubbock, TX to Hope, Santa Rosa Beach, FL ~ Pending
Joseph Taylor, Lutheran High, Metairie, LA to Lutheran High, Indianapolis, IN ~ Accepted
Rev. Nathan Ragazinskas, Our Saviour, Des Moines, IA to Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Pensacola, FL ~ Pending
Celebrating the Ministry of Pastor and People
~ June ~
Anniversary of Ordination
40th - Rev. Dan Elkins, Emeritus, Olive Branch, MS
35th - Rev. Carl Nobles, Emeritus, Gulfport, MS
30th - Rev. Richard C. Kreitenstein, Emeritus, Tupelo, MS
30th - Rev. David A. Robatzen, Luth. Ch of the Resurrection, Pensacola, FL
30th - Rev. Benjamin Stallworth, Concordia, Daphne, AL
25th - Rev. Karl Hollibaugh, St. James, Gonzales, LA
25th - Rev. Gary Peterson, Calvary, Baton Rouge, LA
25th - Rev. Vance Tech, Our Savior, Crestview, FL
25th - Rev. Dr. Kevin Wendt, Grace, Destin, FL
20th - Rev. William A. Parsons III, Redeemer, Fairhope, AL
20th - Rev. Dr. John D. Reynolds, Trinity, Gadsden, AL
15th - Rev. William Cornelius, St. Paul, Ruston, LA
15th - Rev. Piotr J. Malysz, St. Paul, Birmingham, AL
10th - Rev. Russ Gipson, Grace, Huntsville, AL
10th - Rev. Gregory Moyer, Trinity, Baton Rouge, LA
5th - Rev. Chad M. Ingle, Prince of Peace, Ozark, AL
5th - Rev. Shane D. McCoy, Trinity, Sulphur, LA
5th - Rev. Michael K. Shannon, Faith, Shreveport, LA
TRINITY - MOBILE, AL
Pentecost Sunday Confirmation Class
Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 2018 was an exciting Sunday at Trinity Lutheran in Mobile, Al. There were seventeen (17) young people who were confirmed and became the newest confirmed members of the congregation. They completed 2 years of instruction under the direction of Rev. Dr. Ulmer Marshall. After the service there was a reception held in the Marshall Fellowship Hall in their honor to celebrate their accomplishments. They along with their parents have committed to continue their Christian education by attending Sunday School each Sunday.
Regional Youth Partnerships
LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission
"not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Heb. 10:25).
A recent article in Reporter highlighted the importance of relationships when working with youth. Western Kansas churches have been providing opportunities for collaborative youth events, with the hope of creating stronger friendships and stronger faith among the participants, for over 40 years.
One such event is the winter Confirmation Retreat, hosted by Circuits 15 and 16, which draws participants from the western side of Kansas. This is an annual event, and not only do the youth learn about the Catechism, but they also learn that the Body of Christ is larger than their rural congregations.
The 2018 National Rural & Small Town Mission Conference will be
held Nov. 8-10 in Kansas City, Mo., at the Hilton Kansas City Airport.
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 email@example.com
or go to
for the online brochure or contact us for more information.
2018 Summer Mission Trip
We are joining Southern District High School Youth in
~ Cost: $299/person
We will have a wide variety of opportunities to serve the Nashville community. Our group may serve the elderly, sort donations, work in community gardens, serve alongside food programs or hang out with children at local summer programs. We will partner with local organizations to meet ongoing needs in the community.
In the evenings, we will have the chance to explore downtown Nashville or spend time at Centennial Park, (Nashville's Centennial Park is home to the only exact replica of the Greek Parthenon) taking pictures at the Parthenon, playing ultimate Frisbee or relaxing on the lawn. YouthWorks has partnered with Nashville since 2010.
COST PER PARTICIPANT INCLUDES: Pre and Post Trip Tools,
Lodging, 14 Meals, Attentive Staff, Service Project Materials, Evening Activities.
WE ♥ TEENAGERS + WE ♥ COMMUNITIES
Teenagers need to encounter Jesus outside their normal context to deepen their faith and broaden their perspectives. Plus, communities need to be valued-not as mere recipients but as partners who have stories worth sharing in.
When we bring the two together, incredible things happen.
Stewardship: Planning and Doing
As many of our congregations are experiencing declining membership and attendance, as well as "greying", and are looking for options, we believe it is time for a message saying simply it is time to begin just using God's already given gifts. Purposeful action always begins with a plan, and in churches planning is pure stewardship--the purposeful use of God's gifts. Unfortunately, organizational planning has morphed into something with its own peculiar, secretive zen of authoritative sounding books and programs to the point that many congregations elect "to continue doing what we have always done". What makes planning seem too hard is a vocabulary with innumerable recipes for preambles, mission statements, values statements, vectors, criteria, facilitators, etc. Nothing exotic has occurred beyond determining where you are, deciding what you want to become (creating a vision statement), listing what must be done to get there and then allocating resources, both human and financial. Every organization knows where it is, determining what it wants to become is the first step in active stewardship and planning, and agreement isn't usually easy to achieve. However, everything begins with crafting a short, two or no more than three sentence descriptions of what a congregation would like to become. God gives us three Biblical tasks: (1) care for the members of our congregation, (2) care for those outside our congregation who are hurting or alone in the world (the sick, unjustly in prison, or grieving, etc.), and (3) to take His word to all the world. We then select what we want to emphasize, usually proportioned to all 3. To be effective a vision statement must be short, one the entire congregation can understand, take to heart and explain. Then the real work of stewardship begins; evaluating, changing and doing. Stewardship is not a verb, the old school litany of I run, we run, they run makes no sense as I stewardship, we stewardship, they stewardship. Using all verbs stemming from God's gifts is stewardship. A church is a system of systems, where what we experience is created by several individual gift using systems, or ministries, which all too often become stovepipes without consideration for the overall effect. Balancing the use of our gifts is stewardship, not a year-end balance sheet or committee report. As one prophetic member said, "If everyone had a close relationship with Jesus, we wouldn't need a Stewardship Committee". Studying and evaluating individual systems that use the gifts of time, talent, treasure and testimony all too frequently reveals we have concentrated our time and treasure on our buildings and programs, almost becoming worshipers of the history of our bricks and mortar, virtually ignoring the three tasks God gave his church on earth. Change sounds easy and doable, but obfuscation and obstruction inevitably arise when determining changes to budget dollars and worship practices. That is why simplicity and getting the congregation to take the goals to heart is overwhelmingly important. With a vision, actions become logical and straightforward. Prayer along the way is also essential to get past shrinking, greying and disappearance. Without taking this first step of corporate stewardship, writing an effective vision statement for a plan, our Synodical President's estimation that we will shrink by half a million members will certainly come to pass. The Stewardship Committee is equipped and available for assistance, and additional sound counsel can be garnered from Pastor Johnson's Coaching, Pastor Scheler's work at Hope in Santa Rosa Beach and Pastor Angerman's 24 to Double effort at Good Shepherd Shalimar. We are certain there are additional successful efforts in the District, will share as we learn of them.
Don Panzenhagen, Interim Chairperson of the Stewardship Committee
WE LIFT UP IN PRAYER. . .
The family of Rev. David Robatzen (Luth Church of the Resurrection-Pensacola, FL) at his passing following a lengthy illness. He served as circuit visitor for many years, and was chairman of the stewardship committee from 1997 - 2000.
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
- Rev. Allan Hudspith (Trinity - Auburn, 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.