Shepherd of the Sierra Newsletter
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Happy New Year!!! Here we are six days into 2013. This is a time of new things, new beginnings, and remembering to write 2013 when we write a check! This New Year is another opportunity to make a difference, not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the past year and the things that didn’t go particularly well and have them drive our being into the New Year. But that’s not what Jesus wants us to do! We just celebrated His coming to earth as a babe in the manger this past Christmas. But He’s so much more than a baby.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord! He came to earth to save us and redeem us. This redemption and restoration puts us into a new sphere of existence, re-created as a person of faith in Him, Who desires us to live in Him and for Him alone! This is a totally new focus!
There are some things that we know we’ve done poorly during 2012, and perhaps we’ve made a resolution to do better in 2013! But as we look at the world, we see people crying out. Jobs are scarce, money is tight, and it’s so easy to lose heart feeling that it’s never going to get better.
But instead of focusing on the negative, let’s remember that all we say and do and are should strain toward seeking God’s kingdom. That means we’ll be busy in the study of His Word and in regular attendance in church where we can hear His Word and receive His Sacraments. It means that we’ll be busy about His work of seeking and saving the lost.
That needs to be our focus and resolution as we enter a New Year. God’s love and mercy for us never wavers and His grace, even though undeserved, is always present.
As you begin this New Year, remember you are special in God’s sight. He willingly gave His own Son for you that you might be washed clean of all of the sin that’s entangled you, not only in the past year, but also each and every day of this new one!
God has called each of us His own. He loves us so much that in every situation we find ourselves, He cares for us. The most wonderful example of this is in the sending of His One and Only Jesus Christ to take our punishment on Himself. He would have nothing more than for us to be with Him eternally in heaven.
For us as a congregation, God has called us to be all about mission in His name. As we look around, we see so many people who don’t have a personal relationship with the Savior, Jesus. They feel they will do just fine by doing it themselves, but the reality is, as sinners, they fail each day.
Because of this, God is calling us to be His ambassadors to the world around us. May others see a difference in your life, and may they see how blessed you are as you’ve walked with Him! May they see Jesus!
May God truly bless you as you live for Him alone in this New Year, and may others see Jesus Christ in all you say and do!
Pastor Norm Milz
GRACE – More than we Deserve – Greater than we Imagine!
The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We talk as though we know what grace means! What does it really mean?
On January 27th, we are going to begin a seven week series on grace based on a new book from Max Lucado called, “Grace – More than we Deserve – Greater than we Imagine!”
Lucado brings the challenge of not only receiving God’s grace, but being changed by it. This series offers real hope and solid Biblical teaching that will be useful to everyone in the congregation!
We will have seven Grace sermons and small group studies that will help unravel the complexity and vastness of God’s grace.
The sermon titles for this series are:
- “The Grace-Shaped Life”
- “Jesus Stooped Low to Take Our Place”
- “You Can Rest Now”
- “Accepting the Gift of Wet Feet”
- “Coming Clean Within Grace the Abounds”
- “Chosen to a Guaranteed Place in the Family”
- “Sustaining and Sufficient Grace”
Beginning this week, we will be taking orders for the book by Max Lucado and the participant’s guide for Bible study. Be watching for this sign-up and pray asking God to touch your heart and become involved in this series beginning January 27th. To Christ alone be the praise!
Birthdays in January:
Stephanie Markwardt – January 1
Rex Reed – January 1
Cameron Sievers – January 1
Cathie Collier – January 3
Vicki Wilson – January 3
Lea Ann Randall – January 5
David Evanson – January 6
Trevor Markwardt – January 6
Mary Laursen – January 11
Connor Witt – January 11
LeAnn Tozzi – January 13
Fran Smith – January 14
Karon Brauer – January 15
Bryce Unger – January 16
Dominick Tozzi – January 20
Zachery Schober – January 24
Carolee Berglan – January 26
Marv Kientz – January 28
Kurt Suchsland – January 29
Colton Witt – January 30
Luke Tatman – January 31
Anniversaries in January:
Kurt & Pam Suchsland – January 21 (33 yrs)