January Newsletter

We are a Christian community dedicated to doing God's work. God gathers us in a loving and healing environment to explore the mystery of our faith.

Pastor’s Perspective

January 2018

“Behold, I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19) A vow, a powerful, thundering promise given birth in the Holy Spirt flowing from the mouth of a prophet; words spoken as a gift to a broken and exiled people as they return to their home. “. . . I am about to do a new thing;” to the ears of a shattered people who understandably may have lost hope these are glorious words of an Enduring Covenant. The assurance seems miraculous beyond imagination, a way in desolate barren places and a spoken bond that rivers, living waters, will flow in the parched lifeless wasteland.

There is a central question, however, which remains unanswered . . . “do you perceive it?” Do you, the people of Israel, a People of the Covenant, understand, grasp what it is which is occurring? Can you feel the seismic shift happening? You were a broken, maligned, crushed people living under the boot of oppression. Now God speaks of liberation beyond imagination; a wilderness subdued, water in lifeless places. But, the question remains, can you perceive what it is that God is doing?

I can appreciate the depth and sincerity of the question. When a people, when you and I, have lived lives which are in so many ways limited and narrow it can be difficult to nearly impossible for us to perceive such a promise.

“It just can’t be so,” the internal mantra rings within the mind and soul. “This is just the way it is. I might as well get used to it,” so many speak repeatedly to themselves. God’s extravagant gift and promise can become obscured, refashioned as a fairy tale told from a distant time and in a faraway place. This false rendering, that God’s promise is only a deceptive vapor which evaporates under the most trivial scrutiny, can take shape in the story of a person, a community, a church body, and even in an entire nation.

God is doing a new thing, here and now. The question is for us, can you and I perceive it? Are we willing to release all that we “know” so well about how things are and open our eyes, ears, hearts and minds to perceive what it is God is doing in our midst? With each breath we begin anew and are offered the opportunity to write a life affirming line in the story of our life and that of a faith community. We are invited to become a glimmering light of hope in the darkness of exile where so many dwell. Can we perceive it, this immeasurable promise from God? Wow, that’s an awesome question! I think it’s worth the time to look and see, don’t you?

Peace,

Pastor Mike

A Thought to Ponder

“The new heavens and the new earth are not replacements for the old ones; they are transfigurations of them. The redeemed order is not the created order forsaken; it is the created order - all of it - raised and glorified.”

Robert Farrar Capon

Loss and Healing; Grief Support Group

Beginning Monday, January 15, First Presbyterian Church hosts a gathering called “Loss and Healing.” This group gathers every first and third Monday at 7:00 p.m. in the church parlor.

Loss and Healing is a grief support group which allows and encourages mutually shared feelings of loss but also affirms the presence of hope in order to help regain and restore a fullness of life. The focus of this group is on hope, the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ, and the mercy of God who brings new life. It also offers guidance in a supportive and nurturing environment.

If you have experienced an intimate loss in the last few years it is our hope that you will consider being part of this group. It is an open ended commitment which extends a hand of hope and encouragement to those who have experienced the loss of an intimate loved one. Please prayerfully consider attending Loss and Healing. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pastor Mike at the church office (402-362-5176).

GREETERS FOR JANUARY 2018

7 (E) SUE HODGE

(K) JIM BARR (W) DICK HODGE


14 (E) MERLE EHLERS

(K) ROBERT SPROCK

(W) MARILYN SPROCK


21 (E) KEN GALE

(K) SUSAN GALE

(W) CARYN EICKHOFF


28 (E) GREGG HEIDEN

(K) CINDI NICKEL

(W) STEVE NICKEL


COFFEE FELLOWSHIP

7 KAREN BERGEN

14 DONNA EHLERS

21 JUDY MANEELY

28 NANCY QUIRING


CANDLELIGHTERS

7 RENEE KUCERA

14 MADELYN HEIDEN

21 SKYLAR HUBER

28 RORY HUBER


THE CHARGE

7 DEB HOLMES

14 KEN GALE

21 DONNA EHLERS

28 ANN EDDY


SOUND SYSTEM

7 CONNOR NOLAN

14 CARYN EICKHOFF

21 MARTIN WORKMAN

28 CARYN EICKHOFF


USHERS FOR JANUARY 2018

7

TEAM 1 KARL SHERMAN

STEVE SHERMAN

JASON SHERMAN


14 DALE OLSON

TEAM 6 NANCY WALFORD

DALE KAHLA

ANN EDDY


21 DALE NIEMANN

TEAM 7 BETH NIEMANN

STEVE NICKEL

CINDI NICKEL


28 GREG BERGEN

TEAM 8 LYNDA ZIEG

JUDY MANEELY

LINDA TOMS


COMMUNION SERVERS

JANUARY 7, 2018

KARL SHERMAN

JUDI NORDLUND

CARYN EICKHOFF


Thank Offering – 2017

The annual Thank Offering was received during the Thanksgiving season. Our congregation’s response was $567. One half of the offering will remain in our church to be used for local mission and the remaining one half will be sent to Churchwide Presbyterian Women for global mission. Through this offering many people will experience compassion and caring in a variety of projects and hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN BIBLE STUDY

The PW lesson 6 meeting of the PW Bible study will be Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at Willow Brook. If things change, we’ll let you know.

FOOD PANTRY

We are in need of the following items: Meat products, Instant Rice, Instant Potato’s, Mac & Cheese, Boxed Meals, Jelly and Peanut Butter. Personal Hygiene: Toothpaste, Deodorant, Shampoo, Conditioner, Diapers and Pull-ups. Donations for December weighed in at 19 pounds. Thank you for your continued support of this mission.

Library Notes

Several of the Christmas books will remain on the reading table for this month for readers who were busy with holiday plans with no time to read; however there are two new books and the November/December issue of Horizons.

The first book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce is about the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers in the process of his pilgrimage to reach Queenie Hennessy in an English hospice. He is determined to walk 600 miles to say goodbye to Queenie. The journey opens Harold’s heart to the meaning of life, faith and love. Joyce’s novel has charm, humor, and many surprising “twists and turns”.

Helen Simonson’s, The Summer Before the War, is the second book for this month. This story takes place in East Sussex, 1914, just before this small town and its inhabitants go to war. In addition to the concern about the approaching war, a woman, Beatrice, has arrived to replace the Latin master. The village is shocked about a young woman in this position, but a young medical student, Hugh Grange, is able to help Beatrice adjust to the serene life of the village as it moves into the tragedy of war that affects everyone, not just the soldiers. The perfect summer is about to end as the small town will be tested as its inhabitants go to war.

The November/December Horizons considers what it means to be a stranger in a strange land, with a look at how the faith community responds to these needs. There are several articles related to this timely topic (Migrants and Refugees) in this issue.