• Excerpt from March, 2019 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

    Welcome to March, in like a lion, out like a lamb, hopefully. It has been quite a winter to this point...

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March 2019 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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Welcome to March, in like a lion, out like a lamb, hopefully. It has been quite a winter to this point, I think we are all ready for the snow to melt away. Speaking of a lion and a lamb our Savior has been referred to as both the lion and the lamb. And as we enter into March we are also marching into Lent. Ash Wednesday is Wednesday March 6, officially beginning the Lenten season. Lent is and always has been one of my favorite times in the church year. This year during Lent we are going to be involved in a pulpit exchange with several other LCMS churches in our circuit for the Wednesday evening services. This year each of the pastors will be looking at different people from the Old Testament. The following list show who, what, and when the different pastors will be here.

Pastor Von Seggern, St. Paul Lutheran — Marengo     Manessah     Mar 27
Pastor Wellnitz, Immanuel Lutheran — Mellen     Noah     Apr 3
Pastor Lahners, Trinity Lutheran — Glidden     Jonah     Apr 10

I will be preaching on my Old Testament personage on the 20th of March. I am looking forward to our pulpit exchange and think it will be a great experience for everyone.

As most of you know I was in Arizona during the last full week of February, I was there for a little R&R (rest and relaxation) with June and to attend the Best Practices Ministry conference hosted by Christ Church Lutheran in Phoenix. As always the conference was amazing with so many presenters and topics it is almost overwhelming. This year over 2,700 pastors, pastors' wives, DCE's, Worship leaders, Sunday school superintendents and teachers, music directors and organists, and other church workers attended. Part of what makes this such a spectacular event is that the entire thing is sponsored by Christ Church and is provided at no cost to those attending, other than transportation and lodging. The conference even includes all of your meals for the three days. And it is all run by congregational volunteers and donations from the congregation and community. A truly amazing feat. June and I attended many different breakout sessions on a large variety of topics. The one that really struck home with me was about a new program called the Red Letter Challenge. The challenge is designed to help people live life more like Jesus. Sometimes as Christians we don't always lead a life that depicts Jesus. The Red Letter Challenge (RLC) helps to show us what that life looks like. The people behind RLC believe that if people truly met the real Jesus, they would really fall in love with Him. So how do we change the story that we are telling? We go back to Christ's words. You know, those red letters in your Bible, (most new Bibles depict Jesus' words by printing them in red) and when you read those you see that Jesus had a lot to say to His followers, you, about what we are called to do and how we should live. Through the RLC we will look at Christ's literal words and learn through practical daily challenges based on those words. We will receive targets to shoot for to help us measure how well we are practically following after him. RLC believes that Jesus followers want to be the best Jesus followers that we can be not out of obligation, but out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us! The Red Letter Challenge is a forty day program.

I plan on starting right after Easter and we will finish up that first week in June or there about. It includes incorporating the RLC into our worship, into our home devotional life and in small group Bible Studies, and once again it is only six weeks long. I will be sharing more information throughout Lent and I am already looking forward to starting. If you have questions, comments, and may be interested in helping please see me. Are you ready to take the challenge?

I close today with the following red letter words from Jesus:
26"So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[h]29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[i]And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

God Bless you all! Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Rick