The congregation of Grace Lutheran Church is richly blessed to have both Curtis Boehm and James Kay serving as pastors. We also have in our membership five retired pastors who for a total of 213 years preached their sermons, taught students at high school and university levels, led Bible studies, visited the sick, baptized and confirmed, conducted marriages and funerals, accepted leadership and counselling positions within the larger church body and accomplished countless other tasks as they served the Lord Jesus. We continue to benefit from the years of experience and wisdom still being shared as these men worship with us, add their voices to congregational and district decisions, lead Bible studies and serve as vacancy pastors in other congregations. Included in this group are: Ferdinand Drewin, Lowell Eckert, Adrian Leske, Larry MacKay and Walt Ritter.
Romans 12:3-8 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
It looks like the group of retired pastors followed the advice of the Apostle Paul. I don't know how many people in their various congregations and classes heard their sermons and teachings, but I am convinced that the Holy Spirit was hard at work opening ears and hearts to bring each person closer to Jesus, their Heavenly Father. We thank our retired pastors for your services: past and present.
So now I repeat from Romans 12...if it is to encourage, then give encouragement. Pastor Curtis and Pastor James, now serving Grace Lutheran Church, we thank you for accepting the call to serve our congregation. We thank you for your courage to meet the challenges of raising young children and balancing family life. We thank you for asking for advice and for listening to counsel. We thank you for admitting to fatigue and for looking for ways to share the work load. For trying new teaching and worship styles and for engaging new sources of energy to show Christian love and service. You may feel that progress is too slow and your efforts are ineffective, but Isaiah encouraged the people of Judah and Jerusalem in Chapter 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
And St. Paul, with wonderful words of encouragement said in Philippians 4:4-8...Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
Pastor Curtis and Pastor James, may God bless you both with peace, hope and love this Christmas season.
The Members of Grace