Archive for category: News & Announcements

Engage the World

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

engage lgArriving back in the office after an extended time away is always a challenge. Even when I’m on the road for various activities and come back to the office the mail and email quickly mounts. It will take a little while to catch up after this sabbatical. Kathy Keene did an excellent job of keeping things in order and staying on top of pressing issues along with our very capable staff. Our Regional Vice Presidents graciously took turns being “in residence” during these few months, and while they often had their hands full, they did not miss a beat and I was always confident that the District was in good hands.

As I was going through one of the various piles of mail awaiting my return, I came across our Synod’s Mission magazine, “Lutherans Engage the World.” I flipped through it and found some fascinating and wonderful and informative articles about ministry happening in various places across the world. As I set the magazine back on my desk the name kept jumping out at me, not as a title, but rather as a direction or a command. Instead of it being a heading, it was as if it were shouting out to me, “Lutherans: ENGAGE THE WORLD!!” Isn’t this exactly what our call as disciples of the Lord Jesus is all about?

I suspect that most people who would take time to read a blog like this are already believers in Jesus, that somehow the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has impacted your life. We know that in the midst of a sinful and often hopeless world that there is great hope in Jesus! So when we hear about world events like the things that have happened in Ferguson, MO, or the terror cells of Isis, or even the crimes happening in our own communities, we can lament how terrible this world has become, or we can see this as God’s call for us to engage the world with the message of Jesus, who is our hope and salvation. He alone can forgive our sins and renew us from the inside out. He alone can give meaning, purpose and help us make sense out of an often crazy world.

How can we better engage the world around us? In our day it is less likely that putting up a new sign with glowing letters announcing our presence in the community will have an impact. Even offering the greatest VBS program or food bank or day care seems to have little relevance beyond serving the specific need of a place to drop the kids, get needed food, or garner a good education. During my sabbatical I worshipped in a variety of Lutheran Churches across the United States, and sadly, I would have to say that some were not what I would consider “engaging.” In fact, had I not been a Lutheran looking for an LCMS congregation and just happened to walk in cold to some of these places, I would have walked out the same way. Some remember the days when all you had to do was open the doors and people would come to church. I can’t honestly say that I ever remember, in my lifetime, it being quite that easy, but it certainly was easier than it is today.

The other day Edith and I were engaged in a conversation with a friend about the demise in society and the church today. My friend stated that he feels this is due, in part, to the entitlement attitude that is so pervasive in our world today. You see it all around us—in families, in schools, in businesses, and yes, even in churches. What an entitlement attitude does is put self first. It’s all about me, about what serves me, about what I like or dislike and about what makes me comfortable or causes discomfort. It’s about choices and freedom rather than commitment. It’s been called the throwaway society, because if we get tired of it, we throw it away and get something new. In families it often is seen when a family member thinks only of themselves rather than recognizing the impact it has on others. This attitude creeps into the church when the concern turns from caring about the salvation of the lost and sharing the grace of Jesus with them to caring for creature comforts that only serve those who already know Jesus. It seems that so much of what the church does to engage the world is on our terms, so long as it fits in our paradigm and conforms to what we often deem as acceptable standards. We aren’t alone.

In Mark 9:33-37 we read, “They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.’”  Let me simply say three things here. First, the disciples were embarrassed, and rightly so, because their concern was about jockeying for position rather than the ministry Jesus had been modeling for them. Secondly, Jesus doesn’t scold them, but rather, in His great compassion, He continues to teach them about servanthood. In fact, He illustrates this by picking up that child and reminding them of the mission, serving people—even the smallest child, with His love and grace. Thirdly, what Jesus is really pointing His disciples to, and us as well, is the fact that it all comes down to relationship. This is how I believe we’re called to engage the world.

What impacts this wayward world, my dear Lutheran brothers and sisters, is the method Jesus has modeled for each of us to engage the world by investing the time and energy into building relationship.
There are no quick fixes and often no immediate results. To spend the time to build relationship can get messy and involved. It means listening, and potentially sacrificing our time and resources and serving others in Jesus’ name. It may mean opening our homes and hearts, taking our sights off ourselves and looking at life through the eternal lenses of Jesus. Life changes when we begin to care about other people and engage them for the sake of Jesus.
Earlier this summer Edith and I learned that we will become grandparents later this year. I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are, and look forward to this little girl being part of our lives. I’ve already begun learning how to spoil her. I guarantee that despite messy diapers, despite the potentially cranky moments (I mean her, not me…) despite the things that will no doubt get broken or messed up, this little girl will have the love of her grandparents, and we will do everything in our power to build a relationship with her. In fact, that was modeled to us by our parents who are awesome grandparents!

Jesus gave us a terrific model in Himself. It is about building relationships. So my plea, and the command of Jesus is, “Lutherans—let’s engage the world!” That’s the mission He’s given us. Let’s invest ourselves in others for others for the sake of eternity and connecting people to Jesus! Won’t you join me?

With you in the Mission of Jesus,

Greg

Rev. Gregory S. Walton, President
FLGA District, LCMS

LHM National Outreach

Categories: News & Announcements

More than 700 people  gathered at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, on July 24-27, 2014 as Lutheran Hour Ministries kicks off its SENT National Outreach Conference. The conference energetically empowers Christians to engage in a lifestyle of living out, and speaking out, the Gospel of Jesus and offers a venue where church workers and laity, who have the desire to see their congregations grow, can come to learn, network, and worship together.  Doug Kallesen, Executive Director of Mission and Outreach, led a seminar on Missional Communities.

Lutheran Life 2014 vol 4

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issues features the following:

  • A message from President Walton while on Sabbatical
  • District Headquarters recognized as a “Best Place to Work” by Business Journal
  • LERT Training continues
  • Lutheran Hour Ministries Partnership continue with Outreach Initiative
  • President’s Convocation focus on Renewal
  • LCEF Young Investors Club Account
  • Peace Decatur PAHL Garden
  • Regional news
  • and much more

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online by using the link below:

Live 2014 vol 4

LiveUCF Campus Ministry Starting

Categories: News & Announcements

Connect your UCF students, UCF Alumni, and Orlando locals to LiveUCF – our mission plant at the University of Central Florida.  As we build this new ministry we need your support. Please take a moment to connect us to your students who attend college in Orlando.  Have UCF alumni?  We would love to let them be a part of LiveUCF as well.

Below is some information that you can publish.

Thanks for your partnership!  If you have any questions or would like to discuss further partnerships with LiveUCF including holding a UCF Sunday at your church, please don’t hesitate to contact our Lead Pastor Billy Brath at Billy@LiveUCF.com

 

LiveUCF

Living for Christ. Loving UCF.

LiveUCF is the Lutheran Church’s campus ministry to the University of Central Florida.  We are a worshiping community that connects students to God’s word and equips them to live as His people on and around campus.

Currently we gather every Wednesday night at 8pm for Bible study and fellowship on campus in front of the Burnett Honors College.

Support LiveUCF by:

Connect students with us and helping our ministry expand on campus.  Connect@LiveUCF.com

Donate your gifts.  LiveUCF is financially supported by members & churches around Florida.

Pray that the Lord would bless our work as we bring His Gospel to the campus of UCF and engage students in living for Christ

LiveUCF.com

 

Lutheran Life 2014 vol 3

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements
The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issues features the following:

  • New Candidates and Vicars welcomed into the FLGA District
  • Feature Articles on the difficult circumstances that still exist in Haiti
  • District Staff travels to Haiti
  • Mission: Haiti efforts reaping benefits n Education, Health, Outreach
  • Roenfeldt plans visits to FLGA congregations to introduce Mission:Haiti
  • John Frerking Honored with “Walk of Faith” award
  • Raising Awareness of Persecuted Christians
  • North Miami Ministry Maintains Lutheran Presence in Challenging circumstances
  • LCEF – Teamwork Key in moving stalled ministry forward
  • LCEF – Discover the clarity you need to embrace God’s vision for your ministry
  • David Weidner retires from FLGA District staff
  • Regional news
  • Music, Prayer dominate St. Paul, Boca Raton Inaugural Community Event
  • and much more

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online by using the link below:

Live 2014 vol 3

Lutheran Life 2014 vol 2

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issues features the following:

  • Information about President’s Convocation, headline speakers
  • President Walton’s LifeLines:  “Is Hollywood connecting people to Jesus?”
  • Thrivent Celebrates Fifth Consecutive Year of Growth
  • New Student Ministry Connects Students to Jesus
  • Report from Board of Directors
  • Lady Saints’ Historic Win Brings National Crown to District
  • LWML Convention speakers will share the joy
  • Social Ministry Spotlight
  • Wheat Ridge Grant Helps Fund District Wellness Challenge
  • Federally Chartered Credit Union in Development for LCMS Members
  • FLGA Regional News
  • And much more…..

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online by using the link below:

Live 2014 vol 2

Lutheran Life 2014 vol 1

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements
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pdf” target=”_blank”>Life 2014 vol 1

Credit Union Sponsorship Announcement

Categories: LCEF-Lutheran Church Extension Fund, News & Announcements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Becca Jones
Lutheran Church Extension Fund
800-843-5233

The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) announces its sponsorship of a federally chartered credit union, focused on supporting and serving the financial needs of the members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). A detailed review of the information that led to this decision was shared with members during the 2013 LCEF Annual Meeting, part of LCEF’s Fall Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

In its October 2013 meeting, the LCEF Board of Directors approved the sponsorship and an allocation of start-up capital for the establishment of the credit union. The board made this decision after it and LCEF’s senior leadership conducted nearly two years of extensive assessment. The credit union, serving all LCMS members, will be a corporation separate from LCEF, focused on providing state-of-the-art banking products with superior customer service.

LCEF President/CEO Richard C. Robertson expressed his enthusiasm for this opportunity and its benefit to the LCMS community. “The analysis and consumer data from existing LCEF members, as well as non-members, is very encouraging,” Robertson said. “LCEF is pleased to act as a catalyst in this unique way to serve our Church community.”

It is anticipated it will require 12 to 18 months for the credit union to gain regulatory approval from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and to implement the processes required to become operational. Further information about the credit union will be shared as it becomes available.

The mission and focus of the LCEF remains to support the Church in fulfilling its mission of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being a servant partner of the LCMS, ensuring that funds and services are available now and in the future. With more than 80,000 investment partnerships and a dedicated staff throughout the United States, this not-for-profit organization provides loans and facility-planning services to LCMS churches, schools, recognized service organizations and rostered church workers through the investment support of church members.

For more information about LCEF, call 800-843-5233.

For inquiries about the credit union, email LCMS.CreditUnionInfo@lcef.org.

Lutheran Life 2013 vol 6

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issue features the following:

  • President Walton’s Lifelines
  • Children, Families Benefiting from Mission: Haiti Programs
  • Thrivent Builds, Repairs, Impacts Ocala, Florida
  • LERT Offers Disaster Response Training
  • District LWML Retreat REport
  • LCEF News
  • From Burning Bush:  Parsing the Monotheists
  • Regional Reports
  • 2014 Hearts for Jesus Project
  • Pictures, pictures, pictures!

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online using the link below.

Life 2013 vol 6

Lutheran Life 2013 v 5

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issue features the following:

  • President Walton’s Lifelines
  • News from Cumming, GA New Construction Project
  • Report of the Dedication of the new District Office Space
  • Mission Exec Kallesen on Sabbatical
  • LWML National Convention Update
  • Report from 2013 Educators Conference
  • Burning Bush, by Pastor Bruce Lieske
  • How Adidas Put Concordia-Selma team back on field
  • Funding Boosts Thrive Start-Up Mission
  • Regional Reports

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online using the link below.

Life 2013 vol 5

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