February 2015
Church Press Newsletter
Lenten Service Invitation  

Here is a model letter (could also be an email) to all members to attend the Ash Wednesday Service or a Sunday service with a strong emphasis on Calvary.

The letter centers on Martha and Judas, very much alike, yet, a big difference between the two. Run off a hard copy, tweak it a little, send it, and you'll have more people at worship. Click invitation.

A Super Duper Offer 

Receive one sample of our Burgundy Vinyl Holder, Matching Attendance Pad, and Matching Pen. Put $1 in an envelope and send it to us. The burgundy set (a $6.74 value) is yours including shipping! Put in a second $1, and we'll include the Blue Vinyl set (a $6.74 value). These holders will outlast any holder on the market today. Offer good until February 28.

Encouraging Widows 

Stay connected. Do not assume we need "space" to grieve. There is already a huge hole in our universe. Please invite us to anything. We may decline but will appreciate being asked. Do not tell us the story of losing your friend or close relative. We may be able to listen to your story later, but not now. 

Please call asking specific questions such as: "May I run an errand for you? Meet you for coffee?" Do not say, "Call me if you need anything." Do say, "I've been thinking of you and praying for you." - Miriam Neff

"But Lot's wife... 

looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, "My Mummy looked back once while she was driving," he announced triumphantly, "and she turned into a telephone pole!"
For Pastor's Eyes  Only

4 Sermon books by Dr. Arthur Graf (LCMS) which include 28 Lenten sermons. Books are titled Bought With A Price, Joybells of Life, No Other Name, and The Apostles' Creed. $41.80 value. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor who emails us.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

The Love Dare. A non-fiction book by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. A 40-day Christian devotional designed to strengthen marriages. New. Retails for $14.99. Free (including shipping) to the first secretary (or office administrator) who emails us.

Nine Issues Regarding Pastors and Office Hours
By Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay

What should a pastor and staff do regarding church office hours? What should be the expectations of the church members about their schedules? Allow me to respond by noting nine key issues.

1. Pastors must be out of the office on a regular basis to be in a relational presence in the community. The most effective pastors I know give relational presence a priority. That presence is to both church members and those who aren't members. [read more]
A Good Church

St. Paul Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Prior Lake, MN, has very practical website. Rev. John Vaughn is Pastor.

The home page is colorful and active. Very informative. Click St. Paul to start your study. Jot down ideas for your website.
Ten Rules for Using Church Buildings 

If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it
If you unlock it, lock it.
If you break it, repair it.
If you can't fix it, report
   it to the church office.
If you drop it, pick it up.
If you use it, don't abuse
If you make a mess,
   clean it up.
If you move it, replace it.
If you don't know how it
   works, leave it alone.
Thank you!

Five lessons from Nehemiah to find the life you are looking for
By Derwin L. Gray, Leadership 1/12/15

In 445 B. C., a Jewish man is the cup bearer of Artaxerxes, the Persian king. In 586 B.C., the Jewish people had been exiled by Nebuchadnezzar so Nehemiah was living outside of Jerusalem as part of the diaspora. 

He was a man whom others trusted and was known for his integrity. He lived at the palace, ate the king's food, and drank his wine. 

But when Nehemiah learns of the plight of his people in Jerusalem . . . he leaves his comfort, but when he does he finds the life he had been looking for. How can we become captured by the glory of God? Here are five lessons from the life of Nehemiah. [read more]

Nearly 1/2

The number of churchless Americans has jumped by one-third in the past 20 years. In the early 1990s, about 2 in 10 U.S. adults were churchless. Ten years later, it was 3 in 10. Today, nearly half of the U.S. population is churchless. - Barna
Eternity will not...

be long enough to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for me. Eternity will not be long enough to thank some friend who introduced me to my best Friend, Jesus. But in eternity I will not be able to introduce anyone to Jesus; the time for that is now.

Welcome! Please come in. More than 100 years ago a great renewal of genuine Christianity swept through Wales. Church buildings overflowed; thousands of new converts were made. It is known as the Welsh Revival of 1904. Welsh Christian William Rees wrote "Here Is Love, Vast As the Ocean." It became known as the love song of the Welsh Revival. View the video, listen to or sing the words of this stirring hymn. 

Here is love, vast as the ocean - Robin Mark
Here Is Love, Vast As the Ocean

God has two valentines for you: His Word and the Cross. 
He gives you what you need. 
You have one valentine to give God what He wants: your heart!

I Will Not Stop Loving You
By Pastor Don Ginkel

Talk to a widow who stands by the casket of her loved one of twenty-five years. She's hurting because he's gone from this earth. Ask her: "Was the love worth the hurt you now feel?" She knows it is. Talk to the wife of Jim Elliot who was murdered by the Auca Indians about the hurt in her soul as she introduces her husband's murderer, now a believer in Jesus Christ. Was the love for her husband worth her pain? Certainly it was. Talk to a mother and father from Detroit who journeyed to California to see a man in prison for the murder of their daughter. They wanted to tell him they weren't angry and they loved him. He became a Christian through that event. Was their love worth the hurt? Now it was!

When people see you love and still get hurt, and when they see you hurt and still love, and when you find yourself loving in spite of the fact that you hurt, then people will know there is a God and there is a Son named Jesus who is the expression of God's love to sinful people.


We love one another because God has loved us with a supreme love. We forgive one another because God has forgiven us all our sins for Christ's sake. Like our heavenly Father we love knowing full well that at times we will be hurt in the process of it all. That is why St. Paul closes his "love chapter" with these words: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13).


Dear heavenly Father, help me understand that when I love I am open to being hurt by the very people I love. Forgive me for the times I have stopped loving. Help me learn anew to love the way You love. Help me know in advance that I will be hurt, but I will not stop loving. I ask this in the loving name of Jesus, my Savior. Amen.  


7 Reasons Some Churches Experience Revitalization (While Others Don't)
By Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay

I have a great love for local congregations. To be sure, I've never been in a perfect church. They just don't exist. But I still love local churches. One of my greatest joys in the past several years has been to see and work with churches that have experienced significant turnaround. While that turnaround is typically evident in attendance numbers, it is much more than that.

I recently categorized the reasons some church experience revitalization. I then compared them to churches that have not been revitalized. I found seven differences between the two sets of churches. These are the seven traits unique to the revitalized churches:
  1. The leaders and members faced reality. One of the reasons most church don't experience revitalization is their unwillingness to "look in the mirror." Denial leads to decline which leads to death. [read more]
A Responsive Ash Wednesday Reading

P: Earth to earth. Ashes to ashes.
C: Palm leaves go into the tin can crematorium. Flames leap up, subside.     
Embers glow. When the glow is gone, nothing remains except ashes.
P: Many leaves of palm. A palmful of ashes.
C: Where are the people who have lived in cities where wars have come? They didn't know it, but there were living in a crematorium. 
P: The planes came and the tanks; bombs fell; canons boomed and rifles cracked and flame throwers roared.
C: And when it was done there was nothing left but ashes. Many people.
A thin coat of ashes. [read more]

Visit Them at Work
By Michael Lindsay, OutReach Magazine

"Of the 360 top business leaders I interviewed for Faith in the Halls of Power, only one business leader recalled his pastor visiting him at work. It had happened 20 years earlier, but it meant so much to this church member. He vividly recalled what the pastor was wearing, what they talked about, and how he introduced his minister to all of his colleagues. One pastor friend of mine now makes a habit of welcoming new deacons and elders to their leadership positions by meeting them for lunch at work. This gives him a chance to see what their lives are like outside the church context."

Choices We Make
By Rev. Bob Tasler (LCMS), Emeritus

"Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should." That was the title to a sermon I wrote several years ago about choices we make in a privileged society. That sentiment is still valid, whether it's about things we can do, things we can say, or how we spend our time. Just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should. In life we will see open doors before us, but it doesn't mean we should go through them at all. We need the wisdom and guidance of God's Word to help us decide which to take.


We who live in a wealthy nation have more choices, and the more we have, the more apt we may be to make bad ones. Our computer can take us to many places; should we therefore go there? Just because it feels good, should we do it? Just because it tastes good, is affordable or fun, should we go there? [read more]

Focus on These Issues
By Dr. Kent Hunter (LCMS), the Church Doctor
  • Ask yourself, "What is raw Christianity?" What is content and what is packaging? Die for the content, not the packaing.
  • Help people change incrementally, step-by-step. Help people take little bites, one at a time, which is the best way to eat the elephant.
  • Focus on what you would to go to the wall for. Make sure that the things you would die for are the things Jesus would die for.
  • What about those who are resisting change? Go easy on them. Pray for them. Ask God for help to understand change and accept it.
Stack of Stuff

To help with your outreach: Prepare 300 chocolate bars for worshipers to hand out to friends the week before Valentine's Day (one for each worshiper). Wrap the bars with your church's contact info and service times. To get it done just put a few people in charge of the preparation. Easy. And it really helps. Just another way to think outside the box. 

"I'd rather live dangerously for Jesus than exist safely for people's approval." - Rick Warren

What would you do if an active shooter suddenly appeared at a worship service or meeting at your church? Nadine Ginkel works at the Denver Seminary Library. The local police department just had a two hour presentation with the Library employees as to what to do and what not to do. She said that it was very helpful. Perhaps your church should ask for advice on what you can do (and what not to do) if an active shooter appears on your premises. 

A question you should share with some of your friends. A Christian lady was talking to a friend about visiting her church. The friend had difficulty appreciating going to a church that really preached and taught Jesus and the Bible. Finally the Christian lady asked her friend this question and then explained what it meant: "Why would you want to eat food from 'Meals on Wheels' when you can dine at a Five Star Restaurant?" Hope you can use the question. Be sure your friend "understands" the difference between the two eating experiences.

The "Boy Who Came Back from Heaven" Retracts Story.  Alex Malarkey, now 16, says, "I did not die" and "Bible is sufficient" on heaven. Take a minute to read his interesting open letter.

Do you miss any of the folks who are members of your church who no longer attend? We hope so. What can you do to let them know that you care? We have a special card than can help. It's simply called the "We Miss You Card." Hundreds of churches have used it. With Lent and Easter approaching, this is an excellent time to let them know that Jesus cares and you do, too. To ask for a free copy of #406 just email us.

Pastor, two questions: (1) How many homes of non-attending members do you think you should visit each week this year? (2) How many homes of prospects do you think you should visit each week this year? The answers tell a lot about you. Set a number. Then go for it.

Your "Field" Is HUGE

Who can you invite to your church? Who can you share your Jesus with? Your field is huge.
  • Think of family members, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles.
  • Think of neighbors -  next door neighbors, elderly persons, and new families in the neighborhood.
  • Think of persons you know through sports or hobbies - people with whom you bowl, golf, or play tennis with.
  • Think of people at work - supervisors, employees, secretaries, clients, and colleagues you see once in a while.
  • Think of friends with whom you dine out - single friends, parents of your child's friends, old friends from school.
  • Think of casual associates - your dentist, your doctor, your child's teacher, persons who belong to clubs and professional groups you attend, sales representatives who call on you frequently, and persons who graduated from the same school as you.
  • Think especially of persons who are undergoing personal life stresses of some kind.
Children's Definition of Love 
  • "Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don't yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."
  • "Love is when Mommy makes coffee for my Daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure it tastes OK."
  • "My Mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep every night."
  • "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweating and still says he's handsomer than Robert Redford."
  • "Love is when a puppy licks your face, even after you left him alone all day."
  • "You shouldn't say I love you unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
And then there's God's definition of love. Why not read it again. You know where it is - 1 Corinthians 13.

From the Leader's Guide for I Have Good News for You - "About a Meal Which Feeds You," p. 127

Before we take the next section I want to share my concern with you regarding the gross ignorance on the purposes and benefits of the Lord's Supper. So many people in the church do not understand this heavenly Meal. Let me illustrate. 

Imagine a farmer this morning named Fritz who opens his barn doors to milk his cows, and he says, "Here bossie!" They all come to the barn lining up in order. Cow # 1 is always first, cow # 2 is always second, etc. This never changes. Bessie goes to her stall. Ethel goes to her's. Every cow has her stall. Now as the cows are coming into the barn, let's assume that I would put my arm out and stop cow # 1, old Bessie. I would bend down a little and look into her big brown eyes and say, "Bessie, vas sagen sie? Vas is los? What are you doing? What meaneth this procession?" And Bessie would stand there on all fours and try to think, and then she would lift her soft, beautiful head up toward my face and with all the energy she possessed she would say, "Moooo!" And go on. That would be her answer. That is the best she can do. 

Now let's go in spirit to some churches this morning at the early service, and we picture Fred and his wife Elsie who are going into church. It could be any denomination, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, whatever. It's the 8:00 service. Fred and Elsie come in to sit in their pew, and God help any other folks who happen to already be sitting in their pew. So they sit down. When the sermon starts old Fred goes to sleep as usual. [read more]

Be blessed and be a blessing
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