July 2015
Church Press Newsletter
101 Years Old

An interview with 101-year-old Hattie Mae MacDonald of Feague, KY, as reported in Engaging the Aging.

Reporter: Can you give us some health tips for reaching the age of 101?
Hattie: For better digestion, I drink beer. In case of appetite loss, I drink white wine.
Reporter: When do you drink water?
Hattie: I've never been that sick.
Reporter: What do you like about being 101?
Hattie: No peer pressure!


When many of the relatives of those murdered at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston prayed for and offered forgiveness to Dylann Roof, it presented the mind of our Savior: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

Thanks and praise be to Jesus. The victims respond with mercy. Just like Jesus on the cross. God be praised!

2 Great Books 

Permit me to highly recommend two historical novels by Herman Wouk for late evening reading. They are The Hope which opens in 1948 and ends in the miraculous triumph of the 1967 Six-Day War. 

The second book is The Glory, where Israel is pushed to the brink of annihilation and includes figures like Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, and Anwar Sadat. Briefly put, Israel is a miracle from God.

I spoke with my son, Paul, in Milwaukee, WI, a few nights ago. I shared with him my enthusiasm for these books. He reported that he has just read them and was also impressed. 

You can go to Amazon to order a hard copy or a copy for your Kindle. Hope you read both. - DFG

For Pastor's Eyes  Only

Simpler Living Compassionate Life by a number of authors. A collection of essays dealing with a healthy and more balanced life. $14.95, 296 pages. New. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor who emails us.

For Church Secretary's
Eyes Only

Holy Bible New Testament in the NIV. Very attractive. Hard cover. Fancy white paper. New. 438 pages. Retails for $16.95. Free (including shipping) to the first secretary (or office administrator) who emails us.

For the Eyes of A Pastor's Wife 

Hearts of Fire by Steve and Ginny Cleary. 8 courageous women from around the world who suffered hardship and persecution because of their faith in Christ. $13.95. 296 pages. New. Free (including shipping) to the first pastor's wife who emails us.

Determination to Serve

By Oswald Chambers


St. Paul's idea of service was to pour his life out for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. 



As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person.

But the chief motivation behind Paul's service was not love for others but love for his Lord.


If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.


Excellent Church

First Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Cedarburg, WI, has a sharp looking website. Rev. Randolph Raasch is lead pastor and is assisted by Rev. Monte Haun and Rev. Timothy Seban.

Colorful. Inviting. Activities, sermons, resources, ministries for children, youth, and adults, a dearth of materials neatly arranged. Very informative. 

This Church is active for the Lord. Click First Immanuel Lutheran to start your study. You'll get ideas for ministries for your church and your website.  
10 Common Worship Distractions 
By Chuck Lawless, LifeWay

Based on my work as a church consultant, reports from our "secret shoppers," interviews with church members, and my own experiences, here are ten far-to-common distractions during worship services.

1. Starting late

Same-Sex Marriage and the Future
By Russell Moore, Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox

The Bible tells us that the king of Israel once wanted to hear from the prophets, as to whether he would be victorious over his enemies. All the court prophets told him exactly what he wanted to hear. Yet the king of Judah, wisely, asked whether there might be another voice to hear from, and Israel's king said that, yes, there was, but that he hated this prophet "because he never prophesies good concerning me" (1 Kings 22:8). Once found, this prophet refused to speak the consensus word the king wanted to hear. "As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I will speak" (1 Kings 22:14). And, as it turned out, it was a hard word.


When it comes to what people want to hear, it seems to me that the church faces a similar situation as we look to the future of marriage in this country. Many want the sort of prophetic witness that will spin the situation to look favorable, regardless of whether that favor is from the Lord or in touch with reality.


First of all, no one refusing to repent of sin - be it homosexuality or fornication or anything else - will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10). This strategy leaves people in condemnation before the Judgment Seat of Christ, without reconciliation and without hope.


Welcome! Please come in. "He Hideth My Soul" was written by Fanny J. Crosby. She gradually lost her eyesight and was blind at age five. At age eight she wrote her first poem: "Oh, what a happy child I am. Although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world Contented I will be." She wrote 8,000 hymns and died when she was 95. The hymn speaks of the promises God makes to you. Go full screen. View the video, listen to or sing the words.

He Hideth My Soul

A Gospel Presentation
By Pastor Don Ginkel

Years ago John and Cindy were new in town. They were Lutheran and did not know the way of salvation. Key lines have been underlined. As you study this presentation ask why these particular lines are important. What can you learn from this Gospel presentation? You should know that John and Cindy put their faith in Jesus Christ the evening of this presentation, then went through the adult membership class, I Have Good News for You, and then became active members of the congregation. As you read the following account, ask who it is that you know who needs to hear this same Good News - then share the Good News as best you can. The Holy Spirit will bless it. Also, since this Gospel Presentation is somewhat lengthy (8 pages), make a hard copy of it for close study. The Spirit of God will bless it in your heart. Also consider it as a study document in a Bible class setting. May God be praised!


Good evening, John. I'm Pastor Ginkel from Our Savior Lutheran Church. May I come in and visit with you for a while? "Oh, sure! Come on in." Thank you, John and Cindy. "Why don't you come into the living room and get comfortable?" You have a real beautiful home here. I understand that you are new in town. Is that right? "Yes, we moved here several months ago from Peoria." I see, and what kind of work are you in, John? "Well, I'm going to school right now and my wife works in one of the large offices down town."


John, I understand that last Sunday you and Cindy visited our church. Is that right? "Yes, we did. We commented afterward that this is the friendliest church we have ever attended. So many people came up and spoke with us after the service." What church did you belong to in Illinois? "It was St. Matthew Lutheran Church." And what synod was it, John? "It was ELCA."


We're real glad you came to our services at Our Savior's. As you may have noticed, we are a young church, a growing congregation. Our church is about eleven years old. By the way, when you were in Peoria did you attend St. Matthew regularly or just once in a while? "Oh, we attended maybe twice a month." I see. And were you active in any organizations or anything? "Ummmmmmm. I was an usher and I belonged to the Brotherhood." I see. How about you, Cindy? "Well, I was in the Ladies Group." You were? Fine. What did you do? "Well, we did some sewing. We put on a bazaar once a year. And we sponsored a style show twice a year. We really worked for God."


Well, that sounds like lots of fun. [read more]

Top 10 Quotes From the 3 Dissenting Justices on Same-sex Marriage

If you think we have problems now, they're going to get a lot worse. Please read these quotes to what same sex marriage opens us up to in our families, our society, and the church. Scripture is very direct on the subject. But then, these days, who cares about that?
  1. "The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment . . . The Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahjari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?" - Chief Justice John Roberts [read more
2 questions to ask - that might keep a whole lot of us from walking away from God and church
By Sally Lloyd-Jones

One of my strongest memories is when I was six, walking to church holding my dad's hand, on a tree-lined street on a sunny Sunday morning in south London. From the outside, you'd say, "Oh,
how lovely. A father and his daughter going to church together." 


But inside, what only God and I knew was that I was making a vow in my 6 year-old heart: "When I grow up I'm never going to church ever again." I was a "Christian child," in a Christian family. I'd heard all the Bible stories. I'd been taught all the lessons. What went wrong?

[read more] (Please share this article with all the teachers of children in your congregation and maybe with all your members)

Seven Things You Should Say to Guests in a
Worship Service
By Thom Ranier, LifeWay, May 2015

One of the more common questions I'm asked relates to growth barriers. For example, church leaders may want to know how to move past the 150-attendance level of the past five years. Or other leaders desire to know how to break though financial giving barriers.


Those questions are tough because they often presume a brief response to be adequate. In reality, there are many theological and methodological issues at work in growth barriers. Today, I am looking at a very basic barrier: lack of friendliness to church guests.


In a previous blog post, I noted things we should not say to a guest in our worship services. In today's post I look at the positive perspective: seven things we should say to guests. [read more]


5 Reminders for Avoiding Summer Slumps
By Erik Reed

It's that time of year again. Now we move into that dreaded time of year: the summer slump. Every pastor dreads it. Many churches suffer from it. Here are 5 things we should remind our people about:
  1. Lost People Still Perish Eternally in the Summer. I know this is an in-your-face statement, but it is true. There are countless thousands facing a Christless eternity all around our churches. This simple reminder should stir our hearts to remember our mission doesn't cease in the summer months. [read more]
Stack of Stuff

A few tips for your church newsletter
When possible, connect with each person by using their name in the greeting (Hope you saw your name in our greeting to you in this Newsletter). Pastor should have a brief message each time. Have a healthy balance of text and pictures. Use the names of people often. Ask yourself: "What do I ultimately want to achieve by sending this newsletter?" As much as possible, have a clear and concise call to action in your messages. Be enthusiastic and positive.

The greatest joy
on earth is the clear prospect of heaven!

Show sensitivity
to when and how often you stand up during worship. Such movement can be especially difficult for older people and for families with young children.

Is there a pastor in your general area who seems to be without clergy friends? Why not become his friend? Is there someone in your congregation who seems to be without many friends? Why not befriend that person now? It will be greatly appreciated.

Two excellent quotes
"The path of least resistance - is the path of least reward." "To love your life, do nothing with rush or resentment, but do everything as if you love it." - Ann Vosskamp

Suggestions for hospitable visits
  1. Always bring your Bible so the devotion is based securely on God's Word. 
  2. Always close with prayer. 
  3. Always speak loud enough so that others in the room can hear.
  4. Always give a greeting to other patients in the room. 
  5. Always leave a copy of Portals of Prayer.
Stay humble or you'll stumble
Humility means being honest about your weaknesses. When Paul asked God to removed his "thorn in the flesh," God told him that His power was made perfect in weakness. You show those you lead the power of God working through you when you come clean about what you're not good at. - Rick Warren

Letters to God 
  • "Dear God, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?" - Neil
  • "Dear God, thank You for the baby brother, but what I wanted was a puppy." - Joyce
  • "Dear God, I bet it is very difficult to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it." - Nan
  • "Dear God, if You watch in church on Sunday I will show You my new shoes." Mickey
  • Dear God, I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible." - Chris
  • "Dear God, please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year." - Peter
  • Dear God, maybe Cain and Able would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother." - Larry
  • Dear God, I think the stapler is one of Your greatest inventions." - Ruth
Some Really Good News for People

The subjects in Lesson 1 of I Have Good News for You About A God Who Cares For You are: 1. How can we know there is a God? 2. Who is the one true God? 3. What is God like? 4. How did God create everything? 5. How did man fall away from God? 6. How did God plan to win man back again? 7. How does God care for us today? 8. What can we give God for all His love? 9. What does it mean to believe in God?

To pique their interest, consider dropping off DVD #1 for folks who seem a bit hesitant to attend your next adult membership class. Stop by a week later to pick up the DVD and ask for a commitment to your class. It can make a big difference. DVD #1 sells for $8.95. For July only we'll sell as many copies as you want at half off, only $4.47 and we'll pay for the shipping. Email us and ask for DVD #111S.

Recharge Your Batteries
By Dr. Craig L. Loving

Summer is a good time to recharge our batteries. Some people recharge on the beach. Some with a book, others with a hammer. I prefer my chain saw.


The most important aspect of our lives needing continual recharging is our relationship with God. Throughout the year most of us try to take care of our spiritual lives. But summer is a good time to spend some extended time in that pursuit.


We've spoken with Christians whose spiritual batteries have been drained by stressful situations like illnesses, life-transitions, or trauma. Others have been drained by not taking time to recharge. Even pastors and Christians can get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. [read about Dr. Loving's suggestions for you]

Lesson One Makes A Big Difference

Getting Closer to God is the title of our very popular Bible instruction book for junior confirmands (some pastors also use it for adult instruction). There are twenty lessons, but it is Lesson One that elicits so many responses. It asks, "How Close Am I?" This is followed by these searching questions:

  1. Will most people go to heaven?
  2. Are you sure you are going to heaven?
  3. Is it possible to know for sure that you have eternal life?
  4. Why will you get into heaven?
  5. Is salvation something you can earn?
  6. How then is eternal life possible?
  7. How do I receive the gift of eternal life?
  8. Can I have the assurance that I belong to God's family and that heaven is my home?

Having answered these questions from the Bible young people are then ready to proceed with the ABC's of the Christian faith. Print out Lesson One, "How Close Am I?" Feel free to use this now in a Bible class setting. 128 pages. #145 $9.50. To order click Closer or email.


Here's a special special: For July only we'll send you one sample copy for half off, only $4.75, and we'll pay the shipping. Just email us and ask for #145S.


 God's grace to you in the days ahead as you
help prepare new residents for the Father's House
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