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Grace Lutheran Church

351 Greenwood St

Hop Bottom, PA 18824

(Susquehanna County)

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THE LAST WORD

 

I have a hunch that I am not the only one who gets confused with Face Book settings.  For those of you who do not even use that tool, what I mean is that you can communicate with people on FB at a number of levels.  You can “friend” people, you can “block” people, and then they tell me that you can “ignore” people which is different than “unfriending” them.  Oh boy! 

 

Whether you use FB or not, we all agree that relationships are complicated.  They come and go, and have different expectations on the part of both parties.  The Bible talks a lot about how we live out our relationships.  How about Romans 12:10-18(edited)

  10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;  …  13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.  14 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.  17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men

 

So:

Knock!  Knock!

Who’s there?

St. Paul, Tunkhannock!

Who?

 

They did in fact issue us a “call” of sorts to engage with them in ministry.  And I believe that it was under the direction of the Holy Spirit, who spoke through the congregation that we said…. Well, what did we say?

  1. No
  2. Not now

 

Whether you favor “A” or “B” we still have some work to do.  The office of the Pastor will be challenged among us in the upcoming years, and we need to understand how that will happen. 

 

More than that, we need to be in prayer about how we can use our resources (which show some decline at this point) to better serve the Lord of the Church as His Bride.  In Ephesians Paul (not St. Paul Tunkhannock) ask us to preserve the unity of the Church of Jesus. 

Pastor Bode

A word from our financial secretary…

A recent article in The Sunday Times-Tribune addressed the changes in tax laws for the 2018 tax year.  One particular segment caught my eye and I would like to share it with you:

 

Charitable Distributions:  In the past, people who made charitable contributions could claim a deduction for those amounts by itemizing their tax return.  However, with the new tax law, this may not be necessary.

 

With a larger standard deduction, itemizing may no longer be an advantage.

 

IRA (Individual Retirement Account) owners aged 70 1/2 or older are still permitted to make donations directly from their IRAs (these are referred to as QCDs-qualified charitable distributions).

 

This strategy not only excludes the distribution from the owner’s taxable income, but also qualifies as all or a part of the IRA's required minimum distribution.

 

In light of fewer people itemizing going forward (estimated between 5% - 10% of filers), these qualified distributions may become more popular.

 

That's because the QCDs are shielded from taxes and do not impact the taxpayer's reported annual gross income.  In turn this then keeps the tax bracket low, possibly avoiding taxes on Social Security benefits and keeping medicare premiums down.  

 

As Financial Secretary, I feel this is an interesting article, worthy of sharing with you.   

Respectfully submitted, Lorraine A. Stanton

 

Summer Lunch Box

 

This year, the SLB is requesting donations of tuna fish from Grace Lutheran Church for the SLB distributions.  Any brand is acceptable as long as it is packed in water.  The 5 1/2 oz. cans are preferred, but if you come across a sale on the larger-size cans, we can use them for bigger families.  Boxes will be available for your donations in the usual spot at the rear of the church.

Stewardship

“What is Stewardship?”

Happy New Year to you all.

 

The Christmas card exchange worked out good.  If there are any suggestions, please feel free to tell me.

 

I know January is a busy month after the Holiday rush.  Now that's over with and I would like some input on what stewardship means to you. I have some ideas and thoughts:  Collections, out-reach, and such.  In February, I will be adding in the bulletins, slips of paper for your thoughts.  Then I will know where we can start.  My email address is: ameliabedelia@frontier.com      Submitted by Cindy Chidester

 

 

“What is  Stewardship?”

CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes. In other words, “It’s doing the best with what you’ve got!” As co-chairs of Stewardship we would like to thank you for your vote of confidence in us, and would like you all to join us as Christian Stewards as we use our abilities to serve the Lord. 

Deb Belch Cindy Chidester

DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA?

Sometimes I amaze myself as to how I can be oblivious as to the things going on around me. Or to put it another way, I just assume everything is great because nobody has told me anything different. And that is exactly what happened at the church council meeting this month. It is that time of year that we begin putting together a budget for the next year. If you have ever been involved in this process, you know the first thing you do is look at what is going on with the current year’s income and expenses. So to get back to my being oblivious, I thought our offerings (from the plate and envelopes) were right on target with our budget. WRONG – giving has been down this year about 9% from the budget. Not only that, but it is down from last year at this time. Lately, monthly expenses are more than the offering each month. And we have two more months left this year! There are so many needs out there and pleas for donations. For some reason, it seems that we get real uncomfortable when the church starts talking about giving. But as much as it is uncomfortable, the council is asking you all to pray about how you can help close this deficit in our giving. If we all just put a little extra in over the next several weeks, we can reach our goal. We are a church family and families pull together when times get tough. And it is also said, if the burden is spread out over many, it is less of a burden on just a few. Thank you all for what you have done this past year and for considering this appeal.

Submitted by Stewardship Committee

 

 

Four Principles of Biblical Stewardship by Hugh Whelchel November 26, 2012

 

Bill Peel (The High Calling) suggests that there are four important principles about biblical stewardship we must understand: 1. The principle of ownership. The psalmist begins the 24th psalm with, The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 2. The principle of responsibility: In explaining responsibility, Peel writes, although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities. 3. The principle of accountability: A steward is one who manages the possessions of another. We are all stewards of the resources, abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care, and one day each one of us will be called to give an account for how we have managed what the Master has given us. Grace Notes March 2017 10 4. The principle of reward: In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul writes: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. So, be a joyful steward! Delight in the knowledge that He gives us all we need! Faithfully receive His precious gifts daily! Rejoice that we are empowered by God to be good Christian stewards through His love and His Gospel! God Bless You.

Stewardship co-chairs Cindy Chidester and Deb Belch

2Co 9:11  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 

 

 

" I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service."  1Ti 1:12

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