April Church Update

Following the order of our Governor and recommendation of our Bishop, we will not hold worship services in the sanctuary for the month of April. Our Bishop continues to recommend remaining closed through the middle of May, and that may indeed be what we do, but we’re making decisions on a monthly basis.

Please continue to join us for worship online. Every Sunday we email out our services at 7:00am. If you haven’t been receiving them, please click here to add your email to our distribution list. We also watch worship together on Facebook through Facebook Premier at 9:00am on Sundays- which is a nice way for us to interact in the chatroom during worship. You can find all of our worship services on our YouTube page, by clicking here.

We are thankful for your faithfulness during this time and look forward to the day we worship together in person again!

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College-Student Zoom Connection

Attention college-age students! We miss you and want to provide a space for us to chat!

The world is drastically different than it was a month ago. We have had to adapt to new ways of connecting and learning that many of us never would have chosen. As college students it may feel even more overwhelming if you are far away from home and now separated from your peers and classmates, not to mention the new challenge of online classes. We want you to know that we haven’t forgotten you and we want to encourage you in this new (but hopefully temporary) way of living. 


If you feel comfortable we would love to have your names and emails so we can keep in touch. If a lot of you are interested we could even have a group Zoom hangout. Email Michaela Eskew, our Minister of Faith Formation at michaela@flccs.net to be included in our new college email chain. 

Fallow Time

The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.’ ” Leviticus 25:1-5

The idea of a fallow year, or year of rest for the land is an ancient one for farmers. God commands Israel to give their land a rest every seven years. No plowing or planting, no reaping. Just let the land do nothing. We know now that this is important to keep the land healthy, to allow it to recover from being farmed so it can nourish plants for generations to come.

We are in a fallow time now. The difference is we didn’t choose this; we have to stay home and do little for the sake of our neighbor. But most of us are at home now running out of things to do. I wonder if God could redeem this slower time for us. Could this turn into a time of rest and renewal? I’m spending a lot more time with my kids now and feeling the bonds of our relationships strengthened. I’m really glad I like my wife; our relationship is strengthened as we pitch in together to meet these challenging times. We actually get to worship together, as a family. My son started making Bible scenes on his Minecraft game. My girls are playing with Sam more than ever. Both my wife and I are exercising more. We’re eating more too, but that’s beside the point. Maybe God is redeeming this fallow time.

I’ve been interested to see that pollution is way down across the globe. The waters in Italy are clear again. Animals are coming out of hiding. Maybe God can teach us about what our planet can be like, again.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This virus is real, and it’s scary. Some of us in essential services, like healthcare, are working harder now than ever to fight against it. And some of us have gotten sick and others have died. This is a terrible time in our world. We are all affected differently.

God is here with us. God is with the nurses and doctors on the front lines. God is with those who are doing their part by staying home. God isn’t just with us; He is working through us and on us. For those of us who find these days to be quiet and still, God may just be doing the work of renewal deep in your soul. What is God reminding you of? How is God giving you new life? Pay attention and embrace God’s work, even when it’s invisible.

-Pastor Travis

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9

The word Hosanna literally means ‘save us please.’ While it can be shouted in a crowd as a term of praise, these days it feels more like a prayer we pray in the silence of our homes. Palm Sunday is this Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It’s usually a time of great crowds on the Sundays and even a good showing at the special services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil. We won’t have the crowds this year, although I believe we will have greater attendance than ever before for the Great Three Days before Easter. Palm Sunday, which kicks all this off, is about the coming of someone who can save us. I don’t have answers for this Corona Virus. I have fears. Fears that we will lose people from our congregation to the virus. Fears that our people will be hurt by the economic impacts. So, this Sunday, instead of shouts of Hosanna, I have prayers of Hosanna. Directed at the only one who has power. Dear Jesus, save us please.

-Pastor Travis

A Monday Gift For You

Happy Monday everyone. Our organist, Eric Wicks, has shared an organ recital for you as a gift. We know many are missing the beautiful organ music each Sunday, we hope this helps. 

Sunday School Update

I hope you are all well and finding success in navigating our “new normal”.  It can be so fun to have extra family time, and it can also be a challenge to fill that time.  Regarding their Christian education we want to provide consistency and structure for the kids while we all stay home.   We also want to continue with the lesson plan that is mapped out for the rest of the school year.   

To do this we are asking all of you to get your kids to online Sunday school!  Simply click on the Zoom link provided for each grade at the appointed time.  Then click on the link to open the meeting in your browser.  Please plan to attend the class for the first few minutes.  You will need to help your kids with meeting etiquette, the mute button, etc.  As you will see, every time there is noise on your end the video feed is on you.  We recommend using a device with a large screen – we want the kids to see faces!  The meeting information for Kindergarten – 5th grade is as follows:

Kinder / 1st Grade Tuesday, 7-7:30pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/673429984
Meeting ID: 673 429 984

2nd grade, Sunday, 10-10:30am:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/779314033
Meeting ID: 779 314 033

3rd grade, Wednesday, 7-7:30pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/726401318
Meeting ID: 726 401 318

4th grade, Sunday, 7-7:30 pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/488852972
Meeting ID: 488 852 972

5th grade, Thursday, 2-2:30 pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/366844514
Meeting ID: 366 844 514

These  classes will be hosted by your child’s Sunday school teachers, Pastor Travis, Pastor Carrie, and myself.  We are hoping kids will stay connected to each other, their teachers, and First Lutheran.

We encourage families to worship together on Sunday mornings.  Worship is posted to our website www.flccs.net on Sunday mornings.  You can also find the link on Facebook or on the Blog on our website.  We will also post links to resources that will help you fill the time with faith building activities such as:

  • A Lenten Devotional (with activities) written by Michaela Eskew
  • Rainbow Trail and Sky Ranch Lutheran Camps – Tune in using Facebook Live at 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday for song, scripture, prayer, stories, and fun
  • Illustrated Ministry – receive free weekly coloring pages and family devotions in your email

Lastly,  please send in a short video clip for use in our online worship.   Holding your phone horizontally, take a selfie video of you and your family saying ‘And also with you’ and send it to theresa@flccs.net.

While our ‘pause’ button is on, enjoy the blessing of your kids and family!  Be well and let me know if there is anything you need.

Blessings,

Shelly Schmidt

Prayer Practice Fridays – 03-27-20

Fasting

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
-Joel 2: 11-12

One of the Lenten disciplines that is always encouraged is fasting. During this particular Lent we are most certainly fasting in ways that we had never intended. We find ourselves fasting from face-to-face interactions, from going about some of our daily routines, perhaps from picking up our regular items from the store and from experiencing Holy Communion together. None of this comes to us as an intentional fast to make room for prayer but, all of it allowing for time to reflect in prayer on so many different things. This forced fast has been pretty eye opening, allowing time to think about the things that we can’t currently have access to, or that no longer seem like a big deal, and it makes me wonder what things that we are currently fasting from that may not return.

When we talk about fasting as a prayer discipline we speak of filling the space of something we consume with time for prayer and reflection. This is a time of prayer and reflection can be spent giving thanks for what we have been blessed with and praying for those who lack the same. We might find that when we give up a comfort in our lives it readies our hearts for more urgent sacrifices that might be called upon us from time to time. Today it seems we are living in a vulnerable state of fasting. I know that it is one that creates anxiety and a sense of helplessness in not knowing how to help. I urge you to take this time of fasting and create space to pray, to reflect on the blessings that abound in our lives and trust that God is faithful.

Lastly, this week I’ve started reading (literally just started) a book titled “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. It speaks to the ways that Common Prayer helps today’s diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. It seems most appropriate to me now in light of our current pandemic situation. Early in the book, page 19 on my Kindle to be exact, they have this to say about prayer: “We never pray alone, even when praying by ourselves.” I take great comfort in that during this time and I hope you do too. Remember that we continue to hold you in prayer and long for the day that we gather to pray together.

-Pastor Carrie

Children’s Sermon Caterpillar Craft

Hello families!

Last Sunday Michaela shared a fantastic Children’s Sermon with you, where she shared the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”  This week Betsy Tuma has created an at home art project for you to go with the caterpillar story!  We are so excited to be able to offer this resource to you and thankful that Michaela and Betsy have the gifts to bring this story to life!  It promises to be a fun project and we hope that you’ll share it with us! 

Take a picture of your projects (mom and dad can do one too!) and be sure to email them to theresa@flccs.net.  We can’t wait to see what your caterpillar looks like!

To find the caterpillar project click here.

To find the children’s sermon click here.

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