How Big Is Your God? - Saint Paul Lutheran Church

How Big Is Your God? - Saint Paul Lutheran Church



How Big Is Your God?

Have you thought of tithing as a work of the Spirit as said Sarah Ban

Breathnach in the article on the cover of January’s Epistle? I have always

found that other people are able to say things the way I would wish to say

them so much better than I do. So when Pastor suggested that I write an

article for this page, I submitted the words of others. I will try to use my

own words here.

Have you considered tithing to Saint Paul Lutheran Church? I have a relative

who was told by his accountant to take the allowed charity deduction

on his taxes even though he did not really give that amount to charity. I

wonder how many people follow this advice without enjoying the benefit of

actually tithing? Have you considered that “Tithing will make you more

magnetic to money” as Sarah says? Both of these ideas were not the

ones that I had in mind when Gene and I made the decision to tithe,

many, many years ago; however, they are true. As are the words of Karl

Wolf in his temple talk before Thanksgiving when he expressed the need

of people to tithe.

The reason I began to tithe, and it was a gradual process starting with a

smaller percentage to begin with, was from the words of Malachi 3:8-10

Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we

robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for

you are robbing me - the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the

storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to

the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of

heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. NRSV I

did not choose to rob God. And He keeps His promises.

If you have ever taken the advice of those who suggest that you put aside

a certain percentage of your income every pay period as savings noting

that what you take out first, you never will miss, have you considered that

the same is true of tithing? When you give first to God, not only do you not

miss it, but you also receive all the benefits of God, of Spirit as Sarah

says. I do remember the worries, the times that I cried over expenses not

knowing how we were going to meet them. The temptations to not give

the tithe, the thought of what else we could be doing with that money, and

the times I did delay giving until a certain bill was paid. But, I must say that

has not been the case for many years now. I’m sure not having to care for

children, having a house and car paid off, and other fewer demands of

being retired, has made a big difference; however, I do believe in an

abundant God who is love, who cares for me and all people, who will provide,

and I do not choose to rob Him.

Evelyn J. Dymkowski



As I write this, I’m aware that it will be published at right about the same

time as our January 29 th annual meeting. It’s awkward timing: I can write

neither to influence or prepare folks for the annual meeting, nor to report on

and respond to its results.

But I imagine the issues discussed at that meeting will reflect the discussion

at our council budget meeting earlier this month. Congregation members

need to be aware of some of the issues and trends facing us, and to know

the reasoning behind your leaders’ decisions.

The question boils down to this: What kind of faith community will we be,

especially in light of dwindling resources and rising expenses?

As we developed our budget, there was much spirited conversation among council members, and

the budget forwarded to the congregation was not passed with a united vote. We all want to do the right

thing, but of course don’t all agree as to which right things take precedence – a very common dilemma

when the dollars don’t stretch as far as we’d like!

But here are some assertions behind the work that we did:

First, we do not exist alone or for ourselves. As a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in

America, we congregations are partners with each other and with those who serve on our behalf on the

synod and Churchwide levels. Through the 6% of offerings that we pass on to the Southeast Iowa

Synod, and the 53% of that which is passed on to Churchwide, our ministry reach expands wider than we

ever could do alone. We support ministries such as Lutheran Services in Iowa, Lutheran Campus Ministries,

Lutheran Disaster Response, and dozens of other ministries which do true good in the world. We

already have cut the percentage of what we pass on to the wider church in recent years; we prefer not to

cut further if at all possible.

Second, we pay our bills. We are not the kind of church of people which incurs services or goods

without paying them. We want to be good neighbors to those who provide goods and services. We want

to pay our staff fairly. However, we have been running in the red for the past couple of years, and thus

have dipped into reserves and cash flow. The good news is that we did better in 2011 than we had

estimated: We ended up about $5000 in the red rather than the $14,000 we had projected.

Third, we cannot habitually pass deficit budgets. The budget the council passed on to the

congregation is nearly a $17,000 deficit budget. Hopefully, the year will pan out better than we project,

as last year did. However, we cannot continue this trend, and we present this budget knowing that we

have to take some steps to help our numbers balance better. This current year – the time between now

and next year’s budget process – is an excellent time to spend some energy doing just that.

Thus, I believe and proposed to the council three factors which should positively affect our situation:

One, there’s great room for growth in stewardship. Although everybody’s financial situation and

obligations are different, most of us are not living up to our potential as givers. This is a great time to

invite our people into the joys of increased generosity, investment in ministry at Saint Paul, and trust.

Two, I believe that the Unbinding the Gospel project will have a positive effect for the congregation.

We’re just starting the first phase of this proven renewal process, and the whole congregation will be

invited into it before the year is over. I believe it has the potential to make us a stronger, bolder, more

faithful people. Third, I’ve suggested we embark on a visioning process this year. I appreciate the council’s

refusal to slash programs and staff as a knee-jerk response to reduced cash flow; yet it’s always a

good practice to reevaluate our mission and how best to go about it. I’ve already learned of some good

tools through my doctor of ministry studies, and invite our leadership to make use of this learning!

Having said all this, I repeat what I wrote in my annual report: (please read it if you haven’t

already) I feel very hopeful about Saint Paul. We are in a time of Wilderness, but also on the verge of

New Beginnings. If there’s anything we glean from the story of God’s people in scriptures, it’s that God is

present in the midst of Wilderness, that God brings new life from brokenness and even death, and that

God specializes in New Beginnings. Please persistently pray for God’s New Beginnings in your life and

the life of this congregation -- and for open hearts to receive the same.




Feb 1 NO Confirmation

Feb 7 Committees Meet, 7:00

Feb 8 Confirmation, 6:45

Feb 12 Healing Service during worship

Feb 12 “Unbinding” Preview, 11:45

Feb 15 Confirmation, 6:45

Feb 16 Executive Meeting, 5:15

Feb 19 Epistle Deadline

Feb 19 Pastor Paul Ostrem forum between services

Feb 19 Newcomers Gathering, 11:45

Feb 21 Council Meeting, 7:00

Feb 22 Ash Wednesday Service, 10:30 & 7:00

Feb 22 NO Rehearsals

Feb 22 NO Confirmation, worship with family

Feb 26 Community Dinner, 5:30

Feb 29 Lenten Service, 12:00 & 7:00



Tuesday, Feb 7, 6:00


Thursday, Feb 16, 1:00

Lunch, 11:45 at Yen Ching

1:00 at the church

Leader: Roberta Jurgersen


Tuesday, Feb 14, 7:00

Hostess | Leader:

Terry Koppenhaver


Monday, Feb 13, 1:00

Lunch, 11:30 at Maid-Rite


Tuesday, Feb 7, 8:30


Sunday, Feb 26, 5:30

Lent! Ash Wednesday worship services will be

held Wednesday, Feb 22, at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00

p.m. This solemn service includes confession, imposition

of ashes, and Holy Communion. Midweek

worship will be offered the next four weeks at

NOON, with a lunch served afterward (look soon for a

sign-up sheet to provide lunch); and 7:00 p.m., using

Holden Evening Prayer.

Newcomers Gathering

Newcomers’ Gathering February 19! All who’ve

worshiped here who are not members are welcome to

be our guests at a special lunch gathering following

worship on Sunday, February 19 at 11:45. You’re

welcome to attend whether you’ve been with us for one

Sunday or several years, and whether you intend to

join the congregation or not! All current Saint Paul

members are invited to come, bring a potluck dish, and

join in hospitality towards our guests. A main entrée

and drinks will be provided. For more information,

please contact Pastor Liggett.



Service of

Healing and


February 12,

both services.

If you have

special concerns or know of somebody

who has particular needs,

please invite that person to worship

that Sunday. There will be opportunity

for laying on of hands and

personal prayer during communion.

God’s holy spirit is alive and active –

and God blesses people through this





We are very excited about and looking forward

to having a representative from Camp Ewalu

come for a visit to tell the students and

families what fun and learning

experiences the camp has to offer.

Someone from the camp will visit

the students during Sunday

School opening on February 5 th ,

at 9:15 a.m. There will also be a

Temple Talk at the 10:30 worship


We hope to see everyone that day. Camp Ewalu is a very

valuable experience for young people. They partner with

Congregations in increasing faith life for our young people in

a very positive way. We will send home a folder that day to

give families more information about the cost. There are

camperships available and discounts for signing up early.




Applications for the Marie

Hoegh Scholarship can

be picked up in the

church office. This is a

onetime, nonrenewable

scholarship available to

Saint Paul members starting

a post high school

education for the first

time. Scholarship applications

are due into the

church office by May 1,

2011. For questions,

please contact Liz Mink



If you have a family member

or friend who is ill or in distress

and you would like for

the members of this group

to pray for them, call or

email the office 242-4102 |


CARDS found in the pew racks may be filled out

and put in the offering plate. These requests will

be passed on to the Prayer Chain.

Please call the church office when your family

member or friend has recovered. For more information

about the PRAYER CHAIN call Ardena

Zirbes, 243-1098 or Barb Larson, 242-8130.



Come to Evening Worship at the

Foot of the Bridge every Thursday

at 7:00pm in the chapel.

Worship is simple, interactive,

and intimate with treats after.



Saint Paul Women of ELCA

Action Items

Lutheran World Relief kit items will be

collected through October. There are wallet

size cards with needed kit items available on

table in church lounge. February focus item

is bath-size bars (4 to 5 oz.) of soap any

brand, in original wrapping. Soap is boxed

together, but is also used in

Personal Care Kits and gentle soap is used

in Baby Care Kits. For more information

contact Donna Jean Holste at 242-3082.

Check out the Fair trade coffee, tea and

chocolates for sale on the first Sunday of the


Pastor Paul Ostrem

from the Southeastern

Iowa Synod will be

our guest on February

19. He will preach at

both services and host a

forum in between services

in the lounge. We

are glad for the commitment of the

Southeastern Iowa Synod staff to

have a presence in each congregation

each year. Especially if you

have concerns or questions about

our partnership with the wider

church, please be sure to take this

opportunity to share in conversation!


as Lector, Communion Assistant,

Altar Guild or Assisting Minister.

Clipboards to sign up can be found on the

table in the chapel. (You may also call the

church office at 242-4102 to sign up!) There

are many spaces for February that need

filled. PLEASE NOTE – we need extra

servers on February 12 (an intinction

Sunday) because of the Healing Service!

On-Line Resources!

The internet is a wonderful – and confusing –

source for lots of information. Here are some

good, solid trusted web sites for you: - – The website of the Evangelical

Lutheran Church in America. Find a

congregation, a pastor, information about

prayer, social statements, disaster response,

and other good stuff our church does all over

the world. - The website of the

Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA. Good

information about what’s going on in the

synod. – Planning a Bible

study? Want information about a particular

book, or themes? Start here, at this website

developed by Luther Seminary. - Subscribe

to this daily devotional email. - Subscribe

to this wonderful newsletter for helpful

and thought provoking articles to challenge

and inspire you. – Prepare for

next week’s worship by perusing solid commentary

on the bible lessons coming up, as

well as good articles and resources on worship. - Read or find a

passage in the NRSV bible. – A searchable bible

in dozens of versions, including NIV, NEB,

The Message (but not including the NRSV)



Who Wrote the Bible?

This article is from Luther Seminary's

offering "Enter the Bible: Tips and

Resources." If you'd like to subscribe to

this monthly email newsletter please go


subscribe/default.aspx to

subscribe! There's also lots of helpful

bible info (such as a one-year bible reading

plan, tips on personal and family

devotions, prayer helps, articles, studies,

videos) on this website -- go explore and

increase your biblical knowledge!


Thank you for all your prayers. I feel a miracle

took place and I thank God for that . God bless all

of you.

~ Irene Nielsen.

Thank you to all our Saint Paul family for the

prayers, cards and expressions of sympathy upon

the death of my mother, Adelia Nelson.

Your support means a great deal to us.

~ Jim and Ruth Nelson

I would like to thank Pastor for sitting with Jean at

the hospital while I had my surgery. This means a

lot to me. All went ok so we’ll be back.

~ Jule Luckritz

"You were not put into this exquisite world,

filled with beauty and fascination, to be less

than an interested, excited human being...

The most alive Person who ever came

into human existence was a man named Jesus

Christ... He was and is the personification

of interest and excitement...LIFE

LIFTER: This promise runs counter to the

modern materialistic conception that to have,

one must get and keep. But people who live

only for themselves find that life shrinks and

finally withers. But for those who give generously,

who help other people in Christ's

name, life grows ever richer. Lose yourself in

big things outside yourself, and you will find

yourself. The more you give, the more you

receive from life."

Norman Vincent Peale in

"Positive Thinking for Every Day of the Year"


Dec 29 / Jan 1

(one service)

Jan 5 / 8

Jan 12* / 15

(*Thurs canceled from weather)

Jan 19 / 22







Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


5:00 Luther Choir & Tone


5:45 Youth Bells

6:30 Adult Bells

NO Confirmation


9:00 ARCH in FH

7:00 Worship

3 4


8:00 Worship

9:15 Sunday School,

Lazarus Group

9:15 Senior Choir

10:30 Worship


10:00 Prayer Group


8:30 Men’s Breakfast

6:00 WELCA

10:00 Bible Reading at


6:00 Trust Committee

7:00 Committees


5:00 Singing Saints

5:00 Luther Choir & Tone


5:45 Youth Bells

6:30 Adult Bells

6:45 Confirmation


9:00 ARCH in FH

5:00 ARCH in FH

7:00 Worship

10 11

12 Healing Service

8:00 Worship

9:15 Sunday School,

Lazarus Group

9:15 Senior Choir

10:30 Worship

11:45 “Unbinding” Preview


10:00 Prayer Group

1:00 Ruth/Deborah


10:00 Bible Reading at


7:00 Lydia Circle


5:00 Luther Choir & Tone


5:30 “Unbinding” Preview

5:45 Youth Bells

6:30 Adult Bells

6:45 Confirmation


9:00 ARCH in FH

1:00 Hannah Circle

5:15 Exec Comm

7:00 Worship

17 18

19 Epistle Deadline

20 8:00 Worship

with Pastor Ostrem

9:15 Sunday School,

Lazarus Group

9:15 Senior Choir

10:30 Worship w/ Pstr Ostrem

11:45 Newcomers Gathering


10:00 Prayer Group


10:00 Bible Reading at


7:00 Council Meet

22 Ash Wednesday

10:30 Worship

No Rehearsals

No Confirmation

Worship with family

7:00 Worship


9:00 ARCH in FH

7:00 Worship

24 25


8:00 Worship

9:15 Sunday School,

Lazarus Group

9:15 Senior Choir

10:30 Worship

12:30 Clinton PTA in FH

5:30 Community Dinner


10:00 Prayer Group


10:00 Bible Reading at



12:00 Lenten Worship

5:00-5:45 Luther Choir

5:45-6:30 Adult Bells /

sack supper-Tone Chime

6:30-6:55 Youth Bells

7:00 Lenten Worship


FEB 5 FEB 12 FEB 19 FEB 26

ACOLYTE 8:00 Cory K. | Davis W. Katie P. Caleb C. | Davis W. Kory K.

10:30 Hanna B. | Haley V. Haley V. Marisa H. Payten H. Hannah B.

ALTAR GUILD 8:00 Chrissy Akers Chrissy Akers Chrissy Akers Chrissy Akers

10:30 Paul & Lynn Schnack Paul & Lynn Schnack Paul & Lynn Schnack Paul & Lynn Schnack


1.Travis Flatten 2.Teresa Donahue

Teresa Donahue



3. 4.

Roberta Gee

1.Henry Clark 2.Dennis McAllister

Roberta Jurgersen

10:30 Jule Luckritz | Steven Witte

3. 4.

LECTOR 8:00 Barb Larson Travis Flatten Marilyn Rasmussen Ardena Zirbes

10:30 Jule Luckritz Donna Jean Holste

GREETERS 8:00 Ardena Zirbes Don & Donna Winter Roberta Gee Judie Colah




10:30 Ted Eilders Steven Witte

USHERS 8:00 Bob Wright Bob Wright Bob Wright Bob Wright

10:30 Wally Schilling Wally Schilling Wally Schilling

Wally Schilling

FLOWERS BOTH Dean Tufford No Flowers During Lent

PLEASE SIGN UP to serve as Lector,

Communion Assistant, Altar Guild or Assisting

Minister. Clipboards to sign up can be found

on the table in the chapel. (You may also call the church

office at 242-4102 to sign up!) There are many spaces

for February that need filled. PLEASE NOTE – we need

extra servers on February 12 (an intinction Sunday)

because of the Healing Service!


FEB 6 Elayne G.

FEB 13 Darlene C.

FEB 20 Dixielee S.

FEB 27 Evelyn H.


FEB 6 Elayne G., Darlene C., Judie C.

FEB 13 Elayne G., Darlene C., Judie C.

FEB 20 Lois S., Darlene C., Donna Jean H.

FEB 27 Darlene C., Donna Jean H., Lois S.




Jock & Bonnie Hendricks 02/09/1968

Jule & Jean Luckritz 02/09/1961

Olivia & Mike Pelham 02/09/2002

Sandra & Ronald Birt 02/10/1968

Christy & Mike Cannon 02/13/1993

William & Elayne Goldsmith 02/14/1953

Henry & Pat Clark 02/15/1953

Kenneth & Jeanne Borja 02/25/1984



Daniels, Susan 02/02

Goff, Tyler 02/04

Gifford, Robert 02/06

Bousman, Margo 02/08

Gifford, Scott 02/08

Meyers, Kristen 02/08

Clement, Noah 02/09

Bousman, Sandra 02/10

Hendricks, Jock 02/10

Schabilion, Robyn 02/10

Anderson, Megan 02/11

Charlson, Isaac 02/11

Pelham, Jack 02/14

Grager, Jean 02/15

Holste, Donna 02/15

Brunson, Payton 02/17

Hunter, Chelsea 02/19

Dymkowski, Laura 02/20

Land, Garry 02/20

Clarke, Lisa 02/21

Hunter, Carol 02/21

Brunson, Brennon 02/22

Nichols, Patsy 02/22

Nelson, James 02/24

Housenga, Robin 02/26

Schilling, Fern 02/26

Elmore, Adalynn 02/27





2012 Congregation Council:

Evelyn Dymkowski

Ted Eilders

Mert Schmidt

Jim Nelson

Lisa Clarke

Joan Guidebeck

Justin Grager

Susan Daniels

Karl Wolf

John Obermiller

Jean Grager

Al Rathje

February 2012







4 YOUTH NEWS, etc...







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