November 2023 Newsletter from Trinity Lutheran Church

Downloadable Links:

November 2023 Calendar


175 Years of LCMS Education Excellence in Christian Leadership

Focus on Christian Education

Guest Article from Interest-time, A Lutheran Church Extension Fund Publication, Issue 123

Celebrating 175 Years of the LCMS

The commitment to identifying and nurturing the next generation of church leaders is at the heart of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod's "Set Apart to Serve" initiative. This commitment, rooted in the traditions of the first Lutheran settlers from Germany, places a significant emphasis on education, particularly Christian-based education.

While many early Lutheran pastors had their origins in Germany, their training often began there before they journeyed to America. However, this initial training was insufficient to meet the growing need for church workers. Rev. Gerhard Bode, seminary archivist, associate professor of Historical Theology, and chairman of the Department of Historical Theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, notes, "There was nearly always a shortage of church workers. The solution was to start colleges and seminaries in the U.S. to train pastors and teachers for service here."

According to Rev. Daniel Harmelink, executive director of the Concordia Historical Institute, many LCMS congregations prioritized building schools before erecting church buildings. Harmelink explains, "For the Saxons, as educated city folk, education was a significant emphasis. Even on the ships coming over, they continued to have classes for the children. Early on, they built log cabins and one-room schoolhouses and started teaching. That marked the beginning of Concordia Seminary! And it wasn't just education for securing good jobs but also for training boys to be pastors."

This commitment to providing highly trained pastors and a well-educated laity persists today. According to an LCMS School Ministry report for the 2020-2021 school term, there are 828 LCMS elementary schools with nearly 63,000 students, over 1,700 early childhood centers serving more than 63,000 children, and nearly 100 LCMS high schools with more than 16,000 students.

"Our educational programs at all levels — elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and seminaries — have always been paramount," emphasizes Bode. "Our emphasis on biblical preaching and teaching in our congregations has also been key."

Similar to the early Lutheran settlers from Germany, today's students receive a Christ-centered education, learning about the love of Christ through God's Word alongside traditional education. For LCMS Lutherans, a Lutheran Christian education occurs in various forms: in the classroom, during the Divine Service, through hymnody, and stained-glass windows and church architecture. Lutherans seize every opportunity to teach about Christ and His gifts.

For these reasons and more, in 1847, early confessional Lutherans in the U.S. found each other, marking the inception of a new church body, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Finding Your Roots - Exploring the Rich History of the LCMS:

The history of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) is a captivating journey for those seeking religious freedom in a new world on an open prairie. The challenges faced by German settlers were immense, but through it all, God guided them. He placed the right people in the right place at the right time, leading them to serve His people through natural and man-made tragedies.

Given the deep and rich history of the LCMS, it is impossible to capture it entirely within a few pages. However, Concordia Publishing House (CPH) offers several books on various topics related to the history of the LCMS. Visit to explore the selection, or visit our church library for an extensive collection.

Titles Available from CPH:

"At Home in the House of My Fathers" by Matthew C. Harrison (Presidential Sermons, Essays, Letters, and Addresses from the Missouri Synod's Great Era of Unity and Growth).

"Zion on the Mississippi" by Walter O. Forster (The Settlement of Saxon Lutherans in Missouri 1839-1841).

"C.F.W. Walther - Churchman and Theologian" (200th Anniversary Commemoration, Bicentennial 1811-2011).

November Elders:

Dennis Hirsch

Clint Kelstrup


Sunday, November 5, 2023

Following Bible Study at 11:30 a.m.


Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023


Sunday, November 19, 2023

Following the worship service.

(No Bible study today; Sunday school continues.)


  • Election of Officers and Board Members
  • Setting the 2024 Budget
  • (Copies for review will be available on the narthex table soon.)
  • (Copies will be mailed to each elder, board of stewardship member, and chair of each board, committee, or auxiliary group.)
  • Per our Constitution, the budget approval is required at the Voter's Assembly before the fiscal year starting January 1st.

"For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land..." Deuteronomy 8:7

In this great and glorious land, have we received any less than the sons of Israel? We are truly blessed! Let us exceed the sons of Israel in giving thanks!


Thursday, November 23, 2023

10:00 a.m. Worship Service

A Thanksgiving meal will be served in the fellowship hall at 11:30 a.m. for those from our church with no plans or company for the holiday. Enjoy games and fellowship while you wait. Turkey and fixings are provided. Please sign up at the Narthex. If possible, bring a salad or dessert to share. Contact Bruce or SanDee Russell to volunteer in the kitchen.

"Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. God's faithful love lasts forever." Psalm 136:1



Rhea Annette Anderson passed away on September 27, 2023, at the age of 71. Born to David and Helen (Matzke) Anderson in Valley City, ND, on October 17, 1951, she enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school, touring Europe with the Army softball team. She married Gregory Anderson in 1975, settling in Miles City. Rhea was active at Trinity Lutheran Church, serving on the Board of Christian Education and the Hospitality Committee. A Celebration of Life was held on October 4, 2023, with interment to follow in North Dakota. Our condolences to her family and friends. Condolences can be sent to Jody Haseleu, P.O. Box 127, Tower City, ND 58071.


Esther Mae Harbaugh passed away on September 2, 2023, at the age of 88. Born in Jordan, MT, she was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Miles City. Esther married Jim Harbaugh in 1953, had three children, and worked as a bookkeeper until retiring in 1996. The funeral service was held on September 7, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church, with interment at Custer County Cemetery. Our sincere condolences to her family.


Vern E. Hoyer joined Trinity Lutheran Church on September 3, 2023, through the Profession of Faith. He can be reached at 406-852-0183. Please welcome him to our church family.

Greg and Susan Herden joined Trinity Lutheran Church on October 8, 2023, through the Profession of Faith. They reside in Brockway, MT. Greg can be reached at 218-230-8110, and Susan at 907-799-9219. Please extend a warm welcome to them.


On Sunday, October 1, 2023, Bryndle Bruce Brawley, Aspen Ezra Lapp, Adaline Leanne Lapp, and Tinlee Mae Lapp were baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miles City, MT, by Pastor Howard Schreibeis. Sponsors were Kelly and Kate Stewart. The family resides at 1436 Railroad Hwy., Ballantine, MT 59006.


Betty Grebe recently transferred to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Billings, MT. This transfer was successfully completed on October 17, 2023.

Attention: If you or a family member have relocated or are currently attending another church and wish to transfer or be peacefully released from membership, kindly contact the church office to request this action.

Church Officers and Board Members

The Nominating Committee is actively seeking nominations for all offices with terms ending this year. If you are interested in serving another term or are considering a new position, please reach out to our congregation president, Ted Schreiber, or vice president, Dennis Hirsch. All terms are for two years, commencing January 1, 2024, and concluding December 31, 2025.

Terms up for election include:

  • President: Ted Schreiber
  • Treasurer: Dean Henman
  • Board of Elders: Denna Amsden, Ryan Becker, Dennis Hirsch (V.P. & Chair), Dwayne Taylor
  • Elder at Large: Bill Wolf
  • Board of Trustees: Denna Amsden, John Rice, Pam Schreiber, Dwayne Taylor
  • Board of Stewardship: Marlus Amsden, Karen Taylor, Jessica Rosencranz
  • Board of Witness and Outreach: Erin Becker, Alicyn Chapman, Mary Luhr
  • Board of Christian Education: Betty Toepke, Ryan Rosencranz, + 2 open positions


VOTER'S ASSEMBLY, Sunday, November 19, 2023

Following the morning worship service.

(For all confirmed members of Trinity, M.C., 18 and up.)

With heartfelt appreciation to Pastor Schreibeis for 18 years of service at Trinity, Miles City. Special thanks to Emma Morrison for crafting the beautiful and delicious cake. All glory be to God.

Trinity Board of Elders


A big thank you to all the dedicated workers who contributed on Saturday, October 7, to clean and fix various aspects of the church and school. From the youngest, Riley Rosencranz, to the oldest, Arlene Lindberg, and everyone in between—your efforts are truly appreciated. Special mentions to Alice Walden, Cheryl Tonn, and Steve Jacobs for their individual contributions. Your commitment to the well-being of our church community does not go unnoticed.

"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I; send me!' Isaiah 6-8

Guild News: Lutheran Women's Missionary League

Trinity LWML Guild convened in the fellowship hall at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, with eight members present. The meeting, presided over by President Theresa Scheid, began with a prayer. Hosted by Maureen, the gathering enjoyed a delightful blueberry pie ala mode. Ginger led a devotion from Jesus' Calling, including the pumpkin prayer. The Bible study focused on the fall quarterly theme, "From Age to Age."

Roll Call question: "What is your favorite Reformation hymn?"

The minutes were approved as read.

Treasurer's report: No report provided.

Correspondence: Florence shared a thank-you note from Kyle Mueller, a 2023 graduate.

Old Business: Awaiting details on bingo/birthday party plans for the rest home.

Election of officers: Motion/second/pass to approve the slate of officers as presented:

  • President: Theresa Scheid
  • Vice President: Maureen Klapmeier
  • Treasurer: Emma Morrison
  • Co-secretaries: Ginger Mueller and Debbie Helland
  • Mite Secretary: Claudia Kransky

New Business: For the Dec. 5th Christmas party, guild members will bring a potluck, and all communion volunteers are invited. Please bring a gift for the gift exchange. Theresa will distribute invitations to join the guild in the church mailboxes of all church ladies.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 21st. Duties for November:

  • Hostesses: Florence and Pam
  • Communion: Florence and Maureen
  • Devotions: Wava
  • Bible study: Guild members

The meeting concluded with the Lord's prayer.

In His service,

Debbie Helland, Co-Secretary


Available at $9.00 each. A limited number can be found in the church office; secure yours early, as they tend to go quickly. The proceeds support Trinity Youth Ministry.


P.O. Box 93, Miles City, MT 59301

406-234-5013 | | Miles City Soup Kitchen

The Custer County Community Table (CCCT) has a simple mission: to provide nutritious meals to those in need—the poor, the hungry, and the lonely. In carrying out this mission, they are reminded daily that just as they have received God's love, grace, and forgiveness, they are empowered to extend the same to others. By serving meals, they consider it an act of serving Jesus.

The CCCT not only offers complimentary meals but also provides a space of hospitality and compassion for those facing challenging circumstances. This endeavor is sustained by compassionate and dedicated volunteers, as well as the generous contributions from supporters like you.

Join us Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m., at 24 North 11th St. in the basement of the First United Methodist Church for a nourishing meal and companionship.

100th Anniversary 1916–2016


We still have 3 cases remaining of the special Trinity 100th Anniversary Cookbook produced in 2016. This cherished keepsake is available for $10.00 each. Get yours from the church office. Please make payment to Trinity Lutheran Church, noting "Cookbook" on the memo line. Consider gifting one to friends, neighbors, family, co-workers, service group members, team members, graduates, and newlyweds.


Members are encouraged to designate their Thrivent Choice dollars to our church or school. Simply have your Thrivent member ID or contract number ready and call 1-800-847-4836. When prompted, say "Thrivent Choice." The Member Connection Center is open Monday to Friday until 5 p.m. MST. Remember, this designation needs to be renewed annually.


Betty Toepke and Elnora Ottenbacher successfully secured $250 Thrivent Action Team Grants to support the October 7th Church Work Day and the October 29th Harvest Dinner, respectively.


At our congregation call meeting on October 15th, the congregation voted to call Pastor Eric Black, 38, married, father of 3, currently residing in Kalkaska, Michigan. He is prayerfully considering the call.


Saturday night, November 4th,

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed.


Christ the King Sunday, on November 26th, signifies the culmination of the liturgical year. We celebrate Jesus as the ultimate ruler—King of kings and Lord of lords. As the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah proclaims, "King of kings and Lord of lords; and He shall reign forever and ever!"

First Sunday in Advent

December 3, 2023

"And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." Luke 2:12

Truly, as St. Paul said, He who was rich for our sakes became poor. The King, who must have been laid in a manger, had no crib for his bed! There in the manger is the very picture of self-giving generosity.


God is the origin of both need and supply, the father of our necessities, and the abundant giver of good things. The story of Jesus is the heart of [God's] answer, not primarily to the prayers but to the divine necessities of the children He has sent out into His universe. –George McDonald


When we receive the bread offered during Holy Communion, it's the receiving of free bread. No matter how you slice it, the real true "bread," Christ's body, and the real true "drink," Christ's blood, connect us with God through Christ. We are nourished by the grace we receive and strengthened to live life to the full. There's no substitute for the love and life we experience when we break the bread of life. Like Peter, we cry out, "Lord, to whom [else] shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68 NIV

Our church library features lots of great books, magazines, and DVDs. Check some out today!


in our five-day-a-week Preschool class

Monday-Friday, 1-4 pm for 4 and 5-year-olds

(4 on or before Sept. 10th).

If interested, contact Peggy at 406-234-4983.

Midweek Advent Themes

(The Board of Witness and Outreach does plan to serve midweek Wednesday Advent suppers from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, December 6 Luke 1:26-38

"God Comes in Utero... to Become Human"

Wed., Dec. 13, TLCS K-8th participation Luke 1:39–55

"God Comes in Utero... to Bring Humanity Joy"

Wednesday, December 20 Luke 2:1-5

"God Comes in Utero... to Take Humanity's Place"


Shepherding Jesus' Lambs Since October 3, 1988

Thank you to all our preschool families who joined us for the annual Trinity Harvest Dinner on October 29. Your support is truly appreciated.

School pictures were taken on Oct. 24 and 25.

Throughout October, we explored themes of teddy bears and fall. The children enjoyed Teddy Bear pajama parties, donning their pajamas and bringing their favorite stuffed animals. Activities included painting a brown paper plate bear and creating fall-themed art, such as leaves falling from tree branches and colored tissue paper representing falling leaves. We delved into books about bears, fall, and pumpkins, leading up to pumpkin parties on October 30 and 31.

In our academic pursuits, the three- and five-day students worked on the letters Ee, Ff, Gg, and Hh, cleverly transforming them into an elephant, fish, giraffe, and house. Meanwhile, our two-day students focused on the colors brown, pink, purple, and orange, expressing their creativity through paintings of pink flamingos, purple grapes, and orange oranges.

During chapel sessions, our students learned about the biblical stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and his wife, and Jacob and Esau.

We still have openings available in our 5-day afternoon class for 4 and 5-year-olds. If you know of anyone interested, please encourage them to contact us.

The TLCS School Pizza Hut Fundraiser Day is scheduled for Wednesday, November 1. Flyers have been sent home with all students.

We have completed student testing and are gearing up for parent-teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday, November 20 and 21. A sign-up sheet is posted outside our classroom door. You can choose either day. Please note there will be no school for students from November 20–24. Wishing you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Mrs. Virginia Rhoades & Mrs. Haley Krull


We have commenced preparations for this year's Christmas musical programs. Please assist your children in practicing their songs at home.

The 3- and 5-day preschool Christmas service and program, titled "This Is My Son," will take place on Monday, December 11th, at 6:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. All 3 and 5-day students should be in the classroom by 6:15 PM to don their costumes. A free-will offering for the scholarship fund will be collected during this service.

The 2-day morning preschool class will present a mini-musical, "This Christmastime and Every Day," on Tuesday, December 12th, at 10:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall. Everyone is welcome to join us!

Friends of Reynolds

Remember to link your phone number on your Friends of Reynolds account to Trinity Lutheran Classical School to ensure that we benefit each time you shop at Reynolds Grocery, Miles City. Reynolds will donate 1% of your total spending to our school at no cost to you. In October, thanks to customers like you, we received a rebate check from Reynolds for $266.99. Thank you, Reynolds, and our loyal TLCS supporters.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.

TLCS Kindergarten, 8th Grade

Established August 25, 2008

Praise be to God for His gracious and wonderful gifts! Our school is blessed with 42 K–8th grade students, 4 dedicated classroom teachers, 2 talented volunteer teachers, 2 wonderful aides, and 2 faithful lunchroom aides. God continues to bless this school to reach more children and their families with the gospel. What a lot we have to be thankful for!

The first quarter has concluded, and we eagerly move into the second quarter. School pictures were taken on October 24th and 25th. To cap off October, we celebrated Reformation Day on Tuesday, the 31st, with outdoor activities, a Reformation art project, and snacks while watching an episode of "The Chosen."

TLCS Pizza Hut Fundraiser Day is scheduled for Wednesday, November 1st. Flyers have been sent home with all students.

Parent/Teacher Conferences for K-8 students will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 20th and 21st. Sign-up sheets will be posted soon. There will be no school for students from November 20th–24th for Thanksgiving Break.

Blessings on your November!

Michelle Rice, TLCS Head Teacher

Children's Chime Choirs

Director: Michelle Rice

This year, we have three chime groups: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The beginner chime group meets every 1st and 3rd Monday from 3:45–4:15 pm. The intermediate chime group meets every 2nd and 4th Monday from 3:45–4:15 pm, and the advanced chime group meets every Tuesday from 3:45–4:30 pm. Currently, all three choirs are at full capacity!

TLCS School Pizza Hut Benefit Day

Eat Pizza. Raise 20%. It's just that cheesy.

Get a valid flyer from the Trinity, M.C., office.

Redeem the flyer at Pizza Hut with your purchase, and 20% will benefit Trinity Lutheran Classical School.

Wednesday, Nov. 1st, at Miles City Pizza Hut

3009 Stower Street | (406) 232-6130

To ensure your purchase counts toward fundraiser earnings, please mention this fundraiser when placing your order and show your printed or digital flyer to the Pizza Hut Team Member when receiving your order. A $15 minimum purchase is required. Valid on carryout, curbside, or dine-in orders from open to close. The distribution of flyers at Pizza Hut is prohibited.

Therefore, be followers of God.

as dear children. And "walk in love."

as Christ loved us and gave Himself.

up for us..." Ephesians 5:1-2


Self-rejection stands as the greatest adversary to spiritual growth, as it starkly contradicts the sacred voice that reverently calls us "beloved." The profound truth that defines our existence is expressed through being loved.

Your true identity is that of a child of God—an identity you must wholeheartedly embrace. Once claimed and settled into, this identity allows you to navigate a world teeming with both joy and pain. In this realm, you can graciously accept both praise and blame, viewing them as opportunities to fortify your fundamental identity. The freedom derived from this identity is firmly anchored beyond the sway of human opinions, be they favorable or critical. —Henri Nouwen


"There is hope in Jesus, the Light of Life!"

"Our comfort and motivation do not derive from laws. We neither live according to the body nor labor for this world alone. No matter who holds office or how they decide and lead, the Lord our God reigns." — Pastor Michael Salemink, Lutherans For Life

"What could be more joyful and rewarding than to share with everyone the best news they will ever hear? Jesus has saved you from sin and death and won eternal life for you as a gift of His love. Let's roll up our sleeves and begin today with the prayer, 'Lord, help me be an eager worker in Your Kingdom.'" — Daily Devotions, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Sister Lakes, Michigan

"For it can be easy on Thanksgiving to be thankful for the things, thankful for what we are and have, but thankfulness in faith cries out to God, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on me!' and falls on its face at Jesus' feet, giving thanks to Christ." — Rev. Cody Cooper, Guest Speaker on "The Lutheran Hour"

"Being for life is right in line with God's plan of creation! You are the missing element that is needed! Don't be satisfied to sit back and wait, because now is the time! Don't stop praying as you ponder your next step. Ask God for His guidance and be ready for more than you asked for, as we have a loving and merciful God who loves life. Please consider being a part of a life-affirming ministry in your congregation. Help protect lives and serve God in this special calling." — Virginia Flo, Lutherans for Life

The mission of Lutherans for Life is to witness the sanctity of human life through education based on God's Word. | 1-888-364-LIFE

Hurting from abortion? A word of hope can help. | 888-271-8679.

You can help equip gospel-motivated voices for life! Send your gift to Lutherans For Life, 1101 5th Street, Nevada, IA, 50201-1816.

Lutherans For Life is a 501©(3) ministry, and contributions are deductible as a charitable donation.

"The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." — John 10:10

Do you know a family in your congregation who is having its fourth or more child?

Fill out the form at the link below, and the Miami Valley Life Chapter will send a blanket made with love directly to this expectant mother (in the continental United States). No strings attached!

Lutherans Assembling Mercy Blankets

Download LAMBS Mercy Blankets Order Form (PDF)

Thank you for helping us care for your neighbor in this way!


"If I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in and stay connected," says journalist Jon Katz. "Don't walk away; don't be distracted; don't be too busy or tired; don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together."

This applies to church life too. When we're annoyed by some aspect of congregational life or caught in conflict with other members, it's tempting to drift away to another church—or no church. Even when all is fine, we sometimes let the church take a back seat. But our bonds with the family of God are "part of the glue that holds life and faith together." For the sake of the benefits we gain and give, may we "hang in [and] stay connected" with our church family. May we not "walk away [or] be distracted,... be too busy or tired." May we not take one another for granted, but thank God for this "glue"—even when things get a bit sticky!

— The Newsletter Newsletter, Volume 40, #10


"The present moment is always brimming with infinite treasure, containing far more than the grasp of our understanding. Faith serves as the measure of its riches; what you unearth in the present moment aligns with the depth of your faith. Love also acts as the gauge: the more profound the affection within your heart, the greater the joy derived from God's provisions.

The will of God unfurls itself at each moment like an immense ocean, impervious to the exhaustive desires of your heart. Yet, you shall partake of that ocean's depths in accordance with your faith and love."

— Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Our Heavenly Father has claimed us as His own. Through the sacrificial shedding of His Son's blood, His death for our sins, and His triumphant resurrection for our justification, God the Father has welcomed us back into His divine family. Through the union of water with His word, promise, and name, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within us. We belong to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He dwells in us, and we in Him. In this union, all things are ours. In Him, we are richly and abundantly blessed.

Our true treasure and wealth lie in belonging to the most holy Trinity. Everything that is His is also ours: righteousness, peace, and eternal life. Even our earthly treasures are gifts from His fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.

We receive these treasures from Him, and as faithful stewards of His varied grace, we manage them to be returned to Him. We present them to Him, sanctified through prayers of gratitude and God's Holy Word, as a sacred offering. Thus, all our possessions, as gifts from God, become sacrifices to Him. From these sacrifices, we nourish our bodies and share with our family, neighbors, fellow Christians, the poor, and even our enemies—holy offerings given by our holy God. His temporal gifts are blessings to and for us, bringing blessings upon us as they are consecrated for His service and His kingdom, enriching the souls that receive them.

In this way, we place everything we have in God's hands. He unfailingly remembers us and showers us with the fullness of His promises. We give thanks for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. We express our gratitude not by hoarding, but by giving to all, just as our heavenly Father has generously given to us.

As we approach Thanksgiving celebrations, let us all be continually thankful for all that we are and have because of God's providential care. May we be diligent in offering everything we have received from God back to Him, so that He may bless and utilize it for the good of all, even for us. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance.

LCMS Stewardship Ministry


"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God can make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."

— 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

Last November 29, 2022, marked the tenth anniversary of "Giving Tuesday." Set in the midst of the early holiday season, it urges people to consider making financial contributions to deserving groups and organizations. The day follows Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. In 2021, a quick Google search reveals that $2.7 billion was raised by U.S. organizations. This year, let's make Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2023, the best one yet!

— LSEM, Christian Stewardship News


When Paul speaks of treasure in clay jars (2 Corinthians 4:6–9), he refers to the gospel message. Human carriers of this treasure, including himself, are compared to breakable vessels vulnerable to external influences. Yet, their fragility causes them to depend on God's strength when facing afflictions.

This analogy is useful because broken clay jars were employed as writing surfaces in Paul's time. He emphasizes that even when we're broken, we remain useful in God's kingdom. When feeling defeated by failure, Jesus still regards us as valuable.

"I beseech Christ... that He will enable me to endure all things courageously and that He will break me as a potter's vessel or make me strong, as it pleases Him." — Ulrich Zwingli


When veteran Joe Serna admitted to a lapse in judgment, acknowledging that he had been drinking—a violation of the rules in the Veteran's Treatment Court program—Judge Lou Olivera decided on a sentence of one night in jail. While this might seem like a relatively mild punishment, it carried a heavy emotional weight for Serna. During his military deployment, he had faced a life-threatening situation when his truck plunged into a canal, leaving him trapped underwater. Though a fellow soldier managed to move him to an air pocket, saving his life, the traumatic incident resulted in the loss of his buddy and two others. Years later, the mere thought of confinement triggered severe flashbacks.

As Serna arrived for his night in jail, Judge Olivera, also a military veteran, recognized the anxiety in his eyes. In an extraordinary act of empathy, Olivera chose to spend the night in the cell alongside Serna. This compassionate gesture nearly brought Serna to tears. Still, Judge Olivera insisted that any veteran would have done the same, emphasizing the unbreakable bond among those who have served. "These are our brothers," Olivera affirmed. "We never leave each other behind."

In a similar vein, Jesus entered the intricate narrative of our troubles, sharing in our sufferings, brokenness, and even death. As an unparalleled companion, Jesus identifies us as his brothers and sisters, steadfastly refusing to abandon us with the burdens we impose upon ourselves. Above all, Jesus, in his divine capacity, performs what only God can do: redeeming us for the sake of newfound joy and life.

— Adapted from The Newsletter, Volume 40, #9

Prayer of Thanks

The close connection between prayer and praise, as highlighted in the Bible, prompted 19th-century preacher J.C. Ryle to assert, "I dare not call that true prayer in which thankfulness has no part." Ryle points to passages like Philippians 4:6 ("By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God") and Colossians 4:2 ("Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful"), both from the NIV translation.

Ryle underscores that, whenever we approach God in prayer, expressions of gratitude for His mercy and the hope of heaven should take precedence in our minds. "Surely," he writes, "we should never open our lips in prayer without blessing God for the free grace by which we live and for that loving kindness that endures forever."

More 2023 Newsletters

October 2023 Newsletter

September 2023 Newsletter

August 2023 Newsletter

July 2023 Newsletter

June 2023 Newsletter

May 2023 Newsletter

April 2023 Newsletter

March 2023 Newsletter

February 2023 Newsletter

January 2023 Newsletter


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