Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
The human body is an incredible creation. We are capable of so many processes—both conscious and unconscious—on the cellular, organ, system, and whole organism levels. Processes and actions work together to enable us to think, move, and engage in all the body’s functions. When all areas are working well, things run smoothly. And as we know, when one area suffers or is weakened, there can be a chain reaction.
The body’s processes start with something called an action potential. An action potential is a short-lasting event in which the electrical membrane potential of a cell rapidly rises and falls. Action potentials occur in several types of cells, called excitable cells. Some of these cells play a central role in cell-to-cell communication. In other types of cells, their primary function is to activate processes within the cell. In many ways, action potentials “get the ball rolling” for many of the body’s functions. Without them, not much can happen.
It occurs to me that this idea is somewhat reflected in the Church. We are all full of “action potentials;” that is, we all have properties, gifts, abilities, and talents, which can help get the ball rolling with regard to sharing the Good News of God in Jesus Christ. Without the many and various gifts of the people being utilized, nothing much happens. If no one ever serves, or teaches, or cares, or gives, nothing much can happen … and the whole Body suffers.
What are your action potentials? Can your service help spark someone else to serve? Can your actions of care and compassion bolster someone’s spirit and lead them to reach out to someone else? Can your courage to speak about your faith when the opportunity comes be a vehicle through which the Spirit can work in a person’s life? Can the gift of your resources help to support the congregation and the larger Church’s ministries so that the Good News might be spread?
We have so much potential as the people of God! All of our individual action potentials are good, but when combined, the energy is amazing. How can all of our “action potentials” working together make the Body of Christ stronger and more active in the world?
The Readings for Sunday November 26, 2023
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Deficit Reduction Challenge:
As you may know, Grace faces a budget deficit as we approach the end of 2023. While spending is under budget, offerings have not kept pace with the budget. Currently, the deficit is approximately $30,000. This deficit endangers the future of our mission and of our congregation.
A member of our Grace family has given us an opportunity to end the year financially strong. This individual has offered to match deficit reduction offerings received by 15 December up to $10,000.
Please consider what you might give beyond your regular giving in the next month. Eliminating our deficit will enable us to consider different ways to use the year-end contribution from the Grace Foundation in ways that further the mission of Grace in our community. Help us Bless the World: Be God’s Grace!
If you wish to begin assist with this, please be sure to designate your special offering as “Deficit Reduction.”
This year’s poinsettia sale will be from November 19 – December 17, 2023. Plants will be sold for $10.00, to decorate the church for Christmas services and to benefit the VBS program at Grace. Forms will be available for your order. Merry Christmas! Thank you for your support of this effort.
Caroling event—17 December:
Calling all singers and anyone who loves Christmas carols! Join us on Sunday, 17 December for caroling! We will gather at church at 2:00 p.m., and travel as a group to Oak Leaf Manor to carol for the residents at 2:30 p.m.. Following that, we will divide into a few groups and go and carol at the homes of some of our homebound members.
After caroling, we will return to church for a light supper. A sign-up sheet will be posted (beginning the weekend of 26 November) for singers, and will also include a spot for people to indicate their willingness to drive.
All are welcome!
A study of the book, An Unlikely Advent, will be held beginning the week before Advent and through the first three weeks of Advent. Pastor Brenda will lead the study about the extraordinary people of the Christmas story. Participants have three choices of times to participate – Sundays at 8:15 a.m., Mondays at 11 a.m., or Wednesdays at 6 p.m. So that books can be ordered for all participants, we ask that those interested sign up to participate. Sign up sheets will be available at the back of the sanctuary beginning October 29. Please consider joining others in this Advent study!
Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time
In Fellowship Hall
November 26 – Sue Wagner and Sue Melchert
December 3 – Youth Pancake Brunch
Save the Date – Saturday, December 2
On Saturday, December 2, at 9:30 a.m., please join Grace members in decorating the church for Advent. The altars will be changed, Advent candles will be set out, manger scenes will be set up, the Chrismon tree will be decorated in the Nave, and a Christmas tree will be placed in the Chapel. An outdoor Nativity set will be placed in front of the church as well. A light lunch will be served in Fellowship Hall. Please join members of Grace in readying the church for the season of Advent and in fellowship.
Thank you to all who helped with packing the Christmas Boxes!
Check it out! Youth Group events coming up!
Retirees – Save taxes by using a part of your retirement income to make your weekly offering through direct payment to Grace from your retirement plan!
“Retired” members who receive retirement income from an IRA or other qualifying retirement plan can give more money to Grace, put more money in your own pocket AND save taxes by directing a portion of your retirement income payment be sent directly to Grace.
How much can be saved by having a portion of your retirement payment sent to Grace as part of your offering to Grace? Here are two hypothetical examples:
- Member A gives $25 a week and is in a 12% tax bracket (Income between $11,000- $44,000 a year) Annual tax savings by having the $25 a week of retirement income paid to Grace – $156.
- Member B gives $100 a week and is in the 22% tax bracket (income $44,000 to $95,000 a year) Annual tax savings by having the $100 a week of retirement income paid to Grace – $1,144.
It would be of great help to Grace if you use a portion of the taxes savings to fund a modest increase to your giving to Grace. That way we get more money and you still come out with more money in your pocket!
Disclaimer – this is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended as income tax advice. If this interests you, pleasure consult with your tax advisor and retirement plan provider for more information.
David Charvat CPA
Meditation on Matthew 25:31-46
By Vicar Dave
When you think of a king, what comes to mind? Some people would probably think of someone like Henry the 8th of England. In my opinion, he was a tyrant, who murdered his wives as he grew tired of them. Or maybe it’s someone like David of ancient Israel, who seemed more than willing to do just about anything to get the things he wanted, but on balance was probably OK by the standards of his time. I imagine some folks would even think of England’s current king, Charles, who is little more than a figure head. Kings of old had the power of life and death over their subjects and they often abused that power. While we don’t have many earthly kings these days, we do have our heavenly King who loves us unconditionally. Our King Jesus Christ loves us so much that rather than asking us to give up our lives for Him, He gave up His life for us!
As Lutherans, we like to focus on the grace of God and the forgiveness of sins purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. We tend to avoid the topic of judgment, but it’s also a part of our faith. Today’s Gospel gives us a hint of what that judgement will look like. Jesus will separate the peoples of all the nations into two groups, sheep, and goats. The sheep are labeled as righteous and are welcomed into God’s kingdom while the goats are named accursed and ushered into hell. So, are we sheep, or are we goats? The answer to that is “yes”. We are both at the same time. Martin Luther said that we are both saints and sinners at the same time.
I think our status as a sheep, or a goat comes in how we respond to God’s gift of grace. Do we receive it with a repentant heart, and allow that gift to change our lives? In this reading, Jesus tells us how we can become the sheep, and it’s really pretty easy. Jesus instructed us to take care of each other, especially the one we’d consider outcasts. If we receive His gift and respond by allowing it to change our lives, we will want to do His will. This will be something that will just come naturally.
There are going to be times in our lives when we go back and forth from goat to sheep and back again, but that’s OK. Jesus will continue to love us and continue to make his gift of salvation available to us at all times.
Sunday we celebrated all the people turning 70 in 2023. Ron and Gretchen, Ken and Ruth, Cindy, Sue, Brenda, Mary and Cathy. Thank you, Sue!!
There were 152 shoeboxes filled for children this Christmas! Thank you all for making this possible.
The Outreach Committee is collecting hats, gloves, and mittens this Advent Season to place in the Blessing Box or to make available to people who come to Burrito Blessings. Donations will be placed on a Christmas tree at the back of the nave and can be brought to church on Sundays beginning December 3 or placed in the Giving Room in the Blessing Box bin. Besides Grace helping to feed the hungry of Toledo, we are helping to keep the people of Toledo warm!
If you have something you’d like to see in the newsletter, please send it to the office no later than Monday morning by 10:00 a.m. Sometimes the newsletter is already full by then so it will have to wait for the next week. There is a limit of 8 pages for mailing. Thank you for all the news!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!