Bless the World: Be God’s Grace!
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering,
persevere in prayer.
Sharing your Blessings
Through July 31 giving to Grace by members has declined while our expenses are up slightly. As of July 31, our day-to-day operating expenses have exceeded our offerings and other sources of revenue by $30,815!
While mid-summer deficits are not unusual, the size of the deficit is something that needs to be addressed. Expenses are well managed. In fact, Grace is blessed with a number of volunteers who have stepped up and are offering their labors for free. These volunteers are saving Grace thousands of dollars a year in wage and benefit expenses, something for which we all need to be thankful.
Sadly, our financial shortfall is being caused by declining giving by our members as a whole. Attendance at Houses of Worship overall has declined over the past few years including at Grace. With the decline in attendance comes a decline in offerings received as there is a tendency of many to only contribute when they attend services. Is not God present in your life every day whether or not you attend services? At Grace we BLESS THE WORLD every day of the year and our financial needs reflect that on-going process as we strive to BE GOD’S GRACE.
Some members of Grace do struggle with personal financial issues. Yet many members have been blessed financial security and increasing earnings. Please pray about the level of financial support you are providing to Grace in thanking God for all that you have received. We only ask to contribute to Grace in a regular meaningful (to you) manner.
David Charvat, Grace Treasurer
Ready…Set…Rally Day, September 11 is the kick-off for the 2022-2023 Sunday School year for those children three years old – grade 6.
See you there!
“The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Recently, I have been spending a significant amount of time reflecting on the different aspects of stewardship (our time, our bodies and health, our gifts and talents, our material resources) that we will be considering over the next few weeks, as we hear from some of our members at the beginning of each worship service in September. My thanks to Ron Hiatt, Ann Fleck, Gretchen Hiatt, Gail Livingood, Janet Moore, Cindy Wood, Mary Schneider, Fritz Gooch, and David O’Brien, who were willing to consider the different facets of stewardship and to share their thoughts with us via conversations recorded for us all to see. Thanks to Bob Haaf and Ron Hiatt for their help with the videos.
Ron and Ann will get us started on 4 September, with their conversation about the stewardship of time. My own time spent in preparation has also led me to a deep reflection on time and how we spend it.
I once read that time is the most valuable commodity in the 21st century. Not money, not property, not power, but time. When I first read this, I was skeptical. Of what real value is time, after all? You cannot use it to buy anything. How valuable can it really be?
The more I reflected, however, the more I realized that this is a very true statement. Time is a very valuable in our hectic society. We live in a world where people attempt to squeeze work, leisure, household duties, family, etc. into tightly packed schedules. We often hear the exclamation: “If there were only more hours in the day!”
There are only 24 hours in a day. There are only 168 hours in week. If we allow 7 hours of rest per day, this leaves only 119 hours to accomplish everything that we need and want to accomplish in a given week.
We must plan our days well. We must learn to prioritize in order to make good use of our time. What must take highest priority? What can be scaled back or eliminated? One of the most valuable things that I am continually trying to put into practice is the skill of knowing when to say, “Enough is enough!” to certain obligations, and when it is more important to nourish my spirit, my marriage, and my other relationships.
As we ponder our lives and our stewardship of our time, the first questions we ask ourselves must be: “Where does God fit into my schedule? Not just my Saturday evening or Sunday morning schedule, but my whole schedule? What part of those precious 119 hours will I give to nourish my relationship with the One who gives me life, the One who listens to my every prayer and thought, and the One who walks with me always?”
Where does your relationship with God fall on the list of priorities? Do you give God one hour each weekend and consider it sufficient? Do you take time to express your thanks each and every day—and for more than just meals? Do you take time to meditate on God’s Word and on what it means to you?
I know that we all lead busy lives. But I also know that our other priorities will fall into clearer perspective if God receives the first fruits of our most valuable commodity, and that time spent with God allows our days to have a direction and purpose that they might not otherwise have. I know that the time is well worth the effort in this case, because our relationship with God will grow deeper and more profound.
Is one hour per week really enough? This Fall, consider making a sincere effort to increase your “God time.” Hare a few ways to start:
Find a devotional book or aid that allows you to reflect on your relationship with God and that pushes you to consider what role you have to play in the kingdom. Come to one of the various Bible studies we offer Thursdays at (9:30 a.m. at church, Ruth Circle, Women at the Well, Bob Haaf’s Saturday study). Come to the upcoming Lutheran Basic classes in October. Take a few moments each day just to sit and be in conversation with God, without any distractions.
Time is a valuable commodity. What better way to re-invest it than with the One who first gave it to us as a gift?
Operation Christmas Child
September – Erasers and/or colored pencils
Thank you to all who help
September 4th- Gretchen Hiatt – Nancy Lockard
September 11th – Deb Fallon – Wendy McCall
I would like to share an email received through our website on Thursday of this past week. We get a lot of emails – mostly ads. But this one made my day.
I just wanted to thank you for the beautiful bell ringing. I can hear it every day at 1200 from my hotel room. I am currently in Toledo on family business and live quite a ways a way (Stockholm, Sweden). I try to pause every day when I hear the bells ringing to just take a moment to reflect. I asked where the bells were ringing from and was told it was from your church. I just want to thank you and God bless you.
You never know what small thing we do might be a big thing to someone else!
For sign up sheets and more information, please see the community bulletin boards.
Grace When Brother Martin died and went to heaven, he was met at the front gate by St. Peter, who let him know that he needed one hundred points to enter the pearly gates. “You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I’ll give you points according to your deeds. When you reach one hundred points, I’ll swing open the gates.” “Okay,” Ted answered, “I was head usher at First Baptist for thirty years.” “That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, that’s worth two points.” “I was married to the same woman for almost sixty-five years and was faithful to her.” “Remarkable,” Peter said, “That’s three more points.” “Only three?” Ted frowned. “How about this? I started a soup kitchen in the inner city and worked in a homeless shelter.” “Terrific, and here are two more points.” Ted’s eyes opened wide and he said loudly, “Two points! At this rate the only way I’ll get into heaven is by the grace of God!” “Come on in!” said St. Peter
Time’s A Wastin’ A minister waited in line to fill his car with gas before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars in front and back of him. Finally the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. “Reverend”, said the young man, “sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits for the last minute to get ready for a long trip.”
The minister chuckled, “I know exactly what you mean. It’s the same in my business.”
Sunday, October 30 10:30 a.m.
Reformation Sunday this year is on October 30. Watch the weekly announcements regarding information on a special service at 10:30 a.m. that day. Grace will welcome a special guest and have an even more special fellowship hour. More to come….
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Community Outreach -Tent City
The cooler weather is just around the corner and so is Tent City. Tent City is held the weekend of October 22this year. Started in 1990 it is a Saturday/Sunday program that provides medical, dental, clothing, blankets, etc. to those in need.
Grace has collected blankets for the last 2 years in our “Warm A Heart” collection in February – we estimate that we have given 100 blankets in the last 2 years. Our collection for this year is very close to 50 blankets, Afghans and quilts. If you find you have blankets or quilts that you no longer want, please consider adding them to Grace’s collection to be taken to Tent City. They can be dropped off at the office, outside Gretchen’s door or call Gretchen if they need to be picked up.
Behind the scenes at Grace ….by Gretchen
- Our mystery footprints and spot on the carpet are gone! Thanks to Connie Thomas for arranging for our annual carpet shampoo!
- Have you noticed the laminated signs in the hallway and the windows? These were strongly suggested by the Toledo Police during our “walk through”. The signs are double sided so not only can you tell what room or area you are in but also, they can be seen from the outside by the EMS in event of an active shooter situation or even a fire. You will also see signs that indicate “Locked Door” – these were put up, so no one wastes time thinking that the door opens to escape, and it ends up being locked.
- If you have not checked them out, please look at the posters outside the big church and the chapel to see where exits are. Thank you to Bob Haaf.
- Have you seen the new visitor cards in the pews? When welcoming a visitor please remind them to fill out a visitor card in the “envelop holders” in the pews and place the card in the offering plate or hand to an usher. Thanks to Worship and Music!
- Yes, we are still collecting empty peanut butter jars (sorry for the oops last week and asked for butter jars instead of peanut butter jars).
- It has been wonderful to hear the choir on Sunday! Thanks to Nancy Stepleton, Choir members and Debby for accompanying.
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission.
What does it mean to you? Have you seen the commercial where is says “Age is a number and mine is unlisted”!!! Is your number unlisted?
Twenty years ago, September was designated as “Healthy Aging Month”.
Healthy Aging Month encourages us to act how we feel (no complaining now) -instead of acting your age. Yes, we can whine a little bit especially if the weather is such that your arthritis is bothering you, but cannot be an all-day whine.
So, what kinds of things can you do to re-invent yourself starting in September?
- Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should look like. What was your best age – 20,35 – picture yourself at that age and be it. It is not denial it is thinking positive. Don’t look in the mirror – just act it! (Wear white after Labor Day, think colors not black clothing – fuchsia, bright green, wild shirts, etc.)
- Be positive in your conversations and actions every day. Watch the complaining and work on changing it to a positive. If the news is depressing, then stop watching.
- Stick with people who are positive and upbeat. Keep friends with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages! Kids are great happy boosters! Smile more often as it not only makes you feel good but also others.
- Walk like a healthy person even with cane or a walker. Try to walk with a big stride, walk with heel first and wear comfortable shoes.
- Stand up straight! You look much younger standing up straight like you were told as a kid. Stomach in, shoulders back, and chin up! Your neck will look much better and even your waistline!
Work on these – more to come next week!
The church office is closed Monday September 5 for Labor Day
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!