* LETTERS AND THE BIBLE READING GUIDE
While the Spokesman does not have a “Letters to the Editor” column as such, rest assured that the editor does at times receive letters. Some of these letters react to and/or question the content of what appears in an editorial or another article; others express appreciation for what is offered on these pages on a monthly basis; still others let us know when something slips by for which a correction or clarification may be in order.
If and when a response is deemed in order, it is sent directly to the letter writer.
Speaking of letters, we received an e-mail last summer which had this to say:
“I am enjoying the 1997 Bible Reading Guide and want to say thank-you for this helpful guide to God’s Word. I end each day reading the daily scriptures. They are carefully chosen verses and I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness in preparing the guide. With my limited knowledge of God’s Word, I would be unable to read the rich variety of scriptures the guide provides. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of God’s Word with me. It means a lot to me. (signed)”
We are glad for such a note which confirms what we already know. That is, when and where this or another devotional guide is used, the user is bound to benefit. Psalm 1, for example, assures that one who faithfully (day and night!) meditates on God’s Word will flourish like a well-watered tree. Using the readings, let us flourish together in the new year.
We thank Keith Olmanson, a retired CLC pastor, for his work in preparing the 1998 Bible Reading Guide.
* A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
“Blessed” rather than “merry” and “happy.” For any thing–a day, a year, an event–to be truly blessed implies God is smiling on it. God smiles on that which acknowledges His gracious role as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.
The Christmas season and the coming year will be blessed for us if we keep our Savior-God center stage in our daily life and in all our celebrations.
It is thus that our prayer is that your Christmas and the coming year may be truly blessed.
* VOLUNTEERS AT ILC AND BEYOND
We suspect the periodic newsletter from our Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire will pass this along. But we would like all our readers to hear the good words, taken from the report to the fall Coordinating Council by Pastor Vance Fossum, Chairman of the Board of Regents for ILC. Under “The Volunteers” the report said:
“They numbered over 100 during the months of June-September! They included members of the ILC faculty and staff, their wives, and children; members of Messiah-Eau Claire; a busload of brethren from Immanuel-Mankato; and others from Red Wing, Minnesota, Saginaw, Michigan, even Idaho! They offered their time, talents, and energies for the cause of maintaining and improving our school. They even donated paint, contact cement, gasoline, and many other items, including a lawnmower.
“Under the direction of our new Facilities Manager, Luther Sieg, the volunteer effort proved to be an efficient and enjoyable use of the time, skills, and materials of many. We wish we had space to list all of the cleaning, repairing, painting, landscaping, and building projects that were completed by volunteers. . . . Dozens of tasks were completed that required hundreds of man-hours, which would have cost Immanuel thousands of dollars or would not have been done at all! May God bless our volunteers for their ministry to us all.”
Comment: A recent issue of Christianity Today magazine had an article called: “100 Things the Church Is Doing Right.” It explained that “journalism is biased toward the negative because people tend to talk about what goes wrong” and “when something is right, it doesn’t seem like news.” This moved the magazine to gather “100 stories of ordinary Christians and Christian groups doing extraordinary things in the name of Jesus and his gospel.” As biblical basis Ephesians 2:10 was quoted, which speaks of Christians being “created in Chrsit Jesus for good works.”
Over the years the Lutheran Spokesman has used very little of its limited space for articles calling attention to “ordinary Christians doing extraordinary things” in the church. Doubtless we could monthly fill pages with accounts of godly men and women among us–yes, young people and children too–showing their faith with its fruits, good works. The volunteer work of many at ILC is but one example of God’s people putting their faith to work in a special way.
Volunteer work is going on all the time, isn’t it? As James writes, faith works! It is continually at work in the lives of those who serve on our synodical boards and committees, in our Christian schools, in our local congregations, and in our Christian homes (Luther liked to say that one who washes the supper dishes in the fear of God is doing a good work). Faith-full children of God serve Him by serving others and one another in literally countless ways.