Sometimes the good Lord makes Himself clearly known. For example, a few Sundays ago three children were baptized at The Family of Faith – Miramesa. After the service was done and all the participants had left, I was locking up the building and found this scene. Sunlight was shining down from above. The single beam of light landed directly on the silver bowl of the baptismal font.

In John 8:12 we read Jesus say, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” When the sunlight descended through the windows and directly upon the baptismal font I thought of these words from Jesus.

As we begin our Lenten pilgrimage this week (Ash Wednesday was March 6), we seek to follow the light of the world. We also pray to God to keep us from walking in the darkness. We all need support in our pilgrimage. We at The Family of Faith Lutheran Church and Preschool stand ready to support you as you follow the light.

 

-Pastor Doug

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, churches around the world will adopt a devotional practice called Lent. During this season of the church year the people of God take extra time for devotions and worship in order to prepare themselves for the greatest celebration in the world – the celebration of Easter/ the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In preparation for the greatest celebration, the people of God take time to reflect on their relationship with God. For example, the Bible teaches us that each of us have a problem with sin. Therefore, the church reflects on this teaching of the Bible using acts of repentance.

One such traditional symbol of repentance is the custom of placing ashes on one’s forehead in the shape of the cross on Ash Wednesday.  The baptized receive the sign of the cross both upon there forehead and upon their heart during the baptismal service as a symbol of their forgiveness. This sign of the cross is repeated daily throughout one’s life. The use of ashes reminds us that we are all mortal and that we are called to recognize our sin and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in order to receive free forgiveness. The forgiveness is free because Jesus died on the cross in our place and for our stead. His death offers true life to us all.

At The Family of Faith we will observe Ash Wednesday with a meal at 6 PM and with a worship service at 7 PM. In addition, the Senior Pastor will be present at both ministry locations in order to provide the imposition of ashes to those who choose to participate in this devotional discipline. Each Wednesday after Ash Wednesday a special virtual devotion video will be posted. These posts will include a brief devotional thought and a song. Five songs will be introduced in five successive Wednesdays. Each of these songs will be sung in our Easter morning worship service. You are invited to join us is preparing for the greatest celebration in the world.

-Pastor Doug

Hear ye! Hear ye! You are hereby invited to attend the baptisms of Lilyan Nicole Stilwell, her twin brother, Liam Henry Stilwell and their cousin, Jackson Silas Pacheco-DeQue, at The Family of Faith – Miramesa on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at 11 AM.

This baptism is a historic event for these three children and their families. It is also a historic event for The Family of Faith – Miramesa for it will be the first time the new baptismal font will be used. Mr. James Overaitis, the husband of our preschool teacher, Mrs. Michelle Overaitis, custom built the baptismal font for The Family of Faith – Miramesa. James built the font in such a way as to match the craftsmanship James used to build the cross which decorates the chapel-area at Miramesa. It was generous for James to offer the Lord his craftsmanship for the Lord generously confirmed his daughter, Grace, and baptized his son, Wyatt, in May and June of 2018.

In addition to the joy of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, and the joy of the chapel furnishings, there is also the great joy of baptizing THREE children at one worship service. Recently, one child was baptized on each of three sequential Sundays (January 20, January 27, and February 3. 2019). While these baptisms were celebrated by The Family of Faith with great joy, God has chosen to continue to bless us as three more children will be adopted into the family of faith through the water and the Word.

Because baptism is a joy, because God is uniquely blessing our church with numerous baptisms, and because the Lord has also uniquely motivated his people to share their skills and craftsmanship, we would like you to make a special effort to join the congregation in worship on February 24 at The Family of Faith – Miramesa. This invitation is for all of the members of The Family of Faith and for all of the preschool families too.

If you are reading this and need to be baptized, or your child needs to be baptized, please contact me, Pastor Doug Krengel, at PastorDoug@TFOF.org. It would be my joy to assist you in knowing the joy of the Lord.

– Pastor Doug

Each year around Valentine’s Day The Family of Faith Preschool hosts a fundraising event: Family Dance Night. This year The Family Dance Night will be held on Friday, February 15, from 6:30 PM to 10 PM. Last year this event was so successful that all the classrooms at the Copperfield location received new furniture such as tables and chairs. With your prayers and support this year’s event can be equally successful. This year the proceeds of this event are ear-marked to help improve the playground equipment at the Copperfield location.

For a donation of $30 per family, the fun begins. Of course, after all of that dancing you and your family are going to want a beverage and a snack. Thank you to the ladies of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League for their help with this year’s concession stand.

If the dance floor gets to be too much for you, you are welcome to take a break by touring through all of the items in the silent auction. Last year I bid on a custom-made wood step-stool. I was so pleased to discover my bid won. You can know this joy to by bidding on the numerous items that are part of the Silent Auction.

Feel free to bring friends and extended family members. The Family Dance Night is for families from both the Copperfield and Miramesa locations. This event is open to both church members and preschool families. Remember, we are ONE faith-family serving in two ministry locations. There is nothing quit like hitting the dance floor with a hundred preschool children and their family members. It really is a lot of fun.

– Pastor Doug

Your input is important to us at The Family of Faith. The Family of Faith Lutheran Church follows a congregational form of church governance. What this means is that there is no single person who decides on the vision, mission, and core values of our church home. Instead, our church goes out of its way to listen to the people who make up our church family.

One important way we listen to each other, and pray with each other, is the annual Congregational Planning Retreat. At this retreat you are invited to add your voice to our family conversation. If you are a member, if you send your child to our preschool, if you have been attending worship, if your youth is in our youth group, all are welcome to participate.

In the Bible this approach to church governance was specified when the Apostle Peter wrote that all believers are to “be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). You, dear Christian, are a priest, according to the Bible. As a priest you are called to intercede for others. Please join us this Saturday, February 2, at The Family of Faith – Copperfield at 9 AM in the sanctuary. We will be done no later than noon. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. If you need care for your children, please email me soon so we can plan to assist you.  pastordoug@TheFamilyOfFaith.org

– Pastor Doug

 

At The Family of Faith, the administration of the church and its activities happens through a coordinated effort between volunteers (both elected officers of the church and church volunteers), full-time staff members, and part-time staff members. In order to assist all of these individuals with their various requests for administrative help we are blessed to have one very talented and dedicated part-time Administrative Assistant, namely, Brenda. The Administrative Assistant is under the daily supervision of the Director of Business Operations, Marisa, who is also a talented and dedicated and is also a blessing to us all.

Marisa oversees how Brenda uses her work-time. This oversight provides for the prioritization of each task that is requested. Therefore, whether you are the President of the Congregation, or serving on the Board of Elders, or serving as the Director of Preschool Operations, or serving as the Senior Pastor, one’s request for administrative help is to first go to Marisa. Marisa will compare the request with the other requests that have already been made. The Director of Business Operations will then direct the request to the proper person with the proper prioritization. By participating in this process, we are able to manage the numerous requests that are presented from numerous people. You may contact the Director of Business Operations, Marisa, at marisa@TFOF.org, or by calling 281-855-2950.

As always, if you have any questions, or concerns, about the process by which we manage the administrative needs of our congregation, and preschool, or any other questions or inquiries, feel free to contact me directly at PastorDoug@TFOF.org, or 281-855-2950.

Welcome to 2019. At this time of the year we like to celebrate our congregational goal of being intentionally a multi-cultural church. One of the ways we celebrate our various cultural backgrounds is by hosting the annual Multi-Cultural Potluck on Saturday, January 19.

What’s a Multi-Cultural Potluck? Each family in our church, preschool, and youth group, are invited to bring a dish that represents their family’s cultural heritage. For example, my family has a German background, so we might bring some pflaumenkuchen (plum cake). We encourage participants to bring enough to share with up to a dozen other people.

In the past we have been blessed to have generous donations of food from Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana, Venezuela, Mexico, El Salvador, Brazil, India, China, Thailand, Korea, Poland, Norway, Finland, England, and, of course, the United States of America. Each family brought what they so chose to bring (it was not all plum cake).

Over the years artists have painted special backgrounds to represent various places in the world. The tables where the food is served are set up in front of these colorful backgrounds.

While we are sharing a meal together, we are also learning about each other’s families and culinary cultures. Our prayer is that by sharing our favorite foods we may also learn to appreciate the world-wide diversity that is present right in our own area of town.

This is also a wonderful event for the families who attend preschool, and the families who attend church, to get to meet each other.

In addition to the food, we have in the past had presentations of music and dance from around the world.

Plan now to join the fun. Put this event on your calendar today.

– Pastor Doug

Christmas sales. Christmas decorations. Christmas parties. Christmas vacation. These are ways in which the secular world identifies this time of the year. While the term “Christmas” is included in these phrases, the term is just a turn-of-phrase. Nothing is really meant by “Christmas” other than referring to activities that happen at the end of December. In such a culture as ours one may indeed find themselves asking why he/she would want to bother going out of the house to worship with other people in a church.

One’s Christmas celebration would do well to include worship because the original Christmas observation was filled with acts of worship. The angels visited the shepherds on Christmas night and they all worshiped Jesus as the Christ, the Savior, and the Lord. Later, the Magi find the Christ child and not only present Him gifts, but also prostrate themselves (i.e., fall on their faces) in a humble act of worship.

If you one does not want to look at the Bible, then just look at your nativity set. Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the Magi are all sculpted in such a way as to focus their gaze upon the infant Jesus. Why are nativity sets made in such a manner? Because all the characters in the scene are worshiping the Christ child. Often the Virgin Mary is sculpted as kneeling before the infant Jesus while her betrothed, Joseph, is sculpted as standing. Yet, both figures are often postured to make it clear that the child is not just the center of their attention, but the center of their entire lives.

Of course, we are not sculptures. We are living beings. On the other hand, the Bible says, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 ESV). May the Lord sculpt us with His Christmas Gospel that our hearts may be formed in worship this Christmas season.

-Pastor Doug

 

“Christmas: Decorations, Parades, and Children’s Worship”

Over this last week The Family of Faith has enjoyed decorating for Christmas, sponsoring a parade float, and offering a Children’s Worship service. Each of these efforts require considerable volunteer help. The volunteers have been provided by both the congregational members and the preschool families and staff members. Thank you to all the volunteers who decorated the sanctuary, the back of church, and the entrance to the preschool at Copperfield. Thank you to all the volunteers who decorated the float for the Parade of Lights last Sunday. And thank you for all the preschool staff members who worked so hard to help the children prepare for the two Preschool Christmas Worship Services.

Please know that all of you reading this blog are invited to attend the Copperfield Christmas Worship Service at 1 PM this Saturday. In addition to the wonderful songs offered by the children, this is a wonderful time to meet each other. So often I see our church members and our preschool families walk by each other without ever meeting each other. Why not take a few minutes to have a cookie after the children’s service and get to meet each other?

In addition to the Children’s Service at Copperfield, we will be offering two Christmas Eve services this year. At Miramesa at 4 PM we will be offering a service we call “Carols and Cookies”. This service is especially made for families with young children. Our Director of Music Ministry will be leading us in carols. I will be offering a puppet presentation along with a brief message for the children and their families. In addition, we will enjoy easy, no-mess Christmas crafts with the children and, of course, COOKIES.

At 6:30 PM at Copperfield, we will be offering a Christmas Eve Story time. This means I will be reading Christmas Eve children’s books to the children after which we will enjoy COOKIES.

At 7 PM at Copperfield, we will offer our Traditional Christmas Candle Lighting Service. During this service we will enjoy traditional Christmas songs, a Christmas message, prayers, only to end the service by singing Silent Night with candles alight. This is the 200th anniversary of Silent Night which was made to be sung accompanied by guitar. We will be singing Silent Night as it was designed to be sung: in worship with guitar.

Please feel free to attend any, or all, of these events as you enjoy celebrating the true message of Christmas.

-Pastor Doug

 

 

Happy New Year. A new church year starts this Sunday, December 2. Instead of keeping time around the sun, or moon, or stars, the church keeps time around the life of Jesus Christ and His church. The first season of the year is Advent. During this season we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christmas.

One way we go about preparing our hearts for Christmas is by adopting the use of a daily devotion. This year you can find such a daily devotion on The Family of Faith Facebook account. The devotional series is called “Angels in Advent”. Each day you will receive one video devotion about what the Bible has to say about angels. These one-minute devotions will serve to prepare us to more fully understand the celebration of the heavenly hosts before the shepherds as it occurred on that first Christmas night.

A second way we prepare our hearts for Christmas is by gathering on Wednesday night, December 5, for a special Advent Worship Service, at 7 PM. There is also a soup-supper that same evening at 6 PM. All are welcome.

A third way we prepare our hearts for Christmas is by decorating our church. You are invited to join our Decoration Party this Saturday, December 1, from 9 AM to Noon, at The Family of Faith -Copperfield.

May the Holy Spirit work through His Word and Sacrament to prepare our hearts for the joy of Christmas this year.

-Pastor Doug