News & Notes – October 1

  • Reformation 500: A district-wide worship service is being planned for Sunday, November 5 at 4:00 PM. This service will be in commemoration of God’s grace at the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Please plan to attend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are also planning on a congregational fellowship opportunity after the service. Look for more information on that detail soon.
  • Good Shepherd Logo Wear Available: We are trying something new this year and offering items that are ordered over the internet. Please go to https://ksetees.com/good-shepherd/ and see what is available. There are items with the school logo and the church logo. Payment and ordering will be done only through this website. The deadline to order is Tuesday, October 31. All orders will be handed out through the church office in November.
  • LWMS Mid-Michigan Circuit Fall Rally is Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 10 AM. Registration begins at 9:30 AM at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 602 Sidney, Bay City. The speaker, Alice Danell, will present on mission work in Grenada. Lunch will be provided, and prizes will be given away! All are welcome to attend.
  • Voters’ Meeting is Tuesday, October 17 at 7:00 PM. Voters, please plan on attending this important meeting.
  • WLS Food Bank: We will be gathering a special offering on October 15 and 22 for Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary’s food bank. The food bank supports married students and their families while they are studying at the Seminary. Funds go to purchasing food, baby items, and household necessities.
  • Forward in Christ & Meditations for 2018: Please note the sign-up sheets on the church bulletin board. Please add your name to the current list if you are interested in a subscription for 2018. Please cross out your name if you no longer want to receive it for the next year. Thank you.
  • Need a ride? Can you give a ride? If either of these apply to you as you come to church, please let one of the pastors or elders know. We would like to make sure everyone who would like to is able to come to church on Sundays, and if a ride would help someone, we want to see if we can connect people who may be able to serve or be served in this way. Thank you!

Devotion: Dependent on God’s Mercy

Dependent on God’s mercy…

It’s a question theologians and laypeople alike have asked throughout the history of the Christian church: “Why are some saved and others not?” It’s a question that intrigues the human mind not only because it confronts us with one of the most pressing truths of our existence but also because it seems to elude a straightforward answer. Why are some saved and others not?

While it’s true humans have tried to answer that question in a variety of ways and have offered various (and sometimes opposite) explanations, God in his word in fact does provide a straightforward answer to that question. He tells us when someone is saved, that fact results entirely from God’s mercy. He also tells us when someone is not saved, that fact results entirely from mankind’s sinful unbelief.

The Lord used the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans to teach us about these matters. In the ninth chapter of this letter, Paul writes about election, the teaching of God’s word that describes how God chooses people to be believers. In the matter of election (like every other facet of the way God saves us), everything depends on God.

Paul uses the example of Isaac and Rebekah’s twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Remember that God chose Jacob to receive the promise he had first made to his grandfather Abraham, even though as the firstborn Esau would have been the expected choice. In addition, Paul writes, the Lord made this choice before the twin boys were even born. Paul’s point is that God didn’t arrive at his choice because Jacob was such a better young man than his brother Esau. No, even before they were born, God chose Jacob, entirely out of his mercy for Jacob.

“It [God’s election] does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy,” Paul writes. The Apostle uses an earthly illustration to proclaim a spiritual truth. Why are some saved? The answer is always the same: None of us, from the greatest believers in history like Abraham and Paul down to you and me, deserve it. Instead, God entirely by his mercy chose us to be his own in Christ even before the creation of the world (cf. Ephesians 1:4), sent his Son Jesus to redeem us from our sin, sent his Holy Spirit to create faith in our hearts through his word and sacrament, and in doing all these things has saved us. From start to finish our salvation is God’s work. And he did it not because he saw in us deserving recipients but because he shows mercy and compassion.

Why are some saved? Scripture gives a clear answer. Some are saved because God is merciful. But what about the second half of the question? Why are others not? At this point, our human nature wants to interject, and that’s where the problems begin. Paul anticipates that when he asks the rhetorical question, “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” In other words, if everything depends on God’s mercy, then it cannot be our fault if we don’t believe. So says our human reason.

It sounds logical, but the problem is, it isn’t biblical. Instead, while the Bible tells us God works our salvation from start to finish, it also makes the point God does not elect or predestine people to condemnation. The Lord, for example, in Ezekiel 33:11 says, “‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.’” Yes, the Lord wills sinners to repent and be saved. The Bible, therefore, assigns responsibility for condemnation squarely on the shoulders of those who don’t believe. Condemnation results from a sinner’s unbelief, and that unbelief is the fault of the sinner.

Paul describes this truth when he goes on to say, “What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath – prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory?” Notice that last verb is active. God prepared us for glory. Notice that the previous verb, however, is passive. God did not prepare objects of wrath for destruction. Instead, they were prepared. By what? By their sin and unbelief.

In examining this age-old question, therefore, Paul teaches us several key truths. First, we can praise God that in his mercy he has saved even us. No news in all creation could offer us comfort like that. Second, we cannot allow our human reason to theorize that this somehow means God did not choose others but instead condemned them to wrath. That belief flies in the face of clear scriptural truth. Third, God instructs us not to spend our time speculating on questions like this too grand for our human reason to comprehend. Instead, he tells us to preach the good news to all creation that more and more can know the truth and be saved (Mark 16:15). Finally, we want to see the biblical of truth of God’s election as a teaching of comfort. What a comfort to know that God chose me, that he knew my name and wanted me to be his own child, even before the creation of the world. What a comfort to know he gave his own Son to death on a cross for my sins so it could be possible. Yes, the doctrine of election is one of comfort, not one for us to use to speculate about unbelievers. So, in the end, the question isn’t, “Why does God save some and not others?” The question can be, “Has God saved me?” and to that we know the answer without a doubt. In Jesus, the answer is an eternal yes.

News & Notes – September 24

  • Presentation: Today after worship, we will have a brief presentation after both services to introduce the Council and Board of Education’s recommendation to the Voters’ to place a divine call for a school principal as well as a part-time preschool teacher.
  • Invitation for the Ladies Only: Good Shepherd’s women’s Bible study meets tonight at 7 PM in the fellowship hall. Join us to discover what it means to be a Lutheran Christian. Martin Luther sparked the Reformation when he nailed his protest to the door of the Castle Church in 1517. That protest had the one goal: bring the church back to the foundation of the Bible. To be a Lutheran Christian means to base our teaching and practice on the Bible alone. Our new study, Reformation: Grace, Faith, Scripture, presents 12 important biblical principles that are still important to us and all Bible-believing Christians today. Join us tonight as we delve into our first lesson, “The Beginning: Baptism.”
  • School & Church Picnic: Our annual church & school picnic is today at 12:00 PM at Plymouth Park, (formerly Pavilion “A”) (by the Playscape). Please bring a dish to pass and meat for the grill. Table service and beverages will be provided.
  • Teen Bible Class: The first is scheduled for September 29 at 6:30 PM. Dinner will also be provided. Please contact Pastor for more information.
  • Need a ride? Can you give a ride? If either of these apply to you as you come to church, please let one of the pastors or elders know. We would like to make sure everyone who would like to is able to come to church on Sundays, and if a ride would help someone, we want to see if we can connect people who may be able to serve or be served in this way. Thank you!

News & Notes – September 17

  • Return to Grace: The movie is scheduled to start this afternoon at 2:00 PM at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. Tickets are still available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Presentation: Next week (September 24) after worship, we will have a brief presentation after both services to introduce the Council and Board of Education’s recommendation to the Voters’ to place a divine call for a school principal as well as a part-time preschool teacher.
  • Kitchen Dishes: Please pick up any dishes you may have left in the kitchen or they will be thrown out this week.
  • School & Church Picnic: Our annual church & school picnic is next Sunday, September 24th at 12:00 PM at Plymouth Park, (formerly Pavilion “A”) (by the Playscape). Please bring a dish to pass and meat for the grill. Table service and beverages will be provided.
  • Veterans: The office is hoping to update our list of military veterans and update the plaque on the hallway wall. If you are a veteran and are not listed on the wall, please let the office or one of the pastors know. Thank you!
  • Little Lambs: Little Lambs will be starting this Tuesday, September 19th this year and will continue most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 AM until the middle of May.
  • Game Night: Join your friends from Good Shepherd for a night of fun playing games and enjoying fellowship. The fun begins at 6:30 PM this Friday, September 22. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Bring your favorite board game and a snack to pass.
  • Teen Bible Class: The first is scheduled for September 29 at 6:30 PM. Dinner will also be provided. Please contact Pastor for more information.
  • MLS Homecoming Concessions: Good Shepherd will again be volunteering to staff the MLS Varsity Football concessions stand at Homecoming on Friday, October 6th. If you are interested or have some questions, please contact Bob Lindesmith
  • MLS Open House is Friday, October 20 from 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM. See the school bulletin board for more details. Please register by October 16.

News & Notes – September 10

  • Bible Class and Sunday School Starting: Regular Sunday Bible Class and Sunday School begin today at 9:20 AM. Sunday morning Bible Class will begin a new study examining the key biblical themes from Martin Luther’s writing.
  • Choir: Please join us for choir this year! Rehearsals begin today following second service.
  • Veterans: The office is hoping to update our list of military veterans and update the plaque on the hallway wall. If you are a veteran and are not listed on the wall, please let the office or one of the pastors know. Thank you!
  • Little Lambs: Little Lambs will be starting Tuesday, September 19th this year and will continue most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 AM until the middle of May.
  • Game Night: Join your friends from Good Shepherd for a night of fun playing games and enjoying fellowship. The fun begins at 6:30 PM on Friday, September 22. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Bring your favorite board game and a snack to pass.
  • Teen Bible Class: The first is scheduled for September 29 at 6:30 PM. Dinner will also be provided. Please contact Pastor for more information.
  • Return to Grace: Please call the church office at 835-4181 to reserve your tickets for Sunday, September 17 at 2 PM at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • MLS Homecoming Concessions: Good Shepherd will again be volunteering to staff the MLS Varsity Football concessions stand at Homecoming on Friday, October 6th. If you are interested or have some questions, please contact Bob Lindesmith.

News & Notes September 3

  • The church office will be closed this Monday, September 4. Happy Labor Day!
  • School Starting: The first day of school will be this Tuesday, September 5th. You are welcome to join us for chapel at 7:50 AM.
  • Bible Class and Sunday School Starting: Regular Sunday Bible Class and Sunday School begin next Sunday, September 10 at 9:20 AM. Sunday morning Bible Class will begin a new study examining the key biblical themes from Martin Luther’s writing.
  • Choir: Please join us for choir this year! Rehearsals begin next Sunday, September 10 following second service. Choir is a wonderful opportunity to sing praises to the Lord and to enjoy fellowship with your fellow Christians. Hope to see you there!
  • Midweek Bible Class: The Midweek Bible Class will resume meeting this Wednesday, September 6 at 9:00 AM. Looking forward to seeing regulars as well as any new faces who would like to join us!
  • College Students: If you are away (or know someone) at college this year, please update your contact information with the church office. Thank you.
  • Veterans: The office is hoping to update our list of military veterans and update the plaque on the hallway wall. If you are a veteran and are not listed on the wall, please let the office or one of the pastors know. Thank you!
  • Little Lambs: Little Lambs will be starting Tuesday, September 19th this year and will continue most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 AM until the middle of May. For information contact Kimberly Schuette 989-717-6320 (cell) or 989-832-0463 (home).
  • Game Night: Join your friends from Good Shepherd for a night of fun playing games and enjoying fellowship. The fun begins at 6:30 PM on Friday, September 22. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Bring your favorite board game and a snack to pass.
  • Church Picnic: Our annual church picnic is Sunday, September 24th at 12:00 PM at Plymouth Park, (formerly Pavilion “A”) (by the Playscape). Please bring a dish to pass and meat for the grill. Table service and beverages will be provided.
  • Teen Bible Class: The first is scheduled for September 29 at 6:30 PM. Dinner will also be provided. Please contact Pastor for more information.
  • Ladies Guild: The Ladies’ Guild is starting back up. The first meeting will this Tuesday, September 5th starting at 6:45 PM in the fellowship hall. All ladies of the congregation are welcome to attend and enjoy the fellowship of your sisters in faith.
  • Return to Grace: Please call the church office at 835-4181 to reserve your tickets for Sunday, September 17 at 2 PM at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. Tickets are available on a first come first serve basis.
  • Singers and Musicians Wanted: The Saginaw Valley Lutheran Chorale will begin rehearsals on Sunday, September 10, from 6-8 PM in the choir room at Michigan Lutheran Seminary to prepare for a sacred Christmas concert in early December.
  • MLS Homecoming Concessions: Good Shepherd will again be volunteering to staff the MLS Varsity Football concessions stand at Homecoming on Friday, October 6th. If you are interested or have some questions, please contact Bob Lindesmith.

News & Notes – August 27

  • LES parent meeting will be held between services today at 9:20 AM. The children will have the opportunity to take their school supplies to their rooms (if you would like them to do so), and we will all enjoy some refreshments and fellowship.
  • Catechism Parent Meeting will be held today after second service at 11:30 AM for those students (6th – 8th grade) who are in catechism class this year.
  • Bible Class and Sunday School Starting: Regular Sunday Bible Class and Sunday School begin on Sunday, September 10 at 9:20 AM. Sunday morning Bible Class will begin a new study examining the key biblical themes from Martin Luther’s writing. Join us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and to grow in your understanding and appreciation for the Lutheran heritage.
  • Choir: Please join us for choir this year! Rehearsals begin on Sunday, September 10 following second service. Choir is a wonderful opportunity to sing praises to the Lord, to edify our worship at Good Shepherd, and to enjoy fellowship with your fellow Christians. Hope to see you there!
  • Midweek Bible Class: The Midweek Bible Class will resume meeting on Wednesday, September 6 at 9:00 AM. We will be continuing our study of 1 Corinthians. Looking forward to seeing regulars as well as any new faces who would like to join us!
  • Little Lambs: Little Lambs will be starting Tuesday, September 19th this year and will continue most Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 AM until the middle of May. For more information contact the school office.
  • Game Night: Join your friends from Good Shepherd for a night of fun playing games and enjoying fellowship. The fun begins at 6:30 PM. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Bring your favorite board game and a snack to pass.
  • Church Picnic: Our annual church picnic is Sunday, September 24th at 12:00 PM at Plymouth Park, (formerly Pavilion “A”) (by the Playscape). Please bring a dish to pass and meat for the grill. Table service and beverages will be provided.
  • School Starting: The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 5th. You are welcome to join us for chapel at 7:50 AM.
  • Teen Bible Class: Pastor Behnken is hoping to offer an additional Bible Study opportunity for teens of our congregation (grades 8-12). It will meet once a month. The first is scheduled for September 29 at 6:30 PM. Dinner will also be provided. Please contact Pastor for more information.
  • Ladies Guild: The Ladies’ Guild is starting back up. The first meeting will be Tuesday, September 5th starting at 6:45 PM in the fellowship hall. All ladies of the congregation are welcome to attend and enjoy the fellowship of your sisters in faith.
  • Return to Grace: Please call the church office at 835-4181 to reserve your tickets for Sunday, September 17 at 2 PM at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. Tickets are available on a first come first serve basis, and payment is due upon pickup of these tickets at the church office. The cost is $5 per adult and $2 per child age 14 and under. (Children 5 and under are free.)
  • Singers and Musicians Wanted: The Saginaw Valley Lutheran Chorale will begin rehearsals on Sunday, September 10, from 6-8 PM in the choir room at Michigan Lutheran Seminary to prepare for a sacred Christmas concert in early December. The Chorale, formed in 1990, is a volunteer choir and is open to all confirmed members of WELS and ELS congregations. Rehearsals are each Sunday evening. The Chorale cordially invites you to join them! All voices are welcome. For more information, please contact the Chorale director, Ryan Friske at friskerj@gmail.com.
  • MLS Homecoming Concessions: Good Shepherd will again be volunteering to staff the MLS Varsity Football concessions stand at Homecoming on Friday, October 6th. We need to provide at least 12 volunteers for the evening and the time commitment would be from about 6 PM until end of game (usually around 9:30 PM). If we have more people we can split some of the time.

News & Notes – August 13

  • Summer Playdate: Our last summer play date is this Wednesday, August 16 at 10 AM.
  • LES parent meeting will be held between services at church on Sunday, August 27 at 9:20 AM. The children will have the opportunity to take their school supplies to their rooms (if you would like them to do so), and we will all enjoy some refreshments and fellowship.
  • Catechism Parent Meeting will be held on Sunday, August 27 after second service at 11:30 AM for those students (6th – 8th grade) who are in catechism class this year.
  • Return to Grace: Please call the church office at 835-4181 to reserve your tickets for Sunday, September 17 at 2 PM at the  Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. The cost is $5 per adult and $2 per child age 14 and under. (Children 5 and under are free.) This film promises to be an excellent experience to enhance your understanding and appreciation for Martin Luther and the Reformation.
  • Singers and Musicians Wanted: The Saginaw Valley Lutheran Chorale will begin rehearsals on Sunday, September 10, from 6-8 PM in the choir room at Michigan Lutheran Seminary to prepare for a sacred Christmas concert in early December. The Chorale, formed in 1990, is a volunteer choir and is open to all confirmed members of WELS and ELS congregations. Rehearsals are each Sunday evening. The Chorale cordially invites you to join them! All voices are welcome. For more information, please contact the Chorale director, Ryan Friske at friskerj@gmail.com.
  • Church Picnic: Mark your calendars for Sunday September, 24. The annual church picnic will be held at Plymouth Park. Please plan on bringing your own meat for the grill and a dish to pass. Beverages and table service will be provided.

News & Notes – August 6

  • Church Library: Please check at home to see if you have any church library books. We are missing quite a few books.
  • Summer Playdate: Our last summer play date is next week Wednesday, August 16 at 10 AM.
  • Return to Grace: Please call the church office at 835-4181 to reserve your tickets. The cost is $5 per adult and $2 per child age 14 and under.

News & Notes – July 30

  • Mowing volunteers are needed. A sign-up sheet is posted on the bulletin board.
  • Church Library: Please check at home to see if you have any church library books. We are missing quite a few books.
  • Return to Grace: Good Shepherd is hosting a screening of this new movie on Martin Luther’s life and ministry in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. The showing is scheduled for Sunday, September 17 at 2 PM at the Grace A. Dow Library auditorium. Professor Emeritus James Korthals of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary will host a Q&A session following the film.