Make plans now for the 2017 East Coast Church Worker Retreat for the Atlantic and New Jersey Districts.
There are 5 spots available for active church workers at this year's Grace Place Wellness Church Worker Retreat.
Scholarships are available.
Register here for the "2017 East Coast/New Jersey District Retreat."
From Grace Place Wellness Ministries:
A Church Worker retreat is an opportunity for church workers in the LCMS and their spouses to Reflect, Restore and Reinvigorate for renewed energy and joy in ministry. It’s a retreat in the purest sense of the word: a real break from the hectic and stressful ministry lifestyle and time to rest in God’s good grace. At a Church Worker retreat, you will Reflect on God’s design for your health and wellness, Restore your body and soul through rest, worship and fellowship and Re-invigorate for a return to ministry with a plan for a healthier lifestyle back home.
View a copy of the retreat agenda here.
Download these FREE Lent & Holy Week-themed social media graphics below!
There are 10 hymn-based graphics and 10 scripture-based graphics.
Share them on your church’s social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Encourage your members to share them, too!
The twelfth annual Mission Golf Classic of The New Jersey District (held this past May 19, 2016) supported the following five organizations with the nearly $20,000 net proceeds of the outing.
The thank you acknowledgement letters that have been received, are directly attributed to you and your participation!
Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation:
Funding provides direct service and emergency assistance to veterans in VA and Military hospitals and also supports, sponsors and participates in rehabilitation programs for the handicapped, amputees, paraplegics and the blind.
Canine Companions for Independence-Northeast Region:
Canine Companions is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. Since their inception in 1975, over 5,000 graduate teams have been placed with 273 teams graduating in 2016. Canine Companions have four types of assistance dogs: SERVICE TEAMS that assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks, HEARING TEAMS that alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds, SKILLED COMPANION TEAMS that enhance independence for children and adults with physical-cognitive-and developmental disabilities, and FACILITY TEAMS that work with a professional in visitation-education-and healthcare settings. The Mission Classic gift was directed to the Northeast Region and earmarked for a Military Veteran and/or family.
Folds of Honor (Honoring Their Sacrifice, Educating Their Legacy):
Since 2007, the Folds of Honor has carried a singular mission of "standing in the gap" of the more than one million dependents adversely affected by war and in this gap they have been providing educational scholarships to children and spouses of those killed or disabled while serving our nation. With the contribution from the Mission Classic, Folds of Honor will award a one year scholarship to a needy individual. For a closer look at what this means for those in New Jersey; in 2016 they awarded 18 scholarships bringing a total amount of scholarships to 97 since inception. The NJ District was thanked for support, patriotism as well as service to our country and a final request for God's Blessings.
The LCMS New Jersey District's "Ministry to Military, Veterans and their Families" is the District's outreach to military, veterans and their families. It incorporates Operation Barnabas, "a network of care" established by the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces, as well as a missionary program being developed to reach unchurched veterans and programs to assist local families of deployed National Guard and Reserve members who have their regular jobs and activities interrupted by call to active service. Among the services provided by our Operation Barnabas chapters are programs and workshops on Veterans benefits and various programs and resources provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration; visitation and ministry in the state run Veterans Homes; Veterans recognition events, such as picnics and breakfast; providing care packages for our troops; proving prayer books and devotional booklets to deployed troops and their families; establishing prayer networks; and many other services as determined by the local congregation or Operation Barnabas Chapter.
Backpacks for Life (Serving our Homeless Veterans):
Established in 2014 by a resident of New Jersey, Backpacks for Life is a 501c3 nonprofit that aims to provide homeless veterans with the daily essentials and resources that they cannot provide for themselves. With each backpack their hope is to give veterans the tools they need for a second chance at life.Because reintegrating into society has many obstacles and sometimes isn't always easy for veterans, their hope is to be the support system that homeless veterans may not have and help them in getting back on their feet; whether that means finding a job, finding housing or giving them a backpack full of daily essentials** to help them survive. Unfortunately, homeless veterans make up a large portion of society and it is their desire to help serve those who have protected our country. To date, they have handed out 2,300 backpacks to homeless/low income veterans in need!
**Toiletries: Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Soap, Lotion, Hand Sanitizer, Lip Balm, Tissues, Deodorant, Body Powder, Wipes, Razors, Shaving Cream; Supplies: First Aid Kits, Hand & Foot Warmers, Socks, Gloves, Hats, Ponchos, Notebooks, Pens, Stress Balls; Resources: Information about organizations that provide assistance to veterans and their families
Paul Huneke, MC2
In looking at my calendar, I discovered with some surprise that Ash Wednesday in March 1st. That is less than a month away. For many Church Workers, Lent is a time of heightened stress because there is extra work in service planning, some special activities and, I believe, just the desire to make the Lent and Easter cycle meaningful — for those already in our care, but also for those in whom the Holy Spirit is at work to bring faith or renewal.
We want to be faithful and fruitful in this Holy Season for God, His people and the world. In browsing through some material on Church Worker wellness and the stress of being a care giver, I found some things that you may find helpful to think about. They have been gleaned from the resources available on the Ministerial Care pages of the Concordia Plans website.
Lent can be a time for us to explore some spiritual disciplines that are old for the church, but perhaps new to us. Try experiencing in a busy time the value of quiet meditative prayer
Take regular time off, even during Lent, and develop the discipline of “being done for the day.” That avoids the trap of having "just one more thing" to do that becomes another hour or so of work. I watched my father for years close his desktop portfolio, turn out the light and close the door to his office.
Get proper exercise and sleep. Exercise fairly vigorously 3-4 times a week (work up a sweat). Allow adequate time for sleep. Most adults probably need 8-9 hours a night!
Relax. The relaxation response is the opposite of the fight/flight response. Just 20 minutes a day when we’re free from the tyranny of ‘things present’ is enough to counter act the harmful effects of stress. My practice is to go in my thoughts to my brother’s farm (upstate New York) every day and sit on his deck, to listen and see again all the things that brought me a sense of peace. This includes for me reciting biblical verses and short prayers memorized over the years, along with the smell of cut hay, the rattle of cows in their stations and the snoring of the world’s laziest dog, “Flash.”
These suggestions are offered with prayer that this Lent and Easter will be for us a time of repentance, and a time of joy in the resurrection and the embrace of God’s peace in Christ.
The third in a series of articles focusing on outreach and evangelism, written by members of the NJ District's Outreach Council. This month's article is written by the Rev. Gary Timm, from Redeemer Lutheran Church & School in Westfield, NJ.
As the seasons of Advent passes and a new Church Year has begun, we look forward to Christmas nearly a year away. Of course, we pastors typically say, "Ok, now when again does Lent begin?" because we're already planning for the next major Season of the Church.
The Seasons of the Church Year are meant to help us focus on our Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus. However, Advent is not just about Jesus coming for us, but how God prepares us to make Christian Disciples of All Nations. So before the season of Lent begins, let us reflect on what Advent prepared us Christians for.
As Christians we agree ALL people need the forgiving grace of God which comes through Messiah Jesus' suffering, dying, and arising again from the dead to save us from our sin and give us the gift of eternal life (Rom. 10:9-10.) After all, there is no other name under heaven by which we are saved (Acts 4:8-12.) However, we get hung up on who, what, where, when, and why of making disciples of Messiah Jesus. We feel unqualified and inadequate to answer all of life's challenges. However, Jesus' answer to all of our questions and doubts is found in two of His commands.
First, in Matt. 28:19-20 Jesus answers the "who," "where," and "why" with "ALL Nations." So, yes, going out would be part of fulfilling Jesus' command, but "going out" is not Jesus' command in this passage. I am saying this as one who for years went out on street corners in New York City as a missionary with the Apple of His Eye Mission Society. I can tell you stories of God's Spirit doing awesome things in countless people in Jesus' name. However, again "going out" was not Jesus primary command to us, His disciples. Accordingly, "outreach" is not a physical place or motion as much as it is a disposition, an attitude, a matter of presence. The Good News is God has given us many gifts which we take for granted, gifts which we are already using and don't realize.
Sadly there are several Christian denominations today who interpret "all nations" to mean everyone but Jewish people. Their theology suggests that Jewish people have no need for God's New Covenant, the very covenant formalized by Jesus at His Last Supper, ratified on His cross, and established in His resurrection. However, we must ask ourselves, are not the Jewish people a nation needing forgiveness of sin and eternal life like the rest of humanity? Jer. 31:31-34 affirms that God's New Covenant was needed because Israel broke God's Sinai Covenant (Exodus 20). The Gospel of John was written so that "[all people] might believe Jesus is the Messiah, and that by believing, [all people] may have life in His name" (John 20:31). The scriptures attest that Jews need Jesus the same way as Gentiles (Rom. 1:16, 3:29-30, 9:24, 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 3:6; Col. 3:11).
The "when" is also mentioned in Matt. 28. It might not be as obvious, but Jesus' imperative (His command) is to "make disciples," not "go." There is debate if the "go" is a sending or if it is better understood "as you are going" as in; "as you are living your everyday lives," "as you go about your daily tasks," "as you work, play, mourn, sing, shop... as you are being a disciple of Christ make disciples of all nations."
So the only question remaining is the "how?" We could have people attend workshops and seminars, read books, listen to lectures, do role playing, etc., but Jesus' "new commandment" gives us the "how."
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35).
We have faith in what we cannot see and hope for God's kingdom to come. When we enter God's kingdom, our faith will change to sight and our hope will change to fulfillment. However, God's love transcends faith and hope in that His love for us never changes (1 Cor. 13:13)!
Traditionally, the Advent Wreath models God's gifts for us in the four candles surrounding the Christ Candle: LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and HOPE. Each week of Advent we are dutifully prepared for the birth of Messiah Jesus. However, these are not just nice thoughts attributed to the four candles around the Christ Candle. These are God's gifts to equip, empower, and encourage us, His disciples, to make disciples of all nations.
These four gifts (LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and HOPE) prepare us not only to worship Messiah Jesus, but to bring the Good News of Jesus' coming to save people from ALL nations. The result is; no matter where we go, no matter what we do, no matter who we are with, we have received power from on high to share God's LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and HOPE with all who are around us (Rom. 8:31-38.) When we are experiencing trials and tribulations that would bring people to despair, we share God's PEACE. When people see us sad and depressed, we share God's JOY. And when people see us going through the valley of the shadow of death, we share God's HOPE. God's LOVE through Messiah Jesus is our source of faith and makes all the other gifts possible. God has given us these gifts to make us who we are - His disciple makers.
As we pray for those who are in need of God's LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and HOPE please meditate on Psalm 121 (A SONG OF ASCENTS):
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Knowing what God's gifts (LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and HOPE) have done for us through Messiah Jesus; just imagine what His gifts will do in those around us.
May our LORD keep all our going out and coming in, even unto eternal life. In Jesus' everlasting name. Amen!
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Mission and ministry events & opportunities from around the NJ District and beyond.