September Newsletter

August 28th, 2015

Dear disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

I don’t know how I would have ever gotten through this without my faith!” How many times have I heard that sentiment from others-as well as said it myself. Whether the “this” is a failed relationship, an unexpected illness, a pink slip at work, or something else, when a crisis hits we need support. And for us as Christians, we have the support of our faith and our church to give us hope in the midst of despair.

But not everyone has that kind of support. Some may have grown up in the church and fallen away. Some may have had a bad experience with church and rejected it. Others may have never heard of God’s promises, or thought they were for them.

That’s why our congregation is participating in National Back to Church Sunday on September 20th. We are asking you to take a look around and invite a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend to worship that day. This isn’t a sales pitch to get more people in the pew or offerings in the plate. This is a way that we may reach out to those who need what we all need-real hope in a world that too often feels hopeless. Following worship we will continue our hospitality with a potluck lunch, helping us get to know the guests who join us that day.

Take a look at the video invitation below. Then pray about who you might invite to discover the hope that can transform lives through a relationship with our loving Lord, and the living body of Christ in the community of faith.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…plans to give you hope and a future.….” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Your hopeful servant of Christ,

Pastor Gretchen


God’s Power Made Perfect in Weakness

August 21st, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Our culture worships the powerful-usually meaning those who are rich, famous, or have political clout. Even in religious circles we hold up successful mega-churches as ” bigger is better,” or equate those who lead highly disciplined, ethical lives as more ” holy” with greater personal power.

But Paul turns our usual notions of power upside down when he says ” whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” We worship a God who doesn’t just use the mighty, the gifted, the morally virtuous. Our God uses flawed and imperfect people-like us-to do amazing things.

When we rely not on our own power, but on God’s power, we trust that God’s grace is sufficient, and God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

Our Hands are Open in Generosity

August 13th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

There’s a song that we sometimes sing in church with this refrain: “….they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” And that love is seen most clearly in real, concrete actions—like the way we respond to those who are hungry and hurting.

Generosity to the poor is an ongoing theme through the Gospels. For Paul, generosity is one of the fruits of faith. It shows that God is at work in our lives. It doesn’t matter how much we give: “….if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12).

The key is that when our hearts are opened to the stirring of the Spirit, our hands are open in generosity.

For a real-life story of amazing generosity, from the open hands of two young children, please take a couple minutes and watch this inspiring video:

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen

NOW is the time!

August 6th, 2015

Dear Disciples of Jesus at American Lutheran,

Have you ever felt a call from God to open your heart and do something bold? Take on a new project, volunteer to help someone else, or be reconciled with another? The apostle Paul reminds us that there is no time like the present to act on our faith by boldly being the loving, generous people we were created to be. Don’t accept the grace of God in vain, he says: “Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

30,000 of our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America youth acted boldly and faithfully at the National Gathering last month. They didn’t wait until they were older or wiser before taking to the streets of Detroit to put their faith into action cleaning up neighborhoods, tending gardens, and opening their hearts to share the love of God with those they met. We will hear about that life-changing experience this Sunday in worship from two of our own youth, Sevanna and William Reitter, as they encourage us: “….open wide your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:13)

See you in church,

Pastor Gretchen