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Volume 35, no. 2

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GraceGraceGraceGrace

February 2012

“WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS?”

(Jesus said) “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” (John 15:12-16a)

This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day that is set aside on the secular calendar to exchange cards and gifts as an expression of our love to someone who is near and dear to us. I trust that all my brothers in Christ here at Grace have February 14 th marked on your calendar. If not, please do so!! Most of you have an idea what it means to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Chocolates, flowers, special gifts, cards, dinners and the like are appropriate ways to show our love to our spouse or to someone we want to be our spouse in the future. We also celebrate the day with our children and grandchildren with gifts and simple exchanges of “I Love You,” or “Be My Valentine.”

The 22 nd of this month we will also observe Ash Wednesday as we once again start our yearly Lenten journey to the cross where we see the greatest expression of love ever shown for all of mankind. February could easily be called “Love Month”, and we have an opportunity to express our love to those who are near and dear to us and to Him who has made Himself near to us through Word and Sacrament. His Word is an epic account of His love for us and His Sacraments are the gifts that He gives to us sharing His love with us by giving us forgiveness and life.

The hymn by the same title of this “first page” finds the author contemplating the wondrous love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. According to most sources the author of this hymn remains anonymous, though there are a number of different writers who have this work attributed to them. During this season of Lent we once again are given an opportunity to reflect upon this wondrous love as we will hear the words that Jesus spoke from the cross and apply them to our lives.

As Ash Wednesday approaches I invite you to recall what the Lord has done for you and intentionally plan to come and join our Lenten journey as we consider this year’s mid-week Lenten theme: “Words of Life from the Cross.” As I invite you to do so I am reminded of what Jesus said to Peter, James and John as he found them sleeping when He was praying at Gethsemane. Jesus said, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak…Sleep and take your rest later on.” (Matthew 26:40b-41, 45b) How about you? Can you find an additional hour for reflection upon the greatest expression of love ever shown? Do you need to be reminded of your greatest need and God’s greatest gift? If you have been uncommitted lately or for quite some time, Lent is a great opportunity for you to recommit yourself to Him who, by grace, chose you to go and bear fruit that will last.

As we rejoice in the wondrous love of God in Christ Jesus shown to each one of us we recall Jesus’ command for us to love one another as He has loved us. As we express our love toward those who are near and dear to us we also need to be reminded that we are called to love those who are not, even those who are truly unlovable. That is not easy to do, is it? In fact it is very difficult. We know that sin has brought brokenness into our lives and sometimes we are reluctant to show love for others or even have love for others. Showing love to those who have wronged us puts us in a very difficult situation. Yet through the work of Christ Jesus for us, that is exactly what God did for you and for me.

The context of the Bible passage for this letter to you is Jesus declaring Himself to be the true Vine. At the same time He tells us that we are the branches. Remaining in Christ enables us to bear fruit. Those good works and acts of kindness in Jesus’ name are the direct result of being “in Christ.” Our good works, done in faith, show forth our love for Him who loved us so wondrously that He gave His life for us.

Don’t forget to show your love to those who are special to you this Valentine’s Day. As another Lenten Season begins the end of this month, don’t forget to show your love for the Lord. He has made you special in His sight. He loves you unconditionally. For some of you that may mean returning to worship, while for others it may mean increasing your time of worship, devotion and prayer. It might mean reconciling yourself with someone you have struggled to love lately. It could mean sharing more of your time, talent and treasures sacrificially in response to our Lord’s sacrifice for you which represents the greatest love! Pastor Walter

This year’s Mid-Week and Holy Week Lenten Series:

WORDS OF LIFE FROM THE CROSS

The theme of this series is the seven words of Christ that He spoke from the cross as He offered up His life for the life of the world. These words of Jesus are well known even as they show how “God So Loved the World.” That verse of Holy Scripture is a part of the Gospel in a nutshell, John 3:16. The extent to which God showed His love for us is echoed in these words of our Lord from the cross. Each word imparts a blessing and is a word of Gospel. The sermons and devotions in this series will expound on these words of Christ, linking them to Jesus’ words and works recorded in the Gospel as well as the Old Testament prophesies that pointed to Him. Each word of Christ proclaims and delivers something about Him, the Word Incarnate, and delivers His saving death to us that we would trust Him for forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Ash Wednesday – February 22 nd The Pardoning Word

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Lenten Midweek – February 29 th

The Promising Word

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Lenten Midweek – March 7 th

The Faithful Word

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Lenten Midweek – March 14 th

The Compassionate Word

“Woman, behold, your son!”

“Behold, your mother!”

(John 19:26–27)

Lenten Midweek – March 21 st

“I thirst.” (John 19:28)

Lenten Midweek – March 28 th

The Suffering Word

The Dying Word

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” (Luke 23:46)

Maundy Thursday – April 5 th

The Remembering Word

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Good Friday – April 6 th

The Fulfilled Word

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

Director of Parish Music

February 24 th is the due date for our second child. That means that we will, by the grace of God, be having our second child baptized sometime in the next month or two. So I have baptism on my mind. As a matter of fact, it’s a good thing to have baptism on your mind on a regular basis, especially your baptism. For in your baptism God made you His child by giving you faith and thereby working forgiveness of sins, rescuing you from death and the devil, and giving eternal salvation to you, who now believe this through faith. So here is a spectacular baptism hymn that tells more about the wonderful sacrament that is Holy Baptism.

God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It

1 God’s own child, I gladly say it:

I am baptized into Christ!

He, because I could not pay it, Gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any That brought me salvation free Lasting to eternity!

2 Sin, disturb my soul no longer:

I am baptized into Christ!

I have comfort even stronger:

Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice. Should a guilty conscience seize me Since my Baptism did release me In a dear forgiving flood, Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

3 Satan, hear this proclamation:

I am baptized into Christ!

Drop your ugly accusation,

I am not so soon enticed.

Now that to the font I’ve traveled,

All your might has come unraveled, And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!

LSB 594

4 Death, you cannot end my gladness:

I am baptized into Christ! When I die, I leave all sadness To inherit paradise! Though I lie in dust and ashes Faith’s assurance brightly flashes:

Baptism has the strength divine To make life immortal mine.

5 There is nothing worth comparing To this lifelong comfort sure! Open-eyed my grave is staring:

Even there I’ll sleep secure. Though my flesh awaits its raising, Still my soul continues praising:

I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!

© 1991 Robert E. Voelker. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, no. 100011479.

Peace in Christ, Nathan Beethe Director of Parish Music

LITTLE ROCK MARATHON March 4 th

The Little Rock Marathon will be held Sunday, March 4 th , beginning at 8:00 a.m. with the race route going past Grace. Both lanes of Lookout will be closed and one lane of Kavanaugh from downtown to Hillcrest will be closed. The best route to the church will be to go east on Lee to Beechwood, turn left on Beechwood going across Kavanaugh to Hillcrest. Turn left on Hillcrest and come to the church. Coming from the west on Cantrell, you can also take Kavanaugh to Hillcrest and very carefully turn left onto Hillcrest. Please proceed with care.

THOSE WHO SERVE in FEBRUARY

ACOLYTE SCHEDULE

8:15 a.m. Worship Service – Elisabeth Graf 10:45 a.m. Worship Services – Maxwell Baker Ash Wednesday Service – February 22 nd – Acolyte – Emily Junkans Crucifer – Perryn Andrews Lenten Service – February 29 th – Lauren Faulkner

USHERS’ SCHEDULE

8:15 a.m. Worship Services – Jim Keppel’s team 10:45 a.m. Worship Services – Tim Sweeney’s team Ash Wednesday - Feb. 22 nd - 7:00 p.m. – Gary Goldsby’s team Lenten Service – Feb. 29 th – 7:00 p.m. – Roy Bullard’s team

CANTORS’ SCHEDULE

8:15 a.m. Worship Service – Paul Walter 10:45 a.m. Worship Service – Jeff Ralston

COMMUNION ASSISTANTS

February 5 th 10:45 a.m. Service – David Faulkner February 12 th – 8:15 a.m. Service – Gary Proud February 19 th – 10:45 a.m. Service – Terry Eustice February 26 th – 8:15 a.m. Service – Ralph Olsen Ash Wednesday – February 22 nd – 7:00 p.m. – David Witte

GREETERS’ SCHEDULE

8:15 a.m. Worship Services – Bill and Anita Allaben

10:45 a.m. Worship Services – Larry, Faye, Melanie & Bradley Stillman

Ash Wednesday – Feb. 22 nd – Debbie Penny Lenten Service – Feb. 29 th – Debbie Penny

ALTAR GUILD SCHEDULE

8:15 a.m. Service – Lori Dumont and Angie Proud 10:45 a.m. Service – Judy Rivers Wednesday Mid-Week Services - Suzanne Raddle and Wilma Richter

If you are unable to serve please ask someone to fill in for you and then call the church office.

ECDC News & Notes Well here it is – almost February – and not a

ECDC News & Notes

Well here it is – almost February – and not a snowflake in sight. Must say this has been a challenging winter but the best child-care staff in the city – state – country – no world have has answered the call and made the time fly by!

February is all about valentines, ground hogs, where we live, Presidents, shapes, and colors — that seems like a lot for a short month, but we are all about being busy! And, of course, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day with pajama parties and dances! Our kids will be making Valentine’s Day cards for special friends in our church and the community – so if you know someone who needs a “little-pick-me-up”, let me know and we’ll make sure they get one of our special cards. Something new this year, we are officially celebrating Fat Tuesday with our very own Mardi Gras parade and festivities – should be a hoot! We’ll also have a Staff Development Day February 20 th to take our First Aid/CPR class and sort of get things spruced up for Spring.

Jesus Time will find us learning of God’s love. In John 13:34 we find Jesus’ words “love one another as I have loved you.” He not only told us—He showed us in many ways! We’ll re-hear several of our favorite Bible stories. Zacchaeus who was a wee little man (and we are wee little people). Jesus cared enough for him to come to his house, and He cares for and comes into our hearts! (Luke 19:1-10). We’ll also learn the parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:

25037) – we all need to be reminded about “being a good friend”; and about some of Jesus miracles— one of our favorites is Jesus feeding over 5,000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. As we wrap up the month the Lord’s Prayer will be our focus as we learn how Jesus taught us to pray.

Can’t remember if I had already shared this – if so I’ll brag again – ECDC has earned a Level 2 certification (Level 3 is the highest) as an Arkansas Better Beginnings facility! Better Beginnings is a voluntary quality rating improvement system for licensed child care and education facilities in Arkansas. Minimum licensing regulations primarily address health and safety issues. Better Beginnings, however looks beyond minimum standards, evaluating the elements of high quality child care and early education experiences. During the Better Beginnings certification process, we were assessed in five areas. 1)Administration 2) Administrator and Staff Qualifications and Training 3) Curriculum 4) Learning Environment 5) Child Health and Development. Again hats off to our staff for doing a wonderful job of preparing and impressing the evaluators!

Anyone have a VCR or VCR/DVD combo they would like to donate to ECDC? While we have some DVDs for our special movie times most of our selections are VCR tapes and we’d really like to have one more unit – it would make Friday afternoons much happier! If anyone has one to “share” please give me a call.

Oops I’m way out of room – and didn’t get to draw a ValentineJust remember with God in our lives every day is filled with HIS LOVE – that’s better than any valentine!

See ya again next month, until then— God’s continued blessings to each of you — Colleen

better than any valentine! See ya again next month, until then— God’s continued blessings to each
PainlessPainlessPainlessPainless WaysWaysWaysWays totototo SupportSupportSupportSupport LittleLittleLittleLittle

PainlessPainlessPainlessPainless WaysWaysWaysWays totototo SupportSupportSupportSupport LittleLittleLittleLittle RockRockRockRock LutheranLutheranLutheranLutheran Education!Education!Education!Education!

Many of you already take advantage of company programs that provide financial incentives for Grace Lutheran ECDC and Christ Lutheran School that don’t cost you any extra money — for that we all say THANK YOU! These programs are really an untapped resource that benefits Lutheran education in Little Rock by providing funds for all type of budget needs! And all the programs are very user-friendly and simple —- some only require scissors!

Following are programs used by one or more of our Lutheran schools – please consider this painless way to support Lutheran Education in L.R.!

Kroger Gift Card Program

used by ECDC

Here’s how it works:

- Buy a $5.00 Kroger Gift Card from ECDC (also available in the Church Office) for $5.00.

- Take it to any Kroger and

recharge it with any amount between $5.00 and $500.00. You may use cash, check, bank debit, or major credit card; and recharge it over and over. The card may be used for any purchase at Kroger with the exception of Money Orders, Western Union, Postal Stamps, and/or Lottery Tickets.

- At “check-out” just use your

Kroger Gift Card as your “grocery money”!

- ECDC receives 5% of every

recharge and receive a check every time the total reaches $5,000!

General Mills

“Box Tops for Education”

used by Christ Lutheran School

Campbell’sCampbell’sCampbell’sCampbell’s LabelsLabelsLabelsLabels

used by ECDC & Christ Lutheran School

Here’s how these work:

- Remove “box top for education”

labels from General Mills containers (ie Cheerios, Betty Crocker), and/or ENTIRE LABEL WITH UPC CODE

from Campbell’s products (ie soup, juices). - collection boxes may be found on the bookcase next to the bridgeway or the entry area of ECDC.

- “Box Tops for Education” provide

monetary support for the CLS Band, “Campbell’s Labels” are turned into credit toward purchasing

supplies and equipment for both ECDC and Christ Lutheran School.

Labels” are turned into credit toward purchasing supplies and equipment for both ECDC and Christ Lutheran
Labels” are turned into credit toward purchasing supplies and equipment for both ECDC and Christ Lutheran
Labels” are turned into credit toward purchasing supplies and equipment for both ECDC and Christ Lutheran
Labels” are turned into credit toward purchasing supplies and equipment for both ECDC and Christ Lutheran
Labels” are turned into credit toward purchasing supplies and equipment for both ECDC and Christ Lutheran