All Are Welcome!
9:50 Sunday School
10:30 Fellowship & Treats
P.O. Box 35,
36055 213th Street
Hillman, MN 56338
Pastor Stephen Olson
EMAIL : email@example.com
How To Find Us:
Immanuel Lutheran Church of Hillman is located at the intersection of County Hwy 27 and County Hwy 47. It is one mile west of County 8.
Sunday School begins on September 15. All youth from Kindergarten to 6th grade are welcome. Pre-registration is not necessary, Sunday school students are dismissed for Sunday School after the Prayer of the Day. For more information.
Please call Immanuel at 320-277-3939 or Lacey at 320-232-5439.
A Time of Opportunity for the
Immanuel-Bethel Lutheran Parish
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. [Luke 5.1-11]
Several weeks ago, Bethel Lutheran Church of Little Falls reaffirmed its parish relationship with Immanuel Lutheran. On September 19th, both councils met and started to lay down the foundations for this renewed relationship. The parish will soon begin the process of seeking a new pastor to serve this parish. As the intentional interim pastor, I will be working with both church councils and the staff of the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA. As this process unfolds, we must remember that this is God’s Church, not ours. More important, God will be with us and guide us into the future. To this end, I would like you to think through the famous fishing story from St. Luke’s Gospel shown above. I think that it will prove helpful.
The last census tells us that the fastest growing religious affiliation in our nation is the group that answers ‘None.’ Your task is to share the story of Jesus with the ‘nones’ who claim to be spiritual but have no time for the Lord’s Church. Thus, our quandary. We know that evangelism is important because Jesus has called us to be his disciples . . . Even when the task is difficult. But how do we remain faithful to our Lord and do evangelism in a self-absorbed and unbelieving world? How do we ‘tell this world about Jesus’ without increasing its skepticism about anything that wears the title ‘Christian?’
This fishing story from Luke’s Gospel is helpful. Several things are striking. First, discipleship is unpredictable. Jesus may well ask us to do some strange things in his name. When it came to fishing on the Sea of Galilee, Simon Peter knew that there would be no fish out there, but Jesus knew differently. In our brokenness, we human beings always think that we know better than Jesus. We think that we know how and when to do the Lord's work better than the Lord himself. But the Gospel is a call to be open to the strange ways of Jesus.
Being part of the Church . . . Being a disciple of Jesus . . . is much more than budgets, programs, and organizations. Being a part of the Church — being a part of Immanuel and Bethel Lutheran Churches — is being passionate about the Lord’s work and open to his guidance. We are people of the Word who are called to share this Word in any way with anyone who will listen. Our building, our program, and even our worship must only be a means to this very important end. We are called to do whatever it takes to tell the story of God’s redeeming and forgiving love whether it means changing our liturgies, giving sacrificially for the sake of mission, inviting strangers into our fellowship, or ministering to people in new and unique ways yet undiscovered.
And second, discipleship takes precedence over everything else in our lives. When Jesus called Peter, James, and John to be his disciples, they left everything they knew and loved. Discipleship takes precedence over family and job. Peter and the sons of Zebedee left not only their prize winning catch on the beach for anyone who wanted it, but they also left their fishing boats to follow Jesus. These other things, although important, would have weighed them down and caused them to drown. Likewise, when we are thrown out into the deep water of discipleship, we can’t hold on to everything we have. If we do, we will also drown.
For those who claim to be Christians, their primary vocation is that of discipleship . . . There is no way to compromise and ‘do a little bit of discipleship.’ We are disciples of Jesus and that affects every other relationship and responsibility we have. These are hard words for us to hear because the task is so difficult. But the good news today is that Jesus does the impossible. If he can make disciples out of simple fisher-folk, he can also make disciples out of strong-willed people like us. ‘DO NOT BE AFRAID,’ Jesus says to his disciples, ‘FROM NOW ON YOU WILL BE CATCHING PEOPLE. PUT OUT INTO THE DEEP WATER AND LET DOWN YOUR NETS FOR A CATCH.’
Our task is to refocus our mission in the community. As we prepare our Ministry Site Profile, we will also continue to look for other ways of fulfilling our Lord’s command to ‘Put out into deeper water and let down our nets.’ We trust that the Lord will continue to bless our work. I am looking forward to the month ahead are enter the call process.
In Christ ☩