When you saw the subject matter of this email, did you think it might be about some kind of yoga, zen type thing that was not going to be relevant to you? In the context of today’s culture, I can understand why. Part of the enemies’ strategy is to take any and every thing and turn it upside down and use it against us – even language.

In reality, mindfulness is simply the opposite of “mindlessness” – something we’ve all probably encountered when we are eating too much of our favorite snack while watching t.v. Our culture is gravitating more and more toward mindlessness – everything from 30 second sound bites to 24-hour news cycles that do nothing more than kill time. The enemy is slowly, incrementally training us away from intentionality, mindfulness, deliberate actions taken with deliberate choices behind them.

Mindfulness is actually very biblical with God teaching us about different aspects of mindfulness such as:

  1. Practicing worshipful meditation (that’s the purpose of rituals by the way – they are supposed to be a tool to assist with connection and focus, not a law).
  2. Stillness – “Be Still and KNOW that I am God.” (This is one of my personal favorites – I want to take the time to stop what I’m doing and just KNOW. Very comforting.)
  3. Being Present – remembering that God is with us always. A foundational truth to stand on.
  4. Letting Go – how many of you have heard of “Let Go and Let God”? How many of us are good at it?  It actually takes a lot of mindfulness to have the self-control necessary to let go of external control and anxiety over things that we never had control of anyway. This is a real faith exercise.
  5. Attention – God deserves our attention. The first commandment really sets the prioritization. Read more…

No Greater Gift Than Love

Higher gifts.  The Lord wants you to know that your simple gifts ae in no way simplistic.  They are glory! But not your glory. They are His glory. If you read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 12, you see some fantastic gifts being called lower gifts.

That is until you read what the Lord desires as a higher gift. 1 Corinthians 13 talk about it. The higher gift is love! There is no greater gift than love. Jesus talks about that in John 14:13 when He says that “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay downs his life for his friend.” This is the kind of love that we have been given. God loved the world so much that He gave us Jesus. Jesus loved us so much that He died and rose. There is no greater gift of Love. Jesus says so!

And this greater love that God has given us in Jesus is an active love. It is given so that we can give it away. That is what our stewardship is all about. Giving freely of the greater love that we have been given!

The financial gifts we render are indeed lesser gifts. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t important or valuable. But they are lesser if they are not connected to love. The love they are connected to by the Holy Spirit is a love that comes from the Lord, through us, to others.  We become a conduit of love that flows out to those who need it.  This involves service.  This involves activity.  It also involves financial resources.  When taken together, packaged in love, these simple gifts do amazing things! Let’s see together what the Lord will do with these simple gifts!


Blessed Lord, we give You but Your own in all these gifts we bring to You this day and throughout the coming years. Fill our heart with a love of the Lord, a love of the Gospel and a love for our neighbors that will lead us to give of all of ourselves so that they may know the extravagant, radical love of God that comes in Jesus Christ! Amen

Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson

The Body of Christ is a Gift

When was the last time you thought about your little toe? There are many parts of the body that don’t seem very important.  But God has fearfully and wonderfully made the machine that is the human body.  It is interrelated and interconnected in such a way that continues to baffle those who study it.

What is most remarkable is that there are no parts of the body that are useless.  Just because we don’t always appreciate and understand how parts work or why they are even there, doesn’t mean that they are not important. 

You are part of the body of Christ.  You have a divinely created place in the body that is your congregation.  When you don’t think you are important, or you feel that you don’t have a place, know that you are missed terribly, and the body is not complete without you!  When you don’t use the simple gifts which the lord has given you, the body is diminished.  It is weakened.  It can’t fully do what it has been given to do!

You have a place and a part to play.  Consider it.  Pray that the Lord would lead you to embrace and carry out this role.  Let the Holy Spirit use you in His ways for His work!


Lord Jesus, the body of which You are the head is an amazing creation.  You have grafted us into this body by Baptism.  Lead us to see, embrace and relish in using the gifts we have been given simply and completely for the sake of the kingdom! Amen

Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson

The Gifts that You have been Given

If only I had gifts like other peopleIf I had what they had, I know that I would be a much better steward of the Gospel.  It would make logical sense that if we had more to steward, there would be more stewardship. But know that this is actually the devil talking! He has been getting human beings to think that God is holding out on them since the Garden of Eden! What a liar!  When we listen to him, we too buy into the lie that we don’t have the gifts we need.

You have the simple gifts which the Lord wills you to have. We may not have the gifts we WANT, but we most certainly have the gifts we need! After all, they are His gifts. He gives them freely. Jesus is one of those gifts. Your life is a gift. All that you have to support this body and life are gifts!  All you use to support the Gospel of Jesus Christ are these gifts! His gifts used for the sake of the neighbor for the glory of God! One Spirit.  One Church. Varied gifts all coming together to do amazing things for the world!

If you think you don’t have gifts, consider the timeless hymn, “Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying”

   “Let none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do.’

   While the multitudes are dying And the Master calls for you.

   Take the task He gives you gladly.  Let His work your pleasure be;

   Answer quickly when He calleth, ‘Here am I, send me, send me!”

                                                   (LSB 826:4)


Father in Heaven, You give every one of us unique and varied gifts. These gifts are to be used for Your kingdom. Grant me the grace today to confess that I have the gifts You desire me to have for the sake of my neighbor and extension of the kingdom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lead me by faith to say, “Here am I, send me,” to use those gifts! Amen

Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson

A Variety of Gifts

What good am I?  A 94-year-old woman, Hulda Steubner asked her pastor what good am I. She could hardly walk and couldn’t help her dying daughter.  The pastor put her arthritic hands together and told her to pray.

Every person, young or old, short or tall, veteran or rookie in the faith have gifts to be used for the kingdom. They are not the same. But those simple gifts are there!  You don’t even have to know what those gifts are.  Just allowing the Holy Spirit to move you to financial generosity, generosity of your service or talent, is a manifesting of His work for the common good. 

Ask the Lord to guide you today and in the coming days as you consider your commitment to the work of the Lord in this place.  Dare to pray that the Spirit move you beyond your comfort zone and into the freedom of knowing that the Lord gives His simple gifts to you for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!


Lord, as You moved Hulda to serve within her limitations, remove any barrier that might exist in our lives that would prevent us from being faithful stewards of the Gospel.  Lead us to pray, to give and to live in such a way that, through us, others see Jesus!  Amen

Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson

The Gift of Jesus

For too long stewardship has been a quiet thing, often thought of as something only between “me and Jesus.”  Silent stewardship is less than faithful.  In a desire to not want to seem “holier than thou” or that we are trying to make ourselves look better than we really are, we miss out on a powerful component of stewardship of the Gospel.  Silent stewardship isn’t as contagious as visible stewardship.

A steward can’t keep silent.  Faithful stewardship is always about Jesus.  But to hide the stewardship of the light of the Gospel under the bushel basket of false humility is not good either.  As faithful stewards today, we visibly live out our stewardship in such a way that points to Jesus.

The message of Jesus and the righteousness He has won for us is a torch that burns brightly in our sin-darkened world.  While not talking about amounts and effort in stewardship, it is about pointing to the sufficiency of Jesus and His stewardship of His life, death and resurrection for us.  As we live as faithful stewards of creation and joyfully crediting it all to the Lord, others see it.  In this, they too will see Jesus and His righteousness for them!  We can’t keep this quiet!


Lord of creation, Your voice thundered into chaos and created everything we have.  Your Word became flesh and we beheld glory. By your grace, do not allow us to remain silent in proclaiming the Gospel.  Lead us to be faithful and generous stewards.  In this, keep us from being silent as You lead us to point others to Jesus so that they know the joy that has been freely given to us.  Amen
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson

Three Gifts

Fear, faith and stewardship.  Three things that go together. And it isn’t because you can have faith that any talk of stewardship will create fear in the hearers!  These three seemingly unique topics go together because they flow from the same source – the Lord Himself.

Created by God, the steward is accountable.  This accountability was originally without fear.  The steward worked and kept (GEN. 2:15) the creation called into existence by the Lord.  That arrangement lasted until sin came into the equation and fear of the Lord.

Until Jesus!  When the simple gift of Jesus is offered in the babe of Bethlehem and the Christ of the cross, fear gives way to faith.  Jesus took accountability for our failed stewardship and we were restored. Baptized into Christ, the Holy Spirit creates faith which leads to a restoration of faithful stewardship.  Set on this new path the steward’s accountability is balanced between fear and faith.  We know that we are accountable to live and work for the Lord.  When we succeed, it is to God’s credit.  When we fail, our faith in Christ leads us to confession and absolution, which once again sets us on the path of faithful stewardship.

The use of God’s simple gifts is captured in the words of the psalmist.  Fear of the Lord leads to work.  Work leads to blessing.  Faith sees this blessing as a gift from God.  The baptized steward sees this and clearly confesses that it is indeed well with us. May the Lord lead us to this triune stewardship of His simple gifts!

Prayer: Lord as Your stewards, we work in fear of our shortcomings and sin, in faith in Christ’s redemption and restoration and eager desire to serve as faithful stewards of Your simple gifts.  Lead us by grace through faith to see, rejoice and serve in this faithful stewardship!  As You have blessed us with Your work in Jesus, may our work as stewards be a blessing to others. Amen.
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson

Encouraging Stewards Through Stories

In the midst of this very difficult time, great stories of stewardship have arisen.  Individuals and congregations have stepped up in supporting their neighbors because the Lord has placed them in the community to serve.   Such as the work the Evangelism team has been doing, providing meals to the Police Dept., Fire Dept., Senior community, etc.  Please continue to support the Evangelism team. 

Neighbors and business owners have made internet access available to families that are struggling to meet the challenge of virtual learning.  There have been people who have become even more generous toward their local congregation, the district mission or the work of the Synod simply because they are aware of the great need to be a light for the Gospel in this time of lingering darkness and despair.

Individual stewards can be creative in the ways in which they share the gifts that have been entrusted to them.  This creativity is really the mark of a faithful steward – assessing what the Lord has given in trust to them and asking how these trusts can be used for the benefit of the neighbor and the glory of God.

Open up to the great joys of serving as stewards in the much smaller settings of family, neighborhood and congregation.  These are just as much stewardship of the Gospel as is writing the check or making the online contribution.

Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson

Year Round Stewardship

“Stewardship” emphasis is about vocation and serving the people around you according to the roles God has given you in life.

An understanding of stewardship is broader than dealing only with money.  Stewardship Is about using all that God has given to us according to the vocations that He has placed us in.

The wider view of looking at stewardship through vocation not only includes finances but also managing our time, gifts, skills and whatever else the Lord has given us.

When stewardship is the only aspect of vocation that is ever mentioned, and then it is only at budget planning time, the people understandably connect stewardship with money and never develop a mature attitude toward their vocations.  Planning a year-round stewardship and vocation emphasis can help you mature as stewards of God’s varied grace in every area of life.

Put Vocation in First Place

The famous or infamous three T’s of stewardship pretty well knows:  time, talent and treasure.  If we wanted to, we could think of many other “T’s of stewardship” (tissue – the care of our bodies; trash – the care of God’s creation; team – our working together with others in all settings; tune – using our voices and musical abilities to bless others).  It’s all in the Lutheran Doctrine of Vocation.

The word vocation means ‘calling’, God’s calling, God calls us through Baptism to be His Christians.  Through marriage, God calls us to be husbands and wives.  If the Lord blesses us with children, He calls us to be parents.  Each of these callings, these vocations, calls us to service.  God runs the world by using men and women as His instruments.  God blesses children by giving them faithful parents to raise them.  God blesses the whole world through the work of His Church – a work that all the baptized have a role in.

You can see how it relates to the financial aspect of stewardship.  Each of our vocations has a claim on us – every part of us:  our time, our money, our prayers, our concern and so on.  A father who gave away his whole income to the church would not be a faithful father.  His vocation as father means that he must use that income to raise his kids.  Likewise, a Christian who gives but a pittance toward the Word and Sacrament ministry of the church is being unfaithful in his vocation as Christian. That vocation also has a claim on his generosity.

Noreen E. Wenstone

Stewardship Chairperson

Stewardship for Retirees

“Let the young people do it”
People giving this and similar responses have already filled most of the available offices and served on many committees and boards at least once.
There is a pretty strong case for the fact that those who have borne the task for a long time are entitled to step back a bit.  Retirees, even the oldest members of the congregation, can be excellent examples of every aspect of stewardship to younger generations as they continue to involve themselves appropriately.
Retirement?  What’s that?
  • For centuries, people worked until they died.
  • With Social Security, retirement became a new phenomenon.
  • By 1970’s, we looked forward to the ‘Golden Years’ you retire to play.
  • By 1990, you retire not only to play, but to learn, volunteer, travel or work part-time.

Observations related to retired stewards

  1. Retirees can serve as models of mature stewardship for the next generation(s) to emulate.  These “seasoned citizens” have been blessed to be a blessing but their involvement in all aspects of stewardship needs to match their personal situations.
  2. Retiree have spent their lifetime developing skills and learning trades that can benefit the congregation
  3. Retirees can be a blessing as they stay active and enjoy the extended years that come through God’s blessing.
  4. Retirees may need to be invited by their congregations to serve according to their gifts.
  5. Retirees who deal with declining abilities can still serve the Lord and need to be encouraged to do so. They rejoice in being able to serve the Lord as valuable parts of the body of Christ.

If you are a retiree of our congregation, and would like to participate in a specific area of our church, i.e. Growth Groups, Service Groups, Fellowship Groups, etc., please don’t hesitate to note your interest on the Connection Card or call the church office 760-431-8990. 
Next week:  Year-Round Stewardship
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson