FaithBits

 

A weekly digital publication called FaithBit:

FaithBITs will be:

 


November 23

 

 

 

Be Excellent at What is Good

By Jacob Heinzen

My name is Jacob Heinzen, and I am 16 years old, and I am a sophomore at Eden Prairie High School.

My faith journey started just a few months into my life when I was baptized here at Immanuel Lutheran Church. I then started Sunday school at 3 years and have been part of the ILC youth including our Confirmation ministry until now.

Some of the highlights of my faith journey so far are: going on mission trips to help people in need, getting to know my Confirmation small group, and getting to express my faith through music in the Holy Commotion youth band. I also chose to be a Confirmation Student Leader, as a way to give back to God and to strengthen my faith.

One thing I picked up from attending bible camp was all the songs. This, along with my grandfather, inspired me to pick up guitar and learn some of the songs from camp. This eventually led to me playing in Holy Commotion, a church youth band that would play before every Confirmation meeting and sometimes in front of the whole congregation. Playing an instrument has help me to express my faith more openly with others and through the joy of music.

One of the songs we frequently play is called Romans 16:19, and it also happens to be my Confirmation bible verse which reads, "Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” This verse tells us that we should be excellent at what is good in life and be innocent about what is evil.

Being excellent at what is good is being kind and respectful to others, such as holding the door for somebody or smiling at them as you walk by them on the street, or being responsible for yourself and cleaning up after you make a mess, or being conscious of what is going on around you, like standing up for someone who is being bullied.

Going forward I plan to be present in worship by continuing to play guitar in worship and staying active in our church community by being a Student Leader in my Confirmation small group. I promise to always listen to what God tells me and to stay active in my church.

 


November 16

 

 

 

Love poured out of me

By Nora Fairbanks

School was cancelled on my birthday about 6 months ago in spring. I knew it was coming, but we awaited each announcement of cancellation as my summer plans crumbled away. But then through a side door I was offered a lifeline, spending the next few months with my sister, helping care for her children and doing farm management on the shores of Lake Superior.

Quite honestly, I don't know what I would have done without that time away. I have come to understand that I experience faith most strongly when in service to others and in nature, both of which I received in abundance up north.

With my sister I was needed. (She was a new nurse at a small-town hospital.) I took care of her kids, learned the words to every single Frozen song, scooped pig poop, cooked dinner, did more loads of laundry than one could think possible.

Love poured out of me.

I felt fulfilled in a time where I could have fallen back into the bleak mental state of my past. I found increased independence, made mistakes but figured them out, learned how to let life go as it is, managed my anxiety, and came out the other side more content than I had been in a long time.

I have also come to terms with my turbulent faith. There’s a lot that’s hard to access for me but I feel strong spiritually when I care for my family, friends, and creation. And for the first time in a while I can say it is well with my soul.


November 9

 

 

 

Thank you for the many blessings

By Chip Carlson

As people around the world struggle with the impacts of the Covid Pandemic, I have become acutely aware of the major impacts on lives, and how relatively small the impact on my life has been (so far).

Bedtime prayers always involve praying for those who need God’s help, and expressing gratitude for the blessings I’ve received.    In addition to the usual things I am grateful for like family, health, and church; the pandemic has reminded me of many others like healthcare workers, epidemiologists and vaccine researchers.

Many times, I confess, I fall asleep before even coming close to naming everything I am grateful for.   I am reminded of the song from the movie White Christmas, “I fall asleep counting my blessings.”   Often, I have to try to remember where I left off, and resume at the next prayer time.

One of the saints in my life, my father, would always begin his prayer before family dinners the same way: “Dear God, we thank you for the many blessings of this day…..”   These days, I think of those words often.   My father, in his later years, really enjoyed supporting charitable causes and helping people who were less able with errands and transportation. He was always looking for ways to help anyone in need. He once told me that he had led a “charmed life” and the least he could do was give back a little.

Stewardship is a way to honor my father’s example and to show gratitude for the many blessings I receive daily.  Now more than ever I feel the need to support our faith community financially so that others may continue to receive God’s blessings.


November 2

 

 

 

See you on the other side

By Lisa Ross

This phrase can mean many things depending on the situation.  It can be said when someone is trying to accomplish a major goal and we wish for them to have prosperous journey along the way and we want to hear about those accomplishments when they reach that goal. It can be said when sending someone off on an adventure and we mean it as well wishes for a safe trip and we look forward to seeing them when they get back. It can be said when someone faces adversity, or a challenge and we want to give them encouragement that they can do it. Now days, it can be a wish for this pandemic to be over and a hope to look at a future where we can see one another in the fashion like we used to.  Also, it can be said when we are facing the death of a loved one and we KNOW where they are going and where we will meet again someday.  See you on the other side… there is a bible verse that makes me think about tough times and the promise of hope in the future.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

As we all know, this summer brought about challenges as we looked to find things to do with our families or close friends that were safe with the pandemic.  We were fortunate to be able to escape north to our camping resort area where we are located on a river that flows in front of our resort camper and it goes out into a mid-sized lake. 

One weekend we could see a storm brewing.  It appeared to be a storm that was not going to simply pass through easily, but it seemed to be a storm that we needed to take cover for at the resorts storm shelter.  Unfortunately, we had no time to do just that as the strait line winds were starting to come across the lake so fast it took us all by surprise and we barely had time to get inside our camper.  At the same time that we got inside, we saw a small fishing boat come flying by us in the river.  They made it to the part of the river where it opens up to the lake and took a long pause there as they saw the storm coming across the lake.  It was just enough pause for us to notice it was a Dad, Mom and two small girls.  No hesitation on my husband’s part, he ran out to the shore of the lake and tried to get them to come ashore and take cover with us.  They could not hear him as the winds were screaming at this point. The decision they then made was to race home and try to beat the storm.  They were out of sight in seconds.  My kids were screaming, “No!”.  My husband raced back to take cover. 

All I could think to do was pray.  Pray for the safety of this family.  The waves were loud and huge at this point as they hit shore and we could not see anything out on the lake.  The winds cause a lot of damage at our resort in a short amount of time.  Our awning bent like a pipe cleaner, a large shed was tossed into the neighbor’s yard and a heavy grill was flipped upside down like they were feathers.  All we could do was think about that family that went out into the lake. 

The storm left as quickly as it came, and my husband jumped into the pontoon to look for this young family as soon as he could see out on the lake.  I still prayed. My husband saw the boat on shore at a nearby cabin. They actually had capsized, floated to shore, and made it to the cabin to take shelter. Praise the Lord!  I remember saying in my prayers that I would, “See them on the other side”.  I prayed for God to carry them safely to shore. This was a true God sighting that day.

I know that God is with us as we navigate through these times and we know that we will…see each other on the other side.

 


October 26

 

 

 

Justice

By Randy Moroney

How is justice fulfilled? That is one of the questions we wrestled with during the recent confirmation retreat. We submersed into this question with a field trip to the George Floyd Memorial, Say Their Names Cemetery, and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. 

The atmosphere of these sites was spiritual, peaceful, and overflowing with prayers, poetry, artwork, and memorials that reflected a somber history but hope filled future. 

We focused on the theme of us all being the many diverse parts that together make up the one body that Jesus’s one body was given for. We learned that we all of us possess a characteristic or experience that could be cause for differential or racial treatment by others. 

This enlightened us to realize that justice is fulfilled in how we live and act to promote equality, challenge prejudice, and neutralize social bias. This is captured and summarized in Micah 6:8 stating, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”.

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Learn more about Immanuel's justice initiatives: https://www.immanuel.us/justice/justice


October 19

 

 

 

 

Love Mercy

By Sophie Flom
 
Sophie, a high school senior and Student Leader at Immanuel, shared this talk at the Confirmation retreat. 

Sophie reflects on the "love mercy" part of Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." 

 

October 12, 2020

 

 

 

Speaking up for those who cannot

By Chloe Thompson
 
Chloe, a high school senior, shared this Student Leader talk at REfuel on Wednesday, Oct. 7. 

Chloe reflects on Proverbs 31:8-9, Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

 

September 28, 2020

 

 

 

 

God is present in hard times

By Hope Anderson

Hope, a high school senior, shared this opening devotion for REfuel on Wednesday, Sept. 23.  She based her devotion on Hebrews 13:5  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

 


September 21, 2020

 

 

 

Called to Make a Difference

By Sophie Flom

Sophie, a high school senior, shared this opening devotion for REfuel on Wednesday, Sept. 16.  She based her devotion on Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  


September 14, 2020

 

 

 

God is with us in our pain

By Paul Erdmann

Watch as Paul Erdmann, Immanuel's Youth & Family Minister, shares a devotion that was originally a part of our first REfuel.

 


August 31, 2020

 

 

 

Active Online Worship

By Kim Rathjen

Sunday mornings have been quite different for most of us for the past six months, and probably will be for some time into the future.  The ritual of gathering for worship in our sanctuary and the fellowship before and after are an integral part of who we are as a community of faith.

Since March I have been attending worship in front of a screen (as have many of you!).  We are fortunate that as a congregation we have the technology, staff and volunteers who make online worship possible and I am grateful for that!  But I do miss interacting with others on Sunday mornings.

Worship has always been an active practice of faith for me. That has become more difficult while worshipping alone and it is easy to become passive in our worship practice.  As we gather (some in person and many online) for worship this fall around the theme ReNew, I am hopeful that we can re-engage with God and each other through our worship. I have some suggestions for actively worshipping from home:

I’d love to hear from you if you have ideas about how to make the online worship experience more active and interactive.  Join me in worship on Sundays as we always have – and let me know you are there! More importantly, let God know you are there by being an active worship participant from wherever you are.


 

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