Sunday, January 28, 2007

Especially Special.

Hi All,
Have you ever thought that you were especially special? In our post-modern world, many of us are taught that we are special, yet society treats us merely as a vast collection of statistics. We are grouped by our income (or lack thereof), our place of residence, our ethnic background, our purchasing power and a hundred or more differing groups that we can be classified under, each just as nameless and de-humanizing as the next. No wonder life can seem so pointless (and if you're feeling that way, there's euthanasia if it hurts too much)!

Thankfully, God does not feel this way. He wants to believe in you, but our sinful nature always gets in the way. How does a holy God solve this problem, and reconcile us to Him? The answer He chose is Jesus. By Christ's life and death, God reveals that we as individuals mean so much to Him that he will do His utmost to come to us.
God does everything in Christ to reconcile each one of us to Him. That makes you feel especially special indeed!

Click here to download: Especially Special.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
28th January 2007
Epiphany 4

Prayer of the Day
Everloving God, we thank you that you sent your own Son to bring us life and that through him you gave us many gifts. Teach us to desire your greatest gift, the gift of love, so that we love others as you have loved us. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points.
  • Give thanks for Turning Point Ministries and the wonderful work they do with young people.
  • Give thanks for the History Makers Camp and the blessings the young people from our congregations received from the camp.
  • Pray for courage to let the Holy Spirit direct our lives.
  • Pray for vision to see possibilites and not obstacles.
  • Pray for those in our parish who are ill or in hospital: Helga S., Wolfgang G., Fritz T., Spodra M., Harold M., Josepha K., Hardy & Wendy B., Christine F. and Horst M.
  • Pray for Pastor Ren Tschirpig and the Tamworth/Gunnedah parish.
  • Pray for the renewal and growth of small group ministries in our parish.
  • Pray for the 5 young people starting Confirmation instruction: Caroline M., Luke M., Jordan W., Tiana E. and Matthew V.
Todays Readings.
Jeremiah 1:4-10
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

Major and Minor festivals This Week.
Presentation of our Lord
2nd February
"In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his mother Mary and his foster father. This is another 'epiphany' celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or 'Candlemas', was of great importance.

Things to Do
Strawberry Cream Crepes
Pancakes are traditionally served on Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday, to celebrate renewal, family life, and hopes for good fortune and happiness in the future. It is customary in France to touch the handle of the frying pan, and make a wish while the pancake is turned, holding a coin in the hand.
Basic Crepe Recipe
· 3/4 cup flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
· 2/3 cup milk
· 1/3 cup water
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
· 2 tablespoons oil
· 2 egg

Strawberry Filling
· 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
· 2 tablespoons sugar
· 1 14 ounce ca sweetened condensed milk
· 1/4 cup lemon juice
· 1/2 cup heavy cream — whipped
· 8 dessert crepes
· 8 whole strawberries to garnish

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in bowl. Beat eggs, milk, water and vanilla together. Add to remaining ingredients. Beat mixture lightly; ignore lumps. Heat oil until almost smokey in skillet. Pour small quantity of batter in and rotate pan so batter spreads evenly. Cook until light brown; turn and brown other side.

Sprinkle sliced strawberries with sugar; set aside. Beat milk with lemon juice until thick. Fold in strawberries and whipped cream. Divide among crepes; fold. Garnish with additional whipped cream and a strawberry centered on the cream.

Thought for the Week.
"All I ever ask for is an honest weeks' pay for an honest days' work."
Lisa Olson

Photo credit: 'Fallen Leaf' by Lisa Langell, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Members or Membranes.

Hello Again!
Are we just a body part and not a body? What is church? Is it only a building, used once a week to get 'good religous instruction on rules for living'?

Church is what we believe about the church: the church is people. People gathered together to do all the various things that make the church an organized structure. But is that all that a church is?

Listen now to Pastor John as he presents this topic which has become a focal point for todays churchgoers.

Click to download: Members or Membranes.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
21st January 2007
Epiphany 3

Prayer of the Day.
Life-giving God, we thank you that your Son brought good news and sets us free from captivity. Fill us with your spirit, so that, as we are made holy, we live as your holy people. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points.
  • Give thanks for Jesus presence amongst us.
  • Give thanks that God works through his Church-the body of Christ.
  • Pray for commitment and enthusiasm to work as part of a team.
  • Give thanks for the easing of the bushfire threat in Victoria.
  • Pray for those in our communitysuffering ill-health or hospitilization: Helga S., Fritz T., Christine F., Horst M., Hardy & Wendy B., Wolfgang G., Harold & Spodra M., Josie K and Bertha K.
  • Pray for Pastor Brenton Fielder and the Dubbo/Gilgandra parish.
  • Pray for a commitment from all our members to be regular participants in worship in 2007.
  • Pray for all those considering positions on church council.
  • Pray for the renewal and growth of small group ministries in our parish.
Todays Readings.
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

Major and Minor Festivals this week.
Conversion of St Paul
25th January

St. Paul was born at Tarsus, Cilicia, of Jewish parents who were descended from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Roman citizen from birth. As he was "a young man" at the stoning of Stephen and "an old man" when writing to Philemon, about the year 63, he was probably born around the beginning of the Christian era.

To complete his schooling, St. Paul was sent to Jerusalem, where he sat at the feet of the learned Gamaliel and was educated in the strict observance of the ancestral Law. Here he also acquired a good knowledge of exegesis and was trained in the practice of disputation. As a convinced and zealous Pharisee, he returned to Tarsus before the public life of Christ opened in Palestine.

Some time after the death of Our Lord, St. Paul returned to Palestine. His profound conviction made his zeal develop to a religious fanaticism against the infant Church. He took part in the stoning of the first martyr, St. Stephen, and in the fierce persecution of the Christians that followed.

Entrusted with a formal mission from the high priest, he departed for Damascus to arrest the Christians there and bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was nearing Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed round him. Jesus with His glorified body appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career.

An immediate transformation was wrought in the soul of St. Paul. He was suddenly converted to the Christian Faith. He was baptized, changed his name from Saul to Paul, and began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.

Excerpted from Lives of the Saints

Here is the doctrine of the Mystical Body. It cannot be said too often or with too much emphasis that the lesson of this feast is: Our Lord teaching this doctrine Himself! (Christ had ascended into Heaven.)
Paul knew that. He was chasing Christians, and Christ said to him: "Why dost thou persecute Me?" We are part of Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church, and when Saul hunted Christians he hunted Christ.

Thought for the Week
"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
Flannery O'Connor

Photo credit: 'Cathedral Door' by Brian Lary, Madison, WI, USA.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Party On Dude!

Hi All,
Do you like to party? A celebration is one of the great joys of life and in the case of a wedding, joy is uaually shared among a large group of friends and family.
Jesus came to enjoy this feast with his earthly family, having no intention of yet revealing who he really was. Only when put 'on the spot' by Mary did he show what his power was capable of. You may notice there was no 'outward sign' during this miracle. Unlike others later in his ministry, he made no show of doing anything, yet the change of water to wine still happened.
So it can be with us: whene the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ, we have no sudden change externally of who we are, yet inside our watery spirit has been change into the finest wine, with a bottomless supply!

Click to download: Party On Dude!

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
14th January 2007.
Epiphany 2

Prayer of the Day
Generous God, we thank you for all the good gifts you lavishly pour out on us. Teach us to enjoy what you have given us to the full and bring us at last to feast with you in eternal joy. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points
  • Pray for safety for those affected by bushfires in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
  • Give thanks for the new life we have in Jesus and the opportunites that gives us to share God's love.
  • Pray for the renewal and growth of small group ministries in our parish.
  • Pray for those with health problems: Helga S., Christine F., Horst M., Hardy & Wendy B., Josepha K., Harold & Spodra M., Wolfgang G. and Fritz T.
  • Pray for people who are lonely that they would find support and companionship.
  • Give thanks for doctors and nurses and those who staff hospitals for the life-saving work they do.
  • Pray for Pastor James Janetzki and the Forbes/Parkes parish.
Todays Readings
Isaiah 62:1-5
1 Corinthinians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11

Major and Minor Festivals this week
None this week.

Thought for the Week.
"To be willing to die for an idea is to set a rather high price on conjecture."-Anatole France

Photo credit:'Fireworks 5' by Claudia Meyer, St Germain en Laye, Yvelines, France.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Tale of Two Kings.

Today Pastor John looks at the lives of the two 'Kings of the Jews', Herod and Jesus and compares the mindset of both.
Herod epitomises the 'me' generation: it's all mine and I'm not about to share it with anyone: while Jesus is the essence of selflessness, caring for all mankind by giving them a way out of eternal damnation.
We are urged to follow the Magi, and 'go home by a different route' to avoid those who would destroy everything to keep the status quo.

Click here to download: A Tale of Two Kings.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish.
7th January 2007
Epiphany 1

Prayer of the Day.
Loving Father, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your dear Son. Thank you for making us your children by water and the Spirit. Keep us faithful to you throughout our lives. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points.
  • Thank God for the blessings He has gien us over the last year.
  • Pray for His protection during this year.
  • Pray for opportunities to spread the Good News of his love and generosity.
  • Pray that enthusiastic and capable leaders would be found in our parish and congregations.
  • Pray for the growth of small group ministries in our parish.
  • Pray for those in our community undergoing hospital treatment or who are in ill health: Christine F., Linda F., Helga S., Harold and Spodra M., Fritz T., Wolfgang G.,Hadry and Wendy B. and Horst M.
  • Pray for our Sunday School and its teachers that we may continue to offer our young people a chance to grow to know Jesus.
  • Pray for those who work in overseas missions.
Todays Readings
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Major and Minor Festivals this Week.
None this week.

Thought for the Week.
"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little hope for advancement."- Snoopy (Charles M. Schulz).

Photo credit:'Crown Toy' by Davide Guglielmo, Italy & 'Acacia' by Dominic Morel, South Africa.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Some Thanking Thoughts.

Happy New Year!

On the last day of 2006, Pastor John brings to us the many things we have to be thankful for. From 1Thess. 5:18. "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Welcome in the new year with thankfulness for all things in Christ.

Click here to download: Some Thanking Thoughts.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
31st December 2006
New Years Eve.

Prayer of the Day
Heavenly Father, you have set the times and seasons of our lives. Teach us to live wisely here on Earth and make the most of our opportunites until we reach our heavenly home. We ask this through you Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer Points.
  • Give thanks for all the blessings God has showered upon us in the past year.
  • Give thanks for the freedom to worship.
  • Give thanks for stable, honest government.
  • Give thanks for the police force who help maintain law and order.
  • Give thanks for the leaders of our church: national president Mike and district president Neville.
  • Give thanks for all the children brought into God's Kingdom through the waters of baptism this past year and pray for their continuing growth in faith.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would inspire leadership in our Parish committed to reaching out to the community.
  • Pray for those who think they have so much but have so little without Jesus in their lives.
  • Pray for those in our community suffering illness or hospitalization: Fritz T., Wolfgang G., Helga S., Hardy & Wendy B., Harold M., Spodra M. and Christine F.
  • Pray for a renewed interest in small group ministry in our parish.
Todays Readings.
Jeremiah 24:1-7
1 Peter 1:22-25
Luke 13: 6-9

Major and Minor Festivals This Week.
Jan. 1: Circumcision and Naming of Jesus-White
The celebration of this scriptural festival marks three events: firstly, the naming of the infant; secondly, the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham 'and his children for ever', thus Christ's keeping of the Law; and thirdly, traditionally the first shedding of the Christ's blood. The most significant of these in the gospels is the name itself, which means 'Yahweh saves' and so is linked to the question asked by Moses of God: "What is your name?" "I am who I am," was the reply, thus the significance of Jesus's words: "Before Abraham was, I am." This feast has been observed in the church since at least the sixth century.
Things to Do
Black Bun
The best known ceremony attached to Hogmanay is that of first-footing. As the clock strikes midnight the first-footer knocks on the door of a neighbour's home. The rules say that the first-footer must be male, dark-haired, and not flat-footed or cross-eyed. He carries with him a lump of coal, a sprig of mistletoe, some salt, money and, in some places on the coast, a herring. He enters without speaking, puts the coal on the fire, the mistletoe on the mantlepiece, the salt and money on the table, and then wishes everyone 'Happy New Year'. The visitor is then given a drink and something to eat. The gifts brought by the first-footer are symbols of heat, health, wealth and food, all of which are wished for the family in the comoing year. The ceremony is a celebration of friendship and neighbourliness. No one would go to visit a neighbour at New Year or during the days that follow without taking a gift. In some parts of Scotland the party may be a Ceilidh, a celebration of Scottish singing and dancing. The food served at Hogmanay would usually include sandwiches, Scottish cheeses, shortbread, and Black Bun.

Basic Pastry Recipe:
· 2 cups flour
· 1/2 cup cooking fat (shortening)
· Water to mix
· Egg to glaze
· 2 cups currants (optional)
· 2 cups raisins
· 1/4 cup candied peel
· 1/2 cup chopped almonds
· 1 cup flour
· 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
· 1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
· 1 tsp nutmeg or mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
· 1 tsp ginger or mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
· 1 tsp ground cloves or mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
· 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
· 1 tsp cream of tartar
· 1 egg
· 3 tbsp black treacle (dark molasses)
· 8 tbsp milk (or whisky)

1. Make the pastry by rubbing the fat (shortening) in the flour, and mixing to a soft dough with cold water.
2. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry to make a circle about 14 in./35 cm across.
3. Grease an 8 in./20 cm round cake tin and line it with the pastry.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
5. Mix the egg, treacle (molasses) and milk together and stir into the dry mixture.
6. Turn this all into the pastry case.
7. Roll out the remaining pastry and put it on top of the filling.
8. Moisten the edges of the pastry and fold the edge of the pastry case over the top and seal.
9. Glaze the top with egg and prick through the pastry to allow steam to escape.
10. Bake in oven at 350º F for 2 1/2-3 hours.
11. Turn out to cool. Store in airtight tin until required.

Jan 6: Epiphany-White
Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany. "The Lord and ruler is coming; kingship is his, and government and power." With these words the Church proclaims that today's feast brings to a perfect fulfillment all the purposes of Advent. Epiphany, therefore, marks the liturgical zenith of the Advent-Christmas season.
Things to Do
Brazilian King's Bread
Since Twelfth Night concludes the Christmas holidays, people traditionally have marked it with a big party closing the season. The Twelfth Night revels in many countries feature parties, dancing, and feasting. At the feasts, people often eat a special bread or cake with a bean, coin, or figurine baked in it. The person getting the piece with the good luck token becomes the Twelfth Night King or Queen, leading revelers in their merrymaking.

· 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
· 2 tablespoons warm water (105-115 degrees)
· 1/3 cup milk
· 3 tablespoons sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 2-2 1/2 cups flour
· 1 egg
· 2 tablespoons golden raisins
· 2 tablespoons chopped mixed candied fruit, plus extra for decoration
· 1 tablespoon chopped Brazil nuts or blanched almonds
· 1 whole almond, plus additional for decoration
· 1 tablespoon sugar
· 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter to warm (105-115 degrees).
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and egg. Mix thoroughly.
3. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface about 10 minutes.
4. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 1 hour.
5. Lightly knead in raisins, candied fruit, and nuts. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 45 minutes. (This is for the second time.)
6. Punch down dough and insert whole almond. Shape a round loaf; make a 4-inch hole in center and push dough into a ring about 8 inches across. Place on greased baking sheet. (Butter outside of a 3- or 4-inch custard dish and set it in the hole.)
7. Let bread rise in warm place for 30 minutes. Make glaze and brush on loaf. Press lightly with whole candied fruits and whole nuts. Sprinkle top with sugar.
8. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 40-45 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

Thought for the Week
"There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity."-Robertson Davies

Photo credit:'Bye Bye Sun!' by Bill Davenport, Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada.