April 2021 Newsletter

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

            At the time of me writing this, I’m in the midst of getting ready for the busyness of Holy Week.  As I was trying to figure out what to write about, a constant struggle with most newsletter articles, I couldn’t help but think about a story involving Moses which is found in Exodus 17.  Look at what it says there:

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” (Exodus 17:10-12, NIV)

            Over the course of the past year with everything COVID-19 has thrown at us, it has been a crazy year to say the least.  There have been a lot of changes made.  These changes weren’t easy for any of us and some of the changes which were made weren’t necessarily liked.  There have been a lot of things we would have liked to have done, but in keeping the health of everyone in mind … events and procedures had to be postponed or changed.

            And if the craziness of the last year hasn’t been enough, over the last seven months we have been without a senior pastor.  God willing, we will have one from this list we are going through right now, but that is not up to us.  This vacancy will for sure go on for few more months, but it could also continue on a while after that.

            Needless to say, through all which has been going on around here over the last year … I must admit, there are times in which I feel like Moses in that passage above.  At times I feel super pumped up and my arms are up praising God for the blessings we are experiencing … but then at other times, I find the arms start dropping and I find myself worn out.

           Whether my arms are up and things are going along great, or if my arms are down and I feel like I am struggling … three things have remained constant.

            First and foremost, God still continues to be with each and every one of us.  He has not turned His back on us, He has not quit blessing us.  For God to do that would go against His own nature and promises.  God shows us His love and dedication through the events of Holy Week.  Through the life, the suffering and death, and through the victorious resurrection of Jesus, God shows us what it is that each of us mean to Him.

            The second constant is my family.  The love and support I get from them is absolutely amazing.  After a string of late night meetings or other events, they are right there letting me know how much they love me and miss me.  My kiddos have even offered to help do some of my work so that I can spend a little more time with them.

            The third thing which has been constant is the support I have received from you, my church family.  You have a been a great source of encouragement and strength.  Whether it is your willingness to take something on, your flexibility in trying different things, your prayers, your words of encouragement, or the little notes and pictures I randomly receive … your support has been absolutely amazing.  I do truly appreciate you. 

            Between my family and my church family, you all have been acting as my Aaron and Hur.  You have been the strength and the ones who have been holding me up.  For this, I am extremely thankful and grateful.  Within each of you, God is at work and it shows in your dedication and faithfulness to His Church.

            I’m not writing this because I’m looking for any sort of sympathy, compassion, extra time off, or anything else like that.  I simply just wanted to take a moment to say thank you and let you know how much your continued support means to me … and to my family.  I truly can’t thank you enough or really even put what it means to me into words. 

            As we continue living this life which God has blessed us with, may we all be Aarons and Hurs to those around us.  May we all take the love of God which is within us and use to help each other, not just within Salem Lutheran or our own families, but to those around us in the community and world.  Within these dark days, shine the precious light of Jesus and bring that precious peace of God to those you encounter.

            Thank you again & God’s blessings to you!

In Christ,
Pastor Mike     

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