Time after Pentecost

7 Pnt15C CIcon

As we are invited today to consider what it means to be managers (rather than owners) of all that we have, it is crucial to recall that we are bought with a price. “Christ Jesus, himself human, . . . gave himself a ransom for all.” Apart from the generosity of God we have nothing—we are nothing. By God’s gracious favor we have everything we need.

Readings and Psalm

Amos 8:4-7 Warnings to those who trample on the needy and poor
Psalm 113 The Lord lifts up the poor from the ashes. (Ps. 113:7)
1 Timothy 2:1-7 One God, one mediator—Christ Jesus—who gave himself for all people
Luke 16:1-13 A shrewd manager: faithful in little, faithful in much; serving God/wealth


Setting and Hymns


ELW Holy Communion Setting 4
Lord, Speak to Us, That We May Speak (ELW 676)
There's a Wideness in God's Mercy (ELW 588)
Take My Life, That I May Be (ELW 583)
Take, Oh, Take Me As I Am (ELW 814)
We Are Called (ELW 720)


In our prayers around the world, we lift up


Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru

22 - 28 September 2019

We are thankful for:

  • the distinctive rhythms, music, dance, food and natural medicine in this area
  • the beauty of the region, forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and ocean coastlines, and especially indigenous peoples’ relationship with, and care for, the natural environment
  • churches who witness and work both ecumenically and with those of other faiths to build relationships of trust and commitment amid ongoing injustice and oppression
  • the diversity of languages and cultures flourishing in the region despite disruptions that have occurred through colonization, and political and economic turmoil.

We pray for:

  • Christians to have the courage, imagination and energy to build bridges of peace and understanding against conflict and division, and to pursue justice for the poor, marginalized and dispossessed
  • an end of corruption in all levels of the society, including economic exploitation which impoverishes and hinders economic growth from benefitting all.
  • immigrants and refugees seeking a new home, and those who accompany and support them
  • coca farmers to find sustainable incomes from other crops, for an end to drug trafficking, and effective assistance for those who are addicted.


Billings Central Terry Neighborhood Task Force


Next meeting for the Billings Central Terry Neighborhood Task force is on September 19th, 2019 at 7;00 pm in the basement of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 40 10th Street West.

Guest speakers from the Montana DEQ will be on hand to answer questions regarding the State Superfund site in central and downtown Billings. Mike Gipson will provide an overview of the remedial investigation results and what it means for residents who live and work over the area. Terri Mavencamp who is risk assessor with DEQ will be available to talk about health risks.

This meeting will be very informative for area residents concerned about remediating airborne contaminants that are created as a result of dry cleaning solvents evaporating from contaminated soil.

Hope to see you there.

Faith and Politics

Karl Barth is quoted as saying “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”

When preaching I would prefer to stay in the biblical world, but it's not preaching if it doesn't bridge to our experiences today. First and foremost I try to remind you that God loves you today, tomorrow and yesterday. My second goal is to try to help you examine your day to day experiences in light of this love. My third goal is to encourage you apply your understanding of this love to your interactions with the world around you. That first goal is certain and directive. God loves you, all the time, no matter what. The outcome of the second two is strictly between you and God.

I am not always equal to the task of including the news in my sermons, but I trust God to take the fumbling words from my mouth and carry them gracefully, transforming them to the words you need to hear. Should you hear me tell you how to apply your faith to worldly concerns, please understand that is not what I intended, but I could not avoid the topic and do the work you call me to do.

If church is a place where worldly concerns are safe from faith-based scrutiny, then it is also a place protected from God. Jesus was not born in human form to lift us out of our day-to-day suffering, but to help us face our sufferings in such a way that we don’t add to someone else’s misery. In this way, we become instruments of God’s peace.

We start with the Bible and ask what God has to say about the events of the day.

Inter-Generational Sunday School

The Sunday school challenges we have been facing these past few years are very common in churches today. Social changes over the past thirty years have made it difficult for parents to bring their children to Sunday school. More and more, children’s sports and other activities are being scheduled on Sunday mornings. Co-parenting tensions and custody schedules complicate things even more. The ELCA Research and Evaluation team reports that Sunday school attendance in ELCA congregations dropped 60 percent between 1990 and 2010.
These changes in the world around us can be frustrating, but they need not be discouraging. Many other congregations are in the same struggle. We are not alone in our experience and we are not abandoned to struggle alone. Some congregations have had positive responses to their attempts to adjust to the changes around us.
We even have seen one approach work very well with the Youth Group. Casey’s effort to offer an all-ages event each month in order to create happy associations with church and the congregation is perfect for our setting.
Other congregations ask themselves how they can involve children when planning worship and congregational events. These congregations seem to thrive.
I think an all-ages Sunday school could enhance our education program and provide ever more opportunities to strengthen relationships and support families. It will also allow us to provide a strong and consistent program to complement the inconsistent schedules of today’s families. I’m not sure what it will look like, but I’ve read that it’s best to adapt a youth program to an audience that includes adults rather than the other way around. It might be interesting to create a series about the how, what and why of worship. What do you think?

What is an LPA and what is their role in the congregation?

Lay Pastoral Associate in the Montana Synod is a congregational lay person who has received religious, educational training, through the Montana Synod, in order to provide (in most cases)  short term pulpit supply (ie, preaching) when the pastor is away, or if a congregation is without a pastor.  Their role is to fill in for the basic pastoral duties such as providing Word and Sacrament, communion, and other roles as approved by the Bishop.  LPA’s are NOT authorized to preside at weddings.


September Birthdays

John Rietz1
David Teeling6
Bill Ruff7
Glenda Hochhalter8
Cindy Bye15
Don Hochhalter15
Ell  Brockman16
Rosalind Bulger18
Elizabeth Liggett20
Denise Boettcher21
Darlene Fernelius26

'Dis Lefsa Time Ja!

Our fall Chili & Pie Bake Sale is comming up soon. Norma has once again offered to coordinate our efforts and teach anyone who hasn't made lefsa before. Stay tuned for details.

Welcoming New Members

We'll host two meetings in September, on the 15th and 22nd between services. Come to learn about Bethlehem, the ELCA, and get to know some current members.

WELCA Synodical Gathering, September 27th-28th

The theme this year is BAPTIZED AND SET FREE. It will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Great Falls. Friday is the Business meeting of our convention, where we will be voting for our 2019 - 2021 Board, Voting Members for the Triennial Convention in 2020, our Budget and any resolutions that are submitted. Saturday is our Gathering, in which we will be collecting our change for the Pool of Living Waters, meet with Lois Bylund, our Churchwide Representative, hear our main speaker Reverend Julia Seymour, hear about Women's Health issues, do a book study and meet with other women from Montana and Northern Wyoming.

Barb Bohle will represent Bethlehem's WELCA group as a voting delegate.

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