January 2020  Issue 58   Vol. 1


A Nugget of Wisdom for Your Faith
January 2020

During this past holiday season I, like the majority of people in America, heard the story of a reindeer who was part of Santa’s entourage.  I was privileged to hear another story, actually another song, telling the children’s story of “The Ugly Duckling”.  These two tales have a common theme and a lesson for us, regardless of our age.

Rudolph, the reindeer, was an only “child’ who was different from his peers.  You know the story, he was teased and rejected because he had this beaming scarlet proboscis.

Ugly, the duckling, better known as the Ugly Duckling, had a similar problem. He wasn’t like the other ducklings in the hatch.  He too was ridiculed and scorned because he was different from his siblings. 

The stories end happily for both of the individuals.  Rudolph was in the right place at the right time and Santa’s trip through the fog was assured of safety and efficiency because of Rudolph’s bright red nose.  The ugly duckling had to wait till he grew up for him to see his potential.  It wasn’t till he saw his mature self in the mirror of the water that he realized he never was a duckling but a cygnet. He saw his beautiful “swan-ness”. (I could never figure out how a swan egg got into a duck’s nest.)

These two child’s book characters had a flaw, so to speak, which caused problems in their relationship and interaction with their peers.  They had to face ridicule and loneliness because of their differences.  However, each of them saw a positive outcome so that in the end their lives changed for the better.  Neither of them, though, could lay claim to anything they had done, or any effort on their part to live “happily ever-after”.

It is here that I find some lessons for us in these two old stories—maybe a bit over-simplified, but nonetheless a Christmas/New Year take-home for us.

We all are ugly and red-nosed  because of the imperfection wrought by sin. We have “fallen short of the glory of God”, and as a result we are covered in the filthy rags of sin (as Paul points out in Romans). As we live in this sin-filled world Satan’s minions are always present to remind us of opportunities to sin, leading us away from our Heavenly Father. 

Like the two characters in our stories who did nothing to resolve their situations, we can do nothing to undo our sinful condition.
Unlike the two characters who possessed the potential to overcome their flaw—Rudolph’s red nose and Ugly’s swan genetics—we have no qualities or features that can get us to our share of “happily ever-after”.

Here’s my idea of the lesson for us: 
  • We are by nature vanquished and adrift in our sin. 
  • We have absolutely no chance of eternal peace without some serious help.
  • Yet, we have hope! 
    • We have a child born in a manger. 
    • We have a man, a perfect sacrifice, hanging and dying on a cross.
    •  We have a death-conquering Savior. 
    • We have One who said, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest”.  
    • We have One who said, “I go to prepare a place for you”.
    • Through Him, we are justified and can stand before God’s throne in heaven.
Therein lies our Happy New Year and our Happy Eternity.
Blessings to you as you face what lies before you in 2020.   
Stan Fehlhafer
Coming Up ...  

IF: TABLE EXPERIENCE - Saturday, January 18th.  Noon - 2pm
Join women for conversation and encouragement about Jesus. 
For more info, click HERE.

As we start 2020, along with getting Cross Fit on Sunday mornings through our sermon series in 2 Timothy, let’s also learn to become wise investors of life’s five capitals the way Jesus did.

This five-week study (starting January 8th) will be based on the book Oikonomics written by Mike Breen and Ben Sternke. You do not have to buy the book for this study, but you will be blessed by reading it through. It is a wonderful book and quick read.  To purchase, click HERE. 

VALENTINE'S DAY POTLUCK!  Friday, February 14th:  
Bring your favorite dish and share the love at noon in the youth room!  We have 2 speakers on tap for this luncheon -- one from the Alzheimer's Association to share about caregivers and their needs, and a representative from Thrivent to tell us about the $250 grant for charitable projects available to all Thrivent members.

Formerly known as "Refreshing the Heart", this years event will feature speaker Jill Miller. More details to come ... 

Volunteers are needed to fill the following service opportunities 
in the on-going flood relief efforts:  January 11, 18, & 25. 

If you can join us, please call the Messiah office (402.489.3024)
or sign up HERE
  • No need to be a skilled carpenter.
  • All tools provided, but please bring your own water, lunch & work gloves.  
  • Dress in layers.
  • Meet at the church parking lot @ 7:15 a.m.  We leave promptly at 7:30 a.m.
  • Questions?  Call Roxie Stork 402.450.1604
If you're in need of some help with snow removal, or small projects in your home, give us a call and we'll be there! 

Since Helping Hands relies on the service of others, we'd appreciate hearing from volunteers as well. 
Call by noon on Friday to reserve your ride to our 9:30 service! 

Psalm 51: 6-7

Behold, You desire truth
in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be
whiter than snow.

Sunday 8:00, 9:30 (livestream), 11:00
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Messiah Lutheran Church · 1800 South 84th Street · Lincoln, NE 68506 · USA