Read Your Bible.

It’s an obvious statement a pastor should ask of their congregation. I have time and time again been amazed at the responses I’ve gotten when I have invited folks to read the Bible. At least 60+ people have participated in a Bible Study of reading the Bible in 90 days at some point here at Faith. It is an incredible feeling to look out into the pews and know that many of you have made the commitment and journey to read the entire Bible. But national averages look very different. A poll from Pew Research shows that about a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week, while 45% seldom or never read scripture, according to 2014 data from our Religious Landscape Study. Also from the study we learn that about four-in-ten Christians (42%) said reading the Bible or other religious materials is an essential part of what being Christian means to them personally. An additional 37% say reading the Bible is important but not essential to being a Christian, and 21% say reading the Bible is not an important part of their Christian identity. 

Dwelling in the Word of God on a regular basis should be an essential part of our faith. If the one thing I was remembered for as your pastor was that I encouraged the congregation to read their Bibles that would a wonderful legacy to leave. That doesn’t mean we will all agree on interpretations of the Scripture, because we won’t. The first step in interpreting is reading and engaging the text. 

So this year I’m inviting you to join me again in reading the Bible in 2018- but don’t panic- it’s not in 90 days. We are going to read through the entire Bible throughout the whole year beginning on February 4th. We will be using a Bible Reading Plan put together by The Bible Project ( The plan has you read 2-3 chapters a day and one Psalm. Very doable and if you miss a day, it’s easy to play catch up by reading multiple days in one sitting. Throughout the year there will be videos made by the Bible Project that help provide some context of what you are reading with the entire story of Scripture. I promise this will be an incredible journey, even if you’ve read the entire Bible before. There are a couple ways to participate: 

Get a copy of the reading plan by either downloading it off the Bible Project Website or pick one up at the Welcome Center. You can access the videos on their website or through YouTube. You can also download the Read Scripture App in either the iTunes Store or Google Play store. You can read and watch the video along with reading the text all in the app on your phone. I’ve also created a Facebook Group called Reading Scripture Together, which is links to our church page. If you join this group I will be positing the daily reading, in addition to any videos for the day. This will also invite comments, questions, and conversation on the daily readings while we read throughout the year. If your on Facebook I encourage to join the group. I would also like to see us have a few face to face Bible Studies throughout the year at TBD dates and locations. 

Since much of this is virtual, feel free to invite friends and family to the Facebook Group. I look forward to reading the Bible with you again this year. 

Pastor John

Section Title

I started this new year differently than I have started new years in the past. I am not one to get caught up in the hullabaloo of making resolutions because honestly I never saw them last. Yes, in some years past I have had a hope for the year but not really a resolution. I have hoped that I would be able to spend more time with family some years or I have hoped to be able to travel that year. But I never really made a resolution to change my behaviors or routines because I figured if it was important enough to me then it would happen naturally. However, this year is different. I wouldn’t say that I have made a resolution but rather that I have set a mantra for the year. A mantra that includes a written down game plan and monthly goals. A mantra that I am being very intentional about because I deeply desire the outcome. 

My mantra for this year is #healingforjes. A year of healing for me. A year where I am working with myself not on myself; to be intentional about loving myself the way others love me, the way God loves me. This healing is both internal and external. It is physical and emotional healing. It is simple and gut wrenching healing. My year of healing includes the typical things like getting regular exercise and changing my eating habits. It also includes seeing a counselor regularly to work through old wounds that continue to fester. And my healing will also come through honoring what my body needs like rest and renewal. My year of healing is all about focusing on myself and what I need to better myself. I have a game plan and am putting things into practice. My healing will be slow and steady and I know that whatever I accomplish will make for a better Jes. I would appreciate your prayers of support during this year of healing. 

As I began thinking about and working on my own mantra, I started to investigate what a mantra is. A mantra is a guiding principle or motto for oneself or an organization. It is a word or phrase that is repeated to aid in concentration or mediation; to focus one on an outcome or goal. As I thought about the meaning of a mantra I started to wonder what it might look like for Faith Lutheran to have a mantra this year. Something that would enhance our mission statement of , “partnering together with God through scripture, sacraments, and service.” Could it be an intentional focus on community? A year where we focus on building and unifying our community of faith? Or could it be a year focused on Christian Education? A year when we are intentional about engaging in the deepening of our knowledge and walk with God? Could it be a year focused on social outreach? A year where we are intentional about being within the Goshen community, supporting those in need? Or could it be a year focused on evangelism? A mantra that I preached on just last week of: Noticing. Sharing. Inviting? 

While we have not set an official mantra for the church this year, I wonder what it might be like if we all tried to embrace one of the possible mantras and make it part of your year. Maybe you want to embrace: 

  • A year of community- being intentional about getting to know those you worship with. Stay for fellowship after worship. Worship at another service once a month to see our whole community. Plan or attend a fellowship event. 

  • A year of spiritual growth- being intentional about Christian Education. Join an Adult Bible Study or maybe even start one with others of similar interests. Attend JAM (Jesus and Me Sunday School) on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of the month, or Pint with a Pastor, or Wednesday Night Live. 

  • A year of outreach- being intentional about caring for our Goshen community. Serving at the Window. Joining Habitat at a build site. Engaging in the Elkhart County Jail Ministry. Ringing bells for the Salvation Army. Learning about and taking a stand on social justice issues. 

  • A year of evangelism- being intentional to notice, share, and invite. To notice where God is present in the world. To share the pieces of your story and how your faith impacts you. To invite others to join you at church just as you would invite them out to dinner or over to your own homes. 

Blessings to you as you embrace this new year and let a mantra guide your days + Pastor Jes

Dear Church family,

            I just wanted to take a moment to thank you so much to all of you for the generous love and support I have received. I cannot express how appreciative I am of all of you. The Lord has been so good so far on this journey, and I cannot wait to see how He will continue to provide through my trip to India. I would not be able to go to India without all of your financial support and prayers. Please continue to prayer for my team and I as we embark on our travels to India on the morning of December 28th. I cannot wait to share my experience with all of you when I return. Thank you again so much for everything you guys have done for me.



Kathleen Morrical

Prayer And The Barber

My sister-in-law brushes off the loose hair and removes the plastic cape catching the hair. I watch as she cleans up the mess as I acknowledge how much lighter it feels to have had a couple of inches trimmed off the ends of my long hair. I remember what Luther said about prayer so many years ago. 

People express anxiety about praying, especially out loud. I have struggled with this. This anxiety is common to most people, including the disciples who asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. In 1535 a barber named Peter who lived in Wittenburg, Germany, had the same request for Martin Luther. Luther wrote the barber a letter to teach him how to pray. This document has survived to this day because it helped to reform the way the church prays and can still teach us in the church today. 

Like many of us, Luther admits that sometimes he struggles to pray. He does not feel joy in his prayer life. Sometimes his fervor cools. He experiences loss of concentration. Distractions take his thoughts away from prayer. He is tempted to procrastinate and wait until later to pray and never get to the task. Occasionally, emergency situations arise that need his attention when he is trying to pray. Luther communicates how despite emergency situations, we must still make every effort. He writes, “Yet we must be careful not to break the habit of true prayer and imagine other works to be necessary which, after all, are nothing of the kind.” Here are some of the suggestions that Luther had for his barber: 

1. “It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night.” 

2. Prepare yourself for prayer. Preparation can be reciting the Ten Commandments, a Creed, or a Psalm. 

3. Be in a posture for prayer. Luther suggested that his barber stand or kneel to pray. 

4. Know that you are never praying alone. Luther reminds his friend that when he prays, all Christians are standing or kneeling beside him. 

5. “Finally, mark this, that you must always speak the Amen firmly.” Be confident that God will hear you and will answer your prayers.

But how do we begin to pray? Luther teaches his barber to begin with the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. He tells Peter to pray the Lord’s Prayer and then go back to each petition and pray what is on his heart concerning each petition. He writes, “I want your heart to be stirred and guided concerning the thoughts which ought to be comprehended in the Lord’s Prayer.” Luther explains that this is not the only way to pray but encourages the use of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Psalms to inspire our prayers as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our prayers. Luther writes of the Holy Spirit’s inspirations, “Be still and listen to the one who can do better than you can.” 

You may be reading this and thinking that Luther was wanting the barber to spend hours in prayer during the day and that you just do not have that kind of time. Luther and his barber did not have that kind of time for prayer either. He told his barber that our prayers should be kept short. We should not babble on or our minds may wander. It is important that we should stay focused on God and on our prayer. Luther speaks to Peter about barbering to help him understand how important that focus is. This explanation is a reminder for us each time we cut our hair or someone else’s. It is a reminder when we shave. Luther instructs the barber and each of us by saying: 

“So a good and attentive barber keeps his thoughts, attention, and eyes on the razor and hair and does not forget how far he has gotten with his shaving or cutting. If he wants to engage in too much conversation or let his mind wander or look somewhere else he is likely to cut his customer’s mouth, nose, or even his throat. Thus if anything is to be done well, it requires full attention of all one’s senses…How much more does prayer call for concentration and singleness of heart if it is to be a good prayer!” 

Debbie Pinnegar

Timothy F. Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 12. Timothy F. Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 13. Timothy F. Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 12. Timothy F. Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 14. Timothy F. Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 16-17. Timothy F. Lull, Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 15.


One of the phrases most associated with Luther is, “Here I stand.” The phrase is part of an account of the Imperial Diet of Worms in 1521. The Imperial Diet of Worms was a meeting of nobility, the clergy and the city officials of the Holy Roman Empire. This was not a meeting just on religious matters. Instead it was to discuss and make decisions about subjects such as taxation and war. Luther had already been removed from the guest list and the topics of discussion. He had not recanted his statements against the papacy and so Emperor Charles V had simply removed him from the guest list. A papal order had been published in the months preceding the Imperial Diet declaring Martin Luther to be a heretic worthy of death. Because of this order, he was certainly not expected to arrive at the meetings, but he did. He travelled to the city of Worms with a lot of fanfare. People came from miles around to hear him preach on his way to the meetings. They gathered in the streets to cheer for him. Some of the German leaders pushed for him to be put on the meeting’s agenda. On April 16 Martin Luther appeared before the emperor and the other leaders. He was shown a stack of his books and asked if they were his. He could have said no. He could have denied his authorship of the books. Instead, he said that they were his but that they did not even have all of the books that he had written. He was asked if he stood by all that he had written or if he was willing to reject some of it. He took some time to think and then responded. He spoke about how he had written many different types of books. He admitted that he did not fashion himself a saint and that some of the things he had written were maybe more violent than they should have been. He asked the officials present to tell him where he had made a mistake and to point them out using scripture. He was asked to give a clear answer to the question. It was time for Martin Luther to take a stand. In that moment it was not about Luther or his books. For him it was only about the Word of God. Luther said, “I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me. Amen.” 

Each of us are called to take a stand before other people. Our answer may not be under the penalty of excommunication or death like it was for Luther, but we still are asked to make a decision whether or not we are going to stand for the Word of God. Take a moment and think about times that you have seen the scriptures used inappropriately to hurt other people. Think about times when your conscience has made you speak up and about the times that you chose not to speak. What sacrifice were you willing to make to take a stand? 

Many times we let the fear of the repercussions keep us from standing up for what is right. When we let our decision to take a stand be swayed by the possible repercussions, we are becoming captive to fear. Martin Luther is an example for us to not let fear hold us back. Luther shows us the good news in the difficult situations by showing us that when we do not become captive to fear we can become captive to the Word of God. We can be compelled by the Word of God that we encounter in the scriptures, proclamation and the sacraments. We are compelled to speak against abuses and say, “I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me.” 

Debbie Pinnegar

1Paul W. Robinson, Martin Luther A Life Reformed (Boston: Longman, 2010), 45.

People Of Faith

  • meet Sam Perri!

    Sam is a recently retired Biomedical Engineer from Goshen Health. Since retirement Sam has started raising cats that he has rescued. He has nine cats in total; four indoor and five outdoor. When not herding cats, Sam can be found working outside in his garden and on a long Honey-do-list, as well as watching Notre Dame Women’s Basketball. Sam enjoys all seasons but wishes winter was shorter. He likes his grandmothers lasagna and the color orange. Sam was the Elkhart County Fair Board President in 2007. He also served in the military for seven years. 

    Sam comes to Faith to receive God and be spiritually uplifted. He enjoys the behind the scene responsibilities at Faith; like setting up for the outdoor worship service at 5th and Madison. Sam sees God partnering with us at Faith through our youth, to believe and spread the word of God.

  • Meet Ellie Kercher!

    Ellie is Goshen High School junior who maintains a pretty busy schedule. At school she takes a number of IB classes, tutors elementary students in Pact, is the yearbook editor, sings in the choir, and is in National Honor Society. Ellie also is a manager for the Football Team, a member of the varsity Swim Team, and does Unified Track in the spring. When she has free time, Ellie likes to bake, read, and being with her friends. Ellie hopes to one day be either a counselor or a forensic nurser. She is the daughter of Steve & Michelle and an older sister to Camden and Grace. 

    Ellie will be joining the group heading to Houston TX next summer for the ELCA Youth Gathering. This will be her 2nd Youth Gathering. She also joined the youth group on their Mission Trip to West Virginia last summer. Ellie likes coming to Faith because of her family, being with her friends in youth group, and Contemporary Worship.

Reverse Advent Calendar

Advent is a season of waiting. And waiting is hard... really hard sometimes. Too often we rush right past Advent, not intentional, in our waiting and instead filling it with busyness and stuff. Maybe you’ve heard of an Advent Calendar? It helps us count down the days of our waiting by getting a new piece of chocolate each day, or you can buy one from Target where you child gets a small toy, or there is even an adult Advent Calendar that give you a bottle of wine each day. This has always seemed strange to us that we wait for the day when we get stuff, by each day getting more stuff. This year at Faith we want you to join us as we reclaim this Advent season as a period of waiting by focusing on presence, not presents. We call it a Reverse Advent Calendar. Rather than getting something each day to count down the days until Christmas we are going to encourage one another to give something, specifically the gift of presence with one another and with God. Advent is a time when we should give, share, love and focus more intently on deepening our relationship with God and our relationships with others.

So here is how the Reverse Advent Calendar works: Start on December 3, the first day of Advent, which is located in the bottom left hand corner of the calendar and simply follow the instructions. Each day you will be guided to do something to deepen relationships, with God or with others. Some days require more time and planning, others are very simple things that don’t. Feel free to look ahead and change dates up to fit best with you schedule. For example, if you have plans on the night we suggest to watch a movie with your family swap that with another night. As you journey towards Christmas notice how focusing on people, rather than things, changes your Advent Season and your celebration on Christmas.

If you did not receive a Reverse Advent Calendar on your way into worship, you may pick one up at the Welcome Center or you may find a digital copy HERE.

Blessed Advent, 

Pastor John and Pastor Jes


In 1527 Elector John authorized Luther and other Reformers went on a tour of the churches in Saxony. The people of Saxony had stopped paying the tithe so that the preachers and teachers were receiving very little financial support. Because of these financial issues both theologians like Luther and government officials visited the churches. Luther went with a team visiting churches around Wittenburg. What the Reformers found was churches that did not have any understanding of the faith they professed. Many priests could not read. They could not preach. The people neglected worship and prayers. They did not know the basics of the Christian faith. Luther reflected, “Good God, what wretchedness I beheld! The common people, especially those who live in the country, have no knowledge whatever of Christian teaching, and the pastors are quite incompetent and unfitted for teaching.” Luther returned determined to teach the priests how to teach in the churches and the parents how to teach their children in their homes so that all may know what it meant to have faith in Christ. Both of these catechisms have been used for nearly 500 years to instruct us in our faith. They were included in the Book of Concord which is a compilation of documents written by the Reformers that the Lutheran Church claims not only as their founding documents but also as what we believe in the church today.

Luther wrote his Small Catechism to be used in the home. He wanted families to learn together. The Small Catechism was first published as a set of signs to hang on the wall around the home. It focused on the Lord’s Prayer, The Ten Commandments, and the Apostle’s Creed. Luther intended this short catechism to be something that could be memorized. It asked questions about what the words meant in these three documents and offered answers to how they applied to the daily lives of the people. It also teaches about Baptism, Communion, Confession, prayer, and other duties of life. 

Luther wrote the Large Catechism to be used by the church leaders in how to teach all the faithful about the church and about faith in Christ. The Large Catechism was based on sermons that he had preached at Wittenburg. Luther covers the same topics as in the Small Catechism but in much more detail. Luther’s discussion of baptism in the Large Catechism is the most exhaustive discussion of the sacrament of baptism that we have from the Reformers included in the Book of Concord. 

The Small Catechism and the Large Catechism are still used in the church nearly 500 years later. The Small Catechism is used often with Confirmation classes. Families are still encouraged to learn together. The Large Catechism is still used by pastors and church leaders to learn how to teach in the church. The Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Creed as they are taught in the catechisms can still inform our faith at any age. Even later in his career, Martin Luther still saw the importance of these for our spiritual growth and maturity. In 1534 he wrote of the Lord’s Prayer saying, “To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man eat and drink from it and never get my fill.” 

--- Debbie Pinnegar

When Lightning Strikes

          I love thunderstorms. I do not know what it is about them, but despite being in some very threatening and severe thunderstorms I do not run for cover when a storm is approaching. Friends warn that I will be struck by lightning, but even if I go inside I stay where I can see the sky flash. I am amazed by the beauty of the dangerous flash and by all that I can see for that instant even in the darkest night. Have you ever been in a severe thunderstorm? 

         Have you ever had a terrifying experience that you did not think you would live through? Many times when we have those moments we can experience moments of clarity in the terror. These moments are sometimes called a lightning bolt call. 

        On July 2, a law student was on his way back to school after a short visit with his family to discuss his future. A violent thunderstorm developed and there was nowhere for the student to take cover. Lightning struck dangerously close to him. He was terrified. He prayed and vowed that if he survived this storm, he would forget about his study of law and devote his life to serving God and others. In the moment of terror there came a moment of clarity. 

       Our storms may not always be literal storms with rain and wind and lightning, but we find ourselves in situations similar to that of the young law student. Sometimes it can be illnesses or accidents. Sometimes it can be loss of a job. Sometimes it can be change all around us. In each of these circumstances the chaos and darkness can feel just as real as in a deadly thunderstorm. We are traveling through life with a destination in mind. We are accepting the expectations of others as our own. We are not really seeking what God wants, but we are looking to the future with our own plans. Everything seems calm and safe. Then a storm comes. Maybe it is a literal storm, or maybe it is some other kind of terror or chaos. And when the fear comes, we see what is important for us to see in the moments when the darkness is dismissed by the flash of the Light that brings us clarity. All of us are being called to a life devoted to God and to others. We may not become a monk like Martin Luther did after he prayed for safety during the lightning storm in July of 1505. We are, however, being called and directed by the Holy Spirit all along the journey it is just in those dark moments that everything is made clear. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”(John 8:12, NRSV). Jesus was the light that showed Luther the way in the darkness. Jesus is that Light for us too. Where is the Holy Spirit calling you today to serve God and others? Where have you found moments of clarity? Are you watching for what is that you can see when the lightning flashes and brightens your circumstances for a moment so that you can see?

 --- Debbie Pinnegar


 “A mighty fortress is our God, a sword and shield victorious; 

He breaks the cruel oppressor’s rod and wins salvation glorious. 

The old evil foe, swore to work us woe, 

With dread craft and might he arms himself to fight. 

On earth he has no equal.

No strength of ours can match his might. 

We would be lost, rejected.

But now a champion comes to fight, 

Whom God himself elected.

Ask who this may be; Lord of hosts is he! 

Christ Jesus our Lord, God’s only Son, adored. 

He holds the field victorious.”1

You may know that Martin Luther wrote this hymn that we sing quite often in church. Do you know the story behind it? This hymn was written sometime around 1527. This was ten years after he had nailed the 95 Thesis to the door of Castle Church. His life had been in turmoil ever since that day. He had been involved in upheaval in the church. He had been excommunicated. He had been condemned to death. He had been kidnapped by allies and hidden in Wartburg Castle. The Peasant’s War had broken out and while his writings seemed to have been motivation for the peasants, he had tried to counsel against their violence and was seen as a traitor by many. He had sworn that he would never marry but found himself marrying in 1525. Later that year, Luther debuted his German Mass at the Wittenberg Church. And in 1527 he had disappointing visitations at churches in Saxony that led him to write the Small and Large Catechisms. He had health issues that were becoming a problem for him. He and his wife were expecting a child. The plague had hit Wittenberg and many of the people he cared for were dying. In the midst of all of this, he wrote this beloved hymn based in part on Psalm 46. 

When we sing this song in worship, we can think about the trials that Martin Luther went through in the years preceding the writing of the lyrics. We can think about how God was a mighty fortress for Luther and that God can be a mighty fortress for us in our difficult times today. 

This is not the only hymn that he wrote. Luther was talented musically and was proficient in musical composition. He wrote approximately thirty-six hymns. Nineteen are still in our hymnal (ELW) today. 

1Evangelical Lutheran Worship Pew Edition, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 503.

This Changes Everything- 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering

254 days from now the youth and adults (plus few more still discerning) along the bottom of this article will be in Houston TX for the ELCA Youth Gathering. The ELCA Youth Gathering happens every three years and is a time when 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the ELCA gather for faith formation. Through interactive learning experiences, speakers and worship, bible studies and devotions, service opportunities and fellowship; youth (and adults) grow in their faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives. With the theme of “This Changes Everything,” the hope for our youth is to understand the fierce love that God has for them, just as they are, and that by grace, through faith, they have been saved. When we are able to truly claim this reality, it changes everything!

This experience will change everything for our youth. Actually any experience where our youth feel loved and valued changes everything for them. Coming to worship and being known and seen as valued members of our congregation changes everything for our youth. Feeling like their voices matter changes everything for our youth. Serving others changes everything for our youth. Belonging and being loved changes everything for our youth. All these things happen within our Faith community and will happen over the next 254 days as we prepare to go to Houston. You will see our youth serving our Faith community. You will see our youth in worship. You will see our youth in leadership roles. You will see that your life will change because of them too! 

As we prepare for the Youth Gathering we will need your help too; your financial help as well as your prayers and support. It will cost roughly $950 per person to send our youth and adult leaders to the Gathering (this does not include the $350 that each person going contributed out of pocket). Through fundraising we hope to cover the cost so our youth (and parents) don’t have to contribute more and all can attend. 

We will be hosting a number of fundraisers over the course of the year, like: a Reformation Celebration and Servant Auction (October 29), selling church cookbooks, having a Christmas Cookie Walk (December 17), hosting our 2nd Annual Chili Cook-off (January 14), selling subs for Super Bowl Sunday and serving pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, testing knowledge at a Trivia Night (in March), and having a Rummage Sale (May 11-12), along with a few other “fun”draisers along the way. Sponsor cards for each youth have also been made and youth are sharing these with family members and friends. We invite you to participate in our fundraisers as you are able; whether that is financially or volunteering to help us put these fundraisers on. Thank you for your ongoing support of our youth. You are changing their lives and making a difference just as they are making a difference in yours.

Blessings + 

Pastor Jes

Listening To Each Other

A few weeks ago I was enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend and they happened to say something that I disagreed with. My immediate response was to interrupt them so that I might share the correct, I mean my, point of view with them. How many of us have been here and reacted in the exact same exact way? I’m sure too many of us. I know I’m not alone because I see it happening all the time. We don’t take the time to listen, only react. There is this unspoken rule in our society that seems to say the side that shouts the loudest for the longest is right. I struggle with accepting this behavior and have tried to become more aware to the ways I participate in it. 

I’ve started reading through the Bible in 90 days again for my own personal devotions. This past week I read through the book of Exodus and noticed how often it said God listened to the Israelites, heard their cry, and then God remembered God’s covenant. God listened... then God remembered. I was also struck by how many times it said Pharaoh was stubborn and didn’t listen. Things didn’t end well for Pharaoh. Elsewhere scripture says, 

“Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. This is because an angry person doesn't produce God's righteousness.” James 1:19-20

“The wise hear them and grow in wisdom; those with understanding gain guidance.” Proverbs 1:5

I believe the Christian community should be a place where listening to one another is practiced and modeled. All this was running through my mind as I saw an interview with Nate Boyer, a former US Army Green Beret and brief former NFL player. Nate explained his anger at watching NFL player Colin Kaepernick sitting on the bench while the anthem played. What happened after that was abnormal from we have grown accustomed to seeing. Instead of a verbal argument over who was right, they reached out to each other and listened to each other and came to an agreement. Even though they disagree, they were able to respect one another and learn more from where the other was coming form. Here is what Nate said in the interview I saw, 

“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammate. Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security haunt, we take a knee, and we pull security. But I was looking at our country right now, and where we’re at. And just the shouting. And everyone is so concerned with being right and not listening to the other side, even when the other side seems crazy, because when we’re overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq I don’t agree with most of the customs and cultures, but I have to put that aside and swallow my pride and have a little humility and just say ‘you know what? I don’t know what it is like to grow up where you grew up. You know what I mean? I just know my experience. And so I try to take that into account in that situation because I don’t know anything... I don’t know... I don’t know anything but what it’s like to be Nate Boyer. And I never will. No matter what color, or anything. And so, for me, I just wanted to come with an open mind and just listen for once because I have a bad habit of judging. I think everyone does. And I just, I wanted to stop that in myself.” 

I too have a bad habit of judging. Yet I hear Jesus’ command “Do not judge” and I too want to stop that in myself. Maybe the first step in following this command Jesus gives us to to start by listening to one another, actively listening. Especially with those whom we disagree.

In Christ, Pastor John

the   People   of   Faith

  • Meet lorelei shively! 

    Lorelei is a third grader at Benton Elementary School. She is the daughter of Chris & Jillian Shively, big sister to Lucy, and part owner and caregiver of Marmalade (the family cat).

    Lorelei loves the color pink. Art is her favorite subject and has been known to draw pictures during worship; including Pastor Jes getting a pie thrown in her face. She began taking piano lessons each Tuesday about a month ago and is enjoying playing the piano. 

    When asked what she likes about Faith is spending time with her friends and Pastor Jes. 

    Lorelei notices God when she is at school and how God helps her have a good day.

  • Meet Kendall Miller! 

    A father. An IT manager at Look Trailers. A winemaker. A lover of Blues, Jazz, and Classical music. And celebrating his 1st anniversary next Sunday (10/8) to his long time friend, Susi. 

    Kendall is a Mennonite turned Methodist turned Lutheran. He started attending our outdoor service at Faith during the summer of 2016 and wondered why he hadn’t been Lutheran his entire life. “I found Faith to be a welcoming church with beliefs that parallel my own beliefs. The more I learn about the Lutheran faith the more I realize how closely it aligns with my own inherent views.” 

    Kendal is an active participant at Pint with a Pastor, our Wednesday Night Live adult class, and worshipping at our 8:15 am service on Greene Rd. His favorite thing about Faith is the energy of the pastoral team, as well as the good balance of their personalties. “Faith is a welcoming church that does a nice job of providing opportunities for all members to participate in various aspects of church life.”

Faith Mapping

“People of God, do you promise to support (name of person being baptized) and pray for them in their new life in Christ?”

In baptism, not only are the parents asked if they will pass on their faith to their child but the congregation is also asked if they will be an active part in the life of the person being baptized; to support them and pass on faith to those being baptized. Enthusiastically, the congregation response, “We do.” But what exactly does it mean to “promise to support” them? 

That’s where Faith Mapping comes into play. Faith Mapping is a ministry approach that I have been learning about over the past year that I am beginning to implement at Faith Lutheran this coming Saturday, September 23, with our elementary aged youth and their parents. But Faith Mapping isn’t just for youth and their parents its for all of us, the whole congregation, as we support all of God’s baptized children. 

So what is Faith Mapping? Faith Mapping is taking an intentional look at connecting youth to faith through relationships with those in our Faith community. It is relational ministry at its fullest. The idea behind Faith Mapping is a much deeper and more purposeful approach to connecting youth to church then simply sending them to Christian Education times or youth group. Research in youth ministry shows that the more youth build relationships within the church the more likely they are to stay engaged in the church. Faith Mapping helps to intentionally build those relationships in a youth’s life by filling the relationship voids in their life with church members of all ages. These relationship are not accidentally; they are prayerful, purposively, and intentional sought, built, and sustained. In Faith Mapping we deliberately identify those relationship voids and then aim to fill those relationship needs with loving, caring people from within the congregation. The church then becomes a place of deep meaningful relationships, that both youth and adults what to nurture because they know and show the love and care of Jesus. 

Now you may be asking yourself, if Faith Mapping is about connecting youth with adults and building relationships, what is Pastor Jes going to ask of me? I am asking you to be yourself. Simple as that… well and to have a willingness to be connected with youth and other members of all ages. Faith Mapping is all about relationships, building intentional relationships. So I might intentionally connect you with a youth based on interests you might have: gardening, quilting, fishing, golfing, cooking, etc. Or I may intentionally ask you to keep an eye out for youth in worship and be sure to greet them with a simple hand shake, high five, or hug and “It was good to see you today. Have a good week!” Or I may ask you to attend a youth event simply to be present and build relationships with our youth. You don't have to plan the event or even lead it, that is my job; your job is simply to participate with them in the activity. 

Faith Mapping is about relationship building that brings the whole community together so that together we learn and serve, pray and worship, walk with each other in celebrations and sadness, and love each other as God loves us. If you are interested in knowing more about Faith Mapping or want to make your own Faith Map, join us this Saturday, September 23 at 1:00 pm on Greene Rd, or keep your eyes peeled for additional Faith Mapping events coming this year. 

May God’s love fill you+ 

Pastor Jes


Meet Pastor John. 

Pastor John doesn’t eat veggies. Like, ever. 

Pastor John and his family began ordering from those cook at home meal programs and he made a promise to follow the recipe as written and try each meal.

All meals include those pesky green veggies he doesn’t eat. 

In the past few weeks Pastor John has tried and eaten Spinach, Kale, Green Beans, Snap Peas, and a leaf of lettuce (you read that correctly, a single leaf- we all have to start somewhere). 

Pastor John learned that news things aren’t always as bad as we think they might be… except broccoli (he may have passed on that one). 

Trying new things isn’t always easy… we understand that. With a number of things changing in our worship life as a congregation we do hope that you challenge yourself and one another to try new worship times, new styles and/or new locations to worship this fall. Maybe you will inspire Pastor John to try that dreaded broccoli. 

We hope you can join us for worship this fall beginning September 10

8:15am Traditional w/ spoken liturgy and selected hymns (Greene Road) 

9:30am Traditional w/ sung liturgy, choirs, and hymns (5th and Madison) 

10:00am JAM Christian Education for youth and parents (Greene Road) 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month, toddlers - 5th graders and the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month, Jr High and High School Youth 5th Sundays are service and fellowship times. 

11:00am Contemporary w/ Praise Band (Greene Road)


The Perfect Worship Service

After listening carefully over the past several years, we believe we have finally determined what those who attend church really want in music.  Following are items that come up most frequently whenever this topic is discussed:

  • More fast songs in the opening praise time and more slow songs in the opening praise time
  • More of those wonderful, lovely old hymns and less of those stupid, dead old hymns
  • A longer and shorter time of praise at the beginning of the service, and a shorter and longer time at the end
  • Songs to flow quickly into each other and long periods of time between songs for reflection
  • More repetition of songs so they can be learned and meditated upon while singing, and less repletion of songs because it gets boring singing the same thing over and over
  • More of those lovely arrangements with extra instruments and less of those showy arrangements with all those instruments
  • To sing the good old songs more often and to stop singing those same old songs
  • Songs to be sung in higher and lower keys
  • The band to play in the middle of the platform where they can be seen, back behind the plants where they won’t be a distraction, louder, softer, faster, slower, more often, and not at all

Source: Guiding Your Church Through A Worship Transition

A couple of months ago I received “The Perfect Worship Service” from a friend. As I read through the list I found myself both laughing and crying at how ridiculously true this is within the church. But I found myself continuing to cry as I read this list. Crying out of frustration because I have heard these same statements made here at Faith. Statements shared in hopes of having the “perfect” worship, the “perfect” youth program, the “perfect” Christian Education program , the “perfect” outreach opportunities, and so much more. And as someone who hears these both/and statements that contradict each other, I often find myself wondering how I am to support the ministry of Faith. 

I share this with you to bring to each of our awarenesses that we will never agree on the “perfect” way of doing ministry here at Faith. My personal preferences or wants will not line up with your personal preferences or wants. Which will continue to create these frustrating moments about how to do ministry at Faith. What we need to remember, however, is the reason why we gather, the reason we are a church, the reason we want the “perfect” worship and programing; and that is God. It’s not about whether we worship at the traditional worship services or the contemporary worship services, its about worshiping and giving praise to God. It’s not about if we have Christian Education on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings but it’s about growing deeper in our relationship with God through study. Being the church is about God, about the one who creates all and is in all. It is about strengthening our relationship with God, so that we may know God’s love and grace more fully. It is about serving all of God’s children as God loves and serves us. 

It is my hope and prayer that as we continue to live into being Faith; one church with two locations, that we are aware that we gather for God and not for ourselves. Things will change but why we are the church will not.


Pastor Jes

Thank You

Jane and I want to thank each of you for the unbelievable surprise event that you all planned for us at Faith, and the very generous gift card. 

Our nearly 30 years at Trinity and Faith have been a rich and rewarding experience for us, and our family. Serving in churches, and especially being part of church music programs, has always been a primary focus for Jane and me. Serving as the choir director here in Goshen for 28 years, and overall for 40 years has truly been a blessing to me. We have met such wonderful choir members and organists over the years; we have loved serving in our congregation here and working for such wonderful pastors and staff members. 

I pray that our music over the years has truly been a blessing to all those who have worshiped here. I sincerely appreciate the kind comments that many of you have shared with Janie and me over the years, and especially your wonderful words in the past few weeks, as I announced my retiring from choir directing. 

My work with North Central Co-op, which will become Ceres Solutions Cooperative effective September 1, 2017 as a result of our merger, continues to be a wonderful career that I will continue in the Lafayette, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County areas; I will be transitioning out of my “Michiana” area sales responsibilities over the next few months and we will be eventually moving to Monticello. 

Thank you for your love and friendship, and your appreciation of church music. My special thanks to all of the members of the Sanctuary Choir and to Kay, for all of her support, encouragement and working together. I ask you to continue to pray for our Sanctuary Choir, our wonderful Praise Team, and the Church Council as decisions are made for our future worship services and choir singing. 

I also ask you to pray for New Hope Lutheran Church, where Jane and I are worshiping each Sunday in Monticello. I am donating my time each Sunday as their keyboard player, leading Sunday morning worship each week. This congregation was a mission congregation of Trinity a number of years ago, and we financially supported the congregation each month for a number of years. Pastor Herbon also preached at their sanctuary dedication service. We will continue to pray for Faith Lutheran. We love you all. 

Thank you again. 

Dean & Janie

5 Funerals in 23 Days

5 funerals in 23 days. It doesn't seem like a lot when I put those numbers side by side. Those 23 days have flown by in the midst of grief, pastoral care, planning, and sermonizing leading up to and following the funerals. In the midst of these past three weeks I found myself gazing over all the names etched into the bricks of our memorial gardens, remembering all of the funerals that I have presided over during my 9 years here in Goshen. I thought about the words that some of you have shared with me over these past few weeks, that I have been given a gift to lead funerals. I've been pondering what this means, having a gift to lead funerals. It certainly isn't one of the spiritual gifts listed by Saint Paul in Scripture. It is not a gift I sought out or prepared for. It is actually exhausting, emotionally and physically. While it isn't a gift I asked for, it is one I'm humbled and honored to have. For in these moments it is a chance to proclaim the gospel, through word and deed. That is something I prepared for and feel called to do. But as I continued to reflect on leading funerals it became abundantly clear to me that this is not a calling I share alone. It is one we share together as the church, as the body of Christ. 

Caring for each other in a time of grief is done in so many different ways, through so many different skill sets of gifts of the Spirit. It isn't a moment, but a journey of caring that needs to take place. This isn't something that a single pastor or team of pastors can do alone, but something we as the church are called to do together. So I thank you church, for partnering together to care for one another by   

* Sending Cards

* Holding one another in prayer

* Helping prepare a Funeral Dinners

* Sitting with those at the end of their life so they don't have to die alone

* Reaching out to and spending time with those who are grieving, even years after the death of their loved one

* Sharing memorial gifts in a person's honor

* Laughing together and crying together

* And so much more...

This past week a good friend of mine from seminary's husband committed suicide. My hearts breaks for her and I wish I could be physically present to show my love, prayers, and support for her this weekend at his funeral. However, I will presiding at another funeral here in Goshen and will not be able to make that trip to Washington DC. I will be reminded through the funeral liturgy this weekend of God's presence, both here and in DC and with all who are grieving anywhere. These past few weeks you- the people of God- have reminded me that the presence of the church is present with her to show that love, prayers, and support. I thank you church for sharing in this important ministry together.

In Christ, 

Pastor John   

Thoughts on Synod Assembly

June 18th, 2017

We recently had the joy and privilege to attend the 2017 IK Synod Assembly in Covington KY. “FORMED in the image of God, RE+FORMED by the cross of Christ, TRANSFORMED by the power of the Spirit. . . . for the sake of God’s mission in the world.” This was the theme for the Assembly and is also being used for the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation. It tells us that we are created by God in His image, Re-formed by the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus and transformed by the Holy Spirit so that we can show His love to the world by being His disciples. It’s beautifully expressed in the logo which we hope everyone has a chance to see. 

We were deeply moved by Lutheran worship at its best– the pageantry, liturgy and vibrant music. We saw how blessed we are to have the servant-shepherd leadership of Bishop Gafkjen, the Synod Council (including Pastor Jes who was re-elected) and others who truly love the Church and are dedicated to its mission of being Christ to the world. We were reminded that the offerings given to Synod and the ELCA fuel mission programs like start-up churches, struggling churches, hunger and emergency needs, education, scholarships and so much more. 

The Assembly offered inspiring and insightful speakers, breakouts, and workshops. We’d like to share some stories and thoughts from a few sessions which produced some “aha moments” for us. 

The Grace & Glory Lutheran Church in Goshen, Kentucky saw a need for a food pantry for the 7,000 people in their county who are “food insecure.” They sought out community support for their project and now the pantry feeds over 1,000 people each month. In addition to that outreach, the church partnered with chaplains from Churchill Downs to offer a ministry to impoverished workers on a local farm that cares for race horses. Sound like the work of a mega-church? Grace & Glory has 22 members! 

From the “Faith Walking” breakout session – Today’s church is often making church members, but not disciples. A disciple is an apprentice who will become like the Master. Following Jesus is different than believing in Jesus. People today aren’t looking for a system of beliefs; they are looking for an encounter with the mysterious God. The way of Jesus is a better way to live in the here and now - and not just a ticket to heaven. 

Keynote speaker Richard Rouse spoke on “Transforming Lives” and said that flourishing churches = people who take discipleship seriously and live it out daily. 

It wasn’t all work as you may have seen on Facebook. We enjoyed traveling with Laura Martin and spending time with Pastors John, Jes, Andrea, and Micah too. We saw familiar faces and met many new Lutheran brothers and sisters – and we can’t forget pictures and breakfast with Red Marty! 

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the Assembly. Our prayer is that we will be inspired and led to use some of what we learned to help fulfill our mission of “Partnering Together with God through scripture, sacraments and service”. 

Chuck & Judy Teall

Kathleen Morrical

June 4th, 2017

Hello church family,

As a lifelong member of Faith (Trinity) most of you probably know me, but for those of you that do not, my name is Kathleen Morrical. I am a junior at Huntington University studying psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. What I really want to talk to you about is an opportunity to help support me in my journey to serve God, strengthen my faith, and share God’s love with the girls of India.

This past January I went to the beautiful country of India for 3 weeks with a group of students from my university. Words cannot express how much love and support I received the first time around by family and friends, some of you being in this congregation. My life was forever changed by India. The people we encountered, the stories we heard, and the places we went all helped contribute to my life-changing experience. One of the biggest things we do in India is volunteer at an orphanage called the Home of Love. This orphanage is the home to 125 young girls between the ages of 4 and 18. These girls spend their lives in this orphanage, which seems unappealing to most, but for them it is a little glimpse of heaven. Most of the girls have experienced things I could not possibly imagine happening to myself, yet their joy and happiness is utterly contagious and inspiring. I have never seen strength like I have through these lovely young ladies we spent time with at the Home of Love. We got to hear their stories and helped them grow in their relationship with God. Little did I know that I would also experience a drastic change in my faith too. I grew up in the church all my life, but until this trip I did not realize what it meant to truly have a real relationship with God. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to go to India once, but by the grace of God I have been granted another chance to go back again a second time.

This trip is an opportunity of a lifetime, but does come with a price. The cost of this trip is $3000, which includes all expenses. I know it is a lot to ask for financial support, but I am hoping that you feel the Lord’s calling to help support me on my endeavor.  I understand that it may difficult for everybody to help support me financially, and if that is the case I would appreciate all the prayers and love possible.   I would greatly appreciate any type of support given.  If you wish to donate you may send cash or checks made out to Huntington University (see insert). 

Please join me in helping support my return trip to India. I appreciate and thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.


Kathleen Morrical

If you would like to support Kathleen please send this paper and your donation to:

India Trip 2018

Att: David Alexander

480 Campus St.

Huntington, IN 46750

Because this is a university sponsored event your gift in support of my trip will be tax-deductible. Please do not put my name anywhere on the check or your donation will not be tax-deductible.

Huntington University INDIA

___   I want to pray for this mission trip

   ___   I want to financially support this trip

Name(s): ________________________________________________________

Address:  ________________________________________________________

City:  __________________________________   State: ______  Zip Code:  ___________

Phone:  _____________________________________________

Amount: $__________      (Please make checks payable to Huntington University)

NOTE: Do Not write my name on the memo line of your check

Kathleen Morrical

Wrapped In Love

May 28th, 2017

If you are like me, this Sunday when you are in worship, you might secretly want to not sit in your normal pew but instead choose a seat that has a quilt over the back of the pew.  If you are like me, you may want to take that quilt off the back of your pew and wrap yourself up in it; wrapped in its warmth and love.  You see I love blankets.  I love the feelings that a blanket invokes: a warm embrace, an invisible hug from those who made or gave or offered that blanket, a sense of security. 

I have one blanket in particular that always floods me with these feelings.  It is the blanket that I was given on my ordination day by the Yarns of Love group at my internship site.  Yarns of Love was a group of ladies who gathered each month to knit and crochet blankets and prayer shawls.  Now, this blanket is not the prettiest thing to look at (see picture); in fact, it is downright ugly.  Yet it's not the look of the blanket that draws me back to it time and time again but rather the people who gave it to me and the comfort it provides.  These ladies made me this blanket to remind me that I am never alone in ministry.  It is a blanket that gives me hope.  A blanket that grounds me.  A blanket that wraps me in love.

So when I see the quilts hanging on the back of our pews this week and every year when our Faith Quilters get ready to send their years worth of quilts off to Lutheran World Relief (LWR), I find myself wanting to wrap up in these quilts.  I want to wrap up in them because of the love, care, and prayers that were put into them.  I want to wrap up in them and think about those who will receive them.  Thinking about those who these blankets will shield from the cold and rain, hold them to a mother’s back, and give them a message of hope and love.  Praying for what this quilt will provide for those who receive them for many years to come, just as my ugly blanket has done for me.

The quilts that hang over our pews this Sunday will be among the 50 quilts that the Faith Quilters have made this year to send to LWR on June 2.  Twice a month our ladies and a few from St Paul’s Lutheran in Middlebury- Lois Brumbaugh, Florence Brumbaugh, Sherry Berry, Pat Thatcher, Bonnie McDowell, Judy Teall, Judy Host, Joyce Minnich, and LaVonne Unrue- gather to put together these quilts.  They cut the squares from donated sheets and fabric, sew them with care, and pray over them as they knot them together.  Thanks to the help of Thrivent Action Teams they have been able to purchase batting and supplies for these quilts every year, as well as get a couple of new faces to help them tie the quilts.  I am thankful for the ministry these ladies provide for one another as well as for those who will receive these quilts from Faith.  I am thankful for these quilts and the hands that have made them because through them God is made real.  Join me in offering a blessing for these quilts; for those who give them and those who receive them. 

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the gifts of the Faith Comforters who from start to finish fill these quilts with your love and grace.  We are grateful for the fellowship, laughter, and stories shared as these blankets were made, praying that those who receive them will also be filled with laughter and fellowship, creating their own stories to share.  May these quilts be a sign of God’s love and blessing for each person who receives them.  May they be a source of comfort and hope in the midst of disaster and fear, a shelter from sun and heat, a warm embrace from the cold, a sign of Christ’s love to those who suffer, and a reminder that those who receive them are a beloved child of God and are never alone.  Bless all as we are sewn together in the unity of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Pastor Jes