Dear Congregational Family,

1. Carlson Update: As you know, we have been struggling through the coronavirus in our household. Sadie and Sam are doing great. Ben has escaped it. Jen and I are fatigued and feel rather miserable, but we are getting better. The most difficult part is not overdoing it during those moments when we feel some strength. Thank you so much for your prayers, cards, texts, emails, supplements, medicine, food, etc. You have been such a blessing to us! We feel greatly cared for by our congregation!

2. Reformation: This Sunday is Reformation Sunday, which this year lands on the exact date – October 31st. Martin Luther was not out “trick or treating” on Halloween that day in 1517, but rather he was posting his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, calling for reform in the Roman Catholic Church. The church had developed the practice of selling indulgences to people as a way for them to gain entrance into heaven. It was a nasty “trick” to say the least. As Luther had re-discovered the clear Scriptural teachings of “salvation by grace alone,” he boldly called the church back to the Word of God, back to grace, back to faith, and back to Christ alone! “All Hallow’s Eve,” or “Halloween” as we call it today, was a perfect day for Luther to call for reform. Since it was the day before All Saints Day, it was the day to remind the church that we are all saints, the “holy ones” of God, because of His grace and forgiveness, not because of our works or good deeds. This is a wonderful day for us to celebrate! It is always a festive time at Ruthfred!

3. “Be still and know that I am God.” Those words from Psalm 46 came to me in the middle of the night as I was feeling anxious about everything that I was unable to do. It is so hard to be “unproductive,” but it can be those times that best remind us that ultimately things do not move forward by our strength anyway, but by the Lord’s hand. Thankfully, God is at work even when we cannot be.

4. Apple & China: Just the other week, Apple removed a popular Bible app by Olive Tree which had over 1 million downloads. The communist dictatorship pressured Apple to remove it as part of their increasing crackdown on Christianity. Unfortunately, in order to retain the Chinese market, Apple was all too eager to comply. There are currently an estimated 100 million Christians in China. May the Lord strengthen them as they face increased suffering and even death.

5. Sermon: Sermon Title: “Offended by God’s Grace”
Sermon Text: Matthew 11:12-19

Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God,

Pastor Carlson