Loved & Sent
“You are loved more than you can imagine and sent with more purpose than you thought"
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
How would you answer the question, “Who are you?” More than likely it depends on who is asking the question and how you interpret what that person is asking. For example, you may hear “Who are YOU?” as though you are being interrogated. As a result, you might feel the question is rather combative and harsh. But, if you hear it as “Who ARE you?” then, by how you answer that question, you would be getting to the heart of your very identity. Jeff Cloeter, the Senior Pastor of Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri and sixth generation Lutheran pastor, says in his book Loved & Sent, “As Christians, we often stutter when questioned. Who are you?”
It’s interesting, too, how we often try to answer that question. Most of the time, we define ourselves by what we do, be it a job or career; or by relationships we have with others, such as Mom, Dad, brother, sister, son, or daughter. But that’s just it. So often, we derive our identity from ourselves. In an important shift, Pastor Cloeter in his book, encourages us to ground our very identity as being defined by God, outside of ourselves.
And once we’ve gotten a hold of the question Who am I?, we are then able to answer the other more powerful question of Why am I?. What purpose do I have in this life that God has given to me? These questions are at the very root of human existence, and we Christians are actually able to find the answers to these basic and fundamental questions. And the answers, as Pastor Cloeter articulates in his book, are “Loved” and “Sent”. Who are you? One loved by God. Why are you? Sent for God’s purpose.
Beginning on Thursday, June 15th and Sunday, June 18th, we will begin an 8-week sermon series titled Loved & Sent, where we will wrestle with what all this means and how we can apply it to our lives. “You are loved more than you can imagine and sent with more purpose than you thought" is the theme of the book Loved & Sent. We will be using Pastor Cloeter’s book as a guide as we dive into Scripture, exploring what it means to have Christian identity and purpose.
You will be able to purchase your own copy of the book from the church office for $9.00. We are taking orders and have a signup sheet on the cabinet outside the church office. Pastor Gehrke’s copy of the book is on the cabinet for you to preview. Also, there are a few scholarships available for the book, if needed. Please talk with Sally or Pastor Gehrke as you have need.
We would encourage you to read the pages in the book prior to the sermon. You could also attend a Bible study on the Wednesday morning prior to the sermon being preached to discuss the Scripture readings and how they fit with the theme. This would be led by the pastor who is preaching that weekend. In addition, following the sermon on Sunday, he will lead a Bible study in the Fellowship Hall at 11:00 to discuss the "Reflect" questions written in the book. We hope that you have opportunity, as well, to study and discuss this in your homes, small groups, and other Bible studies you attend.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Dan Bodin