All Members, Winter Residents, Family and Friends,

          Good afternoon!  It was certainly good to see that brief rain we had this afternoon.  It was a good shower, but we need so much more. 

          Susan hosted her 31st year end Trinity Tots program and sent off 22 VPK students to kindergarten.  Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends literally packed our sanctuary.  Had to bring in chairs from the office for some late commers to sit down.  The program was once again an outstanding culmination to many months of preparation.  The final day of school is Thursday, then it is SCHOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER!  But not for long as our summer program begins very soon.  Thank you Teachers, staff and volunteers (Steve and Betty) for making this a great success. 

          On Saturday the Men’s Breakfast group will be meeting at Oscar’s Kitchen in Placid Lakes.  Here is their page with phone, menu and their address which is 1979 Placid Lakes Blvd, Lake Placid, FL, United States, 33852 Click this link for more information . . .(1) Oscar’s Kitchen | Lake Placid FL | Facebook

          Susan and I have been there several times and always had a great meal and good service. 

          Please do not forget that we have a congregational meeting Sunday after church for the purpose of election of a Chair for the Board of Trustees, Norm Church; Financial Secretary, Sandy Rybacki; and Treasurer Pam Bradshaw.  We will also be ask the congregation ratify the 3 church policies attached to this email for the final time.  All members are invited to attend. 

          This Sunday is also Pentecost Sunday!  We request that you if possible wear RED on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of the church. 

It should be a bright, lively service with everyone wearing red and uplifting music! 

          I have attached my sermon for this coming Sunday!

There are several issues that as a Pastor I struggle with as I look around at the world here in the 21st century.  One such issue simply put is this.  The Bible tells us we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth. The early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). We should follow that example of devotion—and to the same things. Back then, they had no designated church building, but “every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). Wherever the meeting takes place, believers thrive on fellowship with other believers and the teaching of God’s Word.

Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion”; it is God’s will for believers. Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not [be] giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Even in the early church, some were falling into the bad habit of not meeting with other believers.  Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honor one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).

For a church body to function properly, all of its “body parts” need to be present and working (1 Corinthians 12:14–20). It’s not enough to just attend a church; we should be involved in some type of ministry to others, using the spiritual gifts God has given us (Ephesians 4:11–13). For these reasons and more, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer's life. Weekly church attendance is in no sense “required” for believers, but someone who belongs to Christ should have a desire to worship God, receive His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

I am fully aware of the argument that belonging to a church does not guarantee that you are going to heaven. Going to church does not guarantee your salvation, but by being part of a regular fellowship helps to shape and strengthen your faith by participating in the fellowship of believers.  It is important to note that the church is a community of believers who come together to worship and learn about God. It provides an opportunity for people to grow in their faith and develop a deeper relationship with God and with the people around them.  Church takes us from behind out screens, phone screens, computer screens, tv screens and encourages us to have conversation with others in our family and our friends. 

To put this in a bit of perspective 25 years ago the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod had 2.5 million members.  Today we are hoping that we have l.5 million members.  We lost one million members in 25 years and the LCMS is not the only major church body seeing people walk away.  Recently I saw and idea that simply stated, “A company can mess up your order or orders 100 times, but you keep going back.  But if the church makes in your opinion one or two mistakes you are out the door and on the next church.”  Wow!  How true is that!  Just think if God did that to us every time we messed up, just walked away.  Instead He says you are forgiven.  How quick are you to forgive and come back to God?  Think about it. 


Rev. Richard A. Norris

Trinity Lutheran Church

25 Lakeview Street

Lake Placid, Florida 33852

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