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Final Statistics and Closing Comments from Pastor Andrus

I thought it might be interesting to list a few fifteen year statistics: Baptisms: 154 Funerals: 247 New Members Received: 320 Eagle Pins given by Pastor to Youth: 83   Of course the list doesn’t include visits and various other ministerial functions.  I am ending 47 years of ministry in Wisconsin, and three more in Kentucky, as I served the Lord as an evangelist, and as Pastor of a mission church, supported financially by a U.M. Church near Milwaukee. Upon reading my theological papers, a member of the board of ordained ministry noted that I was poor material for ministry before my ordination.  I didn’t hold a grudge, but did think of that persons opinion, as I received my second Master’s Degree in Evangelism-Church Growth, and as I received the Harry Denman Award, as National Denominational Recognition of Excellence in Evangelism Endeavors.  I also think of it now, as I finish 50 years of faithful service.  Recently an elder in the church said of my fifty years, you are very old, or started very young.  In answer to that question I would have to say both. My longest appointment in ... Read More »

Home

As most of you know, the longest I have ever lived in the same place is the fifteen years I have lived in Fennimore.  But I realize that next month I will move away and in not so many years will only be remembered by a few folks as one of the ministers who served The United Methodist Church in Fennimore.  It makes me ask the question… What Exactly is Home? Home is really not so much a physical place, although many people place much of the emphasis on that.  Actually Home is more a “State of Being.”  Home is a place where you relate and create.  It is a place where you can be yourself, and be free to strive to reach your potential.  It is a place to dream, and laugh and ponder and do.  It is a place where you feel important and needed, and appreciated.  It is a place where you can shed a tear, and dry up someone else’s.  Home is something you mainly feel, and carry around with you, wherever you go.  Home is a place of memories, a place where you know who ... Read More »

Dear To The Heart Of God

Please read-John 3:16 Sometimes we wonder if God really loves us.  There are so many things in life that make us question it.  Disappointment, heartaches, injustices, failures—all sometimes make us doubt the love of God. But when we go to the Bible for an answer to our doubts, the one verse which gives us our assurance, that we are dear to the heart of God, is John 3:16. Martin Luther called this verse the “Little Gospel.”  Well might we write it upon the walls of our minds, engrave it into the innermost precincts of our hearts, and keep it with us in our daily labors. This is the one verse above all others which Christians should commit to memory.  It is our greatest hope. The wonder of this gospel is not that God loved the world, but that God loved it with so great a love, a love which was fully interpreted in the death of an only son.  Through this death we begin to understand God’s great love for us, and begin to see that which can make us whole. Of course mystery shrouds the atonement.  I do not ... Read More »

“Worship, The Way to Power”

Psalm 122:1 states, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the Lord’s house.” Some years ago, I preached a sermon on the theme, “Worship, the Way to Power.” One of my confirmation students, who attended worship regularly, wrote the following outline of the high points of that sermon, as an assignment. I would like to share her observations of that sermon. “Worship, The Way to Power” Main Points:Our appreciation of the value of worship needs to be raised.We look at the time that is spent worshiping as lost time, we need to re-evaluate this idea.No believer can read the old or new testament and not believe that worship is a necessity.Worship causes a change of views which is vital.Views are changed when we worship, from partial to perfect.We must realize that Christ gave himself for us, God really must love us.The act of worship is the deep experience of being in the presence of God.Things are different today than they were yesterday, things will be different tomorrow than they were today.We need the challenge of worship because we haven’t been challenged enough.One of the only ... Read More »

The Lord’s Presence

As we begin the Lenten Season later this month, I pray we will begin to contemplate how important it is for us to truly always be in the Lord’s presence. Many years ago I became acquainted with a very beautiful story. You may be familiar with it also. Even if you are familiar with it, it is worth reading again and again. The author of it is unknown, and I’m not really sure it even had an original title. It is referred to as “Footprints in the Sand.” It goes like this: “One night I dreamed I was walking along a white beach with the Lord, Suddenly across the sky flashed scenes from my life. The expanse of beach seemed to blend with my past. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one set belonged to me, and the other belonged to the Lord. When the last scene of my life had flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. To my astonishment I noticed that many times along the path of my life there was only one set of footprints, and that was ... Read More »

Getting It All Together

Dear Church Family, As I finish my 50th year of ministry, 3 in Kentucky and 47 in Wisconsin, I find myself thinking about many things. My biggest regret in those years has to do with the various people who shut me out of their lives because they didn’t like something I had done or just didn’t like me period. Usually they shut me out by lowering or quitting giving to the church and not coming to worship. These people saw me as the head of the church and shutting me out had to do with undermining the institution. When these people were in the majority, the church ceased to be a family of God. Of course I always have felt that God, and not I, is the head of the church. Undermining the church is only defeating God, and not me. I have always seen myself as temporary, and not permanent, like God is. I will be forgotten, but not God. If I have done anything to encourage people to remember God first, then I was greatly successful. The fact is, that in all those years, I needed people’s encouragement ... Read More »

How Do We See Christmas

“- The Shepherds said to one another, let us go– and see this thing– and when they had seen it-” Luke 2: 15,17 See What? What did those shepherds see that night in Bethlehem’s stable? Did they merely see a poor mother who was forced to make a pile of straw a birthing place, or did they see beyond the manger, and the straw, to the meaning behind the baby’s birth? Simply stated– those shepherds saw Christmas, for Christ is Christmas! What did they see? They saw what was in their hearts to see. That’s true with all of us; we approach every experience of life with our presuppositions, our memories, our prejudices, we see what we bring into the scene with us, and we bring into it what we want to see. Our eyesight depends largely upon our insight. Our reactions tell more about ourselves than they do about an outward event. Our blindness is not because the thing doesn’t exist– not because Christmas is meaningless– but because we haven’t brought the proper insight with us. We only see the things which square with our attitudes and lives, the ... Read More »

Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day, the first of all national holidays to be established in our country, is considered by many to be UNIQUE because it was initiated for the specific purpose of thanking God personally for God’s many blessings. To many Americans, however, “Thanksgiving” is anything BUT THAT. It is largely a day of feasting, football, and festivities; God scarcely rates a few words of grace at the over laden table. Yet I would hope that in every home into which this publication comes there is a more sacred and meaningful celebration. I would hope the giving of thanks is evident every day of the year and not just on the fourth Thursday of November! Of course, the real origin of all thanksgiving goes far back into the ancient world– well beyond the Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 1789). The Old Testament abounds with references to harvest festivals and other special times of thanksgiving: People have always been thankful to God. I suppose Thanksgiving Day means something a little bit different to each one of us, but certainly we would all agree that “Thanksgiving” is more an attitude of the heart than an ... Read More »

CONNECTIONAL or CONGREGATIONAL? WHY PAY OUR CONFERENCE APPORTIONMENTS?

In the United Methodist Churches I have served in Wisconsin, over the last forty six and one-fourth years, I have always had many questions about the importance of paying our conference obligations. At times I have had some parishioners who did not see our connectional obligations as a needed part of our ministry, some referred to it as a tax and saw the conference in the same light as theI.R.S. The fact that some members didn’t seem to care whether the conference obligations were paid or not always indicated a great lack of understanding of the heritage, and present make-up of our denomination, in a ministerial sense. Many of those folks seemed to be determined to remain ignorant of how our conference apportionments are distributed and handled. The best place to start in supplying a rationale for conference apportionments would be to look at our own United Methodist Heritage. Our denomination has always had a strong belief in the values of the connectional system. Simply stated, many congregations working together can make a much greater impact in the world, through various ministries, than could one single congregation. The problem some ... Read More »

A LIFE OR DEATH MATTER

In June, I observed the end of forty six years as a pastor serving churches in Wisconsin, plus 3 years in Kentucky. In those years I have observed various approaches, that lay persons take to ministry, and church activities. Indeed perhaps those two phrases can work together or be opposites. Perhaps we need to ask the question, as to whether or not, all our church activities are really ministry or not. As I began my 50th year in ministry, in July, I truly believe that ALL church activities should lead us into some form of ministry with and to PEOPLE. If we approach church activities with selfish motives and personal ambitions, true ministry seems to be lost. If we seek power or authority for ourselves in church activities, again, ministry will be lost. Selfish motives always lead to dissension and division within the church. This in turn causes the church to be weakened and if intensified can lead to both numerical and spiritual death. At the Congress on Evangelism that I attended in Chicago some years ago, I was impressed in a very deep way with the Bible Study that ... Read More »

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