Trust in Your Storm-stilling Savior


 We all have bad days.  Maybe you can identify with this worker in one of my all-time favorite stories:


“I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number 3 of the accident reporting form, I put, “Poor Planning”, as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient:


I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a ten-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them to the ground in a barrel by using a pulley which, fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the tenth floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went back to the roof, loaded the 500 pounds of bricks, then went back down to the ground and untied the rope…..holding it tightly to insure the slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. (You will note in block 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 135 pounds). Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forget to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone. I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were 2 knuckles deep in the pulley.


Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately this same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground, and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 30 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11 of the accident reporting form. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the fifth floor, I met that barrel coming up again! This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations of my legs and lower body. The second encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks, and fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks — in pain and unable to stand — watching the empty barrel ten stories above me — I again lost my presence of mind — I LET GO OF THE ROPE.”


     Why is it that life doesn’t come easy, especially when we are trying to do the right things? Why do tribulations come?  Why are there hard circumstances?  Why do we have to face difficult problems?  Why don’t the storms of life only come to those who are doing evil?  Why do they come down on us Christians as well?

     The fact is, difficulties come to everyone. Even Jesus had to face life’s storms. Our sermon text today, of course, speaks about  a literal storm. But there were many other kinds as well with which Jesus had to deal.  Facing life as a man was a storm in itself.   But He was also caught in the storm of temptation by the Devil in the wilderness. He endured the storm of being rejected by everyone at one time or another.   While dying for the world’s sin on the Cross, even God the Father turned His back on His Son, our Savior.  He also faced the storm of betrayal by Judas, of abuse in Gethsemane, and especially the storm of his innocent death and burial in the tomb.  

     Storms come to all of us as well.    Perhaps today, as we study, contemplate and apply some very appropriate portions of God’s Word, we’ll come to a better understanding and even – perhaps – a better appreciation of the storms that God allows to come our way in life….always to bless us (even though it often doesn’t seem that way while those storms are blowing), and to accomplish His will for our good and His glory.

     Storms are always brewing here among us at Grace, aren’t they?…and they always will on this side of heaven.   These storms can threaten to destroy our congregation, our families, and even our immortal souls.   Perhaps some  have come here this morning who are at this very minute in the middle of one of those monster storms.   Those of us who are not battling the waves and winds right now have probably been in rough waters before – most of us more than once!   And it’s quite likely that all of us will face a big storm, if not more than one, somewhere in our future.   What a precious thing it is for us this morning, then, to have the opportunity through our Sermon to study the beautiful and encouraging story of Jesus calming both the storm…and His disciples’ fears.    You see, my brothers and sisters, that story teaches us that Jesus is also your Storm-Stiller and mine, too.   We need – (and we do have!) – His divine protection and His assuring promises every bit as much today as His disciples did in that boat on the Sea of Galilee nearly twenty centuries ago.    By His grace you and I have the blessed assurance that, just as our Savior has delivered us from being shipwrecked in our sins through His death and resurrection for us even so, Jesus will protect us from every other peril and problem in life….guarding and guiding us through life until we safely reach heaven’s eternal shore.

     In addition to studying the words of our Sermon Text….. as we mine the gems of God’s Word this morning, we’ll join the Psalmist, through the words of Psalm 42, in longing for and receiving God’s relief from life’s storms and disappointments, as well as the problems and perils we endure as His children on earth.  This Psalm, along with today’s other Scripture readings, has been selected to remind and encourage us that our LORD is always watching over, guiding, and defending His people.  Let’s never forget that!

     Israel learned that in dramatic fashion at the beginning of its exodus from Egypt.   In our Old Testament Lesson we’ll hear how God ushered Israel to safety (displaying His almighty power) by miraculously parting the Red Sea before them, and then delivering them from Pharaoh’s pursuing army by drowning it in the returning waters of the Sea.  

     Through our Epistle Lesson the Apostle Paul will share with us his confidence in the Lord as the One Who can and Who does safeguard His children and comfort them in all their troubles.  He also talks about how sufferings that he endured for the sake of the Gospel while serving as a missionary in Asia taught him to rely on God, not himself, in his troubles.      

     This morning’s Gospel Lesson is the account of Jesus’ walking on the waters of Galilee.   Into every life come the “turbulent storms” of adversity and temptation, but as long as we keep our eyes of faith focused on Jesus as our Protector, we don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone.  At the side of our Savior we can and will “sail” through all the storms life until we land safely on that heavenly shore. 

     In addition, this morning’s Children’s Lesson presents us with yet another miracle – when, in the days of Joshua and Israel’s conquest of Canaan,  the LORD caused the sun to “stand still” so that the army of Israel could enjoy sufficient daylight to achieve a military victory over an enemy.    We’ll remind ourselves that this same miracle-working power of God is at work in our lives every day to protect us and provide for us.  




Pre-Service Prayer 

Lord Jesus, though but two or three   In Your dear name assembled be,

You will among them show Your face   And bless them with Your saving grace.


In Your dear name again we meet    And worship humbly at Your feet;

You will Your gracious Word fulfill   And cheer us with Your presence still.


Jesus, from Whom all blessings flow  Your peace and comfort now bestow;

Abide with us till life is o’er  And keep us Yours forevermore.     Amen.




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831


Prayer upon entering the sanctuary

Pre-service Music

Pre-Service Hymn Singing, beginning at 9:25 a.m.


We Praise Our God


Welcome and Introduction to Worship


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son,  and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.


The Psalm for Today                                                                                                  Psalm 42, selected verses


P:  As a doe pants for streams of water,

C: So my soul pants for You, O God.


P:  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.   When can I go and appear before God?

C: My tears have been food for me day and night,   +   while people are saying to me all day, “Where is your God?”


P:  I am overcome by my emotions when I remember these things:

C: how I used to arrive with the crowd, as I led the procession to the house of God,   +   with loud shouts of thanksgiving, + with the crowd celebrating the festival.


P:  Why are you depressed, O my soul? +  Why so disturbed within me?

C: Hope in God, for I will again praise Him + for salvation from His presence.


P:  By day the LORD commands His mercy.

C: and at night His song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.


P:  Why are you so depressed, O my soul?   Why so disturbed within me?

C: Hope in God,   +   for I will again praise Him,   +   for my salvation from the face of my God.



After which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                                            “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”

sung to the melody of “Ode to Joy”

Joyful, joyful we adore You,   God of glory, God of love!

Heav’n and earth bow down before You,     Praising You, our Lord above.

You our Father,   Christ our Savior,    With the Spirit faith provides,

Life eternal we’ve been granted, gracious gift that e’er abides.


You are giving and forgiving,      Ever glorious, Ever blest.

Source of every kind of blessing,    Giver of eternal rest.

You have claimed us as Your children      Heaven’s heirs through faith alone –

In the Rock of our salvation,   Jesus Christ, our Lord, Your Son.


Lord, receive our prayers and praises,    weak and humble though they be.

Yours the power, Yours the glory,   Both today and endlessly.

None beside You, None before You, God of mercy, full and free.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ever blessed Trinity.


After which the Congregation will rise


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor            Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and  action.   This is something that ought to be daily part of our spiritual lives, and should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent.    But we

 should especially do this when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.  Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.


Congregation       Miserable person that I am,   +   I confess and lament  to You, O most holy God,  +   that I  am a weak and sinful creature,  +  guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy. +   I also confess that Your Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.   +   I hear it, but do

 not receive it earnestly.   +   I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.   +   I am full of anger, hate, and envy.   +   I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.   +   Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.   +   Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins,   +   strengthen my faith,   +   and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word,  +   that I may obtain Your promised grace.


Pastor            Having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, now be strengthened in your  faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from

 Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, rest assured that your sins have been fully covered by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ your Savior.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.  

                 In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!


The Congregation responds                                                                          “All Glory Be To God On High”

                                                                               sung to the melody of “Almighty Father, Strong To Save”


All glory be to God on high!   We praise, we thank, we glorify,

And worship You, Who gives earth peace     Whose love and favor never cease.

Lord God, our King, on heaven’s throne,  Our Father, the Almighty One.


O Lord, the Sole-begotten One     Lord Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,

O Lamb of God, You take away  The sin of all,   now hear us pray.

You rule at God’s right hand this day,     Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.


You only are the Holy One    O’er all things You are Lord alone.

O Jesus Christ, we glorify  You only as the Lord Most High,

Who with the Spirit e’er shall be    One in the Father’s majesty.     Amen.


Our Prayer for This Morning                                                                                                                           


O Lord, my Almighty, Ever-Forgiving, Always-Faithful Father in heaven …..    +   Every day I’m confronted by so many challenges   +   and contend with crosses that cause my heart to ache.   + Some of these difficulties are simply the result of living in a sinful world.   +   Others are self-inflicted – the result of following my sinful desires   +   or of trying to solve my own problems…… instead of relying upon You for comfort and deliverance.    +   Still others are blessings in disguise;   +   ….I know that by faith, +   even if, at times, my human reason struggles   +    to see Your blessings in what seem to be my burdens.   +    As I meditate on Your Word this morning,  +  increase my feeble faith in You  +  that I might turn to You more confidently  +  in all my trials and troubles.  +  Graciously grant me Your continued divine protection  + and an ever-increasing faith in You   +   so that I might be sure of Your perfect support   +  in every difficulty, and through all my temptations and problems.  +  This I humbly ask in the name of Jesus Christ,  +  Your Son, my Lord,  +  Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,  + as the one, true God  —  now and forever.  +   Amen.


After which the Congregation may be seated as


We Hear God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                     Exodus 14:21-31


21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all night long the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned the sea into dry land. The waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the middle of the sea on dry ground. The waters were like a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all of Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his charioteers went after them into the middle of the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud. Then he confused the Egyptian forces. 25 He jammed[c] their chariot wheels, and they had difficulty driving them. The Egyptians said, “We must flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!”


26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their charioteers.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea returned to its normal place. While the Egyptians were fleeing from it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the middle of the sea. 28 The waters came back and covered the chariots and the charioteers, the entire army of Pharaoh that went into the sea after the Israelites. Not even one of them survived.


29 But the Israelites went through the middle of the sea on dry land, and the waters were like a wall for them on their right and on their left. 30 On that day the Lord saved Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the mighty hand which the Lord put into action against the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                          II Corinthians 1:3-11


3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our trouble, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. 6 If we are troubled, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you the ability to endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 7 Our hope for you is sure, since we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so you also share in our comfort.


8 Brothers, we do not want you to be unaware of the trouble that happened to us in the province of Asia. We were burdened so greatly, so far beyond our ability to bear it, that we even gave up hope of living. 9 Yes, we even felt the sentence of death within ourselves. This happened so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead. 10 He rescued us from such a terrible death, and he will continue to rescue us. We have set our hope on him that he will also rescue us again, 11 as you join in helping us with your prayers for us. Then many people will thank God for the gracious gift given to us through many prayers.


after which, the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                               Matthew 14:22-33


22 Immediately Jesus urged the disciples to get into the boat and to go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed the crowd, he went up onto the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. 24 By then the boat was quite a distance from shore, being pounded by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 In the fourth watch of the night,[a] Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified and cried out in fear, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once, saying, “Take heart! It is I! Do not be afraid.”


28 Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”


29 Jesus said, “Come!”


Peter stepped down from the boat, walked on the water, and went toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind, he was afraid. As he began to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”


31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God!”



The Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the Virgin Mary;   Suffered under Pontius Pilate;           Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;   He ascended into heaven And sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost;  The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;   The forgiveness of sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting.  Amen.


The Congregation will now be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                               Joshua 10:8-14


                 8 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because I have given them into your hand. Not a man among them will be able to stand in your presence.”

                 9 So Joshua came upon them unexpectedly by marching up from Gilgal all night. 10 The Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, and he struck a powerful blow against them at Gibeon. Then he chased them on the road that goes up to Beth Horon, and he struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 While they were fleeing from Israel on the descent from Beth Horon, the Lord hurled large stones from the heavens on them all the way to Azekah. So they died. Those who died from the hailstones were many more than those whom the Israelites killed by the sword.

                 12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day that the Lord gave the Amorites into the power of Israel ?when he struck them down at Gibeon, and they were struck down before the people of Israel?. He said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, rest at Gibeon.  Moon, rest at the Valley of Aijalon.”

                 13 The sun rested, and the moon stood still until a nation could avenge itself on its enemies.    Is this not

written in the Book of Jashar?  The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has never been a day like that day either before it or after it, a day when the Lord listened to the voice of a man, for the Lord was fighting for Israel. 


The Lesson Behind the Miracle of the Stopped Sun




The Hymn of the Day                                                                            Hymn 433   “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”


1 Jesus, Savior, pilot me   Over life’s tempestuous sea;

Unknown waves before me roll,   Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal.

Chart and compass come from thee:   Jesus, Savior, pilot me.


2 As a mother stills her child,    Thou canst hush the ocean wild.

Boist’rous waves obey thy will    When thou say’st to them, “Be still!”

Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea,   Jesus, Savior, pilot me.


3 When at last I near the shore    And the fearful breakers roar

‘Twixt me and the peaceful rest,   Then, while leaning on thy breast,

May I hear thee say to me,   “Fear not! I will pilot thee.”



The Pre-Sermon Salutation


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord!   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  Amen.


The Sermon Text                                                                                                                         Mark 4:35-41


35 On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side.” 36 After leaving the crowd behind, the disciples took him along in the boat, just as he was. Other small boats also followed him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves were splashing into the boat, so that the boat was quickly filling up. 38 Jesus himself was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. They woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to drown?”  39 Then he got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” The wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still lack faith?”  41 They were filled with awe and said to one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”


Trust in Your Storm-stilling Savior

Following the sermon the Congregation will rise for


The Post-Sermon Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, now encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.

We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745);   or

2) You can donate on our website:

the Congregation will please rise as the offerings are brought to the altar


Our Prayers to the Lord

Today’s Special Prayers

Included in our Prayers today:

Intercessory Prayers for

Chris Merritt, who remains hospitalized in Minnesota due to Covid.  for

Dan Beck, who is contending with pancreatic cancer;  also for

Ralph Terrian, who is recovering from hand surgery earlier this week  for

Lesa Roe, who is recovering from knee surgery;   and for

Amy Bruns, who recovering from a broken knee;   AND



Today’s General Prayer


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, Who art in heaven,  +   Hallowed be Thy name;   +   Thy Kingdom come;   +  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven;   +  Give us this day our daily bread;   +   and forgive us  our trespasses,  as we forgive those who trespass against us;   +  and lead us not into temptation;   +   but deliver us from evil;    +   for Thine is the Kingdom,  and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.  +   Amen.



We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction  


The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The LORD look upon you with favor, and give you His peace.  Amen.

The Closing Hymn                                                                                            Hymn 369 “Beautiful Savior”


1 Beautiful Savior,   King of creation,   Son of God and Son of Man!

Truly I’d love thee,    Truly I’d serve thee,   Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown. 


2 Fair are the meadows,    Fair are the woodlands,   Robed in flow’rs of blooming spring;   

Jesus is fairer,   Jesus is purer;   He makes our sorr’wing spirit sing.


3 Fair is the sunshine,    Fair is the moonlight,   Bright the sparkling stars on high; 

Jesus shines brighter,   Jesus shines purer,    Than all the angels in the sky.


4 Beautiful Savior,    Lord of the nations,    Son of God and Son of Man!


Glory and honor,    Praise, adoration,    Now and forevermore be thine!


Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-service Music    




This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


Today       Pre-Service Hymn Singing, 9:25 a.m.                                          Morning Worship Service, at 9:30 a.m.

                                                                                                                                         Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m.                    Bible Class  – 11:05 a.m.    

                             Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

     Tuesday          Morning Bible Class, 10:30 to noon

     Wednesday    Evening Bible Classes, 6 to 7:15 p.m.

     Saturday         Outreach Visitation, meeting at church at 10:00 a.m.

                             Sunday                       Morning Worship Service,  9:30 a.m.         Fellowship, 10:40 a.m.       Bible Class  – 11:05 a.m.                                                                                                        

                                         Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.


This Past Week at Grace     Worship Attendance: 28      Communed: 23    (Online: 33)          

Bible Class: 19 (online: 8)        Tuesday Bible Class: 14      Budgetary Offerings: $1146     Online: $90.71

Serving Us Next Sunday (2-09)                                                                    

Elders:   Steve Stone, Vic Walker         Ushers: John Luedtke, Pat Quinlan, Ben Quinlan                Altar Guild:   Marilyn Outlaw, Linda Winnat

Birthdays This Week:           Jan 26 Craig Laine;      Jan 27 Tony Hoyord;          Jan 29 – Becca Johannes


This Week’s Bible Classes         In Bible Class today we’ll be studying I Corinthians 12, which is the beginning of a 3 chapter discussion dealing with Spiritual gifts.           Tuesday, from 10:30-11:30 am, we’ll study 2 Kings 19-20, dealing with the story of Judah’s King Hezekiah.    Wednesday, from 6-7 p.m. we’ll offer two Bible classes, one for men, the other for women    Our men’s class is studying in the book of Psalms  – specifically this week, we’re studying  the Imprecatory Psalms.    Our women’s class will begin a study of the book of  Hosea.  


January 30 Voters’ Meeting   ….  In place of our Bible Class on Sunday, January 30th, we’ll hold our quarterly voters’ meeting.   In addition to the usual reports and other church business matters, we will be dealing with a recommendation from both our Board of Education and Church Council to discontinue school operations for Grace Lutheran Academy, effective at the end of the current school year.   As this Covid pandemic has affected negatively our Sunday morning, and overall church participation, so it has adversely affected our pre-school and grade school operations.   School enrollment and revenue has not been close to what is needed for a sustainable ministry.   It is with reluctance, and sadness, but also with a realization that we are at a crossroads, that this recommendation comes to our voters.   Your participation is encouraged and needed as we discuss our current and future ministry.