Tag Archive: Community

God’s Righteousness and Justice



 This weekend we talked about justice. Here is an excerpt from one of our publications concerning a woman who has a deep passion for justice.

Clementine Karl, a professed “not your typical prototype” Lutheran, grew up in the Catholic Church talks about a deep restlessness that gnawed within her heart.

As a teenager at Johnston High School, she wanted to see Christians passionately making a difference in the world. “Shouldn’t it be part of Christianity to want the hungry to eat?” she says.

With her purple Mohawk hair, she started searching other churches, only to find out that she was “too rebellious, not okay, too passionate and just way too weird.”

At that time, she gave up on God.

But the deep yearning to do something more, kept springing up, so she pursued studies in psychology/philosophy and women’s studies from Drake University. In her junior year, she traveled to Guatemala and Honduras for an international study on law, politics and society. There she found a ministry of Christians who were literally walking around the countryside looking for widows to help.

Since social justice is a great passion of Clementine’s and one of the reasons she came to faith, Clementine soon became enthralled with these Christians because they were the only game in town helping these families and calling out the injustices occurring from the government and the large-coffee plantations.

“It was an amazing mission to see,” says Clementine. “It changed my mind about Christians.”

Out of admiration for their mission of “pulling thousands out of poverty,” Clementine started to attend their worship services and began to discover God through a different lens.

In recent months, she has led an online study on “Generous Justice,” by Timothy Keller. If you are interested in studying this with her in the fall, please contact her at clementinekarl@gmail.com.

Not a familiar topic

Justice? The church’s responsibility toward those inequities in life is something we don’t talk about much. But should we? And if so, what is our responsibility to the poor, to the hungry, to the homeless. And what should be our motivation? There’s some answers to these question in this video.*

We believe that the church has a responsiblity as well as the privilege to help “the least of these.” So, as a church, we are searching for opportunities where we can collectively become involved. Here is what we have so far:

  •  Dorothy’s House
    There is a house that is being renovated to help restore healing to these girls. They need people who will help with construction.
  • Joppa Outreach (118 S.E. 4th Street, Suite 120, Des Moines, IA 50309 | 288-5699)
    Gloria Dei is adopting every fifth Sunday of the year (four times a year). We will visit the homeless, listen to their stories, give out meals, laugh (and cry) with them. We will have our first church-wide Joppa outreach on Sunday, August 31 from 12:30-4 p.m.  Joppa Outreach

  • Meals from the Heartland on August 27-30
    Meals from the Heartland (http://mealsfromtheheartland.org)  It is not too late to sign up to be on a two-hour team: Gloria Dei is organizing teams to help package food August 27-30. Our goal is to provide 120 volunteers.

  • Human Trafficking
    Attend a meeting on Saturday, August 23 from 9-10:30 a.m. WestKirk Presbyterian Church, 2700 Colby Woods Drive, Urbandale, Iowa 50322
    Learn from others who are helping the victims of sex trafficking.
  •  Prayer Nights
    We want to immerse ourselves in prayer for all the victims, the perpetrators, as well as all the efforts to combat this wickedness.
  •  Adopt a Truck Stop (http://www.truckersagainsttrafficking.orgPlan to attend this training on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 8301 Aurora Ave., Urbandale, IA. We will use the materials from an organization called Truckers Against Trafficking. At the end of the presentation, you will have the opportunity to select a truck stop and submit a short application to this organization. They  will then send you the needed material to proceed with partnering with a truck stop.

Want to join us? Sign up at the display in the Narthex or the FLC or contact probarge@gloriadeionline.com.

*(If the video does not appear, check out https://gloriadeionline.com/message/his-hand-our-feet/his-hand-righteousness-and-justice)



Two Mission Trips

We are excited to send two teams out to serve our nation and world. Please keep both teams in your prayers and visit our Facebook page next week to see new photos and updates. 

The Youth Mission Trip

This Saturday, June 15, eight teens and two adults are loading up a 15-passenger van with sleeping bags, and suitcases as well as construction tools, and heading to Racine, Wisconsin. This week-long mission trip, sponsored by Group work camps, will be aimed at repairing homes for individuals and families in need while encouraging more than 400 teens to experience the power of this week-long faith community.

Lodging in a high school, the teens will begin each day with breakfast, devotions and a morning program that will help them learn the week’s theme: “What do you stand for?” They will then be divided into work groups with complete strangers and given a specific construction assignment. The work can include painting, constructing ramps, fixing porches and other simple repairs. The goal is to get the work done by building strong and working relationships with each other and those they serve. They are encouraged to work hard and love each other the way that Christ loves them.

tkFor Tim Kightlinger, Director of Youth Ministry, this is the sixth work camp that he has worked on with the youth from Gloria Dei. In fact, he says  this is one of his favorite parts of his job in the summer. “I am excited to see how God changes the lives and faith of the teens. It’s just cool to see them as they say “I get it now. Jesus became real to me this week.”

So as you think about the youth this week, please keep them in your prayers. And while you are at it, please keep the other teens, adults and those they serve in your prayers. Lots of hammers, organization, skill, supplies, laughter, and unity will be needed to make the week a life-changing experience for all.

This year’s team consists of: Ryan Dueker, Hailey Kromminga, Natalie Larimer, Jonas Dierenfield, Alex Snyder, Sam Hainline, Carly Kinning, Rae Gathercole, Lauren Snyder and Tim Kightlinger

Honduras Mission Trip

The Gloria Dei Honduras mission team will gather at 3 a.m. on Saturday, June 15 to begin their journey to provide construction, evangelism, children’s ministry and general medical, dental and pharmaceutical services to those in Honduras. The 14-member team will also transport six bins and one duffel bag of donated medical supplies, as well as a chiropractic table. They will fly out of Des Moines and arrive in Honduras late Saturday afternoon.

And they are excited.

tpPastor Tim Phillips, shares in their excitement.

“We have a great team, lots of great people,” says Pastor Phillips. “I am looking forward to building and establishing relationships with the team and the people that we will meet.”

Traveling to Honduras is not a new experience for Pastor Tim Phillips. He has been working in Honduras with World Gospel Outreach (WGO) for 18 years. “It is so great to see the impact a mission trip has on the team. I especially enjoy seeing how people experience their first trip. It is exciting to watch!”

This year’s team consists of: Eric Bass, Jody Bass, Adam Bognar, Pamela Calaway, Jamison Dierenfield, Randy Dierenfield, Kara Ganzer, Jane Lamfers, Kim Phillips, Pastor Tim Phillips, Paulette Ritter, Gary Wasko, Kristine Wasko and Melissa Woodruff.

To read about WGO mission.

Building a Community of Character: Citizenship

Pastor Phil concludes the message series on Building a Community of Character. The sixth pillar is Citizenship. It is difficult to try to figure out what it means to be a good citizen. We hold dual citizenship; as we are part of God’s kingdom we are a citizen there, but as travelers of this world we are also citizens here. Even though you may long to be at home with God, he has you in this place for a reason. Our purpose here isn’t just to defy authority, be ruthless rebels and blend in with everyone else. Or even on the opposite side to be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. God has put the governments of the world in place to provide order in our world.

So what did that look like in Jesus’ day? Jesus said to give to Caesar what is his. In other words, do what the rulers over us prescribe as long as they do not force us to go against God’s Word. Even Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary followed the authorities’ instructions on returning to Bethlehem for the census. The Apostle Peter reminds us to obey the authorities that are over us. So today, we have a Christian responsibility to be good citizens, supporting our government and our communities.

What does a good Christian citizen do to uphold that responsibility?

As you hold dual citizenship both in the place you live and as God’s chosen child, what are the blessings that come with that? What are some of the challenges of having dual citizenship? Leave your comments here or on our Facebook page. Thanks!

Who really cares?

“I don’t care,” has become a common phrase heard throughout our world. It may be for something as simple as what do you want for dinner or as big as defaming a person’s character and not caring. There is an anonymous quote that says, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy. Apathy is when you would do nothing for someone. Love is when you would do anything.” The biggest problem in our world today is that more and more people care less and less about anything.

What has led us to the point that we could care less about anything? What has caused a whole generation to lose compassion?

Apathy and indifference are two terms that are used when talking about our problems. These words are related but exactly the same. Both of these words can mean lack of interest, but apathy has a deeper element. It can mean to suppress passion or emotion. You may have experienced stepping into a room full of people and trying to figure out the crowd so that you will fit in. So there you are standing in the room, thinking about how you can act or change to fit in. Apathy leads people to disregard what they care about because they want to fit in.

There has to be a better way to operate. There must be some way that we can start to break away from cynicism, apathy and indifference. Christians must look to Jesus the author and perfector of our faith.

Jesus often times looks around and has compassion on people. Compassion is caring in action. It takes caring to the next step. You see something wrong and then you do something to correct it. Jesus comes across two blind men who are sitting by the side of the road. They call out to him numerous times but the crowd basically tells them to shut up. Jesus hears them, and says, “What do you want me to do for you?” The crowds were willing to pass by without helping, without caring about these two blind men, but Jesus was different. Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes and they could see.

How can we start to stand out from the crowd? How can Christians become the ones known for their compassion, or caring in action?

Spend some time today thinking about caring. Leave your comments about a strategy that we can start to take to stand out from the crowds. It’s time to end apathy and start caring again!

Building a Community of Character: Responsibility

We are starting on the third pillar of Character Counts: Responsibility.

Jesus knew why he came and He knew the difficulty of what He had to do. His heart is troubled, but He has a responsibility to the whole world and he will not walk away from this. He would not walk away when the devil tempted Him at the beginning of His ministry and He will not walk away now. We are called upon to take responsibility both in what we are supposed to do and when we make mistakes. Follow through on what you say you will do and own up to the things you fail to do.

Read the Scripture passages that will be read this weekend in worship. What does God’s Word say about responsibility? Please leave your comments here or on our Facebook page.

John 12:23-33                              I John 1:5-10

Building a Community of Character: Respect

Respect is the topic this weekend and there have been some good conversations on the subject already. See the previous post on respect to get a good idea of the questions that were asked. I have a few more for you as you have now listened to Pastor Burcham and his opening thoughts.

How do you demonstrate respect for others? What do others say to you to show they respect you? Does respect equal agreement?

Do you think that Jesus respected everyone? In what ways did he show respect for others?

Look forward to hearing more discussion on the topic.

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