December Events

Special services and events for the month of December are as follows:

Church Decorating
(*please note change... not on 12/2!!)
*Wednesday, 11/29, at 6:30 pm
(during Confirmation & Midweek Classes!)

Christmas Parade ~ Saturday, 12/2!
(come see our Sunday School kids and our Choir!)

Wednesday Night Advent Services
(all services begin at 7:30 pm)

"Conversations with the Angels"
12/6 ~ Promises Fulfilled
12/13 ~ Prayers Understood
12/20 ~ Praises Called For

Just a reminder...
During the Advent season, Confirmation & Midweek Classes
are excused at 7:15 pm.

Christmas Eve Services
Sunday, 12/24, at 7:00 pm & 10:00 pm

New Year’s Eve Service
Sunday, 12/31, at 5:30 pm

People of God!

It's December! Christmas Music! Beautiful Lights and Decorations! Christmas Trees and Wreaths! Family Gatherings! And special Worship Services as we prepare ourselves for the Christmas Celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!

We start with the Community Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 2nd! Our congregational family will have TWO floats in the parade this year -- our Sunday School float and our Choir float! Thank you to all who participated and also to all who donated candy for the handouts along the parade route! I look forward to cheering our floats as they go by!

For our Midweek Advent Services this year our theme is "Conversations with the Angels." Vicar Paul and I will be doing a dialog message each week that you will very much enjoy! Week 1 is Promises Fulfilled. Week 2 is Prayers Understood. And Week 3 is Praises Called For. Please plan on joining us at 7:30 beginning on Wednesday, December 6th, as we gather for Advent Worship. And then enjoy a time of refreshments and fellowship afterwards.

Our annual and always magnificent Christmas Cantata will be on Sunday, December 10th, at both the 8:15 am and 10:45 am services and there will also be an evening performance at 7:00 pm. This is always such an inspiring presentation of the Christmas Message in song! Plan on attending and inviting some non-churched family or friends to come with you!

Both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fall on a Sunday this year! Our Christmas Eve candlelight services will be at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm., and our New Year's Eve worship service with Holy Communion will be at 5:30 pm.

Please keep our Vicar Paul and his fiancé, Kati, in your prayers as they will be joining in Christian marriage on Saturday, December 2nd in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Our Vicar has been with us now for six months and we are very thankful to the Lord for his service among us and it will be wonderful to have Kati join Paul here for his remaining six months! I thank all of you, too, for your continued outpouring of love and support for Paul! And here's a thought ... why not invite both Paul and Kati over for dinner some time so you enjoy their fellowship and get to know both of them on a deeper level.

On a personal note, Deb and I will be gathering with our whole tribe for a post-Christmas celebration the weekend after Christmas. We usually split out to bunk at both Beky's and Micah's homes in Allendale, and then gather for lunch and dinner together. It is always such fun to see the herd of 13 grandchildren together! Also, as many of you now know, I will be having surgery on January 3rd to receive a total right hip replacement. I am anxious to get this done, begin healing and strengthening, and getting back at things! I will be MIA for a couple of weeks until my doctor gives me the green light to drive. On Sunday, January 7th, when Vicar Paul is on his honeymoon, and I am in the recovery mode, our guest Pastor will be Dennis Lassanske from Muskegon. Pastor Lassanske has been with us before and he will also be serving Holy Communion that Sunday. So, I ask for your prayers for a successful surgery and strong and rapid recovery. The Men's Canoe Trip discussion has already begun for later July and I plan on being ready for that expedition as well as my annual canoe trip with my good friend, Wes!

We have an exciting and uplifting month ahead of us and I so look forward to sharing it with you as we come to the Lord's House and join in worshipping our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

God Bless You!

  ~ Pastor Brooks

Baptisms3 Wade Allan Mills (11/19/17)
Piper Huls (11/26/17)
Avalyn Arnson (11/26/17)
Confirmations1 Brent Rogers (11/19/17)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

My time here serving as Vicar continues to fly by. I’m very thankful for how well I have been received, as well as the opportunities and activities I’ve been able to participate and be involved in.

The date of my wedding, December 2nd, is coming up fast, and we’re both very excited to have her come join me here in Michigan.


High School Youth - Pastor Willenbrock and I have started leading the youth through a broad view of each book in the Bible. We draw out themes and ideas specific to each book, showing their different styles and content, but yet how they all point towards Jesus death on the cross for our salvation. This should aid them in their future study of the bible, giving them a foundational information about any given book they later read. Also, I’m starting to look for volunteers to provide meals/snacks for when the youth meet each Wednesday (@5pm). If interested, be watching for a sign-up sheet being put up in the near future, or contact me. We average about 8 youth each meeting, depending on what school activities are going on.

Jr. High & Sr. High Sunday School - I’m continuing to write single session bible studies for both the Jr. and Sr. high youth on Sunday mornings. We’re working our way through the Old Testament, highlighting key people and events, and showing how they pertain to our faith now in Christ.

Book Club - We just finished our 9 week book study of “Why Should I Trust the Bible?”. I thought this new activity was very much a success, we averaged around 12 participants each week, and regularly had good questions and discussion. I have a few leftover books that Thrivent donated, so if you weren’t able to attend but are still interested in reading this book, please contact me.

We will start a new book after the new year, either in mid January or the start of February. I have yet to finalize which book, but the options I am considering all deal with why we are Lutheran, and what makes us unique/different. In learning this, we will also be able to discuss some different denominations and their beliefs. There will be more information in the future about this all.

Again, I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve and learn from you all.

In Christ,
  Vicar Paul Gaschler

Good Shepherd Preschool

Thanks to all that supported our Cookie Dough/Carmel Corn Sale. We appreciate your support!

Preschool Christmas Service
Tuesday, 12/19, at 7:00 pm

Join us as both classes sing praises to celebrate the birth of Jesus! Take a few minutes and experience the joy of Christmas through the heart of a child. We will continue the celebration with cake in the fellowship hall.

  Ellen Grimm

Sunday School News

Come see our Sunday School kids in the White Lake Area Christmas Parade on Saturday, 12/2!

Christmas Parade Candy Collection
Sunday School is collecting bags of candy for the Christmas parade on 12/2. Can You Help? There is a tote in the narthex for any donations! The collection will go through November! Thanks for your help!!

Please join us for The Sunday School Christmas Program on Saturday, 12/9, at 6:30 pm

There is no Sunday School on 12/24 and 12/31. Classes will resume on 1/7/18!

Merry Christmas!

Midweek News

The Midweek Christmas Party is Wednesday, 12/20, from 6:30-7:15 pm!

There are no Midweek classes on 12/27. Classes will resume on 1/3/18!

Jr. Youth

6th Grade Confirmation
We are in need of a 6th grade teacher for our Confirmation Program. This could be one person or a few people to share the task. If you are available and willing to help, please contact the church office at 894-8471! Thanks!

There are no Confirmation classes on 12/20 & 12/17. Classes will resume on 1/3/18!
No Jr. Youth Sunday Bible Study on 12/24 or 12/31.

Reminder... During Advent Confirmation & Midweek classes go from 6:30-7:15 pm!

Sr. Youth

There will be no Sr. Youth Group on 12/20 & 12/27. We will start up again on 1/3/18, at 5:00!
No Sr. Youth Sunday Bible Study on 12/24 or 12/31.

We need all Sr. Youth to help out at the 10:00 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service!

Coming in January...
  The Senior Citizens Dinner
    Watch for your invitation in the mail!

Church Decorating

Come join the fun...
This year we thought we would try something different...
Please Join us on WEDNESDAY, 11/29, AT 6:30 PM, as we decorate the church for the Advent/Christmas season! Please sign up on the bulletin board if you are able to help!
If you have any questions, please call the church office at 894-8471.

Flower Chart

The 2018 Flower Chart is posted on the bulletin board above the Ushers table. Sign up TODAY!

Christmas Poinsettias

Sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Cost is $9.00/ea. They arrive in time for our Christmas Eve Service and can be taken home after those services! Please leave your payment in the envelope when you sign up! Order deadline is Sunday, 12/10.

"The Night Before Christmas"

A Musical Celebration of the Christmas Story
Created by Joel Lindsey, Twila LaBar & J. Daniels Smith
Arranged and Orchestrated by J. Daniels Smith

Performed by the St. James Lutheran Choir

Please join us on
Sunday, December 10, 2017
8:15 am, 10:45 am, and 7:00 pm

Come celebrate the wonder and joy of our Savior’s birth!

Lutheran Witness Subscription Renewal

It's time to re-subscribe or subscribe to the LUTHERAN WITNESS at a discounted rate. The new subscription year doesn't begin until March 2018, but the sign-up deadline is Sunday, December 10, 2017. The subscription cost is $11/60. (Individual subscriptions ordered directly from CPH are $19.99/year.) Subscriptions do not automatically renew….you need to sign up! When signing up, please use the envelope provided for your payment and put it in the box outside the office door. Payment needs to be made when you sign up. If you have any questions about subscriptions, contact Terri in the church office at 894-8471.


Is there an area in the church building that needs work; a little or a lot? The Trustees are asking for your help. If you have an idea or you see something that needs the Trustees attention, please email the church office at, write it down and turn it in to the church office basket (outside the office door), or call the church office at 894-8471! Please include your name! The information will be added to the Trustees "To Do" list and the Trustees will check in with the office! That way things don’t get overlooked.

The Trustees are in need of at least (2) more members willing to join "Team Trustee"!! If you are interested, please contact Ron Bailey at 893-5008 or the church office at 894-8471!

Library News ~ New Books!

"God’s Smuggler" - The story of brother Andrew. He spent 60 years smuggling Bibles to the most dangerous places on earth.

"Till the Night be Past" - The story of Deitrich Bonhueffey a Lutheran minister in Nazi Germany. An easy to read book covers the highlights of significant events and issues of his ministry. Covers his childhood up through his execution by the Nazis.

"John Newton: from Disgrace to Amazing Grace" - a biography From being an ill mannered young man to pastor, preacher and hymn writer.

"John Newton: to Live in Christ" - A collection of Newton’s pastoral letters from his 40 years of ministry.

"Frederick The Wise" - The story of Frederick III who protected Luther and the reforms of the church.

"Who Moved the Stone" - Frank Morison set out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. The finding of his search changed his life to one of faith.

"No More Tears" - Sermons of hope in Christ.

"5 Things You Can Do to Read the Bible Prayerfully"

"Our Way Home" - A journey through the Lord’s Prayer

"The Lion of the North" - The story of Gustavus Adolphus who brought his army to fight for the Reformation.

"Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus" - Nabeel Qureshi tells his story of being raised a devout Islam but, almost against his will, found Jesus.

"The Invisible War" - An exploration of the conflict between good and evil on a spiritual level.

"When the Church Was Young" - Early church fathers answer questions that have plagued Christians from the beginning.

"Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing"

"The Protestant Reformation" - This book covers all of the different facets of the Reformation.

"Inside the Reformation" - Charts and paragraphs are used to "cart" the Reformation.

"More Than a Carpenter" - Josh McDowell set out to prove Christians were nuts, but ended up proving to himself that Jesus is God.

"Mission at Nuremberg" - The true story of a Lutheran pastor’s missionary work with Nazi prisoners.

"Kingdom of the Cults" – A comprehensive guide to use Biblical truths from cults. Describes what each cult practices.

"To All Eternity" – The essential teachings of Christianity.

Happy reading!

His Arms Mission Ministry

His Arms Mission Group will be going to Kenya in February! They are requesting donations of: children’s vitamins, antibiotic ointment, muscle cream (Ben Gay, Icy Hot, etc.), & children’s Tylenol or Motrin. Donations can be placed in the “His Arms” tote in the narthex. We will be collecting donations until January 1st! Thanks so much for your help!!

Thinking Ahead... VBS Supplies

If during the year anyone is getting rid of old artificial Christmas trees or other artificial plants/trees, Sarah Bernhardt will gladly take them for use at VBS2018!!

Do you need a special gift for a child this Christmas?

Consider a fabric children's nativity set or nativity advent calendar. These are available at cost ($25). Call Rose Fremer 894-5235

America's teen anxiety epidemic is heartbreaking. Parents, here's the incredible thing you must do now

By Jeannie Cunnion ~ Published October 16, 2017 ~

I sat on a parenting panel last month with a well-known and widely respected counselor by the name of Sissy Goff, M.Ed, LPC-MHSP. She is the Director of Child & Adolescent Counseling at Daystar in Nashville and when asked about the biggest issue facing kids today, she confirmed what you’ve probably read about recently on your news feed or even your Facebook feed – the increasing anxiety epidemic in our country. But it’s not just an epidemic among our kids. It’s an epidemic among us -- their parents..

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States, affecting nearly one-third of both adolescents and adults.

In a recent article entitled “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering from Severe Anxiety” we glean significant insight into the anxiety epidemic:

I’ll just share just two key points from the article:

* Privileged youths are among the most emotionally distressed young people in America. These kids are incredibly anxious and perfectionistic.

* For many of these young people, the biggest single stressor is that they never get to the point where they can say, ‘I’ve done enough, and now I can stop.’ Kids have a sense that they’re not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.

If you’re reading this article as a mom, I imagine it breaks your heart like it breaks mine (as the mother of four boys who range in age from toddler to teenager) to learn that the pressure our kids are under “is relentless and getting worse.” Of course, I think we already assumed this to be true. But knowing it to be true leaves us responsible to do something to fight against it.

We have to be willing to take an honest (maybe painfully honest) look at how we may have contributed to the anxiety our kids feel with the pressure we just might be passing down. With our unrealistic expectations and impossible standards of ourselves, and of them.

See, we parents aren’t the only ones linking accomplishment to acceptance and success to significance. Our kids are attempting to answer the question, “Is who I am enough?” by how well they perform on the field, how much they excel in school, and how many likes they get on their Instagram feed.

They are attempting to answer that question, “Is who I am enough?” by proving they can do enough and be enough. Whatever “enough” is. Because you and I both know enough is never enough when the goal is perpetual perfection.

The primary message our kids receive is that they’d better be the best at everything, and this leaves them afraid to reveal their inadequacies and insecurities—and hiding behind the best version of themselves.

In turn, parents of anxious teens feel helpless and hopeless, questioning all of the steps we are -- or aren’t -- taking. Our confidence as moms crumbles as we try to help our kids navigate the battles they have to fight and the mountains they have to climb.

We are constantly second guessing ourselves: “Have I done too much? Have I not done enough? Am I helping or am I hurting my child?”

Our anxiety escalates and overflows into our parenting and onto our kids, who then take our anxiety on top of their own.

I won’t pretend to even begin to be able to solve this for us here. I don’t have all the answers. Not even a little bit. But I do have this one nugget – which is the primary message woven into my new book, "Mom Set Free," and I believe it to be true with everything in me.

A key ingredient in helping our kids overcome their anxiety is facing and working through our own anxiety..

It starts with us. It doesn’t end with us. But we are part of the solution.

We have to be willing to take an honest (maybe painfully honest) look at how we may have contributed to the anxiety our kids feel with the pressure we just might be passing down. With our unrealistic expectations and impossible standards of ourselves, and of them.

Of course, some kids are just more prone to perfection seeking than others. Such kids tend to create their own pressure, even if their parents are actively trying to relieve it. But often, we parents play a role in the pressure -- and therefore, anxiety -- our kids feel, so we have to be willing to take an honest look at how we pile our own pressure onto our kids.

And ultimately, it is our responsibility to help our kids push back the pressure they face with the truth of God’s Word. I am not at all suggesting that therapy and medication aren’t part of the solution. They often times are. But please let us not forget the alive and powerful Word of God that has the absolute power to show us where our significance comes from and ultimately set us free from proving our worth and our value in our performance.

Kids who constantly feel like they just don't measure up and who feel they have “everything” to prove need to be told – over and over again - they actually have “nothing” to prove. Because this pressure to prove our value and worth has left parents and children alike longing for what all our hearts most crave:

• to be known—truly and deeply known

• to be accepted—for who they are, not who they wish they were to be loved—with no strings attached

This isn’t sentimental fluff. This is solid truth from which freedom springs. There is absolutely no denying the inherent and deepest longing every human soul holds.

If we want to raise kids who find freedom from the pressure to get it ALL right in order to be accepted and welcomed, then we are going to need to walk in that freedom first. Or at least be willing to discover how to walk in that freedom alongside our kids.

We need to know that failing doesn’t make us failures and succeeding doesn’t make us significant. At least not in the eyes of our Creator -- the only One whose opinion of us really matters in the end.

In God’s eyes we are of great worth, not because of anything we have or haven’t done, but because of what has been done for us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The cross has the final word on our value. Believing that truth and embracing that truth isn’t the only thing we need to do. But it is a firm foundation on which to build a life of freedom from anxiety and the exhausting endless quest to prove our value through our performance.

(Jeannie Cunnion is the author of "Mom Set Free: Find Relief from the Pressure to Get It All Right" and a blogger. She and her husband, Mike, are the proud parents of four wild and awesome boys.)

December Birthdays
12/01Liam Ramthun12/18Chris Schultz
12/04David Ramthun12/20Al Fremer
12/04Jake Wackernagel12/21Dianne Gardner
12/05Matt Schultz12/21Lorraine Hughes-Kosnick
12/07Karen Chamberlain12/22Gabbryella Smith
12/09Don Schumm12/24Kellie Rachow
12/10Carol Kolbe12/24Merle Bernhardt, Jr.
12/10Connor Miller12/25Amy Jandt
12/10Deb Morningstar12/26Jennifer Moore
12/10Marilyn Fisk12/26Ron Cox
12/11Lyndee Stout12/26Scott Lipka
12/11Pam Sikkenga12/27Amy Schumm
12/12Chris Buchberger12/27Hayley Smith
12/12Sam Wackernagel12/28Emily Hedges
12/12Susan Kroll12/28Jim Treptow
12/12Valerie Muyskens12/28Liam Lindstrom
12/14Hailey Sommerfield12/28Marek Bernhardt
12/14Ken Dahl12/28Megan Rachow
12/14Tom Blink12/29Harold Pierson
12/16Ben Hayes12/29Laura Connell
12/16Chloe Stout12/29Olivia Stout
12/16Eric Lindstrom12/29Sue Sikkenga
12/16Evelyn Hulka12/30Jerry Gardner
12/16Peggy Rabe12/30June Russell
12/17Lois Wissner12/30Marty Tyler
12/18Bill Treptow12/31Amy Goodrich

ELDERSGreg NeubauerGary Mason
TRUSTEESRon BaileyJoe Goodrich
ACOLYTESAlaina McCormickDrew Ann DeRose
USHERSBob WackernagelJeff O'Connell
Sam WackernagelRusty Streblow
Jake WackernagelArt Jones
Ray GrowBruce Wackernagel
ALTAR CAREBecky Winters, Marge Block & Betty Ross
PRAYER PARTNERS3rdPhil AlbrechtBrian Bentz
10thCantata SundayCantata Sunday
17thRon BaileyMerle Bernhardt Jr.
24thRon BarrsJeff Boulet
31stLee CarpenterJim Campbell
GREETERS3rdM/M Paul SchroederM/M Ken DuBois
10thM/M Eric VanderlaanM/M Ron Cober
17thM/M Keith RamthunCarol Hanson
24thJim TreptowM/M Bruce Baxter
31stM/M Roger SmithMarty Tyler
MULTI-MEDIA3rdAlicia Koski (8:15a)Eric Lindstrom (10:45a)
6thAlicia Koski (7:30p Advent Service)
10thcantata - no coverage needed
13thJeri Wonders (7:30p Advent Service)
17thJeri Wonders (8:15a)Eric Lindstrom (10:45a)
20thEric Lindstrom (7:30p Advent Service)
24thEric Lindstrom (8:15a)Fridays (10:45a)
April Lipka (7:00p)Fridays (10:00p)
31stApril Lipka (8:15a)Jackson VanBergen (10:45a)
Eric Lindstrom (5:30p)
COFFEE3rdNancy Bernhardt & Sarah Bernhardt
6thElders (Advent Service)
10thPat Ramthun & Jennifer Mulder
13thBoard of Education (Advent Service)
17thWendy Kessler & Jen Huizenga
20thChoir (Advent Service)
24thDeeDee Treptow & Kelley Bantien
31stFaith Mayville & Candy Stevens
NURSERY3rdSarah Bernhardt
10thSheesley Family
17thMason Family
24thno one scheduled
31stno one scheduled
FLOWERS3rdTom & Connie Kring
10thGloria Alvarez
17thTom & Tracy Sheesley
24thRebecca & Michael Shannon
31stAngie Wigren (Jerry's b-day)

Funeral Families
If we have a funeral, Eileen Schroeder, our Luncheon Coordinator will contact you for help. Each funeral luncheon requires table/chair set up, food donations, food servers (kitchen staff), and table/chair take down. Eileen will let you know what is needed.

If you are unable to fulfill your assigned duty, please make arrangements with someone before or after you on the list. Thanks!