The Lord Is My Helper

“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Hebrews 13:6

Have you ever felt down or even depressed about the challenges facing congre­gations in rural and small-town America? It’s altogether too easy to fall into that trap. Between the perceived shrinking populations, the aging congregations, and members with competing interests, it can seem difficult at best to carry out ministry, at least to carry it out the way we’d like to or have in the past. These factors often bring about a lack of hope and a sense of fear of the future. Yet, it’s helpful for us to remember that the Lord of the Church always has work for us to accomplish.

There are so many opportunities for us in rural and small-town congregations. There is still an enormous mission field all around us. Out of 6000+ LCMS congregations, some 3,136 are in rural and small-town settings. These numbers show us that there are nearly 17,000,000 people living in and around these congregations. With a conservative estimate of 50 to 60 percent of those folks being unaffiliated with a church or a faith of any sort, the possibilities for outreach are most assuredly there. Not to mention that there are studies which show us that in many of these areas there is beginning to be a positive net in-migration of people and even a “Brain Gain” of sorts, where in the past it was mostly a loss.

Of course, we must deal with the realities of our age. But we simply cannot forget that the Lord of the Church has it all under control according to His will. Bear in mind what we are told at the close of Hebrews 13,

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by the Rev. Todd Kollbaum, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Madison, Neb. and director, LCMS RSTM.

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Main Street Living Media Ministry – January Update

Another new year has arrived. And though we don’t know when our Lord will be returning – we know that it’s another year nearer! MARANATHA – come quickly Lord! We also pray that God will use each of us mightily throughout the coming year to share the Good News of His forgiveness and love through trust in Jesus!

Please continue to share information about our LCMS “Main Street Living” media ministry with others. In addition to being broadcast each Sunday morning – you can view all archived programs at any time at – then click on the link under the picture identified as “North (Fargo).”

God’s blessings in Christ!

Thank you for your much needed financial support! Checks may be sent to “Main Street Living NORTH,” 821-5th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103, or donate by Credit Card or your PayPal account on the website. God’s blessing in Christ!

“Main Street Living North” Programs for January 2020:

Jan 5: Rev. Bernie Seter, Zion English Grafton, ND, Trinity Lutheran Church, Drayton, ND, St. John Lutheran Church, Crystal, ND, presents the message: “Who is in Charge Here?” based on Ephesians 1:3-14. “This Is The Life” program is: “A Friend in Deed,” which explores the Christian’s duty to forgive those who have done us wrong.

Jan 12: Rev. John Bumgardner, St. John Lutheran Church, Red Lake Falls, MN, presents the message: “To Fulfill All Righteousness,” based on Matthew 3:13-17. “This Is The Life” program: “God of Love,” illustrates that we as Christians all have responsibilities to bear

Jan 19: Rev. Michael Suelzle, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Niagara, ND, Grace Lutheran Church, Lakota, ND, and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Devils Lake, ND, presents the message: “Jesus Revealed,” based on John 1:29-42.  “This Is The Life” program is: “Adrift,” which discusses the effectiveness of children who witness for Christ.

Jan 26: Rev. Thomas Puffe, St John’s Lutheran Church, Thief River Falls, MN, and Zion Lutheran Church, Warren, MN, presents the message: “Matthew 4:16,” based on Matthew 4:12-25. “This Is The Life” program: “The Hand of God” deals with making opportunities from problems.

“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally-produced TV program that includes a 30-minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30-minute Lutheran Hour program (normally “This Is The Life,” along with occasional church-season specials). MSLN programs are also archived and can be viewed at any time on then click on “North (Fargo)”.

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Ascend Sexual Risk Avoidance Specialist Certification

Approved for:

  • 12.5 Nursing Contact Hours by the ND BON
  • 10.5 Social Work Contact Hours by the NDBSWE
  • 2 Education Credits through Minot State University

    Are you comfortable talking or teaching about sexual health? Are you confident in giving clear guidance that is evidence-based, and relevant to everyone? If not, the Ascend Sexual Risk Avoidance course is for you! This Specialist Certification is being brought to North Dakota for the second time by Dakota Hope Clinic.   The program will be held at the Grand Hotel in Minot on March 10-11, 2020.  The program has been approved for 12.5 nursing contact hours, 10.5 social work contact hours, and 2 education credits through Minot State University.

    Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) is an educational approach based on the public health model of primary prevention to empower youth to avoid all the risks of sexual activity.  Ascend is the nation’s leader in the Sexual Risk Avoidance field. For over a decade, they have helped thousands of America’s youth make smart, forward-thinking choices about their sexual behavior, and is committed to supporting parents in their role as educators of their children.

The SRA approach fits perfectly with the mandate for the type of sex education described in ND Century Code 15.1-21-24, “ each school district and nonpublic school shall ensure that the portion of its health curriculum which is related to sexual health includes instruction pertaining to the risks associated with adolescent sexual activity and the social, psychological, and physical health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity before and outside of marriage.”  

    The certification will provide proficiency on the SRA model and sets a standard of excellence for the field.  Pre-course reading is required that is estimated to take 25-40 hours to complete.  There are 9 modules with quizzes that must be completed prior to the training.  The goal is that the certified SRA Specialists will increase the overall quality and reach of school and community sexual health education.  Everyone, including parents, policymakers, and clergy, are invited to attend.

    The Certification is good for 2 years and can be renewed by online coursework.  Ascend will provide ongoing consultation support for the specialists as needed.  The cost of the course is $125 for ND residents, $200 for non – ND residents, and includes breakfast and lunch.  A discounted lodging rate of $79 per night is available at the Grand Hotel if reserved by Feb. 20 in the Dakota Hope Clinic block of rooms. 

    For more information or to register, call Dakota Hope at 701-852-4675, or click on the partner with us tab at  Registration deadline is February 18th. 

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Messiah, Mandan members create stained glass project

Using horseshoe nails to hold elements in place, Messiah members, from left, JoAnn Dilger, Renae Hoggarth and Kristi Dilger work on individual pieces to form a stained glass window for the sanctuary.

    It’s a labor of love that started about a year ago after a modern problem — lack of funding — halted the Messiah Lutheran Church congregation’s idea of hiring a company to update the existing sanctuary windows with a stained glass project. The $60,000 bid for the project was “way more money than what was available,” the Rev. Kevin Zellers said.

    He offered up a solution. He’d share his knowledge of stained glass — learned a few years ago by going to classes “like some people go to bowling once a week,” he said — with anyone interested. Once they had some basic skills, they could make their own stained glass windows.

    Each 2-foot by 4-foot window for the sanctuary has the same basic design, which includes a circular centerpiece called a medallion. The medallions will be painted, not stained, and each will depict a scene from the life of Christ. When completed, likely in another year, the windows will be placed into the sound baffles on the sides of the sanctuary. Some new age technology — LED lights — will illuminate the windows from behind.

The project draws together a cross-section of the congregation. Participants range in age from 20 to 83. They work for a few hours each Sunday, taking a day off only if the community room of the church is booked for another function.

    The windows are being built two at a time, with a team working on each window. Each is going a little faster than the previous, said Kristi Dilger, a lifetime member of the church. She thought the process would be as simple as putting the pieces together and hanging them up, but she’s learned there are many more steps than she anticipated.

    The roots of stained glass are tied to architectural developments of the 1200s and 1300s in western Europe, said Nicole Derenne, an instructor at the University of North Dakota’s Department of Art and Design. Builders began using arches and buttresses to support the weight of buildings, which allowed for thinner walls that did not have to support as much weight. That in turn allowed for the use of glass in the walls.

Stained glass was a storytelling and communication medium in a time period when many people were illiterate, Derenne said. Churches at the time were in the heart of communities and were gathering places as well as places of worship, so the stories in the glass were meant to reach many people and be educational, she said.

    Some of the workers at Messiah Lutheran cut the glass into shapes, while others trim it to exactly fit the design mapped out for each panel. Once the pieces fit, they are soldered into place with lead came — pliable H-shaped strings of lead into which the glass fits –between the pieces. Putty will be added around each piece of glass to make the panel more firm. One of the final touches is the application of patina, a coating that keeps the glass from oxidizing and turning black.

    Anthony Steele, 20, has been part of the project since it started. His participation “just kind of happened,” he said, and he’s enjoyed working with a group to complete a project that will last for generations.

A dedication service will mark the completion of the project. The group hasn’t set a strict deadline, Ames said, adding “everybody is more interested in doing it right.

Original article first appeared in the Bismarck Tribune written by Travis Svihovec. We have shortened the article for the eNews but you could read it in its entirety at Search for Church Members Chip in to Create Stained Glass Project

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Main Street Living Media Ministry – December

CHRISTMAS will soon be here! THANK YOU IMMANUEL, “God with us”, for coming to earth to redeem your creation! May this wonderful message be heard and seen by all who will be watching the MSL Advent and Christmas worship services and the special Christmas season Lutheran Hour Ministries Animated Series Programs this month.

We also invite you to consider a special end-of-the-year Christmas gift for our MAIN STREET LIVING MEDIA MINISTRY, if you are able. Checks may be sent to “Main Street Living NORTH”, 821-5th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103, or donate by credit card or your PayPal account on the web site.

PS:  Correction from last month’s article: The name of the person who has been helping with our MSLN recording set-up and running the Teleprompter is Courtney Solberg. It had been incorrectly listed as Johnson. My apologies.

Please continue to share information about our LCMS “Main Street Living” media ministry with others. In addition to being broadcast each Sunday morning – you can view archived programs at any time at (then click on the link under the picture identified as “North (Fargo)”.  God’s blessing in Christ!

“Main Street Living North” Programs for December 2019:

Dec 1:          Rev. Kirk Peters, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Hazen, ND, presents the message: “The King is Coming” based on Matthew 21:1-11. The Christmas season LHM Animated Series Program is: The City that Forgot About Christmas” (Benji thinks the hustle and bustle of Christmas only makes people more Grouchy, but Grandfather has a different view.)

Dec 8:          Rev. Dan Voth, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Grand Forks, ND, presents the message: “You Brood of Vipers – – Repent!” based on St. Matthew 3:1-12. The Christmas season LHM Animated Series Program is: “The Stableboy’s Christmas” (A family experiences the excitement of the holidays while trying to keep the true meaning of Christmas at the center of their preparations.)

Dec 15:          Rev. Bruce Blocker, Immanuel Lutheran Church, McIntosh, MN, presents the message: “The 3 C’s of Christmas” based on Matthew 11:2-11. The Christmas season LHM Animated Series Program is: ”Red Boots for Christmas” (One shop in the small town of Friedensdorf doesn’t have any Christmas decorations, and has no Christmas spirit inside the store.)

Dec 22:          Rev. Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS presents this year’s Christmas message. The Christmas season LHM Animated Series Program is: Christmas Is” (A journey back in time to the first Christmas with Benji and Waldo to rediscover the feeling and message of this significant day.)

Dec 29:          Rev. Roger Paavola, President of the LCMS Mid-South District, presents the message: “Satan Fails; Prophesy is Fulfilled” based on Matthew 2: 13-23. The Christmas season LHM Animated Series Program is: “The Puzzle Club Christmas Mystery” (It’s Christmas, and some mysterious events have occurred which require some special investigative talents.)

“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally produced TV program that includes a 30-minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30-minute Lutheran Hour program (normally This Is The Life, along with occasional church-season specials).  Programs are broadcast at 9:00 am Central time on the following FOX stations: KVRR Fargo-Moorhead Channel 15.1, KBRR Thief River Falls-Grand Forks Channel 10.1, KJRR Jamestown Channel 7.1, KNRR Pembina Channel 12.1, AND at 10:00 am Central (9:00 am Mountain) on the following WDAY & affiliate Xtra Channels:WDAY Xtra Channel 6.3 Fargo-Moorhead, WDAZ Xtra Channel 8.3 Grand Forks,KBMY Xtra Channel 17.3 Bismarck/Dickinson, and KMCY Xtra Channel 14.3 Minot/Williston – as well as the cable and satellite systems carrying these stations. (For a list of cable & satellite stations and their channel assignments in your area, please contact your church office.) MSLN programs are also archived and can be viewed at any time on then click on “North (Fargo)”.

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January 17-18, 2020

Shepherd’s Hill at the Crossroads, St. John, ND

Man Up!

Presenter: Rev. Jeffrey Hemmer, Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church, Fairview Heights, Illinois

Rev. Jeffery Hemmer is the husband of (in his opinion) the best woman in the world; the father of six delightful children (when they’re delightful); the pastor of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois; a Ph.D. candidate at Concordia Seminary; the author of Man Up: The Quest for Masculinity (CPH, 2017) and Behold the Man 2019 sermon series and devotions for Lent and Easter; a wannabe farmer; maker of some things; fixer of some things; grower of beards; and general curmudgeon.  His big truck is probably a sign of his insecurity.

Pastor Hemmer promises not to call you effeminate, shame you with his perfect manliness, or kick you in the shorts.  But he’ll tell you about Jesus, who may well do all three of those things.

Are you tired of a culture that wants to ignore the differences between men and women?  Do you think being a real man is little more than having the biggest muscles, guns, and truck and knowing how to get your woman to submit to you?  Are you fed up with signing syrup-sweet love songs to Jesus in church?  Does your wife think this retreat could teach you a thing or two about being a real man?  Are you just looking for something to do on a weekend in January?

Come, hear what a Real Man is and does.  Genuine masculinity is not a matter of taking back your rights or standing up for yourself.  It’s about seeing yourself as a means for the good of others, about learning to live in your calling to be a husband, father, man, son, hero, hearer, and more for the benefit of those God has given you to serve.  In Jesus, you have both the perfect Icon of masculinity and also the source of courage and hope when you fail in these manly endeavors.

For 30 years men have enjoyed the camaraderie of these retreats–thought-provoking scripture-based presentations, fellowship, music, good food, card games, skeet shooting, etc. Father & son duos are encouraged to come.

Begins with supper Friday at 6:00 P.M. & ends about 1:00 P.M. Saturday

Cost – $80Includes:  3 meals, lodging, speaker, snacks, games, fireside chats, etc. Bring:  Bible, bedroll, personal items, warm clothing, & friends

Contact Corey Isaak to register: Call 701-281-0240 or E-mail:

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Higher Things Conference and Retreats 2020

It’s that time of year already – time to get registered for another great Higher Things Conference!

Groups are going two different directions this summer – one to Colorado (June 29-July 2) and one to Michigan (July 21-24). There is group transportation being arranged for both locations, along with some fun events along the way! 

 Tana McKenna, Zion Lutheran’s Parish Assistant, will be handling registrations for the Michigan trip.  You can reach Tana at Zion Lutheran through email:, phone 701-308-0411,  or mail PO Box 118 Gwinner, ND 58040.

 Diane Pierson, Chair of St Paul’s Board of Christian Education, will be handling registrations for the  Colorado trip. You can reach Diane at St Paul’s Lutheran through email:,  phone 701-721-7844, or mail 200 Burdick Expy East Minot, ND 58701

If you have questions about Higher Things, please check out the Watermarked website:

If you are unable to attend one of the Higher Things Conferences this Summer, perhaps consider coming to one of the Retreats? 

This March 27-28 at St. Paul’s Minot and Immanuel Wahpeton, we are having a Retreat titled, “What is Church?”  It is one retreat – two locations, with area North Dakota Pastors presenting.  

Picture the sanctuary filled with teenagers, eager for the organ to begin the opening lines of the liturgy or their favorite hymns, listening intently as they learn how their Lutheran faith applies to their lives and relationships and laughing as they horse around playing games and getting to know other youth from the area. That’s a glimpse of what will happen at this Higher Things Youth Retreat!

The cost is $50 per registrant, which covers lodging, food, speaker fees, games, snacks, etc.

To learn more, go to the following links, where you can read more about the 2-day retreats, print off fliers, register, and more!  



Dare to be Lutheran!

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Is There Hope in the Midst of Addictions?


Once in a private counseling session with an addict, he said to me in tears, “I stole $12,000 from my parents, and I would walk the streets to see which house I could break into and steal money or goods in order to buy my next fix. I am so broken. I am so bad. I don’t know if I can be helped; is it possible?” Can you imagine how that person’s parents and family members feel? Lies, stealing, broken promises, sleepless nights, jail bonds, rehab, only to get out and return to addiction. Is there hope amid addictions?

According to Farm Bureau statistics, 75 percent of the people living in rural communities have experienced the drug epidemic in some way. Families have a parent and/or child that is addicted, a relative who is addicted, work associates addicted, or have endured some form of crime because of the drug epidemic. Addictions affect the whole person spiritually, physically, and mentally. It is important to understand all these ramifications in order to help and give hope to a person walking in the midst of addictions.

Spiritually, the addicted person is empty. The government paints addiction as a disease, but addiction is an idolatry, a misplaced lord­ship issue. These idols (addictive substances) promise the world but enslave the addicted person to the grave. The addicted person may sacrifice anything and anybody to pursue his addiction. Since we are born with original sin, sin in our nature drives us in the wrong direc­tion.

Consequently, the addicted person may not attend church for the following reasons: generally, pastors don’t know much about handling an addicted person; the addicted person may feel judged; he may feel that church is only for good people and he is bad, and he may believe God can’t forgive him. In response to this, the Christian counselor or pastor can give hope in the message of the Gospel that God shows no favoritism. We all fall short of the glory of God, yet God in Christ Jesus forgives all sins, remembering them no more. If the addicted person is baptized, the pastor can direct him to God’s promises in Baptism. Then the pastor can give guidance from Scripture on how to walk as a recovering child of God, with eyes fixed on Jesus.

Understanding the addicted person

Physically, addictions are very hard to overcome. For instance, if alcohol is the substance of choice, its euphoric effect gives positive re­inforcement to the addict. The action is repeated, and the brain adapts to the constant overload of alcohol by releasing depressant chemicals. Consequently, it takes more and more alcohol to reach that euphoric feeling. The person becomes dependent upon the substance in order to manage life. When he wants to abstain, there is withdrawal: shakes, sweating, nausea, panic attacks, etc. In order to overcome the withdrawal symptoms, the addict drinks to feel better. Now the person is hooked on the negative reinforcement aspect of alcoholism.

Similarly, a substance like meth acts as artificial dopamine. The artificial dopamine blocks the natural dopamine recep­tors in the receiving cells, thus flooding the synapse between the cells, causing the euphoric high. The brain shuts down the manufacture of normal dopamine because there is too much. Consequently, a meth addict will be awake for days, make er­ratic body motions, excessively lick lips with the tongue, etc. When the artificial dopamine has finally been absorbed by the body, the brain is still not producing an adequate supply of dopamine, so the meth addict crashes and sleeps for days. When he awakes, he feels terrible, like he has the flu. The hippocampus in the brain remembers feeling better with meth, and the amygdala in the brain reminds him how good it felt. It’s not long until he is searching for more. Thus, the addiction and its cravings.

Eyes fixed on Jesus

How can a pastor give hope amid these physical struggles? He can point out that Jesus gives abundant life through faith in Him, while the idol of addictive substances only leads to death. He can read passages from Scripture on freedom from slavery to sin and on the fruits of the Spirit, which give peace, joy, self-control, patience, and more. As the pastor helps to direct the addict’s life, it is important to keep running with endurance, with eyes fixed on Jesus.

Mentally, addicted people have low self-esteem. They are guilt-ridden and carry with them false beliefs such as “I am always a failure,” “My relapse proves I will always be a failure,” etc. The pastor must help to question this false belief by asking, “Are you always a failure?” and then pointing out times and places where they have been successful. The pastor can direct the addicted person to read in Philippians, where Paul tells us to think about what is good and admirable, pleasant, and true.

Meth, opioids, and heroin also create paranoid thoughts. This is why meth addicts often scratch themselves. They feel as if bugs are crawling on them, so they scratch sores on their body and keep scratching. If the person had tendencies toward mental diseases, those are magni­fied. As they become freed from addictive substances, some paranoia will dissi­pate. The pastor can reassure them from Scripture, pointing out how Jesus healed the demon-possessed man. Just so, God can heal their addictions.

If the addicted person continues to run with endurance, his eyes fixed on Jesus, he can be victorious and see better days. I have seen it happen in recovering addicts who endured with eyes fixed on Jesus. All glory and praise is given to God in Christ. Praise the Lord.

Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by the Rev. Gary Griffin, pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Lockwood, Mo.

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Pre-Lent Retreat Preparation

LCMS North Dakota District

January 6-7, 2020

At Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran, Bismarck, ND

A Lenten Series on…

Hebrews 11

Presenter:  Rev. Bernie Worral

Ash Wednesday is February 26, 2020
Easter is April 12, 2020                             

 Time to Rest, Reflect, and Re-create.

Our time together will be worth .9 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) available upon request.

Monday, January 6, 2020

12-1:00 pm     Registration

1:00-6pm        Session 1 = .5CEU

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

8am-Noon       Session 2 = .4CEU

Our presenter is Rev. Bernie Worral of Fargo, ND.  He has conducted previous Pre-Lenten Series studies on the gospel of John (2003), the Theology of the Cross (2007) and The Metaphors of Salvation (2013) as great ways to carry our congregations through the Lenten journey to the cross and the empty tomb.  Currently, he is Senior Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in North Fargo. He has been in the pastoral ministry for thirty-three years, serving Immanuel-Fargo since 1991 and previously serving in Chadron, NE after graduating from Concordia Seminary-St. Louis in 1986.  He has also served in Campus Ministry. He has four children and is married to Carolyn, a native to ND.                                                               

Worral writes, If you’ve ever been to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. then you’ve seen the statues in the hallways. Each state has two statues…North Dakota has John Burke (Governor, US Treasurer, Chief Justice) and Sakakawea (Explorer). Hebrews chapter 11 also has a great hallway of faith filled with living memorials those who have walked in faith before us.  Hebrews 13:7 says “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”

In our mid-week Lenten services, we will be doing just that in the outline of Hebrews chapter 11.  We will start with Abel who by faith offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain. We will continue with Noah who by faith built an ark for the saving of his household. We will walk with Abraham who by faith “obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.” We will look at Abraham again who by faith offered up his only son yet believing that God could raise him from the dead because of the promise: “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” We will walk with Joseph who by faith “made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” And we will travel with Moses who by faith choose “rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” 

The stories are all familiar, but often misunderstood. I’ve found this notion of moral progress (even in Lutheran commentaries) to be the central way most people look at the narratives of the Old Testament, especially Abraham and Jacob. Yet Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, takes up the “early” Abraham (Gen 15) to say he was justified by faith….before circumcision (Gen 17).  So instead of bringing emphasis on the end product…Abraham the hero offering his son in faith….Paul points us to the faith in the promise from the outset.

Hebrews chapter eleven is the definitive commentary on the Old Testament. And the narratives become the basis for understanding the doctrine of faith. All Christians talk about faith, but what is it exactly? Faith is never in faith…but always points to its object….even if it be unseen.     Lent is far more focused on the passion of Christ….so an Old Testament emphasis might seem out of order. But this idea of sacrifice that is first with Abel, and is seen with Noah who builds the first altar of the bible, and in Abraham offering his son, his only son, Isaac, whom he loves….well this all points to the cross.

Location:   Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 801 E. Denver, Bismarck, ND 58504

Registration cost: $75.00 Payable to: North Dakota District LCMS

A block of rooms is available until December 23, 2019, at the price of $89.50 by your own reservation at Expressway Suites, 180 East Bismarck Expressway (701)-222-3311

Registration is necessary.  Please email or call Clark Jahnke as soon as possible at or (701) 282-4195.

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Main Street Living Ministry Update – November

Thanksgiving! As it’s been a while, I’d like to briefly mention those who specifically do the work of getting our MAIN STREET LIVING programs on the air. First, we thank the pastors of our Minnesota North & North Dakota LCMS congregations for taking the extra time and effort to have their services ready several months in advance and driving to our recording locations. Thanks also to the congregations who serve as our recording sites. Most of the time, the recording is done at Immanuel, Fargo, with a once a year recording at Immanuel, Grand Forks, and once a year in western ND, where we’ve recorded at both Messiah, Mandan, and Bethel, Bismarck.

Jay Schaefer, a member of Immanuel, Fargo, continues to do all of the technical work (recording, editing, and getting the programs to the TV stations and our MSL website. Courtney Solberg, also a member at Immanuel, has been assisting recently with set up and running the Teleprompter. And Ken Koehler from St. Andrew, West Fargo, continues to coordinate our MSL North operation overall, including setting dates and locations for the recordings and writing the newsletter and bulletin articles, etc. In addition to Ken, our Lay Leadership Team continues to be Doug Schmidt (VP), Mark Jones (Treasurer), and Carole Borchers (Secretary). There are, of course, also others who help out in various ways, including those of you who financially support the programs!

Please continue to share information about our LCMS “Main Street Living” media ministry with others. In addition to being broadcast each Sunday morning – you can view all archived programs at any time at (then click on the link under the picture identified as “North (Fargo).”

Thank you for your much needed financial support! Checks may be sent to “Main Street Living NORTH,” 821-5th Ave. S., Fargo, ND 58103, or donate by Credit Card or your PayPal account on the web site. God’s blessing in Christ!

“Main Street Living North” Programs for November 2019:

November 3: Rev. Philip Beyersdorf, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Minot, ND, presents the message: “Saints Washed in the Blood” based on Revelation 7:9-17. The “This Is The Life” program is: “Cell of Hope”- Flag Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) gets a new cellmate Jimmy Stricklin (Richard Dinitri) who is obnoxious. Washington, who came to Christ while in prison, is tested, and they come to blows.

November 10:  Rev. Tom Marcis, Zion Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND, presents the message: “Life out of the rut” based on Exodus 3:1-12. The “This Is The Life” program is: “Undertow”-Harry (David Ogden Stiers) loses his daughter to drowning. In his grief, he blames the lifeguard, Jim (Gil Peterson). The loss turns to anger towards Jim, who also is struggling with the loss of his wife, just a year earlier.

November 17: Vicar Chris Durham, Zion Lutheran Church, Bismarck, ND, presents the message: “Raise up your heads because your Redemption is drawing near” based on Luke 21:5-28. The This Is The Life program is: “The Healer” -Dave Forman (Gary Collins) is a dynamic “faith healer” who becomes angered by the drowning death of his daughter. His grief becomes too great when a father asks him to heal his diabetic daughter.

November 24: Rev. Don Fondow, MN North District President, presents the message: “Thanks for EVERYTHING!” based on Deuteronomy 26:11 and I Thessalonians 5:18. The This Is The Life program is: “Flames of Hate”-Betty Blackwood (Angie Dickenson) is stuck between the man she loves, Art (Ed Kemmer), and her obsessive father Nate (Edger Dearing) who disapproves of Art. But when they elope, her father cuts them off completely.

“MAIN STREET LIVING” is a locally produced TV program that includes a 30-minute worship service led by participating pastors of the Minnesota North and North Dakota Districts of our LCMS, along with a 30 minute Lutheran Hour program (normally This Is The Life,” along with occasional church-season specials).  Programs are broadcast at 9:00 am Central time on the following FOX stations: KVRR Fargo-Moorhead Channel 15.1, KBRR Thief River Falls-Grand Forks Channel 10.1, KJRR Jamestown Channel 7.1, KNRR Pembina Channel 12.1, ANDat 10:00 am Central (9:00 am Mountain) on the following WDAY & affiliate Xtra Channels:WDAY Xtra Channel 6.3 Fargo-Moorhead, WDAZ Xtra Channel 8.3 Grand Forks,KBMY Xtra Channel 17.3 Bismarck/Dickinson, and KMCY Xtra Channel 14.3 Minot/Williston – as well as the cable and satellite systems carrying these stations. (For a list of cable & satellite stations and their channel assignments in your area, please contact your church office.) MSLN programs are also archived and can be viewed at any time on www.mainstreetliving.comthen click on “North (Fargo).”

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From Chaos to Calm: Horse-inspired Healing

If you’d see fourteen-year-old Jackson* in a lighter moment, you’d see he loves a good joke and is quick to laugh. But he came to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch recently because he had great difficulty managing his behavior, and especially, his anger. He also had significant problems staying focused and functioning well in school. Much of this was because he often refused to take his ADHD medication.

    His personal struggles were so overwhelming; he fought thoughts of suicide. His parents simply weren’t equipped to deal with Jackson’s challenges.

In the company of horses

    Each child at the Ranch is given the opportunity to spend time at the stable with the horses. Horses are highly sensitive and have a unique ability to read human emotions. Sometimes they provide comfort to a child who is anxious or depressed. Other times they mirror the child’s emotions by backing away or becoming skittish if the child is feeling anxious or angry. This cues the child to identify their emotions, and to discover what they might be doing to make the horse feel unsafe.

    Regulating and controlling their emotions is difficult for most Ranch kids. Once they discover ways to be calm around their horses, they can use those skills in other parts of their lives.

    Jackson found that working with these intuitive animals helped him relax and manage his anxiety.

    “When I first got here,” he says, “I tried to intimidate the horses. They’d get hyper and didn’t want to be near me. Now I know to be calm around them and treat them with gentleness.”

    Jackson has really bonded with a horse named Weaver. He’s so excited to go to the stable and spend time with his special friend. They’ve really bonded. Their relationship is helping him deal with the challenges that brought him to the Ranch.

    “When I go to the stable, it changes my mood completely,” Jackson said. “It makes me feel good about myself and helps me cope with my troubles. My horse gives me the opportunity to be the best I can be.”

Healing trauma through movement

    The abuse and/or neglect experienced by most Ranch children stunts the development of gross motor skills that allow them to sit upright, stand, walk, run, lift, throw, and kick. Horseback riding helps build core strength, balance, coordination, and leg strength, which all aid in the development of those gross motor skills. It also helps to release the trauma that is stored in the body.

    The activities kids do with the horses depends on the needs of each child and may include riding groups, behavioral health therapy, and occupational therapy.

Bless a boy or girl at the Ranch with your gift now

    We want to continue this long and wonderful heritage of pairing gentle horses with at-risk kids. But horse therapy must be completely funded by partners who recognize that horse therapy can be so good for a child.

Won’t you give today — as generously as you can — to make horse therapy a reality for a child?  Give online at

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch at 701-237-3123.                              

 *Name changed to protect confidentiality

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Moving Beyond Survival: DOXOLOGY and Your Church’s Future

 Boom and bust have been the cycle of farmers for generations, as well as businesses in small towns that depend on farm customers. But lately it’s been mostly “bust” and very little “boom.” Plummeting commodity prices, rising expenses, and international trade wars have all taken their toll on those who live and work in America’s heartland. Combine that with the advent of factory farms and vanishing family farms, add in plunging birth rates and the exodus of rural youth, and that leaves the average congregation on the ropes numerically and financially. A whole lot of churches in rural and small-town America are in survival mode these days.

Have your members begun to look backward instead of forward? Have you adopted a survival mentality? Is there a lot of nostalgia for past “glory days” when you had a flourishing children’s Sunday School and far fewer vacant pews than you see at worship these days? Is there a growing and nagging sense of shame that somehow you’ve failed the pioneer generations who founded your congregation?

DOXOLOGY would like to be the catalyst to help your church members take a fresh look at what can be a pretty deflating picture and find the possibilities hidden behind the challenges.

Besides our classic program for pastors, lay leaders and clergy couples, the break­out session in Minneapolis (at the RSTM National conference) will give you a fuller picture of what we have to offer you. In broad strokes, here’s what we have to offer your congregation:

  1. We’re no miracle workers; there’s no magic wand or button you can push to make all your problems go away. There’s only this promise of our Lord Jesus: “I will build my church.”
  2. We need to explore what Jesus’ prom­ise means in your specific location: What does Jesus mean by “church?” More im­portantly, how does He build His church?
  3. What is a pastor? How can you as God’s people join together to enhance your pastor’s ministry in mission to an increasingly paganized culture?
  4. Which invisible people groups have moved into your community since the days of the founding of your congregation? Where do they live and work? How can you get to know them (and speak to them, if they converse in another language)?
  5. What are the resources the Lord has given uniquely to you in this generation to reach out anew with His changeless Word?
  6. Which aspects of our Lutheran theology connect well to a world in spiritual free-fall?
  7. Which points of connection have you been given in your daily lives with those who do not know the Lord Jesus and His church?
  8. How can you partner with sister congregations in your vicinity to better address the work the Lord has given you to do in our generation?
  9. What can you do to encourage fellow members to live more deliberately as the family of God, lifting each other’s burdens and multiplying personal joys?

Join me for the webinar “Moving Beyond Survival: DOXOLOGY and Your Church’s Future” on October 10 at 1 p.m. CST, as we discuss these and other matters facing church leaders in these momentous times.

Contributed through the LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission monthly newsletter by the Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, executive director for Spiritual Care, DOXOLOGY

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