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Dear Friends in Christ,

We have journeyed through The Story. We have traveled through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It has been a great journey and a great blessing. But how does The Story further impact your life? Where do we go from here? It is an important question because God says to us in James 1:22, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." God makes clear to us that if we only hear the word of God and do not act upon it we are deceiving ourselves.

When we studied The Story we saw how our Lord took action for our benefit. After falling into sin He promised a savior. He came from the upper story and entered this world as a human being taking our place under the law of God. He went to the cross and gave His life for us. Now that He has accomplished our salvation and risen from the dead, He brings to us the forgiveness of sins, His Word, His sacraments, and many blessings. Because God took action our lives we are impacted in positive ways. Through faith in Jesus we will spend eternity in heaven. But the action of Jesus also affects how we live our lives now in this world as He fills us with His gifts and moves us forward to carry out the works and purposes He has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Later this month we will begin the next step of The Story which is entitled Believe.  This study is divided into three parts.  You have heard the saying, "you are what you eat." Similarly, we can say, "You are what you believe." Therefore, in the first third of Believe we will look at some of our basic and important Christians beliefs that we hold dear.   In the second third of our study we will focus upon how we act on those beliefs.    What do we do to be doers of God's Word and not just hearers? This part will focus on how we live out our Christian life.   In the third section of our study we will consider what am I becoming.   We will consider how the Word of God and our beliefs about it is changing not just some outward actions, but is changing us from the inside out. Our character, our true self will be changing for the better.

Believe will follow the same kind of format that we enjoyed with the Story. All ages will be able to study similar material each week. Our study will again have 3 aspects to it like the 3 legs to a stool. First, everyone will receive a book and there will be a short chapter to read each week. Secondly, the sermon in our weekend worship will focus on that week's readings. Thirdly, in our Bible study we will watch a brief video and go through a study guide and discussion that will give lots of opportunities to reflect upon how we are living out what we believe. Many people have found this Bible study portion to be a blessing as we have gone through The Story. Therefore, whether you have been participating in the past or not everyone is invited and encouraged to join in on this 3rd leg of the journey through Believe. Here it becomes all the more real as we can discuss things in a more informal basis.

As we being this journey through Believe, a 30 week journey, it is a great time not only to recommit yourself to participate, but also to invite someone to go through it with you. Perhaps you may invite a family member, a friend, a member you have not seen in church for some time, a neighbor or even someone you just met. Take a sheet off of the welcome table and give it to someone one else inviting them to sit with you and experience the journey through Believe together.

Pastor Schoenfeld