Our Blog

What does Gather, Nurture, and Serve Look Like in OS@Home

Pastoral Letter to Our Shepherd

Responses to the coronavirus are escalating quickly in our world. As a congregation we have gone from…

  • “We’re monitoring the situation.”
  • “We are scaling back.”
  • “Our building is shutting down.”
  • “Shelter in place”

It is a confusing and scary time. We’d love to give you a hug, a handshake, and to see you face-to-face. That time will come. We will get through this together.

Our Shepherd still gathers, nurtures, and serves because Jesus loves.

Gather

The Gospel of Jesus Christ remains the truth that shapes our community. While we are not meeting in large groups to care for people who are vulnerable, the definition of our community has not changed. We are a communion of saints through the forgiveness of sins we receive in Jesus Christ. 

We have a page on our website (ourshepherd.net/osathome) that describes the best ways to view all the videos that are being produced to share God’s word. Our worship services are being live-streamed. All of these live videos are archived, and YouTube has the best system for selecting a video to watch from the collection we have produced.

Nurture

We are committed to nurturing one another through the study of God’s Word, Christian education, and living life together. 

Monday through Friday we livestream a morning devotion at 8:45am and an evening devotion at 8:45pm. 

We will lead Bible studies online. Dr. Mark Nimtz is working with the small group leaders and Bible study leaders to equip them with the tools to lead their studies using digital tools. Our school staff continues to provide education to our students through e-learning. Hannah Walsh will work with our youth to keep them connected to God’s Word and to one another.

The coronavirus has quickly changed how we live our lives together in this congregation. Nothing is business as usual. Daily we try to figure out what needs to be paused and what can be retooled for this dynamic time. 

Serve

It has been lovely to witness how the people of this congregation reach out to support each other during this time.

Support – OS and Each Other

We continue to support our faculty and staff, and operation costs continue. Please plan to support the ministry of Our Shepherd purposefully and proportionately. There are three ways to give:

  • Online at http://ourshepherd.net/give/.
  • Text the word "give" to 248.430.4403 and follow the link to complete
  • Mail your check to Our Shepherd, 2225 E. 14 Mile, Birmingham MI 48009

We understand that in some cases, income has been affected by the COVID-19 situation. If you need assistance in the form of groceries, or from Our Shepherd’s Love for Others Fund, please contact one of the pastors in confidence at 248.646.6100. Your fellow members have generously given to provide resources in times of need.

We have members and friends who do not use the Internet as their main source of information. If you know someone like this, please give them a call and let them know about the opportunities we’re providing to virtually gather together and hear God’s Word of comfort and strength. 

Have ideas of what the church could do to assist others? Please let us know.  This is new to all of us and we are sure there are currently gaps that we are not filling, simply because we are not aware of them.

In Closing

We are temporarily apart, but never alone! Let’s all continue to reach out and connect through technology, telephone calls, and perhaps even old-fashioned pen and paper, knowing that our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer God is always with us, and promises to never leave us nor forsake us. This loving encouragement in Hebrews 10:23 applies to us today, just as it did in the time of the early church:

“Let us hold steadfast to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful!” - Hebrews 10:23

We love you all! We miss being with you, and we know that when we are able to come together again, it will be a time of great joy and thanksgiving to God. For now, we’ll see you online. 

Your safety and health are important. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us.

Pastor Gaertner (

Pastor Woodfin (

Pastor Vieregge ( )

Posted by Evan Gaertner

Prayer for times of national crisis or calamity

Prayer for times of national crisis or calamity from the Lutheran Book of Prayer

Heavenly Father, I come to Your throne of mercy, bowed down and wearied by the weight of suffering and disaster visited upon our country. I beg you to protect this nation in our hour of need.

I acknowledge my trespasses before You and do not deny either my own transgressions of Your holy Law or the sins of other citizens in my household. We are laden with iniquity, but You call us to Your forgiveness, salvation, hope, and life.

Turn the hearts and minds of all to You, that they might find peace through the cleansing of Jesus' blood. Let me not be confounded or dismayed, so that I , a child of Your grace, may courageously speak to this needy world of the hope that is within me.

Make me an instrument of Your peace in a world of conflict, a witness to the power of faith in a world lost in unbelief, and a bearer of the joy that overcomes the sorrow of a fallen world. Grant to the leaders of this nation and all the nations of the world wise counsel, calm thinking, and unselfish aims. Amid the tumult of disaster, build Your kingdom and turn even more souls to Yourself.

Because of Your grace, we are not altogether lost but find peace and forgiveness in You. O Lord, give me the grace to seek You, trust You, and confess You; in Jesus' name. Amen.

Posted by Evan Gaertner

Lord's Prayer Journal

“Prayer is a very precious medicine, one that helps and never fails.” - Martin Luther

The Routine of Prayer

Many people have a routine for prayer. This routine will likely include prayer before meals and utilizing a personal devotional like Portals of Prayer. Others will have no daily routine but find themselves often in prayer in times when in need of comfort, relief, aid, or offering thanksgiving to the Lord.

There is also in the Divine Service multiple opportunities for prayer. This corporate prayer is often spoken by the pastor. The Prayer of the Day summarizes the theme of the day and the Prayer of the Church gathers the prayers of the people.

You are invited to form a routine of personal prayer with trust that your Father desires to hear from you.

The Posture of Prayer

There are many different body motions we may make to prepare ourselves to be in holy conversation with our Lord God. No matter what posture you may use, make time to be in prayer. Consider if a particular posture may help prepare you for that holy conversation, if so then use it.

When growing up did you kneel beside your bed with your parents to say night time prayers? Do you hold hands during meal time prayers? Do you get down on your knees when you pray? Do you close your eyes?

You might be familiar with the Minnesota State Photograph "Grace." You may not have known it as the official state photograph of Minnesota, but the image will be familiar. Eric Enstrom, around 1920, took a picture of a white-bearded visitor to his studio in Bovey.

Consider how this man’s posture prepared his spirit to give thanks.

The Content of Prayer

In a variety of forms prayer includes adoration, confession and trusting in God’s forgiveness, petition, intercession, and contemplation.

Prayer begins with God’s invitation.

“Lord, it is your will and command that we should come to you and pray. So I now come to please you. I ask you to forgive and to remove my sins which weigh heavily upon me. Let them not prevent me from coming to you in prayer. Amen.” (written by Martin Luther)

How to use this prayer guide

You are invited to find a place of prayer. This place does not need to be a formal location or physically defined. More importantly find a quiet place with as few distractions as possible.

The motions of hands and mind together may help you bring focus to your time in prayer. Consider using your hands:

  • to receive God’s promises (with hands turned palm upward and placed near your stomach),

  • to send your petitions up to him (with hands turned palm upward with movement from stomach up towards the sky),

  • and to throw away your distractions (hands in movement away from stomach as if pushing something heavy out of your space).

Paul says, “through him (Jesus) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). You have no right in yourself to come to God but you are able to do so through Jesus and in His name. Jesus removed the barrier between us and God through His death on the cross.

This prayer journal will follow the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer. Contemplate the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer with your mind and body united in prayer.

Consider using some scrap paper throughout this prayer guide to journal your thoughts and prayers.

“Our Father who art in heaven”

God will meet you where you are weak and incapable. He is your Father and tenderly invites you to trust in him.

Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”

Please spend some time thanking God for who He is and consider the relationship that you have with him.

“Hallowed be Thy name”

In Hebrew a name signified a revelation of that person’s character. To pray that God’s name would be holy is to pray that His character would be revealed. The nature and purpose of God may be dishonored in the world around us. Many may pay no attention to him, but God’s name is holy regardless of this dishonoring. We pray that in our own lives He would be known.

Pray that the name (character and purpose) of God would be revealed in your church and in the society around you.

Isaiah 42:5-6 - Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,

“Thy kingdom come”

The kingdom of our Lord will come whether I ask for it or not. But we desire that this kingdom would be built in us and around us. By the power of God’s holy word the Holy Spirit builds the kingdom in our lives and in our society. The Word of God is a living book that transforms.

Offer up to the Lord petitions, supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings of His Word working in your life and society His peace, justice and compassion.

Psalm 143:6-8 - I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me, or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit. Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust.  Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Again like the previous petition we remember that the will of our Father in heaven happens whether we ask for it or not.

Many people are worried by decisions they must make.

Pray that your will would be conformed to the will of the Lord. Our will compared with the will of the Lord is not good but continually evil.

Therefore we pray, “Be merciful to me, dear Father, and let nothing be done according to my will. Help me to humbly trust thy will be done.”

Acts 17:28 “‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’”

“Give us this day our daily bread”

Your Father is concerned about everything that you are concerned about and so He wants to hear about what you are concerned about. Parents desire that their children come to them and ask them about anything they are worried about. Your Father cares about you and desires to provide for you.

It is not wrong to pray about your own concerns, provided that God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will is the first priority.

Ephesians 5:29-30 “After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.”

Pray for both your physical and spiritual needs. Trusting all things you need into the hands of the Lord.

“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

By the cross of Jesus Christ our past, present, and future sins find forgiveness in His atoning sacrifice. But every day we tarnish the treasure of this gift by our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. As we find forgiveness in Jesus Christ we trust that He will give us the strength to forgive those who trespass against us.

In prayer confess to the Lord sins that weigh heavy on your heart. Trust in His love and forgiveness. You need not doubt His love for you. You need only look to the cross and know that your sins are forgiven.

After confessing your sins to the Lord read this passage from St. Peter and trust that your sins have been washed clean.

1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

“And lead us not into temptation.”

God does not tempt us, but He is in control of how much we are exposed to the devil. Consider Job and how the Lord allowed Satan to work against Job.

Every person has an “Achilles’ heal,” a weakness. Pray to God for your protection trusting that it is only by His strength that you will persevere.

“Preserve us from the forces of the devil. Let us not sanction pride, our own pleasures, and other detractions, for the sake of riches, fame, power, skill, popularity, or any other gift of yours. Guard us against yielding to hatred and envy for any cause. Preserve us now and until our last moment from following the disputes of faith and the despair that follows. Amen” (Martin Luther)

2 Samuel 22:37  “You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”

“But deliver us from evil.”

This petition is a summary of the Lord’s work in our lives. By faith we hold onto Jesus Christ as our victory and when our last hour comes we will know His love face-to-face.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

God has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Pray with thanksgiving that the Lord delivers you from evil and that by faith you will be judged righteous. Pray for opportunities to declare the praises of Him.

“For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever and Ever. Amen.”

Conclude your prayer time receiving from God His good news. He has done all in Jesus Christ is because He loves you, though we in no way will ever deserve these gifts. This is most certainly true.

Posted by Evan Gaertner

12345678910 ... 1112