Words of Grace by Pastor Benson – May 2020

Mother’s Day Checklist

“Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.” (Psalm 116:16)

Mother’s Day is just a few days away (May 10th).  Do you plan to do something special to honor your mother and the other important mother’s in your life?  Some of us might make a special meal while mom relaxes or order a restaurant meal to eat at home.  We often give cards and other gifts to mothers to express our thanks for all they do for us.

These are nice things to do for mom but maybe there is more to Mother’s Day than cards, gifts and meals.  I challenge you to give some extra thought to the many mothers who have impacted you.  Consider all of the time, prayers and love these mothers have given to you!  Here are a few steps to guide you in your preparations.

Mother’s Day Preparation Checklist:

Step 1:  List all of the mothers who have impacted your life.

Step 2:  Count up all of things these mothers have done for you.

Step 3:  Consider the many spiritual values, including your faith in God that these mothers have instilled in you.

Step 4:  Reflect on the many prayers these mothers have prayed on your behalf.

Step 5:  Give thanks to God each day for the many mothers who have blessed you.

Step 6:  Spend the rest of your life honoring these special mothers and all mothers.

Mothers have a very important role in the future of our country, one child at a time.  God has ordained that mothers nurture their unborn children in the womb and this nurturing continues even after birth.  Mothers have a special way of showing God’s love through their gentle touch, warm embrace and soft words!

May God continue to bless us all with mothers who love us, pray for us and show us every day how important we are!                                                                       Happy Mother’s Day to you Mom!




The Gift of Mothers

  1. I believe that God has created all people in His image, both women and men. God has also created women with the special ability to nurture human life in the womb and after giving birth to the child.
  2. I thank God for my mother and for other mothers who have raised me from birth and have guided me throughout my life.
  3. I honor all mothers – past, present and future mothers – in their faithfulness to God and to the children He has given them.
  4. I affirm the Biblical teachings on motherhood and uphold the many examples of godly women in the Bible as important role models for mothers today.
  5. I denounce any teaching or movement in our society that is contrary to the Biblical teaching on the sanctity and honor of motherhood.
  6. I thank God for Christian mothers who bring their children to the Lord in prayer and teach them about our Savior, Jesus Christ.
  7. I believe it is the duty of the church to support, equip and pray for mothers as they care for the physical and spiritual needs of their children, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  8. I resolve to do all I can to promote the vital ministry of mothers within our churches and among our communities.
  9. I commit my talents, time and treasure to help mothers in special times of need, especially those mothers who do not have a husband to care for them and their children.
  10. I thank my mother and all mothers for their love, sacrifice and commitment to all children – through the grace of Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God the Father.

(Written and submitted by Pastor Benson)



To Pray for Our Church Family & Friends

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,

with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4:6


In Need of Healing:

Bob Arnsdorff, Norma Arnsdorff, Katie Becker, Don Edmondson,  Jason Hecht, Bob Johnson, Alberta Larson,  Brandon McDonnell, Judy Peterson, Bob Stangland, Bob Vetter, Bob Williams


Serving our Country: Tracy Graham (US Coast Guard Reserves),

Kendall Wills (US Navy), Matthew Cepiel (US Navy), Alex Mata, (US Army)

PLEASE let us know if you would like to add or remove a name from the “pray for” list.


Prayer Requests 

Pray for Matthew Cepiel (Jan Cepiel’s grandson) as he is in the US Navy serving onboard the USS Roosevelt.  Everyone on the ship has been quarantined and thankfully he has tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.

Pray for the farmers in our area as they deal with the large amount of rain recently and many flooded fields and as they wait for dry weather so they can plant their crops.

Pray for many local and national farmers, ranchers and other people employed in agri-business, food production and marketing as they deal with economic issues as many businesses are shut down.

Pray for our local school teachers, staff, students and parents as public and private schools are shut down and using online learning and home computers.

Pray for all of our medical staff, nurses and doctors as they help many sick people and deal with many health issues during this Corona virus pandemic.

Pray for local police officers, emergency response teams and others who continue to do their jobs and serve our people during this trying time.       


The Farmers Prayer


Almighty Father,

We humbly ask that you remember us, your children.

You are the Great Vinedresser.

God, You are the Great Shepherd.

You make the sun to shine and the rain to fall,

God, You give growth to every plant,

You make every bud blossom and bring forth every fruit.

God, You fill our hills, pastures, and meadows with grass and grain.

You give life and health to each animal,

Even noticing when the sparrow falls from the sky.

You visit the earth and life springs from your footsteps,

Visit us today and bring forth life in our fields.

Visit us today and give health to our animals.


Almighty Father,

With every green shoot that rises from the dirt,

And with every new animal that is born,

Remind us of the spiritual life that is budding and being born in our lives.

And we will give you the praise that’s due your name.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.




May God’s richest blessings be upon our members celebrating a birthday or marriage anniversary during this month!

Dan Chapman,  Alberta Larson, Kirstie Anderson, Zoie Chapman,  Sy Salinas,  Barb Starks, Joel Heilmann, Bill Smith &

Sally Varland


Michael & Katie Ranallo



Grace Lutheran Church family,


Stay Connected with Each Other:  Thank you for reaching out to each other during our time of social distancing and trying to stay healthy!  Deb and I also appreciate your concern for us!  You are truly blessing others with your calls, text messages, letters, cards, outside visits, and other creative communications!  Keep up the great ministry!

No Church Activities until May 31:  As of today, May 1st, we are not being allowed to meet and worship together at the church until Sunday, May 31st, due to the latest directives in combatting the COVID-19 virus.  This means that we will not have any regular monthly church activities in May.  Our Confirmation Service, with Carter Laudeman confirming his faith in Jesus Christ, will be rescheduled to a future date.  The Mother-Daughter banquet will either be rescheduled or cancelled for this year.  We will let you know more details as we proceed!

Newsletter Update / Keep Submitting Items:  We want to thank everyone who submitted articles and information for the April newsletter!  We have received very positive feedback from everyone and so we encourage you to keep submitting articles, personal reflections, stories, Bible verses, poems or other items for future issues of our newsletter.  You can email those items to Patty Houchin.

Grace Church Services/Messages:  We have received very positive comments on those who have been listening to our Sunday morning services and Wed eve messages!  I will continue recording a mini-service on Sundays and Bible study meditation on Wednesday evenings.  You can access these audio messages on your iPhone, iPad, Android or computer by entering our church website (  Please let me you know if you need assistance in connecting to the website.

AFLC Church Services/Messages: The AFLC also has a list of AFLC churches with video and audio services and messages you can access at their website (

Keep feeding your our soul and mind with God’s word and some “good news!”

Partnering with you all in Christ Jesus, Pastor Benson




Messages to our congregation from Grace Lutheran Church members


Dear Friends of Grace,

I wish you all well, we all worry about tomorrow, the when and if!

We are told not to worry-

Isaiah 40:29, 31

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.

I am reminded of the chorus of “On Eagle’s Wings” and He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand.

My prayer for each of you is:

Be strong, be safe and look to Jesus.                                                                                        Submitted by Jan Cepiel


Accept each day just as it comes to you. Do not waste your time and energy wishing for a different set of circumstances. Instead trust Me enough to yield to My design and purposes.

Psalm 29:11

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.           Submitted by Grace Lutheran member



Miss seeing all of you, pray we will soon be able to worship together again.                Submitted by Don & Ruth Bright


Lemon Bread                                                                               submitted by Ruth Bright

1 – lemon cake mix

1- 3oz pkg INSTANT lemon pudding

4 eggs

1 TBS poppy seeds

1 cup boiling water

½ cup cooking oil

Mix all together, put in loaf pan, bake at 350˚ 40-45 min


May Calendar

National Day of Prayer (Thursday, May 7)

Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10)

Ascension Day (Thursday, May 21)

Memorial Day (Monday, May 25)

Pentecost Day (Sun, May 31)


We are Here to Help

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Pastor Benson, the Deacons (Lyle, Craig, or Kris) or other Council members (Dan, Mike, Debbie, Bob T. or Adam).  We want to make sure everyone is safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty.  Pastor Benson is also available to visit in person most days; he can be reached on his cell phone at 815-768-7606.

Church Contact List

We are still compiling a contact list for email and text messaging for those who wish to participate. Please send me your information if interested, this list will only be shared among church members.                                                  Patty Houchin



In The Beginning

The Hauge Lutheran Church began at an organizational meeting on July 8, 1876 in the home of Wier Peterson.  It was unanimously agreed to build a church and $985 was pledged toward it.  A 60′ by 40′ frame building was completed in 1877 at a cost of $4,000 on a lot given by Halvor Osmundson.

We started as part of the Conference of the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  In 1917 we joined the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.  The first pastor, N.C. Brun was installed in March, 1877 and was succeeded by Rev. N. G. Nilson who served almost nine years.  The Rev. J. Aarrestad was installed on November 16, 1893 serving Hauge (Grace) Lutheran Church along with Bethlehem Lutheran in Morris until his death on May 24, 1927.

In 1930, negotiations with Lisbon Bethlehem Lutheran Church were completed to form a new parish and a call was sent to  Rev. Allen Blegen to serve both congregations.

On December 6, 1934 fire destroyed the original church building.  It was replaced by the present structure and dedicated May 10, 1936.  On January 9, 1936 Hauge Lutheran Church was renamed Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.

(From our church history file.  We also would like you to submit articles or information related to the history of our church and personal reflections on how God has blessed you through our church family!) 


“The Old Country Church” by J.W. Vaughn

There’s a place near to me, where I’m longing to be

With my friends at the old country church

There with mother we went and our Sundays we spent

With our friends at the old country church

Precious years of memories / Oh, what joy they bring to me                                                                                                                     How I long once more to be / With my friends at the old country church

How I wish that today all the people would pray

Like we prayed in that old country church

If they’d only confess, Jesus surely would bless

As He did in that old country church

Precious years of memories / Oh, what joy they bring to me

How I long once more to be / With my friends at the old country church


Stewardship Verses

  1. “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.” (Psalm 24:1)
  2. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches in Galatia so do you also. On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
  3. “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Financial Report and Giving Guidance

On behalf of the church council, thank you very much for continuing to give to the church needs, bills and ministries during this time.  Since we are not holding any worship services until May 31, the church council encourages everyone to give as you are able to and keep sending your offering money to the church using regular mail.  Or if you prefer, you can contact Lyle Hecht  or Mike Ranallo and they will pick it up at your home.  And just so you know Pastor Benson collects the mail every day from church mail box.  We pray God’s continued blessings and peace upon you all and our church as we seek His help and daily provision for our needs! 



Kids missing two months of school due to the Coronavirus

March thru May 2020

Canceling the rest of the school year, students will miss over 2 months of education. Many people are concerned about students falling behind because of this. Yes, they may fall behind when it comes to classroom education…

But what if
What if instead of falling “behind”, this group of kids are ADVANCED because of this? Hear me out.
What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read, they love to express themselves in writing.
What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard and sitting near a window in the quiet?

What if they notice the birds and the dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?
What if this generation are the ones to learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, and keep a well run home?
What if they learn to stretch a dollar and to live with less?
What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home?
What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday?
What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics, and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?
What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?
What if they are AHEAD?



Ten Be-attitudes for a Beautiful Day (compiled by Pastor Benson)

  1. Be….In Christ

“So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him…” (Colossians 2:6-7)

  1. Be….In the Word of God

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119:105)

  1. Be….Anxious for Nothing

“Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6); “Cast all your anxiety upon Him”     (1 Peter 5:7)

  1. Be….In Prayer

“In everything, by prayer and petition…..present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6)

  1. Be….Alert

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

  1. Be….Filled with the Holy Spirit

“After they prayed…..they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31) / “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23)

  1. Be….Content with What you Have

“Keep yourselves free from the love of money, be content with what you have” (Heb. 13:5)

  1. Be….Thankful

“In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”                   (1 Thess. 5:18)

  1. Be….Looking for Jesus Christ’s Return

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matthew 24:44)

  1. Be….A Blessing to Others

“Share with God’s people who are in need, practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)

“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18)



                The Annual NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by                     President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.