Distinctly Lutheran + Christ, Cross, Sacraments

CHRIST-CENTERED

2,000 years ago the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary; this same Jesus Christ lived, taught, and healed the sick for over 30 years.

Then at just right moment of His choosing He gave up His spirit and died on the cross to rescue us from our sin. Three days later He rose from the dead and after exactly 40 days He ascended to His Father’s right hand.

Presently in this time of the New Testament, He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort us through His Gospel Sacraments that wash away our sin.

Therefore, Gethsemane Lutheran Church is a “congregation of saints in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered” (Augustana VII).

CROSS-FOCUSED

Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to be punished for our sin; He did this for you because of His great mercy.

All of us are selfish and dying sinners (Psalm 51; Romans 3; 1 Timothy 1). When others in our lives, especially our family and friends, inconvenience us or embarrass us, we become angry and frustrated. When we inconvenience or embarrass others, we consider that our time is more important than anyone else’s. 

We worship ourselves with how we use our time and money. 
We rarely pray to our Father in heaven or listen to His Son.
We hold grudges against others.
We lust after strangers and those around me.
We are lazy and waste our time on frivolous things.
We envy the possessions and lives of others.
And worst of all, we think that none of the above is really about us.

Many cling to the false belief that think that they are fairly decent people who try to be nice and kind, and they think that God should be happy enough with that. We worship ourselves and are doomed to die.

But there is One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is our Savior who shed His holy, precious blood on the cross to atone for the sin of every last sinner of this evil world. He then sends His Holy Spirit to deliver that His precious blood and water and word to sinners through Communion, Baptism, and Preaching. Through these means of grace He takes us, the unlovable, and makes us His own and unites Himself to us. Christ Jesus is life, life for us, life for you.

SACRAMENT-RECEIVING

This is how Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to deliver His forgiveness to you as an individual.

Holy Baptism
Baptism works forgiveness of sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16). The Church and her pastors are under orders to wash away sin from sinners of all ages. If you have not been baptized and would like to learn more about this great gift from God, please contact Pastor Boehringer.

Holy Confession & Absolution
Confession has two parts. The one is that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution or forgiveness from the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting but firmly believing that our sins are thus forgiven before God in heaven. Pastor Boehringer currently is available by appointment for private absolution as taught in Luther’s Small Catechism. Any who feel burdened by the guilt of their sin are welcome to confess and receive the absolution, or forgiveness of sins, from the pastor as from God Himself. All confessions are kept in confidence.

Holy Communion
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ for us Christians to eat and to drink. In the Lord’s Supper Christ’s true body and blood are present, distributed and received for the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of faith, life and salvation. The Lord’s Supper is currently celebrated on the second, fourth, and fifth Sundays of the month, and on festival days such as Christmas Day and seven Sundays of Easter.

To Be Perfectly Clear: Cause and effect

The cause of our salvation is Christ alone; the effect of our salvation is living Christians who serve Him and others in His name. Christ’s forgiveness creates new righteous people who do good works in His sight, yet we are still sinners who sin daily. Every Sunday fellow sinners gather as guests in God’s house to receive His Son for the forgiveness of sins.

Christian THought and Ideas

A short history of Gethsemane

In the summer of 1964 students from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (Mequon) canvassed Davenport and Bettendorf for those interested in receiving the Sacraments and hearing the Word preached weekly. This led to the first services at a local bowling alley two years later with the Rev. Eugene Ahlswede preaching and presiding. (Pastor Ahlswede was the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Moline.) The name Gethsemane was chosen for this new congregation which was officially organized on November 11, 1966. In October 1967 ground was broken on the parsonage; the basement served as the worship space and pastor’s study. The next year the Rev. Ralph Scharf was ordained and installed as Gethsemane’s first resident pastor.

In 1973 ground was broken and the cornerstone laid for the church where we now receive Christ and His gifts of Word and Sacrament. A service of dedication was held on January 27, 1974. Gethsemane’s second pastor was the Rev. Michael Dietz, ordained and installed in 1975. For some time Gethsemane paid for a full-time Lutheran teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School of Moline. Kathy Burger served in this position starting in the 1976-1977 school year. The Rev. Stanley Weinrich was ordained and installed as our third pastor in 1979; that same year Connie Davis became our new teacher at St. Paul’s.

In 1981 a used pipe organ was installed and dedicated. The following year our congregation became self-supporting and no longer received money from our synod. The Rev. Norman Kuske became our fourth pastor in 1983. The Rev. James Sherod followed in 1989. Throughout all these years we had an active fellowship group. We also had live animals in our nativity for “Christmas for Kids.” We’ve had Christian concerts on our front lawn, open to the public, as well as several sacred choral concerts in our sanctuary.

Our pipe organ was upgraded in 1990—chimes were added just in time for our silver anniversary in 1991. The Rev. Thomas Schultz (our guest preacher today) came and served Gethsemane beginning in 1993. It was also the year the new synodical hymnal, Christian Worship, was introduced and used in our pews. Two years later we were able to burn our mortgage note. In the 1990s we also started taping our worship services for cable public access television; these broadcasts continue today. In 1996 Children’s Garden Preschool was established and Susan Sullivan was its first teacher. 1997 saw the Rev. Robert Krueger become our seventh shepherd of souls. The current Allen organ was dedicated in 1998; that same year Sheila Dammann became our second preschool teacher and continued her service until her retirement in 2013. In 1999 Connie Krueger was installed as our preschool teacher for the 3 year olds. Our current sign on Jersey Ridge Road was installed in 2004, the same year that saw the Rev. Bill Finn become our eighth resident pastor. In 2009 the Rev. Luke Boehringer became Gethsemane’s ninth pastor.

Over the past five decades many hundreds of souls have been Baptized, heard Christ and His cross preached, and received Absolution and Communion, all for the forgiveness of sins. We anticipate a joyous reunion around Christ’s heavenly throne with these faithful saints who have received Christ’s mercy in all these years and for all the years to come until He returns. God grant it! Amen!