Redeemer Ev. Lutheran Church, Iola, WI

Sermons, Devotions, and News from Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Iola, WI

Category Archives: Church Current Events

Ash Wednesday 2017



Why place ashes on our foreheads?  It’s an old, old Church tradition that carries with it an important symbolism.  By placing ashes on our foreheads, we enter a visible state of repentance, knowing what God said after the Fall into sin: “for your are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).  The ashes signify our complete inability to save ourselves, and our faith that the death of one man, the Lord Jesus Christ, brought us the life we had lost.  Join us Wednesday, March 1st at 2 PM for the imposition of ashes.

The evening of March 1st, our regular schedule of Wednesday night Lenten Vespers begins with our service at 6:30.  We begin by looking back at that Garden where mankind fell, but always in light of the promise of One who would restore life in the fruit of his blood.

What on Earth Is a “Gesima”?

The Season of the “Gesimas”

You’ll notice, looking ahead at the church calendar, that two strangely named Sundays are coming up in 2017: on February 12th, “Septuagesima,” and on February 19th, “Sexagesima.” The next Sunday, February 26th, although it is called “Baptism of Jesus,” is also known as “Quinquagesima.” What we affectionately call the “Gesimas” is actually the season of Pre-Lent, the bridge between Epiphany and Lent.

The names of the days refer to about how far away the Sunday is from the celebration of Easter; thus, Septuagesima, Latin for “seventy,” is about 70 days before Easter, Sexagesima (“sixty”) is about 60 days before, and Quinquagesima (“fifty”) is about 50 days before Easter. Lent, as you may know, spans the 40 days leading up to Easter.

Nils Jakob Laache describes this season in his devotional Book of Family Prayer: “This period of the Church Year is our ‘narthex,’ our entrance, into the season of Lent, a time for us to pause before we begin our pilgrimage to Calvary and the empty tomb…. Each of the three Sundays focuses on one of the three Sola’s of Lutheranism. The first week we will hear how we are saved by Grace Alone (Sola Gratia), the next week of Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura), and finally we consider the importance of Baptism and how we are saved by Faith Alone (Sola Fide). With our eyes focused on how God works to save us, we are prepared to enter the penitential season of Lent” (Laache, Book of Family Prayer, 162).

So now you know what to look for. On February 12th, Jesus tells the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16), while in the Old Testament we hear of Jeremiah’s call, as one whom the Lord knew while he was still in the womb (Jer. 1:4-10), and St. Paul encourages his readers to run the race faithfully to receive the promised prize (1 Cor. 9:24-10:5). What does all this have to do with Sola Gratia?

On February 19th, Jesus tells the parable of the Sower and the Seed (Luke 8:4-15), as Isaiah compares God’s Word to rain and snow (Is. 55:10-13), and St. Paul boasts of his weaknesses and the revelations and grace of God (2 Cor. 11:19-12:9). Additionally, this year, the 500th anniversary year of the Reformation, we will commemorate on this day the death of Martin Luther (February 18th, 1546), remembering him as a great preacher of the Word. What does all this have to do with Sola Scriptura?

Lastly, on February 26th, we will hear the account of Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:13-17), while St. Peter tells of the great benefits of Baptism and the picture of the faithful of God in the Flood (1 Pet. 3:18-22), and Isaiah prophesies of the Chosen Servant of the Lord (Is. 42:1-9). What does all this have to do with Sola Fide?

Continue looking ahead to this season, and to all the upcoming seasons and Sundays of the Church Year. This year, a year in which we look back on our history and our heritage, we follow the readings of the Historic Lectionary. Look ahead each week in the Hymnary on pages 202-203 to see what lessons are coming up. May
your devotions be enriched by God’s grace for you in his Word, inspiring faith in the Savior from sin.

-Pastor Michael G. Lilienthal


Luther’s Rose


All are invited to share in God’s love for us in His Son, our
Savior from sin!

Please join us for our Christmas services. O come, let us adore Him!

Christmas Eve – 4 PM    |   Christmas Morning – 8 AM

Christmas Redeemer 2016.png

Looking for some Christmas cheer?  Click here to check out the Christmas concert given by Bethany Lutheran College earlier this month.

March 25 is Christmas?

At Redeemer, we’ll be celebrating the Incarnation and the Death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the same day: March 25th.  Learn why from this video by a church in our fellowship:

Join us at 6:30 p.m. on March 25th to learn more.

Come to Our Rededication Service!

Did you get one of these in the mail?

Postcard 1Postcard 2

Well, even if you didn’t, that doesn’t mean you aren’t invited.

Please come to our Celebration, Sunday, November 1st, 1:30 p.m.  Our worship space has been completely refurbished inside and out, to make us feel more comfortable, to open the space up for better utilization, but mostly, to assist us in the worship of our almighty God.

We’d love for you to join us!

Easter Joy


Last Saturday Redeemer hosted an Easter for Kids event. The children sang songs, made crafts, ate snacks, and learned the story of Jesus’ resurrection.

We invite everyone to come to our service tomorrow morning at 9:00 to hear that same message, and to share in the joy of our salvation!

Temporary Worship Location (continued)

You were recently informed that we would temporarily be worshiping at an interim location, and that we would return to our building on February 1st. We have now pushed that return date back a week or so, so that wet can make the space that much more conducive to edifying worship and comfort. We will be sure to announce our return date, but in the meantime, we continue to meet at:

100 Island Drive
Iola, WI 54945

Thank you for your patience.  And keep a lookout for project updates!  The building is coming along!

Temporary Worship Location


Due to our remodeling endeavors, we will temporarily have to vacate the church building.  In the interim, we will be holding worship in the home of a member family.

  • Sunday, January 11th,
  • Sunday, January 18th, and
  • Sunday, January 25th

Worship will be held at

100 Island Drive
Iola, WI 54945

We apologize for any inconvenience.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

Building Project, Phase I, Part 2

Happy Reformation Day, everyone!

A lot has happened over the last couple of days, and the inside of our church looks a lot different.

We found the need to venture into the sanctuary half of the church yesterday, even though that technically was to be part of Phase II.  While working on Phase I proper, however, the ceiling over the sanctuary was noticeably sagging.  Rather than leave that safety hazard, therefore, our members dove in and started to remove the ceiling.  We started by tearing out the drywall ceiling and the insulation.

Tearing Down the Drywall Ceiling


Rick and Jon said they felt like Godzilla breaking that all down.  It was really like watching Cookie Monster at work, getting into a giant cookie over his head.

Half of the drywall was taken down, and, once most of the debris was out of the way, it was time to start cutting into the steel.  You see, our church was originally constructed by putting two trailers together, so the outside walls and roofs are still largely intact.  But in the interests of higher ceilings, the steel had to go.  It came out in sections.

Cutting the Steel

First Cut

Cutting the Steel

Then Collapse

It was an interesting sight, and sparks were flying.

Sparks Flying


Three sections were broken down yesterday.  And during that endeavor, Jon couldn’t help but show a feat of strength.

Jon's Feat of Strength

Hulk Smash

This is what we left the sanctuary looking like last night:

Sanctuary with Collapsed Ceiling

View Looking Towards the Chancel Area

In one sense, it’s a little disheartening to see a place of worship come to look so ruinous.  Although by Sunday it will not look so messy, it will be different, and possibly a little uncomfortable.  But this project is a good thing by and large.  Our sanctuary will eventually be more open, warmer, and lending itself more fully to edification in the Spirit.  It is important as we continue forward, too, to be grateful for the work that went into this building originally.  For years this church has served as the worship space for Redeemer Lutheran Church, and without the space from which to build on, we would not have the opportunity now to improve our church.  Ever looking forward to that end product, we can’t help but marvel in the supportive and hard-working congregation we have.  Praise God for giving us these gifts!

The Story of Rick’s Nail

Rick's Nail

Rick’s Nail

One of the first things Rick did a few days ago was cut through a wall to open up a wider entryway.  It was smooth sailing for most of the work, but midway down the wall the saw suddenly was giving him difficulties.  Pushing through the sweat and the ache, Rick continued to cut, thinking, “If all the cutting is this difficult, we’ll never get this project done!”  But he persevered, cutting millimeter after millimeter, seeming to get nowhere.  Finally, he broke through and cut out the rest of the wall.  When he looked to see what had given him such trouble, he found that he had cut straight down through a nail.  As you can tell from the picture, it’s a pretty remarkable sight.  I think, if we can cut through something as tough as nails, we can get this whole project done with nothing but blessings!

Building Project, Phase I, Part 1

Redeemer’s building project is underway!

This Monday, October 27th, the day after observing the Reformation, a few of our members started tearing things out.

The Narthex

The Narthex

Admittedly, it’s a little messy, but this is what the narthex looked like after the women’s restroom and the majority of the carpet was removed.

The Narthex

The Narthex

Take a look at some of the insides of our church’s walls.

Where the Women's Restroom Used to Be

Where the Women’s Restroom Used to Be

The View Towards the Door of the Church

The View Towards the Door of the Church

The mess will likely keep up for a while, but we’re very excited about this building project.  Our kitchen will be larger and more centralized, our restrooms more handicap-friendly and comfortable, and, once we get into Phase II, the sanctuary will expand outward and upward (about two extra feet of height!), with a classroom, office, and cry room as a bonus!  Keep checking in to see the progress of this project, and we’ll share our joys and tears as we go on.  As we move in towards Thanksgiving this coming month, we are reminded to thank God for the blessings he bestows, and here we can certainly see that Redeemer has been blessed with a hardworking congregation, ever seeking to improve our worship space and the edification we receive in it.

O, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good,
For his mercy endures forever!