The following article appeared in the Deshler Rustler, October 24th 2012, celebrating the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Abiding Word Lutheran Church.
Abiding Word Lutheran Church Celebrates 25 Years of God’s Faithfulness
Abiding Word Lutheran Church, located in the southwest corner of Deshler, Nebraska celebrates God’s faithful provision over the past twenty-five years. The church is blessed with many fine families, all united by the foundational belief that the church will stand only as it remains committed to the sound preaching and teaching that finds its source in the inerrant, infallible, and inspired Word of God. As the Word of God is described with these certain attributes, it has complete authority in the ways and the means for God’s children to live in harmony as we anticipate the certain return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Abiding Word Lutheran Church gathered for the first time August 16, 1987, in the Deshler 4-H Building. Led by a strong contingent of lay leaders, filled with names well known in our community. Led a group of sixty-nine adults and thirteen children in the worship of God through the proclamation of God’s Word and the adoration of the Savior in song. Names like Kirchhoff, Haugen, Hoops, Seybold, Kettlehut and Hobelmann were present then and continue today to grace the four walls that Abiding Word Lutheran calls home.
These grace-filled men and women continued to diligently serve God each week and each other motivated by the love shown them by Jesus Christ. The venues for service rotated between the Byron Memorial Hall, Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Basement room at Byron and finally in Reinke Hall at Deshler. The faithful members each week gathered the necessary supplies required for the worship of God in an orderly and excellent way.
The first published use of the name Abiding Word Lutheran Church came on September 2, 1987 as the Chester Herald published its' church calendar. The church, not only met in the venues outlined, but met regularly in the homes for intensive study of the Bible, dedicated prayer and the formation of the church’s constitution. The wives were active as they reviewed available Sunday school curriculum and determined which material would be appropriate for sustaining and growing the faith of the congregation’s children. Abiding Word officially incorporated October 26, 1987. Four months later the congregation extended an official call to the Reverend Raymond Klug to serve them as Pastor of Abiding Word Lutheran Church and Faith Lutheran Church located in Fairbury, NE. Klug accepted the joint call and was installed November 1st, 1987. Klug was for a time assisted by Dr. Howard Franzen, a retired pastor from Hastings who graciously offered his services to shepherd both flocks.
The Reinke family is owed a debt of gratitude as they stepped up and provided Reinke Hall as a semi-permanent space for Abiding Word to worship their Lord and Savior. The hall gradually morphed into a building that looked like a church as the bell tower and the cross were installed on the building rooftop. In 1997 under the leadership of Abiding Word’s first full time pastor, Reverend Joseph Schultz, the congregation voted to build a new church building. The Reinke family once again is owed a debt of gratitude as they offered the congregation the land on which our building sits today. The groundbreaking commenced March 29, 1998, and the building project began and the building was complete and dedicated August 15, 1999.
The congregation began its quest to love and serve the Lord God as an independent Lutheran Congregation, after two years though it affiliated with The American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC). After a time as the congregation was guided by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, the congregation disassociated with TAALC due to doctrinal issues. An intensive study followed, with leadership researching church bodies, understanding the Lutheran Confessions, reading and re-reading the Book of Concord, relying on God’s Wisdom that is revealed in His Word and through intense prayer opted to become a member of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, which occurred in January 1992. This affiliation exists strongly today as we, alongside the AFLC, look to strengthen the foundational biblical teachings found only in the entire revealed and inspired Word of God. Through the study of the Word we are prepared for an unending future in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Today, we look forward to a bright future as God continues to faithfully provide for His children at Abiding Word Lutheran Church. I, as their called Pastor, am committed to prepare this congregation for the days to come, looking forward, learning from our mistakes and pressing on toward the goal of excellence that is defined by Jesus Christ. We are mighty in strength as we are united, bound to one another proclaiming the absolute truth of Scripture. Join us this Sunday for an opportunity to be educated in our history and inspired to live your life in faith in Jesus Christ.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (II Tim. 3:16-17)
God bless you and fill you with His peace.
Reverend George Lautner, Abiding Word Lutheran Church, Deshler, NE