Posted by East Balsam Baptist Church

The East Balsam Beacon

December 2011

 The pastor’s corner

He who wants to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

These are strange words to the average reader. Indeed, those who heard these words firsthand were perplexed by Jesus’ teaching.  What does Jesus mean by losing your life and finding it? Is this some kind of metaphorical language that is not meant to be taken literally? Or is this a call to destroy one’s own body for the sake of attaining eternal life?

I think the answer to these questions is yes, no and maybe.  At one level, Jesus is not speaking of voluntary physical death. To lose one’s life physically would require some kind of suicidal behavior and Jesus is clearly not advocating that kind of action. So, he must be speaking of something else. But what is it?

Scripture describes life apart from Christ as some kind of living death. We are born into sin, objects of wrath, having the poison of asps on our lips, enemies of God and the gospel, bound for eternal destruction and misery. That sounds like living death.  That is the “destiny” for each person born in the line of Adam (which is all of us). Now if you want to somehow preserve what little semblance of a life you have, that is, try to make the best of a bad situation and preserve yourself for a little while from the coming judgment, you can. But the vapor that is your life will one day be gone. The grass will wither. The flower will fall. And your efforts will not leave you with anything to show for it.

So, saving your life is an impossible prospect. You can’t. No one ever has. People are born every day. And people die every day. It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. That is the fate of every person (save a few who God took before being put in the ground). And those on their deathbed right now would say to you, “it doesn’t last forever.”

So, with the inevitability of death established, we return to the question: what is meant by losing your life?  To lose one’s life seems to be the abandoning of one’s own pursuits, whether for religious or non-religious purposes, and taking on the life of Christ.  Theologians call this, union with Christ. This union with Christ is two fold: you give Him your death laden, sinful heart and He gives you His perfect, spotless righteousness.  That is what is meant by “losing your life.” In reality, you really lose nothing. But in turn, you gain everything.

Does this sound good to you? Of course, I am assuming that you believe two things here: one is that all people are sinful and in need of salvation and the other is that Jesus Christ is our only hope of eternal life and peace with God.  You may or may not believe that. I hope and pray that you do. If you believe one you must believe the other.  Mankind is sinfully wicked and separated from God. Each life will be lost apart from Christ. The good news is that Christ came to be our substitute, the divine wrath Bearer and to impute to us pure righteousness.

Wow. When we think of Jesus’ words like this, we may re-consider his call and challenge to us. He is not saying, “Come and surrender your fun.” Instead he says, “Come and surrender your death to me. Come and give me your filthy treasures that will destroy your soul.  Come and throw your burdens on my back. My back is strong. Give me your worst and I will give you my best.”

That is what is meant by losing your life. It is no more a loss than putting a quarter into a machine that gives you ten more. The only difference is that you start with nothing, no quarter, no righteousness. Filthy rags at best. And Jesus converts these rags into radiant clothes and wraps them around you and says, “perfect in me. Loved by me. Found in me. Eternally accepted in the family of God.”

This is the good news of the gospel. Far from being a divine joy killer, Jesus came to give life and life abundant. Doesn’t it make sense that the author of life would know what life truly is? If you haven’t lost your life yet, lose it today. You’ll be glad you did. (and you’ll never look back).

Don’t let the Christmas season come and go without acknowledging the gift that was given. Christ gave Himself for you. Receive Him and be satisfied this holiday season.

Pastor Gabe


Bible Study:  October 25th was the last lesson in the book Becoming a Woman of Prayer.  One of the ladies brought some humorous stories about prayer –

(1)   Being Thankful – A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, “So your mother says your prayers for you each night?  That’s very commendable.  What does she say?”  The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed.”

(2)   Unanswered Prayer – The preacher’s five-year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon.  One day she asked him why.  “Well, Honey,” he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages.  “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”  “How come He doesn’t answer it?” she asked.

(3)   All Men/All Girls – When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past).  For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, “and all girls.”  This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing.  My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, “Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?”  Her response, “Because everybody always finish their prayers by saying “‘All Men!’”

We began a study of Genesis on November 8th.  If you have questions, contact Lois Steege (715-857-6237) or Joan Michaelson (715-405-4055).  Ladies from any denomination, or who does not attend a church, are welcome. 

Christmas Presents will be given to a needy family whose names we have gotten through Unity School.  We will also give presents to the young mother who was involved in the accident in front of our church in September.  She has two young children.


Turkeys were donated to the church to be used as an outreach.  Thirty-five turkeys were donated to be given to people in the community as an outreach.  They should stop at church, meet Pastor Gabe, and pick up a turkey.  Only ten were given away and the other 25 will be given to anyone who can use them.  Ask Pastor Gabe about picking up one or more if you can use it.  We don’t know the results of the turkey give away but pray that God can use it for His glory.

Serving Team Leader update

Kathy Thull is taking over the task of assigning serving teams for social functions.  She can be reached at 715-554-0511 (leave message on cell phone) or give a message to Orra at (715-485-3835).  Thanks, Kathy, for taking over.  Joan Michaelson.

Thank YOU Joan for the years you have done this and so many other things!!

Steve & Carol Jean Gallagher—Papua New Guinea

PTL!  The Bariai New Testament with Genesis and Exodus is in Korea to be printed!

This is a quote from a Gallagher e-mail dated 10/23/11:  “As we were finishing off the typesetting, I was wondering how much time went into each verse.  There’s no way to calculate.  It’s impossible to add up the hours spent at the translation table with Peter, Mondo, and Kuri; the hours spent on village checking; the hours spent on revisions; the hours spent on the final read-throughs; the hours of typesetting by us and Emma.  Then add in the hours put in by people in the various departments at Ukarumpa: aviation which maintains the aircraft and has gotten us back and forth to the village many times; clinic; auto shop which has repaired our Ukarumpa vehicle to help with necessary errands and has welded and created various items to keep us going in the village; construction with personnel who built our village house and furniture; technical services which keeps our electrical equipment repaired and provides email services; the store, which keeps us fed physically; the school which gave a good education to Erin and Adam, the directors and other personnel who keep things running so that we can work on the job of translation; the print shop which has printed many Bariai books.  Then add in the contributions of the many people and churches that support us.  Finally add the hours spent by you and others in prayer for us and the Bariai people for the past 18+ years.  Was it worth it all?  Yes, because God loves the Bariai people and wants them to know him more fully.”

More quotes from e-mails dated 10/23 and 10/26:  “It’s great to see the enthusiasm of some people for the translated Scriptures.”

“I, Carol Jean, have been hard at work on recording the translation in audio form.  We printed out the books of Genesis, Exodus, and the four gospels to work on during this village stay.  It is broken up into the various characters in the books, so each character has a different voice (or at least that voice isn’t used again until later in the translation).  With the committee we set up a program rotating through all 8 villages twice, with each village being assigned to two different days.  I was concerned that we would be wasting our time waiting for people to show up, but it has been far from the case.  On Tuesday, people came at about 9:30.  On Wednesday, they came about 9:00.  On Thursday they came around 8:30.  On Friday, they came at 7:30.  Each of the weekdays, I worked full-time with the people until about 4:30, squeezing in a quick break for lunch.  Today, Saturday, is not an assigned day, but I told people that it was an “open” day for whoever wanted to come (not knowing how tired I would be).  There were six people here shortly after 7:00!  But I made them wait until 8:00 so we could have our breakfast and brush our teeth.  Thankfully no one else has come today (so far), so I was able to get laundry done, which I usually do daily but hadn’t been able to fit in for 3 days, and take a nap – and a deep breath.”

Steve has been working with John, Mondo, and Peter on translating the materials for the SALT (Scripture Application and Leadership Training) course.  There are 19 lessons and as of October 26th they had translated 16. This is an in-depth Christian life and leadership course which helps people to get well-grounded in Scripture. God’s plan of salvation is also clearly presented. Steve says, “John and Peter particularly seem excited about how apt the content of this course is for their church and community. I’ve noticed their excitement when I listen to them pray as we begin our work for the day, and in our conversations throughout the process of working. … please keep praying that we’ll continue working well together and that nothing will hinder this translation process.

They are working in temperatures of 90 degrees or more with high humidity and it is draining on them.  Another concern was that it would not rain while recording because their house has a tin roof.  One day it rained about five minutes and another day it started about 15 minutes after they finished for the day.

John & Lori DeCleene – Philippines

Highlights from John & Lori DeCleene via E-mail dated 10/25:  God is continually working through your partnership at The New J and Good TV.  The New J manager, Charlie, is getting married and his wife has agreed to be the station secretary.  The programmer that started five months ago has resigned to work full-time at a church; they have hired a temporary part-time programmer.  They asked for prayer for wisdom as he decides if he wants to become full-time, or for the Lord’s leading for someone else to fill this position.

In the last newsletter we mentioned the burglary John & Lori experienced.  Someone purchased a new laptop for Lori and a young man gave John a “like-new” notebook.


December 10th – Saints Alive will sponsor a potluck at church at 4:30 so we can eat no later than 5:00.  After the meal as many as want to will go to Balsam Lutheran Church, 1115 Mains Crossing Avenue, Amery, for a Christmas concert by the Alzen Family Band.  Bring a dish to pass, however, desserts are not necessary as refreshments will be served after the concert.

The following is a special report that Emily Grace had to write for school, she choose to write about Pastor Gabe’s installation service.

 The Installation Service for Pastor Gabe Brennan

 By Emily Grace Swanson

October 20, 2011

This past Sunday I went to an Installation Service for the new pastor at East Balsam Baptist Church.  This church is located in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, which is about ninety miles from my home.  My family went to this Installation Service because we go to this church in the summer, when we go to our cabin.  My family has attended this church for five generations.  Both sets of my great-great grandparents first went to this church, and the following four generations have all attended after them.

East Balsam Baptist Church was formed in 1904 by Swedish immigrants.  The first official pastor was hired in the 1920s, and they have had thirteen pastors since that time.  The last pastor retired in September of 2010, so East Balsam has been looking for a new pastor for one year.

After searching for a long time, the church called Pastor Gabe Brennan, who is a graduate of Bethel Seminary.  The service on Sunday was held to install him as the fourteenth pastor at East Balsam in over one hundred years.

During the Installation Service, Gabe’s parents shared about Gabe’s life when he was a child.  Gabe’s brother Nate Brennan and his friend Dana Maendel, lead the singing.  Bruce Tanner, a former Pastor at East Balsam, gave the message.  The service closed with prayer and a song.  About fifty people were at this service, including our family.  This church, located in a farming community has about forty members.

After the Installation Service, refreshments were served and everyone had a chance to welcome the pastor and his family.  Pastor Gabe is married to Melonie and they have a little boy named Jude.

I am very excited about the new pastor and his family, and I really like to play with Jude.  I look forward to hearing Pastor Gabe’s sermons next May when we go back to the cabin for the summer. It was neat to be a part of this special service in the history of East Balsam Baptist Church.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store in the years ahead for this church.

Our website is renewed and you can now listen to the sermons online!

Tyler Haney 1

Krista Hansen  3

Tim Dulas 5

Gini Ogren  9

Bruce Beatham  10

Candice Beatham  13

Samantha Potvin 15

Barb Jarchow 17

Amber Ogren  17

Dale Holin  18

Samuel Majeske  22

Lila Nelson  26



Abigail Beatham  3

Sue Foster  5

Cheryl Volgren  13

Gary Nelson  17

Shykina Duncan 23

Bill Stewart  24

Phil Foster  27

Sarah Sawyer  28

Murry Johnson  29

Val Rowe  31

Ways to contact Pastor Gabe:

Church: 715-857-5411

Cell Phone: 651-329-7600



December 24th – 4:00 P.M. – Christmas Eve service





December 18th – Christmas program at 9:00.  It will be much shorter this year than in the past as the children are young.


East Balsam Baptist Church1816 108th StreetBalsam Lake, WI

















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