Pledge 2020

Stewardship 2020

Beloved in Christ at New Joy, As the Israelites were defeated and taken captive into Babylon, they cried out, “How can we possibly sing the LORD’s song on foreign soil?” (Psalm 137:4) Their lament was one of being uprooted and disrupted, and of seeing the promise of the temple and...

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Pastor Chris Duckworth and the Indiana Army National Guard

A Time of Transition

Dear People of New Joy, Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun. This month, it is time for me to resign my commission as an officer and chaplain in the United States Army and the Indiana Army National Guard. It has been the...

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The Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross

With Appreciation I walked into my office on Tuesday to find gifts and cards strewn over my desk. It was Pastor Appreciation Day. I had no idea. At a time when I’m feeling like I’m at the end of my rope – the layers of emotional and spiritual weariness I’ve...

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Wedding Banquet Tension

Wedding Banquet Tension

Invitation and Response It is easy to be aghast by Sunday's Gospel text Matthew 22:1-14 in which the king invites everyone to a wedding banquet, but then later condemns a guest who arrived without wearing a proper wedding garment. It seems like such a reversal, a refutation of grace. How can...

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Rejecting the wicked grapes of anitisemitism

Rejecting the Wicked Grapes of Antisemitism

Rejecting the Wicked Grapes of Antisemitism This Sunday's Gospel text, Matthew 21:33-46, is one of those texts that lends itself to some really bad interpretation. Certainly, all Scripture can be interpreted poorly. But bad interpretations of this text, in particular, can lead to some ugly theology and attitudes about the...

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Worship updates for October 2020

Worship Updates

Worship Updates for October 2020 Dear Siblings in Christ, Starting on Sunday, October 18, we will gather together for worship in our homes, scattered across our community as we livestream the service from inside our sanctuary without a gathered congregation. Governor Holcomb recently issued a statewide order requiring continued mask-wearing...

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Sermon Scraps by Pastor Chris

Sermon Scraps

SERMON SCRAPS I have lots of material on the cutting room floor, so to speak, from my last two sermons. These two Sundays brought us incredible texts from the Gospel of Matthew – two readings that were really just one scene spread out over two weeks. In Matthew 16:13-28 we...

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Prayer for Leaders

Praying by Name

Praying by Name Since shortly after the pandemic disruptions began, we have prayed every Sunday morning for the President and Governor by name, usually in a prayer petition asking God to grant wisdom to our nation’s leaders and to give a generous spirit to all during these extraordinary times. Grant...

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Returning to In-Person Worship—Outdoors

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ, We are pleased to announce that on Sunday, July 12, New Joy Lutheran Church is returning to in-person, outdoor worship at our new pavilion. Services will continue to be streamed online via YouTube for those not attending in person: New Joy YouTube Channel We...

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Daily Lection App

Reading the Scriptures in Worship and at Home

Reading the Scriptures in Worship and at Home In worship on Sunday I mentioned that we are at the beginning of a long, slow, continuous read of the Gospel of Matthew during what some churches call “Ordinary Time.” With the seasons of Lent and Easter and the festival of Pentecost...

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Connected – Finding Connection in a Disconnected World

Finding Connection in a Disconnected World

Finding Connection in a Disconnected World I love our new seasonal worship graphic. It depicts two hands reaching toward one another, each hand emblazoned with words evoking the spirit of coming together. “Reach out.” “Collaborate.” “Assist.” “Unite.” The hands aren’t quite touching, but they’re getting there. It’s a hopeful image....

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Returning to In-Person Worship?

Returning to In-Person Worship?

I skipped "Pandemic Pastoring 101" at seminary. As Indiana slowly returns toward a tentative full opening on the 4th of July – even as Carmel’s 4th of July parade has already been canceled – houses of worship around the state are making their own faithful, local decisions about when and...

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Let Us Pray

Let Us Pray

Let Us Pray I invite you to pray with me. This week it was announced that the coronavirus has killed more Americans than did the Vietnam War, and has disrupted the economy and our daily lives in unprecedented ways. Nearly four months after news of the coronavirus was first reported,...

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The Church Still Gathers

The Church Still Gathers

The Church Still Gathers Following the death of Jesus his followers were full of fear and anxiety. News of his resurrection didn’t go viral at first – it’s not like the people had Twitter or Facebook to stay atop the latest religious or political news. They were afraid and dejected,...

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"The Jews" did not kill Jesus

“The Jews” on Good Friday

"The Jews" did not kill Jesus Christians have a bad history when it comes to how we speak about, treat, and honor our Jewish sisters and brothers. For centuries Jews have suffered at the hands of Christians in religious and civil authority, scapegoated for everything from plagues to economic crises....

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Zoom for Ministry

Zoom Meetings for Ministry

Dear Partners in Ministry Download the Zoom Instructions Below are some guidelines to help improve our experience of fellowship when using Zoom, and to avoid possible hacking of calls with inappropriate material. This is especially important for all New Joy leaders who may host a Zoom call for church …...

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Home Communion Guidelines

Coronavirus Home Communion Update

Order for Sharing Holy Communion During Social Distancing March 25, 2020 Download the Instructions If you are unable to join in the livestream service: Live on Sundays at 9:30 am, or an archived recording of the service at a later time – use this order of prayer together with the...

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Holy Communion during the coronavirus outbreak

Holy Communion Amidst the Coronavirus Disruption

Holy Communion Amidst the Coronavirus Disruption The coronavirus has ushered us into a time of disruption. Our homelives are disrupted. Schools are disrupted. Business and the economy are disrupted. And most certainly, the medical community is disrupted. The church, too, is disrupted. We’re scattered in our homes, unable to come...

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Governor Holcomb announces a stay-at-home order

COVID-19 Update 03-24-20

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ, On Monday at noon Governor Holcomb addressed the state announcing a "stay at home" order for all residents for the next two weeks. In his announcement he praised the efforts of medical professionals to safeguard our public health and care for the sick. We...

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