March 12, 2018

Greetings in Jesus Christ,

It is my privilege to write to you about a wonderful retreat opportunity at Hephatha. I invite you to join me – and others from our church family on March 17th from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on our campus in the fellowship hall. Most of us, myself included, never would have gone on retreat without being asked.  That’s why I’m extending this personal invitation. In the remainder of this brief article, I will address a few questions that people have about retreats?

What Are Retreats? One of the great opportunities of retreats, especially for leaders, is the opportunity to rest. I’m not just talking about the kind of rest that you collapse into after overworking for too long. That’s often more escape than true refreshment. I’m talking about the kind of rest that is positive and comes before our work. Rest is the good soil in which both good ministry and good work can truly grow. In many ways, it’s a completely opposite rhythm to the one so common in our day-in-day-out activities. King David, the psalmist, wrote these words,  “His soul finds rest in God alone”(Psalm 62:1). Later, in verse five, he urges himself to  “find rest, O my soul, in God alone.” A retreat is more than just a nap, a break, or even a well-deserved a vacation. In his classic work in the 1920s,  The Principles and Practice of Retreat Alan Simpson, an Anglican Spiritual Director, wrote about different kinds of retreats: “There is the corporate Retreat, and the solitary Retreat. There is the critical Retreat, when some great issue of life is to be faced, or some momentous choice is to be made. There is the Retreat that is undertaken as a special preparation for some act, or way, of service. There is the periodic Retreat—that is intended for the reordering of life and the renewal of spiritual life.”

Are retreats found in the Bible? Before our Lord began His public ministry, He spent 40 days in the desert praying and fasting as a way to prepare for the important work ahead (Luke 4:1-13). Those were days of retreat. During His three years of public ministry, Jesus would sometimes invite His disciples to  "come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mk 6:31). Again, days of retreat.  The Gospels, especially Luke, report that Jesus spent time in retreat before critical moments of His ministry. For instance, prior to embarking on a preaching tour in Galilee, before choosing the twelve, and night before His arrest, suffering, and crucifixion. These were times of retreat in Jesus' life. When Jesus entered forcefully into the life of St. Paul, He directed him to rise and go into the city, where he would be told what to do. For three days St. Paul neither ate nor drank, preparing himself to receive the spiritual direction of Ananias (Acts 9:1-9). Those, too, were days of retreat.

Why go on a retreat? For most of us, the pace of daily life is pretty hectic. Because we’re always on the go, there isn’t much time to think about the things that are truly important in life.  At Hephatha Lutheran Church, this retreat and the Good Friday Vigil are chances to take time to reflect, be refreshed, and renewed. During these times of retreat and reflection, you may even discover the inner strength to help with life issues facing you. And if you need it, there is always the availability of spiritual counsel or just the sympathetic ear of someone else.

Perhaps you think you don’t need a retreat; there are no extraordinary problems or challenges in your life just now. But a retreat is not only for the difficult times in your life – it’s also for those times when you are feeling happy, fulfilled, and thankful for all the many blessings. What better way to deepen your spiritual connection with the God to whom you are so grateful? In the last couple of years, I’ve come to believe that withdrawing to be alone and quiet with the Father was a critical rhythm in the life of Jesus. For us, retreats of various kinds provide an opportunity to follow Jesus’ way of life.

Come experience God in quiet prayer, Biblical reflection, and conversation in the community. Ms. Jen Manglos, an experienced retreat director, will facilitate our time in teaching, prayer, solitude, Scripture, community, and reflection, away from the non-stop demands of our busy lives.

If you’ve considered a retreat in the past, don’t miss this opportunity for an uplifting experience. The cost is just $5.00 to help defray the cost of handouts, a light continental breakfast, and spiritual director. Should you be unable to join us, please call me about how to build the practice of retreat into your life through guided, personal, min-retreats, or even silent retreats.


Should you have any questions, please feel free to call me directly at the church office at  714.637.0887 ext. 151.

I love being your pastor!

Because of Jesus,

Please Note:
The Time has changed to
8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Mid-week Lenten Series 2018

Gathered by the waters of Babylon, Judean exiles wistfully wondered: Is God for real? If so, does He really care about us? What does our future hold? Will this ever change? God’s people had watched their world shatter into a million pieces. They were demoralized and disillusioned. Their disaster looked terminal.

Do you feel this way?  Does it look as though your current problems are more than you can bear? Do you find yourself asking: Why did this happen? Why did God allow it?  Is there any order in the world? Will God really deliver on what He said?

Isaiah answers these questions in chapters 40–55 of this powerful prophetic book.

Join us for dinner at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, followed by Worship at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary


    March 14, 2018 – “Get Out” (Isaiah 48:17–22)

    March 21, 2018 – “One Little Word Can Fell Him” (Isaiah 49:1–6)


Join Hephatha’s Family for a wonderful family-centered event! Explore details about Jesus’ resurrection through captivating stations that drive home the Easter message: Jesus is Risen.

This is a great event for families with small children, and the Easter Egg hunt is great for children from 2 years to 4th grade. 

Date: Saturday March 31, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

In need of:

  • Egg cartons that hold a dozen eggs, plastic Easter eggs, and small individually wrapped candy. Please drop donations off in the youth room or back of the church through Sunday, March 25, 2018.
  • Volunteers to help with the event.

For more information contact Timothy Potthoff at tpotthoff@hephatha.net or 714-637-0887 ext. 157

Easter Baskets

This year at Easter, Hephatha will again be making Easter baskets for shut-ins, seniors, and people recovering from surgery in our church and community.  Friends and members of Hephatha are invited to take a basket and fill it with items of their choosing, and then bring it to the church office no later than Palm Sunday.

Some ideas to get started:

  • Books – perhaps a Bible study guide or devotional, a fast-paced novel, a coffee-table book with gorgeous photos of landscapes, gardens, etc.
  • Easter inspired decorations
  • Handmade Easter crafts

If you would like to deliver baskets face-to-face, please sign-up for one of our delivery teams. The main focus is to visit with the person, not what is in the basket. 

For children, this ministry provides the opportunity to view Easter baskets as gifts for others (and a way to build new relationships), rather than as containers of goodies just for themselves at the end of an egg hunt.

Reach Out – Make a Basket!

Baskets are due Sunday, March 18, 2018.


Join us as we celebrate our Risen Lord with a continental breakfast on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, from 9:00 a.m.—11:00 a.m. Please bring coffeecake, muffins, fruit, egg dish or drinks to share. 

What is Happening at
Hephatha this Week

MONDAY: March 12

  • Junior High School Youth Group @ 7:00 p.m. in the Youth Room.

TUESDAY: March 13

  • Hephatha Mom's Bible Study @ 6:30 p.m. at the Potthoff's home.
  • Praise Band Rehearsal @ 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.


  • Women's Wednesday Study @ 9:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Lenten Dinner hosted by the Evangelism Board (Chicken Divan) @ 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Mid-week Lenten Service @ 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
  • High School Youth Group meets @ 7:00 p.m. for the Lenten service, 8:00 p.m. for fellowship in the Youth Room.
  • Hallelujah Chorus Practice @ 8:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

THURSDAY: March 15

  • Women's Thursday Morning Bible Study @ 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

SATURDAY: March 17

  • Lenten Retreat @ 8:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

SUNDAY: March 18

  • Services: 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 6:01 p.m.
  • Sunday School @ 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Child Care @ 9:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 6:01 p.m. in Room 6.
  • "Open in the Word" Bible Study @ 9:30 a.m. in the Youth Room.
  • Foundations New Members Class @ 12:15 a.m. in Pastor's Office.

MONDAY: March 19

  • Junior High School Youth Group @ 7:00 p.m. in the Youth Room.
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