12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (ESV, John 15:12-17)
As it is time to review your Gospel-motivated life activities of 2021, things you have accomplished by thought, word, and deed, it is also appropriate to be brought before the Word of God! The quote from John 15 (above) includes the 2022 Life Sunday Theme verse – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit….” Being chosen by God is the easy part for us. It comes freely by God’s gracious action in Christ. He chose to die for us to put our sins away and reconcile us to the Father. Then, the Holy Spirit chooses to blow into us with faith in these words and actions, through Baptism and through the Word preached or received in the Sacrament. God chooses to create us, to redeem us, and to call us to Himself!
We may think the hard part is bearing fruit, but even that is something that God chooses to do in us and through us. He appoints us to bear fruit in His name. As a Lutherans for Life member, that fruit is born in Gospel-motivated thoughts, words, and deeds toward your neighbors. Some of them are fellow Christians like yourself. Some may not be yet, and the Holy Spirit may be blowing through the fruit of your service to help bring them to faith! In either case, God has chosen you and now works through you to bring His love, grace, and mercy to this dying world of sin, death, and destruction. What a blessing He chose you! What a blessing that He appoints you to produce fruit that will abide.
As you fill out your 2021 Annual Activity Report (and return by May 31, 2022) keep in mind all the ways that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit chooses you for good! Please tell us about the activities – whether in thought, in word, or in deed – that He has appointed you and your group to accomplish in 2021. Where has His Gospel-motivated voice of love shown through you to another? What have you accomplished for your brothers or sisters in Christ as well as the hurting world in need of God’s love? Even if you have struggled to bear fruit, don’t feel discouraged! We are praying for you and know the Lord of the Church who chose you in Christ has even allowed you to accomplish fruit to the best of your abilities in 2021. Think of what this same God is going to do in, with, and through you in 2022! How awesome you are IN CHRIST – who chose you for life!
As you use this 2021 Annual Activity Report remember how loved you are and that you are chosen in Christ to bear fruit that abides in service to your neighbor. We love your stories and appreciate with them your pictures of what Life Ministry in 2021 looked like for you.
May God’s peace that comes in being chosen in Christ sustain you throughout 2022!
Rev. Jeff Duncan
Director of Mission and Ministry
Note: If you are in the state of Texas or Minnesota, the following individual will follow up with you concerning your AAR:
Regional Director of Texas Regional Director of Minnesota
Dr. Barbara Geistfeld Virginia Flo
As a reminder…
· An Annual Activity Report must be submitted every two years, so please be diligent about returning this to us.
· To that end, if there are Leadership Changes to the group, those need to be updated to our National Office at any time of year as they occur.
· Call or write about changes to:
o Lutheran for Life National Office, Leadership Changes,
§ 1101 5th St. Nevada, IA 50201-1816;
o (phone) 888.364.LIFE ;
o or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .