A Gift for that Special Woman


I hope you are having a great Thanksgiving weekend! Three things I want to put in front of you for your consideration;

  1. Friday, December 1 from 6:00 – 8:00pm is a special evening at Central for women. The SHE TEA gathering is ‘The Story of Christmas through song, readings and comedy. Tickets are $10.00. Desserts, tea, hot chocolate and coffee will be served. I encourage you to buy a ticket for your wife, Mom or whoever that special woman is in your life. You can purchase tickets this Sunday or visit www.clcelkriver.org and purchase them online.                                                                                                  
  2. Saturday, December 9 from 4:00 – 7:00pm is ‘A NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM.’ We still are in need of volunteers as people travel back in time to ancient Bethlehem to see, taste and smell what daily life was like when Jesus was born. You can sign up this Sunday at worship or email Sonja.knutson@clcelkriver and let her know you are willing to help with this great outreach to the community.                                                                                     
  3. February 23 – 25, 2018 is the GUYS GET AWAY at Timber Bay. If you want to help with the planning and preparation please email Pastor Ryan at Ryan.braley@clcelkriver.org. We are looking forward to a great time with Pastor Ryan, Isaac Tewes (Director of Student Ministries) and Mike Lauer (Worship leader).

Blessings to each of you!




Tomorrow at Central at 8:15, 9:30 & 11:00am is the MINNESOTA ADULT AND TEEN CHALLENGE CHOIR! Bring your family and friends and hear how JESUS has power over drugs, addictions, destructive behaviors and all that the enemy uses to destroy and kill.

Hope to see you tomorrow for kickoff of JESUS CHANGES EVERYTHING!

Paul Johansson


Prayers for the Guys Get Away


Please pray for the 44 guys who will be on the GUYS GETAWAY this weekend.

Pray for our SPEAKERS Mark Johansson and Curt Hinkle as they lead us deeper into Micah 6:8. The focus is Justice, Kindness and Humility.

Pray for SMALL GROUP LEADERS Neil Gagnon, Bob Ruprecht, Ed Studniski, Mark Beard, Nicholas Goodwin, Jerry Van Tassel, Keith McCarty and Brandon Hanson.

Pray for our BREAKOUT SESSION leaders Mark Beard (Finances), Steve Kritzeck (Dad), Nicholas Goodwin (Husband), Ed Studniski (Work), Paul Johansson and Jake Ruprecht (God’s Word), Curt Hinkle (Calling) and Mark Johansson (Engaging Culture with Mercy).

Pray for SCHOLARSHIP ASSISTANCE. This year we have more persons who are in need of financial assistance than in years past. If you are able to help out with some financial assistance please let me know or call Kris Geslin our Financial Administrator, and let her know. Or you can make a check to Central and designate it MEN’S MINISTRY and it will help with our scholarships. You can place it in the globes this Sunday at worship.

For those who unable to be on the retreat this weekend please save the date for our BE A MAN OF MERCY breakfast at 8:00AM at Central on Saturday, March 25. More information will be forthcoming BUT plan on joining other guys for a time of good food and fellowship.


P.S. If you have not yet picked up a complimentary It’s A Guy Thing mug from the Men’s Ministry please pick up a mug this Sunday at the Welcome Center!


Nearly forty guys have signed up for the GUYS GET AWAY on February 24-26 at Timber Bay! Curt Hinkle, Director of Great River Area Young Life, and Mark Johansson, Clinical Psychologist, leadership consultant and President of CareProfiler, will be our leaders. Curt and Mark will be co-leading three sessions on Justice, Kindness and Humility (Micah 6:8). Mike Lauer will be leading our worship times. Bob and Jake Ruprecht are planning some great games and crowd breakers.

We will have some fun breakout sessions led by Ed Studniski (the workplace), Nicholas Goodwin (being a husband), Mark Beard (Finances), Steve Kritzeck (being a Dad), Curt Hinkle (what’s your calling), Mark Johansson (living in this culture) and Paul Johansson/Jake Ruprecht (God’s Word as our food). In addition, we will have good food, fellowship, fun and free time! Cost is $125.00 which includes four meals and lodging. Scholarships are available!

Sign up this Sunday or register online by visiting www.clcelkriver.org


Softball, Guys Get Away and Man of Mercy Breakfast


SOFTBALL! Do you want to have a fun time playing softball with other guys from Central this summer? Sign up tomorrow at worship and someone from the team will contact you with all the details.

GUYS GET AWAY on February 24-26! Sign up tomorrow at Central! Visit www.clcelkriver.org to get more information!

MAN OF MERCY BREAKFAST on Saturday, March 25 at 8:00! More information will be forthcoming BUT get the date on your calendar!

You can sign up for these events tomorrow at worship, emailing me at paul.johansson@clcelkriver.org or visiting www.clc.elkriver.org

Hope to see many of you at worship tomorrow!


Terry Walling at Central – A Big Hole In The Roof

Central Guys,

Terry Walling, from LEADER BREAKTHRU, will be our guest preacher this Sunday.  He will be preaching from Mark 2:1-11 on a “Big Hole in the Roof.” A luncheon will be served at 12:00 Noon in the Family Life Center. Following the luncheon, Terry will lead a 90-minute workshop from 1:00 – 2:30 on BEING A RADICAL CONGREGATION.  Please call the Church Office to RSVP for the lunch and workshop or you may email me at paul.johansson@clcelkriver.org.

I also encourage you to bring a card to say THANK YOU to Manny Cortez for leading the 9:30 worship these last two years. In the lobby there will be a reception with cake and a basket for your cards, notes and expressions of gratitude.  Thank you Manny and Deb for sharing your gifts and talents.

Lastly, mark your calendar for the GUYS GET AWAY at Timber Bay on February 24 – 26, 2017. More information will be forthcoming BUT get it on your calendars now!

Hope to worship with you on Sunday!



A sister’s word on who or what do you pledge your allegiance to?

Central Guys – below is a great devotional from Maggie Parish that went out to our sisters in Christ! I told Maggie that she should preach BUT she respectfully declined.  Thanks Maggie for your good word!

Dear Sisters in Christ,

Next week we celebrate Freedom on Independence Day. The devotional is based on next Sunday’s sermon topic “Who do we pledge our allegiance to?” It seems like it has an easy answer…but is it that easy?  Take a moment and think about all the different  groups, organizations, etc. that demand our allegiance.  A place of work, a community/civic organization, clubs , church…the list goes on.  How do you choose?


The first thing that popped into my mind when I read the question was   “I pledge allegiance, to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all”.  I grew up with that pledge as many of you did, reciting it every morning at the beginning of the school day.  While that came to mind quickly, the next thought was…but what about God?  Do I pledge allegiance to him every day? Did you know there was a Christian pledge of allegiance?  I did an internet search and sure enough, there is a pledge to the Christian flag, and to the Bible.  I have to admit I was not familiar with this pledge.  “I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands; one brotherhood, uniting all mankind in service and in love.”  Interesting, and there’s some history behind the pledge on the internet if you’re interested.

So, back to the question. “ Who do we pledge allegiance to?” The two scripture references (Romans 13:1-7 and Titus 3:1-8 seem quite clear about being obedient to authorities, but is it all that simple?  What is the definition of allegiance anyway?  According to Merriam and Webster dictionary it is “loyalty to a person, country, group, etc.  Hmm. Keeping that in mind, I reread the scripture verses and these are the ones that I found myself drawn to.

Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Romans 13: 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.

Titus 3: 1-2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

My summary: The authorities in power are established by God, for my good. I should be a law abiding citizen, do good deeds, speak only the truth about people, and be a peacemaker and kind to everyone. 

But…I keep coming back to paying allegiance to God or to authorities. Is it possible to do both?  What about countries that have governments that do not allow Christians to worship freely or have made it illegal to be a Christian?  Looking back to scripture, we find in Daniel 3 the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace because they would not bow and worship the image of gold established as a god for King Nebuchadnezzar. BUT, they trusted God would protect them.  So they knew they were disobeying the King, but in this case following God’s 1st commandment in Deuteronomy 5:7 “You shall have no other gods before me”.  Then there’s Daniel himself in Daniel 6, when he is thrown into the Lion’s Den because he would not stop worshipping God; which was against  the edict stating that anyone who prays to any god or human being other than King Nebuchadnezzar would be thrown into the Lion’s Den. Again, God protected Daniel, Daniel put his trust in God and was loyal to God.  In Acts 5: 27-29, Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin for being disobedient and preaching and teaching about Jesus.  Here again, they knew they would most likely be punished and they were.  But they were loyal first to God, then accepting the punishment, indeed rejoicing in being punished for the sake of Jesus!

My summary: My allegiance is to God first and foremost and is done through prayer, and through the way I live. I can also be loyal and allegiant to all authorities in position over me as long as they do not ask me to deny God and Jesus as my Savior. If God put them in place, I’m being loyal to God by being loyal to them.  If some day my government forces me to choose between worshipping the my God and some idol,  I know that when I choose God, I may pay a price.  But Jesus has already paid the price for me so I cannot turn away from Him.

Dear God, you alone are Almighty, and worthy to be Praised. Thank you for placing me in this country that does allow me to worship you freely.  I ask you to Bless all those that you have placed in authority.  Grant them wisdom to make decisions that are in alignment with your will. Grant us all your peace and help us all to be peacemakers. Guide us in our daily activities so that our lives will be a testimony to your love, mercy, and grace.  In Jesus precious name, Amen.


Message from Pastor Ryan

Hey fellas!  

As you probably know, we are looking to hire a new worship leader for the 11:00am worship gathering and also for Echo worship on Wednesday nights. This is a need we have had for a while, and are hoping to have someone in place by this fall. At this point we have had several people offer to pitch in and commit to financially supporting this new hire by upping their giving amount. This has encouraged us to keep going – to keep looking for someone to hire and also to keep asking for others to pitch in (since we have not met the amount required).

 So I am reaching out to you to ask you if you might consider pitching in. I know that we all have limited resources and are already giving a lot of what we have. Thanks for that. So I am just asking you to consider it….no matter the amount. Every dollar helps, right?  

We believe that a new worship leader will help bring a vibrancy and much needed direction to our musical worship at the 11:00 and our Echo worship. Thanks for considering pitching in!  

If you are interested and able, please contact Kris Geslin in our offices at 763-441-2363 or email her at kris.geslin@clcelkriver.org 

See you boys around!  



A good, good father


Happy Father’s Day!

How is it with your Father? 

When we look at the Bible, we see a lot of broken, hurting and grieving fathers.  Think of Isaac when he learned that Jacob had tricked him and stolen his brother’s birthright.  Think of the father of the prodigal son!  Think of David crying over his wayward son, Absalom! Story after story introduces us to grieving fathers!

As we gather tomorrow to celebrate Father’s Day can we imagine the tears of the Fathers who are living with the horrendous and horrifying remembrance of what happened to their sons and daughters in Orlando one week ago in the early hours of the morning. Slaughtered in a place that they felt safe.

Each of us have had a different experience with our fathers. Maybe your Dad drank too much or abused drugs or was abusive. Maybe he abandoned you or was a workaholic. And the pain, after all this time, still lingers. Or maybe you hurt your father. You turned your back on your day and went away as far as you could.  And now something inside of you wants to reconnect

What can we do?  How do we start on this journey of healing? Tomorrow at Central we discover the place to start.  We journey with the leper in Luke 17:11-19 who throws himself at the feet of Jesus.  When we throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet we begin to understand that each and every one of us have a GOOD, GOOD FATHER! Regardless of your earthly father there is a GOOD, GOOD FATHER for you and for me. So we pray, “Our Father who art in heaven…”



All Paints Day

Central Guys,

On Friday, June 3 a group of us will be going to Camp Onomia for a Mission Madness CHAPEL PAINTING PROJECT. We will be meeting at Central at 8:00AM and returning in the afternoon. Lunch will be provided by Camp Onomia.

All the paint, brushes, etc.…will be provided at the Camp. We just need about 12 to 15 able bodies and willing hands! Let me know if you can join me this coming Friday to ‘SERVE OTHERS’ by preparing the Camp Onomia Chapel for their summer ministry with children, students and adults. Their summer theme is “LOVE LIKE JESUS.”

ALSO I invite you to join your Central family for the Memorial Day picnic at Central. Bring your own meat and Grill Master Jim will prepare it for you. Host Connie will be providing beverages and side dishes. Also bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the outdoors if the weather permits.

Hope to worship with you tomorrow as Pastor Ryan leads us into the feeding of the 5000!