News and Updates

Church schedule for April, 2020


Dear Friends in Christ,

Due to health concerns around the Coronovirus, we will not be holding services in person until further notice. 

Mid week Lent services and Bible Studies have also been cancelled.

Pastor Oatman and Debbie are providing a weekly service which is available through email or (since 3/29) on Youtube, search for GraceLCHayward .

You may also attend services virtually and 24/7 at Zion Lutheran Church at .

Lutheran Hour Ministries at is another great resource.

Please keep us all in your prayers as we deal with the uncertainties of this pandemic. Keep washing your hands! Maintain “social distancing”!

God is ALWAYS with us, especially in times of trouble and remember HE IS IN CONTROL.


Keynotes – March, 2020


As we begin the Season of Lent I can’t think of a single word that is more profound for us than humble. I also can’t think of one that is harder for us to accomplish.

From a dictionary: Humble 1. Not proud; modest. 2. Low in position or condition; not important or grand. 3. To make humble; make lower in position, condition, or pride. ‘Humble in defeat. Humbled by defeat.’

Of course our example is Jesus. “You made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings.” Psalm 8:5 Jesus also washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus went to the cross for our sins before we were ever born. Jesus tells us to ‘turn the other cheek’ when people hate us. Some have misunderstood Jesus and what it means to be humble.

Jesus remained humble as He overturned the tables in the Temple. Jesus remained humble when He answered the high priest questioning if He was “the Christ, the Son of God.” and He said, “Yes, it is as you say. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Matthew 26:63-64

Sometimes humble is very submissive, as when Jesus chose to allow the soldiers to beat Him. Other times humble is confessing our submission to God no matter the consequences in this life.

The primary times for us to be humble are first before God confessing all of our sins and resting in His mercy for forgiveness and second when we are serving others. Both should flow from the same joy of being a Child of God.

There is an old tale that Benjamin Franklin carried a list of ten things with him every day. They were the things he wanted to work on in order to improve himself. The story says he had the word humble on the list, and after working on it for a long time he confidently removed it one day. On reflection, he decided to put it back on the list and never took it off again figuring that he could never claim to be truly humble.

As with our forefather, we too should be works in progress. We should continue to work and to serve all the while attempting to be honest with ourselves, listening to those around us, and seeking to be a better model of humility for all. If Ben was right, we will always have the opportunity to improve and the joy of knowing that we are forgiven by the only one who actually achieved being truly humble, our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Pastor Oatman

Ministry Moments – March, 2020


          God has blessed us with emotions, they are the feelings we experience in our lives. There is joy, anger, worried, tired, sad, excited, fear, love and I’m sure you can come up with more emotions/feelings. We all have them, we all experience joy and happiness, sadness, love and fear.

          So, what do we do about our feelings? Years ago before we went to Seminary, Mark and I participated and eventually presented at Marriage Encounter. It was a GREAT experience and we enjoyed sharing our “story” with those coming to enrich their marriages. As we wrote for our presentations our mentors would say to us “There is a feeling behind that”. Prior to writing for Marriage Encounter, I thought I was sharing my feelings, but I learned I was holding back. I was afraid to share my “true” feelings. I didn’t want to face my feelings. This wasn’t helping me, it wasn’t helping Mark, and it certainly wasn’t going to help the couples coming to strengthen their relationships. Our mentors and friends helped us discover that sharing our emotions/feelings would open our communication with each other and with others.

          Don’t get me wrong, there is a element of privacy, of confidentiality, but sharing some of our feelings/emotions with each other and how we got through some of our difficult times and how we rejoiced in the amazing times God has given us is incredibly helpful to others and to each other in understanding how God works in our everyday lives.

          God has blessed us with joys, sorrows, and anticipation of what He has in store for us. There are times when we are fearful of what will happen in the distant future, in the weeks to come, and even tomorrow. The one thing we have and can always count on is God’s blessings and His constant presence. He is always there with us, we never have to walk alone.

          When I am experiencing fear and doubt I turn to His Word and Promises. Here are a few of my favorite passages that I turn to, I hope they will help you as well.

Hebrews 13:5                  Joshua 1:5                      Deuteronomy 31:6                  

Matthew 28:20               Romans 8:37-39             Romans 8:31-35            

2 Chronicles 13:12            Psalm 46:7                     Psalm 46:11                            

1 Corinthians 4:1            Deuteronomy 7:9 Deuteronomy 31:8

Genesis 18:14 Isaiah 8:10

          These are a few of the passages I turn to when I need comfort and support. There are many more passages that you can share with others, I would love to hear some of your favorites. I may find comfort in your joy of searching Scripture for His answer. The one thing I am not afraid of is telling God Thank you for the blessings and struggles. I am also not afraid to comfort others with the fact that God has always been there for me and will be there with them. To share God’s love and blessings with others that are hurting or even joyful is truly a blessing and honor.

In God’s peace and love,

Debbie Oatman