Please accept our sincere and heartfelt “thank you” for the outpouring of love and appreciation we have experienced the past several weeks leading up to and including our retirement celebration. God has been so good to us through you. Thank you! Your kind words, written and spoken, your gifts of appreciation, the monetary congregational gift along with the Maiden Lake getaway, and joyful gathering this past Saturday have been humbly and graciously received.
As Jane and I reflect upon the years the Lord has given us to serve alongside you, we keep coming back to one theme – the Lord has been so good to us!
In just two short weeks of retirement, I’ve already taken the opportunity to visit my father in Idaho, a chance to share the same hope I have shared with you. Discipleship in as many places as possible includes our families.
It is our prayer that each of you will keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, that one glorious day, together, we will be gathered by Him to experience all the fullness of His grace.
St. John’s continues to be blessed by the ministry partnership of Lutheran Hour Ministries. This year our retreat is rooted in that partnership as Jason Broge introduces us to LHM’s latest resource titled “Households of Faith,” within the context of our retreat; “REMAIN.” So, why is this relevant to you?
Because regardless of your age or demographic, you know how hard it is to REMAIN while immersed in a world and culture of constant and sometimes chaotic change. Does your faith ever waiver? Is it a struggle to stay spiritually vibrant, let alone influence others to do the same? Do the demands of work, family, and relationships challenge your ability to stay rooted in faith while also growing in God’s gift and promise?
Yeah, us too! Using the imagery of a strong and established vine, Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” The challenges are real, yet amidst the trials, failures, successes, and joys, He remains our strength and life. Intertwined together,we have support as those who have been grafted in, are being cared for, and growing within the vine of His “Household of Faith.”
Stewardship & Gifting
Members of St. John’s who are 70 1/2 have been taking advantage of rolling over their required minimum distributions (RMD’s) to satisfy the requirements of this investment vehicle for the last few years. If you qualify, below are a few reasons why you should consider this option of serving God through the resources He has blessed you with.
Counts Toward Your RMD: If you do not need the RMD for your living expenses, a charitable IRA rollover can be a great way to comply with the RMD requirement without triggering the tax liability that would occur if the RMD were paid to you. If you do not comply, you can owe a penalty equal to 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn but did not.
Does Not Require Itemizing: You might be able to achieve a similar tax result from taking the RMD and then contributing that amount to charity. But it’s more complex because you must report the RMD as income and then take an itemized deduction for the donation. And, with the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act near doubling the standard deduction, fewer taxpayers will benefit from itemizing. Itemizing saves tax only when itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction. For 2018, the standard deduction is $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Social Security and Medicare Possible Complications: So, what if you decide to take your RMD even though you do not need the income? Even if you have enough other itemized deductions to exceed your standard deduction, taking your RMD and contributing that amount to charity could lead to two additional complications.
First, the reported RMD income might increase your income to the point you are pushed into a higher tax bracket, certain additional taxes are triggered and/or the benefits of certain tax breaks are reduced or completely eliminated. It could even cause your Social Security payments to become taxable or increase income-based Medicare premiums and prescription drug charges. Second, if your donation would equal a large portion of your income for the year, your deduction might be reduced due to the percentage-of-income limit. You generally can’t deduct cash donations that exceed 60% of your adjusted gross income for the year. (The TCJA raised this limit from 50%, but if the cash donation is to a private non-operating foundation, the limit is only 30%.) You can carry forward the excess up to five years, but if you make large donations every year, that won’t help you.
Allows you to keep cash in your checking/savings account: If you normally give your first fruits from cash, giving your RMD to charity allows you to keep the cash in your account and use that for your current living expenses, while fulfilling your commitment to serving the Lord through your RMD.
A charitable IRA rollover avoids these potential negative tax consequences. For questions or to learn more, contact your financial advisor or the Church Office at 262-334-4901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents and students are welcome to schedule a tour and learn more about Living Word at any time! We would be happy to host your child for a shadow day, which can include a half a day (morning or afternoon) or an entire day in any of our classrooms.
Do you feel God’s Calling to Become a Pastor or Deaconess?
Concordia Seminary exists to prepare the next generation of church leaders. We are here to support you as you consider being trained to become a pastor, deaconess or scholar, to ultimately contribute to the church with deep commitment to Lutheran theology and practice, and in a spirit of servant leadership.