Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
As I try to catch up from having been out of town for a number of weeks, there are various thoughts and experiences running through my mind. The experiences are separate and different, but the thoughts have a similar thread.
Just recently I was visiting an elderly member in their home. This member is truly concerned about a much younger member of her family. This member’s loved one has struggled with behaviors that are self-destructive. Thankfully, the younger person continues to struggle and has not given up.
However, as this member and I discussed young people in general and the troubles of life, two realizations came to our lips. Sometimes the younger the person, the more they think they know about life. Maybe you’ve run into someone who thinks they know everthing! Thinking we have all the answers can be dangerous to a healthy life, especially when the unexpected is always right around the corner. A second characteristic from many young people we know which we discussed is that of thinking they are indestructible!” After all, it looks like all of life is in front of a young person. So risky and unhealthy behaviors can just seem like someone else’s needless worry. But, when the realities of life show themselves, the struggles of life can seem overwhelming! When those life realities show themselves then even a young person realizes they need help. In all honesty, they need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love.
Last week while I was in moose camp hunting, and winding down from the busy-ness of work, and processing my dad’s illness and funeral, the beauty of the world around us struck those of us who were in camp. I have hunted for over 25 years with St. John member, Gerry Zellar. This year we were also joined by Gerry’s friend, Tom Anderson. On a beautiful fall day, with the sun shining and temperature in the 60’s, as the mountain were covered with the red undergrowth of cranberries and fireweed, and as the birch trees glowed with their bright yellow leaves, Tom made an observation. “All you have do is to look at the world around us to see that God is here.” The beauty was striking and the hand of God was obvious. But, as we considered Tom’s statement, we realized there are some who don’t see or know or believe in the loving, powerful hand of God. We agreed, for those who miss seeing God’s hand in the beauty of creation, they need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love.
Last year at this time I was in Florida, preparing to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday. We held a party for him on September 23 attended by many family and friends. When the main party was over my dad looked at me and said, “Well, I’ll see you again in 10 years.” He was expecting to celebrate his 100th birthday! But, I’m sure you heard my dad died last month. Yet, none of us live in this world forever. We are sinful people in a fallen world and we all face death. The truth for all of us is, we need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love.
There is a verse of Scripture which talks about those who reject God. Psalms 14 and 53 share this truth from God. “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Denying that we need God, or denying His existence are foolish behaviors and attitudes. Yet, even if someone thinks they are indestructible, even if someone thinks the world and its beauty are an accident, the realities of the world catch up with us and cause us to see our mortality.
What a blessing that God has loved us and sent his Son, Jesus, for foolish, sinful people like you and me. For all of us facing our guilt, our foolishness, our weakness, and our mortality, Jesus is God’s wisdom. Romans 5:8 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible sharing the wonderful truth of God’s love. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As I try to get back into the swing of daily living, I know this truth: I need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love, especially as He loves me in Jesus.
A Child of God, Realizing that I Need God, and His Power, Wisdom, and Love in Jesus!
P.S. I did go moose hunting September 5-14. It is always good to get away in the woods. I also had a special permit that would allow me to shoot any bull this year. However, while I saw cows and heard bulls in the woods, I did not see a bull to shoot. Nevertheless, since I’m 65 I gave my proxy to Gerry Zellar. So, while I did not shoot a moose, my permit did – the day after I left! Here are some pictures from the hunting trip. https://photos.app.goo.gl/yy6R9BkVZdwsD4iF9
P.P.S. I got a surprise from my dad recently. One of my nieces was going through some old documents and found an old yearbook. In that year book, when asked his plans, my dad said, “Would rather go to Alaska.” Hmmmm! https://photos.app.goo.gl/PriMSak2fuuwPQTw8
P.P.P.S. Being gone from home can be tough for anyone. When you are a pastor and you are gone, as I have been, that can be especially difficult. How can you shepherd God’s people when you’re out of town? Yet, our elders have encouraged me to take care of myself. In many ways, that means getting away. I want to share a BIG THANK YOU to all who kept on while I was gone. Thanks to Judy and Ethan in the office, to leaders who continued to serve. Thank you especially to Hunter Richards, Randy Luffberry, Scott Manke, Karl Kopperud, and Carl Jacobson who led Sunday and Wednesday worship while I was gone!!!!
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.
PAUL KUNKEL BIRTHDAY PARTY – Long Time St. John member, Paul Kunkel, turns 90 this month. His family has invited the members of St. John to a birthday party at the Palmer Senior Center on Saturday, September 29, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
The family asks that you send them greetings or pictures ahead of time for display. You can send them to
c/o Cassandra Tilly (daughter)
PO Box 80216
Fairbanks, AK 99708
SUNDAY SCHOOL STARTS FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR – Sunday School starts for ALL AGES this Sunday, September 9, at 9:45 a.m.
· Wooly Lambs – This class taught by Carol Gustafson is for children beginning at birth, with their parents, until 3 years old.
· Sunday School For Elementary Aged Children – There are classes for children beginning with nursery (aged 3) through 5th grade.
· Middle School and High School Classes – There are separate classes for Middle School (grades 6-8) and High School.
· Adult Classes –
o Acts will continue through September taught by Jim Summers
§ -September 9 - Acts chapters 25-26
§ -September 16 - Acts chapter 27
§ -September 23 - Acts chapter 28
§ -September 30 - After Acts (the rest of the story)
o Christian Stewardship Principles is another opportunity to grow taught by the Stewardship Board beginning October 7.
o A Book of the Bible (to be determined) – will be taught beginning in October.
OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE
PERMANENT FUND CHECKS (PFD) WILL BE COMING OUT SOON. For years St. John has encouraged members to consider tithing off their PFD’s. If all members did so our finances would be way ahead, and we could do much more for our Lord!
THE LUTHERAN CHURCH EXTESION FUND (LCEF) is a bank run by our denomination that exists for the purpose of growing God’s Church. This bank takes deposits from church members and then makes loans to churches for buildings, and to church workers for homes. The rates paid to member investors, and the rates charged churches and church workers are usually better than commercial rates.
St. John’s loan is with LCEF. Our current rate of interest is 3.75%. However, we could lower the rate by 1/8 % if we have 15% of communicant members as investors. We would need 90 new investors for this break. We can lower our rate by ¼% if we have 25% of our communicant members, or 167 individuals as investors.
On Sunday, August 12, the Church Council voted to try to at least reach the goal of 100 investors in LCEF. This doesn’t have to be 100 families, but 100 individual accounts. So, for example, grandparents can start accounts for grandchildren. We will hear more about this opportunity in worship in the coming weeks.
Information and applications are on a table in the narthex.
ST. JOHN ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES
DID YOU KNOW THAT SUNDAY SERMONS ARE RECORDED AND OFFERED ON LINE ON OUR ST. JOHN WEBSITE? The July and August recordings are available here: .
Prayer Ministry Opportunity – There are Elders in Pastor Allen’s former office between worship who are available for prayer each Sunday between services.
· Promise Keepers Men’s Group – Promise Keepers will meet on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, October 2. This year we will study the book “Gospel DNA”. Come and join us.
· Quilting – The St. John Ladies Quilt from 9:30 to 11:30 each Wednesday morning. These quilts are distributed to those in need to share Jesus love in our local community, our state, and around the world.
· Lifelight – Lifelight Bible Classes are held at noon. We share a pot luck lunch of leftovers. Classes will start on October 3. This year we will study Genesis.
· CONFIRMATION – Wednesday Confirmation classes for those in grades 6-8 will begin on Wednesday, October 3, at 2:45 p.m.
· WEDNESDAY WORSHIP – Wednesday worship is offered each week at 6:30 p.m. at St. John. This service gives another worship opportunity to God’s family in addition to Sunday worship services. If a person cannot worship on Sunday, the same readings from Sunday are used on Wednesdays, with a different sermon from the Sunday morning sermon. In addition, if someone wants an additional opportunity for growth and fellowship and praise, Wednesday worship can provide that opportunity. Come and join us on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY YOUTH ACTIVITIES
· Middle School Youth meet at St. John from 5-6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
· High School Youth meet at St. John on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.
• FRIDAY - NEW ORIGINAL BIBLE STUDY – Twenty and thirty something’s meet at the home of Hunter and Elizabeth Richard, 340 North Bonanza, on Friday nights for Food, Fellowship, and Bible Study.
• SATURDAY ST. JOHN MEN’S BREAKFAST - The St. John men’s group, Promise Keepers, is meeting on Saturday mornings this summer at the Noisy Goose at 7:30 a.m. for food and fellowship. ALL MEN are invited to join us. “Fathers, feel free to bring your sons too! This group meets even when the pastor is out of town.
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND FELLOWSHIP
“CHRISTMAS MARKET, MUSIC, AND LUTHER TRIP” TO AUSTRIA AND GERMANY AT THE END OF 2019
Pastor Jonathan and Kathy Rockey will be leading a trip to Germany November 26-December 10, 2019. We will start in Vienna and end in Berlin. The focus of this trip will be Christmas markets, music, and Martin Luther. Information about the itinerary, cost, and registration can be found at this link from Luther Tours. -
Already, about 25 people have indicated an interest in attending. If you want to know more about this trip talk to Pastor Rockey or Kathy.
DID YOU KNOW THAT MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT ST. JOHN is available on our church website? On our web page you can find sermons, newsletters, and these weekly devotions. The link is:
In fact, IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR MONTHLY CHURCH NEWSLETTER BY E-MAIL please e-mail Judy Stahancyk and let her know. You can call at 745-3338, or e-mail Judy at. If you receive the newsletter by e-mail it saves printing, postage, and time compiling the newsletter. Also, you receive the monthly newsletter more quickly!!