Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
Do the problems we face in this world ever seem overwhelming to you, complex beyond reasonable solution? How do people, especially God’s people, deal with issues like drug problems in our communities? How do we face family disintegration and struggles, trade wars, terrorism, and environmental issues?
I recently completed a “Basic Teachings of the Bible Class” again. In this class we discuss Who God is, what He has done for us, His blessings in our lives, and how He calls us to live. In the midst of a complex and confusing world, God’s call to Christians is actually quite simple. He calls us to believe in Him, and to live in faith and love. But while God’s call to live in His grace may seem simple, it is actually very difficult as we struggle against the enemies of God and His people, the devil, the world, and our flesh.
Therefore, God gives His help to His people. The Lord gives His word, which we receive in regular worship and through personal devotions. Our Savior promises to work His gifts of love and faith in our lives through our baptisms and in the Lord’s Supper. God promises to answer our faithful prayers. However, sometimes these answers from God to the complicated problems of life seem so simple that we dismiss God’s call to Christian living, and even God’s people can doubt His promises to help.
So, let me share with you story I heard this past week. For the last 7 years Mrs. Temple Christiansen has taught seventh grade confirmation classes. This is a real labor of love, since Temple’s four boys have all finished confirmation classes and are in college, or have graduated from college. With her classes, Temple has been trusting God’s promises and going to Him in prayer for various concerns. Please read below as she shares one journey our prayer she and her classes have taken with our Lord.
For the last four or five years our 7th Grade Confirmation Class has had a lesson which included discussion on the persecuted church around the world. At some point in those years a certain Pakistani Christian woman’s story was in the news, and I shared it with our class.
The woman’s name is Asia Bibi, a mother of 5 or 6 children. She was arrested, tried, convicted, and condemned to death in Pakistan of blasphemy, because she offered a cup of water to two Muslim women whom she worked with on a farm. The women claimed that instead of a very caring Christian act of recognizing other’s needs and doing what she could to help, that she was attempting to defile them.
Asia was imprisoned for many years, and struggled through multiple appeal attempts with dignitaries and ambassadors and lawyers from the United States and other countries working on her behalf. Prayers were requested through Christian organizations around the world.
A number of our 7th graders in Confirmation at St John Lutheran Church in Palmer, through the years, have prayed for Asia Bibi. At some time this past year, the Lord miraculously moved on the hearts and minds of the Pakistani justices, and Asia Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court in Pakistan and set free from the penalty for her alleged blasphemy, which was death.
But, there were such violent protests from Muslim radicals in the country who said if the justice system wouldn’t do it, THEY would kill her, that Asia Bibi had to remain in prison for her safety!
Today, I am so excited to share with you, that just this past week, Asia Bibi was finally able to get out of Pakistan, and is now on her way to, or already in Canada.
Thank you for your prayers, and praise God for his mercy and grace. Please continue to pray that this courageous Christian women will also be able to be reunited with her family soon.
Always trusting in Christ,
Mrs. Temple Christiansen
Life is complex and can seem overwhelming. But God gives us a simple call of grace. Our Heavenly Father loves us in Creation, and in the saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God calls us to believe His love and to live in faith and in love. God promises to help us through His word and worship, through the sacraments, and through prayer.
While this can seem overly simple, when God’s people answer His call we are not trusting our own faith, or our own worship, or our own prayers. We trust the One who created us with His spoken Word, who saved us in the gift of His Son, and who calls us each to follow Him. We trust the One who is more powerful and more wise than all the troubles or complexities of life.
I pray that you may face the trials and complications of your life with simple faith and love from God, and that you may see God answer your prayers!
A Child of God, Seeking to Live a Simple Faith in the Powerful Love of God,
P.S. Here is a picture from Sunday’s baptisms of Elizabeth Morey (Mom), and her children Zephaniah Horman, Jackson, Tucker, and Wrangell Morey. https://photos.app.goo.gl/ppELYGH4Nzf1fUat9
P.P.S. New Stephen Ministers are commissioned in worship this Sunday. Here is a picture from Stephen Ministry training last Thursday, May 9. https://photos.app.goo.gl/7P69zwMw7rd4BiCU9
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.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MINISTRY AND SERVICE THIS WEEK
TRUSTEES WORKDAY - A spring workday will be held at St. John, Saturday, May 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The Trustees would greatly appreciate a little of your "Time and Talent" in helping us with the Spring Clean Up of the Church Grounds. This task goes quickly if we get a good turn-out. So bring your rake, shovel, wheel barrow, good attitude and a few good jokes and we'll see you all on Saturday, May 18. J
ACOLYTE TRAINING – Acolyte Training will be held at St. John on Saturday morning, May 18, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (This year there will NOT be a trip to McDonalds, as Pastor Rockey has a memorial event at noon.)
Children who are in 2nd grade and older who would like to serve as acolytes in worship are welcome to attend. There will be snacks at the end.
You could bring your children and then stay for the workday. J
STEPHEN MINISTRY COMMISSIONING, MAY 19 – Four new Stephen Ministers will be commissioned in worship this Sunday, May 19. Michelle Bower, Dan and Cynthia Carlson, and Dave Neslund have completed 50 hours of training and will begin serving as confidential, Christ-centered care-givers.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR MINISTRY AND SERVICE THIS MONTH
JUDY IS BACK IN THE OFFICE – PART TIME. Our administrative assistant, Judy Stahancyk is back in the office part time. She does still have active cancer, and is on a treatment schedule. So we have multiple people serving in the office. Libby Brock (Peter) is in the office from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Ophie Hart is working on our Shepherd’s Staff data base and helping with administrative duties.
THANK YOU to those who filled in for Judy Stahancyk in the St. John office while she has been battling her cancer. Thank you, also, to those who continue serving and volunteering.
UPDATING THE ST. JOHN DATABASE – For quite a few years, St. John has owned a member data base produced by our church body for the purpose of keeping our congregational records. However, our “Shepherd’s Staff” database is not up to date at this time. The Elders and Church Council have hired Ophie Hart to update this data base. (Libby Brock Peter may also help Ophie.)
St. John members will have an opportunity to update their information either by filling out forms or through phone calls to get the information. Church records can actually be used for legal purposes. Please respond when asked to share this information.
ON-GOING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH, SERVICE, AND FELLOWSHIP
WEDNESDAY WORSHIP started again this Wednesday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday worship is a both a replacement opportunity for worship for those who cannot attend worship on Sundays, and also an additional opportunity for worship for those who would like extra time for worshiping our Lord. Wednesday worship uses the Bible Readings for the following Sunday, but has a different sermon than Sunday’s sermon. Communion is also offered the Wednesday before The Lord’s Supper is served on Sundays, Communion is served the Wednesdays before the 1st and 3rd Sundays.
Come and join us for worship on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.!
SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR IS FINISHED! Our last day was May 12. (There are discussions of a possible summer Sunday School.)
· ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES
o Jim Summers is teaching 2 individual classes May 19 and 26.
o Jim Summers will teach a class on a book of the Bible, possibly a Gospel, beginning June 2.
STEWARDSHIP NEWS – MISSION OFFERINGS - As part of our regular budget St. John plans to reach out with the good news of Jesus to the world around us. Some of that is done through our regular budget. Last year we sent
· $6011 to Alaska Mission for Christ.
· $6011 to the Northwest District, and
· $3000 to local missions. Most of that went to Family Promise. Some went to the St. John Mission trip to Eek.
HOWEVER, we also plan to have various special offerings to give members of the St. John
Family an opportunity to support God’s work in other places. This year’s schedule is like last years. However, here is our schedule of MISSION offerings for 2019
· January – April- Heartreach Crisis Pregnancy Center baby bottles. (Thos are on the
counter in the narthex.
· May Alaska Mission for Christ – Eek AMC VBS (May 19 and 26!)
· June St. John Youth National Gathering and Mission Trip
· July Military Bible Sticks
· August Family Promise
· October LWML
· November Canned goods for Thanksgiving Blessing / Christmas shoeboxes
· December Special offering for community ministry at the Community Advent
The Stewardship Board wanted to inform you ahead of time about these opportunities to spread the love of God in Jesus. Our hope and plan is that through the regular budgeted offerings, and through the designated special offerings we can be faithful stewards and share the love of Jesus.
PRAYER MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY!! – There are Elders in Pastor Allen’s former office between worship who are available for prayer each Sunday between services. Prayer is one of the greatest gifts God gives His people. Come bring your prayer requests. Come join in praying for God’s work, and for others.
PRAYER CHAIN – St. John has an e-mail prayer chain administered by St. John member, Jacki Rose. Jacki lives in Anchorage and cannot always get to Palmer on Sundays. However, she serves God at St. John in this way. If you want to share and receive prayer requests you can ask Jacki to be part of her distribution list. E-mail your request to email@example.com.
OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP OTHERS
BLOOD MOBILE – JUNE 23 The Alaska Blood Bank will have their Blood Mobile present on Sunday, June 23. They will take donations on that day from Palmer United Protestant – Presbyterian, St. John, and St. Michael Roman Catholic Church, all located beside one another. Sign up sheets will be available soon.
AMC VBS IN EEK - Members of St. John are planning again to go to the village of Eek, AK, to conduct VBS for the children there. Our tentative dates are July 23-29. If you are interested please speak to Rod or Temple Christiansen, Marilee Nufer, Sara Guhl, or Pastor Rockey. (Also going are Aaron Christiansen and Margaret Runser.)
AMC VBS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR OTHER SITES - We are still in need of a couple of volunteers to fill summer teams:
· Pilot Station: July 20-27. Consider joining this team of 3 to serve in this southwest Alaska village sharing Jesus through VBS ministry.
· Chitina: July 15-19. We are in need of 4-5 volunteers to plan a VBS program in this small village located on the road system.
· Kenny Lake Basketball Camp: Dates TBD.
Please share these needs with those in your congregation and on your team. We would really like to see ministry continue in these villages. Above all, please keep these needs in your prayers.
Trusting in Him to provide,
Jan Bruick, Servant Event Coordinator, Alaska Mission for Christ
SEEKING AMC COORDINATOR OF MINISTRY - Alaska Mission for Christ is seeking a visionary LCMS pastor/lay person with a missionary heart to serve as Coordinator of Ministry. This person will, prayerfully, lead Alaska Mission for Christ to make a bold culturally-appropriate witness in Alaska. He/she will work in partnership with local LCMS congregations, full-time missionaries, and a wide LCMS volunteer network. He/she will be responsible for maintaining a Christ-centered atmosphere as he/she leads and equips staff and volunteers. He/she will raise prayer and financial support to help Alaska Mission for Christ work toward making a bold witness for Christ in every community in Alaska. For a complete position description please go to: https://www.alaskamissionforchrist.org/current-needs. If you or someone you know may be interested please contact: Gerry Zellar, Board Chairman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-841-8495
JAN BRUICK, Volunteer Coordinator for Alaska Mission for Christ, is coming to Alaska May 27 to facilitate volunteer teams for AMC. Jan is in need of a vehicle to use for the summer. If you can help you can tell Gerry or Ruth Zellar, Pastor Rockey, or you can call Jan at (402) 641-9691.
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: http://www.stjohnpalmer.org/
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 email@example.com. 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!!
Child of God
Husband, Father, Son, Grandfather
Senior Pastor, St. John Lutheran Church
907-841-4066 - cell
907-746-5131 - home
907-745-3338 - church
907-746-6117 – fax