Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
There is something exciting going on in the world of professional sports, specifically in the National Hockey League. The Las Vegas Golden Knights are a first year expansion team. Their players are those that other teams deemed expendable in an expansion draft. I have heard the Golden Knights called a team of “cast-offs.” Usually such first year teams try to be “respectable.” They try not to have the most losses in the league. I heard the coach of the Golden Knights say in an interview that their goal was “to give the fans their money’s worth, to give a good effort.” Expectations for a first year team are not a great or winning season.
Yet, even though this team began the year with low expectations, they have earned one of the best records during the regular season of play. The Vegas Golden Knights have advanced to the final round of playoffs and are playing for the championship! No one expected this level of success. It seems unprecedented!
I heard the Las Vegas coach, Gerard Gallant, interviewed. He explained their year with a cliché that, nevertheless, seemed to be true for this team when he said it. “We just play one game at a time. At the beginning of the year we just wanted to give a good effort in each game. As we started with an 8-1 record, and then played some of the better teams, we just played each game for what it was. As we entered the playoffs, we just played one game at a time.” (This is not a word for word quote, but my memory and understanding of what I heard him say. ) Sometimes a life goal seems too big, or unreachable. So, wisdom says to focus on the present and let the future take care of itself.
There are times where it seems to me that life can be overwhelming. This isn’t even about tragedy, or loss, or severe trial. Sometimes the day-to-day tasks are so big that to look at what needs doing in the future can be daunting. Ask someone what the future looks like as they enter college, or begin an advanced degree, or even some who enter the military, In some ways it is hard to imagine graduating, or finishing military service. At that point, where the future seems so far away, we need to take one day at a time.
I can understand such feelings. Life has been especially busy since . . . October. At times the demands of being a pastor, the responsibility of being a husband and dad, the call to live as a child of God, along with my own weaknesses and limitations and sin, can seem overwhelming. I find I need to take not just one day at a time, but to work on one task at a time.
But, during these times when I am looking at the trees, and not the forest, I find comfort in the words Jesus spoke to His disciples as He physically left this world. “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
The One who is not only our Savior, but who has all authority, is with us . . . always! The One who loved us enough to die and rise to save us, is with us . . . always! Jesus, who sends us into all nations to teach and to baptize and to make disciples, is with us . . . always! When the tasks of life seem overwhelming, Jesus is with us . . . always!
Sometimes the words of hymns, taken from the words of Scripture, speak to my heart. One of my favorite songs, which strengthen me with the assurance that Jesus is always with us is “Lord of All Hopefulness. This song reminds us that Jesus is with us at break of day. This hymn assures us that Jesus is with us at noon, in the heat of labor. This poem set to music strengthen us to know that God is with us as life, hopefully, slows down in the evening. This song reminds us that our Lord is with us at the end of the day, or also at the end of our life. In other words, as Jesus says, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Perhaps you would like to ponder and pray with me.
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, Your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
© Oxford University Press. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, no. 100012581.
Or, as Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, tells us, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
A Child of God, Finding Strength in the Un-failing Presence of Jesus,
P.S. No pictures this week. I was asked by a friend to golf, so I did not fish.
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.
The St. John Church Council voted on Sunday, May 20, to form a call committee for the purpose of asking the St. John Voters to call Ethan Mirly as full-time DCE. The process will proceed in this way.
· The Call Committee will bring a Job Description and Salary Recommendations to the Church for Review.
· The Church Council will act on the recommendations of the Call Committee and then play a Voters’ Meeting to vote on extending a Divine Call to Ethan.
· The St. John Voters will pray, discuss, and vote on the recommendation of the Church Council and it’s Call Committee.
· Ethan will pray and consider God’s direction for his life and respond to the call extended.
This is a somewhat long process. But, the process is designed so that the Lord can guide the process and the congregation has good input. Please keep this process in your prayers.
COMMUNITY PICNIC – St. John will again host a Colony Days’ Picnic on our grounds on Saturday, June 9. Plans are being made for the picnic meal AND for a parade entry. There are MANY opportunities to volunteer and help share God’s love in Jesus with the people of Palmer.
PLEASE SIGN UP ON THE SIGN-UP SHEETS IN THE BACK TO
· BRING FOOD – beans, slaw, chips
· SERVE FOOD, or
· SET UP AND TAKE DOWN. Also
· PARADE WALKERS are also needed.
Please help us reach out to Palmer in the name of our Lord!
ST. JOHN ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES
· KOINONIA – The St. John Senior’s Group, Koinonia, meets Friday, May 25, at St. John at 6:00 p.m. for a pot-luck meal and time of fellowship. St. John member, Grace Miller, will share at this gathering about her experience in the recent Paralympics!
· SUNDAY SCHOOL AND ADULT BIBLE CLASS.
o SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR ALL AGES is over for the year since school is out of session. Regular Sunday School will start again after Labor Day.
o NEVERTHELESS . . . There are various adult classes being offered.
§ Selected Psalms is being taught by Hunter Richards.
§ Basic Teachings of the Bible will be taught by Pastor Jonathan Rockey beginning Sunday, May 6. This class will hopefully build a foundation of knowledge and faith for those who wish to grow, and for those who wish to join St. John.
WEDNESDAY YOUTH ACTIVITIES
o Middle School Youth meet at St. John from 5-6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
o High School Youth meet at St. John on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 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.
ST. JOHN MEN’S BREAKFAST, SATURDAY – The St. John men’s group, Promise Keepers, will be meeting on Saturday mornings in May 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!
OTHER ACTIVITIES SCHEDULED FOR GROWTH, MINISTRY, AND FELLOWSHIP IN THE FUTURE . . .
· Lutheran Church Extension Fund Presentation and Wills Seminar. Susan Olson and Mike Madsen will make presentations at St. John on June 3.
o Susan is Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) Vice President for the Northwest District. The LCEF is a bank run by our church body. It loans out its funds to build churches. St. John’s building loan is with LCEF. LCEF offers many attractive options for saving and investment. Also, all money deposited with LCEF helps build churches. Susan will share information about LCEF on June 3.
o Mike Madison, from Concordia University Portland, will present a wills seminar in a luncheon meeting after worship on June 3. It is wise stewardship to have a will. Mike will give tips on writing a will that helps protect assets and makes a Christian witness.
· St. John Family Camp – Family Camp will be held at Eklutna State Park again this year from June 22-24. Plan now to attend.
· Alaska Mission for Christ Vacation Bible School Possibility – A group of 12 individuals and families are exploring the opportunity to serve the Lord by sharing Jesus in a VBS at a place requesting help. We will be going to Eek to conduct VBS there July 5-8. If you are interested, talk to Marilee Nufer, Temple Christiansen, or myself.
· Vacation Bible School – Vacation Bible School is scheduled for July 23-27. Registration forms are already available on the counter in the narthex, and online. There are also sign-up sheets for those who wish to help teach or lead.
THANKS! - LAST WEEK’S ACTIVITIES
THANKS to all who came out to the Trustees work day. It was well attended and “many hands make light work!” Thank you!
A NEW ACOLYTE SCHEDULE WILL BE OUT SOON. If your child could not make the training on May 19, but wants to serve, please talk to Pastor Rockey or call the office.
THANK YOU to all who filled out “Time and Talent Surveys.” We may have 3 times as many turned in this year compared to last year. We hope to get the results of this survey to all boards at the July 1 Church Council Meeting.
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND FELLOWSHIP
Anchorage Lutheran Concert Series
College of the Ozarks
Director: Mr. Gregg Busch
Accompanist: Mr. Caleb Lawson
We are proud to welcome the Chapel Choir from the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri!
Come join us for this wonderful experience! The concert is free ~ Donations gratefully accepted.
Sunday, May 27th at 4:30pm
Anchorage Lutheran Church
1420 N St
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!!