Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
In June I was struck by a text message sent to me by my wife, Kathy. I saved the text for this week’s devotion. On Monday, June 24, I was driving to Sterling, making many stops, taking care of errands along the way, as I traveled south to work on our cabin. While in Anchorage I looked at my phone and Kathy had texted me from work. The text log says this message was sent to me at 7:51 a.m., Monday, June 24. Here are the words of Kathy’s text. “I hope you have some time to relax. Please don’t use your phone while you’re driving. It’s your day OFF. Be careful. Electricity and gas. I want you to come back in one piece. I Love you!”
Maybe you can hear or sense the years of experience and knowledge from our marriage through this text message. I have always taken my calling as a pastor seriously, but have probably worked too hard at times. Do you hear Kathy taking care of me and wanting me to rest? While I don’t text while driving, I do use my Bluetooth and talk while on the road. Our administrative assistant at St. John, Judy Stahancyk, calls it my “Spock – Rock.” Kathy has a different idea of being careful with a phone while driving. Do you hear her concern about my safety? Finally, my reputation as a handyman is legendary, in that I have made many laughable mistakes over the years in my attempts to fix things around the house. Kathy will tell you that my handyman skills are getting better. However, I was on the way to the Kenai to get propane and electric connected to the cabin. (I did call professionals in to do that work for me.) Do you hear Kathy’s concern, and her warning about dealing with dangerous power sources?
But, when I saw this text message what struck me at that moment was just how much my wife of over 40 cares for me. Kathy knows my strengths. But, she also knows very well my many areas of weakness. Yet, Kathy accepts me for who I am and continues to love me. In fact, Tuesday, August 20, is our 42nd wedding anniversary. This text message from Kathy was a loud message from her that our love continues and has grown even stronger, much stronger, over the years.
Hollywood and the other media of today have a different idea of the love between a man and a woman. In Hollywood, love is always exciting, between extremely attractive people. In Hollywood, love almost always includes sex outside of marriage, often without commitment, and without God. But, as we watch marriages of Hollywood celebrities make the headlines, both in the coming together and the explosive splitting apart, the Hollywood dream shows itself to be shallow and short-lived.
A person might understandably expect that after 42 years of marriage a husband and wife might have become accustomed to one another, and that love may have cooled. But, as a pastor who performs marriages, and who also visits those in their last days and months of life, I can attest to you that love grows deeper over the years. I’m convinced that God’s intent is for a husband and wife to support each other in faith and in love through the joys and challenges of life, and then, if grace allows, to share their last years together remembering their lives and love together. I am thankful that in our marriage, I see that plan of God at work.
Proverbs 31 contains God’s wisdom spoken by King Lemuel. In Proverbs 31:10-31 Lemuel writes about the blessing of a good wife. This section begins in verse 10 with the following assertion, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Lemuel’s God-given wisdom is then summarized in verse 30. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Lemuel’s wisdom is different from the ideas of Hollywood. The Lord works through Lemuel to instruct God’s children to look for a spouse of “noble character,” who “fears the Lord.” I am a deeply, and undeservedly blessed man! Significantly, Scripture also compares God’s love for His church through Jesus to the love intended in marriage. St. Paul writes in Epheians 5, “This is a profound mystery-- but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:32-33) If the love of a husband and wife grows deeper, how much greater is the love of God for His people. Well, the Father did send His only Son to save us! Such sacrifice also reflects God’s plan for husbands and wives.
Some of you know that I retire as full time pastor of St. John at the end of this month, and that I am struggling deeply with this decision. Perhaps my one guiding light in this new direction is that my wife of 42 years loves me deeply, in a way I do not deserve. Kathy wants to spend time with her husband. What a blessing that after 42 years of marriage my wife wants to spend time with me! I can surely say of Kathy, what Lemuel wrote in Proverbs 31. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
A Child of God, Blessed Beyond Measure by a Wife who ‘Fears the Lord’,
P.S. Here are some pictures from our wedding, August 20, 1977 in Memphis, TN. Remember, Elvis died in Memphis on the Tuesday before we were married. We have stories! https://photos.app.goo.gl/6Xoo2KrYXr641Nup8
P.P.S. Stephen Ministry at St. John is going well. Here is a picture of most of our Stephen Ministers from a supervision meeting on Thursday, August 15. Becky Lutz and Miki Entwistle of Lamb of God are the only two missing from this picture. https://photos.app.goo.gl/LeNZs1gCjuBPrxy46
· Sophie Bower - https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ain3nv7FPyEBHgNe7
· Isaac and Kenneth Walton - https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y3E71x4XfJvQs5bp8
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.
IMPORTANT – (If you have not done so . . . PLEASE RESPOND WITH A ‘YES’ OR A ‘NO.’ DEVOTIONS IN THE FUTURE - When I retire I will continue to write these devotions, but I will no longer send these e-mails as a St. John newsletter, since I won’t be pastor at St. John. I will post these devotions on my Facebook page, but not on the St. John Facebook page, for now at least. I believe the devotional articles will also continue in our local newspaper, The Frontiersman, each Sunday.
Please respond to let me know if you want to continue receiving them. If you respond with a “Yes” then I will include you on the new distribution list. You can respond to me at email@example.com to let me know.
RETIREMENT CELEBRATION, August 25 – While I have not been in on the planning, and don’t know many of the details, I do know that St. John is planning a “retirement celebration” on Sunday afternoon, August 25. There will be a worship service at 5:00 p.m., followed by a reception.
I would ask you to come and celebrate God’s goodness as we have served Him together.
If you have not done so, please call the St. John office at 907-745-3338 to RSVP your attendance.
Some have asked about the plans after retirement which Kathy and I have. Here is our FLEXIBLE and CHANGEABLE plan
1. August 31-September 5 – Josh and Jonathan hunt Caribou
2. September 8-11 – Butcher Caribou
3. September 13-14, use Christmas gift of train ticket to Seward
4. September 16-30 Fish on the Kenai
5. Preaching and encouraging support of workers
a. September 15 – Our Redeemer, Chugiak
b. September 22 – Faith, Juneau
c. September 29 – Sterling Lutheran
d. October 6 – Star of the North, Kenai
6. October 7 – Fly to Florida, fish, golf, relax
7. October 25-26 – 40 year reunion at Seminary in St. Louis
8. Baseball Hall of fame????
9. November 18 – return to AK
10. November 26-December 10 –Germany trip
11. December - Preach other churches?
12. Christmas with family in AK
13. January 7 – fly to FL
14. End of March - Quilting trip / fishing in Arkansas
15. April 6? – Return to AK
16. Then what????
ON-GOING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH, SERVICE, AND FELLOWSHIP
THE TRUSTEES NEED YOUR HELP MOWING THE LAWN THIS SUMMER -
Maintaining the Church property grounds is a task which the Trustees need your help with. Our goal is to mow once a week. This results in a work task larger then the Trustees can handle by themselves. It takes approximately 4+ hours to mow these lawns. We do have a John Deere riding lawnmower for the task and your enjoyment. If you can volunteer to help out with this job, a sign up sheet is posted in Narthex. If you do sign up, please contact either Cliff Proetz (907-715-6780) or Peter J. Probasco (907-351-0085) for instructions. Thank you!!
SERMONS IN AUGUST – During August my sermons, based the assigned Bible Readings, will focus on “Luther’s Sola’s” (Latin word for “alone”), the principles that have helped me live as a Christian and helped me serve as a pastor.
· By Faith Alone – August 11
· By Scripture Alone – August 18
· By Grace Alone – August 25.
Sunday, August 25 will be my last sermon at St. John for a while.
SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR STARTS AGAIN ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8. However, in the meantime . . .
· There are Adult Sunday School Classes.
o Jim Summers is teaching a class on the book of Luke,
· Classes for the Youth are also being held in the portable building on Sunday mornings!
WEDNESDAY WORSHIP is offered at St. John each week 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.! On August 7 we have 2 baptisms!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. (Those 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
(cannisters are on the sound booth.)
· 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 wants 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.
THANK YOU - St. John contributed $1468.00 to provide Bible Sticks for military personnel. THANK YOU!
A PERSONAL REQUEST
THANKS! We have 4 possible people to watch our dog, Mat, while we are outside.
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