THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR
Dear Fellow Children of God,
Recently my wife, Kathy, and I heard a story of Christian thankfulness from an unexpected source. Last week some employees at Mat-Su Regional, where Kathy works, were discussing being thankful. One of the doctors told Kathy he had a story to tell her. On the previous Sunday this doctor’s daughter had an opportunity to share a thought on ‘thankfulness’ after worship. She related that she had worked in a place where she took care of elderly people and there was one lady who was always thankful. This lady, Alice, was thankful whether you were helping her do something pleasant, or helping her in a way that was not so pleasant. The doctor told Kathy, “I chimed in and said, ‘I amputated that lady’s leg, and she thanked me.’”
Alice from the story was Kathy’s mom, Alice Tobin. Many of you may remember Alice who lived here in Palmer with us from March of 1997 until her death in May of 2009. She was known by many as a southern lady who always seemed gracious. But, that was the first time we heard the story of her surgeon saying that she even thanked him when he amputated her leg.
Thanksgiving is actually a national holiday established by Presidential decree. However, anyone can be thankful when things are going well and our blessings are abundant. How many can say thanks even in times of trial, even when our leg might be amputated, or some other trial or tragedy strikes.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” In Jesus we have God’s love in our lives in the good and bad times. Christians can be joyful, we can give thanks, not so much because life is going well, but because God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus are eternal, no matter what the situation!
One of our bible classes on Sundays has been studying “Christian Relationships” using some Gary Smalley videos. Kathy told me that a recent class suggested that anyone who goes through a time of trial should ask, “What can God be doing and teaching me in this trial?” The suggestion is a call for thankfulness at all times.
As a fellow child of God, forgiven and loved by God, I am asking my Lord to help me to be thankful and to share my thankfulness even in life’s trials. Perhaps you can pray the same prayer. Anyone can be thankful when life is going well. It is a real witness to God’s love in our lives when we give thanks in life’s difficulties because we know that in Jesus God’s love is eternal. So, we can give thanks even when life seems to be full of trouble.
A Child of God, Thankful because of God’s Love in Jesus,
P.S. I am also thankful because yesterday I caught my first fish of the year ice-fishing. Please don’t laugh!! https://picasaweb.google.com/jonrock53/IceFishingNovemberAndDecember2011?authuser=0&feat=directlink
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 always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.
ST. JOHN NEWS
THANKSGIVING WORSHIP!!!! - THANKSGIVING WORSHIP will be held at St. John this Wednesday evening, November 23, beginning at 7:00 p.m. This service on the evening before Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to give thanks and praise to God. It also gives families Thanksgiving Day for time together. This year we have 2 baptisms on Thanksgiving evening.
Come and join your brothers and sisters on this National Holiday in giving thanks to God for His abundant love and blessings.
OTHER WORTHWHILE HOLIDAY OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORSHIP AND SERVICE
· A NIGHT OF FELLOWSHIP AT THE VALLEY PERFORMING ARTS - If you would like to go with other St. John members on Friday, December 2, to see the production of “A Christmas Carol” there is a sign-up sheet on the counter in the Narthex. St. John members Dave Nufer and Greta Kopperud have parts in this play. Before the play some of our St. John members will be eating at King’s Asian Buffet.
· ST. JOHN COLONY CHRISTMAS CRAFT AND BAKE SALE – The Evangelism Board is sponsoring a table at the annual Colony Christmas on December 10. This Craft and Bake Sale is intended to raise funds to help us send out our Christmas Postcard to invite our town to join us in worshiping our Lord at the birth of our Savior. There is a signup sheet on the counter in the Narthex if you can donate crafts or food to help us raise funds to share Jesus love with others.
- Offering for the Needy - A SPECIAL OFFERING WILL BE TAKEN FOR THE NEEDY AT ST. JOHN after worship on December 4 and 11! This offering is used to help people in our congregation and in our community during life’s difficult times.
· THE COMMUNITY ADVENT SERVICE will be held on Wednesday, December 7, at 7:00 p.m. Watch the bulletins for more details. A meal will be served at 5:30 p.m., and the Worship Service will take place at 7:00 p.m. Also, everyone is asked to bring ‘Christmas goodies’ to share after the worship service.
Offerings at this year’s service will go to Alaska Correctional Ministries. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will match .50 to each dollar contributed up to a total possible Thrivent donation of $800.00.
- Christmas Baskets – St. John has encouraged members to make donations to the Palmer Food Bank to help provide holiday food baskets to the needy. Please see the information on the information center / bulletin board in the east entry about this opportunity for sharing Jesus through Christmas love and service.
- Christmas Caroling - A Christmas Caroling Outing will be held on December 11, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Watch for more announcements. These caroling events have been times of joy which have brought the Christmas joy of God’s love to people who are housebound. We have many people to sing for this year. Come and join us!
· THE CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PROGRAM will be held in late worship on Sunday, December 11. Practice for the program is happening during the Sunday School opening time. Plan now to attend!
· DIVORCE CARE - Divorce Care meets on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at St. John Bev Dubos is leading the sessions. If you are interested you can call Bev at 745-0514. This Christian 13 week video based class and support group has helped Christians around the country, and was a blessing to many at St. John last school year.
· TRIP TO GERMANY IN 2012? Kathy and I thoroughly enjoyed a trip to Germany at Reformation time 10 years ago. We are thinking of going again in 2012 with a group called Luther Tours. This trip is still in the discovery and planning stage, but, if anyone would be interested in joining us on such a trip, please let us know. There is a sign up sheet on the counter in the narthex, or you can reply to this e-mail.
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.st-john-lutheran.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!!