Dear Fellow Children of God,
I am back in town, this time to stay for a long time. Many of you know I have been doing a lot of traveling. Among the various destinations visited, I have been to the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans, a District Board of Directors’ meeting in Boise, a wedding in Albuquerque, and a Circuit Visitors’ meeting in Portland. In addition, I spent time with Florida family around my New Orleans trip. And I went moose hunting the last week of the season. Even though most of my travel has been church related I’ve been gone a lot. When I’m gone I miss worship and classes and other important events. But I preached in Wednesday worship on September 28, and I expect to be in Palmer for every Wednesday and Sunday service through Wednesday, April 19. It is GOOD to be home!
However, I am not only thankful to be home. I am thankful for all the others who serve God and keep God’s Church and the congregation going. While I was gone worship was led by a seminary graduate, by licensed deacons, and by Elders and other leaders. Those who led worship the last few months include Hunter Richards, Randy Luffberry, David Grosz, Gerry Zellar, Karl Kopperud, Dave Nufer, and Josh Rockey. That is an IMPRESSIVE list of committed Christians who take their faith seriously and who accepted the opportunity to serve our Lord and His people, even though leading worship can be somewhat nerve wracking at times.
In addition, our DCE, our Administrative Assistant, our custodians, and our music leaders continued giving of their time and talents to serve God’s people and keep the work of God’s church going. Elected leaders helped to pay bills, to maintain our facilities, to visit the elderly, and to call on those going through difficult times.
The pastor is called to shepherd and lead the people of God. But, even if a pastor would always like to be available in every situation that is not physically possible. So, God uses all the people of the church to accomplish our Lord’s work so that worship and ministry continue even when the leader is gone. As God caused Paul to write,
“12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. . . 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (I Corinthians 12:12-14, 27)
Only Jesus is indispensable. Only Jesus lived, and died, and rose to save the people of the world. Without the love, the forgiveness, the salvation, and the presence of Jesus the church is nothing. Jesus is the source of our life and the reason the church exists. But, when Jesus works in the church by His Word, through His Sacraments, in the gift of His Spirit, then the people of God are empowered to do the work of God. This is true for all of us.
Do you see yourself listed above? I only shared a few names, so you may not find your name there. But, if you believe in Jesus as your Savior you are part of the body of Christ. If you help with worship or service in Jesus’ name, then you are named in the list above.
Paul also wrote in the first chapter of the book of Philippians, “3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,” (Philippians 1:3-5) I agree with Paul. “I thank my God . . . because of your partnership in the Gospel.”
I am back for a long time and thankful to be home. But, I’m also thankful for all who help lead and serve in Jesus’ name. It is good to be part of the body of Christ!
A Child of God, Thankful for fellow, gifted Christians,
P.S. I did not get a moose. I had a chance at a legal moose, but chose not to take a bad shot. If you want to know more ask me the story. However, I did enjoy God’s creation. Here are some pictures of Denali on the way back from hunting. https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNQflfsP-20q_OXlncffngTlgxp_QSNbuRUcSVeqp2l0d1sUXnJlIKxNnzprL_WuA?key=R3pfRERqdGktVjBsWkJabWw3NzU3MGs1YS1MekpR
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 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.