Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
Perhaps you know the new mission statement that St. John adopted in 2016. As Children of the Everlasting God, we are called to PRAY for everyone, to SERVE our community, and to ENCOURAGE the knowledge of Christ’s unfailing love.
The first verb that, after studying Scripture, we have chosen to describe how we live as children of God is, “Pray for everyone.” But, it is one thing to say we pray. It is another thing to actually pray as a church.
Jesus taught about prayer many times during His life. One of the best lessons from our Lord about prayer is from Matthew 7:7-11 where Jesus tells us, 7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
God’s children pray because God calls us to pray. We pray because God promises to answer our prayers. We pray because we believe God keeps his promise and does answer our faithful prayers.
Some of my most fervent prayers over the years have been for my children. I can show you my prayer lists for the last 10 or more years. You would see the names of my family members, and little notes about items for which I was praying at the time. You might also see some warped paper from a tear or two, which would show my concern for my children. Sometimes I wondered if, or when, or how God might answer those prayers.
On December 30 I saw an answer to some of my prayers for my daughter Mary. She was married to a young Christian man, Aaron Smith, whom we have grown to love. There are many stories behind my prayers. But, I am sure that in this marriage God acted in love and faithfulness, answering my prayers and those of others.
If you make New Year’s resolutions for 2018, a good plan for living one’s faith is regular, fervent prayer. God wants us to go to Him as our loving heavenly Father. God, wants us to see His love as He answers those prayers. God shapes and strengthens our faith as we experience His wisdom and love in the answers He gives.
There is also a new opportunity in 2018 to pray with God’s Christian family at St. John. Beginning on Sunday, January 7, at 9:30 a.m., two of our Elders, Donita Odland and Jackie Kolberg, will be in Pastor Allen’s former office to spend time in prayer. Anyone who wants to join them is invited to do so. Anyone who wants to leave a prayer request may do so verbally, or in writing (There is a “prayer request box” hanging on the wall outside this office.) The plan is for this time of prayer to begin at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday and continue until prayer is finished. And, we trust God to answer these prayers as He promises, in wisdom, in power, and in love.
Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:8. “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
A Blessed New Year to Each of You!
A Child of God, Resolving to Grow in Regular, Fervent prayer in 2018,
P.S. THANK YOU, from Kathy and from me, to all who attended and helped with the wedding of our daughter Mary to Aaron Smith at St. John on December 30!! Thanks also to all who have prayed for Mary over the years. We are truly thankful for that special day of joy and celebration with the Rockey and Smith families, and with our church family.
Here are some wedding pictures you might enjoy seeing. - https://photos.app.goo.gl/bX2g4HFaRHxyxJAk2
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.