Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
My heart is full because of many joys and challenges in life. But, a seemingly unimportant question nags me: “Where has the summer gone?” Every summer I have so much anticipation of opportunities with grandchildren out of school, of fishing opportunities, of time spent getting my hands and knees dirty planting a garden and some flowers. Kathy and I looked forward to a visit from family this summer, and considered travel opportunities. I have accomplished some of my plans and goals, but the summer is almost over and it seems there is so much more yet to be done.
But, in addition to these personal hopes and goals there have been other activities and jobs that have come along. In June we held the annual Colony Days Picnic and I attended the District Convention of our church in Portland. In July six of us conducted Vacation Bible School in Eek, we held VBS at St. John, and I attended a District Board of Directors’ meeting in Lincoln City, OR. August looks busy too.
I could resent the tasks that took me away from the activities I had planned and hoped for. But, the truth is that these opportunities to serve the Lord and His Church are important too. I love working on tasks that help our Lord’s church share the grace of God. I am happy to find a balance between work and ministry opportunities on the one hand, and the other opportunities to enjoy the blessings of life on the other hand.
Today I watch many struggle with busy lives. Perhaps after 65 years I understand that struggle more now than I used to understand it. Part of that understanding comes from the Lord. God speaks to us in Scripture about time and life. We are told in the book of Ecclesiastes “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, KJV). (See also Psalm 90:10-12, Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2) In other words, God intentionally gives us time for work and for family, for ministry and for recreation.
But, perhaps the words of Isaiah speak most clearly to me. In chapter 40 we read, “A voice says, ‘Cry out.’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.’” (Isaiah 40:6-8)
Time passes quickly. There never seems to be enough time for all the opportunities life has to offer. Yes, “All men are like grass.” But, there is something that continues forever – the word of our God. The Lord’s Word points us beyond ourselves to God and His Creative Power, to His purpose for our lives, to His love in this troubled world, and to the eternal life in heaven to which He calls people through faith in the life and death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus.
I have learned that when focusing on what I miss, or what I don’t have, I can be stressed and frustrated. I can feel like I don’t have enough time. But, when I focus on what is eternal, on the Lord and on His Word, I am thankful for what I do have. I am thankful for the presence of the Lord in opportunities with family and fishing. I am thankful for the loving presence of the Lord in church and ministry. I am thankful for God and His grace in every moment of life. (By the way, the book of John tells us that not only are Scriptures the Word of God, but Jesus is “The Word.” (e.g. John 1:1-3) “ . . . the word of our God stands forever.”
I did spend time with the grandchildren, and time fishing, and time in the garden this summer. I also spent time serving the Lord in His Church. Our lives may be like grass that blows away. But, Isaiah says, “the word of our God stands forever.’” I have learned that God’s grace is present in all the times of our lives.
Thank you Lord for today, and for your presence and your love in each moment of life!
A Child of God, Thankful for God’s Presence in Every Moment of our Lives,
P.S. Here are some more baptism pictures.
· Wren Adelaide Robertson baptized Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
· Ada Psenak, baptized Sunday, August 5, 2018
P.P.S. Here are some pictures from the concert by Dave Anderson and Roger Walck Sunday, August 5, at 6:00 p.m.celebrating the 25th anniversary of God’s rescue from the Bering Sea.
P.P.S. Here are some pictures from some fishing trips
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.