Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Amazed and Thankful that God Even Works through Sinners . . . Like Me

Dear Members and Friends of St. John,


This week, as I write my devotion, my thoughts are in a little more difficult place.  I attended the Alaska Church Workers’ Conference for our portion of the Lutheran Church.  We met in the seaside city of Seward from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday noon.  The presentation was given by Dr. Steve Saunders of Marquette University.  Dr. Saunders also works with a group called “Doxology” which helps church workers deal with the challenges and stress of the call to serve the Lord.


Our presenter pointed out that, for pastors and for other church workers, the job has some built in stress.  Being a church worker calls for serving an Almighty, holy Lord.  But pastors and church workers try to lead God’s people, sheep who often wander and go astray.  The job of church worker means leading God’s people in doing the Lord’s life-changing work.  But there is often much criticism in this high calling from those people whom church workers are called to lead.  Professional ministry in our denomination requires an advanced education, but often comes with comparatively lower pay for the education.  While church workers need to be healthy to serve God’s people, the job can often be, as our speaker pointed out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year – so living healthy is a challenge.  The call of God for church workers to lead His people is a holy call.  But, workers and pastors whom God calls are sinful people.


So, you can understand why there are stresses in the job of leading the people of God.  During the readings scheduled for worship this June we will hear about Elijah and his struggles.  Elijah’s difficulties are instructive for our lives.  After an epic battle with prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, Elijah faces opposition from the idolatrous king and queen of Israel.  Listen to the struggle and emotions which Elijah expresses.


1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." (1 Kings 19:1-4)


Did you know that the king and queen of Israel (especially the queen) wanted to kill Elijah?  Did you remember that Elijah was suicidal?  Doing God’s work can be difficult.  But, in spite of Elijah’s anxiety and fear, God had not abandoned Elijah.  Elijah runs to Mt. Horeb and experiences the presence of God in a surprising way. 

11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"


God came to Elijah and spoke to him in spite of the struggles he faced.  Even though Elijah was full of doubt and fear, the Lord did not abandon him.  Elijah experienced the presence of God, listened to the Lord’s call, and continued to do God’s work. The Almighty Lord of all worked through a weak and doubting man to do His holy work.


The truth of God’s grace is not just meant for prophets and pastors and church workers.  All God’s children are called to do the holy work of following the Lord and spreading His kingdom.  But, God calls people who are weak and sinful.  I sometimes tell others that when sinful people are called to do God’s holy work, this is a “recipe for disaster.”  No wonder Gods church has so many problems. 


In serving our Lord we do face many challenges and stresses. But, God came to Elijah in spite of his weakness and doubt.  God comes to His people today, in His Son, Jesus, in spite of our sin and failure.  What a blessing to know that God knows our weakness, yet He loves us and forgives us, and nonetheless calls us to serve Him.  We have the amazing blessing of serving the Lord of the universe, the Savior of the world!


I had the privilege of sharing at this conference in a devotion.  We read from John 21:15-19.  Jesus restores Peter after Peter had denied Jesus three times. Then Jesus calls this sinful leader to continue.  "Follow me!"  (John 21:19)  Perhaps, surprisingly God continues to call weak and sinful people today too.


A Child of God, Thankful and Amazed that God Even Work through Sinners, like Me!

Pastor Jonathan   


P.S.  The Youth held a pig roast on Saturday, May 25, to raise money for the youth for the National Youth Gathering.   Here are pig roast pictures.


P.P.S.  Last winter we took offerings for a fire-suppression vent hood in the kitchen. It is still being installed.  Here are some MORE pictures from the new vent hood as installation begins.


P.P.P.S.  We did yard work on Memorial Day.  We mowed the lawn (not on a riding mower), did some weed eating in the yard, cleaned the front flower garden, cleaned the strawberry patch, transplanted raspberries, roto-tilled the garden, and planted veggies.  I had planned to fish, but my fitbit says I did over 34,400 steps!  I was tired.  Here are some pictures of Jackson and Kendall helping me plant the garden.


P.P.P.P.S.  (I am in Seward at a Lutheran Workers’ Conference Tuesday-Thursday.  Friday is halibut fishing day! J)




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.



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Learning the Lessons of Humility from Life and From God

Dear Members and Friends of St. John,


An attitude of humility is always wise.  I recently learned that lesson . . . again.


On Monday evening, May 20, I umpired a Palmer Little League baseball game with St. John member, Bim Hoylman.  While I was assigned to this game by league officials, there was a family connection.  My grandson, Jake, was on the visiting team.  I turned around between innings saw another grandson, Henry, Jake’s brother, running to a lady sitting in a chair behind home plate.  Henry was talking to this lady.  Now, I had texted my wife, Kathy, and thought she might come to the game.  There was a breeze, so this lady behind home plate wore a hoody that covered most of her head.  But, her glasses looked like my wife’s glasses.  She was sitting in a chair like one we have.  I said to Henry in what I thought was a joking manner, somewhat loudly, “Who’s that woman you’re talking to?”  I confess, I thought that maybe I hadn’t recognized my wife.  Well, the lady behind home plate was not my wife, Kathy.  The lady looked surprised at my words.  I explained my mistake to her, and I saw others in the stands smiling at my mistake.


It wasn’t too long before Kathy showed up. I told her what I had done, to some more chuckles in the stands.  She said, “You mistook someone else for me and, you are the umpire? So, how is the game going?” (Umpires have been accused of being blind, haven’t they?) It’s good to be humble.


This wasn’t the first time I’ve spoken to someone because I thought I knew them, but then found out they were actually total strangers.  Maybe I’m friendly, or foolish.  But, I’ve made mistakes like that all my life.  But this mistake included my own wife!  Yikes!  Some folks say I remember names well.  But, I confess, sometimes I don’t always recognize faces.  When this happens, I have learned to confess my mistakes and to say that I’m sorry.  I think I have learned that I can be wrong at times in my judgements, to be humble. 


In Scriptures God calls us to humility.  He calls us to admit our faults and weaknesses, and not to place ourselves above others.   When it comes to understanding the Lord, there is a good reason for humility.  Listen to God’s lesson on humility in Isaiah.  8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)  Because God is greater and higher than we are, we should not expect to understand everything about Him, or how the Lord works.  We are called to be humble, to admit that we don’t have all the answers.


For example, when Jesus came to this world the religious leaders of His time thought they understood God’s plans.  They thought they understood who the Messiah would be and what He would do.  But, these men who thought they knew God, did not recognize Jesus.  As God told Isaiah, “. . . my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  It is good to be humble, especially when talking about who the Lord is and how He works in our world.


Judgment Day is another topic of mystery.  Jesus taught His disciples, 36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. . . 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:36,44)   So, concerning end times, Jesus teaches that we always need to be ready, to be believing and living our faith, because we don’t know when they end will come.  But, in my life I can count at least 10 times that religious leaders have named the day Jesus would return.  Every time these public proclamations were made, they were wrong.  As God told Isaiah, “. . . my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  It is good to be humble.


The greatest mystery in the world is our Lord Himself.  How did God create?  Why do the children of a holy God struggle with evil?  Why would God send His Son, Jesus?  How can Jesus be both the son of God and the son of Mary?  Why would the Son of God, God Himself - the author of life, die on a cross?  How could Jesus rise from the dead?  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that the ways of the Lord are a mystery.  “21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.”  (1 Corinthians 1:21-25)  The cross of Jesus raises many questions.  Or, as God told Isaiah, “. . . my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  It is good to be humble.


When was the last time life taught you humility?  A number of people in the stands at Monday night’s baseball game had a good chuckle at my mistake, and I re-learned a lifelong lesson, that it is good to be humble.  When it comes to knowing God, there are some truths we find in Scripture which we can understand.  But there are some teachings about God that are beyond our understanding.  All we can do is believe.  In these situations we are called to confess the truth of God’s word, but also to humbly admit what we do not totally understand about our Lord.  As God told Isaiah, “. . . my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  It is good to be humble!


A Child of God, Learning the Lessons of Humility from Life, and from God, J

Pastor Jonathan   


P.S.  THANK YOU to all who came out and served helped at the Spring Trustees Work Day, 5-18-2019.  Here are some pictures


P.P.S.  Last winter we took offerings for a fire suppression vent hood in the kitchen. It is now being installed.  Here are some pictures from the new vent hood as installation begins.


P. P.P.S.  On Sunday, May 19, we commissioned four new Stephen Ministers at St. John, Michelle Bower, Dan and Cynthia Carlson, and Dave Neslund.  Here are some pictures from Stephen Ministry commissioning.





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.




Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Seeking to Live a Simple Life of Faith in the Powerful Love of God

Dear Members and Friends of St. John,


Do the problems we face in this world ever seem overwhelming to you, complex beyond reasonable solution?  How do people, especially God’s people, deal with issues like drug problems in our communities?  How do we face family disintegration and struggles, trade wars, terrorism, and environmental issues? 


I recently completed a “Basic Teachings of the Bible Class” again.  In this class we discuss Who God is, what He has done for us, His blessings in our lives, and how He calls us to live.  In the midst of a complex and confusing world, God’s call to Christians is actually quite simple.  He calls us to believe in Him, and to live in faith and love.  But while God’s call to live in His grace may seem simple, it is actually very difficult as we struggle against the enemies of God and His people, the devil, the world, and our flesh.


Therefore, God gives His help to His people.  The Lord gives His word, which we receive in regular worship and through personal devotions.  Our Savior promises to work His gifts of love and faith in our lives through our baptisms and in the Lord’s Supper.  God promises to answer our faithful prayers.  However, sometimes these answers from God to the complicated problems of life seem so simple that we dismiss God’s call to Christian living, and even God’s people can doubt His promises to help.


So, let me share with you story I heard this past week.  For the last 7 years Mrs. Temple Christiansen has taught seventh grade confirmation classes.  This is a real labor of love, since Temple’s four boys have all finished confirmation classes and are in college, or have graduated from college.  With her classes, Temple has been trusting God’s promises and going to Him in prayer for various concerns.  Please read below as she shares one journey our prayer she and her classes have taken with our Lord.


For the last four or five years our 7th Grade Confirmation Class has had a lesson which included discussion on the persecuted church around the world. At some point in those years a certain Pakistani Christian woman’s story was in the news, and I shared it with our class.

The woman’s name is Asia Bibi, a mother of 5 or 6 children. She was arrested, tried, convicted, and condemned to death in Pakistan of blasphemy, because she offered a cup of water to two Muslim women whom she worked with on a farm. The women claimed that instead of a very caring Christian act of recognizing other’s needs and doing what she could to help, that she was attempting to defile them.

Asia was imprisoned for many years, and struggled through multiple appeal attempts with dignitaries and ambassadors and lawyers from the United States and other countries working on her behalf. Prayers were requested through Christian organizations around the world.

A number of our 7th graders in Confirmation at St John Lutheran Church in Palmer, through the years, have prayed for Asia Bibi. At some time this past year, the Lord miraculously moved on the hearts and minds of the Pakistani justices, and Asia Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court in Pakistan and set free from the penalty for her alleged blasphemy, which was death.

But, there were such violent protests from Muslim radicals in the country who said if the justice system wouldn’t do it, THEY would kill her, that Asia Bibi had to remain in prison for her safety!

Today, I am so excited to share with you, that just this past week, Asia Bibi was finally able to get out of Pakistan, and is now on her way to, or already in Canada.

Thank you for your prayers, and praise God for his mercy and grace. Please continue to pray that this courageous Christian women will also be able to be reunited with her family soon.

                        Always trusting in Christ,

Mrs. Temple Christiansen


Life is complex and can seem overwhelming.  But God gives us a simple call of grace.  Our Heavenly Father loves us in Creation, and in the saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  God calls us to believe His love and to live in faith and in love.  God promises to help us through His word and worship, through the sacraments, and through prayer. 


While this can seem overly simple, when God’s people answer His call we are not trusting our own faith, or our own worship, or our own prayers.  We trust the One who created us with His spoken Word, who saved us in the gift of His Son, and who calls us each to follow Him.  We trust the One who is more powerful and more wise than all the troubles or complexities of life.


I pray that you may face the trials and complications of your life with simple faith and love from God, and that you may see God answer your prayers!


A Child of God, Seeking to Live a Simple Faith in the Powerful Love of God,

Pastor Jonathan   


P.S.  Here is a picture from Sunday’s baptisms of Elizabeth Morey (Mom), and her children Zephaniah Horman, Jackson, Tucker, and Wrangell Morey.


P.P.S.  New Stephen Ministers are commissioned in worship this Sunday.  Here is a picture from Stephen Ministry training last Thursday, May 9. 





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.




Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Called by Name to God's Love in Jesus

Dear Members and Friends of St. John,


On Saturday, May 4, my wife, Kathy, and I attended one of the annual rites of spring in Palmer.  We watched 5 grandchildren participate in the opening ceremonies for the Palmer Little League.  I’m not sure how many kids were present, decked out in their uniforms, but there were a lot!  I believe I was told in 2018 that there were about 450 children playing Little League baseball in Palmer.  If there were that many children this year, with parents, grandparents, and siblings also present, then well over 1000 people attended the ceremonies last Saturday.


A unique feature of opening day ceremonies for Little League every year is that, as the teams are introduced and take their place on the field, each child who is registered has their name called out over the loud speaker.  Imagine that, calling out 450 or so names!  That is more than a high school graduation in our area.  But, as I have observed Little League baseball in our community, this is all about the children.  The goals of Little League baseball are that children learn teamwork, learn sportsmanship, skills, and the ability to face adversity and to grow and improve as a player and a person.  Those are high ideals. But, the children are important. So, we stood in the crowd as child after child had their name spoken over the loud speaker.  (By the way, I like the Little League Pledge which states, I trust in God. I love my country and will respect its laws. I will play fair and strive to win. But win or lose I will always do my best.”)


From a happy event of name reading on Saturday, I read about a sad instance of reading names in the Anchorage Daily News from Sunday, May 5.  The paper reported that on Saturday, May 4, in a ceremony sponsored by the Southcentral Foundation at the Alaska Native Heritage Foundation, there was a reading of the names of 191 Alaska Native Women who have gone missing or been murdered.  According to the article, the list of names was 5 pages long.  This reading is intended to foster healing from the grief of loss.  These women are still remembered and missed by families and friends.  Even if these women have gone missing they are still important, every one of them.  So, their names were read aloud in this ceremony on May 4.


Then on Tuesday evening I was listening to a sports and music show on Big Cabbage Radio.  (I know the show’s radio host!)  I heard more names read, this time on the radio.  The American Legion baseball team for our community, the Palmer Pioneers, has been chosen for 2019.  The names of all those players chosen for the team were read aloud on the radio.  It is an honor and accomplishment to make a team.  And, a team needs the contributions of each member.  So the names of these players were read aloud on the radio.


It has long been a source of comfort and strength for the people of God to know that our Lord knows us personally, even by name.  I often hear the words of Isaiah 49 spoken when talking about God’s personal love.  Isaiah writes, Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)  While this verse is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, it also teaches about God’s personal love for each of us. 


All of Psalm 139 shares about God’s personal knowledge and love for His people, but, verses 13 and 14 are most well-known.  13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)  We are not nameless beings walking the planet.  Each of us is individually known and loved by our Creator and Savior. We are known from conception by God Himself.


In the New Testament, Peter reminds the dispersed Christians how they have received God’s individual and personal love as they have come to faith and received the blessings of his covenant, His promises, in Jesus.  Listen to 1 Peter 2:9-10.  “9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  Think of that.  To our world we might seem like nobodies.  To God we are His chosen and saved people with a purpose for life!


At St. John we have been rejoicing at a concrete way in which God is showing His personal love in our midst.  On March 31 we heard the name of Myra Marie Thomas spoken, as God called her in baptism, as He forgave her sins and gave her the gift of the Holy Spirit, promising His personal love.  On April 14 Freya Ann Kopperud was called as a child of God in baptism.  On Mothers’ Day, May 12, God will keep His promises of personal love for Elizabeth Mary Morey, Zephaniah Alexander Horman, Brooks Jackson Morey, Elias Tucker Morey, and Wrangell Colton Lee Morey.  (By the way, Elizabeth is the mom!) God will also speak His personal love on June 9 for Jessie Ann Ford and for Mallory Ann Ford, and on June 23 for Sadie Rae Psenak.  Do you hear those names?  God knows each of these people personally.  He knows them in mind, body, and soul. Our Lord knows they need a Savior.  So, in baptism they are called by God to His saving love in Jesus. In baptism they die with Jesus as their sins are washed away, and rise with Jesus to new life, as God acts in power and personal love.


Do you know God’s personal love from your baptism?  Have your children or grandchildren received God’s personal saving love in their baptisms? 


There are so many people in our world, and it can seem that the large numbers tell us we are unimportant and nameless.  But God knows us by name from His powerful creating love.  God calls us by name in our baptisms to His saving love in Jesus.  In God’s eyes we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”


A Child of God, Called by Name to God’s Love in Jesus,

Pastor Jonathan   





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.




Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Thankful that God is Stronger than the Enemies to Faith and Life

Dear Members and Friends of St. John,


Last Saturday, April 26-27, the Alaska Mission for Christ offered a class on church history at St. John.  This history class was open to everyone, though it was specifically a continuing education opportunity for Licensed Deacons and Lay Ministers.  Before studying about the first three hundred years of the history of the Christian Church on Saturday, Friday night prepared us for that study by examining different types of thinking.  Our teacher, Aaron Hayes, talked about “classical thinking” which looks to God’s Word and to God Himself for truth.  We discussed “modern thinking” which looks to scientific observation and explanation for truth.  And, we considered “post-modern” thinking which often states there is no ultimate truth, but that everyone has their own truth.  Interestingly, all styles of thought continue in today’s world, though modern and post-modern thinking seem to predominate in public conversations.


Our teacher, Aaron Hayes, made a point about “modern thinking” that caused me, and others, to pause.  Hayes said that a large portion of modern thinkers, those who look to experience and to the interpretation of science for truth, purposely left God out of their models.  They had no place for God in their thinking.  Some of that “leaving God out of our world” has also bled into the post-modern thought patterns.  But, perhaps you know from your own experience this desire by some to eliminate God from our public life.


I confess, as a father and grandfather, I am concerned.  As a Christian man, I want my offspring to know about the love and the grace and the life that God gives.  I want my children and my grandchildren to know about God’s love and providing through creation.  I want them to know God’s saving love in Jesus.  I want those I love to know that in His Word, in the Bible, God has given truth that teaches His children about Him, truth which creates saving faith, and guides our lives.  I want my children and grandchildren to know and trust the gifts God shares in Scripture.


But, if there is no place in certain areas of life for God, or if God can only have a secondary place, what kind of world am I leaving to my children and my grandchildren?  What if they have to be quiet, or if they have to hide God in their schools, in their places of work, or in their political discussions?  If God is the source of life Who gives wisdom for living, why do we have to keep His wisdom silent?  I know this issue is much more complex even than I am stating, but I confess that it causes me concern as I think of the future of my family.


There are many issues in life which seem bigger than we are.  How do God’s children deal with this desire in the world around us to eliminate God from the world He created?  How do we continue, for example, with chronic disease or terminal illness?  How do we face life failures and sins that have hurt others, and have changed our lives?  How do we deal with a world that seems intent on violence and destruction?


As I work through my daily devotions I recently read Deuteronomy 20, where the Lord instructs the Israelite people about entering the Promised Land and facing enemies that were stronger than God’s children, at least militarily.  But, listen to what God tells His people about facing enemies stronger than they are.  1 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: "Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."  (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)  God says He is with us, and HE fights for us!


As a Christian man in a world that often demands that I leave my Creator and Savior on the sidelines, as a Christian father who sees these thought patterns which seek to steal the faith of my children, as a Christian grandfather who wants to see his children and grandchildren in heaven, God’s words comfort me.  The trends in our world may seek to silence God’s love found in His Son, and may seek at times to diminish my faith in Jesus found in His Word.  But, God is stronger than our enemies, stronger than His enemies.


In fact, during this Easter season God’s power over our enemies is more evident than ever.  The forces of Satan and the effect of sin can seem overwhelming.  On our own, our enemies are stronger than we are.  But, guess what?  God’s words to the Israelites are also spoken to us.  For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."  Jesus has gone before us into death, and into eternal life.  Jesus offers that eternal life to all who know and confess their enemies, sin and death, and who trust in Him.  Before His death Jesus used similar words to strengthen and encourage His disciples for their coming crisis.  "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33)


Do you have concern for your family?  Do you worry about the future direction of our country and of our world?  Life is difficult and we are not strong enough on our own to face the attacks that come our way.  But God is stronger and He fights for us.  Therefore, we can even face the impossible battles.  We don’t have to be afraid.  God is with us in this life.  God has won eternal life for us in Jesus dying and rising, in His forgiveness and His salvation.


A Child of God, Thankful That God is Stronger than The Enemies of Faith and Life,

Pastor Jonathan   

P.S.  Rev. Jake Dickerhoff is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Anchorage.  His two daughters, Harper and Magnolia Mae, required serious heart surgery in Boston, MA, earlier this winter.  They are home and “Maggie Mae” attended a meeting of Lutheran Church workers in Funny River on Tuesday, April 30.  Here are some pictures.





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.