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Category Archives: Missional Community

Holiday Bucket List

I shared this picture on Facebook and have seen it several places. I think it is a great way to orient ourselves at this time of year. But it also reminds me that sometimes we fall short of the mark.

Some of you may be aware that St. John’s received an anonymous letter early in early November. This letter was from a family that has visited us here at St. John’s several times and wanted us to know that they did not feel welcomed at fellowship or a “part of the gathering after church”.

I have shared this letter with council and a few or our committees and all seemed to wonder how this could happen, but have also shared with me similar things that have happened. I know of members of the congregation who voiced to me concerns about feeling welcomed. Just the other night at a committee meeting, a member of the committee shared how they sat at a table and those who were already sitting there didn’t even make eye contact with them.

One of the things that drew me to St. John’s was the welcoming open atmosphere and the genuine concern this congregation portrayed. We are open and welcoming in worship but the fellowship time has seemed to have taken on a time for sharing with friends and catching up from the past weeks. And don’t get me wrong we all need time to do this, but we as members of the congregation need to be aware of the perceptions that are happening in our building. People are leaving our congregation on Sunday morning feeling alone. People are sitting at tables and being shunned. And I know, as you know, we are better than that.

And I am at fault here also. I do not spend a lot of time in fellowship because I am usually in Adult Sunday School. Should I be in fellowship, yes I should. However, I should also be at Adult Sunday School. I’m not pointing fingers at others, I am saying I am at fault here too.

So what do we do about this?

We be present and talk to people. Make a conscious effort to say hello to someone you are not sure who they are. Ask them there name and chance asking if they are a visitor. I have done that to members of all the congregations I have pastored because I haven’t seen them in a while and just plain forgot. We are human.

Give hugs and spend time with friends. Fellowship is about building up the body, including new people and fostering lifelong relationships.

Send love to those around you. Seek out someone who looks down and see if you can help. Be the presence of Christ in the moment for someone.

Be the light in this place and everywhere. God has given us a wonderful place to call home in St. John’s! Let us share that with everyone and open ourselves up to the new and the old and embrace where God is leading us.

So be the light and welcome the stranger in our midst and let us build the body of Christ!

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G.R.O.W.

It is September and school is almost here. That means that learning will be starting…

But learning is not just for public and private education or to be done by just kids.

Learning is something we all need to do through out all of our lives.

We have confirmation which helps us learn the faith and helps parents teach the faith to their kids which is a promise they make to their child in baptism. And this year we are switching things up a bit in confirmation!

We have an online curriculum for our confirmation students to work through, and this year it is available to all members of the congregation! We are having our confirmation gathering called GROW – Gather & Reflect On Wednesday. This is confirmation time, for parents and confirmation students to gather. However, this time is also a time for all congregation members to Gather & Reflect On Wednesday. We are all still learning about our faith, I am constantly seeing different things with Bible texts and confirmation texts, hearing new ways of looking at passages from youth and adults. I am constantly learning and growing in our faith which is what being a disciple is all about. Learning from Jesus about our life in Him. Listening to Him and others to GROW in our faith!

So join us starting September 13 at 7:00 PM for our first GROW session this year.

We will be working our way through the catechism this year in confirmation and our first lesson will be Intro to the Small Catechism and it can be found at http://toolboxforfaith.org/catechism/intro-to-the-small-catechism/

All of the lessons can be found on http://toolboxforfaith.org/

I hope you will join us as we learn more and GROW in our faith!

 

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What makes you blessed?

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:1-12, NRSV)

What makes one blessed? Or to put that in a term we use every day what makes one successful?

How do we determine success?

Do you have a big bank account? A nice new fancy car? The newest phone? The best electronic devices?

Do these things make one successful? Do these things make you blessed?

Maybe according to the world and the prosperity gospel. But not to Jesus.

Jesus says that you are blessed when you seek after him because you can’t do it on your own. Blessed are you when people revile you because of me. Blessed are you when you seek for justice for others and have all justice removed from you.

You see we live in a world where it is about us first, but in the kingdom of God it is about the other first. God gave His Son so you could be in a relationship with Him. He thought of you over His own Son. And He wants you to think of the other before yourself.

You see God requires us:
To Do Justice
Love Kindness
and to Walk deliberately with Him!

So look out for the other first. And He will always fill you back up!

 

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Let’s Go Compassion

The other night I was watching tv, I honestly don’t remember what the show was but a commercial came on from Toyota. It was about a football playoff down to the last seconds and a hopefully throw and catch to the end zone, but the referee called the catch out of bounds. So the team lost. Then pan to a car on the side of the road in the rain broken down, and a truck driving up. The broken down car is the ref, and the truck has the quarterback from the losing team and his family, the ref looks in like this will go nowhere, but they give him a ride. And the quarterback gives the ref a towel to dry off. The tagline is Let’s Go Compassion.

To have compassion means to have an awareness of others needs and a desire to help them.

Think how the world would change if we had compassion for others. And yes the world would change because of your actions to seek to show compassion to those around you. You would influence your tiny section of the world and that, in turn, would influence the tiny section of the world of all the people you have an impact on, and it would ripple out like waves in water.

So Let’s Go Compassion.

This year let us look out for the other, and show them the love that we just received in the gift of a baby on a manger. Let us see others as Christ sees them and give them the grace, mercy, and love He has given us.

Let’s Go Compassion!

 

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Rise ~ Peder Eide

 

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PoWeR SuRGe

“What no one ever shares with you when you’re young is that Christianity is boring. No one tells you that. That Christianity, for the most part, is boring. No one tells you that Christianity is a 70 to 80 year grind in becoming more kind, more gentle, more giving, more joyful, more patient, more loving.

 You learn that God isn’t in the rocking praise band or the amped up worship experience. What you learn after college is that Holy Ground is standing patiently in a line. You learn that Holy Ground is learning to listen well to your child, wife or co-worker. Holy Ground is being a reliable and unselfish friend or family member and being a good nurse when someone is sick. Holy Ground is awkward and unlikely friendships. Holy Ground is often just showing up.

 Being more and more like Jesus is a million boring little things.

No one ever tells you that when you’re young.

Just like no one ever tells you just how risky and revolutionary it all is.

That a truly radical life of following Jesus is made up of a million boring little things.”

-Richard Beck

As we enter the summer (or close to it) we need to think about the million boring little things. You see, Christianity is about being like Christ and growing as His disciple every day.

We need to focus on the mundane tasks of being a disciple. You see as a musician, I will not continue to grow if I do not practice daily, or play for long periods of time. I may still be able to play, but I will not be able to play as well as I did last month, if I do not play for a month. I will not be able to play as good as I did, if I am not practicing every day.

So as disciples how do we practice?

There are focuses we can have as disciples to keep us cross eyed, or focused on Jesus. Michael Foss lays out 6 marks of discipleship in his book Power Surge that are ways we can daily practice being a disciple and do the million little boring things. These 6 marks are:

  1. Praying daily
  2. Worshiping Weekly (notice that is not Weakly!)
  3. Reading the Bible daily
  4. Serving inside and outside the congregation
  5. being in Relationships
  6. Giving

You can use it as an acronym to spell out PoWeR SuRGe.

So let us be focused on the million little things that make us like Jesus and focus ourselves on growing every day as His disciple!

 

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Jesus Friend of Sinners

“Nobody knows what we’re for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did”

 

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