President’s Report… by Matthew Kahn
Last week I saw an article about Lent. It was a tongue-in-cheek piece about what not to give up for Lent. In jest it gave such suggestions as; one’s New Year’s resolutions; since it is only February. It also cited smoking, saying, “Do yourself a favor don’t give it up for 40 days, give it up for a lifetime.”
This Lent is particularly special to me since this is the first year that I am introducing fasting to my children. The eldest was quick on the uptake, and understood what will be occurring as we prepare for Easter. It then became obvious that the younger will merely follow along this year, content that we will have desert every Sunday. Clearly not the message I was intending. While quoting Luther does nothing for my four year old, here is Luther’s famous quote on fasting from his Lenten Sermon on Matthew 4:1-11 to help guide us as we prepare for the celebration of Easter.
“For although Christ did fast forty days, yet there is no word of his that he requires us to do the same and fast as he did. Indeed he did many other things, which he wishes us not to do; but whatever he calls us to do or leave undone, we should see to it that we have his Word to support our actions. But the worst of all is that we have adopted and practiced fasting as a good work: not to bring our flesh into subjection; but, as a meritorious work before God, to atone for our sins and obtain grace.”
Luther, from the posting of the Theses, hammered the idea that grace and forgiveness requires faith alone and cannot be earned through indulgences, works or through fasting. I am teaching my children the Lutheran tradition of fasting so they might learn to “check” their bodies by the sprit. Even though many of my protestant friends growing up gave up fasting, I still think it is an important enough tradition to pass on.
As we enter the heart of Lent we are in a slightly better financial position than were a month ago. After having a disappointing December, January saw an increase in giving over last year. The Total General Budget Income was $20,718 as compared to $19,965 from last year. This is great because our Total Expenses for the month of January were $20,530. At this time we are currently paying all the bills that we have, however there is no margin for diminished giving. To illustrate this point, our cash on hand that we use to cushion any monthly or weekly giving discrepancy was $3,113.14 at the end of 2009. At the end of the very generous 2010 this increased to $7,805.89. Then because of a decrease in giving last year our cushion evaporated to $1,593. As we observe our Lenten traditions please pray for the financial wellbeing of the Parrish so that we may continue to meet our worldly obligations as well as our spiritual.
Mindful now of the admonition of Paul in Colossians 2: 8, 16, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ…Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” I pray that, even though we may fast, we all seek what is truly important this Lent. Not the “tradition of men” but our love and faith in Christ Jesus.
Regardless of your Lenten practices, may the time bring you closer to God and bless you and your family this March.
With the Mind: Readings in Contemporary Theology
3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, March 26th.
The book for February is Life As We Knew It: A Novel (2006) by Susan Pfeffer – an award-winning New York City writer who specializes in teenage science fiction novels. She published her first book in 1970 and has over 60 books to her credit. This book, the first in her Last Survivors Trilogy, is about a disaster that strikes earth when the moon is hit by a huge meteor. This fast paced book is made up of 21 chapters of diary entries by the sixteen-year old Miranda.
In the scramble to survive the cataclysmic climate changes, the church gets involved in gathering people together and the pastor says that “what God was doing” in the disaster “was so wonderful” (p. 53) Not everyone, however, including Miranda, believes this (pp. 69, 113-115, 162-164, 187, 221-222)! Shouldn’t God have done more to protect everyone? Toward the end of the book they’re listening to the news on the radio about all of the destruction and afterward Miranda writes: “But it was still news. There was life going on. We aren’t alone” (p 321). But no thanks is rendered to God for that!
A copy of this important novel on risk and security is in the church library. If you would like to purchase one for yourself, contact Pastor Marshall. Feel free to attend our meeting when we discuss this popular American teen novel on fearing the future.
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what is new.
March luncheon will be on Tuesday, March 27th.
Sign up on the sheet that is posted in the lounge.
will meet on Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, March 29th,
from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Bring a sack lunch and a friend.
– Communion: Those
who are baptized in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit and believe are welcome to receive the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper. If you are not able to walk up to communion but
would like to receive, contact the Parish Deacon
before the liturgy.
could use a few more families to sign up for Easter Flowers.
suggestions for March are canned meats, chilies and stews.
buys your recyclables of aluminum cans and news-
papers and sends
the church a 10% bonus check a couple of times a year.
Pastor Marshall is willing to
take donations if left in his carport.
Also #6 Styrofoam can now be recycled (the kind that
snaps when broken).
Please put cans and Styrofoam donations in bags before leaving
back of the parsonage carport – newspapers must be tied.
WEB PAGE ADDRESS: www.flcws.org
Log on to see what is new.
GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP March luncheon will be on Tuesday, March 27th. Sign up on the sheet that is posted in the lounge.
SCRAPPERS will meet on Wednesday, March 28th and Thursday, March 29th, from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Interested? Bring a sack lunch and a friend.
HOLY EUCHARIST – Communion: Those who are baptized in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and believe are welcome to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. If you are not able to walk up to communion but would like to receive, contact the Parish Deacon before the liturgy.
2012 FLOWER CHART could use a few more families to sign up for Easter Flowers.
FOOD BANK DONATION suggestions for March are canned meats, chilies and stews.
WEST SEATTLE RECYCLING buys your recyclables of aluminum cans and news-
papers and sends the church a 10% bonus check a couple of times a year. Pastor Marshall is willing to take donations if left in his carport. Also #6 Styrofoam can now be recycled (the kind that snaps when broken). Please put cans and Styrofoam donations in bags before leaving at the back of the parsonage carport – newspapers must be tied.
A Forgotten But Powerful Voice:
Dr. Kent S. Knutson, 1924-1973
By Pastor Marshall
In this column I
continue to select passages from Dr. Knutson’s most famous book,
The Shape of the Question: The
Mission of the Church in a Secular Age (1972). This month consider
this passage on “preaching Christ” (Romans 10.17):
When thinking about Dr. Knutson’s explanation of John 14.9 in light of Romans 10.17, remember that this salutary double vision only comes as a gift from God – as a healing of our spiritual blindness. So when telling others about Christ, be sure to pray for their healing as well. And finally note, as well, that Jesus only shows forth God’s love, when he offers up his life as a sacrifice for sin on the cross (1 John 4:10).
Putting the Church in Your Will
By Pastor Marshall
Our church endowment fund continues to grow. We thank God for all who have made gifts to this fund and the support it provides our church. Especially we thank God for the major donors to our endowment fund – George (1925-2003) & Marion (1929-2005) Colvin, Lila Granaas (1913-2002), Orma Nesheim (1917-2010), and Alida Rottman (1922-2011).
One significant way to support the fund is to include the church in your will. If you would like to do this and have not done so already, think of giving 10% of the residual value of your estate to the church. In this way you will be able to tithe the income the investments of your estate has earned over the years. This is a fitting way to thank God for the blessings of prosperity we all enjoy.
Our endowment fund was established in January 1996. The gifts made to the fund are never spent. Most of the interest earned is added each to year to help meet our budget. In this way you can go on supporting our church long after you have departed to join the church triumphant. Praise be to God!
West Seattle Food Bank
Collection with a TWIST!
During the months of March and April, the extended ministries’ emphasis
will be collecting non-perishable food for the West Seattle Food Bank.
But we will add a twist in the
process. What we want to
work toward is for all of us to regularly remember that there are
neighbors in our community that do not have enough food to eat.
So every time we go to the grocery store, we want to
intentionally buy at least one extra item to donate to the Food Bank.
This is not difficult, but it has to be practiced in order to
make it second nature.
So for the
next 2 months, make it your goal to bring a can of food, or a
bag of pasta, or box of crackers, etc. with you
EVERY TIME YOU COME TO
CHURCH TO WORSHIP, as an additional offering. (And
if you come as a family include everyone in your food donation.)
This way we can make donating to the Food Bank a regular
on last year’s attendance during March and April, we attended
church about 1,000 times to worship during these 2 months.
Now that includes all Sunday services (3 each Sunday),
all mid-week services (3 each Wednesday), and all Holy Week
services. This year
that will amount to 56 opportunities in the next 2 months to
donate to the Food Bank.
Taking all of this in to account, let’s try to each bring 1 or 2
food items each time we come to worship, and aim for collecting
at least 750 items to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank
during the next 2 months.
In addition to helping our neighbors in need, we will be
offering thanks for all of our own blessings by helping others!
So for the next 2 months, make it your goal to bring a can of food, or a bag of pasta, or box of crackers, etc. with you EVERY TIME YOU COME TO CHURCH TO WORSHIP, as an additional offering. (And if you come as a family include everyone in your food donation.) This way we can make donating to the Food Bank a regular habit.
Based on last year’s attendance during March and April, we attended church about 1,000 times to worship during these 2 months. Now that includes all Sunday services (3 each Sunday), all mid-week services (3 each Wednesday), and all Holy Week services. This year that will amount to 56 opportunities in the next 2 months to donate to the Food Bank.
Taking all of this in to account, let’s try to each bring 1 or 2 food items each time we come to worship, and aim for collecting at least 750 items to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank during the next 2 months. In addition to helping our neighbors in need, we will be offering thanks for all of our own blessings by helping others!
(And remember, Food Bank donations need to be fresh, not passed expiration date.)
2 Peter 1:10
Monthly Home Bible Study, March 2012, Number 229
The Reverend Ronald F. Marshall
Along with our other regular study of Scripture, let us join as a congregation in this home study. We will study alone then talk informally about the assigned verses together as we have opportunity. In this way we can "gather together around the Word" even though physically we will not be getting together (Acts 13.44).
We need to support each other in this difficult project. In 1851 Kierkegaard wrote that the Bible is "an extremely dangerous book.... [because] it is an imperious book... – it takes the whole man and may suddenly and radically change... life on a prodigious scale" (For Self-Examination). And in 1967 Thomas Merton wrote that "we all instinctively know that it is dangerous to become involved in the Bible" (Opening the Bible). Indeed this word "kills" us (Hosea 6.5) because we are "a rebellious people" (Isaiah 30.9)! As Lutherans, however, we are still to "abide in the womb of the Word" (Luther's Works 17.93) by constantly "ruminating on the Word" (LW 30.219) so that we may "become like the Word" (LW 29.155) by thinking "in the way Scripture does" (LW 25.261). Before you study, then, pray: "Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in Our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen" (quoted in R. F. Marshall, Making A New World: How Lutherans Read the Bible, 2003, p. 12).
Week I. Read 2 Peter 1.10 noting the word election. What does this mean? On this read John 15.16 noting the words not, choose, but and chose. Read also Romans 9.16 noting the words not, depend and will. How do we then believe in Jesus if we don’t choose to trust in him or will him to be our savior? Is there no decision on our part when we believe in Jesus? On this read Romans 3.24 and Ephesians 2.8 noting the word gift in both verses. If faith is a gift, is there then nothing for us to do in order to believe in Jesus? On this read Acts 22.6-21 noting the words great, light, suddenly, fell, heard, do, led, appointed, see, hear, trance and send. Does Paul make a decision to believe in Jesus, or to will to follow him, or elect him as his Lord, or simply choose him? Why does he fall to the ground and go blind before he believes in Jesus? On this read Jeremiah 4.3 and Hosea 10.12 about breaking up one’s fallow ground. Why is such violence required? On this read Romans 3.11 noting the line no one seeks for God. How is that disregard overcome in the case of Paul?
Week II. Read again 2 Peter 1.10 noting this same word election. Why do we have to be elected if we’re going to believe in God? Why can’t be believe in God on our own? On this read John 3.19 noting the words love, darkness and rather. How deep in us is this love of darkness? On this read Ephesians 2.3 noting the line by nature children of wrath. What is the meaning of that word nature? On this read Genesis 5.3 noting the line in his own likeness, after his image, and compare it with Genesis 1.26 and the line in our image, after our likeness. So in these two cases, what is the difference between Seth and his parents, Adam and Eve? How did human nature become so corrupted between these two cases? On this read Genesis 3.19 and 24 noting the words return, you, dust, drove, out, Eden and guard. What was the impact on our nature from this curse and expulsion? On this read Romans 7.18-24 noting the words nothing, good, me, cannot, evil, sin, war, captive, wretched, deliver and death. Does that explain why we aren’t free to choose to believe in Jesus? If so, in what way?
Week III. Reread 2 Peter 1.10 noting this time line zealous to confirm. If we can’t believe on our own, why are we expected to do this? On this read Philippians 3.12 noting the words make, because and made. What is the logical force of that word because? Does the fact that Christ has already made us his own enable us somehow to make him our own? On this read John 15.5 noting the words abides, bears and can. How are our abilities so enhanced? On this read Philippians 4.11-13 noting the words learned, content, all, secret, do and strengthens. Why is this a secret and not more widely known? On this read Luke 18.9 noting the line who trusted in themselves. Is that what keeps the strengthening that comes from Christ a secret? On this also read 2 Corinthians 4.4 noting the phrase blinded the minds. How does that factor make matters all the worse? Finally how does this strength manifest itself in us? On this read Matthew 22.37-40 noting the words love, God, all, heart, great, neighbor and depends. Is it significant that we aren’t included in this list of those to be loved? If so, why is that so important?
Week IV. Read 2 Peter 1.10 one last time noting that same word confirm. Assuming now that it is possible for us to do this, what does it accomplish? If God creates our faith, what difference does our confirmation of it make? On this read Philippians 2.12 noting the words work, fear and trembling. What is to be feared? On this read Hebrews 2.1-3 noting the words attention, drift, neglect and salvation. Read also 1 Timothy 1.19 noting the words shipwreck and faith. So while we may not be able to create our own faith we are apparently able to ruin it. On a complicating factor, read John 13.2 noting the words devil, put, heart, Judas and betray. So we have plenty of help to wreck what God has so graciously given us. Do you believe that? If so, why? Finally, where does the work come in regarding this confirmation? On this read 1 Corinthians 9.24-27 noting the words compete, prize, control, pommel, subdue and disqualified. Why are we a threat to our own faith? On this read John 8.44 noting the words devil and father. How do you show that you believe this verse in the way you live out your life?
X PARISH PRAYERS X
Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your
brothers and sisters through baptism.
Jeannine Lingle, Connor Bisticas, Dorothy Ryder, Richard Hard, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Pete Morrison, Teri Korsmo, Bob Baker, Peggy Wright, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Margaret Hard, Rolf Sponheim, Tabitha Anderson, David & Kay Thoreson, Gail Van Zandt, Cameron Lim, Rosita and Jim Moe, Frank Rowlands, Joyce Baker, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, Jim Cunningham, Dana Amori, Linda Anderson, Louisa Eden Helen Barber, Dick Leidholm, Rick Collins, Chuck & Eva Holen, Ranaan Taylor, Valerie Blakeslee, Hal Shakerley.
Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy: Clara Anderson, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Pat Hansen, Margaret Hard, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler.
Pray for our bishops Mark Hanson and Chris Boerger, our pastor Ronald Marshall, our deacon Dean Hard and our cantor Andrew King, that they may be strengthened in faith, love and the holy office to which they have been called.
Pray that God would give us hearts which find joy in service and in celebration of Stewardship. Pray that God would work within you to become a good steward of your time, your talents and finances. Pray to strengthen the Stewardship of our congregation in these same ways.
Pray for the hungry, ignored, abused, and homeless this March. Pray for the mercy of God for these people, and for all in Christ's church to see and help those who are in distress.
our sister congregation El Camino
Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints: Thomas Aquinas, teacher, 1274; Joseph, guardian of our Lord.