May 2013

 



 

 Celebrating Pentecost Fire

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     Fight the Good Fight of Faith

 

We will celebrate Pentecost on May 19th. This is the third major festival of the church year – and it mostly goes unnoticed in America. That’s because it is about fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12) – and we don’t care much for that. God gives us the spirit of Christ at Pentecost so we can wage this good warfare (1 Timothy 1:18). And when we do, we have to attack ourselves (Romans 7:24), so that we can give up our own ways and wishes, deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), and become like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

     So at Christmas we have Santa Claus and Frosty the Snow Man. And at Easter we have chocolate Easter Bunnies, bonnets, and candy eggs. But at Pentecost there’s nothing. What should it be? Fire, we’re told, lighted up the heads of those at the first Pentecost (Acts 2:3)! Hard to come up with a domesticated, marketable form of fire!

 

      But that’s what it would have to be! For it is that fire from God’s word that purges us as we fight the good fight of faith. It is that fire of the Spirit of God that pulls us away from ourselves and into a life with God through Christ Jesus.

    Martin Luther understood this well. “Christ promises to give us a spirit,” he writes, “who will not only strengthen our hearts and increase our courage, but will also make our faith sure, remove all doubt, and enable us to judge all other spirits” (Luther’s Works 24:294) – including our sinful selves! Amen.

Pastor Marshall

 



 


 

President’s Report… by Larraine King

 

As you, Lord, have lived for others,

         So may we for others live.

                 Freely have your gifts been granted;

                             Freely may your servants give.

 

So begins verse 2 of Hymn 364, one of the treasures of prayer and praise in the Lutheran Book of Worship!  God grants us gifts and we in turn share them with others.   That is what we do as members of the body of Christ.  We work together to support the work of the Church.  And one way we can do this is to serve on the Church Council.  We can be Council members, or an officer, or even a non-council member of one of the committees that are established under our church constitution.  We have all indirectly supported the work of each of the council committees by giving our tithes, donating to the Food Bank and Helpline, helping with the Sunday School, worshiping, and assisting with projects around the church.  However, being a member of the council means we share a concerned interest in the governing of our church, being aware of potential issues – positive and negative – and being willing to serve in a more specific manner.  Give it some thought.  Take a look at the church constitution to see what the responsibilities  of the council, officers, and committees entail.  The description of duties may surprise and inspire you.  Be interested.  Be willing to serve!

     For the first quarter of 2013, we have 15 members who have exceeded their pledged amount by $3,136; 15 members who have met their pledge; and 11 members who gave $3,406 short of the amount that they pledged.  Comparing the figures with last year, we have given $3,828 more in the first 3 months of this year than in 2012.  That being said, it is a concern that a larger number of members (and a larger dollar amount) are behind in their giving. March was a difficult month.  Only because the 5th Sunday was Easter were we able to meet our budget and pay our hard working staff.  It is a tough economy, and extra dollars are in short supply for everyone.  Please pray for our stewardship and giving to the church.  Bring those tithes to the storehouse that the windows of heaven may be opened to receive a blessing (Malachi 3:10).

     In May and June the Sunday School will be making a special request of us to contribute our spare change, or bills, to their Gospel for Asia project.  They will have a special offering receptacle in the lounge.  So try to drop any loose change or bills into it when you pass the display.  They hope to receive enough to purchase at least a dozen chickens for families in Asia. 

     The Bake Sale supporting the West Seattle Helpline brought in $525 which will be given to help defray the cost of water bills for their clients in our area.  Great job, and I’m sure the goodies were yummy.  Thanks to everyone who baked and bought!

     My final, plea…..remember that hunger is a very present problem in our community.  When you grocery shop, buy a can of soup or beans or pasta or vegetables for our neighbors in need to donate to the Food Bank.  Hunger doesn’t go away just because we forget.  



 


Stewardship                                               Budget                     Received

                  Month (March)                              $22,099                    $23,244

                  Year to date (Jan-March)              $60,162                    $60, 869

 

  

 

 

  

 

Stewardship

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Tithing Our Income

 

As children, we were encouraged to bring others to church.  Many people would not come because of either: 1) They were afraid they would have to stop doing the things they were used to doing and change their lifestyle (which they do not want to change); or 2) The church was always asking for money.  The first reason is true; however, that does not mean it is bad.  In a lot of cases, life is different and better.  The way the world is today, I often wonder about those who do not have the Bible and their faith to depend on in these turbulent times. 

     As to the church always asking for money, it probably seems that way to outsiders.  What exactly do we do with the money and what does it mean to give to the church?  Our funds are used to maintain our facilities (utilities, maintenance, repairs, landscaping), church functions (supplies for worship and daily activities), outreach to others (extended ministries) and salaries for those responsible for taking care of these items.  The outreach not only applies to missionaries overseas that are names on paper; but it also includes local entities such as the West Seattle Helpline and the West Seattle Food Bank bringing the needs closer to home.  Sometimes we need to be reminded that we need to help our neighbors across the street as well as around the world.  All of our funds are directed toward this goal. 

     The presence of the church in the community is a reminder to all that God is among us and he will prevail.  It gives everyone a place to go when they feel all is lost and they have nowhere else to turn.  Sometimes, our efforts do not show immediate results (in this instant world) but that does not mean we give up.  The need will always be there and we need to be ready for the challenge.  We are given the directive to tithe our income toward the work of the church and it is up to us to do this freely and willingly.  Then the work of the church will proceed locally and globally and God’s purpose will be served.   

                                                                                                 Janice Lundbeck, Church Council



 



May Book

With the Mind:  Readings in Contemporary Theology

3-5 pm in the Church Lounge, Saturday, May 25th

The book for May is Who’s In Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain (2011), by Michael S. Gazzaniga – based on his Gifford Lectures delivered in 2009. This astute scientist explains – in as plain a way as possible – what modern science has discovered about the way our brains influence our thinking – but in such a way as not to compromise individual responsibility. This is important for the Christian proclamation regarding sin, guilt, repentance, faith, punishment and salvation. “Brains,” Gazzaniga writes, “are automatic machines following decision pathways,” but not to the exclusion of individual responsibility. For responsibility is “a dimension of life that comes from social exchange, and social exchange requires more than one brain. When more than one brain interacts, new and unpredictable things begin to emerge, establishing a new set of rules” – based on responsibility and freedom. But they are “not found in the brain,” Gazzaniga writes. “Responsibility and freedom are found… in the space between brains” (pp. 136-37).

     A copy of Gazzaniga’s book 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 how our freedom and responsibility, sin and salvation, can be maintained in a scientific age.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:   

GOLDEN FELLOWSHIP:  There will be no luncheon in May.

WEST SEATTLE FOOD BANK suggested donation for May is bar soap. 

SCRAPPERS will meet on Wednesday and Thursday, May 22nd & 23rd this month. 

SUMMER HYMN SCHOOL is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday through Friday, June 19th -21st.  Mark your calendars and watch for updates. 

Compass Housing Alliance needs bath towels.  Every year they go through hundreds of towels at their facilities, especially in the Pioneer Square Hygiene Center, where 150 people get a free shower every day.  Donations can be left at the office.

WEST SEATTLE HELPLINE’S “Taste of West Seattle”, Thursday, May 16th at the Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave. SW, from 6-8:30 pm.  Tickets can be purchased online, if you order early there is a discount. 

FLOWER CHART for summer.  With vacations and busy schedules it’s easy to forget the Altar Flowers.  If you wanted to sign up and haven’t had the chance, now would be a good time to see what is available. 

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.




 



GFA  

Our Extended Ministries have been working with Gospel for Asia (GFA) for a number of years now as a result of a relationship that developed with the Ron Maxim family, who felt called to serve this ministry full time. 

     GFA was founded by K.P. Yohannan, who grew up in India, and was inspired as a young man to devote his life to sharing the Gospel with the unreached in South Asia.  GFA is a missions organization dedicated to reaching the many people in what is known as the 10/40 Window of south Asia.  The use of national missionaries in this area enables easier and better relationships to develop, because they speak the same language and are part of the local culture.  They are working in over 10 Asian countries and definitely need financial support to help with the enormous task of ministering to over 3 billion people.  To read more about their work check out their website at www.gfa.org. 

     We have a number of Yohannan’s books in our Library, the newest of which is “No Longer a Slumdog” which deals with their efforts to rescue children from the slavery of begging and being used by adults for despicable trade.  At its printing in 2011, over 60,000 children in Asia had been rescued and enrolled in a GFA Bridge of Hope center.  But in India alone, there are still over 50 million children, as young as 4, who labor all day for a mere 10-15 cents a day. 

     So we can help in a small way by contributing to GFA.  The Sunday School has taken this project on for their offering and wants us to help by dropping our loose change, and bills, into the decorated canister in the lounge.  They hope to raise enough money to buy at least a dozen chickens for some GFA families. 

     Jesus commands us to help the least among us.  We will not make it “all right” for every child in Asia, but we will be able to help a few.  And everything starts with a beginning.  To not help, means we can’t even start.  Overwhelming??? Absolutely!!!  But beginning to help is the key.  In “Love In a Fearful Land”  Henri Nouwen says, “…(t)here always remains a sense of hardly touching the roots of the problems, of never having the time (or money) to do the job well.”  But if we do nothing, that is exactly what gets done.  Zero!  So let’s begin and change the zero to something.                   

                     ─Larraine King for Extended Ministries

 

 

 

The youth Sunday school students have chosen to support Gospel for Asia with their weekly offering.  Their offering will be used to purchase chicks for families in need in south Asia.  They have learned that for the people of Asia, a pair of chickens can create a steady income.  Chicken eggs provide food for the family and the extras can be sold at the market.  Chickens also make more chickens, which provides for a family for years. 

    At only $11 a pair, chickens are an easy way to impact a family in an amazing way.  So the Sunday school students have started their campaign to raise money to buy chickens!  They would greatly appreciate your support.  Look for the bulletin board display and donation can in the church lobby.  Please contribute money into the can or donate in the offering plate.  Checks can be made out to First Lutheran Church, just indicate “Gospel for Asia” on the memo line. 

    The kids are very ambitious!  If they exceed their goal of 20 pairs of chickens, they might even be able to purchase a goat, a pig, or even a camel!  The students are learning that providing a gift of animals, they are offering a very tangible expression of Christ’s love.  The students would greatly appreciate your support!

─Gina Allen, Education Committee

 

 



 

 

Easter Wednesdays

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Hearing Martin Luther’s Sermons

 

By Pastor Marshall

 

At our Midweek Eucharist and Vespers on Wednesdays, during the season of Easter, I include selections each week from Luther’s Easter sermons. In these sermons there is much to enrich our celebration of Easter, so that the great fifty days of the season become a time of faith renewal.

     If you are unable to attend on Wednesdays, but would still like to read over these selections, a collection of them is available on the window ledge by the church office.



 



LIBRARY NEWS…..by Larraine King

 

We have LOTS of new books to choose from in the Library.  There are 2 new titles from Frank Peretti – “Monster” and “The Visitation” both spellbinding and unexpected stories.  A new title by Phillip Gulley, “Front Porch Tales,” an anthology of essays about his life experiences.  Books by Joyce Meyer, Elisabeth Elliot, Alice Walker, and Amy Tan.  An anthology of memoirs from 20th century women, “Cups of Comfort” stories, books on “Personal Safety Nets” and “Happy to 102,” and a number of books on the middle east.  And this is the just the beginning!  We also have a docudrama about the birth of the King James Bible.  Plus over 20 new books and videos, including National Geographic titles, “The Jewel Fish of Karnak” by Graeme Base, “Violet Comes to Stay” by Jan Karon, a delightful book about a charming cat, “Dinosaur Discovery” among others  for children.  The DVDs include “The Apple Dumpling Gang” and “The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again,” hilarious comedies set in an old west town, “Johnny Tremain,” a story based on the Freedom Fighters of Boston during the American Revolution, and “The Princess Diaries.”  So please come in and browse.

 




 



THE DAY OF PENTECOST

    On Sunday, May 19th at the 10:30 am Holy Eucharist,  we will celebrate Pentecost.  This day celebrates the "outpouring of the Spirit" and the birth of the Church, according to the chronology and theology of the book of Acts of the Apostles.      

THE HOLY TRINITY

On Sunday, May 26th we will honor the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  On this day we will confess that our God is named Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This is Christ's command in Matthew 28:19 when he says to us: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  It is this name that our faith requires us to adore – for God is in this name!

THE HOLY VISITATION

    Holy Eucharist will be celebrated on the Feast of the Holy Visitation, Friday, May 31st, in the chapel at 11:45 am. 

    On this holy day we give thanks to God for the blessed words between Saint Mary and Saint Elizabeth.  We also give thanks for the honor paid Saint Mary by the still unborn Saint John the Baptist, when he moved in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth. 

    To prepare for this festival, study Luke 1:39-47 and Isaiah 11:1-5.




 




 

2 Peter 1.1

Monthly Home Bible Study, May 2013, Number 243

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 1.1 noting the words equal and ours. What is this conformity about? On this read 2 Corinthians 3.17 noting the word freedom. What does this freedom entail? On this read Galatians 5.1 noting the words freedom, stand, fast, submit and slavery. This verse says that this freedom doesn’t imply freedom to invent a new Christian way! Read also Ephesians 4.14 noting the words tossed, every, doctrine, cunning and deceit. This verse also advises constancy over innovation. On this same theme read 1 Corinthians 15.58 noting the word immovable. Read as well Jude 1.3 noting the words faith, once and saints. So if this freedom doesn’t displace conformity to the received revelation, what does it do? On this read Luke 9.23 noting the words deny, himself, daily and follow. Our freedom, then, is precisely exercised in freely denying ourselves that we may follow Christ Jesus our Lord freely. On this freedom in obedience, read Romans 6.20-22 noting how freedom and slavery flip-flop. Does that match what you know about your faith? If so, how so?

 

Week II. Read again 2 Peter 1.1 noting this time the line our God and Savior Jesus Christ. What does this say about Jesus? On this read Colossians 2.9 noting the line the whole fullness of deity. On this same point, read also John 5.18 noting the word equal. What does it mean to say such things about Jesus? On this read John 10:33 noting the words making yourself God. Is this what Jesus thought of himself? On this read John 14.9 noting the equation of the words me and Father. In this same regard read John 8.23 noting the words above, not and world; and John 5.26 noting the line life in himself. Why would Jesus, then, also be called the savior in 2 Peter 1.1? Wouldn’t being God cover it all? What does being the savior add to his divinity? On this read 1 Timothy 6.16 noting the line that God dwells in unapproachable light. If that’s all that we were to know about God, it wouldn’t help us much. But if God is also our savior, then he doesn’t remain distant, but also moves towards us in mercy. On this read John 10.10-18 noting the words life, abundantly, hireling, cares, lay, down, loves, that, take, own, accord, power and from. Do these verses help to explain how Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away in the sin of the world, according to John 1.29? If so, how so? If not, why not?

 

Week III. Reread 2 Peter 1.1 noting this time the word righteousness. Why does our righteousness come from Christ Jesus? On this read Romans 7.18 noting the line nothing good dwells within me. Why is that? On this read Isaiah 5.20 noting the willful switching around of good and evil. Why do we do that? On this read John 3.19 noting the line loved darkness rather than light. And why are we that way? On this read John 8.44 noting the words your, father, devil, your, will, desires, nothing, truth, lies and nature. What, then, is this righteousness that comes from Christ? It’s at least fourfold. On the first part read 1 John 4.10 noting the words love, sent, Son, expiation and sin. On the second part read John 6.44 noting the words come, unless and draws. And on the third part read John 15.12 noting the words love, as and I. On the last part read John 12.25 noting the words hate, life and eternal. Is this righteous way compelling? Why or why not?

 

Week IV. Read 2 Peter 1.1 one last time noting again the word righteousness. So is Christ’s way compelling? On this read John 6.60-61 noting the words hard and offense. Where does this leave us? On this read John 15.16 noting the war between the two sets of words choose and chose, and you and I. Is this clash all that there is, then? Not quite. On this read John 6.68 noting the words you and eternal. Read also John 8.12 noting the contrast between light and darkness. And read as well John 19.30 noting the word finished. Finally read about the vine and its branches in John 15.1-5. Now do these four readings pull us past the offensiveness of Christ’s righteousness? If so, how so? If not, why not?




 



X  PARISH PRAYERS  X

Remember in prayer before God those whom He has made your

brothers and sisters through baptism.

Evelyn Coy, Sam Lawson, Cynthia Natiello, Jim Coile, Agnes Arkle, Clara Anderson, Peggy & Bill Wright & Wendy, Bob & Barbara Schorn, Rosita & Jim Moe, Amy and Tyler Tabor, Cameron Lim, Ion Ceaicovschi, Olivia DeCroce, Luke Bowen, Don Kahn, Jim and Ruth Shaovaloff, Grant Donnellan & Family, Dano, Karen & W. Erick, Mary Lou Jensen, Annette Grubisich, Chris & Margeen Bowyer, Christina Johnston, Karen Granger, Anna and John Bertelsen, Amy West, Duncan Sturrock, Jennifer Alfano, Jennifer Alfano, Gary Berkenpas, Barbara Clarke, Tabitha Anderson. 

     Pray for the shut-ins that the light of Christ may give them joy:  Clara Anderson, Pat Hansen, Donna Apman, Agnes Arkle, C. J. Christian, Vera Gunnarson, Anelma Meeks, Olive Morrison, Dorothy Ryder, Lillian Schneider, Crystal Tudor, Vivian Wheeler, Peggy Wright.

     Pray for the new born that they grow in the strength of the Lord:  Archer Travis Donogh, born April 1, 2013, 9.12 oz, grandson of Teri and Dale Korsmo.

     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 May.  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. 

     Pray for our sister congregation:  El Camino de Emmaus in the Skagit Valley that God may bless and strengthen their ministry.  Also, pray for our parish and it's ministry.

     Pray that God will bless you through the lives of the saints: St. Philip and St. James, Apostles; Monica, mother of Augustine, 387; and John Eliot, missionary to the American Indians, 1690.


A Treasury of Prayers

 

 O Lord God, my Light, come and illumine my darkness. Come, my Life and revive me from death. Come, Flame of Divine truth and love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kindling my heart with the flame of your righteousness and love. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

                                                                                             [For All the Saints (ALPB, 1994-1996) 1:1143, altered]