From the Pastor's Desk:
Last month I introduced you to the Catechism Challenge. This month, I want to expand on that by talking about how to use the Catechism for family devotions. When Martin Luther wrote the Catechism in 1528, he included these words:
As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.
As I mentioned in a recent sermon, a common feature of life both in the time of the early church and that of the Reformation, a household would include many people. In Acts 16:11-15 we hear the story of Lydia and her household. If Lydia was a widow, her household may have included adult children, grandchildren, male and female servants, and their children. The same was true in Luther's day. A household would often include a husband and wife, their children, perhaps grand-children, other relatives and servants. According to Luther, the head the family was the priest and bishop of his or her household. It was the duty of the head of the family to the household in prayer and to instruct the members of the household in the Christian faith.
What would daily prayer and devotions look like in a Lutheran household? Luther envisioned the head of the family leading prayer on five occasions each day. There were prayers in the morning before work and in the evening before bed. The order of prayer went like this:
Sign of the Cross and Invocation
Morning or Evening Prayer
Prayers at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner followed a similar format, included these prayers:
Before the meal
"Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these your gifts,
which we receive from your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."
After the meal
"We thank you, Lord God, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, for all your benefits.
You live and reign forever and ever. Amen."
The last piece is the Catechism itself. At some point during any one of these times of prayer, a portion of the Catechism could be read. For example, we will use the 1st Commandment:
All together say, "The First Commandment: You shall have no other gods before me.
A child or young person will ask, "What does this mean?
The head of the household will answer, "We should fear, love, and trust God above all things."
You'll notice that it is the head of the household who explains the meaning. Further questions and discussion might follow and the family discusses what each part means. If a family did such a devotion at one of the five times of prayer just once a week, it would take them only 33 weeks to cover the whole Catechism. A simple weekly family devotion would look like this:
Weekly Family Devotion
Sign of the Cross and Invocation
One Question from the Catechism
One of Luther's Daily Prayers (page 31-32)
A hymn if desired.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. David Charlton
Although 95% of the Senegal population are Moslems, there are Senegalese Lutherans and there is a Senegal Lutheran Church. Several hundred years ago, Moslem teachers brought the Moslem religion to the coastal people. That is where most people in Senegal live. They have the best farm lands and the ocean for fishing. The interior portions of the country are drier, hotter. The people living there are mostly poor subsistent farmers and herdsmen. Few people go there. The Moslems did not go there. Thus, the people retained their traditional tribal beliefs. After World War II, Lutherans became aware of these people. Lutheran missionaries were sent from Finland and the USA. They slowly made converts and recently established a Lutheran Church. Missionaries are now spreading the Gospel and trying to help these new Christians have better lives. They are teaching the natives hygiene, improved farming methods and equipment, and better herding techniques. They are also using special programs like the Young Adults in Global Missions. Young people from the west volunteer to go to Senegal for one year as missionaries. Guided by St. Paul's foreign missionary, Rev. Kristin Engstrom, they live with and work with native Christians and Moslems. They share their faiths as they work on projects. The young adults have western ideas and skills to improve the projects. Let us pray for Pastor Kristin and the young adults and their mission work. Let us continue to support her with gifts regularly to Missionary Support.
HELP THE CHINESE CHRISTIANS
China's production of goods and products is growing fast. China may soon surpass the United States in production and services. However, China's prosperity is not evenly distributed. China's growth and prosperity has come in its large coastal cities, like Shanghai, and its coastal provinces. China's interior rural provinces have had very little growth. Fault lies with the Chinese government which has spent little effort to improve the interior provinces. Recently, the Chinese government has become aware of the problem that it needs growth both on the coast and in the interior. The government realized that it needed help from other countries to improve the poor interior rural areas. They are now asking and allowing Christian medical and service organizations to come to interior rural China and help the people there. One such organization responding to the call is China Service Ventures. CSV's help programs include supplying English teachers to interior rural schools, giving milk supplements and medical help to school children, building resident student dormitories, organizing student summer camps, supplying medical teachers to nursing schools, and distributing Bibles and religious tracts. CSV plans to stay. To have legal status in China and protection, it has become a Chinese company. Let us pray for this Christian organization, China Service Ventures, as they bring Christian faith and help to the rural people of China. Let us help support this special ministry by giving to Mission Outreach.
LUTHERAN MEN In MISSION
May 2019 Bible Study Breakfast
The LMM monthly Bible Study and Breakfast will be Saturday, June 15, at 7:30 A. M. in the Parish Hall. We are continuing the Course on "Men." This is the fourth session where we will be discussing the subject "For Men Only: Issues Men face." The Bible study topic is "My Doubts: 'Real confidence'" (1 John 5: 1-21). This Bible Study will follow Option 2: Advanced: Teaching with Margin Questions.
(The following summary is extracted with some editing from the Commentary: "Possessing the Son" in "The Knowing Jesus Study Bible")
Both the Gospel of John and the first letter of John were written by an eyewitness, a true follower of Jesus. 1 John was addressed by a seasoned believer to other Christians in order to help them to settle any questions about the authenticity of their faith and hope. John understood that the good news about Jesus is truth worth dying for. It is also truth worth living for! John declared a beautiful promise in 1 John 5:18: "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps them safe and the evil one cannot harm him." As God's people we have the ability to "overcome the world" because we believe in Jesus and obey God's commands (verses 1 - 5). And God does not ask too much of us: "His commands are not burdensome" (verse 3).
When we give our lives to Jesus, he in turn offers us eternal life- which we possess even while we live here on earth (John 5:24). The Holy Spirit within us "testifies" to this reality (1 John 5:6). In a very practical sense this means that he is a "voice" inside us- God's spirit connected with our own- continually reminding us of God's truth (verse 10). Verse 12 adds a dimension that we cannot fully explain. Not only do we have eternal life with God and the internal witness of the Spirit, but we actually "have the son of God" within us.
Seeking the blessed assurance that we will indeed spend eternity with God does not entail a guessing game. God wants us to know without the slightest doubt that we are his children (1 John 5:13). Jesus became a man for the express purpose of dying for our sins, and when we accept his forgiveness and start afresh with God, God assures us that he does not hold our sins against us. We can bask in the light and warmth of fellowship with God simply by believing that Jesus is who he claimed to be and that he did on our behalf precisely what he said he did. John declared simply that "he who has the son has life" (verse 12) -- no caveats, no fine print, no exclusions. God offers each one of us a brand new life in Jesus- all we have to do is put our trust in him.
Discussion will focus on the idea of what it means to personally "possess" Jesus in our life. When we think about our most precious possessions, is Jesus on the list? He should be at the top of our list. What would be our attitude toward life's circumstances if we truly have the Son of God within us?
All men of the congregation are invited to attend.
Are you looking for a place to get involved with our church family? Altar Guild is one area that needs attention every week but only takes two people to get the job done. Anyone and everyone are welcome to come lend a hand in preparation for worship. For more information or an orientation at your convenience contact Regina Humphrey at 850-502-7488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORN/TATTERED AMERICAN FLAGS
If you have a worn out, tattered, or faded US flag you need to properly dispose of, you can bring it to the church and Don Cleveland will deliver it to his Veterans of Foreign Wars Post for a proper and respectful disposal.
AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDS) -
St Paul Lutheran Church has 2 AEDs for use in an emergency. One is located in the Gathering Room hanging on the east wall (near the classroom door) and the other is in the Family Life Center/School in the Lobby.
Independence Day Picnic
The annual Congregational Independence Day indoor picnic will be held on Sunday, July 7, following the 10:00 am Patriotic Service. This Patriotic Service and picnic are always a highlight of our parish life together each year. It is also an excellent opportunity for you to invite family, friends, and neighbors, even if they are not members of St. Paul. It is always inspiring to see the various military branches honored during the service and to celebrate our nation's birth, not to mention the good picnic food.
Each family will be asked to bring the following dish appropriate for a picnic:
- If your last name ends in A-I, bring chicken
- If your last name ends in J-R, bring a side dish suitable for a picnic (potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, deviled eggs, etc.)
- If your last name ends on S-Z, bring a Dessert
A signup sheet will soon be available in Underdahl Hall for you to sign up and indicate that you are coming.
Community Pastoral Counseling
A ministry of
St. Paul Lutheran Church and School
Rev. Robert R. Lutz, PhD
American Association of
Call 850-843-3083 for
Information or to make an appointment
VBS REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
We had a blast with 52 preschoolers soaring into a closer relationship with Jesus! Thanks to the 21 helpers who made this mission a success!
Visit vbsmate.com/stpaulniceville to register or pick up a form today! We're blasting off into space for a Miraculous Mission to learn how Jesus saves the world. K-5th grade VBS commences June 17-21 from 9:00-12:00. Cost is $5 per person plus a $5 T-shirt donation. Want to volunteer? Sign up on the same site. Start the countdown, because this year we're going to rocket!
It was a special blessing to witness Lucas James Sadler, son of Josh and Casey, get baptised May 26. Congratulations, Sadler family!
Congratulations to the Class of 2019! Here are some of St. Paul's graduates:
v Logan Butler, Gary Butler's grandson, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physiology with an emphasis in Pre-professional Health from Seattle Pacific University and is applying to DDS and DMD programs.
v Erik DeSoucy, Dee DeSoucy's grandson, completed surgical residency at University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, will begin a two-year fellowship in trauma and critical care at Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
v Sarah and Stefanie Markwardt are graduating from Niceville High School, Summa Cum Laude, on May 30. Sarah will be going to the United States Air Force Academy and will be a member of the women's volleyball team. Stefanie will be going to the University of West Florida and will be a member of the women's swim team. Both are undecided on their major at this point.
v Hudson Pearce is graduating from the United States Air Force Academy on May 30, 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He will be commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the United States Air Force, and will report for duty as a logistics resource officer at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC, later this summer.
v Anna Riley Pruitt is graduating with honors form Rocky Bayou Christian School. While at RBCS, Anna's activities included soccer, tennis, FCA, Leadership, Track, Spanish Club, Speech and Debate Club, and volunteering for the community. Anna plans on attending Northwest Florida State College this fall.
v Samuel Thomas is graduating from Niceville High school and will be attending Northwest Florida State University in the fall. He will be pursuing a degree in economics and computer programming.
v Alvie (Teddy) Theodore Vaughen, IV son of Ted and Sheila Vaughen graduated from University of West Florida, with Bachelor of Science in Information Technology on May 4, 2019. He was commissioned on May 3, as 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army and will report to Cyber Command at Fort Gordon Georgia in October.
Attention All Women of St. Paul
We have planned a fun get-together at the Crazy Madhatters Tea Shop (next to Bayou Books) for Saturday, June 22nd at 10:00 am. Come and get to know your sisters in Christ, while enjoying delicious teas and goodies (including several gluten-free items). Prices vary, depending on what you order. There is room for about 15 adults, plus younger girls you may want to invite. Please call Dona Charlton at 850-716-2731 by Thursday, June 20th to reserve your spot!!
Congratulations to St. Paul's 2019 Confirmands:
Peyton Clark Balling
Peyton Clark Balling was born on January 8, 2005, in West Allis, Wisconsin. He was baptized on December 29, 2006 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Niceville, Florida. His parents are James Earl Balling and Mary Lerryn Balling. His baptismal sponsors are Matthew Grant Clark and Nena Clark. Peyton attends Ruckel Middle School and enjoys playing basketball. He plans to attend the University of Florida and major in engineering.
His confirmation verse is Ephesians 6:10-18:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil..."
Julia Troi Watts
She is the youngest of four daughters. Julia has lived in this area her entire life and attended Edge Elementary and Ruckel. She was baptized at St. Paul by Pastor Lutz on October 21, 2015. Her parents are Kevin and Nicole Watts. Her baptismal sponsors are Jimi Watts (older sister) and Noelle Mondragon (aunt). Julia attends Ruckel Middle School and enjoys dance. She plans to attend Lee University when she graduates high school.
Her confirmation verse is 1 Peter 4:10:
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace."
Rachel Kate VandenBoom
Rachel Kate VandenBoom was born on March 2, 2005 in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. She was baptized on June 19, 2005, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Niceville, Florida. Her parents are Michael and Kelli VandenBoom. Her baptismal sponsors are Charlotte Tarhan and Greg Vandenboom. Rachel attends Ruckel Middle School.
Her confirmation verse is Psalm 23:1:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Kyler Andrew Long
Kyler Andrew Long was born to Kahl and Kristy Long on May 31, 2005 at Nason Hospital in Roaring Spring, PA. He was baptized on July 31, 2005 by Pastor Timothy Knauss at St. Mathew's Lutheran Church in Martinsburg, PA. Kyler has a little brother, Kollin, and two dogs, Lilly and Chief. He lived in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and now Florida. Kyler enjoys playing basketball, golf, weight lifting, fishing with family, hanging out with friends, and playing video games. Kyler's goal is to get a scholarship for golf and join the military one day.
His Confirmation Verse is Matthew 4:19:
"And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."