From the Pastor's Desk: You Are What You Eat
Dear Members and Friends of St. Paul,
Last Sunday, October 28, five young men received First Communion. Three of them attended First Communion Class, while two did their lessons as an independent study. I enjoyed working with all of them. They are nice young men.
One of the topics that we covered had to do with the old saying, "You are what you eat." Meant as a warning to watch what you eat, that saying reminds us that if we eat healthy food, we will be healthy. By the same token, if we eat unhealthy food, we will be unhealthy too.
That saying, however, applies equally well to the subject of Holy Communion. How so? In Holy Communion we eat the body of Christ. If we truly are what we eat, that means that we are the body of Christ. Before you dismiss this as hyperbole, remember what the Bible teaches:
"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NRSV)
Notice that Paul doesn't say that we are like one body, or that we resemble one body. He says that we ARE one body. Later, in the same letter, Paul says:
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
(1 Corinthians 12:12-13 NRSV)
"Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27 NRSV)
If we believe that the Word of God is true, what does this mean for us? I'll mention two things:
1. This Sunday is All Saints Sunday. If we are what we eat, then we are one body with Christ and with all believers of every time and place. We are one body with all Christians alive on this earth, no matter where they live. But we are also one body with all the saints in heaven. We have real communion with the saints in heaven at the Lord's Table.
2. Christ is truly present in the world through his body, the Church. Jesus is as present in our world today as he was 2000 years ago in Galilee. He speaks to people, forgives people, touches people, heals and comforts people just as truly as he did then. Now, however, he does it through you and me. This miracle happens before our very eyes every week.
Next Sunday, as we gather for worship, think about how we are joining our voices with the whole heavenly host. And take the time to see the body of Christ that is there before your eyes.
Yours in Christ,
Senegal was selected as a site for ELCA's Young Adults in Global Missions program. St. Paul's foreign Missionary, Rev. Kristin Engstrom, was chosen as the director. Senegal was a good choice for this program as it has a stable government, friendly people, and few Christians. Here are some statistics: Senegal is located on the west coast of Africa. The northern part is in the Sahel, a dry semi-arid land, while the south has tropical forests and swamps. It has an area of 75,750 square miles (the size of South Dakota), and a population of 7,500,000 in 1990 (same as New Jersey). Most of its citizens are black Africans, divided in seven major tribes; most live in the coastal areas. 92% of the population are Sunni Moslems, 2% are Roman Catholics, and the rest have tribal religions, although there is a small Lutheran Church. Senegal is a former French colony. It has been independent since 1963. The national language is French. There are several tribal languages also. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. The main crops are peanuts, rice, tomatoes, millet, and sugar cane. Fishing is also an important occupation. Manufacturing is new and is expanding. The people get along with each other and are proud of their peaceful country. They accept new comers, like the young adults who come to be with Pastor Kristin and learn to be missionaries. Let us pray for Pastor Kristin, for her volunteers, and Sahel Christians. Let us support Pastor Kristin with our gifts to Missionary Support.
LUTHERAN BIBLE TRANSLATORS
Change is the order of the day. There are new inventions every day. There are constant improvements in communications and travel. People use languages to communicate with each other. There are many languages used. As many as 7,000 languages are spoken. The total number of languages are decreasing as small groups and tribes are assimilated into larger groups. The small groups and tribes that disappear do not have written forms of their languages. Christianity has saved such groups and tribes by devising forms for their languages and then translating the Bible into their languages. New translations are constantly under way. 430 languages have a complete Bible, 1,145 languages have the New Testament, 2,425 languages have some portion to the Holy Scriptures. More needs to be done. There are 4,500 languages spoken by people who do not have any written portions of Biblical Scriptures. The Lutheran Bible Translators was organized to provide scripture translations for people without Bibles. Today LBT has over 70 missionaries currently working on 80 translations projects around the world. Translators must first learn the language. Next they must devise a written form of the language. Only then can they (with the help of natives) translate the Bible. When a group or tribe has a written language and a Bible its culture and its people can be saved. Information about the Lutheran Bible Translators is posted on the Mission Bulletin Board. Let us help this important evangelical program by giving our gifts to Mission Outreach.
Dr. Dennis and Paula Lofstrom are coming to St. Paul on Sunday, February 3, 2019. They will tell us of current building construction and patient care at the African Children's hospital. Come and hear them as we need to help the sick children.
LUTHERAN MEN in MISSION
November 2018 Bible Study Breakfast
The LMM monthly Bible Study and Breakfast will be Saturday, November 17, at 7:30 A. M. in the Parish Hall. We are continuing the Course on "Men." This is the third session where we will be discussing the subject "Men at Work: Performance Anxiety." The Bible study topic is "What's God's Responsibility?: 'God only knows'" (James 4:13-5:6). This Bible Study will follow Option 2: Advanced: Teaching with Margin Questions.
The connecting theme through James Chapters 4 and 5 is humility. True faith judges pride by humbling oneself before God.
In the earlier verses of Chapter 4, James hit the need for humility to resolve conflicts and have harmonious relationships. Now he turns to the subject of humility with regard to the future. He is confronting an arrogant spirit that he had observed among the churches. Although these people professed to know Christ, they were living with a worldly attitude. They were making plans without taking into account their own mortality and God's sovereignty. In the last verses of Chapter 4, James warns that we should not boast about tomorrow. James is not opposed to planning for the future, but rather he is saying not to boast about our plans in advance. Probably they will come to pass, but maybe they won't. Only if it is God's will, will our plans become reality.
In the first four chapters, James is addressing all Jewish Christians. But the first six verses in Chapter 5 are specifically addressed to wealthy Jews who he considers to be "rich oppressors." These six verses are written similarly to Old Testament verses that address pagans, so it is likely that these Jews are not Christians. His tone of voice to these wealthy Jews is a direct and harsh warning. He is very concerned about these people because first, they are not believers and second, they are oppressing others and believe only in themselves and their wealth.
Discussion will focus on the subjects of pride and wealth. Do we need to be reminded that our very existence depends on God's will? Are we so arrogant and presumptuous that we will boast about our future without acknowledging God's plan and purpose? We've all heard the phrase "God willing!" Do we try to live keeping that in mind? Or do we think we control our future? In addition to trusting in God's will for our lives today and tomorrow, we also have a responsibility to be faithful stewards of whatever wealth we may have now and in the future.
All men of the congregation are invited to attend.
LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF QUILTERS
Thank you to everyone who helped box the Lutheran World Relief Quilts last August. St Paul people sent LWR 112 quilts and donated $700 for the LWR shipping fund. Thanks to the volunteers who helped get the boxes of quilts out of storage, decorated our sanctuary with the quilts, and boxed them. Thanks to Steve and Regina for taking them to our closest LWR Ingathering site, Holy Trinity in Daphne, Alabama. A semi-truck trailer was packed with boxes from various Lutheran congregations. Those boxes contained 665 quilts, 486 Personal Care Kits, 417 School Kits, 28 Fabric Kits, 11 Baby Care Kits, and 208 pounds of bath size bar soap for a grand total of 4,453 pounds of love! Every year the total grows bigger and bigger.
Do you remember all the School Kits we made last year? It felt so good to send more than 100 little backpacks to needy children overseas! We should put together School Kits again next year. Or we can assemble Personal Care Kits, Baby Care Kits, Fabric Kits, Fleece Tied Blankets, and/or collect Bath Size Soap. The web site lwr.org has information about these and other Lutheran World Relief projects. All we need is you to organize it! Our wonderful congregation will bring the items needed and help make the kits.
The Good Samaritan Quilt Plaza at the Lutheran Center in Baltimore, Maryland, is covered with a patchwork quilt design of red, white and blue bricks with words engraved on them. The people of St Paul donated $700 to the LWR shipping fund; therefore we will sponsor another brick that says, "Quilts For Jesus, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Niceville, Florida." Thank you for your gifts.
Our next Quilt Tie weekend is Friday and Saturday, November 16 and 17, the third weekend as usual. We will also probably take advantage of the Thanksgiving week school holiday to work in the Fellowship Hall.
If you can make a quilt top at home, pick up a Top Kit in the Garden Narthex by the LWR bulletin board. It is a package of 48 squares you can easily sew into a quilt top. Complete instructions are included.
THANKSGIVING DAY FEAST
Last year's Thanksgiving Day feast was so enthusiastically received, that it is back again by popular demand. So on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, at 1:00 pm, we are going to have another complete turkey dinner available with all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie, in Underdahl Hall.
Thanks to the generosity of Mike Davis, we will be serving smoked turkey. For this, we are very grateful to Mike. As we did last year, if you have a favorite family Thanksgiving side dish or casserole, that you want to bring and share with everyone, feel free to do so. There will surely be leftovers for everyone to take home with them, as there were last year.
This is a great opportunity to enjoy a wonderful holiday dinner with your church family. For those who don't want to cook or don't have family plans, this is for you. You can bring your whole family as well as your friends and neighbors to enjoy the dinner together.
The price is the same as last year: $10 for adults and $7 for children. Sign up on the board in Underdahl Hall and let us know how many will be coming. If you are able, we can use help in the kitchen the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving at 10:00 am for a few hours each day.
On Friday, November 30, St. Paul is hosting the Niceville High School Chorus again this year for their annual Christmas concert, entitled "The Celebration of the Christ Child". Following the concert we are having a reception in Underdahl Hall, as we have done for many years. We have always gotten high praise from everyone who has attended this concert and reception in the past.
We are in need of many cookies to be baked for that evening's reception. This has always been a wonderful opportunity for us to share our hospitality with the High School and the community at large. Please bring your cookies in any day of the week Monday thru Friday, November 26 - 30, and leave them in the kitchen.
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.
BOOK LOVERS CLUB
St. Paul Book Lovers Club has had the privilege of reading the following books and have given it their rating of 1 up to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. This list is books that we have read since August, along with the rating we gave them:
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk Kelli Estes (5)
Mad Dog James Grady (4)
The Silent Sister Diane Chamberlain (5)
Less Andrew Sean Greer (Did not read)
Colorblind Reed Farrel Colman (5)
The Simple Truth David Balducci (Not yet rated)
Our book club is a literary Brigadoon---that mythical, idyllic place that is unaffected by time and magically remote from reality. Join us if you like to read and we welcome suggestions.
We are back to meeting at the church at 6pm and we are meeting in the "cry room". Call me for information. 678-8601.
Instead of holding a bake sale in December, WELCA will be doing a pie/roll sale this year. This means we will be selling breads and pies and other baked goods on Thank-offering Sunday, November 18. Just in time for Thanksgiving! So ladies, bring your breaded good in for us to sell, the week leading up to the sale, and the rest of the congregation can bring their appetites on the day of the sale!
There are still a few slots open for women volunteers at our Thank-offering Sunday service on November 18th. WELCA will combine forces with Altar Guild to set up the sanctuary for Thank Offering Sunday, November 17 at 9:00 am. We need the congregation to bring in fresh fruits and vegetables to adorn the altar. Bring these in the morning of set up at 9:00 am, and feel free to stick around and help.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Janet Kinner and Linda Holmes for donating their quilts for the WELCA raffle at the Reformation Festival. Your hard work and the love and care you put into your craft is greatly admired and appreciated.
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.
Community Pastoral Counseling
A ministry of St. Paul Lutheran Church and School
Rev. Robert R. Lutz, PhD
Diplomate; American Association of Pastoral Counselors
Call 850-843-3083 for information or to make an appointment
"CELEBRATION OF THE CHRIST CHILD"
The Niceville High School Chorus and Opus One will perform the Celebration of the Christ Child at St. Paul Lutheran Church Friday evening at 7:00 pm, November 30. Join us afterward for a cookie reception. All are welcome to enjoy this event.
Come support St. Paul's Youth Group by getting your car washed Saturday, November 17, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. Your dog looking a little ruff around the collar? Bring Fido too because this group is washing dogs as well! Plus, dogs love car rides, so everybody wins at this event!