From the Pastor's Desk:
Three Things We Must Know
One of the privileges of being a Lutheran pastor is getting to teach the Small Catechism. The Small Catechism is indeed a small book. In fact it's hardly bigger than a pamphlet. And yet, it packs a wallop, being one of the best summaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Christian Church has ever known. Luther wrote the Small Catechism for parents to use to teach their children, but he also said that experienced pastors should study it every day. Since October is the month that we celebrate the Reformation, it is a good time to study the Catechism.
There are many ways to describe the teaching of the Catechism, but this year I want to focus on three things:
- The Catechism teaches us to know ourselves.
- The Catechism teaches us to know God.
- The Catechism describes the work of the Holy Spirit.
The first thing the Catechism teaches us is to know ourselves. Who am I? Who are we? The Catechism answers that question by using the Ten Commandments. We are sinners. We were created by God to love Him with heart, soul, strength and mind, and love our neighbors as ourselves. The Ten Commandments are like a mirror, revealing to us the truth that we have failed to do so. They reveal to us that we are guilty before God.
The second thing the Catechism teaches us is to know God by using the Apostle's Creed. What the Creed reveals to us is that God is a God of grace. Everything that God gives us is a gift, not something we deserve. As Creator, God gives everyone the gift of life. God sustains us with food, clothing, house, work, family and everything we need. As Redeemer, God gives us freedom from the power of sin, death and the devil. This happened when God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. God even gives us the gift of faith by sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts. We don't have to try to believe the Gospel on our own. Instead the Holy Spirit give us the power to believe. From beginning to end, God is a God of grace, love and mercy.
The third thing mentioned above is the focus of the rest of the Catechism. It describes how the Holy Spirits works in our lives to bring us to saving faith in Jesus. A traditional way of saying this is to say that Jesus accomplishes our salvation on the Cross, while the Holy Spirit applies that salvation to us. The Spirit enables us to pray the Lord's Prayer, in which we ask for the gifts that the Father has promised to give us through the Son. Through Baptism, Confession and Forgiveness, and the Lord's Supper the Holy Spirit delivers God's grace to us. In visible and tangibles ways, the Holy Spirit enables us to grasp hold of the promise of forgiveness, a promise that is "for you".
In summary, we need to know that we are sinners, that we have a gracious God, and where that grace can be found. Our eternal salvation depends on getting the right answers. That's what the Small Catechism teaches us. From the moment we are born to the day we die, there is nothing more important than that.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. David A. Charlton
St. Paul's foreign missionary, Rev. Kristin Engstrom, is the country coordinator for the ELCA's Young Adults in Global Missions in the African country of Senegal. Africa is one of the world's seven continents. It is the second largest, Asia is the largest. It is located in the eastern hemisphere. It is south of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. In northern Africa is the very large Sahara Desert, which runs across the continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean-Red Sea. The areas north of the desert vary greatly from those south of the desert. The northern part participated in the history and culture of Europe and Asia Minor. It included Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. It was overrun by the Arabs in the eight century. The Arabs brought the Moslem religion. Southern Africa was isolated by the desert and kept separated during ancient and medieval periods. It was populated by the black races. The Moslem religion did not expand beyond the Sahara Desert except along the coasts. The people had their spiritual and animalistic religions. It was here that European and American missionaries went in the 19th and 20th centuries to bring Christianity to the people. It was here that Christianity had great success and made many converts. In Senegal which is on the Atlantic coast 94% of the population is Moslem. There Lutheran missionaries like Pastor Kristin have founded a small Lutheran Church. Let us pray for Pastor Kristin and for the Lutheran Church of Senegal. Let us continue to support Pastor Kristin Enstrom with our gifts to Missionary Support.
In our modern world it is thought that a college or university degree is the foundation for a successful career. Colleges and university award their degrees to people who have attended their classes. Which college chosen depends on various reasons. Career programs, location, sports, and cost influence the choosing of a particular college. There are various types of colleges: state, private, junior, church. Many colleges were founded and funded by different churches. Church funded college provide excellent educations and students should consider them. Our own Lutheran Church supports several colleges and universities in different parts of the United States. Newberry College, in Newberry, South Carolina is a church college. It can be called our college because it is supported by our Florida Synod, along with the Southeastern and South Carolina Synods. Members of St. Paul and their parents who are presently considering which college or university to attend, should consider Newberry College as they begin their selection process. Newberry College provide the necessary education sought as it is a fully accredited college for both sciences and liberal arts. The college offers classes and degree programs in 36 major and 31 minor fields. The college also provides for student's education and development with various sports, social, and religious organizations. Newberry College offers many scholarships and various financial aid packages with which it can reduce its student tuition and fees. Since it is a Lutheran Church college, church members, pay reduced college fees. We can help our Lutheran Church colleges by supporting Newberry College with prayers and our gifts to Mission Outreach.
LUTHERAN MEN In MISSION
October 2020 Bible Study Breakfast
The LMM monthly Bible Study will be Saturday, October 17, at 7:30 A. M. in the Parish Hall. We are continuing the Course on "Spirituality." This is the fourth session where we will be discussing the subject "Maturing in Christ: Called to Discipleship." The Bible study topic is "Quiet Time: 'The Lord's Prayer'" (Matthew 6:1-18). This Bible Study will follow Option 2: Advanced: Teaching with Margin Questions.
Matthew 6:1-18 (NIV)
Giving to the Needy
1"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 "This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
In Chapter 6 of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus is continuing His extended teaching session we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount. In our study of verses 1-18 Jesus speaks against hypocrisy in almsgiving (1-4) and against hypocrisy in prayer (5-8). He then teaches us how to pray (9-15) and to respect fasting (16-18).
Our Lord warns against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties. What we do, must be done from an inward principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be praised of men. Essentially, He says the same thing about prayer. He warns not to be like he Scribes and Pharisees who were guilty of two great faults in prayer, vain-glory and vain repetitions.
In verses 9-15 Jesus teaches us how to pray. The Lord's Prayer gives us a perfect way to communicate with our Father in Heaven and to learn the way to love and forgiveness in our relationship with others.
Finally, Jesus reminds us that religious fasting is a duty required of His disciples, but it is not so much a duty itself, as a means to dispose us for other duties. Fasting is the humbling of the soul, Psalm 35:13; that is the inside of the duty; let that, therefore, be thy principal care, and as to the outside of it, covet not to let it be seen. God sees in secret, and will reward openly.
Discussion will focus on the importance of giving God the glory in all we do. Our good works come from our creation in Jesus Christ, not from ourselves lest we boast. We must beware of pride and hypocrisy. Regarding prayer, in addition to what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14, what do we think about Mark 11:24-25? Look it up! Do we truly believe in the power of prayer? Also, what is our attitude toward fasting along with prayer?
All men of the congregation are invited to attend.
The congregation has spoken and has decided that it's time for the elevator to be installed in the Family Life Center. With that, there is an elevator fund drive in effect and if you are interested in donating, please contact the church office.
!!! IT'S A MIRACLE !!!
Humanitarian aid for refugees, feared destroyed in Beirut explosion, found intact
By John Rivera, Sep 24, 2020, Lutheran World Relief, Baltimore, Maryland
Three 40-foot shipping containers filled with humanitarian aid that included thousands of handmade quilts and baby-care items, which were reported as destroyed in the August 4 explosions at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, have been found intact and are ready to be distributed victims of the blast and refugees.
Authorities assumed the containers were lost in the historic blast that killed more than 200 people and laid waste to parts of the city. It took several weeks for longtime Lutheran World Relief partner Anera to gain access to the port, locate the containers and check their contents.
While other Anera shipping containers were heavily damaged, the three containers of quilts and kits were apparently stored behind a concrete block building that helped spare them from the blast. A fourth container, which was on a ship offshore when the explosion occurred, has since been delivered.
The contents of all four containers have been transferred to a warehouse and will be distributed to families displaced by the explosion, as well as to refugees living in Lebanon, principally from Syria and the Palestinian territories.
Anera provides humanitarian assistance and sustainable development to advance the well-being of refugees and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East. Its representatives took this video of the remarkably intact boxes of aid.
"It's been a roller coaster for all of us, and especially our quilters and kit-makers," said Melanie Gibbons, deputy director for outreach and engagement at Lutheran World Relief. "First, grief over the loss of items so carefully made and prayed over, followed by determination to keep quilting and making kits. Then joy over the news that the items not only survived but are able to be distributed!
"It's an incredible blessing to realize that now these items are in exactly the right place at the right time," she said.
In addition to distributing the quilts and kits, Lutheran World Relief is also working to address immense shelter needs in the wake of the explosion, helping poorer families to repair and return to their homes.
HOW TO HELP
Donate online: https://lwr.org/beirut
Donate by Phone: +1 (800) 597.5972
Donate by Mail: Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21297-1061
Lutheran World Relief Quilters
What wonderful news I found when I went to lwr.org to see the latest news. The quilts and kits sent to Lebanon were found intact. GOD IS GOOD!
The Personal Care Kits we shipped in August 2019 were sent to Haiti. I hope we can assemble and send our Baby Care Kits soon. We had hoped to make Baby Care Kits and School Kits this year, but this horrible coronavirus intervened. We pray that COVID-19 will soon be a bad memory.
LWR Quilters will meet to make mission quilts on Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17, in the Parish Hall. As always, come and go as you like, or just stop by to say hello.
HARP MINISTRY FUND
The Memorial Committee has recently established a designated Harp Ministry Fund with a memorial gift from Pastor Bob and Christine Lutz to the Glory of God and in memory of his aunt, Beatrice Harke, who recently entered the Church Triumphant at age 92. The Fund is intended to be used towards financial assistance for a church member desirous of lessons to play our harp. It may also be used for maintenance and repairs. Our goal is to occasionally hear the harp during worship and on special occasions.
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.
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