From the Pastor's Desk:
Article - January 2021
I want to begin my article this month by thanking the congregation for the generous Christmas bonus that was given to me and to the rest of the staff. We are all very grateful for your love and support. In addition, I would like to thank all the people who sent Christmas cards and gave gifts to me and my family. We appreciate your kindness.
In addition, I want to thank our President, Bob Hoffman, the members of Council, our Staff, and our other volunteers for their hard work in 2020. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we faced a lot of challenges, but we were able to regroup and keep going.
In particular, I want to thank Bob and Jason Arvanetes for making it possible for us to live-stream our services on Facebook and YouTube, and for setting up the live radio concert that took place on December 20. While our attendance has been cut in half by COVID-19, we now have an online presence that we never had before. As an example, since we returned to Sunday worship on June 7, we have had an average of 112 in worship each week. However, we our estimated online attendance each week was 164. For Christmas Eve, our in person attendance was 212, while our estimated online attendance was 372.
Pastor Lutz has been very diligent in taking Communion to our members who are shut-in, or who cannot attend worship in person. Our goal has been to make sure that our members are able to receive Communion at least once a month. This, along with our presence on Facebook and YouTube, has helped us keep in touch with our members. If you would like to receive Communion at home, please call the Church Office. Pastor Bob still has plenty of room on his schedule and will be glad to visit you.
As you may also remember, I am starting my Prayer College this month. To take part, you need three things:
- A Prayer Card entitled Daily Prayer for Individuals and Families by Concordia Publishing.
- A copy of the Small Catechism by Martin Luther.
- A copy of the Daily Lectionary found in Christ in Our Home.*
This is how you would put these to use:
First Half of the Day
- Use the prayers for Morning or Noon.
- Read the Psalm of the Day.
- Then read one of the Lessons for the Day.
- Read a portion of the Small Catechism.
Second Half of the Day
- Use the prayers for Early Evening of Close of the Day.
- Read the Psalm of the Day.
- Read the other Lesson for the Day.
- Read a portion of the Small Catechism.
If you want to know how to do this, watch my Daily Devotions. That is the pattern I will be using.
*If you already have a plan for daily Bible reading, you may use that instead.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. David A. Charlton
From the Council President:
Friends from St Paul Lutheran Church and School, this is my last newsletter as Congregation President, and as a member of the Church Council. After 6+ years as a Trustee and 2 years as President I will be stepping away from a formal role with the Council.
1 Corinthians 12:4 starts with "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord..." I've been humbled by the Lord's work and timing among the many people I've had the pleasure to serve with. I believe that, regardless of the challenge, the Lord continually led someone with the right gifts and abilities to St. Paul's at the right times.
And the faithfulness and resilience of the Congregation of St. Paul's never ceases to amaze me. Even with the immense challenges of 2020 the church and Congregation remain strong. Thank you.
I want to also thank the staff members of St Paul's. These are the unsung heroes that keep the church and mission of St Paul's running 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Thank you.
During my tenure we were able to greatly expand the historically excellent school program we had at St Paul and have transformed to an effective grade school. I know from my first tour as President that a K-5 school, along with the pre-school programs, was a cherished goal of Pastor John Underdahl. Thank you to everyone, staff, parents, volunteers, and students, for achieving that goal.
Thank you to all of the volunteers that contribute untold hours. In business we talk about "hidden factories". Without the selfless contributions of far more people then I could name St. Paul's would be a shadow of it's current self.
Thank you all.
Genesis: The Book of Beginnings
An in-depth Bible Study for Adults
Offered by Pastor Lutz
Wednesdays 6:30 to 7:30 PM
Beginning Wednesday, January 13, 2021
and running for eight sessions.
Why study the book of Genesis? Well, for one thing it takes us back to the creation of all that is. How did God do that? Genesis also holds the beginnings of several of the key doctrines of Christianity and of course Lutheranism. In the study we will cover:
- How to do a proper Bible study,
- Answer some nagging questions like why there are two creation stories,
- Examine the fabric of Genesis to see how it came together and when,
- Look at the roots of our present-day teachings like justification by faith and the Trinity,
- Get to know the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
- See the importance of Jacob's son, Joseph, and the Israelites in Egypt.
Bring a Bible and a mask. We will take care of social distance seating. I hope to see you there.
Pastor Bob Lutz
St. Paul's foreign missionary, Rev. Kristin Engstrom, works with the new ELCA's program, Young Adults in Global Missions. She is its program coordinator in the west African country of Senegal. The ELCA's Division for Global Missions specially designed this program for young adults in their early twenties to give them a chance to be a foreign missionary. Young adults often are looking for their life's careers. They are willing to examine different careers and even try some. Some may consider the position of foreign missionary. However, they do not know much about it. Nor do they want to make large time commitments to learn. The YAGM program provides them with the opportunity to try missionary life without permanently committing themselves to missions. This program is just for one year. The young adults are sent to a foreign mission field, Senegal. There they are under the direction of the field coordinator, Rev. Engstrom, who is an experienced, career missionary. She finds each one housing and an occupation with the Senegal natives. They are immersed in the country, with the people, with their culture, with mission work. Most important they will learn to tell people of their faith in Jesus and salvation. They are missionaries for one year. With this experience they may choose to become full-time missionaries. Let us pray for Pastor Kristin Engstrom, her young volunteers, and the native Senegal Christians. Let us give our gifts to Missionary Support to help support Pastor Engstrom and her work.
International Health Partners
Building a children's hospital in a third world, developing country is both difficult and challenging. Added to that the funds to buy supplies and equipment are gathered through charitable donations in the USA and Europe. Despite this, International Health Partners is building a children's hospital in Tanzania. They have the advantage of very dedicated and loyal medical, construction, and support staffs. There is also help from overseas volunteers who come to help both the medical and construction personnel. The construction work is slow with one or two building at time. However, the work is the best. The hospital equipment is modern. They have just finished the Birthing Center. Local mothers now have a hospital where their babies can be born safely. Work is being completed on the adjacent Operating Rooms- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Work on a special treatment unit has started. Children come for the best possible care. Joyce was first brought to the hospital when she was 3 months old. She had seizures which the staff stopped with anticonvulsant medicines. Later her parents stopped giving her the medicines and she had another seizure. Her parents got herbs, etc. from a traditional healer. Then she had another seizure. Although the parents brought her back to the hospital, at 4 years old Joyce is blind and mute. The hospital will continue to care for her. The hospital medicines could have kept her well but tradition spoiled it. The results for other children are much better. Let us pray for the medical and construction staffs of the Children's Hospital. Let us support their work with our gifts to Mission Outreach during January and February.
LUTHERAN MEN In MISSION
January 2021 Bible Study Breakfast
The LMM monthly Bible Study will be Saturday, January 16, at 7:30 A. M. in the Parish Hall. We are continuing the Course on "Spirituality." This is the first session where we will be discussing the subject "Gifts and Calling: What is the Will of God for My Life?" The Bible study topic is "High Calling: 'God's instruments'" (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). This Bible Study will follow Option 2: Advanced: Teaching with Margin Questions.
Corinthians 12:1-11 (NIV)
Concerning Spiritual Gifts
1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
The Corinthians had apparently asked Paul to answer a question about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each believer. Also called "spiritual gifts," these are freely bestowed by God to enable his people to minister to the needs of the body of believers and to enable them to do extraordinary work for God. Paul did not want the believers to have misunderstanding about these gifts but rather to understand and use them for God's glory. Right away Paul emphasizes the importance of the Holy Spirit in our own understanding of our place in the Body of Christ by asserting that it is only by the Holy Spirit the believer can meaningfully and truthfully make the statement of faith that "Jesus is Lord."
Paul addresses the diversity of gifts, and that the Spirit, by sovereign grace, gives one or more such "grace-gift" to every person as He wills. There are nine different gifts of the Spirit listed in Verses 8-10. They are: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. It should not be construed that this is a complete list. There are many distinct manifestations of God's grace given to a person of faith to use in his or her role as a disciple of Jesus Christ. There are as many gifts in the Body of Christ as there are Christians in the Body of Christ. Each one of us is unique. This makes our gift unique. All that the list in 1 Corinthians 12 intended to do was to give examples.
Discussion will focus on what we believe about each one having received one or more spiritual gift from God for us to use in our role as a member of the Body of Christ and as a disciple of Jesus? What gift or gifts do we think we have received? Have we used our gift(s) for the common good within the Church and when applicable as a Christian witness in the world? How?
All men of the congregation are invited to attend.
Annual Congregation Meeting
Members of St. Paul,
There will be one service on Sunday, January 31 at 10:00 am. At Noon, we will begin the Congregation Meeting in the sanctuary and online viz Zoom. Below are the instructions for how to access the meeting online:
Topic: Annual meeting of the Congregation
Time: Jan 31, 2021 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 819 8104 6932
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Dial by your location
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Meeting ID: 819 8104 6932
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kZuQTuVaI
If you are unsure how to participate online, contact the church office for further assistance.
Let's ring in the New Year by celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas this January 12, a Tuesday...at Bogey's Bar and Grill. The lights round Circle Lake will not be available for a tour, but we can gather for fellowship and a meal in the upper room of Bogey's, accessible via elevator. The Early Bird Menu is still available, and like in years past, for $12.99 one can choose from two chicken, fish, or shrimp options which include a salad, potatoes or vegetables. Good to know some things are NOT negatively affected by Covid.
Please note: although we will have the upper room to ourselves and can maintain social distancing at the tables, the staff is not required to wear masks.
Menu choices should be submitted by Wednesday, January 6, so I can forward to Michelle, our hostess. Please google Bogey's Bar and Grill to check out the Early Bird Menu on their website. Easypeasy.
Those of you who prefer not to drive after dark may take advantage of the school van, chauffeured by David or Linda Nelson, or let's coordinate a car pool.
Do contact me at your earliest convenience with your menu choice. Individual bills will be provided after our dinner. Remember: we DO NOT pay in advance; desserts and beverages are NOT included in the $12.99 cost of selected meal.
Our spirits need lifting. A joyful noise has yet to be made to our Lord, A gathering of believers is of course necessary for Christian Fellowship and group prayer.
Be there...or be square.
Yours in HIm,
Pastor's Honor Roll
Liam Lambert - Invocation and Lord's Prayer
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