Rally Day is this Sunday, Sept. 15

Rally Day is this Sunday, Sept. 15

Rally Day Change of Plans

This Sunday we will be welcoming home all who have been traveling and enjoying the summer months. The Preschoolers are back. Our students and teachers have begun another year of school. Our choirs will be singing and ringing once again.

On Sunday, September 15, 2019, our Sunday Morning Worship Schedule will include:
8:00 a.m. Worship
9:30 a.m. Worship
9:30 a.m. Adult Education in the Fireside Room
9:30 a.m. Sunday School for children in Preschool through 5th Grade
11:00 a.m. Worship

Then at 1:00 p.m. we will have an All-Church Bar-B-Q and party at TLC in tjhe gym. The weather was too threatening to have the party at the M-Bar-C. Rain would ruin the day and our sound systems. The grills there are not under cover so we needed to move the picnic home to TLC.

There will be great food, ice cream, face painting, ping pong, corn-hole and dodgeball. There will be live music in the sanctuary.

Drinks, hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided. If you can bring a salad, chips or dessert that would be much appreciated.

Blessed to be a Blessing! Let us Rally back to our spiritual home as we worship and fellowship together.

See you this Sunday at your Church—TLC!

 

 

Love, Pastor Jim

You Knit Me Together

You Knit Me Together

WEEKLY WORD

“You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will thank you because I am marvelously made.” Psalm 139

My brain is on leave this week, so let me just share a thought or two.

I had a DNA test done about a month ago. The results were interesting, but not life-changing. The test uncovered my family history. And a complicated history it is. 
61.8% British and Irish
15.5% Broadly Northwestern European
11.4% Scandinavian
9.6% French and German
1.4% Spanish
0.2% Finnish

I also have 268 genetic variants that can be traced back to Neanderthals. That explains a lot. I guess Felicia was right all along.

According to the test I am not a carrier of any diseases, but the results showed:
*That I am less likely to be able to match a musical pitch. 
*That I am more likely to have hair loss.
*That I am less likely to have a fear of public speaking.

What really struck me is this. All of that co-mingled blood runs through my body. All of those different nationalities and tribal groups are a part of me. They co-exist; more than that they are one now, working to keep me alive. It matters not where they came from, or what violence and oppression are a part of their histories.

Could we learn from this? Is this God’s way? A blended diversity, co-mingled and beautiful. No pure blood, no flags, no walls, no borders, no skin color; just human beings, children of God. We were knit together in our mother’s womb and yet, in the end, we are dust and to dust we shall return.

What we see is only skin deep but, if we look at the DNA, we find another story. A human story. We are more alike than we are different. When that Finnish sailor made a brief visit to our village 500 years ago, who knew that he would become a part of the family.

Human stories. Maybe science can help us to look beyond skin color, gender, class or orientation and see the beautiful mingled diversity that makes us what we are: Children of God.

See you in church.

 

 

Pastor Jim

 
Judge Not

Judge Not

Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

There are a variety of Spiritual Gifts listed in the Bible: Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Healing, Giving, Mercy, Wisdom, Knowledge, and Tongues. The Bible is clear that all gifts of the Spirit, gifts from God, are meant to be used for the “common good” of all people.

For 2000 years the people of God, blessed with Spiritual Gifts, have built hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, universities, food banks, preschools, and shelters. The Christian Church has made a mark on the world that God loves.

For 2000 years the people of God have excelled at charitable giving. Spiritual Gifts are given by God for the common good. We have much to celebrate and there is so much left to do.

Unfortunately, religious people in Jesus’ day and today are even more proficient at judging others. Most of the criteria that we use when judging others was never addressed by Jesus. Most of the things that we fuss over would have bored Jesus. Remember we follow a long haired, unemployed, perhaps homeless Rabbi whose skin would not have resembled the skin tones of Northern Europeans.

Jesus did not address clothing, hairstyles, appearances, or orientation, but he did repeatedly warn his followers about judging others. Judgmental Religious people made Jesus’ blood boil. Here is the problem, the offense to God: if we are grumpy and judgmental and carry the name of Jesus then we disgrace his name and grieve the Holy Spirit.

If you want to spend your energy judging the lifestyles and actions of others, go ahead, knock yourself out. But if you do it in the name of Jesus, then you are really going to tick Jesus off.

But didn’t Jesus tell the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more? Yes, he did. But here is the spoiler alert – you are not Jesus! Do not ask yourself WWJD, (what would Jesus do).

Rather, ask what Jesus has asked you to do. And the answer to that is quite simple: love them and take care of your own issues. That ought to be enough to keep you busy.

Judging others is not a Spiritual Gift. It is a burden; it is a waste of time and it offends the one who forgave you of all your misdeeds.

See you in church!

Pastor Jim

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants

Honoring Pastor Dennis and Jeri Hanson, and Pastor Eric and Kathleen Ottum

The Summer of 2019 gives us the opportunity to observe two remarkable milestones in the lives of our beloved pastors.

Pastor Dennis Hanson was ordained 55 years ago. Dennis and Jeri have given their lives in service to the Lutheran Church and the gospel work of Jesus Christ. In retirement they moved to Whidbey, switched gears, and continued to serve the people of TLC.

Pastor Eric Ottum was ordained in the Summer of 1969. As Astronauts were setting foot on the moon, Eric and Kathleen were beginning a journey of faith and faithfulness that has far out-lived moon landings. After calls in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, Pastor Eric and Kathleen came home to Whidbey and TLC. Kathleen’s parents, Walter and Esther Krull, were dear members of our congregation.

This Sunday at TLC, we will be honoring the combined 105 years of faithful service to us and to the larger church. I would encourage you to bring a card to express your thankfulness. We will honor them at the worship services, and with cake during the coffee hour.

It should be noted that Dennis and Eric will not be retiring yet; ordination is for life, and we hope to be blessed by their ministries for many years to come.

See you in Church this Sunday! Wear your T-shirts, or Hawaiian shirts – put something on and join the party at TLC.

Moon People

Moon People

Moon People
Weekly Word

50 Years today, the world watched as Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. Happy Anniversary!

Scientists tell us that there is no man on the moon. In fact, there is no life whatsoever. However, without the moon there would be no human life on earth. Without the moon the world would be almost entirely covered with water. The earth would be spinning three times as fast. Each day would only be 8 hours long and winds would howl at more than 100 miles per hour all the time.

Some billions of years ago the earth was spinning out of control and there was no intelligent life to be found. Then, a planet the size of Mars slammed into earth. The result was chaos, the melding of two worlds, the formation of an atmosphere, and the birth of the moon. Ever since, the moon has acted as our friend. It slowed down our spin, it controls our tides, it is the rhythm keeper of our world. So even though it has no life of its own, the moon makes it possible for life to exist on earth.

Jesus said to his followers, “you are the light of the world.” That got me thinking more about the moon. That is when it occurred to me that we may be “MOON PEOPLE.” On clear nights, you look up to the sky and see the moon. It brightens the night sky. Why, I even tried playing golf once in the light of a full moon.

But the moon is dark, cold, and lifeless. The moon has no light of its own. The moon simply receives the light of the sun, and reflects it back to its neighbors on earth. It is just as well, as the moon could not hoard, store up, or save the light anyway.

As Christian people, we are no better or worse than our neighbors. We are not more lovable and we are not loved more by God. But we have been exposed to a great light. We have bathed in the light of the word made flesh. We have had words of Grace wash over us. Our calling is to be “Moon People.” To reflect the light and grace of God – to our neighbors. We cannot hoard it. We cannot save it. We get no credit for it being there. We simply reflect it back.

It has been fun to reflect upon the reflection that greets me in the evening sky. So, next time you look up there and see the lifeless orb which makes our life possible, next time you look up at the brilliance of the moon in the evening sky, remember that it has no light of its own – it is just reflecting.

Be “Moon People,” my friends. Reflect the light of Jesus for all to see.

Love,


Pastor Jim

 
Stick to Jesus

Stick to Jesus

Weekly Word

What do we agree on? Where do we have common ground? What does it mean to follow Jesus? Is there a Christian position that addresses the cultural, legal and social issues that threaten to divide us?

We believe that God created human beings, our planet and all that exists. How God did it, how long it took, when it happened? Scientific questions like those are interesting but they are not a part of our shared confession.

We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. We believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. We believe that Jesus taught us a better way of living and loving. We believe that Jesus died on the cross and was raised to new life.

Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. Jesus also taught us that they are all our neighbors. Jesus taught us to forgive each other, to believe that God has forgiven us and to forgive ourselves.

Jesus taught us that the we are to care for the needs of the orphan, the widow, the poor and hungry, the oppressed and the foreigner. Jesus taught us to be humble, humble foot washing servants. Jesus freed us from judging others.

Is there a Christian position that addresses the cultural, legal and social issues that threaten to divide us? Most of the time, the answer is NO. Life in a fallen world is rarely “black and white.” There is a whole lot of gray. There are good Christian people who hold differing views on a variety of issues.

Make room in your life for a whole lot of gray.

Divorce is less than God intended, but sometimes it is less harmful than staying together. Taking the life of another human being is less than God intended, but sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. Abortion is less than God intended, but sometimes it might be the prayerful option of choice. Life is sacred, but we do not worship life or preserve it at all costs.

Dancing is not sinful, but the church once taught that it was. Playing cards and shooting pool are not sinful, but the church once taught that they were. Sex is not sinful, but for most of its history the church pretty much taught that it was a necessary evil. “Sex is dirty, save it for someone you love.”

Christian teachings include: humility, patience, kindness, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, honesty, and faithfully keeping the promises that we have made. Those apply to every life issue and every social concern. But how faithful people live into those teachings and understand their application, is open for interpretation.

Therefore, let me counsel you in this way: stick to Jesus, follow Jesus, work for peace and justice but do not think that you have the corner on the market of truth or divine revelation. Be humble knowing that good Christian people may have opinions that are different from yours. And as incomprehensible as it might seem, they could be right. Dancing might not be a sin.

What do we agree on? Stick to Jesus!

I am honored to share the journey with you—even if we don’t always share the same opinion.

In love,
Pastor Jim