Happening Now Blog

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

I remember the day my baby sister came home from the hospital.  She was so small!  Now I had my very own sister!  She was the best gift ever in all my four and a half years.  I was the first-born, so when my parents said I was going to have a sister, I was really excited!  Just about every day I asked when my sister was coming home.  My parents kept telling me to be patient.  I felt frantic to see her, but somehow I managed to wait.  The day she arrived, I felt such a strong sense of fulfillment.  My parents promised she'd come; now I could see her, touch her, hear her (and, I quickly discovered, smell her, too!).  Wonder, awe, happiness; curiosity about her, and about how our family would be now that she'd arrived; satisfaction that my parents kept their promise: all these feelings and more bubbled up and swept me away in those first few days when baby sister came to be part of our family. 

During my childhood, waiting for baby Jesus to be born at Christmas felt familiar.  It was like waiting for my baby sister to come home.  I felt the same eager anticipation.  When Christmas finally came, and Jesus was placed in the manger, all was well.  Wonder, awe, curiosity, satisfaction: the celebration of Jesus' birth brought tidings of comfort and joy, just as the old carol proclaims.

Kids seem naturally open to the holy magic that comes with the birth of Jesus.  I have to work harder at getting it now, knowing, as I do, the brokenness of the world.  I read the Christmas stories from Luke's gospel and Matthew's over and over.  I meditate on the mystery of God showing up in human form.  I wonder if I'll ever really understand.  But celebrating the birth of Jesus still evokes deep trust that the world can be healed, that God's promise will be kept, whether I understand or not.  May God give you such trust, too, as you get ready to welcome Jesus home.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"O come let us sing to the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with Thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!"       Psalm 95:1

          Those words come to life under the roof of the space that houses at times, the community of faith known as SOV.  I know that not everyone was able to be there and this is not to castigate those who were not present.  We were out of space as it was and were SRO (standing room only).  The time began with the children's program.  The kids told the age old Christmas story for us again, with many clear voices and the usual amount of bustle, including small angels, twirling about a bit.  Some of the shepherds were very interested in the wise men's offerings.  But none of those things could bring the amazing story to an end, while in reality some disruptions were to be expected and just added to the adventure a bit.  After that there was singing and such grand singing there was, mostly songs of Christmas and we ended with an uproarious version of Go Tell it on the Mountain.  By the end we carried on as if we meant to do that very thing.  Louder and louder, everyone standing and literally dancing for the joy of the song and the moment so much so, that even when we finished a murmur continued and there was no settling down immediately, because a small sliver of what roused those shepherds so many years ago was still in the air.  So that's what a "joyful" noise is.  Thanks for the gift of song Lord!

In praise of the rock of our salvation,

Pastor Randy

Sunday, December 28th
One Worship
10:00 am

followed by New Years Brunch

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

I wonder if God loves us like little kids love us.  I was leading chapel this morning for Kids of the Kingdom.  One song had us "running for the Lord."  While we ran in place, one of the kids gazed at me, engaging me with her eyes, her face radiant with joy that bordered on ecstasy.  That's when the notion dawned: maybe God loves like this little girl loves in totally open, playful joy: no guile, no shadow of anxiety, no holding back — simply sheer delight.  I'd like to think that God delights in each of us as much as some Kids of the Kingdom delight in me when we sing godly songs and share a Bible message during Wednesday morning chapel.

I'm honest enough to know that the love I get from Kids of the Kingdom has nothing to do with me.  The same love would go to any adult who treats them with kindness, respect, and open-heartedness.  The love and happiness that flow from the children is a God-given gift nurtured by caring adults.  When I'm the object of their attention, the love and delight that shine on me have little to do with my worthiness or merit.  I get better than I deserve!  Their love is poured out freely from their hearts, and totally gracious.  I experience the grace of God in the gracious acceptance I get from Kids of the Kingdom.

Today KoK gave me gifts of appreciation.  A big tag-board card from the four-year olds scrawled with their names and best Christmas wishes; from the fives, a Christmas card of green construction paper with a holiday tree on the front and blessings inside; and from all the kids and teachers, a wreath of evergreen sprigs topped with a construction paper candle.  I felt blessed to get them.  But best of all is the gift of ongoing relationship with KoK, which is what these other gifts promise.  May all your Christmas gifts be like that: a pledge of ongoing community with God and with all those people in your life through whom you receive the priceless blessing of God's guileless love and sheer delight.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars O Lord of hosts, my King and my God".  Psalm 84:3

Even in this seemingly barren season there is still much that bears witness to the richness of life. As the trees reach their inky fingers upward, now bereft of leaves. The homes of so many of those birds I watch so joyfully in the summer, are now revealed to us all. What a grand and varied testimony to creation's sometimes surprising richness. Already there are green shoots springing forth with promises of daffodils in a short time.

It seems a little absurd, but there is the green and its witness to grand things yet to come. That can help in the midst of the gray we may feel stuck in. I pray for the strength to keep hopefully looking.

Blessed Christmas,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, December 21st
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

THIS WEEK

Wednesday      10:00 am Bible study w/Pastor Randy
                         5:30 pm  Advent Potluck soup/bread supper
                         6:30 pm Advent Jesse Tree devotion
                         7:00 pm SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday         10:00 am LLL
                        12:00 pm All Church Christmas Luncheon
                         7:00 pm  Council Meeting

Friday             1:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio
                       1:30 - 7:00 pm Red Cross Blood Drive

Saturday         10:00 - 11:30 am SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday            8:30 & 11:00 am worship
                       6:00 pm  Children's Christmas and Choir Concert

Reminders:

All Church Christmas Luncheon

Thursday, December 18th @ 12:00 pm

Council meeting
Thursday, December 18th @ 7:00 pm

Donations are being accepted for Poinsettias on Christmas Eve, please place your donation in the offering plate or drop it by the church office.

Christmas Eve Candle Light Worship Services with communion and Pastor Brian
4:00 pm Family Friendly Service
6:00 pm Family Friendly Service
11:00 pm  Contemplative Service

Christmas Day Service with Pastor Randy
10:00 am

Sunday, December 28th
One Service
10:00 am
 followed by brunch w/potluck side dish; fruit, sweet  breads, muffins etc.

Monday, December 15, 2014

New church home for SOV chairs


SOV Chairs already in use at their new "church home".

Thank you Rachael for for your work in finding a home for the chairs and sharing their story.

Thank you again from our Church in Vancouver. What a blessing! God is good.  Liz

We are The Way Christian Fellowship in Vanc, WA. You are welcome to come visit anytime you are in Vancouver. Here is our newly created FB page if you want to keep up with us: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Way-Vancouver/317652658429475

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian 

"What's the pink candle for?"  Every year, someone asks why there's one pink candle with three purple ones in the Advent wreath.  Answer: it signifies "Rejoice!" Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent.  In the early centuries of the church, Advent was a forty day penitential season leading to Christmas, as Lent leads to Easter.  These days, Advent is shorter and the penitential flavor largely lost amid the consumerist ecstasy of the holidays.  But for some Christians, Advent is still a time to prepare for the Nativity of our Lord — still a time to practice quiet and simplicity as aids in awakening to the mystery of God's Word made human in Jesus of Nazareth.  For such folks, the third Sunday of Advent offers respite from strenuous spiritual practice; the pink candle marks an oasis on their pilgrim journey. 

When I see the pink candle, I always think of one of my professors from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Edgar Krentz was a distinguished scholar and superb teacher.  But he gave the impression, in class and in the hallways, of being somewhat standoffish and grumpy.  Ed and his wife, however, had a cherished annual tradition: their "Advent Gaudium" party.  "Gaudium" is Latin for "joy."  Advent at LSTC was a time of waiting and preparation: waiting for the semester to get over, and preparation for the shock of final exams!  Surely, this was a penitential season, when we attempted to rectify our academic sins of commission and omission!  Amid the stress of this season, Ed and his spouse threw a lovely party during the third week of Advent.  It was an event of ease and joy.  They were gracious hosts to the anxious students in all of Ed's classes.  The frenzy of the holidays and all the pressures of school were left behind as we enjoyed good food and drink in a generous spirit of care, compassion, and joy.  It was a gift of time to give thanks for Ed and for one another, and to celebrate all of God's goodness to us.

Jesus is the light of the world.  His truth and love still shine no matter how stressed we are by life's demands, no matter how dark the clouds and brief the day as old December flies away.  May the pink candle mark an oasis for you, and remind you that there's good reason to take joy in Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone?  And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one.  A threefold cord is not quickly broken.        Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

          Sitting at the top of our driveway taking in a bit of the bird show, the hedge was alive, mostly with tiny fowl who can't seem to stop flitting about.  There was an addition when a flicker flew through and offered up its high pitched call. I heard that same call later inside at Lowe's.  It was meant to scare the other birds inside who are not wanted.  I didn't know other birds would be frightened by a flicker's call, and apparently neither did they as none of them seemed to leave the building.

          And then there was a grand addition of hundreds of geese flying over, one big V after another.  They are fascinating.  I don't know exactly where they were headed, but they knew and together they cover thousands of miles in the by-ways above us.

          Forgive me if this is too repetitive.  Many times over the past nine months I have felt so alone, tired frustrated and disappointed.  But God has lifted me again sometimes in tears, sometimes with a grin.  Thankful for the ways of geese and God's love as well. Consider these things I read about geese and their flying.

  1. Those in front rotate their leadership.  When one lead goose gets tired, it changes places with one in the wing of the V-formation and another flies point.
  2. By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one another.  Each flap of the wings literally creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.  One author states that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71 percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own.
  3. When one goose gets sick or wounded, two fall out of formation with it and follow it down to help and protect it.  They stay with the struggler until it's able to fly again.
In peace and power of the Creator of all things,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, December 14th
Isaiah 6:1-4, 8-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     10:00 am Bible Study w/Pastor Randy
                      5:30 pm Advent potluck soup/bread supper
                      6:30 pm Advent Devotion - Jesse Tree
                      7:00 pm Choir Rehearsal
                      8:00 pm Band Rehearsal

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten

Friday          9:00 - 11:30 am KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      10:00 am  Choir Rehearsal
                    1:00 - 3:30 pm Palmeter Piano Recital
                    5:00 - 8:00 pm SOV Youth Fundraiser Babysitting Night
              Drop your children (11 yrs and younger) off for a fun night of pizza, crafts, games, movie etc. Tell your neighbors and co workers...

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 a Worship w/Pastor Brian
                  Scrip Order Sunday, last chance for Christmas

Christmas Program and Choir Concert
December 21st
6:00 - 8:00 pm

Don't forget to add our wonderful staff here at SOV to your list of people to buy for this season!  If you want to contribute to Christmas gifts for Pastor Randy, Pastor Brian, Jameson and Tammy, please mark your donations "Staff Christmas Gifts" and either put them in the offering plate on a Sunday or get them to the church office anytime before Christmas Day. Contact Elaine at TreasurerSOV {at} gmail.com if you have questions.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Message

"I will praise the name of the God with a song, I will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This will please the Lord, more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs."  Psalm 69:30-31

            One week's reflection on Thanksgiving would not do at all, so I return again this week, but minus horns and hoofs, but thinking of songs as the Psalmist directs.  We will sing many songs on Sunday evening when we go caroling which to me seems a great way to give thanks plus the fact that such singing seems to bring folks joy is another reason to give thanks.  We have been given the chance to be a blessing in peoples' lives.  How cool is that?  Thank you Lord.  There always seems to be more like when the creator does the magnifying himself and that brings to mind something I never get over as a born and raised flat lander.  This past Sunday there were the upper slopes of Mt. Hood, shining brightly and majestically in the sun, turn around and there was the coast range.

            Thanks for the beauty Lord.  Please help me pay attention and be lifted as only you can.

Peace in all places,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday
Isaiah 40:1-11
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  10:00 a Bible Study with Pastor Randy
                     5:30 p Advent potluck soup/bread supper
                     6:30 p Advent devotion    Jesse Tree w/Pastor Randy
                     7:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal
                     8:00 p SOV Band Rehearsal

Thursday       9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                      6:30 p  Men's Night at Cruise in Country Diner

Friday            9:00 - 11:30 KOK Preschool
                      1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday       10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir Rehearsal

Sunday          8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Second Sunday of Advent  (Pastor Randy Schutt serving the pulpit)

Christmas Caroling  
Sunday, December 7th
meet at SOV at 4:45 p
Potluck chili/soup potluck following.

Scrip News
new vendors; Buffalo Wild Wings
                      Cabelas is at 8%
                      Target is at 2.5%
Columbia Sportswear is still offering an employee pass (up to 4 guests) or online shopping for every $50 gift card good until January 4, 2015

Dont forget to link your Fred Meyer rewards card by calling 1.800.576.4377  NPO#91312

As we remember all of the important people in your lives this Christmas season, let's not forget our wonderful staff here at Shepherd of the Valley.  If you would like to contribute towards Christmas gifts for Pastor Randy, Pastor Brian, Jameson and Tammy, please mark your donations "Staff Christmas Gifts" and either put them in the offering plate on Sunday or get them to the church office anytime before Christmas Day.  If you have questions, please contact Elaine, TreasurerSOV [at] gmail.com

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, a secular holiday with Christian roots.  Christian language and values pervade President Lincoln's proclamation of this holiday in October, 1863.  As we anticipate tomorrow's festivities, I offer it (slightly abridged) for thoughtful reflection.

The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. 

[Lincoln goes on to note that, amidst a terrible civil war, America enjoyed peace with other nations; that peace and the rule of law exist in all parts of the country except for theaters of military conflict; that the economy was not devastated; and that despite war, the population kept increasing.  He continues…]

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Well, friends, our nation is not now at war with itself — at least not in the sense of military conflict.  Yet, Lincoln's words affirm timeless truths as meaningful now as then.  May God remember mercy and heal the wounds of our nation wherever civil strife be found, so that all people — of every color and belief — may live thankfully in harmony and Union with one another and with all of God's Creation.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"Yes, everything is for your sake, as it extends to more and more people, so that grace may increase thanksgiving to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wearing away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day."    II Corinthians 4:15-16

Two times in the last couple of weeks I have traveled on Burnside St. through downtown Portland, taking note of the myriad folks outside, waiting for a meal or a place to sleep for the night. I also took note that many of them are probably my age. I dont believe I could live under the same circumstances so many live under. The last time I came even close was 10 years ago while living in Albany and I slept outside overnight to draw attention to peoples' plight and raise money for a shelter for homeless folks. But my night was luxurious in comparison to many. There was a fire ring available and I had a refrigerator box all my own and clean sleeping bag and no fears of someone trying to jack roll me during the night.

Sitting in my home as I write this, taking for granted so many grand gifts as I did earlier today, I was looking out my basement window and seeing clouds rolling by and bits of blue sky showing through. I was also watching birds flit in and out of the hedge and a squirrel trying fruitlessly to get into the large feeder, but not matter the acrobatics he eventually just dropped to the ground and ate the birds spillage, which just affirms my belief that the two are in cahoots in the whole thing, one of so many ways that I might be renewed every day because of the richness around us.

Thanks again to the Creator of all things,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, November 30th
Isaiah 64:1-9
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

THIS WEEK

Thursday   HAPPY THANKSGIVING  offices closed

Friday        limited office hours, call before visiting if assistance is needed

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30 A SOV choir rehearsal

Sunday      First Sunday in Advent worship at 8:30 & 11:00

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ladies Annual Christmas Dinner

Inviting all women (feel free to bring a guest)


SOV Annual Ladies Christmas Dinner
Tuesday, December 2nd
Stanford's Restaurant (Tanasbourne)
2770 NW 188th Ave, Hillsboro
5:30 pm

Please RSVP to Deann or Tammy during the week/Sunday.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

I've got prayer shawls on my mind. I've loved the prayer shawls (and the women who make them) since I came to SOV seven months ago. Sometimes, each of us needs a tangible reminder that God loves us and watches out for us. Prayer shawls provide that. Sacraments are called "visible words" — practical promises that God loves us and plans good for us. SOV's prayer shawls are like that — visible, palpable reminders that God cares for us when we feel much in need of care.

I'm thinking of prayer shawls because my spouse, Jill, recently received one from SOV. She's had health challenges that are frustrating, though not life-threatening. When Brenda, one of our prayer shawl creators, learned of Jill's situation, she was moved to make a shawl specially for Jill. Brenda and I picked out a pretty yarn that felt just right. Then Brenda and God worked together on the shawl. A couple weeks ago, I brought it home to Jill. She loves it! She wears it frequently. I know she feels fortunate to be blessed with the gift of this beautiful shawl.

Tomorrow Jill will attend the community luncheon at SOV. After lunch, we'll gather with shawl makers to bless her prayer shawl. Every prayer shawl made by our ministry team receives a blessing prayer from the pastor — either Randy or me — and from the person who's making or giving it. So I thought I'd share a blessing from Psalm 5:11-12, substituting "shawl" for the Psalmist's final word "shield."

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice / let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them / so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord / you cover them with favor as with a shawl. May you never need one of the prayer shawls, but may God still cover you with favor!

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God"      Romans 15:7


          Hoping that I haven't overdone a certain aspect of my life, but this has been a long year.  I feel like I lost most of it, thereby also losing touch losing touch with many of you.  So when I lead worship for the first time, it came with no small amount of trepidation.  Being concerned with my lack of concentration and not being the same person, the Christ continues to welcome me with a boundless and sustaining love.   The prayer and laying on of hands was a grand welcome, another reminder of the power of prayer in community.  So many kind words and I thank you for such a warm welcome back. 

In the Power of the Christ,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, November 23rd     Christ the King Sunday
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

THIS WEEK

Wednesday      10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Randy
                         7:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday         12:00 p  All Church Luncheon

KOK Christmas Greens pick up
Sunday, November 23rd  after worship
Monday, November 24th   9-1 p
Tuesday, November 25th  9-1 p

Need some extra chairs?
SOV is selling the brown padded (worship chairs) $5 ea  and the overflow blue folding chairs  $2 ea
Let Tammy know how many to reserve for you.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Out with the old, in with the new

SOV is ready to purchase new chairs to replace both the brown padded
and blue folding chairs. Our goal is to have the chairs at the
beginning of December.

We are offering the chairs to the congregation before selling them on
eBay. The brown padded are selling for $5.00 ea. and the blue folding
for $2.00 ea. They will be available for pick up between today and
December 5.

Contact the church office at 503 645 4994 to reserve.

KOK Christmas Greens

Thank you so much for ordering Christmas Greens from Kids of the
Kingdom Preschool and Kindergarten.

They are available for pickup at the Church on Sunday, November 23,
after first and second services. You may also pick them up on Monday
or Tuesday, November 24 and 25, between 9 am and 1 pm at the church.

There are a few centerpieces and wreaths available for sale. So if
you did not place an order, you may purchase one on Sunday.

Thanks for all your support for this ministry of SOV!

Wendy Roeder, Director
Kids of the Kingdom Christian Preschool and Kindergarten

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Our National Day of Thanksgiving comes in a couple weeks.  What do you give thanks for?  And why?

It's good to give thanks; giving and receiving gratitude meets a deep need.  Marelisa Fabrega's comments clarify the goodness of gratitude:

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you've been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.   (http://www.thechangeblog.com/gratitude/)

Her point is that practicing gratitude makes us better people — healthier, happier, more adaptable, and maybe more fun to be around.  But what does our religious tradition have to say about gratitude?

Gratitude is a basic response to waking up in God's world.  God's Spirit touches us and we see: everything is a miracle!  Our life; family and friends; our world filled with beauty, danger, and joy found on the far side of risk — all these are means of grace connecting us with God, giver of gratitude.  So we sing: "I praise the name of God with a song; I magnify God with thanksgiving" (Ps. 69:30)

Thanksgiving flows through us in Christ.  "As you have received Christ…, live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him…, abounding in thanksgiving."  (Col. 2:6-7)  In Christ, we share God's work for others.  Gratitude abounds as we discover God's blessings and gifts flowing from God through us.  We feel gratitude not only for the giftedness of our lives, but for the gift our lives become for others, given to serve and bless all people and all the Earth.

Whatever reason you have for gratitude, may these weeks leading up to our national Thanksgiving holiday be a time to savor what is good and say "thanks" to the God who gives it.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"For he satisfies the thirsty and the hungry he fills with good things"     Psalms 107:9

          While I was in rehab I often looked with longing at the people who were literally one step ahead of me.  Starting with the people who I saw stand up on their own, I was excited at the prospect of being able to do that myself.  It wasn't long and that wasn't satisfying enough and I focused on the folks who not only stood up but began to walk as well without alarms going off as they moved away from their beds.  And then it was desiring to be like those who walked with the simple aid of a cane and then those who could do so without limping badly.  I am still not satisfied.  Is that a common human malady, not being readily satisfied?  There is a part of me that longs to go back to how I was before my stroke, even though foolishly I didn't always feel satisfied then.  So then, it really is a matter of finding satisfaction of another form, as the Psalmist promises God might bring us.  That satisfaction may come to us in grandly different ways.  For me, in this case it was a moment that took place after rehab, upon returning to the same place with the choir and the band, and celebrating communion for the first time.  The room was pretty much filled with strangers.  As I offered the words of institution with cracking voice and tear filled eyes it felt quite satisfyingly spectacular.  Such is the power of the grace of God, offering peace and satisfaction in all kinds of ways, at any time.

          Help us all to know your promise of satisfaction Lord.

In the peace and power of the Christ

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, November 16th
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/ Kindgergarten (Chapel)
                    10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Randy
                    7:00 - 8:30 p  SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool/Kindergarten

Friday           9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschoo
                     1:00  - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio
                     6:45 - 10:00 p Confirmation Class

Saturday      10:00 - 11:30 a  SOV Choir Rehearsal

Please Note
New signs were installed on the property of SOV on Monday indicating "Private Property No Thorough fare". To enforce these new signs the cable is being put up each day during KOK/office hours. (cable near the entrance of SOV and Cornell). Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause with SOV parking but "pass through traffic" has been excessive and the speed of which the vehicles have been driving is dangerous. Thank you for your patience.

Scrip Sundays
November 16
December 7 & 14
Thank you for your continued support

Thanksgiving Basket prep
November 21st

Thanksgiving Basket distribution
November 22nd

If you haven't turned in your stewardship pledge form or time and talent sheet please remember to do so. The pledge form is needed to determine the SOV budget and volunteers are needed to fill committees and keep SOV flourishing.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blessing of the Pets...this Sunday





Sunday, November 9th
Blessing of the Animals
9:30 am (or immediately following 8:30 service)

Blessing of the pets will take place under the covered area near the main entrance of the church.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Messages

 from Pastor Brian

"Are you still going to be here?"  I got several questions like that last Sunday.  It was Pastor Randy's first Sunday back.  Some people wondered if this meant I was leaving SOV, supposing that Pastor Randy is back full-time.

The short answer is, "Yes, I'm still going to be here."  The longer answer is a bit more nuanced.  So, I'll try to give you a better answer now.

First, read the article I wrote for the November newsletter.  That information should help you to understand what Pastor Randy's part-time return means for me.  An important point: Pastor Randy is preaching and leading worship on November 2 and 16.  I'll be leading worship and preaching as usual on the other three Sundays.  Meanwhile, I'll be doing most of the other things I regularly do, except I won't be in the office on Fridays and I won't be leading the Wednesday morning Bible study.

Second, a lot remains undetermined at this time.  November is experimental.  We're exploring to find out how much Pastor Randy can do.  None of us, including Pastor Randy, know for sure right now.  His preaching and worship leadership last Sunday were a good start.  More to come.  Toward the end of November, SOV's elected leadership will review things with Pastor Randy.  Then they'll come up with a schedule for December.  We don't know how much Pastor Randy will be working next month, and how much I'll be working.  So, it's "wait and see."

Third, my best guess is that things will continue like this for a few months.  Pastor Randy may continue at .2 FTE with me at .8.  Or, his hours may increase; then mine would decrease accordingly.  Either way, it seems likely that I will continue to do some of the pastor's work among you for the next several months, sharing duties with Pastor Randy based on how much work he's able to resume.

Finally, as I said in my newsletter article, I look forward to celebrating Advent and Christmas with you.  Whatever comes, it's all a gift from God.  So, let's wait with confidence and unwrap God's gifts as they arrive day by day.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"Many Lord are asking, "Who will bring us prosperity?"  Let the light of your face shine on us.  Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.  In peace I will lie down and sleep for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety."   Psalm 4:7-8 NIV

          This psalm is entitled "Thoughts in the night, Prayer for help".  That sounds about right.   Do you ever lie awake at night and just think about things and hope for some sense of peace or joy in the darkness.

          The psalm spoke right up with the same thoughts beginning with the words "Listen to my words Lord, consider my lament, hear my cry for help for to you I pray. Joy can drive away the darkness as certain as the morning light.

          In a recent conversation with one of our newest church members I was told he looked forward to worship on Sunday mornings at SOV. That sounds like anticipating joy to me.  I have felt that way the last couple of months myself while attending worship.  The music and personal atmosphere have lifted me to something akin to joy.

          This past Sunday night as we celebrated our own limited version of Oktoberfest, I witnessed two little girls leaping and spinning on the dance floor as Lyle played the accordion.  They seemed to have limitless energy and unrestricted joy.  Their exhibition of joy brought joy to my own heart.  May we pray with the Psalmist, letting loose of our thoughts in the night as well.  May you know peace and joy.

In the name of the one who lights the darkness,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, November 9th
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   7:00 a Coffee Group
                     9:00 - 1:00 KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     9:30 a KOK Chapel
                     10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Randy
                     7:00 - 8:30 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                    7:00 p LLL

Friday           9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschool
                     1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

November Newsletter:
http://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/november2014.pdf

Thank you youth group (and youth leaders)
Job well done Sunday evening at the "Give Thanks" dinner / Oktoberfest Celebration. Your professionalism, attentiveness and responsibility was OUTSTANDING!!

GAP Ministries is in need of non-essential items
cleaning supplies; all purpose, toilet, window
laundry detergent
dish soap

Kitchen pantry needs
paper products cups; coffee & Juice, paper towels,
coffee
juice; frozen or powder
creamers
treats store bought or homemade; crackers, cheese, muffins, breads, bagels, spreads, fruit

Kevin Cope extends an invitation to
TRANSPORT TRIO in Concert

Saturday, November 8th
6:30 pm
First Baptist Church
Carlton

Saturday, November 1, 2014

THIS SUNDAY at 5! Give Thanks Dinner

Sunday, November 2nd
5:00 pm

SOV Annual Give Thanks "Oktoberfest Celebration"

(sausage was made this week, see picture)

**Please bring your Time, Talent and Treasure form

A few reminders

Sunday, November 2nd
Daylight Savings Time ends
"Fall Back" move your clock back 1 hour.
(before you go to bed Saturday)



Sunday, November 2nd  All Saints Sunday
We welcome Pastor Randy to the pulpit,
serving both 8:30 & 11:00 am worship.
**Please bring your Time, Talent and Treasure form

Sunday, November 2nd
5:00 pm
SOV Annual Give Thanks "Oktoberfest Celebration"
**Please bring your Time, Talent and Treasure form

Men's Night  CHANGE in location
Tuesday, November 4th
Cruise In Country Diner​
​6:30 pm
9785 SW River Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97123
(503) 628-0500

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

All Saints' Sunday comes soon, November 2.  On All Saints', we give thanks for those who have been most important in shaping our faith — whether they've departed this life or still grace the Earth with their presence.  This morning, I started to think about who's in my personal communio sanctorum.  Who are those saints who've been most important for me?

The first person I think of is Ellis Waggoner, a young pastor at the church where I grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin.  He was there only a year but his enthusiasm for God and passion for justice made a big impression on me.  He's probably the reason I got interested in being a pastor.  It doesn't surprise me that I heard, a few years later, that he died while serving as a missionary.  He was the sort of person who would put his life at risk for the sake of his faith.

Another of my special saints was Bengt Hoffman, a pastor from the Church of Sweden and a professor of Ethics during my brief stay at Gettysburg Seminary long ago.  When I found myself stranded in an uncongenial seminary culture and stuck in an unwelcoming civic community, Bengt gave me hope and light.  I think we found mutual encouragement – we were both out of step with the spirituality and theology shared by most folks at the seminary.  He gave me courage to disagree with the majority report, and to strike out on a different path according to my sense of God's calling.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is among my communion of saints as well.  His work as a Christian pastor and civil rights leader building an inclusive movement of non-violent social change inspires me.  Indeed, I chose to write my Ph.D. dissertation in Christian Ethics on his understanding of redemptive suffering and its relationship to building "the Beloved Community" in America and across the world.  King's ministry gives me hope that people of good will can still work together across dividing lines, so that we can address the pressing problems of racial prejudice, economic exploitation, political disenfranchisement, and spiritual demoralization that so beset us today.

Finally, my spouse, Jill James, stands with the rest in my hall of saintly fame.  Her resilience in the face of repeated adversity, her deep and expansive spirituality, her gifts as an ordained minister (in hospital chaplaincy), her abundant good will, and her compassion for all who suffer — these virtues along with her steadfast love renew me in the power of God's Holy Spirit with each new day.

Well, I've told you who's in my personal communio sanctorum.  Who's in yours?  I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on those who've been most important in your faith formation — and to thank God for them.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Ananthoth in the land of Benjamin to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedakiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity o Jerusalem in the fifth month.

 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."  Then I said, "Ah, Lord God!  Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth'" for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord."
Jeremiah 1:1-8

          This past Reformation Sunday, October 26th six of our young women (girls if you please) took part in the Rite of Confirmation.  They did what they thought they couldn't do.  But with great fear and trembling they spoke to us of their faith.  I fully believe that God was present with them and also believe it may have helped when we told them in unison "We want the best for you".  Confirmation has long been a rite in the Lutheran church.  Sadly it also seems to have long been a tradition that when young people are confirmed they are done with the church.  I pray that that is not the case for Amber, Emily, Taylor, Colleen, Anita and Marissa.  May we continue to let them know that we want the very best for them in any way we can, including, engaging them in conversation and supporting their efforts to go to Detroit for the National Lutheran Youth Gathering.  May they share more of their faith with us yet.

In the Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Great News!  Pastor Randy will be leading Sunday Worship Service & Adult Sunday School on November 2nd and the 16th!   He will also be leading the Wednesday Adult Bible Class @ 10 AM for the month of November.  

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                    10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian
                     Scrip Order Sunday


 Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 P KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                    12:00 p All Church Luncheon - Halloween celebration  (wear your favorite costume or Halloween shirt)
                     1:00 p Prayer Shawl Ministry

Friday          9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschool

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal

Social concerns needs your donations to help fill Thanksgiving Baskets, please take a moment to look at the Giving Tree and see where you can help.

Sunday, November 2nd is the last day to order Christmas Greens through KOK

Fellowship committee has extended the Kitchen Shower
The pantries are still in need of paper products and fellowship food items, please continue to bring your donations.

Monday, October 27, 2014

All Church Luncheon

Join Us Thursday, October 30th
12:00 pm

All Church Luncheon ....Halloween Party!

Costumes and Halloween attire encouraged




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian 

Confirmation!  The word still strikes fear into hearts of adults across the Lutheran Church.  They remember themselves as teenagers standing nervously in front of a congregation, trying to recite verbatim parts of Luther's Small Catechism memorized by long, painful effort.  Herr Pastor had already found them worthy to undergo this ordeal.  Success meant life and blessedness.  But failure to recite Luther correctly or a miscue in explaining the appointed Bible verse would surely mean exile into the outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  At least if felt that way, back then.

Thanks be to God, the Rite of Confirmation is different now.  This Sunday, October 26, is Reformation Sunday and a good day to confirm six young people who have been nurtured in the Christian faith by Shepherd of the Valley.  Amber, Anita, Colleen, Emily, Marissa, and Taylor have all worked hard to ground themselves in the bedrock teachings of the Lutheran Church.  They have faithfully participated in learning sessions with Pastor Randy, who has helped them to trust God and rely on God's holy love.  I, too, have had the honor of working a little bit with these young women as they prepare to affirm their Baptisms and embrace an adult faith.  Thanks be to God for their perseverance and for the love of this congregation in supporting them through this faith journey.

Each of the Confirmands will present a personal statement of faith as part of the ritual.  They have put a good deal of thought and love into these statements, with Pastor Randy's help.  These presentations are the good fruit of faithful living.  As a preacher, I appreciate how much courage it takes to stand up and tell people what you believe about God — even in front of a friendly crowd like SOV, this is challenging for teen-agers.  Please welcome these young women and their statements of faith as Christ has welcomed you: with your hearts full of love and tongues quick to offer encouragement.  Your ready affirmation of these young adults will serve as strong confirmation that they really are walking the Way of Jesus Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full, to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow."   Ecclesiastes 1:7

          Here we have the preacher, the great teacher of wisdom, in awe of the sea never being full in spite of all the streams running into it.  Choice and I were blessed to have been to the coast recently.  It was a trip that was supposed to have taken place last January, but life intervened.  Since the miracle I pray for every night has not arrived to my specifications it behooves me to take in the miraculous that takes place around me all the time and hopefully strengthened by it.  The coast is a great place for such things.

          Thinking of the distinct, sharp caws of the gulls as they wheel around in the wind.  How clumsy their take off can appear as they first run clumsily before lifting easily and wheel in the wind.  Picturing how flummoxed the fellow was on our deck when he realized  that a running start was not possible there.  Watching him try again and again to jump up on the edge of the rail but finding it too slippery to gain footing, but finally figuring it out and taking off into the wind, fascinating and miraculous.  Then there is the sound of the water itself.  Remembering the first time I stood on the beach at night and it reminding me of a thunderstorm from my youthful experience.  There is the sound rolling along but never ending, a favorite poet comparing the sound to a squadron of F16s.  Watching the dry sand blowing over the wet sand, eventually forming small dunes seemingly without end as well, the ever changing beach, the crashing water maybe bringing forth some surprises, always the miracle of continuing creation.  But I think I'll continue my nightly prayer for a miracle.

In the Power of the Creator forgive my selfishness and thanks for the continuing miracles.

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 26, 2014
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Romans 3:19-28
John 8:31-36

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten      
                    9:45 a KOK Chapel
                  10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday   9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                 12:00 - 5:00 p Tabor Voice Studio

Friday       9:00 - 11:30 a  KOK Preschool
                 1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday  10:00 - 12:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

Sunday     Reformation Sunday  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Message

from Pastor Brian

Last Saturday the leaders of your favorite church — SOV — held a retreat: "Celebrating Our Gifts."  We met morning and afternoon.  It was time well spent.  We did things church leadership groups need to do once in a while if the congregation is to serve God well.  We heard and pondered God's word.  I felt fortunate to lead a couple study sessions on one of my favorite books of the Bible, Ephesians.  (Warning: don't ask me why I like Ephesians… you're likely to be talking with me all day long!)  We also listened to one of our elders impart wisdom harvested from many seasons of Christian service.  How fortunate we are to have wise elders willing to share!

Then we talked at length about the work of this congregation.  We spoke honestly and listened respectfully to tales of the shared joys and frustrations we experience working together in this beautiful but flawed institution we call the Church of Jesus Christ.  Important truths were told.  Some tears were shed.  Forgiveness was requested and bestowed.  Hope and resolve were kindled.  When leaders embrace these core church practices, then energy, healing, and vision needed for church work flow abundantly from the Holy Spirit.  That was happening for us last Saturday.  God saw all this and said, "behold, it is very good."

Later we reviewed the Report of the Strategic Task Force and grounded ourselves again in the mission and vision of SOV.  We remembered our covenant to "Reach Up, Reach Out, Reach In."  We also talked about governance structure and discussed a forthcoming policy to guide the use of Social Media at SOV.  Last but not least, we pasted twelve big sheets of paper on the wall and sketched out a calendar of church events for 2015.  That will help our ministry teams not to double-book the congregation as we carry out God's work in this community.

I am grateful for the good work our Council and other leaders did at this retreat.  I am proud of them for investing themselves in their leadership tasks with energy and integrity as they respond faithfully to God's call.  I consider myself fortunate to have such fine partners in the gospel.  I hope you do, too.

* * * * * * *

(No message from Pastor Randy this week as he and Choice have finally had the opportunity to get away....at the beach!)

Lessons for Sunday, October 19th
Exodus 33:12-23
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

THIS WEEK

Wednesday     10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian
                        6:00 - 7:30 Parent/Child workshop "Controlling the Tantrum"

Thursday        10:00 a LLL
                       7:00 p Council Meeting

Friday             1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio
                       6:45 - 10:00 p  Confirmation Class for 7 & 8th grade continuing students

Saturday        11:00 - 4:00 p Church reserved for private event

>Sunday is Scrip Order Sunday, last chance to buy a Columbia Sportswear gift card and receive passes to the company store. SOV is now linked to your Fred Meyer rewards card and information will be available to register your card to SOV while still earning YOUR own rewards.

>Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 2nd; Give Thanks/Oktoberfest Dinner @ 5:00 pm
RSVP is required for this event as homemade sausage is being made and to ensure that there is enough we kindly ask that you let us know how many will be attending (either by email or sign up sheet in the fellowship area)

>October 26th Kitchen Shower Sunday
items requested;
liquid coffee creamers
regular ground coffee
home baked goods, packaged goods; cookies, bagels, muffins, coffee cake, crackers
cheeses; cream cheese, sliced, cube, brick
sliced meats
canned or bottled juices.
items can be brought anytime to the church.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Lately I've heard Pastor Randy pray for US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.  I'm grateful for his prayers.  I'm sure you are, too.  You may not know that one of our local ELCA pastors is now serving in Afghanistan as a military chaplain.  Pastor Scott Dunfee, of St. Stephen's in Gladstone, was called up early this year from the reserves to active duty.  He's a Commander in the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy, and oversees all military chaplains in that theater of service.

Pastor Dunfee sends home blog posts occasionally.  Here's the beginning of his most recent: 

Ground Attack  (October 7)
The Base warning sirens went off with their haunting wail.  I waited anxiously for the message that would follow, telling of what the emergency was. And then came the words: "Ground attack! Ground attack! Ground attack!" My words in response are not appropriate to print here—but I trust God will forgive me under the circumstances!  It was after 10pm on the Eve of Afghan Martyrs' Day (Sep 9) — a time to remember all who have given their lives to keep Afghanistan free — and we had been briefed that the likelihood of attacks by insurgents was greater during this time.  …

Pastor Dunfee's story continues — with surprising twists — to this conclusion:

As much as I missed a good night's sleep, I was grateful for "the test" — as well as the way it turned out.  It all added to a divine calm... and holy sense of confidence... in a ministry of presence — the Real Presence of Christ, the Crucified and Risen One!
The Real Presence of Christ grant you calm and confidence.
Pastor Scott Dunfee

If you want to read the rest of Pastor Dunfee's short article, go to this web link —
http://www.oregonsynod.org/blog/scott-dunfee/ground-attack

Shepherd of the Valley is part of a big church that does good things across the world.   Military chaplaincy is but one way we shine the light of Christ where the world is shadowed with evil.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America works with Lutherans world-wide to give help and hope to "the least of these," our sisters and brothers living in poverty and oppression.  God has not forgotten them.  Neither have we.  Some of what you give to SOV is in turn given to the ELCA to support these global ministries.  Thank you for your partnership in the good news of Jesus Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."    Psalm 27:4

          In the backyard again and why not? The portrait is continually changing and all I have to do is sit and take it in.

          It seems much quieter and less lively these days.  I know my flighted friends are still around, because the feeders still need to be filled after all and the squirrels have not gotten it all.  The hummingbirds are still about.  They whir close to my head from time to time and continue to astound me when they are suspended in the air and when they stop to sip some of the nectar.  I finally get a chance to see their delicate nature and many hues.

          When the late afternoon sun hits the trees they light up gold, ruby red and more, it is possible to actually hear the leaves as they fall and watch them drift whirling to the ground.  All of this, a chance to "behold the beauty of the Lord."
 
In praise of the Creator of all things,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 12th
Exodus 32:1-14
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  7:00 a  Coffee Group at Starbucks in Bethany
                      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                      9:30 a  KOK Chapel w/Pastor Brian
                     10:00 a  Bible Study w/Pastor Brian

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     7:00 p  LLL
     
Friday          9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschool
                     1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      9:00 - 4:00 p SOV Council/Committee Retreat

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Jill and I have a little garden.  It's almost done — tomatoes, blackberries, peppers, zucchini, and most of the flowers now bow their heads, fold their leaves, and prepare to meet their maker.  We enjoy the produce while it lasts!  Now is the season we think of bounty in field and garden, and harvest already in or almost ready.  But what of the produce and harvest of our own lives?

Our tomatoes were outrageously abundant this year.  Last spring we laid the groundwork for a good harvest.  We built frames of 2 x 12 fir planks to hold good soil.  We used an organic gardening mix from a local landscaper supplemented by home-made compost.  Or I should say, worm-made compost!  We planted, watered, pruned, guided vines, added support as biomass flourished — and prayed for lots of sun to give growth and ripen fruit.

How to lay the groundwork for a good harvest of our own lives?  Church equips us to build a framework, spread good soil, plant seeds or little starts, add water, prune, and support.  Here's how we do that: we help each other learn to pray, to worship, to serve, to forgive, to bless.  God gives the growth; good harvest comes naturally when conditions are right.

Prayer is especially important.  It's a composting technique.  We put the scraps of our lives, our hearts, into God's prayer composter.  Out of our hopes, dreams, frustrations, and fears, God's Spirit makes good soil for the seed of the Word.  Good soil is alive, a community of creatures, humus, and minerals.  Prayer enriches us, enlivens us, makes us ready to grow a good harvest.  God grant us the grace to compost our lives in prayer, so that when we bow our heads, fold our hands, and get ready to meet our maker, we may do so with joy and thanksgiving.

* * * * * * *

"But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance."     Luke 8:15

          I never considered myself to be a patient person, far too impatient in lines and traffic.  I'm feeling a bit different now after living with this stroke and the results for 9 months now (sorry just can't get away from the grip this thing has on my life).  Not having seen much progress lately I am in need of an infusion of patience.  Patient endurance is my desire in prayer.  It is the perseverance that I needed from the beginning that I need to continue with now.

          Now I can see the impatience in others that used to be second nature for me and feel badly for them.  The miracles of nature, that I so often write about do require patience to see and to begin to appreciate.  The birds do not mesmerize me on command, but after hours of watching, in other words, patient endurance.  May I know more of that gift so I can continue to see the miraculous around me and be lifted by it.

In the Peace and Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 5th
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                      10:00 am Bible Study w/Pastor Brian

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     12:00 - 5:00 pm Tabor Voice Studio
           
Friday         9:00 - 11:30 am KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday     10:00 - 12:00 pm SOV Choir Rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Healing Service
(you are invited to come to the kneelers after you have received  communion, to receive a blessing and prayer for healing.  Please share your prayer needs briefly with the anointing minister and know that they will continue to pray for you in the days to come.  If you have a need for prayer, which exceeds the bound of the time available in the service, please see Pastors Brian or Randy, or speak with)

                    Scrip Order
                    Blood pressure
                    Birthday Sunday
                    Adult Sunday School on October 5, a video on Judaism narrated by the actor Ben Kingsley. It will help us understand the background of Christianity by presenting some Old Testament stories and highlighting key spiritual practices of Judaism.  It's about 45 minutes long so we'll start at 9:55 a.m.

Next Week
KOK Fundraiser Night
Monday, October 6th

Papa's Pizza
dine in or take out
ALL DAY
**must present flyer (available at church or online  http://www.sovlutheran.com/files/kok/papas2014.pdf

Men's Night has moved to a new night
Tuesday, October 7th, 6:30 pm
Lil' Cooperstown

Ladies Dinner
Tuesday, October 7th, 6:00 pm
Gustav's
10350 SW Greenburg Rd Tigard, OR
http://gustavs.net/

Council Retreat October 11
9:00 - 4:00 pm
@ The Reserve

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Prayer: it's a good idea.  How to pray? That's often not clear.  Many of us are familiar with petitionary prayer.  That's a way of asking for help or giving thanks simply by addressing statements to God.  Another approach to prayer may not be so familiar.  It's called "Lectio Divina" – Latin for "Divine Reading."  There are four movements to Lectio Divina: Read, Meditate, Pray, Contemplate.

Read: pick a passage from scripture and read it several times.  Read it and then read it again more slowly.  Linger and savor.  Now you're ready for the next step.

Meditate: reflect on how God is speaking to you through this passage.  Don't mind the historical and literary-critical lenses a pastor or scholar might bring to the passage.  What is God saying to you today through this passage?  Dwell in the Word; and let it dwell in you.

Pray: when the spirit moves you, enter prayer.  Let this prayer be conversation.  Speak and listen; offer the thoughts of your heart to God and hold yourself open to receive in return.  Use words, images, feelings as the Spirit moves you.  It's all in the conversation.

Contemplate: as Scripture says, "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).  Let go and let God.  Let the noise in your mind go quiet .  Listen and be present to what God sends.  Here, no effort, no doing.  As if waiting for sunrise in the still, early morning, watch God's light dawn in your darkness.

You'll know when Lectio Divina is done for the day.  Trust that feeling and move on.  If you try it and like it, you can find lots of articles on the internet and plenty of books to help you go deep into Lectio Divina.  Most important is practice.  If you make prayer a regular practice, you'll enjoy the fruits.  God knows what joy it will bring.


* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine." Genesis 27:28

It was one of the many lovely nights we have had this summer. Dinner was done and as I have a penchant for, I took a nap. When I woke up I knew immediately that it had rained a bit. The house was filled with the fragrance of outside, the smell of a freshly rained on earth, maybe not the dew of heaven, but the perfume in the air was heavenly to me, a reminder of blessing. That is exactly what those words from Genesis are, words of blessing, there in particular Isaac blessing that trickster Jacob.

In the Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

THIS WEEK

Thursday   12:00 pm   All Church Luncheon

Friday         6:45 pm Confirmation

Saturday    10:00 - 12:00 pm SOV Choir Rehearsal

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Today I got introduced to Kids of the Kingdom for the first weekly chapel session of this fall term.  This is a group of kids ages four to five years.  They're bright and beautiful, full of energy, and eager to tell about what they know (e.g., some of the girls told about their beautiful princess beds!).

One of the teachers led us in a couple songs.  Then I tried to tell them about the Bible and about the Word of God.  How did I do?  Well, I think I'll do better next time.  My approach was to tell them a simple story about my day: getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, coming to KOK, etc.  And then I said that the Bible is a story, too, a story about God.  God creates, God guides, God sends Jesus to show us how to love.  Then we all live happily ever after.  I think they were with me in the story about my day.  I'm not sure they got much out me telling them that the Bible is God's story.

We finished up with another song ("He's Got the Whole World in His Hands") and a prayer.  It was a good start… to be continued next week.

I think the Kids of the Kingdom Preschool is amazing.  I have great respect for the teachers.  I'm grateful that the kids are getting such wholesome preschool instruction from these fine teachers.  And I'm grateful to God's people at Shepherd of the Valley for making this preschool a priority.  It's a great place for little kids to start the adventure of their education.  May the good start they get at KOK and SOV guide them down the right road for life!

My question is, how can we, as a congregation, support KOK and help it grow?  God knows KOK is a great little preschool.  How can we help a lot of people in our neighborhoods know about KOK, too?  I'd love to hear what you think about this.

*********************************************

From Pastor Randy

"For wisdom will come into your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." Proverbs 2:10

As I write today it is my 60th birthday, which is neither here nor there, but it is a time of taking a look and considering things. Over time I have had many thoughts and pictures of what my 60th year would bring me. None of those considerations involved a wheelchair, of course none of us know what lies in wait for us, but here I am none the less, waiting for wisdom to enter my heart and for knowledge to be pleasant in my soul. I seek both wisdom and knowledge and get glimpses of them and am being lifted again and again by the sweet stuff that would take us by surprise.

So it is back outside with the birds, in particular geese. I hear them flying overhead everyday and can only guess at the numbers based on sound, until they break above the trees often in their perfect V. It is quite a sight and the numbers sometimes amaze me and grip my attention, a little knowledge and wisdom it seems. It is certainly good for my soul and exceedingly pleasant.

In the Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

THIS WEEK

Thursday   10:00 a   LLL
                    7:00 p Council Meeting

Friday        1:00- 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday    10:00 - 12:00 p SOV choir rehearsal

Sunday       Scrip Sunday
                    60th Birthday for Pastor Randy @ 5:00 p
                    Stroke Awareness Part 2 @ 10:00 a

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pastors Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Last week Tuesday I awoke with a fever. Other unpleasant symptoms followed shortly. Over the next few days I said prayers of thanks to God that I feel good most of the time. My experience during that illness helped me to appreciate the well-being I almost take for granted most of the time.

Our bodies and minds are a holy miracle. As the Psalmist says, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Usually, we feel well. But even a small disturbance like a fever challenges everything we see and feel, and questions our easy assumption that tomorrow we'll be able to do pretty much all that we did today. God help us not to take for granted our ability to live, to feel, to act, or to love!

Even that little brush last week with the frailty of my mortal nature makes me look forward eagerly to the two guest speakers we have this month. On September 14, Dr. Diane Pierce is a clinical neuropsychologist who will tell us about some psychological ramifications of stroke. On September 21, Dr. Jamie Schmeer will talk with us about stroke risk factors and prevention. Both Dr. Pierce and Dr. Schmeer worked with Pastor Randy while he was at the Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon. Now, we have a chance to benefit from their wisdom. I hope you will come to listen attentively and prayerfully.

These things remind me of Luther's comments on the First Article of the Apostles' Creed, where we confess God as Creator:

"I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul; eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties."

May God continue to create us and sustain us in good health day by day so we can thank and praise God for the gift of living on this amazing planet.

**************************************

From Pastor Randy

"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."      Philippians 4:8


Seems like simple enough territory, to focus on the good stuff around us. While I write about it a lot, I am still learning the lesson. Once again in the midst of struggles I turn to thanksgiving for the richness of this life. Thanks for worship time, the gifts of the music, our choir and band, for all the folks who read and usher. The time is astounding and lifts me week after week. Thanks for our newest members at SOV and all the talents they bring to our community of faith. Thanks for Pastor Brian being a Pastor to me. Thanks for the beauty of creation and the bit of it I look over in my back yard and the peace I find there and corn on the cob. Thanks for all the visits and support I have received from so many of you.

In the Peace and Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, September 14th
Exodus 14:19-31
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     10:00 a LLL

Friday            9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                       6:45 - 10:00 p Confirmation Retreat

Saturday       10:00 - 12:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

>Please note change of time
The 70th Anniversary Celebration for Neil and Dolores scheduled on Sunday, September 14th will be at 9:45 a following the 8:30 am service.

>Sunday school begins for all ages this Sunday, September 14 at 9:45 am.
Adult Class will feature a Guest Speaker. This will be a two part class on Stroke Awareness. Please plan to attend both Sundays, September 14 & 21st.

>Pastor Randy's 60th Birthday Party
Sunday, September 21st
Please RSVP to secretary Tammy or look for the sign up sheet in the fellowship area. We will be ordering Pizza and will need to have a head count to order appropriately.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Rally Sunday, four days from now, brings good news. Pastor Randy will be preaching at both services. He will also distribute communion bread at one of two stations. He and I will join in welcoming new members at both services. So it will be a special Sunday. Pastor Randy and I are also working together to offer some Confirmation workshops this fall. They'll be Friday evening sessions to cover basic topics of the Christian faith. This will lead to the Rite of Confirmation for several students on Reformation Sunday, October 26. I'm glad to work in partnership with Pastor Randy.

Speaking of partnership, I continue to appreciate the faithful work of ministry carried on by many different lay members at SOV. Week in and week out, I have many capable, loving partners who make sure that good worship, good works, and good management are happening in this church. I find myself constantly grateful for the good and lively spirit at SOV and for the many faithful ministers who carry out the work of the church.

I should also mention another set of partners whom many of you may not know about. We have friends in the Oregon Synod office. I'm well acquainted with Bishop Dave Brauer-Rieke and with Pastor Susan Kintner, Assistant to the Bishop. I am in communication with them about my ministry as your Pastor in Residence. They give guidance, support, and prayers while God's people at SOV encourage Pastor Randy in his efforts to resume the work of pastoral ministry. Together — pastors, people, and Synod — we walk by faith along the road God opens before us. How fortunate we are that God provides good partners and good companions along the way.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say, "Let my people go!"  Exodus 7:16 

Those words, or something like them were used in this past Sunday's Old Testament lesson.  Pastor Brian deftly made them part of the children's message, recruiting a young present day Moses to demand freedom with a shout!  Israelites and Egyptians also called from the crowd gathered and then went out just as God intended with shout of "Let my people Go!"

          May it still be so.  When ever we find ourselves enslaved by some part of our lives may something miraculous indeed take place for us. I pray for that very thing.  Please pray such with me.  May the freedom of God's love lift us.

In Christ,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, September 7th
Exodus 12:1-14
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

THIS WEEK

Wednesday     No Bible Study
                      7:00 - 8:30 p Choir Rehearsal

Thursday       5:30 - 7:00 p KOK Orientation Night
                      6:30 p Men's Night @ Lil' Cooperstown (all men are invited)

Friday           1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday       10:00 - 11:30 a Choir Rehearsal

Sunday         Rally Sunday
                     Fall Worship Services begin  8:30 & 11:00 am

September Newsletter is available online
http://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/september2014.pdf

Mark your calendars; Adult Sunday School Class
Sunday, September 14th  10:00 - 10:45 a
Sunday, September 21st  10:00 - 10:45 a
Stroke Awareness  /  Health Sessions
Featuring guest speakers; Dr Diane Pierce and Dr Jamie Schmeer

Retts Strollathon (to learn more visit the website below or talk to Bob & Loraine Krueger)
September 27th
2:00 pm
plaza between Moda Center and Memorial Coliseum
or to donate: rettsyndrome.org
Attn: Strollathon
PO Box 706143
Cincinnati, OH 45270-6143

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

From Pastor Brian

Reflections on my birthday at SOV

First: THANK YOU! for the birthday party you threw for me last Sunday.  As I said then, I had no idea my birthday was on anyone's radar screen at SOV.  Even when Diane Lewis gave me a heads-up about the "vegetarian birthday cake" Julia Kotvis created for me, I still didn't realize that all the stuff on the big table at the back had anything to do with my birthday.  Was the pastor clueless or oblivious?  You decide!  But I finally got it when the band & choir broke into "Happy Birthday" at the end of the early service.  I'm grateful for all the gifts I received — a gift basket, over a dozen cards, the "birthday cake," and more.  Most of all, I am grateful for your generosity of spirit in all the recognition and affirmation you gave me on Sunday.  I receive it as an expression of the Holy Spirit's generosity for each and every one of us.  You have given me what you have first received from God.  I am so grateful that you've welcomed me into your community of holy love at SOV.

Second: the "vegetarian birthday cake" Julia created for me.  Wow.  In case you didn't see it — from a bowl of gloriously red tomatoes (grown in SOV's own garden), a white vase arose gracefully in the center, crowned by a beautiful white onion.  Julia's exquisite idea was born when she heard that I'm vegetarian and that I don't eat many sweets.  I felt amazed, amused, and so grateful to receive a gift of such loving creativity.  The tomatoes are tasty — the onion waits patiently to be cooked.  This is the healthiest and best birthday cake I've ever had.  Thank you, Julia!!

Finally, Pastor Randy has a birthday coming up, too.  I'm told it's September 16.  He'll join the 60 year club, too!  The Fellowship Committee is planning a birthday party for Pastor Randy on Sunday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. — a pizza party at SOV.  Please look for more news about this in weeks to come.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Fools despise wisdom and instruction."    Proverbs 1:7


          We are blessed to have a hand full of doves that have taken up residence around our home and can often be seen beneath our bird feeders, cleaning up it seems.  I love to watch how they bop around and to listen to their evening cooing.  Most entertaining may be the sound they make when they flitter away, almost like a giggle.  They may pay no attention on the way out, but when we walk past they flutter away, as if we offer threat in only one direction. It is this fear that causes their flight.  Neighborhood cats provide plentiful reason for fear.

          I am a fool if I focus more on fear than anything else.  The stroke I suffered did not make me fear God, but has given me the chance, all the more to be sustained by the beauty that surrounds me.

          Not fear but awe, which sometimes are equated.  In awe of the Creator of all things, because of those doves and so much more.  Like seeing a hummingbird seemingly hanging in mid air, and a lone sunflower reaching up where none was planted.  That hopefully provides sources of wisdom and instruction.

In Praise of the Creator,

Striving not to be a fool,

Pastor Randy
           
Lessons for Sunday, August 31, 2014
Exodus 3:1-15
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   10:00 a Bible Study with Pastor Brian
                     7:00 - 8:30 p  SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday      12:00 p All Church Luncheon

Friday          1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Reminder
Sunday, August 31, 2014
One service at 10:30 a


Notes:
ANOINTING FOR HEALING CANCELLED.  Due to an unexpected lack of anointing ministers (vacations and funerals), we've had to cancel the anointing for healing that was to take place at the worship service on August 31.  We plan to offer opportunities for anointing for healing on a regular basis once the new fall-spring cycle starts up.

TWO STATIONS FOR COMMUNION.  Beginning this Sunday we'll have two stations for communion, one for each side of the congregation.  Pastor Brian will give the bread on one side; Pastor Randy will do so on the other.  We'll continue having two stations for communion every Sunday at the late worship service, which is when Pastor Randy usually attends.  This is Pastor Randy's re-entry into administering communion at SOV.  We thank God for Randy's help with holy communion!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

We have a dandy Bible study group at SOV. We meet Wednesday mornings at 10. I love this group. We usually have about half a dozen folks. They are retired; women, mostly, plus often one man. Sharing their eagerness to learn, to grow, to deepen their understanding of Scripture has been very satisfying.

We've been studying the Gospel lesson for the coming Sunday. Today, that was Matthew 16:13-20. It's Peter's confession that Jesus is "the Son of the Living God." We discovered that is an important title for Jesus. It alludes to a passage from the prophet Hosea:

Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the Living God." (Hosea 1:10)

This oracle reverses an earlier rejection pronounced because God's people strayed from the path of righteousness and justice. It's an oracle of blessing. It's also a prophesy of reconciliation – the verse following foretells that God's people, once scattered and conflicted, would be gathered in the promised land to dwell in unity. The Apostle Paul quotes this same passage (Romans 9:25-26) to proclaim the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles in Jesus Christ – which itself is a preview of God's plan to heal all creation.

So to call Jesus "Son of the Living God" is to say that Jesus is all about healing and reconciliation. This is a promise of hope for humans living in a strife-torn world. It's also a promise of blessing for the whole Earth community. We live by these promises. And we reject the notion, so widespread now, that the Lord Jesus is a warlord who will come again to destroy the human race and demolish the Earth.

Our Bible study group talked about these things today — eagerly, deeply, and with enthusiasm. If you're free on Wednesdays at 10, please come, taste, and see that studying the word of God is good!

* * * * * * *

"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 6:6

      What some refer to as the most joyous book in the Bible, deals a lot with struggle and worry, to which I often think "thank goodness!"  Because I often worry and know I'm in good company there.  Sometimes I just think too long about things I can no longer affect, at least not worrying?  Or am I just splitting hairs? Like last week, in this space I mentioned a couple of folks by name, a taboo, an invasion of privacy. My apologies, my intent was simply to tell of a moment of God's surprising presence.

      I've been thinking about how long I've been gone from SOV. Has damage been done, irreparable damage? It worries me.  Wondering if I'll ever walk again, ride bikes with my grandkids again?

 Yet Thanksgiving is there too as well.  Looking at the collage of pictures near me, my kids and grandkids, and thinking of all the ways Choice has cared for me. All of your good wishes and prayers of one our newest and youngest and sometimes  most vocal members of SOV. Who had inspired me with personal artwork on Sunday mornings.  My name scrawled on the back.  Such beauty, thank you little one.  Worries yes, but for that reason, prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving!

In the Peace and Power of Christ,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, August 24, 2014
Exodus 1:8-14, 1:22-2:10
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

THIS WEEK

Wednesday      7:00 - 8:30 p Choir Rehearsal

Thursday        10:00 a La Leche League (LLL)
                       7:00 p Council Meeting

Friday            1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday        10:00 - 11:30 a Choir Rehearsal

>All Church Luncheon Thursday, August 28th at 12:00 p, this is open to every one, no RSVP needed and nothing to bring.

>Rally Sunday, September 7, 2014 Asking all Grandparents and Great Grandparents to help with this festive event by bringing balloons and/or fellowship treats. If you have further questions please be in touch with Corrine.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

"I think God is falling down on the job."  "I think God should get more personally involved."  I've heard people at SOV say things like this as they reflect on the dreadful situation in Iraq and Syria with the "Islamic State" driving to dominate territory in both nations. Understandably, we are concerned about crimes against humanity being committed there — and puzzled about why God doesn't intervene to end the atrocities.  Comments like these, critical of God, signal lively faith and healthy moral conscience.

 "Why does God permit so much evil in the world?"  It's a perennial question — the Achilles heel of our religion.  It looks like God can't be both all-powerful and all-loving — though that's we teach.  Given widespread evil in our world, God could be all-powerful but would then have a nasty cruel streak.  Or if God is love, then God must also be weak.  There's no obvious way out of this dilemma.  No wonder we question God! 

We don't know why God allows evil, but we do know God calls us to stand against evil.  The Prophet Amos wrote, "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." (5:24)  But those who follow Jesus are careful how they take that stand.  St. Paul tells us to "overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:21)  Paul's words summarize Jesus' response to evil in the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the reign of heaven.

We trust that Jesus is right somehow.  We stand against evil with the power of God's love.  We protect the innocent while trying to open a path for reconciliation between warring parties.  And if we think God needs to get more personally involved in the fray, well — aren't we just the people God calls to make that happen?

~~

"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads." Isaiah 35:10

A few times this past week, because of the heat and stagnant air, the smell of the dairy farm down the road has settled in around us. It brought to
mind my youth on a farm. I'm guessing that all of us have scents, sounds or sights that may take us back to a time long since believed to be forgotten.
That was brought to mind by the experience of a week ago, when much of our choir and band went to Avamere of Hillsboro to see Bob McFall and Mert
Warneking. When the music began Bob and Mert, and some of the folks who had gathered, began to sing along .We shared communion as well. The words of institution about the blood and body of the Christ brought faith, a familiarity to folks as well, altogether bringing real life to the prophet's words in "singing, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads."

In the Peace and Power of the Christ,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday August, 17, 2014
Genesis 45:1-15
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28  

THIS WEEK

Wednesday        7:00 - 8:30 p SOV Choir rehearsal

Thursday           10:00 a  LLL
                          7:00 p  Social Media meeting (if you are interested or have knowledge regarding "online presence and social media" please plan to attend this meeting.)

Friday               1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday           10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir Rehearsal

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Today I talked with someone from SOV about a report on OPB radio.  It concerned the consequences of allowing ourselves to be interrupted persistently by electronic media and distracted incessantly by instant access to digital information.  The upshot: our thinking and moral character grow shallower as we are tempted to attend to trivia rather than to explore depths of wisdom and spirit.

I think the report is accurate.  I have felt the ill effects of too much information coming too frequently.  I've tried to respond by carefully regulating my use of electronic devices and media.  But that negative strategy needs a complementary positive approach.  For me, that's prayer. 

For 40 years I've kept a daily discipline of prayer and meditation.  I can't claim miracles for it but I can say it's helped me a lot as I deal with the daily pressures and occasional idiocy (mostly my own) of ordinary life.

The words of Henry French, in his book Prayer: A Primer, ring true:

"The distractions and worries of modern life are too many to mention.  The many duties, demands and obligations that we assume or that are forced on us seem to control our lives and blur our focus.  … Like a deer in danger, we can be distracted from and forget our longing for God.  But the longing is still there — beneath the level of immediate, conscious awareness perhaps… but there, ready to turn us toward God.  Prayer… is a way of dealing with these distractions and worries; it gives us new perspective on them."

"Over time, the path of prayer will change the way you see things, will change the way you experience things, will change the way you experience yourself and God.  The path of prayer will teach you what the Psalmist meant when he or she wrote: 'For with you, O God, is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.'"


Over the next few months, I'll keep on writing about prayer.  As I do, I encourage you to keep on looking for a path of prayer that you and your family can walk together.  May God bless the steps you take.

~~

"After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray . . . when evening came he was there alone".  Matthew 14:23

We have had a series of days that for many have been too hot.  But I have enjoyed them in truth, not having to work outside and having air conditioning to retreat to.

And the evenings of those days have been particularly blessed. Things have cooled down nicely. The noise of the day has slipped away, the birds themselves becoming hushed being replaced by the crickets chorus and the gentle rustling of the trees as a sweet breeze picks up once again.  The bats are out in great numbers, offering help in pesky insect control.  Their presence is silent and barely noticeable.  It is a pleasant way to try to gain perspective of the day.  Visually considering therapy efforts and whether recovery from the stroke is really continuing.  The peaceful evening outdoors is grandly appreciated.  Blessings at any and all times.

In praise of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, August 10, 2014

Genesis   37:1-4, 12-28
Romans   10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    10:30 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian (30 minute delay start today)
                       5:30 p Worship Meeting
                       7:00 - 8:30 p SOV Choir rehearsal

Thursday       6:30 p Men's Night at Lil' Cooperstown,  all men invited for food and fellowship

Friday           1:00 - 9:00 p  Palmeter Piano Studio