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