Happening Now Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Before the drama of Holy Week and the joy of Easter, I want to pause and give thanks.  I give thanks for the many people I see investing themselves wholeheartedly in SOV.  Without naming names, I want to offer a few glimpses of the good will, integrity, and strength of love that I see in the work of God's people here. 

I see Church Council members listening intently last week to Pastor Susan Kintner, the Bishop's Assistant, as she gives them an orientation to the interim period and the call process.  They ask good questions.  They care.  They want this transition to a new pastorate to work well, to open a good future for SOV.  I'm impressed with their attentive thoughtfulness as they look ahead.

I see an adult woman who devotes a lot of time and energy to help a younger woman take the right path in life.  She goes out of her way to provide counsel and resources.  She talks to me about how she tries to help.  I see the love and concern in her eyes.  I thank God for this gift.

I see young adults who are not yet elected leaders of the congregation but are getting ready.  They have talent, intelligence, and energy.  What is most remarkable is that they have a passion for this church.  I hear it in their words.  I observe it in their body-language and facial expressions.  They demonstrate their love for this church by being here a lot, by sharing in the ministry, by showing me they are ready for more.  I'm witnessing a miracle of faith and I feel so grateful.

I see a young man home from school for spring break talking eagerly with me about a sermon.  I see an elderly woman telling me how much she loves to study the Bible and how it helps her grow spiritually.  I see a woman whose love for God expresses itself in a disciplined prayer life.  I see choir members who put in a great deal of time and energy singing their hearts out to God, to make the worship life of this church engaging and beautiful.  The devotion of these folks touches my heart. 

These are only a few stories of many we could tell about this congregation's faith.  It is a privilege to become acquainted with the hearts of God's people here.  Each story, each person, reflects God's holy love and care.  Thanks be to God.  May this work of God's love be strengthened by our immersion in the drama of Holy Week and the exultation of Easter. 

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Palm Sunday
Luke 19:28-40
Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalms 118:1-2, 19-29
Mark 11:15-18

THIS WEEK

Wednesday      10:00 a Bible Study with Pastor Brian
                         5:30 p Lenten Soup/bread potluck supper
                         6:00 p Lenten Video Killing Jesus, Part 2: Atonement
                         7:00 p Holden Evening Prayer service
                         7:00 p SOV Choir Practice
                         8:00 p SOV Band Practice

Thursday         12:00 p All Church Luncheon

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

Saturday         10:00 - 11:300 p SOV Choir Practice

Fellowship March Gladness
Please bring your donated pantry items to the church on Sunday

Easter Flower Remembrances
Please add your remembrances to the sign up sheet located in the narthex

Holy Week (March 29-April 3rd)

Maundy Thursday, April 2nd
7:00 pm Service

Good Friday, April 3rd
12:00 p Service
7:00 p Service

Easter Sunday, April 5th
8:30 & 11:00 a Services
Easter Breakfast
9:45 - 10:30 am

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pastor's Weekly Message

Since I forgot to write my Wednesday message yesterday I might as well use my mistake to comment on an article from the front page of today's Oregonian.  "In God We Trust Less," says the headline.  Here is the salient reporting:

Data show Portland is the most religiously unaffiliated metro area in the United States.  About 42 percent of residents in the city and surrounding suburbs identify as religiously unaffiliated, according to a survey released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute.  That's nearly 10 percentage points higher than… Seattle and San Francisco, which both came in at 33 percent.  The "nones" are… young, socially liberal and usually believe in evolution.  Most are more concerned about religious groups asserting their beliefs on others than about government limiting religious freedom.

How do we respond?  Since Lent is a time of self-examination, I suggest we take a look at our own faith and practice instead of worrying about the decline of Christianity in America.  Instead of wondering how we can convert others to the Christian faith, we should make sure that we ourselves are fully converted to Jesus.

How do we do that?  First, get yourself to Sunday worship frequently.  We hold our faith in common, in the body of Christ that gathers weekly to be fed with word, bread, wine, song, and prayer.  Sunday worship is our most essential tool for getting ourselves and our kids converted to Christ. 

Second, pray.  You don't need to be secluded and quiet to pray.  When you have a spare moment in the kitchen, on the porch, or at your desk, say a prayer.  Or pray when driving.  It's easy enough to curse while you're driving; why not say a prayer instead? 

Third, read the Bible.  Take advantage of your religious liberty: read the Bible, dwell in the Word, and live accordingly.  Act with compassion and mercy for justice.  Be peacemakers, as Jesus says. 

Finally, open yourself to God's presence in Creation.  This world is not just a bunch of random stuff happening to us.  The world around us is God's splendid work of art.  The artist is always active all around us, trying to make contact with us through the beauty and wonder of Creation.  Stop, look, and listen to hear what God is saying to you today.  You might like it.

If you do these things, your life will be richer.  You may also discover that unaffiliated "nones" start taking notice of the good things that from your trust in God.  That's the sort of news we'd hope to see on the front page of The Oregonian!

* * * * * * *
Lessons for Sunday, March 22nd
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    10:00 a Bible study with Pastor Brian
                       5:30 p Lenten potluck soup/bread supper
                       6:00 p Lenten video; Killing Jesus, Part 1: Who killed Jesus?
                       6:30 p Holden Evening Prayer service
                       7:00 p SOV Choir rehearsal
                       8:00 p SOV band rehearsal

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

Friday            Spring Begins
                      1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano studio

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

March Gladness kitchen shower continues through March
fellowship goodies; store bought or home baked are needed or other treats that can be stored or frozen; paper towels, coffee, creamers, qt ziploc bags, gallon ziploc bags, fresheners, dawn dish-washing soap, crystal light powdered drink mix.

YOUTH GROUP Vacation Raffle Tickets
$5. each or 5 for $20.
Buy your tickets and enter a chance to win a trip to  The Pines Resort in Sunriver.

Easter Flower remembrances
please add your name and remembrance to the sign up sheet in the narthex and place your donation in the offering plate or leave in the church office.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sunday School Change

We recently had an all church meeting about our Parish Ed program. It was decided that we should offer Sundayschool for all children 5th grade and younger during 2nd service. We would like to test out this new time change starting April 5th. (Easter Sunday) Our Sunday School schedule will be as follows:

March 22 and March 29th  NO SUNDAY SCHOOL: SPRING BREAK!

April 5th Easter Sunday- All children 5th grade and younger are invited downstairs during 2nd service for Sundayschool. Families will do opening together and the children will be dismissed to their teachers after the children's sermon. We will come back to service before communion.

All remaining Sunday school sessions for 5th grade and younger will occur during 2nd service only.

May 24th last day of Sunday school!

Thanks,

Stacie Sandow

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I'm thinking about teachers.  Sunday School teachers, to be exact.  Confirmation teachers, too.  At SOV we have small cadre of dedicated teachers.  They love our kids, teach them Bible stories, raise them to know Jesus.

Who is Jesus?  He's a teacher.  At the Last Supper, Jesus said, "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for that is what I am."  Jesus is sometimes called "Rabbi."  Far more often, he's called "Teacher."  Before Jesus was known as Messiah and Savior, Jesus was famous for being a great teacher.  So teaching is pretty important!

This Sunday, March 15, after the late worship service, we're going to have a meeting of parents and teachers to talk about the Christian Education program at SOV.  I've been working with Stacie Sandow, Chair of the Parish Ed. committee, to plan the program.  Mainly we want to talk about what kind of Christian Ed. program parents want for their kids.  We'll ask parents to help us dream how to create a program where kids of all ages, K-12, get weekly engagement with Bible stories, the basics of Lutheran theology, and coaching on how to put these things into practice.  The feedback and ideas we get from this conversation will become part of the congregation's process of calling a new pastor.  So this meeting is pretty important!

Dear Parents of Sunday School and Confirmation students: please come to this meeting.  We'll provide pizza and childcare.  Kids will be downstairs; parents upstairs.  We'll start as soon as we can after the second service.  We should be done by about 1:00 p.m.  Come to share ideas; come to thank our teachers.  I'm grateful for our teachers – let's show them our gratitude by showing up at this meeting about Christian education for kids at SOV!

* * * * * * *
Lessons for Sunday, March 15th
Numbers 21:4-9
Ephesians 2:1-10
John 3:14-21

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   5:30 pm Lenten potluck soup & bread supper
                     6:00 pm Lenten video clip and discussion
                     6:30 pm Lenten Holden Evening Prayer service
                     7:00 pm SOV Choir rehearsal
                     8:00 pm SOV band rehearsal

Thursday      7:00 pm LLL

Friday          1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano studio

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

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 am Worship
                   Scrip Sunday
                    * Scrip sales from March 15, March 29 and April 19th all proceeds will go to the SOV youth group to help fund their trip to the ELCA youth convention. Please help support SOV's youth and buy scrip cards.
                  **Don't forget to link your Fred Meyer rewards card and help SOV earn rewards along side you.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Thank you" from Pastor Randy

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, O Most High, to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night… To the music of the lute and the harp and to the melody of the lyre."
     Psalm 92:1-2


Words of thanks make for easy writing, but I wasn't interested in them.  What I wanted to write was about how hurt I felt and how difficult these days had been, but who wants to read that?  So, that brought me back to thanks again thinking of my last Sunday at SOV.  It was a strangely sweet time leaving me with many reasons to give thanks.  Thanks for the monetary gifts.  They made it possible not to worry about house payments for awhile.  Thanks for the many kind words.  So many that sometimes I wondered who everyone was talking about.  And then I wondered why this guy didn't have a call to be a pastor any more.  I was also thankful that my little family could be there.  Thanks to my son Josh for reading for me when I couldn't.  Thanks to Jameson, Steve, Charlie, Dan, Kelsey and the rest of the choir for all the excellent music. (not only the lute and the lyre, but so much else).  The reality of life as a mixture of thankfulness and wrestling with sorrows and doubts.  Returning again to Psalm, this time Psalm 43:5 that says "Why are you cast down O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God."

In praise of the Creator of all things, including hope and surprise and as we give thanks!

Pastor Randy

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I like leading funerals.  It's one of the pastor's duties I love best.  I can't say they're fun; but they are blessed.  They get us right to the core of the gospel — We are beloved of God and eternally cherished in God's eyes.  God takes action on our behalf in Jesus Christ to make sure that the original plan for us — life fulfilled in communion with God — achieves its goal.  That's good news, if you can believe it.

This Saturday, March 7, we have a funeral at SOV.  It is for Marilyn Wheat, mother of Debbie Zahrowski.  I met with Debbie and her sisters a couple weeks ago to talk about their mom.  I didn't know Marilyn, so it's helpful to hear the stories her children tell about her.  It's a time where we grow closer to one another in God's spirit, so we can come together to honor Marilyn's memory and to commend her to God's everlasting welcome.

Near the beginning of the funeral, the pastor announces the good news to the assembly with words that come from St. Paul's letter to the Romans.  It goes like this:

When we were baptized in Christ Jesus we were baptized into his death.  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

I never tire of speaking those words to the congregation.  They are the heart of the gospel.  Jesus Christ has died for us and is risen from the dead.  By God's grace, Jesus' fate and destiny becomes ours.  In Jesus' death, we die to sin.  In Jesus' resurrection, we live for God embraced by God's love.  And that is the start of a whole new life, no matter how long you have left to live.

* * * * * * *
Lessons for March 8th
Exodus 20:1-17
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   10:00 a Bible Study with Pastor Brian
                      5:30 p Lenten Potluck soup/bread supper
                      6:00 p Lenten video Kingdom of God; a transformed world of mercy, justice, truth
                      6:30 p Lenten Holden Evening Prayer
                      7:00 p SOV Choir rehearsal
                      8:00 p SOV band rehearsal

Thursday        6:30 p Men's Night at Lil' Cooperstown

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

Saturday         10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal
                       1:00 p Celebration of Life; Marilyn Wheat

Don't forget to SPRING FORWARD. Set your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.

Mandatory parent and youth Detroit meeting
Sunday, March 8
youth     5-7 pm
parents  6-7 pm

March Gladness kitchen shower
fellowship committee is collecting select items to restock SOV's kitchen pantry: regular coffee, toilet paper, qt/gal zip lock bags, vanity fair lunch size napkins, cocktail napkins, any brand, air wick or glade air fresheners& spray, dawn liquid dish washing soap, 16-32 oz liquid creamers, crystal light dry juice mixes.