Happening Now Blog

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.

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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


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


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


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


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

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