Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

from Pastor Brian

My message today is gratitude.  Gratitude for so many things that shout greetings today.  Gratitude for the warm sunny day, for gentle wind that transports scents of spring to where I stand.  I'm grateful to lead Wednesday Chapel for Kids of the Kingdom.  I love singing with this group of about a dozen 4-5 year olds and bringing them a simple Bible message every week.  I'm grateful for this congregation where things are going pretty well right now.  Spring seems to have brought us growing joy, budding hope, and maturing commitment to healthy, respectful community life.  This is cause for celebration!  I'm also grateful for the presence of Shekar and Shanthikumari Pedapalli in worship last Sunday (uncle & aunt to John P., who usually attends late service with his spouse Christina).  Talking with them after worship, they expressed their appreciation for Shepherd and asked for prayers for their son John Stevenson, a Lutheran pastor who is doing mission work in one of the tribal areas of rural India.  Shekar & Shanthikumari's good spirit and lively faith remind me that God has made a great big world out there.  How wonderful that we've been given the privilege of playing a small but good role in the great creative project God's got going on.  Another thing I'm grateful for is the opportunity to spend time with other interim pastors this week.  I'll gather in Eugene on Thursday with colleagues from all across the Oregon Synod, to share news of what is going on in our churches and to talk about challenges in our ministry.  We seek counsel and support from one another as we help our congregations walk with God in a good way while they are calling a new pastor.  I'm grateful that each of these congregations benefits from being connected to a larger network of encouragement and support.  I'm grateful that I have the privilege of representing this larger Church – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the apostolic tradition stretching all the way back to Peter and Paul – while serving as your interim pastor.  The life of the Church embraces every aspect of our human adventure.  It all shows up one way or another in this local incarnation of the body of Christ that we call "Shepherd of the Valley."  Listen carefully and you'll hear many wonderful things shouting greetings as Shepherd carries on in joy.  May the Holy Spirit give you awakening gratitude as you receive these gifts of God.

* * * * * * *

Please note that Pastor Brian will be out of the office on Thursday while attending the Oregon Synod Interim Pastors meeting at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Eugene.

Lessons for Sunday, February 28th
Isaiah 55:1-9
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9


Wednesday    9:00 - 1:00 p KOK preschool/chapel
                     10:00 a  Bible Study
                     5:30 p  Lenten potluck soup/bread supper
                     6:00 - 7:00 p Lenten movie and discussion

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool

Friday          9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

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

Sunday        8:30 & ll:00 a worship services
                   9:45 a Adult Education class
                   6:00 - 7:30 p Confirmation Class

Please Note;
No All Church Luncheon this Thursday (February 25th)

Social Concerns and Fellowship committees are teaming up...
Donation collection to stock the GEM ministry pantry and SOV's kitchen pantry runs February 28 - March 20. Please place the GEM items in the marked barrel in the Narthex located by pastors office. Please place the kitchen items in the kitchen.

GEM Ministry donation needs:
Tooth paste, tooth brushes & floss                          Shampoo & Conditioner
Bath bar soap                                                           Men and Women's deodorant
Laundry detergent                                                    Liquid dish soap
Toilet Paper & Kleenex tissues                                  Paper Towels
Glass Cleaner                                                            Toilet Bowl cleaner
Hand or Body Lotion                                                  Mouthwash

SOV Kitchen Shower donation needs:
Regular coffee                              Air Wick or Glade air fresheners & spray
Toilet paper                                  Dawn liquid dish washing soap
Liquid hand soap                          Qt./Gal. zip-lock bags
16-32 oz. liquid coffee creamers    Vanity Fair napkins – lunch size
Crystal Light dry juice mixes         Cocktail napkins – any brand      
Spray kitchen counter cleaners     Tall and medium plastic Kitchen trash bags
Paper Towels                               Windex glass type cleaner
8oz or 10 oz paper coffee cups      NO STYROFOAM PRODUCTS PLEASE

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

from Pastor Brian

Have you seen the film "Jesus Christ Superstar" or the theatrical version?  I hadn't seen the whole thing until I started preparing for our Wednesday evening Lenten sessions.  I'll show portions of the film at 6:00 p.m.; then we'll have some discussion.  The film's core question is as salient now as it was in 1971 when the show first hit the stage:

Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ / Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ, Superstar / Do you think you're what they say you are?
Did you mean to die like that? Was that a mistake?
Or did you know your messy death would be a record-breaker?

Who is Jesus Christ?  Why, really, did he have to die like that?  Couldn't he have gotten the job done in a way less painful and puzzling?  People in the gospel stories ask these questions.  Anyone who's serious about their faith sooner or later asks themselves such questions about Jesus.  We wonder and wrestle with the answers coming from our church, our culture and from our own hearts.  The answers we embrace determine the character of our faith, or lack of it.

This is a compelling film.  It handles historical context with admirable honesty.  It's adequately faithful to the biblical text.  Memorable songs get the issues stuck in your head (and maybe your heart).  It clothes the gospels' witness to Jesus in the cultural garb of late 1960s America.  It is intentionally provocative — and this may be its most faithful witness, for stories about Jesus in the New Testament are boldly provocative in ways hard to grasp unless you've done historical-critical study of the Bible.

You'd have managed better / If you'd had it planned.
Now why'd you choose such a backward time / And such a strange land?
If you'd come today / You could have reached a whole nation.
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication!

Do you really want to know?  Now you don't have to do Bible study to satisfy your curiosity.  Just come to our film sessions on Wednesdays in Lent to discover how Jesus can still stir things up and expand your consciousness of who he is, really.

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Sunday, February 21st
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 13:31-35


Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool/chapel
                     10:00 a   Bible Study
                      5:30 p   Soup/Bread potluck supper
                      6:00 p   Lenten Devotion

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                     7:00 p   Council Meeting

Friday          9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

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

Wednesdays in Lent (begins tonight)
5:30 pm Soup/Bread potluck supper
6:00 - 7:00 pm Lenten Film Devotion

Last call to donate to KOK's canned food drive
KOK Loving Our Neighbor Can Food Drive: Please join us in showing love and kindness to our neighbors by bringing non-perishable foods to church between February 1-21. At the end of the month, the Preschool 4's Class and  Pre-K classes will deliver the food to the Oregon Food Bank as they learn about one way they can show love and kindness to our neighbors in need.

Oregon Food Bank Needs:
· canned meats (i.e., tuna, chicken, salmon)
· canned and boxed meals (i.e., soup, chili, stew, macaroni and cheese)
· peanut butter and other nut butters
· canned or dried beans and peas (i.e., black, pinto, lentils)
· pasta, rice, cereal
· canned fruits and vegetables
· 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
· cooking oil

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Ash Wednesday
Services 11:30am & 7:00pm

from Pastor Brian

"What should I give up for Lent?"  People ask me that a lot.  Here are the top five things people say they want to give up: (1) Chocolate; (2) Ice Cream; (3) Beer/Wine; (4) TV; (5) trashy novels.  Well, I suppose quality of life may improve by giving up these things (except chocolate!) but seriously I wonder why people think that abstaining from these things has anything to do with God.  The main thing about Lent is not our abstemiousness.  In fact, it's not us at all.  It's God.

That's the mistake most people make about Lent: to focus on self instead of on God.  From this self-focused point of view, Lent is about self-denial, self-discipline, self-improvement. It is (they think) the pastor's job on Ash Wednesday to start the Lenten season right by making them feel really bad about their sinful selves so they'll be properly motivated to hammer their sins and vices and thus forge themselves into the kind of people they think God wants them to be.  Can people know what God wants them to be?  Could they attain such aims if they tried really hard?  Such a self-focused spiritual path loses sight of God.

Instead of giving up things for Lent, the key is to add things that put us in the way of God's creative, transformative, community-creating, life-fulfilling power.  Then let God's power have its way with us, do its work on us.  We don't know what God has in mind.  We don't know who God wants us to be.  We don't know how to get there from here.  But God knows.  So we go with God.

What do we add on?  How do we put ourselves in God's power?  Glad you asked!  Here is a spiritual practice you can do to let God have God's way with you.  Read the Bible and think about it.  The Word of God, Lutherans say, is the source and norm of faith and life.  The Bible is a graphic user-interface for an interactive virtual-reality encounter with that cosmic creative spiritual power (a.k.a. "God") who is making you up as you go along.  Reading the Bible and thinking about it (a.k.a. "prayer") is the best way I know to let go of yourself and let God begin to re-route your neural connections, re-organize your habit patterns.  If you spend A LOT of time doing this during Lent (highly recommended), you might begin to notice some good new things happening in your life.  Take time to let them grow and develop; notice where these changes take you.  It might turn out that you let some things go because you spend so much time with Bible, prayerful thinking and nurturing new things from God.  You may find guilty pleasures already gone before you have to strain to give them up!

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Sunday, February 14th
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13


Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/chapel
                   11:30 am  Ash Wednesday service
                   7:00 pm   Ash Wednesday service

Thursday    9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool
                  7:00 pm  LLL

Friday        9:00 - 12:00 pm  KOK Preschool
                  1:00 - 9:00 pm  Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday    11:00 am  Don Roach Memorial Service
                  4:00 - 8:00 pm Youth Group Babysitting Fundraiser night
                  drop your children off for food, fun, crafts and games while you enjoy a "date night" or "shopping"

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 am Worship services/First Sunday in Lent
                   6:00 - 7:30 pm Confirmation class

Valentine Babysitting Night (youth group fundraiser)
Saturday, February 13th
4:00 - 8:00 pm

food, games, crafts and lots of fun provided!

KOK Loving Our Neighbor Canned food drive
February 1-21
If you would like to join KOK in showing love and kindness to our neighbors please bring your non - perishable items and place them in the box located under the church office window.
Items needed;
canned meats; tuna, chicken, salmon
canned and boxed meals; soup, chili, stew, macaroni & cheese
peanut butter and other nut butters
canned or dried beans and peas
pasta, rice, cereal
canned fruits and vegetables
100% fruit juice or vegetable juice (canned, plastic or boxed, no glass)
cooking oil.

Prayer Shawl Ministry
Prayer shawls were blessed and given to 11 people so far in 2016.  Please keep these people in your prayers. Do you know how to knit and/or crochet? Would you like to learn how? We have lots of new yarn for prayer shawls. If you are interested in being involved in this ministry, please contact Brenda 503-545-6574 or Caryl (503) 784-5236.

Fellowship Kitchen Shower
February 21-March 20th
Please consider picking up an extra roll of paper towels, paper napkins, coffee cups, juice cups, flavored creamers, regular canned coffee etc next time  you grocery shop.

Lenten Wednesdays
February 17, 24,
March 2, 9, 16
Soup/bread supper   5:30 pm
Lenten devotion/service   6:00 - 7:00 pm

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

At age 22, I'd been gone from church for several years.  I believed in God but found church boring.  Other avenues of spiritual growth felt more fascinating.  Yet, I still read the Bible and liked the Jesus I saw in the gospel stories.  Unexpectedly, I got to know a young man who'd finished his course work for the M.Div. degree at Luther Seminary; he was waiting to be ordained a Lutheran pastor.  I asked him about prayer.  I'd been reading Thomas Merton's books and was very much interested in the sort of contemplative prayer he explored.  So — thinking of Merton — I asked my almost-a-pastor friend how I should pray.  He said to me, "When you pray, you should pray the Lord's Prayer."

What a let-down.  I'd learned the Lord's Prayer in Sunday School.  It seemed so ordinary that it was hardly worth the time it takes to recite.  What about the mystical heights and depths of prayer I'd read about in Merton and others?  My friend patiently helped me understand that the Lord's Prayer shows us Jesus' own spirituality, helps us to trust God as he trusted, to want the same things Jesus wanted.  It may not be the last word in prayer, but it certainly should be the first.

We pray the Lord's Prayer a lot — not only at every worship service, but also as a closing ritual to end every meeting.  Do you know what you're asking for?  Would you like to know more before you pray this dangerous prayer?  Starting February 14, I'll offer a video series on the Lord's Prayer featuring James Nestingen, Emeritus Professor of Church History at Luther Seminary.  Every Sunday between worship services, I'll show one of Prof. Nestingen's talks (25 min).  Then we'll have a discussion.  This would be a good Lenten discipline.  I invite you to listen deeply to his exploration of the Lord's Prayer.  You may be surprised if you think this prayer is too ordinary and boring to bring God closer to you.

I'll close with words from Prof. Nestingen:

We begin our study of the Lord's Prayer by first acknowledging its familiarity. We can say it by rote, hardly thinking at all about what we are saying. To be sure, there are times when we really see the need to come to God, exposing our deepest fears and hopes. There is nothing deeper. At such times there is nothing more poignant or visceral, and yet so full of grace, than prayer. In this video study of the Lord's Prayer, we will explore together what it means to pray, learning from the One who said, "when you pray, pray like this."

* * * * * * *

Lessons for February 7th
Exodus 34:29-35
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
Luke 9:28-36


Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool/Chapel
                    10:00 a   Bible Study
Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool
                     6:00 p  Men's Night at Reedville Cafe

Friday          9:00 - 12:00 p  KOK Preschool
                    1:00  - 9:00 p   Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      10:00 - 11:30 a  SOV Choir rehearsal
                     7:00 pm           Baby Shower for Solveig  at Kathy and Katrina Tabors

Sunday         8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Services
                    Scrip Order Sunday only scrip  Sunday in February
                    Advertising for Valentine's Day gifts - Flowers, Candy, Restaurants, etc

All women are invited to an old fashion Baby Shower for Solveig
Saturday, February 6th
7:00 pm
at Kathy and Katrina Tabors
Solveig is expecting a baby girl
Registered at Target and Toys R Us

Looking Ahead~

Shrove Tuesday
Tuesday, February 9th
Pancake Supper Youth Group fundraiser
5:30 - 7:00 pm

Ash Wednesday Services
Wednesday, February 10th
11:30 & 7:00 pm

Memorial Service for Don Roach
Saturday, February 13th
11:00 am
(we are asking for cookie or bar donations (Don loved anything "peanut butter" please bring them to the church by Thursday, February 11th)
Please let Tammy know if you can donate a plate of treats.

Youth Group Babysitting Night
Saturday, February 13th
4:00 - 8:00 pm
drop your children off for food, fun and games and enjoy a night to yourself.