A Reason to Attend

harter house

I find myself in the Oakland airport waiting for my connecting flight.  This trip to Lake Havasu City was not a vacation nor was it a business trip.  This was a family trip.  My mom was in the hospital and my dad needed on site help with important decisions about her care (as of this writing mom is heading for rehab).

Tomorrow (Sunday 9/27/15) St John’s as a congregation has an opportunity to gather together between the Sunday worship services not for a vacation or for business but for onsite help for important decisions regarding the care of our community.  Carolyn Schoenborn put it this way in an email to the St John’s Google Group:

A Personal Invitation

Early in our ministry when our children were still young and our pastoral salary qualified our children for free lunches, our parents and key members of the congregation – in their own ways – saw to it that we had the resources we needed to keep from falling into unrecoverable poverty.

We now do the same for our adult children and their families. Sometimes the assistance is minor. Sometimes it has been major. But, families especially care for one another. However, if we are victims of generational poverty, how are such life saving resource made available?

St. Johns has a wonderful opportunity to step in and become a potentially significant resource to persons living in severe poverty here in Lewis County.

On behalf of the Social Ministries Committee, I encourage us all to attend the congregational meeting this Sunday and learn how we can make a major difference for persons who are homeless and living in poverty. It’s a ministry opportunity we will not want to miss!

Carolyn Schoenborn

Please accept Carolyn’s invitation and come at 9:45am Sunday morning to learn more about this exciting opportunity and to give your first hand help in important decisions for the care of our community.

Something to think about

From Discover Your Windows by Kent R. Hunter

A man walked into the pastor’s office and said: “I want to join the church.  But don’t ask me to do anything. I don’t want to be part of any organization.  I don’t want to do any work.  I’ll come to church when I feel like it, but that’s it.”

The pastor replied:  “I see.  Well you’re at the wrong address.  Here, go to this address just down the road.  They have exactly what you want.”

The man left and went down the street until he came to the address which the pastor gave him, and was shocked to find himself at the entrance to a cemetery.

Faith takes action.

Vic Halboth


Meet a Saint Today

In Matthew 19 the disciples were trying to keep the little children away from Jesus.  The disciples didn’t want Jesus distracted with little people outside his generation.  Jesus reaction is recorded in Matthew 19:14

Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.

Our society is heavily segregated by age:

It is possible, today, for a middle-aged office worker to go to sleep on a Friday having interacted all week with not one person more than a decade older or younger; the same could well be true for her daughter in college, or her parents living at Pleasant Oaks Village. According to one study, Americans over 60 said that only a quarter of the people they had discussed “important matters” with during a six-month period were younger than 36; if they didn’t count relatives, the number dropped to an astonishing 6 percent.

The Church is probably the last place in the United States where young and old might actually interact with each other.  And what do we do?  We try to follow the world’s example and leave the interaction to the “professionals:” pastor, youth pastor, Sunday School teachers, etc.

So what happens when we mix across age/generational lines.  We share faith with one another.  We share life with one another.  We share Jesus with one another:

Studies have shown that seniors in retirement homes benefit when they spend time reading to children and playing with them, while young people are given the chance to absorb wisdom and life experience.

I encourage you to read the whole article.  There is a place for us to interact with peers of our own age and life experience.  But God’s Kingdom calls us to break through the barriers that separate us.

God has given each of us gifts in the Communion of Saints.  You are a Saint in God’s Kingdom no matter what generation you belong.  The person from another generation is also a Saint in God’s Kingdom.  Go meet a Saint today.

Last Night She Couldn’t Sleep…

So my daughter, Elizabeth, wrote a poem:

As little kids,
You could be…
Purple with Pink Polk-a-dots,
And no one cared.
In Elementary School,
You could be…
Who you want,
Your favorite person,
And no one cared.
In Middle School,
You have to be…
Just to fit in.
In High School,
You have to…
Get good grades,
Be smart,
Know what you want,
Just to belong.
As an Adult,
You have to be…
Just to get by.
What happened to
Not caring if you are…
Purple with Pink Polk-a-dots?
Let’s go back and
Not care about…
or Age,
Let’s Just Be…
WHO WE ARE!!!!!!!!!!

The Importance of the Sacraments

I found this article while I was preparing to preach for Baptism of Our Lord Sunday this weekend.
Peter J. Leithart makes the arguement that Protestants (Lutherans are Protestants) must have a high view of the efficacy of the sacraments. In his blog post he says:

Still, baptism is different from most ministry of the word. In worship, in most preaching and teaching, even in the absolution, the Word isn’t addressed to me by name. In baptism it is: “I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Baptism individualizes and personalizes God’s promise. At the font, there’s no doubt that the promise of forgiveness and justification is directed to me in particular. The difference is somewhat analogous to the difference between an Oscar winner telling the adoring crowd with all sincerity, “I love you all,” and that same Oscar winner saying, in the intimacy of private conversation, “Linda, I love you.”

In Baptism, we are named, claimed, and gifted for live in Christ. The promise is directly addressed to you. You are loved by God.!

Read the whole thing.
Pastor Matt


Cheryl Amrine award

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

God calls each of us to a vocation and gives us gifts to fulfill that vocation. Cheryl Amrine uses her God given gift of teaching children. Mrs. Amrine is featured in Southwest Washington Family because of the nomination of one of her students. Congratulations Mrs. Amrine!


Working on my sermon for All Saints Sunday and putting it off like a good pastor so I thought I would share something on my blog.

All Saints preaching makes me think about all the pastors who have preached the Gospel at St John’s over the last 117 years makes me feel a bit small. 117 years of preaching about what it means to add our voices to the voices of the Communion of Saints–not just from our own congregation–but also from Christians throughout the centuries.

We can’t do this without each other. In order for us to grow, we need others to teach us and sometimes challenge us. We need others to hold our hand when the going gets tough. We need others to pray when the words won’t come from our own mouths. We need the witness of the living saints to testify to the faith handed down to us by the dead saints.

This weekend in worship, we will name the names of those who died this past year at St John’s. This year has been a tough one for the congregation in terms of the saints lost to death. People who were an important part of the inner workings of the congregation and our larger community are no longer with us. We rightly mourn the loss to our church and our community.

We will also name the names of those who were baptized this past year. The history for these new saints is yet to be written. We wait with eager participation to see how God will use them through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When these new saints are remembered for their contribution to the Body of Christ, what will be said about them?

And you–how are you living out God’s call in your life to be a part of this great cloud of witnesses? Did you know that you are an important part of God’s work in the world? We are all saints, reconciled to God through Jesus Christ and empowered to be Jesus’ disciples in the world created by God.

Pastor Matt