Greetings, everyone –

 

As most of you know, my son and his family are living with us for the foreseeable future as they migrate from NC to Seattle. Jason is a professional actor and voice-over artist who has achieved some measure of success. He has been in a world premiere in Seattle (“Catch Me If You Can”), toured with a national company (“Legally Blonde”), been on Broadway (“American Idiot”), and played one of the Four Seasons on a national tour and in the Las Vegas production of “Jersey Boys.” Of late, he was his own recording studio…in our house…with which he records audio for television and internet commercials, video games, and meditation tapes. All in all, it’s an impressive professional resume and he’s worked hard to get it.

 

Yesterday, he came out of the booth with a big grin and said, “Guess what just happened?” He was reading an audition notice for a job he thought might be interesting. At the bottom, it read: “Click this link for an example of the type of voice we’re looking for.” He clicked the link…and it was him!! They had found a commercial he had done for someone else and used it as an example of what they were looking for! I commented, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you submitted for it and they replied with ’So close but not quite what we’re looking for. Did you listen to the demo?’” It was exciting for all of us to see that level of recognition for his work.

 

I sometimes wish that I could be held up as the perfect example of something for someone. But life is not like a digitally mastered recording that doesn’t go out there until it is exactly the way you want it to sound. Instead, we say the wrong thing at the wrong time. We have an opportunity to be generous and we miss it. We are given an opening to speak a word of grace and we don’t. The plight of those who are most vulnerable is laid before us and we shake our head or shrug our shoulders. If we wait until we’re just about perfect to put ourselves out there, we’ll never get out there. Worse, those we could help and serve will remain in pain and need. Is that what following Jesus is about?

 

When our identity is tied to God’s love for us in Christ, we don’t have to worry about what the world thinks of us, good or bad. We take our gifts and we use them for the sake of the world God loves. Sometimes those efforts result in recognition and that’s great. But many times, maybe most of the time, we continue to do what God has gifted us to do, trusting that our efforts put out there for Christ’s sake and the sake of our neighbors, will be joined with the efforts of others to multiply the work of God’s kingdom.

 

Recognition is uplifting and inspiring. Faithfulness is being willing to continue the work without it.

 

THIS SUNDAY AT CENTRAL

 

God’s Work, Our Hands

The stewardship emphasis for this fall continues as we complete the task of assembling health kits for world relief efforts. Last month, we ran out of towels but had plenty of other supplies remaining. We have restocked our towel supply and hope to complete our health kits this Sunday. The kits ship out to all over the world this month so it’s “all hands on deck” to finish this godly work.

 

A second emphasis for October is on helping prepare for the bazaar which provides funding to many agencies in our community. Check the schedule below for ways you can help us all get ready for our most generous event of the year!

 

Education Hour (9:45 upstairs)

We will be taking a look at the Gospel lesson appointed for the day: Mark 10:2-16. Our lectionary resources says this about it: “Jesus announced and enacted in history the new reality of God’s surprising activity. These two stories demonstrate this new reality: Women and children are accepted and valued, not dismissed as inferior to adult men.” I guess some things never change.

 

Coffee Hour

Hosted by Rebecca Circle

 

In Worship

Today’s gospel combines a saying that makes many of us uncomfortable with a story we find comforting. Jesus’ saying on divorce is another of his rejections of human legislation in favor of the original intent of God’s law. Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples who are fending off the children should challenge us as well. What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God as a child does?

 

Readings and Psalm

Genesis 2:18-24

Created for relationship

Psalm 8

You crown us with glory and honor. (Ps. 8:5)

Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12

God has spoken by a Son

Mark 10:2-16

Teaching on marriage

 

Who Would Jesus Bless Today?

Many Bibles include a heading before the latter part of today’s gospel reading (Mark 10:13-16) that says something like “Blessing the Children” or “Jesus Welcomes the Children.” In reading such a heading, we might begin to imagine a sentimental scene in which Jesus is surrounded by cute, adorable children. When we think about children being blessed in our churches today, we might imagine children gathering around the altar or at the front of the worship space for a children’s time, in which the pastor or worship leader would say a prayer with them and give them a blessing. The parents and others may also be gathered just behind the children, smiling in adoration of these young ones.

 

However, we cannot view the scene from Mark’s gospel with only our modern understanding of the role and place of children in society. The life of many children in North America is one of relative privilege, with carefree days in which they often experience the care and love of grown-ups. Jesus, by bringing the children to him, identifies himself with those who were among the most vulnerable and helpless in society. In ancient times, children often were treated like property. They had few protections from those who would treat them badly. But Jesus came into the world for ones such as these children. Who, in our communities, is in the place of the children of ancient times? As Christ’s church, do we provide a place of welcome and care for the most vulnerable and weak in our society?

 

IT'S LEFSE TIME AGAIN

In fact, October provides multiple opportunities to help prep for the annual Scandinavian Bazaar (November 3). Check this out:

-          October 8-12 – Lefse making (Potato peelers start on Monday, everyone else starts on Tuesday)

-          October 16 – Meatballs @4pm in the fellowship hall

-          October 22-26 – Cookie baking (Learn how to make some of those famous Scandinavian cookies)

If you can’t participate in any of these activities, feel free to make your favorite holiday cookies at home and then contribute them to the bazaar. (We’re usually each asked to provide 4 dozen.)

 

Of course, if baking and cooking aren’t your “thing,” you can always come on Thursday and Friday (Nov. 1 & 2) and help set up!

 

ON YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday, October 27th, 4pm

The Stewardship Team is hosting an Old-Fashioned Spaghetti Dinner with special guests Bishop Kristen Kuempel and the Ferris High School Jazz Orchestra.

Sunday, October 28th, 2pm

            Annual Hymn Festival with congregational singing led by the choirs of Central Lutheran and First Presbyterian Saturday, November 3rd, 9am-1pm

            Scandinavian Bazaar – preorders for lefse and cookies are being taken now through Oct. 22

 

FINDING CONTENTMENT

Our obsession with money can interfere with a relationship with Christ. Our challenge is to keep money in its proper perspective and learn to be content. With contentment, the poor man is rich and without it, the rich man is poor. There are two ways we can strive to have enough. We can try to accumulate more, or we can learn to be satisfied with less. If we pursue the first way, accumulating more, we will discover that money won’t buy lasting satisfaction, because, as we read in Ecclesiastes 5:10, more is never enough. As hard as it is, we need to curb our desire for more by concentrating on the blessings we do have. Being satisfied with less and using what we have in God-pleasing ways contributes to our contentment. Those who have less and are content are better off than those who have much and always want more. God’s wisdom is found in the words of Jesus “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Prayer: Good and gracious heavenly Father, you are the creator and owner of all things. I am privileged that you have granted me the opportunity to be a steward of your creation. I know that by nature I can be selfish and greedy. Help me to be thankful and content with all that you have entrusted to me. Grant me faith to be a God-pleasing steward. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

 

Blessings on your stewardship journey!

 

See you in worship!

 

Peace,

Pastor Dave

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