summer 2012 UPDATE FROM PASTOR CHRIS “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” Psalm 27:14 I am anxious to be back. It has been a long time since this body has been normal. Two brain surgeries. Radiation and chemo. And man, am I out of shape! I am grateful for what God has done and so thankful for your love and support in this time. I miss so many of you; I miss spending time teaching God’s Word and walking through this life with you. I can’t wait to get back. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting has never been my gift. When I was a freshman in college, I started dating this incredible girl named Heather. After a short time, she dumped me. But I loved her and sat for a long time trying to reconnect. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. For years I wasn’t sure what my profession would be. I studied this and that, changed my major multiple times, trying to discover who God made me to be. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. I’ve been saying the same things to my kids again and again. Blow your nose. Did you ask “please?” Pick up your room. Saying the same things again and again!
David, who wrote many of the Psalms, was a man who dealt with many of the same frustrations. God promises to make him a king, but he waits and waits. In fact David is even threatened with death, chased, moves, and hides. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. But David writes of the importance of waiting on the Lord. David walks in the hope of the Lord and the promise of God to move in him as he waits. God loves us. God’s plan for us is larger than what we see. In the moments of our fears, of our worries, of our frustrations, God is our hope and our joy. I can’t wait to get back, but I also am filled with the joy of the Lord, which is really nice in the days I wait. “Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord!” May you see and hear our God every day whether you are rejoicing or waiting. Pastor Chris Romans 8:28
In This Issue Message from Pastor Jake
Information & Announcements
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Annual Congregation Meeting June 24
Come join us for the annual gathering of the congregation to celebrate God’s ministry at St. Luke’s, to approve the new members of the Executive Leadership Team, and to approve the upcoming fiscal year’s “mission plan” (budget).
A NOTE FROM PASTOR JAKE As we come to the close of this Easter Season, we are reminded that EVERY day is lived out in the promises of God through His resurrected Son, Jesus. We have taken this Easter Season and focused on a man who spent three days in a tomb of his own: the belly of a great fish. Journeying through the book of Jonah together has provided us with a unique insight into God’s grace for all people, including messes like us! God had compassion on Jonah, sparing his life and giving him a second chance. God had compassion on Nineveh when He saw how they turned from their sin and cried out for salvation. God has had, and will continue to have, compassion on you, ultimately, through the death and resurrection of His Son, who spent three days in the tomb. Our study in Jonah concludes with Jesus, who not only affirms the truth of God’s compassion in Jonah, but fulfills and completes the story. Following this Easter Season we will enter into a busy summer filled with mission trips and all kinds of activities for youth, adults, and families! Youth will be taking mission trips from Gleaners to the Bronx and even in our own backyard. After Pentecost, we will make ready for war as we prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse! Wait...what!? That’s right! Beginning on Confirmation Sunday, our next sermon series will be called “Zombies!” In our culture, the “living dead” have become quite popular. Although zombies are fictional characters, the “living dead” is still a very real fear. Each of us has been born into sin - we have a sinful
nature. That sinful nature we inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12), sometimes called the “old Adam,” is an enemy of God and has corrupted us from birth. This “old Adam” was put to death in our baptism, but still comes to life as we seek to follow our Lord (Romans 7:21). Our sinful nature is a zombie! It is dead and yet it continues to live. We will explore the zombie that lives inside of us and learn how to kill it: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25). I am excited for all that God has in store for our family here at St. Luke’s this summer! May you continue to know the true peace that comes from the resurrection of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Only Because of Jesus, Pastor Jake
St. Luke’s Purpose Statement To seek out and bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord Core Values 1. The Bible is the only authority 2. We hold to both pure doctrine and cultural relevance 3. Corporate worship is essential in the Christian life 4. Grace and power are received in the Word and the Sacraments 5. Every member is a minister and missionary 6. Our unity of purpose is to reach the lost 7. Excellence honors God and inspires people
WELCOME SUE THODE Greetings to all of you at St. Luke’s! My name is Sue Thode and I have the privilege of using the counseling office located in your church. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Washington. In the early 80’s I received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Puget Sound then returned there later in life to earn a Masters of Education in Agency Counseling. Career-wise during different seasons of my life I have been a high school English teacher, a homeschool mom, a stained-glass artist, and worked for a number of years as a freelance author. My writing appeared in such publications as Decision, Light and Life, Evangel, Focus on the Family, Brio, and Highlights for Children. My husband Willie and I have been married thirty-four years and have one son, Stephen. We will be entering a new season of life when Willie retires next month after working thirty-one years for The Boeing Company. We are excited to see what God has in mind for us as life shifts focus once again. I believe God created us to be whole and healthy, but living in a fallen world takes its toll on us in varying degrees. Fortunately, we have a God who specializes in restoring health and healing brokenness. I believe He has called me to use my God-given gifts to help those who experience debilitating levels of anxiety and stress, trauma, depression and many different kinds of broken relationships. As a Christian counselor I offer hope and faith in the good news of the Gospel in each session I have with a client. Sometimes
this is accomplished by direct dialogue; sometimes it is simply a matter of praying for clients during a session and throughout the week. Currently I work with adults and young people from age thirteen and up. If you need a counselor for a younger child I will be happy to refer you to someone who is qualified. I also work with couples and families who are experiencing difficulty in their relationships. I look forward to meeting many of you as I come and go during the week. Please do not hesitate to call if there is a way I can assist you or someone you know. My telephone number is 253-839-1697, ext. 4. I would appreciate your prayers, too, as I meet with people. I especially need wisdom and discernment so God can use me to, “…bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness for mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61: 3
L-TEAMS What is a L-Team?? People engaging in a Live.Love.Learn. activity where relationships are built and Christ is shared. L-Teams are not small groups • They may or may not meet weekly • They may or may not open a bible or pray or talk about Jesus
L-Team samples: Golf Tournament, Sip ‘n Score, NFL Pick ‘Em League, Christian Motorcyclists, and Afternoon Tea. We’ve also had a neighborhood trash pick-up L-Team and Mirror Lake community service teams, We have boy scouts, small group teams, hospital visitors, potlucks, thrift store shopping, and bowling.
L-Teams can include anyone, meet anywhere, and do almost anything • They are not just for St. Luke’s people - invite co-workers, neighbors and friends • They can meet at your house, at church, or at the bowling alley
For more information, contact Jan Grothe: 253.941.3000 or jgrothe@ stlukes-church.com.
Membership Class “Discover Life with God”
L-Teams for Fall
This workshop and Next Steps events are designed to learn about the vision and purpose of St. Luke’s, as well as our ministries and L-Teams. We cover topics in the Christian faith, including Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The next workshop is Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29.
Now is the time to start processing the L-Teams you are thinking about starting in the fall. September will be here quicker than we realize. (August 8, 2012, is the due date for fall L-Teams.) If you need help, direction, calendaring, or whatever, let me know. (firstname.lastname@example.org) 3
ON FIRE! FAMILIES ON FIRE! This year has been a first as we delved into On Fire, our Family Ministry with Spark (ages 1- 5 years old), Flame (grades 1- 6), and Ignite (grades 7-12). Each age group has had a Special Event wrapped around a theme for that group. In addition, there have been activities to draw families together – individual families and the family of Christ at St. Luke’s. Our News and Notes on the weekends will continue to have reminders of what’s available for your child(ren). Watch for Red Envelopes going up later in the summer on the Family Ministry wall in lobby. Special events coming up quickly in the fall: Opening Day (Sept 9) for three-year-olds as they begin Sunday School and Presentation of Toddler Bibles for the two-year-olds during worship (Sept 23).
FLAME - (grades 1 - 6) Bells & Children’s Choir Concert The Junior Bells and Children’s Choir will be presenting a joint concert on Sunday, May 20, at 5 pm in the Worship Center. The first part of the program will consist of a variety of music performed by our bell groups under the direction of Amie Brandmire. The second half of the program will be a Christian musical presented by the Children’s Choir entitled “Livin’ Inside Out in an Upside Down World!” Everyone is invited. A reception will follow in the lobby area.
END OF SUNDAY SCHOOL Our last day of Sunday School for the season will be June 3. That Sunday will be “Teacher Appreciation Sunday” and Ice Cream Sunday. Be sure to extend your appreciation to our Sunday School Teachers and helpers for their commitment to nine months of Sunday School. They give of their time every week and also help with many special projects throughout the year to make Sunday School meaningful to our children. We also thank our Super Sunday and Bible Adventure drama team for the excellent job they do.
KFC456 - Kids For Christ Family Picnic All 4th, 5th, and 6th graders are invited to our family picnic at Steel Lake on Wednesday, June 20, from 6:30-8:30 pm. All 3rd graders and their families are invited – you are the new 4th graders!
Bible Camp Kids going into grades 4-7 are encouraged to sign up for our Bible Camp – “Courage Camp.” We will be at Black Lake Bible Camp in Olympia, August 10-12. Cost is $110 before June 15; $125 after June 15. Scholarships are available. Registration forms are online or at the Welcome Center. Bring payment and registration form to the office. Bring your friends!
Vacation Bible School Registration forms are available online or at the Welcome Center and church office for VBS volunteers and children. The VBS dates are July 9-13 from 9 am-12 noon. The theme this year is “SKY – Where Everything is Possible With God Mark 10:27.” Come for a fun-packed week of Bible Study, games, drama, crafts, snacks, music, worship, and service. Invite friends and neighbors. VBS is for 4- and 5-year-olds and kids going into grades 1-5. We need lots of volunteers in grade 6 and above, teens and adults. There is no charge for VBS.
Summer Drama Camp 2012
Hansel & Gretel
Written by Greg Gamble and Lee Howard Cost: $250 first child, $175 second child Rehearsals: July 2 - Aug 2, Mon-Thurs, 6-9pm Performances: August 3 and 4 Drama Camp is for children ages 6-17. forms are available in the church office.
Contact Dennette Church: email@example.com
Upcoming Youth Event Dates May 24-29:
Bronx, NY Mission Trip
Help with VBS
Gleaners Mission Trip
Ignite (7-12 grade) will continue to meet during the summer on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 pm.
Preschool & Kindergarten Closing Programs During the week, September through June, St. Luke’s is blessed with many preschool and Kindergarten children and their families coming and going from our facilities as they attend classes. Several of the classes will be presenting end-of-the-year programs in June. The programs will take place as follows: June 11 at 7 pm – 3 Day Preschool am and pm classes program June 12 at 1:30 pm – 4 year pm class program June 12 at 7 pm – 5 Day class program June 13 at 7 pm – Kindergarten closing program All programs are in the Worship Center and are followed by a reception. Everyone is invited.
INFORMATION & ANNOUNCEMENTS Preschool and Kindergarten Registration 2012-1013 School Year We are currently enrolling children in our classes for the 2012-2013 school year. We offer classes for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds. Registration packets are available at the Welcome Center and in the church office. Register or make observation appointments with Heather in the office. Tell other friends, family, and neighbors about our school and take extra packets for them. St. Luke’s has been offering classes for young children for over 45 years in our community. Our excellent staff does a great job of preparing children socially, academically, physically and spiritually.
St Luke’s Bookstore Be sure to come by our bookstore. We are open after all services on weekends and on Wednesdays from 11 am-1 pm. We have many new books, devotionals, and Bibles for children as well as for adults. Books make a great gift for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions. We have Christian cards at very affordable prices. We also offer free check-out of DVDs for children and adults.
St Luke’s Library Just off the elevator on our upper floor, is our library. We have a self check-out system. We offer a variety of Christian books for free check-out. We have a large section of Christian fiction as well as many other categories for children, youth, and adults. You are welcome to check out books at any time.
THANK YOUS The Evenson family would like to thank all of you who supported and continue to support us through Lisa’s battle with cancer and ultimate passing. Your prayers and outpouring of love through meals, phone calls, texts, cards, and donations have helped us make it through so far. We are truly blessed to call St. Luke’s our “home.” Your kindness, love, and generosity have been unbelievable. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!! The Evensons: Brad,Jacqie, Jessica, and Breann. Over 420 people enjoyed our fabulous Easter morning breakfast. Thank you, Mark Duckworth, for your planning, shopping and cooking. You are a joy in the kitchen and we like your music! Thank you, Mark Taylor, for your supportive role. Thank you parents for bringing your youth to church at the crack of dawn and for those who came later to wash dishes, clean the stove and mop floors. Thank you youth for helping in whatever capacity you were needed…wrapping forks, cutting fruit, serving, bussing tables, taking out garbage or cleaning up. Donations of over $1500 were distributed to our 7-12 grade workers for their mission trips, retreats and other church-related activities. Thank you St. Luke’s for coming to breakfast!
MEMBERSHIP UPDATES January – June 2012
Please update the church office at 253.941.3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org with new addresses, phone numbers, or e-mail addresses.
Baptized: Anthony Smith Austin Smith Tyler Steffen Meghan Kon Rachel Kon Mason Case Jaxon Case Temperance Fulcher Lindsay Cummings Kayleigh Taylor Jordan Andrew
01/15/12 01/15/12 01/29/12 02/22/12 02/22/12 02/26/12 02/26/12 03/4/12 03/18/12 04/7/12 04/14/12
DJ and Shannon (Simonsen) Pogson
Erika Hoagland Tyler Houston Emily Hunt Wyatt Kennedy Kayna Kliewer Rachel Kon Isabella Moore Christian Neumann Zac Perigen Emily Sabrowsky John Schueller Hannah Togia
New Members: Christie Clapp Aurea Grothe Kaelene Gullidge Spenser Harding Anna Koloen
Brad and Sharon Maas Gene Nebenfuhr Shirley Savage Gena Talaga (Ryan)
Releases: Shawna Leonard
First Communion: February 22, 2012 Jacob Baker Hannah Blackmon Matthew Brandmire Darcy Carlisle Jessica Chase Justin Chase Dayla Dzingle Derek Dzingle Jared Engman Trinity Fox Zakery Gregg Mackenzie Grieger
Deaths: Bill Hitztaler Elaine Cook Lisa Evenson
03/23/12 03/29/12 04/17/12
MISSIONS St. Luke’s Global Weekend 2012 was a great success thanks to the many organizations who participated and the many volunteers who helped bring it to life! We hope you got a chance to talk with some of the twenty 10 For The World groups and mission teams to hear about how God has been working in their ministries. If you missed services that weekend, check out the 10 For The World video on the St. Luke’s website to learn more about whom we support as a congregation. THANK YOU to all the many volunteers who helped during the event and some who just jumped right in as they saw a need! Thank you to all those who helped put together 250 World Vision Caregiver kits! Special thanks to Valerie Danforth and Katie Swezea for their endless hours of work on this event! We hope you were inspired to follow where God is calling you. Missions and Outreach is getting ready to kick in to high gear for the summer! Please keep our mission teams in your prayers and consider volunteering for the Mirror Lake Back to School Bash! Bronx Mission Trip May 24-29, led by Pastor Jake Family Mission Trips to serve at Camp Primetime June 29-July 1, led by Brian and Bree Mann August 3-5, led by Ken and Kendra Breyer Alaska Mission Trip-July 28-Aug 6, led by Valerie Danforth and Katie Swezea Gleaners Mission Trip-Aug. 19-25, led by Holly Britt Mirror Lake Back to School Bash-August 25, 11 am-1 pm, Sylvia Stafford, Event Organizer Contact Kendra Breyer, email@example.com, if you would like to get involved with the many mission and outreach opportunities St. Luke’s has to offer. 2012 Mirror Lake Back to School Bash What is it? It’s an event at Mirror Lake Elementary before school begins to help a large number of families with school supplies for their students. St. Luke’s supplies a backpack and the supplies requested by their individual teachers per grade level. What else? St. Luke’s makes it a fun day with lots of freebies – such as free lunch, haircuts, crafts, face painting, etc. When it is? Saturday, August 25, 2012 How can I help? You can help provide the school supplies and backpacks. Please check the news & notes to see what we are collecting for the month. There is a blue tub for the supplies. How can I make a donation? You can purchase a Walmart gift card or make a donation with a check that notes it is for the ML Back to School Bash. How can I volunteer for the actual event? You can choose to work with the outside activities or work inside with the school supply giveaway. Contact Mary Ann Hopewell for outside activities and Sylvia Courtney for help with the school supply giveaway. Prayer Partnership Centro D’Amistad & St. Luke’s Prayer Partnership: St. Luke’s and Centro D’Amistad are meeting together for prayer on Saturday mornings from 5-6 am in the Chapel at St. Luke’s. We lift up one another’s needs and thanksgivings, and pray for our community. You may choose to pray out loud or silently. Please consider coming to these informal prayer gatherings. It’s a great way to begin your Saturday! Contact Ann Murphy or Todd Zern.
STEWARDSHIP April Showers and Stewardship
By Todd Zern (Director of Operations) Adapted article from the LCMS Document Library We have all heard the idiom “April showers bring May flowers.” April, traditionally a rainy period, gives way to May, when flowers will bloom because of the water provided for them by the April showers. When we think about our wet spring months and the beauty of our summers here in Seattle, this old saying is very true. Together with a “healthy” amount of rain combined with the right amount of sunshine (when it comes…), a level of beauty emerges within the landscape. It is a kind of an “action/reaction” thing when you think about it. There is an application for our lives as God’s stewards and managers of all of life and life’s resources for His purposes. In our statement of faith through the Apostles’ Creed, we proclaim that we believe God is the “Maker of heaven and earth.” God richly provides us with all that we need to support this body and life. This understanding was so significant for Martin Luther that in his writings, reflecting on this simple sentence within the Creed, he used the word “all” nine times. Our Almighty Father in heaven has made us and all creatures, giving us all we need and defending us against all danger and guarding and protecting us from all evil. According to Luther, “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.”
The truth of the matter is that our Heavenly Father provides everything we need in this life. His greatest gift is His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came willingly to this sinful world to offer His life for the sins of the world—yours and mine included. That is the most important gift, but God also lavishes all kinds of physical gifts upon us as His people. God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17b), but He also wants us to use all these blessings in unselfish ways to bring glory to His name and blessings to the people around us, just like April showers bring May flowers. Our faithful management and use of God’s gifts makes life more beautiful and fragrant for us and others. How we use our time, abilities, and financial resources makes a big difference for us and others. How we manage our relationships, God’s creation, our own bodies, and the privilege of sharing the good news of Jesus also makes a big difference for us and others. In this Spring season, give thanks to God for calling us to be His maturing stewards who are privileged to manage all of life and life’s resources for His purposes! As God’s stewards, prayerfully consider how God may be calling you and your family to financially support His ministry at St Luke’s. There are multiple options to help manage your tithes and offerings, which you can find on our website. Click on the “About Us” link, and then go to “Giving.” May God’s Holy Spirit work richly in, with, and among us so that we live each day as God’s redeemed children who are growing in the divine characteristics of loving and giving!
FINANCIAL UPDATE Giving: July 2011 – February 2012
Below is a brief review of gifts and offerings thus far in fiscal year 2012. Even though we are challenged by a decrease in giving, we have made the necessary expense adjustments to maintain a healthy cash flow. However, we strongly encourage each member to prayerfully consider their financial support. NOTE: 3rd quarter results for fiscal year 2012 (July 2011 – June 2012) were not officially published at the writing of this newsletter.
FY 2012 vs FY 2011 (July - February) FY 2011 General Offerings YTD FY 2011 General Offerings Average / Week FY 2012 General Offerings YTD FY 2012 General Offerings Average / Week FY 2011 Average Offering / Active Family YTD FY 2012 Average Offering / Active Family YTD FY 2012 vs FY 2011
$ $ $ $ $ $
765,377 21,868 751,718 21,478 1,211 1,189 -1.20%
St Luke’s Giving Guide
General offerings, stock donations, and even legacy planning… learn about the many ways you can support the present and future ministries of St. Luke’s. The new St. Luke’s Giving Guide will help direct you toward the many ways you can allocate funds to His ministry. Go to www.stlukes-church.com (About Us / Giving) or pick up a hardcopy edition at the Welcome Center.
Operating Budget (July 2011 – February 2012) Revenue and Expenses
Total income (church, preschool & kindergarten, childcare, rental groups, and interest/investment) as of February 29, 2012, of $1,175,856 exceeds net operating expenses (prior to mortgage principle payment) of $1,172,258 by $3,598, although our general fund offerings of $751,718 are under budget by $29,348 (–4%). After mortgage principle payments, the current budget loss to date is $15,421. This net loss was officially budgeted for this fiscal year in anticipation of our new mortgage payment for the new building. However, because of change in 2 staffing vacant positions (Director of Missions and Lead Pastor) and the closing of our new mortgage loan occurring in March as opposed to the original plan in October, our net loss is ahead of budget by 32% (YTD actual of $15,421 versus YTD budget of $48,802).
General Fund Cash
General Fund Cash (aka “Cash Surplus”) at the end of this reporting period is $896,331. $500,000 has been dedicated by the ELT to the new building (as approved by the congregation in April 2010), and the remaining $396,331 is dedicated towards the church’s safety reserves, which will be dedicated to the operating budget shortfalls over the next few years due to the new mortgage payment.
Capital Improvement Fund
The Restricted Capital Improvement Fund (aka – the “Building Fund”) is $124,584. $47,826 of the noted improvement fund has been spent this year for a new computer system for the staff offices as well new exterior paint for both buildings. The respective journal entries for these expenses have not been against our Restricted Capital Improvement Fund as of this February 2012 statement. Another $30,000-$35,000 is currently being set aside for a new roof over the third floor classrooms; which we anticipate the work to be done sometime this summer.
4 Those 2 Come
In this Easter season, not only are we living in the joy of our risen Lord, but we are also living in the joy of a new facility. The staff and children of the childcare program have made themselves at home in their new space, and the Great Room on the main level has been joyfully reaching out to the people of St Luke’s and the greater Federal Way community. Thank you so much for your faithfulness and support of this project. It is with the same joy that we celebrate how God has faithfully worked through the people of St. Luke’s in raising the necessary resources to successfully fund the project. The 4 Those 2 Come efforts have come to a close this past April, ending a 4-year effort. At the writing of this article, the two phases together have raised $1,996,000 (99.8% of goal) with over 400 families participating in the program. What a testimony! From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for stepping out in faith and participating in this program. We will continue to raise funds for future “building fund” projects in addition to applying any excess funds toward our newest mortgage loan. The 4 Those 2 Come name will remain active, and we ask you to prayerfully consider continuing to support these efforts. Many capital projects are in the planning efforts, and we would greatly appreciate your support. If you have any questions regarding to the building fund, please contact Todd Zern in the church office. Thank you again for your generosity in helping fulfill the vision “to increase our capacity to serve the community with the loving grace of Jesus Christ!”
GOD STORIES God’s Hand is Leading Jerry Neumann
I have been coming to St. Luke’s for nine years and have been a Christian all of my life. So what kind of a God Story could I possibly have to tell? Just as life is a journey, so is our faith in Christ. Obviously, there are many forks in the road as we walk with God, and some of those forks have not necessarily brought me closer to Him. Fortunately, God does not leave us in the times that we choose to make our own way. His Holy Spirit calls us back, again and again, to lead us on “paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” This particular chapter of my story with God begins a couple years after I began attending this Community of Christ at St. Luke’s with my wife and children. I remember a sermon series about how we know when God is calling us, how it is that we can discern His voice, and how to determine what the will of God is in our life. This would have been about 2005. Studying God’s Word, prayer, the counsel of a trusted friend, the wisdom of our elders, the openings that seem to encourage further exploration, and affirmations as we take initial steps of faith are way to discover God’s will. In February 2005, I was struggling with what to do vocationally. Work was not going well, my hours were being cut, and it seemed that recession was coming to my household three years ahead of the national economy. I was no longer doing something that my education had trained me for, nor was re-entering my previous field an option. In short, it seemed like I was at a dead end. In my previous career, I had been self-employed for 10 years. I always trusted that the Lord would provide and He always had, so I should have had reason during this adverse time to trust in Him, but I was scared. I did lean on prayer and the Word, but I was not finding any direction other than I knew I needed to reach out to God for the direction that I was seeking. “Lord, I’m listening...but I don’t hear You.” My brother-in-law was over for lunch one day, and I was ranting about my misfortune. He was sympathetic but had no real advice until I heard myself say to him, “I have no real documentable, marketable skills.” Hearing myself admit that was a shock to my senses. He said, “Maybe you need to go back to school.” This was impossible as far as I was concerned. I was 42 and the sole support for my family of five. And broke. It was ridiculous on its face. Regardless of how impractical, it became clear that he was right: more education had to be the answer. As high as the odds seemed to be, this was the first thing that had made sense in a long time. I was not scared anymore. I recognized God’s voice in my brother-in-law’s words, and I began to research potential careers. I looked at my skill set and looked at programs and the length of time it would take to get through each one. Apparently, a one-year certification program in paralegal studies was in my future. Although I
had very little understanding of the workings of our legal system or civil procedure, I decided that I would know in short order if this was the right choice or not. I gave two weeks’ notice in early September and enrolled in school. Along the way, I did not claim that miracles were happening in my life. However, there were many indications that God’s hand was leading me in a way that I had never experienced before. I will not go into that here, but I would be glad to share with anyone who is interested the dozen or more instances when I believe God gave me reassurance that I was indeed catching His tailwind. I was hired immediately upon completion of an internship program by one of the attorneys that I worked with in August of 2006. In March 2007, I was hired as a legal secretary at the Attorney General’s Office in Olympia. I was promoted to paralegal in September 2008. I recently received another promotion and was transferred to the Seattle office last September. When I was going through my desk upon moving offices, I found a piece of paper from a career seminar I had taken in school mixed in with my résumé and other interview preparation materials. On the slip of paper, the students were to fill in the blanks as to what their dream job looked like. At the time, I saw it as just an exercise. Written in my hand were the goals to work in Olympia for a non-profit or public/government agency and within five years to rise to the position of senior paralegal. Well, all of those things happened within the timeframe, just not all in Olympia. At the end of this God Story, I want to leave you with a few thoughts—some other things that I learned and think about from time to time because of this experience. This was proof to me that our God is a God of second chances. He gave me a fresh start, without any baggage or limitations. My lack of experience did not get in the way. He granted me grace in all areas of my life. He blessed me in my brokenness. It was also proof to me that it is never too late to grow up or to change. I’m sure that Mary would tell you that she is still waiting for the growing up part to happen for me, but there is no doubt there has been growth and change as a result of the opportunity to start over. I didn’t share my financial/employment issues with people at the time I was going through them because it was too personal. We were blessed just by being in communion with you all. Worship, praise, and inspiration and comfort through the truths preached here: these were all a part of the process. And through it all, part of the experience was putting our faith in God to make it beyond that year. So why didn’t we move to Olympia? We shopped for houses on a number of occasions from Chehalis to Shelton, Tumwater to Tenino, as recently as 2009. I was looking for a community in a small town where neighbors could rely on each other, where we could join the grange, where there would be a lit nativity scene in the town square. The timing cont. next page
was never right and by the time it was, we didn’t want to move anymore. As it happened, our roots had grown deep into the community here at St. Luke’s, and the things that I was looking for I discovered I already had right here. As clear as St. Luke’s was a key part in my walk with Christ for these past nine years, it was not so clear that I would be in the Federal Way area for the long haul. It has been a relief and a blessing to know with certainty that this is my home. Like Mary and I say to each other, I look forward to growing old with you and taking a more active part of the adventure that is our life with Christ with all of you! Because of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Jerry Neumann
God’s Mercy Working Through Me Verna Wright
God can turn miscommunications into a positive. Operation Blessing is a church-sponsored community outreach program. It was my understanding that more help for Operation Blessing was needed behind the scenes. That was something I was comfortable with and could do. So I met with Jaye and shadowed her one morning to get a feel of what Operation Blessing was about. At the end of the hour, she had me going solo, while she attended to other needs. I have always loved being anonymous in my tangible gifts; in fact, I prefer it. Standing beside a friend is SO different from being “out front” to the public. I’m having to rely on Him for my provision, rather than be the giver that I once was able to be. Although it’s all God’s money! For the last year or so, I’ve
enjoyed helping others, and because I’m “one step’”away from being THEM, I can certainly understand where they are. I try to assure them I understand and frequently say, “I’ve been there.” God showed me how this affects those that come for help. I remember a young father who was, or had been, in the military. (The military holds a special place in my heart anyway.) He had money coming, but just not in time to stay ahead of the bills. After issuing/writing him the maximum funds we can give any applicant, I asked if I could pray for him. These prayers are spontaneous and “off the cuff,” so I seek the Holy Spirit’s leading. When I said “amen” and looked at him, he was wiping tears from his eyes. I’m not trying to make the recipients cry, it’s the Lord touching their heart and letting them know that He’s here for us all!
A PEEK AT WOMEN’S MINISTRIES Ladies’ Tea – 2012 The tables were beautifully set with china; hostesses welcomed their guests; tea was served; and pinky fingers were raised. We nibbled on lavender shortbread, orange tea bread, brownie bites, tomato basil sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, sausage rolls, fruit and cookies. What a full, delicious menu! Beth Smith did a fascinating presentation on the history of Tea Time. Kim Jeroma provided background music on the piano. There was plenty of time to check out all the beautiful tables, visit with women we knew, and meet new people. We left feeling refreshed and relaxed. Thank you so much for all those who made this event possible – Beth Smith, Shirley Longnecker, Paulette Bodeutsch, Debbie McNeil, and all our table hostesses. Ladies, we’re already planning for next year! (Tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013.)
general info program staff support staff worship services
saturday - 5:00 pm sunday - 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 am
available at all services
children’s church and sunday school available sunday mornings
515 s 312th street federal way, wa 98003 253.941.3000 www.stlukes-church.com
chris davis lead pastor
assistant to the associate pastor
assistant to the lead pastor
director of communications
assistant to dir of spiritual growth
director of spiritual growth
director of worship and arts
director of children’s ministries
director of operations
St. Luke’s Church 515 South 312th Street Federal Way, WA 98003 RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Federal Way, WA 98003 Permit No. 190