Pastor Luke’s Corner

Church newsletters often have a brief article from the Pastor, sharing news and information that doesn’t necessarily fit a sermon. The JLP e-Newsletter hasn’t had that. So let me introduce a new feature: the Pastor’s Letter. I’ll try to keep them brief, and, with your feedback, interesting.

I’d like to talk about JLP’s future. I’ve been seeing some positive developments that more people in the congregation should be aware of. But we need to orient ourselves first.

Suppose you want to go to Anchorage and you’re travelling south. That’s great, if you’re in Eagle River. But if you’re in Girdwood, it means you’re headed the wrong way. To understand our future, we need to talk about where we are, but we also need to talk about where we’re trying to go.

It can be hard to think about a church as “going” anywhere. Nevertheless, we’re on a journey. Our facilities, of course, stay where they are, but the church — the congregation — is constantly moving. New people come, some as babies and some because someone invited them and when they did, they liked what they found. People leave, too, for all kinds of reasons. They get a new job, or they want to be closer to their kids and grandkids.

Even when people aren’t coming and going like that, they’re still moving — through time. I’m not who I was six years ago when I arrived, and neither are you.

A final way we’re moving is relative to some fixed reference point. If you put your canoe into a river, the current will carry you downstream. You might not notice how far it’s taking you unless you keep your eye on a fixed spot on the shore.

A church exists within its cultural context like a canoe in a river. The current is the direction and speed that culture is moving. Think how different the U.S. is today than it was twenty or fifty years ago. The surrounding culture influences what sort of clothes we wear and what kind of music is accessible to us. But it also tells us what we should think about money and marriage. It sets the standards for how we relate to our kids, our parents, and our neighbors. And without a fixed reference point, we don’t realize how far the current has carried us.

This isn’t necessarily bad. It lets us relate to the people around us. There’s a song that says “If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus and say he died for all.” True. But if Peter or Paul showed up in your neighborhood, how effective would they really be? (Imagine someone in a toga rang your doorbell and began talking in Greek. Would you invite them inside to tell you more?)

I’ll talk about where we’re headed next time. In the meantime, consider these questions: where are we right now, and which way are we going?

Summer Community Outreach

JLP has the opportunity to help families in our community by providing an afternoon movie outreach this summer. Families are often at a loss to find activities for their kids during the summer. Churches sometimes have met that need with Vacation Bible School, but those programs are manpower-intensive, and it’s been several years since JLP was able to offer a VBS. This summer, we’ll be screening children-appropriate movies in the afternoon for kids in grades K–5 during the week of June 18–22. We’re looking for some volunteers to help us with publicity and decorating prior to that week, and then on those days to provide hospitality to the kids (collecting permission forms, providing snacks, etc.). If you’d like to be part of blessing our community this way, contact Celia or Pastor Luke.

EXTREME Preaching – April 29

Do you have a favorite passage from the bible that you want to share with others? You are in luck! Sunday, April 29, will be the 5th Sunday of April, so Pastor Luke will be doing EXTREME preaching!

You pick the text and Pastor Luke is challenged to come up with an interpretation and application on the fly.  He gets better at preaching, and you might hear the answer to a question you had about that passage.

So bring a friend and let’s have some fun exploring our love for the Lord and his Word.

Northwood Cleanup

With the snow finally melting, it’s time for another Northwood Cleanup after worship during the education hour on April 22. Wear work clothes to worship that morning, and bring a pair of work gloves. Garbage bags will be provided. Plan to spend about an hour.

The cleanup is an opportunity for JLP folks to bless our neighborhood by picking up litter from both sides of Northwood Rd. between Strawberry and Raspberry. We adopted this stretch of road as part of Anchorage’s Adopt-a-Road program, and JLP’s members will be picking up garbage that day along either side of the road.

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Quilting Estate Sale — Last Day!

Please join us on Saturday, April 14 from 9–4 pm for the last day of the Quilting Estate Sale. The sale includes numerous bits and bobs, lots of fabric, fat quarters, batting, quilt kits, some partially started and already cut for easy assembly, plus many general sewing items and notions.

We could use help for a couple of hours manning the sale table.  Some of Margaret’s quilting friends have coordinated the sale and will be present to help answer questions.  Funds to be shared with the Billingslea family and JLP in Margaret’s honor. We are still looking for volunteers to help with the sale, if you are available to help please sign up, on the sign-up sheet in the education building.

We will be accepting credit cards and cash. We are not accepting any checks. Tell your friends to come and bring their imaginations.  There is a room full of opportunities awaiting your creative genius.