Sunday, November 28, 2004
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church will host a Blood Drive. Your gift of life is greatly needed. Sign up at church or contact Barbara Frey.Saturday, November 6, 2004
The Annual Lutheran Men’s Advance at El Camino Pines was held the last weekend in September, with Pastor Glen Egertson and Dr. Bill Bersley from CLU leading talks and discussions about “Hunting for Connection.” The emphasis was on hunting specifically for spiritual connection and the importance of mentors and role models in that process. Particularly impressive were some statistics coming out of Switzerland, showing the huge importance of fathers in particular, on influencing their children’s spirituality for both Sons and daughters. One of the theories behind it is that children tend strongly to look to their mothers to help them relate to their “inner selves”, and to their fathers on how to relate to the world around them, and particularly to spirituality in that world. So it is extremely important that we men realize that it makes a huge difference to the next generation whether we attend church regularly and are active in our church communities. We should not abdicate that responsibility, and we should take it very seriously.Friday, November 5, 2004
There was also a lot of discussion about issues of “ritual space” and rites of passage and initiation and the importance of the “father’s blessing.” All quite interesting and inspiring. I’ve told my kids that I’ve decided to take each of them on a “Vision Quest” that I hope will become a tradition in our family, and that they will later do with their children. They get to choose what we do, but I’ve suggested they think of something pretty big, like climb Mt. Whitney together, or go rafting through the Grand Canyon, or maybe a canoe trip in Alaska. And I plan to come up with a ceremony during this trip where I let them know very clearly how precious they are to me, where I see their strengths and the kinds of things I hope their futures will hold, and a very strong sense of my blessing.
So what about you? Is there something you are already doing, or can think of to do, to bless and honor and mentor your children and our “village children?” For women, are there things you can do to support your husbands and others in their unique role in this? To encourage it, yet let them take the initiative and leadership in what they choose to do? I hope you will all be inspired by these ideas, as I have been.
And may God Bless you and all those you love, as well.
Two Bible studies on the topic of Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament are available with Pastor Frank. They are on Monday evenings at 7:30, in the Library and Tuesday mornings at 10:00, in the Fireside Room.Monday, November 1, 2004
See how timely the scriptures are in the beginning of the 21st century. Contact Pastor Frank for more information (805) 492-1234.
The month of November points us in the direction of giving thanks. We will have Thanksgiving Eve services, we will pause, as a nation, to give thanks and we will, in many cases get together with family and friends to eat and celebrate. I got to thinking about all the things I am thankful for.Monday, November 1, 2004
I am thankful for family. I am thankful for the opportunities that God has blessed me with. I am thankful we are having an election in a couple of days and that we can vote and make our desires known, as a nation. I am thankful for Veterans who served their country and for the many that have lost their lives or have been wounded or injured. I am thankful for the beauty of the hills surrounding Thousand Oaks. I am thankful for my dog, who often runs with me. I am thankful for rain, and for sunshine. I am thankful for food and clothes. I am thankful for the church, which is the Body of Christ. I am thankful for prayer and for worship. I am thankful for the joy of movement, and the ability to do things.
You see this list could go on and on. There isn’t anything in life that God does not have a presence in, even the tests, which drive us ever closer to God. As a congregation, and as individual members of this community of faith, I invite you write your own list, and to share it with one another. Let this whole month be a time of Thanksgiving.
See you in church.
O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 106:1Monday, November 1, 2004
Gratitude seems to be an innate part of our human nature. Of course, it needs to be cultivated, and “Thank you” in some form or another is usually the fourth expression we teach our babies — after “mama, “daddy,” and that magic word: please. Nor is ours the only country that sets aside a specific day to give thanks as a nation.
Did you know that the words “thank,” “thanks,” or “thanksgiving,” are written 95 times in the Old Testament? Think of that, for a moment. That’s the Old Testament: a whole different story, living under the Law, before Christ came to redeem us from our guilt under that Law and its fearsome consequences. Might be hard to have a thankful spirit under those circumstances. Yet, as the Psalmist reveals in the above quote, those who recognized God’s “steadfast love” could indeed give thanks.
As we might well imagine, most of these “thank” references are in the Psalms. Yet, even the prophets speak of thanksgiving to God. Isaiah, foreseeing the Redeemer as far beyond a political savior, anticipates “songs of thanksgiving,” (51:3) from the people whom God will comfort. Jeremiah also describes God’s comfort for and deliverance of those who turn to him, as those people respond with merrymaking and thanksgiving. He follows this description by that powerful proclamation of God’s, “And you shall be my people, and I will be your God,” (30:19-22), a promise each of us, millennia later, still holds dear.
But when Amos speaks for God, condemning the people for loving “to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,” (4:5), he speaks of God’s judgment, for the people lack true thankful spirits as they “oppress the poor [and] crush the needy.” We are admonished to have truly thankful hearts, giving hearts, not grasping.
We have much to be thankful for and could never make a complete list of all our blessings. But it is the steadfast, the “long-suffering” love of God that created, redeemed, and sustains us that gives us delight in life. In the end, and for all time, God’s steadfast love was poured out for us on the cross. This is the Gift we give thanks for daily.
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, we learn that our gratitude can only be weighed on the scale of our love, lived out in kindness and service to others. As you read this issue of the Tempo, you will have prayed about and then committed your support, through your prayer, your time, your service, and your money to the ministries of your congregation, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. We, of Stewardship Committee thank you for your dedication to the work of our Lord Jesus Christ in the vast vineyard of this planet earth. We ask that you continue to study God’s word, the Bible, that you may perceive more keenly what God’s Word, our living Christ, calls you to dedicate, to do in His Name. Let each of us pray that our deep gratitude for all God has blessed us with will shine from the love we share in our lives. “God bless us, every one!” —IlaJean Kragthorpe
What woke you up this morning? When we and our three small children lived in a village in Liberia, West Africa, we were often awakened by the indignant crowing of a rooster, apparently ashamed of us all for still sleeping, or the happy bleating of goats, eagerly anticipating a new day. These are happy sounds to awaken to for rural African people!Monday, November 1, 2004
Thanks to your loose-change emptied pockets and purses, many parents will rise in these mornings grateful to God that they have chickens and goats, seeds and trees. Many children will rise up singing as only African children can sing, with jubilant trust that all will be well: they will have milk to drink and food to eat.
Perhaps when we awoke this morning, many of us were already tensed by the problems we knew we faced on this day. Perhaps those problems were what woke us up. Your Stewardship Ministries committee would like you to awaken with something else on your mind. It may not solve those problems, but it could help to put them in perspective.
When you wake up, first thing, thank God for at least THREE things you can look forward to in the day Blessings from God. If that doesn’t work, thank Jesus that in the present day YOU have played an important part in the blessings the villagers throughout many places in Africa will rise to thank our Lord for. Just think of that kind of power, that kind of blessing for us.
God Bless you for your added ministry through our Helping Through Loose Change Jar. Let’s keep those roosters crowing and those goats bleating, those parents giving thanks, and those children singing! — IlaJean Kragthorpe
We walked home from the park under a canopy of trees and a mottled sky. The late afternoon quiet pierced by the soft clicking of our dog’s paws on concrete as he walked along side us. “My family, and for Duke, and...” our seven year old daughter Stephanie began to answer without hesitation and with ensuing, exacting detail, in response to our inquiry into what she was most thankful for. “Nintendo Game Cube,” was her equally quick response, when asked what she thought her brothers were most thankful for.Monday, November 1, 2004
We may never know what our sons are truly thankful for, aside from well, for everything we have, that we might not have.” They aren’t predisposed to engaging in lengthy discussion on any topic that doesn’t in some way pertain to Game Cube computer game strategy. Yet, what we can all undeniably be grateful for as members of Holy Trinity is that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Division for Global Mission, continues to do God’s work throughout the world.
We can be grateful that at any time of the day or night, 309 international ELCA Mission personnel working in affiliation with 70 companion churches located in 49 countries from Bolivia to Bangladesh, Tanzania to Thailand and beyond, are somewhere in the world, striving to spread the good news of the Gospel and affecting countless lives.
As we reflect on the many blessings that have been given to us all by a most gracious God, please join with our family in taking a break from the Nintendo Game Cubes before us, to pray for the entire ELCA Division for Global Mission, for its Executive Director Rev. Rafael Padilla, and for all its missionaries tirelessly working throughout the world. — Gary and Sherrie Bague and Family
It is exciting! It is daunting! The journey begins soon. November 3 -18, Stacey Wise and I will be traveling to and experiencing Eastern Africa — not so much from the point of view of tourists, but as students — of the people, the economic systems and students of the ongoing work of God in the country of Tanzania. We’ll meet members of families who have grown coffee on the slopes of the wondrous Mt. Kilimanjaro for generations, we’ll stay in their homes, study at the Lutheran World Relief (LWR) project centers, learn about the international role of coffee — the 2nd most highly traded commodity in the world—and likely see a giraffe or two!
Coffee trade has the power to keep people poor across continents. Coffee trade also has the power to transform lives out of poverty and into sustainable, healthy, life-giving futures. I am so proud to serve a congregation that takes our Baptismal calling seriously. Just a few weeks ago as our group of confirmands affirmed their faith, they too committed themselves not only to lives of Christian faith, but Christian witness and service “to work for peace and justice in all the world." Believe it or not, the choices we make in drinking coffee can be an expression of our faithfulness and Christian witness!
This month as we focus on the power of lives lived in thankfulness, I am so thankful for the many ways that HTLC lives out the Good News of God in word and deed. I am so thankful that Holy Trinity is one of 3,500 Lutheran Parishes and organizations who have purchased fair trade coffee for church events and personal use through the LWR Coffee Project. With every pound we buy, we say YES to God’s vision for the world and we love a neighbor we’ve never met. (Thanks to Donna Embry and Ian Bowman it is easy to buy fairly traded coffee right here at church. To purchase, simply pick up an order form on the 1st Sunday of each month on the patio just outside the sanctuary.)
I am thankful for the gospel that shows us the ways of life God envisions for the world and for all God’s people. And I am thankful to be a member of the ELCA — for collectively we reach out to the world God loves far more successfully than any one of us might be able to do alone.
If you haven’t already, I invite you to read the information flyer available in the narthex or to visit: Lutheran World Relief to learn more about the ministry of the Women of the ELCA and Lutheran World Relief.
Stacey and I will be eager to share sights, sounds and news of our experiences when we return! Watch for details of events in the December Tempo. In the meantime, as you drink your fairly traded coffee over the next two weeks, Stacey and I would be grateful if you would keep us and our families and those we’ll be traveling with and meeting in your prayers.
I’m trying to learn a bit of Swahili, so here goes...
(Thank you very much)
(Goodbye to you all)
Majaliwa, (In God’s grace),