“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9

I know we mostly misunderstand what heaven will be like. Most of us think we will be at the center of heaven with all our hopes and dreams and wishes. I know I often find myself dreaming about what I will have in heaven that I don’t have now. But the truth of scripture is that Jesus is at the center of heaven with his hopes and dreams and wishes. I love this line from Revelation 7. Heaven is diverse. Every nation, tribe and language are represented. There’s a great multitude that no one can count, how’s that for good news! So many people and from everywhere. That’s what God wants in his heaven. The project of earth is to conform ourselves to God’s hopes and dreams. Are we the kind of people who want heaven to be full of all kinds of people from all kinds of places? I hope I am. I hope we are.

-Pastor Travis

Christmas is Coming

Our annual Christmas gift-giving opportunity is here again. We plan to provide gift cards to the residents of MOSAIC, Lutheran Family Services and Family Promise. We have set a goal of 250+ gift cards. Please consider donating directly to the Christmas Gift Card fund at First Lutheran by November 30, 2020. Donate on the website by clicking here, or send a check with the designation “Christmas Gifts” on the check.

First Lutheran Staff will purchase the gift cards and will take them to the agencies for distribution.

Please contact Marcia Foret at marcia@flccs.net if you have any questions

Peel House Progress – October 24, 2020

Clearing the extra dirt for the future elevator. The dirt will be saved and used again for this project.
Packing the dirt for the elevator footings. Almost to the bottom!
This view shows how deep they’re digging.
This week they did more demo in the kitchen.
The upstairs bathroom that will soon become a coffee bar/lounge area.
Another view of the whole room.
This used to be the servants quarters when the home was first built. We used it as offices. Now, it will be the handicap accessible bathrooms!

The Saint John’s Bible: Pentateuch

If you liked my Children’s Sermon last Sunday, you are going to want to turn into our next Adult Seminar!

This Sunday we start a six week series on The Saint John’s Bible.  It is the first handwritten and hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine abbey since the invention of the printing press! It’s beautiful illustrations bring the Bible stories to life in new and thought-provoking ways. It is a modern and contemporary Bible made for twenty-first century readers and believers.

This week we will explore beautiful illuminations on the Creation, Adam and Eve, Jacob’s Ladder, The Ten Commandments and more! Make sure to join us this week via Zoom for an exploration of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Come see how these contemporary artists captured the foundations of our Christian faith.

Join our Zoom Meeting, 10:30 a.m. Sunday Morning

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84364439242
Meeting ID: 843 6443 9242

Advent Bags Are Coming.. Deliverers Needed!

November 22
Bag pick-up for deliveries 11 to 1 p.m.

We are going to bring a little bit of the holiday spirit to all our families this season! We have a reusable bag with some gifts to make the season a little brighter.

For all our families to receive the Advent bags, we are going to need you to help with a holiday delivery. Last year we did an all-member delivery during the capital campaign and this will be very much the same. When you sign up, we will give you a list of 6-10 addresses in the same area for bags to be delivered. You can knock on the door and say hello, or just hang them on the door knob; we’ll let them know you’re coming.

We will need about 100 people to make deliveries, but we hope to make it fun for you, too! Picking up bags will be a drive thru in the alley behind the church. You’ll be greeted by the staff, handed some hot cider or hot chocolate and a Christmas CD of our very own choir to listen to as you make your deliveries!

If you are willing to do this fun job (a little bit of Santa dropping by) or have any questions just send an email to Marcia Foret at marcia@flccs.net We look forward to hearing from you!

“They are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

It’s reformation Sunday this week. Some might call it Lutheran homecoming week. While we share this belief in God’s grace with all Christians we claim to hold it more fervently and close to our hearts. The idea that we are justified by grace as a gift contains the whole of our faith. To be justified is to be righteous before God, without fault or blame. To be justified is to be able to stand before God without sin. It is to belong in heaven. But all of us have sinned and don’t deserve to be in God’s presence. We have nothing of our own to offer or make us worthy. Regardless, we get to be with the Father. Jesus dies on the cross and is raised from the dead and so we get to go to heaven. The gift is given freely to us although at great cost to Jesus. How could that ever make sense. It doesn’t. Grace doesn’t make sense, but it is real and it is for you. Thanks be to God!

-Pastor Travis

Peel House Groundbreaking

As part of the Rekindle the Gift Campaign, watch as we break ground for the new elevator and for the renovation of historic “Mira de Flowers”, the 1905 home of William and Patty Jewett, part of First Lutheran’s campus since 1958.

Peel House Progress – October 17, 2020

Removing the old iron staircase to make room for the elevator.
Goodbye old sidewalk!
Trying to save what can be saved!
They found the old plaster and paint in the dining room.
How amazing is the safe in the kitchen?
Stove and hood are gone!
Goodbye kitchen walls. You can see the safe in the background.
This used to be Sunday School classrooms years ago and more recently storage. All the walls are now gone!
Another view

The Church has Issues: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-17

Pastor Travis Norton
14 October 2020
Wednesday AM worship

We’re finishing up our series on the Church has issues this morning. Today we go to the church in Thessalonica, the capital city of Macedonia in Greece. We believe that these letters to the new Christians in Thessalonica are the oldest books in the new testament. Paul traveled through Macedoniain the 40s and likely wrote this letter in 50 A.D. You can tell Paul had a special fondness for this churchmaybe because it was among the first that he planted on his missionary journeys. I know as a pastor I have a special connection to the first church I served, Our Redeemer’s in Helena, Montana. Mostly because they knew me as a 26-year-old pastor who made a lot of mistakes which they met with patience and grace. Paul is pastoring the Thessalonians from afar and through his associate Timothy. But even though he has a special place in his heart for them, or maybe because he does, he writes to correct them on some of their issues. As he does with all the churches he writes to, he urges them to be holy, to begin to live as Christians, set apart from the world around them. We’ve talked about that a lot in this series, most of Paul’s letters are heavy in the theme of sanctification. We are saved by God’s grace, but we are saved for God’s work and witness which asks us to live holy lives, free from sin. To the Thessalonian’s, the two main issues Paul addresses is their sex lives and their work lives. As for their sex lives, he tells them that they can’t be promiscuous like the gentiles, they are not to sleep around. In 1 Thessalonians 4:4 he says, each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion like the gentiles who do not know God, that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this manner. We could do a whole series on sexual ethics, rooted in this passage that sex not be used to exploit others for our own benefit. Christian sex is meant to serve our spouses and not ourselves, a lesson believers and unbelievers still need to hear today. The second issue that Paul addresses is the work life of the Thessalonians. In chapter 4 of 1Thessalonians, he says that they should “aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs and to work with your hands as we directed you.” I think the whole of the protestant work ethic is contained in that verse. Mind your own business, work with your hands. What is that phrase, idleness is the devil’s plaything/workshop? Paul really gets after this issue in his second letter. He tells them to stay awayfrom those who don’t work, who are being idle. Having nothing to do with them. If they aren’t going to work, they shouldn’t eat. Everyone should earn their own living. Now, we have to be quick to saybecause this passage has been misused politically over the years, Paul is not talking about people who can’t work because of disability, illness or circumstance. Paul is not saying that we shouldn’t help those who are poor, unemployed or in need. Paul is talking about people who choose not to work and because of that choice become busybodies who have nothing better to do than disrupt the community. One of the issues was that some believed that Jesus’ return was right around the corner, they thought the end of the world was at hand, so they quit their jobs to wait for Jesus to come back. And once they quit their jobs, they all of a sudden had a lot of free time to fill up. Apparently, they used that free timeto bother the rest of the community, and cause problems. We don’t know exactly what they did, but it was bothersome enough for Paul to tell the community to bar these people from Holy Communion. Although Paul does say that they should still be treated as believers, as members of the community. But they shouldn’t be allowed to eat with the community if they aren’t contributing and only causing trouble. Paul wants the busybodies to be ashamed of their actions and change their ways, go back to work and reenter the community. The goal of all of this is a church where everyone contributes, where everyone is helping to build up the community. So that the church can help believers grow in holinessand then be an example to the community. So, others might come to faith in Jesus. I wonder what the lesson is for us. We don’t have many people who quit their jobs just to cause trouble at the church. We may have people who don’t carry their own weight, although we don’t’ really try to identify them. I know many of us were surprised when we looked at the giving chart of our communityhow the greatest giving to this ministry was done by a relatively small number of people. I think there is something about what Paul is saying that would urge us to contribute to the good of the ministry, to carry our own weight. I remember being counseled early on by a Pastor saying that he’d discovered that those who complain the loudest about the church often give the least, if at all. I know I’ve found that to be true in terms of volunteering. Someone will come to me with a complaint but when I ask if they willvolunteer to help solve the issue, they suddenly become very quiet. And I will be honest that I tend to give greater weight to the critiques of those who serve and support the church than those who don’t. We aren’t meant to be mere consumers of the ministry the church offers. We are meant to be producers of the ministry as well as recipients. So, we must all ask what we can do to make this congregation strong and healthy so we can share God’s word with the world. In our giving, in our volunteering, in the words of encouragement we offer. Even coming to worship at 9am on a Wednesday is an encouragement to those of us who put forth the effort to create this service. Our singing, our prayers, our attendance are all important ways of showing support. Most of what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians show up in lines like verse 4. “We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command.” I would like to echo Paul’s words that you are already doing what is needed for this congregation. You are supporting the ministry with your gifts of time, talent and treasure. When we proposed the Peel house project you overwhelmingly supported it. When we ask for donations for the hungry, you exceed our goals. When we need volunteers to deliver bags to the congregation, we had more volunteers than we needed (I say that because we’ll be asking again for Advent ����.) When the coronavirus forced us out of the sanctuary, you continued to adapt and pivot and support the new ways we are worshipping.So, all I can really say is keep it up. Keep doing what you are doing and watch how God uses it to bless others. We are seeing new people come to the church, people passing by on Cascade seeing us worshipare now joining us and becoming part of the community. We don’t have to do something crazy or out of the ordinary we just need to keep being the church. Keep working on getting stronger, more united, more faithful. Keep learning and practicing the ways of Jesus, keep identifying and repenting of our sin. Keep worshipping and growing, don’t be idle but be active in doing the work of God and watch as God continues to bless and grow this congregation for the sake of our neighbors and the sake of the world.Thanks be to God.

“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.”
-Matthew 22:21

Where do you see the face of Jesus?  Maybe it is turning the question around from the text, but isn’t turnabout fair play? The question is posed to Jesus asking if it is fair to pay taxes to the emperor and he returns with a question asking whose picture is on the coin and whose title?  So if it is the emperor who we are dealing in cash with, then it is to the emperor who the taxes on that currency should go to. But Jesus of course takes it a step further answering the question they didn’t ask and telling them also to give to God what is God’s.

For me it draws us into the question of where do we see the face of Jesus?  Because wouldn’t that be the place then that we give back to God what is God’s? Where do we encounter the face of Jesus; I sure hope that it is in the face of all the people that we encounter remembering that we are all made in the image of God.  I hope that when we find ourselves living in abundance we give to God in gratitude for all that he has given us.  I hope that when we see others in need we give out of our generosity and gratitude.  I hope that when we find ourselves in need we are able to receive help knowing that we too are open to receiving God through the gift of others.  I hope that we find ourselves just as amazed as those who encountered Jesus that day when we remember that all we have our possessions, our time, our talents are all from God and should be returned to God in blessings and thanksgiving.

-Pastor Carrie

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