From Pastor John
Navy Seal Jesus
Donald Miller, in his book,
Blue Like Jazz
, tells of a time he went to hear a folksinger whose friend was a Navy Seal. The folksinger said his friend was performing a covert operation, freeing hostages from a building in some dark part of the world. His friend's team flew in by helicopter, made their way to the compound and stormed into the room where the hostages had been imprisoned for months. The room, the folksinger said, was filthy and dark. The hostages were curled up in a corner, terrified. When the SEALs entered the room they heard the gasps of the hostages. They stood at the door and called to the prisoners, telling them they were Americans. The SEALs asked the hostages to follow them, but the hostages wouldn't. They sat there on the floor and hid their eyes in fear. They were not of healthy mind and didn't believe their rescuers were really Americans.
The SEALs stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn't possibly carry everybody out. One of the SEALs, the folksinger's friend, got an idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them. None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there for a little while until some of the hostages started to look at him, finally meeting his eyes. The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us? He said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go. The story ends with all the hostages safe on an American aircraft carrier.
Miller goes on to criticize preachers who stress Jesus' call to follow him, but make him sound angry. He suggests that Jesus is not angry when he calls us. He is more like the Navy Seal. When Jesus became a human being, he did so that we would be able to trust Him. He healed people and loved them and cared deeply about how people were feeling.
Miller understood that the decision to follow Jesus was very much like the decision the hostages had to make to follow their rescuer. Jesus the Son of God, rescues us who are held captive in a world run by Satan, a world filled with brokenness. He became one of us and shed his blood on the cross. We gladly follow he who breaks the darkness!
Patience of Job
Patience - is being able to endure with constancy, perseverance, bearing up, steadfastness, holding out, patient endurance. To remain - the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances not with passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat. Strong's #5281 - endurance, Greek word hupomone: Hebrews 10:36 .
Patience is active, showing self-restraint, not hastily retaliating but waiting on the LORD and proclaiming His Word.
.... You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the LORD - that the LORD is very compassionate and merciful." James 5:14 The book of Job is a study of Job's patience in waiting on God. Job, with the help of friends, tries to understand the whys for what is happening to him. Even though he doesn't understand, he still remains faithful to his belief: "For I know that my Redeemer lives. And He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God." Job 19:25, 26 Job struggled with his faith but in end his faith in God brought him through. God asked Job to pray for his friends. Praying for his friends was a blessing for Job. Job 42:1-17
The LORD is asking us to pray for our nation as we go through the coming tumultuous year with many disagreements among the people of the land. In I Timothy 2:1-3, Paul exhorts us to with "all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior."
Let us ask the LORD for wisdom in how to pray for this coming year. " If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 "For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 "Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding .... Righteousness exalts a nation." Proverbs 14:33,31 "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3
Daniel gives us a format on how to pray for our nation in Dainiel chapter 9 verses 3-19.
1. Ask for forgiveness in prayer and fasting. "If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
Praise the LORD for who He is - great and awesome GOD, who keeps His promises. We praise You. Daniel 9:4
To You, O LORD, our God belongs mercy and forgiveness,.... O LORD, incline Your ear and hear the prayers of Your servants and our supplications for our nation and land.
"Lead us in Your Truth and teach us, for You are the God of our salvation; on You we wait all day. Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, for they are from of old" Psalm 25:5-6 "For in You (we wait for You), O LORD, we hope; You will hear (answer), O LORD my God. Psalm 38:15 We wait patiently for the LORD, and He inclined His ear to us, and heard our cry." Psalm 40:1
"Bless the LORD and forget not all His benefits" Psalm 103:2
Leviticus Bible Study
When young Jewish children first learn to read Hebrew in preparation for their bar mitzvahs, they begin with the book of Leviticus. This is probably the last biblical book Christians tackle! Yet it has plenty to say which the New Testament alludes to such as: Jesus our High Priest, Jesus who enters the Tabernacle by his blood, and Jesus the Lamb of God. Leviticus teaches of God's holiness, His love, His sacraments, His worship.
Join us beginning next Sunday June 30th for this reward and challenging book.
Coffee and donuts at 8:30a and the study begins at 8:45a.
Miriam Circle does not meet over the summer but will resume on September 10th.
OWLs next meeting will be Tuesday July 9 at 12pm. Come join us for fun and fellowship.
Bring food to share if able.
This month's project is school supplies (again!). Every August, there are children who begin school in Alachua county who do not have access to school supplies.
Please consider donating any school items that may help a child be able to attend school with the necessary tools. School starts August 12 and sales will be coming up this month.
These items can be:
- colored pencils,
- construction paper,
- loose leaf notebook paper,
- hand sanitizers, etc.
These will be donated to Lake Forest Elementary school which is the school FLC has been assisting.
We are planning on visiting with the teachers the week before to speak with them to get their specific needs. We will be serving them brunch. If interested in joining us let me know.
I know Lake Forest really appreciates all our donations and I'm proud for all our love.
Please see Kelly Dolan,
Judy Varady or Pat Lopez for questions.
The FLC book club has changed to meeting on the second Sunday every month, shortly after church, at "Sweetberries" on the corner of NW 5th Ave and N 13th St. Please see Marge Polkowski for any questions.
Please remember to save hotel toiletries
(shampoo, conditioner, soap etc.) and bring them to church. There is a basket in the church office where they can be placed. They are greatly appreciated by the homeless at both St. Francis House and Grace Marketplace. Thank you.
Did You Know?
There are nearly 60,000 LCEF investors who are making a difference. These are partners and Christ-centered servants in spreading God's Word through various church ministries. Would you like to be one of them? This summer slowdown period provides time to reflect on your investment opportunities, both within and outside the church. You may check out your options at the LCEF display in the church office or at "
We Have Termites
Dry Wood Termites have been found in the Campus House. The infestation is significant enough to require treatment of the structure. The structure must be fumigated to control dry wood termites.
On July 2, the pest control company will be putting tarps over the entire structure to prepare for the fumigation. The tarps will be removed on July 5 and the building can be used after that time. The person currently living in the apartment is moving out June 24. If you see the Campus House covered with tarps, you will know the reason.
Norm Nesheim, Trustee
|Lutheran World Relief
School will be starting soon. Sales for school supplies have already started. As we have done in the past, we will be collecting school supplies for backpacks to be donated to Lutheran World Relief. They are distributed to children in need whether stateside or worldwide. Some of the ladies at FLC have already been busy sewing the backpacks. However, we are asking the congregation to help with filling the bags. Because the bags are shipped, they must be filled with specific items to insure uniformity.
Each backpack includes:
- four 70 sheet notebooks of wide or college ruled paper
- one 30 centimeter ruler or ruler with centimeters on one side
- one pencil sharpener
- one pair of blunt tip (safety) scissors (steel blades work better than plastic blades)
- five unsharpened #2 pencils with erasers
- five black or blue ballpoint pens (no gel ink)
- one box of 16 or 24 crayons
- one 2 1/2 inch eraser
This will be spearheaded by Shirley and Juanita Bagnell. Please see them for any questions.
Twenties & Thirties Bowling Party
Are you a recent college graduate? Or maybe you've decided to keep on learning! You might have completely entered the work force! It's possible you are already married and might have a kid or two! Whatever the "Young Adult" phase of life you are in, we want you to join us for a Bowling Party at Splitz. We will be meeting at Splitz (1301 NW 76th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32606) on July 27 at 6:00 pm and bowling until we can bowl no more. Come hang out and meet the other young adults at First Lutheran! If you are interested or have any questions in attending please contact Stephanie Karolus (email@example.com or 352-376-2062).
Open Arms Spotlight
Open Arms students are busy with summer fun and learning! Our teachers have done an amazing job on creating a fun summery environment for students to learn in. Check out these awesome bulletin boards that teachers have created.
This summer all Middle School and High School students are invited to join Stephanie Karolus for a Bible Study on the Master Criminals of the Bible. Espionage. Fraud. Identity theft. These are crimes committed by sinful guys and gals in the Bible. But don't shield your eyes from these true stories of good guys gone bad! Some of the master criminals in this Bible Study are heroes of the faith, but at times they failed to trust God. So why are these bad-to-the-bone stories in the Bible? And what do they have to do with your life today? You'll have to steal away with this criminally good Bible Study to find out!
Join Stephanie every Sunday morning at 8:45 am this summer to learn about these Master Criminals!
NightLife has concluded for the summer. Youth will be preparing for the National Youth Gathering that is being held in Minneapolis, MN. NightLife will resume on August 14 at 6:00 pm.
National Youth Gathering Meetings
On Sunday, July 7, we will be having a special sending blessing for our youth and adults who will be heading to the National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis, MN, July 10-16. Please join us for this special blessing! Use the prayer calendar below in your prayers while this group is participating in National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis.
Watch for National Youth Gathering Updates from First Lutheran Youth on
Each evening you can also join us by watching the Mass Events with 20,000 other Lutherans! The Mass Events are how we end each day of the Gathering. They include worship, speakers, and special guests. These will be viewable at www.lcmsgathering.org starting July 11, at 9:30 pm EST. We hope you can virtually join us for the Gathering!
CPH Reads is a summer reading program that encourages people to read Christ-centered books all year long.
From May 25 to August 4, read any book, log your points for each book read, and then be entered to win one of our awesome prizes!
All ages can participate in this summer reading program. Click the link below to sign-up!
Summer Family Devotions are available! As you are traveling this summer, take a devotional and activity book with you for everyone in your family! Be sure to grab one for everyone in your family because the back pages include some fun games and activities for all ages!
Get Involved with Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School (VBS) needs you! Our list of needed donations is up in the church Narthex! New items will be added leading up to VBS. Please take a look at the items and consider donating an item or two.
Share Vacation Bible School with your neighbors this summer!! VBS yard signs and stakes are available for you to put up in your yard. This is a wonderful way for First Lutheran to reach out into the Gainesville community! Please grab one from the Narthex.
Join us for VBS this year! VBS is taking place on July 29 - August 2. Our completed Kindergarten Classes - 5th Grade will run 5:30 - 8:30 pm. Our 3 year olds - VPK Graduates will meet from 5:30 - 7:20 pm. Dinner will be provided each evening for the whole family. Registration is now OPEN! We hope to see you at VBS and can't wait to learn about our good God with you! Please feel free to share with your friends and neighbors!
Sunday school begins on August 18 for students who are in VPK through 12th Grade. Students who are in VPK - 6th Grade will meet in "Room D" which will be marked for Sunday School. Students who are in 7th - 12th Grade will meet in the youth room (formerly the Oasis Room). Join us at 8:30 am for donuts and fellowship. Sunday school will begin at 8:45 am in each of the classroom.