February 2021
Nothing Wasted

There are times in life that are exactly what we want them to be. Then there are times in life that are exactly what we don’t want them to be. My guess is you have experienced both. But there is a truth that I am growingly convinced of: there is not a moment in our life that has to be wasted. What do I mean by that? We are all going to spend time in our lives in the valleys. We are all going to spend time in what feels like the wilderness. We are all going to spend time in less than ideal conditions. These statements are all true. The reality is that God can use those times in our lives for His purposes in our lives. 

Think about the life of Moses. He was born into a time in which all of his people were slaves in Egypt. He was born at a time when Pharaoh wanted to kill all of the babies (including him). He was taken from his parents' house and raised as an Egyptian in Pharaoh’s house receiving the best education the world had to offer at that time. He killed an Egyptian and was rejected by everyone in Egypt including his fellow Israelites that he was trying to defend.  He spent a 40-year timeout in the wilderness before he would ever see the burning bush.   Talk about walking through an extended valley! But here is the thing, God used all of that time and all of those experiences to prepare him for God’s calling upon his life. 

Think about the life of David. We often think of all of the highlights. We think of defeating Goliath and David on his throne. How easily we forget that David spent a good chunk of his life on the run in the wilderness from King Saul. On the surface, those look like wasted years, yet God used those years to shape the heart and faith of David, turning him into the man that he would become. 

How about Jonah? Without his three-day time out in the belly of the great big fish, he would have never gone to Nineveh to tell God’s message. 

The list could keep going. And yet I’m reminded of two Bible passages: Romans 8 and Psalm 23. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God’s promise to us in those words isn’t that life will always be perfect or turn out perfectly, instead, it's that God could use all things for our good. In Psalm 23, David writes in verse 4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Once again, God doesn’t say that if He is leading us then we will only go through green pastures and still waters. No. David says even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, David is acknowledging we will walk through valleys in life. But His promise is that even in the midst of the valley, He is there with us. His leading and presence will remain. 

As I think about the lives of people like Moses, David, and Jonah, as I think about those Bible passages, I’m convinced that there is not a moment in our lives that has to be wasted. For Jonah, in many ways, his three days in the fish were a waste as we see him at the end of the story as unchanged and bitter as ever. I can’t help but think that this was a wasted opportunity on his part. But for Moses and David, they were forever changed and shaped for good by their time in the valleys of life. 

As I reflect on where we are in life right now, I’m not convinced that this is our favorite moment in life or exactly where we want to be. That’s fair. Nowhere in Scripture does God promise that all of life following Him will be perfect. But God’s promise is that He is with us. He is guiding us through. He is able to use this moment, as difficult as it might be, for our good. I’d challenge you to step back and consider: what is God up to in you as you walk through this season of time? You just might be surprised by the answer. This may not be the perfect moment or right where you want to be, but it doesn’t have to be a wasted moment, for God is at work in you, among us, and even through you.  
From the Business Office

Thanks for your generosity in donating to the Ministries of OSLM. By now, you should have received a letter from Pastor Kevin and your 2020 Contribution Statement either by email or regular mail. The email went out around January 13, from automail@360members.com with  "Our Savior Lutheran Church Contribution Statement" noted in the subject line. If you haven't received it, you might want to check your spam folder, or you may contact Carla Gomes in the Church Office for a printed copy.  

We still have a few boxes of 2021 contribution envelopes. If you need your envelopes and aren't able to pick them up, please contact the office and we will arrange to have them delivered or mailed to you.  

Thank you to those who attended the recent Semi-annual Voters' Meeting. For your review, the following documents are linked below:

Additional Attachments from the December BoD meeting:
Children and Youth Ministry

Over the past year, we as a church have had to sacrifice a lot. In the areas of Children and Youth Ministry, we have had to say goodbye to in-person Sunday School and youth group, family events, Vacation Bible School, summer retreats, service projects, fundraisers, and so much more. In order to adjust we transitioned everything online and invested in a new curriculum to make sure that we still provided children and families with ways to grow in their faith and to feel connected with their church family. Although this past year has been difficult, God has blessed us with many opportunities along the way. Our children and youth curriculum now reaches into the lives of our school families and children that we may never have seen on Sunday mornings. We send monthly care packages to our Sunday School children as a reminder that their church family loves and misses them. And since it’s so much easier to just hop onto Zoom, we have started Wednesday Zoom devotions with our high school students as a way to recharge and connect mid-week.

This time of change and transition has also given us the opportunity to take a step back and assess the direction that our children and youth ministries need to go as we move forward into the future. In order to offer ministries that will best reach into the lives of children, youth, and their families in both the church and the school, we are putting together a Children and Youth Ministry Team. This team will help cast the vision for these ministries, set the goals that will help us achieve the vision, and enlist and equip the volunteers to make reaching these goals possible. If you have a heart for children and youth and are interested in being a part of serving young people and their families, or would just like to know more about the direction of these ministries and the team, you can contact Sara Agee.  
Canned Food Drive

Together, in partnership with the school and preschool, Our Savior Lutheran Ministries collected over 2000 pieces of non-perishable food items! These items will be made available to assist the food-insecure of our community, through local food pantries. We are very grateful that so many of you answered the call, and provided your support of this worthy cause.
Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Quilting Needs

Our church members have supported the Quilters with space to quilt, fabric for tops and backings, and encouragement. Thank you for all of your support. Please continue to ask friends and neighbors for fabric so the Quilters can continue this mission of love. We are looking for sheets in good condition, fabric, unfinished quilts, or projects! Call the office for an appointment to leave material or contact Susan Contreras at 925.462.3753, for pick-up. .
Ministry Action Teams

As you may know, Ministry Action Teams have been established and are developing goals and plans to support the ENGAGE, ENCOURAGE, EQUIP and LAUNCH vision to help you in your pursuit of vibrant and active life in Christ. How will Christ use you today? Where do you feel called to serve? Please consider connecting with the team leader(s) and find out how to apply your God-given gifts to share Christ’s love with others.

 Engage – Randy Brandt (510) 610-1500
 Equip – Joe Ryno (925) 583-4661
 Encourage – Jesse Yow (925) 447-2687 & Angela Westphal (925) 925-337-0727
 Launch – Chris Korsak (925) 487-0559


From the Engage Team: The Engage Action Team (EAT) has been off and running for a couple of months with the goal to help people ENGAGE with a great God. Our focus is to provide information and tools to help our members and school/preschool families connect with God in Prayer, Worship/Chapel, and Personal Study. Currently, the EAT is developing a flyer to provide guidance on how to ENGAGE with God in prayer and organizing a prayer chain for the school families. You can ENGAGE with God in prayer every week by going to Our Savior Lutheran Ministries | This Week at Our Savior and scroll down to Monday. We will soon be working on Worship and personal study elements. We welcome new members to join us.

From the Encourage Team: We ENCOURAGE and support each other as engaged members of the body of Christ. We also ENCOURAGE those that God brings across our path, including neighbors, members of the community, and even complete strangers. Activities include birthday greetings by card or in "drive-by singings", and brainstorming how to reach out to each other under current restrictions on face-to-face meetings. We hope to launch "Random Chats of Care" shortly, and are looking for other ideas on how to stir each other up! If you already have something in the works to help us pull together, let us know!

From the Equip Team: The Equip Team has been hard at work in an effort to EQUIP you for a life of following Jesus. We are planning a few workshops in the near future; more information to follow but here's a peek...  
  • How to act Christ-like in the workplace so that others want to know Him
  • How to talk to God in your everyday life
  • Explore how God has been there in our lives through good and bad
  • Financial Peace University

From the Launch Team: We are making plans to actively serve the local, regional, and global communities. Look for announcements on upcoming opportunities. We thank you for your support of recent LAUNCH events that have served our community near and far (Turkey drive, Operation Christmas Child, support of Firefighters, Hygiene Kits, Food drives, Quilts, and blankets).
Are you already connecting with and serving the community? If so, we would love to talk with you to see how the Launch Team can support your efforts.
Making a Difference

As the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, the needs for care continue to grow in congregations and communities everywhere. People are struggling with a variety of challenges. Many people are feeling very disconnected and are having a tough time right now.

Are you or someone you know experiencing Pandemic Fatigue?

 Isolation and Loneliness
 Anxiety Over Health
 Grief due to Many Different Kinds of Losses
 Tension from Juggling Work, Childcare, and Schooling
 Financial Strain or Job Loss
 Uncertainty about the Future
 Other Unexpected Life Challenges

If so, you don’t have to face it alone. Our Stephen Ministers are ready to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. A Stephen Minister is available to meet with you privately—by phone, by video chat, or if safely
possible, in-person – to offer care and support. It’s free and completely confidential. We now have a new, dedicated, confidential voicemail to ask questions regarding Stephen Ministry or to request a Stephen Minister. Please feel invited to reach out to us at (925) 344-6831.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
LWML - Mission Grants February 2021

Please support the mission projects of LWML.
Nationally the LWML needs money to fund the following:
Sri Lanka Multipurpose Building Construction (Office of International Mission)- $50,000.
LWMLCalifornia-Nevada-Hawaii: The Hmong New Year Celebration Outreach, in Fresno, for $6,710, was funded. The next need is the Establishment of Outreach Training, Ladies guild LWML, at Memorial Lutheran Chapel for the Deaf, in Fremont, California, $7,000. After that, $10,000 is needed for Seminary Training for Local Church Planters/Pastors, LINC Bay Area, Hayward, California.

How can we all help these grants get funds?
Send in a check to LWML when you have a special celebration, like a birthday, anniversary, or answered prayer, or to honor a loved one. Small donations add up quickly, so don’t think it needs to be a lot.
Send a check to the LWML Zone 7 Treasurer labeled Zone 7 LWML; a percent will go to LWMLCNH and a percent will go to the national LWML. Address:
LWML Zone 7 Treasurer, Diana Cuva, 2108 Dena Drive, Concord, CA 94519.