Blessed Necessity

Pat and JoeDear Friends,

Wow!  What a Sunday!  It was certainly Pentecostal in nature. Instead of a maze of tongues, we were a maze of activity. It may take a month to write all about everything

First, it was Pentecost Sunday and the church was filled with white, yellow, red and orange helium filled balloons standing at the ends of many pews. It was a glorious sight! All of the bright colors, including those of the ministerial team and the congregation, were to represent the time that all peoples of different nationalities came together and were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in their own language but were understood by all. They were thought to be drunk by some but it was Result of the Holy Spirit moving among them

Second, it was Confirmation Sunday. Five wonderful youth gave their statements of faith and were voted into LNPC membership. I will definitely have excerpts from each of them below.   One of them is our grandson, Joe. I have been thinking what a great human being he is developing into. And I firmly believe it is the youth program helping him in his Faith. These students are a most diverse group of teenagers with talents and strengths in many different areas. Yet they are also exactly alike in the Christian faith – the unifying thread that runs through them and binds them together. And now they are all part of our Christian LNPC family. Remember to always take time to talk to these Teens. They need that feeling of being  loved and important with a sense of belonging in our family!  John Denton has brought them to this high point and we must all continue their nurture!  It’s our Christian obligation and Christ holds us accountable for it

Third, it was a Baptismal Sunday. Ben, one of the students in the confirmation class, had not been baptized. So he was baptized after the class statements of faith.

Fourth, after all of the excitement of a wonderful service, we went to a delicious Mexican “free lunch”  coupled with the photos, video and speeches of all of our members who went on the trip to Zimbabwe, (plus a Texan friend invited by Claire Burrill who traveled with them on this Mission trip and came to participate in our lunch and program with her minister husband all the way from Texas!)  It was delightful with yummy food and such a wonderful presentation by all of the team:  Dan and Debbie Gara ( old pros at this trip!), Carl and Susie Hess, Claire Burrill and her friend and Pastor Paul . It was enough to be an enticement for a whole church Mission trip!  Start saving

John and Stephanie Denton held a Confirmation Dessert get together in Gard Hall on Saturday night 6-8 PM. Families and grandparents were invited and since our grandson, Joe, was one of the class members, Grandpa Joe and I attended also. Each group had at least one Elder sitting at the table with them. Susie Hess was at our table and it was perfect because she has been so involved with our grandchildren. Grandson Joe and granddaughter EmilyKate went on the Mexico Mission trip with Carl and Susie last year. And Susie has younger brothers Sam and Michael in Pathfinders. So Susie knows almost the whole Family  Each student stood to give their statements of faith after being interviewed at the table and then introduced by their Elder. I was impressed at the depth we go to in order to make sure our youth are serious and understand and can express their faith, and, also are understood  by the Elders. The only thing interfering with the lovely  evening was that pesky two year old, Daniel, the youngest Yanez. He is truly a Menace and does not seem to have a silent still moment. During the church service today he and son in law Gabe sat in the baby’s room to mask the noise and preserve dignity. When the families went up front to surround the conferees Gabe felt he needed to remain separate to keep the serious quality  in the service. While standing in front, I looked back and saw the 2 year old’s face and hands plastered against the quiet room glass!! So, if on Sunday you see a toddler with wads of light colored tight unruly curly hair, run the other way!

Family Camp  – Into The Wild
Hurry!.  Hurry!  Hurry!  . May 20-22 at the Lazy W Ranch , only about 30 minutes away!  Claire Burrill, 90, went last year and gave these Three reasons why we should all participate.
1.  It was like Family time – LNPC Family time   Four generations were there! Babies to 90s.
2.  Everyone knows everyone else  and we like to talk
3.  Great Facilities. Compared to her Mission Trip to Africa, Claire said these facilities are 4 star!
Talk to John Denton or Debbie Gara if you want to go. There is still room. Or, sign up 24/7 on the church website. They just have way too much fun and fellowship at this LNPC gathering. Remember the varied  ages – baby to 90+. Think that’s a wide enough range for you to fit in??  Scholarships available where needed. Joe, two grandkids and our son in law are going!

Church Flowers
Don’t forget to sign up on the flower chart in the Narthex for your future week of flowers.  Make out a $65 check to McCool Florists and take to church office or bring Sunday AM and put in offering plate . Remember the purpose of these flowers is for the beauty of the service but more importantly we Deacons take them after church to those who are not well or not able to come to the church service. It is so nice for them to receive and gives a cheery visit with them also. If you know of someone who needs a cheery bouquet please let me know!!

Our Pastor Nominating Committee. They are still working hard. Greg Heath told me they should have another update soon. By the way if you have heard of someone who might be a good pastor candidate, please let one of the PNC committee members know. The people you know or a friend knows may be the best potentials!  Don’t forget to pray for  these  hard working members who are taking so much of their personal time for our church: Fred Ehlers, Greg Heath, Carl Hess, Howard Hirakawa,  Pat Kun, Stacy Malone, Brett Riordan, Cecil Spearman and Carol Stocksdale.  They have a most important duty for the future of  LNPC. Their responsibility is awesome!

Church Activities
1.  Missions. – Our job is to spread God’s word and care for others as Christ’s disciples. We have so many projects of outreach. JoAnn Renning, whom I call “ The Lady of Perpetual Mission” is constantly reminding us of our responsibilities in charity.
Hands of Grace Meal  Feed the homeless the first Wednesday of each month. Bring food and help serve and sit down and eat with these interesting people.  It is not held at our church,  the food is taken to Faith Episcopal Church in Laguna Niguel. You don’t have to stay, you can just drop off food if you prefer . Pastor Paul attends and several of our congregation. Call JoAnn Renning or the church office for more information.
Food Drive for South County Outreach –. Special Spring Drive for 1000 pounds of food Look for the barrel in the narthex and bring your non perishables.  The need never ends! And if you want to help sort and work at this main Orange County center, they definitely need help.

2. Fashion Show. Ladies!…. Fashion Show at El Niguel Country Club on Saturday afternoon was a great success. There were all kinds of donated silent auction baskets, baskets for raffle , a delicious lunch and some of our lovely church ladies modeling Chico’s fashions. I sat with Debbie Heath and her mom, Valerie  and we had a great time!  This team of ladies headed by Joanne Renning, who spearhead this huge undertaking work so hard and deserve our admiration and support. Hours of work go into getting donations and planning in minute detail. I don’t know how much we made yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you know!  Monies for our Missions!!.

3. Prayer Groups Monday mornings 8-8:30 in the sanctuary a group meets to pray for our church, our PNC , our church members and the person who will be called to be our Pastor. Come and join in prayer. Just show up.
4.   The Gathering  Every Sunday at 4:30 -5:30 You have the opportunity to meet for Praise, Prayer and Fellowship. The Music is all Praise Music  It’s held in Gard Hall. It’s a try to meet the needs of those who can’t come Sunday AM or those who prefer a more contemporary Worship style.
5.  Training Session for Stephen Ministry in co-op with Lutheran Church of the Cross . Meeting  Tuesdays 6-8:30 PM at the Laguna Woods Lutheran Church on El Toro Road. Call Margaret Lee for more information ( 948-230-8999)
6.  John Denton, LNPC Youth Director, is sponsoring  a meeting for parents on Wednesday, May 18th 7-8 PM with Dr. Marc D.  Skelton, Clinical Psychologist  on “Teens and Mental Health”   You can go to the church web site for more information.
7.  The Open Door is starting their study again on May 24th at 2 PM. This time it will be centered on a. book titled  “The Call, the Life and Message of the Apostle Paul” by Adam Hamilton. It takes you through Paul’s background, conversion, early ministry and the missionary journeys via maps,scripture and DVD.  Karen Vassey has all the scoop and can order you a book

Children’s Activities
1.       John Denton’s Youth Group meets Mondays.5:30-7 PM. Location. The Garage.    If your teens or your teen’s friends or your friend’s youth are available suggest they come. Everyone gets along and has fun.  And they serve the church and our needs too. Thumbs up from my grandson
2.    Children’s Choir  practice is Mondays 4-5:30. LeeLee gives the Lifetime Treasure of Music to our children. 5 years plus. It provides experiences your children/grandchildren will never forget. My grandkids have been attending and they like it. Thank you LeeLee.
3.    Pathfinders  Wednesday’s at 3:30- 5:00. with Debbie Gara and her helpers. They are always doing great activities, being creative  and learning too. Snacks, stories, games and art and crafts with Miss Debbie and Miss Susie!. And music with LeeLee!! They brought new socks last week for the LA homeless
4.     VBC. Vacation Bible Camp. July 11-15. 9-12. Get your calendar marked for kids or grandkids and neighbor and friend’s kids. And don’t forget to volunteer!  We had so much fun last year.

Service Recap
Ann Webb did an excellent job and could relate to this confirmation Sunday since her son Jack was confirmed last year!.

Service Music
The Praise band with Stan Pepek and our own  Carol Stocksdale led us in singing. The Chancel choir with Binh directing sang “Spirit Come Down”a very rhythmic peppy anthem  – perfect for Pentecost. One of the confirmation class members, Lauren Spalding sang beautifully “Call On Jesus”. She has been wonderful to follow in these formational years into a teen.  And this is exactly what we talk about in acting as a supportive church family   Suk did all selections on piano and organ. The Offertory was “ Come Holy Spirit, Dove Divine” and gorgeous as always    And we must always remember Binh’s admonition that it is all for the Glory of God

Children’s Message
Susie Hess did the message. She spoke of stained glass windows and how they portray many lovely things and many Biblical figures. When the sun shines that light comes through the windows and the figures making them glow as a beautiful beacon of God. They attract attention as they shine forth. When we are God’s children we can have the same light flow though us. It’s the Holy Spirit. We become the beacons of light for  God. Always shine forth with the love and caring of God

Acts 1:3-5; 2:1-17
John Denton read the Scripture
“…..All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability……”
. The phrase I put above is only a tiny piece of the whole selection. So….Remember you must read the whole scripture from the Bible to get the real words and not just this tiny snippet)

Confirmation Class
Youth Director, John Denton
John started off with a statement about the last six months with this group of young people. He said each of them had good weekly attendance and missed very few sessions even with their busy schedules. There was a big thank you to the parents and families for driving and supporting the goal   It was an educational time for the group. John made a great point by saying that the Statements of Faith each teen made today would change over time. They would be refined and expanded. But this was a wonderful starting point in each of their lives and their declaration of what being a Christian and having faith is to them today

God’s Word In Action :  Statements of Faith
( the Comments below are selected from each student’s statements )
1.     Alex
I strive to be like God everyday.
Jesus makes God’s word easier.
When I pray I feel more open and relaxed.
I have gone to this church for three years and it’s a friendly environment where you can have fun and also learn about God
2.    Jack
Jack has come to our church for over a year. His family moved here from out of the area. Jack feels the Holy Spirit has helped guide him through very tough times
The Bible has helped him in his understanding.
He loved the Confirmation snacks too ( this  really got congregation chuckles).
Jacks desire is to give back to the community
3.    Benjamin
He said there is a special feeling of belonging here.
For him God oversees all and is a protector of all.
Jesus Christ is God’s gift to us.
Prayer is Ben’s communication with God The Bible is the word of God with many stories of ancient times.
Faith is to have trust or believe in something.
In Matthew 5 Jesus reminds us that we are the light of the world .
4.    Lauren
Lauren has attended LNPC for many years   She said she has loved the involvement with Missions and VBC.
Lauren sees God’s face everyday.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift.
She feels the Holy Spirit
She always prays for tests.
The Bible is a huge book with special passages and proverbs.
Belief is something you cannot physically see.
Lauren’s goal is to go to heaven.
5.    Joe
Been attending LNPC for one year but came on and off before that.
Going on the Mexico Mission Trip last year really started his interest in becoming more involved.
Joe said Church has changed  him.
Jesus Christ is our Savior.
Without Jesus, He would never get to heaven.
He uses Prayer for tests.
Learning about the Bible helps him in understanding right from wrong.
The Bible is God’s teaching.
Faith is essential as part of God’s church. LNPC and Faith have helped him develop character

Statement by the Birle Family
John and Sue Birle related how much the Confirmation classes with John and LNPC has meant to their Family. Last year their older son had been in the class and this year the younger was in it. They felt the importance of this faith for their sons and our church in their lives

“ Blessed Necessity”
Pastor Paul Reeves
This is Pentecost Sunday remembering when the Holy Spirit filled the people so all could communicate no matter wha their language.  Church was not an option, but rather a necessity. In ancient times, the church helped people avoid corruption.

But how can you learn to be humble and good if you are never around anyone to have these qualities tested. Hope cannot be developed in solitude. Love cannot be experienced with no one around. Humility cannot be experienced alone. We have a need for a Christian community. God calls us into community Salvation is learned and experienced as a community.

Two Things God Established
1.     Family
2.    Church

Agape is learned in involuntary association. (This was a statement I really thought about as I had not seen it that way before. But suddenly it was true that  the full import of Christ’s love is when it is automatically given without planning. It is part of us and our living!)

Notre Dame did a Study on parents and children in 2015. They found the following:
✔Mothers and Fathers who practiced what they preached had the most influence in teenage faith. More than teachers or friends or even Youth Directors
✔Children in the above category –  82% who were in their late 20s attached great importance to their faith
✔Dad’s church behavior was more important than moms in predicting future Faith and church involvement of children.
✔Greatest influence on sons and daughters was the quality of the relationship with their parents. If they were close they felt more willing to share in faith
✔Second most important factor in future faith was their grandparents

( all I could think of from the above list was how important family is. Stop working overtime and being busy all the time and lay down your phones! A hug and a few kind words and listening ears are worth everything to your child’s future. And, if  the immediate family isn’t  there for the Child , then how important the surrogate family becomes.  The Church  family has often become surrogate families for children. We must always keep in mind our Christian duties toward our community of faith)

Pastor Paul continued:
What do you hope your children will inherit from you?
Is passing on your faith to your children important to you?

He asked for a show of hands of all parishioners who thought the World was different  from when they were growing up. Big show of hands and laughter followed
Pastor Paul said the current ethics of the World are self centered ethics.

The church and Christian principles needs to be the center of our World and outreach. A  young girl had gone for a walk and lost her way. A policeman saw her and offered to take her home. But she did not know her address. But when he drove by a church, she said, “ oh, that’s my church. Now I know where I am. I can find my way home from here”. The church needs to be the guiding symbol for all. All ages are accepted and loved at church. Through Baptism and Communion all who come are gathered together. All who come are Christ’s Apprentices. Christ equips each of us to be His in this World of ethics gone awry.

Ben, one of the Confirmation class,  was baptized. Pastor Paul told Benjamin that he was now marked as God’s forever. (Did you ever consider that at your baptism you were marked as God’s forever?. It really puts an added dimension.)  You thought you  chose to be a Christian. But the truth is God says “you did not choose me but I chose you to go forward and bear fruit”

Final Prayer for Each in the Confirmation Class, The Apostles Creed Recited and Congregation Agreement to Confirmation Class Membership in Our Church.  The confirmation class stood in front together. Mike Malone came up and he and Pastor Paul led us  in The Apostles Creed, a basic statement of our Christian faith. Pastor Paul then put his hand on each student  and said a Prayer for them. This was a most meaningful part of the process. A Personal Prayer to seal your covenant of Confirming Faith and church membership

Love in Christ.❤
Pat and Joe

Pat and Joe Easter 2