Grace is looking for an Outreach Coordinator from May 15-September 15, 2019. The outreach coordinator will coordinate and oversee the summer heat respite program. Visit our jobs page for full details »
An invitation from March for Our Lives, Arizona:
March For Our Lives Arizona invites you to join us on February 14th, 2019 to commemorate the one-year anniversary since the Parkland shooting. A year ago on this date, 17 students and teachers were mindlessly killed in their high school classrooms. On the 14th we will mourn those lost and honor those still here. The vigil will be held from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Madison Meadows Middle School, 225 W Ocotillo Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013. We thank you for your support and attendance on the 14th.
Arizona Faith Network
On the bookcase in my office is taped a piece of six year old scratch paper with a quote from Renee the second year she served as treasurer of Grace. “We can never adequately plan for how good God is to us,” she said. That January, our revenue exceeded our expenses for the first time in such a long time that no one could remember the last time we had balanced the books at Grace. I recall the moment I skimmed the year-end financials just sent to us by our then-bookkeeper Louise. As one of the fiscally responsible agents of Grace Lutheran Church, I honestly open financial statements with a certain amount of dread. But my expectations were dashed when, at the bottom of the page, the number appeared not in a parenthesis meaning in the red, in the negative, but right there by itself indicating we were in the black. I got up from my desk and rushed to asked Stephanie sitting at her desk in the outer office: Is this right? I think we balanced the budget! This is actually a miracle!
Contrary to popular understanding, prophets of the Old Testament tell the truth, not the future, the truth. And they tell the truth not just according to them but the truth according to God. Being a prophet is a hard job because, generally, people are not fond of the truth according to God. And for that reason, prophets of the Old Testament try to get out of the prophet gig.
Today, at the very start of his public ministry, Jesus declares his mission, declares his mission statement, if you will. And a very fitting mission statement it is from the 61st chapter of Isaiah: to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, that is, the year of Jubilee.
We’ve probably all been there—anxious about how something for which we are responsible will turn out, anxious about being accepted, anxious about meeting the expectations of the people we love or the world at large. Whether we’re trying to succeed at our job, raise a child, be independent and make our own way in the world, take a test, be a good person, or even just throw a party, most of us know the feeling of apprehension, know the questioning: Will this be good enough? Am I good enough?
On Sunday, December 10, 1978, I was 3 weeks old. My parents brought me to the font of baptism at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in the tiny, tiny town of Noonan, North Dakota. My dad was the pastor who, in true Lutheran fashion, sprinkled just a bit of water upon my head and proclaimed me baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
And what surprises me, what delights me, what brings me hope tonight is that, even though every single person in the ancient story of Jesus’ birth and every single one of us is steeped in violence and injustice, fear and hatred, the angels proclaim: Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth, peace!
As we expectantly wait for Christmas, one persona dominates the church world, another persona our culture at large. These two prominent figures both speak of how we should act, what we should do—and the consequences if we do not. The persona of our culture at large? Who can we find everywhere at malls and on cards and sung about in songs during the month of December? Santa Claus.
How about the persona of the church world? Who is it who dominates our Advent stories? Right. John the Baptist.
Linda Herrera, a member of Faith/La Fe Lutheran Church, is in direct contact with one of the community leaders who is helping coordinate relief efforts for the asylum seekers that are being dropped off at the Greyhound station in Phoenix. They need everything from emergency travel kits to families who are able to host other families for 1-3 days.
Our community building goal for December is to remember in prayer those for whom we do not normally pray: perhaps those with whom we struggle, people who are easily forgotten, or people we may believe do not need our prayer because they are successful. We may offer these prayers up during Sunday morning worship and/or during our personal, daily prayers.