From the Pastor’s Heart in December

Just as the Apostle Paul greeted the church at Ephesus at the opening of his epistle letter to them, I greet you at the opening of our ministry together with his words as recorded in Holy Scripture; “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2 As I begin this first epistle as it were, I would express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for the warm welcome which you have extended to my family and me.Coming to a new place is always filled with mysteries, questions and a good deal of excitement. In this move, I can certainly say that the one constant that has shined so brightly is the love of God in Christ Jesus. From the time the conversation began with the call team, all the way through to our first days here in Chapin, everyone has made Angela and I feel so welcome.Getting acquainted with my new surroundings, I have enjoyed exploring the halls and classrooms, taken quiet walks through the cemetery and reading a bit of the history of our church. I have also been working earnestly in learning your names and faces. I can’t promise I will have all of them committed to memory right away, but I do want to know who everyone is and how we are all connected in God’s family of faith. What strikes me most, in these early days together, is the family atmosphere of St. Jacob’s and the desire to grow in faith as disciples of our Lord Jesus. In the coming months, we will have much to do in the way of spiritual growth. As the Epiphany season progresses, we will have opportunities for Bible studies, confirmation classes and other times for fellowship. I look forward to participating in the men’s, women’s and Up and Going groups as I am able. I especially look forward to getting to know our young people and participating in the events planned for our youth. God has a mission for us all. It is my prayer that we all engage in this mission and find it to be faithful, fulfilling and enjoyable.
Beginning this new era in the life of St. Jacob’s, my prayer is that we continue to seek the love, guidance and assurance of the Holy Spirit. The very same love, guidance and assurance that brought us together is what will keep us faithful and strengthen us in our efforts to proclaim the gospel of Christ Jesus to those whom God places in our midst. I will also invite many of you to consider new ways of serving our Lord and his church. One of the hallmarks of discipleship is being willing to listen to the still, small voice of our heavenly Father as he comes to us in the quietest of moments and in surprisingly new ways, and responding to his invitation for ministry. The gospel texts throughout Epiphany provide us with a calling and a mission. From Andrew’s declaration to Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah!” to Philip’s inviting Nathanael to “come and see” Jesus is calling us to renew our commitment to be fishers of people. I can’t think of a better way to begin our new ministry together than to have the invitation of our Lord spelled out so clearly. As the old hymn says, “Let us ever walk with Jesus.” We have been called by God to continue the good works of Christ’s church in Chapin and throughout the world. I pray that as we begin this journey together that God will bless us with love and laughter in times of joy, with consolation and peace in times of sorrow, with resilience and determination in times of struggle, and with the understanding that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
In Christ,
Pastor David Nuottila