Archive for 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart

Posted September 1, 2018 By admin

Disciples
By: Pastor David

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives his disciples, and thus his Church, the mandate to go into the world making disciples and teaching all he commanded. For years and years, Christians viewed this “Great Commission” as Christ’s invitation to ministry but it is nothing of the sort. The Great Commission is a mandate from God to God’s people. Jesus said “Go.” But, in order to make disciples, one must first become a disciple, and this is not an overnight process.

Our NALC Bishop has placed this mandate from Jesus at the feet of our pastors and congregations. We are to be a disciple making Church. With this understanding, I have initiated a discipling program here at St. Jacob’s. The program is based on small group ministry and includes one on one accountability and faith sharing. In NALC terms, it is Life to Life.

If you have not been asked to be part of a small group, please to not take it personally. The initial process goes much like Jesus calling his first disciples; it is through an invitation to follow our Lord and grow into a new identity. Over time, our small groups will expand, and more church members will become a part of this ministry. The goal is to create a discipling culture where individuals are equipped to come alongside others and disciple them in the faith.

For now, I ask that those who are invited will remain committed to the journey. I also ask for the prayers of our congregation as we begin this Life to Life process. Truly, as we begin to immerse ourselves in the Word of God, following our Lord Jesus, and supporting one another in prayer our collected efforts will bear fruit for God’s kingdom.

Acts 19:2-6 [Paul writes] “…Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? They answered, “No we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”….v.6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them…”
This month, I wrote my newsletter article during our annual NALC Lutheran Week and Convocation. Our theme was centered upon our life with the Holy Spirit. In this context, I remembered a devotion I once read that was offered by fellow NALC pastor Gemechis Buba. It was written with reflection upon the above verses in scripture. Pastor Buba suggested we answer the question proposed by the apostle Paul: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” The people of the church in Ephesus were quite honest in their answer to Paul. They informed him that they not even heard of the Holy Spirit. Reading this passage again with this in mind, I have to wonder how we as a congregation might address our receiving God’s Holy Spirit.

As Lutheran Christians, I don’t think we talk enough about the Holy Spirit, much less talk about being blessed with spiritual gifts. Yet as baptized people of God we truly are blessed with this same Spirit of God that Jesus’ disciples, Paul and the saints at Ephesus received. We Lutherans tend to be more reserved when it comes to acting in what we perceive to be a “spiritual way.” But Pastor Buba is right when he says “the truth of the matter is Christian life becomes powerless, meaningless and dull” without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit fills the hearts and minds of Christian people with the joy and hope of God’s amazing grace. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a tremendous blessing, a life-giving blessing…a life SAVING blessing.

Think about it for a moment. As Lutherans we have been taught that it is the Holy Spirit that brings us to belief in Christ Jesus. As sinful creatures we cannot, by our own power, come to believe, let alone have faith in the resurrected Lord. By its very nature, our sin seeks to drive us away from having a relationship with God. Yet, as we are baptized and the pastor lays hands on us (as Paul laid hands on the saints at Ephesus), God pours out his Holy Spirit upon us, cleanses us from the stains of our fallen humanity and clothes us in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This, my friends, should bring us to loud shouts of thanksgiving. It is at this particular moment in time when we are brought to new life in Christ. Through this gift of the Holy Spirit, God calls us to live differently; He calls us to live as children of God. Such a Spirit filled life is both joyous and exciting.
My question to you this month is, how does the Holy Spirit lead you to express your faith and the joy of salvation? What spiritual gifts are you blessed with and how do you use them for the sake of the gospel, especially as you consider Jesus’ mandate to go into the word making disciples?

Friends, as baptized children of our loving God, we are invited into a deep and rich relationship with the One who created all there is. If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that each of us could enjoy a little more spiritual awareness. Believe me, when you realize the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, your life will certainly not be powerless, meaningless and dull. The joy of faith brought through the power of the Holy Spirit will fill your
heart and spill into the lives of others.

Let us be honest with ourselves and admit we need to experience the love, hope and peace the Holy Spirit brings to us. Let us all welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives and not be afraid to show others just how joyful we are to be God’s children. I promise you that as you live in the power and love of the Holy Spirit, God will satisfy the hunger and thirst of your souls and pour out blessings upon you. Express this joy as often as you can so that others can see how God changes the lives of people. Now go ahead and welcome this precious Holy Spirit of God into your life, in Jesus’ name!

Grace to you and peace,
Pastor David Nuottila

Pastoral Devotion for September

Posted September 1, 2018 By admin

Bearing fruit Read: Luke 13:6-9

If you read the above scripture passage, you would have noted that in Jesus’ parable the fig tree isn’t expected to do anything miraculous. It’s in a vineyard, but it isn’t asked to produce grapes. The owner of the vineyard doesn’t demand that it become something it is not. He only asks it to do what fig trees do…bear figs. When these expectations are not met, the owner orders the tree cut down.

The parable of the fig tree makes one point very clear; God has expectations for his people. God expects that his children will bear fruit for his kingdom. What is said concerning the fig tree, can be said for those who profess a faith in Christ. God does not expect his people to become something they are not. He merely expects that they share his love with others, producing good fruit for the kingdom. Sadly, many Christians feel that if they simply attend worship regularly, they are meeting God’s expectations. They are like the fig tree, putting out branches and leaves, but no fruit is produced.

In the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul explains that each Christian is blessed with certain gifts for ministry. These “spiritual gifts” given at the time of our Baptism enable us to do the work God sets before us. God expects that each of us, as individuals, and as members of his Church, to use these gifts for the sake of others. In doing so we produce fruit for God’s kingdom.

From Pastor David’s blog “In The Beginning” found at http://in-the-beginning.org

Pastor David Nuottila is a second career graduate of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He was ordained into the office of Word and Sacrament on July 26, 2008 at Messiah Lutheran Church in Hanahan, SC. Bishop David Donges was the presiding minister for the ordination.
On Sunday, July 27, 2008, Pastor Nuottila began his ministry as Pastor at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church in Charleston, SC. As part of his call to St. Barnabas, Pastor Nuottila also served as the Lutheran Campus Minister at The Citadel. During his time at St. Barnabas, Pastor Nuottila was very active in the community ministering to the large homeless population surrounding the church. Pastor Nuottila also led his congregation in forming a food pantry through which groceries, winter coats, clothing and health kits were made available to those in need. In 2008, Pastor Nuottila also began publishing daily and monthly devotions on his personal blog. This is a ministry that continues, and several of his devotions have been published by Lutheran Digest, The Disciple-Ship, NALC Mission and various Christian blogs around the world.
In September 2009, Pastor Nuottila became a member of the
Steering Committee for a group of pastors and laypersons who opposed the tragic decisions made by the 2009 ELCA Church-Wide Assembly. He served in this capacity for two years, and in December of 2011, resigned from this group and also the South Carolina Synod.
In January of 2012, Pastor Nuottila began his second call at Union Lutheran Church in Salisbury, North Carolina. As a pastor in the newly formed NALC, Pastor Nuottila began working to build the Youth and Men’s ministries for the Carolinas Mission District. During this time, Pastor Nuottila led a series of Youth Retreats for youth groups throughout the Carolinas. He also led his congregation in hosting annual youth events such as the Advent Ball. A highlight in youth ministry is that Pastor Nuottila teamed with Pastor Carl Haynes (Christiana Lutheran Church, Salisbury) to form an all NALC Confirmation Camp Cluster of at least ten congregations at Lutheridge in Arden, NC.
In April of 2013, Pastor Nuottila organized a group of lay volunteers to begin building a Men’s Ministry for the Carolinas Mission District. In February 2014, a gathering of Lutheran Men was held in Gastonia, NC where Carolinas Lutheran Men adopted its provisional constitution and selected a leadership committee. Pastor Nuottila agreed to serve as Chaplain for the group.
During the annual Mission District Convocation in 2015, Pastor Nuottila was runner-up in the voting for Dean of the Carolinas Mission District. With the Rev. Dr. Nathan Yoder elected, Pastor Nuottila was elected to fill Pastor Yoder’s vacated seat on the Mission District Executive Council. In this capacity, Pastor Nuottila became a member of the Carolinas Mission District Missions Committee. He also became a member of the Communications Committee and editor of the Carolinas Mission District website. Pastor Nuottila served two terms on the Executive Council and also as Assistant Dean for the Carolinas Mission District. He continues to chair the Mission Team and Communications committee.
In November, 2017, Pastor Nuottila accepted a call from St. Jacob’s to be their pastor and began his ministry there on December 1st. At the onset of this ministry, Pastor Nuottila began leading Bible studies, teaching confirmation students and making plans for the beginnings of a Discipleship program. In addition, Pastor Nuottila has instituted the beginning of a Children’s Choir program and is busy finding ways in which St. Jacob’s can establish a greater presence within the community.
A hallmark of Pastor Nuottila’s ministry is his ongoing mission work with the Lutheran Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pastor Nuottila began working with fellow NALC pastor Stéphane Kalonji as a missionary to the Congolese cities of Kinshasa, Boma and Matadi. Traveling to Congo every other year, Pastor Nuottila provides theological training for pastors and lay leaders and leads Christian education seminars for Women and youth members of the church. There are two activities in his mission work that are especially gratifying. One such ministry is feeding orphaned children in the care of the Congolese Lutheran Church. The other is to provide funds to “free” babies and mothers who are detained because of unpaid fees.
Currently, Pastor Nuottila is enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry program at St. Paul Lutheran Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His goal is to publish a series of articles or a book to be used as a resource for family ministry and pastoral counseling. His anticipated graduation date is the Spring of 2020.

2018 NALC Convocation

Posted August 30, 2018 By admin

About 600 delegates and visitors gathered August 15-17 in Denver, Colo., for the 2018 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church around the theme, “The Holy Spirit: Calling, Gathering, Enlightening, Sanctifying.”

The Mission Festival began with a focus on discipleship. Featured speakers Sherry Weddell and Katherine Coolidge of the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo., talked about ways congregations can form intentional disciples. The Mission Festival also featured a variety of breakout sessions to equip members for mission.

Pastor Gemechis Buba, Assistant to the Bishop for Missions, offered presentations at the Mission Festival and Convocation sessions. He told inspiring stories of God’s work in providing buildings for some NALC mission congregations serving Oromo people.

Bishop John Bradosky will not be seeking reelection as Bishop of the NALC when his term expires in 2019. The Bishop talked about “passing the baton” of the office of Bishop and pointed out the need for all of us to “pass the baton” of faith and discipleship.
To prepare for the nomination and election process for Bishop, a packet of information was provided to congregations including a booklet of prayers encouraging NALC members to engage in a year of prayer and discernment leading up to the election at the NALC Convocation August 7-9, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind.

Elections: Richard Jansak of Hendersonville, N.C., and Pastor Melinda Jones of Summerville, S.C., were elected to four-year terms on the Executive Council. Pastor John Moffett of Ashland, Ohio, and James Gale of Washington, D.C., were elected to the Court of Adjudication. Ralph Wold of Red Deer, Alberta, and Pastor Rolf Bjornstad of Sherwood Park, Alberta were elected to the NALC Canada Section Governing Board. Pastor Wendy Berthelsen of Midlothian, Texas; Pastor Dennis Di Mauro of Herndon, Va., and Pastor Phillip Gagnon of St. Albert, Alberta, were elected to six-year terms on the North American Lutheran Seminary Board of Regents.
The North American Lutheran Seminary will be seeking a new president. The Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, president of the NALS, has been serving as both president and seminary faculty. She will continue as full-time faculty and transition out of her position as president after the 2018-2019 school year or when someone is called as president.

2019 budgets were approved. The Convocation approved a $2.1 million Operating Budget for the NALC. Budgets were also approved for NALC designated funds: $589,000 for the Theological Education Fund (which includes the seminary); $175,500 for the Great Commission Fund; and $89,000 for the Disaster Response Fund. Most of the budgets anticipate spending some cash reserves.

A resolution regarding ecumenical consultation between the NALC and the Roman Catholic Church was approved. The resolution inviting the Roman Catholic Church into conversation and cooperation was proposed by the NALC’s Commission on Theology and Doctrine.
A new NALC Global Worker, James Puotyual, who will serve in South Sudan, was commissioned at the Convocation.
Stuff the Tonka Truck for NALC Disaster Response received more than $11,000 worth of gift cards to assist those recovering from disasters. The effort was organized by the Women of the NALC.
Reports of the work of the NALC’s staff, teams, task forces, ministries and ministry partners were warmly received.
Events preceding the Convocation were the Braaten-Benne Lectures in Theology, Women of the NALC Annual Gathering, Discipleship Coaching workshop and the Ventures in Youth Ministry Symposium. The Convocation and the events preceding it comprise the NALC’s annual Lutheran Week.
Documents, photos and videos from the Convocation and other events of Lutheran Week will be posted at Lutheran week.com.

Council Briefs For August 7, 2018

Posted August 30, 2018 By admin

Council noted Good Things at St. Jacob’s this month included our Vacation Bible School went GREAT, a special thank you to Sherrie and Billy McTeer for everything they did for VBS (what enthusiasm they brought to St. Jacob’s). Pastor David’s reception on July 29th celebrating his 10 years of ordination (July 26th) and Up and Going’s Christmas in July were enjoyable events.
Pastor David reported that he went and observed “We Care” and had a great experience there.
Pastor will be hosting a Marriage Retreat for St. Jacob’s couples at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center on Seabrook Island on January 25 – 27th 2019. Church members will need to register and pay to attend this retreat. Details and more information will follow soon.
Pastor was asked to come speak on the Congo Mission in Hickory, NC on October 7th.
Pastor will be on vacation October 12-26th; he has contacted a Pastor to handle any church needs while he is away.
Staff Support – There is an ongoing search for a Director of Youth and Family Ministries.
Spiritual Life – The Prayer Team is working on different ideas to help those in need of prayer. A “hand out” item is possibly in the works.
Short Term – A quote was received to place clear Lucite protective coverings over the stained glass windows in the church. This will be further discussed in the future.
Witness – Our Church through the Outreach Team has matched the noisy offering receipts ($624.00) for help with a church roof repair cost located in Congo.
Parish Life – The current facility request form for use of the Fellowship Hall was discussed. Changes will be made in the next revision.
Support of Ministries – Brandon is still working on the St. Jacob’s YOUTUBE Channel. Thanks to Brandon for all of his hard work on this project. This will provide our shut-ins a way to view the church services.
Brandon is also exploring other options for those without internet or computer access. Old Business
Discussions of the job position of Director of Youth and Family Ministries is ongoing.
Pastor David and Gerald met with some of the Sunday School teachers to discuss needs and concerns for our future.
A new Sunday School curriculum “Concordia” has been ordered for St. Jacob’s. This new curriculum provides something that will progress through the various age groups within the Sunday School classes.
Additional copies of the church cemetery layout have been received by the church office. A copy will be placed in the safe for protection.
Homecoming preparations are currently underway. Reverend Dr. David Wendel will be our Guest Pastor with a meal after service. BBQ pork and fried chicken will be provided by our Church. Members are asked to bring a side dish and/or dessert.
New Business
A request was made to have a van accessible sign placed in the church parking lot. Another request was made to have signs placed around the church that signal it is a “smoke-free property”.

VBS Game On!

Posted August 30, 2018 By admin

Our 2018, VBS was held Sunday, July 15 thru Thursday, July 19 with an average nightly attendance of 69. It was “Game On!
Get Ready! Gear Up!” There were classes from Nursery thru
Adults. We started each night with a “pre-game” meal prepared by our Kitchen Crew followed by a Pep Talk for the night’s theme and a skit by our Youth. Then we were off to our classes that included lessons, crafts, music, and games. We were very thankful for the volunteers that helped make VBS a time of fun, fellowship and study of God’s word! Our cheer one more time…
We Are….St Jacobs! We Are…God’s Child! Game….on! Get….Ready! Gear….Up! Jesus….loves me!

Married Couples Retreat

Posted August 30, 2018 By admin

Our first annual Married Couples Retreat will be held at beautiful Camp St. Christopher on Seabrook Island just south of Charleston. During this retreat we will explore the vocation of Christian marriage, discuss ways of growing in faith together and strengthen the commitment of husbands and wives in their life together.
The retreat will take place from 7:00 pm. Friday, January 25 through 11:00 am. Sunday, January 27. Registration fee is $300.00 per couple. We have reserved lodging for twelve couples. Please register as soon as you can in case we need to arrange for additional lodging. Registration forms are available in the Narthex.

Rally for Sunday School

Posted August 30, 2018 By admin

Gather with the entire St. Jacob’s Family for our annual Sunday School RALLY DAY on Sunday, September 9th at 9:15am in the Fellowship Hall. While kicking off our 2018-2019 Sunday school program, everyone will enjoy fellowship and fun featuring “St. Jacob’s Family Feud.” Come and make Sunday school at St. Jacob’s part of your Sunday each and every week. ALL Sunday School classes will join in the Rally Day celebration!

Confirmation Instruction

Posted August 30, 2018 By admin

Confirmation instruction for our youth members in grades 7-9 who have not been confirmed will resume on Sunday, September 9th in the Fellowship Hall. Our classes will meet at a new time, 3:00 pm and in a new place, the Youth Sunday school room. Our first session will begin with a meeting of all students and parents. Please mark your calendars and plan on attending.

Before October 13, 2018
YARD SALE: furniture, glassware, books, CDs, gently used clothing (please sort clothing into separate bags – boys, girls, men and women), household items, dishes, outdoor items, small appliances, tools, games and toys. Please NO televisions, computers, printers or computer related items.

FARMER’S MARKET & BAKE SALE: Homemade baked
goods – bread, cakes, cookies and pies; home canned goods – jam, jelly, pickles and veggies; handmade crafts – crocheting, knitting, cross stitching and pottery.

Please leave your donated items in the garage at the church office. If you have questions, please contact Larry, Margaret, Melissa, or Brenda.