Bible Study Archive

From the Pastor’s Heart

Posted November 1, 2018 By admin

It’s hard to believe it’s already time to write my article for the November newsletter.  Today, it’s raining, strong winds are blowing, and tropical storm Michael just deposited a tree in my driveway.  I am also  preparing to go on vacation tomorrow (Oct. 12) but truth be told, my mind is on our shared ministry in  November.  This is a busy time for the Church, and November is a month filled with opportunities to serve God and His people.

Think about it.  We begin November as a church family celebrating the Sunday of All Saints.  We remember fondly those beloved saints who have gone on to glory before us.  It is a special time for Christians as we  reflect upon the lesson taught to us by so many faithful followers of Christ Jesus.  It’s also a time for us to consider the ways we serve our Lord as well.  Then, a few weeks later, we conclude the month in celebration of Christ our King, a time to reflect upon the ways our Lord makes His grace known throughout the seasons of the Church.

Sandwiched in between these two festivals, there are so many other things that beg for our attention.  There are elections of  government officials and football rivalries to enjoy.  And don’t forget setting time aside to enjoy the annual Thanksgiving feast!  All of these beg the question, “How do we juggle the demands of our daily life and our life as a disciple of Christ Jesus?  It seems something has got to give.

Sadly, all too often it is the church that takes a back seat.  As life gets busier and busier, we know and  understand that we must cut back.  Each of our  activities is important to us, and we hate to miss out.  But God calls his people to be disciples first and above all else.  This is where All saints Sunday and Christ the King intersect.  Remembering the saints who taught us the faith, we strive to follow the example of Christ our King.  Doing this, we follow the faithful examples of those saints who have died and now live in Christ’s glory.  One such person in my life was my  Grandma Bea.

Grandma Bea was a leader in the community in which I grew up.  She was the first woman ever  elected to our town’s council.  She was also  chairwoman of the Northville Beautification Society, and the founder of the Northville Business and  Professional Women’s League (some of you may have noticed her B.P.W. placard on my desk).  Somewhere in all that, Grandma found time to put up preserves and vegetables, care for her many  grandchildren, bake wonderful bread and volunteer with the Red Cross.  I don’t know how she managed to do all of this.  I do know, however, that she never missed a Sunday in church, she was a generous giver with her tithes, and always took time to tell others of the wonderful things God has done and  continues to do.

This November, I invite you to remember the saints who have gone before us and follow their many examples of faithful living.  There is much to do here at  St. Jacob’s, many ways of being a part of our ministry together.  Above all else, remember to attend worship each Sunday and give thanks to the One who provides all we need, and whose mercy and grace endure forever.

Grace to you and peace,

Pastor David Nuottila

Pastoral Devotion for November

Posted November 1, 2018 By admin

Christ the King

For just a few seconds, close your eyes and relax. Get comfortable, clear your mind and imagine seeing Jesus. Imagine actually seeing his face, imagine being there with him. What image did you see? Did you see him as a baby born in Bethlehem? How about as a shepherd, or blessing little children? These are often the images we see of Jesus in our mind. Such images provide us with popular metaphors associated with Christ. Jesus our friend, Jesus our brother, Jesus our comforter. We learn to see Jesus as the one who walks with us and talks with us.

I would imagine that few if any saw Jesus as King. Kings aren’t normal images for too many folks these days. In folklore, Kings wore long purple robes and golden crowns. Today’s kings mostly wear suits and look like presidents, or wear military uniforms and look like soldiers. Jesus doesn’t fit these descriptions. He doesn’t wear gold around His neck or rings on His fingers. He doesn’t wear a suit and certainly not army fatigues.

I’m curious, when you imagined seeing Jesus, how many saw a man beaten to within an inch of his life, his outstretched hands nailed to a cross beam and gasping for breath with bystanders mocking and taunting him? Oh…and as for his crown? Thorns, sharp and pointed; digging into his forehead. When a few finally recognized Jesus as King, this is the image they had before them. Yet, in this image we see the glory of our King Jesus.

Jesus came to earth to save His people from sin. He came to rescue those who believe in Him from eternal death. In the stripes of His wounds runs the blood from which we are saved. From His dying words, “It is finished” we have the proclamation that Christ has won the victory, God and creation are reconciled through His innocent death on the cross.

So once again I invite you to close your eyes, picture Jesus in your mind. What do you see? Yeah, me too. I see the babe of Bethlehem, the Good Shepherd and the one who feeds the hungry and cures the sick. But that’s ok, that’s who Jesus is as well. And next week Matthew will begin telling us the story in his words; the story of Christ our King.

Life to Life Discipleship

Posted October 31, 2018 By admin

Our Life to Life Discipleship program has kicked off with the beginning of two small group studies.  Just as the twelve apostles learned from their Master, Life to Life is an opportunity for church family members to study the Scriptures with their pastor and be equipped to become examples of a living faith. Over time, our small groups will expand, and more church members will become a part of this ministry. In time, we will see a discipling culture emerge where people joyfully
live out their faith, seeking God’s kingdom first, while sharing their faith with others. This is exactly how the apostles built the Church, and how it grew stronger over time. Meeting people where they are, sharing faith, and growing the church one life at a time.

Married Couples Retreat

Posted October 31, 2018 By admin

Our first annual Married Couples Retreat, to be held at beautiful Camp St. Christopher on Seabrook Island is less than ninety days away. This retreat will offer married couples from St. Jacob’s a time away for relaxation, Bible study and growing in faith together, while enjoying the beauty of God creation.

The retreat will begin at 7:00 pm. Friday, January 25 and continue through 11:00 am. Sunday, January 27. Participants may check-in on Friday as early as 3:00 p.m. Dinner on Friday is on your own. Registration fee is $300.00 per couple. We still have room for several couples to join in. Please register as soon as you can in case we need to arrange for additional lodging. Registration forms are available in the Narthex. Please contact Pastor David Nuottila if you have any questions.

Wednesday Morning Bible Study

Posted October 31, 2018 By admin

Wednesday Morning Bible Study has resumed for those who are able to attend. We will be meeting in the fellowship hall on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 AM. For our topic we are taking a look at several beloved hymns, their history and what they teach us about God’s mercy and grace through Christ Jesus. We will especially look at the hymns for Advent and Christmas. Join members of your church family on Wednesday mornings for this study and learn more about some of the beloved hymns of the Church.

From the Pastor’s Heart

Posted October 1, 2018 By admin

As we move into the month of October, we move also into the beginnings of a busy time of year. Autumn months always seem to be chock full of activities. Plans are made for mountain trips, outings to apple orchards, football games and a host of other things. As you begin to make your autumn plans, allow me to ask a simple question. How do you plan to be a disciple of Jesus Christ each and every day?

With each new day, Christians have the opportunity to share their faith in Christ with others who may not realize God’s activity in their lives. As God’s people we also wake up to the Christian responsibility to thank God for His many blessings. In this, we should offer God the finest of what we can offer of ourselves. When a child of God begins each new day with such emphasis, the life of discipleship begins to take hold and we live into the calling God has for each one of us. So again, how do you plan to be a disciple of Jesus Christ each and every day?

In my asking this twice, I hope you are not simply waiting for my answer. I hope you are not expecting me to offer a directive for the church that challenges you to do your part as I see it, for such is not my intent. I am asking this question because as followers of Jesus Christ, we each respond to His call to follow in different ways. Some are able to engage in the life of the congregation more regularly than others. Some take time to come to the church and serve on committees, provide services such as lawn care and cleaning, others may even show up every time the doors are open. Still, others among us have different responsibilities.

We have parents with small children, members who work not just one, but two jobs, and still others who may have health related issues that prevent them from participating as they once did. Yet, no matter where we may fall in this broad spectrum, as God’s people each one of us bears the Christian responsibility to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus calls all of us to go into the world and make disciples by sharing with them the good news of God’s salvation. This is why I ask; how do you plan to be a disciple of Jesus Christ each and every day?

As Pastor, I will do my best to help you discern the answer to this question. I will do what I can to help you pray, study God’s Word and live among God’s people so that you might hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit who is calling you to a life of discipleship. I will continue to pray for you and your family, preach to you the gospel of Christ Jesus, lead you in worship and teach you and your children the faith in which we baptize. In turn, I pray that you too will help me to further discern the answer to our question, for even pastors need to learn to take time to enjoy their relationship with Christ.

Yes, we have a busy time ahead of us; one filled with opportunities to worship God, love our neighbor and enjoy the fellowship of God’s people. In all of this, choose to take time each day to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Then be sure to share His blessings of grace, mercy and love with those whom God places within your midst. Soon, you will realize you are living the life of discipleship, and the question will have its answer.

Grace to you and peace,
Pastor David Nuottila

Pastoral Devotion for October

Posted October 1, 2018 By admin

Render unto God

Read Mark 12:1-17

Scheming to find a way to get rid of Jesus, the Pharisees asked him, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” The Pharisees’ question suggests there are things that belong to this world and things that belong to God. The Church often falls into this same trap. Bring this text up within a meeting or Bible study and almost immediately people will say everything belongs to God, even our money. Our behavior concerning our possessions and our money would suggest we feel otherwise. The power of money is deceptive and deadly.

Money buys material goods, material goods provide personal comfort, personal comfort leads us to a false notion that we are in control of our lives. The more goods we have, the more we feel we need. Luxuries become necessities; extravagance becomes essential. Even worse, the more we have, the more we feel we deserve, when in truth, because of our sin the only thing we deserve is death. Thankfully, the power of God’s love is stronger.

Jesus says, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” All we have, even our very lives belong to God. Yet our Father provides all we need for life. As we render taxes and other payments, we do so understanding the authority and responsibility of the institutions also come from God.

O Lord, our provider, we thank you for your many gifts, especially the gift of your grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday Morning Bible Study

Posted September 25, 2018 By admin

Morning Bible Study will resume on Wednesday, October 31 at 9:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The focus of our study will be taking a look at several of our favorite hymns. We will discuss the origins of hymns, why we love them so much, and study their biblical references. Being October 31st is Reformation Day, our first beloved hymn under study will be “A Mighty Fortress.”
Plan on attending as you are able.

Life to Life Discipleship

Posted September 25, 2018 By admin

Our Life to Life Discipleship program has kicked off with the beginning of two small group studies. Just as the twelve apostles learned from their Master, Life to Life is an opportunity for church family members to study the Scriptures with their pastor and be equipped to become examples of a living faith. Over time, our small groups will expand, and more church members will become a part of this ministry. In time, we will see a discipling culture emerge where people joyfully live out their faith, seeking God’s kingdom first, while sharing their faith with others. This is exactly how the apostles built the Church, and how it grew stronger over time. Meeting people where they are, sharing faith, and growing the church one life at a time.

Married Couples Retreat

Posted September 25, 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 p.m. Friday, January 25 through 11:00 a.m. Sunday, January 27. Registration fee is $300.00 per couple. Participants may check in to the camp as early as 3:00 p.m. on Friday and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. We still have room for several couples to join in. Please register as soon as you can in case we need to arrange for additional lodging. Registration forms are available in the Narthex. Please contact Pastor David Nuottila if you have any questions.