Pastor Archive

From the Pastor’s Heart

Posted July 31, 2018 By admin

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink
his blood, you have no life in you. John 6:53

Each week, as a family of faith, we gather in worship around God’s Word and Sacraments. The Word is the gospel through which faith is passed along. The
Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are the means by which God imparts His grace through faith. Simply put, we receive the good news of Christ in our hearing, and then we receive the benefits of this good news through water, bread and wine connected to God’s promise of salvation.

As sinners, we are not worthy to gather in God’s house on our own. We do not deserve to come to His table of grace as a result of our own actions. Yet, thanks be to God, we are made worthy through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the blood of Christ, extends
forgiveness of sin and nourishes our faith through Christ’s very body and blood.
Realizing this, the hearts of Christians are filled with joy as we partake of this heavenly food. Still, there is a disturbing trend that has emerged within the Christian Church.

As congregations gather, we do so as people who have busy lives and full schedules. We are also a part of a society that seeks fulfillment in earthly endeavors. We compartmentalize nearly all aspects of life and fit those into convenient blocks so as one will not encroach upon another. When one activity spills over into the next, something must give, and so we move on. It even happens in worship on Sunday morning.

Over the years, I have noticed more and more
Christians leave worship immediately following their receiving Holy Communion. Other pastors have
encountered this same behavior. For me, this points to two things. The first is that worship was not the highest priority for the day. The second is that there is a lack of understanding of the Eucharistic movement in worship.
On the heels of our sermon series of the Ten
Commandments, we will recall that God said, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” God
provides one day in seven for His people to rest from their labors and to be refreshed by His Word of grace. As humans, we need this time apart from earthly demands. As sinners, we need this time for repentance, confession, absolution and renewal. To rest in the Word and promise of God is to forsake earthly timetables and gather with the faithful to be strengthened by God and through one another.

The Eucharistic movement within our
service beckons us to follow our Lord’s
invitation to the table and receive the feast of forgiveness and life. As invited guests, we should come with great reverence and respect for Christ our host. We enjoy the company of fellow Christians saved through the sacrifice of our Lord and
Savior, tasting His goodness and basking in His mercy and love. To suddenly get up from the table and leave before the meal has ended robs worshipers of hearing the blessing of Christ and the benediction (good words) our Lord rains over His
children. Just as we desire for guests at our table to remain and enjoy the benefits of our friendship, God enjoys the fellowship of His people as they remain until all are fed and blessed with His love.

The human may say these are just words, but the sinner longs to hear this blessing for it is music to a sin-sick soul. My prayer is that we all enjoy the meal of God’s grace together. Gathered as a family of faith, I pray we savor the joy of our life together and share in the blessing of our Lord’s love for His
children.

Grace to you and peace,

Pastor David Nuottila

Following Christ

Posted July 31, 2018 By admin

Matthew 16:21-28

I am sure most people have played “Follow the Leader.” It is a simple game, but it can become quite complicated if the leader heads in a direction the rest of the players do not want to go. Would you follow the leader if he walked along the edge of a steep cliff? Seeing such a path filled with extreme challenges is a stumbling block, especially if following the leader means giving up all you have and heading to Jerusalem to be killed for the sake of others. But that is exactly what Jesus did and he calls people to follow him along this same path.

Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Our Lord calls his people to be living sacrifices, unselfishly denying ourselves, placing the needs of others ahead of our own. Only when we do this can we truly say we are following our leader.

There are many false leaders in this world. They sway would-be followers making empty promises not ever intended to be kept. These imposters cannot forgive sins, heal our infirmities, or grant us everlasting life. Following Jesus brings forgiveness and grace. Trusting in him only opens the gates of heaven to all who believe.

Prayer: Holy God, help us to follow your Son as he leads us along the path of righteousness. Amen.

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

On July 26th, 2018 Pastor Nuottila celebrated the 10th Anniversary of his Ordination. The St. Jacob’s Family celebrated his anniversary with a reception in his honor on Sunday, July 29th. Pastor, we are so proud of your accomplishments and know this is a special time in your life. Thank you for all that you do for our church family and for your dedication to the Congo Mission.
Next newsletter, we will have more detailed information on Pastor and pictures of our celebration.

Congo Mission

Posted July 31, 2018 By admin


Join in on our upcoming Homecoming celebration.

The Reverend Dr. David Wendel will be our Guest Pastor during Worship!

Our Homecoming meal will follow the worship service. Bring your favorite side dish and dessert. BBQ, fried chicken and tea will be provided.

Join us as we celebrate our first homecoming with Pastor Nuottila and family!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

From the Pastor’s Heart

Posted July 1, 2018 By admin

And [Jesus] said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:21-23

At the onset of my seminary instruction, I wasn’t accustomed to leading the liturgy during worship. I’ve never been a musician and to this day I do not read music or play any sort of instrument. Still, I dearly love leading the congregation through the sacred music of liturgy. Yet, in the beginning such was not the case.The first time I was scheduled to intone the liturgy, my supervising pastor suggested that I run through everything a few times with our music director. Since this particular congregation had lay members who served as assisting ministers, this was a normal occurrence, so off to the music director’s office I went.

Following a few vocal warm ups, the organist played the piano as I sang rather quietly through the six verses of Psalm 1. Truthfully, I needed to work at overcoming my self-perceived lack of ability. Tom helped build my confidence; he encouraged me and made me work through my fears. It wasn’t long until I rather robustly sang out the entire Kyrie and Hymn of Praise in the solitude of
his office. I was feeling much better about my task for the morning and decided to tackle the Psalm one more time before practice was over. After singing the Psalm one last time, my supervising pastor bolted into the room and asked if I would please turn off my wireless microphone. Little did I know that, for about fifteen minutes I had been serenading the group gathered for prayer in the
church Nave.

As I look back on this event, I realize, had I known the microphone was switched on I would not have made such a public display. Rather, I would have quickly switched it off and sheepishly got on with my practice. Instead, I was able to boldly share the good news of God’s saving grace. Even if my voice is not on par with those of qualified musicians and vocalists, there could be no denying that the power of God’s grace through his Son Jesus Christ was heard. Jesus asks his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?” Certainly not! God blesses the Church with the most precious treasure there is, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each baptized child of God is therefore called to give witness to the wonders of God’s mercy and grace by sharing this gift with the world. Within the baptismal rite of the Lutheran Church, we quote Jesus’ words when we exhort the newly baptized to “Let your light shine before others
so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

In a world fallen into sin and broken beyond human repair, the only hope for salvation comes through Christ and believing that through him, God indeed keeps his promises. Jesus of Nazareth is light and life for the world. Baptized into his death and resurrection, the light of Christ dwells within God’s people. Jesus calls each of his children to share their faith, to be of loving service to their neighbor and to proclaim the power of God’s saving grace. My prayer is that you won’t be timid in doing so. Be bold! Overcome the fears of speaking the truth of Jesus with others, realizing that you are enabled with the gift given through the Holy Spirit of God. If you don’t know how, or you feel you lack the ability, come see me and just as Tom helped me, I’ll help you work through your doubts. In Baptism, the light of your faith is ignited. Shine your light so that through the darkness of the world, all may finally see the glory of the Father and at last enter the gates of our eternal home.

Grace to you and peace,

Pastor David Nuottila

Pastoral Devotion for July

Posted July 1, 2018 By admin

Jesus Said “Go!” Read – Matthew 28:16-20
When we hear our Lord give the Great Commission, we understand finally that our response to Christ’s resurrection is to go into the world and tell others the good news of God’s salvation. Most Christians can quote this passage from memory; those who cannot certainly know where to find it in the Bible. But when congregations hear Christ’s command, the reaction can be varied.

As the remaining disciples gathered on the mountain with Jesus, Matthew tells us they worshiped him, but some doubted. Rest assured, the same condition exists within the Church today. Jesus says, “Go.” Yet, some doubt they are strong enough in their faith. Others doubt they have the necessary knowledge of the scriptures. Still others feel they lack the training and skill needed to make disciples. All this said, the command given by Jesus stands. Our Lord says, “Go.”

As followers of Christ, we are to go into the world teaching all Christ commanded. The good news is that we do not go alone. Jesus is with us just as he was with the apostles so long ago. Finally, doubt and fear are overcome with faith and love. Christ said “Go.” And so we go, remembering Christ is with us even to the end of the age. Prayer: Lord Jesus, overcome our doubts and help us live in your peace and presence. Amen.

From Pastor David Nuottila’s blog In the Beginning http://in-the-beginning.org

SUMMER SERMON SERIES

Posted June 26, 2018 By admin

This Summer we will have a series based on the Ten Commandments. We will be taking a close look upon God’s expectations for His people, and the commandments that define God’s relationship with those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ.

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Posted June 26, 2018 By admin

I am so happy that so many members of our St. Jacob’s family have supported me in my mission to the people of the Congo. I know this is not something that you have been dreaming of, but it is a dream come true for me that those whom I serve as pastor are willing to serve God’s people in such a far-off place. Truly, my heart is warmed by the love you show to people whom you will likely never meet.
The Congo Mission is one that requires a continuous fund-raising effort. As my mission partner, Pastor Stéphane Kalonji’s, September trip to Congo draws near, funding is at the forefront. In the years I do not travel to Congo, my task is to ensure ministry is carried out in the regions that are not safe for me to travel. I have met many of the Congolese pastors from these regions, and
they all are so appreciative of the support they receive from NALC congregations.
In an effort to raise awareness and travel funds for Pastor Kalonji, I am putting together a small team to host a Congo Mission Dinner scheduled for August 4th at 7:00 p.m. Members from surrounding NALC congregations will be invited along with all members of our church family. Please keep an eye on the worship bulletin announcements for more details.

Pastor David Nuottila

From the Pastor’s Heart

Posted June 1, 2018 By admin

Many folks express a common concern when it comes to church worship attendance. “How can we grow in number?” “What can we do to attract new members?” These are two frequently asked questions. They are very good questions, but it seems that so often we struggle with the answers. Could it be our focus is misplaced? Or Perhaps our definition of evangelism needs clarification. It could be our hopes and expectations are what need to be re-aligned rather than our focus on membership rolls.

It goes without saying that as we welcome visitors among us on Sunday morning, our worship is enhanced and we are glad they are here. Wouldn’t it be great if we saw several new faces among us each week? In that light, perhaps it’s time we roll up our sleeves and get back to the basics. After all, it’s not just that we want more people to worship with us. Rather, we have a wonderful gift that we are called to share; the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before we can grow the church, we must first learn to grow as disciples. We must learn that living within our baptismal covenant with God means loving God with all our heart, and loving one another as we are loved. We need to come to the house of the Lord for worship, prayer and fellowship. Living together in Christ means enjoying the gifts we all bring to those gathered in this place and beyond. It means sharing our mutual joys and celebrations, grieving together in our losses, and experiencing life together. God calls his people to lives of faith, love and service towards their neighbors. These sound simple, but the reality is that most congregations struggle with the aspects of discipleship. Certainly, we have room for spiritual growth.

The life we present to the world makes a difference. All too often, the un-churched look upon Christians and see no appreciable difference in the way they live their lives. Too many Christians continue to live according to a worldly standard. Jesus, however, calls his disciples to live for God alone, loving and serving as Christ loved and served. The world is filled with people searching for hope, peace and love in their lives. Such hope is made sure and certain through Christ, and seen through the Church at worship, in the community and in the mission of God according to the gospel. Such hope is shared by those who know Christ as Lord and God. Such is the life Christians are called to live. In short, we need to study God’s Word earnestly and learn to apply it to every aspect of our lives.

Sharing faith and God’s love is what brings people into the community of believers. When the un-churched see the people of God living differently, they are provided a vision of hope for a life filled with God’s blessing. The real evidence that we are doing the work of evangelism comes when the life we live as Christians looks less like a fallen and broken world, and more like a community of faith, a com-munity inviting others to come and see the goodness of God.

The evangelizing Church is one that grows in faith and love. It is filled with disciples, not members. Growing together in faith and our calling as disciples will most certainly strengthen our ministries. My prayer is that we are faithful disciples, serving as Christ served. In order to do that, we must first grow in faith and learn to share our many blessings with others.

Grace and peace,

Pastor David Nuottila