Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life, He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

      At this Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘Icame down from heaven’?”

     “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father . I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my fleash, which I will give for the life of the world.”

John 6:35, 41-51


      Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands that he may have something to share with those in need.

      Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Cgrist God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 4:25-5:2


      I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.

      My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

     Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

     I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

     Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

     This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

      The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

     Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:1-8


     When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ” I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors .”  Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

      All at once an angel touched him and said, ” Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

       The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

1 Kings 19:4-8



      It is easy to feel discouraged when we look around our congregation and remember the good old days when our congregation was full of young children. It is logical to wonder what difference our outreach programs like Easter Jubilee, VBS, and Lent Giveaways make when we do not see many new families joining our church. Recently, I learned of two young men whose lives were deeply impacted by the wonderful, faithful people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The first young man was William Billings. He attended St. Tim’s as a child with his mother, Jeannette Corey. William is in the Marine Corps now and was married during a very brief leave in July. He wanted to get married at St. Tim’s because his childhood at St. Tim’s had so deeply and positively affected him. He wanted to get married in the church that first planted the seeds of faith that have grown deep and strong inside him. He wanted to be married in the congregation that had taught him about God’s love not just through words but also through actions. The second young man is Keegan Reilly, great-nephew of Barb Vecsi. Keegan frequently came to St. Tim’s with Barb as a child. He is now a freshman in college and when he heard about our VBS he asked if he could help. The Bible stories mattered but even more, our love has forever shaped this young man. What we do matters. We are here for a purpose. God is still at work through us. Two young men stand firm in a foundation built through love, Bible stories, and some fun. We do not always see the fruits of our labor but what we do makes a difference in the lives of others. Keep it up. Continue to invite people to church and continue to share God’s love. You never know what seeds you are planting and how the Holy Spirit is moving.


      Lutherans are not known for their evangelism. It’s true. In general, Lutherans struggle to share their faith. Historically, we have counted on immigration and growing families. Today, this strategy for church growth does not work. In fact, it does not even work for church maintenance. People are not immigrating to the USA from countries that are predominantly Lutheran and fewer young families are attending church. Our intentional efforts at being the most welcoming church we can possibly be are, quite simply, not enough. It is time that we stop putting all of our energy into being welcoming and rethink what it means to be a follower of Christ. There is not one passage in the Bible in which Jesus says, “Sit comfortably where you are and welcome people who come to you and invite them to conform to your way.” Marketing agencies know this to be true. No matter how strong the brand loyalty is or how popular a product is, companies still invest in marketing. You have to continuously invite people or they will move on to the next thing. Jesus commands us to “Go and tell.” The great commandment instructs us to go out into the world to tell people about Jesus! That sounds simple but is also a daunting task to many. What do you say to someone you do not know? How do you even start the conversation? What about people you do know? That can be even more intimidating. If we are going to follow Jesus, we need to go and tell people about Jesus. Over the next five months I will give you bite sized challenges that will prepare you to invite people to church for Christmas Eve services. You may remember these challenges from several years ago. They were created by Rob Moss, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Master in Lakewood, CO.

    Challenge #1

       Try using the phrase “my church” in a conversation with one person each week. It’s as simple as talking with just one person one time each week during the month. You might say:  “My church is two blocks from Fred Meyer.”  “The pastor at my church has three boys.”  “There is a food bank at my church on Friday mornings.”  That’s it. Use the phrase “my church” in a conversation with one person each week throughout August. There are no rules on who you talk to. Will you accept this challenge with me and use the phrase “my church” in conversations throughout August?

By Pastor Jennifer Beil


      Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.

     When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

     Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

     Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

      Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” So they asked him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’

      Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has gien you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

      “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.”

       Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 6:24-35


      As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

     But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

      “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”

     (What does “he ascended ” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to  prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

     Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love we will in all things grow up into him who is the who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:1-16