The Reverend Alvin Shrum, Pastor

June 2018

Dear Family and Friends of St. Johannes!

In the month of June we celebrate Fathers and Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day!

For those of us who are blessed to be raised by attentive father, Father’s Day is very special. Men sometimes take too much pride in their physical and emotional strength and act like macho men who have to be in complete control of every situation. Christian fathers serve their children best when they are strong and yet gentle enough
to be sensitive to the emotional needs of their children. Being confident serves as a positive role model while allowing a father to show love, sensitivity and support.

God, our heavenly Father, is the best example of someone who is strong enough to be gentle. God made all things. He knows all things. He is almighty, as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed. If it weren’t for the fact that God invites us to call Him “Father” and come to Him as dear children come to their dear fathers, we would cringe in fear. God is pure and holy. He is all about shaping and molding us in the right way. But God does not destroy us as sinners, but rather loves us in an extravagant and generous way, so much so that He sent His only-begotten Son to be our Savior from the power of sin, death and the devil and open for us the door to everlasting life. What a God! What a Father!

Recently I read about a congregation that used a stewardship education approach called “His Love – Our Response.” This effort was designed to help that congregation appreciate and reflect upon the amazing love of our Father and what their appropriate response should be. It was a good emphasis. It was thoroughly grounded in the grace (unmerited love) of God in Jesus. In our greatest time of need, God came to our rescue and did for us what we could never do for ourselves. God could have destroyed us because of our sin but, instead, He redeemed us by the precious blood of His son, and through the power of the Holy Spirit made us into children of our Heavenly Father. What a God! What amazing grace! What a Father!

Our proper response is one of stewardship, the free, generous and joyous management of all of life and life’s resources. By nature we do not love unconditionally. By nature we do not give generously. But by the power of the Holy Spirit we are no longer controlled by our sinful natures. We are renewed daily to be God’s children in action – His stewards who remember that God is the rightful owner of all things and we are stewards or managers of that which He has entrusted to us. When our stewardship is a love response we experience great joy. We don’t give generously of our time, talents and resources because we “have to,” but because we have the
privilege and joy of “getting to” practice good stewardship.

So as we honor our Fathers, especially our Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally, let us revisit our attitudes concerning personal Christian stewardship and our response to His love and goodness. May we practice stewardship with a free and joyous spirit and remember that we are children of God, God’s family, and the Church. Our Heavenly Father calls and invites us to manage all of life and life’s resources with joy, generosity and thanksgiving.

God bless you and may you always “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” What a Father!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Alvin Shrum