Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. 1 Cor. 12:27-31 NRSV
As I start this newsletter I have to first apologize for not sending one out in so long. The only excuses I have is that we traveled and then I got very sick. That being said, I am excited to share with you what has been happening at our worship service past several weeks. To do this I need to give you a little back story.
I love the Church that I grew up in with its liturgy, hymns, choirs, organs, pre-written prayers (I really do like them), the Creeds, the Sermons, the Sacraments and everything else that I can remember. That being said, I also love what God has newly blessed me with; that I can sit on the beach with many of the worship elements I love, gone, and still be fulfilled by the Holy Spirit’s presence and leadership.
At Gloria Dei Lutheran we had a fantastic group of Elders. One of their main jobs was to pray for the Body of Christ gathered each Sunday. There were Sundays that the line for prayer outnumbered the communion lines. The Body was very blessed to have these people minister in this way. We used the Lutheran Book of Worship’s healing service for our prayer stations and it strengthened the body and encouraged the faith.
When I found myself on the beach I wanted to bring that type of care to the people at the beach. Unfortunately, I have found that you can’t always duplicate something that you once used in the past. But God continued to put it to my heart. One Sunday. just before the end of our 7:15 a.m. worship a member of our body walked directly up to me and began to cry. He shared with me and the group that he’d just gotten word his adult daughter had been hit by a car on a road and killed the night There were about twelve at the service. We immediately surrounded him and began to pray and minister to his need. It didn’t matter what we had left to do in the service, the Lord had sent him to a safe place to share his heart and used us to minister to him
Just recently, again at the first service, I was just ending the message with a theme encouraging us to be open to the needs of the Body, when a woman drove up, parked, and stepped over the wall to the sand and said, “Help!?” breaking out in tears. Again, the Body responded by gathering around her, listening and praying for her. One took her to the side and a few others laid hands on her and prayed. She recovered from her trauma and joined us for the 8 am worship with joy and peace.
Last week a lady who (had received Christ just the week before) drove up just before the first service and called Mike and me over to her car to pray for her. We did and she found the peace she needed to continue in her faith journey.
As I reflected on these events it occurred to me that though the way we worship may be a bit unconventional and not quite the same as the Elder stations at Gloria Dei; the Spirit is the same and will always find a way to minister to the needs of His body. Our being available and open to the Spirit is what allows us to be used as vessels and blessed with His joy.
Please continue to pray for us., As you prayerfully consider your tithes and extra offerings of thanks to God, know that do need your monetary support so that we can continue this very vital ministry. We have been growing and have had one baptism already this year with one more in a few weeks. I have a some weddings on the horizon and many counseling opportunities daily in my car at the beach.
God bless and please let us know how you all are doing. We miss you all and continue to pray for you and your families. Remember to visit us when you’re in Southern California.