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Grace and peace be with you brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus!

When we first thought of writing the Layman’s View, we sought to not only inspire and enlighten but to share with our congregation what is happening in our church; to keep everyone in touch with the many things we are trying to do at St. John Lutheran Church. Here we are beginning another church year with many new ideas and events meant to enhance our spiritual journey. This year marks the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation started by Martin Luther, which lead to the formation of the Lutheran Church we know it today. At this important time in history, Christians radically altered their relationship to the church and opened the eyes of all who sought the true meaning of the Gospels. As he commanded, God’s grace and love is what he wants us to share with the rest of the world.

As we start the new year with children returning to Sunday school, Adult Forum classes, and many new opportunities to share our lives and experiences with our congregation, I want to invite all of you to get excited about what our church has to offer. Both choirs are practicing and singing in church again. What awesome choirs we have here at St. John! But we can always use new members and new voices and even instruments to create even more beautiful music in our praise to God. Maybe you would prefer to sing solo or in a duet or smaller group. This would be terrific also. There are so many ways to get involved in church and we should try to share our gifts and talents with each other. We can always use more ushers, altar guild helpers, acolytes, communion helpers, and lay readers, just to name a few. Many people join together behind the scenes to create the services every Sunday. There are other opportunities such as Church Council, Natural Church Development Team, committees that serve our congregation such as Youth and Education, Building and Grounds, Foundation, and other groups such as Prayer Shawls or Quilting, where you can use your gifts. Maybe you would like to join a group like our Narthex Remodel group or Communion Rail Redesign, which are sure to enhance our beautiful building? Maybe you would like to start a new group such as a Men’s or Women’s group to share and grow in our service in Christ Jesus? Paul wrote that we are all included in God’s Family and are all granted gifts from God to use in service in the community of our church and the world. No matter how big or how small, how insignificant or unimportant you may think your gifts may be, your gifts are important and necessary for the church to grow and for you to grow in faith and love toward God. We are presently offering a class titled “Discovering God’s Vision For Your Life”, which can be used to enlighten yourself, help you to understand who you are, and how you can use your spiritual gifts to benefit others.

Gifts, after all, are nothing if they are not shared. It is said that it is far better to give than to receive! How much more blessed then we are to share our gifts with others. Gifts are meant to be given away so others can see and feel love. When we join together with our Christian family, the Holy Spirit moves through us. That can be a very powerful feeling and can lead us to open our hearts to the reality of God’s love for all us.

Ask anyone who is serving or who has served on committees or been involved with different groups and I’m sure they will tell you how much joy they encountered, how much their faith journey has grown, and how much their love for God has increased.

God gives us gifts, grace, and love through Jesus. He has given us the great commission to go forward to teach and share his good news. He loves us so much and we should also love him and show his love by sharing our gifts in any way possible. With God all things are possible! I hope we can do his will and share our gifts with all to realize his kingdom. Grace and peace be with you.

~ Ron Johnson