From the Pastor

Dear Peace family,

Let’s start the year with some humor!

There was a lady who died and found herself outside of paradise. Soon an angel showed up and said, “Hello, Virginia, we’ve been waiting for you.” The lady asked, “What do I have to do to get in?” The angel said, “The doors will be open for you if you can spell one word correctly.” Virginia replied, “And what would the word be?” The angel answered, “Spell love.” Virginia thought carefully and then said, “L-O-V-E.” The doors slowly opened, and Virginia was let in.

Virginia was at the same gate when her earthly husband showed up after he died. With an official tone, she said, “Hello, dear, how have things been going?” He confessed, with a big smile, “Well, things have been going quite well. I fell in love and got married a couple of months after you died. Then I found out I was holding the winning ticket to the lottery. We moved into a mansion, I quit my job, and we traveled all over the globe. The last thing I remember is that we were skiing in the Swiss Alps, and I tried to outrun an avalanche.” Then he asked, “So, how can I get in?” His ex-wife replied, “To get in, all you need to do is spell one word correctly.” “And what’s the word?” he asked. She smiled and said, “Czechoslovakia.”

I suppose that if eternal salvation were up to any of us, we’d not include many of the people we find challenging in this life. The good news is that eternal salvation is not something we determine for others. Thank goodness! We would make a lot of judgement errors about who should be in and who should be left out.

Judgement is truly God’s job. This is the best of news as God has a heart to bring all people into His kingdom. I Timothy 2:3-4 relates, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Peace desires to be a church family that matches the heart of God. We desire to be a church family that does not avoid the sick, the sorrowful, and the forgotten. We desire to be a church family that recognizes that God’s kingdom is open for people of all sorts of backgrounds.

Mahatma Gandhi almost became a Christian. Gandhi relates in his autobiography that there was a time in which he was truly interested in the Bible. He was deeply touched by Jesus’ teaching. Further, he felt that Christianity offered a real solution to the problems that the caste system brought to India. So….why didn’t Gandhi become a Christian? He went to church! Gandhi went to a nearby church to attend services. He wanted to see the minister to ask for instruction. When he entered the sanctuary, the ushers decided he was “not one of them.” They refused to give him a seat and suggested he leave. Gandhi left the church. And he never went back.

As I write this newsletter article, I am reflecting also on a conversation I had with someone yesterday. I was visiting one of our homebound members and their daughter happened to be visiting at the same time. Not having met the daughter before, we exchanged stories. She finally said, “I might come by and visit the church sometime with mom……but be prepared for the foundations of the church building to shake.”

I am looking forward to the day when the daughter visits Peace. I know that the foundations of the building will not be shaken, for God has open arms for all people. We do too.

Blessed New Year,

Pastor J

Peace by the Numbers

Plan for Worship

January 7 – 8:30am Hope for Healing Service

January 7 – 10:00am Worship Service with Communion

January 14 – 10:00am Worship Service

January 21 – 10:00am Worship Service with Communion

January 28 – 10:00am Worship Service

Annual Church Meeting

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Annual Church Congregational Meeting will be held during Fellowship on Sunday, January 28th. This meeting will give you the opportunity to hear from your church council recapping what occurred in 2023 as well as a look forward to 2024. Please plan on attending! The 2023 Annual Report will be available in mid-January.

Men’s Breakfast

Men, come and enjoy another breakfast with your fellow Christian friends! Pastor Larry Oliver, from Immanuel Lutheran, will be sharing his insights. Start your day off right and plan on attending. We will be meeting on Saturday, January 6th at 8:00 am at Bench Warmers Bar and Grill (1895 NW 9th Street, Corvallis). Bench Warmers is in the Plaza 9 Shopping Center between Grocery Outlet and Bi-Mart.

New Member Class

Peace is offering a New Member Class beginning Sunday, January 21. Contact Pastor Lucke if you would like to attend. The class will run for three weeks with new members being welcomed into the church officially on Sunday, February 11. We’ll be discussing the core doctrines and values of the church as well as covering ways to best assimilate into the Peace family. Our sessions begin at 9 am in the sanctuary. We give thanks for God’s gift of new members.

Quality 4 of a Growing Church: Effective Structures

(from Natural Church Development)

Of the eight quality characteristics of a growing church, the fourth is the most controversial: Effective structures. The principle behind effective structures is quite simple. The most important criterion for forms and structures in the church is if they fulfill their purpose or not. Church structures are never an end in themselves but always only a means to an end. Whatever does not measure up to this requirement is changed or laid to rest. Through this process of self-renewal traditionalistic ruts can be avoided to a large extent.

So where does the resistance against this principle come from? Well, it simply is the result of the lifetime tendency of people to become more and more traditional. Traditionalism means church forms have to stay the same way. It is not by accident that traditionalism is a factor that shows one of the highest significant negative correlations with church growth.

So, what do you think? Pastor Lucke would enjoy hearing your thoughts!