Navajo Summer update 2019

Dear Friends in Christ,

Although the hot weather has not yet abated, for us here in Navajo, the summer is over. The children have gone back to school and the last of our summer volunteers left yesterday. It was a full summer. At the beginning we had our third annual men’s campout with staff member Rick McCafferty, leading “Sacred Ground” a program that helps our men to deal with patterns of abuse, domestic violence, and other destructive attitudes and behaviors. Vicar Rick led the group in Bible studies and sharing their stories, so that the Holy Spirit brings healing in lives impacted by trauma.

The week following the campout, we had a volunteer group from Risen Savior Lutheran in Wichita, KS come to re-roof the fellowship hall. This turned out to be a bigger job than anticipated, because much of the underlayer of plywood was damaged and had to be replaced. But God provided, with extra volunteer help from our congregation, we were able to complete the project in two days!

In July, we hosted Our Savior Lutheran from Tospfield, MA. This is their 5th summer coming to Navajo. Each time they have led V.B.S. and done various other relationship building activities in the evenings (family crafts, s’mores, games, etc.). This year was no different, and the week was a great blessing to our community as 57 children attended, and many adults came in the evenings. The team also worked on a second roof--our guest house where the interns stay--and completed it!

Later in the month we had our Day Camp led by our summer interns Owen Duncan and Josh Ianucelli. The Wagner family from Dixon, NM also helped with the Day Camp. We were further blessed with volunteer help from Rob Meier, a recent college graduate from Omaha, NE who came and stayed a month and helped with various projects around the church. Pictured below are (from left) Josh, Owen, and Rob after they completed the new floor in our large parsonage.

The interns also helped with our new jail ministry. On Fridays we went to the local jail and preached to the inmates. It has been both challenging and rewarding as some prisoners reject the Gospel out of hand, and others are thirsting for it and thank us profusely for coming.

In Christ,
the Norton Family

Please thank God with us for:

  • The Men’s Campout and the Holy Spirit’s work of healing trauma

  • The 57 children who came to V.B.S. and heard the Gospel

  • The volunteers from Wichita, Massachusetts, Omaha, and New Mexico and their dilligent labor

  • The summer interns, that God will continue to shape them as they prepare for public ministry as Pastors in the LCMS.

Self-Control - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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self-control ἐγκράτεια

[Jesus'] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. [2nd Peter 1:3-7 ESV]

 These words are from Peter's second letter to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received faith. Our key word for today is self-control. Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 Being able to control one's life is often difficult and ultimately impossible, try as we may. Or, as I would rather put it - 'allowing God's Spirit to control one's self' is another one of those gifts from God.

 The Apostle Paul found himself imprisoned in Caesarea and it was there that he would share with the governor Felix the teachings regarding Jesus. Luke writes:

 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” [Acts 24:24-25 ESV]

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words of challenge: [M]ake every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. [2nd Peter 1:5b-9 ESV]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Gentleness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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gentleness πραΰτης (2-11)

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with gentleness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19–21 (ESV)] (meekness)

 These words were written by James in his letter to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.  Our key word for today is gentleness. Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 What the world teaches regarding various opinions and how to succeed is to 'WIN' at all costs. The ends justify the means and if you can out YELL or out berate your opponent; or if you can silence those who differ with you - do it! It is acceptable to be rude and crude - an in your face - taunting strategy. This goes directly contrary to God's spiritual gift of gentleness.

 Listen to the advice that the Apostle Paul gives to the young pastor by the name of Timothy: 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. [2 Timothy 2:23–26 (ESV)]

 Jesus has won the victory and those on the side of the devil are already defeated - no matter how good they are at being irate or silencing Christians.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words of the apostle Paul: I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, [Ephesians 4:1–2 (ESV)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Faithfulness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

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faithfulness πίστις (243)

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. [3 John 2–5 (NIV84)]

 These words are found in the Apostle John's 3rd letter, he specifically is writing to a man named Gaius. Our key word for today is faithfulness. Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 Faith is truly a gift from God. God is the source of faith and the spiritual gift of faithfulness can only originate from God. You and I might do our best to be faithful, however we have often failed. We have often not fulfilled our word and promises.

 Listen to the Apostle Paul once again:

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

       If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

12    if we endure, we will also reign with him;

       if we deny him, he also will deny us;

13    if we are faithless, he remains faithful [2 Timothy 2:11–13 (ESV)]

 God calls you to remain faithful. To remain faithful one needs the Holy Spirit who not only brings one to faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit keeps us in this faith.

 Listen to the words explaining the work of the Holy Spirit: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with these words from the Revelation of Jesus Christ: If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. [Revelation 13:10 (NIV84)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)

Train up a Child - VBS in Neah Bay

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Greetings! I hope you are having an awesome and blessed summer.

 For many, summer is a special time to enjoy cookouts with friends and neighbors, relax and savor warm weekends, and create lifelong memories on family vacations. But summer for Lutheran Indian Ministries’ missionaries means the busy season! And nowhere is this more evident than in our ministry on the Makah Indian Reservation in Neah Bay, Washington.

 Vicar Ben Maxson has a heart for children of all ages. A father of six children himself, his affinity for kids comes naturally. So, it is with great joy and excitement that Ben, and his wife, Natalie, make special plans each summer to share the Gospel message with the young people of the Makah Nation.

 Maybe you have a memory of a Vacation Bible School experience that impacted your faith life. Because of you, that is exactly what Ben and Natalie are doing for the youth in Neah Bay. By the power of the Holy Spirit, they are creating spiritual memories which will last a lifetime.

 Your support of their good work is changing lives!

 In late June, Makah Lutheran Church hosted more than 80 kids at their annual Vacation Bible School - the largest VBS Makah Lutheran has seen in many years!

 This year’s theme, “Dive into God’s Word,” was based on a curriculum created by Ben and Natalie, specifically written to affirm the values, cultures, and traditions of the Makah people (one day’s activities included drum making), while teaching the truth of the Savior, Jesus, from God’s Word.

 It is essential that children in all Native American Nations, including the Makah Nation, know God uniquely created them as a vital and important part of His diverse creation and He loves them as His precious child. At VBS, they learned to worship Him with their heart, hands, voices, and feet using elements of the Makah culture to give honor and glory to God, the Creator, and to His Son, the Redeemer.

 Seeing God with the clear eyes of Biblical truth through the lens of their culture opens new doors of opportunity to share the Gospel with Native children and their families on the Makah Reservation.

 All of this is made possible because of your generous support of Lutheran Indian Ministries and Ben’s work in Neah Bay.

 For nearly 20 years, faithful partners, like you, have supported Native ministry in Neah Bay. Your faith in this vision – to proclaim, disciple, and heal – enabled us to sustain Makah Lutheran Church throughout the years – a place which now serves 100 Native people every Sunday. We are so grateful for your faithfulness and generosity!

 And yet, our work is not done!

 We need to grow the influence and impact of Ben’s ministry beyond the borders of the Makah Reservation. By the grace of God, we will continue to reach southward on the Olympic Peninsula towards the peoples of Lower Elwha Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble Klallam, Skokomish, and Quinault. To do this, we need your prayers and continued financial support.

 You can help, as you have so many times in the past, by making a gift today to encourage and sustain the LIM ministry in Neah Bay, through Ben and Natalie’s work, and enable it to grow. We cannot let insufficient resources impede the charge of the Holy Spirit on the Olympic Peninsula.

 God has promised provision for those who faithfully do His work.

 We are richly blessed to have Ben and Natalie Maxson labor in the Lord’s field as members of Lutheran Indian Ministries. And we are grateful for your partnership and generous gifts to their work. Thank you!

 With your help, we are making a difference in Neah Bay, Washington. With your continued help, we can and will do so much more.

 May God bless and keep you always.

 In Him, 

Tim Young Eagle (Pawnee)
Executive Director

 

 P.S. Teen camp in Alaska starts soon!  Your gift today will be a blessing to over 80 Native Alaskan teens as they gather together in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Thank you!

Your gift today affirms that Jesus was born for all, including our Native American brothers and sisters.  Thank you!

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Goodness - Fruit of the Spirit Study (Monday Morning Devotions)

goodness ἀγαθωσύνη (1-4)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. [Ephesians 5:8–10 (NIV84)]

These words are found in the Apostle Paul's letter to those faithful in Christ and living in Ephesus - they include a key word, that key word is goodness.

Our key Bible verse is:

 [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22–25 (NIV84)]

 You have probably heard of the phrase 'goody-two shoes.' You might have even been referred to being a little miss goody two shoes. Often times such children, such people, are scorned by those who are not so good. Christians often suffer for living upright lives.

 The Apostle Paul writes: We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, . . . 11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, [2 Thessalonians 1:1–11 (NKJV)]

 God's goodness overflows through the life of the Christian. You are a blessing to others in spite of the persecution that comes with being a child of God, a child of light.

 This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of encouragement to the faithful brothers and sister in Christ of the Apostle Paul: I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. [Romans 15:14 (ESV)]

(Need to start at week 1? Read it here)