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Dear Friends,

Here is some food for thought. In a four mile radius from 7020 West Cactus Road (that’s our Church’s address), there are 234,651 people. Its projected that by 2028 there will be 239,082 people living in that circle. Four miles from the church reaches just to Sun City, about 99th Ave on the west, about to 43rd avenue on the east, not quite to Hwy 101 to the north and a little past Northern Avenue to the south. Most of us drive farther than that on any given day. Yet in that little circle there are almost a quarter million people. In that same circle, 62% of people are White (not Hispanic) and 26% are Hispanic. The other 12% are African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, Asian and everything else. Between the English language programs and the Spanish language programs we have we can cover 88% of the people who live within 4 miles of our church. Something to think about.

With all of those people, so close to our facilities, how can we share the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness? We have been blessed by God with a great location on a major traffic  artery, with great facilities (that are already in use by the community 7 days a week!). Our indoor and outside facilities can accommodate a wide range of activities and services. So how can we use them best? That’s more food for thought. As you go this Summer, or even as you stay and the rhythm of your life changes, think about this question.

I often think of that old hymn, “Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying” written in Philadelphia in 1868 and based on Matthew 9:37-38 and Isaiah 6:8. The opening line, “Hark the Voice of Jesus Crying, ‘Who will go and work today? Fields are white and harvests waiting, who will bear the sheaves away?’”. But it’s the last verse that always gets my attention. “Let none hear none hear you idly saying, “There is nothing I can do, While the multitudes are dying, and the Master calls for you.” Nothing? Really? We are all busy dealing with our lives and the needs and demands of them, but to say there is nothing we can do to bring the message of God’s grace and forgiveness to others is just false. How did you first come to trust in Jesus? Who (how many?) took time and effort to share the good news with you? How have you grown in your knowledge of Him and also your trust in Him? The same difference that Jesus has made in your life, He can make in the lives of others.

We already support people in their bodily needs with our food pantry and 3rd Saturday of the month food box give away (they also get Spiritual support with the food by way of tracts and Portals of Prayer included in the boxes). We support the mental and physical well-being of many in our community by opening our facilities to several AA, Al-Anon, and sports groups on a regular basis. We are becoming more popular as a seasonal gathering place for some of the cultural groups in our area. How can we take the next step and support their eternal, spiritual welfare?

As you chew on this food for thought over the summer, pray and ask Jesus to guide and inspire you. Ask him how Apostles Lutheran Church (and you as an individual) can be part of  sharing the grace of God with some of those 234,651 neighbors who live so close to us. I look forward to hearing some of your answers.

Peace,
Pastor Andrew
May 2024 Vol. 30 No. 5
Apostles Lutheran Church Visions
To Know Jesus and make Jesus Known