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From the Pastor's Desk

July 2019



"Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.  Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Joshua 24:14-15

            From June 11-14, around three hundred pastors and laymen gathered together at Spruce Lake Retreat Center in Canadensis, PA for the 57th Annual Conference of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations.  The theme for the conference was taken from Joshua 24-15, "As For Me and My House..."  Here we were reminded of the choice placed before us all, whether we will fear, love, trust, and serve God alone or continue in rebellion against Him and seek to serve ourselves.  May the response in our lives, homes, and congregations be that we will serve the Lord; the one who took on our flesh and bore our sin in order to serve as our Savior and Redeemer.

I had the privilege to be among those who attended this year's conference, and I am pleased to report on some of what took place during the week.  On Tuesday the conference began with the opening/ordination service.  The sermon was preached by Rev. Terry Olson and concluded with the ordaining of four men into fulltime pastoral ministry, and please continue to pray that God would lead more men to consider the call to prepare.  As has been noted in the past years, of our AFLC pastors are nearing retirement, therefore, there's a continued need for men to answer the call.  Perhaps there are some among us even now who sense such a call.  If so, let me know and I'd love to discuss with you and pray over where the Lord may be leading you in your life.

The business of the conference began on Wednesday morning and concluded on Friday afternoon, interspersed with times of worship and prayer.  Some of the reports presented included those of our AFLC President - Rev. Lyndon Korhonen, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee - Dr. Daniel Mudfrom, Director of Development - Rev. Tonnes Pollestad, various chaplain ministries, the Director of the ARC - Mr. Kirk Rautio, various representatives and staff members of our AFLC schools, missions reports by our new World Missions director - Rev. Earl Korhonen and our new Home Missions director - Rev. James Johnson, etc.  If anyone is interested in reading the reports given at the Annual Conference, please let me know and I can get you a copy.  I promise you will be encouraged.  Remember, the various ministries of the AFLC are not ministries accomplished for us, they are accomplished by us.  Together we all have a part to play in this work.

Some of the more notable things that took place and were heard at the conference included the reelection of Rev. Lyndon Korhonen as our AFLC president.  He will serve another three-year term.  Please pray for him and his wife as they continue in the essential work of our association. 

It was also wonderful to hear how well the ARC (Association Retreat Center) is doing financially.  As many know, the ARC has struggled in the past years to keep things afloat.  Thankfully, things are looking up and although there is still debt to be paid, after 40 years of ministry we can praise the Lord for the work that has gone on and, we pray, will continue for years to come.  Please pray for the ARC as they continue to minister both within and outside the AFLC, and consider going to the ARC and enjoying all it has to offer.

Finally, as many have most likely heard, during the week of our Annual Conference, the Schools Corporation voted in favor of changing the name of AFLBS/TS (Association Free Lutheran Bible School/Theological Seminary) to the Free Lutheran Bible College and Seminary.  As a member of the Schools Corporation, it was the general consensus among us that this name both clearly describes who we are and what we teach as a school, and by including the word "college" it more accurately acknowledges our status as being an accredited institution.  With that being said, please pray for our schools and staff as they continue to minister to the next generation of the AFLC; grounding each student in the eternal and inerrant Word of God.

And pray for all our ministries of the AFLC.  None of this work is something we can do alone as individual congregations, but together we can do these things and do them well.  So, let's continue to support this mutual work through praying and giving.

Next year's Conference will be held at the ARC June 9th - 12th.  Being so close, I would strongly encourage each one of you to consider attending even for just a day.  I promise you will be encouraged.  And, if you'd like to be more intimately involved with one or more ministries of the AFLC, consider being nominated to one of the corporations or boards of the AFLC.  It's another way that we can all have a part in this work of the kingdom and can serve the Lord just as He has called us to.

Pastor Gideon

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