September 1, 2021

Dear KOG friends and family!

If you’re like me, you have a few choice podcasts that you subscribe to with aspirations of listening to them “someday” when you’ve got the time. This past week, my phone alerted me to the fact that one of my favorite parenting podcast has a new episode available, and the episode is titled, “Decluttering the Parenting Mind.” This caught my attention because 1) I love anything having to do with decluttering (huge Marie Kondo fan, if you didn’t know), 2) it reminded me of a verse from Romans 12 that has always fascinated me:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and complete,”

and 3) it reminded me of the small group study we are planning for this fall. Deacon Leah and I poured over lots of different possible book studies, but nothing seemed to be quite right for this very particular “season” of life that we are experiencing in the church and the world, that is, until I heard about a new study written by an ELCA pastor. The study is called “Thriving Beyond Covid.” That is exactly what I and Deacon Leah felt KOG needed. (You can read ahead to Deacon Leah’s article for more info about the study itself.)

In my opinion, our minds and hearts have become very cluttered by Covid. They are cluttered by the fear, the politics, the anxiety, the frustration, the divisiveness, the relentlessness, the you-name-it that this year and a half has brought. The study “Thriving Beyond Covid” is an invitation to process some of what has gathered in our collective subconscious as well as our collective spirits, basically all the stuff that needs to be cleared out and decluttered, so that we can be more open to the renewing and transforming power of Christ. Doesn’t that sound great? Although we want to continue to be safe and careful in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, we don’t want to be conformed to the Covid-mindset that has set upon our world. We need to free ourselves from the pessimism, the cynicism, the isolationism so we can truly thrive as the Body of Christ. This is especially important as we start discerning King of Glory’s direction and focus for its next 5-10 years of ministry. In order to prayerfully discern God’s good and complete will, as Romans says, we need to be in a healthy place as a community emotionally, mentally and spiritually. So please, join us for our fall study. No book reading necessary. It’s only a 4-week commitment. And it’s free! Plus, if you’re unable to join a small group, you are more than welcome, of course, to work through the study on your own.

Most importantly, as we look toward this fall and winter, may our hearts and minds be renewed and transformed by the grace, love and hope of Jesus Christ. Our Back to School and Bring a Friend Unity Sunday service had that very goal in mind, and what an awesome gathering it was! Thank you to all who volunteered to make that day possible (Council for allocating the money to make the food truck free, Amanda, Deacon Leah, our musicians, our worship servants, Michele and Elyse Elvander for baking the awesome cupcakes, and all the volunteers that stayed late to clean up. King of Glory, you are awesome! And we have such an amazing future ahead of us. I have no doubt that through God’s faithfulness and our commitment to Christ’s mission, we will continue to thrive for many more years to come.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

August 1, 2021

Dear KOG friends and family!

Welcome to August! It’s always hard to believe how quickly summer goes by, and time in general, however, I feel as though time has sped up even more so during this pandemic. Do you feel that way too? Or maybe it’s just that I’m getting older. J Well, whatever the reason, fall is almost upon us, and that means school is starting up again. So we need to have our Back To School Sunday!!!!  We are trying to make this an extra special one this year by planning some great stuff. During worship we will do our usual blessing of the backpacks and teachers, and we will get to meet and bless our preschool staff, which is important as many new folks have come onboard since the pandemic started. We have a team working on a theme as I type. After worship, we will have the usual bounce house and fun activities but this year we are having something new too: a FOOD TRUCK! Yep, we have arranged for a food truck to come and serve hamburgers, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, French fries, etc. and the expense will be covered by dedicated funds. Due to COVID safety considerations, we can’t do a typical potluck and barbecue, but a food truck should allow us to stay safe and still share a meal together. (Plus, no one has to do the cooking or dish washing! Woohoo!) Since KOG is covering the cost, we will need an accurate head count, so we ask that you all reserve a ticket one of the Sundays this month before or after church. Deacon Leah should be out there his first Sunday, Aug. 1, to start the signups. And don’t forget, if you have any backpacks, lunch bags, briefcases, etc. that you would like blessed, bring them along to church on Sunday, August 29.

Also coming up in September is God’s Work. Our Hands, the ELCA’s National Day of Service. We have had such a fabulous time volunteering around our community in previous years that we hope you will join us once again on Sunday, September 12 for another day of service. At this point we are planning on a couple potential volunteer activities which will be outdoors, including visiting our partner organization, the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter, to help them do some of their annual sprucing up of their grounds, so stay tuned!

On a different note, I would also like to thank everyone for their considerateness toward one another throughout this pandemic. You all have shown such love and care, not only for KOG, but for the whole community, during this difficult time. It has been frustrating with the various surges and loads of contradictory information out there, but I think that we as a church have kept Christ front and center as we strived to love one another and the world by wearing masks and distancing and abiding by regulations meant to keep everyone safer. We are now seeing a new surge in cases due to the Delta variant, which has been shown to be more deadly (though the severity is greatly diminished with a vaccine) and equally transmissible amongst both vaccinated and unvaccinated folks. Such news can feel disheartening. Seeing mask requirements returning to certain sectors of our state and nation is frustrating, just as we were glimpsing light at the end of the tunnel. I know. But please remember, there are still many people who are vulnerable to this virus in our population. Children under age 12 cannot yet be vaccinated. Many people in our congregation are currently undergoing treatment for cancer or other illnesses which leaves their immunity compromised, even with the vaccine. And some have been unable to be vaccinated at all due to other health reasons. For these reasons, KOG staff and Council members are continuously monitoring the situation and abiding by CDC, State and County regulations. We will do our best to keep you informed of any changes that occur to our church and campus policies around COVID 19. Thank you for your patience and understanding. And please continue to be caring and considerate toward one another, putting the welfare of your neighbors ahead of the comfort of yourself. If everybody does their part, we will reach the end of this trying and traumatic time.

Lastly, remember to keep your heart and your hope focused on God. We are a people who live to love and serve the Lord, but we do so knowing that there is more to this life than meets the eye. We are promised life abundant as well as life eternal. Let us keep this in mind, just as Paul and the early churches did when they faced times of difficulty. As 2 Corinthians 4 says,

17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

How might the pandemic and all that we have experienced and learned actually prepare us to do Gd’s will and participate in Christ’s kingdom more fully? Can we use this time of affliction to focus the vision of our hearts on the things that truly matter, the things that are eternal? Let our eyes be opened to see the ways God’s love, joy and peace are still at work in the world, and how we can join our hands and hearts to that effort.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

July 1, 2021

Happy July, King of Glory friends and family!

What’s on your summer bucket list? I recently got an email from a company called Prepare Enrich whose curriculum I use for premarital counseling. The email talked about the summer months being upon us, full of potential, and a great no-pressure approach to maximizing that time as a couple is to create a bucket list of things you can do with your partner (or best friend). The idea was that instead of just having a personal bucket list, you create one together to help you grow in your relationship through creative activities that you wouldn’t necessarily do on a normal afternoon or evening together. That got me thinking, what about creating a bucket list for our faith? What would be on your bucket list of things you would like to do with God? Have you ever thought about that? No? Me neither. Creating a summer bucket list with God might be great way to deepen your faith and strengthen your relationship in fun and unexpected ways.

Now, the thing about a bucket list is that it can’t just be run-of-the-mill stuff. A bucket list is different than a to-do list. A bucket list consists of bigger things or out of the ordinary things that might require some planning or may take some spontaneity. A bucket list is things you would find enjoyable or exciting but wouldn’t normally think of or make happen. The bucket list examples for partners that Prepare Enrich included were things like hitting up a baseball game or the zoo, having a picnic, eating at a food truck, seeing a parade or watching a sunset/sunrise.

So, what could be on your bucket list with God? Remember, it can’t be just your regular day-to-day faith activities. That means if you are a regular church attender, that shouldn’t be on your bucket list. Or if you do a regular daily devotion or bible reading time, that also shouldn’t be on your bucket list. But you could put a spin on those regular faith activities to make them bucket list worthy. For example, you could say one time this summer, I want to do a devotion in a new place, maybe take your bible to the beach or sign up for a podcast on faith to listen to while you walk or drive to work. Maybe you could plan to listen to a sermon with your loved ones on a family trip and then discuss what each one of you takes from it? Maybe you could take a prayer walk around your neighborhood and pray for your each of your neighbors. I used to have skydiving on my life bucket list until I accomplished that goal as few years back (before I had kids . . . and yes, it was awesome!). What would the faith equivalent be for you? What leap of faith could be on your bucket list? Maybe start researching and planning for a pilgrimage you’ve always been fascinated by. Or a spiritual retreat or family bible camp adventure? Maybe you could share your testimony at a church service for the first time (for some, skydiving would be more appealing than that 😊)? Or getting out of your comfort zone and volunteering at a Kings Kitchen event or local Habitat for Humanity build could be your leap of faith. The possibilities are endless. I encourage you this summer to consider what two or three things you might put on your faith bucket list. And don’t forget to consult God in prayer, as God may have some ideas too. Afterall, the purpose of the bucket list is to build your relationship together. And if you have a good experience that you don’t mind sharing, tell us about it on our Facebook page and maybe you’ll spark some ideas for someone else.

Blessings on these summer months! Safe travels during any vacations you may have planned. We look forward to seeing you in worship whenever you can join us!

Blessings,
Pastor Kinndlee

June 1, 2021

Dear KOG friends and family,

Psalm 130 was one of our lectionary readings for this upcoming Sunday. Although we aren’t reading it in worship, I wanted to share it here:

1Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

It’s a short but lovely Psalm, isn’t it? And I think it speaks so well to our current circumstances. For over a year, we’ve all been in this holding pattern. We’ve all been waiting, as it says in verse 6, more eagerly than the watchmen wait for the morning. Have you heard the phrase “building the plane while flying” to describe the constant adaptations our world has undergone in this last year? Then maybe in a contemporary analogy tour waiting would be that we have been waiting more eagerly than passengers stuck on a tarmac for several hours wanting to deplane. (If you’ve ever been there, you know what I mean!) We have been fervently waiting to get off this flight and return to life as “normal.”

Out of Christian duty to put our own desires aside for the love and service of our neighbor, King of Glory has been closely following CDC and state guidelines during the pandemic. As California nears its June 15th deadline for removing most COVID-19 guidelines, we again find ourselves waiting eagerly to see what will be next. And we have also been getting questions from some of you as to what this will mean for our worship. Will we stop requiring masks? Will people no longer need to sit distanced from one another? Will we separate vaccinated and unvaccinated people to protect the immune compromised and younger children among us? What will communion be like? Will singing now be allowed? Will we return to two services? And if so, which service will be live-streamed? And these are only a few of the many considerations we are needing to make, once we find out what new guidelines California has, if any, for worshipping communities. We are also aware that many of you are asking the same questions, but for vastly different reasons. Some folks have been holding off returning to worship in-person, until it is as it used to be, with no masks and lots of singing. 😊 Others who have been worshipping with us in-person for some months are saying they will need to stop worshipping in-person if masks are removed and guidelines are lifted. In the coming weeks, we will be prayerfully discerning how best to faithfully accommodate as many of your needs and concerns as possible, while also waiting and watching to see how the reopening goes in our wider communities. One thing is likely, however, and that is that we will not be returning to two services for at least another month, but that has little to do with the pandemic. Our beloved organist/pianist Mark will be on vacation for the last half of June, so it makes most sense to not undergo a transition back to an earlier traditional service until he returns to us in July. If all goes well with the reopening, our attendance numbers continue to improve as they have these last two months, and we have the worship volunteers we need, my hope is that we will soon be back to our two-service schedule (and maybe the early one will even be a little later!). 😊 One thing everyone agrees on is that it sure is nice to be able to worship with the music and style that leaves you feeling fed and nourished.

As always, if you have thoughts or concerns weighing on your heart, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of Council. Though we may not be able to completely return to “normal” immediately upon the state’s reopening; the good news is that we have made it this long by putting our hope in the Lord, and the “morning” is closer than it has ever been. Remember, God’s unfailing love in Jesus Christ continues to be that and only that which uplifts, redeems and sustains us.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

April 1, 2021

Dear KOG Family and Friends,

I adopted the following from a devotion created by Rev. Lisa Rotchford of Seal Beach who based her a devotion on a poem with the original title “What Cancer Cannot Do.” Rev. Lisa replaced “Cancer” with “Covid”. It reminds me of Paul’s words to the churches in Rome where he wrote in chapter 8, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In this season of the Resurrection, we are reminded that neither death, nor darkness, nor violence, nor illness, nor any of the evils of this world (including COVID-19) is a match for the power of our God. As we are hopefully coming to the end of this pandemic and are starting to be able to celebrate and worship together, I wanted to share these encouraging words with you as there are still many among us that are experiencing grief and isolation, lasting effects of COVID, continued fear for loved ones, or “re-entry” anxiety. Though COVID-19 has done much to change our world, remember it is no match for the grace and love of our God in Jesus Christ.

Covid cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot destroy peace.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot suppress memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot steal eternal life.
It cannot conquer the spirit.

Remember . . .

You are loved. “…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)

There is reason to hope. “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

God is faithful. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Peace comes from God. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The future is in God’s hands. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Eternal life cannot be stolen. “…the Son of Man will be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14-16)

God is with you always. You are never alone. “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

On a very different note, I also wanted to let y’all know of some recent changes for KOG, which I briefly mentioned in our eblast earlier this week. Our staffing structure and makeup have changed, and God has provided, as always, exactly who we needed. Last month our bookkeeper, Jera, retired, so she and her husband could do some long-anticipated traveling. After a tearful goodbye, she assured us she will remain just a phone call away should we need her, for which we are grateful. We pray for travelling mercies for her and her husband as they embark on this once in a lifetime opportunity. Jera stayed long enough to train our new bookkeeper, Toshia DuBois, who will be introduced at worship later this month. Toshia has been doing a great job learning the position and getting to know our staff.

A second staffing change is that we have split Deacon Leah’s position into two separate roles of Deacon for Pastoral Care and Campus Administrator, as it used to be. We are excited to announce that we have hired our own congregant, Nikki Busch, to serve as our new Campus Administrator. Nikki is a newly retired teacher and coach, and we are elated to have her join our staff! Deacon Leah will continue to serve as our Deacon of Pastoral Care along with assisting regularly in worship with occasional preaching. Changing her call to ¼ time will, however, allow her to travel more with Carl, whose work has him residing in various locations in California throughout the rest of this year. Thank you to Deacon Leah for her amazing work as our Campus Administrator during this difficult time. She did a phenomenal job helping our church, preschool and campus groups handle the COVID-19 crisis and all of the challenges, regulations, and other various needs that came with it.

Lastly, we have altered the position of Catherine Marcum, with her blessing. 😊 She has graciously agreed to go from serving as our Office Secretary to the upgraded role of Office Administrator, taking over all communications. Her computer, website and general office and word processing skills have been and continue to be a huge blessing. If you have questions regarding any of these changes, please don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone on Council. We look forward to making a formal introduction in worship some Sunday this month for Nikki, Toshia and our Preschool Director, Kelly, who has been with us since August, but not “met” you all yet. It is a wonderful gift to have such a complete and incredibly gifted staff as we begin looking toward the end of this pandemic and the return to a full slate of in-person ministry opportunities. Please join me in welcoming them all whenever your paths cross.

Blessings,
Pastor Kinndlee

March 1, 2021

Dear King of Glory family and friends,

I hope you are enjoying our Lenten series on “40 Days of Prayer.” I know I am! And how great was it yesterday to see many of you in worship in the sanctuary! I know last year’s lent was the “lentiest Lent” ever, and we are a week and a half into another pandemic Lent, but yesterday felt more like Easter to me with all the joy that was in the church. Thank you to all those who made it possible, and thank you to all of you for your patience and your careful adherence to California’s and the CDC’s guidelines.

We hope that our country and local area will continue to decline in coronavirus cases, and as it does, we will continue to assess our current worship practices and schedule. I know everyone is eager to get back to “normal,” which includes worship styles and times. We are excited to get back to normal too, however, this will also be a great opportunity for us to consider what we have learned during this past year of isolation, how we have grown and changed, and what practices we may want to continue, stop or alter.

Lastly, I wanted to keep this article short by ending with a prayer and inviting you to take the 30 seconds or so that you would normally be spending reading the rest of my article and devote it to sitting in silent prayer, feeling God’s love enfolding you. May you have a blessed Lent, and we hope to see you soon.

Pastor Kinndlee

One of my favorite medieval mystics, Julian of Norwich, wrote the following prayer:

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss. In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother, and savior. In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace. You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us. You are our maker, our lover, our keeper. Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Amen.

February 1, 2021

Dear KOG friends and family,

For this month’s article I simply want to do two things. First, I want to thank all of you amazing members who attended the Annual Meeting (including in its near three-hour entirety). You are such an amazing congregation and your dedication to Jesus’ ministry and the care of one another is so apparent, especially in times like this. And thank you again to Deacon Leah, Catherine Marcum, Paul Wallace and Gerry Marecek for all their work in helping the meeting run as smoothly as possible.

Second, I just want to remind you all that we are starting our Lenten book study in just a few short weeks. We will be using Rick Warren’s “40 Days of Prayer Journal” to help us delve a little deeper into the essential spiritual discipline of prayer. This book can be used in a small group or on an individual basis, so we hope everyone will take part. Don’t forget to register if you’d like for us to purchase a book for you (only $6 each due to a Thrivent Action Team) and to be in a small group. In preparing for this Lenten study, Paul’s words from Romans 12:12 have been on my heart:

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

The only way we can truly rejoice in hope while simultaneously being patient in suffering (as these are pretty difficult to do at the same time!) is if we have a strong prayer life. Prayer is our way of connecting and conversing with God. Prayer is how we share our joys and sorrows, our hopes and our disappointments, with God. But prayer is not always easy. Sometimes we feel distant from God. Sometimes we just don’t know what to say. That’s why Paul says we are to “persevere” in prayer or as the NLT puts it “keep on praying.” The goal for our Lenten study is to help us all learn a few more tools that will help us persevere not just to the end of this pandemic (though that will be nice too) but persevere in prayer no matter what life may bring us. On Wednesdays for worship, we will be practicing different types of prayer to expand that toolbox even more. Join us for this 5-week study and Wednesday worship, and experience your own prayer life grow by leaps and bounds.

Blessings,
Pastor Kinndlee

January 1, 2021

Dear KOG friends and family,

I realized something recently. I realized how much of life is dictated by timing. Success and failure. Life and death. Timing is critical to all our endeavors, all our achievements. So much of what we find meaningful is dependent on time. I marvel these days at how Kenjah is rolling over, with less than 5 months under his belt. Once he learns how to time his arm movements with his leg movements in one coordinated action, crawling will commence, and all our lives will change. 😊 Yesterday, Jules and I took out his new Christmas soccer ball, and I was trying to teach him how to kick the ball into the goal after I passed it to him, an action for which timing is critical. A couple weeks ago, in a meeting with the Endowment Committee, we were commenting on how many of us wished we personally had had a little better timing with the declines and gains in the stock market this past year. Cooking and baking are dependent on timing. The correct execution of music depends on accurate timing. So many skills depend on learning the right rhythm, timing of things. Doing them not too early or too late, but right on time.

I read a devotion for the new year that mentioned how Pastor Rick Warren in his book, A Purpose Driven Life, reflected on the importance of timing in the sport of surfing. Good surfers learn to have impeccable timing. Catching a wave is all about timing. Surfers spend a lot of time waiting. They let many waves pass by, because the timing isn’t right. But when that perfect wave comes along, they paddle faster and faster to catch it at the right moment, standing at the right time and riding it, and then getting off at the right moment, before wiping out. Indicative of this is the surfing phrase, “catch a wave.” Surfers don’t say, I’m going to “make some waves,” they say, they are going to “catch some waves.” Surfers can’t create their own waves, they simply have to wait for them and discern when is the right time to catch them.

Such is also the life of faith. So much of our faith journey is dictated by timing, but not our timing, God’s timing. Many verses in the book of Ecclesiastes discuss this, the most famous being 3:1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven.” (NRSV) Ten verses later it says, “[God] has made everything suitable for its time,” and Ecclesiasts 8:6 states, “There is a right time and a right way to do everything, but we know so little!” (GNT) When Jesus appeared at Lazarus’ tomb, everyone said he was too late, but in fact, his timing was perfect. It enabled him to display God’s power, glory and compassion by raising Lazarus from dead. As Christians we often feel we understand so little of God’s timing, and that is true, but our job is not to understand God’s timing, it is to trust in God’s timing. Like the surfer, we are to wait patiently and expectantly (sound like Advent to anyone?) and then paddle furiously to join in God’s activity when that wave of God’s kingdom activity comes our way.

This past year has been one where everyone’s plans and timing went out the window. We were caught by some very unexpected waves, some desired and some not. We had to learn new timing, new rhythms, but God was still present and active in them. In this new year of 2021, I invite you to devote some time to pondering God’s timing in your life. Do you struggle waiting for God’s timing? Do you try to make your own waves or get swept away by the waves of the world instead of catching God’s waves? What can you do to better discern and paddle alongside God’s activity in the new year? No matter what this new year brings, I pray that we, as a church community, will continue to be caught up in the waves and rhythms of God’s kingdom: loving God, loving one another, and serving the neighbor in need.

Surf’s up! Happy 2021 KOG!
Pastor Kinndlee

December 1, 2020

Hello King of Glory family and friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though for many of you, I know, it involved involuntary changes to travel plans and traditions. Despite that all, I hope that it was still a holiday filled with joy and gratitude. We have now begun Advent, which is almost unbelievable, and as you have probably heard, our theme for this season is “It’s a Wonderful Life” based on the old, classic movie starting Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Although I had been planning to do that theme for some time, it seemed all the more appropriate given the challenges the main character, George, faces, and the challenges so many have been facing during these unusual months of 2020. Now, more than ever, is when we may need reminding of how wonderful this life truly is. These past days have had me thinking about how it is such a wonderful life, when you are a part of the body of Christ.

What has made me think that, you ask? The ongoing examples that I see at King of Glory where so many of you are constantly chipping in to help, support and encourage one another. Though there are so many examples, I will just name a few recent ones. 1) A couple Sundays ago, several of you stayed after our livestream service to help put the tree up in the chancel and to decorate it. 2) This past week, we got news of one of our members falling and breaking a hip, and so many of you rushed to make phone calls to check on her in the hospital (and you would have visited if they’d have let you). Plus, you then lined up to be put on the list for taking turns stopping by the rehab center where she will be recovering, whenever that would be possible. 3) We had the memorial service of Ernie Butler this past Saturday, and although it was open only to immediate family, a handful of you volunteered to come early and set up chairs and tables and sound, since we no longer have a member of staff assigned to those responsibilities and you didn’t want it to be a burden for Ernie’s family members.

Speaking of Ernie, do you remember a couple years back when he stood up at our Annual Congregation Meeting during the “For the Good of the Church” section, and made such a heartfelt speech about how special our KOG church family is? I will never forget how this quiet man, a patriarch of this church, barely held back tears as he thanked you all for the support you had given he and Joan as they struggled through new health challenges and as he, especially, who was so used to helping others, learned to accept your many offers of help toward him in light of his declining independence. It was an incredible moment, and probably the most touching moment I have ever been witness to at an annual congregation meeting.  That is what being a part of the Body of Christ is about. And that is one of the things that makes this life so wonderful–knowing that we can lean on one another in times of need.

Many of you share this sentiment and cherish the gift that it is to be a part of this faith community, as was evident through the fruit and vegetables that were returned to us for our Cornucopia of Gratitude. So many of you listed your faith and our KOG faith family as things you were especially thankful for (you can read the full list in this newsletter). What a wonderful gift that is and what a wonderful life in Christ that we are given. I know it has been more difficult to feel a part of that body during the isolation of this pandemic, but the Spirit which binds us together is just as strong today as it has ever been. May you have a blessed and wonderful Advent!

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

November 1, 2020

 Hello King of Glory friends and family!

Happy November! Does it seem strange to use “happy” as the adjective of choice in describing this month? Perhaps disappointing or divisive or anxious or mournful would be a better descriptor for you? After all, there are many reasons why this month may be a tough one. First, the pandemic not only continues in our midst but appears to be surging again in parts of our country. Second, many of you are struggling with online or hybrid schooling and/or work-from-home situations that are less than ideal and a state of social isolation that has been going on far longer than any would have imagined. Third, as we head into the holiday season, we all have to grapple with how different a COVID Thanksgiving and a COVID Christmas is going to be. Fourth, the presidential election. Need I say more? I’m sure you all could add additional elements to the list that will make this a challenging month, but I stand by my introductory words: Happy November!

What makes this November a happy one? Well, let me tell you what two of our KOG kids recently said after their first time worshipping back in the Sanctuary. When asked what they thought of their first in-person pandemic service in the Sanctuary, they said, “It was so different, but it felt the same.” And that was my experience too when I first returned to in-person worship at the end of my maternity leave. How can something be different and yet the same? If you have been able to attend in-person worship in the Sanctuary, you may know the answer. It is incredibly different because there is less music and no singing, because there is blended liturgy and no responsive or collective recitation, because there is communion but physically distanced, because there is community but no contact, because there are smiles but they exist under masks. So much is so very different. And yet, it still feels the same. How? Because Faith is still filling the pews. Grace is still grounding our worship. God’s love is still very much alive. And the Body of Christ is still connected. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1) This is why I can say, “Happy November.” No matter what changes in our world or in our worship, God’s promise of love will endure. Isn’t that something to be happy about?

This November, we are going to be doing a stewardship series titled “In Everything Give Thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:18), and I invite you to be a part of it. Expect to receive our stewardship mailing either via email or postal mail in the next couple weeks with more details. The current pandemic requires that our stewardship program look very different this year, so we are figuring out what exactly that will be. What is certain, however, is the importance of giving thanks for all the good things God and this life still offer.

Blessings to you all and Happy November!
Pastor Kinndlee

September 1, 2020

Dear King of Glory friends and family,

I know I am on maternity leave, but God put something on my heart that I wanted to share with you all. You might call it, “Peter, the Rock, Part II” as it’s a reflection based on the last Gospel reading I preached on prior to my leave beginning, the story of Peter getting out of the boat during a storm and walking on water (and sinking) in Matthew 14. For my sermon on August 9, I focused on why Peter, the rock, had difficulty maintaining his faith. In the lead up to that sermon, I was preparing for my maternity leave and had a lot of “Peter moments” myself. I wasn’t so much afraid of myself sinking, as I was anxious about getting out of the boat and leaving it behind, or leaving KOG for the upcoming 8 weeks. With the Covid-19 upheaval, our livestream worship facing new technological issues, our outdoor in-person services just getting going, and the preschool transitioning to a new director, it seemed like the worst possible time to be away, and my mind had a hard time not thinking about all that could go wrong as I “abandoned the helm.” It made it easy to imagine what the disciples may have been feeling in our story when Peter, likely already some sort of leader in their ranks, arose in the midst of that storm and leaped over the side of the ship, abandoning them in their time of need. Were they screaming after him, “Peter, are you crazy? Where are you going?!” Or were they saying, “Peter, don’t leave us,” as they were already barely managing to stay afloat with all hands on deck. I know, this is all very dramatic, but in my defense, pregnancy hormones do crazy things to your mind. ?

After more prayer and reflection and conversations with KOG staff and leaders, I came to a different conclusion. I like to imagine now that the disciples, instead, were the very ones that were encouraging Peter to get out of that boat and obey the Lord’s call, as so many of you encouraged me to do so leading up to my leave. I can now hear the disciples saying to Peter, “Go, Peter, go! The Lord is calling you. Everything will be fine.” I am so grateful to the number of you who said likewise to me, “Pastor, go. Bond with your baby. Help your family get settled into this new change. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine. God has it all under control.”

Sometimes, even Pastors need a little encouragement to get out of that boat and trust that all will be well. I think we tend to worry less about our own lives, as we trust God with them (you really have to in order to go into ordained ministry), but we do worry about the lives of those we care for and tend to in our flock. We place so much responsibility on ourselves to keep the ministry, mission, relationships, and business aspects of the church afloat, that we forget that God, with the help of God’s people, has already got this. Perhaps you too have needed that reminder or gentle push to get out of the boat and allow others to take lead as you answered God’s call? Who has remained in the boat and been a cheerleader for you? Have you thanked them for playing this pivotal role? Is there someone in your life for whom you could take on that role now, someone you could remain in the boat for as you encourage them to step out in faith?

Thank you to all of you—the amazing staff, leadership, and members at KOG—for your support during this time. I know you will be fine, and perhaps God will even do something new and exciting in my absence. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue serving, trusting, growing, walking, and even sinking a little once in a while, with you, as we keep encouraging each other individually and as one body of faith together to reach out and take Christ’s hand.

God be with you,
Pastor Kinndlee

August 1, 2020

Dear King of Glory friends and family,

First, I have to say thank you to all of you who have been praying for me, Josh, Jules and the baby. With the closures, the isolation, and my Covid-19 diagnosis, this has not exactly been the pregnancy we were anticipating. And it has been sad to not be able to share it with you all in the way we were able to share the anticipation of our first baby with you. But with all that said, it was so incredibly lovely to see so many of you on Saturday at the Drive-Through Baby Shower, and we were so touched by all the gifts and the donations. Thank you for being excited with us despite all these strange circumstances that we’ve all been enduring. I have been reflecting recently on how truly strange these past 5 months have been, and I have come up with a few lessons that I have learned or been reminded of during this time, which I thought I might share with you as this month’s article.

  1. It is important to face reality, but do not let fear and anxiety rule you.

Being pregnant during a pandemic has been challenging. Catching a little-known disease during pregnancy has been even more so. The sickness itself was no walk in the park, but I would say the anxiety that followed was far worse. There have been days when I was tempted to spend hours googling any possible story or study that had to do with potential Covid implications for a developing fetus, and it has taken every ounce of self-discipline to not do so. As if pregnancy itself was not stressful enough! But I believe in being realistically optimistic, which is to say, I recognize that our baby may have health complications right away or 20 years down the line, due to my infection, but I still choose to hope and pray for the best. And I know that there is no point in spending time anxiously searching online and worrying about what we have no control over; we can just do our best to be smart and safe with the information we have and leave the rest to God. I think this is a lesson many of us struggle with, and I hope that my words, as well as these bible verses, can help you too through whatever uncertainty you may be facing.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

2 Timothy 1:7 – “… for God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”

Psalm 27:1 – “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

  1. Nothing matters as much as who you choose to have by your side.

I am so fortunate to have had Josh be my Covid-19 quarantine partner. Not a day has gone by amidst our months of home isolation where I wasn’t grateful that he was the one I was seeing day in and day out. His humor, generosity of spirit, calm nature and intelligence have been great companions. But I am also grateful to the wonderful staff we have at KOG and all of you. It is such a blessing to have strong team members to work with and trust in and a church who is understanding, patient and willing to put the well-being of the entire community ahead of their own personal needs. Too many pastors have felt pressured to open their churches before they thought it was prudent or faithful to do so. I feel very fortunate to be journeying through this time of pandemic and pregnancy “beside” all of you. And what a blessing it is to know that God is by our side through it all. I hope you know that you have not been alone in this time, but myself, the staff at KOG and all our members have been with you, as well as our faithful God!

Psalm 116:8a – “With the Lord on my side I do not fear.”

Psalm 139:9-10 – “If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”

  1. You can make it through just about anything with slow, deep breaths and by taking things one day (or hour or minute) at a time.

This is a lesson I learned in my last pregnancy or rather once the labor kicked in. As some of you may know, Josh and I wanted to have a non-medicated, natural birth with Jules in a non-hospital setting, God and nature permitting. We took classes and read books to prepare ourselves for what that would mean and had all our pre-natal care done at a local birth center in Long Beach. I have nothing against hospitals, or the choices others make to take advantage of what modern-day medicine provides. (And I am so grateful both are there for those cases where life-saving help is needed!) It’s just that having worked as a hospital Labor and Delivery Chaplain previously and having witnessed so many tragedies around pregnancy and birth, I knew I needed a different setting and approach. When the time came for Jules to be born, we were blessed to be able to follow the plans we had made and give birth at the midwifery center. But I will be honest, there was a point during my labor, when the contractions were far stronger than anything I had imagined, and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. (No epidurals or pain meds in sight!) Luckily, I remembered some tips from a hypnobirthing book I had read and tapped into some deep breathing methods and visualization techniques, and with Josh’s help, I made it through. This second time around, I have been taking an actual hypnobirthing class and have found it amazing to be reminded of the connection between the mind and the body and the simple power that resides in our breathing. And this goes all the way back to the Bible (although you won’t find that in a hypnobirthing book)! We as Christians should know that there is great power in the breath. It is with God’s breath/wind/spirit (all the same word in Hebrew: ruach) that humanity first came to life. And some say that the very name of God uttered to Moses, Yah-weh or “I am,” is meant to sound like a breath being taken, inhaling “yah” and exhaling “weh.” If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, remember to connect to your breath, connect to your Spirit and connect to the God who gives you life.

Genesis 2:7 – “…then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”

Job 33:4 – “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

John 20:22 – “When {Jesus} had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 8:26 – “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

May each of you be blessed this month of August, and may you know that God is with you no matter what uncertainty you may be facing.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

July 1, 2020

Dear King of Glory friends and family,

I have used my recent articles to share news of KOG with you, but for this month, I wanted to offer more of a devotion. I hope it brings you strength and peace in whatever you may be facing.

The first Sunday in July has as its assigned Old Testament reading, Zechariah 2:9-12.

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

You may recognize some of this text as it was considered a prophesy for how Jesus rode into Jerusalem “humble and riding on a donkey” to shouts of triumph and victory. What is striking about this text is not only that Zachariah spoke and wrote these words 520 years before Jesus’ birth but that he wrote them to the Jewish people as they lived in exile from their holy lands under the rule of the Babylonians. After having been a great nation, they were divided and conquered and deported. It is into this apparently hopeless situation that Zechariah had the audacity to tell God’s people to rejoice. In the midst of their servitude to another nation, in the midst of their anger and pain, in the midst of feeling betrayed by their God, Zechariah tells them that the instruments of war will be cut off and the peace of God’s reign will come. Zechariah says they will be set free from their prisons. And then he speaks the final line from the voice of God, which I find most astounding: “Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” Such an amazing turn of phrase is found in this final verse. The people of Israel, imprisoned by the Babylonian king, are declared by God to not be Babylonian prisoners but to instead be prisoners of hope. With God as their stronghold, the only thing that can take hold of their hearts is the hope that comes from God.

In these days it can feel as though there are many conquering powers around us. Despair and anger and fear are very real due to the global pandemic and a new surge in cases, the racial unrest and protests, the loss of jobs and worshipping in our sacred spaces, and the political rancor that appears to have our nation more divided than ever. But into our potential prisons of despair, anger and fear, God continues to speak. God’s goodness, mercy and peace will be victorious once again. God calls us to follow the trodden path of Christ, to follow in his footsteps of humility and gentleness. God calls us to place our hope in God alone for God is the only one that can truly serve as our Stronghold. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let no one and nothing else enslave your spirits. Choose with me instead to be prisoners of Hope. A better day will come, a day of rejoicing. Do not lose heart. God’s faithful covenant with us through Christ stretches to the ends of the earth and to the end of time.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

Dear King of Glory family and friends,

Happy March to you all! This month marks the beginning of Lent, so I have a few exciting things I wanted to share with you regarding that and then an update from our office.

First, let’s talk about Lent. This Lenten season we will be doing our regular Wednesday evening schedule, beginning Wednesday, March 6th, with our special Ash Wednesday services. Those services will be at both 12 noon and 6:15 pm. The schedule for the other Wednesdays in Lent will be a Soup Supper at 5:30 pm, Worship at 6:15 pm, and Growth Groups from 6:45-7:45 pm. As you may have heard, we are doing our Max Lucado book title, "Grace, More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine."Growth Group study on Max Lucado’s book Grace: More than We Deserve, Greater than We Imagine. For Wednesday worship, we are trying something different with the music—each song will be by request, so come ready with your favorite hymns (just so long as they don’t have an “alleluia” in them). On Sundays, we’re going to have some new fun things planned too. For the 8 am Traditional Service, we will be trying a new liturgy called Chosen People which will have its own liturgy books from which the service will be led. And at both services throughout Lent, we’ll be hearing personal stories from our own KOG members regarding ways God’s grace has touched their lives. I’m really excited for these next 6 weeks and their focus on God’s amazing grace and how it changes and enriches the lives of those among us.

Secondly, I wanted to share a couple pieces of news from our office. On a sad note, our new bookkeeper, Christy Borack, resigned effective Friday, March 1. She received an unexpected offer for a full-time job with the school district, which she just couldn’t pass up. We are overjoyed at the opportunity she has been given even though we had already come to enjoy and appreciate her presence so much on the staff. Filling in as our interim bookkeeper will be a phenomenal lady named Jera Ricktersen. Jera is the bookkeeper for Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Huntington Beach and Christ Lutheran Church in Orange. We’re lucky that she is fitting us into her busy schedule, which will mean that her office hours will not always parallel the hours our office is open. We’re going to give this a try and see how it works as Jera brings with her a fantastic level of experience and expertise and ringing endorsements. Another change in our office is that Heather Stolte, our Office Manager, has changed her position to be our Campus Administrator. Simply put, this means that Heather’s responsibilities are more focused on the scheduling and coordination of our facility use as well as general office duties and Catherine Marcum will now be the point person for all things that have to do with Sunday morning worship. In conjunction with this change, Heather has reduced her office hours to Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 3 and Thursdays from 10 to 1. Lastly, this also prompted a change in her email address, so there is no longer an [email protected] email address. Instead you can reach Heather at [email protected] We’ve had more changes in the office than anticipated this early into 2019, but hopefully it’s setting us up for a successful year.

Blessings to you all during this upcoming Lenten season,
Pastor Kinndlee

June 1, 2020

Dear KOG family and friends,

It is hard for me to believe that it’s been 10 weeks since we last worshipped in-person together, though for some of you it may feel like it’s been much longer. Although many have been worshipping, connecting and keeping updated through our Sunday KOG online worship services, coffee hours, and weekly email blasts, I wanted to send out a letter to give you some important summaries and updates on the following: 1) the May 4 Congregation Meeting, 2) our current financial standing, and 3) plans for when we will return to KOG’s campus.

MAY 4th SPECIAL CONGREGATION MEETING SUMMARY

Thank you to all those who were able to attend our Special Congregation Meeting on May 4th. We had nearly 3 times that of a quorum which is pretty great attendance for our first ever electronic congregation meeting! At the meeting, several things were voted on and approved and all by a vast majority, with the final vote permitting the congregation to receive the federal PPP loan. There were a lot of good questions and thoughts shared regarding this, and I’m sorry if you wanted to make a comment but were not able (we definitely have room for improvement regarding virtual meetings). Most important in my mind is simply to reiterate that 1) your elected Council representatives as well as the called and hired KOG church staff are doing everything we can to make sure that we use these dollars to support the church’s ministries and employees while closely abiding by the loan’s parameters, and 2) if there are any dollars remaining at the end of our loan period and if the Council thinks it prudent to keep the money as a low-interest loan, another special congregation meeting and vote will be held, so that members can make that decision. I and our current Council value so much your input and the importance of transparency, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, if you have any questions.

CURRENT FINANCIAL STANDING

Following the Special Congregation Meeting on May 4, I had a great conversation with two of our long-time members, and one thing they raised was that they felt “out of the loop” regarding KOG’s current financial standing; thus it was hard for them to know how necessary this loan was for KOG. That was when I realized that our usual way of communicating KOG’s fiscal health (the monthly Council meeting minutes in the Welcome Place and the Weekly Connection budget and spending numbers that we began including in February) are no longer accessible to everyone. Thus, I am taking this opportunity to share a fiscal update. Preschool tuition and Sunday plate offering comprise around 75% of KOG’s income. As you can imagine, closing our preschool on March 16th and discontinuing our in-person worship dealt quite a blow to our finances. Our Offering is down about $12,000 and our Preschool Tuition Income is down $47,000 from budget. Below is our current fiscal standing from March (prior to the closure’s full effects), from April, and our Year-to-Date (YTD) Actuals through the end of April.

2020 BUDGET AND FINANCIAL TOTALS

General Fund
& Preschool
March
Actuals
April
Actuals
April
Budget
YTD 2020
Actuals
YTD 2020 Budget
Income $102,46139,90397,000329,938388,000
Expense $102,03757,56596,913361,026387,654
Income – Expense $424-17,66287-31,089346

RETURNING TO CAMPUS & CONGREGATION CONVERSATION ON JUNE 1st

As our federal and state governments ease safer-at-home restrictions and are now allowing houses of worship to resume limited gatherings, we have heard questions from a few of you regarding when KOG will resume worship in our Sanctuary. First, let me say that we will continue to abide by all state and health regulations and recommendations. Second, although Governor Newsom has allowed for churches in general to resume meeting, there are significant guidelines and restrictions that have to be followed (from the CDC, local counties, Cal/OSHA, etc.) before gatherings can resume legally, safely, and with liability protection should an outbreak occur. Third, in addition to simply meeting the state’s requirements to hold limited gatherings, there are many complicated aspects of worship to navigate in order to keep one another safe, such as how, if at all, can Holy Communion be administered amidst 6 feet distance regulations, how to meet requirements that restrooms be sanitized after each use, how to physically distance while entering and exiting the campus, and whether singing should be allowed due to its documented increased spread of aerosolized virus particles.

With all of these complexities in mind and in knowing the deep longing many feel to return to in-person gatherings, we would like to have a “Congregation Conversation.” This conversation will take place on Monday, June 1st, from 6:00-7:00 PM via Zoom. Yes, this is soon, but we feel the urgency is appropriate. This time will be an opportunity to hear everyone’s concerns, desires and questions about resuming our campus gatherings, and it will be a chance to hear Council’s approach to get us there safely, expediently and faithfully. Please consider joining us for this conversation via computer or phone. The zoom link and phone numbers will be emailed out prior to the meeting.

I would like to conclude with words from Isaiah 41:10 where God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you by my victorious right hand.” (NRSV) Although there is much fear and anxiety around the future and what it will hold, remember that there is One who holds us in the midst of it: our loving and faithful God. God holds us close to God’s own heart and close to one another, even as we are physically apart. And God will be with us, helping and guiding us, as we do our best to discern how to continue lovingly and safely caring for one another, especially the most vulnerable, in addition to all of our neighbors, as we bear witness to God’s love and care for the world through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Peace and blessings,
Pastor Kinndlee

May 1, 2020

Dear King of Glory family and friends,

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

It still feels strange to use that Easter greeting when we have not yet been able to gather in the Sanctuary together to celebration Jesus’ resurrection. It is hard to believe that it is now May, which means we have had a closed church office, sanctuary and preschool for a month and a half. When all of this began, I was still hoping we would be able to resume worship by the time holy week rolled around. So many of our expectations have been dismantled beyond recognition since COVID-19 hit our shores. In many ways, we are quite like Jesus’ disciples. Even though they knew the truth of his resurrection, I imagine in those weeks following his return, their expectations as to what it all meant and what the future would hold were also dismantled and slowly replaced with new realities. Such a process is uncomfortable and difficult for anyone, whether a first century Jew or a 21st century American Christian. Our Bishop in the Pacifica Synod, Rev. Dr. Andy Taylor, has written a reflection on this, which you can read following my opening words here. I hope you find both challenge and comfort in the wisdom he shares. There are two things, however, that I want to make sure to point out from his reflection.

The first thing is that we are now, as church leaders and as society members, realizing that the process of gathering together again and having worship resume as “normal” is likely to be a long and drawn out one, which may never actually return to the “normal” we expect. The Wisconsin Council of Churches in Christ has written some guidelines for Christian leaders to use to begin thinking about what it will look for congregations as society reopens. I’d like to share one specific paragraph from that report:

“Please understand: for at least the next year, we anticipate our lives to be shaped by the timeline set by COVID-19. We face difficult choices between conflicting needs and imperatives. But we must avoid framing our situation in terms of a false choice between reviving the economy — or our churches — and saving lives. If we don’t continue our efforts to contain the virus, a new wave of infections and deaths will cause further damage, and we will lose what we’ve gained from the measures we’ve already taken. And if we push the envelope too far by reopening our buildings and resuming gatherings prematurely, we may unfairly force on our more vulnerable members the choice between keeping themselves and others safe and participating in congregational life like everyone else.”

These were sobering words for me when I read them, but I see in them an important truth. We will need to be very careful and intentional with worship, our campus and one another, as our communities reopen. And this is likely to be a long process, especially as second or third waves of outbreak are appearing more and more inevitable. There is no black and white choice between saving the economy (businesses, churches, etc.) and saving lives as both are inextricably linked. There is so much grey and contextual nuance that will be found in each step along the way. And we as Christians are called to both value all human life and alleviate the spiritual, emotional and economic hardships others suffer around us. As much as we all long to resume the life we knew, let us strive above all else to not put the most vulnerable in our midst at greater risk of harm. I thank you for your patience and trust as our KOG leaders begin to navigate what this all will look like for our beloved faith community.

On that note, I also wanted to share the news that we are reopening our preschool on May 1. This is a small and incremental opening that is especially geared toward providing needed childcare for essential workers. The preschool is instituting practices of heightened social distancing, security and hygiene according to the California Department of Education and new licensing regulations, thus no one will be allowed to enter the school except working staff and enrolled children who have all passed health screens. Our church office will remain closed as most staff can perform their essential functions from the safety of their homes. There has been no discussion yet of when we may resume gathering in the Sanctuary as we await further orders from our Governor and public health officials here in California, and as mentioned above, it will likely be a slow, cautious and very intentional process.

The second point the Bishop made is that whenever we are able to meet again in person, “we will not be the same.” We will be a changed people, but as people of faith, it is our belief and trust that God is using this time to make that change something that is even more lifegiving. God is reshaping us in ways that we don’t even know yet that will make us even better equipped to see God’s work in our lives, to proclaim God’s goodness and love, and to effect positive change in Christ’s name for the sake of the world. Have you glimpsed any of these changes yet? Have you had an opportunity already arise to witness, share or nurture in a new way? Let us each be watchful for God’s movement amid this time and mindful of how God may be changing us and our expectations for God’s greater glory. We will not be the same, but we already knew that. As Paul writes to the churches in Corinth, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” So much has and is passing away, but God’s hand is upon us bringing about a new faith, a new hope, and a new life that can exceed even our greatest expectations. Christ is risen! And he will help us arise as well as we embrace our new reality as his disciples.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

March 1, 2020

Dear King of Glory family and friends,

I keep seeing online (and maybe you’ve seen it too) a new commercial for the Apple iPhone 11. It advertises the phone’s ability to take beautiful pictures in the dead of night, to capture what would normally be missed by other smart phone camera lenses. Unfortunately, the song from the commercial is what has really stuck in my head. It’s the song by the Smashing Pumpkins called “We Only Come Out at Night” (a very catchy chorus). It’s strange that this has so stuck in my mind, because, as a Droid user and a fairly frugal person, I typically ignore (with a little disdain, I confess) Apple advertisements, but I couldn’t shake this one. Not just because it’s a pretty darn good commercial, but because I think the Spirit was trying to tell me something through it.

The church season of Lent, which we began this past week, is all about how we are called to “come out at night.” (Perhaps some of you remember when we did a sermon series with Resurrection Lutheran Church and Newport Harbor Lutheran Church on Barbara Brown Taylor’s book “Learning to Walk in the Dark”?) This is the time of the year where we are called to mark our foreheads with black ashen crosses and wander into the spiritual darkness of our hearts as we face our brokenness, our faults, our despair, our selfishness, and our apathy. This is the time of the year when we are called to reflect on how we have ignored or added to the pain of others and how we can do better caring for those in need (which is why we end every worship service in Lent by saying, “Go in peace. Remember the poor. Thanks be to God.”) Most importantly, this is the season of the church year where we are called to also gaze upon the darkness that surrounded Jesus in his final days on this earth, ending upon the darkest night of all, when he died upon the cross. Lent is the season where God asks us to not be afraid, to come out at night and face the darkness together. We are challenged to learn from the darkness in ourselves and our world. How have the dark times in your life led to unexpected freedom or transformation? As the Smashing Pumpkins song says, it is at night that we “wander through the empty space . . . through the secret places of the heart.” But unlike the song which says we “walk alone to find our way home,” as Christians we know that we never walk alone, neither during Lent nor during any season of our life. We walk together as a community of faith and we walk always with God.

This Lenten season, may you have the courage to “come out at night” and see what growth can be gained by embracing the darkness in our world with Christ. May you be enriched by our study of “The Grace of Les Misérables” which on the surface feels like a story full of darkness and despair, but also holds within it such power, redemption and hope. And may you get a glimpse during these next 40 days of the mysteries and beauty that would otherwise be lost when viewed through a different lens or even the bright sunlight of day.

Lenten peace and blessings,

Pastor Kinndlee

February 1, 2020

Dear King of Glory friends and family,

Happy February! Although Valentine’s Day is considered a secular holiday, I also wanted to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope your month is filled with opportunities to love others and be loved by others. And I hope above all else you are reminded of and experience ever more deeply the love of our God. May that love nourish you and radiate out from you toward others. For just as the writer of I John says, “We love because He first loved us.” (4:19). I encourage you to see Deacon Leah Lind’s article in this newsletter for a thoughtful reminder of how this secular holiday and our upcoming Lenten season intertwine.

There are a few news items I wanted to share with you as well as some thankyous. First, in case you were not able to join us, you should know that we had a fabulous Annual Congregation Meeting on Sunday, January 26 (with really great attendance!). We passed our new budget, we elected new folks to serve on Council, the Endowment Committee, the Nomination Committee and as Pacifica Synod Assembly representatives. We learned about the new church database system called Breeze. And we heard great comments from members about the amazing things you all are accomplishing through Christ’s mission and ministry here at KOG. Special thanks to Catherine Marcum for all her work in preparing the Annual Report (which she does as a volunteer) and Alan Marcum for his many hours spent preparing Breeze to be introduced to the congregation. We hope you all will take advantage of this new online directory resource! And if you missed this year’s Annual Meeting, there is always next year! ?

The other really exciting thing I wanted to share with you is that we are starting signups this Sunday for our new Lenten Growth Group series, “The Grace of Les Misérables.” It is based off, of course, Victor Hugo’s 19th century novel by the same name, which has had many film adaptations. In addition to hopefully offering a film viewing evening prior to our study’s beginning, we are also hoping to offer an opportunity for congregation members to purchase tickets together and attend as a group the stage performance of the musical “Les Misérables” which will be playing at the Segerstrom Center in May! This classic story, film and musical is so well-known and beloved, our Lenten study is the perfect chance to invite that friend, neighbor or coworker you’ve been wanting to introduce to KOG to join you. On Wednesdays, we will be having our traditional schedule of sharing soup, having a brief worship where we watch a short video from our study, and then break into Growth Groups for further discussion. The schedule is below. And please don’t forget to sign-up for Growth Groups either online or on the patio Sunday, Feb. 2, 9, or 16 and to join us for our Pancake Dinner on Tuesday, February 25 prior to our Lenten schedule beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 26.

5:30 – Soup Supper
6:15 – Worship
6:45 – Growth Groups

Lastly, I wanted to inform you of your newly elected Executive Council members. We will also be listing all Council members as well as their liaison positions as a Sunday worship insert next month, once assignments have been made. Thank you to the following faithful leaders willing to serve:

Council President:  Paul Wallace
Vice President:  Deb Cooper
Secretary:  Jeanne Steinebrunner
Financial Secretary:  Steve Schubert
Treasurer:  Stephen Schwarz

Blessings to you all and thank you for your ongoing commitments to Christ here at KOG and in our wider community. May all that you do share His love with the world.

Pastor Kinndlee

December 31, 2019

Dear King of Glory family and friends,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your friends and family. We sure had a great time here at KOG celebrating with one another. Let me take just a moment to thank some of the people who helped make our Christmas at KOG a little brighter: Karla Bjorklund, our Ecclesiastical Artist, for her lovely decorations; Deacon Lind, Catherine Marcum and Amanda Pulos for their work in making our decorating party a lovely time for all ages; Karen Ronchetti, for her time and effort in beautifying our sanctuary every year; Doris Williams, Karie Frederick, and Michèle Jensen, our office volunteers; all of the KOG musicians including the praise band, the choir, and our music staff; Ms. Amanda, our youth, and our preschool staff for their work on the Christmas program; Sharon Windhorst, for making sure the Lord’s Table was always prepared; Bob Lipot and Marlys Buckey, our counters who came in the day after Christmas to keep our finances in order; Michele Elvander and Debbie Bise, our Christmas Eve cookie bakers; all those who donated socks and underwear and dollars toward our water well goal; Alan Marcum for hanging our clothesline and outdoor Christmas lights; and last but not least, Carl and Leah Lind, Bruce and Karie Frederick, Jodi Coffman and Nikki Busch, and Josh Baesler, our Christmas tree star hanging team. (It actually stayed up all season long!!!) J And thank you to many others, who I cannot name, but who contributed in other ways that enabled KOG to rejoice in the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel.

Typically in my January article I talk a little about the new year and new year resolutions. This year, I would like to suggest a resolution that we could all adopt and follow together. Due to all the deaths we have been facing at KOG this past year, including the most recent losses in December of Bev Stolte and the pregnancy of Amanda and Dan Pulos, I have been thinking a lot about grief. I just finished a wonderful book given to me by my father called “Everything Happens For a Reason and other Lies I’ve Loved” by Dr. Kate Bowler, a professor of evangelicalism at Duke University. The book is about Kate’s diagnosis and battle with cancer shortly after becoming a new mom, as well as her faith struggles throughout it as she coped with potentially dying and/or living with cancer. It’s a great book, a short read that is very moving and funny, and I would recommend it to anyone. At the end of the book, Kate gives two really wonderful lists for her readers. The first is humorously called “Absolutely Never Say this to People Experiencing Terrible Times” and the second list is “Give This a Go, See How it Works” with suggestions on what is helpful to say to people when they are in distress. My suggestion for all of us in this new year is that we resolve to have heathier and more helpful responses in how we support those who are grieving around us. Our care and kindness team along with our Stephen Ministers, under the leadership of Deacon Lind, have undertaken some new ways to support the grieving in our midst. I am including below Dr. Bowler’s two lists of what she found helpful and hurtful to give you some ideas of what you can do to help, especially when you or others are feeling helpless. I hope they aid you in comforting those experiencing loss around you or in giving you suggestions to tell others of how to support you in your grief. Of course, every person and every experience is different, but I hope these lists can give us all the tools we need to begin learning how to be more present, as Christ himself did, for those who are going through the worst life can bring. May this new year bring you joy and love and laughter, but if it also leads you or those you love into the dark valleys of sorrow or suffering, may you and those around you find the words needed to bring light, peace and blessing.

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

Absolutely Never Say This to People Experiencing Terrible Times:
A Short List (top 5) from Dr. Kate Bowler

  1. Well at least . . . “  Don’t compare or minimize another’s grief.  Let them feel what they feel for as long as they feel it.
  2. “In my long life, I’ve learned that . . . “ Ease up on life lessons when people are facing the potential end of theirs.  Life is a privilege not a reward.
  3. “It’s going to get better. I promise.”  Don’t promise something you can’t deliver.
  4. “God needed an angel.” This makes God look needy and is contradictory to biblical tradition that says angels are made from scratch not from deceased people. God does not take people from us. God comforts and grieves with us in our sorrow and welcomes people home when their physical bodies can no longer sustain them.
  5. “Everything happens for a reason.” When someone is drowning, the only thing worse than failing to throw them a life preserver is handing them a reason. Though you may believe and draw comfort from these words, they can be harmful when said to others even leading to self-blame, because it leaves people wondering and guessing at what that reason could be and what they possibly did wrong.

Give This a Go, See How it Works:  A Short List form Dr. Kate Bowler

  1. “I’d love to bring you a meal this week.  Can I email/call you about it?”  When experiencing cancer or other illnesses or the debilitating effects of grief, presents can be helpful. Food, plants, magazines, etc. It doesn’t matter, because people often have a hard time naming what they need but the sentiment is what matters most.
  2. “You are a beautiful person.” Tell your friend something about his or her life that you admire without making it feel like a eulogy. Everyone needs those words of encouragement.
  3. “I am so grateful to hear about how you’re doing and just know that I’m on your team.” Don’t be nosy and ask people for details about their condition. Just let them know you are there cheering for them and a willing listener if they ever feel like they want to share.
  4. “Can I give you a hug?” People who are suffering often feel isolated. A hug or a hand on the arm can mean so much, but always ask first.
  5. “Oh my friend, that sounds hard.” Be willing to stare down the ugliness and sadness with those who are facing it. Just let them talk about it if that’s what they want to do.
  6. *****Silence***** Pain and tragedy are awkward. There is never one perfect thing to say.  Sometimes the best thing to do is just “show up and shut up.”

December 1, 2019

Dear King of Glory family and friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And let me be the first now to wish you a very Happy Advent!!!! We have a really fun and interesting new Advent series we are starting this Sunday, Dec. 1, and it’s all about undergarments! Kinda. Maybe I should explain. ? During the Christmas season we spend so much time thinking about what to put on our Christmas lists and what gifts to buy for others. Have you ever been surprised by a gift that was under your tree? Have you ever been disappointed? Our Advent season theme this year at King of Glory is Socks and Underwear: the Story of the Best Gift ever Given.

Socks and underwear, you are probably thinking, what does that have to do with Christmas? Well, socks and underwear are iconic for being that gift that no one wants but everyone needs, and that is exactly what Christmas is about. This Advent, we are focusing on how Jesus was the gift that the world didn’t want but truly needed. Our sermon topics throughout this season will be about this theme, with titles such as “An Unexpected Gift, Gift Wrapping, Gift Returns, and the Greatest Gift Ever Given.” Our Sanctuary is going to be decorated with socks and underwear and other items of apparel strung on clotheslines (join us on Saturday, Dec. 7 at noon to have a free lunch and to help decorate!). Worship on Sunday, December 8, will be a Unity Service starting at 10:00 AM with lots of music from our different KOG music ensembles and our KOG preschoolers and youth doing a program all about the gift of Jesus. Last, but not least, during this season we will be tying in our mission and giving focus as well. We will have two focuses that come out of our theme: 1) we are asking folks to bring in new packages of socks and underwear to be donated to local organizations for those in need and 2) we are setting a goal of purchasing a water well through Lutheran World Relief (cost $2500) through special offerings, in order to help our neighbors in another part of the world get access to safe drinking water, an essential need for all.

We hope you will join us for any and all of these aspects of our Advent Season as we explore “Socks and Underwear” and how Jesus is the gift the world didn’t want, but the gift the world truly needed.

Blessings,
Pastor Kinndlee

P.S. One final note regarding our all-congregation church decorating afternoon on December 7 from 12-3:00 PM. We hope you’ll come out to join us for food, decorating and other fun activities to help prepare our Sanctuary for the Advent Season. We also are inviting everyone to bring some ornaments from home to help adorn our tree. Since our theme this year is of a more informal, intimate nature ? we are hoping for our tree to fit right in with that theme as well. How it turns out will be a bit of a surprise, much like the unexpected gift of Christ.

November 1, 2019

 Hello dear KOG friends and family!

Happy November! I literally can’t believe the words I am typing. It is November! Where did October go? Someone should tell the calendar above my office desk because it is still on September! Well, since it is November now, that means much is upon us for discussing and remembering and celebrating!

Firstly, I want to remind you that this Sunday is our Unity Service to mark the end of our Red Letter Growth Group and Sermon Series. Our 10 am worship will also mark the end of this fall’s stewardship campaign and we are asking everyone to bring in their 2020 commitment cards to be blessed during worship and tallied during the Celebration Lunch that follows (as has become our new tradition). Thank you to all who have helped to make this coming Sunday possible (as well as the Growth Group series and stewardship preparations prior to it): Karen and Paul Wallace and our Growth Group leaders, Sam and Catherine Fullerton and our Stewardship committee, and our office staff who worked tirelessly to support both of these efforts! We hope you’ll join us this Sunday in celebrating the end of our study and the making of our financial commitments for God’s mission in the coming year.

Secondly, this upcoming Sunday is also All Saints Day. We will be praying for those who we have lost in the past year, of which there have been many. Please take this time to reach out to anyone you know who lost someone in the past year to offer a listening ear or supportive shoulder. And if you yourself lost someone, know that our prayers will be with you this Sunday and our Prayer Warriors continue to pray for you weekly.

Thirdly, I wanted to remind you that I will be hosting my forum on the ELCA’s recent resolution that passed regarding becoming a Sanctuary church body. I want to extend an invitation for all to come to this forum, whether you have a strong opinion, no opinion or just a lot of questions. The beginning of the forum will be about education. I will discuss what the Memorial and Resolution process is in the ELCA as well as what was the context of this particular resolution’s passing (it is far less simple than has been implied on Fox and CNN). There will be time for people to ask questions and share their feelings and experience regarding this issue. What this forum will not be, however, is an attempt to debate the merits of the decision or a time to try to reach any sort of consensus on this contentious and complicated issue. I see this forum as a time to discuss, share and explore not only this decision but also how we can, in general, respectfully and lovingly disagree with one another (or the greater church body) and still be church together. I would love for this to be a first conversation in many where we explore some of the ELCA’s Social Statements how they might inform our faith as well as our civic life. Being the Body of Christ, does not mean uniformity in opinion, it means unity in mission, and I think this is a great opportunity for us to experiment and practice together how we can dissent without division. All of our perspectives and opinions enrich the Body of Christ. Though our politics and the ways we live our faith by supporting particular policies may be different (and ever more polarized in the current culture), the central tenets of our faith and our mission in Christ can still hold us together. I hope you will join me in this first step on a potential long and exciting journey we may take here at King of Glory as we consider exploring together this resolution as well as past social statements.

If you’d like to do a little pre-forum reading, the text of the resolution that was eventually passed by the voting members of the ELCA’s National Assembly is below.

Always grateful to be serving with you in Christ,

Pastor Kinndlee

ELCA 2019 ASSEMBLY ACTION CA 19.03.11 BY MAJORITY

To receive with gratitude the memorial from the Metropolitan New York Synod concerning sanctuary;

To reaffirm the long-term and growing commitment of this church to migrants and refugees and to the policy questions involved, as exemplified most recently in the comprehensive strategy Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities (AMMPARO);

To recognize that the ELCA in congregations, synods and the churchwide organization are already taking the actions requested by this memorial; and

To request that appropriate staff on the AMMPARO team, LIRS and the Domestic Mission, Global Mission, and Mission Advancement units review the existing strategies and practices by the five current sanctuary synods and develop a plan for additional tools that provide for education and discernment around sanctuary;

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America declares itself a sanctuary church body; and

To request the ELCA Church Council, in consultation with the appropriate churchwide units and offices, provide guidance for the three expressions of this church about what it means to be a sanctuary church body and provide a report to the 2022 Churchwide Assembly.

October 1, 2019

Dear King of Glory friends and family!

Happy October! Another fall is upon us, as is another season of Growth Groups. I hope you all have been enjoying the Red Letter Challenge (“RLC”) book and sermon series. As a part of the RLC, we will be focusing on 5 different themes for 5 weeks: Being, Forgiving, Serving, Giving and Going. Now normally during the fall we also spend 3-5 weeks or so talking about how we steward the resources God has given us (time, talents and tithes), but this year, due to the RLC schedule, we are doing things a little differently. During the Giving week of the RLC only, we will discuss lots of different ways to give back to God what God has first given to us, rather than have a full-blown, month-long stewardship program this fall. However, there are a few elements from previous years’ stewardship campaigns that we will still be doing. First, we will still be asking you to turn in Commitment Cards (you should have received those in the mail this week). Please bring those with you to worship on Sunday, Nov. 3. Secondly, we will be having our annual Commitment Sunday Unity Worship Service as well that same day, Sunday, Nov. 3. The Unity Service, which we are referring to as our Red Letter Rally Sunday, will start at 10:00 am. Thirdly, we wouldn’t dare do all of this without topping it off by hosting our delicious and beloved Free Celebration Lunch in Big Ed following the Red Letter Rally Sunday Unity Service. Please don’t forget to RSVP for the free catered lunch by either calling the office, responding to our Evite, or by signing up after worship some upcoming Sunday. We truly hope everyone will be able to join us in celebrating the end of the Red Letter Challenge and our deepened trust in God through our 2020 financial commitments.

Another event I wanted to have you mark on your calendar that will also be tying into our RLC series is the Fall Festival. This year’s Fall Festival will take place after our 10:30 Reformation and Confirmation Service on Sunday, Oct. 27. As we finish up our RLC theme of “Going”, our Fall Festival theme will be “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” from Dr. Seuss. All are invited to dress in red and white (think the Cat in the Hat plus Reformation colors :), decorate their cars for our Trunk or Treat, or just enjoy the good food, candy and games that will follow the service.

The last bit of information I wanted to pass on was about a Resolution that was passed at the recent ELCA Churchwide Assembly naming the ELCA as a Sanctuary Church. Unfortunately, the word “Sanctuary” has become quite politicized, so I wanted to spend a minute or two here explaining what exactly this means for us. Basically, this resolution was not meant to say anything political or policy oriented. This resolution does not ask or require churches to do anything that they are not already doing or that they are uncomfortable doing. What this resolution does do is it uses the term “Sanctuary” to state that we are a church that advocates for the safe and humane treatment of all people. It affirms the biblical mandate for all Christians to not only love our neighbors but to also love the stranger, and the rich and numerous biblical stories where God sent people away from their homes and into strange lands as a means of protecting them (including Jesus, Mary and Joseph). The resolution recognizes that our current immigration system is broken and there have been many troubling reports of mistreatment of people seeking asylum and refuge. And it also acknowledges that policies and practices that ask our border patrol and ICE agents to treat others inhumanely are equally damaging to those agents and their humanity. So, in summary, this Resolution is not intended to be a political statement. It is one of faith and compassion. It calls for all ELCA churches and members to pray for and advocate for the safe, humane, respectful and dignified treatment of all people affected by the immigration system: immigrants, including parents and children, asylum seekers, border patrol agents, ICE agents, lawyers and judges, social workers, and all other local and federal government employees that work in this area. I will be holding a time to share more information on this resolution as well as on what the ELCA is doing in some of the home countries to which immigrants are being returned in order to help them find gainful employment and discourage them from attempting to emigrate again (another wonderful thing our Mission Support to the ELCA makes possible). If you’re interested in being a part of this non-partisan discussion, it will be held between worship services on my first available upcoming Sunday, which is Sunday, Nov. 10 (the Sunday after our big RLC Rally Day and Celebration Lunch). I hope you’ll join me.

Blessings to you and yours on this wonderful month of October! So much is going on and ministry opportunities abound. I am honored, as always, to be serving with you in Christ’s name.

Pastor Kinndlee

September 1, 2019

We are officially back to school and into our fall season: woohoo! This is such a fun time of the year and so many great things have been planned. Allow me to just highlight a few of them. “God’s Work. Our Hands Sunday” is coming up on Sunday, Sept. 8. There will be a 10:15 gathering in the Sanctuary, which Deacon Leah will lead. Please come and be blessed and then sent out for our morning’s service activities! The following weekends include a guest speaker from the Young Adults in Global Mission program of the ELCA and our annual campout. Then on Sunday, Sept. 22, we will be starting our fall Growth Group series with the Red Letter Challenge by Zach Zehnder. This is a great collection of 40 daily devotions accompanied by simple ways to practice your faith. If you’re looking for something that simplifies Jesus’ message and the Christian life into 5 clear and relatable themes, and then gives you tools for implementing them in your daily life, this is the book for you! I’ll be preaching on this book every Sunday from Sept. 22 to Nov. 3. See Paul and Karen Wallace on the patio after services, if you haven’t yet, to sign-up and get your book (we’re charging only $10 due to a Thrivent Action Team grant) to read on your own or with a Growth Group. As usual, Growth Groups will be assigned and will set their own schedules, but the KOG campus will be open on Wednesday afternoons and evenings and Sunday mornings, if you’d like to meet here.

Now, to switch gears back to this being the month where everyone goes back to school, this is a crazy time for many of us—parents, teachers, church workers, anyone who drives on the interstate! But I recently read an article that reminded me this can be a sad time for some, especially those who have lost children or struggled with having children. This season can be a reminder of that pain. This past year at King of Glory, I have heard so many stories from various members about struggles with infertility. It is one of those very common yet socially stigmatized experiences that people are reluctant to talk about. If you or someone you know has struggled with infertility, please know there are resources out there. I bought a few Christian books for my office (a devotion, a memoir, and book on the biblical perspective), which I am happy to loan out and I hope will bring support and healing. Also, I think as a community we could be more sensitive to this issue. For example, I have been asked countless times over the past year if I am pregnant (and no, I am not, I just still have some baby weight, which I love having pointed out to me ??) or when will Josh and I be trying again? I know these comments and questions come from a place of love and care, so I typically respond with a smile and a laugh but asking such questions can be hurtful. What if we were struggling with secondary infertility (i.e. difficulty in having a second child, a common experience for parents)? What if we had miscarried and wanted to keep it private (also very common)? Or what if I were pregnant, but it was too soon to share the news? Such questions can at best create awkward situations and at worst open up very painful wounds. As I have heard stories from friends, family and church members about their struggles, I have learned to be more careful with my comments, questions and assumptions, as even the most well-meaning words can deepen those wounds.

During seasons like this where we are especially focused on school and children, let us remember that for some, it brings mixed emotions. Let us strive to be more sensitive and supportive to one another in every walk of life. Families come in all shapes and sizes, stripes and colors, biological, adopted, fostered and even friends who become our family, and rarely do families come in the timing or way we want or expect. The good news is that in the Bible too, families came in all kinds of shapes and sizes and often had struggles (and even scandals) in their lives together. But God was and is always eager to bless every family, and every type of family, and God seeks for all families to prosper in their love, respect and mutual care of one another. May God bless you and your family this fall, as well as our King of Glory family, so that all people may have a place and a purpose and be profoundly loved.

May the LORD give you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 113:14-15

Serving with you in Christ,
Pastor Kinndlee

August  1, 2019

Happy August, King of Glory!

I hope your summer months were good and that you enjoy the last few weeks that are left before school semesters start up and traffic worsens. J It has been an exciting last month for our church for sure. We welcomed 10 new members! We had an amazing week of VBS! And we called Deacon Leah Lind to be our new Deacon of Administration and Congregational Care! (By the way, thank you to all of you who attended the Q&A and the Congregation Meeting. It’s awesome to see your interest and investment in the future ministry of your church family.) Whoever said that summer months were a “break” from the busy season did not work at our church! This upcoming month is proving to be no different as we anticipate Leah’s start on August 5th, hiring a new permanent custodian, and hopefully finding a new Choir Director. (At the moment, we are not yet looking for an organist as Gwen Woloshun has graciously agreed to stay on—health permitting—to give us time to first fill these other positions.) Plus, of course, we are now starting to gear-up for our fall season, and it’s gonna be a good one! We have a great Growth Group series planned and a very fun theme already set for Advent (you’re gonna love it!).

With all of this busyness and more changes headed our way, I got to thinking about worry, especially in light of last month’s Gospel passage from Luke regarding Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary’s house. In my sermon that Sunday, I didn’t focus too much on Jesus’ words to Martha, when he says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things,” but these are important words for us all to reflect on (including me). The Greek words used here are μεριμνάω and θόρυβος which mean to literally be divided and tumultuous or in an uproar. I love those Greek words, because they describe so well the results that worry can have in our lives. Worry divides our focus and our hearts. It fogs up our vision, like a bathroom mirror after a hot shower. Anxiety puts our emotions on a roller coaster, like the ones at the OC County Fair. Taking care of our daily responsibilities with resolve and facing whatever comes our way with clarity and calm is important. However, when we let worry, stress and busyness cloud what is most important (i.e. our faith and relationship with God), then we find ourselves in Martha’s shoes.

I recently read a story about a woman named Ann Jillian who found herself in such a state when she discovered an irregularity in her breast. She immediately imagined the worst: cancer. Panic immediately ensued. As reported in Care Notes, she stopped by her church on her way to her doctor’s appointment, and saw these words inscribed above the church entrance:

The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either God will shield you from suffering, or God will give you strength to bear it. Be at peace, then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

Ann Jillian had never noticed those words before and, “Up to that point,” she said, “everything was turbulent. Then I released everything into God’s hands. Of course God wanted to help me.”

What do you need to release into God’s hands today? God wants to help! What is causing an uproar or division in your mind and heart? Try taking some time to refocus on Jesus. Read some scripture—Luke 10 is a good place to start. Spend time in prayer. And remember that when we maintain our focus on God (the most important thing), then everything else finds its proper place or simply fades into the background, where it belongs.

Blessings to you and yours as you finish up summer vacations and prepare for fall,
Pastor Kinndlee

July 1, 2019

Happy July, dear KOG friends and family!

These summer months remind me of spending time as a child in our garden, in the back yard at my childhood home in Minot, ND. My grandfather, Stan, (the one my Buick was named after) used to come over to our house and help tend our garden, since my dad would spend most of the summer away working at different pipeline sites in Montana and the Dakotas. Actually, both of my grandfathers grew up on farms in North Dakota and loved to garden once they moved into homes in the “big city” of Minot (population 30,000). In fact, Josh’s father, my father-in-law, Ron Baesler (who preaches here on occasion) is also a North Dakota farm boy who now loves tending to his garden here in Southern California. Personally, Josh and I have not had much time to carry on the family gardening tradition, but we hope to one day pass on that mantle to Jules. J What is it about gardening that is so attractive? So appealing? It’s especially great here in California where you can literally garden year-round! There is nothing like eating the fruits of your labor fresh out of your own garden, right?

God enjoys gardening too. Not only in the Garden of Eden, but in every human heart. God desires to grow the fruits of the Spirit in each of us. Just look to Galatians 5:22-23 where the apostle Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control.” These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit that God plants and waters and tends to in each of our hearts, so that we can taste of their goodness in our lives. Have you ever asked yourself, “What fruit is my life bearing?” or “How can I be more fruitful?”

Well, as I said, I’m only a wanna-be gardener when it comes to physical produce, but spiritual produce is a whole other matter, and one that I’m much more experienced in. I have two tips for you today on how you can be more fruitful, and they’re actually things that any good gardener knows.

First, gardening and growing the fruits of the Spirit are both about partnership. According to Rev. Rick Warren, God uses a two-part process. In Philippians, Paul writes you must “work out your own salvation” and then he turns around and says, “…for it is God who is at work in you.” That seems like a paradox and against Lutheran theology, right? But Paul isn’t saying we have to work for our salvation. That has already been gained by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Just as God is the one who creates the seed that turns into the plant, our salvation comes from God alone. But we can work it out, as in work with it or do a spiritual workout; we work our gardening skills, lift those spiritual weights, to get the most out of what God has already given us and is trying to work in us. If we want to grow the fruits of the Spirit, we need to work at them.

Secondly, gardening and growing the fruits of the Spirit take time and patience. Just as a seed doesn’t turn into a full grown blooming and deliciously ripe tomato plant overnight, our spiritual growth—growth love, joy peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—takes time and patience. There are no short cuts or quick answers. I’ve heard that some farmers will spray CO2 on green unripe tomatoes to make them turn red right before they go to market, but one bite into those tomatoes and you can tell, right? There’s no comparison to a vine-ripened, fresh out of the garden tomato, where the inside matches the outside, and has taken it’s time soaking up sunlight and water and fertilizer. That’s what God desires to grow in us. But we too need to be patient and stick to the task at hand, soaking up God’s word, worship, and prayer to help us in our fruit-growing endeavors. This summer, may you grow a fabulous garden or enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labors (maybe one of our KOG gardeners!), but above all, I hope that you continue to work with God to grow the fruits of the Spirit in your heart.

Blessings,
Pastor Kinndlee

June 1, 2019

Happy June King of Glory! There are two things I’d like to begin with. First, don’t forget to join us on Sunday, June 9 at 10:00 am for our Unity Service (we only do these twice a year now, so don’t miss out!), plus we’ll be having our summer kick-off BBQ afterward with lots of good food and fun. Secondly, I wanted to say Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and fatherly folks out there. A free picture awaits you and your family between services that day as well as some yummy pastries. We hope you’ll join us and have a blessed day!

It has been such a busy winter and spring hasn’t it? Maybe that’s why I have recently been pondering a word that occurs in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament nearly 74 times. It’s a word that I first heard about in seminary, when I was studying ancient Hebrew (a requirement for Lutheran seminary students). Although there are many words in Hebrew that are difficult to translate directly into English, this word is particularly fascinating, because it isn’t just that we can’t translate it perfectly, it’s that we can’t translate it AT ALL! Why? Because scholars don’t even know what it really means. The meaning has literally been lost over the millennia. What is the word? סֶלָה or selah. Nearly all of selah’s occurrences are in the Psalms. Maybe you’ve noticed it there? Or maybe your eyes just read right past it. That’s what most people typically do, and what I myself used to do, but as I said, my interest in selah has been peaked again recently.

So what do we think selah means? One hint we have comes from where it occurs. Selah almost always either ends a Psalm (e.g. Psalms 3, 24 and 46) or it comes at the end of a verse in a Psalm, though there are a few exceptions. That particular location is one reason why scholars think that this word was meant to cause people to stop and listen, to pause and let the words they have just heard or read or sung truly sink in. Others however point to how selah is similar to another word in Hebrew that means “to hang on” or “weigh”. Others think selah is similar to the word “amen” in Greek and a comment on the desired truth of the prior words. While others yet say it means “forever” or “always” and is an affirmation of the enduring nature of the words just shared.

Although we can’t know for sure selah’s intended meaning when it was scribed thousands of years ago, it can still bear great meaning for our lives today. This word can serve as a reminder from God to us all that it is necessary and prudent to allow for moments of selah in our day. Much like how God calls upon us to take a Sabbath during the week, with selah, God calls upon us to regularly stop and listen throughout our day: to listen to God, one another and the needs of our own hearts. Selah asks us to take a pause from the busyness and stress and worry and to remember the enduring truth and weight of God’s word for us. Selah asks us to hang our hope on God’s promises alone. Could you use a little more selah in your life? What would your moments of selah look like?

As you move into this summer season, may God’s selah interrupt and disrupt the rhythms and routines of your days and provide you opportunities to stop, listen and hang your heart and hope upon the truth, love and grace of our God alone.

Selah,
Pastor Kinndlee

May 2, 2019

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Happy Easter, dear friends and family of King of Glory! I hope you all had a meaningful Lenten season and Holy Week, and a joyful Easter! First, I want to thank everyone who helped make this special season of reflection, study and faith development possible. Thank you to the Wallaces for heading up our Growth Group ministry yet again this year. Thank you to all of our small group leaders for giving of their time. Thank you to Nancy Cotta for arranging our Wednesday Lenten Soup Supper speakers and to the folks who helped to set-up, clean-up and bring soup for these lovely suppers. Thank you to Catherine and Alan Marcum for running sound and projection at these Wednesday services and for all others who stepped up as needed to serve during worship. Thank you to Karen Ronchetti for decorating the Sanctuary and to the staff for their extra efforts during this especially busy time. Thank you to all those whom I am not naming here but who also gave of their time and energy. Thank you also to our two staff members who recently announced their resignation—Penny Benetatos and Heather Stolte—both of whom agreed to stay on until the end of the Easter season. We have appreciated so much your efforts and wish you both all the best on your new endeavors! And lastly, thank you especially to our Sunday morning speakers, who were willing to share their personal stories of God’s transforming and sustaining Grace in their lives: Ned Gould, Amanda Pulos, Rhonda Fisher, Paul Wallace and Jodi Coffman! You all are amazing and touched many folks by your words.

Recently, there has been a Psalm running through my head, Psalm 30, which is one of our lectionary texts for the first Sunday of May. It has some famous lines in it that many of you have likely heard before if not memorized yourselves: “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (vs. 5b). This Psalm also has some other well-known verses, such as, “You have turned my morning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me in joy.” Such juxtapositions as these are common in our faith vernacular, right? I was lost, but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see. I was dead and now am alive. I was a slave to sin, but now I am free. I lived in darkness, but now I see light. What others can you name from scripture or song? Such powerful testimonies of how God’s grace can change one’s life and perspective. Thank goodness we have people who are willing to share such testimonies, like the writer of Psalm 30 and those who did so in our own congregation during Lent, so that others can be filled with hope and inspired to turn to God in their times of distress.

Even though the Easter season is upon us, times of trial and temptation, times of sorrow, doubt and despair, they still linger, for the day of God’s Kingdom has not yet fully come. My question for you is, how have you experienced God’s deliverance? What would your testimony be? Below are some of the questions I shared with our Lenten speakers, to help them in their preparations. I share them with you now to hopefully help you as well in naming and articulating your own testimony of how God’s grace has effected your life.

  1. What biblical story or passage best describes God’s grace to you?
  2. Max Lucado writes that God’s grace changes, emboldens, strengthens, rewires and softens us. Describe a time when you have experienced the power of God’s grace.
  3. Grace is God’s promise that Christ will live not only for us but within us, that a new spirit will be put in us, that we get a “spiritual heart-transplant.” When have you experienced Christ living within you? Did you forgive someone who wronged you? Find the strength to choose a better path? Make an unexpected life change? Stand up for others in a way you never expected yourself to?
  4. Personally, I like to think of grace as when judgment is warranted, but instead favor/blessing is found. Does that spark any thoughts, memories, realizations for you?

If you have not done so yet, I strongly encourage you to consider what your own testimony about God’s grace would be. How has God changed your weeping into laughing, your night into morning, your blindness into sight? You never know who may be needing to hear your testimony today.

Grace, Peace and Easter Blessings to you all from our Risen Lord, who has turned death into life!

Pastor Kinndlee

April 1, 2019
Hello again, dear friends and family of KOG!

Happy Lent! I hope you are enjoying our Sunday guest sermon series and Growth Group focus on Max Lucado’s book Grace. I am taking a little break from talking about grace for a moment and instead wanted to focus on a recent Netflix program I’ve been obsessing over: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Have you seen it? It’s about a Japanese woman, Marie Kondo, who helps transform people’s lives by helping them tidy and declutter their homes. It’s addicting and touching and inspiring. Each episode has not only reminded me of how much our physical spaces effect our emotional and mental health, but it has also made me want to do some major spring cleaning and purging of my own. And it seems like this is the perfect liturgical season to do it, right? After all, Lent is a time when we are called to declutter and purge the things that have clouded our souls, minds and lives. This is the season when we try to do a fresh sweep of our selfishness and ask God to give our hearts a good cleansing. What in your life needs to be purged? Bookshelves? Office files? Kitchen cupboards? Or perhaps it’s constant busyness? Perfectionism? Past hurts and grudges? I know it is difficult, but only by devoting intentional energy and effort to this physical and spiritual process can we open up and prepare ourselves to receive the new and unexpected blessings God desires for our lives.

I was feeling all ready to go with my Lenten purge . . . then Josh and I sold our condo. This, of course, was/is a wonderful thing, but it also meant there was no time to purge, only pack, and pack we did and then move in the flurry of one weekend with the help of some very gracious church members. We are currently living out of suitcases and boxes at my in-laws in Placentia waiting to move into our new home. My dreams of tidiness had to be packed up as well during this process, to be opened another day. Just as I was about to begin feeling discouraged, I came across a wonderful thought in my new favorite devotion book: Gracelaced. In it, the author, Ruth Chou Simons, discusses Psalm 92:2 in which the Psalmist writes, “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’” Chou Simons writes about how her tidy home used to be her refuge (before she had 4 boys!) and of her struggle to maintain that refuge with her growing family and busy schedule. Rather than bemoaning it as a loss, however, she says it helped her realize that a tidy home, or office, or man-cave, were never meant to be our refuge. God is our true refuge. Only when we seek to find our rest, peace, and strength in God, will we be satisfied.

Now, you may be thinking, “Pastor Lund, you’re confusing me. First you said that tidiness is good and now you’re saying it’s not?” Yes, it may sound like a bit of a flip-flop, but here’s my point: it’s necessary and good to do our Lenten practice of spiritual tidying, but let us not forget that tidying itself is not the answer to peace and happiness. Let us not let our newly purged and organized homes and hearts become our new idol. Instead, do the tidying, do the hard work of Lent, but then remember that in the end it is not your work that is the answer. The answer is always God and the work God did through Jesus Christ for you. It all comes back to Grace. God’s grace is our true refuge and strength; the one and only place that deserves our trust and devotion. As Lent draws to a close, let us all say to God as the Psalmist does, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”

Blessings to you on the rest of your Lenten journey and whatever tidying you undergo, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

Peace, Pastor Kinndlee