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  • Peer Pressure Impacts Everyone

    The Voice of Zion May 2024 - Home & Family Article -- Peer pressure isn’t only relevant to teenagers—it’s a force that shapes the choices and actions of people of all ages, from all walks of life. Though the term “peer pressure” can sound ominous, it actually serves first and foremost as a safeguard. Pressure—or influence—from those around us offers a valuable way to learn about our environment. In this feature, believers from Wyoming delve into the ways peer influence affects us, whether we’re navigating the challenges of adolescence or grappling with the complexities of adulthood. Writers explore how peer pressure shapes our decisions, values, and relationships, and discuss strategies for staying true to ourselves in moments when we may wish to resist conforming. They Remained Strong under Pressure Lori Johnson Chapter three in the Book of Daniel tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The story speaks of how King Nebuchadnezzar assembled a large golden idol. He then called together all the rulers of his provinces. He commanded that at the sound of music playing, everyone must fall down and worship his idol. Anyone who did not bow down and worship the king’s idol would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Three believing men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were among the people who were commanded to worship this false idol. The men knew that they could not worship a false idol and remain believing. The Bible doesn’t directly speak directly of anyone pressuring the men to join others in worshipping the idol, but there was likely peer pressure from their friends and colleagues to do as the king commanded. Perhaps some pressured with coercive comments like, “How dare you disobey the king!” Perhaps others pressured more fearfully, “Surely you will die if you do not bow down as the king has commanded!” But the three believing men were able to have a positive influence on each other: they were able to encourage each other to trust in God and remain believing. When the music played, the believing men did not bow down to the king’s idol. As a result, they were brought before the king, and the king commanded that they be thrown into the fiery furnace. The furnace was heated to such a high temperature that the soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace perished from the heat. To the great astonishment of the king, the fire did not kill the believing men. When the king looked into the furnace, he saw not three men, but four; the fourth one was in the form of the Son of God. The actions of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego caused the king to change his command: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abegnego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God” (Daniel 3:28). Even as Jesus walked among Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, He walks among His flock today. We feel His presence through the Holy Spirit, and trust that He will help us to create positive peer pressure—the influence of the Holy Spirit—among all of us in His congregation. Care of the Congregation Influences Us Laona Koivukangas and Susan Edwards Listen, loved one, God is calling unto life and righteousness. He invites you to His kingdom to eternal blessedness. – SHZ 141:1 This song verse touches the hearts of believers in Gillette, Wyoming. We are a very small, quiet flock traveling together toward heaven. A spiritual storm passed through our congregation, and we’ve experienced firsthand that in order to hear God and remain close to Him, we must be still. He didn’t forget us, but rather He kept our small flock of believers firmly in His care. God’s kingdom is our place of respite in this world, and negative peer pressure has no place here. When we succumb to negative influence, we are appeasing humans and this can lead away from God. In Galatians 1, verse 10 we read, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” As believers, we wish to remain as close to Christ as possible. We strive daily to live our lives as children of God, keeping a clean conscience. In doing so, we are a light unto each other and the world. The importance of believing escorts in God’s kingdom is felt so strongly here. We notice the love and bond we have every time we gather. We instinctively look out for one another and freely visit about faith matters. We can uplift one another, support each other in daily life, and forgive each other’s sins while traveling together as one. As children of God, there is peace in our hearts. Appropriate Influence Helps Shield Our Faith Erica Plough We have the unique perspective of living in a very small congregation. Being that we’re small and everyone knows everyone else very well, there is no option to “stay in the background” here. Each person has their duties for services and feels obligated to let the rest know if they won’t be at church on a given day so others know not to wait on them! That’s the form of “peer pressure” we really have here--to show up. When we have visitors, we are all pushed out of our comfort zones to welcome them and chat; we can’t wait and hope for someone more outgoing to do it. This results in a rewarding experience, even though most of us here tend to think of ourselves as naturally shy and reserved. Likewise, when given the opportunity to visit larger congregations, we are happy to be welcomed with enthusiasm! It’s heartwarming to hear the greetings of “God’s Peace,” sing familiar hymns with a larger group, and hear the same comforting message of the gospel we hear at home via the Internet. The adults in our congregation all originally came from larger congregations, but our children have mostly grown up here and they don’t have experience being in large churches except on occasional trips. They are excited to go visiting but have expressed being overwhelmed by the size of the crowds of kids! It is so meaningful to them when visiting a larger congregation to be welcomed and included by even a few others. As peer pressure and fitting in is felt most intensely in kids and teens, they feel both the sting of being a stranger, and of being fearful of reaching out when they are on their home turf more strongly than their parents. But our kids also have found the joy of expanding their friend groups when visiting with others. It’s a joy to be driving home from a visit and hearing our kids tell us, “I made a friend.” Likewise, it’s hard when they tell us they didn’t feel included. If we feel any drawbacks about living here, it’s that our haps age kids are lacking in believing company. We pray that God has a plan even for this current situation. Children, especially teenagers, naturally begin gravitating away from the influence of home and parents toward their peers as they seek acceptance and look for their own place in this world. A parent’s job is to help the young ones navigate situations where they might run into pressure from unbelieving—or even believing—peers to partake in activities that wound the conscience. We can create a safe, open environment at home where children can freely share their experiences and concerns. We can preach the gospel when anger and frustration result from difficult encounters with peers. We are reminded often that a believer is “in the world, but not of the world.” We should instruct as such and model healthy interactions with those who are not in faith. This includes being kind and respectful while also openly and honestly sharing how we believe when we find ourselves in situations where our faith could be impacted. The Bible instructs us to seek fellowship and unity with others who share our faith, rather than engaging in relationships that could lead us away from our faith or compromise our morals (2 Cor. 6:14). Youth can experience difficulties and pressure from believing friends and acquaintances as well. We don’t all have the same interests and hobbies, and the natural tendency of people to form likeminded or family-centric groups can mean some feel excluded at times. As parents, we can encourage our children to actively reach out to others and include them in our activities, and to remember that our primary goal need to be to support and encourage brothers and sisters in faith. When keeping faith and a good conscience are our priority, we will find ways to have good fellowship with believing peers. In our home here in Gillette, we have been blessed with a nice community. Large families and traditional values are accepted and even the norm here. When sharing our beliefs with neighbors and teachers, we have found that time and again we are met with acceptance and positive feedback. So often we feel slow and hesitant to confess our faith for fear of judgment, misunderstanding and possible ridicule, but we should be free to openly share with those around us. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). Positive Peer Pressure Keeps Me Social Aaron Johnson I’m not aware of negative peer pressure in my life. I get invited out by unbelieving coworkers, but it’s easy to decline respectfully, with no offense taken. I travel often and notice other congregations have more haps. Bigger congregations give the opportunity to have more friends, but it may also be harder to get to know people. There is unspoken peer pressure to fit the vibe within different groups. Positive peer pressure helps keep me social. I enjoy being in a small congregation because it allows me to know everyone around me. It’s comforting to know I’m always free to stop in and visit everybody. Discussion Questions Some pressure to conform is useful; it helps our society function in a cooperative way. Give examples of this. There are several examples in the Old Testament where believers confessed their faith and were shielded from harming their conscience. Share your experiences of this. How does peer pressure impact decision-making? Everyone is impacted by peer pressure; what pressure might parents of today’s teenagers feel? How can parents help children navigate peer pressure from believing friends and from those who are not believing? What are effective ways to resist negative peer pressure? We lead by example. What example would we like to show others? What would we like our behavior and attitudes to communicate to others around us? How can we best help and influence each other in God’s kingdom?

  • Our Online Presence

    Allen Pirness | The Voice of Zion May 2024 - Column -- I’ve been part of discussions regarding comments made online, and we agreed that at times the conduct of believers has brought sadness. The concern is that sometimes social media comments have been distasteful, mean-spirited and hurtful. This has been on my mind for a while, and I felt it useful for me to process this in the light of God’s Word; I also want to consider my own online presence. When I read the comments section after an online news article or social media post, I often feel that many comments were written in anger or with a selfish need to air disgust. I have wondered, if the person writing the comments had a better opportunity to gauge the negativity of their emotion, would they still hit the “post” button after typing? Maybe a good use for AI (Artificial Intelligence) would be to review comments and suggest to the author prior to posting that their comments seem hurtful and ask, “Do you really wish to post this?” I would hope that this would slow or prevent some of the incivility we see online. I can’t approach this topic from a place of superiority because I have needed to delete comments quickly after posting them or before hitting the post button. In my mind’s eye, I see a cartoon of an old man sitting in his chair muttering into an open newspaper with the caption “The way the comments section used to be.” When believers read online articles, a comment section or a social media posting and find it goes against our beliefs, it doesn’t feel appropriate nor effective to post a rebuke in reply, especially anonymously. Our response may be based on God’s Word, yet if the tone conveys “the final word” on the topic in question, it doesn’t feel good to read. Overbearing language and tone do not show the balance of grace and truth that brings out the mind of Christ. Jesus taught an important lesson on the question of moral superiority when a woman caught in adultery was brought before him by her accusers. He didn’t even look up to see who was there yet instructed that whoever is without sin could cast the first stone. This is very important for us to consider when wishing to pass our emphatic judgment on an issue. When we face questions of right and wrong in our personal life it may be appropriate to express our views on the topic, but even there our example is much more important than the expression of our view. Anonymity, when online posting, creates a disconnection to the ownership of comments. Online pseudonyms, for the purpose of posting hurtful comments, deliver a deception that says, “I really do not wish to be attached personally to this comment, but I am willing to make everyone experience my displeasure by forceful insertion of the abiding truth on this matter.” If we read a believer’s comment on social media postings or discussion forums that causes concern, it becomes our Christian duty to privately approach the individual. It does not serve anyone if we begin to use the forum as a place of online rebuke or on the other hand try to ignore it and hope that someone else will deal with it. There are also times we wonder why a believer has liked an inappropriate post or comment. It’s important, if we have concerns about another’s “likes,” to individually express our concern by asking the person about it. Just as we would appreciate the loving care from our brothers and sisters in faith, we also need to extend that care to our brothers and sisters. It’s a comfort that in times of societal change brought about by innovation and discovery, we can turn to God’s Word for timeless instruction. The Apostle Paul was a modern man in his time. His mind was opened to a lot of different experiences and ideologies while serving the believers of his time. Some of the experiences brought concern because they warred against living faith. He could see that some of the things that the believers were hanging onto from their former ways were causing them difficulty in the endeavor of faith. He encouraged them to put those matters away and not return to them. Paul encouraged the believers of different cultures and traditions to be joined together in the most important matters and to leave differences aside. When something new emerges in society, believers are no different than the rest of society. Some are early adopters of technology and others are less inclined to disrupt what they are accustomed to. Not everyone is exposed to social media or internet discussions, yet the Holy Spirit guides us all in the same peaceful discussion around it. God has seen our day since before the beginning of time. He has given in our time a relatively easy standard of living and with it much energy for discovery and leisure. He has also given us a special time of work and confessing our faith in the world. The internet has been a blessing for the benefit of humanity and for the furtherance of the living gospel. The threefold enemy has taken this powerful tool and found many ways to corrupt and destroy lives with it. May we always remember that the light of God’s kingdom always shines to the world in a modern way. As we say today, it meets people where they are. If your online presence, including your messages, likes and created content, portrays something that doesn’t show the light of God’s kingdom, may God give you the footsteps to take care of this. It’s okay to apologize for hurtful messages in the same place they were posted, after they have been deleted. In owning our wrongs, we don’t have to continue to carry them. We are encouraged to bring these matters into the light of the congregation to care for them with the gospel. This doesn’t mean that we would need to make a public spectacle of caring for them but even privately we can hear and believe from a brother or sister in faith the forgiveness that comes from the heart of the heavenly Father. We are faulty travelers at the best of times, so let’s endeavor to bring the brightness that shines from God’s kingdom, not the darkness that comes from our earthly portion.

  • Sister Organizations Discuss Timely Topics

    Kimmo Puolitaival, Sam Roiko | The Voice of Zion May 2024 - Article -- The biennial meeting of sister organizations LLC, SFC and SRK took place April 4–10, 2024, in Monticello, Minnesota. The purpose of these recurring meetings is to update the cooperative work document related to mission work, child and youth work, confirmation school work and publications. The first days of the meeting focused on timely topics of each sister organization. One discussion topic was the pressures for change experienced in the Finland’s national church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Additional topics that were discussed were the Christian and government and timely topics related to alternative spirituality and faith. Over the weekend, meeting representatives attended the LLC Ministers Camp at Stony Lake Camp. God blessed the camp. God’s word and the gospel refreshed the participants. Participants experienced palpable brotherly and mutual love. In many speeches, it was noted that we believe the same, no matter if we are from North America, Sweden, or Finland. The third portion of the meetings discussed issues related to expanding foreign mission work. The sister organizations have cooperated closely in foreign mission fields since 2000. God has allowed a time of visitation among many nations. Currently, mutual mission work is carried out in twelve foreign countries. The number of service guests that attend weekly is estimated at over 7,000. In addition, service requests have come from several new countries. We noted that in addition to the staff employed by the central organizations, there is a greater need to use volunteers to share the responsibility of planning and implementing the work. It is especially important to support the activities in foreign mission countries so that they too could participate in the work to a greater extent on the local level. The cooperative work meeting representatives agreed to establish a working group to prepare a proposal for an organizational model, division of responsibilities and timetable for progress which would be presented to the board of directors of each sister organization. The new website kingdomofpeace.net also received much interest. The purpose and goal of the website is to direct people who are seeking to find the fellowship of God’s children. God alone knows what the future of mission work is. Our duty is to sow the word. God gives the increase. The introduction presented by LLC representatives about Christian education, especially Sunday school, was also felt to be very important. Sunday school has a significant role in Christian education in North America, and the extensive efforts of local congregations in this work has a tradition going back decades. The final topic for discussion addressed publications activities. Publications have an important function in the work of all the sister organizations. During the discussion, it was noted that technological developments bring both challenges and opportunities. The share of digital communication is increasing. Mutual work of the sister organizations in publications has been deep and extensive, and it is hoped that this cooperation would continue. These face-to-face meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the mutual work and underscored how we can continue to do this work together. God knows what tomorrow brings, and it is secure to trust that His will will be done. It was comforting to conclude our gathering with this perspective.

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  • 2024 Summer Services | Laestadian Lutheran

    2024 LLC Summer Services July 4–7, 2024 Kelso High School, 1904 Allen St, Kelso, WA 98626 Listen Watch Donate Purchase Meal Tickets Work Shift Sign Up Camping Signup Welcome to 2024 LLC Summer Services! Welcome to the 2024 LLC Summer Services! The Longview congregation along with other congregations in our region are pleased to serve God’s kingdom through arranging this event. The services will be held at the Kelso High School (1904 Allen St, Kelso, WA 98626), with views of the forest clad hills around the service site. The Summer Service motto is: “I will be glad and rejoice in thee.” (Psalm 9:2). ​ The service site will accommodate many RVs and camper trailers (dry camping only), along with space for tents. We will have reservations available for these sites via the link above. There are also many hotels and campgrounds in the area. This web page will be updated with current information on the service schedule, lodging, camping reservations, food service, and more as the information becomes available. ​ As we continue planning for these services, we pray that God would bless these efforts and that many of you will be able to attend this event. On behalf of the 2024 Summer Service Planning Committee, I extend a warm welcome! ​ Tyler Hendrickson ​ If you have any inquiries regarding services, please contact us at: summerservicesinfo@llchurch.org Service Schedule Thursday, July 4 9:00 3:00 6:00 8:30 Friday, July 5 9:00 9:00 10:30 1:30 2:00 ​ 4:00 6:00 6:00 8:30 Saturday, July 6 9:00 10:30 2:00 5:30 6:00 8:00 Sunday, July 7 9:00 10:30 ​ LLC Board of Directors Meeting Service Opening Ceremony Song Services & Evening Devotion LLC Annual Meeting Service Service Song Services Children's Service Publications Announcement Service Ministers & Board Members Meeting Service Song Services & Evening Devotion ​ Service Children's Service Communion Service Song Services Service Youth Presentation ​ Sunday School Closing service BACK TO TOP

  • Laestadian Lutheran Church

    AGAIN, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO TREASURE HID IN A FIELD. MATTHEW 13:44 LAESTADIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH The Laestadian Lutheran Church (LLC) is the central organization of Laestadian Lutheran churches in North America. The website provides information about our faith, mission, organization, and activities. Here you will find an overview of our publications and links to member congregations. Welcome to our website and welcome to our services! Donate LLC Fiction Writing Contest Open until November 30, 2024 International Mission Work Website Has Launched Every month, tens of thousands of people search the internet for how sins can be forgiven, where the kingdom of God is and what repentance means. To help searching ones find God’s kingdom, and as a means of performing mission work in a digital space, the SRK, SFC and LLC have now launched a new website: kingdomofpeace.net ​ Read more about this new website here. Welcome to enjoy a virtual history exhibit created for the LLC’s 50 Year Anniversary. Hearken – Our Publications App Read May 1 Voice of Zion Featured Articles Thirsting for the Water of Life Derek Mattila | The Voice of Zion May 2024 - What Does the Bible Say? Article -- Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after... May 1 Voice of Zion Featured Articles Sister Organizations Discuss Timely Topics Kimmo Puolitaival, Sam Roiko | The Voice of Zion May 2024 - Article -- The biennial meeting of sister organizations LLC, SFC and SRK took... May 1 Voice of Zion Featured Articles Our Online Presence Allen Pirness | The Voice of Zion May 2024 - Column -- I’ve been part of discussions regarding comments made online, and we agreed that... May 1 Home & Family Peer Pressure Impacts Everyone The Voice of Zion May 2024 - Home & Family Article -- Peer pressure isn’t only relevant to teenagers—it’s a force that shapes the choices... Apr 30 News & Notes May 2024 Update Arvin Pirness | The Voice of Zion May 2024 - News & Notes Article -- Mother’s Day is May 12. Motherhood is a heavenly calling. When... 1 2 3 4 5 Shop Quick View Now the Day Is Over - Board Book Quick View CD #72 Quiet Shelter Quick View Pääsiäissana Quick View CD #74 Conduce El Mis Pasos Quick View CD #75 Walk with Me, Lord Quick View Easter Messenger 2024 On Instagram On YouTube Play Video Play Video 06:03:46 LLC Phoenix Winter Services 2024 - Sunday 3/17 The 2024 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Winter Services will be held at the Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church in Cave Creek, Arizona. Service Motto: "Let not your heart be troubled. (John 14:1)" The services will begin Thursday, March 14 and end Sunday, March 17. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/winter-services Chapters: 00:00 Pre-service 6:27 We Gather Here: Glendale 35:37 Companions in Faith: Loneliness/Alone in a Crowd 59:17 Live Service 2:33:35 Hold My Hand: Illness 3:03:31 How We Believe: The Central Message of the Bible is Salvation in Jesus Christ 3:15:28 Publication Promotion: Shepherd's Voice Recording 3:32:10 Radio For Kids: Moving to a New Congregation 4:28:34 Live Service – Closing Service Play Video Play Video 11:51:50 LLC Phoenix Winter Services 2024 - Saturday 3/16 The 2024 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Winter Services will be held at the Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church in Cave Creek, Arizona. Service Motto: "Let not your heart be troubled. (John 14:1)" The services will begin Thursday, March 14 and end Sunday, March 17. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/winter-services Chapters: 00:00 Pre-broadcast 11:35 How We Believe: God's Word is Christian Faith's Highest Authority 30:01 Hold My Hand: Childlessness and Infertility 56:10 Live Service 1:57:45 Publication Promotion: Spanish CD 2:13:45 Companions in Faith: Chronic Illness 2:32:10 Radio For Kids: French School 3:29:01 Song Services 5:05:56 Peace, Freedom, and Joy: I Wish I Knew When I Was Young 5:14:02 Publication Promotion: To The Sea 6:03:01 Live Service 8:01:21 Radio For Kids: Sheep as an Example of a Believer 8:28:34 Live Service 9:36:28 Memorial Program 10:26:58 Publication Promotion: I Believe in God 10:49:37 Peace, Freedom, and Joy: Dress Appearance 11:07:47 How We Believe: God's Word is Unchanging and Eternal 11:39:00 Bedtime Story: The Best Way to Help Play Video Play Video 09:16:25 LLC Phoenix Winter Services 2024 - Friday 3/15 The 2024 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Winter Services will be held at the Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church in Cave Creek, Arizona. Service Motto: "Let not your heart be troubled. (John 14:1)" The services will begin Thursday, March 14 and end Sunday, March 17. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/winter-services Chapters: 00:00 Pre-broadcast 8:00 Radio For Kids: Winter Services Motto John 14:1 38:24 Publications Feature: Illustrated Home Bible Videos 48:03 Winter Services Motto Program 1:01:32 Live Services 2:48:05 How We Believe: The Bible is the Word of God 3:32:48 Live Services 5:05:10 Companions in Faith: A New Congregation 5:27:17 Publication Feature: Can We Talk? Podcast 6:05:40 Radio For Kids: A New School 6:36:28 Congregation and Youth Evening Presentation 8:13:11 Peace, Freedom, and Joy: Haps 8:43:11 We Gather Here: Kamp Kipa 9:04:47 Bedtime Story: We Are Supposed to be Different Play Video Play Video 03:40:44 LLC Phoenix Winter Services 2024 - Thursday 3/14 The 2024 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Winter Services will be held at the Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church in Cave Creek, Arizona. Service Motto: "Let not your heart be troubled. (John 14:1)" The services will begin Thursday, March 14 and end Sunday, March 17. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/winter-services Chapters: 00:00 Pre-broadcast 9:10 We Gather Here: Prescott Congregation 33:50 Radio For Kids: Being Different 1:00:55 Live Service 2:26:17 Peace, Freedom, and Joy: Just 20 Minutes 3:28:45 Bedtime Story: A Fun Visit After All Play Video Play Video 06:49:26 LLC Summer Services 2023 -Sunday, July 9th The 2023 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Summer Services will be held at the Silver Springs property in Monticello, MN. Service Motto: "Upon this rock I will build my church (Matt 16:18)" The services will begin Thursday, July 6th and end Sunday, July 9th. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/summer-services Play Video Play Video 11:54:56 LLC Summer Services 2023 -Saturday, July 8th The 2023 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Summer Services will be held at the Silver Springs property in Monticello, MN. Service Motto: "Upon this rock I will build my church (Matt 16:18)" The services will begin Thursday, July 6th and end Sunday, July 9th. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/summer-services Play Video Play Video 11:55:00 LLC Summer Services 2023 - Friday, July 7th The 2023 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Summer Services will be held at the Silver Springs property in Monticello, MN. Service Motto: "Upon this rock I will build my church (Matt 16:18)" The services will begin Thursday, July 6th and end Sunday, July 9th. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/summer-services Play Video Play Video 08:34:37 LLC Summer Services 2023 - Thursday, July 6th The 2023 Laestadian Lutheran Church Annual Summer Services will be held at the Silver Springs property in Monticello, MN. Service Motto: "Upon this rock I will build my church (Matt 16:18)" The services will begin Thursday, July 6th and end Sunday, July 9th. Welcome! https://www.llchurch.org/summer-services

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