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Category Archives: Newsletter Article

Alle…

Alle…

Oops. Hold on…

As you are reading this article it is still Lent. But it is April and Spring and it should be Easter!

And yes that celebration is coming. This year Easter is almost as late as it can be. The latest Easter can be is April 25.

We are in that already but not yet, we already know that Jesus will rise from the dead, or has risen. Even though now we are in the waiting of Lent.

And isn’t that really the life of the Christian, the disciple of Jesus. We are already living eternally with God through our baptism, yet we are still here stuck in our sinfulness.

Already, but not yet.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known, Paul tells the Corinthians. (1 Corinthians 13:12) We are there but can’t see it all around us, and yet we are not quite there yet. We know that we are a part of the kingdom, but we can’t fully understand it yet.

Just like St. John’s here and now moving forward following the path God has put before us. Seemingly unsure about what has happened and what might happen next. But I have been there several times, where you really can’t see that next step because of the fog or the haze or your vision is unclear. And that is the time we come together and step out in faith.

So hold on, and know the promises are true, just as we know in a few days we can again say Alleluia!

Christ is Risen!

 

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Plans for a future and a hope…

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Have you ever wondered if there was a plan for your life? Or how about a plan for us here at St. John’s?

Like there seems to be a road map that your life is following only you have never seen it…

Jeremiah is an interesting book that starts with a calling to a boy who says he is too young and unable to speak, leading through to many conversations with him and many peoples for God. All of this leads to the verse above in chapter 29.

God knows the plans He has for each and every one of us and for this place, plans for us to prosper and not fall, plans for a future and a hope. That hope is Jesus Christ! He is the future and the hope each of us can base our lives on, He is the map that will lead us to where we need to go. If we will follow where He is leading us our lives and the path for St. John’s will be clear. It may not always be easy but it will be clear for us.

St. John’s has a future and a hope. Let us focus together on where God is leading us and let us pull together and follow after Him.

So remember to notice where Jesus is working, to share that and invite others to come and see and to always keep Jesus in view, and be ready for the ride of your life as we continue to His wonderful mission here in this place!

 

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How might God work through this…

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I’m sitting at my desk as 2018 is coming to a close and I am thinking about all the things that happened this past year. Even the night before I write this article, we lost a council member who resigned their position early and transferred to another congregation. And it is so easy to get into the bog of why did I mess that up. What if I had only done this. Maybe if I had done that things would have been different. I should have done that and I could have done this. In the words of my Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor most times we should and could ourselves to death!

You see we can wonder how things would or could be different if we had done things differently, or they might have happened the same way anyhow. That is not to say to not be focused on what God wants us to do, but that is really the focus. You see last night I also had a very wise woman, one who has helped me look back to God many times before said to me, “Let’s not look at how bad we might have messed this up, let’s look at how God might work through this.”

You see as Romans states above, God works through all things to bring about good. That doesn’t mean that all things will be good, but that God works through all things to bring good. So how can God use your current situation or this coming year to work through for His good?

Lay this coming year in His hands and know that everything will be good in His time. So let’s look at how God might work through this!

 

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What is Christmas really about?

I’m sitting at my desk under the pressure of getting a newsletter article done 3 days for December 1. And I wonder what do I write about? So I look online for ideas and I look at old Newsletter articles to see what I wrote about before and my article from two years ago was a good one. It was about making the most of Advent and not overextending yourself during the holiday season. You can reread it at https://asacredrebel.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/remember-to-make-the-most-of-advent/. So I looked online for more top 10 things to do during Advent or Christmas. And one of the images that popped up was this one included of the Grinch. And I thought, “Hey I love the Grinch, how about that…”

So what is Christmas all about? What is Advent all about? Why do we celebrate and do all the things we do?

Because in the short half hour show of the Grinch, the Grinch learns that Christmas doesn’t come from a store. You see we do not need boxes, or bags, or ribbon or wrapping paper or gifts to make Christmas come. There are people all over the world that do not get presents or give presents on Christmas, but that doesn’t stop it from coming. We can not keep Christmas from coming. Christmas is the Christ Mass and the celebration of the Messiah coming into the world. Christmas is the day we celebrate the almighty God stepping down from His throne to lay in a manger, to grow up as one of us and to teach us how to love.

You see it is not about getting the right present, or the best wrapping. Truly Christmas is about celebrating the love that God has for you and all of His creation. It is about being present with family and friends and giving them your time, the most important gift you have.

So remember to say no to those things you do not need to be at and commit your most precious commodity, our time to your families and friends and give them the gift of you this holiday season. Just like God did. He gave us Himself. And He taught us how to love, by being here. So be there. And celebrate the Love that God gave us.

 

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Don’t forget about God

We are beginning into the hectic season of the year.

Fall parties, ok Halloween parties, just ended, or are in the works, and we are all preparing for the 2 months of the year we binge eat and go to so many parties we cannot get time to sleep.

And in all of the hecticness of parties and seasonal celebrations what happens to our faith life?

We seem to want to make it all work on the one hour we get in on Sunday mornings, and if we make 4 Sundays of worship, then that 4 hours out of the month will carry us through!

If we only got 4 hours of sleep a month would that be enough?

We need more than 4 hours of sleep to survive, now one could get 4 hours of sleep a day and function, but only 4 hours of sleep in 31, 30 or even 28 days? That is 744, 720 or 672 hours in a month depending on the number of days. And 4 hours is only 0.537%, 0.556%, or 0.595% of the month!

Is our faith going to grow or survive on a half of a percent of our time?

A devotional life, according to Frogs Without Legs Can’t Hear, is “essentially a way of living in the world connected to the saving work and message of Jesus Christ; the intersection between the eternal with the mundane in a way that personalizes God’s saving work and word.”

We need to be connected to God for more than 1 hour a week, more than 0.595% of the time!

St. Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing!” All of life is to be connected to God and that is what our devotional life must be.

If we are going to survive as disciples of Jesus, and grow in that discipleship we need to spend more than 1 hour a week with God. If you spent 1 hour a week with others would there be a vital relationship?

So as we dig into the busy party season, let us also dig into devotional time with Jesus.

Be on the lookout for our Advent Devotional at St. John’s, and the picture a day Advent devotional I put together. And if you need other resources, ask! I would be overjoyed to help.

And God wants more than 0.595% of your time… And your life and the lives of your family will be better off with more time with God also.

So Happy Party Season! And don’t forget about God, because He will never forget about you!

 

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Semper Reformanda

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of Wittenberg Church.

It was the beginning of the Reformation.

The change of the understanding of who we are as the body of Christ. Martin Luther did not want to start a new denomination, or break away from the church catholic. He wanted to reform areas he knew were not aligned with the Holy Scripture in practices of Dogma in the church. He wanted to change the practices to match what was said in the Bible. Radical!

And is this a bad thing? To be in line with the Bible? How many things do we do today that are not inline with the Holy Scripture?

Ecclesia semper reformanda est is a Latin phrase first used by Karl Barth in 1947 and it means “the church is always to be reformed.” Barth derived this from a saying of St. Augustine an early church father. It means that the church must always reexamine itself, in order to maintain purity in doctrine and in practice.

A variation by Barth on his own phrase is Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda. This means “the reformed church (is) always to be reformed”. Meaning our need for change or evaluation is never down.

We need to not be complacent in the way we do things, but always evaluating the best practice. We must be willing to follow Christ where He is leading us, regardless of where we have been, or if we see we need to do thing differently.

So in this month of October, be ready to look where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Ready to move and to do as Christ leads us always ready to reform!

And remember change isn’t bad or good it is merely different. And that maybe were God is calling us to be.

 

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Change

It is September and time to get back into the routine of how things are during school. Routine?!?!?!

I’m sitting at my desk thinking about how we now have new staff members and things are not routine. Things are not happening the way they always have and that is not bad it is just different.

But isn’t it funny how we look for Fall to be that time when the hustle and bustle of Summer gives way to routine, and how nerve racking it can be to not have that routine.

We are joined this Fall by Patrick Kieper as our Youth & Family Minister and so things will be different. Patrick will bring new and exciting ideas for our youth and all of the congregation. His passion for ministry will hopefully ignite all of our lives and help us to grow deeper in our faith! But with this will come some different ways of seeing and doing things.

We are also joined in the office by Julie Cavil our new Office Manager. She brings a passion for helping others and using her talents to help us all be in the know and keep St. John’s moving forward. She will be a wonderful asset to our team. She will bring a new way of looking at and doing things.

All of this change might rock the boat a little, but I am reminded of the sign that hangs in my office, Change isn’t just something you get from a vending machine.

Change isn’t good or bad, it is just different. If we focus on where God is leading us, that is what it is about. Growing as disciples and following God where He leads us.

So get ready for the unroutine routine of Fall and settle in to deepen your faith!

 

 

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