RSS

Category Archives: Newsletter Article

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!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

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!

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Back to School

It is August and for some of us, that means it is time to start preparing to go back to school!

Teachers will be in class rooms if they haven’t been already. Getting things ready for the new students to arrive in the fall.

Parents will go back school shopping with reluctant children.

Kids will not want to go shopping.

But all of the whining and worrying doesn’t stop school from coming. It is kind of like the Grinch, no matter how many trees or presents he takes Christmas still comes. No matter how many times you say you don’t want to go shopping or hide that back to school list, school will still come. You can’t stop it from coming.

 

And really isn’t that how we should all live every day of our lives? School is for learning, and we should never stop learning. The day I don’t learn something is a bad day. I want to keep learning and growing.

This is the attitude we need to have about life and faith. Our faith is never something we graduate from. Confirmation isn’t the end of our learning process or mean we are perfect disciples of Christ. It is never enough, we will never know it all. We are constantly learning and growing in our faith.

So buy some supplies and get ready to dig in and grow in your faith. Crack open your bible and knock the dust off of it and dig into it. We need to seek and learn. Are you ready to learn with me, and to continue to grow as disciples of Jesus?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Running Relationships

I’m sitting at my desk thinking about the upcoming youth trip to Houston and all the things that have to be done for that. All the money the youth still have to raise. And I think about all the things that need to get done between now and the time of our family “vacation” to the Black Hills, and that needs to be done before the youth trip after that.

My mind wanders as I think about all the things that need to get done and all the things that will have to be done this summer. We seem to kick it into overdrive in the warm months here and fit in everything we have not been able to do when we were inside.

And that thought makes me think of the picture, which is The Trinity by Andrei Rublev. It is a depiction of the Holy Trinity with a wealth of images imposed together. There is the mountain and the tree for the cross and the temple. 3 “angels” or “persons” communing together. They are living in relationship together. And the best thing about this icon for me is, the Trinity is not complete. You see at the bottom of the icon, between the feet of the Father and the Spirit there is an opening. There is space that needs to be filled or an opening for you.

You see sometimes we get so hung up on what we think we have to do that we miss what we need to be at. I’m guilty of this. You see God is always in relationship and is inviting us into relationship with Him.

This trip to Houston with the youth is about building relationships. Don’t lose sight of the relationships God has blessed you with and work on building them this summer.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Dirty words in church!

I recently read an article from Luther Seminary about the two dirty words in the church. Evangelism is one. Because we find it hard to understand our faith enough to talk about it with others. Or maybe we think if we don’t know the answer to every question they ask we will look like our faith isn’t really ours. Trust me on this, I get it because I do not know the answer to all of the questions about faith. Have you seen the sign on my office door? It says, “I don’t have any answers. I’m a non-prophet.” But the other dirty word in the church is Stewardship. Because stewardship brings up the f-word. Finances.

This reminded me of the discussion we are having in Confirmation about sacraments. And how in baptism the story was that when Roman soldiers were baptized they would get baptized with their right hand out of the water. The reason for this was because they used that hand for their sword and they still wanted to be able to kill. The image above is the modern spin on this story. We will give everything to God except our wallet, and when we hear stewardship that is what we think. The church just wants our money.

Well no that is not what I want when I talk about stewardship. You see Stewardship is more than money. It is being a good steward or manager of what God has placed in your care. It includes yourself, your time and all of your possessions. And Parents, you being a good steward is raising your kids in a way that God would have you do that. You see stewardship is not just about financial aspects but is a way of life. Living as a good steward is living as God has called us to be in the world.

So live your life as a good steward, managing what God has blessed you with so that all of the world may come to see the blessing they have from God also.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Woke!

As I sit at my desk and think about what to write for the April Newsletter this Tuesday of Holy Week I remembered an email I received from Old Lutheran. Their idea or concept for this Easter is Jesus Woke. And so they sent this in an email to explain that.

“Woke means to be aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues. It is in that context that we know that Jesus is WOKE to injustice and WOKE to indifference. Not only on Easter Sunday when Mary and the others went to the tomb and discovered that he was WOKE but Jesus is WOKE to the sins of humanity. In Jesus Resurrection we are all WOKE in Christ.”

I think of Easter being April 1, April Fools day and wonder, would Jesus joke with the disciples on this most important morning. Jesus came out of the tomb and saw His shadow and said, “Sorry guys, 6 more weeks of Lent!” This is a Jesus who is woke.

Jesus was aware and attentive to the issues in the lives of the disciples and all of those around Him, then when He walked this earth and now, as He walks it with us. Jesus is aware of what is happening in all of those who trust Him lives and seeking to help them and guide them through the ups and downs of life.

I wonder if we are woke to anything other than ourselves? When things don’t go like we want them, or we don’t get our way how do we respond? Are we attentive and aware of the issues in the lives of the people we are close to? Do you know what is happening in your neighbor’s life? Or are we so wrapped up in our own issues we can’t see them?

Jesus just died when He could have stopped it, but He knew it was not about Him, even though it is all about Him. Jesus woke and was woke all of His earthly and God’s kingdom existence.

So are you Woke? Because in His Resurrection we are all Woke in Christ!

Grace,

PJ

 

Tags: , , , , , ,