Friday, November 15, 2019

Christmas Decorating

Help Decorate St. John for Christmas! —Join us on Friday, December 6, at 6:00 p.m. to decorate the church for Christmas. Then join the group for pizza afterward! The more the merrier!

Anticipating Worship (November 17)

Saint Triumphant Sunday

Worship Focus:
The resurrection from the dead for all believers is a source of great hope and joy. Death is not the end of our bodies. Rather, we shall be reunited, body and soul, when Christ returns. And our happy existence in that “new heaven and new earth” goes beyond our most joyful comprehension.

Readings:
Isaiah 65:17-25
Psalm 150
2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
Luke 20:27-38

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God and Savior, you have set the final day and hour when we shall be delivered from this world of sin and death. Keep us ever watchful for the coming of your Son that we may sit with him and all your holy ones at the marriage feast in heaven; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Sermon:   Luke 20:27-38
"Life's Road Does Not End in the Cemetery"

Please join us this Sunday at 9:30 am for worship and praise.
The Cantabile Singers and Elaine Stindt will be our guests to
share their musical gifts with us.

There will be a door offering taken as a thank you to our guests.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

St. John News!

God has richly blessed St John by sending Pastor Kom to be our vacancy pastor from Jan 1 to Nov 30 this year.  We also thank Crown of Life for sharing their pastor with us during this time.  His last service at St John will be Nov 24 and we plan to thank him that day with cake and coffee in the fellowship hall.  A card box will be available for thank you cards.

Divinity has invited St John members to join them for an Advent service at 6:00 PM at Divinity on Dec. 4.  A dinner will be served at 6:45.  St John will not be having an Advent service this year.

Starting Dec 1 we will offer Valet parking for our members who prefer not to park in back and climb the steps.  With the later service start time, we expect it will be harder to find a parking spot on the street.  Just pull up near the ramp in front of the church and one of our members will park your car in the lot and get it for you when you are ready to leave.  Jeff Abrahamson, Jim Julian, and Tony Wimmer will be glad to help you.

New Sunday Morning Schedule

Beginning December 1st, this will be our new Sunday morning schedule:

9:00 am - Adult Bible Class in the Fellowship Hall (this time was chosen so choir members could attend Bible Class)

10:00 am - Choir practice and Little Lights

11:00 am - Sunday Worship Service.

There will no longer be a specific Fellowship Sunday on the 2nd Sunday of the month. Each Sunday there will be refreshments in the Fellowship Hall until our Worship Service begins at 11:00 am.
Council members will bring snacks and make coffee.  Members are also welcomed to brings snacks.

Reminder: Gift Card Drive for New Day Pregnancy Center


The Dorcas Society is sponsoring a gift card drive to help support Christian Life Ministries' Christmas gift program for needy families. If you would like to serve your Lord this Christmas by helping a needy family in our local area, please put any gift card(s) of your choice into an envelope marked "Dorcas" and drop it into the offering plate by Thanksgiving. Walmart and gas cards are preferred, but any and all gift cards will be appreciated and put to good use. Thank you for your gift of love!


Friday, November 8, 2019

Anticipating Worship (November 10)

Last Judgement Sunday

Worship Focus:
The Lord’s justice is not something to be trifled with. The Scripture is very clear that there will come a day, the Last Day, when all who rejected Christ will be repaid for their evil.

Readings:
Jeremiah 26:1-6
Psalm 90
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Luke 19:11-27

Prayer of the Day:
Lord God Almighty, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by your Holy Spirit that we may always look forward to the end of this present evil age and to the day of your righteous judgment. Keep us steadfast in true and living faith and present us, at last, holy and blameless before you; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon:    2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
"Looking Forward To the Final Accounting"

Please join us on Sunday at 9:30 am for worship. Stay for Fellowship Sunday followed by
Bible Study and Little Lights.
Pastor John Zeitler will be leading us in worship. 

Crossroads Consulting Engagement and Congregational Update

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) 

On November 3rd, congregational voters approved: 1) Crossroads Consulting to help us with ministry planning; and 2) to call Pastor Berg from Divinity as our vacancy pastor effective December 1st.

At the meeting a lot of us had questions on what does engaging Crossroads Consulting mean, and what are the next steps. If you have not done so already, start by checking out this video describing the Crossroads Consulting Process, and then review answers to Frequently Asked Questions below or our previous blog post here.

May our love for the Lord, his Word, and each other move us to support this effort in any way we can. As we continue down the path God has lead us to, pray for St. John. Pray daily. On our own, we may fail. But with God, all things are possible!


Frequently Asked Questions

Who will lead the ministry planning?

Pastor Elton Stroh of Crossroads Ministry Consulting will lead our ministry planning. Pastor Stroh has 19 years of experience consulting with churches on strategic planning. St. John will have a team of 5 - 7 members that will lead the ministry plan and work closely with Pastor Stroh. This team will be our guiding coalition-- we will be looking for both men and women to be on this team that are passionate about ministry planning.

When will we call a Pastor?
St. John will start the calling process for a Pastor once we have a better understanding of where we are going. This will likely be during the mission/vision setting phase (in approximately 6 - 10 months). We want to ensure that when we call a Pastor, we can share our ministry plan with him so that his talents meet our ministry needs. We will rely on Pastor Stroh and the guiding coalition team to help us determine when this is.

How long will the planning process take?
We will update you once we have a confirmed date or plan from Pastor Stroh. Expect us to embark immediately on a 6 - 10 month process to define our unique mission and vision for our ministry efforts in St. Paul. Then Pastor Stroh will support us for an additional 12 months as we implement our ministry plan. Exciting right? Below is a full overview of the process:


Thursday, November 7, 2019

St. John Service Time Change

St. John service time will change from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. This change will begin on Sunday, December 1st. Bible Study and Little Lights will be before worship.

Immanuel Hmong-Thanksgiving and Hmong New Year


Immanuel Hmong will celebrate Thanksgiving and Hmong New Year on November 24th. Immanuel Hmong would like to invite all St. John members to join us for worship and dinner. Immanuel Hmong will dress in Hmong traditional clothing, worship at 12:30 pm, following with dinner in the Fellowship Hall.
All are welcome!


Thanksgiving Services


It will not be possible in our situation to have a Thanksgiving service this year. You are encouraged to take in a service at one of our sister congregations near you. A few service times are listed here for your convenience. Have a most blessed Thanksgiving!

· Christ, North St. Paul: Wednesday - 7:00 pm
· Divinity, St. Paul: Wednesday - 6:00 pm
· Crown of Life, West St. Paul: Wednesday - 6:30 pm
· Grace, South St. Paul: Wednesday - 7:00 pm
· New Life, Shoreview: Wednesday - 7:00 pm


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Vacancy Pastor Called

On Sunday, November 3rd, the voters extended a call to Pastor John Berg to be our vacancy pastor. Pastor Berg serves at Divinity Lutheran Church. Please keep Pastor Berg in your prayers. We would also like to thank Pastor Mark Kom, who has served St. John from January 1st, 2019-November 30th, 2019. We cannot thank him enough for the time that was given to St. John members as he served both Crown of Life and St. John. We were truly blessed. Also, thank you to the members of Crown of Life who allowed him to share his ministry with us.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Anticipating Worship (November 3rd)

Reformation Sunday

Worship Focus:
What a gift God gave to his church through the Lutheran Reformation! The bright light of God’s “new covenant,” his saving grace in Jesus Christ, pierced through the darkness of law-oppressed religion. As sons and daughters of the Lutheran reformation, we both preserve this truth and share it with the world.

Readings:
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 46
Romans 3:19-28
John 8:31-36

Prayer of the Day: Gracious Lord, our refuge and strength, pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your Word, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all their enemies, and bestow on the Church your saving peace; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Sermon: Romans 3:19-24
"A Million Dollar Answer to a Million Dollar Question"

Please join on Sunday at 9:30 for worship. There will be a congregational meeting at 11:00 am.
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Daylight Saving Time Ends-Fall Back


Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday, November 3rd.
Remember to set your clocks back 1 hour before turning in on Saturday. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Anticipating Worship (October 27)

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:  Faith is the very foundation of the Christian life. Faith, worked by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, allows us to do great things for the Lord and see eternal life as our ultimate goal. Let us thank God daily for the gift of faith.

Readings:
Habakkuk 1:1-3; 2:1-4
Psalm 27
2 Timothy 1:3-14
Luke 17:1-10

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, in your bountiful goodness, keep us safe from every evil of body and soul. Make us ready, with cheerful hearts, to do whatever pleases you; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon:   2 Timothy 1:3-14
                 "Reaching Home"


Please join us Sunday at 9:30 am, to praise our Lord and Savior. 
Stay for Bible Study and Little Lights.
Pastor Percy Damrow will be leading us in worship. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Anticipating Worship (October 20)

Mission Festival Sunday

Worship Focus:   Our God is loving and gracious and compassionate. He does not want a single soul to perish. So he gives his people the privilege to go out into all the world to proclaim the good news of the Gospel, God’s full and free forgiveness for all - in and through Christ.

Prayer of the Day:   Mercifully grant, O God, that your Holy Spirit may fill our hearts and motivate us to share your good news of salvation; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Readings:
Jonah 4
Psalm 96
Romans 10:14-15
Matthew 9:36-38

Sermon:  Acts 14:26-27
"Mission Festival Memories"

Please join us on Sunday morning at 9:30 am for our 
Mission Festival Service and stay for Bible study.
Pastor Marcus Birkholz will be leading us in worship.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Area Reformation Service at Christ Lutheran

Area Reformation Service – The Eternal Gospel to Proclaim
November 3rd – 4:30 pm – Christ Lutheran – North St. Paul Campus
2475 17th Ave E. – North St. Paul, Minnesota

The Cantabile Singers, along with a volunteer choir and wind ensemble, will provide music for worship. High School to adult singers and instrumentalists are invited to join in the volunteer choir and wind ensemble. Music will be available beginning October 20th. (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0k8tck8do4fk88f/AADLnYkzcr91XJFj1P9NW_UAa?dl=0) Rehearsal times are as follows: Instrumentalists - 1:30 pm; Choir - 2:45 pm. Refreshments will follow the service.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Anticipating Worship (October 13)

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Our attitude about material possessions and the way we handle money reflect our relationship with God. Amos and Jesus warn that an obsession with gaining more money relegates God to a lowly position in our lives. And, as Paul relates to Timothy, the greatest price we should be concerned about is the ransom Christ paid to reconcile us with God.

Readings:
Amos 8:4-7
Psalm 38
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Luke 16:1-13

Prayer of the Day:
Lord God, you call us to work in your kingdom and leave no one standing idle. Help us to order our lives by your wisdom and to serve you in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon:   Luke 16:1-13
"A Heavenly Relationship With Earthly Wealth"

Please join us at 9:30 am Sunday morning as we worship and praise our Savior.
Stay for Fellowship Sunday, Bible Study, and Little Lights. 
Pastor John Zeitler will be leading us in worship. 



Voters Meeting November 3rd

The Church Council is recommending St. John approves the next phases with Crossroads Consulting.  Please join us on November 3rd at 11:00am for a Voters Meeting on this next step.  The cost for this is $9,500-$11,000.

Crossroads Consulting will provide St. John a strategic planning process to define our unique mission and vision for our ministry efforts in St. Paul. Pastor Stroh will support us through this process and beyond. Exciting Right? Below is a full overview of the process: 



Thursday, October 10, 2019

Truth In Love Ministry Training Session

Build Bridges not Barriers - Truth in Love Ministry — St. John members have been invited to attend an in-depth training session on our relational, not confrontational witnessing approach. The session will be Saturday, October 19th, 9:00-11:30 am, at Crown of Life, 115 Crusader Ave., West St. Paul.  Guest speaker is Pastor Jon Leach, Vice President of Truth in Love Ministry.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Anticipating Worship (October 6)

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
We have a patient God, and we are saved because of it. Moses pleaded for the Lord’s patience when the Israelites broke the covenant. Paul illustrates God’s patience with each individual. Christ points out that there is rejoicing in heaven over every soul that repents.

Prayer of the Day:
Lord, we pray that your mercy and grace may always go before and follow after us that, loving you with undivided hearts, we may be ready for every good and useful work; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Readings:
Exodus 32:7-14
Psalm 51a
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-10

Sermon:  Luke 15:1-10
"What's It Worth to You?"

Please join us on Sunday at 9:30 am for worship and following our service stay for Bible study and Little Lights. 
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 


Friday, September 27, 2019

Anticipating Worship (September 29)

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus: Disciples of our Lord share many qualities. As Jesus describes, they count the cost of following him and making him first priority in their lives. They also share a wisdom which comes down from above, the enlightenment of faith. Finally, as Paul urged Philemon, Christians put the best interests of God’s kingdom before their own.

Readings:
Proverbs 9:8-12
Psalm 19
Philemon 1:1,10-21
Luke 14:25-33

Sermon:   Luke 14:25-33
"Use the Right Resources For Survival"

Please join us for worship, Sunday at 9:30 am. Also, stay for a reception following the service for
Bob Averbeck and Margaret Kuchera to thank them for the many years
they have shared their musical talents with St. John

Pastor John Zeitler will be leading us in worship. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

WELS Support for St. John and Upcoming Dates You Should Know

Reminders
  1. Ministry Planning Saturday, Sept. 21st - 8:30AM - 12:30PM Click here for more information
  2. Little Lights Children Program Starting Sept 22nd Click here for more information

Ministry Update

The St. John Council met with pastors from the MN district and local WELS churches to discuss our ministry planning efforts on September 12th. They have offered their support to us during our ministry planning. Most of the meeting was focused on answering questions about our ministry efforts and focus. The synod would like to keep a presence in the city of St. Paul and is committed to helping St. John with any assistance or guidance in doing this.

We have continued visiting households on our prospect list. View our last update here. A small team of 4 individuals at St. John has visited 53 households, or about 40% of the list. Of those visited, most are excited to receive our monthly Good News Letters. To join us, talk to Tony Wimmer or complete the online form.

Anticipating Worship (September 22)

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
The Christian life is one of humility. While the world around us stresses self-promotion, the Christian knows his only boast is in the Lord. Solomon and Christ emphasize the humbleness of being a child of God, and the writer to the Hebrews reminds us to look beyond ourselves in love and sympathy toward others.

Readings:
Proverbs 25:6,7
Psalm 119a
Hebrews 13:1-8
Luke 14:1,7-14

Sermon:   Luke 13:22-30
"Mind the Gap ... the Door is Narrow"


Please join us Sunday at 9:30 am for our worship service,
followed by Adult Bible Study and the kick-off for Little Lights at 11:00 am
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

We Care

The Elders of our congregation just completed a big project! They went through our whole membership list and tried to make a contact with everyone who has been missing from worship and the Lord's Supper. Some had moved away. Others were placed on our "prospect list." Others were simply unable to be contacted. In any case, our membership list is now much more "up to date" and in much more of a "working order." But we realized that we don't want something like that to happen again. So the Elders and leaders of St. John have recommitted themselves to making contact with members much sooner if they notice that folks are missing from worship and communion. So if you should find yourself away from worship for a little while (even for understandable reasons like illness, vacations, etc.) and someone from church calls to make sure that everything is okay.....don't be upset! Instead, say a little thank you prayer to the Lord that your brothers and sisters in Christ care enough and love you enough to call and encourage you. It's always a blessing when God's people are making the effort to show their love for one another.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Anticipating Worship (September 15)

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
The paths of eternity are twofold: total joy in heaven or utter destruction in hell. Every human being will find himself (or herself) in one or the other for all eternity. The way to heaven is through the “narrow door” of Jesus Christ, trusting in him alone for salvation and abandoning the works of the law as a way to earn eternal life.

Readings:
Isaiah 66:18-24
Psalm 72
Hebrews 12:18-24
Luke 13:22-30

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope and love; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sermon:
Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16
"Lord, Give Us Such a Faith as This."

Please join us on Sunday at 9:30 am for worship and 11:00 am for Bible Study.
Pastor Percy Damrow will be leading us in worship. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Appreciation Sunday

The appreciation Sunday for Bob Averbeck and Margaret Kuchera that was scheduled on September 15 has been rescheduled to September 29.  This will give Bob more time to recover after his recent knee surgery.  He is doing well and is at home now.  May God grant him a speedy and successful recovery.

Funeral for Carol Clendenen

Age 84 of St. Paul, MN, Passed away September 5, 2019, at Comforts of Home in Hudson, WI.
Visitation will be held 5-8 PM Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at Wulff Funeral Home, 1485 White Bear Avenue, St Paul, MN and again from one hour prior to the 11 AM Funeral service, on Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Elmhurst Cemetery. Pastor Mark Kom will be officiating the service on Thursday.

Little Lights Children Program Starting September 22!


‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ - Matthew 19:14


Our Little Lights children program will kick off September 22nd! We are looking forward to another great year of sharing God’s word with our children at St. John.

NEW year this is adding Service Group Days that will have all age groups meet together to talk about service work in our community - and DO service work! During these group days, the children will remain at St. John.

If your child(ren) has not attended in the past and you want to learn more - stop by on September 22nd!

If you are interested in helping or teaching in a classroom, please contact Mary Meyer.

The calendar for the remainder of 2019 is listed below.

Date
Lesson
September 22
Service Group Day
September 29
Year 2 Winter Lesson 1
October 6
Service Group Day
October 13
Year 2 Winter Lesson 2
October 20
No Little Lights - MEA Weekend
October 27
Year 2 Winter Lesson 3
November 3
Year 2 Winter Lesson 4
November 10
Year 2 Winter Lesson 5
November 17
Year 2 Winter Lesson 6
November 24
Service Group Day
December 1
No Little Lights - Thanksgiving Weekend
December 8
Year 2 Winter Lesson 7
December 15
Year 2 Winter Lesson 8
December 22
Service Group Day

Monday, September 9, 2019

Our Church, Our Calling: Ministry Planning Saturday Sept. 21st

God calls each of us to use our unique talents to carry out His mission. Our prayer is that all members at St. John have the opportunity and blessings that come from ministry efforts. On Saturday, September 21st, members have an opportunity to be involved in our ministry efforts.

As previously communicated, St. John is kicking off step 1 of our ministry planning process and we want all of our members to attend. We set a high bar earlier this year when 40 adult members attended our self-assessment session. We want to surpass that for this very important session.

Planning to attend? Fantastic, we can’t wait to spend the time with you. Please RSVP here.

Still not sure? We understand, we hope we can convince you to attend. We think you will be glad you did; but, you can find more information, including frequently asked questions, here and a short video here.

We hope you join us for the opportunity to grow in your faith and contribute to St. John’s ministry planning efforts.

Event Details
St. John Ministry Planning Phase 1 - facilitated by Crossroads Ministry Consulting
Saturday, September 21st
8:30AM - 12:30PM
Fellowship Hall in lower level
Breakfast, coffee provided
Childcare available - register here

Friday, September 6, 2019

Anticipating Worship (September 8)

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
The truth of God’s Word is often opposed in this world, and when it is, the Christian may suffer. Believers can expect opposition from prophets and children of darkness. Yet, throughout these struggles, the Christian knows that he will ultimately attain the harvest of righteousness.

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift of grace that we come into your presence and offer true and faithful service. Grant that our worship on earth may always be pleasing to you and in the life to come give us the fulfillment of what you have promised; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Readings:
Jeremiah 23:23-29
Psalm 139a
Hebrews 12:1-13
Luke 12:49-53


Please join us on Sunday at 9:30 am.  
Pastor Dave Huebner will be leading us in worship. 



Ministry Planning Childcare

Any members that need childcare for our ministry planning session on 9/21 should complete the below survey before 9/14 to plan appropriate volunteers to watch the children.

If you have a teen interested in helping watch the children, please contact Mary Meyer.

Click Here for Survey

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Potluck Picnic Sunday!

Potluck Picnic Sunday!
Hope everyone is planning to attend at noon this Sunday, September 8 for some wonderful fellowship.
If you can help with cleanup, please speak with Jim Julian. Pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs and beverages provided.

Please bring...
 - Side dish/dessert to share
 - Lawn chairs / blankets, if you wish to sit outside
 - Board games or Lawn games
 - (Forecast does not look promising for the city of WSP to open the splash pad, but optimists may still pack suits and towels.)

...and join us at
Harmon Park Neighborhood Center
230 Bernard Street W.
West St. Paul, MN 55118
(Noon - 3 p.m.)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Anticipating Worship (September 1)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus: 
The Christian life is a constant looking ahead. What the eyes cannot see is what the heart of faith accepts when promised by God. Abraham serves as a wonderful Old Testament example and he is praised for it in the New Testament. Christ describes the faithful servant who looks ahead and is ready for the Master’s return.

Readings:
Genesis 15:1-6
Psalm 33
Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16
Luke 12:32-40

Sermon:  Genesis 15:1-6
"Believe the Lord"

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.



Please join us in worship this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Pastor Mark Kom will be sharing God's Word with us. 



September's Fellowship Sunday

September 15th, 2019 — Please Save the Date! Join us as we Thank Robert and Julie Averbeck and Margaret and Michael Kuchera -- for their years of service -- providing Music and supporting the Music to and for St. John. There will be cake, coffee, water, and lemonade If anyone would enjoy sharing a dessert or fruit plate to add to the festivities, your gift would be welcomed!  Please come and thank our dear members for their devotion to spreading the Gospel through their musical gifts -- as organists, composers, musical arranging, choir directing, musical teachers, special music assistants — all which have been blessings to us. Share this note with your friends and fellow members.

Church Choir

Choir rehearsals will begin on Sunday, September 8th, at 8:30 am, in the Music Room. If you have any questions or are interested in joining the St. John Adult Choir please speak with Bob Averbeck.

Monday, August 26, 2019

St. John Picnic & Potluck

Sunday, September 8, Noon – 3 p.m.
Harmon Park Neighborhood Center
230 Bernard Street W.
West St. Paul, MN 55118


As the summer comes to a close, join together with your church family for an afternoon of fun, food and games! Pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, and beverages will be provided. Lunch will be held in the air-conditioned pavilion next to the splash pad and playground at Harmon Park. If you would like to help with setup or cleanup, contact Jim Julian. Look forward to seeing you there!

What you should bring:
1) A side dish, chips, or dessert to share
2) Your favorite board game(s)
3) Swimsuit (in case the splash pad is still open)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Anticipating Worship (August 18)

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
What a privilege it is to bring our prayers to the Lord God! Paul writes of how this privilege was earned for us by Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. Abraham is the perfect example of persistence in prayer and Christ teaches us how to pray in the Gospel lesson.

Readings:
Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 6
Colossians 2:6-15
Luke 11:1-13

Prayer of the Day:
O Lord, your ears are always open to the prayers of your humble servants, who come to you in Jesus’ name. Teach us always to ask according to your will that we may never fail to obtain the blessings you have promised; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon:   Jeremiah 11:18-20
"The Lord Knows Best"
   1: Rely on his wisdom
   2: Rejoice in his victory

Please join us this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Seminarian Tyler Swiderski will be leading us in worship. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Focus Area Update - St. John: A Mission Church?

Imagine God has called you to start a mission church in a growing urban neighborhood. Think of all the questions you might have. Who lives there? What are their customs? What are their needs? How can I build relationships in the community? To be successful, your mission church would need to answer these questions to reach those in the neighborhood.

In many ways, this imaginary scenario is similar to St. John. To successfully reach those in our neighborhood, we need a plan. As previously announced, we are engaging Crossroads Ministry Consulting to help us define our ministry plan. We want you to be a part of this plan in determining God’s will for us. Join us on Saturday September 21st, from 8:30AM to 12:30PM, for step 1 of our strategic planning process. In an introductory seminar, Pastor Elton Stroh from Crossroads will lead us through an engaging discussion about trends impacting ministry today and essential steps in successful ministries.

What to know more? Start by checking out this video describing the Crossroads Consulting Process and then review answers to Frequently Asked Questions below.

Lastly, pray for St. John. Pray daily. On our own, we may fail. But with God, all things are possible. Romans 8:31-32 “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Pray daily that God super-charges our efforts and gives us the wisdom to develop an effective, God-pleasing ministry plan.




Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the seminar?
You! Seriously! Every member at St. John should attend! The Crossroads planning process engages the entire congregation in a pro-active and consensus-building approach.

God has called each of us to carry out the great commission. Being a part of the ministry planning process is one way everyone can be a part of our ministry efforts. Over 40 people attended the Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program in February. Let’s see if we can exceed this number!

When is the seminar? How long is it?
Please arrive at St. John by 8:30AM on Saturday September 21st to allow time to get coffee/breakfast and get settled in. The introductory seminar will start promptly at 8:45AM and conclude at 12:30PM.

What is the purpose of the seminar?
The seminar serves two purposes: 1) to inform you about the Crossroads ministry planning process and 2) build consensus for moving forward with the full planning process.

What can I expect at the seminar?
You can expect to study God’s Word, learn about the Crossroads ministry planning process, and hear lots of useful information from Pastor Stroh. Here is the schedule for the morning:

  • 8:30 - 8:45 am Arrival – Refreshments
  • 8:45 - 9:00 am Devotional Thoughts 
  • 9:00 - 10:30 am Session 1: The Cultural Context for Ministry 
  • 10:30 - 10:45 am Morning Break 
  • 10:45 - 12:15 pm Session 2: The Church Confronts Change 
  • 12:15 - 12:30 pm Q & A – Wrap Up 

Who will lead the seminar? What will we discuss?
The seminar will be led by Pastor Elton Stroh of Crossroads Ministry Consulting. Pastor Stroh has 19 years of experience consulting with churches on strategic planning and will lead us through two sessions:


1. The Cultural Context for Ministry
    • Factors that Shape Ministry Context 
    • Some Trends that Impact Ministry 
    • Trends in WELS and Our Congregation 
    • Connecting Church and Culture 
    • Questions to Consider 
2. The Church Confronts Change
    • Collecting and Comparing Our Thoughts on Change
    • Three Key Questions on Change in the Church 
    • Church Sizes (Growth Obstacles and Strategies) 
    • Vital Components of Ministry Planning 
    • Learning from Turnaround and Growing WELS Churches 

How is this different than the Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program?
In some ways, there is overlap. Both programs are focused on the Bible, both involve research, and both programs are focused on the future for St. John. Some of the research and surveys we did for the SAA will actually help us and expedite our planning process.

The key difference is the Crossroads ministry planning process is a much more comprehensive, consensus-building program to develop a ministry plan from scratch and takes advantage of Pastor Stroh’s 19 years of strategic planning experience. The SAA program is better suited for congregations looking to make small changes to its ministry plan based solely on the congregation’s own ideas. St. John really needs a more comprehensive process with outside expertise and guidance.

While the SAA program may not have been the best fit for St. John, it was an important step for us as a congregation. In many ways it re-energized us as a congregation to refocus on our ministry efforts and prepared us to take on this planning process.

Is childcare available?
Childcare will be provided. Look for more details and a registration form to follow in another blog post.

Will food/beverages be provided?Isn’t that the 11th commandment? Thou shalt serve coffee and food at all church gatherings. On a serious note, coffee, beverages, and a light breakfast will be provided. It’s the least we could do as a thank you for your investment of time and energy.

What happens after the seminar? How long will the planning process take?
The seminar is just step 1. After the seminar, we as a congregation need to decide if we want to move forward with the strategic planning process offered by Crossroads consulting. We’ll learn about the process, the effort required by us as a congregation, and the cost of the program. We need to decide: Is the process a good fit for us? Are we willing to support the initiative with time and money?

If we decide to move forward, we’ll embark immediately on a 6 - 10 month process to define our unique mission and vision for our ministry efforts in St. Paul. Then Pastor Stroh will support us for an additional 12 months as we implement our ministry plan. Exciting right? Below is a full overview of the process:


Friday, August 9, 2019

Anticipating Worship (August 11)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Labor for the Lord begins with sitting at his feet and listening to his Word. With hearts full of faith Abraham and Mary listened to what their God had to say and considered this activity great service. Likewise, Paul considered the simple presentation of God’s Word to be his greatest ministry.

Readings:
Genesis 18:1-14
Psalm 119a
Colossians 1:21-29
Luke 10:38-42

Sermon:   Luke 10:38-42
                 "Just Relax"


Please join us this Sunday at 9:30 am.
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 
           











Farewell for Cindy Lendt

Cindy Lendt, one of our former teachers, has joined Friends of China and is going to be heading to China with them to teach English to Chinese students. If you would like to wish Cindy good luck, there is going to be a farewell reception on Sunday, August 11th, at 1:00 pm, at Salem Ev. Lutheran Church in Stillwater

Friday, August 2, 2019

Anticipating Worship (August 4)

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
True faith in Christ, created and strengthened by the Word, will produce fruit. Moses and Paul encourage their readers to stay close to God through his Word so that a life of sanctification may result. The Good Samaritan of Jesus’ parable had a faith that made him a neighbor to everyone.

Readings:
Deuteronomy 30:1-9
Psalm 25
Colossians 1:1-14
Luke 10:25-37

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your Word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy and bring forth fruits in faith and hope and love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon: Colossians 1:1-14
               "Live a life worthy of the Lord"

Please join us on Sunday for worship and fellowship!
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship. 


Thursday, August 1, 2019

National Night Out

National Night Out is Tuesday, August 6, at 6:00 PM, in Swede Hollow Park.  Please plan to attend if you are able to greet our neighbors and invite them to worship with us.  St John will be providing free hot dogs for everyone there. There are also flyers around the church with more details.

Vacation Bible School


St. John members are invited to attend Immanuel Hmong's evening Vacation Bible School (VBS) program 
"Set Sail" , August 19-21, from 6-8 p.m.  There is a registration sign up sheet in the narthex for your convenience. If you prefer to text your registration, please do so to 651-308-5271 with the following:
“VBS"
Parent name
Phone (if different from text)
Child (ren) name + age
Shirt size
Allergies
*Registrations preferred no later than August 11.  Friends and neighbors encouraged!


Save the Date!

Reserve the afternoon of Sunday, September 8th on your calendar... Plans are underway for a church picnic at the Harmon Park Neighborhood Center & splash pad in West Saint Paul. More details to follow.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 28)

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
It is by God’s power alone that his kingdom of grace is extended throughout the world. Jesus sent out the 72 with the command to trust in God’s power for their results. Isaiah prophesied the same for the messianic kingdom of all believers. And Paul’s only boast was in the cross, not his efforts.

Readings:
Isaiah 66:10-14
Psalm 66
Galatians 6:1-10,14-16
Luke 10:1-12,16-20

Sermon:     Galatians 6:1-2
Two Traits of a True Christian Friend
    I. We tell the truth about transgression
   II. We bear each other's burdens       

Prayer of the Day:
God of all power and might, you are the giver of all that is good. Help us love you with all our heart, strengthen us in true faith, provide us with all we need, and keep us safe in your care; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.
 

Please join us on Sunday!
Pastor Jon Ladner will be leading us in worship. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Farewell for Cindy Lendt


Cindy Lendt, one of our former teachers, has joined Friends of China and is going to be heading to China with them to teach English to Chinese students. If you would like to wish Cindy good luck, there is going to be a farewell reception on Sunday, August 11th, at 1:00 pm, at Salem Ev. Lutheran Church in Stillwater



Friday, July 19, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 21)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Being a disciple of Christ is not without cost. Elijah wondered whether he was the only one left that followed God’s ways. Jesus urged three would-be disciples to count the cost of following him. Yet, the path of discipleship brings the fruit of the Spirit mentioned by Paul and ends in the eternal bliss of heaven.

Readings:
1 Kings 19:14-21
Psalm 62
Galatians 5:1,13-25
Luke 9:51-62

Prayer of the Day:
O God, you have prepared joys beyond understanding for those who love you. Pour into our hearts such love for you that, loving you above all things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Sermon: Galatians 5:1,13-25
"What Does It Mean to be Really Free?"

Please join us Sunday for worship and fellowship.
Pastor Percy Damrow will be leading us in worship. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 14)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus: 
Only the eyes of Christian faith can recognize Christ for who he really is – the God-man who is our Savior from sin. Zechariah prophesied, and the people of Jesus’ day bore out the truth, that Christ is often not recognized by the majority because they refuse to accept a Suffering Shepherd as their Savior. Yet, as Paul reminds us, all of Scripture serves to prepare us for a Savior who suffers on our behalf.

Readings:
Zechariah 13:7-9
Psalm 22
Galatians 2:2-29
Luke 9:18-24

Sermon:
Matthew 16:19
"Will God Forgive me...even if someone else won't?"

Prayer of the Day:
O Lord, our God, govern the nations on earth and direct the affairs of this world so that your Church may worship you in peace and joy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.




Please join us on Sunday for worship and fellowship.
Pastor Mark Kom will lead us in worship. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

St. John Ministry Update

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) How many times have you read that verse and thought “it would be a lot easier if God just told me what those plans are!” That was certainly on our minds Monday night as the council discussed plans to move forward after hearing Divinity decided not to pursue a potential merger (see blog post here). The news from Divinity brings mixed emotions for us at St. John as we consider the potential stability it may have brought for future WELS ministries in St. Paul. This also reinforces the need for a strategic plan.

The path forward...
On Monday the council decided to move forward with Phase 1 of the strategic planning process offered by Crossroads Ministry Consulting. Crossroads has a comprehensive process that starts with a congregational study on how churches can respond to today’s realities. This process concludes with a congregational decision on whether to move forward with Phases 2 - 4. More information will follow, including a date in late August or September, but we are excited to engage with Pastor Elton Stroh, of Crossroads Ministry Consulting to guide us through this process.

Many questions remain...
Still, we consider many questions, most notably the timing of extending a call to fill our pastoral vacancy. The council discussed many aspects, some of which are outlined below, but ultimately decided that we should continue to hold off on extending a call or making decisions about any of the below considerations until we have more clarity on our strategic plan. We will continue to discuss all of these moving forward and welcome your input. Below are some of the items the council discussed Monday:

  • In many ways, St. John is like a mission church, determining the best way to reach those on the east side of St. Paul. This mission first mindset and willingness to embrace change has been encouraging to see in our members.
  • The budget needs to be re-evaluated as our ministry changes. If we add a pastor to our budget, the current budget will not work long term without making budget cuts or an increase in offerings. The council did talk about what expenses could be eliminated when adding a pastor, but did not want to finalize that decision until Phase 1 of the strategic planning is completed. St. John is receiving substantial rental income from our lease with CLUES that is not included in our budget and that looks promising for the immediate future, but we don't want to rely on it to pay our expenses. 
  • The council discussed Immanuel Hmong, who is in our prayers and always considered in our planning. Specifically we discussed the potential of a merger, which is likely not an option as they are very focused on outreach in the Hmong community and the mission roles Pastor Moua serves in.
  • Our facility has outgrown our needs and consumes a lot of resources to maintain. We discussed the potential to sell the facility and refocus those resources on ministry efforts.
We know you have many questions. It’s important we take the time to prayerfully consider God’s specific calling for St. John on the east side of St. Paul. We strongly feel a strategic plan will help answer these questions. We are very much looking forward to Phase 1 of the strategic planning process. We would like your help in two areas: 
  1. Be prayerful. Pray for St. John and pray for those leading the focus areas; and
  2. Consider your talents. What talents has the Lord given to you? Are you interested in helping in any of the focus areas? Connect with us if you are interested.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3) 
Suggested prayer: Dear God, While we face uncertainty, I know that You have plans for us to prosper. Help me to grow as a Christian through this time of uncertainty and use my gifts to help St. John. I ask that You bless our strategic planning process. Give us the guidance and wisdom to know Your calling for us in St. Paul. Open our minds and provide us the wisdom to define a plan to reach the lost in our community and continue to grow in our faith. To You be all the praise and glory for all that you have done and will continue to do for us. Amen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Member turns 100!

One of our homebound members, Elsie Anderson, turns 100 tomorrow, July 11th. To add to the excitement of that she will be featured tonight on the Channel 4, 6:00 pm news. The story will air during the weather segment. If interested to know a little more about Elsie be sure to tune in.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Anticipating Worship (July 7)

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
The life of a Christian is a repentant life. Repentance begins with a true recognition of and sorrow over our sins. God led King David, Simon the Pharisee, and the Apostle Peter to this realization in our Scripture lesson today.

Readings:
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10,13-15
Psalm 32
Galatians 2:11-21
Luke 7:36-50

Sermon:
Matthew 6:14-15
"Will God Refuse to Forgive...if we Refuse to Forgive?"

Prayer of the Day:
O God, protector of all the faithful, you alone make strong; you alone make holy. Show us your mercy and forgive our sins day by day. Guide us through our earthly lives that we do not lose the things you have prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Please join us on Sunday for worship.
Pastor Mark Kom will be sharing God's Message about forgiveness with us.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Open Forum and Divinity Update

Thank you to the members who attended the June 30th Voters’ Meeting and Open Forum. We received valuable insights and feedback as we consider the next steps for St. John. At the open forum, we discussed various topics including: focus area updates, ‘deal breakers’ for a merger with Divinity, our financial situation, a pastoral call, property, and appreciation for improved communications. 

On Tuesday, July 2nd Tony Wimmer received an email from Pastor Berg at Divinity. Divinity held their open forum, and at this time a majority of their congregation is not interested in a merger or moving to a new location.

While Divinity’s decision may raise questions, we must trust in the Lord and the path on which He is leading us, and remember his limitless capabilities. We will continue to focus on the three remaining focus areas (read here for June 3rd e-news). The church council’s next meeting is July 8th. During this meeting, they will discuss the next steps for us at St. John and the implications of Divinity’s decision (including the strategy consultant and pastoral call). 

Please continue to pray for St. John and those in leadership positions. Are you interested in helping in any of the focus areas? Connect with us if you are interested by going to www.stjohnev.net/participate. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Focus Area Update - Prospect List

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” - Mark 16:15

Derek Meyer was a first-time participant this year, joining Tony Wimmer and Tamara Julian in visiting homes in our neighborhood. After 3 evenings Derek had this to share: “I was surprised how easy it is. I was nervous that I wouldn’t know what to say or that people would slam the door on me. It has been the opposite. We go in pairs and people are generally very willing to talk. Many are appreciative of us visiting them. For those that aren’t able to talk, we just thank them and move on. It is very easy. Anyone could do it.”

The insights collected from these visits help us further decide who we want to target in our outreach efforts -- but we need more touchpoints to find common needs. Read the stories below from two different homes who both provided valuable insights. These individuals have very different needs and desires --- we can’t reach both, and we need to decide who we are going to focus on (names have been changed for anonymity).

  • One evening, Tony and Derek talked with Joe, who is in his late 60s and has lived on the east side with his wife for a long time. He remembers when it was different. Joe is tired of the lack of respect from those in the neighborhood, especially from the youth, and longs for the days when people would say “Hello” to each other. Joe grew up catholic and regularly attended church until his son died of cancer in his late 30s and he lost faith. He’s not sure anything could bring him back to faith. Joe appreciates receiving the “Good News” letters we mail to him on a monthly basis and he appreciated the invitation we extended to join us at St. John, a place where saying “Hello” is still a regular occurrence. Joe thanked us for visiting him and said our visit gave him “some hope in humanity.” 
  • On a separate evening, Tamara and Derek had a longer discussion with Houa. Houa is around 40 years old, is married, and has 3 kids ages 5 - 18. She currently attends nursing school while also working and taking care of her kids. Houa is constantly tired from her many responsibilities and the daily grind of trying to make ends meet financially. Houa even sat down on the steps while talking to us and seemed to have a sense of relief that someone was willing to listen to her. She considers herself spiritual but doesn’t see herself going to church as it is “just one more thing she has to do.” She referenced a sister who is “too involved” with church, attending 3-4 times per week but never finding the time to visit Houa and her 3 kids. She felt churches were all about themselves, wanting people to do things for the church instead of the church wanting to do things for people. She thought churches could be most impactful in the community by focusing on children and making church something she wants to attend instead of an obligation to attend.
We are trying to reach as many houses as we can from our prospect list - 140 homes! So far we’ve reached 15 - please help us visit these homes. To join us, talk to Tony Wimmer or complete the online form.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Anticipating Worship (June 30th)

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Worship Focus:
Our gracious God has the power to bring people from death to life. Whether it be from physical death to life, as we see in our Old Testament and Gospel lessons today; or the spiritual regeneration which Paul describes, God is the One who gives life.

Readings:
1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30
Galatians 1:11-24
Luke 7:11-17

Sermon:  Psalm 30
"Our Security Issue"


Please join us Sunday morning for worship and fellowship.
Pastor Mark Kom will be leading us in worship.