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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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