Friday, October 15, 2021

Open Forum Agenda

Members of St John,

It has been 3 years since Pastor Voigt accepted a call to be the pastor of another congregation.  Since that time, we have had 3 Vacancy Pastors at St John.

We hired Pastor Stroh to help us move forward at St Johnshortly after Pastor Voigt left.  Some of the plans were to call another pastor and become a breakout congregation, merge with another congregation, or to close our doors and help our members find another congregation to join.  

The members at St John decided that we should merge with another congregation.  We have pursued that effort and tried to merge with Divinity.  That endeavor did not come to fruition.  Then our members decided to merge with Immanuel Hmong and that endeavor did not happen due to the cultural differences between us.

At our last open forum meeting, we concluded that St John could not sustain ourselves both financially and do the work needed here at St John due to the number of members who volunteer their time to accomplish that work.

Our God has been watching over us. He has given us the financial means to continue serving Him at St John. The Journey School’s interest to start a Charter School at St John was delayed, but when that looked like it would not happen for a while, God gave us another opportunity to lease our school facility to CLUES. The 5 year lease with CLUES is in the final stages and would be enough to provide for a pastor’s expenses. God also provided an endowment that would help us to continue His work at St John.

We have been in contact with the MN Mission Board and they expressed the need for a WELS presence on the east side of St Paul.  We are in a good location for outreach to our neighbors.  Our efforts to bring them into our congregation to hear His Word have not been fruitful and we need to pray that God will guide and strengthen us in our efforts.

Since our last merger attempt with Immanuel Hmong, the Council decided to have an Open Forum meeting to decide what we should do next.

We are asking for your thoughts and input on the following options.  This will not be a final decision, just a straw poll to find out what our members believe would be in the best interest of our people and the Lord’s church.  Please circle your first and possibly second choice and provide the reasoning for your selections.  We will be mailing this agenda to our members who could not make it to the meeting today.  This feedback will assist the Council in determining our next steps as a congregation.  We look forward to sharing the results and planning our future with the help of our Lord here at St John.  Please return this sheet by October 31.

1. Merge with another congregation.  Possibly considering a merger with Mt Olive.

2. Become a breakout congregation and call a pastor. Breakout means that we are willing to put additional efforts into outreach.  However. there is a currently a shortage of WELS pastors.

3. Find a pastor in our area that would be willing to serve 2 congregations at different locations.

4. Close our doors and help our members to find another WELS church to join.

5. Other ideas.                           Comments sheet on next page

COMMENTS SHEET

 

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Worship-Sunday, October 10, 2021-Link

Worship-October 10, 2021

Open Forum Reminder

 There will be an Open Forum at St. John, following worship on Sunday, October 17th. 

A Note from Pastor Al - Grace

 GRACE

What is grace? By classic biblical definition, grace is “underserved love.” What does that mean in practical terms? It means that God is intent on providing gifts for a world full of humans who do not or could not ever deserve his intricate and patient attention.


Grace is complicated for several reasons. One, we don’t typically operate on the principle of grace in our world so we are startled by its presence; we may not even know how to accept it. In our world, life operates on the dictum of receiving what you deserve. You wander into a store and see something you would like, you can only deserve to have it if you put enough dollar bills on the counter or swipe your credit card.  If you simply walk out without paying, you don’t deserve to have that item and you may even be charged with theft. Grace does not govern the exceeding majority of our life.


Another rationale for expressing that grace is complicated relates to our view of self.  We don’t like to think that we don’t deserve things. On the contrary, we intuit the notion that we deserve to be treated well when going into a restaurant. We deserve to be treated like a normal, decent human being. The assumption is that something about us or in us is worthy of proper treatment. But is that completely true as God views His world and our place in it? 


When we work hard on a project, it is natural to believe that we deserve proper recognition for that work. How many of us might express some form of this statement: “I don’t deserve an ounce of credit for the 85 hours of work that I put into building this report”? That much time and effort deserves proper acknowledgment. But what do we really deserve? 


In God’s world, according to God’s way of calculating our level of “deservedness” we must start from the premise of origin, ownership, and performance. 


Origin

Our origin is not from our own intent. We exist because God is the starting point. God made the effort to call every human being into existence. Even from that viewpoint, God is the first cause of anything good we do; we are not the first cause. 


Ownership

God is the origin and God is the owner of all our resources, all our ability, all our time. If he owns our life, ability and all our resources, then every effort we ever make must point back to him. He deserves the credit for anything good that comes out of our life because it is not really our life but his.


Performance

Or to go further with this. How did each of us develop into the person we are today? Two human parents are to be credited with this achievement. We are the result because they gave us life. This means that our financial situation, our educational opportunities, our athletic prowess [or lack of] is attributed to someone other than ourselves. A coach refined and drove the human spirit to accomplish more. This is at least part of the reason great athletes, actors, scientists, etc. give credit to parents, previous teachers, professors, coaches and more when receiving career accolades. Even humanly speaking, we see that the good we pour out is, in part, attributed to those who came before us and to those who nudged us along.


But let’s take this one step further and uncover the spiritual side of this point. We don’t deserve anything good from God because of sin.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Sin disqualifies us from deserving anything good. The opposite is actually true: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). What we deserve is not what we might think we deserve. 


This is why we need God’s Spirit to enter our thinking through the power of His Word. When God’s living and holy Word enters our minds, it fights to erase our entitlement and secures our understanding of God’s charity. It asks us to examine the truth of our fallen state and then, at the moment of humble acceptance, it lifts us out of any worthless gloom to see that God still desires our good.


In the hymn, Before the Throne of God Above, there is a verse that states how grace is displayed at the cross:


Because the sinless Savior died,

My sinful soul is counted free;

For God, the Just, is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me.


God the Just is satisfied with the death that we all deserved because the sinless Savior died in our place. May God let that grace-filled truth erase our complacency, reduce our reticence to his compassion and empower us to praise the One who set us free. Jesus deserves our praise!

Special Voter's Meeting

There will be a Special Voter's meeting on October 24, at 9:30 AM, to extend a call to 
Pastor Al Schleusener, as Vacancy Pastor at St John from Dec 1 through May 3.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

SCLA Festival of Seasons Boutique

 

The Festival of Seasons boutique is an annual craft and bake sale that serves as the largest activities fundraiser of the year on Saturday, November 13 (same weekend as WELS National Choralfest in New Ulm). This fundraiser hosts up to 100 hand-craft vendors from the local community and hundreds of shoppers each year. Learn more at StCroixLutheran.org/fos

Team leaders are urgently needed to help coordinate volunteers, food (concessions, bake sale, and vendor lunches), decorating, and set-up/take-down. Contact Amanda Fuhrmann if you can serve as a team leader.

This parent-run fundraiser requires the help of many parents, students, and volunteers to serve as greeters, at the raffle table, concessions, bake sale, and more! Click here to serve and sign up to bring baked goods!

If you, your student, or anyone you know would like to play background music during a half hour time slot, contact Lisa Streckert.

Men of His Word - Men's Conference

The Men of His Word conference "equips Christian men to take a leadership role within their family, within their congregation, and in their community." This annual conference is scheduled for Saturday, October 23, 2021 in Rochester, Minnesota, that brings men together to discuss relevant issues and shares resources for both individuals and groups to challenge men in their homes and congregations. Learn more here and here.

Worship-October 3, 2021-livestream


A Note from Pastor Al - link - Thorns and Thistles


Encouragement from Pastor Al

 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. 
// Isaiah 26:4

Thursday, September 30, 2021

SCLA Homecoming-October 1, 2021

SCLA Homecoming

It's homecoming TOMOROW, Friday, Oct. 1. Hope to see you there!

  • 4:30 Concessions and Bake Sale opens.
  • 5:30 Parade along Oakdale Ave.
  • 6:00 Alumni-Only tent on the baseball field for social hour with free Chick-fil-A, alumni t-shirts, mini footballs, and admission to the game!
  • 7:00 Football game vs. Academy Force
  • End of First Quarter recognition of the 2006 football team (first football squad in school history to go to state) as well as both the 2011 and 2013 state champion teams. Make sure to get your commemorative mini football!
  • Half-Time Kick, Pass & Spike competition. Watch local grade school students compete!
  • After the game, alumni are invited to the Fireside Lounge on Robert Street from 8:00-10:00 p.m. for more social time and appetizers.

 

Upcoming Events:


Children's Theater
Sat. Oct 31, 2:00 and 7:00

Mattress Sale Fundraiser
Sat, Nov. 20


Virtual Event - "Unlocking the Bible"

Take a tour of the Bible with Pastor Colin Smith! Join this free virtual event on October 16th to "understand how the Bible story fits together and be equipped, confident, and motivated to share this story with others!" Register here.

A Note from Pastor Al - Link - Judge Yourself


Pastor's Note

Encouragement from Pastor Al

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. // Philippians 1:9-11

Thursday, September 23, 2021

St. John Kids are welcome to Mt. Olive Kids' Ministry Sunday

 All are welcome to our Kids' Ministry this Sunday, 9/26!

  • Elementary-age kids will meet from 9am - 9:50am every Sunday before church

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Note from Pastor Al-Do You Want Wisdom

Pastor’s Note

Do you want wisdom? Do you want to be wise? I can’t imagine anyone saying, “No, not interested!” Is wisdom an option for only the intelligent? Is wisdom limited to a certain geographical location or a certain ethnic group? And what is wisdom?


This weekend we are going to address wisdom as one of the foundational concepts in the Bible and therefore, in the life of a Christian. The Bible asserts that wisdom is beautiful and wisdom is more valuable than chests pouring over with gold doubloons. Wisdom is available to all.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10)



One writer defined wisdom as the “capacity of the mind that allows us to understand life from God’s perspective”. If fearing God is the beginning place of wisdom, then the more we develop in our awe of God and our respect for his power and intellect and love, wisdom WILL grow. To fear God is to crack open God’s storehouse of insight on life.


Another way to approach the word wisdom is this: to be wise means that the knowledge we have, as it fits God’s understanding of life, will be applied to all our actions, words and thoughts. This means that wisdom becomes practical in how we do life. Wisdom climbs aboard God’s eternal perspective and oversight in order to speak when necessary, hold tight to what is important, strive for the things that really matter and let go of all excess that does not connect with the fear of the Lord.


There are four basic steps to acquire wisdom: Fear God, desire wisdom, pray for wisdom and study God’s Word.


Fear God

This is not the fear that exists when a slave or servant cringes at the one who dominates and controls their life. That is called servile fear. True fear of God is filial fear; this is fear and awe which a young child has for their parents. They trust the parent. Do we trust God as a father or a mother? We might not, but that can be fixed and altered appropriately with study of the Word of God.


Desire Wisdom

Is wisdom a desire of yours? Do you desire to speak only in ways that will increase the respect others have for you or do you simply speak your mind and “don’t care what others think?” That true grit American attitude of not caring what others think may work once in a while but it can easily ostracize is from neighbors, friends, co-workers and family. To desire wisdom means that you have examined the minefield of your past and noticed numerous mistakes, things you would love to redo, knowing what you know now.


To desire wisdom is to recognize that you have room for growth in this arena. 


Pray for Wisdom

Jesus’ little brother James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). Once you have a desire for godly wisdom, ask God to grant you this desire. True humility is a gift from God AND so is wisdom. God is a doting Father who simply and truly loves it when his kids go to him and ask for good things. Ask!


Study God’s Word

The Word of God will enable any interested soul to fill their being with wisdom. “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;” (Psalm 19:7). Every drop of silver that pours off of the Lord’s tongue becomes a treasure of wisdom for my simple mind and yours. It transforms us. It alerts us to things that really matter (our eternity, the trajectory of our children’s lives, the folly of worldly pursuits which push God down or even out).


Psalm 19:7 is not teasing us with a “maybe”. It is fact. God’s testimony is sure and it WILL make wise the simple.


In the end, what value is there in wisdom? It will directly stimulate richer relationships with my sphere of influence, my current and future networks. It can pander to my thirst for a life worth living. And in the end, true wisdom shows up in the person of Jesus. God’s wisdom must be seen and experienced. With every action of God’s Son, we see wisdom lived out. With all his interactions with children, with vagrants and chieftains, with political powers and lost, lonely souls, Jesus personifies and displays God’s wisdom for our enjoyment and relief. 


True wisdom finds its greatest achievement in outwitting evil. On the cross, Jesus Christ lived out God’s wisdom by paying my eternal debt to THE Holy God. But Jesus’ death also linked each believing heart to the love of God. Wisdom was able to live and die and thereby crack the greatest conundrum ever: How can a Holy God reconcile his love for humanity and satisfy his justice and remain holy. The Cross is a display of such wisdom. Wisdom wins the day in Jesus.  Praise be to his

Reminder-Worship at Mt. Olive-September 26, 2021

There will NOT be a church service at St John on September 26.  We will be attending Mt Olive that day at 
 at  10:00 AM.

 Mt. Olive Lutheran
1460 Almond Ave. 
St. Paul  55108

In-Person Worship Link-September 19, 2021


In-Person Worship-September 19, 2021 

SCLA Virtual Tour

 

Virtual Tour

RFW2021-Overhead-Campus-with-Logo.jpg

Check out our new 360 virtual tour! This tour offers you and your students the opportunity to view our campus from anywhere, anytime. It is an excellent way to see the newest addition to our campus - new entry, band room & choir room.

SCLA Children's Theatre Presents - Happily Ever After

 


Children's Theatre will perform Happily Ever After for grades K-6 on Friday, October 29 at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at SCLA. Public performances are Saturday, October 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the October 29 performances cost $1.00/student (teachers and chaperones are free). Limit your number of chaperones so we can make the best use of our space in the auditorium. Tickets for the October 30 performance are $5.00/each. Campus tours are available before or after the Friday shows. Contact Amanda at ATess@StCroixLutheran.org to make reservations for your group.




LWMS St. Croix Circuit - Fall Rally

VIRTUAL Fall Rally on October 3rd, starting at 2:00 p.m.  The Rally will be live-streamed on You Tube courtesy of Trinity Lutheran in Osceola, WI.  Here are the details available at this time:

LINK to the Trinity Lutheran You Tube site:  Trinity Osceola - YouTube

DATE/TIME:  Sunday, October 3rd; Rally will begin at 2:00 p.m. 

AGENDA:  
1) The Rally will begin with an opening devotion by Pastor Timothy Blauert of Redeemer Lutheran Church, St. Croix Falls, WI.  
2) The featured speaker, retired Pastor James Aderman, will do a presentation on the work of the organization 316NOW, in particular how they are continuing to deliver the Good News since missionaries have been recalled for health/safety reasons.  Website: Who We Are — 316NOW .  
3) The business meeting will be held.
4) Closing devotion by our Circuit's Pastoral Advisor, Pastor Jim Roecker of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, St. Paul Park, MN.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Note from Pastor Al- Link-September 12, 2121

Note from Pastor Al

Encouragement from Pastor Al

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. // Philippians 2:1-2

St. John Open Forum

There will be an open forum meeting on October 17, to discuss our future plans at St John.  Merger with another congregation, become a brake-out congregation and call a pastor, close and help our members find another church.

 

Worship with Mt. Olive-September 26, 2021

There will NOT be a church service at St John on September 26.  We will be attending Mt Olive that day at 
10:00 AM.
 Mt. Olive Lutheran
1460 Almond Ave. 
St. Paul  55108


THANK YOU!

Thank you to all who helped with the 150th Anniversary celebration.  A lot of work needed to be done and we thank those who were involved with the planning, mailings, history boards of St John, food distribution and clean-up, wood chip distribution, floor scrubbing, and general cleaning.  We had a great turnout with 121 members and visitors in attendance.

 

Friday, September 10, 2021

A Note From Pastor Al-link-Foundations



Use the link below for the Note from Pastor Al


Encouragement from Pastor Al

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” // Isaiah 43:2

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

On-Line Worship Link for September 5, 2021

To view Pastor Al's online worship link for September 5, 2021, use the link below.

On-line Message-September 5, 2021 

Invitation to RibFest and Outdoor Service

Immanuel Hmong is having an outdoor RibFest on the 19th of September. The outdoor worship will start at 11:30 AM, following with games and Ribs.  St. John members are invited to join us on that day.

Good Newsletter-September 2021-Dress Yourself With Kindness


 September 2021 


They often embarrassed their mother by the way they acted in public. It seemed to her that her sons were always arguing.
 
At the supermarket, the brothers would fight about which cereal she should buy. When they were home they could never agree which movie to watch. Sometimes she doubted that her two boys would ever survive their childhood together.

While they often bickered, the brothers were also fiercely loyal to each other. If another child from the neighborhood made fun of one of them, the other was sure to come to his defense. It baffled their mother!
 
How could they quarrel so, yet a short time later seek to protect their would-be rival? Blood truly must be thicker than water!
 
This scenario is a reality for many of us. Sibling rivalry, it seems, is universal. And for the most part, defense of one’s own family is equally universal. Playground conversations usually prove this true.
 
God has another scenario he wants us to follow. He encourages us in the Bible to treat all people as though they were family. “Make every effort to add to your faith … brotherly kindness” 
(2 Peter 1:5,7).
 
There are dozens of things that make each of us different from everyone else in the world. They include where we live, the color of our eyes, our talents, the size of our paycheck, and so on.
 
Even though we enjoy associating with people who are like us, God wants us to treat everyone the way we would treat an idolized brother or sweet sister. After all, God’s love prompted him to send his Son, so that everyone who believes in him has life in his name.
 
Blood is not always thicker than water.
 
Every person who is made a child of God through his Word and the water of baptism also becomes our brother or sister in Christ. They are family.
 
Why don’t you stop by for a visit at church some weekend and meet some of your spiritual family?
 
Upcoming Events at St John
 
Worship Services: Sunday at 8:30 AM
Adult Bible Study: 9:45 AM
Visit our website at stjohnev.net
Call us at 651-771-6406

Thursday, September 2, 2021

SCLA Fine Arts Addition Dedication

Fine Arts Addition Dedication

Join us for the dedication and open house of the new fine arts addition on Wednesday, September 15 from 6:30-8:30. The service will take place in the chapel followed by an open house with tours of the new front commons, band, choir, and practice rooms. Student musicians will share their talents with you in the new spaces. RSVP at StCroixLutheran.org/Dedicationi

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

A Note From Pastor Al


Foundations 

The foundations of America are shifting. Time will tell if this is a shift for the good or for our peril. A foundation is the basis on which a building stands, is founded, or is supported. When it comes to foundations of a nation, foundations of a church, or foundations of  individual human lives, we are referring to moral principles, guiding truths, fundamental beliefs, and supporting values. These determine if a country will stand or fall. They arbitrate the outcome of a church’s future and they decide whether an individual Christian [or non-Christian] will stand or fall.


WHere must our foundations be as a church and as the people of God? Psalm 11 gives us some good insight.


Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge;

how can you say to my soul,

    “Flee like a bird to your mountain,

2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow;

    they have fitted their arrow to the string

    to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;

3 if the foundations are destroyed,

    what can the righteous do?”

4 The Lord is in his holy temple;

    the Lord's throne is in heaven;

    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

5 The Lord tests the righteous,

    but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

6 Let him rain coals on the wicked;

    fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

7 For the Lord is righteous;

he loves righteous deeds;

    the upright shall behold his face.



Verse 7 gives us hope as believers: “For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” God loves what is right. His eyes are forever seeing and testing humanity. He’s looking for those who are upright in thought, in actions and in words. He knows who is righteous; He knows who does the right thing even if the right thing is difficult. If we do what is right, we shall behold his face. 


But aren’t we all sinners? (YES!) And don’t we all fall short of the full list of righteous requirements of God? (Yes again) In last week’s message we heard briefly about the progress that is to take place: we are to make progress from immature believer to mature believer. Ephesians 4:13-14 stresses a development that grows us; we are no longer infants or children but have progressed and matured. in the life of a Christian church and in the lives of its individual members, we are to grow up into the fullness of CHrist. We are to live, speak, work, walk, surf the internet, react to my neighbors, more and more the way Jesus would. This is the Sanctified life of a believer. We have been saved by grace but not for the purpose of stagnant living. Jesus’ death saved us from the pit of hellish debris and bad, sinful decisions - now we can walk in a new way of life (Romans 6:4). We can progress as a believer. This is by God’s design. Are we making progress?


So what are those foundational stones of our faith, on which we build for the sake of maturing in the faith? This weekend we will focus on the necessity to closely listen to all the laws and counsel of God AND obey His direction for life (Sanctified living). This, of course, must build off the one essential foundational stone, Jesus Christ!


The Church’s One Foundation CW 538

The Church’s One Foundation

is Jesus Christ, her Lord;

She is His new creation

by water and the Word.

From heav’n he came sought her

To be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her

And for her life, He died.


.


May God bless us as individuals, building on His foundation. May God bless us as a church, building on the bedrock of Jesus Christ. May God bless us as a nation.


Blessings to you all,


Pastor Al