Friday, January 15, 2021

SCLA - See the new Fine Arts Addition

 


Thank you for your support and prayers for the ministry at St. Croix Lutheran Academy!

It's been a tough year for everyone, but as we reflect this January, we see how truly blessed we are. We are so grateful to our gracious God and generous supporters.

One of the most visible blessings of this new year is the recently completed Fine Arts Addition. On January 6, 2021, students were welcomed back to campus and gifted with the opening of a new, more secure entry, a well-lit commons area, new practice rooms, and new music classrooms.

Thanks to the support of hundreds of individuals and corporations, SCLA students are now even better equipped to let their light shine through making music.

In-person tours are available by appointment. Contact Brian Shult.

Take a Virtual Tour

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Note from Pastor Al

 Encircled by the Word of God.

This week we are looking to go one step further with the Word of God. John 8:32 speaks about living in the Word of God. How do we do this? To answer this question we are turning to Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The key to living in the Word of God comes from making the entry point and exit point of your life encircled by the Word of God. 

Why? Because God wants to change the human heart. 

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” // Deuteronomy 6:4-6

How do you change the very heart of who you are? How do your thoughts and attitudes truly change? How do we learn to love the things that God loves and detest the things that God detests? Deuteronomy chapter 6 has this as a goal when it says these commands are to be upon your hearts. The commands of God are to become the things that we love. 

The things that God loves are to be so strong in our life, so predominant, that they are heavy on our heart. They are to make an impression on the things that stir our emotions. They begin to disturb our thoughts to the point of desiring what God desires.

So our big question today is how does that happen?

Deuteronomy 6:9 answers this with a Jewish object lesson called “mezuzah.” Mezuzah is one of many visible forms that display the Word of God in your life. A mezuzah is a small Jewish container about 1 inch square by 5 inches long and it literally contains some of the words of God from Deuteronomy 6. A mezuzah is attached to the doorpost of a house as if to symbolize that everything that happens in this house is attached to the Word of God. It is a way of representing that everything in this house reflects God’s way of living, God‘s way of thinking, God’s way of acting, and God’s way of interacting with each other.

The mezuzah is a way for us to recognize that we need God‘s Word surrounding us so that our thoughts and our attitudes are overwhelmed and encouraged by the Word of God. This means that the Word of God is not just a part-time participant in the events of our life. The text from Deuteronomy 6 encourages the morning-to-night surrender to God’s desires and interests. We become so surrounded by the very Words of God that we soak it up like a sponge.

The point of this note is to ask the question, “How can we be so surrounded by the Word of God in our existence that it soaks into every corner of our life. In our waking, our sleeping, in our eating and our relaxing, God’s commands seep down into our thoughts and even our emotions.

The point of the mezuzah is to assist in this. The point of the mezuzah is for us to make a search of our life and see if the Word of God is affixed so strongly to our lifestyle that others will walk into our houses, our kitchens, our basements, and even our garages, and they will see and experience God at work. Is the Word of God so tightly bound to us?

The mezuzah becomes a way of promoting the placement of God's Word in our life. Do you have a group of people that you meet with regularly who can surround you with biblical encouragement? Do you have news feeds that help to promote the teachings of God? Are you listening to podcasts that bring you back to the word of God as you exercise? Do you have places where you go in your life that are filled with hymns and spiritual songs? This is the goal of marking your house and your life with mezuzah.

This week, make a search of your life to see if it lives and breathes the Word of God. As a church, let’s make it our goal to make the Word of God so alive in our houses, in our education, in our child-rearing, and in all we do so that the Word never departs from us. Stay tuned for further encouraging ideas that will help us keep the Bible front and center.

God bless you as you become more and more surrounded by Jesus’ teachings in your life.

Pastor Al

P.s.  How can we ever live this to the point of doing it well? Even the mention of having every aspect of your life swimming in the Word of God, gives more a nagging sense of guilt than a breath of relief. This is the point where we must daily see what is not perfect in our life and daily see our Savior who perfectly lived for us. He perfectly lived inside of the words of God so that he could perfectly reflect God’s Word in his carpentry, in his family time, in his interactions with childhood friends, in his goal-setting, and in all his activities. The Word of God was probably tacked to the doorpost of his own home—the mezuzah. But more importantly, the Word of God was solidly emblazoned on his heart, his mind, his hands, his feet; all of Jesus was reflective of the Word of God. He lived this so well that the writer of John calls him the Word of God made flesh. 

Now, remember that all he did becomes, by faith, your record in front of the Father. This is why the Father can look at you with love and say that with you, he is well pleased! Yes, we will keep on striving to be more and more like Jesus. But we also have the rock-solid assurance that the Father of all sees us daily through the lens of Jesus’ perfect record. You are dearly loved because of Jesus. You are eternally accepted into the family of God because of Jesus. Now let’s live out what we ARE!



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Good Newsletter - January 2021

 Our God is…Infinite

January 2021

“You are!”

“No, you are!”

“Yeah? Well, you are times a gazillion!”

Katie knew that gazillion was going to be tough to beat, but thinking hard she finally proclaimed: “Oh yeah? Well, you are … to infinity!”

His jaw dropped because Joey knew his sister had him beat. How could he compete with infinity?

Simply put, infinity means stretching on and on, without any end. When something is infinite it has no boundaries. It is unlimited and immeasurably great.

The Bible helps us understand the concept as it describes God. “‘Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).

There is only One who is everywhere, who always has been, who always will be, who had no beginning, and who will have no end. That is God.

God wants us to feel good about him being infinite.

As we begin a new year, it can be great to know that God is always with us.

Wherever the year takes us, God will be there too.

The comfort of God’s unending presence is ours through faith in his Son, Jesus. As the Apostle Paul says: “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).

God knows everything we think, everything we do, and most importantly, he knows everything we need. In fact, God already took care of our greatest need. He sent his infinite Son to be our Savior! Trust him.

Joey and Katie challenged each other with the concept of infinity. Come and visit us to learn more about the only one who can truly change your life so you have comfort that will last…to infinity!

Upcoming Events at St. John:

Worship Services: Sunday 11:30

Adult Bible Study: Sunday 10:30

Visit our website at stjohnev.net

For more information or to unsubscribe go to newsletter@stjohnev.net or call 651-771-6406


THANK YOU!

To all who helped put up and take down the Christmas decorations at St. John this year. It was great to see so many willing volunteers!

Jim Julian, Christian Life Committee

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

St. John School Lease

 On November 21, 2020, Pastor Moua, Mike Tholl, and Tony Wimmer met with 4 representatives from The Journey School (TJS) and Savior of the Nations (SON) ministries.  TJS is a public charter school located on Lexington Ave. in St Paul that was originally Central Lutheran School.  The SON ministry rents the facility to TJS and runs the before/after child care program.  The school board has WELS members Scott Gostchock (chairman) and Michelle Cambrice (director) and has other non-WELS members on it.  After a tour of our school, we discussed the possibility of starting a second Journey Charter school campus at St John.  A second meeting with them and our full council was held on Dec 1.

They are very impressed with our facility and would like to start leasing all the rooms of our school, music room, gym, playground, and open areas of our field starting in the fall of 2021.  This was changed to the fall of 2022 because they did not get the application to the Minnesota Department of Education in before the deadline, October 31.  They also want to use our kitchen and Fellowship Hall to serve hot lunches and breakfast.  They said they would still have to get approval from their school board, but they felt that it would very likely be approved if we want to lease it.  They are looking for a minimum 5-year lease with options to extend the lease beyond that time.  

We discussed the possibility of adding a before and after school care program.  SON ministries runs this program at it’s Lexington campus and would like to start one at St. John.  We also discussed the possibility of starting an Early Childhood learning center.  The Journey School opened in Sept 2019 and has over 100 students and has an Early Childhood Learning center (leased to Head Start).  While the Charter School is considered a public school and does not allow teaching the Word of God during school hours, the before/aftercare and ECL programs would allow it.  These are great opportunities to teach the Word of God to the children and improve our Evangelism Outreach in our area.  They said they would help start both of these programs and could provide teachers if needed.  St John and Immanuel Hmong could partner in these programs, but that would not be required. 

They have a skilled maintenance person on their board who helped them bring their Lexington Ave. Campus up to state code.  He is very knowledgeable about what would be needed to bring our facility up to code.  He has contacts with professionals who could do the things we are not capable of doing ourselves.  They said they could take care of any janitorial and maintenance needs.  An inspection of our facility was completed on Dec 15 and we are awaiting the results from that as to what upgrades would be required to meet state code and the cost.  They also said they would be willing to bring the kitchen up to MDH standards for the preparation of meals for their students and possibly others.

We asked about using the school classrooms for St John and Immanuel Hmong Sunday School programs and using the Kitchen and Fellowship Hall for funerals or other special events on weekdays.   Arrangements could be worked out so that we can do this.

They are willing to fund the cost of any upgrades with the understanding that we would give them a discount on the lease for the first couple of years until the cost for upgrades is recouped.  We are still awaiting the estimate for upgrades.

A Special Voter’s meeting was held on Dec 13 to approve the Council recommendation to enter into a Letter of Intent to rent to SON Ministries / The Journey School.  This motion was passed.

When a lease agreement is reached, another Voter’s meeting will be called to approve that.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Sweeter than honey. - A Note from Pastor Al



What was it like for your first day of school? I remember my first day of kindergarten with mom and dad watching me get onto a strange yellow bus. I didn’t know the bus driver; I did not know the 12 other 5-year-olds spread out in this large vehicle. What a shock it was to be away from my parents for half a day. I learned about designated areas to play, paint, and draw. I discovered supersized toys that I had never seen before but looked super cool. And I learned that there was a proper way to sit on the floor and listen to a storybook being read to you by the teacher. I remember my first day of school because of all that was new to me.The tradition of the Jews speaks about the Jewish practice for the very first day of a child’s education. The key elements were not toys and paints but were, instead, the very Words of God and honey. A young child was given a slate on which were written the Hebrew alphabet and two special verses of the Torah: Moses commanded us a law, as a possession for the assembly of Jacob. (Deuteronomy 33:4)The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. (Leviticus 1:1)The teacher would read these words to the student and each student would repeat them back. Then the slate was drizzled with honey and the child was allowed to lick the honey off the slate. As they consumed the honey they were reminded of Ezekiel’s words (Ezekiel 3:3): I ate it; and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.What an impression! Each child’s memory would be emblazoned with the sweetness of the Very Words of the Living God. Now each time someone would read to them from Scriptures, indelible memories would remind them that God’s wisdom is sweet. They would forever be able to indulge themselves on the sweetness of God’s insights for life. 
Each Word from the Living God is meant to cause excitement on the palette of every learner as we await its sweet end. Do we embrace each Word of God with that same thrill, that same desire, that same awe and wonder and sweetness? We can!How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103) God’s Words are sweet. As a disciple of Jesus, the question now becomes, “How are they sweet to me?” In Genesis, God speaks of marriage as one man and one woman. Then Genesis unravels several lives where that sweet instruction is ignored and chaos corrupts the family’s ability to be at peace and united. Proverbs scrolls through hundreds of wise sayings that provide sweet blessing to those who heed their advice. Leviticus outlines practical hygiene that exceeded medical insights by several thousand years. Leviticus also provides clearly thought-out cultural and human insights. One such dose of God’s wisdom creates welfare for the disadvantaged, which allows them the benefits of good and equitable labor. Those who benefit (Ruth for example) can be confident and not ashamed of charity because they not only receive it, they also work for it. Ingenious; God’s Words are sweet!When you open the Word of God today, ask God to reveal to you some of its sweetness. You may not find it at first read. You may not find it on your own. Part of the blessing of being a disciple is that you are not in this alone. God reveals the sweetness of the Scriptures through his Spirit—within you and through the community of believers—in discussion, in sharing insights, and in asking questions as a group. In the end, God’s goal is to bless us so that we are better equipped as disciples of Jesus, our Rabbi.
May God bless you as his sweetness is opened up for you this week.
Pastor Al

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

In Person Worship-Mt. Olive-January 3, 2021


If you were not able to worship in person on Sunday, the link below will provide you the link for

Mt. Olive worship service.

In Person Worship Link