Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A Note from Pastor Al-Water Quenching Flames

Romans 7:14-25

English Standard Version

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There’s an old legend about how to deal with criminals who have committed homicide. The suspected guilty party was literally tied hand to hand and foot to foot with the person whose life they had eliminated. This was meant as both a deterrent for future crimes and a punishment for the actual crime. When the apostle Paul describes his wrestling match with his own sinful desires in Romans 7, it sounds a lot like this ancient legend. He says (Romans 7:24)”Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Paul was relating something to the Roman Christians which felt like dragging around a corpse. Paul is letting us all know the very real wrestling match that he has going on in his life.  He carries the desire to do the right thing but also has a very strong desire to NOT do the right thing. This does not go away. 

 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (Romans 7:21-23)

This negative and sinful bent is tied to him while he remains on this earth; some days its hideous nature grows and some days it is pushed down. But it is always present. And this is the apostle Paul. If he has such struggles, then we can take confidence in the fact that our own private wrestling with good desires and unhealthy desires is a part of the fallen human condition in the Christian’s life. This is what every believer in Jesus faces. Just because we believe in Jesus does not mean that all impure thoughts and notions disappear; they may, at times, rise up as a deadly scourge to lure us away from holy resolve.

Paul laments this agony but then he points to Jesus as the one who rescues him. “ Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). Jesus is the answer!  Jesus is the power to daily rid our thoughts, our motives, and our actions from negative and deadly weight. Jesus brings us life out of death.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)

Dear Jesus, by your resurrection we have the power to walk in the newness of life. Let our Old self be drowned daily so that the new believer in us would rise and live for your glory. In your Holy name, we pray, AMEN.

In-Person Worship Link-June 27, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

Virtual Bible Study

Saturday Virtual Bible will return in the fall!

Pastor Al has a request

Hello dear members of St. John,

Pastor Al has a request from his Nigerian pastor associate, Daniel Mazuri. Daniel is in the process of working with our Synod, the WELS, for becoming a pastor in the WELS. This is a long process and we are just starting to  head down that road right now.

As we go forward to work with Daniel, one of the pressing needs he/we have is to find him a place to live for the next year (July 1, 2021 - June15th 2022.) If you or someone you know has a room in your home or apartment that you would be willing to share with Daniel for all those months or even part of that time, please let Pastor Al (651-202-1924), Jan or Tony know about this. Thank you so much for considering this.

Above all, we ask for your prayers on this undertaking. There will be many hoops to jump through and "i's" to dot, "t's" to cross, etc. Your prayers for the saints, including our brother in faith, Daniel, are greatly appreciated!

Blessings to you all!

Pastor Al

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

TILM - "Truth in Love Ministry" - How St. John is helping.


Pastor Jon Leach leads an Outreach Ministry called “Truth in Love”.  The purpose of this ministry is to bring the truth about our Savior to Mormons in Idaho and Utah.  They are based in Idaho and do not receive any funding from the WELS for this ministry work. Last week we received a letter from Pastor Leach asking if we would be willing to support this Outreach Ministry.

The council met last week and decided to send them $500 from our budget offerings.  If you would like to add to that amount, please make a check out to St John and enclose it in one of the special offering envelopes marking it as “Truth in Love Ministries”.  A copy of Pastor Leach’s letter is on the table as you enter.  We would like to send them our gift by the end of June.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Pastor Al on Vacation

Pastor Al will be on vacation on the following dates. On-call pastors can be found below.  

  • Sun, June 20 (following worship) - Fri, July 9
    • June 21-30: Pastor Matt Hennig (Christ NSP) - 651.249.1617
    • July 1-9: Max Kerr (pastor-in-training) - 507.304.3999
  • Mon, July 12 - Mon, July 19 
    • July 12-19: Jon Brohn (Salem Stillwater) - 651.246.6856 (personal) & 651.439.7831 (work)

Encouragement from Pastor Al

 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. // Psalm 130:4

Voters Meeting June 27th, 2021

A Semi-annual Voters meeting will be held on June 27, at 9:45 AM, in the Fellowship Hall. We will present the budget to our members for approval.

St. John Mask Requirement Update

Masks are no longer required at St John but are optional. If you have not been vaccinated we encourage you to continue to wear a mask for your safety. Anyone not yet comfortable de-masking is also welcome to continue wearing one.

A Note From Pastor Al - Shield of Faith

Pastor’s Note

Ephesians 6:15 take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.

Anyone feel like they are in a battle? Do you ever feel like that battle is rather lengthy - maybe fighting for years on end? The apostle Paul encourages us with the truth that we are in a lifelong battle against the forces of Satan. We are being attacked daily if not even by the minute.

Ephesians 6:15 encourages us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”

Who is the evil one? What are his arrows? And what is the shield of faith? How is it that we take up this shield?

Who is this spiritual evil?
The evil one is your enemy. You see this in the illustration because Paul is talking about battle armor. There is a battle and you have an enemy. This means that your whole life whether or not you know you are in a battle, you are in a battle. And your faith is being constantly attacked by this enemy. Who is it?

The enemy is Satan. But he does not [often] come out and display himself as the enemy. He’s hidden, he’s subversive, he’s duplicitous, he takes on many disguises including friend and counselor. But he is never a friend. And he is never a good counselor.

We see his scheming with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He creates a deceptive web disguised as friendship. This extremely intelligent being feigns interest in these two children of God. He pokes at God’s generosity and providential garden. His scheming sounds like this, ”Why does God prohibit you from having that one thing? Why does he keep this from you? Wouldn’t you be more complete if this was yours?” All this was used to make a pretense that he actually cared about Adam and Eve.  

This enemy will also appear as your friend and counselor, your compatriot and ally, until just the right time when he can pounce to devour,  steal, kill and destroy. Why?Because he’s your enemy and this is a war.

What are his arrows?
In this war, what are the arrows of the evil one? How does he attack your faith? He attacks us with deception and drives us to believe things to be true that are not true. Satan is biblically known to be a liar.

He shoots flaming darts of doubt which cause us to question God’s promises and God’s holy and good character. Satan loves to build doubt out of small seeds planted in our thinking.

Satan lures us toward disappointment when we put more weight on human performance than on God’s perfect record and find that we can’t always trust humanity. This happens when significant leaders fall under moral pressures. 

Our evil enemy is also a master of diversion. This happens when a godly focus on the right things gets sidetracked toward what is, on the surface, a seemingly good thing but it takes us away from the right things. Some would point to the degrading of the nuclear family by a system that promotes single parent families over biblically sound families.

Defeat is another tactic by the evil one. He wants you to think that you are defeated. He often pushes this notion when you have failed at a certain task or fallen prey to temptation. He wants you to identify with your failure instead of remembering that you are a child of God.

It Satan can’t prevent you from doing the right thing, he may seek to delay a project or put off a kingdom endeavor. If he can delay you long enough, then defeat may also prevent you from acting appropriately.

Division is a scheme that Satan is using with ferocity today. If he can divide a nation into this side and that. If he can create tension or extreme animosity between people groups, he is winning a battle. It’s no wonder Jesus prayed that we may be one or unified instead of divided. Creating human divisions, especially ones that come with anger and hatred and fear, are part of his arsenal and strategy.

What is the Shield of Faith?
The shield of faith is a shield based on trust in God’s promises, God’s forgiveness, God’s directions, God’s family and church structure, God’s purposes for humanity and ultimately on God’s desire for all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Do we trust what God says or do we form our own path in life? Do we live by faith or do we live by what the crowd is saying? Do we trust God or do we put more trust in science, current trends, marketing schemes, popular appeal? The shield of faith calls us to trust and to know what God says about the family, the church, the future, the kingdom, the human heart and so much more. Do we trust?

When we trust what God says, then we are putting out the flaming arrows of the evil one. May God lead us to trust him more and more. We trust him for salvation, why wouldn’t we put our trust in him with finances, with serving others, with making disciples? Take up the shield of faith.

Blessings to you all.

SCLA Golf Classic!


Get your tickets for the
St. Croix Lutheran Academy Golf Classic!
Monday, July 19, 2021
Troy Burne Golf Club
Hudson, WI
Online registration now open!
Want to sponsor a hole? Contact us at Advancement@StCroixLutheran.org
Purchase Tickets
Registration Includes:
18 holes of golf (scramble) with two golfers per cart
Sandwich boxed lunch from Blue Ox Sandwich Factory
Burger dinner by Troy Burne catering in the clubhouse
On-course contests & prizes
1 beverage
Schedule of Events:
10:45 a.m. Check-in, open driving range and putting green, putting contest. Boxed lunch provided.
11:45 a.m. Welcome, move to starting tee
12:00 p.m. Shotgun start (scramble)
5:00 p.m. Clubhouse dinner and awards
proceeds benefit SCLA students through tuition scholarships, academic programs, fine arts, athletics, and more.
The event is limited to 144 golfers, so register now!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

In Person Worship via YouTube-May 30, 2021- link

 In Person Worship-May 30,2021

A Note From Pastor Al link - Ark of Salvation

A Note from Pastor Al 

Encouragement from Pastor Al

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. // Hebrews 9:28

Reminder - Congregational Open Forum - June 6th following worship

 Notice of Congregational Open Forum on June 6th

Please make every effort to attend

As the next step of the Mission / Vision Setting phase in our Crossroads Consulting program,
you are encouraged to join the upcoming open forum discussion on Sunday, June 6th at
9:45AM following the worship service in the Fellowship Hall.
The forum will explore the second option determined in phase two of the Crossroads Consulting
Program: Stay and, with the help of a partner, pursue a future together.
Specifically, we will explore a potential merger of Immanuel Hmong Lutheran Church and St.
John Ev. Lutheran Church. In February, the senior leadership of both congregations met to
discuss a potential merger. It was agreed there that both congregations would carry this idea to
their respective members for feedback. Immanuel Hmong has done this and returned positive
feedback to the idea, so now it is our turn to further explore this idea among the St. John
The open forum is set for Sunday, June 6 at 9:45AM following the worship service to discuss
what a potential merger might look like and to gather your thoughts and questions going
• How does this happen?
• When would this happen?
• Would we still call a pastor?
• What would the name of the congregation be?
• Will this strengthen outreach programs?
• Would this bring additional souls to God’s Kingdom?
• Would this strengthen our presence in the community?
• How can I help?
• Along with any other questions you may present.
This is simply a conversation to develop additional questions as well as work to provide
answers to the congregation. No official votes will take place during the forum.
Your input is vital to the future of St. John, we need as much feedback as possible, and
sincerely encourage your participation in whatever form is most comfortable for you.
If you are unable to attend, we still very much welcome your comments to Vice President, Jeff
Abrahamson at jeffreyaabrahamson@gmail.com or 612-616-9050. If you prefer to mail written
comments, please send them to the church office: 765 Margaret St., Saint Paul, MN 55106
Additionally, if you feel more comfortable speaking with another member of the Council, please
reach out to them.
We, the Council, look forward to hearing from you and/or seeing you on Sunday, June 6th