Thursday, October 28, 2021

SCLA Upcoming Events

 Children's Theatre Presents "Happily Ever After"
Sat, Oct. 30
Shows at 2:00 and 7:00

High School Fall Concert
Sun, Nov. 7
4:30-6:00 Chili and Pie Social
6:30 Concert

A Taste of Financial Planning
Mon, Nov. 8

Fall Showcase for Prospective Families
Tues, Nov. 9

Veterans Day Tribute
Thurs, Nov. 11
Online only.

WELS National Choral Festival
Fri, Nov. 12  Pops Concert at 7:00
Sun, Nov. 14  Sacred Concert at 2:00

Festival of Seasons Craft Boutique
Sat, Nov. 13

Give to the Max Day
Thurs, Nov. 18

Mattress Sale Fundraiser
Sat, Nov. 20

New Bible Study Series Begins

By popular request, we will begin a study of the Book of Revelation on November 7. If you have shied away from it, this is a great opportunity to explore it together, learn its important truths for the age in which we live, and receive its encouragement. Class begins 15 minutes after services.

Virtual Event - "Unlocking the Bible"

Join Pastor Colin Smith for "exciting stories of impact" at Unlocking the Bible. This free virtual event is on Thursday, November 4 @ 7pm.  Register here.

A Note From Pastor Al - Link - Guaranteed

A Note From Pastor Al 

Trunk or Treat at Mt. Olive

 "Trunk or Treat" Event at Mt. Olive

We're in need of volunteers to decorate your car and hand out candy.  
This is a really fun volunteer opportunity! Show off your creativity!
Can't make it but still want to help? You can donate candy!
Please contact

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2021 AT 1 PM – 3 PM
*Lunch provided to volunteers at 12:00 while we decorate 

Encouragement From Pastor Al

 For, "All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”// 1 Peter 1:24-25

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Worship-Sunday, October 17, 2021-Link

   Worship-Link-October 17, 2021 

Special Voter's Meeting Reminder

There will be a Special Voter's meeting this Sunday, 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.

Encouragement from Pastor Al

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 
// Psalm 51:12

Note from Pastor Al

 “You don’t know what you are asking!”

James and John had a simple question for Jesus but they prefaced that question with, what seems to me, a childish or sneaky caveat: “ do for us whatever we ask of you.” Thankfully Jesus has an appreciation for where they are driving and he perceives the limits of such a query. Here is the text in reference from Mark 10:35-37 “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ 36 And he said to them, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ 37 And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’

Jesus grapples with their request and applies wise counsel to the full picture of what they were prying into. “Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking.’ ”Mark 10:38.

Their request was a measured and calculated grab for position and power. They were assuming some princely position for Jesus would give them a chance to be right next to him and share the prestige. They were hoping to secure two positions of honor in the conquering King’s court. This is no small request. 

But what James and John did not know is that Jesus’ glory starts in a much more solemn and horrific display. Jesus, in glory, first involves the wrestling match between love for humanity and justice for humanity’s sins. Jesus, in glory, does not begin and end on a throne but on the cross.

In John 17, Jesus alludes to this as he is about to enter the most torturous hours of his life, culminating in the gruesome and nightmarish Roman prescribed death for the worst of criminals: the cross.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.’ ” John 17:1-2.

By asking Jesus for a place next to him in his glory, they were asking to suffer alongside him on Calvary.  “Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?’ ” (Mark 10:38) The cup that Jesus is about to drink is the cup of God’s wrath which would have been poured out on the world’s sinners, but God’s love is determined to let justice rain down on a different victim, a sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus.

This is the place where Jesus' glory and God’s glory really shines: the cross. Why is it that God looks especially radiant and amazing (glory) when we view the tattered and bloodied cross? Because the cross is the place where God brings the necessary penalty, the wages of our sin. And the cross is the place where God, in an extreme amount of suffering, displays an unfathomable love for you and I. Love and justice meet at the cross. That is glory. The cross is God’s eternal glory. 

Imagine taking only God’s justice. This is the place where God would have had humanity punished and that would have satisfied his Holy, right justice. But that same justice would have shattered his love. Yet if He gratified his love for us and ignored justice, that would not make him holy. That would contradict his pure standards and right behavior.

The cross is amazing because it accomplishes both - love and justice. Jesus, true God, will display amazing pain and impeccable justice while loving each man, woman and child he created. That is his glory: his agony.

Hebrews 12 sums it up well and points to his ability to experience such horrific distress and torment: “[Jesus,] for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:2). He focused on what this glorious display of love and justice would accomplish: it would bring us to him. We become his joy. We were the joy set before him that kept him zeroed in on the painful cross. He had everything else except us UNTIL he displayed the glory of his love and justice on the cross. Now we are his! Glory to Jesus. 


Lord Jesus,

Seat us wherever you like. We are simply amazed at your display of love and justice. We are happy to have the right to sit at your table in glorious eternity forever and ever. May each day we live, allow us to focus on the glory of your love and your justice. May the cross remind us that we are still here on this earth to point the world to this astounding and glorious mix of Your love and Your justice. Bless our words, our thoughts, our actions so that we give you glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Good Newsletter October 2021

SCLA Mattress Fundraiser

 Spread the Word:

Mattress Fundraiser at SCLA

St. Croix Lutheran Academy is gearing up for our 1st Annual Mattress Sale Fundraiser on Saturday, November 20, from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

This is a great opportunity to raise a lot of funds without having to ask school parents and students to sell anything. Many schools have raised $5,000-$10,000+ with this fundraiser in one day, and students can raise several hundred dollars individually toward scholarships.

Here's how it works:

Approximately 10% of people shop for a mattress each year. Our goal is to get the word out about the SCLA mattress fundraiser to as many people as possible, through our parents, association congregations, and supporters, to bring shoppers to SCLA on Nov. 20. We will have most brand-name mattresses on site, set up in the choir room like a mattress showroom. SCLA gets a share of the proceeds, along with any ministries that refer mattress buyers to SCLA.

Spread the word to maximize our results and raise the most money for our school tuition scholarships!

Hop on the Zoom Call, Raise $5!

As part of SCLA's requirements for hosting this mattress fundraiser, we will be holding a Zoom meeting to share more details, and SCLA will raise $5 per attendee! The Zoom meeting is in-person at SCLA and online on Monday, October 25at 6:30 p.m. Our goal is 100+ attendees! If you have or are a student, we ask that you please attend this meeting, and all are welcome to hop on the Zoom call. We look forward to seeing everyone!

Join Zoom Meeting Oct. 25 at 6:30

Meeting ID: 815 7345 6379

Passcode: 647194

Trunk -N- Treat Invitation

Immanuel Hmong has invited St. John families to join them, Sunday, October 31st, from 3:00-4:30 pm.,
for their first Trunk -N- Treat. Kids can go car to car for treats and if you like, you can have your car as a trunk full of treats yourself to hand out. Any questions Pastor Moua has the details.

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
















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


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. 


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. 


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.


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

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