Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Service Time Change Correction

 The earlier blog on the time change did not include the date. The time change will take place starting Sunday, July 10th. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

St. John Service Time Change

 


It was decided at the Voter's Meeting on June 26 to move our
Sunday Worship time to 9:30 am with Bible Study to follow.
Please join us!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

A Look at Pastor Otto's Intallation



                                                          



      

                                                                                                      

                                                                

SCLA Ade Murkey Basketball Camp



 July 18-20, 2022
Grades K-12
 
There are still limited openings for girls and boys at the Ade Murkey Basketball Camps July 18-20. Learn more and sign up at StCroixLutheran.org/AdeMurkeyBasketball.
Campers receive guidance from Ade and other professional athletes to learn the importance of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance for achieving their goals.
 
Girls and Boys K-3: July 18, 2022 9:00-10:30 a.m. $65 
Girls and Boys 4-8: July 19-20, 2022 9:00-11:00 a.m. $110 
Girls and Boys 9-12: July 19-20, 2022 12:00-3:00 p.m. $125
 
Players will be put through drills like ball handling and learn elite-level game play.
Each camp will include a t-shirt and autograph opportunities. No experience needed.
 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Pastor Otto's Installation Service

 


Please join us Sunday, June 19th, at 4:00 pm, 
for Pastor Otto's Installation Service.
Stay to welcome the Otto Family with dinner following the service. 
There will be no 8:30 am worship service. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Summary Reports from the Council Meeting

Elder's Report

  • We have the software for the new hymnal and will continue to print the service and will not be purchasing actual hymnals. Members are welcome to purchase and bring their own.
  • A number of pastors are available to relieve Pastor Otto of preaching and other responsibilities as needed. Pastor Otto will make contacts. We still plan to call a part-time pastor for this purpose.
  • The council discussed setting up a volunteer homebound visitation team such as we had in the past.
  • CLUES will be using our outdoor areas on September 10 for their Fiesta Latina.
  • Our Revelation Bible study will be put on hold beginning July 10 so that Pastor Otto can lead us in a discussion of cross-cultural ministry after services. All are urged to take in these brief studies as we venture into this new ministry!
  • A proposed budget was adopted to be presented at next week's voters' meeting. Financial information is available in the narthex.
  • A trustees report is also available in the narthex.
  • We enjoyed having Pastor Al at one more meeting to share insights he gained while so lovingly and faithfully serving us the past year and a half.
  • Pastor Otto's present phone number is 702-969-7911.

Trustee Report

The following topics were presented and discussed at the June Council meeting. For specific questions contact a Council member:
· The Boehlke’s moved from the parsonage to the Elmhurst Cemetery house.
· The sidewalk & retaining wall steps were replaced due to deterioration at the parsonage house by Absolute Concrete. Cost $7,900.
· Trustees & volunteers spread 2.5 yards of black dirt around the new sidewalk and other areas at the parsonage yard.
· Pastor Otto & family arrived June 10th and were moved into the parsonage on June 11th with the help of many volunteers & 3 temporary laborers for the heavy items.
· A new 60V battery powered Toro blower was purchased for use on the campus.
· Trustees & Council are reviewing 2 proposals for installation of security cameras and recording device for the campus. Estimated costs are between $12-$14,000.
· A proposal to install additional electrical outlets in the narthex & link is pending approval. Stern Electric submitted a proposal of about $3,000.
· Council is considering replacing the existing church sign with a digital display.
· Privacy & safety fencing is being discussed around the rear yard and retaining wall at the parsonage. There is no safety fence at the top of the retaining wall.
· Deteriorating cement block on the column between the garage doors at the parsonage will be repaired. Cost is $700.
· A new gutter and single downspout will be rplaced on the east roof of the parsonage. Cost is $760.
· Council has approved a plan to remove 1-2 pews at the front of church to provide more room for Immanuel Hmong's musical equipment and Pastor movement.
· Balcony carpeting still needs to be removed along with a pew. The organ facing has been painted flat black.
· We will no longer recycle large quantities of aluminum cans in barrels in the garage. This was a school athletic fund raiser. If you want a large blue barrel, just ask.
· The chimney at the parsoange & a brick column at the rear of the gym have a lot of brick loss due to ice & water that must be repaired. Trustees will seek bids.
· A new riding mower is needed to replace 1 failed unit & the old Yardman.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Good Newsletter - June 2022

 



June 2022

     Does prayer really make a difference?

“I must not be asking God for the right things.”
 
“If only I could concentrate better when I pray.”
 
“Maybe God is not really listening after all.”
 
If these are thoughts that ever cross your mind or settle in your heart, then maybe you are asking the question, “Does prayer really work?” Maybe you have been praying for a long time and have not received the answer you wanted or felt that there hasn’t been any change.
 
Well, there is good news. Prayer really does make a difference. There are two reasons for this. First, prayer does not depend on us. If answers to our prayers depended on us, we would never have our prayers answered, because as sinful people God would not listen to us. That might hurt our feelings, but it is the truth.
 
That leads to the subsequent reason why prayer makes a difference. It depends upon God. In the Bible, we read this little prayer, “Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief” (Psalm 143:1). The person who spoke this prayer recognized that it was God’s faithfulness on which the answer to his request depended.
 
God’s faithfulness was demonstrated when he kept his promise to send us Jesus. In saving love, Jesus died to pay for our sins that had separated us from God and had closed his ears to our prayers. Jesus’ perfect sacrifice opens the way to God and gives believers in Jesus the gracious promise that their prayers are heard and answered.
 
If you are struggling with prayer—if you don’t know what to pray for, or how to pray—worship with us to hear more about your Savior, Jesus, and the difference he makes for your prayers. Because of Jesus, prayer really does work. We have his Word on it.
 
Upcoming Events at St John
Worship Service:  Sunday at 8:30 AM
Adult Bible Study:  Sunday at 9:45 AM
Visit our website at stjohnev.net
Call us at 651-771-6406

Monday, June 13, 2022

Voter’s Meeting.

Semi-annual Voters meeting will be held on Sunday, June  26th, at 9:45 AM, in the Fellowship Hall. The budget for the next year will be presented.  All members should plan on attending. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Join Us for Worship - Trinity Sunday

 


Please join us for Worship, this Trinity Sunday, June 12, 2022, at 8:30 am.

Fellowship in the link follows.

Adult Bible Study continues at 9:45 am. 


Note from Pastor

 Luke 6:43-45

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.


What determines a person’s actions, words, attitude, etc.? How can we be better behaving Christians? How can our family relationships and our work ethic better match God’s desire for us? It comes down to what is in your heart?


THis week, as a congregation, we’ve been reading through the first chapters of the book of Luke. I hope that you have enjoyed this endeavor and, you can be reassured that God will accomplish good with every verse you plant in your heart. Isaiah 55 promises that God will accomplish his purposes through His Word being read and heard and pondered:


“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

    and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

    it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11 


That verse correlates with the passage above from Luke 6. There is good treasure and evil treasure. Put God’s Word in your heart and there will be good treasure from which to have good words, good thoughts, good actions, good attitudes, and good desires. BUt, as might be all too common today, fill up your heart with Not-so-righteous words, music, videos, thoughts, your actions and words will go quickly south; and that is not a good thing. 


So my encouragement to you this week is to filter out the bad things that can enter your heart. Consider what enters your eyes, your ears, your thoughts. What kind of music are you listening to? Is that book you are reading God-pleasing? Would you feel ashamed or proud of the movies you watch as a couple or as a family? Does the content fit godly desires or does it push the envelope toward raucous? What we fill our hearts with determines our actions, attitudes and words.


Let’s see how filling our hearts with the Word of God can make a difference -  the pure and holy Word of God. Blessings as you fill up with the Powerful Word of God!



Thursday, June 2, 2022

Join Us for Worship Pentecost Sunday

 


Please join us for Worship, this Pentecost Sunday, June 5th, at 8:30 am.
Seminarian Max Kerr will be leading us in Worship. 
Fellowship in the link following our service.
Adult Bible Study follows at 9:45 am

SCLA Golf Classic

 

Golf Classic

Monday, July 18, 2022

Troy Burne Golf Club, Hudson, WI

Registration is open!  Space is limited to 144 golfers, so sign up today!

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE

Want to sponsor a hole?

Email advancement@StCroixLutheran.org.

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)
5:30 p.m. Clubhouse dinner and awards

All proceeds benefit SCLA students through tuition scholarships, academic programs, fine arts, athletics, and more.

Thank you for partnering with us in this important ministry to youth!

Note from Pastor Al

 The Name above all Names


Remember the message from this last Sunday: The size of your “Alleluia” determines your ability to adapt and sacrifice and cope. If God is small to us, our willingness to live for Him will be small. It is those individuals who have met the living God, with his Holy and Perfect nature, who are most empowered to live large and even give up BIG things in life just because God is amazing and awe-inspiring to them. They are the ones who care more about the Holiness of God and the integrity of His people. They will sweat and labor even though it is dusty and difficult. They will strive and be faithful even when all others fall away from the cause. They stick to it - not out of pride or work ethic - they stick to it because they have sensed the holiness of God and they are truly in awe of Him; God has become LARGE in their Alleluias. The bigger your God, the more willing you are to sacrifice anything for Him.


Would you release control over your reputation, your comfort, your desire for a specific direction in life? Would you give up your cup of coffee, your coat, your children, your life?  None of this matters as much as knowing the true God in his holiness and in his mercy and grace.


How big is your God? Do you know the bigness of God? And do you know how this massive, Holy God has placed significant worth on your soul?


At the Tower of Babel, God had become very small in the eyes of humanity. He was maybe even non-existent to them. They wanted, they craved, they strove instead to make a name for themselves. They sought to create their own worth. Could it be that our human worth, how we sense our importance of lack of it, becomes the basis for all we do? That seems to be what was brewing at the Tower of Babel. We, as personal beings, want to be known and loved. We want to be great. We want to remain untarnished in how others see us. We fight to make a name for ourselves.


I know how this works in my own heart: I’m in conversation with someone and they bring up something that I recently “did wrong.” My heart swells up and jumps into defense mode or makes a sweeping explanation of why my actions were appropriate at the time. Then there are days I would rather place myself in the judgment seat to take the reins and steer this judgment away from my guilt so that my pride can be assuaged. I want to find fault in what they have done instead. Because i fear that my name would become less in their eyes, anyone’s eyes. In other words, I don’t like being wrong because that makes my name, my worth, seem small. I will do everything in my power to prove that my “wrongness” is justified, minimized, misunderstood, etc. I want to prop up my name at all costs. Why can’t I just humble myself and be wrong? Because I want so desperately to retain some semblance of a name for myself. This is one of the mistakes that occurred at the Tower of Babel.

The holy Word of God speaks to all of us when it says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)


I don’t want to be humbled. But because of that very strong part of myself, I find the paradox to be  true; I will not be exalted. The exalted names of the Tower of Babel soon walked away from that tower, with their proverbial tails between their legs. They were humbled.  And there is probably a ziggurat in Mesopotamia today that is either a copy of the Tower of Babel or a literal remnant of that attempt to lift up the name of humanity (humanism). Where is our world today? Or to be more personal, where is my heart today?


I’m still in need of a good name. But I’m daily chopping my name and reputation down to smithering, smouldering remains. Sin has that impact on all of us - it sets our reputation of ablaze. I’ve broken relationships - and there goes my name, broken with it. I’ve stolen success and I can’t maintain an image of greatness. I’ve squandered time and my name gets chipped and tarnished. Is there a solution to my broken name?


Two verses from Holy Scriptures (and there are many others as well) give us hope:


I am convinced of this very thing: that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).


. . . I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, which no one will know except the one who receives it  (Revelation 2:17).


Sin breaks our ability to retain a good name. Jesus begins a good work in us by faith and will continue that work to the point of absolute perfection. We have been given a new name that signifies our place in the family of God, loved by the Father and possessing a permanently fixed reputation based on the Son of God, our Savior. He has redeemed our reputation, our name!







Friday, May 27, 2022

SCLA Job Openings

Full-Time Accounting ManagerSCLA is seeking a full-time Accounting Manager. To apply, contact Glenn Will at (651) 455-1521 or GWill@StCroixLutheran.org. Read more and apply at StCroixLutheran.org/jobs.

NEW - Full-Time Manager of Alumni Relations SCLA is seeking an individual responsible for promoting engagement and building deep relationships with SCLA and its alumni. This person actively connects families to the St. Croix ministry and shares opportunities to support it. The ideal candidate is a reliable professional with demonstrated organizational skills, ability to work with details, and a commitment to accuracy. To apply, contact Glenn Will at (651) 455-1521 or GWill@StCroixLutheran.org. Read more and apply at StCroixLutheran.org/jobs.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Join Us for Worship

 


Please join us for worship this 7th Sunday of Easter, May 29, 2022, at 8:30 am.

Pastor Al's message is from Psalm 8. 

Fellowship in the link following worship.

Bible Study at 9:45 am


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Note from Pastor Al

 The taking of human life is horrible. We have to say it. With the horrible murder of 19+ individuals in Uvalde, Texas, It is incredibly important to seek God’s guidance and insight into the problem of evil, how we approach this evil as individuals and as a nation, how do we get through this to reduce such evil in the future with God’s help? We are looking for the source of this evil, the control of this evil and the solution to this evil.


Source of evil

Our culture has many approaches to this issue. Some have worked and others have not; the majority fall somewhere in between. How can we, as the people of God, governed by the Word and will of God, encouraged by the presence of God, seek God‘s advice in a situation like this? Very simply, we go back to the Word of God and discover God‘s holy, perfect and wise insight on the topic of sin, evil and wicked behavior. We need to know what it is that leads to murder (source) and then also learn how we can avoid it (control and solution). Let’s begin with the very first murder that ever occurred in this world: Cain kills Abel.


Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

(Genesis 4:1-5 NIV)


Adam and Eve, after they were kicked out of the garden, followed God‘s direction to fill the earth by having two of their own children, Cain and Abel. There apparently was a rivalry between the oldest, Cain, and the youngest, Abel. The rivalry seems to be more on the shoulders of Cain than his brother because God comes close to Cain and seeks to help him with the sin that is brewing inside of his heart.


6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”(Genesis 4:6-7 NIV)


Here is where we can see the beginnings of murder - the source. I was not happy with one particular headline in a newspaper article this week: “Gun violence has killed more children and destroyed another community.” The reason I’m not comfortable with this headline is that it does not point to the source of evil: the human heart. We cannot blame inanimate objects like knives and guns and bombs for the murder perpetrated by humans and stemming from the human heart! If that were the case, then the Waukesha parade murders would lead us to ban SUV’s and other vehicles. God addressed the root cause. God took Cain back to his own sin, growing and brewing in his heart but not yet reaching the capacity of murder. That infantile sin would soon sprout and grow into the world’s first murder. So God initiates a solution and asks Cain questions.


Asking questions is excellent and wise step because it engages the frontal lobe of our brain. Asking questions addresses something that we all need to do; that is, we need to examine the consequences of our action or lack of action. Spinalchord.com records it this way: “The frontal lobe is the home of much of what makes us human. It plays a role in everything from movement to intelligence, helps us anticipate the consequences of our actions, and aids in the planning of future actions.” God wanted Cain to see where his current emotions were leading him. “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:6-7). 


Then we see God pointing Cain and all of us, to our role in the growth of sin: “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”(Genesis 4:7 NIV) We must learn to rule over the sin that crouches in our very soul. Sin is crouching in us. Are we allowing it to take control? In what area of our life are we allowing it to control us? In our anger, in our pride, in lust, in selfish miserly living, in disdain for others, etc.? Or are we, with God’s help, mastering this sin (and any sin)? The minor sin of pilfering will grow to petty larceny and eventually to an act of felony. The sin of hate and anger leads Cain to murder.


The Book of James tells us how this works also.


When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15 NIV)


The origin is inside the person - “their own evil desire”. This is within the person. It is not the gun in their hand or the ax, the stone, the sling, the rope or any other violent tool of aggression. Since the issue is in the human heart, the solution must take the person’s heart (soul) into account.


Controlling Evil

Genesis 9 and Romans 13 provide the control factor. First, let’s look at Genesis 9. 


And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” (Genesis 9:5-6).


God invokes corporal punishment as the means to control the outbreak of sin. This is a deterrent that stems from self-preservation in the sinner.  If you value your life, then such “accounting” for the life of another will cautiously lead you away from murder because of the threat of equal and just punishment. You don’t want to be killed. The heart is not changed but the crime is deterred or prevented in many cases. This is extreme, especially in our modern American setting. But this is not me speaking about a deterrent, this is God.


He also says this in Romans 13.


The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1-4 NIV)


The government (the rulers) are God’s servants to be “agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4 NIV). If anyone commits murder, or a felony, even larsony, the government is there to be an agent of wrath - bearing the sword and bringing punishment. There is to be a chastisement fitting of the crime for the sake of preventing crime. This is not a complete fix because some are so driven by sin that even the threat of punishment will not hold them back. But it is, as God described, a deterrent.


Solution to the problem of evil

The second way to prohibit events like murder and theft comes from a deeper and more permanent solution: repentance. Since the source of evil is in the human heart, deterrents like capital punishment can only slow down the fiery soul. The human heart will still brew and stew with vengeance, one day breaking out in the most vile manner.  Even the harshest of punishments do not reform the heart of a man or woman bent on evil.


Since the source of the evil is in the human heart, this is the place where we must go to find a solution to this human perpetrated evil. President Biden wants to have an impact on this carnage. So does God. Here is God’s solution.


If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)  


As individuals and as a nation, we are to humble ourselves and see our own selfish, ungodly desires. Then, after humbling, we are to be led to seeking God’s face and turning from wickedness by His mercy and grace. God’s promise to those who humble themselves, seek his face and turn (repent means turn around) from evil is that He will forgive their sins and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14). The fix to the issue is the cleansing of the human heart. This is not just for the murderer. This is for all of us. Jesus even punches this point (Matthew 5:21-22) higher by saying that anyone, ANYONE, who has ever had a hateful thought or word toward another is guilty of murder. The apostle John also emphasizes that point: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” (1 John 3:15).


If this article, which I quoted earlier, would have simply said, “Another evil-hearted human has killed 19 people in Uvalde, Texas,” then such a headline would line up more correctly to God’s perfect diagnosis. God’s insight into the source of murder comes from seeing the evil in the human heart and addressing it with truth (“this is evil”) and with forgiveness when the person is humbled. Let us all be on our knees, in humility, confessing our many sins and the sins of this nation so that forgiveness and charity reign in our hearts instead strife, anger, lust, greed, disdain, laziness or even murder.


And don’t forget from where that forgiveness comes. An innocent man had to hang, bleed and die the most horrific form of capital punishment in order to satisfy the justice of our holy God. Jesus is that man and our salvation and forgiveness was accomplished in that one very selfless, painful act. Thank you Jesus, for taking my punishment! Thank you, Jesus, for bearing the cross I should have borne. Thank you, Jesus, for delivering us from the dominion of darkest evil so that we could live forever in Your kingdom of Light!


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Service June 19th

On Sunday, June 19, you are invited to attend the four o'clock worship and installation service of Pastor Timothy Otto. The eight-thirty am service is cancelled. We do not have a pastor for that Sunday, so we are hoping for a large attendance at the afternoon service. It will be a wonderful opportunity for us to publicly thank our gracious God for seeing us through a three-and-a-half year vacancy and providing us with a new pastor and a new ministry.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Thank You Pastor Al

This coming Sunday will be Pastor Al's last Sunday at St. John after serving us so faithfully and lovingly over the past year and a half. To show our appreciation, we want to provide you with an opportunity to help demonstrate our appreciation for the blessings received through his efforts on our behalf. You may bring cards of thanks to church next Sunday - include a monetary gift if you wish - and place it in the box that will be provided in the narthex. Words of thanks and appreciation, of course, are always a nice touch.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Join Us For Worship!

 


Please join us for Worship, Sunday, May 22nd, at 8:30 am.
Pastor Al's message will be from Acts 14.

Fellowship in the Link following our service.

Stay for Bible Study at 9:45 am.

Everyone is welcome!

Ascension Service-Thursday, May 26th

The four great festivals of the church year include Christmas, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. Sadly the latter two have fallen from the radar of many. All celebrate the life and victory won by Jesus for us. Because Ascension falls on a Thursday (40 days after Easter) it is easily forgotten. Yet it is as important to our lives as Christians as Christmas and Easter. Ascension focuses our attention upward - toward heaven and our eternal home. It reminds us that Jesus will return to take us there. We need Ascension to help us from being distracted by the less important things of this world and this life. On Ascension Day (May 26 we are invited to a special service celebrating Jesus' Ascension and rule where he intercedes for us at God's right hand. The service is at 6:30 at Crown of Life, West St. Paulat 115 Crusader Ave W.

Pastor's Note

 “Thank you!” 

How many times a day do you say thank you? “Thank you” for the person who lets you go in front of them because you only have a couple of groceries and their cart is packed full. “Thank you” to the person who opens the door for you and shows kindness to your gender. “Thank you” for a firm recognition of a job well done.


Hopefully “thank you” will remain on our lips as a way to express gratitude for people’s gracious behavior. But what if you say “thank you” to the wrong person? How much harm could really come from a misdirected “thanks”?


In the case of Paul and Barnabas, this misdirection could allow an eternal distraction, preventing people from seeing the gracious behavior of the One True God, Jesus Christ.


Here is our text:


 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. (Acts 4:8-13)


This incident of divine healing almost takes a very negative turn. Why? Because the people of this region knew of an ancient legend (myth) of Zeus and Hermes coming down to earth in human form, only to be ignored and uncared for. According to the myth, only one elderly couple cared enough to be hospitable to them. As retaliation for the lack of concern on the part of the vast populace, the gods destroyed the people but rewarded the elderly couple.


When Paul healed the man who was crippled from birth, the people of Lystra were fear bound and concerned that they would miss another chance to redeem themselves. This is why they shouted, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” They did not want to be destroyed. 


In essence, they were sacrificing as a way to say “thank you” to the false gods, Zeus and Hermes. Now look at how Paul and Barnabas react:


14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them. (Acts 14:14-18)


Paul and Barnabas could not let the sacrifices (thank you) of the people fall on them. The people looked at the two of them and assumed that they were Zeus and Hermes. But this distraction would create a false hope in a false divinity. Paul and Barnabas were appalled because the Real Living God, the source of the healing, was being ignored and lost in their thanksgiving. This could not be.


The actions of these two men (they tore their garments) displays not only anger but sorrow at how the people miss the real Savior in this healing. Jesus is the Great Physician of body and soul but His saving power was almost lost in the accolades to Zeus and Hermes. Thankfully Paul and Barnabas were able to convince some of the people that the real “thanks” belongs to the One True God.


In our world, we don’t believe in such myths as Zeus and Hermes. Yet the danger to have misdirected thanks is just as large in our day as it was in Paul’s. How? I see it on bumper stickers that remind us to thank our “mother” [earth] for life and health. I see it when we raise fellow humans to the ranks of the divine and attribute great healing to them. Humanism is one of today’s rampant diversions for stealing the “thank you’s” from Jesus and giving it to human efforts instead.


May we forever remember that our God is the One True God who provides rain from heaven, controls the climate and the seasons, provides us food for nourishment and joy, and is the only source of salvation. To God alone be the praise and the Thanks!



Tuesday, May 17, 2022

SCLA End of Year Events

 Night of Jazz
Friday, May 20th, 8:00 pm, in the Auditorium.
Free admission. Casual concert.
Refreshments follow in the commons. 


Croixaliers Showcase
Wednesday, May 25th, 7:00 pm, in the Chapel.
Free admission. Casual concert.
Refreshments follow in the commons. 


HS Spring Concert
Friday, June 3rd, 7:00 pm, in the Gym.



Good NewsLetter-May 2022

  


 Why should I get up in the morning and live life?

 I always wanted to be a morning person. You know, the kind of people that whistle on the way to the shower and sing while they dress. Unfortunately, I am not that kind of person. I am one whose addiction to the snooze button almost always has me rushing around in the morning, trying not to be late for the day’s events.

 God’s Word is like an alarm that is ringing. Every time we have lust in our hearts, it rings. Every time we utter an obscenity, it rings. Every time our mouths are full of coarse joking, we hear it ring. The temptation is to hit the snooze button of our conscience and continue sleeping in sin. But snoozing through the alarm of God’s holy will is more serious than showing up late for a meeting. If we ignore what God commands, we are in for a rude awakening. In the Bible, we read, “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 5:6). No matter how much we cover our heads with the blanket of denial, we cannot and will not escape the alarm of God’s justice.

 God’s alarm is ringing for us, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).

 Jesus is the light of the world. He came to dispel the darkness that shrouded us by sin and death. His light shone brightly when he was lifted up on a cross to die in order to take away our death. And his light exploded in brilliance when he rose from the dead to prove that he is the world’s Savior. Through the good news of God’s Word, the light of Jesus Christ shines on us to awaken us from the slumber of sin and darkness of death.

 I have work to do on my morning routine. I need to strive to not keep hitting the snooze button. But praise be to God for Jesus, whose light from the cross and empty grave shines on us. Led by his light, we can get up in the morning to live life, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

 Upcoming Events at St John

Worship Service:  Sunday at 8:30 AM

Adult Bible Study:  Sunday at 9:45 AM

Visit our website at stjohnev.net

Call us at 651-771-6406