At the Voter's meeting on January 23, the voters approved calling both a Spanish-speaking pastor and an English-speaking pastor. We are excited that the Lord has led us to expand our outreach to the Hispanic community near St John.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Thursday, January 20, 2022
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepare to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the Hope you have.
The English word “Hope” seems like cotton candy in a wind storm - it’s easily torn apart and scattered. It seems frail because, in our English vernacular, it is a desire or a wish.
Is that the hope that we have as believers? Is that what the Bible expresses in 1 Peter 3:15, “the hope that we have?” Is the hope we have in CHrist Jesus easily broken down, torn apart and scattered to the four winds? The Merriam-Webster definition of “hope” is this: “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.”
If I want something to be true, but maybe it is not true, does my desire for that thing to be true do anything for me? If my desire for Heaven to be real is just a desire and not a fact, does that create a reality that I can stand on? No!
The English definition of “hope” and the New Testament definition of the Greek word for “hope” are two Very different things.
Biblical hope is based off of a real thing - A Fact! Its confidence relates to reality and not a feeling or a desire. The English version of “hope” is a desire for something to happen or for something to be real. “I hope that the rain will hold off, but I don’t know if it will or not.” That English understanding of “hope” is very frail and lacks substance.
In Greek, the word “hope” starts with an actual fact or an occurrence and from there we build the trust a person has in that occurrence. So according to the Isaiah 61 passage for this weekend, we “hope” for good news that comes from the lips of God BECAUSE it actually happened in time.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Jesus’ historical words and actions secured a freedom for women bound by guilt and release for men chained up by the shame of regrets and mistakes. That actual event which secured their “hope” happened whenever Jesus declared, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Jesus actually secured a real position on which hope could be built when He, of His own accord, lived all of God’s Laws in a just and complete manner, even down to the tiniest of all God’s requirements. That actual, real living out of God’s Laws secured an account of right activities that each believer accesses by faith. Jesus’ innocent shedding of blood was used to cover over all that humanity did incorrectly. That real death of the Son of God is the fact that our hope is built upon - that gives our captive hearts release. Our souls have been sprung from Hell’s firm grip; those chains have been broken by His death.
Now every day we live, we live in that rock solid truth and base our living on that truth. Yes Jesus really needed to die because my sins are that bad; and He did die. So we are now free. Yes, I could not fulfill all of God’s requirements so Jesus took my burden and your burden and lifted it on His shoulders. Each breath He breathed was done in perfect obedience to the Father’s will; all those perfect actions freed my labored soul from appeasing God.
That is the Hope on which we firmly trust.
So when we read the promise of Isaiah and the fulfillment of Luke 4, we are witnessing the building of a rock solid hope:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)
May God bless you as you transform your understanding from the English word, “hope” to the rock solid Greek version of “hope” which is based on fact! This is not wishy washy and flighty. This hope we have is already accomplished for us and by faith we firmly hold onto it.
44 years of ministry.
22 years at SCLA.
Thousands of students served.
Join us on Sunday, May 1, 2022
as we celebrate the ministry and retirement of Mr. Ric Gibson.
2:00 Chapel service
Limited capacity! Register early!
Monday, January 17, 2022
What is eternal life?
It is that time again when we encounter the change from the old year to the new. For some, the ushering in of a new year is a ritual of staying up until midnight to make a bunch of noise or perhaps sing an old song. Yet, one way or another, the beginning of a new year is a time of reflection and planning. We take stock of what happened in the last year. We think of our pains, regrets, joys, surprises, births, and deaths. We also look to the future and ponder what we want to do differently in the days to come.
In all of our planning, though, there is this unalterable fact that life here will end. Our time is finite. It has a limit. In fact, everything about this world has a limit.
The Bible tells us of one thing, however, that has no end. Referring to those who follow him, Jesus said, “I give them eternal life” (John 10:28). In view of our knowledge and experience of limited life in this world, we wonder what eternal life is.
Jesus explains, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Life is being connected to God and his blessings. The opposite is death, which is separation from God and his goodness. All people are born separated from God because, by nature, they are sinners. As a result, they are headed toward an eternal separation from God to be condemned in a very real place called hell.
But God did something very great. He sent the world a Savior who is Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. In an unmatchable act of love, Jesus placed himself under our condemnation for sin. He willingly suffered the death sentence that all of us deserve.
Through Jesus, God has forgiven the world’s sin, which separated people from him, and he gives the gift of eternal life. All who listen to the Savior and believe in God who sent him have eternal life. By faith in the true God of salvation, they have crossed over from death to life. They do not face the fear of separation from God, but they rejoice in a close and blessed relationship with him now and forever.
What a great way to start a new year! We have the confidence that no matter what has happened in days gone by, and whatever the future holds, our life with God is secured forever by faith in Jesus.
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
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Friday, January 14, 2022
Saturday, January 15th at noon - Christmas Decoration Take-Down
Thursday, January 13, 2022
First Peter 3:15 strongly encourages us to set apart Christ Jesus as Lord and Master in our hearts.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15 ESV) But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)
So this week we tackle that particular directive as we take insight from Isaiah 62 and other Bible verses. Let’s define what it means that Christ is Lord. Then we will address the challenges to setting apart Jesus Christ as Lord. And, finally, by faith we put Christ in that position of Lord in our hearts.
One: Definition of Christ as Lord
To revere Jesus Christ as Lord in our hearts means that He is exercising absolute ownership rights. He owns us; do we revere Him as the owner of our hearts and our lives?
This comes up when we recognize that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. We begin to live each day, thankful that God gives us life, food, habitat, a clean bill of health, admiration of our kin, and so much more.
As owner of our life He is also committed to taking good care of each one of us.
Two: Challenge to Christ as Lord
What are the challenges?
1 Peter 3:15 says the challenge has its home in the human heart. This means Jesus’ lordship is driven not only by information but by emotion. The heart is the seat of emotions and also of decision making - the will. Our will, our determinations on how to act, speak, live, more, go left, go right, every decision is calculated and steered by emotions: our heart. If our emotions go sour, so does our life.
How does this play out? If you say to an individual, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior from sin and I know that I will inherit eternal life,” that’s an ardent testimony of the Christian faith. That’s a great way to Let your light shine!
But if the person you say this to laughs in your face and goes on and on about “what a ridiculous thought, the Bible is an outdated book, Jesus Christ never claimed to be God” or anything close to it, and about a dozen other challenges, your emotions will be challenged. That position in your heart which once held Jesus Christ as Lord is now being chipped and snipped away. A once strong position has been crunched down to more of a question or a concern: “Is Jesus really who He says He is?” “What about their comments?” “What is my faith really built on?”
It is absolutely one of the most important things for us to grasp at this time in God’s history that the Lordship of Jesus in our hearts is not a stable situation. It flickers and wanes, it advances and retreats according to various programs, contacts, the media we ingest, the podcasts we listen to or ignore. Jesus’ position of lordship in our heart is constantly being challenged.
Such attacks on the Christian faith are not mere coincidence but are orchestrated by Satan himself. That’s seen in Ephesians 6 where we see that our existence as believers is framed in military parlance.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle [battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11-12).
The heart is the place where Jesus must be Lord and master but the heart is fickle and it is attacked through so many avenues. So how do we maintain Jesus’ position in our hearts?
Three: By Faith we revere Christ as Lord
How do we confront that intellectual doubt or an emotional frontal assault that does creep up in our hearts and in our minds?
Isaiah 62 is one of many passages that takes us back to what’s really happening in time, space and eternity and how we can combat such doubts and fears about God, about the relationship that we have with him, about Jesus’ lordship. And then we will be able to let our light shine because of the confidence that we have in Jesus Christ as Lord in our heart.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. (Isaiah 62:4).
The heart is under attack so God confronts this attack by shoring up our understanding of His delight in us. And since He delights in us, he will join Himself to us. Since the Eternal God has joined Himself to us, we are not forsaken, the desolate desert experience we are going through will be erased!
We are in a desolate place but God promises to join Heaven to this ramshackled earthbound plot of ground. “Your land shall be married.” This means a joining together of Heaven and Earth - marriage. This means that the experience of dryness and feeling deserted will disappear. We are in a dry period of our existence; earth is a tired and worn out system that is constantly being drained and challenged by sin. It’s like a desert compared to Heaven. But God will forever connect with us because He delights in us.
How does He enforce that event? By reminding us that salvation comes out from the city of Jerusalem. The salvation that will burn like a torch in this dark world is the committed attack of justice which came at Jesus just outside the walls of Jerusalem, on Mount Zion. That is where our light was first lit. When Jesus’ light was snuffed out by our dark sin, God’s justice was satisfied and now God can fully display his approval of each of us. The Lord is delighted in you. God rejoices over you.
English Standard Version
62 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
There is some older used computer equipment that members can have (from the school, stored in the old principal office) on a first-come, first-serve basis. The equipment includes several laptop computers, desktop computers, and monitors. All have been checked, cleaned up, and operating systems updated. See Mike Tholl or Steve Ross. We have them inventoried and will post the inventory as they are claimed.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
St. John member, George Johnson, went to his heavenly home on Monday, January 10th. George’s service will be held at St. John on Tuesday, January 18th, with visitation from 10:00-11:00 am, service at 11:00 am. Luncheon will follow. The full obituary will be posted when received.
Monday, January 10, 2022
Anna Mae Johnson’s funeral will be held at St. John on Monday, January 17th. Full obituary will follow when completed. Desserts are needed for her luncheon. If you are able to provide a dessert, please let Rhonda Evgen know. Her # is 651-208-4642. Thank you.
Friday, January 7, 2022
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Let your light shine.
We have that Sunday School children’s song, “I’m gonna let it shine.” As we explore the nuances of Letting our light shine, a few pertinent questions come to the forefront: What does it mean to let our light shine, how can we let our light shine and what is the end goal?
What does this mean, “Let your light shine?”
This most basic preparatory question is answered as Jesus used common everyday life examples for us to explore the meaning of this phrase, “let your light shine.”
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-15)
A city on a hill is easily seen in the darkness and in the light. A city on a hill is a great defensive place to be in the ancient world. Cities provided protection from marauding bands of wreckless hoodlums. They had markets for food and commerce. Cities created environments for personal interaction with other members of the city. There were elders and leaders who gave wise counsel for citizens of the city. A city on a hill was a source of security; you could be safe within its walls.
As Christians, we have an immense opportunity to be like this city. We can be providing wise counsel; we can provide safety and a stronghold in a world that is troubled and dangerous. In short, the presence of Christians in the world is meant to be a positive influence. It will be present because of the Light of Jesus inside of us.
The second picture is of an oil lamp. In a dark room, the small flame of an oil lamp provides an amazing amount of light. Our small candles on Christmas Eve give us that same perspective: small light that brightens up the dark sanctuary.In the ancient world, sundown means a blanket of darkness that shuts down all normal activity. You must use daylight to get the majority of your work done because nighttime shadows make productive work more difficult and even, at times, dangerous. A small little light could make a world of difference as you chop vegetables or add spices to the stew. If you mend a torn garment in the dark of your home, that little flame from your oil lamp would allow your fingers to be free from being poked by a needle or cut by a scissors. This small light might keep you from stubbing your toe or overlooking an important item. This small light provides safety, direction, insight, and contrast to the surrounding darkness.
We Christians ARE a light. We can’t help but be a light because the glory of Christ’s love shines into the darkness of our hearts. Now that light pierces the dismal chill of surrounding despair. We let our light shine.
How can we let our light shine?
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works. (Matthew 5:16)” When faith takes light in your heart and life, it sparks a chain reaction that means something in you will change for the better. The key part of that phrase is “for the better;” your life will shift from upside down and backward to standing straight and tall, moving forward in a God-pleasing direction. Jesus’ lordship gives us plenty of directives for how to live, act, speak, think in this culture.
When the light of faith is kindled, our desires and motivations change to Biblical; we become different than the world around us. We shift to a model of behavior that mirrors God’s loving attitude toward us and is an antithesis to the world’s darkness. Our words are truer and friendlier. Our motivations are directed for the good of others. There will be heroic and selfless actions that follow this illuminating faith. This is the power of the Holy Spirit in us as He lights up our dead and dark hearts. This power from God’s Spirit creates a special flame of light that stands in stark contrast to the dark deeds of the world around us.
The latest Forward in Christ has an article by Pastor Ryan Kolander which provides two great examples; ForwardinChrist.net of how light does shine out. Paul, one of the featured men in the article, bought a Bible and started reading it. His friends noticed that he was not the same troublemaker as before. His demeanor was altered. He was so different that they encouraged him to NOT come with them on some nefarious activity. “Go home, Paul. This isn’t for you.” His light was naturally shining in the darkness.
By faith, we each have the light of CHrist inside of us. But we must be careful to keep it in the open and not hide it from the world. The people living in darkness need to see that there is another way to live, to act, and to exist. Dark behavior only leads to a hellish end UNLESS Jesus’ light erases that darkness. “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Colossians 1:13 HCSB). Jesus has rescued us. Now is the time to let that light shine. This gets the attention of darkness.
What is the end goal?
Good deeds will come out of our faith life. The end goal of these good deeds is that the Heavenly Father receives glory. “. . . so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-15) Our Father in Heaven has some fantastic attributes: generous, benevolent, pure, just, always right, wise, loving, truth telling. When we give Him glory, we are highlighting one of His magnificent characteristics. He gets to break through the darkness of the world’s misunderstandings about Him and see Him as He is: brilliant, bold and enjoyable. He is powerful and engaging, not distant. He is not aloof but desires to be close to us as His children.
But, sadly, it is darkness that keeps us away from approaching God or anything that is related to Him, including church. We avoid opening the Bible because our dark centers fear what we see about ourselves and about God’s purity.
When God’s light shatters the darkness of a human’s soiled soul, that person is not destroyed but altered to reflect the brilliance of God in small doses. Our good deeds crack open an insight into God’s astounding character. We do even the smallest amount of good and it is like pulling back the curtain of unbelief so that others around us can see a tremendous Love - they see God through our deeds. They begin to see His grace displayed in our gentleness. They see His bold truth-telling in our speech. Every display of the light of faith that burns in us is for the exact purpose of revealing God to the world.
We are God’s chosen instrument of revelation. THis revelation matches what the Bible says: grace to the sinners, freedom for the prisoners, love for the lost, joy for the saddened heart, and lifting up for those who have been beaten down. We become a living, breathing rendition of bits and pieces of God’s good nature. In fact, this lies also in the term “Christian.” Christian means Little Christ. We are a miniature version of CHrist. Because Jesus lives in us, parts of His goodness will shine out of us. And God the Father will be glorified.
All this is meant to be an encouragement to each of us as CHristians. This is not forced or coerced; this is natural. Let your light shine BECAUSE Jesus’ Light lives in you. We only need to let is shine out so that the eerie shadows of darkness can dissipate.
Blessings to each of you! Let your light shine!