Thursday, March 31, 2022

Are you ready for the crossing?

 Are you ready for the crossing? 

Are you willing to get your feet wet?

The Children of Israel were standing on Jordan’s east bank gazing at the land so long promised by God to Father Abraham about a millennium earlier! Can you imagine the excitement? Mixed with that excitement, I’m sure there was some apprehension. After all, Canaan didn’t look like it was there for the taking. In front of them was the raging Jordan River at flood stage, and beyond that was the already ancient and well-fortified city of Jericho.

But rather than letting them focus on those obstacles, the Lord God focused their attention on himself. Rather than having Joshua tell them to build rafts and sharpen swords, he instructed them to “consecrate themselves” – to prepare spiritually, to be “strong and courageous.” That meant focusing on God and his Word. “This Book of the Law [Read: “Bible”] must never depart from your mouth, and you are to meditate on it day and night.” Their trust was to be in the Lord which meant listening to what he says, believing it, and following it totally. Before crossing, Joshua told the people, “Come close to me and listen to the words of the Lord your God. This is how you will know that the Living God is among you… the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth [which to Israel was the presence of the Lord among them] is about to cross over ahead of you.”

Once on the other side, having passed over on dry ground, more spiritual preparation: The rite of circumcision was practiced and they celebrated the Passover for the first time since they’d left Egypt.

Today you and I stand on our “Jordan’s bank” getting ready to cross over into our “Land of Promise” – a mission field that makes a Hispanic outreach pastor drool, flowing with the milk and honey of souls to win for Jesus. On our FIRST try in calling that Hispanic outreach pastor, the Lord provided us with Pastor Tim Otto who is fluent in both languages. He is coming in June. He will lead us into this mission field of promise – and the Lord will go before us and destroy the obstacles that will face us. Only be strong and courageous! It is amazing to see how the Lord is guiding us toward this goal!

What should we be doing in the interim? It’s time for spiritual preparation. We need to redouble our efforts to be in the Word and be an active part of St. John Congregation so that we do not turn to the right or to the left so that we will succeed wherever the Lord takes us. St. John is not going away. St. John has hope and a future.

God gave Israel the Promised Land but God did not leave Israel in the bleachers to watch. He involved them. They had work to do. So do we. When our Hispanic outreach counselor spoke to us on March 27, he said that Pastor Otto needs to see a congregation behind him – a congregation that has his back – a congregation that does everything it can toward the success of this ministry. But before we are in a position to do that, we need to prepare spiritually. Otherwise, we will not be the strong and courageous people God calls for.

So, come! These are exciting times. New life is being breathed into old St. John Congregation. This ministry will not only be a blessing to the Hispanic community, it will be a blessing to you and me as well.

To God be the Glory!

Pastor's Note

 John 19:28-30, 34-37

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit . . . 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”


There was this challenge given to us by a track coach back in my high school days. She told us, on a trip back from a track meet, to take six large pretzels and eat them in one minute, fully chewed. At the time, I remember thinking, “how easy!” It’s only six pretzels. We all tried and we could not finish those six pretzels in one minute - our mouth became so dried out.

I thirst - We think of lack of water, and it is. But it’s more. Thirst is a very powerful experience.  A dry and parched land can cause thirst and if you are unfortunate to be wandering through that land you will experience rapid dehydration; your palate will become sticky and dry-parched by the heat. 

Thirst is the craving you have for something you are missing. There is a vital component of your wellness that is absent. Thirst signifies that normal life cannot be sustained because of a truant necessity. “Thirsty” is an indication of great need!

Jesus’ mouth was dried up from the miserable circumstances of the cross. Jesus cried, “ I thirst,“ because the heat of gods justice had scorched him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When Jesus cried out from the cross, “I thirst,” what did that mean for Him? What does that mean for us? Why does this matter? 

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”(John 19:28

Verse 28 says that scripture MUST be fulfilled! That amounts to our first reason why Jesus said what He said: “I thirst.” God had planned and predicted this desert-like condition of his soul, his being.  Such examples of fulfilled prophecy are very important because NOT one Word from God will ever fail.  Not one carefully orchestrated plan of God will ever, ever fail. Our human soul longs to hear this . . . maybe even “thirsts” for such stable revelation. God says it. It will happen. Jesus fulfilled prophecy.

Let’s venture in further to this idea of “Thirst” - it’s an inner need. To be thirsty is to have a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat related to a need or desire to drink. You need physical water. Thirst can also pertain to an insistent desire; a craving. But this is more than a craving - it is a necessity.

When Jesus breathes out the words, “I Thirst”, he is signifying that the very essence of life, those most pressing and necessary elements of life are missing.

For what do you thirst?

A grade school child yearns, even thirsts, to have a new friend. Friendship is one component of life that is essential. The absence of it causes a type of thirst.

Teenagers long for, thirst for, recognition; they thirst for achievement and independence. A businessman thirsts for a greater return on his investments. A store clerk desires to have a promotion. We all long for someone to really care about us.

We thirst for an environment where our thoughts are attended to, our wishes are considered, our dreams are not scoffed at but supported. We long to fit in, we thirst for pleasure, we fawn for moments of peace.

A mother, with a schedule full of childhood activities, thirsts for real quiet rest - even if it is only 15 minutes of calm repose. Parents have deep longings to see their children’s lives fulfilled, they thirst for a better conditions for them.

Judas probably provides a good living example of thirst. For 3 years Judas walked with the one who could quench his thirst - Jesus the water of life. But in stubborn unbelief, Judas convinced himself that something other than Jesus would fulfill him.

It was the silver clink of a Roman coin that settled deep within his conscience and ignited a drive so deep, that he would betray Jesus and throw away the only thing that could quench his thirsty soul.

Judas was convinced of the lie; he believed money could satisfy. Judas heard Jesus’ words. Judas did not live out Jesus’ words but lived for what he thought would satisfy his thirsty heart - wealth. When Judas received even a meager bit of silver, 30 pieces, he was not only let down by the glistening mineral, but felt such severe remorse that it drove him to take his own life.

What is your thirst?

When Jesus expresses, “I thirst” it was at the driest moment of physical grief with His soul rejected by God for the shame of my sins. He says, “I thirst” because of lack. Lack of moisture seeping through his veins, lack of water, loss of blood, extreme physical torture. He is experiencing the heat and neglect of Hell.

Hell is the place where the longings of the human heart never get fulfilled - Jesus said, “I thirst” - its physical wrapped up in the spiritual, entangled by the emotional. His complete self is thirsty because everything good has been stripped from his life.

Hell is the place of missing out; there the human heart can only long for containment and never feel satisfied. Jesus said, “I thirst!” His spirit was parched by lack of His Father’s presence, lack of human fulfillment, lack of peace - every emotional pound of shame was stacked against Him and weighing down on Him.

The sad words from His lips reveal the poison He swallowed so our hearts could be eternally relieved, eternally complete.

He’s dehydrated in body, soul, relationships because these would have been our festering drag of eternal perdition. He experiences this lack so that, one day, our hearts could be awakened to the Father’s love for us. He thirsts so that we can live in the lush paradise of heaven where never again will we hunger, never again will we thirst. There will be no lack or longing because Heaven will be the place where our deepest need, to be united with God, will be realized.

His thirst means we are quenched by the fullness and love of God.

SCLA Sacred Choral Concert


Sacred Choral Concert

The high school Chorale, Concert Choir, and Croixaliers, and middle school Cantate will present the 2022 SCLA Sacred Concert "I Lift Up My Eyes" in person in the SCLA chapel on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. and streamed live at

Upcoming Events:

Grade School Fine Arts Festival
Saturday, April 2
Concert at 4:00 p.m.

Open House and Tours
Sunday, April 3
2:00-5:00 p.m.

Sacred Choral Concert
Wednesday, April 13
7:00 p.m.

Spring in Paris Gala
Saturday, April 30
5:00 p.m.

Ric Gibson Retirement Celebration
Sunday, May 1
2:00 p.m.

Full Online Calendar of Events

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Lenten Services & Supper

 April 6 - Service at St. John at 6:30 pm  Supper 5:15 pm

 April 14 - Maundy Thursday at Mt. Olive 6:30 pm

 April 15 - Good Friday at St. John 6:30 pm

 April 17 - Resurrection Day service at St. John - 8:30 am  Breakfast - 9:30 am,

 Mt. Olive - 10:00 am


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Pastor Al Schleusener

Pastor Al Schleusener has returned his call to Emanuel Lutheran Church in Fairfax, MN., and will continue to serve at Mt Olive Lutheran Church.  He will remain our vacancy pastor at St. John until May 31.

Worship with Us-March 27, 2022

 Please join us for worship Sunday, March 27th, at 8:30 am.
We welcome Pastor Flunker, with a sermon message on
Intercultural Outreach: A well, some water and worship - John:4-26. 
Then stay following worship to join Pastor Flunker in discussions on
outreach in our neighborhood. 

Pastor's Note-Matthew 27:46

 Matthew 27:46

The Fourth Word from the Cross: My God, My God, WHY have you forsaken me?


Jesus’ words were “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani” which means “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is quoting Psalm 22. 

He is quoting the phrase in Aramaic, the common language of the day among the Jews. This is the common man’s way to speak. Aramaic is spoken in the every day tongue of the average Jewish man, woman, and child. He is speaking in the common verse of the day for all to hear. And that is the first point of this phrase: He wants all to hear. There is no hiding what is happening to him. He is being forsaken by God. He bears his hurt and shame, his cries are raised for God to hear and for us to understand. He’s been forsaken.

Why is this important? Because, for Jesus, the Word of God is so central to him that in his pain and misery he is quoting the Word of God. The Word of God helps him to work through this misery. The Word of God is like a script to help him understand and accept what is happening. 

This gives us direction for dark times as well; we can quote the Word of God to seek direction, to seek peace.  Life gets painful; we have an opportunity and a necessity to meditate on the Word of God, to seek its insight. Things don’t make sense around you; dive into the Word of God. Friends turn their back on you; focus on the Word of God. The centrality of the Word gives purpose to Jesus’ pain. 

The centrality of the Word in our challenging times can also give clarity, purpose and a foothold.

Jesus is quoting scriptures in his darkest moments. How to make sense of all the betrayal and intrigue, all the mocking and derision? How? Jesus pores over the very truth of God and finds an answer. It does not relieve him of the pain but it helps Jesus to quantify and calculate the petulance of those who mock him and despise him.

Jesus fulfills prophecy

But this goes deeper and farther. As he is quoting Psalm 22 he is also experiencing the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy. In Psalm 22 he recognizes his place as the Messiah. He recognizes his place as the one who must be rejected by God so that we will never be rejected. And he sees each individual verse as prophecy which has been laid out for centuries, and now it is coming to completion on the horizon of his suffering. 

It’s as if this were a script and each individual gathered at Golgotha, the place of the skull, is playing a part in this prophetic play. Let’s take several parts of Psalm 22 and see how this plays out.

Psalm 22 - fulfilled Prophecy

The people are mocking him. Psalm 22 predicted it. These verses are being lived out on Jesus’ periphery. 

Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man,

    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock me;

    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

The people mock Jesus. It’s not the way it should be but Scriptures predicts it.

Psalm 22:8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;

    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

The priests and teachers of the Law chime in - Matthew 27:43 - “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him.” The very words of the high priests and the rulers of the people, as they spoke, became a fulfillment of Psalm 22.  

Psalm 22:12 Many bulls encompass me;

    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

13 they open wide their mouths at me,

    like a ravening and roaring lion.

Roman soldiers standing all around. They have already done their mocking. They abused and ridiculed him. These brutes are unjust in their treatment of him. But Jesus can endure because Scriptures has predicted this all ahead of time. He sticks to the Father’s plan.

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water,

    and all my bones are out of joint;

my heart is like wax;

    it is melted within my breast;

This speaks of the medical and physical conditions Jesus would endure from loss of blood, dehydration, severe lacerations and the onerous nature of crucifixion. The trauma was so severe to his body that his heart became overtaxed (my hear is like wax; it is melted within my breast). Jesus endured extreme medical trauma on the cross. 

Jesus speaks another word from the cross - “I thirst”. That fits this verse:

Psalm 22:15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,

    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

    you lay me in the dust of death.

There are the dogs nipping at his heels according to Psalm 22. Who are the dogs? The Jews considered the Gentiles dogs. The Roman soldiers, these Gentiles with great power, stood by him and crucified him and laughed at him. 

Psalm 22:16 For dogs encompass me;

    a company of evildoers encircles me;

they have pierced my hands and feet—

And another clear prophecy:

Psalm 22:18 they divide my garments among them,

    and for my clothing they cast lots.

John 19:23-24 shows how this all takes place. 

“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’” (John 19:23-24)


Jesus is forsaken by His Father.

But there is more that makes this comment by Jesus heart-wrenching. These words of Jesus are speaking to God; he is no longer addressing him as “Father.”  Jesus, the Son of God the Father in Heaven, is not addressing His Father as Father. He is saying, “My God, My God.”

When a Father turns his back on his son, it is a horrible thing. A father loves his children, every one of them. Of course there are exceptions. But even the worst of fathers cares about their child. Here we have the perfect Father, God in heaven. And the perfect Father denies His own loved perfect Son. 

Why is the Son forsaken?

Jesus is fulfilling another Old Testament term, “Redeemer.” The Redeemer  or kinsmen redeemer is often the eldest brother of the family. The eldest brother is responsible for the life and health and well-being of each family member. They rely on the eldest son. They depend on the eldest son; if there is a debt that one of the family incurs, the eldest son will use his resources to bail out this family member. That is the redeemer position. Jesus, is fulfilling the position of a Redeemer - He is paying a debt of Justice to God almighty for all the debt of sin that we have stacked up. Our daily sins become so filthy and such a stench in the nose of the Perfect God that they must all be punished; they must all be paid for. 

Jesus, as the eldest Son of God, pays that debt for all. And the father ruefully turns his back on his dearly loved son. What does it take to turn your back on someone? What did it take for God to turn his back on Jesus?

He is forsaken so that we are Accepted

Jesus' father now accepts us. How great the Father’s love for us . . . 1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 

The reason the Father rejects His one and only Son, Jesus, is because He did not want to reject us. Jesus endured this shame and this rejection so that we would never be rejected by the Father - ever.

How deep the Father's love for us?

How vast beyond all measure?

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss?

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the Chosen One

Bring many sons to glory

Jesus’ words at the cross are painful to hear. They shudder out a thunderous plea, yet Jesus knows full well that His misery brings us relief. Thank you Holy Jesus! We bless your name for all eternity!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

SCLA Job Opening


SCLA has an immediate opening for a full-time position that may be a perfect fit for the person who drops off a student in the morning and returns in the afternoon for pick-up. This position includes full benefits including the staff tuition discount (50%).The scheduled hours are Monday - Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Primary tasks include cleaning and light maintenance of the common areas of the 152-bed dormitory. Specific areas to maintain include the dining room, game room, hallways, stairways, laundry rooms, and restrooms.

You can read more and apply for this and other positions at
To apply, contact Glenn Will at (651) 455-1521 or

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Worship Link-March 20, 2022

 If you were unable to worship in person at St. John on Sunday, 
you may go to the link below for Pastor's message.

Worship-March 20, 2022

Lenten Worship & Supper-March 23, 2022

 Please join us for our Mid-Week Lenten Service, Wednesday, March 23rd, at 6:30 pm.
Pastor Al will lead us in worship, with his message from Matthew 27:46

Lenten Supper will be served, beginning at 5:15 pm. 

SCLA Spring Gala-Flash Sale-Wild Tickets


Flash Sale!

Bid now on these Wild tickets
and support St. Croix Lutheran students!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Divine call to Pastor Otto accepted

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,3/18/2022

I am writing to inform you that I have accepted the divine call to serve as pastor of St. John Ev. Lutheran Church of St. Paul, Minnesota and to start a Hispanic Ministry in that community. I pray for your prayers and encouragement. Pray that the Lord of the Church would help me to be faithful as I serve the members of St. John. Pray that our Savior open doors for the proclamation of the Gospel in St. Paul so that many are led to saving faith in Christ. Pray also that the Lord of the Harvest would soon provide Mt. Olive with a faithful pastor to continue the important bilingual ministry on the east side of Las Vegas. 

En Cristo,

Pastor Timothy M. Otto



Thursday, March 17, 2022

Worship Link-March 13, 2022

If you were unable to worship in person at St. John on Sunday, you may go to the link below for Pastor's message.

Worship Link-March 13, 2022 

Worship with us on March 20th

                  Please join us for Worship on Sunday, March 20th, at 8:30 am.
             It will be the Third Sunday in the Lenten Season. 
              Pastor Al's message will be from 1 Corinthians 9:20
               There will be Bible Study at 9:45 am, in the Fellowship Hall.

Pastor's Note

 John 19:24-27

“They divided my garments among them,

    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

The cross was a place of great pain. We even have an English word that reflects that point: “Excruciating”. Ex = out of. Crux = Cross. Excruciating means, literally, “out of the cross pain.” Jesus helps out his mother when he is, himself, going through an immense amount of pain and misery. Not only is he suffering physically, but he is spiritually suffering. He has all our guilt and all our shame heaped on him. He is suffering with a tormented soul, for sins which he did not commit.

Yet in the middle of that intense, excruciating pain, he directs his attention to help out his mother, Mary. This is Mary, who as a young teenager, experienced the supernatural power of the Most High and would physically give birth to God’s Son. 

To think of the pain and misery Jesus was going through and he chose to help out his mother in that deep dark hurt that he was experiencing. He cared more for her. 

What lessons can we learn from Jesus? Well, it would be easy to dismiss the pain, because we will never experience what Jesus went through on our behalf. It might also be possible to look to psychology - The psychology of helping when you are in pain. There are physical and emotional benefits from helping others. It is emotionally health promoting for us to give aid to others, even when we are going through difficulties.

But Jesus’ reasons for helping his mother go back to His obligation and desire to do the Father’s will.

In Luke 2 . . . 

Luke 2:34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

As the perfect Son of God, perfect son of Mary, He knew what she would experience. And he cared for her. How much did He care? Matthew 9:36 has the word, compassion, which shows how much.

Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” 

THis word, compassion, means much more than mere intellectual compassion. In the Greek, it implies an internal pain that is experienced by, in this case, Jesus. “Jesus’ insides hurt!” 

The knowledge that our pain is felt by Jesus is highly moving! We need to know this personal connection. The knowledge that his great concern is not for himself, it is for humanity. His concern is for us. He demonstrates that in his care for his mother and he demonstrates that in his care for us. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, [Jesus] (John 3:16).”

That’s an objective statement, which is true for all people. But lakes take this and apply it along with Jesus’ personal concern for the family of God. Now it becomes subjective. Jesus cares for the whole world AND he cares for each individual who lives in the world. 

Historically we know from church history that John did take care of Jesus’ mother. She ended up going with John to Ephesus. THe family of God was a way to benefit Mary. The Family of God will always, by the power of the Holy Spirit, care for each other. Jesus’ care for his best friend, John, led John to take up the call to help Mary - as his own mother. 

Jesus took up the call to help us; we are able and equipped to see others in need and help. But that is not the prime message of this devotion - that is a side note. The highlighted portion of this text is an emphasis on How Jesus’ care and concern IS for us. His crucifixion proves that - Heaven is won.

His devotion to His mother, Mary proves that He cares deeply for others even as He is suffering immense pain - Pain that I caused Him, pain that each person on earth caused him, and pain that Mary caused Jesus. Yet He cares for her. Our sins are the pain He did bare. But even in that misery, His thoughts were dedicated to saving us.

Hebrews 12:2  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who 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

He endured the pain because He longed for the Joy ahead of Him - being eternally connected with you. Having you as an eternal brother, and eternal sister. That was His drive on the cross.

Praise and glory be to Jesus, who in bitter pain, poured for ME the lifeblood, from His sacred veins.