“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you peace, not disaster, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
What parent has not experienced this scenario in some form or fashion? Children testing their parents' patience. Kids almost seem to have an inborn trait that knows exactly how to push their parents' buttons.
“Mommy, When are we leaving?”
“Daddy, How long before we get there?”
“Daddy, Why is it taking so long?”
“Mommy, Bobby keeps hitting me, make him move.”
“Mommy, When are we going to stop for lunch?”
“Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom?”
“Mommy, I’m starting to feel sick, how much longer?”
“Daddy, Why do I have to sit in the middle.”
“Daddy, Are we lost and how much longer till we get there?”
Just reading that probably brought either a chill up your spine or laughter as you knew exactly what these parents were going through. How patient are you? How would you have handled your children’s constant barrage of questions – with anger or with patience? Sadly, all too often we have to admit that we are lacking in the patience department.
Now let’s take this a little farther. How many times are we like young children when it comes to God? How many times aren't we the ones testing God's patience as we bombard God with all sorts of questions?
“God, Why did you allow the Coronavirus to come?”
“God, When are you going to take the Coronavirus away?”
“God, When is this "Lockdown" going to end?”
“God, When am I going to get my job back?”
“God, Tell me again why did you allow the Coronavirus?”
“God, Are you really in control?”
“God, When are we going to be able to worship at Church again?”
“God, Do you really know what you are doing?”
One of the questions I ask people when I visit them in the Hospital is how much patience do they have and most of the people reply back -- Not Enough! I’m guessing most of us would also sheepishly admit, “God, I need more patience!” The real question is, Is it wrong to question God and his plans? Is it wrong to have doubts and worries about things that are going on in life? Is it wrong to live impatiently? Start by asking yourself, Why am I so impatient? Is my impatience because I think that God’s plans aren’t working? Maybe we have already answered our own questions and we need to say: God please forgive me for my lack of trust (patience) in you and your eternal plan in my life.
As we look at the words that Jeremiah spoke to the people of Israel, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you peace, not disaster, plans to give you hope and a future” it is interesting to note that he wrote these words to the people of Israel just after they were taken into captivity in Babylon. They were far from their homes and things looked horrible and there seemed to be no hope in sight. I’m sure at this time the people of Israel weren’t real patient with God and his plans. And to make things worse, we see in the verse just before these rather familiar words, Jeremiah tells the people that they will come back to Israel after 70 years in captivity. 70 Years! Would you have had the patience to wait 70 years to see God’s plans unfold? My guess is that we would become rather impatient after 70 years.
Back to our lives and our lack of patience. What if this pandemic goes on for longer than we want -- after all it has been going on for a whole 6 weeks now? Will we still trust that God has plans to “give you peace, not disaster”? What if something earthly speaking happens that is bad in your lives because of he pandemic? Do we still trust that God plans to give us “hope and a future”? What is wonderful is that we know that after 70 years God did bring the people of Israel home from Babylon, just like he promised. And we know with certainty that God will continue to have plans for us to bless us in ways we can’t even imagine – even during this worldwide pandemic. Don’t be impatient, but rather trust that everything is in God’s good and perfect hands and his eternal plan and eternal timetable is always perfect for us – Today and always!
Pastor Mark Gartner
Pastor Frey is meeting by video on Monday nights at 6:30 to study the books of Nehemiah and Esther. If you are interested in joining this Bible study, please email Pastor Frey at: firstname.lastname@example.org He also records this class and is sending it out to those who are interested in this format.
Pastor Gartner is meeting on Thursday nights at 6:30 pm to study “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.” This will be in a video format like Pastor Frey’s class. If you are interested in joining this Bible study, please email Pastor Gartner at: email@example.com He will also record this class and will send it out to those who are interested in this format.
Quarterly Voters Meeting:
Our regularly scheduled Voters meeting for April 28 has been postponed indefinitely. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet together in June for worship and other things like our voters’ meeting!
Similar to our Voters’ meeting the examination of our confirmands (scheduled for April 26) and their confirmation (May 3) has been indefinitely postponed. We plan to have our examination/confirmation whenever we are able to join together.
By now most of you have been able to find our worship services online, but we will include the notes below for those who might still need some assistance.
Important Note: It has come to our attention that some people are having trouble with the sound or volume on their phones or tablets and even some laptops. It seems to happen more with older devices. Here are a couple of remedies that we have found to help. 1) Try listening with your headphones. 2) Try using a laptop or smart TV instead of a phone or tablet. 3) Go to our "Growing in God's Word" Tab on our Webpage and you will find "Sermons". Under this "Sermons " heading you will find an audio link of the whole services for each week. This audio should work fine on all devices. We are working to correct this problem, and hopefully it will be fixed this week. Thanks for your patience!
You can find our worship services at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsQs-LDzlHE1NTjOaVaQ2A.
You can find a bulletin for each Worship Service so you can follow along here: https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EqetvOMWflhLsfsLRcDkxSgBL2cnYkpiuk8Klh7d-r_XQg?e=07dSma.
Another easy way to access our worship services is to go to our homepage on our website: www.stjohn-appleton.org There you can do one of several things to find our services:
1. Scroll down to find the youtube link labeled “Now Live Streaming” this will take you directly to our youtube page where you can find and watch all our services.
2. On the top of our page under, “Grow in God’s Word” click on “Sermons” this w:11ill take you to a page that has the video for each service, an audio only version of the sermon, and a written version of the sermon.
3. Also under “Grow in God’s Word” click on “Weekly Bulletin” and this will take you to a page where you can access and/or print a PDF copy of each bulletin. This link can also be found in the description under each of our videos on youtube.
LWMS has decided to not hold an in-person convention this year; instead everything will be streamed on-line. Look for more information next month. However, elections need to be made on a congregational and circuit level. If you are involved with LWMS, Kathy Schabo will be contacting you. If you are interested at all in this, please contact her at 920-427-2768 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Try to do this by May 17th.
Spiritual Resources For You To Use.
Forward in Christ
Free digital editions for April: https://online.nph.net/fic-free-issue-form
There are many articles and Bible Studies to help us through these difficult times.
We Are Here To Help
We want you to know that we are here to help you through any troubles you might be facing. Please don't be afraid to call any of the Pastors or the Church Office with any of your questions. We will do our best to be of assistance. We ask for your prayers and patience as we go through these uncertain times.
Please also keep an eye on each other. Stay in contact with those who are elderly or living by themselves or those who may be going through medical issues. If you happen to run into some financial hardships or know someone who may need some financial help, please don't hesitate to call one of the Pastors and we will seek to provide some sort of financial assistance.