So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.(Isaiah41:10 NIV84)
What are you afraid of? Why? People are afraid of any number of different things; and when you think about it much of what we are afraid of is irrational. Take the top-five most-common phobias: 1. Arachnophobia (fear of spiders); 2.Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes); 3. Acrophobia (fear of heights); 4. Aerophobia (fear of flying); 5. Cynophobia (fear of dogs). Sure, some spiders and snakes are extremely dangerous, but how many people do you know have been seriously injured by a bite from either creature? I can think of one—it’s not very rational to be afraid of spiders or snakes. Many are afraid of flying, but it’s one of the safest forms of transportation today—you are far more likely to die driving a car or riding a bike than you are in an airplane. Sure, some dogs may be territorial and bite, but how can anyone be afraid of man’s best friend?
Much of what we are afraid of is simply irrational. To be fair, there are times in our lives when we might be afraid of what might happen in the future—when you lose your job, when you are diagnosed with cancer or some other serious medical issue, people mistreat you in some way because of your faith. There are times when we might have a legitimate reason to be afraid—but even then, God is still with us.
In the first half of the book of Isaiah, the people are warned that their cities would be destroyed, they would be ripped from their homes, and forced to live as exiles in the country of Babylon. Yet, the Lord promised to be with them and after 70 years he would lead them back to the Promised Land. At that time they would have nothing to fear because they would know that God is always with them and would defeat their enemies for them.
Because our sinful nature doubts God’s promise that we have nothing to fear he tells us twice—do not fear—why? Because I am with you. Do not be dismayed—why? Because I am your God! In Psalm 118 we read, The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Since God is with us we have nothing to be afraid. It doesn’t matter what other people do to us, it doesn’t matter what we face, God is still with us to guard us and protect us; to be with us no matter whom or what we face.
God also promises us that no matter what he allows to happen, it will be for our eternal good. We have nothing to fear because everything that happens God will somehow make it work out for our good. Even if we die at the hands of men or for some other reason—that is a good thing. For the death of a Christian means the beginning of eternal life in heaven. Christ, by his death and resurrection has removed the sting of death—it is now the gate into which we enter eternal bliss. For this reason, we have nothing to fear; no real harm will fall upon us For God is with us!
Our Midweek Lent Services have begun. The services are at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm.This year our theme for our midweek services will be"Three Words of Truth. “Each service will focus on an important three-word phrase from Jesus' passion and resurrection. Next Wednesday the theme will be:"I am He."Please join us for these special worship services. A Supper will be served each Wednesday from 5:30-6:15 and please take note that the Confirmation Classes will be starting at 5:00 pm and be over by 7:30 pm. We hope and pray that each child’s parents will be able to attend our midweek Lenten services with them.
On Sunday mornings, Pastor Frey is leading a study on the first 11 chapters of Genesis—an important and interesting portion of Scripture. Join us this week as we look at chapter 5—a genealogy of the first generations; and chapter six—God telling Noah to build an ark.
Pastor Gartner has begun his new study, entitled, "What Must I Do To Be Saved -- A Study of God's Gospel and the Words The Holy Spirit Uses To Proclaim It." We will be looking at the many beautiful words that God uses in the Bible to describe God's plan to save us. Please plan on joining us for these studies.We have studied words like Grace, Mercy, Love, Redeemer and Atonement .We will be moving into the beautiful picture of Justification.
Ladies Painting Night
On Sunday, March 24, all ladies of St. John ages 12 and up are invited to take part in making a painting. The cost is $20 and the sign-up sheet is in the back of Church.
Since November 2017 for the lessons during our worship services we have been using the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) translation of the Bible. This is a translation produced by the Wartburg Project, a group of WELS and ELS pastors and professors. The entire Bible is now complete and will be published this summer. You now have an opportunity to preorder this Bible at a discounted bulk-rate price (the exact price will depend on how many Bibles are sign-up for). There is no need to pay right away; once we know the exact price per Bible we will inform those who have signed-up and how to pay for their order.
There is a sign-up sheet on the back counter if you wish to order a new EHV. There are also 100 pamphlets on the back for more information on this new translation. Although we highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this Bible, you should also be aware that the Wartburg Project plans on publishing a study Bible in the next couple of years. For more information, please talk to Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner.
To learn more about the EHV, click here:https://online.nph.net/ehv?utm_source=pastor-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spring-resources-0319
To view an electronic version of the informational pamphlet, click here:https://online.nph.net/media/documents/EHV-Handout.pdf?utm_source=general-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ehv-preorder-0219
To view a sample of the translation, click here:https://online.nph.net/media/SampleFiles/PDF/0105000.pdf?utm_source=pastor-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spring-resources-0319
Last Sunday a ring was left at church. It looks like it is a brand new ring which still had the size tag on it and it was still in its mesh carrying case. It has Bible verses written on it. If you are missing this ring, please contact the Church Office or one of the Pastors to claim it.