Give ear, O my people, to my instruction.
Turn your ear to the words of my mouth. (Psalm 78:1 – EHV)
“Are you listening to me?” This is a common question asked by a mother trying to make sure her instructions are actually penetrating the brain of her videogame-playing son. This question may also be asked by a wife who just finished telling her husband about her day while he was busy watching the big game. Even though that son or husband hear words – even giving a nod here or there – the words just are not sinking in.
If we are honest with ourselves, most of us would have to admit that we aren’t always the best listeners. How many times have we heard something told to us and in a matter of minutes, we forgot what was said or only heard what we wanted to hear? Just because we hear something does not mean we are actually listening or understanding what it means. Sometimes sounds just fade into the background because we are focused on something else, or we have just decided that what the person was telling us was not all that important.
How good are you at listening to God through his Word? Again, I would say it would be safe to say that God would have every right to ask the same question, “Are you listening to me?” God is talking to us about the most important thing in the whole world – the salvation of our lost souls. But are we actually listening or have we been just kind of nodding our heads in approval without truly listening?
Why do we have such trouble listening to God and his Word? We can come up with all kinds of excuses, but it boils down to sin. We are too busy with the other things in our lives and God’s voice is just some “blah, blah, blah” that we at times ignore or forget because we are so involved with the things of this sinful world that we don’t really hear what God is saying.
The other problem is that the devil doesn’t want us to hear God’s Word. When we do hear it, he creates all sorts of distractions to try and make sure that the message does not sink in. He loves to draw our focus to what is happening right now in your life and whisper in our ears, “This message is ancient. It does not have anything to do with our lives in 2020, or we have more important and pressing things to occupy our minds.”
But when we truly sit down and “listen” to God’s Word, what do we hear? We hear God’s message which records God’s love for us from the beginning of time to the end of our time which is a consistent message from beginning to end. Within its pages, sin is uncovered and its terrifying consequences revealed for us, but God’s amazing love for us and all people is also made crystal clear. He refused to let our sins of not listening to him and our many other sins destroy us forever, but instead he crushed his own Son with the weight of our sins and its punishment.
Take some time to actually listen to God’s Word. Don’t just go through the motions, but actually open your ears and welcome that message of love. There is no more wonderful or important message in the world.
Pastor Mark Gartner
After taking a few weeks off, we are picking-up our online Bible study by looking at the book of Ecclesiastes. We’ll pre-record these online studies and send them out via a youtube link along with a study guide. We’ll send these studies to those who were on the list for the previous online classes. Please contact one of the pastors if you want to be included on the new list.
June Edition of the WELS Connection
Click below to watch June’s edition of the WELS Connection about WELS Christian Aid and Relief.
Returning to Public Worship:
How great and wonderful it iss to see people in-person as we worshiped our Lord together again! Together with the June Newsletter, you should have received a copy of our plan for returning to public worship. Please look over the document carefully. Please note that for the time being, since only one or two ushers will be needed per service, we will not be in need of Usher Teams. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact one of the Pastors or any of the council members. The document can also be accessed by clicking the link below. https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EaBy-IahwepIjjaHxkS5IbMBC7X1SDx1pug80s5jAzCihQ?e=fJjd64
In order to encourage and practice social distancing, we are trying to limit each Worship service to 75 people. To help with this, we added an extra service on Sunday morning. We are offering 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 services on Sunday as well as 6:30 pm on Monday. We are also asking everyone to sign up each week for whatever Worship Service you plan on attending. Please note, that we are in need of volunteers to help sanitize the sanctuary between services. When you sign-up you’ll have an opportunity to mark whether or not you are willing to help out—it only takes about 10 minutes, so we pray that you will!
You can find the link to sign-up on the front page of our website at: www.stjohn-appleton.org.
You can also signup by going directly to this link (it will be a different link each week):
As we go forward, we will continue to live-stream our services and posting our worship folders online. We will be recording our Sunday 7:30 am service which means you can watch anytime after 7:30 am on Sunday morning. If you need any help accessing these resources, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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.
The WELS Missions office is partnering with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) to host an online event called Taste and See! This first-of-its-kind event will combine the very best of Taste of Missions and LWMS Convention to provide all WELS members an opportunity to be an important part of gospel outreach occurring in our synod.
Tune in LIVE to the following opportunities to be together and encourage one another. Join us on the WELS Missions or LWMS Facebook pages or Taste and See website at the following times:
Saturday, June 27, 11 a.m. CT: Opening worship service immediately followed by the LWMS Flag Presentation
Wednesday, July 1, 7 p.m. CT: Home Missions Q&A Panel
Wednesday, July 8, 7 p.m. CT: World Missions Q&A Panel
Saturday, July 11, 6 p.m. CT: Closing worship service featuring the commissioning of three world missionaries and one home missionary, immediately followed by a Q&A panel with newly commissioned missionaries
Free Digital Resources from NPH
Our Synods Publishing House, NPH, is offering many great digital resources for free for the time being—including June’s Forward in Christ and the latest edition of Meditations. Please click on the link below for more info.