“Our Daily Struggle”

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me.  I certainly delight in God’s law according to my inner self, but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-24

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t want to discourage you too much if you did, but they say one-third of the resolutions made on January 1st will be broken by February 1st. And four out of five of the resolutions made in 2019 will be broken before the year ends.

What this means is that by February 1st many people will begin to regret the money they spent on their treadmill or gym membership. Others will have given up on quitting smoking or losing weight. Not only will they be frustrated, but in a short time, they will be right back where they started.

The apostle Paul knew the pain of failed attempts at making lasting change. He genuinely wanted to live to please God . . . and failed . . . again and again. He gives us a window into his frustrated spiritual state when he says, “What a miserable wretch I am!” Continually sinning and failing made Paul miserable and it should. He felt like he was his own worst enemy. Do you ever feel that way?

But Paul’s story didn’t end with his failures. He points us to the hope he had for the future and his hope wasn’t built on his own strengths or his own attempts at good Christian living. He writes, “Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The answer to Paul’s misery was not found in his own attempts at perfection, but in the perfect life amd death of Jesus Christ.

One can sense the huge burden that was lifted off of Paul’s shoulders as he focused on Christ’s perfection instead of his own failures. Jesus lived a perfect life. Jesus kept all of God’s commands. And Jesus gave his life and traded it for Paul’s life and your life on the cross. God delivered Paul through Jesus Christ and he did the same for you. The burden of trying to be perfect to please God has been taken off your shoulders forever.

Now as we face the daily struggle of living a life of thanks to God, let’s be honest. It isn’t always going to be easy and it is certainly going to be far from perfect. Sometimes by God’s grace we will enjoy success, and other times we will fall short. But we don’t have to live in misery. We can live in true peace and forgiveness. Christ offers us the strength for the battle and hope for the future. May God’s forgiveness and hope be our guide and strength in this coming year.

— Pastor Gartner


Church News

Bible Class

Bible Class will resume again this coming Sunday as we continue our study on the first books of the Bible. Pastor Gartner is leading us through an overview of Exodus - Joshua. We already studied Exodus and this Sunday will be studying the book of Leviticus. If you do miss a lesson, we do make an audio recording each week and can send a link through email to those who request it along wit hthe Study guide. Just send an email to Pastor Gartner amd we will send it out to you. This way you can particiapte even when you you may have to miss a week.

Women of Faith and LWMS

All ladies of the congregation are welcome to come for Bible study, LWMS updates and fellowship on Tuesday, January 8 at 1:00 p.m. in the lower level of church. Moms are welcome to bring their children.

New Year's Eve

If the weather kept you away from worshipping with us this past New Year's Eve. We have put a link to the service so that you can remember the many blessings that God gave you this past year and to also to see God's promises and assurances for you this coming year.



God gives us many ways to hear his Word. For most of us, the weekly sermons are the main way that we are connected to God's Word. For various reasons you may miss a weekly service or were distracted during the weekly service. For this reason, we offer many ways for you to get our weekly sermons. Each week on the back counter under the TV we have copies of our printed sermons that you can pick up. Also on our website www.stjohn-appleton.org is a heading, "Grow In God's Word" which has all of the past sermons in written and audio formats that you may access anytime. May God continue to bless you this year as we seek to Grow in God's Word.

Christmas Decorations

Thursday night around 5:30pm, we will be taking down the Christmas decorations at church. If you can join us even for a short time, it will be much appreciated.