Our Sins Are Gone Forever

As distant as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our rebellious acts from us. Psalm 103:12

When I was a kid, we played lots of baseball. We played our league games at the city park just down the road. By one of the diamonds there was a lagoon out in left field which seemed like it was a mile away. Nobody had ever hit a ball even close to the lagoon. One year that changed as we played a team with a kid who could really hit the baseball. His name was Bobby Stocker. He came up to bat and hit a home run right into the lagoon. That had never happened in all the years I played at this park. That season kids would come and watch Bobby Stocker hit lots of balls into the lagoon. Kids would stand by the lagoon when he batted to try and stop the baseballs before they went into the lagoon because we were losing too many balls into the lagoon. Bobby Stocker was legend in our small part of Milwaukee for being able to hit the baseball a mile. Everyone wanted Bobby Stocker on their team and why wouldn't you want someone on your team that could hit the ball "a mile?"

That same principle applies to our spiritual lives. If we are honest with ourselves, we commit lots and lots of sins and try as we might, we can't get rid of any of them. Yes, we may try to forget them by thinking about something else, or we may try to rationalize our sins and make excuses for them. Yes, we may try to pass the blame to others, or we may try to pretend that they never happened. But we just can’t seem to get them far away from us. They weigh on our conscience. They float around in our mind and keep us up at night. We are often reminded of our sins by the hurt feelings and comments of others. Sin never seems too far away.

That’s where Jesus comes in. While we can't get rid of our sins on our own, we have one who can not only step in, but he can hit them "a mile" away. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus came and got rid of our sins, and he didn’t just pick up our sins and throw them a little bit away. In a spiritual way, Jesus came in and hit them “a mile away into the lagoon” where they are gone forever. The Psalm writer says that our sins are, “as distant as the east is from the west.” Who can measure the distance from east to west? That is so far away that we can't even see our sins anymore. God’s forgiveness for us in Jesus is immeasurable. His supply of forgiveness will never run out. When God removes our sin, he removes them completely. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus our sins are gone for good. They are not coming back. And trusting in Jesus as your Savior, we have an eternity in heaven to look forward to.

How far can we get rid of our sins by ourselves? The truth is “not very far.” Our human ways of dealing with sin will always ensure that they keep coming back. Thank goodness that God sent his Son, Jesus who sent our sins away so far that they will never ever be found again. So instead of dealing with sins on our own, let us lay your sins on Jesus and trust in his beautiful promise that our sins are, “as distant as the east is from the west.” When we do this, we don’t ever have to worry about our sins and the guilt of those sins again because God has taken them “a mile” away.  We are forgiven for all of our sins. In Jesus, they are no where to be found.

— Pastor Gartner 


Church News

Lent

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: "Take Him Away!" 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.

Bible Classes

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 6—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.

Easter for Kids

Easter for kids, a one-day VBS focusing on Christ’s resurrection (similar to God’s Greatest Gift, held in December about Christ’s birth) will be held Saturday, April 13 from 9:00-11:00 am. It is open to all children prek-6th grade. Please sign up in the back of church, by calling the church office, or online via our website/facebook page. There is also a sign-up sheet in the back of church for helpers and other volunteers.

EHV Preorder

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 signed-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 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

Summer Activity Survey

Typically, St. John does a Summer fellowship activity. To get a better understanding of what people might be interested in doing, a survey has been put together. You can go to the link below to access this survey or you may contact Andy Raschka with your feedback.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JPTH7FW

Women of Faith Bible Study/LWMS

Next Tuesday, April 9, all the ladies are invited to a Bible study and LWMS meeting beginning at 1:00 pm. Also there will be a door offering in Church this Sunday for our LWMS mission offering.