Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5 – EHV)
I hope that you took a few moments this Memorial Day weekend to say, Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all our men and women of the military who are currently serving or who have served us and our country in the past and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so that we could enjoy our earthly freedom. Memorial Day is one of the “official” days each year that we set aside to remember the work of the many individuals who have served or are serving in the military and the many people who have died to protect our freedoms. Many of us know someone who has or is serving, and many of us know someone who died for our freedoms. If your outdoor barbecue over the weekend involved a few veterans, no doubt some good “war stories” were told over a burger and some cool refreshments.
War stories have been around for centuries, but there is no greater war story than that of Jesus Christ who single-handedly took on the forces of evil and terror -- Satan himself. The stakes could not have been greater – our eternal life or eternal death. The battle was more intense than any battle ever fought. It was literally a winner takes all battle. The victory couldn’t have been more profound. Just when it seemed like Satan won as a dead body was placed in the grave, three days later that body came alive, just as Jesus had claimed. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory?. . . But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And just like we Americans have great benefits and freedoms from the wars our service people have fought, all those who trust in Jesus as their Savior receive many spiritual benefits and freedoms from the outcome of “The Ultimate War” that Jesus fought against the devil and won. We have received full forgiveness of sins and the true hope of heaven.
This Great War Story of Jesus has more details than one can fit in a devotion, but it is a true story that is worth reading about, listening to, and passing on. What a blessing that God has revealed everything about this battle in his Word. The Bible is God’s account of how this war came to be and why it needed to be fought on a cross and in an empty tomb. Jesus did the job his heavenly Father sent him to do and won the battle as he thoroughly crushed the devil. This Greatest War Story ever told has been given in the Holy Bible for us to read, not just once, but often. It’s a story that is to be retold not just once a year, but every day! It’s a story that is true and never gets old. All we can do is say Thank you to our Triune God for the victory that you won for us over our enemies of sin, death and the power of the devil.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Returning to Public Worship:
We will begin our public Worship Services this coming Sunday - May 31. In the Newsletter you should have received a copy of our plan for returning to public worship. While we rejoice that after two months, we are able to return to the Lord’s house to worship together, we want to do so in a safe manner. Please look over the document carefully. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact one of the Pastors or any of the council members.
Please click on the following link to access the document: 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.
You can find the link to signup on the front page of our website at:
Or you can also signup by going directly to this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040a4aa9a62ea6fa7-stjohn
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.
We’ll still hold online Bible Studies—Thursdays with Pastor Gartner on the distinction between law and gospel; while Pastor Frey’s class on Esther will be on Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm. If you are interested in joining us, please contact us.
Quarterly Voters Meeting:
Our second quarter Voters’ meeting, originally scheduled for April 28 has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 16th. At this meeting you’ll be able to review and discuss our current worship plan.
The examination of our confirmands and their confirmation has been indefinitely postponed. We plan to have our examination/confirmation whenever we are able to join together.
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 email@example.com. Try to do this by May 17th.
Spiritual Resources For You To Use.
Forward in Christ
Free digital editions for May: https://online.nph.net/fic-free-issue-form
There are many articles and Bible Studies to help us through these difficult times.
Digital Christ Light
Free digital Sunday School Material to help you teach your children God’s Word: https://online.nph.net/cl-ss-downloads?fbclid=IwAR1CWt-TNo8aQ04tthaqY_4OCWzk2B75-6YWMTGSM-RxGCWF0shE4UN7VaU
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.